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Pre-Trip Blog and Review: Carnival Dream 2/15/14 – Western Caribbean

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Good morning everyone from a cloudy and slightly rainy Port Canaveral. For some reason they kicked us off the ship this morning. They said something about it being time to go home. :D We have made it back to our car and we are waiting for a local natural store to open.

 

We will return home sometime today/tonight and then tomorrow I hope to start the review.

 

I cannot wait to share all the details!

 

I will talk to you soon!

 

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Forums mobile app

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Love your blog. We were getting off the Dream as you were getting on...so sad for nus :(. On a brighter note, while we were cruising, our hometowns (Aiken, SC & Augusta, GA) were hit with a MAJOR icestorm and earthquake!! We missed it all! I know you had a wonderful time!!

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Such awesome tips within this entire post!!! Thanks so much! Can't wait to read your review since we will be going to these exact same ports on our cruise in May!!!!!

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Glad you made it back home safe and sound, and anxiously waiting for your review. I know our ports will not be the same in June but the ship sure will.;)

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Thank you everyone on all the well wishes and your excitement to read the review portion of trip.

 

I have been progressing a little bit slower than what I would like but, I am happy to announce that I am almost complete with the Pre-Cruise Day and I hope to have it posted later today.

 

For now, I have to go back to reality and get to work on my real job.

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Hello everybody! I am so excited to start the review portion of this tread. This trip was by no means perfect. We had a few bumps in the road, but overall we had an excellent time.

 

Pre-Cruise Day

 

The night before was a late night. I just could not settle down to go to bed. I kept finding something else that needed to be done. Finally, about 10 PM, I decided to get in bed and I went to sleep sometime between 11 PM and midnight. I was awoken at 3:30 AM to use the bathroom. I laid back down, closed my eyes but I never felt like I went back to sleep. At 4:45 AM, I get decided to get up and get going for the day. I went ahead and shaved and showered so I could get all of those items packed. I posted a blog post and then made breakfast for us. I went to wake Cynthia up and found that she had just gotten up and was getting dressed. Breakfast took a little longer to make than I thought it would so I was concerned that we might be leaving later then I had planned. We finished all the last minute packing. Brrr…it was cold. My plan was to wear shorts down since it would be warm in Florida, but I found it was 30 degrees and “jack frost” was on the ground so, I put my jeans on and took my shorts for later in the day. While we were loading up the car, I turned it on so it could be defrosting.

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Everything went rather quickly and we were leaving the house a few minutes before 8 AM. Before we could leave town, we needed to stop for gas and at the same time I am using the opportunity to add some gas treatment in the tank. When heading south I like to stop in East Albany for gas for two reasons: it’s on the way out of town and the gas stations normally have the cheapest gas in town. This morning we were disappointed to find that the gas was about the same price that we could have paid on our side of town so, I am glad that we did not go out of our way to get gas.

 

We quickly filled up and started our travel. There are several routes that we could take to get to Port Canaveral. The one that I decided on for this trip is the most direct route but it comes at a price as there are two toll roads. It’s about a 5 ½ hour trip to the hotel. Here is a map of our route:

 

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Before we started down the road, we started Pandora up and got the music going. I had not used Pandora in a while but the station played ready good music so we only needed to skip 2 songs at most per hour.

 

Starbucks! Yes, my favorite coffee shop has a location in Tifton, GA that I have to drive by. Knowing all the bad stuff that I would be eating over the next week, I resisted the temptation to make a stop for a coffee break.

 

For it being a holiday weekend, I was surprised by the light police protection that we saw as we drove through GA. I think we maybe saw only 2 or 3 police cars scattered over several counties.

We made it to FL.

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We made our almost traditional stop at the FL Welcome Center. It’s a good place to stretch our legs for a minute and take a restroom break. I love that this Welcome Center is very interactive. It makes GA’s Welcome Center look like a dump when compared to FL.

 

Here is an interactive picture that I took:

 

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Cynthia wanted to try the grapefruit juice so we walked over to the main counter to grab some juice for her and found an awesome coupon from Shutterfly. They were giving away a free 8X8 Photobook.

