We went on a Disney Cruise just before Christmas in December 2018 with our friends the Riedels. See more about it at the 2018 Christmas Disney Cruise page. It had been a great cruise, but all good things must come to an end…
Friday, December 21, 2018
It had been a great cruise, but now it was time to leave. We woke up around 6:00, and we were already back at Port Canaveral by that time. There really was not that much to do to pack everything up, because we had put our luggage out in the hall the night before. We checked around a couple of times to make sure that we had everything, and we brushed our teeth, knowing that we would not be coming back to the room to do that after breakfast.
Outside our verandah, we had a good view of water and the buildings across the way. It was the same view as when we had left. They do dock the ship in the same direction every time, after all.
When the Riedels were ready, we gathered up all of our things and headed down to breakfast, going once again to Animator’s Palate, just as we had for dinner the night before. The final morning breakfast is always in the same restaurant as your last evening’s dinner, unless you choose to skip it. But we are not the kind to skip breakfast.
We went to our table, and Curtis and Don took our orders one last time. This time, there were not four courses, but instead just the one course of breakfast. Not being that much of a breakfast eater, I chose Mickey waffles and orange juice, which must be my standard Disney vacation breakfast. Nothing wrong with that.
As we ate, we talked about leaving. As Mary Poppins said in the new movie, “A door has opened.” We all got a good laugh out of that, because they had indeed opened the door to let us leave the ship.
Our meal was slightly bittersweet, as those last morning breakfasts always are. Crush the Turtle did not visit the restaurant this time, as he had the night before. Curtis was as cheery as ever, and that did help things. We got a group photo with Curtis before leaving, because we had enjoyed his service. We thanked him and Don, and we headed on our way.
With Curtis, our fantastic server for the cruise
From Animator’s Palate, it was just a few short steps back to the Lobby Atrium and to the exit of the ship, which always magically opens where there was not a door before. How do they do that, anyway?
Saying goodbye to the crew members waving to us, we walked back down the gangway, riding the escalator down to the ground level to claim our bags. This time around, all of our bags were together, which always makes it easy. We rounded up our things and walked over to the Customs line. With almost no wait, we were shown to a Customs officer. As with our previous cruise, he was not sitting in one of the enclosed booths, but rather he was standing outside of a booth. He quickly looked over our passports and IDs. Plus, he actually smiled as he talked to us. That was slightly different from the usual Customs officers who seem rather grumpy. He wished us a nice day, and we were done.
From there, it was a short walk back over to the parking garage, and we rolled our stuff over and loaded up our cars. We said our goodbyes to the Riedels, because they planned to just grab food to eat in the car for their meals while we would do our usual stopping to rest for a while, and then we went on our separate (but similar) ways.
We stopped pretty quickly at Cocoa to get a caffeinated, carbonated drink to help make the drive a little more awakened. And then we stopped for lunch in Tallahassee and for supper near Birmingham. We arrived home just before 11:00 PM, and then we went off to bed to be ready for some Christmas gathering fun the next day.
It had been a great trip.
The one question that everyone asks after you return from a trip is, “How was your trip?” My answer for this trip, as for so many of our trips, is the sentence that you see right above. It was a great trip.
But that does not really begin to describe it. Yes, it was a great trip. But it was also just about our best cruise yet.
We had a great time with all of the activities on the ship, as well as in the two ports where we stopped. We did just enough to have a wonderful time without having to overplan anything. We were definitely entertained. But with all of the work and school activity leading up to our cruise, we were all happy to just take it easy and enjoy the ride.
The weather was just about perfect, although of course no one really has any control over that. Yes, there was a little rain during the last afternoon, but the sunny days and near perfect temperatures of the rest of the cruise more than made up for that rain. And it was great to have a perfectly sunny day at Castaway Cay for a change. We had not had much luck with that for our past few cruises.
The crew members were friendly and helpful as always. From our room host to our dinner servers to the photographers to the guest services desk folks to the characters to the random crew members we passed in the hallway, everyone went out of their way to make us feel welcome. I always love that about the Disney Cruises.
And one of the best things was the people we were with. Our family of three and the Riedel family of four. We were together just about all of the time, from the time that we opened our connecting doors in the morning until we closed them just before going to bed. Except for the one night when the Riedels went to the theater show and the Burnses did not, at least some of our family members were together for the whole time each day. It is nice to have people that don’t mind putting up with you like that. And it was nice to have Zach with us during his college break. Especially since we were celebrating his upcoming graduation.
As for the timing, it was just about perfect, too. Things were pretty busy leading up to the cruise, as I mentioned earlier. That had us wondering if it was worth the trouble to leave home the day after school ended for the Christmas break. But when it was all over, we said, “Why haven’t we done a Christmas cruise before? That was great!”
Perhaps part of the reason that we enjoyed the Christmas cruise so much was because it was something different. The cruise still made the same stops that we had been to before. But it was fun to see the ship decorated for Christmas, to see the characters in their Christmas outfits, and to enjoy the special Christmas tree lighting and farewell shows. We love Christmas anyway, and we love Disney Cruises, so putting the two of them together was lots of fun.
The weather was another reason that we enjoyed the Christmas cruise. As I mentioned before, it was just about perfect, even if it was slightly cool for getting in the water sometimes. What made the weather even better was knowing what the weather was back at home. We had seen some pretty cold weather right before we left, and there was more while we were gone. Meanwhile, we were wearing shorts and t-shirts at the beach. In December. Right before Christmas. How perfect is that?
However, we do not have immediate plans for another Christmas cruise in the next few years, just because of how schedules and such work out. But we would definitely consider it again sometime in the future. And I would definitely recommend it to anyone who might be considering it.
I usually close these reports with saying it was great fun, and that we look forward to going again, although I don’t know when that may be. Most of that is true again. Except for that last part. Looking forward to the next one!
Thanks for joining us on our journey, especially to those who have read the entire trip report. Check back at the 2018 Christmas Disney Cruise page from time to time, because there are still plenty of photos to share!