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Thursday, June 16, 2016

no laundry for you!

our last full day of the disney cruise was our "at sea" day.  we'd already been to both ports on the itinerary, so the whole day was dedicated to hanging out onboard, participating in activities, swimming, relaxing, what have you.  we actually managed to make it to a nice sit-down breakfast for once, in the royal palace dining room.

while we were enjoying this view from inside the dining room:

the hub was up on the top deck taking in this one.

we stopped inside vanellope's sweet shop again to pick up some snacks while it was still early and wasn't bombarded with the other 4,000 guests onboard.

these are super cute.  i wonder if i can recreate them myself.  i'm not very good at drawing faces.

while the girls spent some time upstairs in the pool, the old lady and i stopped for some downtime in the cabin before it was time to play a trivia game in one of the clubs.  i'd been trying to wait it out for an empty washer in the launderette down the hall, and when i saw that they were all available i scurried to grab our bag of dirty clothes from the closet.

i scrambled to get back in there before someone else snagged it, but it took just a few seconds to figure out why the machines were finally open after being taken all morning long.  the first step was to purchase some detergent from the machine:

but i couldn't get it to work.  either it was out of soap or it was broken somehow.  poop.

i was really annoyed and tried to call housekeeping for some assistance, but after being on hold for a good five minutes while standing in that hot little room, i gave up.  after all, i was just trying to get a jumpstart on things - we'd all packed enough clothing to last for the entire trip.  and by the time i got back to our cabin with my sad bag of still-dirty laundry, it was time to head up to deck 4 to hit da club for some trivia.

we stopped to take pics in one of the big round windows - something we'd meant to do earlier, but kept putting off with "oh, we'll do that later!"  of course the lighting was all wrong, but we took 'em anyway, just because.

after perusing the cocktail menu, i decided to try something that sounded really delicious - a non-alcoholic bubble gum-flavored smoothie.  isn't it pretty?  and it tasted just like it looked.

the bean joined us right as the game ended (which we lost by, like, two points), fresh from the pool.  she got to enjoy the last few sips of my smoothie and then we headed back to the cabin to get her cleaned up and freshen up a little before dinner.  we stood out on the balcony and watched as we made a giant circle in the water.  with nowhere to go, we were literally sailing around and around with no actual destination because the next stop was back at port canaveral.

our dining rotation that evening took us to the spot we'd all been looking forward to the most - the animator's palate.

out of all the dining rooms on the ship, this one was the most "disney" - full of props from various disney/pixar movies, animated screens on every wall, very kid-friendly decor.  the plates followed the theme, with little paintbrushes adorning one side, and the butter knives were shaped like paintbrushes too.  i wanted to order a set of the mickey-themed chairs for home, too.  they were super cute.

the menu looked pretty good, too:

look how pretty our cocktails were!  but holy cow, so sweet.

the old lady selected the tomato tarte for her appetizer:

while i decided to try the black truffle pasta "purses."

as we were enjoying our first course, the show began as crush from "finding nemo" appeared on the screen.  he cracked jokes and then we were all looking for the hidden microphone as he started talking directly to people at the tables.  it was lots of fun and very entertaining, and i kind of wished every dinner was in this room.

the bean was super stoked to again have the server cut her meat for her.

for my entrée, i'd chosen the grilled tuna steak.

the hub went with the herb-crusted pork chop:

and the old lady was happy to enjoy some penne topped with bolognese sauce.  this is probably her most favorite meal in the whole world.  bring her some pasta and meat sauce and she's one happy camper.

dessert selections for the evening:

this was the cookies 'n cream sundae:

"make your own pie" - a lemon-raspberry tart served with fun toppings - vanilla meringues, mango sauce, cocoa jelly:

and this was the "sweet temptation" - white chocolate cheesecake, the lemon-raspberry tart, and a mango mousse.

and because i was feeling a little tired but really wanted to go hard for the last night, i ordered a cappuccino.  i may have also partially wanted it to have the cute mickey design they dusted on top.

