The Perfect Friend’s Getaway! Sailing on Disney Cruise Line Without the Kids!
Outstanding ~ Wonderful ~ Blissful ~ Beautiful!! There aren’t enough words to describe a long weekend on a Disney Cruise with a group of girls – without kids! Nine friends – three cabins with connecting verandas – NO kids! Disney!
Most people automatically think kids when they hear Disney but I can’t begin to tell you how much there is for adults to do without kids on a Disney Cruise. From the minute we arrived at Port Canaveral until the time we once again set foot on dry land ~ we were pampered, happy, full of good food, relaxed, smiling and laughing!
Our girl’s weekend started by spending a leisurely day before our cruise enjoying Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival and staying Club Level at the Beach Club (that’s definitely the way to stay!). Being pampered and spoiled on WDW property is the perfect way to start a girl’s getaway weekend. We ended our stay at WDW by disrupting the lobby at the Beach Club with girlfriend shenanigans and then heading to Port Canaveral in a stretch limo!
We arrived at Port Canaveral in style! Once on board we found that adult only areas are plentiful. I never once felt like there were tons of little ones under my feet. Spa treatments, great food, quiet pools with cocktails served ~ all done with that special touch of Disney magic! Of course it helps when you absolutely adore each and every member of your traveling party and you are all Disney lovers. Getting into the spirit of the Sail Away Party and Pirate Night is easy when you travel with great friends. There are more than enough locations on board to have your own fun while watching families and children from afar!
Senses Spa & Salon is located on deck 11 of the Disney Dream. It is a huge facility and contains a state-of-the-art fitness center, barbershop, hair & nail salon, hot tubs, saunas, and a variety of treatment rooms offering services such as massages, algae wraps and facials. On the first day of the cruise, the spa offers packages of services that you can take advantage of during the entire cruise for a discounted cost. They also offer a daily special each morning. Our group took full advantage of the spa and one or more of us could be found there at any given time! Believe me ~ you will hope your hot stone massage never ends!
Palo – Adult Only Restaurant
Adult only dining at it’s finest, Palo is pure luxury. Decorated in muted tones and dark woods, the restaurant is posh, comfortable, and quiet. Service is over the top excellent and the food is superb. We were able to enjoy both brunch and a private dinner in Palo during our cruise and I have to say, at least one meal at Palo should not be missed.
Serenity Bay – Adult Only Beach on Castaway Cay
Located on the far northwestern end of the island is Serenity Bay. A tram will take you to this area and deliver you to this secluded beach for adults 18 and older only. Beach side pampering at its finest! Adults can enjoy pampering in an open-air cabana, sip a drink, and relax and enjoy the quiet of the beach with no children. A buffet lunch is served. The only downfall to Serenity Bay is having to leave and go back to the ship!
Satellite Falls – Adults Only
Adult Only – Over 18 Deck Areas are plentiful. Grown-up Disney fans can find plenty to do where no children are underfoot and still enjoy all the kid-friendly entertainment throughout the ship. Then retreat back to the peace and privacy of the adult-only areas. On-board adult exclusive activities are limited to drinking, dancing, socializing, resting, and your imagination! I can’t wait for my next girlfriend’s weekend on a Disney cruise!
10 Secrets of Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Cay
Castaway Cay is a private island in the Bahamas which serves as the exclusive port for the Disney Cruise Line ships. The island is 3 miles long and consists of 1,000 acres, but only 55 acres are developed. It is located near Great Abaco Island and was formerly known as Gorda Cay. As with all things Disney, Imagineers create a backstory and history for every attraction, shop or show, and Castaway Cay is no different. When you first arrive on the island you see the island’s story:
“Three explorers set sail to the scattered islands of the Bahamas in search of fame and fortune. They brought along their families and a diverse crew. Through mild mishap and extreme good fortune, they located the objects of their desire–sunken treasures and the secret of youth. Though castaway on this island, they had no desire to leave due to the breathtaking beauty of this tropical paradise. Visitors to this island can still see the original structures built by the explorers and take part in many of the same pleasures our castaways enjoyed years ago. Disney Cruise Line welcomes you to the island paradise of your dreams, Castaway Cay.”
#1 ~ OWNERSHIP
It is commonly believed that Disney owns Castaway Cay. The island , Gorda Cay, is actually owned by the Bahamian Government and Disney leases the island from them. The current lease will expire in 2096. It took eighteen months, $25 million and 50,000 truckloads of sand to transform Gorda Cay into Castaway Cay, a castaway-themed island with buildings designed to look like they had been built from timbers following a shipwreck.
