Trip Report Disney Dreamin' of a night at AKL--a little bit of a different trip...COMPLETED

Well, this trip is coming up on us fast!

This will be a different trip, as we won't even be setting foot in a park--crazy I know! I hope I can manage. @Mrhappyplace has his doubts, but as I have a trip planned in June, I think I'll be ok.



The Details
Who: Myself, Amber, age 40-gah- at time of trip, and DH, Mrhappyplace.
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When: November 11th until November 17th
Where: several places! Night one will be at the Hilton in Cocoa Beach, nights two through five will be on the Disney Dream, stateroom #7572 to be exact, and then night six will be at Animal Kingdom Lodge, WDW.

From our home just north of Atlanta, it is 4 hours to Savannah, which I've always wanted to visit. Then a further 4 hours from there to Port Canaveral. So we're planning on stopping for a bit in Savannah before heading to our hotel in Cocoa Beach. The next morning we head to our cruise!

We booked this cruise while on our last cruise, which was December 2016. Actually, we booked the placeholder and then the (much more expensive) 7 night Caribbean cruise on the Fantasy. Being our 3rd cruise, and while we love the Dream, we had hoped to try a different ship and itinerary--and someday we will, hopefully. Just wasn't to be, this time, monetarily. We did book Palo brunch though, so excited to try that new experience!

Also, we've always wanted to stay at AKL but were hesitant because of distance from the parks. We decided that instead of making the drive straight back home after disembarking the ship, we'd finally stay there when we weren't planning on park days.

We will round out the trip with a dinner at California Grill--our first time! on the evening of November 15th, and then have breakfast at Olivia's Cafe at Old Key West the following morning before driving home. We will enjoy hanging out at AKL during the day on the 15th, hopefully enjoying the pool a bit, and then possibly getting DH to try Trader Sam's later the afternoon before our CG dinner. We're hoping to catch the fireworks from the Christmas party.

This trip report probably won't be as long as others, so I'll most likely just turn this pre-trip thread into the Trip thread.
 
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myhappyplace

Masked Crazy Cat Lady
Premium Member
Original Poster
Tonight's dinner would be in Royal Palace. We checked in and were led to our table #102, with room for six. So we figured we'd have tablemates--we've had it both ways (dined alone and with other guests) and were fine with either. Turns out our tablemates were one other couple from Alabama, named Dane & Crystal. We really enjoyed their company over our voyage.

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At first, our server (for the life of me, I can't remember our server or assistant server's names this time...so unlike me) was a little off-putting. She gave us her recommendations, and if you picked something she didn't recommend, she made a face and said "are you sure?". Turns out, by the end of the trip, we came to realize that she was most often correct.

Bread service was up first. This was the bread basket, and though it was pretty, I really love the one that's shaped like Cinderella's coach, and I didn't see it on any tables, or any day (we would have breakfast later in the week here).
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Of course, I went with the French Onion Soup, which is a favorite of mine. I didn't take a picture of that, nor of DH's starter, which was Iced Lobster and Jumbo Shrimp. We also both got an order of the Baked Brie, which I adore.

For our main meal, I went with the salmon, which I enjoyed.
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And DH selected the Lobster pasta dish:
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For dessert, I ordered the Grand Marnier souffle (delish), and DH ordered the Classic Opera Gateau and the Creme Brulee. He wishes he would have ordered the souffle as well..I shared. Suffice to say, we highly recommend the souffle!
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The decor in the Royal Palace is my personal favorite.
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We discussed our next-day plans with Dane and Crystal, then said good night. A few shots of the festive atrium as we headed back to our room:
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Oops, at my image limit...to be continued
 

myhappyplace

Masked Crazy Cat Lady
Premium Member
Original Poster
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Continuing on post Christmas break!

After leaving our dinner, we took a couple pictures of the lobby, then headed back to our room.
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When we arrived back to our stateroom, we had this ready for us:
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And that's the end of our first cruise day! As always, I slept very very well on the stateroom bed--I even took a picture of the mattress tag for future reference because they're so comfy.

