Cruise Day 1 continued. On the ship.
Here we are. All the months of counting down, and we turned the corner of the gangway and a cast member asked us our name. We told them, and then suddenly they called a welcome to us and we entered the lobby! The excitement was insane at this point. This was our one and only time having a “first” cruise experience. We wanted to just soak it in. We didn’t take any videos or pictures. We tend to do this a lot. We try to soak up the memories, without spending the moment trying to capture the memories. After moving into the lobby carrying all our bags, we knew what we our first plan of attack was. Lunch. Our stateroom wasn’t ready to enter until 1:30pm, so we will be hauling all those carry-on bags with us wherever we go. What we really wanted to do was explore every inch of the ship, but doing that with three bags didn’t seem practical. Also we knew lunch can get very crowded the first day. Plus we were excited to experience a week of Disney dining(ok one of us was anyway…..) and we were pretty hungry at this point. It had been many hours since we ate that early breakfast so we could rush to get a peak at the Wonder. In the rush of excitement of boarding we got turned around and couldn’t determine where lunch was based on the map of the ship we had been studying for weeks. The cast members in the lobby ask us if they can point us to anywhere? We said lunch. They suggested the buffet location on the upper deck. We knew we did not want to drag our bags up 7 flights of stairs – ok this is a good time to mention we vowed not to take an elevator the entire trip; why? because we wanted to eat a lot, and because being that close to people in a tiny space seemed an easy way to catch some germs- and we knew there was another option. Our plan was to head directly to the sit down lunch option so we asked for that. They pointed us down a hall-way and away we went. We were seated in Parrot Cay (which is now Tiana’s Place), our drink orders were taken, and then we were told to head to the buffet. We took turns watching the bags while we filled up our first plates of Disney food for the week. I cannot bring myself to drag a camera around to take pictures of food, especially buffets, so I apologize for the lack of pictures. I do remember it was good, and the dessert choices were many. We started our sailing days off right by sampling at least 5 of them!
Well it was only 12:45pm or so when we finished our meal. It was super strange to just walk out when we were done. No bill to pay, no one to tip, no one to excuse ourselves to. If you haven’t cruised before, the first meal you have will probably feel just as strange. You’ve been served by a wait staff, and there is no “end of meal” signal. We sorta looked at each other and went, well I guess we should go… Where to next? We had spent the meal looking at the first day navigator they handed us at check in and knew we wanted to sign up for character meet and great tickets. On longer sailing Disney offers special opportunities to meet characters without standing in line. You sign up, are giving a specific day/time and your entire party meets the character group at once. For our cruise there was a Pixar Friends, Frozen meet and greet, a Princess Gathering, and a character breakfast. The tickets were being distributed at WaveBands(now Azure) on Deck 3 from 12:00pm-2:45pm. We headed down to find WaveBands and sign up for some tickets. We got there and the line was out to the door entrance. We got in the line, and then tried to decide if this was worth our time. Could we come back later to a lesser line? Was there other things we’d rather be doing? We finally decided that since we couldn’t get into our stateroom anyway for almost 30 minutes, and we didn’t want to haul our bags all over the ship, and we did want to get tickets for all the characters, we might as well stick it out. It took us just about 30 minutes to get up to the front, and once we they asked us who we wanted to meet and when. At that exact moment I thought I was going to have a panic attack. How did I know WHEN I wanted to meet them. I didn’t know what else was going on during the cruise that might conflict! But we sorta just took a shot in the dark. We picked our character breakfast to be the next morning- one of two sea days- and figured we knew we would be on the ship so lets just book our Frozen Meet and Greet for that day also. We set our Pixar Friends for Friday early morning, a day we knew our port adventure didn’t start until later in the day, and the Princess Gathering we picked for our second sea day (also our last full day on the ship). Currently Disney is allowing guests to pre-book these tickets form the comfort of their home a few weeks before sail date (like a port adventure). I think this makes things much easier on guests, as well as eliminating the need to staff this sign up area. As we left we saw the line was about the same, if not a tad longer then when we entered. It was finally time to head to our stateroom!
We had booked an inside stateroom, and we expected it to be small. When we opened the door for the first time we were surprised at how spacious it felt. It wasn’t a palace, but it was big enough to not feel like we were sitting on top of each other. I can’t imagine putting a third adult in that room though. The room size seemed fine. We didn’t plan to spend much time in the room anyway. When we opened the bathroom door however…. well that was a surprise. We knew we didn’t get one of those cool split bathrooms. Our room type came with a toilet, sink, shower all in one. Wow. There are not words to describe the tiny size. It felt like an airplane bathroom with a shower inside. Yes that small. The door to the bathroom opened inward, and you had to step in, and practically sit on the toilet to close it. Once it was closed you had just enough room to turn stand at the sink, or enter the shower behind. The shower…. well if you’re anything but on the small side, it will be tight. And if you’re tall… you will be using the hand wand to shower.
On the plus side it was nicely decorated, and every inch of space was used well. The storage was even designed to keep your personal items from falling all over if the seas were rough. It’s going to be interesting to use this for a week. We’ll update you at the end.
