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 The software our forums run on is just too out-of-date and it poses a significant security risk.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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Embarkation day, Feb 7-The Coral Princess
Walked down the street from the Embassy Suites to the nearest Starbucks for my morning mocha (double shot sugar free) and to access the internet. I was not willing to pay the hotel for internet. : Then back to the hotel for the ‘free’ breakfast (vegetarian omelet and fruit) Since both the hotel and transfer to the ship were booked through the cruise line, we were allowed to keep our room until 11am. Placed the luggage by the door by 9 as instructed (and it was picked up soon thereafter). Down to the lobby about 10:30 and hung around with other soon to be cruise passengers and the Princess representative arrived about 11. She checked our names off of the the list of those with transfers, then sent us to a nearby banquet room where we identified our luggage (the beginning of security), whereupon the placed a sticker on it next to the luggage tag, the we were directed outside to board the busses to the port. A note here –this was a decent deal $15 for the service for ONE person as a cab would have been $12-15 to the nearby cruise port. For a couple I would use a cab. Security (viewing your ID, boarding pass and having your carryon scanned) was QUICK (about 2 minutes).
Then around the corner to get your cruise card. There were two lines. The first for first time and those with less than 5 prior cruises was six lanes about 50 feet long. The one for those with more than 5 previous cruises was about 5 people. 1/3 of the way through the line and it came to a dead stop (and yes both lines) After standing in one place for about 10 minutes, one employee came over and explained the delay. Since the ship had returned from drydock in Freeport, Bahamas, the night before, the had been about 600 workers still on board as part of the refurbishment. Most were leaving, but immigration could not verify them as they had a computer hangup. Until ICE could verify all had ‘entered’ the country and those that would leave the US with us, those getting off could not and no one could get on. The line for cruise cards was stopped as the boarding waiting area was overflowing awaiting embarkation. Finally, after an hour, ICE released the ship and those checked in started boarding. The issuance of cruise cards started after most of them had embarked (about another 15 minutes). Finally at last I got my cruise card and headed toward embarkation. After the mandatory stop for shipboard ID photo and the nuisance ‘boarding’ picture from the onboard photo squad, I was able to board. 11:15 departure from hotel, and at 1:15 I was in my room. Inside passage, forward between the theater 4 decks below me and the buffet 3 decksabove me.
The ship (taken later)
Room (bed view)
View from bed to desk
Met my steward Sonny, and headed to the plaza level to buy my Soda card, get my cruise card punched to place it on a lanyard, then up to the Lido deck to the buffet –which is forward and has windows facing over the bow (there will be some cloud Canal photos taken through these windows later) got a snack and my first diet coke, and returned to my room by 2:15. My luggage was there, so I unpacked, and awaited 3:15 muster drill.
During the wait, I perused the days Princess patter and the TV guide. The available channels were the “Princess Channel”-21, Popular sitcom reruns-23, Movie channel 24; Romance channel-25; Art Auction/education channel 26; Family movie channel 27; Discovery network 28; Excursion information-29; Port shopping channel-30 (yes the Dog and Pony Jewelry presentation is now 24 hours a day):sad: , Reflections channel-31(previewing the DVD you could buy), Future Cruise Channel-32 (adds for other cruises Princess offers), Fox news 33, BBC News 34; MSNBC-35; CNBC-36, ESPN international 38; ESPN2-39; Ship’s display (course speed weather etc) 40, and view from the ships bow camera-41).
The first day’s TV Movies were: Friends with Kids; The Magic of Bell Island; The Notebook; What to expect when you’re expecting; Brave (yay Disney) ; The Adventures of Tin Tin
My muster was held in the Princess theater, life jackets put on at the end of the drill, and they scanned you as you walked up the aisle to leave (yes they took roll) and then back to the room to stow it. Sail away party was at 4pm, and the ship sailed within about 10 minutes of scheduled time.
Bye Fort Lauderdale and east coast
Off to my dinner assignment of 5:30. Table for 10. Two couples that grew up together, A retired Principal and his school teacher wife; A couple from Washington DC (he sells to military, she is a high priced DC lawyer) a retired airforce colonel and me.
Dinner was Spring rolls, pina colada soup, Prime rib and sugar free mango cheesecake.
Available movies on MUTS(their Lido Deck Movie screen) were Billy Joel in Concert @Shea Stadium, Lionel Ritchie Live in Paris, Premium Rush. In the Princess theater was the Welcome Aboard Showtime with the Coral Princess singers and dancers, and comedian Michael Washington. Rum and diet coke in hand I enjoyed the show in the theater. The shows have been reduced to 30 minutes each (but they put them on 3 times a night so all can get a seat). They also had a late movie in the Universe lounge-Hope Sprngs.