#2 ~ PIRATES
Although never completely confirmed, it is rumored that pirates frequented the island in the early 1700’s. The island was located just north of a trade route used at the time. The island offers many hidden alcoves and was believed to provide great hiding spots for pirates to anchor and lie in wait to ambush passing ships. Two treasure hunters from Nassau in the 1950’s came across a few objects just off the shoals of the island including three coins and a 72 pound silver ingot. Markings showed the objects belonged to Spain’s King Philip IV, and that the treasures were aboard the San Pedro, a Spanish Galleon that sank in 1733.
#3 ~ THE ABANDONED AIRSTRIP
Many years ago, Gorda Cay was originally used for farmers from neighboring islands. Because the fertile soil was excellent for growing groups, locals from other islands would boat over and use the land to farm.
In the 1960’s, a businessman, Alvin Tucker, looking for investments flew over the island with a real estate agent from Nassau. He purchased 150 acres of the island, one of the first investments and purchases he made in the Bahamas. The only way to get to the island was by boat, so his plan was to clear land for a runway for easier access. He is responsible for the 2,400 foot runway that still exists today. The runway is no longer used for planes but does serve as a bike and tram path to Serenity Bay.
As time went on this beautiful and isolated tropical hideaway was discovered by criminals and put to use. Alvin heard rumors that his private airstrip was being used by drug smugglers to bring narcotics into Florida. Even when he tried to put a stop to it, he could not because – the police were supposedly in on it as well. Anyone owning parts of the island were no longer welcome and were being chased away by men with large guns and Dobermans. Residents of neighboring islands saw up to six plans a day landing. Alvin began to visit less and less, and eventually sold his land to a private company. An American living in Florida, who had secretly used the runway himself for years to smuggle drugs, was the man behind the private company that purchased Alvin Tucker’s land. His name was Frank Barber. Barber would also rent out the use of the airstrip to other drug smugglers.
Along with Frank Barber’s smuggling business, he also planned to turn part of the island into a resort for tourists and got as far as building a large hanger adjacent to the airstrip before he was stopped. In 1983, there was a major drug bust on the island and authorities found over $100 million dollars worth of cocaine. A few days later, Barber was arrested, went to jail and died in prison. For a brief time after his arrest, activity on the island continued and it was rumored that Barber was still in control from behind bars. After his death, the smuggling stopped.
#3 ~ THE POST OFFICE
The post office on the island is a real Bahamian post office with special Bahamian postage specific to Disney Cruise Line, and a “Castaway Cay” postmark.
#4 ~ GIANT PALM TREE
One of the first questions many ask after arriving at Castaway Cay is “Why is that palm tree so big?” All Disney lovers know that Disney never wants anything to look out of place so that giant palm tree is actually a not-so-cleverly disguised communications tower located in the middle of the island disguised as a palm tree. The communications tower is used for the local Bahamas cell phone carrier, as well as to transmit radio frequencies for cast members who work and live on the island.
#5 ~ FUELING AROUND!
The island makes much of it’s own fuel. Sea water is desalinated for drinking with reverse osmosis water processors. Some water is procured in Port Canaveral and delivered to Castaway Cay by the ships to an 80,000 gallon fresh water storage tank on the island. On Castaway Cay, an innovative recycling program re-purposes used cooking oil from the ships’ galleys and combines it with diesel fuel to power machinery on the island. The program reduces waste and carbon dioxide emissions, saving up to 8,000 gallons of traditional fuel each year. Hidden from the view of guests are a sewage treatment plant and the two facilities that turn sea water into fresh water.
#6 ~ CASTAWAYS ON CASTAWAY CAY
Over 100 people live on Castaway Cay. These “castaways” are a mixture of guest services employees – those that interact with the guests from the ships; island maintenance; horticulturalists; boat captains, landscapers, engineers; etc. There are also a small number of cast members that commute by boat from the neighboring island, Abaco. Other island Cast Members come from the ship ~ some of the ship Cast Members go onto the island to work as food servers for example.
All of the resident “castaways” live in the Crew Compound. They have a crew beach, gym, football pitch, indoor recreation area, crew mess and, of course, they live on one of the most beautiful Caribbean islands. Food and other supplies are brought in by the ships themselves, so while everyone is enjoying their vacation, workers are diligently off-loading supplies from the ship. Those that may have some time off when the ship is docked, can go on the ship, watch some movies and relax.
Many of the island “castaways” will use the ships as their “taxi” ride home after several weeks or several months on the island. When it is their turn to have some time off, they will board one of the cruise ships as they are leaving the island and get a ride back to Cape Canaveral. Disney Cruise Line keeps several staterooms unoccupied to be sure there is room for these “rescues!” If you think you might want to be a castaway on the island – you can find available jobs on Disney Cruise Line’s Career listings under “Island Opportunities.”
#7 ~ THE BEACHES
Before being turned into Castaway Cay, Gorda Cay was also popular for filming movies. The beach where Tom Hanks first meets Daryl Hannah in Splash is on the island. Part of the film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was also filmed there.
