Disney Fantasy Halloween Cruise Trip Report

Day 7

November 2nd 2012
Castaway Cay, Bahamas - Disney's Own Island
Ashore: 9:30am Aboard: 5:00pm
Today we arrived at Disney’s Own Private Island, Castaway Cay.  This island is one of the top reasons that we cruise Disney.  We just love to visit here.  We were a bit disappointed that our Stingray excursion had been cancelled.  Apparently all of the stingrays escaped when Hurricane Sandy paid it’s visit to Castaway Cay.  At least we were not on last week’s cruise that missed Castaway Cay all together.  We could see from the damage to the vegetation that Sandy had not been kind to Disney’s island.  I will give huge kudos to the cast members that did a tremendous job of getting the island cleaned up and in immaculate condition for us to visit.  I know that there must have been a great deal of hard work involved in the preparation for the arrival of our ship.
We had our normal breakfast at Cabanas and headed out to Castaway Cay with a top priority of locating the elusive Jack Sparrow.  He was scheduled to be right outside of the ship on the Navigator.  Our boys were so sad when we got to his spot and he was not there.  We asked several cast members about him and none of them knew of a place that Jack Sparrow would be.  They even called back to the ship and did not gain any new information.  Since Jack Sparrow is a priority on our trip, our boys were disappointed to have missed him twice.
We decided to take the tram to the furthest family beach next to the Pelican Plunge.  We had spent a previous cruise on the nearest family beach and wanted to try something different.  When we got off the tram at the Pelican Point tram stop, low and behold, there was none other than Captain Jack Sparrow himself standing under some palm trees and greeting people.  We immediately got in line for photographs and autographs.  Our little guys had smiles from ear to ear.  It was quite an enjoyable experience.  I still wonder why nobody seemed to know where Jack Sparrow was and I consider us lucky to have bumped into him by accident.
After photographs and Autographs we headed for the beach.  We had a difficult time locating any chairs on the beach, but as we walked along a cast member pointed out a group of chairs to us, that still had towels on them, and told us that the people there had left and we could have the chairs.  We jumped on that offer and went right to work on sand and water play.  We planned on trying out the Pelican Plunge, but I will be the first to admit that I am a total wuss.  The water was a little chilly for my taste and I didn’t want to get in above my knees.  So we just relaxed and played on the beach.
After a while our stomachs started to rumble.  I couldn’t believe that it had been a few hours since we had put any food in our mouths.  It was time to seek out some grub.  On our way to Cookies Too BBQ we noticed that they were setting up for the crab races so we stopped to participate.  There was a circular chalk line with numbers around the perimeter; we chose number 1 to stand on.  When the hermit crabs were released, we cheered on the crab, with number one on his back, to encourage him to cross the circular chalk line first.  Number 1 must have had a rough night because he seemed to be sleeping and just sat there.  Our crab did not win that round.  Once gathered up again the crabs were released for a second and third race.  Our crab did win the second race but then got tired again and seemed to go back to sleep.  There were lots of excited people and some screaming and yelling.  Good fun in the eyes of Disney.
Food was our next mission and Cookies Too BBQ had some delicious lunch selections.  I do wish I would have taken pictures, but our goal was to eat quickly and get back out on the beach for more fun.  The unique fruit was my personal favorite part of lunch.  We did not have any trouble finding a place to sit at a table even though it seemed as if there were a large number of people there.
Since our afternoon stingray encounter had been cancelled, due to the escape of the stingrays, we decided to rent a paddle boat.  We slowly walked to the marina and enjoyed the beautiful sand between our toes.  When we got to the boating harbor we rented a paddle boat.  $10 for half an hour was the charge that would later go on our stateroom account.  We all donned life vests and had a great time paddling out for a close look at the Fantasy.  While paddling around a stingray started to follow under our boat.  We enjoyed watching him while taking some photos and video.  We all decided that he must be one of the escapees from Castaway Ray’s Stingray Adventure.  Although we did not get to feed him it was still fun to watch him.  The paddle boat was fun and a great value at only $10.
After our paddle boat adventure we went to the nearby family beach.  The kids found a race car built out of sand that they enjoyed having their picture taken in.  The beach was now getting empty because all aboard time was drawing near.  There were all sorts of little fish showing up on the beach sand.  We could not figure out if they were washing onshore or coming out of the sand.  We took a few and threw them back in the water and watched as they buried themselves back in the sand.  One fish did not dig down quickly enough and become fish food for a larger fish.
A nearby snorkeler brought a giant hermit crab in a conch shell on shore for everyone to see and photograph.  After we got a good look at the hermit crab he was returned to the ocean where he belonged.  There was a remora fish swimming around the legs of people in the water and occasionally sucking onto a unsuspecting person’s leg.  Someone with a Nemo bucket caught the fish for a closer inspection.  We took a few quick photos and then released him back into the water.  It was enjoyable to look at the various ocean life.
The time came too soon to board the Fantasy for our final night.  We all headed for the shower to wash off the beach sand.  We photographed Castaway Cay from our Verandah while the ship pulled out of port.  From this point of view we could really see the damage done to the foliage on Castaway Cay.  Everything that would normally be green was brown from the wrath of the storm.
Our dinner tonight was served in Enchanted Garden.   After eating our fill at dinner we returned to our stateroom to finish packing up our belongings and placing our luggage outside in the hallway to be collected.  We would not see our luggage again until tomorrow after debarkation.  We settled up on all of our tips & presented the cast members with their pre-printed tip sheets in envelopes.  Our standard tips that were charged on our room for 2 adults & 2 children were:
Server: Elizabeth Sanfilippo $112.00
Assistant Server: Massiel Reyes Tineo $84.00
Head Server: Bhoola Bhoola $28.00
Stateroom Host: Thongchai Jitnak $112.00
Of course these are the standard tips & extra service deserved extra reward.
Shutters was extremely busy but we wanted to purchase some of our favorite photos.  We opted to buy the 10 photo CD for $150.  We were a little disappointed that there were no photographer out on the beaches in Castaway Cay this cruise and also to have missed Halloween night pictures, but I guess you can’t always have everything.  We were given a CD with all of our photos on it to take home.  When we got home we would later look over the pictures and decide which 10 pictures we wanted to unlock and download.  I highly recommend getting a close look at your printed pictures and taking some notes on your favorites before you get home with your CD.  The small pictures on the CD are a little hard to see and it can be tough to distinguish between similar photos.  I sure wish Shutters would have allowed me to purchase a few additional photos at an added cost.  Instead we would have had to purchase a CD with all of our pictures for $350.  The price wasn’t worth only an added photo or two so we had to leave behind some of our memories and Shutters missed out on some money to be made from us.
We stopped guest services to pick up the photo mat that we had left there on our first day to have signed by all of the Disney characters. We also wanted to make a donation to the Disney Conservation Fund.  We were thrilled with the way our photo mat turned out.  We purchased the 11x14 mat with the frame for $6 on clearance at Michales craft store after graduation time so it had the year 2012 on the bottom half.  It is the perfect memory to hang on our family room wall.
This night was filled with preparation for disembarkation tomorrow and we fell into an exhausted sleep.
Debarkation Day
Debarkation Tip:  It is well worth the extra money to grab a porter and have him load your luggage and help you through customs.  It is so much faster and less confusing with someone to help you out.
We scheduled a pick up time of 9:00 & it seemed perfect.  When we left our stateroom for breakfast in Cabanas they asked that we take our luggage with us out of the room so we were glad to have an early pick up so that we didn't have to wander around dragging our luggage with us.  We ate breakfast & then went through customs.  The timing was almost perfect.

