Waking up from a fun and relaxing day at sea we were ready to take on the day. It was another beautiful morning on deck 11 as the boat approached our favorite island in the world, Castaway Cay. Cruise Director Mike called it our little slice of paradise, and he couldn’t be more spot on when talking about the amazing island. Being that it was our last day of vacation, we wanted to make the most out of it, which required that we do something that we try to never do, wake two sleeping boys. Somehow they turned into teenagers on this cruise and have somewhat mastered the art of sleeping in on this vacation.
We hustled to get dressed in our beach attire. We could hear Captain Fabian over the hallway speakers making an announcement that the ship made such good time overnight, they were able to let guests off earlier than they originally anticipated! This made us even more anxious to get to breakfast so we could get a good spot on the beach. Our original plan was to eat breakfast on the outside back deck overlooking the island, but as I went to find a table, I was quickly greeted by a couple dozen aggressive birds looking for a morning handout. All of the tables were also in the sun, so I grabbed an inside table with a view of the island. The boys did their best to eat as slowly as humanly possible, but we finally reached the point where we had to call an end to breakfast and head back to the room to get our stuff and go.
We were off the ship at roughly 9:30 am, snagged a few towels, and hopped aboard the awaiting tram to get a ride back to the Pelican Plunge area of the island. The ride was a relaxing one and allowed us to avoid the long walk with two full beach bags and several towels. When we arrived at the beach it was clear that we were not the first to arrive. We grabbed a couple of beach chairs that were shaded by a nearby palm tree and laid out our towels and gear. It appeared that everyone was taking advantage of our last beach day before returning to reality.
We wasted no time grabbing the GoPro, the kids goggles, and a few life vests and making the swim out to the Pelican Plunge platform. We always try to get to the slide early before the line gets too long, but it appeared that others had this strategy as well. It was the perfect activity to get wet and have some fun. Emily and Sawyer did three runs (Sawyer even was brave enough to do the fast slide) and Hunter and I did four runs.
After getting our fill of the slide, we decided we wanted to give snorkeling another try. The last time we were at Castaway Cay on a summer vacation we tried a family snorkeling attempt that didn’t go as planned. Since Emily stayed back with Sawyer during that experience, I thought it would be fun to let Emily and Hunter go off and explore, and I would hang with Sawyer if he didn’t want to snorkel, which he didn’t. Emily and Hunter were out for a good 30-45 minutes and had an amazing experience seeing a ton of different fish and buried treasure through the snorkeling area. Emily is not much for wildlife, swimming, or general recreation, but Hunter reported back that she was the one who kept them going all the way to at least the halfway point of the snorkel “trail.” Since Sawyer was not interested in snorkeling, we played Headbands (imaginary) in the water which was fun.
After Emily and Hunter got back, the three of them went to splash around in the water, and I went out to try my hand at snorkeling. Although the water was beautiful and clear, I didn’t have quite the luck that Emily and Hunter had. Oh well, the water was still quite refreshing as the midday sun was starting to heat up the island quite a bit. I returned to the beach area to hang out with Em and the boys for a bit until our hunger got the better of us and we dried off and headed to Cookie’s Too for lunch.
Cookie’s Too is a BBQ located on the island, just steps from the beach where we were hanging out. While this is not Emily’s favorite cuisine, the boys enjoy the food and being able to eat outside. What we have noticed over the recent years is that the birds on the island continue to get more aggressive because many of the guests are feeding them. They will literally stand on an occupied table and pick food off of a tray. Doesn’t make for a very relaxing experience. We wolfed down our food and capped off lunch by building some ice cream cookies sandwiches, an idea that Emily introduced on a previous cruise.
Our stomachs were full and we had had our fill of beach and sun, so we grabbed our stuff and headed back to the ship. It was around 2 pm and as we approached the ship we could see that there were storm clouds that were moving toward the island. Since we were already in our bathing suits and the storm looked to be about 30 minutes away, we took advantage of the sparsely populated deck 11 and did our last official round of pool activities. We rode the Aquaduck for our sixth and final time, Sawyer ran around in Nemo’s Reef, and Hunter and I took a dip in the bath water that was the Donald Pool. The boys each took a few more turns on the Mickey slide, and we hung out with our table mates who also had the same idea that we had. Just as we were ready to call it an afternoon on deck 11, the storms were literally right off the back of the ship, so we headed to the room for showers and to change into dry clothes.