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I cannot wait to use this coupon to make a book of our trip.

 

One of the things that I loved about our Facebook roll call was that as we were all traveling, people was posting updates as to where they were and what they saw. For example, there was heavy police protection just past Gainesville, FL. Cynthia was nice enough post an update that let the people behind us know to be on the lookout. Also, it was just as fun seeing where people stopped along their journey to port.

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We have now made it to the Florida Turnpike. We have decided that we are a little hungry and need a restroom break so we stopped at the Okahumpka Service Plaza. It’s the first one once you get on the Turnpike. The restrooms were horrible! I did notice an employee was starting to clean it a bit but it was in bad shape. Once we returned to the car, we opened up our lunch. The nice part of it being a day trip to the port is that we can pack our own lunch from home and just stop and eat somewhere fairly quickly and then get back on the road. Today, we had sandwiches, chips, and some chocolate chip cookies that Cynthia had baked.

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We made it through both the toll roads at a total cost of $8.25 and now we are on the non-toll part of the Beachline Expressway. This is my favorite way to enter into Port Canaveral. It totally makes us excited for our cruise. I will let the pictures do the taking.

 

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We arrived at the Radisson Resort at the Port. I walked in and was quickly greeted, checked in, and given all the cruise information that I needed. We were in room 123 which is actually a second floor room. This is the first time that we have had a room on the second floor. We would have preferred a room on the ground floor, but I noticed that the hotel was completely sold out so I did not ask for a room change. The room looked similar to our other two rooms at the hotel so, I did not take any pictures. The only note to make on the room is that the shower/tub drainage was slow. Everything else was nice and the room had a newer Sleep Number bed.

 

Now, that our room was all taken care of the way that we like it. It was time to do a little bit of exploring. We hoped to see the Exploration Tower back in October but the opening was delayed a month so, we wanted to check it out. I had read somewhere that the prices were high to get in so I was not sure if we were going to be willing to pay to get in. We found that the price was very reasonable at $6.50 per person. It’s even cheaper if you are a senior or live in the same county. Here is a paper that we picked up on the Exploration Tower:

 

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We quickly went up to the observation deck as the Enchantment of the Seas would be leaving port soon.

 

Here are a few pictures of the observation deck:

 

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There was about a 30 minute wait until the Disney Magic left port so we quickly wondered around the rest of the Exploration Tower. Sorry, I did not get very many pictures of the other decks. Here is some of Cynthia goofing off:

 

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I really enjoyed the demonstrations about the history of the port and the history of cruising at the port. Also, there is a 30 minute video that I understand is awesome, but we did not feel like missing the sail away and then waiting afterwards. The best part that I liked was the Pilot Boat simulator. It was an awesome way to learn about the hard job they have supporting the ships.

Now, it’s time for the Disney Magic to sail away.

 

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I forgot to mention earlier that it really easy to get to the Exploration Tower. Here is a small map:

 

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We were getting hungry as lunch seemed like a long time ago so we started our search for dinner. Before we could go that, I received a text message about an issue that I needed to handle so; I took about 5 minutes to take care of the situation while Cynthia called her Mom and Sister.

Cynthia used one of her gluten free apps on her phone to find a pizza place that had great ratings that she wanted to try. So, off we go to locate this restaurant. The restaurant was a short drive into Cocoa Beach.

 

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We found A N.Y. Pizza House.

 

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We forgot to get pictures of the menu and the food, but let me tell you that it was wonderful. They had a large gluten free menu and there were some items like the Mac & Cheese that they could do gluten free but it was just not on the menu. We ordered a Mac & Cheese as well as a pizza to share. It was so much food that Cynthia decided to bring half the Mac & Cheese back to the room.

We wanted to go hang out with some of our new roll call friends, but we were just too full and it was going to be an early start to the morning. We headed back to the hotel, where we got ready for the next day and tried to fall asleep.

Up next, Embarkation Day!

Edited by UTVolsFan4Life

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Cynthia used one of her gluten free apps on her phone to find a pizza place that had great ratings that she wanted to try.

