Since we had just sailed on the Disney Magic on 11/5, it felt rather strange to be boarding the Wonder just eight short days later. Even odder was the fact that we were embarking on Sunday for a three-day cruise. Normally, the Sunday sailing is four days, and the three-day cruises leave on Thursday. In fact, we’ve cruised every Thanksgiving since 1999, the year the Wonder set sail.
But this year, Disney flip-flopped the cruises so people wouldn’t have to embark on the holiday. Instead, they could board on Wednesday and not have such a hectic holiday. To be a bit more budgetary, we decided to forgo spending Thanksgiving onboard and to take the pre-cruise instead.
For a while, it looked like it might be an unusual cruise, as Tropical Storm Gamma had been flitting around the ocean, trying to decide which way to go. At one point, the projected path might have forced us to re-route to South Carolina. But the storm quickly weakened, and the path shifted to leave Florida and the Bahamas well out of the danger zone. Thank goodness it’s November and the ocean is starting to cool down or we might have had another hurricane on our hands. Still, last-minute itinerary changes are the risk you take for sailing during hurricane season (which officially runs until November 30). For the past two years, we’ve had September embarkations switched from Port Canaveral to Fort Lauderdale, and we missed Castaway Cay once last year due to hurricane damage, so flexibility is mandatory for value season cruisers.
The sky looked a little dark as we headed out to Port Canaveral, but fortunately we only encountered a little spot of rain. We left much later than usual; we used to be among the first to arrive, but I haven’t convinced myself to try Disney’s new boarding method yet. It used to be first come, first-served, with a big, Disney World-style queue line. The early risers would stake out their place in line, and often one family member would hold their spot while the others explored the terminal. There is a big model of the ship, and characters usually come out for greetings. Then, at boarding time, the line would inch slowly but surely forward as everyone headed on board.
Now, it’s done Southwest Airlines style (more like other cruise lines do it, too). When you arrive, you get a number that corresponds with your boarding group. In theory, you can sit around, explore the terminal, or register your kids for the club until your group is called instead of waiting in line. In practice, flying Southwest has made me gun-shy of boarding groups. They have pre-boards, then A, B, and C boarding groups, and only about 10 percent of the people actually sit until their group is called. I’ve seen lines form in the lettered corrals an hour before flight time. I’m a get-in-line early kind of person myself, since your position in line dictates your seat selection.
Of course, on the ship you’ve got your assigned stateroom; no need to jockey for the exit row. But even at legacy airlines, people always jump up before their row is called and block the gate, forcing the correct group to maneuver through a human wall. I guess I just fly too much, and it’s made me paranoid about any conveyance with a similar boarding routine, whether it’s on land or sea. I’ve read online reports that the gate-crowders are out in force at the port too. I think that in January we’ll give it a try, but this time we arrived after 1 p.m., when the early crowd would be gone.
Sure enough, the embarkation line was non-existent, but there was still a hefty crowd waiting in line to check in. When we arrive around 11, the checkout counters are usually pretty barren, but now they were swamped with eager cruisers-to-be. We always have our paperwork prepared and ready to go when we arrive, so soon we were checking in for Disney Cruise #47.
One good thing about a late arrival is that the staterooms are ready when you board. Typically, you can’t go in them until 1:30 p.m., so if you have any hand luggage, you have to carry it with you to lunch if you embark earlier. By the time we boarded, the rooms were ready for occupancy, so we dropped off our bags and headed up to Beach Blanket Buffet for lunch. In the old days, if you didn’t arrive early, you’d find yourself rushing to get Palo and/or spa reservations and possibly having slim pickings. Now, you can make those reservations online (90 days before your cruise if you’re a Castaway Club member; 75 days otherwise). Thus, even if you board late, you don’t have to worry about anything but how many shrimp you’ll eat on the buffet if you’ve taken care of everything in advance.
Shrimp was definitely my husband’s big concern; he loaded a healthy portion on his plate. Shrimp indulgence is his favorite way to kick off each Disney cruise. I was a bit more conservative, opting mainly for salad and a delicious slice of veal. For dessert, I piled on a hunk of apple/cranberry crumble with vanilla sauce. We never eat breakfast on the morning of a cruise because we know that we’ll soon be at the buffet, kicking off three days of big eating.
