Sunday, June 1, 2008

Day 0-1: Orlando and Port Canaveral, FL

Well cruise fans, it's time to start my trip report! I flew into Orlando on Friday, May 9th. I had a wonderful flight on Midwest Airlines. If you get a chance to fly, check them out. The seats are wide, lots of leg room, and baked chocolate chip cookies on board!

I got a chance to visit with a good friend of mine from college, who took me on a Target run. I took an extra carry-on bag specifically to board the cruise ship, and planned to stash some bottled water in it. The ship sells bottled water, but they want $35 per case. Ouch! I got two cases of Target brand for $8, although I had to cart it around quite a bit until our staterooms were ready. I really recommend this for other Disney cruisers. Additionally, you can bring other adult beverages aboard. Ironically, Disney is one of the only cruise lines that allows you to do this.

I stayed the night with my parents in the Hyatt at the Orlando International Airport. They transport you right from the hotel to the cruise terminal, and you can get a nice view of palm trees, fountains, and of course, people strolling through the terminal.

The Disney Magical Express bus ride from the airport to the cruise terminal is about 45-60 minutes one way. We were up early, and were on the first bus out to Port Canaveral around 9:15am.

The cruise terminal is very nice. In the center is a scale model of the Disney Magic ship. Disney characters also pay a visit for a photo opportunity to help pass the time until embarkation. We got all checked in, and were awarded a card for group 4. When they called our boarding group, we were ready to go through the yellow Mickey, take our picture, and cross the gangway onto our home for the next 15 days.

After crossing the gangway and into the Disney Magic atrium, the cruise staff announces your family's name, and everyone cheers to welcome you aboard. I snapped this picture on the left, and it looks like some of the cruise staff wanted to pose. :o) The atrium is beautiful, a nice open space for various events, and also the main guest services and shore excursions desks.

We had a lunch buffet at Topsider's. They feature buffet-style service, open seating, and always casual dress for breakfast, lunch and dinner. After lunch, we got into the stateroom, unloaded our gear, and took part in the muster drill. That's "muster" not "mustard." :o) (Don't worry, there'll be more food later.) The muster drill is required by international maritime law, you grab your life jacket and report to your muster station as a drill. Ours was actually in one of the dining rooms! Most people have to go outside in the hot, sticky weather, but we lucked out there.

Dinner the first night was in Animator's Palate, which is one of the three dining room in the rotation. This room has Disney draft sheets sketched on the white walls. In the course of the meal, the walls change colors to reveal all the colors of the palate. I'll show pictures on a different day, they didn't do this on the first night.

The meals on the cruise were absolutely fantastic. I got pictures of nearly all of the menus. Our first menu was something like this:

Appetizers:
  • Peppered Tuna Roll with a moulis, Cucumber Salad, drizzled with a Rice Wine Vinegar Miso Dressing
  • Crown of Scallops and Caviar Macedoine, Marinated Scallops, Fresh Vegetables and Herb Mayonnaise, Smoked Salmon Deviled Egg, garnish with Caviar
  • Cajun Spiced Calamari served with a Fire-roasted Pepper and Lime Dip
  • Chicken Crispy Enveloppe, Marinated Chicken Tenders in a Flaky Roll with Fresh Carrot Salad and Moroccan Spices
Soups and Salads:
  • Blue Crab and Seafood Chowder with Sour Dough Croutons
  • Chilled Watermelon and Mint Soup made with Yogurt and Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Roasted Vegetable Salad, Vine-ripened Tomato and Apple Slaw
  • Mixed Leaf Lettuce with Heart of Palm Salad with Honey-Orange Dressing
Main Course:
  • Seared "Blackened" Ahi Tuna Jambalaya, Center cut Tuna on Seafood and Vegetables Louisiana Rice
  • Slowly Roasted Rack of Pork, Sweet Onions Gravy, Carved to order, Finished "au Jus," served with Braised Cabbage and Buttered Fingerling Potatoes
  • Mesquite Gilled Chicken Breast with Cream of Corn and Bacon Sauce, Served on a Biscuit and Crushed Sweet Potatoes with Collard Greens
  • Caribbean Seafood Curry, Lobster, Shrimp, Scallops, Monkfish and Squid sauteed in a light Curry Sauce with Basmati rice, topped with Cashew Nuts
  • Chipotle Grilled Sirloin Steak on the Bone served with Monterey Jack Cheese Potatoe and Onion-Tomato Stew
Lighter Fare:
  • Roasted Chicken Breast
  • Grilled Sirloin Steak
  • Baked Salmon Steak
Vegetarian Selections:
  • Baked Sesame Tofu Steak marinated in Sesame Oil with braised Brown Rice and Ginger-Soy Glaze
  • Vegetable Puff Pastry Turnover with Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans and Mushroom Sauce
Bread Selection:
  • Freshly Baked Carrot and Scallions Loaf with Cumin & Cilantro Dip
Desserts:
  • Kahlua Chocolate Creme Brulee with Caramelized Cinnamon Apple
  • Kona Coffee and Pistachio Pyramid on a Toffee Crunch served with Chocolate and Cherry Sauce
  • Florentine Baskets with Maraschino Bavarois served with exotic Fruits and Berries on a bed of Champagne Sabayon
  • Apple Tart-Tatin served warm with Caramel Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Banana Caramel Bliss, Mint Chocolate Ice Cream with a Slice of Banana, Pecan Brittle, and Rum Caramel Sauce
Mmmm, it makes me hungry again!

That night (and every night) there was a show or some sort of entertainment piece that was usually good. The first night is more of a 'welcome aboard!' type thing, a mix of characters, some acts that will have longer shows later, etc, a taste of what is to come.

Our next day would be one of the best, when we dock at Disney's private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay (pronounced 'key', like Key West, not 'cay' which rhymes with 'bay'). This also happened to be Mother's Day! Check back soon for that day, Aruba, the Panama Canal, and the Mexican ports of call!

1 comment:

Bek said...

Okay, more pictures please!!! Nice menu work, by the way. I'm very impressed with all of the details you've been posting!