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Trip Report Mickey-less Lesson #1: Size doesn't matter, it's the motion of the ocean!

Yes, it's a non-Disney trip report. In a sea of Disney trip reports this is a non-Disney report. :eek: How is that pertinent on a Disney-centric fan forum, you ask? Well, this is how a solely Disney Cruise Line experienced cruising family took their first wobbly steps into non-Disney-fied cruising. Ever been curious? So were we! How the competition measures up is definitely pertinent! However, if the mods think this thread is better served in the cruise section or the other places section, I certainly understand. So sit back, relax, and slosh along with us in whatever "port" this thing sails off to.


Thread title:

Mickey-less Lesson #1: Size doesn't matter, it's the motion of the ocean! ((in my best double-rainbow dude voice)) What does it meeeaaan????? The ship we sailed is currently THE largest cruise ship on the seas: Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas. This ship is huge! How big? Let me show you. Not my picture, all credit goes to fet123 on Photobucket. Lined up here in Nassau are: Majest of the Seas, Disney Dream, Carnival Dream, the NCL Sky, and Allure's sliiiightly smaller sister ship the Oasis of the Seas. Good size comparison:

1a1f90d2.jpg


Allure of the Seas is 16 decks high, 1,187 ft long, and can carry a maximum passenger load of 6,296 serviced by roughly 2,300 crew members. In comparison, Disney's largest/newest ship in the fleet, the Fantasy is 14 decks high, 1,115.5 ft. long, and can carry a maximum passenger load of 4,000 serviced by a crew of 1,450. The Allure is a very big girl!

Among Disney's fleet my family prefers the smaller classic ships. Why? It's more laid-back, there's less people, and the overall experiences we've had were more personal and intimate if you will. We like that a lot! We knew going into this cruise that we were going to be on the biggest cruise ship afloat and that we probably would not be impressed by her size. We were right. We weren't. For us, bigger does not equate better. Size doesn't matter.

The motion of the ocean can definetly play a strong hand in your cruise experience! Leading up to our cruise I discovered (no thanks to Royal Caribbean which is my biggest aggravation with the entire experience of sailing with them) via Cruise Critic's forums that the Allure had been experiencing an issue with 1 of her 3 azipods. They had been sailing her without using the center screw for over a month before our sailing. She was safe and still functioned fine. They were just trying not to use the center pod as much as possible to avoid further/more extensive damage. So the ship sailed slower. Instead of her usual 22+ knots cruising we rarely exceeded about 16-17 knots cruising. AND, because the ship was sailing at reduced power, the captain did not utilize the stabilizers to keep the ship steady at sea. The stabilizers, like wings that extend from the sides of the ship to add stability and reduce rocking side-to-side, create drag which would slow the ship even more. So, the motion of the ocean on a ship not using her stabilizers was...well...a really FUN ride for us...not so much for those prone to sea sickness. ;)

*****Just for information sake, the Allure continues to run on 2 of her 3 pods. A cruise in February was cancelled back in mid-November to allow a week-long drydock to repair the pod. I believe it is a bering issue. It's my understanding this type of problem has been a reoccuring thing with ships that utilize the different azipods for their propulsion. To date Disney has not utilized the azipod propulsion for their ships.*****


So that nobody feels the need to ask before I get to the end and give my summation of the overall experience sailing without Mickey, I don't feel like it was better or worse than any of the 7 Disney cruises I have been on. I'm not just being nice. It's a whole different experience. I wouldn't categorize it as better or worse, it's different.
 

Disneyfalcon

Well-Known Member
Okay, I finally caught up!!! Sorry, long reply.


I am loving the pictures. They are just fascinating! And hearing your viewpoint is awesome too.

I’m glad you got your exciting wave ride, lol. Those waves in the pool were something!

Best moment ever that you wore your DCL T-shirts on boarding day.

Hey where is your bathtub? You had a bathtub right?

Love the extra outlets in the room. Those are awesome.

Surcharge items on the menu? No. Don’t like that!

Adult movies? Whoa

I love that you can see up so many decks in some places!

Also love the interactive screens for crowds and activities. Those are brilliant!

Did you get a Zoltar fortune?!

I know the upcharges aren’t huge and you can avoid them, but I HATE the upcharges!! I would want cupcakes all the time! And hard ice cream!

Love love love the formal night pictures. You look beautiful!

Ouch your feet! Oh my goodness!