After the meal, we headed back to our stateroom in the far aft section of the ship. I know that most people prefer midship, and I’ve never understood that. I hate hallway noise, and when you’re at the butt end of the ship, you won’t have many people passing by your stateroom. The aft elevators are much less crowded than midship, and it’s very convenient to get to most of the restaurants. An easy way to remember where things are located is “Forward fun, Aft eat,” since the Walt Disney Theater, nightclubs, and spa are all forward, while the buffet, Scoops, Palo, Animators Palate, and Parrot Cay are all aft. A word of caution: if your stateroom is in the back of the ship, you’ll find yourself in a perpetual state of hunger because of the enticing scents from the restaurants that drift into the aft hallways.
I popped out onto the verandah while my husband unpacked the luggage; he has a routine that it’s best not to disturb. The sky was still looking gray and threatening, but I knew that even if the weather was a wash-out, there would be plenty to do on board the ship.
At 4 p.m. we trooped downstairs to Animators Palate for the safety drill. Your lifeboat station is based on your stateroom; you’ll either be out on the deck, inside the Walt Disney Theater, or inside Animators (our typical station, since we’re almost always in the same part of the ship). First, there is a demonstration of how to put on your life jacket. Then, there is an announcement with general safety information. We’ve heard it so many times that we could probably spiel it ourselves. There is one part that says the stateroom telephone will ring as an awareness alarm if a smoke detector is triggered in the room. My husband whispered, “So what happens if the telephone is on fire?” It was a dumb thing to say, but it still gave us both a fit of the giggles. I kept picturing a burning, ringing telephone and some poor soul in the stateroom trying to figure out how to pick up the flaming receiver. We sat there, looking like a pair of orange Sponge Bob clones in our life jackets, trying to stifle our sniggers and look suitably serious.
After the drill, we trooped back to our stateroom to get ready for our massage appointments. Since we’ve sailed so many times, we usually skip the sail away party in favor of some spa time. This time around, the rain had forced the party indoors anyway (when bad weather threatens, the festivities are moved into the atrium). I’m sure that everyone still had fun, but my preference was to be prone on a treatment table. I had signed up for reflexology so I could get ready for the show quickly, without having massage oil in my hair. Hubby was in another treatment room getting a deep tissue massage.
The first night’s show was “Hercules,” which I haven’t seen in a while. Hubby almost always sees it, but sometimes I opt for a longer spa treatment or simply lounge on the verandah on the first evening. Since I recently saw “Twice Charmed” (Herc’s replacement on the Magic), I was in the mood to refresh my memory and see how the two compare.
After my treatment, I headed to the theater to meet up with hubby. He said he wanted to get there early, hoping to get a front row seat. I arrived about 25 minutes before show time, and the front row was still available, but my husband was nowhere in sight. I plopped down and tried to keep an eye out for him as guests headed into the theater. At first, there was just a trickle, but soon it was a veritable sea of humanity. The clock was ticking closer to show time when hubby finally showed up. For some reason, he thought the show started at 6:30 instead of 6:15, so he’d been killing time on deck 9 at the Cove Café. The smell of his African Nectar tea wafted up temptingly from its cup as he settled in beside me. He’d had it at High Tea on the Magic and was very pleased to discover that he can buy it on the Wonder. Now, if Cove would only get some scones with jam and Devonshire cream, life would be perfect! Oh well, their “black and white” cookies are delicious.
This was the first time I’d seen this particular cast perform “Hercules.” It always makes the show better where there is a strong Hades, Pain, and Panic, since they tend to steal the show with their comedy routines. Happily, this troupe didn’t disappoint. They had quite a few new jokes, one of which in particular was a real crowd pleaser (I don’t want to give it away, but it’s a play off a popular television commercial).
It’s hard to compare “Hercules” to “Twice Charmed,” since they are very different shows. Herc is a vaudeville-style comedy heavy on the corny jokes, while “Twice Charmed” is an all-out production show. It definitely helps if you’ve seen the movie version of Herc; otherwise, you’ll be rather lost in the play. The first time I ever saw it, I hadn’t seen the cartoon, so I was left scratching my head. I saw it before my next cruise, and then it was like, “Aha!”
The ship was rockin’ and rollin’ pretty good. I can usually feel the motion as we cross the gulf stream, but this time it was tossing me around a little more than usual. I’m not prone to sea sickness, but it can be quite a challenge to walk a straight line. I marveled at how the performers could dance around the stage as the ship bounced through the ocean.