 

 

 

Loving your review so far! Makes me

Want to start documenting my planning for our May cruise on the Liberty.

 

Can you share what app Cynthia uses to find gluten-free restaurants?

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Loving your review so far! Makes me

Want to start documenting my planning for our May cruise on the Liberty.

 

Can you share what app Cynthia uses to find gluten-free restaurants?

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

Thanks so much! I was not sure myself so I asked her and she said it's called "Find Me Gluten Free." Here is a download link:

 

Apple - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/find-me-gluten-free/id431006818?mt=8

 

Android - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.fmgf.free&hl=en

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Great so far..... A quick question for you since I'll be on the Dream again in less than two weeks. Did you happen to notice the bartenders at the Ocean Plaza Bar, and were there three girls from Thailand?

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Thanks so much! I was not sure myself so I asked her and she said it's called "Find Me Gluten Free." Here is a download link:

 

Apple - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/find-me-gluten-free/id431006818?mt=8

 

Android - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.fmgf.free&hl=en

 

 

Thanks!!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Great so far..... A quick question for you since I'll be on the Dream again in less than two weeks. Did you happen to notice the bartenders at the Ocean Plaza Bar, and were there three girls from Thailand?

 

We did not use the bar at the Ocean Plaza so I could not tell you about the bartenders.

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Thanks for all the feedback everyone. I am moving a little slower than I would like as it's been crazy around here. On top of all that, Cynthia went back to work to find out that the whole family is sick...now, we are starting to feel sick. Just the way I wanted to come off vacation... I just have a few more items to scan so, I hope that I can post Embarkation Day sometime today.

 

For now, I am off to work.

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Hello everyone! I am happy to announce that I am ready to post Day 1 of our cruise. My hope is that I can post all of the days activities at one time for you this evening. I never realized what a challenge it would be to scan the FunTimes, but I have found out that my scanner is not as big as I thought it was. LOL

Day One: Embarkation – Port Canaveral

 

The morning started a lot earlier than I wanted it to start. I woke up at 2:30 AM to use the restroom and I had a hard time trying to get back to sleep. Around 3:00 AM, I checked to see the Dream’s current position.

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I tried to go back to sleep but, I awoke about 4 AM. I started tracking the Dream and the Disney Fantasy. Once I watched the Fantasy come into port from the port webcam, I decided that it was time get up to go meet the Dream at the port. About 5:15 AM, I got dressed and headed out to my picture taking location. I was certainly glad that I put my jeans back on with a nice jacket as it was a quite cool and windy 54 degrees. Let’s just say, my hands felt frozen. I got out to take a few pictures of the Fantasy in port.

 

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I thought about waiting for the Dream but then I decided to wait in the car. I opened MarineTraffic on my phone and found that she had just entered the port. After a few minutes of waiting, I got back out of the car and I could see her heading my way.

 

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The Dream has arrived and I was so happy that I could see her come into port. This is my second cruise that I have done this for and I truly enjoyed it. I believe some of the people on our roll call liked the pictures as well.

 

For those of you that would like to know my spot, it not really a secret. I’ll just need nice payment before I give out the location. LOL. I’m just kidding, if you know where Rusty’s is located then your close. If your facing Rusty’s, walk to your left and you will find a nice little park area, more like grass and some places to sit. Next to that is an open parking lot. I pull up in there and take the pictures.

Now, that I have met the ship, I was off to my next adventure…finding Walmart. Thanks to my trusty GPS, I was able to locate on rather quickly.

 

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It seems that as Cynthia and I were talking on the way down we forgot several items and we also wanted to make sure we had plenty of sun screen. I was able to quickly find all the items but one, liquid coconut oil.

My mission is simple, find some liquid coconut oil. Cynthia reported that they sell it at Walgreens so here I go.

 

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I quickly looked in the section that she told me it would be in but it was not there. I asked the person up front who had no clue who got me to the manager. She led me right to it only to find that it’s out of stock. They had a truck to come in and it has not been completely stocked yet, but try back later in the day. Sorry, we have a cruise to catch so, I cannot come back later. The manager suggests trying next door at CVS. Over to CVS I go to find out that they don’t sale it in the liquid form. Sorry Cynthia… no liquid coconut for you.

