Podcast Episode 215: Jamie’s DCL Bermuda Adventure

Join us this week as Jamie shares all the details of her most recent Disney Cruise Line adventure from New York to the pink sands of Bermuda!  Hear all about her fun on board activities as well as what exciting things they did while docked.

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Trip Report Day 2: Get on the Ship and Get Yourself Ready for Some Fun and Some Tropical Drinks, Depressions and Sun.


So, we woke up the next morning raring to go and so we went downstairs and got to indulge in the special, complimentary breakfast for Platinum members at the Hilton. It was 01b0257b10bf783129c1829bef0a768280d2f81154good, just the usual eggs, bacon, waffles, muffins, etc. It was good and easy and a nice perk. After that we packed up leisurely because although we had a port arrival time for around 10am we knew that was just “suggested” and we decided based on others info and reviews that to us it was more important to avoid long check in lines and waiting around for nothing. So, we planned it perfect for us! We drove over to Port Canaveral,
returned the rental car to Budget, shuttled over to the Fantasy, got baggage handlers, went through security, checked in the special Castaway Club line and walked right on to the boat. It actually went that easy without any hiccups. We boarded the ship around noon and discussed telling the person who took our last name to announce and welcome a few options as we had a few last names going so we thought about being the “Awesome” family or the “Disney” family but in the end we went with all of our last names…next time.

01f170f9ba4d1e08b20f93e7e31074e8a0c75c84a4We had already decided to go to Enchanted Gardens for lunch. Everyone knows about Cabanas lunch but did you know Enchanted Gardens has a buffet on embarkation day? Well, they do and we did. Interesting enough when we boarded we asked a crew member where to go and he told us Enchanted Gardens was full and turning people away and over to Cabanas. We discussed amongst ourselves and decided to ask another crew member, who did say the same thing, but when we said what 014b49491c2858633e087d735d0bf13d1796c5c5afwould happen if we went anyway he said probably nothing! So, we went down and somehow lines were miscommunicated because it was only half full and no line. That was odd – I have no idea but clearly something got muddled. So, we were sat and went and had a great lunch with cold cuts, shrimp, salads, sides and yummy ice cream and lots of other desserts.


After lunch, we headed to find our staterooms and get our Castaway Club gifts. This was our second cruise, so first as a CC member. The gift was AMAZING and seriously high value. I not only used the tote the whole week but have used it for several quick overnights since home. 017ab5edb39ff8da288e83dbc039616d6f8bdcb7aaAlso, we had brought our nice lanyard wallets we had gotten for the last cruise so we just switched out the lanyard so we could use our nice little key holder with a pocket but still have the CC lanyard. After, admiring our gifts my OCD husband insisted on unpacking and getting the luggage stored under the bed and everything in its place. I was glad we did 011bdc2aaa6200d0d6b36f2a694942688fcbc47b0cbut it was hard not to skip that and run crazy over the ship doing more exciting things than unpacking.

We had a Verandah room and it was exactly like the last room on the Dream, though turned the other day. I love the staterooms on Disney because they have adequate space and it makes it much nicer!

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After that we went to our own “Sail Away” Party on the back of the ship on the outdoor 0133227359f0e0da551aa3048d2f7dcbc1c0c75402deck of Meridian lounge, outside of Palo and Remy. They had the same area on the Dream and we enjoyed having cocktails there on the Dream at night and the servers on the Dream were fun and helpful so we looked forward to the same good times. We watched the ship sail off and enjoyed the beautiful weather and peace on the deck.

We went to “A Fantasy Come True” for the early show (since we had late dinner) and it was cute. It was a little “salesy” and we were a tad bit turned off at first but it got better and ended up being a cute show.