After the show, it was back to our stateroom to get ready for dinner. Staggered dining appears to be permanent, meaning that if you’re on late seating, your start time will be either 8, 8:15, or 8:30 p.m. The time remains the same, even though you switch restaurants each night. It sounds more confusing than it actually is, and it gives families with young children a chance to eat a little earlier, even if they couldn’t get on first seating.
We started in Parrot Cay, where the onion soup and crab Newberg good appetizers and the mixed grill is a delicious dinner choice. For dessert, I like the lemon meringue pie. We were at table 68, coincidentally the same table we’d had on the Magic. We were seated with a father and son, although on that first night the son had opted to stay in the kids’ club because he was having such a good time. if the young ‘uns are having so much fun that they don’t want to leave, the club will feed them.
After dinner, we headed to Wavebands for “Match Your Mate.” We arrived early to enjoy the band “High Frequency” before the show started. In the dark old days, when smoking was till allowed in the club, we arrived just early enough to get a table as far as possible from the smoking section. I’d try not to breath in the smoke that inevitably took over the club and rush out as soon as the show was over. Now, I can spend more time in Wavebands, enjoying the shows or just relaxing. I had always hoped that Disney would someday ban smoking during the shows and events; I never dared hope they would ban it completely, but it’s wonderful! If you’re a smoker, don’t worry. You can run right up to deck 4 and pop outside if you need to light up, or you can go to one of the other clubs where smoking is still allowed (Cadillac Lounge and Diversions after 9 p.m.).
We had never heard “High Frequency” before, but hubby really liked them. We were sorry that it was such a short cruise, as we would have liked to see more of their performances. Hopefully they will still be onboard when we sail for four days in January and February.
“Match Your Mate” is an at-sea version of the newlywed game, but only one couple is newly married. The other participants are the longest married couple (on this cruise, it was a husband and wife celebrating 50 years of matrimony) and the “party couple” (the one that can act the craziest in order to be picked).
I was a little disappointed because the host never asked the couples to go into details with their answers. In past shows, some of the details have been an absolute riot. I’ve heard stories about people making whoopee in a Six Flags parking lot or in a car parked on a Boy Scout hiking path (and yes, a troop did come by). One of the best was a newlywed couple spending their honeymoon on the Magic because they had met on the ship a year earlier and had…uh, “discovered the magic” on the deck 7 aft public verandah. But this time around, I just got basic answers and had to use my imagination.
After the show, we hiked to the back of the ship and collapsed into bed. I had placed a breakfast order with room service (you can mark your choices on a door hanger and put it out on your doorknob with your preferred time), so we figured that would be our wake-up call.
Even though Monday was technically Nassau day, hubby and I usually pretend it’s a day at sea. The room service delivery was right on time, so we dragged our lazy butts out of bed to eat on the verandah. I had planned to disembark briefly to look at jewelry (I love the hand-beaded necklaces at the Straw Market), but storm clouds were threatening so I decided to just stay on board.
We always spend lots of time in the spa on Nassau day. I had booked a Pamper Package in the morning and a massage in the afternoon, while hubby had a seaweed wrap scheduled, so we knew it would be a nice, relaxing day even if storms raged outside. He worked out in the fitness room while I had my first treatment. This was the first time I’ve done the Pamper Package, and it was so nice! It’s done in the hair salon part of the spa; you get a scalp, neck, and shoulder massage, and you also get a facial mask and an arm/hand and foot/leg massage. It lasted about an hour and was $99.
After that, it was time for lunch. Although we normally eat lunch at the Topsiders buffet, on this cruise we decided to have a sit down meal at Triton’s. I originally ordered a Reuben sandwich, but I had forgotten about the freshly made tropical salad and pasta. When the server reminded me, I quickly changed my order. I always order a handful of maraschino cherries throw into my salad, which goes well with the pineapple and ham. The pasta usually has a red sauce, but on this day there was also a seafood alfredo option. I tried it, and it was so good! It was loaded with plenty of shrimp and scallops.
We never got a major storm, but it rained on and off all day, and sometimes the downpours were pretty hard. Many of the far aft balconies are a little more recessed, so we were able to sit outside and watch the rain as it moved across the island.
Soon it was time to head back to the spa for my massage and hubby’s seaweed wrap. Once upon a time, he refused to try the wrap even though he loves the Elemis bath synergies. Finally I convinced him to try it, and now he is hooked. He loves to be slathered in warm seaweed and wrapped up like a baked potato. It eases his muscles and gives him a good sweat. I enjoy that treatment, too, but I don’t do it as often as he does. This time around, I had booked a plain, ordinary massage.
