Get Away With Fran

June 27, 2011

Sea and Glaciers

Filed under: Cruise,Travel Advice,U.S. — Tags: , , , — admin @ 12:30 pm

After departing Vancouver, the Disney Wonder spent a day at sea. We were pretty lazy. We played a lot of shuffleboard, and we all won at least once (great thing about shuffleboard; little athletic skill required).

Sasha went swimming in the heated family pool. She says it wasn’t cold, even though outdoor temps were low 60s.

We got dressed up for dinner – formal night, though most people went with cocktail attire and some did not even go that far.

Disney Cruise Line has a unique rotation dining system where you eat in a different restaurant each night but with the same waiters. It’s especially clever. Kids don’t get bored by similar menus and ambience and get to know the waiters. We ate in the lively Parrot Cay the first night and the fancier Tritons the second. Sasha did not want to sit through a full multicourse meal the first night, but by the second our Serbian waiter, who performed magic and made Origami from the children’s, was not only a familiar face but a pal.

After dinner we went as a family to see the Golden Mickeys show in the main theater. It features clips from Disney animated movies and dancers and singers performing some numbers too. We all enjoyed it.

My brother and I dropped Sasha off after at The Edge, the ‘tween hangout, so we could check out some of the entertainment for adults-only. Seems other passengers had the same idea. The comedy show, featuring three whacky brothers, was so crowded in the disco they had overflow to the Diversions bar where you could watch on video screens. The physical comedy got lost in translation on the screens, so we headed instead to the ship’s movie theater to see the latest “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie. It was sold out too, no seats available. We wandered the ship a bit – passing a folk guitarist and singer, but then picked up Sasha and headed back to the cabin.

Next day, appeared to be another day at sea, but appearances can be deceiving. We spent about five hours in and around Tracy Arm Fjord, where we saw humpback whales close enough to spot even without binoculars, bald eagles, seals, a bear (through binoculars), snow-capped mountains reflected in clear water, blue icebergs (and white ones too) and then the amazing sight of Sawyer Glacier, a massive lake of moving ice heading ever so slowly towards the sea. And yes, we saw calving and even from a distance the sight of ice falling off a glacier into the sea is magnificent.

The temperature fell below 50, but the heated pools still called Sasha, who spent time swimming with a pal.

Dinner in Animator’s Palette, where animation appears throughout the meal, had Sasha smiling throughout the meal. Her smiles continued at the show where a really fun magician sure knew how to appeal to the family crowd, and the three brothers performed their unusual brand of song, dance and sound effects to many giggles.

April 8, 2010

Oo la la, French dining on Disney Dream

Filed under: Cruise — Tags: , , , , , — admin @ 11:53 am


When the new Disney Dream debuts early next year, one onboard restaurant will have a decisively French accent.

Remy, a nod to the diminutive star of Disney Pixar’s “Ratatouille,” will be an adults-only venue, with a cover charge (not yet determined but likely to top $75 p.p.). And you know what? Based on a sample meal prepared for couple dozen members of the press last night, it just may become the ship’s must-do attraction (well, along with the water coaster Dream is debuting for the first time at sea).

In creating the set menu, the cruise line turned to two top chefs. Impressively, Disney (more…)

November 11, 2009

Disney Cruise Line and Mickey on the streets of New York

Filed under: Cruise — Tags: , , , , , , — admin @ 4:44 pm

Dr Oz

Sailor Mickey will hit the streets of New York this Thanksgiving, or more precisely, fly above, during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. His appearance is a promotion for Disney Cruise Line - making its debut in the parade this year – just as it opens bookings for its new ship, Disney Dream (which debuts in January 2011, and boasts the first water coaster at sea).

Mickey will be some 61 feet tall, 33 feet wide and 48 feet long, and dressed in red shorts, a nautical blazer and yellow shoes. He’ll also sport a sailor’s cap above his prominent ears. Mickey will be perched on a giant ship anchor, and some 70 volunteer handlers will guide him down the parade route.

This year’s parade can be seen on TV on Nov. 26 (unless you happen to be in the Big Apple to see it live).

Of course, Disney being Disney, you can also buy a plush version of Sailor Mickey at Macy’s stores and online. If you miss the parade this year, Sailor Mickey will also be back in 200 and 2011.

