Rocky and I are having a fabulous time aboard Disney’s new cruise ship, The Disney Wish. To maximize the number of people to get the experience, they are only running three and four-night cruises out of Cape Canaveral. With a short cruise, we only have two ports of call. Our first is in the Bahamas at Nassau. If you have ever done any Caribbean cruising you have likely stopped in Nassau.
Tonight is Pirate Night. During the day I am visiting a friend who used to live in Houston and now splits her time between her new home in Santa Fe, Mexico and her condo in the Nassau. June picked me up in town at the Straw Market and since I have been to Nassau so often, we just headed over to her condo to catch up and enjoy the view. June went back and got her interior design degree after the end of an earlier career and the décor at the three-story condo was fabulous. Only thing to top it was the gorgeous view from her large patio.
Rocky stayed on board the ship and checked out the theaters. In addition to the wide range of Disney+ movies you could get in your cabin, two small on-board theaters showed first run movies currently only in theatrical release. They rotated the showing among three films.
When I got back, Rocky and I headed up to try out the Aqua Mouse, the Wish’s on-board water ride. We were hoping to catch it when it wasn’t so busy. The sign said it was a 15-minute wait, but I bet we waited less than 10 minutes to board. There are two person tubes so we got to ride together and rode several times so both of us could try out the front and the back seats.
You sit in a float and a conveyor belt takes you up through the tube. There are screens with cartoons as you start the ride on the belt. Next the streaming water takes you through the ride tube. The ride goes in a circle around the boat including passage through one of the ship’s two smokestacks (which are decorative only) and a small portion of the tube that is out over the water. You are in what looks like a large PVC pipe; the only portion that is clear so you can see out is when you go out over the water near the end of the ride. The entire experience is enclosed. Fabulous! Getting out is not graceful, but just roll and you can do. As I mentioned we did it several times. Loved it!!
For Pirate Night there are two shows, the early one features Disney characters in pirate attire and is designed so the little ones who can stay up after dark can get their pirate experience in. There were so many passengers that were in costume. Disney has a Pirate Night on every one of their sailings in the Caribbean and my experience was that engagement for the event was dying off. This was not the case on The Disney Wish. It felt like most of the guests on board were out on the deck. There were lots of serious pirates on board.
After getting ready from dinner, we headed over to The Bayou, another bar and music venue with a New Orleans vibe and a French Quarter garden look. We are becoming Matt groupies catching most of his shows-he’ll be on the Pirate stage later tonight as well. Wanting something a little different, we ordered root beer floats and beignets (French donuts with powdered sugar). I wasn’t hungry, but those beignets were good as were the floats.
We dined again in Arendelle’s, but no show this time. Apparently, anyone celebrating a birthday with a cake order got it tonight because it seemed like every 5 minutes the servers were singing “Happy Birthday”. After dinner, we headed straight up to deck, just above the pool deck. This deck is full open air so you can see down into the stage and up and out to see the fireworks. People were lined up 3 or 4 deep all along this balcony. For the best view of the fireworks (and the only one not obstructed by the Aqua Mouse, stand on the right side of the ship. There was a fun show featuring pirates, a live pirate band, and an appearance by Captain Jack Sparrow. The fireworks are awesome. Disney is the only cruise line that features fireworks at sea. We stayed on after for the DJ music on deck. It was a great party. Afterwards, I was still feeling it, so we watched the first Pirates of the Caribbean on the flatscreen TV in the room.
Our second port day and our final full day of the cruise we were at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas. They have an airfield and lots of permanent structures, including a fabulous play area for children. Rocky and I always head over to the private adult (18+) beach. By tram, you get off at the second stop and then transfer to a different tram for the third leg.
Generally, we can get a seat pretty close to the entrance. However, this cruise we had to walk most of the way down the beach to find two chairs together under an umbrella. We had stayed on board and had breakfast before coming to the beach. We ordered a bucket of ice waters and two lava flows (pina codas with strawberry syrup) from a server who came to our chairs. Lava flows are our go-to drinks at Disney resorts. We usually get them at the pool at the Polynesian, our DVC home resort.
The water was a little cold, but we stayed out most of the day until we had less than an hour to our departure time. There was no wait for the tram. We had skipped lunch, but it is offered on the island and the one at this beach is also adults only. We sampled the poolside food venues when we got on board, but didn’t eat much because tonight is our dinner in 1923, the ship’s most elegant dining venue on the rotation.
The evening started with the second large scale production show of the cruise, Aladdin. There were all kinds of technical problems. At one point they even stopped the show for 10 minutes. The actors/singers/dancers had already been off before that issue, but after the show started again, they never regained their timing. Disappointing. When it flows, I suspect this is a fabulous production.
1923 was not a disappointment. The restaurant has two sections separated by a pedestrian hallway. You could be assigned to Roy or Walt. The venues are small, but the décor changed by section. We sat by original items from the animated Sleeping Beauty. The food was very good and well presented, especially the desserts. As others have done before me, I recommend the steak. While there is no show in 1923, it is a favorite of many because of the wonderful memorabilia and excellent food. The restaurant’s name comes from the year the Disney Bros. Studio was founded, hence the use of both brothers names when designated the rooms. As Rocky pointed out to me, the studio location was changed in 1926 and name became Walt Disney Studios.
More bar/venue hopping and then the closing show on the Great Hall stage tonight. We had early flights and the Disney transfer acknowledges our need to get off the ship early. We had plenty of time to check bags and go through security at MCO. Unfortunately, Rocky and I left from opposite sides of the terminal so we had to split up before security. It was a wonderful trip and we would both recommend the Wish and Disney cruises to anyone who enjoys Disney and Disney-style entertainment.
So ends my first inaugural year sailing of 2023. I have another sailing on a ship in its inaugural year next month when I sail through the Panama Canal on the Azamara Onward. Until then…Natasha.