Day 8, Friday 3/23/01
|This was a day that we spent docked in Nassau in the Bahamas. We spent
some time ashore, but more time aboard ship.
We woke before pulling into the dock at Nassau. Nick, Debbie, and I enjoyed watching the ship dock from the comfort of our verandah. It is amazing how this big ship spins around, and back into the dock without a tug. We watched some smaller liners using tugs to come in. We had some interesting insights into this later in the trip when we took the bridge overview tour.
We had a very nice breakfast at the buffet. The food is quite good, pretty much what you would expect at a breakfast buffet--eggs, sausages, and so fourth. We particularly enjoyed the fruits and pastries. I have to admit that we found the orange juice rule to be weird--only one glass of orange juice per customer. This is particularly odd, since we have always associated a Disney trip with Florida and orange juice. Oh well, beverage rules on a cruise are strange.
We had signed up for the glass bottom boat tour on Thursday. Even though this is a relatively busy time (in the midst of Spring Break), we found that signing up for shore excursions the afternoon before we left to work fine.
We gathered in the Promenade Lounge, and waited for the group to leave for the glass bottomed boat tour. While waiting, we were entertained by the DJs from Wave Bands (one of the clubs in the ship's nightclub district, Route 66). They were very amusing, including some bits of Disney trivia in their spiel.
While in the lounge, we met up with Jan. It turned out that she had signed up for this tour as well. By all accounts, Patti was still in her stateroom.
The tour was good. Honestly, we enjoyed the harbor cruise more than we did the glass bottom boat part. In the glass bottomed part, we had a nice view of some local coral and fish. But the water side views of the houses of the rich and famous, and the exterior of the Atlantis Casino, were actually more fun and interesting. We saw houses that belonged to Elvis, Mary K, a certain oil sheik, several Hollywood personalities, and so fourth.
It was a beautiful day. We had absolutely perfect weather, ninety degree temperatures under a cloudless sky. The guide was very amusing.
Debbie has since said that if she had to do it all over again, she would have gone into town for some shopping and site seeing, and skipped the glass bottom boat. Honestly, we had a much better look at the marine life while snorkeling the next day. And, since we lost part of this day to the bug that finally caught up to Debbie and I, it was a shame that we didn't really explore Nausea with the time we had.
We came back to the boat. It was our intention to drop Nick off at the lab, and then take an excursion into Nausea without him. This was at his request. He was itchy to get into the lab, and had enough of fun on the shore. But, we ended up having to try to catch the lab kids on the bridge tour. We went to the lab, and were told they were on the tour. But, we then headed for the bridge, and they weren't around. We had somehow gotten ahead of them. After a few worried minutes, the group did show up. Debbie and I ended up taking the tour with the kids, which turned out to be a very good thing. Fascinating, if you are a technology geek.
Some of the more interesting things which were shown during the bridge
tour included the directional thrusters. With a couple of small joysticks,
the helmsman can pivot a set of thrusters to any angle he wants. This is
the magic by which the amazing piloting was done to pull into dock without
the use of a tug. This is possible, we discovered, because the propellers
on these thrusters, as well as the huge propellers which provide the main
propulsion for the ship, are all turned by electric motors. There are five
diesel engines, each with eleven cylinders. Each of these engines turn
one of the ship's five electrical generators. Then, all systems on the
ship, including the main propellers and the thrusters, are run from the
electricity provided by the generators. When in port, one generator is
enough to provide all of the ship's electrical needs. But, at sea, all
generators are run, which shows how much power is actually going to those
|When pulling in or out of port, a pilot works the thrusters by hand.
At almost all other times, the ship is on auto pilot. Generally, the helmsman
draws a course on a computer screen, and then the auto pilot uses GPS and
other navigation information to follow the course until the ship nears
Evidently, when the ship is on the open sea, there are these huge wings which can be extended and lowered into the water from either side of the ship, to help reduce the pitch on choppy seas.
The bridge is alive with computer displays, and there was a fascinating discussion of the sophisticated fire and safety systems, water and fire tight doors which would be closed under computer control to prevent the spread of a problem, and so fourth. The bridge overview tour was just cool.
We let Nick go with the lab group. Debbie and I went on to the buffet. There was good food, but I noted the absence of the shrimp from the previous day.