After our treatments, it was nearly showtime. The show on the second night is “The Golden Mickeys,” a revue-style spectacle that is plotted loosely around an awards show. It features scenes from a number of popular Disney movies in rapid succession. You’ll see everyone from the Snow White, Mulan, Tarzan, and the Hunchback to Tarzan, Sleeping Beauty, Ursula, and Cruella DeVil. I enjoy the fact that Elvis Stitch is in the comedy number, since the naughty blue alien is one of my favorite Disney characters.
However, while hubby opted to see it live in the theater, I stayed in our stateroom to watch it on t.v. A pre-recorded version of the show is broadcast on television at the same time it is onstage. On the Magic, I noticed that it was the original version of the show, which featured Roy Disney in the intro. That was my favorite part of the show, and I was annoyed recently when Roy was removed and replaced with Whoopi Goldberg. I felt that the Disney family connection really added to the show. Whoopi is just another celebrity with no special connection; it was so much nicer to hear Roy talking about the early days of his dad and his Uncle Walt.
I hoped that the Wonder would be broadcasting the same version as the Magic, and I was in luck! While hubby watched the new version, I saw the original and crossed my fingers that it will still be running in January when we sail again. I’m sure they’ll update it one of these days, but I’ll watch it all I can until then.
Oddly enough, on the Magic the stage shows run every hour on television, starting in the evening. On the Wonder, they are only run twice, at the same time as the theater production. It seems like they should be run multiple times, like on the Magic, so people who miss their scheduled show have more changes to see it. Also, if it runs later, parents can tuck their little ones into bed and they can watch the show while drifting off to Dreamland.
We had scheduled Palo for Nassau night, so hubby and I hurriedly put on our dress clothes and headed up to deck 10 for what we knew would be a superb meal. Palo is the adults-only restaurant that you can schedule in lieu of your regular restaurant. Meals are prepared to order, just like in a land-based eatery, and the Northern Italian cuisine is on a par with the best shoreside restaurants. Their filet mignon and lamb are two of my favorites, but their pastas are wonderful, too. To complicate matters, each night there are also multiple specials. It’s hard enough choosing from the regular menu without having additional temptations.
One of the specials was veal scallopini, which we’ve had before. We know how good it is, so that made choosing a bit easier. But you may not have room for your main course between the rich array of appetizer choices and the other accompaniments, like antipasto and bread with three dipping sauces.
But don’t fill up…you must save some room for dessert. Palo’s most famous dessert is the chocolate soufflé, but lately I have been won over by their homemade gelato (ice cream). My favorite is the hazelnut, but lemon is a close second.
Our server, Agnes, was the wife of our dining room server, Levi. She gave us attentive service, and we enjoyed yet another wonderful Palo meal. By the time we were done, it was all we could do to roll ourselves out of our chairs and down the stairs to our stateroom, where we plopped into bed. The next day was supposed to be Castaway Cay day, but the weather was so uncertain that I was half-expecting to miss the island. I had even booked a morning spa appointment just in case. Hubby maintained an optimistic attitude, but I had a strong suspicion that this would be the second time in our 47 cruises that we didn’t stop at CC.
TUESDAY: DAY AT SEA (NO CASTAWAY CAY!)
Since we’re usually in the aft part of the ship, the thrusters usually bring me to consciousness (if only briefly) while we’re docking. On Tuesday, I woke up, but I didn’t hear the familiar sound. It was definitely morning, and a glance at my watch told me that we should be docking at the island. I popped out onto the verandah and saw that we were heading away from Castaway Cay! I could feel the wind and sea the waves, so I wasn’t surprised.
I crawled back into bed and told hubby what was going on. “No,” he said, “that was another island. We haven’t gotten to Castaway Cay yet. We’re still two miles away.” I have no idea what brought on that fantasy, but I just shrugged…he’d discover the truth soon enough. Sure enough, a few minutes later the Captain announced on the PA system that docking wasn’t possible. Faced with 40 knot winds, he’d had to give up and opt for a day at sea.
The navigators (daily activity lists) that had been delivered the night before listed Castaway Cay activities. Guest Services hurriedly delivered revised navs with hastily added day at sea activities. I was pleased to see that there would be a “Disney Dreams” matinee. I love that show, and being able to see it early would free up packing time in the evening before dinner.
