Cruise Day 1.
Bright(ok not really bright because we woke up so early excited about seeing the Wonder for the first time) and early we woke up and rushed to get our day started. We took the elevator down to the main lobby of our hotel the Fairmont Waterfront, and from there you can use a separate elevator or stairs to head into a basement area that connects to the cruise terminal. We weren’t headed to the terminal just yet, but inside this mini-mall area are a few restaurants, including a Starbucks. Even though we couldn’t wait to go check out the Wonder, it seemed the best idea to try to get breakfast before the “rush” we’d heard could happen in this area. Well it was us, and maybe…. 6 people eating breakfast in the entire food court. Breakfast finished we exited out the other side of the food court/mini-mall to the dock side of the building. We crossed the street, and there she was! The Disney Wonder!
We were blown away. That “huge” ship we saw yesterday at the docks, a toddler compared to the Wonder. We started at the back, and walked along the docks following the entire ship.
It took what seemed like forever. We wondered how we would ever navigate walking around on the ship to get to place to place.
Went spent time trying to figure our room was, and where other things might be based on the deck plans on the DisneyCruiseline.com site.
It was still so early we didn’t even see anyone disembarking yet. The ship was still asleep.
But they were doing some work on the ship.
Ok time to drag ourself away…
We had to finish packing up our suitcases. With the transfer we booked (and paid a small extra fee for) our luggage would be picked up from inside our hotel room by 10:00am. We wouldn’t see it again until it was delivered to our stateroom, which could be as late as 5:00pm. We had a carry on bag which included the case of water (all bottled drinks have to be carried on), and our personal documents, passports, etc. Anything you want to keep with you in person. Medications, electronics, etc are also highly recommended to be packed into your carry on bag as well. We placed the tags Disney had mailed to our house previously to our bags, left them as instructed by the door just inside our room. And then went to explore some more. We walked around the roof top hotel gardens again. Looked longly at the ship, again. and then it was finally time to go check in with the Disney Desk in the lobby of our hotel for our “transfer”.
We actually considered ditching the official transfer because 11:00am seemed so late to meet. People say you should “rope drop” (arrive right as the port opens) so you can be one of the first on the ship and not wait in long lines or a boring waiting room for your group boarding number to be called. But it seemed like we paid for it, didn’t want Disney trying to figure out where we were, and either way we would eventually get on the ship, so lets just go with the stress free version as planned.
So as not to be late, around 10:40am we checked out of our hotel room with the Fairmount waterfront;this was easy since it was pre-paid through Disney and we didn’t insure any addition charges like room service, and checked in at the Disney Desk. There were already people milling about also waiting for the transfer. They mentioned we should use the rest room because once we started the process there wouldn’t be a bathroom until we were completely through. After using the lobby restrooms, it was finally 11:00am. They gathered us together, told us to follow close and not to leave the group, and then we started walked. Yes walking. Most Disney Transfers would be a vehicle trip(mini-bus, van, etc) ride from the hotel to the port. Because we were staying that Fairmont Waterfront, our hotel was basically connected to the port. That means the transfer is just them handling your luggage(which had disappeared from our room an hour earlier) and guiding you to the port terminal. It almost seemed silly since we knew we could go down into the hotel basement and just walk across ourselves, but we figured let them navigate and we can just relax.
We ended up not going through the basement of the hotel, but outside the back of the hotel through a door near the docks, walking down the docks a bit, and then into the terminal though a special entrance. From what we could tell, we basically skipped the clogged and crowded main entrance. From there the guide walking you on to the Cruise Check in area. Picture a giant cement room like you find at many fairgrounds. Huge. It houses the check in desks for multiple cruise lines. So all of Disney cruises, as well as several other ships are crammed into here. We were directed to get into the line that best fit us(Platinum, Gold, Silver Castaway Club members, or first time Disney Cruisers) and the guides left at this point.
We got in what seemed to be a line longer then waiting to ride Peter Pan at Disneyland. But it moved at a good pace. After chatting with several people in line with us, and pulling out all our cruise documents to check in, it was around a 20 minute wait. Because this was the first cruise out of Vancouver for the season, some of the desk staff were still training, and it took them several tries to print our Keys to the World (room key/ID) card. But after that we were all done. They pointed us to head back out and go to the next area. That was rather confusing because the exit for our line actually merged with the check in area for another cruise line, and then we didn’t see another door to go through. We had to ask a staff, and figured out we had to go back out the room we came through, and enter into another door right down the hall. It was more confusing then I would have preferred, but we figured it out. Next is was on through customs, and then we were guided to another smaller cement waiting room. This time just for Disney Cruise line guests. When we walked in, our group number -2- was all ready being aloud onboard(I don’t know if this was because we had a transfer with Disney or we just got lucky, but for first time cruises we had a very very low boarding number) and we didn’t even have time to look at what the waiting area looked like, other then a ton of folding chairs lined up and filled with people and carry on bags everywhere. It was so fast we didn’t even have time to get a picture. We chose to by-pass the pre boarding standard photo of your group by a cruise ship background. It appears you have to wait in line to take this(it’s free to take, but costs to get a copy) but you don’t you can simply step off to the left of the photo area, and walk down the hall to the gang way. We followed the inclosed path outside the terminal and toward the door to the ship. We actually saw one of our bags being loaded onto the ship, so we knew we at least had some clothes(we had packed half of our clothes in each bag so if something happened to one, we atleast ended up with something to wear). And suddenly there we were, they asked our family a name, we were annoced and we boarded the Wonder. 500 days of planning and waiting. And we finally arrived!!!
Follow along from the beginning: Disney Cruise Alaska Part 1.