2017 Disney Cruise – The First Night

In the previous part of the 2017 Disney Cruise Trip Report, we had boarded the ship and enjoyed lunch while watching a rain storm out the window. It was almost time to go to our rooms…

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There was not that much time before 1:30, so we went down to Deck 8 to wait. As it turns out, our rooms were right by the central stairs and elevators, which would be pretty handy. Hopefully, it would not be too noisy from people going up and down the stairs and elevators, but I figured we would be tired enough to sleep at night no matter how many people were out there.

Going back once again to our previous cruise, with our long wait to board, we also had a long wait for our rooms to be ready. But this time, the crew opened up the corridors right at 1:30, exactly on schedule. That still makes me wonder what was going on during that last cruise. No big deal, just curious.

We had three adjoining rooms. My parents’ room was in the middle, with the Bramletts on one side and us on the other side. The Bramletts and my parents had a connecting door between their rooms. But we knew all of that ahead of time, because that was how it was booked. I also knew that sooner or later we could get our room host to open up the verandah dividers so that we could have one long verandah the width of our three rooms. At the moment, we did not see our room host, but we knew we would run into him or her sooner or later.

Checking out our stateroom

Checking out our stateroom

After putting our stuff down in our room and checking out our Castaway Club gift bag, we went next door to my parents’ room to see their decorations. Laura had ordered some decorations in their room to help celebrate their anniversary, so they had things hanging from the ceiling, a large magnet on the bathroom door, and a Mickey Mouse cling on the verandah door. There was also a nice beach towel, too. On top of that, Melissa, our travel agent, had arranged for some flowers and a small model of the ship to be in their room, too. And Beth had made a magnet for their door. Hopefully all of that helped to make them feel celebrated. As if being on a cruise did not do that enough. That always works for me, but extra touches are nice, too.

Surprisingly, our luggage arrived outside our door while we were checking out the rooms. I did not expect it there so early, but I was glad that we had not bothered with packing our evening clothes in our carry-on bags. Everything was moving right along on this cruise, which was nice.

We spent a little time looking out our verandah, which had a nice view of the always-interesting terminal building, perhaps a better view than we have ever had of it before. I enjoy looking at the architecture, because that is just the kind of guy that I am. We also had a nice view of the gangway coming into the ship. You could sort of make out people through the windows of the gangway, and I was watching to see if we saw the Jamersons, but we did not. We could also see luggage being loaded onto the ship, but it was nice to already have our luggage and not have to be looking to see if we could see our suitcases being put on the belt.

There was still a little bit of time before the safety drill, so we went ship exploring for a bit. We looked in the art gallery at all of the interesting paintings, although we did not find any that we could afford, as usual. We checked out the lobby, and we tried to walk around the Deck 4 Promenade. But we were stopped on our walk, because the crew was trying to clean up some sort of oil spill on the deck. So we went back inside.

The main lobby of the Disney Dream, as seen from above

The main lobby of the Disney Dream, as seen from above

Laura and Jaylin sharing a chair

Laura and Jaylin sharing a chair

In the elevator lobby, we finally found the Jamersons, who had just arrived. They were trying to get to eat and get to their room, so we did not linger long, because we knew that we would see them more later on. And besides, we were already connected with them on the chat app, too. But now our whole extended cruising group was complete.

Bramlett Family Photo

Bramlett Family Photo

Burns Family Photo

Burns Family Photo. I apparently did not get the elder Burnses with Donald Duck!

We went back to our room to wait for the safety drill, going out on the verandah a bit more to enjoy the view of the terminal building. And the rain. It was still raining out, although not all that hard. Laura and I had already started wondering how that would affect the sail away party after the safety drill, because as much as we like seeing the characters and hearing the ship’s horn, we don’t care to stand out in the rain for all of that. Also, our last bag had arrived, in case you were in suspense over that. We had all of our luggage, and everyone that we were expecting to be there was there. Everything was falling in place nicely.