Tuesday toes!!

The parade was super cool!

Wow! Oceanaria is just wow! And so scary!

An hour between appetizer and entrée? That’s crazy! How big was the restaurant? The desserts do look amazing.

Your laundry toes are not surprising, lol. But not being able to do it killed you I know! Lol

Super cool that some meals are not upcharged, like Johnny Rocketts at breakfast!

Those kayaks look like so much fun. What a great excursion! That’s so cool that y’all found a message in a bottle!

Spider fishing – no.

Cloudy water toes! Those will work!

See? Long reply but I'm caught up! :)
 

flynnibus

Premium Member
I could live with the upcharge model depending on how I felt about what I paid up front.. and how prevalent they are. Difference between 'want' vs 'nickle and diming' you know?
 

sweetpee_1993

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Okay, I finally caught up!!! Sorry, long reply.

I am the queen of long replies. No complaints.

I am loving the pictures. They are just fascinating! And hearing your viewpoint is awesome too.

Thank you! Been tryin' to work on my picture skills. I know I'll never be the photographer you are but I can sew pretty well. And draw. And paint. LOL!

I’m glad you got your exciting wave ride, lol. Those waves in the pool were something!

It was fun but not near as exciting as it looks on Deadliest Catch. I want THAT ride! LOL! The pool waves were cool to watch. I never woulda thunk I'd see people body surfing in a plain-jane, non-wave-pool pool. It looked like fun!

Best moment ever that you wore your DCL T-shirts on boarding day.

I know, right?! You shoulda seen Kacey & his family's faces when we walked into the breakfast area at the hotel on embarkation morning. They laughed! We learned rather quickly that we had underestimated the interest of fellow cruisers in Disney Cruise Line. We got asked a LOT about Disney. I wish I'd had some business cards for you!

Hey where is your bathtub? You had a bathtub right?

No bathtub. Just the standup shower. I think you gotta get a suite or something to get an actual tub. The shower did have a handheld adjustable height shower head so if you didn't want to wash your hair you could avoid it. There's also a little foot prop thing near the floor for propping your leg to shave your legs. I typically sit down in the tub to shave so standing was a bit of a stretch for me. I always have visions of slipping if I'm standing and taking a chunk out of my leg or knee or something. Eeek!

Love the extra outlets in the room. Those are awesome.

I loved the positioning of the outlets, too. The little bank on the vanity top was just a few. There were a few more under the vanity for plugging in the dual iPod/iPhone dock but that thing wasn't compatible with our iPhone 5's. So, we did use at least one of the underneath plugs for charging my camera batteries.

Surcharge items on the menu? No. Don’t like that!

Me neither. I thought they should leave well enough alone when it comes to the menu. If people are in the main dining room it's because they didn't want to pay for an upcharge dinner. If they wanted to pay an upcharge they could've gone to those restaurants.

Adult movies? Whoa

I know! We were flipping thru to see what the programming options were and we were a bit surprised. I do believe there was a setting you could modify in your account via the tv that would've eliminated that...in case you had kids you worried about or something. Oh! Now I want to go back to make sure the boys didn't take any liberties with this from their room! Gaaaah!

I love that you can see up so many decks in some places!

I do, too. It lends a feeling of size and grandeur to the space.

Also love the interactive screens for crowds and activities. Those are brilliant!

I thought so, too. Of course, I personally liked the app version Disney is doing on their ships now. That way you don't have to walk to an interactive board or wait for someone else to finish. I do have the paper copies of the Compass (Royal's paper Navigator) but I don't think we really paid much attention to them. I prob'ly read them the night before but we didn't do much in the way of participating in anything which I sorta regret now. We should've made more effort.

Did you get a Zoltar fortune?!

Well heck no! I'm big enough! LOL! I think they were like $2. If I got one it'd end up being something really stupid like "The stars will twinkle in the night sky just for you." Sooooo, you're saying it's going to be clear outside tonight??? Tracey always gets the good fortunes. He was more interested in going to get another cocktail whenever we passed the machine. LOL!

I know the upcharges aren’t huge and you can avoid them, but I HATE the upcharges!! I would want cupcakes all the time! And hard ice cream!

I think when you cruise with lines that offer so many little upcharge offerings you have to prepair yourself for that. I was prepaired for it. I read so much and understood there were all these little things. I actually expected our onboard account balance to be higher at the end of the voyage. We did pretty good. The upcharge meals that you can prebook you have to pay for when you make the reservation. So like when we ate at Chops my MiL had made that reservation a month or so before we went. I just handed her the cash to cover it within a few days.

