We've returned from OKW and the Disney four night cruise. I have no idea how the photos have turned out as I've not down loaded them yet, but will make an effort to do so as soon as possible.
I had great plans on providing you with a detailed report, but time passed so quickly and we were so very busy I never had the opportunity to make notes as I went along!
The night before the cruise was spent at OKW in a grand villa with two additional studios. The Grand Villa was wonderful and everyone seemed well pleased, as was the family that stayed at the studio.
We used Sir Randolph for transport from OKW to the port and back (on the return trip one van went to OKW and one to Herself's Mother's home with no problem). The service was excellent, all inclusive price (worked out to about $30 per person round trip, tip INCLUDED). Sir Randolph was on time and we arrived at the Port early enough to make it through security with no fuss. We used two 10 person vans that held everyone and all the luggage comfortably.
The cruise terminal is clean, if a bit boring, although there were some videos playing for the children. And OOOOOEEEEE there were CHILDREN running all over the place! Mickey and Pluto and Goofy made an appearance for photos, and signatures.
Boarding was effortless. You wait until your number is called. It's the number that is issued to you as you clear security, have your photo taken and receive your key to the kingdom card.
We all carried on different amounts of water, wine and liquor. Maybe someone had beer too, but I'm not sure about that. No problems what so ever, but we did all carry on our own, as instructed.
Once onboard we made our way to the 9th deck for an elaborate buffet lunch. Our rooms were ready promptly at 1:30. We unpacked and went on to explore the ship. Prior to the 1:30 pm room readiness we had gone to the Palo reservation table on deck 3 and with no effort at all made reservations for the brunch and dinner (the online prebooking indicated that all slots were full). We did keep the reservation for brunch, but at the family's request canceled the dinner reservation as it was on the last evening and they wanted everyone to be together.
Our room was an inside stateroom and we entered to some very lovely surprises! Roses, champagne, cards indicating plushes awaited us and onboard credits, as well as cheese, fruit and pastry trays!!!! Thank you to the very kind and generous mod team who provided all these luxuries!!! We felt well loved and a bit like stars in our own right! LOL.
We had dinner the first evening at Triton's (the next at Animator's, the third at Animator's and the last at Parrot Cay). We were sat at two tables, one larger than the other, and met our servers who were wonderful people. They noticed everything and were quick to offer alternatives that were not on the menu.
We were not overly impressed with the selection of items that evening, and I didn't care for my dinner at all. It was the lamb shank selection. The server really wanted to bring something else, but that wasn't necessary.
After dinner we took a tour of the spa area and purchased spa passes to the rain forest, and scheduled two hot stone massages. We spent many enjoyable hours in the spa.
That evening Herself's Mother and Aunt complained that their room smelled of urine, so we went to investigate. Yep. Not a pleasant smell. We spoke with the room steward, and the housekeeping supervisor. They brought in an air purifier. The room smelled no better the next day and a higher level supervisor became involved when Mother complained that not only did the room still "stink" but she couldn't take an afternoon nap due to the very loud construction noise going on across the hall from her. After her stating that this was the worst room and worst cruise she'd ever been on, her room was changed on the second night. She was given a cabin on a lower deck, but one with a window, so it was better, at least until the last evening when we were 'cruising' full tilt to make it back to port on time. The lower levels really felt the rocking and turbulence.
Unfortunately, our room had the same unpleasant smell, and there was no help for it. The supervisor interpreted our comments on having the same problem in our room as a bid for a better cabin and managed to offend Herself in his retort. We made it clear the only thing we wanted was the smell to be taken care of. It never was, so we spent as much time as possible out of the cabin...
Our dinner at Animator's palate the second and third nights was not really much better than the dinner at Triton's, but again the service was excellent. The head server had arranged for steamed vegetables for us, so that was a big help and gave us something to eat.
There was a mix up with the specially ordered cake for Mother for her birthday celebration so the next evening (after the mixup) the head server presented her with a very nice, prettily decorated chocolate cake. Again, exemplary service.
The Pirate Party evening was fun, but we were all a little uncomfortable dressed fairly elaborately as pirates... not too many other families were. We did not see the actual party as Mother wanted to be on the 10th deck in an spot that allowed for good view of the fireworks... the chosen spot ended up being without any view of the party itself.
Castaway Cay was lovely. We went to Serenity Bay, the adult only beach. It was quiet and leisurely. We took the tram, but it is an easy walk from the ship. The BBQ lunch was nice with Herself declaring the mahi-mahi sandwich the best of the ship's offerings.
We spent some time going to the Cove (on board ship again now) having specialty coffee (me). It was a pleasant interlude.
We went to the brunch at Palo's. The server was a lovely young man who tried hard, but we knew more about the food than did he! There was a cheese table, a seafood table, a vegetable/antipasto table, a sweets table, a fruit and bread table and hot selections. We had the veal as our hot selection. It was nice, but the cheese with it was far too salty. The other selections were nice, fruit was fresh and cold, cheeses were of good quality, and the seafood was fresh too. The desserts (like all seemed to be) were very pretty, but did not seem to have much taste. Odd!
This is a cruise that families with children would really love and enjoy. Disney does work hard to have some places for adults only, however and those places were sincerely appreciated!
We did a few of the "nightlife" things, like Cadillac Lounge and the dreaded karaoke (we observed mind, didn't "do" ) and they were ok, but again this is a cruise where the efforts go mainly into activities for families with children.
We chose not to leave the ship at Nassau, however others in our party did. They reported fun with rented mopeds and two intrepid members walked to the casino (about an hour's walk).
Disembarking was nearly effortless, however it's always a challenge when two women with the same address present themselves to the custom's agent. No matter. We're used to it by now.
Of the 20 of us who went (oops, it ended up being 19 as one bailed just before the cruise) those who had not cruised before enjoyed the experience quite well!
Our vans arrived on time and returned us to the two separate destinations as previously planned. We highly recommend Sir Randolph.
Those of us in the van returning to OKW checked in those who were staying, and then Herself and I with two other family members rushed home as we'd had multiple messages from our security company. All was well though, so we were happy about that. We then took the two with us to the airport, returned to Mother's house, had a caravan of everyone else back to our home for dinner (including those at OKW). Needless to say the remaining days were filled with runs to the airport, feeding those who were here and entertaining those who stayed in our home with us.
Today is the last day of the holiday (it's an actual holiday "Labor Day" here in the US) and it's back to work tomorrow.
If you have any questions at all, don't hesitate to ask, and I'll do my best to answer them.