Disney's Castaway Cay??? Nope - Day at Sea #1
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2022
Kara: I woke up around 7am with the edge of a headache (which I had when we went to bed last night). I took some meds and just rested. I felt the ship do what I assumed to be docking ops at Disney Castaway Cay - and I felt it a couple of times.
Gayle: I definitely was awoken by the engines as the ship attempted to dock. In fact, it was so significant, I thought, “If it’s like this in the far forward, I can’t imagine what it’s like Aft (where we usually stay)!” I also woke up with a raging migraine and didn’t hesitate to down two Excedrin Migraine immediately.
Kara: On that specific note, I have to say that between our room being Deck 9 Forward (pretty high) and this ship, the ride has been as smooth as silk. More on that as we break for this important update…
MORE BREAKING NEWS! At 8 a.m. the Captain came on the overhead speakers in the staterooms (which is very unusual). He tried docking at Disney Castaway Cay twice, but between the wind (gusts up to 50 knots) and sea conditions (6-8 ft seas), it was not safe to do so and so he took us back out to sea. We’re currently headed towards the southeast of the Caribbean almost at the edge of the Atlantic.
Gayle: I admire how Disney communicates such things. A near quote of the Captain was “The decision has been made in keeping your safety as a top priority and we understand this is a disappointment.” Then the Cruise Director, Glen, outlined what they would do next - adding activity options in the App within the next 30-45 minutes for this to now be a Day at Sea. This is a Master Class in communications and emotional intelligence in outlining the What, Why, When, How - & Empathy. And this, my friends, is just one primary reason why I’m personally loyal to Disney Destinations. I always know they have our safety and best interest in mind, as well as having experienced and having faith in how they handle challenging situations!
Also I think the night prior some of the sea conditions were shared with us. We remembered when we got “stuck” at Disney Castaway Cay in 2010 and what some of the conditions were then (8-12ft seas & 20-30 knots?) So we quickly forecasted - pun intended - Disney Castaway Cay would be a “no go” this time.
Kara: I was able to iMessage with my sister and give her an update (confirming what we’ve heard that iMessages can go through without an Internet package). So, now we’re waiting on the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App to be updated and we’ll likely head up to breakfast soon.
We headed up to Marceline Market for breakfast. We were able to locate our faves - Mickey waffles & French Toast with strawberry sauce and French toast along with fruit. There are still a few process issues in the Marceline Market operations. The omelet station is not running efficiently. They also have a gorgeous selection of nuts and dried fruits presumably to make a yogurt parfait of your own, but there is only pre-packaged fruity yogurt available. (Typically there is a large bowl of plain yogurt). Much of this seems to be related to the change from serve- yourself to being served.
After Marceline Market we popped in Dory’s Forget Me Knot shop to look at their t-shirt collection. While there were a couple of shirts Gayle was interested in purchasing, the only sizes available were far too large (2XL & 3XL) for both of us.
We also made our way into the Hero Zone since you can also access it from a hallway inside of Marceline Market.
We headed in and checked out the space which has two levels - an open court area on the bottom and then a balcony area that you can watch the festivities on the floor from as well as play a few games like air hockey, fuse ball, etc. We opted to try air hockey and were surprised at how much better at this I was than in previous years. Gayle still beat me 2 - 1 but we realized that it wouldn’t make any sense to try to play to 10 points because I was good enough to defend.
We made a quick stop in the stateroom and then decided to try the new Disney Uncharted Adventure experience, which is an interactive game that you and everyone in your party can use your phone to complete Quests around the ship. We did both Peter Pan and Nemo Quests which took us one hour and 20 minutes. The Peter Pan quest is very easy and sedate only taking you around 3 decks. The Nemo quest took us around the ship a bit more.
Since this is a new experience that they are just starting to launch, we expected a few glitches and did find them. One location didn’t work so they sent us to an alternative spot. Both of us had experiences with our phones completely locking up and we had to restart the app. Even so, this is a better experience than the Midship Detective Agency (on Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy) - predominantly because it’s not single player. We each got to use our phones to play the games and do the challenges at the same time. On the downside, if your family decides they don’t want to do it and you want to finish, I’m not sure exactly how that would work.
