Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Castaway Cay Was Just Okay

The fourth and final shore stop of our cruise was Castaway Cay, which is Disney's private island in the Bahamas. It was on the last full day of the cruise. I wish I could say that the best was saved for last, but for us, it was more like the worst was saved for last! We didn't have the best day there, and I'll tell you why in a minute.

The day started out well enough. When we were eating breakfast at Cabanas at the top of the ship, we had a great view of Castaway Cay.

There wasn't anything wrong with Castaway Cay itself. It's a very nice island with a great beach and fun things to do. Overall it just happened to be a day that was a comedy of errors for us (although at the time they weren't funny at all--I may or may not have shed tears at one point. Okay, I did!). I feel like this was one of the few areas where Disney Cruise Lines fell short. I wish they had been more detailed beforehand for us first-time cruisers about what the island was like and what there was to do there and what people usually do when they're there. They should have said that the island is mostly for relaxing and playing on the beach and for the unique character appearances and not as much the extra stuff that we signed up for. That really wasn't clear in the months before the cruise when we were booking excursions and planning out what we were going to do. The debarking process was pretty disorganized and messy too, which was surprising since it was all so orderly and easy for the other shore stops. More on that in a minute.

"Mount Rustmore," so cute!

A few weeks in advance of the cruise, I booked an open-air couples massage at 9:30 a.m. for Peter and I, but it turned out that that was way too early (no wonder it was an available time slot!), not to mention the fact that unbeknownst to me, a lot of the fun character appearances on the island are in the morning, so we totally missed out on those. Another problem was that we were still on the ship at 9:30 because we got separated during debarkation, which was pretty much a free-for-all of a whole lot of people exiting the ship at the same time, and our ship cell phones didn't work properly when we were trying to figure out where the other one was. It was so frustrating!

As soon as we {finally} got off the ship, we hurried and dropped the kids off at the Kids' Club on the island and then got on one of those golf cart buses to take us to the part of the island where the open-air massage cabins were, but we got on the wrong bus, so we had to go around the loop again and get on the correct one, which made us even more late. Oh yeah. I was ticked. Once we finally did get there, we were very lucky that someone had cancelled their massage (otherwise we would have had to pay for the massage no matter what, and it was pricey), so we were still able to get our couples massage shortly after our arrival. It was something we'd never done before together and it was relaxing and pleasant (even though through the open cabin windows came the loud voice of a very talkative woman from the beach for the whole. entire. time....grrrrrrr!). In retrospect, we shouldn't have even booked a massage for that day.

Our cabin, post-massage

Here's what they looked like from the outside. Pretty cute!

After the massage we went to pick up the kids, but they were at lunch, so we ate a quick and delicious lunch together and then went to get the kids. I was worried about Sam because we'd dropped them off so quickly in a new place, and he isn't used to eating with anyone but us. My concerns were validated when I went in to get the kids because Sam was upset and misbehaving and for the first and only time, one of the workers was not being very nice and I felt he was too harsh with my little 3-year-old Sam. I was ticked off again. We got the kids and took them to the beach, which was very crowded because that's where most people go once they get off the ship. We finally found a seat, but we were only there for about 30 minutes because we had a glass-bottom boat excursion booked that we had to get to. We thought about not going to that, but we decided to do it because we'd already paid for it and it might be really neat. Besides, the beach water was kind of cool since it was mid-March and the Bahamas are up further north, closer to Florida. That being said, the beach was really nice and fun.

There was a really cool playground in the water that John enjoyed.  

That's John crossing the monkey bars and on a ropes course. I kind of wanted to get on there and do those things too! It looked pretty fun.

I liked the contrast of the colorful umbrellas with the blue sky and white sand. 

While waiting for the glass-bottom boat voyage, we took a picture in front of the ship (since we didn't have a chance to do it with any of the characters. Sniff sniff.).

The glass-bottom boat ride was alright, which I guess was in keeping with how the rest of the day had been going for us. The glass was kind of scratched up and you couldn't really sit down anywhere. We probably would have had more fun if we'd stayed at the beach. But it was fun to see the different types of fish, and we got to feed the yellow ones. There were a ton of them!


On the way back, the boys threw their plastic cups that the fish food had been in down onto the glass bottom. I was so embarrassed and mad at them. Just another great thing about this not-so-awesome day! 

I got some cool pictures of the ship and of the coastline of the island while on the boat ride.

It looks like a beached ship in this picture!

I took some close-ups of the ship as we rode by it.

Those are some mighty strong ropes holding that ship to the shore!

After our boat ride, we got back on the ship. It was late afternoon by that point and we were done. As always, but especially that day, it was good to return to the Fantasy. Here was the view of the island from our room.
Bon voyage to that!

So Castaway Cay was just okay. (Technically, "cay" is prounounced "key," so my little rhyme doesn't really work. The copyeditor in me needed to point that out.) Now that we know what it's like there we'll know what to do and how to have a lot more fun when we return again. I am determined that our next trip there will go much better than this one did!