our towel animal that evening was a turtle rocking the hub's sunglasses.

i caught a glimpse of cinderella as she scurried off somewhere, presumably with both shoes intact.

being the last night of the trip, there were lots and lots of people getting in that last photo op with the characters on every level.

and we spotted nigel from "finding nemo" just outside of cabanas.  i don't know how we'd never seen him before, with as many times as we frequented that joint.

we met downstairs in one of the clubs again, this time to take part in the 80s trivia game.

meanwhile, the hub and the bean were perusing the shops.  she must've picked this up because we'd just watched "alice through the looking glass" in the movie theater on the second night of the cruise.

the trivia game ended up being a team effort, with the room divided in half and playing for...well, nothing but glory.  after answering questions correctly, we were either given another trivia question to answer or a physical challenge.  in this one, we somehow roped ourselves into trying to show the game master the "care bear stare."  i had no idea what the hell that was supposed to be, but one of the girls on our team did.  and apparently she was the first one who'd ever gotten it right out of all the times he'd hosted this game.

that was pretty much the last activity we got to participate in, besides riding the aqua duck one last time.  while the pool and slides were open for business, there was always something to watch via "funnel vision."  sometimes it was a movie, others it was some sort of disney channel show, and with playoffs going on, we got to watch live basketball games.

but now i can share some tips with you, in case you find yourself on a disney cruise some day. and if you have any interest at all, you absolutely should do it.  it's such a great trip, very well organized, fantastic service and surprisingly good food for being mass-produced.

anyway, the first tip i have for you is to download the official disney cruise app.  it's free, and since you have to pay a pretty penny for wifi access (i'm not even kidding - it was like $90 for 100MB of data), being able to use the messaging function without having to connect to the paid service was great.  and we referred to it often - it gave you the basics of what was happening that day:

and you could look for activities to do at any given time, or check showtimes or hours for things like kids' club and the vacation planning center.  if you booked another cruise while still onboard, they throw in perks like 10% off and shipboard credit.  i knew we didn't have a shot at booking another trip anytime soon, because while we loved every minute of this trip i knew the hub wasn't a fan.  at all.  he was a good sport about it all, but he's never been a cruising fan and really only did this one because he knew the rest of us really wanted it.  not to mention, he had some good memories from being the bean's age and going on a similar trip with his grandparents.

anyway, you could even look up the restaurants to see what the menus were going to be for that day:

since you can't use your phone while on board the ship, disney provides these fantastic "wave phones" that look like those awesome nokia cell phones circa about 1998.  while we all made fun of them, they came in really handy while the kids were at their club because if they wanted to be picked up, we received a text message via the wave phone.

one last thing - and not one that anyone in my cabin wanted to partake in - my co-leader was alllllll about the few minutes of quiet time she was able to enjoy in what she called "bath, party of one."  the shower in the cabin featured a teeny-tiny tub that would have been perfect for bathing a small child...or, in her case, one person sitting criss-cross-applesauce style.

she insisted that it was wonderful and perfect and gave her a nice break from the world...but 1. baths aren't my thing and 2. i'm not all about crouching into a tiny space for any amount of time.  i'm glad she enjoyed it, though.  and so that's my last tip for you, in case you wondered how you could possibly squeeze in a bath during your disney cruise.  it's all ready for you.

i was a little sad that i never managed to squeeze in a single trip to the fitness center - treadmills overlooking a fantastic view of the ocean?  dang it! - nor did i ever get around to trying out the jogging track around deck 4.  we also never made it upstairs to the miniature golf course or the basketball court, and despite our best efforts didn't spend a single late night in any of the clubs.

i think that means we're going to need a re-do someday.  and now that we've been on one disney cruise, we're officially part of the "castaway cay club," which offers perks for returning cruisers.  i'm not sure what exactly it all entails, but i'd definitely love to find out.

looks like i'd better start hustling cookies on the regular again.

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the hub 45.0

happy birthday today to this guy: hopefully he won't kill me for any of those pictures.  ah well...happy birthday to the love of my life!