Thursday, February 16, 2017

Disney Wonder 2017

In January we took our fifth Disney Cruise. We cruised the Disney Wonder from Galveston Texas to San Juan Puerto Rico. It was wonderful, as is usual with Disney cruises. The four of us traveled with both Grandmas, just like we did last year. We booked this trip on our last cruise. It was 6 nights, and the ports were Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Falmouth, Jamaica.

We used points to fly direct to IAH. It was on an EMB 170, and the flight (made longer due to weather) felt long on the plane. So be it. Ativan and a beer did its job. It was direct, which was my request.

When we got to the airport, we got our luggage and met our driver. Steve had researched the best way to get from Houston to Galveston, and we ultimately decided on a limo. Since we were traveling with 6 people, the cost wasn't all that much more than a shuttle service. Car rental wasn't an option since returning it was nearly impossible. We used Royal Carriages, and were very pleased. We got the black stretch limo, I think it was a Lincoln. It was perfectly nice and clean and new.

The kids calmly freaked out when they saw we got a limo! They still talk about how that was the coolest part of the trip.

Our driver was great. About halfway through the trip he rolled down the partition and asked if we wanted to stop by the space center. Sure...why not, even though I had no idea what we about to see.

We only spent a couple minutes there, but it was very cool! At one point I mentioned to the driver how cool this was for the pilot in the group.

We made our way into Galveston. What a cute little town! We stayed about three blocks from the pier. Steve picked out the Tremont House, and we were all very pleased. The hotel had a old-school, classic elegance to it. Our room was adjoining with the grandma's room. The rooms were very spacious. The ceilings were nice and tall (we were on the top floor) and the sofas were a nice touch. Steve and I enjoyed the rooftop bar that evening. I had two glasses of wine, but could certainly have had more since the atmosphere and company were perfect.

The next morning we relaxed and walked around some shops before we checked out and boarded the ship. As usual, the check-in wasn't bad, and before we knew it our boarding group was called. It was a matter of minutes before we got ourselves to the pool and started to enjoy the sunny afternoon. Luckily the weather was perfect for swimming - mid 70's and sunny. Since this was our third time on the ship, we already knew where everything was so no need to explore the ship. We just drove right into vacation mode!


Our first day was at sea, so we just did stuff around the ship. Swam. Relaxed. Drank. It was all good.

Day 3 took us to Cozumel. Not one of my favorite ports...never has been. I actually don't care for the main cruise ports in the Caribbean. Steve and Ben went on a submarine excursion, while the gals just shopped. Cici's treat for the day was to get her hair braided. I hadn't done that for her before, and I have to say it was awesome. She can get very fussy with brushing her hair, so this reduced a lot of fights. It was simple and easy for the rest of the cruise.



The kids also got bracelets. And wouldn't you know it, they actually had one with "Cecilia"! I was so excited for her, since in the states you just don't find her name to be common.

Before we headed back the ship, we made sure to get a selfie. The Magic and Wonder (sister ships) were docked next to one another:

We met up with the boys back on the ship. That afternoon many men were happy that Disney was playing a playoff game on their huge screen at the pool.
Beer, football, sun...yes, please.
And what happens after beer and sun? A nap.


The next day was supposed to be Grand Cayman, but due to rough seas we didn't make it. It is a tender port, so rough seas makes for a potentially dangerous situation with the tender boats. I was sad to have missed Grand Cayman, but vodka and grapefruit kept me company that afternoon. The kids hung at the kids club for a bit, so we got some adult time at the adult pool.

Pirate night was that evening. Seeing how it was our 5th Disney cruise we decided to forgo the deck party and show. Instead we hung in our cabin and watched the fireworks from our balcony.



We went to Falmouth Jamaica the next day. We just LOVE Jamaica, and our stop there just reaffirmed our love. We did an excursion to the Green Grotto Caves which then lead to a lunch on the beach. Our bus driver was bad...like, so bad I needed an IV of Ativan, like pronto. He was driving a coach bus like it was a BMW. He was driving fast, taking turns too quickly, and braking too late. I was not happy. Aside from the driver, the excursion was great. Well, Cici had her moments. But, so be it. 