Once the announcement for the safety drill started, we began making our way down the stairs to the Buena Vista Theatre, which was our designated assembly station. I always think that is a strange place for an assembly station, compared to standing on the deck near the lifeboats, which is where you would want to be in an emergency, I would think. But on this day with the rain, we were not complaining at all about the location. Hopefully, the people outside were not getting all that wet, since the decks up above provide enough cover as long as the wind is not blowing.

There were not all that many people on the stairs, which indicated that most people had not waited in their cabins for the drill to begin. I guess there is some joy in getting there first, but we figure why stand around waiting when you can be sitting in your room or out on your verandah waiting. There is no prize for being first, and you do not get to leave any earlier if you get there first, either. We were not the last ones to get to our station (the Theatre is actually a few stations combined), but we were nowhere near the beginning, either.

The crew went through the drill, telling what to do in an emergency and demonstrating how to put on the life vests. I tried my best to pay attention, even though I had seen it all before. But it was difficult to keep from watching the other people. It is always interesting to see what other people are on the cruise with you, because cruise passengers come in all sorts. I also couldn’t help wondering why some did not have the common courtesy to keep quiet so that those who wanted to listen could actually do so. I suppose I pay a little more attention to cruise safety instructions than to airline safety instructions, because I subconsciously think I might have a slightly better chance on a sinking ship than a crashing plane. Maybe not, but that seems like a possibility.

At the end of the drill, Peter the cruise director mentioned that we were now free to leave, and we could all go to the ship’s main lobby for the Sail Away party. I guess that answered our question about whether they would have the party in the rain. The answer was yes, but in a different location. I figured that they had some sort of plan for that, because there was no way that was the first time when it looked like it would be raining as the ship left the port.

The only problem with the change in location was that I had been planning to stop by our room and grab my camera on our way up to the pool deck. But since we were on Deck 5 and the party was on Decks 3 through 6, there wasn’t much reason to go to Deck 8 just to get my camera bag, so I did without it, figuring I could just use my phone to take any photos that I might need to take during the party.

By the time the Sail Away party got to going, the ship was already going, too. Probably most people did not notice, and probably most people did not care, but I could tell by looking out the window. So in the show they were not really counting down to when we left, because we had technically already left. You could make a strong case that the cruise doesn’t really, really start until they get the party started, and who am I to argue over trivial matters such as that? The only other slightly different moment came when they counted down to the ship’s horn blowing, but the horn we heard was actually prerecorded in the show’s audio. But then being inside like that, we probably could not have heard the actual horn, anyway. However, the main point of the show is to have the characters come out, and also to get everyone excited about the cruise being underway, and all of that was accomplished. And we did not get wet, either.

Checking out some views around the ship as we were sailing away

Checking out some views around the ship as we were sailing away

Checking out some views around the ship as we were sailing away

Checking out some views around the ship as we were sailing away

Because of our early seating time (well, earlier than what we are used to) for dinner, we went to our room to get changed for dinner. Evidently, Disney doesn’t push the whole dressing for dinner thing as much as they used to, although they do still recommend it. They don’t turn anyone wearing shorts away for dinner, however. But since we are hold-overs from the old days, we still dress up slightly. Nothing too over the top, but something a little nicer than what we have been wearing for the rest of the day.

Sailing on the open sea

Sailing on the open sea

Our first restaurant of this cruise was Royal Palace, which seems to be where we have started before. We always try to arrive right as the seating begins, because there really isn’t much of a reason to get there early and wait in line for the doors to open. They are going to feed everyone, no matter when you get there, and in fact they bring out most everyone’s food at the same time, too. Why wait in line if you don’t have to?

We walked in right at our seating time, and we were shown to our table. The rest of our family was already there, but I don’t think they had been there very long. We were soon greeted by our server, Andrea from Peru, and our assistant server, Mariya from Ukraine. It is always interesting to see where everyone is from on these cruises, and I always enjoy hearing all of the different accents, too.