Tuesday, November 13th- Nassau, Bahamas
We discovered on our previous cruise, that we enjoy breakfasting at the Royal Palace, rather than fight the crowds up at Cabanas.

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Our breakfast:
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Dave was disappointed that the item he enjoyed so much on our previous trip, the stacked pineapple & french toast, wasn't on the menu, but we enjoyed a hearty breakfast nevertheless, as we were going to be doing some walking in Nassau today.
 

myhappyplace

Masked Crazy Cat Lady
Premium Member
Original Poster
After breakfast, we headed back to our room to get ready for the day. But first, we noticed that the princesses were meeting. It was a ticketed event, but I attempted to get a picture of Belle in her holiday dress. They were all kind of a blurry mess because I was trying to not get any children in the process.

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Because we didn't have any tours scheduled, and our only plans in port were to just walk around sightseeing, we didn't feel the need to rush right off the ship. From our balcony, we could see Atlantis.
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I might've caught DH mid-yawn...
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We had a foggy notion of what direction we wanted to go but that was about it. When you disembark the ship at Nassau, you walk down the dock, through the building (I think it's the ministry of tourism? Anyway, it's where they check your id on the way back to the ship, and where you can ask for any directions or get transportation), and then out into the straw market. We went straight through the market out onto the street, and made a left.
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My main goal was the Queen's Staircase. I knew the direction it should be; we walked a few blocks down to the left, then headed deeper into Nassau up the hill. It wasn't apparent which way we should go, so we started walking to the right again, just a block in. We ended up behind two men walking and talking. When they separated, the one man turned and said good morning to us, and we asked him for directions. I had to laugh when he said "Oh, the Queen's Staircase. Where you should have gone is..." and he pointed us in the right direction, which is back where we had been. So we went back, and all we could see was what appeared to be a dead end/ alley. So we switched directions again. A friendly woman (who btw got cat-called in an almost shocking fashion by a man hanging out on the street, and it didn't even phase her) pointed us back to the area near the dead end again. We just didn't understand. We did see the entrance to the Fort Fincastle, so we explored that, hoping we'd come across the Staircase somewhere.

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We did have some nice views from Fort Fincastle
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But would we find the Staircase???
 

Mrhappyplace

Well-Known Member
Dave was disappointed that the item he enjoyed so much on our previous trip, the stacked pineapple & french toast, wasn't on the menu, but we enjoyed a hearty breakfast nevertheless, as we were going to be doing some walking in Nassau today.

The new french toast item was alright but I did much prefer the one on our last cruise. The real reason for my disappointment isn't so much because they new recipe isn't as good (though it isn't) but on our last breakfast on the prior cruise I ordered the French Toast Stack and didn't receive it. Instead of reminding our server that I didn't receive it I said I'd just get it for breakfast every day on our next cruise.

ALso while DH included some of the photos taken around Fort Fincastle she somehow forgot to mention how she turned to me and pointed to Atlants and said knowing where that is in relation to us will help us find our way back to the ship if we get lost and I told her to turn to her right so she could see that the cruise ships were plainly visible and also not very far away.
 

DRD

Well-Known Member
Royal Table is definitely the way to go. Think we ate there twice on our cruise several years ago and never had any crowds, plus the food is far superior. Well worth the little bit of extra time to not have the stress of the buffet.
 

myhappyplace

Masked Crazy Cat Lady
Premium Member
Original Poster
Royal Table is definitely the way to go. Think we ate there twice on our cruise several years ago and never had any crowds, plus the food is far superior. Well worth the little bit of extra time to not have the stress of the buffet.

Definitely the way to go. Actually, aside from boarding day, we rarely go up to Cabanas, for a meal anyway, unless we want a soda or want to grab something quick. We much prefer the quieter breakfast at the Royal Palace.
Enjoying the cruising report

Max

Thanks Max!
Enjoying the report! I always love reading about the cruises since we've never done one.

Thank you!! You definitely should!
 
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myhappyplace

Masked Crazy Cat Lady
Premium Member
Original Poster
So, to sum up our adventures in Nassau so far, please enjoy this drawing. Note that we had been on the right direction to the stairs several times, but since it just wasn't obviously visible, turned to the right, got redirected back to the right direction, only to repeat.