Love love love the formal night pictures. You look beautiful!

Thank you! I hated buying all new dress clothes for the guys but they outgrow that stuff so fast. I think I havet a pic of Brian trying on his tux coat. It looks like he's wearing a child's coat. LOL!

Ouch your feet! Oh my goodness!

My feet always swell on cruises. It starts almost immediately. I'm not sure exactly why. I've researched it some. I need to get some water pills and compression socks to sleep in next time. And maybe try the whole dry body brush thing to increase circulation.

Tuesday toes!!

If only I'd thought to get you every day of the week!

The parade was super cool!

I really liked the character parade. I had so much fun at that!

Wow! Oceanaria is just wow! And so scary!

Oceanaria was incredible! I was so amazed!

An hour between appetizer and entrée? That’s crazy! How big was the restaurant? The desserts do look amazing.

Chops isn't very big at all. Maybe the size of Remy? Tracey swears the hold-up was the kitchen. I did notice the waiter staff and managers crowding that area, pointing at things, generally looking unhappy quite a bit. I just didn't pay very close attention to what was going on.

Your laundry toes are not surprising, lol. But not being able to do it killed you I know! Lol

It was very stressful for me not to be able to do laundry whenever I felt like it. It makes me feel like I have to "budget" my outfits more which I don't like to do.

Super cool that some meals are not upcharged, like Johnny Rocketts at breakfast!

They tried to spread people out more to take some of the strain off Windjammer (buffet). Breakfast in the Solarium Bistro was also included vs. the dinner there at night being upcharged.

Those kayaks look like so much fun. What a great excursion! That’s so cool that y’all found a message in a bottle!

I know! I totally want to put a message in a bottle sometime just so someone else will have the thrill of finding it. I won't throw anything off a ship, tho! I know that's a stupid high fine! LOL!

Spider fishing – no.

Any kind of fishing is a no. Spider fishing is an emphatic NO!

Cloudy water toes! Those will work!

I was kinda cranky at the cloudy water toes. That's how I know I'm irrate with the conditions around me. If I can't get a pretty toes shot I'm done. LOL!

See? Long reply but I'm caught up! :)

Long replies are fun. ;)
 

sweetpee_1993

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I could live with the upcharge model depending on how I felt about what I paid up front.. and how prevalent they are. Difference between 'want' vs 'nickle and diming' you know?
It's a difference in mentality, really. You have to know what you're going into on the upcharges. I think as seasoned Disney cruisers we are very accustomed to not only having so few upcharges to deal with, we're not used to seeing so many upcharged options all around us. If you look at all the upcharge things you aren't used to seeing it does add up to a lot. If you go in knowing what's there, what the charges are, and have an idea of what you want then it's not so bad because you anticipated it. There's no surprises. I knew we'd prob'ly eat at Johnny Rockets a lot at $4 for each person each time. I knew we'd never eat a meal at Johnny Rockets that we wouldn't pay the additional $4+change charge to have a shake or float. So I knew going in we'd prob'ly have a couple hundred bucks just for Johnny Rockets meals. I also knew there was a Starbucks onboard. I knew that would be at least 1 round for the family at the usual menu prices. There's another $20. I knew about the ice cream parlor with the hand-dipped options. That was another thing I figured $100 or so for. Sure it can be perceived as nickel-n-diming but I never felt that way. I knew. I budgeted accordingly. What I AM grateful for was the options. I like having lots of options and lots of choice. At the end of our Sept. anniversary Fantasy cruise we were pretty ready to NOT eat from walk-up windows. There's only so many chicken tenders and fries one can consume before you're tired of them!
 

sweetpee_1993

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
So I was hoping to get another update posted before the weekend but that's not looking so promising. I was busy busy all day working on the family's bank books. Tomorrow we'll be braving the snow & ice (seriously!...it's a big deal to us thin-skinned Southerners) to go possibly/probably get Chandler's car he's worked so hard and saved so long to buy. :D Maybe later tonight I can squeeze in some writing.
 

Tidbit

Active Member
I would love to sail out of New Orleans, too! I've looked. Don't think I haven't. Sailing out of Galveston last year was flippin' awesome because it was right there. No traveling!

