Tuesday, 25 May 2010


Photos which I should have posted from our Canberra trip which I can't seem to move around...

Top: Our starter kit of door magnets
Middle: Our very sad matching FE
Bottom: 3 families all wearing our T-shirts for WDW

This blog has been sadly neglected of late. Much has happened since our return from Europe.

My two (the only 2 that developed) wisdom teeth have been removed. As a result of my fear of pain, I opted to have this done under general anaesthesia. The procedure went well and the day was thankfully uneventful. The anaesthetist managed to insert the canula first go into flat dehydrated veins and before I knew it, the whole thing was over. Thanks to the local anaesthetic, obviously used in abundance, I felt no pain for the next 36 hours.

And luckily for me, I then had a Disney planning meeting to distract me from the onset of pain. We went through our plans for WDW, NYC, Washington DC, Port Canaveral and the Panama Canal cruise. Four out the five families going on our Disney adventure at the end of the year were present. Our plans are really taking shape and I was impressed by the efforts of our theme-park strategist, dining colonel and goose (group organising our shore excursions). It certainly made me happy to be able to focus on another Disney trip within the same year. The minutes of the meeting spoke volumes about the commitment of our Disney tribe.

Yesterday, I received one of the coveted Disney PIN code so often talked about. Yippeee!!!! I was shocked to check my emails at work to see a Disney email telling me that I can have 20% off value WDW resorts, 30% of moderate WDW resorts or 40% off Deluxe WDW resorts. Best of all, our travel agent at Small World Vacations was able to apply the discount to 2 of the other families. The last family unfortunately didn't qualify as they were arriving on a different date.

Last but not least, we welcomed Shannon, our latest au pair who has come all the way from Boston. So far so good. She is fantastic with the children and they love her, especially Lara. Hopefully things will continue to go well.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Blog updated with photos!

Photos attached to posts. Now trying to organise myself to make a photobook...

We're home!

We finally arrived home this morning, exhausted and in disbelief that our adventures were over. Singapore was, well...Singapore. Only two words for it, shop and eat.

Back to reality it is, unpacking, washing, shopping, getting the kids ready for school, checking our mail and worse of all, getting ready for work tomorrow. Ewghh.

Goodbye Europe, Hello Singapore!

We received our Mickey Mouse wake-up call at 5am. The ship by this time had docked at the port. Those with flights earlier than 1030 were asked to show guest services their tickets and then were given special instructions for disembarkation.

I thought I’d include the details to help those on future cruises with early flights. We were given special luggage tags for our suitcases which had to be outside our stateroom doors on the last night by 10pm. Breakfast was at topsiders at 530am. We were instructed to take all our handcarry with us to breakfast as we would need to proceed straight to Rockin Bar D by 6am. At 610am, we were given clearance to leave the ship. By 620am we had collected all our luggage and were outside the port terminal awaiting our transfer. All the suitcases for early flights were together at the far end of the terminal closest to the exit. All in all, it was a smooth and quick process. There would have been at least over 100 people with flights before 1030. Delta also had a check-in counter set up at the port terminal. Here’s to hoping that the same arrangement will exist at LAX come the Panama Canal Cruise

After the debacle of our non-transport to the port, I emailed several times out of paranoia to ensure our transport arrived at 645 as planned. While waiting, we saw the first DCL bus leave at 630am. There were taxis a plenty and there was no line. We left the port at about 650. The taxi ride to the airport took no more than 20 minutes. There was hardly any traffic. By 0800, we had checked in, cleared security and immigration and were walking to our departure gate.

The flight to Singapore was empty with only 80 passengers! This was great as most of us got a whole row of 3 to lie down. Unfortunately, Jonah chose not to sleep...

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Our last sea day

The moral of the day is not to leave the things you want to do until the last day as it may not happen! The seas were rough with big swells. Alas for Malcolm that means no watching of movies on the big screen from the hot tub. For me it means I have to go home without trying the cheeseburger from Pluto’s Doghouse. The open decks were all closed for safety reasons and many activities cancelled including the art auction (and thus the raffle). No free Disney art for us...We did manage to get to the Princess Gathering this time much to Lara's delight. We got photos with Tiana, Cinderella, Snow White, Belle and Aurora. The character photo opportunities on the cruise has been phenomenal.

The good news was that the whole family survived without vomiting. And the seas were one of the roughest that I've ever been in. The children did not seem to be affected at all. They went about their busy ways at the kids club as per usual. With early flights tomorrow, we’ve got breakfast scheduled at 530am and need to be ready to debark at 6am. So DCL had a plan after all for those with flights before 1230pm. I don’t know why they couldn’t tell us this beforehand.

We’re now packed and ready to sleep for an early start tomorrow. I can’t believe the cruise is coming to an end. It has been a fabulous 11 days. Panama Canal, here we come!

Monday, 3 May 2010


The beach at Nice

We awoke to the beautiful view of the Cote D’Azur from our balcony. Other than heading toward Nice, we had no firm plans for the day. Luckily we bumped into Team Skoi and Team Auntlynne from the DISboards who so happened to be heading to Nice as well. We decided to tag along as they seemed to know what they were doing!

The station was easy to find and the train ride to Nice only took 7 minutes. Our first stop was the Inglese Russe. I had never seen one before and this particular one built in 1865 was beautiful. We then headed down to the famous Promenade by the sea in search of lunch and toilets.

Our not so succesful attempt to take an artistic shot

Take 2...