After the show in the theater, I went to my room and my comfy bed
First sea day Feb 8
My body clock had adjusted to Eastern time, so no surprise to me, I woke at my usual 5:30 am! After cleaning up and putting on appropriate cruise wear (shorts , tank top and my birkis (birkenstocks that are waterproof) down the stairs 4 decks to the promenade level, the walk midships, down two more decks (the stairs and elevator at my end of the ship only go down to deck 7) and slightly aft to my early morning home away from home, the international café. This was one of the changes to the Coral Princess in the shipyard, the addition of the IC. It is the home of the espresso machine and my morning double shot mocha and pastries (a couple of pre made sandwiches are offered later in the day)
Then up to the Horizon Court for breakfast of Scrambled eggs, fruit, sausage and a cream cheese pastry.
Back to my room to change shoes, and then continue my exercising at sea. (Remember I started with using stairs instead of elevators). At 9:00-am up to the Lido deck and Zumba @sea. Yes, start the cruise with an hour of workout. Got the spouse of a fellow Zumba participant to get proof via the following video http://youtu.be/k4RbCGvqAG8 http://youtu.be/Gn16P9Y5ADE
For that do not know me, I am the fat dude in a red tank top and shorts, usually a few beats behind everyone else
Next was the shopping spotlight show aka shop were we get a kickback. For once it was not just the shops ashore, but they also featured information on shopping onboard.
Somehow I left my camera there and did not notice my missing camera for a couple hours. Went to guest services and they logged my loss, but said they did not have my camera for the rest of the day (I checked every few hours to see if it had been turned in. Accordingly, there are not a lot of pictures taken this day.
Since we had 9 sea days, I will spread ship pictures across the sea days, even though they may not be taken that day.
At 10:30 I passed by the Wheelhouse lounge where trivia was getting started, and some of my table mates asked me to join them. I had 3 (correct) answers that helped their score, but we finished 2nd, and 2nd gets nothing L
Then went to a meet and greet with those I had “met” in advance on cruise critic.
Up to the horizon court for a lunch of sweet and sour pork and a salad.
For the afternoon , off to the hot tub, and then spit roast in the sun.
Dinner was French Onion soup, salad, barramundi with potatoes and asparagus, and oreo peanut butter pie for dessert. It was Formal night #1
Movies available on the TV today were:
Haywire, People Like Us, Morning Glory, New Years Eve, Hugo, and Madagascar 3
MUTS featured Premium Rush in the afternoon, then James Taylor Live at the Beacon Theater, The Dark Knight Rises
The Princess Theater was “Motor City” and the Universe Lounge had Michael Washington
I saw Michael Washington a second time (new material)
One of the nice things about the larger number of sea days is the addition of “Scholarship at Sea”.
We had 4 J
Chris Roberts was the port lecturer. He did previews of every port we were to visit (not a sales pitch). He also narrated the entire way through the Panama Canal.
Ray Rychnovsky shared topical presentations on Marine Life of Central America, Natives of Central America, Central America’s wildlife; Pirates, Taming the West and The Transcontinental Railroad
James Randall gave bridge lessons
Patricio from the cruise staff gave daily 1 hour Spanish lessons.
I think the IC would be my hangout. Looks very nice! Good for you for exercising on-board. I love that they had "scholarship at sea" lectures. I'd be at every one, especially on a cruise like the Panama transit, with so much history.
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Second sea day
Up for morning mocha at the International Café followed by a trip down the stairs to the passenger services desk to ask if my camera had been turned in. The lady said : :sad: Then her supervisor asked me what kind of camera it was and I told him. He said let me check the safe. He went in the room behind the safe and came out with my camera He apologized that apparently his staff did not do their job an log it in when it was placed in the safe like they were supposed to do. Prakesh from India, you made my morning. Then up to the buffet for scrambled eggs, melon and juice. At 9:00 off to more zumba, or so I thought My knees and ankles had other thoughts. From now on my exercise would be stairs and laps around the ship.
Next was the culinary demonstration followed by the galley tour. After the tour, another round of trivia with tablemates and another second place finish.
Pepperoni pizza for lunch. Princess makes mighty fine pizza
For the afternoon I spent time in the hot tub, then another session of slow roasting of my body (I still have most of the tan 10 days later) This was followed by doing a batch of laundry as it was Saturday and I had been using up my clean clothes supply since Tuesday.
Dinner tonight was Shrimp bisque, salad, Braised Lamb shanks with brussel sprouts, eggplant and potatoes, and key lime pie for dessert.
Movies available on the tv today were Men in Black 3, Pride and Prejudice, Dr Seuss the Lorax; We Bought a Zoo, Safe, and Killers. Todays’ Movies Under the Stars were The Devil Wears Prada (afternoon movie) Stevie Wonder-Live at Last, Total Recall (2012). In the Universe lounge was Rock N Roll trivia night and Rock N Roll Night. The Princess theater featured the song styling of Sonia Selbie. I chose here concert and it was dynamite.
A few more shipboard pictures:
The kids area (as close as I could get as only parents allowed in doors-even if unoccupied)
The tiny casino
The Lido deck (and deck 16-both great for sunbathing and movies under the stars