Dinner that night was at Enchanted Gardens, so since we already knew where we were going it was easy to get there! When we were seated there were already people at our table. What? On the Dream our party was our own table and it just did not occur to me that we would be seated with others. But, we were and though it was a little nervous and quiet at first it turned out great of course. They were very nice and we had a good time hearing about the different things they did and watching their teen son watch the clock to escape back to the teen club every night! So, food – yesssss! So, I skipped the appetizer that night and had a soup and salad because the Heirloom Tomato Soup is a must for me and the Romaine Wedge was also calling my name. I had for my entrée Slow Roasted Prime Rib: Thyme-roasted Vegetables, Double-baked Potato, Horseradish, and Natural Jus and it was amazing. I am not a huge Prime Rib fan and when it first came it was way too red for me so servers noted and brought me a bit more medium well version and I loved it. My husband had the pork tenderloin and one of the teens had the sea scallops and the rest of the table went prime rib. Everyone was very happy that night with their dinner choices and for dessert I chose the Esterhazy Cake because it mentioned almond meringue and I love almond dessert flavors. It was yummy and a good choice for me. Chocolate lovers would like the Sacher Torte and those at our table did!

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After dinner, a few of the group went to the 10:15 movie, “The Jungle Book” but I was being rocked to sleep. So, I went up to the adult only deck for a minute and watched the night waters and then turned in and slept so well it was like I was on vacation.


Podcast Episode 106: Tara’s Disney Cruise Line Trip Report

Join us this week as Tara tells us all about her latest Disney Cruise Line adventure!  Find out what new shows, food, and fun she experienced all aboard a fabulous Disney ship!

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Carnival Cruise Line vs. Disney Cruise Line: Food Edition

I had the opportunity to take a cruise at the end of January on Carnival Cruise Line’s Elation.  Exactly one year prior, I was aboard Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Magic ship.  I thought I would do a comparison of both lines, just to see which I liked better.  You can see my stateroom comparison here.


I found lots of interesting starter courses aboard CCL.  One evening I had a cold strawberry cream soup with mint that was out of this world.  There were spring rolls with a lovely dipping sauce, escargot, and salads.  I enjoyed all the starters I tried.


All the entrees I ordered were very attractively arranged and were delicious.  I had maybe one or two that I wasn’t totally impressed with, but I also had the same experience aboard DCL.  One thing that I did like about CCL’s menu is every night there was a “Didja” option as in “Didja ever try…?”  That option was a more exotic dish, like fried alligator or escargot. And on the flip side, there was a comfort food option.  One night they offered meatloaf and mashed potatoes which I had to have.  I love a good meatloaf and theirs was pretty good.


I love dessert.  All the ones I tried were really great.  The apple pie CCL offered was amazing!

Breakfast and Sea Day Brunch

We had breakfast every morning in the main dining room and it was such a treat!  Since we had two sea days, we got to have Sea Day Brunch twice.  You can’t go wrong with omelettes prepared anyway you like, not to mention the Eggs Benedict and the Blueberry Pancakes!

Buffets and Pizza

We only ate at the poolside buffet twice on our sailing on CCL.  I found it pretty good, but the burgers were not the best I’d had.  The pizza was fair.  We never ate at the indoor buffet, but that was only because we wanted the pampering of the main dining room.


On CCL, soft drinks are not free like they are on DCL.  We (really I) started jonesing hard for a Diet Coke, so we decided to spring for the Bottomless Bubbles program.  For $6 per day (based on your length of cruise, paid in one payment) you can have all the soda you like.  I have to admit, having to pay extra for Diet Coke really bums me out.  DCL’s got a good thing going with that.

Specialty Dining

Our CCL cruise did not have any specialty dining options like Palo or Remy.

Overall, I felt like CCL and DCL were comparable on food taste, food presentation, and quality.  However, I have to give DCL the advantage because a) they have complimentary soft drinks, b) I prefer their rotational dining set up, and c) Palo.

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Jillian’s DCL Trip Report Day 5 and 6

This day was a big one! When I woke up I went to the window to see a giant Christmas tree on the pier at Castaway Cay! Of course after getting ready in a rush we applied sunscreen and headed to Beach Blanket Buffett for a quick breakfast outside on the deck. I was a bit worried as it was pretty windy and not exactly hot and sunny for our beach day. In quick order we had our Key to the World card and were off the ship and on a tram to the family beach. There were a number of character meets on the way to the tram but we bypassed them as the lines were a bit long.

Luckily once we got to the first beach we were able to meet Mickey and Pluto with no line! We continued on to the beach and tried out the water. It was pretty chilly this coming from a northerner. We had brought our own bucket and shovel for Petra to play. You can purchase them there but we decided to bring our own since we had an abundance of space in the suitcases.