On our way back to the station, we stumbled upon a double decker merry-go-round. Everyone bar Julie and I went on (designated photographers). It was one of the longest merry-go-round rides I’ve ever witnessed and definitely well worth the 10 Euros for all 7 tickets.

A short tram ride later, we were back at the train station and before long, on the tender back to the ship. It was such a simple and relaxing day but so much fun with new friends. It really was an enjoyable last port of call.

Jonah on the double decker merry-go-round

Trying to figure out how to buy tram tickets

Before I forget, we managed another achievement tonight...Jonah finally had a photo with a character! The honours go to Chip and Dale!

Sunday, 2 May 2010


The man himself...

The good weather finally came to an end. Today was the first cold, cloudy and rainy day. After a leisurely breakfast at Lumiere’s we headed to port. The little train of Ajaccio was easy to find and we settle for the 45 minute ride for 7 Euro per adult and 3 Euro per child. The train gave us the highlights of the city but wasn’t really set up for more detailed information.

The little train of Ajaccio

Plans to visit various attractions and the beach were abandoned because of the rain. Many cruisers obviously had the same thoughts as there was a steady stream of passengers reboarding the ship by 1030 in the morning. We took the opportunity of doing a load of washing while the ship was half full. A few days ago, Malcolm had already committed the cardinal onboard sin of being 3 minutes late to pick up our laundry much to the disgust of 2 middle aged American ladies. Having met so many lovely people, we were surprised at how nasty people were to each other over laundry. We wanted to be sure not to make the same mistake again.

Jonah has been practising “ciao” every day for the past 3 days and I can proudly announce that it is now officially part of his limited vocabulary of words which are understandable to the adult ear. As are the words “boat” and “eat”.

Speaking of eating, the dining room staff delivered on the promise of satay and nasi goreng Indonesian style complete with sambal. I didn’t realise how much I missed Asian food. The whole family gobbled down the food gratefully. As an indication of just how much I have stuffed myself throughout the whole cruise, I was NOT able to eat dessert. I NEVER pass on dessert. My shameless parents then requested deep fried banana with sticky rice Thai style from our Thai server. They seem to be having too much fun on the ship. They have decided to go on a Disney Port Adventure by themselves at Villefranche tomorrow.

Pirom, our server, with the all important sambal.

I have to make a special note of the wonderful service that we have received all throughout the cruise. Every single encounter we’ve had that has involved direct interaction with a Disney staff onboard has been faultless. The onboard staff would have to be DCL’s best asset. They were friendly yet efficient, competent and professional. Any problems encountered were fixed quickly and with a smile. DCL only has to fix some systemic problems (eg internet and plumbing!) as well as their pre-cruise operations to make their cruises a truly magical experience, and ones that would be hard to beat.

Oh and I finally made it to a trivia session today. Woohoo!!!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Second Sea Day

First on the menu today...Character breakfast! The children were super excited. We had photo opportunities with Mickey, Mickey, Pluto, Goofy, Chip and Dale throughout breakfast. Jonah loved waving hello and goodbye from afar but shrieked as soon as they got too close. We still have not managed to get a photo of him with any character.

We dropped all three children at their respective “clubs” to finally be able to spend some time together on the ship! We sorted out flights, gratuities, rebookings and got the final amount of onboard credit left. We browsed through our photos at Shutters and decided against purchasing the $399 photo CD. This meant that we had to do some serious shopping for Disney Merchandise. We bought Elliot the Goofy hat he desperately wanted, Lara her bracelet with Disney charms and myself the Dooney and Burke bag.

We attempted to pick the children up for lunch so we could go to Disney Trivia as a family. Unfortunately, we got rejected. The only child who still loved us more than the kids clubs was Jonah who came with a smile for a lunch of hot dogs by the pool, finished off with some soft serve ice-cream.

I finally managed to get some time to relax on the balcony with brownies and a cup of tea during Jonah’s afternoon nap. It was bliss. However, there was little time to waste. We had to hurry to an art auction for a chance to win $1000 worth of Disney art. We sat through the auction in eager anticipation of the draw. Our raffle numbers were 44306 and 44307. The announcer called “And the winning number is..... 4...4...3...0...5! Arggghhh!!!! Close but no cigar.

We received another big stash of FE gift deliveries today. The children have enjoyed looking for and finding little surprises in the bag. The gifts have been wonderful, little personalised mousemats, pencils, sweets, drink holders, charms. The list goes on. They were all well thought out and packed beautifully. I was somewhat ashamed of my effort. I had chocolates with Australian animals on them as well as badges of the Australian flag. However, all grand notions of cute, personalised Disney packaging never came to fruition in the chaos leading up to the trip. It is something that we’re definitely keen to participate in again if the numbers are small. We only had small groups of 12 for this cruise, and I thought that worked well. Not too much to carry but enough to have fun.

After dinner, we all went to watch Villains Tonight, a new production which premiered on the previous cruise. Many reviews slammed the show but I enjoyed it. Perhaps it was because I had nothing to compare it to. I just realised today that in our hectic schedule, I have not been to a single karaoke session! How could this be?!?!?! Meanwhile my parents have been to lecture series, cooking classes, napkin folding, scrapbooking. They have even befriended our head waiter, who is also Indonesian, and managed to arranged nasi goreng complete with sambal for tomorrow night. Apparently, the chef at Parrot Cay is also Indonesian.

We’re off to Corsica, France, tomorrow. I’m relieved that we’re simply pottering around town. At the moment, I need another holiday to recover from this one...