We had pre-ordered breakfast once again, and it arrived shortly after the Captain’s announcement. As we ate, we discussed our plans. I felt sorry for the people who had never seen Castaway Cay before, but personally I wasn’t too disappointed. Sure, I missed the island, as CC is a real tropical paradise. But a day on the island goes by so fast; having a day at sea thrown it made it seem more leisurely and relaxing. Hubby headed to the workout room, while I went to the spa for Ladies Morning. That’s a nice little package that includes a facial, half-body massage, and time in the rainforest (sauna, steam rooms, and scented showers) with champagne and snacks. After my blissful treatments, I headed woozily off to the rainforest. Facials never fail to put me to sleep, so I was trying to full regain consciousness (the champagne wasn’t helping). I thought it would be crowded, but happily three of the four heated tile loungers were empty. I set up camp in one of them and settled in to read a book for half an hour before lunchtime. My timing was good, as people poured in shortly after I arrived. Soon, the other loungers were occupied, and there were people in all of the other rooms and showers.
Finally, I tore myself away and headed back to the stateroom to join hubby for lunch. We decided to go to Triton’s again for a relaxing sit-down meal rather than a buffet. On the way, he told me he’d heard many people complaining about the abrupt change in itinerary. While I’m sure they were disappointed to miss Castaway Cay, that’s the risk of sailing in hurricane season or in the winter. We sail often in the risky season, and as I mentioned, this is the second time we’ve missed the island (which is actually quite remarkable for as often as we cruise).
A few years back, in January, we missed Grand Cayman because the ocean was too rough for tendering, and on our Western cruise just a week earlier we’d had to go to Costa Maya instead of Cozumel because of hurricane damage. Both last September and this September, we’ve had our embarkation switched to Fort Lauderdale due to hurricanes. In 2004, I was not a happy camper because we were traveling with a friend in a wheelchair, and the four hour drive was very difficult for her (actually, the thing that made me angriest wasn’t the change, but rather misinformation given to me by DCL; I was told we would lose all our money if we cancelled, but I found out later that we could have paid a penalty and applied most of it to a future reservation…since I typically have six to eight ressies for future cruises at any one time, that wouldn’t have been a problem). This year, it was just my husband and I, so the drive to Fort Lauderdale was no big deal.
If you chose to cruise, you need to be flexible. Odds are you’ll be able to do the scheduled itinerary with no problem, but when you’re in a seafaring vessel, you’re at Mother Nature’s mercy. You never know when she might throw you a curveball, so it’s best not to sail if that would ruin your trip.
After lunch, we headed to the Walt Disney Theater to catch the “Disney Dreams” matinee. Normally, matinee shows are rather sparsely attended. However, with the unexpected day at sea, the theater quickly became packed with bodies. I’m sure it was a mix of people looking for some entertainment and those, like us, who figured that they could catch the show early and have some extra time to pack in the evening.
We’ve seen “Disney Dreams” over 40 times, but it’s the signature Disney Cruise Line show so we still catch it on almost every trip. Like “Golden Mickeys,” it’s a revue-style show, but the numbers are woven around a simple plot. The Blue Fairy sends Peter Pan to fulfill the wish of a girl named Ann-Marie. She wants to fly, but doesn’t quite know how, and Peter teaches her to the tune of a parade of popular Disney songs. There are numbers from Aladdin, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and the Lion King.
After the show, I had one last spa appointment booked before the Castaway Club party. I knew it would run a bit over (the party starts at 5:15, but I would be done around 5:30). Hubby said he would get a table, and since I was getting reflexology, I could run right over to Wavebands without needing to wash any oil out of my hair.
As I lay on the treatment table, nearly dozing off, I reflected on the fact that this was the way I had started the trip, too. The sea had been a lot rougher heading out. Now it was so smooth that I could barely tell we were moving. The spa was doing a booming business; normally, Castaway Cay day is slower because most of the guests are on the island. Now, with the last-minute switch to a day at sea, many had added spa appointments. Thankfully, I’d suspected that we might not be going to the island early enough to get my choice of treatments and times.