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FINALLY, after walking around to the backside of Fort Fincastle, through another straw market, we see some people standing around in the alley. Then I notice the sign...the Queen's Staircase. Turns out we had been right beside it's opposite entrance several times. Oy.

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So here was this little tropical looking hideaway, all off of an alley on the top end, and a parking lot on the other. We sat down there where it was cooler for a bit, just watching people.

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View when looking up...we really were down in
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As we were walking out the opposite way from which we entered (so, the parking lot direction), and being the cat people that we are, we of course had to stop and talk to the super friendly kitty lying there. Which caused us to get hooked into listening to a local man give us the entire history of Nassau in about 3 minutes. We tipped him.
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We decided to head back toward the ship then, but from the opposite way, exploring the streets that would've been on the right as you come off the ship. I took some random pictures here and there. There certainly are many areas which could use some upkeep and refurbishment, but to anyone afraid of exploring a different country, we felt safe the entire time, and the people were very friendly!
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Back toward the ship:
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myhappyplace

Masked Crazy Cat Lady
Premium Member
Original Poster
Once back on the ship, I think we rested a bit, though I didn't for very long. We had Mixology scheduled for later, but I wanted to try a trivia first. DH wasn't interested, so I went myself.

The Villains Trivia was held in Pub 687, hosted by the one and only #TonyFromSpain from @lostpro9het and @imahistorygeek 's reports! He was a hoot. I was glad to see that I would not be the only one playing alone. This trivia was pretty hard, I thought! I did...decent I guess, but definitely not as well as the winning group.

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After trivia, I discovered that Pluto was out meeting above the Atrium! The line wasn't too bad, so I jumped in, and got some pretty cute pics before I even got to him
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After meeting Pluto, I went to the room to get DH, as we thought we should eat something before imbibing at Mixology (contrary to last cruise, when we did a whiskey tasting and I could later be found in the bathroom giggling at the mirrored ceilings...) Cabanas was our destination.

One other reason we avoid Cabanas, is kids. I adore children, my career is teaching Toddlers. On vacation is another story...

I don't recall if this is the trip to Cabanas where a girl was having a picnic on the floor near us (she wouldn't sit at the table and insisted on the floor), or if this was the screaming twins trip...

Either way, we filled our plates and mostly enjoyed our food. This was my meal
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And DH's:
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Next up, Mixology!
 

myhappyplace

Masked Crazy Cat Lady
Premium Member
Original Poster
Mixology was in Skyline bar, which we like. The skyline behind the bar, art around the bar, and music change every 15 minutes between 5 cities: New York City, Rio, Paris, Chicago, and Hong Kong.

The set up:
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I apologize- I do not remember our host's name, nor what we drank. I know there was a creamy drink, there was a margarita, a chocolate one, one with fruit, and a shot of some kind...lol. I should have taken notes. We enjoyed them all. They broke us up into 4 groups of 4, and while we didn't get the names of our teammates, we did have fun, and wound up seeing them again several times afterwards.

Each 'team' got to make one of 4 drinks, then he had a few people come back up to make the fifth. We stood up by the bar and had to pour for the count # that he gave us of each ingredient, then shake the drink, and pop it open after shaking. Everyone got to taste all of them, and there was enough leftovers that anyone who wanted it (us) could have seconds (and in some cases thirds) of each drink. Overall, we felt it was worth the price...for the fun, the knowledge, and 10+ drinks each. And our meal worked! I didn't come out of there in the state that I was in last cruise after our whiskey tasting...

Some more pictures:
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This drink was delicious!
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Sorry for the blur.
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Our host showing us how to do a chocolate garnish in the glass
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This was quite good, it had POG juice in it
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or maybe this was the one with POG?
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Very enjoyable experience, and would definitely do Mixology again!
 

myhappyplace

Masked Crazy Cat Lady
Premium Member
Original Poster
On the way back to the room, we passed through the Atrium.

