A Quick Caribbean Cruise? Count me in! PTR and Live TR all in one!! updated 12/12/2013 - Page 5 - PassPorter - A Community of Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel Forums
As of January 1, 2019, we have closed our forums. This is a decision we did not come to lightly, but it is necessary. The software our forums run on is just too out-of-date and it poses a significant security risk. The server software itself must be updated, and it cannot be without removing the forums.
So it is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to our long-running forums. They came online in 2000 and brought together so many wonderful Disney fans. We had friendships form, careers launch, couples marry, children born ... all because of this amazing community.
Thank you to each of you who were a part of this community. You made it possible.
And a very special thank you to our Guides (moderators), past and present, who kept our forums a happy place to be. You are the glue that held everything together, and we are forever grateful to you. Thank you aliceinwdw, Caldercup, MrsM, WillCAD, Fortissimo, GingerJ, HiddenMickey, CRCrazy, Eeyoresmom, disneyknut, disneydani, Cam22, chezp, WDWfan, Luvsun, KMB733, rescuesk, OhToodles!, Colexis Mom, lfredsbo, HiddenMickey, DrDolphin, DopeyGirl, duck addict, Disneybine, PixieMichele, Sandra Bostwick, Eeyore Tattoo, DyanKJ130, Suzy Q'Disney, LilMarcieMouse, AllisonG, Belle*, Chrissi, Brant, DawnDenise, Crystalloubear, Disneymom9092, FanOfMickey, Goofy4Goofy, GoofyMom, Home4us123, iamgrumpy, ilovedisney247, Jennifer2003, Jenny Pooh, KrisLuvsDisney, Ladyt, Laughaholic88, LauraBelle Hime, Lilianna, LizardCop, Loobyoxlip, lukeandbrooksmom, marisag, michnash, MickeyMAC, OffKilter_Lynn, PamelaK, Poor_Eeyore, ripkensnana, RobDVC, SHEANA1226, Shell of the South, snoozin, Statelady01, Tara O'Hara, tigger22, Tink and Co., Tinkerbelz, WDWJAMBA, wdwlovers, Wendyismyname, whoSEZ, WildforWD, and WvuGrrrl. You made the magic.
We want to personally thank Sara Varney, who coordinated our community for many years (among so many other things she did for us), and Cheryl Pendry, our Message Board Manager who helped train our Guides, and Ginger Jabour, who helped us with the PassPorter-specific forums and Live! Guides. Thank you for your time, energy, and enthusiasm. You made it all happen.
There are other changes as well.
Why? Well, the world has changed. And change with it, we must. The lyrics to "We Go On" for IllumiNations say it best:
We go on to the joy and through the tears
We go on to discover new frontiers
Moving on with the current of the years.
We go on
Moving forward now as one
Moving on with a spirit born to run
Ever on with each rising sun.
To a new day, we go on.
It's time to move on and move forward.
PassPorter is a small business, and for many years it supported our family. But the world changed, print books took a backseat to the Internet, and for a long time now it has been unable to make ends meet. We've had to find new ways to support our family, which means new careers and less and less time available to devote to our first baby, PassPorter.
But eventually, we must move on and move forward. It is the right thing to do.
So we are retiring this newsletter, as we simply cannot keep up with it. Many thanks to Mouse Fan Travel who supported it all these years, to All Ears and MousePlanet who helped us with news, to our many article contributors, and -- most importantly -- to Sara Varney who edited our newsletter so wonderfully for years and years.
And we are no longer charging for the Live Guides. If you have a subscription, it's yours to keep for the lifetime of the Live Guides at no additional cost. The Live Guides will stay online, barring server issues and technical problems, for all of 2019.
That said, PassPorter is not going away. Most of the resources will remain online for as long as we can support them, and after that we will find ways to make whatever we can available. PassPorter means a great deal to us, and to many of you, and we will do our best to keep it alive in whatever way we can. Our server costs are high, and they'll need to come out of our pockets, so in the future you can expect some changes so we can bring those costs down.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your amazing support over the years. Without you, there's no way us little guys could have made something like this happen and given the "big guys" a run for their money. PassPorter was consistently the #3 guidebook after the Unofficial and Official guides, which was really unheard of for such a small company to do. We ROCKED it thanks to you and your support and love!