After getting comfortable in my beach chair Petra decided she was ready to attempt Pelican Plunge. Apparently I wasn’t thinking because I failed to warn her that the water was salty as well as cold. Well we took our turn and the slide was pretty awesome but when a five year old gets salt water up her nose you are all done. So we dried off and she said she was ready for Scuttle’s Cove. Scuttle’s Cove is the youth club on Castaway Cay. This is a HUGE perk since you can drop your kid off and they have lots of things to play with. I didn’t take pictures but I did explore it, it has a splash pad, toys, soccer nets and other things to keep kids happy while parents can enjoy some adult time. In fact she even was able to eat lunch there in the company with other kids.

Also some other things to do are games, live music, character meets, water slides, Monstro’s Point (whale bone dig), adult drinks, massages, crab races, adults only beach and even a 5K. There is really something for everyone.

With my daughter having lots of fun we went to Cookies BBQ for some delicious lunch. And decided to take the tram to Serenity Bay the adult’s only beach. This beach was amazingly quiet. All you hear is the ocean and the occasional conversation from other people. It is perfect and romantic and I highly suggest at least a quick trip that way just to check it out. We explored and laid in hammocks and basically had a very relaxing day.

But like all good things it had to come to an end. Petra had expressed interested in doing a program with the youth club called “Friendship Rocks”. They were doing the prep at 4:15 and then would be on stage at 5. So at 3pm we rounded up our child who did not want to leave Scuttles’ Cove but finally agreed and we left the island after a few stops for pictures along the way.

After cleaning up Petra and I wanted to check out the “secret” deck. On deck 7 aft there is a deck that not many people know about and since I knew it would have a great view of the island we checked it out. Once Petra and I checked out this little secret she went again to the kids club for practice.

We went to the Walt Disney Theatre to watch Friendship Rocks along with Mickey and Minnie. She seemed to enjoy the stage and was having a lovely time in the club so she decided to stay. We had plans for Palo this night so I knew she had to be there for a while longer. She did not seem torn up about it.

We got ourselves gussied up for our Palo reservation at 6. We arrived a bit early and had to wait for it to open along with a few people. This dinner was amazing. I think it is well worth the $25 per person charge. Our server Toni was from Coatia and was very talkative. He spend lots of time answering our questions and did a splendid job! First we had the cheeses, meat and olives, it was delicious! For appetizers we both started with the calamari and it did not disappoint. After our lemon sorbet palate cleanser we were onto the main course. I had the wild mushroom risotto and the Beef Tenderloin “Palo” both were amazing and delicious. Chelsey had the grilled tuna which I was able to try and it was also so so good. When our entrees came out we also ordered the chocolate soufflé as our waiter said it takes some time to make. Chelsey wasn’t sold on the soufflé but decided to order anyway. He did order the Panna cotta with strawberries and while he meant to order this as his only dessert but both were brought out. I gladly finished mine but was too full to help with his. It was really one of the best desserts I’ve ever had.

We rolled ourselves out of Palo and went to get Petra from the kids club where she was participating in Pluto’s Pajama Party. We then went go to see the last stage show, “Disney Dreams: an Enchanted Classic”. This one featured Peter Pan, princesses and lots of amazing singing. This was my favorite show of them all. So if you could only see one show the entire cruise this is the one I would not miss.

Petra got ready for bet but said she was hungry so we thought we would order room service to check it out. She got chicken fingers, grapes and French fries plus a bowl of cereal. She said it was all very tasty. While Petra was served dinner on a silver plate I was working hard to pack our suitcases. The suitcases have to be in the hall by 11pm so I was trying to pack and repack our cases so that we would have the things were needed for the next morning and our luggage would be ready to fly in the morning.

Day 6

Sadly, our breakfast for the next morning was scheduled for 6:45am and we were definitely not getting up for that. We decided to wake up when we would. Since Disney wants you to leave your room empty before breakfast we went over the room a couple times before gathering up our things. We thought we had it all and then get breakfast at Beach Blanket Buffett again for breakfast.