There is just something about this chandelier---I can't count the number of pictures we've taken of it on past cruises, so this time I thought to myself "no more chandelier pics" but alas. Though I will say, this pic was mostly because we noticed that there was confetti in it.
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There were several meet & greets, as well as family portraits, going on around the Atrium. There was no line for Tiana, but I wasn't sure how long she was going to be around, so I had DH take a 'stealthy' pic with her.
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Turns out she wasn't going anywhere, so I was able to get an actual picture too!
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The Big Cheese was meeting up above--I'd know those ears anywhere!
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With that, we went back to the room and got cleaned up for dinner.


Tonight's dinner was at Animator's Palette. Our tablemates would not be joining us tonight, as they had Remy dinner scheduled for tonight. DH and I both selected the potato soup for a starter:
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I had the herb-encrusted pork chop
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and DH had the lemon-thyme chicken breast
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At AP, we always enjoy the crunch walnut cake, which I got. But DH was curious about an item on the menu: the deconstructed carrot cake. Our server said point-blank "don't order that", but since he was still curious, she said she would bring one out in addition to his other choice. He chose the apple crumble rice pudding w/ ice cream, as well.

Crunchy Walnut Cake
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Apple Rice Pudding
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And the carrot cake. In a word, this was terrible. Laughingly so. We both just wondered....why?
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After dinner, it was back to the room and off to bed. Castaway Cay tomorrow!
 

myhappyplace

Masked Crazy Cat Lady
Premium Member
Original Poster
Wednesday, November 14th- Castaway Cay!!

The following morning, we awoke, got ready, and headed to our breakfast spot-- Royal Palace. Good morning, Admiral Donald!
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A very important person was meeting this morning as well in the atrium, so we stopped by.
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The floor that greets you as you walk in
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I went with some blueberry pancakes and bacon
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DH went with his french toast, and the Express breakfast platter
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After a nice relaxing breakfast, upon walking back out to the Atrium, we noticed that Jessie was meeting. DH didn't feel like waiting, so he went back to the room.
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In the Atrium, a crew was organizing the cleaning of the chandelier. Work like this can often be seen during port days, most especially Castaway Cay day, as the majority of people are out on the beach, and the ship is much emptier.
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Coming up: TONS of Castaway Cay pics!
 

myhappyplace

Masked Crazy Cat Lady
Premium Member
Original Poster
Castaway Cay is by far my favorite port on Disney cruises! During the holidays, you are greeted with a tree and some holiday decorations as you step off the ship.
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Walking toward the tram station, who should we see strolling along (en route to his meet & greet) but Captain Jack Sparrow himself?
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We hopped on the tram for the family beach. While we have gone to the adults-only section, Serenity Bay, I find I like being in the actual water so much more at the family beach. The water is calmer and warmer. Sure, the beach itself can be busy, but once you are in the water, you're not really near anyone else. Except for the one man I'll tell you about in a minute.

As we passed by, we noticed crew members training-
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Pretty garland at the tram station-
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Ahhhh, paradise!
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Oops, more on next post!
 

Darstarr

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
No
Love love love Castaway Cay! Your pictures are beautiful! They could end up costing me a lot of money....where is thst DCL phone number?...
 

myhappyplace

Masked Crazy Cat Lady
Premium Member
Original Poster
Love love love Castaway Cay! Your pictures are beautiful! They could end up costing me a lot of money....where is thst DCL phone number?...


Someday I'd love to do the Castaway Cay double dip trip! *sigh* Thank you so much! I love being an enabler :)
 

myhappyplace

Masked Crazy Cat Lady
Premium Member
Original Poster
Castaway Cay, continued

It was a beautiful day!
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DH and I spent about 45 minutes or so in the water--I thought it was PERFECT--a little cool at first but so refreshing. We dried off at our lounge chairs for a few minutes, surrounded by some young folks who were exercising intently (mind you it was hot out). I mean, tons of burpees and lunges and all that fit body stuff. I almost died just watching them. So naturally, we decided to eat. We boarded the tram to Serenity Bay to eat. I can't suggest this enough for those traveling without kids--eat at Serenity Bay!! Same food, much calmer.

I wasn't overly hungry, so here was my plate:
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and DH's plates:
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Another tip: Watch out for mooch birds and do not leave your plates unattended! (these aren't ours)
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After lunch, DH was ready to head back to the ship, but I wanted to go back to the beach for a bit, so after riding the tram back to the family beach, we parted ways for some time.