If you miss us, you can still find some of us online. Sara started a new blog at DisneyParkPrincess.com -- I strongly urge you to visit and get on her mailing list. She IS the Disney park princess and knows Disney backward and forward. And I am blogging as well at JenniferMaker.com, which is a little craft blog I started a couple of years ago to make ends meet. You can see and hear me in my craft show at https://www.youtube.com/c/jennifermaker . Many PassPorter readers and fans are on Facebook, in groups they formed like the PassPorter Trip Reports and PassPorter Crafting Challenge (if you join, just let them know you read about it in the newsletter). And some of our most devoted community members started a forum of their own at Pixie Dust Lane and all are invited over.
So we encourage you to stay in touch with us and your fellow community members wherever works best for you!
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After lots of meandering we went to lunch at Johnny Rockets, which made me SO happy!
Lunch! Splitting our meal was the perfect portion size!
The two bracelets that I got from the crazy girls... the green one is now Meri's, ha! I like the other one.
On the water taxi again
A fourth ship had joined us in port!
We loved the decoration on this NCL boat
Back on board, getting some rays!
A better shot of my hair
Toni's disgusting escargot
My odd asparagus soup
Our boarding photo, which we did NOT buy
Monday's update to come later tonight I hope! I'm off, and all I have to do is a little light cleaning, and I'm free! So I plan on sitting in bed, catching up on my DVRed stuff, and posting on here (and maybe catching up on some TR's!!!)
Thanks for reading along! It's much easier to do a live TR when you don't have to pay such insane prices for internet...
This time of year it's always hard to believe there are places that warm and sunny with such blue, blue water and sky! Your hair does look great-- the highlights are subtle and natural-looking. And your dinner outfit is very spiffy! Everything looks wonderful-- except dinner. Blah. You're right-- that is NOT creme brulee. It's pudding.
I'm so dopey... here's the update for the rest of Sunday night... (pictures are above, as you can see)... bear with me, I'm tired, apparently.
Dinner was amusing but the food was disappointing as ever. We switched up some seating since we had quite a large group, and we had some new faces at our table, so that was interesting, and hilarious! One guy was the “class clown” as it were, and I was entertaining myself by encouraging him to take his antics a step further, and a step further. Everyone else, I think, was about to kill me, but I figure hey, if I have to sit through it, might as well see a real show.
I ordered escargot for Toni, and she said it was gross, overcooked and tasted “dirty” (and she LOVES escargot). Then I got asparagus soup, which was the brightest green ever… but it was ok. The prime rib was actually good, but again, no sour cream or butter for the potato.
The service was just terrible. The servers were polite, but literally they’d come, get your order, and leave, and you’d only see them to get your food delivered. They never asked “How are you? How is the food? Is there anything I can get you?” It was just such a vast disappointment! I tried not to compare it to the Disney Magic, but I mean, even comparing it to last years RCC cruise… it was just awful service. I still remember our server from the last "Toni" cruise… we all do. Her name was Hilda and she was so friendly and hilarious, and very attentive. These guys – nothing. It wasn't entirely their fault though, they had way too many tables to juggle. They tried.
Anyway, we sat at dinner until 11pm… let me tell you that wasn’t by choice. Literally we didn’t finish until then. The food course timing was bizarre, and made zero sense. It was just disappointing all around. Dessert was exactly the same options as before. At least the coffee was hot this time. *shrug*
After dinner a group of us went upstairs to the solarium and sat and chatted for about 45 minutes, and then we headed back downstairs to bed a few before midnight.
Toni was, as usual, up before me. I got really moving around 9am, and called for room service. Ten minutes later, our continental breakfast, orange juice and coffees arrived!
We set ourselves up on the balcony and enjoyed breakfast, looking out over the water. Our side of the ship was not facing the island, so we didn’t have much of a view, but it was nice no matter what.
After we finished breakfast, we headed out to board a tender to the island. We had a short wait, but we made it to the island at just before 10am.
We headed straight for the beach and paid $20 for a clamshell with two beach chairs, so that we could enjoy some shade and a “set” place to camp for the day.
(It's not hard to guess which chair is mine, eh?)
Toni went into the water and I napped in the sun for about an hour. I joined her briefly but the water was REALLY cold, and I just didn’t want to deal with it, so I went back to our chairs and sunned some more.