We took some time to chill in the room as the boys played with their cars and I took a few time-lapse videos of Castaway Cay with the rain coming down. We were counting down the minutes until the 5:15 showing of Spiderman Homecoming in the Buena Visa Theater. As mentioned in the post from our last cruise day at sea, Hunter was so excited when he heard Cruise Director Mike mention that they would be debuting the movie on this cruise and he definitely wanted to see it. I told him that Sawyer would probably want to see it as well, cooler heads prevailed, and we waited for the late afternoon showing so all three of us could go. Emily, who wasn’t as excited about it, stayed in the room to finish up packing so we could enjoy the evening without that stress, and to also have a little chill time without the three of us. The movie was awesome and all three boys loved it. Sawyer, of course, had to go to the bathroom at the peak of action with about 20 minutes left in the movie. We had to walk in front of a fairly full row of people to get out. This meant that we were better off watching the remainder of the movie from the side of the theater. Hunter unfortunately didn’t see us down there which caused a 10 minute search for him after the movie because he didn’t know where we were. Yes, there were tears.
We met up with Emily who was waiting for us outside the theater. She showed us the amazing picture of the rainbow over Castaway that she took (below) as well as a photo of her relaxing on deck four with a glass of wine. The movie ended at 7:15 which gave us an hour for the boys to get ready for dinner and one last quick trip through the shops on deck three prior to our last dinner at Royal Palace. The boys pooled the remainder of their money and bought the three remaining Cars 3 race cars that they didn’t already have. The boys also traded a few pins with the pin trading books that were located at the stores.
We arrived at Royal Court on deck three midship just in time for seating at dinner. Everyone was at dinner except for the older of the two kids from the family we were seated with because he was already at the Oceaneer Club. You could tell from the boys’ behavior at dinner that their lack of sleep was catching up to them. We got them fed, and I took them up to the Oceaneer Club so they could enjoy their final night there and Emily and I could enjoy the remainder of our dinner. We caught up with our tablemates and discussed the highlights of the cruise. We wrapped up with our traditional assortment of desserts, and Emily and I went to enjoy one last drink before picking up the boys.
Our original plan was to close out the cruise with a night at the Skyline bar, but when we arrived it was fairly busy with several groups talking at about a nine and I needed them to be at about a four. The Meridian bar outside of Palo is always a good place if you are looking for a quiet atmosphere so we took the elevator to deck 12 aft to check it out. The location was perfect as there were only a handful of people there. We took our drinks outside and enjoyed the almost full moon over the water. Emily got one more of her favorite drinks, the Limoné Basilico (which is now an off menu item), and I got a Captain Morgan and Diet Coke. The perfect, relaxing end to an amazing 10 days at sea.
We picked up the boys at the Oceaneer Club, turned in their bands, said their goodbyes, and we headed back to our room. Waiting on their beds was the final gift from Stateroom Santa. Sawyer got the Tech Suit Spiderman that he had been wanting and Hunter got an Iron Man action figure. There was one final note which read:
The days at Castaway Cay are always bittersweet
The island is amazing and the beach time is such a treat.
But it also means the end of another amazing cruise
I hope you enjoyed the journey as well as my fun clues.
I wanted to leave you both with one more special prize
And officially wrap up yet another Christmas in July.
So I bid you goodnight and one last sweet dreams,
Thinking back on your week and all your new memories.
Farewell for now my friends
But I hope that you remember
To be good to each other
While you await my return in December!
We had planned on ordering room service but the wait was over an hour which would have had us eating at around 12:30. That felt a bit late so we got our pajamas on, turned on one last Mickey cartoon marathon, and drifted off knowing we would wake up back at Port Canaveral.
Disembarkation Day, Port Canaveral, July 8th, 2017
All good things must come to an end and the cruise is no exception. We awoke early to find the ship already docked in Port Canaveral hoping to feed us and get rid of us so they could load up the next group of Guests waiting to set sail. After getting ready and saying our goodbyes to our stateroom, we headed up to Cabanas for one last delicious breakfast aboard the ship. It is always a bit hectic on the last morning of the cruise because everyone is trying to get something to eat before they depart but they also are carrying with them everything they weren’t able to put into their luggage the night prior. We managed to get one last taste of our breakfast favorites and we slowly made our way to the inevitable end of our amazing vacation.
When we reached deck three midship we noticed that the line to exit the ship was longer than usual. We later found out that it was because someone was taken off the ship in handcuffs but I digress. This gave us a little extra time to walk deck 3 one more time before I got in line to disembark. Since the line was still quite long Emily took the boys around the ship to capture a few more images and memories. It was finally our time so we sadly waved goodbye to the ship and the amazing crew and headed out to our luggage, car and home. We couldn’t have asked for a better vacation!