Monday, 22 November 2010

Panama Canal & Beyond on The Wonder

This cruise from Port Canaveral bound for Los Angeles a much anticipated cruise .

The whole tribe will be congregating at Port Canaveral on January 4. A pre-cruise bonding session to remind ourselves of why we really want to be around each other for 15 days on end has been arranged for the 5th. We are heading for the Kennedy Space Centre for the day. The bus has been booked and discount coupons acquired. We are devising a strategy for boarding the Disney Wonder on Jan 6. The same bus company from the previous day's excursion has been re-deployed for morning transfer duties. We have a target time to be at the port. We have decided to maximise the power of numbers after embarkation. We shall divide and conquer. One has been allocated the duty of acquiring PALO reservations, another has been set the task of registering the children for kids club. The rest will have to battle with the feeding the children. A rendezvous point has been set by the pool. The research to finetune our approach continues.

Shore excursions have taken up a big portion of our meeting schedule. The ports of call include Castaway Cay, Aruba, Puntarenas, Manzanillo, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. We seem to be bucking the general trend by choosing to do excursions either ourselves or with our own private guide. That is, we are only doing 2 excursions with DCL. Many other cruisers who are not doing DCL run excursions appear to not be doing excursions at all and staying on the ship.

Our first stop will be at Disney's private island hideaway, Castaway Cay. I can't wait! I have heard so much it and it has all been good. Next up is Aruba in the West Indies. We have arranged our own MarioKarting adventure for the boys and the girls will be touring the island in our air-conditioned private van with our friendly private guide, Sunny. The plan is to meet up for lunch and then explore the town before heading back onto the ship.

We will then travel through the historic Panama Canal emerging at the Pacific Ocean. Malcolm and I watched a documentary about the building of the Panama Canal and have been fascinated ever since. We jumped at the chance to sail through it. I am in the process of acquiring a book about the Panama Canal. I have been told to try to be less obsessive...

Puntarenas in Costa Rica is one of the ports where we have elected to do a shore excursions with Disney, one of the reasons being is that it is one of the few ports which:
1) offer excursions suitable for all ages
2) offer excursions suitable for all ages of interest
We will be heading into the rainforest for a ride on an aerial tram.

Our first port in sunny Mexico will be Manzanillo where we have lined up another private tour, this time with Paco. For a bargain price of US$300 total, he will drive us around and be our private guide, as well as providing cold water and refreshments.

Puerto Vallarta is slated for our other Disney run excursion. We are embarking on a Tequila making journey! Still not quite sure why I am doing this as I don't drink alcohol...

Last but not least, we have Cabo San Lucas. Our plan is to DIY. We will bargain for our own boats to the famous rock formation at Land's End and then explore the town at leisure.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to and end. That, for us, will happen at Los Angeles, where 14 of us have to figure out how to spend the day and transport ourselves around before boarding a 14 hour flight at 1045pm, with 6 children and our luggage in tow. Plans at the end of the cruise still undetermined! Wish us luck.

P.S. We have been allocated stateroom 7088, the same stateroom number as on the Disney Magic back in April! How cool is that?

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