At noon there was an awards ceremony for Toni’s company, so we all headed over to the bar to get situated beforehand (yes, we had the awards ceremony at a bar). The travel agent brought along a band (seriously) to play at the ceremony… so we had our own band set up at the bar, and they played and we just relaxed for a while and had some drinks.
The travel agent goes along every year, and she always buys drinks for everyone. It’s hilarious! This time she bought us some pina coladas and frankly they were disgusting… blech! Good thing they were free, eh?
After a while, the owner gave out the awards (it’s a very casual awards ceremony, lol) and then we all listened to the band and chatted and hung out. At around 12:45pm, we headed over to the bbq place to get some lunch. The food wasn’t awful. The burgers were quite good, actually, and the corn on the cob was ok. But the rest of it was just “meh” and the pizza was a HUGE miss.
We sat with the owner and his girlfriend, and Gregg and Lize, and chatted a bit. Then Toni and I decided we needed some water time! We headed back to our clamshell, and dropped off our stuff, and then we headed into the water. The water was super cold!!! Toni said I was over-reacting (and I’m sure I was, lol) but I tell you what, it was COLD! I did swim around for about 20 minutes, though, and then I got out and sunned for another 45 minutes or so.
We packed ourselves up at around 2pm and headed for the tender (which really was a ginormous ferry). So we got four good hours on the island. Weirdly, the gift shop on the island was closed… I can’t imagine why, but… whatever. They did have a few kiosks of some kitschy things but nothing I wanted to pay for.
One of the other tenders
Once back on the boat, we headed for the sun deck, because I wanted to relax and get some more sun time in. I think we were out there for another hour before I finally decided I needed to get out of the sun before I burned. We went downstairs and showered and packed. I have to admit, usually I’m sad for a cruise to end, but this time, I was ready. I mean don’t mistake me, I’d love to go back to that island and relax in the sun, etc… but I just have been so disappointed on this boat (and seriously, it’s hard to disappoint me on a cruise – this is the first time I’ve ever had a truly disappointing experience, all around) that I’m just ready to go home and see my kid and get back to work. How weird is that, right?
After all of that, we headed back up to the shops, so I could pick up some Kinder Eggs for Meri. I bought two boxes – one for when I get home, and one for her Christmas stocking. There was nothing else in the shops that impressed me in the least, so I passed on everything else.
We headed over to the buffet on Deck 14 to grab a quick snack, and ran into Matt and Warren along the way, and then Gregg and Lize and two others while getting pizza. We all were completely on the same page about dinner… we decided to skip the dining room and go to the buffet instead. So we agreed to meet at 8pm at the buffet, and then just have a nice relaxing dinner, and then head over to the piano bar for dueling pianos from 9:30pm-11:00pm.
Toni and I sat in the buffet, having our snack (2 slices of pizza) and some coffee, and just chatting away. Then we headed back down to the cabin, where we sat and relaxed for about 90 minutes. We sat out on the balcony chatting with Matt and Warren for a bit, and I updated my TR for a bit. I also Skyped with Meri for a few minutes and used up my last 5 minutes of internet time, so that was fun! I sure did miss that little face, and I couldn't wait to see her!
Finally it was time to meet for dinner at the buffet! There were 12 of us altogether, and we found a perfect table right beside the buffet to accommodate us all.
I have to tell you, the pizza on board was probably some of the best pizza I've ever had outside of NYC. It was out of this world. I tell you, I ate a TON of it!
We sat for a little over an hour, and really enjoyed ourselves. We talked, laughed, told stories, got up to get food whenever the urge hit us... it was just really great, and much better than our experiences in the dining room. Finally we were all full, and so we headed up to the piano bar. I took a few photos on the way...
We all took up an entire couch at the dueling piano bar. Only two of us are missing from this photo - Gregg and myself. And there are four people at the right end of the couch that weren't part of our group... but they left quickly after we sat down - HA!
The show was really raunchy and VERY hilarious... we had a great time laughing and talking and singing, and it was just a perfect way to end the trip.
After the show, we all headed down to our rooms because we all had to vacate our cabins by 7:30am. I wasn't due to leave the ship until 10:15am, but everyone else had to be off with the first wave, because they had morning flights to rush to. I wish I could have stayed in the cabin until then, but alas, 7:30am was the all-out! Toni and I headed to bed fairly quickly, and we were asleep shortly after 12am.