#8 ~ SUN BURN TREE
There is a gumbo limbo tree that Disney planted on the island. Cast Members call it ‘the tourist tree’ because its red, peeling bark resembles a sun-burnt tourist.
#9 ~ 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA
Many guests know that if you go snorkeling just off the family beach, you’ll find a nautilus submarine that used to carry passengers to the depths of Atlantis in Fantasyland at Walt Disney World Resort. Snorkeling around this is a surreal experience for theme park fans and something you can only do at Castaway Cay.
#10 ~ Sea Urchin Research
Researchers at Castaway Cay are helping to restore the health of coral reefs through a unique research project transplanting native sea urchins in The Bahamas. The urchins help to control harmful algae levels that can choke out corals, and the project is providing vital research for rebuilding coral reef systems that serve as homes for tropical fish and marine life.
A little extra info: Just like the tributes paid to many by the windows along Main Street USA, there are some signs around Castaway Cay that pay tribute to executives at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
Pete’s Dragon Opens Today! Check Out These Activity Sheets and Dragon Cupcakes
The most magical movie of the year, PETE’S DRAGON is finally opening in theaters everywhere TODAY! August 12th!This is one of the best family movies of the year and equally perfect for kids and adults alike!
Check out these Pete’s Dragon Activity Sheets and Dragon Cupcakes!
And don’t forget your Disneybound outfit when you hit the theaters this weekend!
Disney Cruise Line Early 2017 Ports & Itineraries
In early 2017, Disney Cruise Line returns to favorite destinations in the Caribbean and Bahamas on a variety of itineraries, most from popular Florida ports. Limited-time engagements in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Galveston, Texas, complete the line-up for the first part of the year.
During these sailings, Disney Cruise Line guests will visit timeless tropical locales, dive into charming island cultures, sunbathe on golden beaches and revel in local marketplaces. Most cruises feature a stop at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island paradise reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests.
With three Disney ships in port and cruise lengths spanning three, four and seven nights, vacationers looking for a Disney Cruise Line getaway in early 2017 have a full menu of options from Port Canaveral. Every sailing includes a day at Castaway Cay.
The Disney Fantasy continues to sail seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean voyages, while the Disney Dream embarks on three- and four-night cruises to Nassau and Castaway Cay. Beginning Jan. 29, the Disney Wonder will alternate similar three- and four-night itineraries.
To kick off 2017, the Disney Magic continues sailing from Miami with three-, four- and five-night voyages to the Bahamas, plus select five-night Western Caribbean cruises, through March 31.
Castaway Cay awaits guests aboard every one of these Disney Magic sailings. Other Bahamian ports of call include Nassau and Key West, while a stop in Grand Cayman or Cozumel headlines the Western Caribbean itineraries.
San Juan and Galveston
From San Juan, the Disney Magic sets sail on four seven-night cruises to the Southern Caribbean. Departing April 9, 16, 23 and 30, this limited-time engagement includes calls on Barbados, St. Lucia, Martinique, Antigua and St. Kitts.
The Disney Wonder completes a season in Galveston with two seven-night Bahamian voyages to Key West, Castaway Cay and Nassau on Jan. 6 and 13. From there, the ship embarks on a six-night journey to San Juan on Jan. 20 with stops in Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Falmouth, Jamaica.
On Jan. 26, a three-night cruise aboard the Disney Wonder takes guests from San Juan to Port Canaveral, just an hour away from Walt Disney World Resort—the perfect stop for a fairytale land and sea adventure.
Cell Phone and Data Services Now Available Aboard Disney Cruise Line
Beginning Sept, 23, 2015, guests who have AT&T as their cellular provider are able to purchase cruise bundling packages to save on cellular phone service costs when sailing.
These new cellular cruise packages will work onboard the Disney Cruise Line ships, as well as in ports of call when traveling on cruises to Canada, Mexico and The Caribbean. In addition, these packages will provide you with a more affordable option to stay in touch with your family and friends.
You can purchase these packages directly through AT&T before you leave for your cruise, or on board while cruising. Packages will start on the day of sailing and will be valid for one month. Charges will be billed to your regular monthly bill after using the package. The package will be automatically removed from the account once expired. Please note that if you plan to cruise on back-to-back sailings, you will have to sign-up again after expiration or depletion.
Pricing for the AT&T Cruise Packages are as follows:
Calling Package is $30 – Includes 50 minutes
Calling and Messaging Package is $60 – Includes 50 minutes, 100 messages
Calling, Messaging and Data Package is $120 – Includes 50 minutes, 100 messages and 100 MB of data
To add one of these packages, you should call 1.800.335.4685 or +1.916.843.4685
If you are using AT&T as your carrier you can find the latest at www.att.com/cruiseships. If you are using other cellular carriers you should contact your provider to obtain information on rates.