I put my stuff down on a chair and spent another 45 minutes or so in the ocean. HEAVEN. The water is so calm, you can (and I did) float on your back forever. Little did I know that a man next to me was doing the same, and when I opened my eyes after floating on my back for a good 5 minute stretch, we were literally right next to each other. Like less than 6 inches apart, none the wiser. I mumbled "sorry" and moved away, but he still wasn't aware. So embarrassing.

After I was done in the water, I sat up on my lounge chair in the shade for a bit (I don't like getting sun), just taking in the views.
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I have a thing for colorful beach umbrellas, obv
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After just a bit of lounging, I decided to head back as well. On the way, I noticed crew painting the Monica Blue portion of the ship:
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As I approached, I also spotted what would be our next destination (once I met DH up in the room)...AquaDuck!
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myhappyplace

Masked Crazy Cat Lady
Premium Member
Original Poster
After a trip on the AquaDuck (the line wasn't bad because so many people were still out at CC), we went back to the room to shower. We might've napped, even.

Tonight we were actually going to see the show-- it was a magic show. Entertaining, but corny at the same time.

After the show,we went to the shops and looked around. Later (maybe the next day?) I purchased some of the items we looked at- a DCL anchor ball cap for myself, and some Marvel and Star Wars figures for my nephews. Later later then, we had to return to the shop because they forgot to take the security tag off of my hat. Tip- If you use your Disney Visa, you get a % off, and this is in combination with all of the shops, you can take merchandise back and forth among them all.

Anyway, dinner this evening was back at Animator's Palette (but for those who don't know, Castaway Cay day is always Pirate Night on the Dream, so same menu in all 3 restaurants in the rotational dining).
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I had the Samosa for an appetizer, and thought it was very good!
  • Sri Sumbhajee’s Vegetable Samosa
    with Potato Peas, Garlic, Cumin and Ginger served with Tamarind Chutney and a plain Yogurt Raita)
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DH had the Shrimp Cocktail
  • Master Gibbs’ “1/2 Pint of Shrimp” Cocktail
    Dill-Marinated Shrimp on Iceberg Lettuce, with Cucumber, Tomato, Caviar and a Marie-Rose Sauce
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This was my meal...it was ok
  • King George’s Roasted Privateer Strip Loin
    with Time-Roasted Potatoes, Buttered Savory Cabbage, Yorkshire Pudding and a Rosemary Wine Sauce
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And DH had two mains brought out:
  • Jack’s Treasure-of-the-Seas
    Grilled Shrimp and Seared Scallops served with Spinach, strings of Pasta, Tomato Provencal Sauce and black Tomato Pearls
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Actually, I think we split this one because I love cilantro...DH ate the crab arepa
  • Cortes’s Cilantro Marinated Caribbean Grouper Filet
    with Crab-filled Arepa, Roasted Yucca and a Mango, Lime, Avocado, Red Onion and Black Bean Salsa.
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Dessert time! DH went with this
  • Pirate’s Treasure Sundaee
    Rum and Raisin Ice Cream, Pineapple, Whipped Cream and Florentine shard
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And I got the
  • Bananas in Paradise
    layers Banana Bread with Hazelnut Fudge filing served with a Banana Spice Puree
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Plans for this evening consisted of watching the Pirate Show on deck (which in previous trips, we only watched the fireworks from an aft deck, without seeing the actual show), and then visiting Cabanas, for as our server told us, there would be a feast complete with fruit carvings and crepe stations tonight!
 

myhappyplace

Masked Crazy Cat Lady
Premium Member
Original Poster
This fella was waiting on our return to the stateroom
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We arrived back up to the deck too late to really see or make any sort of sense of the Pirate show, but the fireworks are always good! Off in the distance we could see a couple of (non-Disney) ships sidling close by so they could watch too
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Did you know that DCL fireworks, when they fall to the ocean, are fish food?

It was such a crowded mess, and we couldn't go the direction we wanted because they had some ways blocked. Eventually we made our way to Cabanas.

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