Gayle: Adding on some logistics & tips, it took us about 10 minutes to initially setup, as you get to customize an avatar for each member of your party. For each Quest someone needs to be the Quest Leader, and they must add all the other players BEFORE starting the Quest. Yes, you can finish Quests without the rest of your team (although we think you’d have to be the Lead to continue on alone). During these first two Quests, my iPhone got pretty hot. So I would turn off the screen as we traveled to different locations around the ship. Then I could restart the Quest in the App and it surprisingly picked-up where we left off. (I feared losing my spot or having to start the Quest over.) Different members of your team can be leader for each Quest, if you’d like to trade-off. A lot of the stops at the Interactive Artwork require a gamification aspect. This means it’s more advanced than little ones will likely be able to handle, but they can watch the bigger humans as they play. On that note, you have to treat your phone like a game controller fairly often, so it requires some dexterity. Finally, as only the 2nd sailing to have access to this feature, I was amazed at how well it worked. It was a surprising step-up for Disney Cruise Line technology and guest engagement!
One of the biggest challenges with this ship is the HVAC. It’s hot pretty much everywhere except the staterooms and stateroom corridors. Decks 3, 4, and 5 are warm for reasons neither of us can figure out. (Usually, there are plenty of exterior doors on Decks 4 & 5, but that’s not the case on this ship.) We get why Decks 11 and above are warm. The HVAC in the room is much improved over previous experiences, which is nice. I bring this up now because we had gone from hot and sticky to cold enough times playing Disney Uncharted Adventure that I needed a break so we headed back to the stateroom for a bit.
Kara: And, just for fun, while we were doing Disney Uncharged Adventure, we happened to pass the laundry room. This ship - the largest so far in the fleet - does only three and four night cruises at the moment. There has been some consternation amongst folks about their being only one laundry room on board. We decided to check it out - and I gotta say, as laundry rooms go, I think it's worth 1 minute and 11 seconds of your life for this tour.
We just hung out and chatted and then decided we should get a couple of practical things done. So Gayle headed for Guest Services (to increase our gratuities since we would be sailing additional days) after we attempted to first use the App Chat feature and to make an appointment - neither of which was available in the App anymore. While she did that, I made a water/ice refill run. About 10 minutes after I returned to the stateroom, she called me from Guest Services to see if I wanted to go ahead and have them give us the internet package complimentary - for the duration of the cruise! - since we’d need to change our return flight. (Is getting complimentary internet even a question?). So, we now have (intermittent) internet on one device at a time which came in very handy today. (For the record, the complimentary internet was the middle of the three packages.)
I did a check in with family and Gayle was able to check in on her mom to not so good news. I’ll let her decide what, if any, of that story she wishes to tell. Gayle: All I will say is as much as cruising is one of the most escapist things you can do (when you forgo purchasing an internet package), life doesn’t stop. And sometimes, like the weather we are contending with, things deteriorate.
Kara: We decided to rest a bit more and planned to go to Marvel Trivia in Triton’s Lounge at 4:15pm so we started getting ready for dinner so that we wouldn’t have as much to do when we got back from Trivia. I headed down to get seats at 4:00 p.m. It was packed and it was hot. I texted Gayle in the App (not sure she ever saw the message) and then met her on the stairs, so we headed back to the stateroom and finished getting ready while watching the Weather Channel.
Gayle’s Notes on Event Venues: It has been clear their goal was to have one larger venue for various activities (Luna), which meant the others like Triton’s Lounge and Keg & Compass (pub) are smaller. (I won’t comment on The Bayou, since it’s an open-air space unlike any others.) Every time we’ve walked by the smaller venues, they have been packed for each planned activity. Additionally, the seating in Triton’s Lounge feels more like the Tween/Teen Club and its location is near the exterior doors in the Senses Spa entry, making it excessively hot, especially when packed with people. It just doesn’t feel like these smaller spaces work on this larger ship. To be fair, perhaps everything is so packed because it’s either sweltering or raining on this sailing!
