Sunday, February 17, 2013

Vacation 2013 - Disney Cruise Day Seven - Castaway Cay

We arrived nice and early to Castaway Cay in the Bahamas.

By about 9 am the ship had cleared Bahamanian customs and we were cleared to leave the ship.

It was a windy and wavy day, which made it pleasant onshore but difficult for aquatic activities.

We had signed up to do a package of snorkling, bicycling and tubing, but after briefly trying snorkeling, the waves were a bit much for the kids even in the lagoon. In addition, the wave action had really messed up the visibility in the lagoon, leaving not a lot to see.

Then a BBQ picnic lunch was served on the island and it was most excellent.

So we relaxed on the beach, and then went bicycling.

It turned out that Abby had morphed into an excellent bicyclist, and she and I did the 5km trail twice, including the part that went on the island's runway. First time I've bicycled on a runway, that's for sure. Leah unfortunately had some issues with her bike and bicycling in general so she and Tash decided to forgo the biking experience and went off tubing.

After more relaxing by the beach, it was time to go.

We then boarded the ship and cleaned up from a day at the beach.

The we had something special. Disney actually had an opportunity for those interested to celebrate Shabbat on the ship. We went to the very top deck and on the way found a family heading there. They were from Israel, had lived in Chicago and now were working in China - sop they and their kids spoke Hebrew, English and Chinese. Very nice and impressive people. We found the location and a Disney crew member was there to usher us in and reserved the room just for the service, and they had a challah specially baked for the occasion and a bottle of very good kosher wine waiting. We were then found by a few other Jewish families that were on the cruise there. We sang some Shabbat songs, said the Shabbat prayers and had a very unique experience. It was great of Disney to offer this opportunity and they really did it with class and thoughtfulness. I was impressed and touched to say the least.

Then we put the kids in the Oceaneeer's Club so they could have some fun and we started packing and preparing to go home.

We did the Disney baggage option where, if you have all your checked bags tagged and outside your stateroom by a set time, not only will they be taken off the ship for you, but they will be taken and checked on your flight so we would not see them until we arrived in Detroit. Very convenient and a great service option. This led to some frenzied packing and planning for the next day. As part of the packing there was lots of planning involved in dividing the stuff into the baggage and guesstimating so that none of the bags weighed over 50 pounds to avoid any excess baggage fees, and keeping out an outfit for that night and the next day's travels.

We had our final dinner, did a few more on-board activities and went to bed.

The ship would be docking early, breakfast would be served on-board then we would need to disembark, clear customs and get to the airport.

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