We unpacked our carry on bags a bit, and then decided to go explore the ship. We opened our door and one of our bags had already arrived. We knew they could arrive anytime until 5:30pm, but we didn’t expect it so quickly. We unpacked that bag, and headed off to explore.
First stop. Deck 9. Amazing views and we have’t even set sail yet!
Next the forward part of the for even better views.
All too soon we realized we’d better head back to our rooms and drop off the cameras and head to the Muster Drill at 4:00pm. What’s that? The safety drill. You must attend this. It’s mandatory. You are assigned a spot on the ship based on your room. Ours was outside on Deck 4. All you need to bring is every single person in your stateroom and each persons Key to the World card, the plastic key for your room (and so much more). It was rather tight fitting everyone into our muster station, but soon enough they checked us all in, gave us the safety information, and released us. It was probably no later then 4:20pm at this point. So what now? The Adventures Away sail away party started at 4:30, and since it’s our first cruise, we felt like we couldn’t miss that. Up to Deck 9 Stage, which was by the main pool.
We found a spot near the back to watch, its not our style to be in the middle of this type of thing. There was pop music playing (no not all Disney stuff) and the Cruise Director Peter introduced himself and the Cruise Activities Staff. Several Characters came out to join in the fun, the magical ship horn was sounded, and away we went.
Honestly I’m not sure when the ship actually started to move, but sometime during the party it did. We headed back to our stateroom to see if the rest of our luggage had arrived, it had, and unpack. A lot of times when we travel we just live out of the suitcase. The stateroom was way to small for that. There was plenty of places to store your bags, like under the bed, but they were not easy to access. We pulled everything out, and put it into drawers and hung it up in the closet. We had to stash our largest suitcase in the closet because it was to large to fit under the bed and we still ended up with extra room we didn’t fill in the built-in storage areas. We also set up our free 50mb of internet usage, surfed the Disney Cruise Line app (which doesn’t use internet or cell data while onboard) and surfed the cruise channels on our stateroom tv.
It was getting close to dinner, we have Main seating which is 5:45pm, so we headed down to dinner. We aren’t the dress up for dinner type, and tonight is casual dining night so we just went in what we had on. We hoped we wouldn’t feel under dressed. It was also time to see if our request for a table alone, or one with adults was honored. Our dinner was at Animators Palate the first night. But it wasn’t the grand show night we had heard about. We headed over to the restaurant and were greeted at the door with hand wipes. Sure ok sounds fine I’ll take one. It was surprising how many people declined them on the way in. We also used our personal hand sanitizer bottles as well. We were lead to our table, met our serving team, and selected drinks. Table for two request was granted. Then it was time to peruse the menu. Appetizers, Main course, Salad, Soup. Oh my. This is a lot. We don’t normally eat multi-course meals except when we dine out. We picked a few things, and our dining team suggested a few things, and away they went. The meals always started out with a bread service. Tip here. Don’t fill up on the bread…… Our appetizers arrived, they were great. The main course arrived and it was fantastic. Next Dessert. Who’s gonna pass that up? So yummy. By the time the dessert arrived, one of us was feeling rather full. The food lover in the group. By the time the meal ended, one of us was feeling sick. Same one of us. Stumbling back to our stateroom for a little lay down was the only option. The food looked so good, and it’s free, and you don’t want to say no. Learned the hard way. Pace your self!
-As a note, we decided we wanted to enjoy our meals, instead of trying to capture how they looked. So we have zero food pictures. Yup. None. But let me assure you, the food looks, and taste delicious. Menus stay somewhat the same cruise to cruise and you can check out cruise menus at posted by Scott at thedisneycruiselineblog.com –
After a little rest, and time for the food to digest, we headed to check out the shops. They weren’t to crowded and we made a few purchases. We had heard Alaska merchandise can sell out quickly, so we figured we’d better pick up any must have items the first night. We found a few things we liked and made the purchases. We also saw a few things we might want to purchase, but decided to hold off until the end of the cruise after we’d been to all the ports. Then it was time to head to the nightly show in the Walt Disney Theater. We enjoy a good Broadway show, so we wanted to make sure we say all the Broadway style shows during our sailing. Tonight was the first one. All Aboard. We prefer seats at the front, even at the cost of being off center. We also don’t like to waste time by getting their early. So we walked in with less than 15 minutes to show time, and found seats near the front right, about 3 rows back. When the lights went out, we found ourselves just behind the sign lounge interpreter section. This turned out to be loads of fun. The two interpreters for the show were amazing. They played the parts, acted everything out, and at points were more interesting then the show! All Aboard was more of a short skit to tell you all the cool stuff the cruise has to offer. It reminded me of introduction night at a summer camp. It wasn’t terrible, but it was short, without what felt like a fully developed story line. We still enjoyed it though.
We headed back to our room and found this.
Our first towel Animal! Also the Navigator for the next day, and some chocolates. We walked around the ship some more, and enjoyed the nighttime views.
Then went to our stateroom to relax relaxed. We headed to bed after a long an exciting day. We couldn’t wait to wake up for our first full day at sea, and it starts with a character breakfast!
Follow along from the beginning: Disney Cruise Alaska Part 1.