Eeeeeeverything around here is zombie apacolypse. It's so funny! Brian says we need to go to Alcatraz. Good thinking!





When I go back to read my reports sometimes I think the excursions often seem more glamorous than they are. Like I haven't mentioned the mosquitos on Hassel Island. Or having to step around gingerly so I don't step on one of these giant mega-thorns that can go right thru my flip flops. And we got rained on as per our standard. :rolleyes: I'm so over being rained on when on vacation. Oh! And no restroom. That was fun. Ugh! The looking back seems to erase the irritations of the moment and leaves all the cool stuff behind. I guess that's a good thing, huh? I've got a few things lined up for my next call on Nassau: rum distillery, Graycliff chocolatier, and a rum cake factory. Wow, there's some vices to indulge: rum & chocolate! :p


ok this is where I have to stop for the night......I sooooo do love reading your TP's!! I swear we totally need to meet once your in P'cola again! Krsipy Kreme on me! ...........Anyway, sorry to hear about your Uncle, and I'm glad you got to see him! .........could you send me the info about the pet place you dropped you puppy at??.......love love love love your little black dress!! ............NICE looking young men you got there too! ............I am sooooooooooo not a cruiser. I just got back from a 14n Italy cruise, and was board out of my mind while on the ship. I told myself I will only sail 1 more time, but on DCL....however, this TP is changing my mind. I also have teenagers the same age as your 2, so how did THEY like the cruise??? This would be their 1st cruise. ...........the Conquest was the 1st ship I went on AND we went to the Rum Cake Factory in Nassau!! OMG they are goooooooooooooooood!!
 

angieandtrevor

Active Member
YAY, I was excited to come home and see you started this !! I love your comparison of the 2 lines, especially how things weren't necessarily better or worst but just so different. We just did our very first Celebrity Cruise and we were very pleasantly surprised by everything. It definitely isn't a cruise I would do with Oliver (just yet) but we were very, very impressed by a lot of it. Prior to Disney we had done 9 Carnival cruises and we never had any complaints, we loved each one of them and we made some great memories HOWEVER, now being on 2 different lines I see things much differently and I think it will be a long time before my butt gets back on one of their ships. They used to be a really good bang for your buck but the decrease in standards and services is so lacking that there is just other places I would rather spend our hard earning money.

Thanks for posting this review; I am loving all your pictures. We have been to St. Thomas 5 times and I have never seen most of what you did, it looked like a great excursion. I can't wait to hear about St. Maartens, it was our favorite port day on our last cruise !!
 

sweetpee_1993

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
ok this is where I have to stop for the night......I sooooo do love reading your TP's!! I swear we totally need to meet once your in P'cola again! Krsipy Kreme on me! ...........Anyway, sorry to hear about your Uncle, and I'm glad you got to see him! .........could you send me the info about the pet place you dropped you puppy at??.......love love love love your little black dress!! ............NICE looking young men you got there too! ............I am sooooooooooo not a cruiser. I just got back from a 14n Italy cruise, and was board out of my mind while on the ship. I told myself I will only sail 1 more time, but on DCL....however, this TP is changing my mind. I also have teenagers the same age as your 2, so how did THEY like the cruise??? This would be their 1st cruise. ...........the Conquest was the 1st ship I went on AND we went to the Rum Cake Factory in Nassau!! OMG they are goooooooooooooooood!!

I know! It seems like it's been forever since I was in PCola. Well, it's been since I was there during this report. I didn't see anyone from my family at Christmas. Really stunk.

The pet place we used was VIPet in Kissimmee.

I love my little black cocktail dress, too. I just wish I had more events to wear something like that for. If I don't cruise I live in pajamas, jeans, shorts, etc. My regular life simply doesn't include dressing up. For anything.

Okay, now I'm jealous! 14 night Italian cruise?! That sounds fabulous!!! I guess I can safely say that when Tracey and I have nothing else to do on a ship we find drinks and entertain each other. He's nonstop fun on the dullest of days, tho.

