Tigger Travels - Journal of Adventures. (not a travel agent)
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Day One and Two
Panama Cruise January 2011 - Last Trans-canal trip planned for the Disney Wonder at this time.
On day one of our cruise, we boarded the Disney Wonder and enjoyed a great buffet in the Beach Blanket cafe on Deck 9 aft. When you first arrive on the ship, you walk in and are introduced on Deck 3, walk through the grand entry and left, down the passage on the opposite side of the ship to the aft elevators. Before you turn to the elevators, you will see the other eatery available on boarding, Parrot Cay. It is your choice, they are both very good.
We like the Beach Blanket (Top Siders on the Magic) because it has a lot of windows and a great view of what is going on in the port and on the dock. Go find a table and drop off your luggage (keep it to a minimum when unloading) and go stand in line. Load up and enjoy.
Once you are finished with your meal, the dessert bars are located on either side just inside the very back of the Beach Blanket. Everything is awesome.
A couple of notes on checking in... we like to check in early. That puts us on board early and a chance to relax before we go find our cabin. At the hotel before leaving, put all the stuff in your big suitcases that you will not need till after you get to your cabin. Keep all your medications, documentation, cell phone, bathing suit (if you want) and sun screen in your smallest carry on. The Disney people will take your bag from your transport at the curb. What they take you will find in front of your cabin door between 2:30 and 5:30... sometimes they get later if you board later.
Once you finish your meal, there is a chance your cabin will not quite be ready. Remember that a whole shipload of people just got off the boat and the stateroom attendants are working ferociously to do a deep clean. They will tell you at check in when the cabins are planned to be ready, but expect 1:30 pm. To kill time, walk around deck 9 and 10 for higher views of everything and get the lay-of-the-land. Also, decks 3 and 4 have the shops, theaters and restaurants you will frequent.
Another formality you can take care of is visit Wave Bands on deck 3 to make your Palo's reservations if you have not already done so. If you have already done so, you can try for a second dinner reservation. The last several cruises we have had at least two dinners a week.
There are several good places to rest when you wait. Don't stress yourself standing at the entry to your cabin. If you like the sun, deck 9 and 10 offer a lot of good views. There are also games in Diversions, deck 3 forward to play.
Checking in at the Disney terminal at Port Canaveral is efficient. When you walk in the front of the terminal, you will find the usual metal detectors and x-ray machines for your bags. I send cameras, computer, iPods and all through and have never had a problem. Once through, ride the escalator up to the main room. Right in front of you, there is likely a health form to fill out and the agents there at the little round tables will help make sure you have everything together that you will need for the check in process.
Half way back on the left, just before the ship model, is the entrance for check in for US and non-US passengers. The only exception to this is the Concierge check in now located in the far back right corner. If you are in the higher level cabins or a Platinum Castaway Club member, go back there for your special services.
Kid program check in is now on the right side just past the ship model.
Sometime after 1:30, head down to your cabin. Unpack what you can. If you bags have already arrived, get unpacked now. At this point the ship will be packed with people who do not know where they are going. Relax, wait for all your bags, get unpacked and watch the video about the upcoming fire drill that is required by all kinds of nautical and land-based laws. This is the first time that we were not required to wear our life jackets during the drill.
Once the drill is over, GO! The ship is yours and your vacation is now underway and has been for several hours... what are you doing in your cabin!
Join in the festivities for the Adventures Away party on deck 9 mid-ship at the Goofy pool.
Just after our Adventures Away party we passed the new Disney Dream. Click to read about that adventure in itself.
While leaving port, a cold front moved in the area headed south. It made for a bit of a rough night with 8-13 foot waves and a steady 30 mph wind across the deck from the west.
Because of that, we were unable to dock at Castaway Cay. This was to be the last time that the Wonder was scheduled for a stop at Disney's private island... but no more.
We traveled on with the thought, "Well, that would have been nice, but I am here for the Panama canal (and Aruba).
2011 Disney Wonder Panama Canal Cruise Index
Daily Navigator/Iwa Published Schedule