 

I now have lots of daylight so now it’s time to go back to take some better pictures of the ships in port.

 

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I am getting hungry so on the way back over to the hotel I stopped at Zachery’s to pick up some breakfast to go. Zachery’s is right next to the hotel. If you find one of them then you cannot miss the other one.

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Cynthia took this picture the previous day so, not I was not driving and having a photo op. LOL :-)

 

I ordered me up a nice omelet with a hash brown. Cynthia just wanted a grapefruit juice since she was going to heat up the rest of that yummy mac & cheese from the night before.

 

***Travelers Tip***: For everyone that has special diets. gluten in particular, we have had mixed results here. On our last trip our waitress was very nice and presented us with a gluten free menu and assisted Cynthia with ordering. This time, when I asked about gluten free the waitress said she did not know. It could be a matter of training or just the fact that I was getting a pickup order instead of eating in.

Once, I made it back to the room we ate a quick breakfast (Sorry, I forgot to take pictures.) then we got changed for the day and then started re-packing some of the carry-ons to fit some of the items we needed the night before and the new items that I just purchased. In the mist of working on all of this the time escaped us and the next thing we knew it was 10 AM. Oh no, we wanted to be in the lobby at that time. Since we were on the second floor, we had to make several trips to the car to get luggage situated but we were finally ready to head to the lobby. We got into the car and I went around to the front to drop Cynthia and the luggage off. The lobby was packed with people waiting to get on a shuttle. I checked out of the hotel and found out that shuttle check-in had not started yet. I ran the car over to the cruise parking area and came back to meet Cynthia. I noticed that for the first time a shuttle was sitting there waiting for service to get started. The lady that checks people in was walking in the door. I followed her along with two more of our facebook group members and was able to check in second on the list and on the first shuttle. I ran to the front desk for a pair of scissors and a stapler. I ran back to Cynthia to attach luggage tags and free my new watch when the lady called us to get on the shuttle. We were the last ones on the shuttle, but we made it! We could relax a few minutes, and while we did we found out that everyone on our shuttle was on our facebook or Cruise Critic roll calls. We started talking to Melissa and her family while we waited to arrive at the terminal.

 

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Once we arrived at the terminal we felt the effects of being on a larger ship. We had to wait in line to get to the porters. I was not really worried about it since we were supposed to leave the hotel at 10:30 AM, but we were waiting for the porters at 10:28 AM.

We dropped off out luggage and off we went to the FTTF entrance. The security person checked out ticket and then let us in. We walked right up to security and it was a breeze. I was already preparing to need a secondary inspection since we had a 12 pack or water and a 12 pack of PowerAde. Our bags were scanned and we were sent on through with no questions asked.

 

Next we went to the Priority Check-In line and there was a short line but it passed quickly as everyone was in the same family and within a minute we were being checked in.

By 10:45 AM, we were waiting to be called upstairs for boarding. Cynthia needed to use the restroom so she went and came back and then I went. As I was coming back they started priority boarding. Our goal was to move as close to the front as possible. We noticed that the VIP lounge had been cleared out and that people with FTTF was getting in line and allowed to go upstairs so we joined the line. All the lady was looking at was the priority boarding on the pass; she was not paying attention to what type of boarding. Once up stairs, we were seated in a smaller seating area as the Platinum’s and Diamond’s finished boarding.

 

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Now, it’s our turn to board! We were welcomed at the Deck 3 Atrium. We headed straight to our room and were there a little before 11:15 AM. We were on-board so fast that we did not even get a Carnival Welcome Aboard picture taken. We were a little bummed about that, but it quickly faded. We rested for a bit in our room so, now let me tell you a little bit about our stateroom. We were on Deck 6 (Upper Deck), mid-ship, located in room 6318. This room will always be special with us as it’s our first balcony stateroom. :-)

 

Here are pictures of the room:

 

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