Brian seemed to get more out of the Allure than Chandler did. Chandler isn't a physically active guy, tho. He'd rather people watch and chill than go climb a rock wall. You know? Both my boys said they're not interested in sailing Royal again. Both said they'd rather be on a Disney ship but this statement is definitely skewed by the fact that I've raised proper Disney-philes. Of course they'd rather be on a Disney ship....especially when they aren't paying for it! LOL! Chandler has added that he feels the Royal cruise would be more fun after he turns 21. ;)

Rum Cake Factory! I sooooo wanted to go! I'm sure I'll see Nassau again before this life is over with. It's definitely on my list of places to visit there!
 

sweetpee_1993

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
YAY, I was excited to come home and see you started this !! I love your comparison of the 2 lines, especially how things weren't necessarily better or worst but just so different. We just did our very first Celebrity Cruise and we were very pleasantly surprised by everything. It definitely isn't a cruise I would do with Oliver (just yet) but we were very, very impressed by a lot of it. Prior to Disney we had done 9 Carnival cruises and we never had any complaints, we loved each one of them and we made some great memories HOWEVER, now being on 2 different lines I see things much differently and I think it will be a long time before my butt gets back on one of their ships. They used to be a really good bang for your buck but the decrease in standards and services is so lacking that there is just other places I would rather spend our hard earning money.

Thanks for posting this review; I am loving all your pictures. We have been to St. Thomas 5 times and I have never seen most of what you did, it looked like a great excursion. I can't wait to hear about St. Maartens, it was our favorite port day on our last cruise !!

You nailed it. The Royal cruise, for me, wasn't necessarily better or worse than Disney. It was different. I went into it with the thought in my mind that no matter what Royal did they would never be Disney. They coulda upgraded me to their best suite and fawned over me like complete royalty and they'd not be Disney. Both definitely have their strong points and their weaknesses. I enjoyed trying something new and different a lot. Another thing to consider is that on a cruise you're visiting ports so even if the ship isn't the best, you're going to interesting places. I've found that a lot of the shipboard experience is much like the port experience or anywhere really, it's what you make of it. Tracey and I will always have fun no matter where we go or don't go. ;)

Tracey has mentioned at some point I'm going to have to try out Carnival. He refers to this with such dread but I would be happy to give 'em a whirl. I don't think I'd go in with much for expectations. And I'd prob'ly choose the ship very carefully. LOL! I think it'd take a phenomenal deal to get me to choose to put my money there vs. elsewhere. Definitly! LOL!

St. Thomas still has a lot we want to do and see. We'll be back.

St. Maarten. I was just uploading and shifting around pics again trying to gear up to get moving on that day. It's hard having pics and video coming from so many sources, trying to get it all organized in 1 place. Photobucket bombing out for maintenance sure didn't help with the task. Grrrrrr!!!! Stick with me, tho. St. Maarten is reeaaaaaally close now!
 

sweetpee_1993

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 5: Faith, trust, and jet fuel: SXM Dreams come true!

Happy Turkey-lurkey day, ya'll! Yep, today is Thanksgiving Day! I think that's about as much Thanksgiving vibe as you'll get out of this day much like the experience of living it. But who cares??? When you get to witness your favoritest person's dream come true turkey-n-fixins mean nothing. So hang onto the fence real tight because much like the planes throttling up right in front of ya, today was a total BLAST!!!

Tracey & I woke up around 6:30 or so after crashing so early last night. We watched us dock in St. Maarten.






Captain Hollywood is on-stage!




We made our way up to the Windjammer buffet before the rest of the ship woke up and swarmed the joint. I'm starting to get the idea here. Don't worry about dressing for the day until after breakfast. This is how you survive when your other half is a morning person :bored: and likes his full breakfast. We cut through Central Park on the way to Windjammer.





Hey! There's Chops Grill: home of overcooked steaks and killer desserts!




We sat in a quiet corner of Windjammer. Here's a couple of the Coke Freestyle machines for use with the soda package tumblers:




My breakfast.




Wasn't it just gorgeous outside when we woke up??? Well, things change quickly. A rain squal attacked the ship. See???




No, I'm not being dramatic. Just a few minutes later this is the exact same shot after the rain passed. Do you see how hard the rain was???




This pic was taken near the elevators outside Windjammer. It's a great shot of the kids water play area, the family pool deck, and the circle whirlpool donut river.




I think this is the sports pool. I'm not sure, though.




Central Park below.




We took the elevators back down to deck 8 then crossed Central Park to get to our room. This is so neat. It's like a man-hole cover. On a ship.




I never get tired of taking Central Park pictures. I bet you're tired of seeing them, though.




Directional signage.




