DIS Holiday Cruise - Day 1 - 12/17/04 Getting Ready To Sail!

Who:  I'm Mary (aka WDWLVR on the DIS), traveling with DH Mark (aka MarkRG on the DIS) and Bear (aka Bear on the DIS).  Appearances by many other DIS'ers.

What:  Disney's first scheduled 10 day cruise!

Where: Sailing out of Port Canaveral with visits to Key West, St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Antiqua, St. Thomas & Castaway Cay

When:  December 18-28th, 2004

Why:  Why not?  Sounded like a fun way to spend the holidays!

A little bit of history:  We booked this cruise in June of '03 after hearing about it on our May '03 cruise.  The same day we booked we found a thread on the cruise meets board started by ohiominnie.  24,000 posts later we found ourselves sailing with a large number of friends we hadn't met yet!  I had done a photo gallery, monthly newsletters, and a mini-navigator for the group and Mark did DIS buttons for everyone that wanted one.  We sent the buttons and mini-navigators down a week early to Scuba Divers family (so as not to have to get 130 metal buttons through airport security). 

A little bit of history on Bear:  Back when Mark and I got engaged in early 1990 I was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer.  Mark bought me Bear to stay with me in the hospital when he couldn't.  He's been a very special part of our lives since then and travels with us.  We usually try and take a picture of him on each trip.  Well Mark decided to spice up the thread one day and introduced Bear and have a guessing game as to who Bear was traveling with.  It was met with a great deal of fun and we even played a few games of "where's Bear".  You'll see Bear in a few of the pics with this report.

Come Friday, December 17th we were finally ready to go!  The day started early with a 4 am wake-up and a 4:45 pick-up by my in-laws.  Check in at the airport was quick and we were soon on our way to Orlando.  After an uneventful flight we were in sight of the Orlando airport and the sad sight of so many blue roofs.  The hurricanes that blasted through Florida in September had left their mark and many roofs still had blue tarps on them waiting for repair.  It was a cool and slightly overcast day, but much nicer than the weather we had left in Chicago.  We picked up our car at Avis, turned on the XM radio to Special X (the wacky Christmas music channel) and were on our way to Daytona Beach.

First stop was at the Scuba's to pick up our box and the special shirts that gaRry (wdwgoose) and his wife Vicki (cruisin' goose) had made for the group.  There was even a special little shirt for Bear.  A quick stop at Publix (I adore sweet tea  and we picked up some to have on the ship) and we headed out to Vero Beach.  We own at Vero through DVC and have never stayed there so we thought it would be a great place to spend the night before the cruise.

We got to Vero about 3pm which gave us plenty of time to look around this beautiful resort.  Vero had also been ravaged with the hurricanes and some of this still shows.  You could see some new roof tiles in place and what used to be a staircase down to the beach now went right down into the sand.  While it was too cool for a swim we enjoyed watching the waves on the beach from our ocean view inn room. 

We enjoyed an early dinner at Shutters, got all the buttons and mini-navigators ready for the next day and called it a night.  We were ready to cruise!

 

The view from our room.

 

The stairway down to the beach.

 

Bear in his special cruise shirt.

Click here to go to day 2