as we started the long walk back towards the beach area where the bean was hanging out with her BFF, we ran into another familiar face:
and decided to take a super touristy photo against an amazingly gorgeous backdrop. like, it totally looks like one of those fake printed tarps you stand in front of, right? but nope - that is real.
although if you looked off into the distance a bit, you could see some pretty dark clouds looming off in the horizon.
after trying to scan the beach to find our peeps, we decided to grab some lunch since we were close to the restaurant and it had just opened for business. and of course, that's where we ran into the bean.
being on disney property, lunch was part of the all-inclusive deal. it was done buffet-style, with lots of delicious items to pick from.
after our bellies were full, we made our way back to the beach, where the bean and BFF showed us the lounge chairs that they'd all saved for us.
we were right in front of pelican plunge, a fun-looking waterplay area that was, of course, shut down for cleanup and renovation.
the hub disappeared for a bit and came back sipping from a plastic coconut, handing an olaf-shaped sipper full of piña colada to the old lady.
the kids were having a good ol' time playing in the beach, building a sand castle, having a water fight.
and with the first crack of lightning, the whistles were blown and the beaches were evacuated. i guess we could have hung out at the restaurant or taken cover somewhere and waited it out, but we were done anyway. so we managed to score spots on that tram we'd seen earlier and headed right back to the ship.
back in our cabin, we found some fun bandanas left by our stateroom attendant for that night's pirate-themed dinner.
a quick glance at that day's schedule told us that we had just enough time to head downstairs and join the family animation class.
it was a lot like the sessions they do in the animation academy building at california adventure, and we had a great time learning how to draw pluto.
after that we spent some time just hanging out, cruising around the ship and doing not much of anything.
pirate dinner was lots of fun. i wish i had more pictures to share with you, but the disney photographers took the best ones and i was just too cheap to drop $150 on 10 digital photos on a flash drive. i just couldn't bring myself to do it. so instead, you get food pics.
this was the "pigeon pea relish" that was served with the bread that night.
and because we were dining in the royal palace restaurant that evening, everything was princess-themed. i liked the carriage-shaped bread basket on our table.
appetizers - pot stickers, crab cake, and "pearls of the caribbean" - crabmeat, shrimp and salmon mixed with couscous "pearls."
the shrimp that was the highlight of those "pearls of the caribbean" looked like...well:
the bean, who'd ordered the steak off of the kids' menu, was pretty happy to see the server come over and cut it for her. talk about pampering.
one glance at the dessert menu and i knew there really was only one option for me:
we were greeted by a menacing figure in our cabin:
and you know your cruise is almost at an end when the gratuity envelopes make an appearance.
up on the top decks, we joined the rest of the ship for the pirate show.
afterwards, we went inside to check out the photo ops. my co-leader bought some of these, but i managed to snag a couple with my phone.
we ended the evening with the fireworks show, right over our heads as we stood on deck 12.
one more day at sea, and then it'd be time to walk the plank back onto land. way too fast.