We stopped at the photo kiosks to see if we wanted to purchase anything, but we did not so we made our way to the atrium to get off the ship. On our way we noticed that we could not find our daughter’s Key to the World card. In order to get off the ship you have to show and have your card scanned so I was pretty concerned at this point. I asked a cast member what we should do and she said called over her manager. Her manager said that it would be okay since our photos were all one file. We check out with no issues and went to collect our luggage. It went fairly quickly and were in line for customs. We didn’t have anything to claim so we had a painless experience and went out to grab a taxi. There in lies the end of our Disney Cruise experience but since we still had a good number of hours for our flight we dropped our luggage at the airport and then decided to check out the Miami Children’s Museum and get lunch before heading back home to Michigan.

We had an amazing time and had a wonderful, relaxing vacation. If you are interested in a Disney vacation that is much more relaxing this is the trip for you!   Don’t worry if you are still wanting more about Disney Cruise Line you can check out some of our other trip reports and articles about Disney Cruise Line!  Thanks for joining us on our adventure!

If you missed the beginning here is Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4.

Pre-Cruise Trip Report

My family and I will soon be sailing on our first Disney Cruise, a 5 night Western Caribbean on the Disney Wonder. We have previously cruised before on a Carnival Cruise so this is still a somewhat new experience for all of us.

As a Travel Agent who specializes in Disney vacations, I am a certified graduate of the Disney College of Knowledge. The courses are informative and I have studied the Disney Cruise Line, but nothing beats first hand experience.

I love to travel, but cruising wasn’t really on my radar. My first concern was for my family and how they would react to the motion of the ocean, would we get seasick? The next, is there enough to do on a cruise, you are essentially stuck for a few days. And lastly, safety. The media will never pass up a story about a ship without power or damages and even personal tragedies. I don’t believe all these worries are uncommon for many travelers, but we decided to try it out anyway.

I am happy to report that after our first cruise we had none of these issues and ended up having a FANTASTIC time! So almost a year later we were ready to go again! On our previous cruise we did a 5 night Bahamian and wanted to do something different. As I said we are doing another 5 night with stops at Cozumel, Mexico and Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island).

So far we haven’t booked an excursion for Cozumel for a few reasons. The first is that we are traveling with a 5-year-old and there are a number of excursions that have age requirements. In some ports children can be left in the kids clubs so that is an option if your child is still young. But I love to travel to see new places and try new things and I want that for my child as well. We are not into snorkeling and prefer to make our beach day the day we are at Castaway Cay so those are out as well. One thing that interests me the most is visiting San Gervasio; a Mayan archeological site, being a historian it is high on my list. Also, being a big fan of Mexican food, my other plan is to get an authentic lunch.

Our other day off-ship is at Castaway Cay. I have a feeling this will probably be our family favorite. On our previous cruise we stopped at Little Stirrup Cay and we loved having the beach day, especially coming from Michigan in December! Castaway Cay is so much better, as well, with kids activities and play areas, adult only beaches, and bike rentals. My plan for this day is low-key: play on the beach and have some fun!

On our cruise we have two sea days plus our departure day, I am sure that we will spend plenty of time exploring the ship, swimming, watching shows and movies, meeting characters and of course playing in the kids club. Since we are going before Christmas we will have a Christmas Ball and a chance to meet Santa!

Another thing I had to do was make a reservation for dinner at Palo for my husband and I. Since I have heard so much about it and I had such a hard time choosing between brunch and dinner but since I decided to count it as a date night I decided on dinner. But I’m not ruling out brunch either just so I can compare for myself.

I am so excited to try cruising with the Disney difference and of course will be sharing my experience here with all of you here at Dole Whipped!

Adults Only on Disney Cruise Line!


What? Disney without the kids…”Never” you say (don’t say that) but even if you HAVE to drag the little one’s along with you on a Disney Cruise well, then that is okay because Disney has taken care of you and set aside several excellent escapes where no one under 18 can find you!

Recently, I went on the 4 night Disney Dream, with a couple of adults and a couple of teenagers. I realized quickly that even though our group did not have any small loved ones running around, that many other groups did and sometimes you want Disney to take you away from all that right? So, first thing I did was research and map out a few escape options if needed. First, and probably the most important (to me) was the adults only swimming pool. Nestled away behind some covert dividers is a wonderful pool with lounge chairs and a bar with stools in the water! It is a  beautiful site but not as quiet as one may think! On the Dream it is right IMG_3633beside the entrance to the Cove Cafe, an internet and coffee bar (and adults only!). As I basked on the adults only deck right above the pool I was provided with multiple servers and cold towels…it was very relaxing and even though part of the adults only pool area a little quieter than right beside the pool.