Kara: YET ANOTHER NEW UPDATE! While we were watching The Weather Channel, there was another announcement from Captain Andy! We are going to attempt returning to Port Canaveral on Sunday, so we are guaranteed Friday night and Saturday night as “extras”! AND because of ship schedules and island schedule, we will attempt docking at Disney Castaway Cay again on Saturday! Armed with that information and Internet access, thanks to Southwest Airlines, I was able to get both of our flights changed to a Sunday late afternoon flight out of MCO. As you can see (& as I have regularly testified), Disney Cruise Line has gone above and beyond to make this a great cruise and keep Guests happy!
Kara: We were all dressed and sparkly and ready to head to dinner in Palo.
Gayle: I always work to determine which will be Pirate Night, so we can skip that menu and instead dine in the adult-only Palo. (As a reminder, our original dining rotation was Worlds of Marvel, Arendelle (2x), and 1923, so tonight would have been our repeat in Arendelle.)
We had a 6:00pm seating time so we enjoyed the beautiful The Rose bar a little bit before dinner. I got a martini from my Mixology class yesterday. (This is the same bar where that class was held). Just after 6pm, Dena from Brazil came to take us to our booth. We had one of the back booths so we had a view of the people in the restaurant as well as the water.
We both agreed that although secluded this was a nice place to enjoy the view and still enjoy our private conversation.
Gayle ordered the Calamari and I got the Caprese Salad. Gayle said the calamari were a little chewy which is to be expected, but that the GIANT shrimp was delicious! The Caprese was delicious. I loved the pesto.
Gayle: We both got the Pappardelle. Kara says the pasta was far, far better than it has been the last few times we’ve gotten it. The lobster, however, was overcooked. It was still delicious and - again - far and away better than our last few times getting it. I will counter that while the noodles were impeccable as ever, this version was very heavy-handed with the seasoning. To me this dish is usually light as clouds, almost with a creamy texture. However, this time due to the sauce and seasoning, it felt far more like a heavier Italian dish.
Kara: I also ordered the mushroom risotto. Gayle made a face when Dena served it to me - I agree, it’s not the prettiest dish but it was delicious. The mushrooms were so rich and flavorful. I only ate about half of it though because I was already full. I don’t know if I’ll go full-on vegetarian if we’re back on the Disney Wish and just order this and NOT get the pappardelle - or perhaps add a steak.
The big moment tonight was dessert. We’re within a week or so of my birthday so we decided to add a birthday celebration (by we - I mean Gayle). So, they brought me a lovely little bit of artwork for our table. I tried the new carrot cake and Gayle, of course, got the Chocolate Soufflé.
Both were delicious. I still prefer a traditional cream cheese frosting on a carrot cake - and this piece is entirely too big - but otherwise a very nice addition to a dessert menu that has been uninspiring for me for years.
Gayle: The chocolate soufflé was as perfect as ever. It might also be the first time I didn’t burn my tongue (per my excitement to taste it). I could have almost consumed a second one. Almost.
We came back to the room and changed into our Pirate Party clothes - and I promptly laid down for a nap! Gayle woke me around 9:15pm and we headed up to get some good spots on Deck 12 for the new Pirate’s Rockin’ Parlay Party.
The show was MUCH improved over the show on the old ships. I hope that they bring this style show to the classic and Dream class ships. It was worth going up on deck for. The pre-show music features Queen, Bon Jovi, and Janet Jackson. Again the performers were incredible, even fighting the strong and swirling winds.
As always, the fireworks at sea were magical and a delight. We noticed a few times during the day that there were several other cruise ships nearby us - we always wondered if they were close by to get a glimpse of our fireworks. (Gayle: Oh they definitely are!)
Gayle: Just a brief note here that between my family news, and accidentally clicking the video record button to Off on my phone just as the fireworks started, it was a pretty terrible end to what should have been another great day & evening on a Disney Cruise. So I’m trying to get into a spirit of appreciation, being in the moment, & taking a nice dose of Dramamine to sleep it off!
Disclaimer: I (Gayle) am a travel agent with Authorized Disney Travel Planner agency - Off to Neverland Travel. Contact me today for a no-obligation quote!
As to Disney artwork, logos, and properties: ©Disney | Ship Registry: The Bahamas | CST# 2090317-40 / Fla. Seller of Travel Ref. No. ST37203