And BTW, Mickey last appeared in the parade as Bandleader Mickey back in 2000.

October 30, 2009

Disney’s Dream cruise ship includes a roller coaster

Filed under: Cruise — Tags: , , , , , , — admin @ 5:31 am


“Awesome,” “Amazing,” “Yippee,” “Wow.” That’s me, hopefully, in 2011, after Disney debuts the first water roller coaster at sea on its Disney Dream, currently under construction in Germany.

The coaster, which will use basically the same technology as Master Blaster at Typhoon Lagoon,” is 2 1/2 football fields long and four decks high and will actually loop out over the ocean, so that the sea will be some 150 feet below. Talk about a rush. High-powered water jets will accelerate rides on the AquaDuck upward and forward at a surging speed of about 20 feet per second.

Cruise executives have joked for years that a roller coaster would some day appear on a cruise ship. But Disney is actually doing it on this 3,000-passenger ship. Because they’re Disney and they can.


And that’s just one of the innovations on a ship that will also feature innovative inside cabins with portholes showing a live video feed of the ocean – so you can see the waves even in the cheapest cabins on the ship.

Since the Disney Dream does not debut until January 26, 2011, there’s no pricing yet and you can’t book passage yet. But it has been disclosed the ship will offer cruises from Port Canaveral (near Orlando).

Stay tuned for more details.

October 29, 2009

Oasis arrives and Disney Dreams

Last night I dreamed about being on a cruise ship with the Pirates of the Caribbean (my favorite ride at Walt Disney World). No, I do not ordinarily dream about Disney (though I will confess to some dreaming about pirates, aye aye captain). But today I head to New York to hear what Disney Cruise Line has in store for its two new cruise ships, the first of which, the Disney Dream, is under construction at Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany, and due to debut in 2011.

Because we’re talking Disney, there are rumors of course – like that the ships will boast a huge amount of space both indoors and outdoors dedicated to kids. Whether that’s true and what will be in that space (grass? rides? pirates?) is top secret.

Meanwhile, the world’s largest by far cruise ship Oasis of the Seas was officially delivered to Royal Caribbean yesterday in Finland. That means the final payment of the $1.9 billion was made, and the ship is soon to head across the Atlantic for its official debut in Miami on Nov. 20. And yes, I plan to be in Miami too getting a first look.

The Oasis is bigger than a bread basket – in fact as big as an aircraft carrier – with 220,000 tons of space to explore along with the 5,400 other passengers.

I’m packing heels for New York and Disney. For Oasis, I think I’ll bring sneakers.

September 11, 2009

Disney does Alaska

Filed under: Travel Advice,U.S. — Tags: , , , , , — admin @ 10:49 am


It’s official, Disney Cruise Line will be heading to Alaska for the first time in 2011, cruising in the 49th state for four months with the Disney Wonder. The weeklong itinerary from Vancouver will hit the hot spots (well, hot in Southeast Alaska) of  Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway.

No word yet on whether or not Disney has snagged a coveted permit to visit Glacier Bay – but I bet they’re sure trying. Most of said permits are in the possession of market leaders Princess and Holland America.

No word either what shore excursion experiences Disney has up its sleeve, but I can’t wait to hear about them. Maybe a little gold panning? Goofy in a miner outfit? Chip and Dale doing a little salmon fishing?

The ship will also be stopping by LA for a series of Mexican Riviera cruises before and after (more…)

August 31, 2009

Upgrade for Disney’s Castaway Cay

Filed under: Cruise,International — Tags: , , , , , — admin @ 5:07 pm


Castaway Cay, the private Bahamas island that Disney Cruise Line ships visit, is so picture perfect, in my experience, that you expect to see a Mickey ear-shaped cloud in the clear blue sky (I’m sure if the Imagineers  could arrange for that they would). And what’s a good thing is soon to get better.

The 1,000-acre island’s white sand beach is being extended – meaning more room to play in the sand and build sand castles, and there will be the addition of cool new water play areas and big private cabanas.

The water areas include Pelican Plunge, a floating platform that will have two waterslides and water cannons. The 20 new private cabanas will be 325 square feet and come complete with front porch, dining table, loungers, refrigerator and even a shaded deck and shower area (so you don’t have to drag around any sand). Fluffy towels are included too. No word yet on (more…)

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