I can finally say that I have been to South America! We arrived this morning in Cartagena Columbia to a variety of performers dancing and playing music. It was a great welcoming to the Disney Magic!
Despite my limited research into this city, we were very surprised to find out how big it was. This city has highrises everywhere in the new part of downtown, with a population of 850,000.
The port is closer to the old town area. We decided to just stay around the port area for the day and take it easy. Cruising is hard work!
Many people came back from their excursions and loved this stop. Many said that they would like to come back again in the future for an extended stay here. There was a lot of police presence everywhere and this made people feel safe. We did not venture far and only made it to the Cruise Ship terminal. The pricing on the liquor was very good, but many said the rest of the prices were high. We did get some coffee candies at Juan Valdez’s store though!
Our next port of call was Aruba. We stopped here the day before my birthday, while I was still young and foolish. We did a snorkeling excursion which was fun, but not very colorful. There were a lot of people at each stop and it made it difficult at times with the number of people around. I did manage to see a sea snake, an eel and a trumpet fish among others. Saw a few that I’ve never seen before so it made it more fun. We snorkeled on a reef and near a shipwreck.
After snorkeling we had an open bar. This is where the foolish part set in. Let’s just say winning isn’t always the best thing!
We have found that the temperatures this time are very, very hot and humid. We tried to go shopping after lunch and only made it a few blocks and were totally drained from the heat and went back to the ship. The pool cooled us off, but only momentarily. We stayed in Aruba until midnight so we got some nice views of the island at night.
What can I say? We booked this cruise mainly for one reason. There are so many days at sea! I love just cruising along, watching the waves go by, seeing an occasional dolphin, whale or other sea creature and doing some of the many activities offered onboard.
On this cruise we were lucky enough to have Michael Jordan onboard so we attended many of his seminars. The funny thing was we hadn’t planned to do quite so much, it just worked out that way.
We were able to meet the new Executive Chef for all of the Disney Cruise Lines. She did say that she does plan to tweak the menus some in the future. I told her that the repeat cruisers would definitely welcome this! I did notice that she is already working her magic as Michael Jordan said that she is the best with potatoes and I really noticed some of the potato dishes had changed.
We learned how to make Italian appetizers and pasta. This would be something I would do at home! I loved the pasta sauce he made!
We also did all but one of the wine tastings – Taste Like a Master, French Wines, German Rieslings, Russian River Valley & Sonoma County and Napa Valley. This was a great experience and if there are ever specialty wine tastings onboard, I highly recommend them. We tasted wines that are well over $100-200 a bottle. Each tasting featured 5 wines and cost $12 per person. This was an incredible deal. It was hard to pass up any of these tastings!
The best part though was celebrating my birthday onboard. If you like to celebrate, make sure everyone knows it’s your day! I got my birthday button first thing in the morning. Many people, both crew members and guests, wished me a happy birthday. Even Michael Jordan announced to the Art of Entertaining seminar and the wine seminar that it was my birthday. We had a special cake made just for me. Friends onboard gave me birthday cards, and even an officer sent a card with pixie dust to the room. My birthday “cake” in the room was a three tiered cake made out of towels. It is so pretty I want to move it to my next room! It was a great day and to top it all off, we had a fireworks display. Ok, it was pirate night, but I’d like to think that it’s because it was my birthday!
Today we had to start the task of packing. Yes, we have another week to go, but in two days we will be switching cabins. You do not need to pack and move if you are in the same cabin, but since we are upgrading, it isn’t really a problem for us. We got together all the stuff that we don’t need on the next cruise. We sorted all the fish extender gifts. Wow, there was a lot of great stuff! I’ll blog about that when I get back, because there are certainly many things worth mentioning.
The seas have been a little rough, but nothing really noticeable. What has been noticeable has been the heat. Even with a gentle breeze, it is still very hot and humid outside. We needed to alter our course a bit because of Hurricane Gustav. Tropical Storm Hanna has not really affected us at all for this cruise. We are due in to Castaway Cay tomorrow morning! Since we love spending time on Castaway Cay, we never want to give any of it up for an excursion. Since we have three scheduled stops in the next week, we figured we could do an excursion this time. We are doing the Seahorse Catamaran Snorkel excursion. This will take us away from the island to a nearby reef where we can snorkel. I’m looking forward to it!