Steve addressing Cici and her sassy attitude.

Again, Steve talking to Cici about her sas.
Lunch at the beach was really nice, until Cici decided to not follow rules. The host told us to wear shoes in the water, since there are sea urchins. What did Cici refuse to do? Wear shoes. Homegirl wasn't going to go into the water without shoes. So, she decided to throw an epic fit.
from zero to...

100, in a matter of seconds.

There was no "irie mon" happening. Her fit was horrible, and lasted probably 15 minutes. During a recent date, Steve and I were discussing this. She is one tough kid to parent at times. My hope is that her strong will carry into adulthood, and that is where this attribute will be advantageous.


Our last day was a day at sea, and just wonderful. 

The cruise ended in San Juan Puerto Rico. It arrived on a Thursday, so we planned to stay two nights. We figured we would extend the vacation, explore the area, and take a direct flight home on Saturday. We stayed at the Hilton Caribe, based on a solid recommendation. We were very pleased. We ended up staying in a suite, I think the Governor's Suite, due to the fact that we had 6 people in our group. That space was really great...kitchen, dining room, living room, 2 separate bedrooms, 4 balconies. The pools were nice. The beach chairs were plentiful. The beach was fine, even though I saw a bit of trash on the beach, as in a couple bottle tops and maybe a plastic bottle here or there. Coming off a Disney ship my standards were high, so I had to remind myself of that. 

One of the great things about the Hilton was the shop across the street. I loaded up on beer and snacks there, which was much easier on the wallet than Hilton prices. Next to the shop was a small diner, let's call it, with really good and reasonably priced food. We ended up eating dinner in the room both nights. We got take out for the Italian restaurant across the street. As Steve and I would wait for the food we would have a drink at the outdoor bar. Beer the first night and then sangria the next. It was nice to have a little one on one time.

The day we arrived at the Hilton we just chilled at the hotel. The morning of the next day we headed into Old San Juan. Steve and I fell in love. It is the perfect blend of European and Caribbean. You could get lost in the streets. We really enjoyed our time there...but with two little ones we knew our time was limited before they totally melted down. That afternoon and into the evening we got some beach time. It was great.

Here are a couple pictures from San Juan.
the iguanas were plentiful, and very fun. They would swim in the pool, and even hide under your beach chair.

the kids had their hand at snuba 

breakfast on the balcony...we were on the top floor and the view was just amazing

pigeons in a square in Old San Juan. Very European.
Ben's rash that developed a couple days later may or may not have come from these guys.  
my favorite street, with my favorite tree...reminds me of Mr. Snufalumpagus

fort in Old San Juan

the kids with the grandmas

the kids loved the parrots in the hotel lobby

Our direct flight home departed around 13:00 something. We had a nice relaxed morning, and the kids and Steve even got a little beach/pool/hot tub time.

Steve knew both the CA and FO on our flight. Knowing about the guys up there always help ease my anxiety. Ben and I got first class, which was a perfect way to end the trip.

Cici is only 7, so in a short couple months she will be allowed to sit up front too. She can't wait!


So, there you have it, our 5th Disney cruise.

Sadly, we don't think we will be cruising Disney again for a bit. As much as I just love the magic around the Disney ships, I think we are aging out of them. Ben is 9, and he didn't really get into the clubs this year. He wondered the ship a decent amount, and found himself bored at times. The next age group for a kids club is 11, so I think we will rethink once Cici is 11.

We have, however, booked a fall cruise on Royal Caribbean. Steve and I have cruised Royal about 4 or 5 times already, and we are looking forward to the upcoming trip. Now that the kids are getting older, we may find the bigger ships to be more suitable for them.

So, there you have it, a summary of our recent cruise.




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