This time we paid a porter to help us through customs with our luggage & it was well worth the tip that we gave him.  he knew his way around the terminal & it seemed to make things go more quickly & smoothly.  We were in touch with our driver while we went through customs & as soon as our porter left us with our luggae out side the terminal we simply called our driver's cell phone & he pulled up to meet us.
November 2nd Personal Navigator
Castaway Cay Map
Autograph from Jack Sparrow on Castaway Cay





Photo we purchased from onboard


Sand castle building




sand castle complete with working mote





Family beach. The damage to the trees from hurricane Sandy can be seen.

Waiting for the release of the hermit crabs at the crab races

racing hermit crabs

Cookies 2 BBQ for lunch

Fantasy from the paddle boat

riding the paddle boat


The Fantasy from our paddle boat





Enoying the view from the back of the paddle boat



shoreline form the paddle boat



A stingray following our paddle boat

Maybe this stingray escaped from the stingray enclosure because of hurricane Sandy

Posing for a photo on the back of the paddle boat


Date in the sand

living creature on coral

Remora fish that was swimming around sucking on the legs of people

Giant hermit crab in a conch shell


Driving a sand car that someone had built on the beach


Looking back at Castaway Cay from our verandah





relaxing on the verandah as we pull out of port

A brown Castaway Cay from the devistation of Hurricane Sandy


Our last night dinner at Enchanted Garden

Too full for dessert?

Our final night towl animal

Signed photo mat that we left at guest services on our first day & then picked up on our last day. It is so cute with all of the Disney character signatures on it!!!

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