Another good thing about reflexology is that you don’t even have to get undressed, since it focuses on your feet. After it was done, I was able to hop off the table and hurry right to the Castaway Club party. It was held in Wavebands, but compared to the gala on the Magic, it was tiny. The seven-night cruises always seem to have way more repeaters than the shorter trips. Hubby had commandeered a table and was chatting with some of our crew member friends. He had ordered Castaway Punch for both of us; it’s a delicious drink made with light rum, blue curacao, pineapple juice, and orange juice. It goes down smooth, but it packs a wallop! We’d had it for the first time on our Magic cruise, and we were pleased to see that it’s offered on the Wonder, too.
Once everyone had settled in with food and drinks, Cruise Director Jacqui and Captain John gave brief speeches. We stuck around for a little while after they were done because we met a couple who knew us from our website. We had a nice chat, then headed back to our stateroom to get ready for dinner. “Who Wants to Be a Mouseketeer” was being held in Studio Sea before dinner, so we decided to give it a shot. My husband lusts after the crystal paperweight prize, although he’s not as good at Disney trivia as I am. If one of us ever gets chosen, I can do the work and he can take the spoils of victory. The only questions that throw me are ones about really, really obscure live action Touchstone movies or ESPN sports questions.
Contestants are chosen at random by the computer, and I could see that our odds were low because the room was packed to the rafters. I’ve never seen Studio Sea so crowded! I managed to get literally the last seat, and hubby leaned up against a post next to me. The crowd kept coming, sitting down on the floor or standing in every inch of available space.
Sometimes Mouseketeer is played like a real game (i.e. you can lose by getting a question wrong), and sometimes the host all but hands out the answers on a silver platter. This cruise, it was a no-lose game, although amazingly some of the contestants didn’t even realize it. It cracks me up when some of them try to insist on sticking with a wrong answer, even though everyone else in the room is picking up on the host’s hint. Eventually, all of the contestants figured it out and emerged victorious.
After the game, it was time to head to Animators Palate for our last dinner of the cruise. I could easily make a meal of the appetizers there without even ordering a main course. The soup, duck and goat cheese flatbread, and seafood wrappers are all excellent choices.
I always enjoy the show, but this time I was just slightly disappointed…only because I had just sailed on the Magic, where Sorcerer Mickey comes out as part of the finale. He’s absent on the Wonder, but since it was the last night, they did have the traditional parade of servers and chefs. The restaurant breaks out in pandemonium as each table tries to make the most noise to show they had the best serving team. I’ve learned that the best way to make a good ruckus is to take the metal table number and beat it rhythmically with your spoon.
All too soon, the dinner was over, and it was time to head back to our stateroom for our last night of Disney dreams. The 70s party was at 11 p.m., but we didn’t want to stay up too late since we had to get up early the next morning. I can hardly wait until 2006, when we’re doing all four night cruises (other than one seven night on the Magic). That way, we can party on Castaway Cay night and sleep in the next morning, which is a day at sea.
Disembarkation morning is always so depressing. I hate waking up in Port Canaveral and knowing that soon I’ll have to leave the ship. This time, it was doubly confusing…normally, we disembark on Sunday, but this time around it was the middle of the week. At least it was the day before Thanksgiving, so we’d have the holiday weekend to distract us from the fact that our trip was over. I envied the happy cruisers who’d be boarding the ship in a few short hours and sailing off for a holiday at sea.
Everyone is given an assigned breakfast time, based on their dinner seating. You can have a sit-down meal at the designated time, or you can go to Beach Blanket Buffet for a quick bite if you want to disembark earlier. Normally, we don’t take either option, as we’re so full from three days of indulgence that we don’t need another meal.
We gathered our luggage and said goodbye to the Wonder, rolling down the hallway towards the midship atrium. Sometimes there is a line to disembark, but this time the gangway was clear. The only challenge was to work our way around the line of people waiting to enter Triton’s for breakfast. The entrance of the restaurant is positioned so the line perfectly blocks the poor souls trying to exit the ship.
We managed to make our way through the crowd and headed towards the terminal. I enjoy going through the luggage area because they have the neatest paintings. Unfortunately, you can’t take pictures in that area, so I can’t get photos for my website. But be sure to look for them when you sail; they line both walls in the luggage pick-up area, so you can’t miss ‘em. Customs had no line, so before we knew it, we were outside and on our way to the parking lot. It was very chilly for Florida…not even 50 degrees! Brrrr! Already I was dreaming of cruise #48 in January, when we'd get another shot at Castaway Cay. By then, I knew I'd be ready for a round of tropical sunshine.