The Burns Family Table

The Burns Family Table

For dinner, I ordered the lobster and jumbo shrimp appetizer and potato soup. My main course was pasta with lobster, which was delicious, and I finished it up with a strawberry shortcake sundae. And of course some delicious Coca-Cola as well. Can’t do without that. It was a great meal as always, and we enjoyed talking to Andrea and Mariya for just a bit when we were finished. Andrea told us about the next day’s events, and made sure that we knew about the Golden Mickeys show in the Walt Disney Theatre, which we were already planning to attend.

That looks good enough to eat!

That looks good enough to eat!

But before the show, we had to get some time with the real Mickey Mouse, who was actually not golden. We had already planned to meet up with the Jamersons for a group photo with Mickey, who was posing for photos in the Atrium Lobby. Once we connected with the Jamersons through the messenger app, we found out that they were already almost at the front of the line, so we hurried along to where they were.

I’m sure we frustrated both the photographer and the people behind us just a bit, because we did photos of each of the four family groups, along with a couple of large group photos, too. Poor Mickey probably did not know who all went together, because of the different photos that we took. And we did not always end up standing by our particular family people, either. But it was fun, and Mickey did not seem to mind. I don’t believe the photographer minded all that much either, as long as it helped to sell some photos.

After that, we went to look in the shops for just a bit before the show, while the Jamersons went on to their late dinner seating. This was our first chance to go to the shops, because they had been closed when the ship was in port, as is normal for them. We looked in all of the shops, but we decided to hold off on buying anything just yet. It was nice to get a feel for what all they had to offer this time around, however.

Once we had all seen all that we wanted to see, we went in the Theater and got our seats for the show. They were still doing their red carpet interviews to start things off, so we had not missed anything yet.

Waiting for the show to start

Waiting for the show to start

As we were looking for some seats, someone stopped Jaylin and asked him if a certain row of seats was reserved, and Jaylin answered something along the lines of not as far as he knew. Apparently, his blue shirt and khaki pants must have made him look like a part of the crew to some people. Hey, here’s an idea: maybe he could get a job on one of the ships one of these days and get free rooms for his parents! I would vote for that.

Before the show started, we got a few words from Captain Henry, and it was great to see that he was our captain again. In fact, he has now been the captain of four of our five Disney Cruises. He must not have gotten the message that we were coming on that one that he missed. I’m sure he feels bad about it, but I did not bother asking him. No sense bringing up the bad memories while we were creating fun new memories.

The show was entertaining as always, although we did not feel like we had missed anything by not seeing it on our previous cruise. Not too much had changed, but it was still well done. At the end, we got a few words from Peter the cruise director, letting us know about all of the fun things ahead at Castaway Cay the next day.

After the show had ended, we three younger Burnses were not quite ready to call it a night and head off to bed yet, so we went to the Deck 4 Promenade to enjoy some of the evening air and the motion of the ship. We also got to enjoy a little bit of water falling from the sky, as we apparently had not been able to escape the rain yet. Not a big deal, and it was not enough to drive us inside.

While we were out there, Goofy came through with his handler, going in for the night from one of the photo places in the lobby. Goofy waved at us and then proceeded to walk right into the wall instead of the door. Yes, it was on purpose, but it was fun to see Goofy putting on a little show just for the three of us, and also for his handler who got a good laugh out of it as well.

Passing some time on the Promenade before going to bed

Passing some time on the Promenade before going to bed

After passing some time there, we decided to head on off to bed so that we would be rested for the next day’s fun. When we reached our room, Rey, our still elusive room host, had left a towel swan on the bed, keeping up the tradition of towel animals on cruises that I still have never quite understood, although I do enjoy seeing what the animal is every night.

A swan

A swan

Once we got in bed, we could definitely feel the motion of the ship. And we could hear it, too, because the ship was shaking enough to rattle the clothes hangers in the closet. Laura eventually got up and took down the hangers, leaving them on the closet floor, where they were much quieter. But we did not mind the motion at all. It is nice to be rocked to sleep after a fun-filled day.

And so we drifted off to sleep as the ship sailed for our next destination.

Up next: Castaway Cay! Check back soon for more from the 2017 Disney Cruise Trip Report!

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