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Trip Report We kept it on the DL…the DCL

More details to follow but this happening…right now.
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imahistorygeek

Well-Known Member
We booked this cruise abt 3 weeks ago. Our schedules magically aligned. We booked it before the Bahamas required 100% vaccinated, 12 and older. As usual, Disney didn't share what was happening like other cruise lines.

When DCL finally updated its rules, we breathed a sigh of relief that it was happening. Our cruise group was a mix of very excited and sad because of the requirements.

We stayed at AKL for one night. Left work around 3. Note to self: ATL roads are a nightmare. Don't travel during this time.

We arrived at AKL around midnight. We had breakfast at Kona the following morning.

We shared this meal with side of gouda cheese grits.

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This is two huge biscuits with bacon baked inside the biscuits. Gravy is more bacon and sausage. On top of that is cheese and scallions. I also chose spiced ham as a meat. This was one of the best meals I've had at Kona. The biscuit was a bit dry, bit the gravy really helped. It is 100% sharable.

After breakfast we waited until it was time to leave foe the port. You cannot arrive early. They will not let you park. Our port arrival time was 12 pm and we arrived right on the dot.

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Bags dropped off and we followed the many signs telling us where to go. It was surprisingly hassle free.
 

imahistorygeek

Well-Known Member
When you arrive a port, they immediately take your luggage and direct you to the garage. Once in the garage, they direct you to the first checkin stop. They scan you port arrival form. Depending on whether or not you need to do testing at the port, they will send you to the parking or testing lane. We were cleared to sail and required no further testing.

Parked the car I level 2. Everyone has to enter port through ground level. We get inside the building.
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Zero lines. They scanned our passports and we were on our was to the terminal. They've updated the terminal with more seats. No crowds at all. We sat and waited for our boarding number to be called. It's refreshing to not have to wade through gate lice.

From parking the car to getting on the ship, it was about 30 minutes or less. Not bad. One you get to the atrium, they have you stand on a dot and there's a little show with Mickey and Minnie.

Afterwards, we were off to find our muster station. The process is 1000% better. It takes maybe 1 minute.

This is something I hope is permanent.
 

imahistorygeek

Well-Known Member
That is one heck of a pretty room! Looks cosy too! Enjoy the Cruise!!

This was our first forward ocean view room. It was really spacious and quiet and the little table near the window was a great place for room service breakfast. We'd book again in a heartbeat. The only downside and it's minor is that the room vibrates like crazy when pulling into/out of port.
 

imahistorygeek

Well-Known Member
On the first day it's a bunch of getting acclimated to your surroundings. We went to 687 (the pub) for drinks and trivia.
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Keel - Makers Mark Bourbon, Campari, Limoncello, Fresh Ginger, Orange Juice and Mint Leaves.

Dinner was at Animator's Palate. Since we've eaten here plenty of times, we didn't even really need to look at the menu. With that said, I ordered all new things. On a related note, we had an excellent serving team of Artadana and Floyd.

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We ordered pretty much everything on the menu. The food was actually better this trip. The dining room was empty since dining times were staggered.

Up first, Tomato Tarte with Glazed Goat Cheese and Shaved Radish, Sliced Serrano Ham, and Black Truffle Pasta
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imahistorygeek

Well-Known Member
Moving on to the soup and salad course.

Butternut squash soup (new to me), Chicken and Walnut Salad (also new to me), and Arugula Leaves

The soup was very good. I've typcially don't eat any type of squash soup, but was pleasantly surprised.
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This salad was excellent. I'm the type that says apples don't belong in salads. Period. Yet, this works on so many levels. It was delicious. The walnuts were candied.
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Main Course - Ginger-Teriyaki Dusted Angus Beef Tenderloin and Sesame Halloumi Parcels

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This was the vegetarian option. None of the meat options was speaking to me and again, I wanted to try something new. I believe this is phyllo dough and inside is a sweet potato mash with mild seasoning. It is resting on a bed of wilted greens and a tomato sauce. This was excellent. I do not care for sweet potatoes, but this was so good. Plus, on the inside was small pieces of halloumi cheese. This will be my future go-to main dish.

I had a cheesecake for dessert. It was fine. Nothing to write home about. Sean had the walnut cake.
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imahistorygeek

Well-Known Member
After dinner, we headed to the adult district to wait on Match Your Mate to start. This sailing would have 2 of these shows. So that means 2x the embarrassed passengers walking around being recognized for being in the show.

We headed to Pink. We've never actually sat down and had a drink in this venue. I wanted to try a real champagne (not sparkling wine) cocktail. Lucky for us, it was also happy hour. I don't remember the exact discount on drinks. Disney doesn't really advertise this at all. It never showed up on the app.

I ordered a cocktail with champagne, elderflower liquor, and 1 raspberry. It was quite tasty. This photo is what I would call a "Classic Laura." If my thumb isn't in a picture, it's a miracle.