Did I mention there's a Coach store onboard in Central Park? Yeah, it's right next to the Britto gallery. They had an activity in the Coach store: 10 ways to wear a scarf. I didn't attend. :joyfull:

 

sweetpee_1993

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
We returned to the room and I got dressed for the day. Yet another rain squal moved thru which sparked a lot of heavy debate whether or not to even leave the ship today. It wasn't just the rain. That was just the icing on the cake, really. Let me explain.

I'm sure you've all heard me yammer on and on about how much of an aviation buff Tracey is. Seriously. He has loved flying as long as he can remember. Don't believe me? I have proof. Here's Tracey as a little guy with a helicopter in his hand.




Little Tracey on one of maaaaaany days that he went flying with his "WooWoo". And standing with a plane that probably belonged to someone Tracey's grandfather knew.




For Tracey's 16th birthday his grandfather (aka "Woo") got him a ride in Christen Eagle aerobatic biplane. I've got to dig up pics of that! Here Tracey is pictured at 16 yrs old with his flight instructor. The profile pic you see of Tracey is him flying the plane. Yes, he's solo'd the whole nine yards. He was oh-so-close to that private license back then.





When we booked this cruise 18 months ago part of the decision was based upon the day of the week the ship would be in St. Maarten. You see, the airport at St. Maarten, Princess Juliana International / SXM, has a killer runway placement. One end of the runway is a road and a beach right at the end. It's close. The other end of the runway is a mountain range. When planes land they fly extremely low over the beach. When planes take off they have to carry a lot of power because as soon as they rotate (lift off) they need to do a steep climb and bank right to avoid the mountain range. The day of the week was important when booking because Tracey knew that the 747s came in/out on Thursdays. He's always wanted to stand that close to the 747s coming and going. He's watched videos on youtube for years, giggling and swearing that someday he was going to go to that place.

I can tell you, back in our younger years when we had each other and our dreams, that exotic beach with the crazy planes could've been the moon. Neither of us ever dreamed we'd actually be able to go there someday. But here we were this opportunity and seeing a massive 747 was THE dream.

Just in case you can't visualize why this is such a big deal, lemme help you out. Here's a YouTube video for you. This is not Photoshop'd or altered in any way. Mind you, this is a pretty low approach but you'll get the drift here.



THAT is what we wanted to go to St. Maarten for. Unfortunately, less than 2 months before our cruise the flight schedules were modified and there was going to be NO 747 on our port day. Tracey was crushed. Seriously crushed. He was so mad. He even tried to get me to eat the penalty and cancel the entire cruise. On this day when we made it to the port he was still saying, "I don't care if we go or not. We can just stay on the ship. The plane I want to see isn't coming." As heartbroken as I was at no 747 coming to make my honey's dream come true, there were other planes. Much like last week with my uncle, I didn't want to regret being THIS close and not going the distance. As over being rained on as I was, we couldn't come to St. Maarten without seeing that beach and that runway. We had to go.

We stepped off the ship at around 9:30. The ground was still wet but the skies were looking okay.





We stopped for a professional photog from the ship.




I can identify with the Allure. We both have rather wide afts.





Construction walls. It's like WDW. You're in an awesome place but it's getting awesome-r so you look at these walls and think, "I guess we gotta come back when that's done."




There was a big Christmas tree in the port area. We helped out another family by taking their picture with their camera in front of the tree. They did the same for us.





We headed straight for the taxi stand to catch a ride.




I was totally into the fact that there's palm trees AND mountains. Together. In the same place.





For sale??? Why yes, I'll buy. I don't even care what the price is. I want to stay forever.




We took the taxi van from the port area to Maho Beach. That's the name of the beach that's at the end of the runway. Great taxi driver. What a plethora of info all along the way. We had to drive up and over a mountain then around another. The drive took about 25 minutes or so. Wouldn't you know it, when we were on the way we drove thru yet ANOTHER rain squal up on the mountain. I wasn't happy.
 
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gwhb75

Well-Known Member
Here's a few pics while waiting for our dinner at Olive Garden. I'm not explaining the hand sign. Uncle Jerry (@obrienIII) got this started while we were in Alabama. It's a boy thing. A grown-up boy thing. So, Uncle Jerry, thanks for the influence. :hilarious:






We turned in early. Had to get ready for the real adventure to begin tomorrow!

