Four days after Paige's birthday, we met Amanda and Graydon at Grandpa Rick and Grandma Alice's house to drive to Miami for a Disney Cruise. We left our car at the Grandparent's house and drove in Amanda's van so we wouldn't have to worry about long charging times and also so we wouldn't have to worry about the car losing charge while we were on the cruise. The drive to Miami was long, but thankfully mostly uneventful aside from some rain just as we got to downtown Miami. We checked in to a hotel for the night and in the morning we drove to the cruise terminal for our adventure together.
The check in process has already changed since our February cruise and after we dropped off our bags and parked our car, we went through security and then we all took rapid COVID tests. Once our tests came back negative we were welcomed aboard the boat and we snapped a quick pic with Captain Mickey before heading upstairs for some lunch.
After lunch, we wandered around the boat for a while since our room wasn't ready. We went by the Oceaneer's Club and Lab to check it out during the open house and Graydon fell in love with a boat simulator. It was possibly his favorite part of the entire cruise.
The kids ran around the club for a while and unbeknownst to us, shortly after we snapped a picture of Paige and Graydon in the Toy Story play area, Graydon dropped his phone upstairs near the slide. We took some pics with Woody, then with some Superheroes (Thor and Captain Marvel) before going to the theater for pics with Rapunzel and Tiana.
Once our rooms were available, we took a peek at them and then realized that Graydon's phone was missing. The kids went back to the Oceaneer's Lab and Club to look for it and we all went through our bags. We called it repeatedly and I used Amanda's phone to enable "Lost Mode" on Graydon's phone. Thankfully, eventually a Disney staff member found it and called Amanda and we were able to get it back before it ran out of batteries or before we lost cell service.
We went to the upper decks to watch the "Sail A Wave" party, but Graydon was super nervous about being up so high when we were due to start moving so he didn't enjoy it very much. We went down to the jogging track after the party was over and relaxed on some recliners as we waved goodbye to Miami.
Our first night's dinner was in Lumiere's and we enjoyed the French Cuisine. Paige even tried the Escargot Gratinee (snails). She did not like them at all, but I was impressed she gave it a try. I tried one too and it tasted like squishy/slimy butter. Not our thing, but a good opportunity to try something new.
After dinner we went to watch the Tangled live show and we had great seats with a great view.
In the morning on Friday we woke up in Nassau. Paige, Graydon, and Amanda went up to Cabana's for breakfast and sat outside where they had an awesome view of the Bahamas. A seagull stole some of Graydon's sausage so they had to make sure to guard their food at all times while sitting outside.
After breakfast the kids went to the Oceaneer's Club, Amanda took a nap, and Andrea and I went to Palo's for brunch. We enjoyed baked eggplant, sausage flatbread with veggies, chicken parmesan, and we skipped the complementary alcoholic drinks and both enjoyed cherry Cokes. They are not currently doing any of the self serve buffet items at Palo's "due to COVID", but it seemed a bit inconsistent as the rest of the buffets were open for self service throughout the boat.
Once we were done with our brunch we got the kids and took them upstairs to Cabana's for lunch. Paige enjoyed some crepes with mac and cheese while Graydon fixed himself a salad he created with some hamburger toppings along with corndog nuggets, fries, and veggies.
In the afternoon while most people were off the boat at Nassau we went to the pool areas. Paige made some friends in the kids' pool and they played tag. I rode the AquaDunk, which is a slide that drops you through a trapdoor. Neither kid was interested in the AquaDunk, but Paige did try the big yellow slide. It turns out that it's big but very windy and slow. She only rode it once.
Friday evening we took some pics with Chip and Dale and then played shuffleboard before dinner.
We had dinner at the Animator's Palate and we enjoyed the tomato caprese and chicken schnitzel among other things. It was our favorite menu of the cruise and there was a new dessert (some kind of blueberry almond thing) that Andrea said was the best dessert of the cruise. Unfortunately I missed it since dinner took a while and I wanted to get a good seat for the movie.
After dinner, Graydon and I went to see "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" which was just released that day worldwide. We got great seats and enjoyed popcorn while we watched the movie. The girls went back to the room to enjoy some Disney classics on the in-room TV's.
On Saturday morning we arrived at Castaway Cay. Paige and I shared a room and were up fairly early. Thankfully our fellow travelers slept better on Friday night and they were still sleeping when we woke up, so we ate breakfast on our own. Once everyone else was awake and had eaten, we all got off the boat together.
The weather was beautiful and sunny for our Castaway Cay day, however it was quite windy. We took a pic with the boat and with some of our Disney friends as we walked to the beach.
We set up in our usual spot near the rope course and the kids were eager to get to it. We never know how long it will stay open due to the tide levels, so we encouraged them to enjoy it while they had the chance. While I was watching the kids I noticed an adult trying his hand at the monkey bars and was surprised when the lifeguard watched and didn't scold him. There are multiple large signs stating that nobody over 14 is allowed on the equipment, but the lifeguard on duty didn't seem to care. I took the opportunity to try the rope course myself and made it across the monkey bars and eventually the rope as well. Unfortunately, after I did the rope, the lifeguard decided it was time to crack down so my fun on the course ended.
Paige almost made it across the monkey bars but fell about three rungs short of the goal. She did really well on the rope and made it across a few different times, making it look easy.
Graydon didn't like the monkey bars but he felt confident he could conquer the rope. He tried a few different techniques and I tried to encourage him to use his feet, but unfortunately the lifeguard didn't want him using his legs so he was stuck using only his arms. He scraped himself up quite a bit with the effort and he had a good time with it.
Andrea and Amanda didn't come in the water at first, but after the kids and I went to get rafts we were able to entice them in to the water. We paddled out on our rafts together to the rope line, which took us over a darker area with sea grass. Graydon didn't like the looks of the sea grass so he stayed behind. The water was very clear and surprisingly shallow even past the sea grass we were able to stand at the far boundary.
After we were done with the obstacle course we went to the farther beach and tried the slides. The kids, Amanda, and I went down both slides a few times and then we got lunch.
After lunch we went back to our original spot and swam until we were exhausted and tired. We went back to the boat, washed up, and I took Paige to the spa for her hair appointment.
Since we were eating at Rapunzel's Royal Table for dinner, Paige wore her Rapunzel dress and she let down her hair for the evening in elegant curls. The view at the spa was awesome off the back of the boat and Paige enjoyed her cucumber water while she was pampered.
The dinner at Rapunzel's restaurant was decent, but our favorite menu was the night before at the Animator's Palate. Andrea had mentioned to Disney that we were celebrating Paige's birthday on the cruise so our waiter brought a special cake out for Paige and we all sang Happy Birthday to her after dinner.
After dinner we went to the show "Dream" which has always been our favorite show on the Disney boats. The show has changed slightly since we saw it last and they added some new effects, more modern props, and added some Frozen songs. We were thrilled that Amanda and Graydon both loved it as much as we did. Amanda said it was possibly her favorite part of the cruise.
After the show we went back to the room and I was pooped and fell asleep. Everyone else stayed up for a bit and watched some Disney movies before going to bed.
Sunday morning it was time to head home. We took our time in the morning and ate one last breakfast at Cabana's together before debarking. The drive home was painless and most of the crew was able to catch up on sleep during the drive back.
Happy 12th birthday to our girl Paige! We're so thankful we were able to do something extra special for her this year and it was fun to have Graydon and Amanda along for our adventure!
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