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Sean didn't realize he could get bourbon in this location. He had Blanton's Original Single Barrel. You can collect the little guys on top. The Pink bartender also offered to get him whatever he wanted from another bar.
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We also learned this neat detail in the bubbles. There are pink bubbles in varying sizes all around the room. Dumbo pops up randomly in the bubbles.
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Match Your Mate was pretty good. The venue wasn't crowded at all. There were some good couples and the one couple that had only been dating 10 months had her parents in the room. We did continue to see them after the show over the next couple of days. They still seemed together. :) After Match Your Mate, we headed back to our room. Next day is Castaway Cay and a monsoon.
 
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imahistorygeek

Well-Known Member
Day 1 is in the books. Castaway Cay is our next stop. This cruise was a double dip to Castaway Cay.

I didn't take many pictures of the beach or island. There are plenty on the internets. I do have a few more from the 2nd day.

This was our view from our room. It's probably around 7ish. We ordered breakfast to arrive from 7-7:30 am. Cabana's was supposed to be open by 7 according to the app. Sean runs up to get hot food. That's our usual plan for breakfast. Hot food from Cabana's and everything else from room service. Well, hot food wasn't served until 7:30 and room service arrived at 6:59. Usually the food is brought into the room, but Covid means they push the cart up to your door and hand you the tray through the door.

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The sunrise is beautiful, right? Surely the weather is going to be nice, right? Right?

After breakfast, we needed to stalk the DCL app and wait for the Castaway Cay queue to open. I works just like virtual queues in the park. It was easy enough to get into the queue. I don't remember our group, but it wasn't long after the cruise director (Jimmy) said we were clear to debark. The app is supposed to notify you when it's your time. 😒 Sean reserved the queue, but wasn't notified. I didn't do anything with reserving the queue and I was notified. It didn't matter because we made it off the ship.

It was REFRESHING to have to not wade through a ton of people trying to get off the ship on deck 2. You go when your time is ready. No lines, no crowds. I hope they keep this feature.

Finally, we're off the ship. It's about 9:30 at this point, around the same time the ship was given clearance for passengers to debark. Once outside, you can get your towels, which reminds me, you cannot get your own towels on the pool deck. You have to ask for them. Not a big deal.
 

imahistorygeek

Well-Known Member
We walk to the all the way to the Serenity Bay tram stop. It's not a terrible walk and you can see these guys along the way.
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Our selfie game is weak.

Once we get to the tram station, masks are back on. You have to wear them waiting and on the tram. We hop on and make our way. As we are heading out to Serenity, we see a couple walking to Serenity. We mention every time to each other how we walked that first time to Serenity. We were wondering if that couple did it on purpose or just didn't know.

Here's our view:
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The water and beach were so nice. There was no seaweed on the beach and only a few spots of seaweed in the water. We hopped right in. We saw some barracuda fish and a ton of minnow-type fish.

We also saw this:
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Just kidding...sort of. We really did see a shark. I'm just living my best life in the ocean and I see something rather large to my left. THEN I see a bit of a black-tipped fin pop out of the water. I did my best scooby-doo impression and ran to the other side of the ocean. I'm pretty sure this is the shark (or one that is similar) we saw:

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Remember the picture of the water above? Well, take a look out towards the horizon . See that massive black could? Yes? Good. There was also one to the left of us. It was coming right towards us. It was pretty scary looking, so we stayed in the water for a while until it was almost right on top of us. Fast forward to one of the most intense storms we've ever experienced. The beach closed and everyone was huddled under whatever we could find. I guess it lasted about 20 - 30 minutes. Once it cleared up, we went back to put out stuff down only to be told it's still closed. :( Luckily, it was lunch time.

We headed over to Serenity Bay BBQ. This is another area you have to mask up while in line. You go down the line and tell them what you want.

Side story: Some of you may remember the great egg debacle at Magic Kingdom. If not, basically, we were in line at Columbia Harbor House and it is CROWDED. We get to the front of the line and I, oh so casually, ask if there is egg in the tuna salad sandwich. Long story short, I held up the line for a good 5, maybe 10 minutes while the cast member asked everyone she knew only to realize the book with all the ingredients was right next to her. It contained egg. I don't like egg. I'll eat in baked goods, and sometimes cold, mayo-based salads IF I cannot see it.

How does this relate to the BBQ? My absolutely favorite item is the potato salad. I could eat a plate of that stuff alone. I know there is egg in it, but it's so finely chopped, I can't see a bit of it. We finally get in line. The potato salad is there! I start looking at it. All I can see is egg. They basically just cut the egg in half (like making deviled eggs) and mixed it in. 😞

We moved down the line and got all of our other favorites and they were really good.

After lunch, we again tried to go back to the beach. I can't remember why we didn't say longer. I think it was still closed. So, we headed back to the ship.
 

imahistorygeek

Well-Known Member
Just curious -- did they run the 5K?
You could run it on your own, but not as an organized event. There was conflicting information that you could get a finisher medal at guest services. Last I heard, they had run out. We didn't see anyone running on our way to Serenity.
I'm jealous! :joyfull:

That's been a dream of mine, to go to an (excellent) restaurant, and just order everything on the menu! :hilarious:

Glad you enjoyed your meal(s)!!! :D
It's fun! The only downside is that you may have to be rolled out of the restaurant. We definitely were FULL.
 

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