I think Steven Tyler beat Uncle Jerry to corrupting all of us:


collegehumor_be61ffa801dfa8084006d1b28c13ec24.jpg
 

sweetpee_1993

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
As we drove along the road between the end of the runway and the beach Tracey looked around and said aloud: "I can't believe I'm actually here." That was such an awesome moment, one I'll never forget. As Disney fans we all identify with our poignant moment when we emerge from the tunnel and stand gazing upon the castle and having that moment. This was the same. This was Tracey's moment.

Private jet. Chandler says it's a Cessna Citation. Tracey is sure to come along and tell you all sorts of stuff about every plane including how much these private ones cost. LOL!




On this end of the runway there's a pretty big bar with an outdoor patio area. It's a beach place. They have a surfboard stood up with a chalkboard to post the flight schedule for the day. I suppose people who don't have a man who has this info committed to memory would need this.




That's the airport over there. Danger! Jet blast up by the fence! You'll see more of that soon!




We walked to the other side of the beach where there's a very small bar set up with some port-a-potties. Originially this is where I thought we should go because there'd be less people. So we headed over to scope it out before the arrivals got going.

Lookin' down the runway.




Oh! I see something out there!






We got down to the joint on the other side of the beach, got some water, and sat down in the shade. It was lookin' like it might rain again. Which it did while we were sitting here. Just like yesterday, the squals move in and out in a matter of minutes.

@Disneyfalcon! My toes were in paradise!




We weren't all that thrilled with our vantage point so we thought we'd double back to the other end where we started to scope it out down there. Beach walkin'.




Why didn't we bring our swimsuits and snorkel gear??? This is a mistake we will not make again! The water was gorgeous!




There's the road and a small plane about to take off.




We made it back to the Sunset Bar and found a nice picnic table in the shade. The waitresses all told us we could stay as long as we liked. We already understood that it was kosher to stay as long as you were ordering stuff. ;) One look at this menu and I was ready to stay indefinitely.





Yes, this looks like it'll make a great spot to camp out for the day. That's the actual bar behind Tracey & Chandler.




Are we having fun yet???




There's another bar down closer to the beach. It's behind Brian and me. Also note that white speaker above our heads. That thing plays live air traffic control transmissions. I have to pay close attention to catch everything. Even though I have a 'radio ear' from my law enforcement days, I don't know what they should be saying. Tracey does. He misses little to nothing. He could hear the pilots when they'd be coming around on approach before you could even see them.

 

sweetpee_1993

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
And our fun began. The planes would come around on approach. The 3 guys would jump up and run out onto the beach with iPhones and my camera. I sat and shot pics/video with my iPhone and guarded the table. Plus, I wasn't getting out of the shade. I needed to keep the drinks company, too.








Here's Tracey's video of that Insel Air MD-88.



Meanwhile, at the table in the shade....




And....




But most importantly there was one of several Cruzan Cherry Pops with Chandler's White Russian. We asked about drinking age. The waitress smiled and said, "Don't worry about that. It's not strict here." I still couldn't tell you what the drinking age is. I'm quite sure I am plenty old enough. LOL!




And planes.




This is a Copa Airlines Embraer 190.




Tracey was on it with the videos. Same Copa Embraer 190.




Listen up, Brian!




Chandler did a great job with my camera. Here's a great series with a United 737-700.






And video Tracey took of a DH6 Twin Otter.



Same plane. Different airline. So it is but it's not the same. It's the same kind of plane.

 

sweetpee_1993

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Remember that Insel Air MD-88 that just landed? Well, here it is on it's way back out. This pilot likes puting on a show. Notice how he swings way out close to the fence. Then, during the video when he spools up the engines he holds the plane so the fence surfers get a good ride.



Chandler rocked the series of shots on this American Airlines 757-200.






Tracey video'd it.

 

flynnibus

Premium Member
Tracey would like Gravelly point here at DCA... it's not as low altitude... but you get the great bank right as they line up to the runway

You can also get to the end of the runways for Dulles too over by the Smithsonian museum. At our air station where I grew up you can also stand right near the end of the runway.. but almost no heavies come in that runway. And since 9/11... not sure they'd like you lingering there :)

Still the best I've ever experienced is sitting on the USS America CVN-66 while F-14s took off. Nothing in my life has equaled what that meant in terms of noise and just raw energy. Literally, I could scream and not even hear it in my own head :) Plus... standing on the gangway while jets go off the catapult right in front of you (and over your head) ... ahh the good old days as a teen :)

So what Tracey needs to do is make friends with some Navy officers and find his way onto a Dependents Day cruise. Would be the time of his life :)
 

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