Showing posts with label Caribbean. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Caribbean. Show all posts

The Pirate's League on Disney Cruise Line

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me. . .

Each Disney Cruise Line vacation in the Bahamas and Caribbean features a special Pirates in the Caribbean night where scalawags of all ages are invited to party aboard the ship.  For this special night, the usual Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique on the ship also transforms into The Pirate's League.  We had done this experience twice before in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, but not on one of our cruise vacations yet.  On our recent trip, we decided to make reservations for the whole family - yes, that's right - all 4 of us!

Before we start, let's go over some basic information you need to know.  This experience can be booked online in your cruise planning section on the Disney Cruise Line website.  We didn't have a problem getting a reservation and there were still some available even on Pirate Night itself, but for the best times and to ensure your reservation, I recommend doing it when your window opens if you're interested.  You can always cancel or change your reservation if needed closer to the time.  The cost is $44.95 (as of January 2020) for a variety of makeover options - 3 piratey options that are more for the boys (Jack Sparrow, Blackbeard, and Captain Hook) and 2 options for the ladies (Empress and Redd).  For an additional fee you can also purchase a costume, but I recommend bringing one from home to save on cash.  Money Saving Tip - Check your local stores in the days following Halloween for deep discounts on costumes and accessories.  You also want to carefully pick your time during the day to schedule your makeover.  We chose to do ours at 4:45 because that allowed us all day in port to enjoy the beach and pool, but still have the whole evening to enjoy our new looks.

When you arrive, you'll check in at the front desk and roll the dice to find out your new pirate name.  After confirming your pirate selection, the buccaneers in your family will be whisked away to your chair for your swashbuckling makeover.  The makeover is quick - roughly 15 minutes - but the memories will last much longer.  The cast members entertain both the person getting the makeover and the family with jokes, stories, and songs.  At the end of the makeover, the newest pirate takes the pirate oath and officially becomes part of the league.

While it may be obvious that kids will have fun at The Pirate's League, the bigger question may be if adults can have fun there too.  Unlike the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, adults are welcome to participate.  The makeovers are the same as the ones offered for kids.  I didn't find my makeover to be overly impressive from the actual make-up side of things (could have been much bolder in my honest opinion), but I had just as much fun as my kids.  In my opinion, I think the male makeovers pack a bit more punch and thought my husband made quite the impressive pirate.

After you leave The Pirate's League, you will have a night to remember.  We used the remainder of the time before dinner to meet a few pirate characters including Pirate Mickey and Captain Jack Sparrow.  We then enjoyed our pirate themed dinner inside Animator's Palate.  Our night then continued with Mickey's Pirates in the Caribbean Night Deck Party and the fireworks at sea later on in the evening.

Dressing up for Pirate Night makes the night even more fun for the whole family and I'm so glad we made the decision to book The Pirate's League on the Disney Dream.  Would we book it again?  I think I would definitely consider booking it again for our boys - at $44.95 I feel like it was well worth the price.  It's much more reasonable than the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and a fun way for the boys to  get in on the excitement.  Be sure to check it out on your next Disney Cruise Line vacation!  Ahoy mateys!

A Day at Margaritaville on Grand Turk

On our most recent Carnival Cruise vacation, we traveled from Baltimore to the Bahamas on the Carnival Pride with stops in Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay, and Freeport.  While planning our cruise excursions we were torn on what to do in Grand Turk.  Traveling with a three and six year old meant that we needed a kid friendly activity to enjoy the beautiful island.  We had read prior to the trip that there was a free beach right at the cruise terminal, but then were drawn to Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville.  We decided to rent a cabana for the day and give it a go.  Without a doubt, this was a perfect day for us and I definitely recommend giving Maragaritaville a try!

Maragaritaville is a free, yes you read that right, FREE pool complex located right at the cruise terminal.  While it doesn't cost anything to use the pool there, you can "upgrade" your experience by renting VIP seating or a cabana for the day.  The cabana was advertised as an excursion on Carnival's website and we decided to go for it as this was the only port that we were booking anything so the cost wasn't prohibitive to us on this trip (I believe it cost $240 for the day for our whole party).  The cabanas feature indoor seating which includes a comfy couch, a refrigerator, and the ability to lock the door so you can feel safe leaving any belongings in there.  There are also lounge chairs on the covered front porch that you can use if you just want to get out of the sun for a bit, but still enjoy the warm outdoor air.  The cabanas also include wait staff that will take care of your eating and drinking needs throughout the day!  We loved having this option to go and cool off at during the day, but it's also a "luxury" at Margaritaville and I'm sure you can have a wonderful time without one too.  If you are looking for a less expensive option, they do offer free seating by the pool as well as some VIP seating.  This VIP seating option wasn't advertised on Carnival's website so we didn't know about it ahead of time and may consider this in the future.  With this option, you have chairs closer to the pool, a locked safe, an umbrella, and waitstaff.  Of course, there are free chairs around the pool area and on the nearby beach if you want to use them as well.
Inside of our poolside cabana

