Land and Sea
Tracy and I knew that 2015 would be a big year for personal milestones. With the 10-year anniversary of when we started dating occurring in March and our fifth wedding anniversary in June, we were looking for a fun way to celebrate.
Back when we were taking our Alaska cruise in May/June 2014 (see our trip report to find out more about that amazing vacation), we took advantage of the onboard booking discount for our next cruise—because why wouldn’t you save 10-percent on your next sailing when it’s entirely refundable? At the time, we were dreaming big, and we actually booked one of the summer 2015 Norway cruises because we knew that they would be incredible. At the same time, however, we knew that saving up the money necessary to pay off that cruise was probably a pipe dream, so we also started coming up with other ideas.
It was September when we started getting serious about booking a vacation that would coincide with our anniversary in March. My initial idea was to book a Walt Disney World vacation because we hadn’t been to Florida since back in 2012. As we started looking into flights and everything, however, we decided that maybe this was the time when we should combine a WDW trip with a Disney Cruise out of Port Canaveral for the ultimate land-and-sea vacation.
I’ll go into the process of booking our hotels at Walt Disney World when I get to the second part of this trip report, but we actually figured out our optimal hotel days first and then chose a cruise based on that. Luckily, when we compared the cost of a 3-night Bahamian cruise on the Dream to the cost we had been looking at for Norway, it seemed like chump change (especially because we’d be getting 10% off and an onboard credit, and because we had already put down more than $500 back in June just to reserve our hypothetical future cruise).
We got on the horn with our trusty travel agent, Jan Pepe from Mouse Fan Travel, and priced out a couple options in different stateroom categories. While we’d been spoiled by our verandah room in Alaska, we knew we didn’t want to shell out the hundreds of extra dollars to do the same on this cruise. We also knew, however, that we’re the type of people who need some sort of natural light in our room, so we opted for an Oceanview Stateroom. I think we would have saved about $20 if we’d gone with one of the smaller Oceanview categories, but we figured that we’d appreciate having a little more space, so we chose a Category 08C (known as a Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom) and were assigned to stateroom number 8664 on the Disney Dream.
Preparing for this cruise was very different than the preparation for going to Alaska had been. For one, we obviously didn’t need to think about dressing for cold weather, but we also found that there was a lot less research to be done in general. We did pick out one Port Adventure to do in Nassau (more on that later), but we figured we would mostly just be pretty spontaneous on this cruise. It would be our first time to Castaway Cay and our first opportunity to experience one of the newer, larger Disney ships, so we didn’t want to be overbooked. In fact, other than doing online check-in during the last week of November, we didn’t really think much about the cruise until it was just around the corner. That’s absolutely not to say that we weren’t excited, though—we were both just so busy leading up to the trip that we barely had time to focus on where we were about to be heading.
January and February went by pretty quickly, and soon the trip was just around the corner. We got our bags packed—we had to bring extra-large suitcases because our trip was going to last 12 days in all—and we were all ready to depart on an exciting anniversary adventure.