We went to lay down for a minute after lunch in the stateroom. It was
our intention to go into town in the afternoon. But, suffering from Nick's
cold of early in the week, we both passed out until nearly supper time.
Sadly, this cold cost us our only afternoon in Nausea.
When Debbie got up, she spent some time down in Wavebands playing Bingo. She did this both Friday and Saturday afternoons. She won something like $70 I believe. It sounded like a good time by her reports.
We also stopped by the excursions desk before dinner and reserved snorkeling equipment for Saturday.
The cruise line mug, in my opinion, is a great deal. I used it over
and over again. I did wish they had ice tea at the bars, but the pop didn't
kill me. After all, I *WAS* on vacation. The mug is $16, instead of the
$8 at the resort hotels. But, since drinks are the only food item you pay
for aboard ship (except at the formal dinner seatings, where non-alcoholic
drinks are included), this is easily worth the price. And you end up with
a nice looking souvenir mug, which includes the cruise logo and illustration
of the ship.
|We were up in time for dinner. Tonight would be our dinner at the Animator's
What an incredible restaurant this is! The waiter's outfits, the walls, the decorations, and the pictures hanging there all start the evening in elegant black and white. As the evening goes on, all of these things, even the waiter's outfits, transition to brilliant color.
But, the magic is much more than a simple transition from black and white to color. There are framed "pictures" on the walls. Many of them change from black and white to color through the meal. But, there are other framed pictures which undergo an even more interesting change the meal. Each of these pictures change to many different scenes from different animated Disney classics throughout the meal.
There is great Disney music throughout the evening. The pictures are coordinated with the music, to emphasize one Disney classic at a time.
There are no windows here, as the designers clearly wanted as much wall space as they could have. But, we are close to one of the walls, and very close to several of these magical pictures. Most importantly, hanging directly over our table, is a picture of Peter Pan and Captain Hook! Everywhere Patti went on this trip, Hook was following close behind.
|The food here was worth remembering as well. The appetizer, a lobster
wrap, was just amazing! The deserts (here I ordered the Bananas Foster,
but sampled the Kahlua desert as well) were also incredible. Again, the
main course was good, but kind of simple, a chicken and rice dish. So,
again the main course was good, but kind of simple, but the appetizer,
the deserts, and the service were spectacular.
Nick came to the play on this night. We just happened to get a chocolate smoothie from a waitress that walks around the theater before the play starts. She came right down to the second row where we sitting. The seats here were fantastic, and the play was great.
The play this time was Hercules, The Muse-ical. There is lots of corny
humor, and it is very amusing. Obviously, it is based loosely upon the
Disney version of the Hercules story. But it is told from the perspective
of a vaudeville troupe performing the story of Hercules. There are a couple
of twists, and a long, funny monolog halfway through the play delivered
by Hades. The fellow performing Hades made the show. He was hilarious.
This brought back memories for me of what a big deal Disney's Hercules was for us. I remember early previews of the movie on the Internet, which Nick and I shared excitedly. I remember the theater we went to when it first came out, and how we had looked forward to it beforehand. I remember getting the "interactive storybook" for the computer, and the hours that Nick spent on it. I remember the great songs from the movie, and singing along to the computer game with Nick. I remember the Hercules parade on one of Nick's first Disneyland trips. This play brought it all back for me. That is the really incredible thing about Disney. The stories endure, the memories stay with you forever.
After the play, we dropped Nick off at the lab, then went downstairs to Rout 66, the ship's nightclub district. The themeing along the hallway here is just cool. The map of Rout 66 on the rug is a nice touch. The billboards along the walls are very funny. The Rout 66 themeing is also carried into the clubs in a fun way.
We went into the Wavebands club here, and had a great time listening to the karaoke. They go all out for the karaoke participants here, with light shows and fog and everything else. It's pretty snazzy karaoke, and the hosts we had first seen waiting for the glass bottom boat tour were very amusing once again.
I enjoyed the high tech look of wave bands, the circuitry photos in the side panels, by the tables, and so fourth. The CDs in the floor are also neat. It's all very techno.
We picked up Nick and went to bed. Of course, I did my personal deck walk before I turned in.