Margaritaville is also a restaurant and bar which offers restaurant seating and pool service.  With our cabana, we ordered food through out waitress and she delivered it directly to our cabana so it was waiting for us when we were ready to take a break from swimming and playing.  There was also a swim up bar so you could get your drinks without ever needing to leave the pool!  Drinks and food are expensive, but servings are HUGE - definitely consider sharing with others.  We ordered several appetizers off the menu and split them instead of ordering our own meals.  They also offer drink specials where you can save money by purchasing souvenir glasses that offer cheaper refills throughout the day and buckets of beer that can save some money.
Wasting away again in Margaritaville!

With our Faster to the Fun option, we were among the first ones off the ship in Grand Turk and were among the last to board in the evening.  Margaritaville was a perfect place for our kids to play, featuring a huge pool, zero entry option, and fun music as well as offering a relaxing place for the adults in your group as well.  If you have older kids, they may enjoy taking a turn on Flow Rider at this location too.  I would definitely plan to visit Margaritaville again on a future trip to Grand Turk or in one of their other destinations.  If you need me, I'll be looking for my lost shaker of salt!

2014 - The Year in Review

2014 was another whirlwind year for our family with much excitement and many blessings!  As we say goodbye to the past year, here are some of our highlights:

  • Started blogging and (somewhat) successfully maintained it - minus the summer hiatus.
  • Got back into running "for the first time in forever."
    What better than #runDisney to motivate me back into running for the first time in 8 years??
  • Celebrated Brody's 2nd Birthday.
  • I turned 30 and was lucky enough to celebrate on a Disney Cruise with Dan for a little "mommy / daddy time" at sea.
    With Captain Mickey on the Disney Dream!
  • Dan got a new job doing what he loves and does best.
  • We found out that we were expecting baby #2 - another boy. . .due to arrive February 2015!
    Waiting on Baby Caleb!
  • I got promoted to an Assistant Principal position in July.
  • The Orioles won the AL East for the first time since 1997 :)
    Enjoying a day at Oriole Park at Camden Yards!
  • I made it R2 of the Disney Parks Moms Panel application process, but alas, no R3 this year.
    Such a magical email to receive!  Hoping for more #DisneyMP fun next year :)
  • We put a contract on a new house and are planning to move in January.
  • Brody got to go on his 2nd vacation to Disney World - this time a 5 day trip in November.
    Brody was so excited to meet all of his favorites - and a perfect gentleman!

Eastern Caribbean Port Adventure Reviews

Our first DCL vacation was a 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Disney Fantasy in June / July 2013.  Choosing Port Adventures was an exciting and semi-stressful time for me.  I had never cruised before so was new to who world of shore excursions and we were also traveling with a 17 month old. Trying to find Port Adventures that would entertain Dan, Brody, and me equally was going to be a challenge.  We ended up booking a shore excursion on each of our ports of call (except Castaway Cay).  Here is what we did and our grade for the experience.

St. Maarten - French Riviera Beach Rendezvous
We decided to spend our time in St. Maarten playing on the beach at Orient Bay.  This was roughly a 30 minute ride from the port to the beach.  The beach was crowded with tour groups and chairs as well as pushy locals selling handmade items.  The beach itself was clean and the water featured big waves that are perfect for older children and adults.  Included in the package was lunch.  Lunch was actually better than I expected with several different choices.  Overall, I would give this excursion a B.  There was nothing to complain about or wrong with the excursion, just nothing exciting either.



St. Thomas / St. John - Coral World and Butterfly Garden
Since we planned a beach day in St. Maarten and on Castaway Cay, we wanted to do something a little different in the USVI.  There weren't many excursions to choose from that we thought would please a 17 month old, but an aquarium and butterfly garden seemed like good choices to us.  The trip to Coral World was first.  If you've ever been to a high quality aquarium (like we are fortunate to have in the National Aquarium in Baltimore), you will be sorely disappointed here.  Coral World was small, didn't feature the array of marine life we were used to, and not very interactive.  We had about 2 hours to explore there and wish we could have left after about 30 minutes.  After we finished at Coral World, a bus took us back to the port where the Butterfly Garden is located.  This was better than Coral World in my opinion, but still not great.  Brody fell asleep on the bus ride back to port so we didn't get to see his reaction.  This is really just a big enclosed garden with butterflies flying all around.  They were beautiful and we got some really great pictures, but it was another excursion that we were done exploring in less than 30 minutes.  Overall, I would give this excision a C-.  There are some positive reviews I've read out there about these, but I just didn't see anything special or worth the money in this excursion.