Another great adults only escape is Senses Spa. Oh yes, please do not skip the spa on senseathis trip as you will regret it. Now, I know the prices can be daunting so a little tip is wait until you are on the cruise and book a spa special to save a few dollars. I did the “recovery package” for $99 and it was 60 minutes of a scalp massage, foot massage and hands massage. It was the best massage I have ever had (and believe you me –  I love my massages!) Plus having the use of the showers and all the high-end spa products at my disposal afterwards was a huge bonus to getting dressed for dinner (and in a spacious shower and not in the smaller one in the stateroom)! A hidden gem (or Mickey) I had not even planned on.

My last favorite adults only area was the Palo area (and Remy I am sure would fit as well but sadly, I did not get to partake on this trip at Remy’s but next time). If you read my Palo review, you will know I enjoyed the Palo brunch immensely. Outside Palo and Remy on the Dream is Meridian Bar. So, even if you are not able to partake in Palo or Remy or in addition to these meals come have a drink at Meridian Bar. It is an upscale, quieter bar with a great atmosphere and very comfortable chairs. Just in case you need reminding of how excellent Palo brunch is…check out this plate!IMG_3284

I know we all know about the District (and if you don’t then let us know because we can help book you a Disney Cruise so you can find out) and all the lounges and bars in the district as well, and yes on Disney cruises these are adults only (but my three favorite adults only spots are a little quieter, opened most of the time and give me a little extra escape!)

What have you found is a great escape on a Disney vacation or cruise?

A Palo Perfect Brunch…


To sum up in one word Palo’s brunch on the Disney Dream in one word I would have to choose…sublime. My group of 4 adults all tend to lean towards a bit on the picky eater side and so when I saw the option for brunch at Palo’s for only an additional $25 per person I jumped at it because honestly what is better than brunch? You get breakfast and lunch and everyone is happy! So, we booked for 11:30am on the day at sea. Interesting tip…check your time when you embark on the cruise and are given your invitation because somehow our reservation had been changed to noon. So, we promptly called and even though they were all booked for 11:30am (so that is weird) instead of fighting it we took a 10:30am time and this was the best option for us.

10561529_10152280051474423_1514241484162578883_nWe woke up that morning and made the right decision to eat nothing until we were at Palo’s. When we dressed to impress (there is a dress code so even though it is not that strict do check it out before you get on the ship to make sure you do not get disappointed and turned away). The dress code currently prohibits a few things including shorts for men or women or flip flops (online it lists a few more items but this contradicted a bit of what we saw and were told). When we asked the hostess about the specifics of the dress code she smiled and said truly women can get away with almost anything but men should wear long pants and a polo or something similar (at minimum).

10294256_10152280051374423_3023377469403533451_nOnce we were seated at a beautiful set table by the window we were introduced to our server, Bernie. Bernie was a beautiful and very fun lady from Australia who had married Vladimir (another server) and we got to hear all the good details of their elopement. So, first Bernie offered us complimentary Prosecco or Mimosa which we all quickly nodded our heads to one or the other. Once the complimentary drinks were served we then had a tour of all the food. Bernie showed us all the buffet type foods and then also went over the foods on the cart that you can order from the kitchen. Last, but not least we had a full run down of what amazing desserts we could try (and a reminder not to forget the tiny spoons for the dessert round!)


So, how was it? It was amazing. The shrimps were the biggest and most delicious shrimp ever, the cheeses were divine, the made to order Eggs Benedict was perfection and the grapes and gorgonzola cheese pizza just different enough to make it special without being too out there. These were my choices and I would do it all again! Other options included chicken parmesan on risotta, oysters, breads and pastries, several specialty pizzas, and about one hundred more items to choose.

Now let’s talk dessert because really – that is what I would do if I had to do it again, I would just eat dessert I think. They had about 15 different mini desserts from chocolate covered strawberries to mango passion cheesecake mousse. If you loved chocolate they had many options and if you do not love chocolate you are all set because the fruit tarts are the best ever!

So if you are cruising Disney I beg you to sign up for the Palo brunch…no one would ever regret this decision! Have you been and do you agree? Let us hear from you!