Disney Cruise Report: Pirate Night

Three Disney Cruises

The following is an excerpt from the eBook Three Disney Cruises:

When we returned to our rooms, Brant and Zach had a quick shower and change, because they were going to see Iron Man 3, which was showing in 3D in the Walt Disney Theatre instead of a show that night. And because the movie was long, it was starting at 5:00 instead of 6:15, so they had to hurry. We had talked about going to the movie as well, but we had already seen it, and I figured we could watch it again at home on Blu-Ray when it comes out, but we can’t always spend time walking around a cruise ship. So not seeing the movie won out. And Karen didn’t think it would be a good movie for Katie to see, so the Riedel girls didn’t go either.

[caption id="" align=“aligncenter” width=“600”] Laura on the verandah[/caption]

Actually, I think it is pretty cool that they show first-run movies on the Disney ships while the movies are still out in the theaters. And we have even watched movies on the ship on our past cruises. And we might do that again sometime on future cruises. But this time around, not seeing the movie sounded better to us.

[caption id="" align=“aligncenter” width=“600”] Jaylin on the verandah[/caption]

While the Riedel men were getting ready, I enjoyed just sitting out on the verandah and looking out over the undeveloped part of Castaway Cay, which was the view from our side of the ship. We did see a boat leaving carrying the hair braiders and others back home, and we did see the crew removing the gangway and unfastening the mooring lines. But overall, I enjoyed just looking out at the island and the ocean. I am always amazed at being on an island that is no bigger than Castaway Cay is, and I like how you can see the whole thing from the right place on the ship. That is my kind of thing, apparently. Soon, we started to pull away, making our way out to the open sea once again.

[caption id="" align=“aligncenter” width=“600”] Sailing away[/caption]

Instead of dressing up for dinner on this night, we dressed slightly differently, because this night was Pirate Night. Pirate Night was something they started doing somewhere between our first cruise in 2003 and our second cruise in 2007. Of course, if you know your movie history, you know that the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie with Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow was released in 2003, and pirates became popular really quickly. So of course Disney has done all that they can to capitalize on their Pirates franchise. On our 2007 cruise, we didn’t know about Pirate Night until we were on the cruise. So we made a couple of quick purchases of some informal pirate garb (t-shirts for both of us, and Pirate Mickey ears for Laura), and let that be it. This time around, we didn’t plan anything extravagant, but at least we knew it was coming, so that we could bring our pirate t-shirts and ears with us this time around.

[caption id="" align=“aligncenter” width=“600”] Ready for Pirate Night[/caption]

[caption id="" align=“aligncenter” width=“600”] Laura in her Pirate Mickey ears[/caption]

[caption id="" align=“aligncenter” width=“600”] Katie and her hair braids[/caption]

Once we were dressed and ready, we went up to the pool deck and got some ice cream for some of us, and then it was time to play a game.

We had heard about the Midship Detective Agency game, and we had seen people playing it, so Jaylin and Katie wanted to play it as well. We went to the desk to sign up, which really just involves watching a short video with Mickey Mouse and then getting a clue guide and a playing card. There are two different cases to solve, with one involving stolen puppies from 101 Dalmatians, and the other involving stolen paintings. Jaylin and Katie chose to find the stolen puppies, and they also decided that they could work together on the case. Which was good, because that would probably make it go a little faster than if each of them was working on a separate case. Not that we had anywhere to be for a while, of course.

[caption id="" align=“aligncenter” width=“600”] Hey, who closed up the pool?[/caption]

To me, the game was interesting from a technology perspective, because you just had to hold your card up to one of the “paintings” on the ship, and those paintings would come to life as video screens that could know what you had already done and even where you were holding your card in relation to the screen. Pretty cool! Of course, the kids liked it because it gave them a chance to figure out who had stolen the puppies. You could choose which painting you went to on your next turn, and we finally figured out that the paintings were on the same end of the ship on every other deck. For a while, we were doing one painting on one deck, and then walking up the stairs and all the way to the opposite end of the ship on the next deck. Once we figured out to just walk up two flights of stairs and stay on the same end of the ship, that cut down quite a bit of walking. Maybe walking back and forth all over the ship is one of their shipboard exercise plans to make up for all the food you eat at dinner each night. If so, it was a pretty good plan until we figured out the secret. Oh well.

[caption id="" align=“aligncenter” width=“600”] Solving crimes for the Midship Detective Agency[/caption]

[caption id="" align=“aligncenter” width=“600”] Is that a clue?[/caption]

Jaylin and Katie eventually caught the criminal, although I’m not exactly sure which Disney villain it was. I hadn’t kept up with the game all that much, instead choosing to wander off and take some photos while they were getting clues from the paintings. That way, most everyone was happy.

[caption id="" align=“aligncenter” width=“600”] Walt Disney was hiding in the stairwell[/caption]

As we were wandering around, we started to see more and more people who were dressing up for Pirate Night. Some of them were rather tame as we were, but then some of them were full-blown pirate costumes, complete with hats, wigs, boots, and whatever else a pirate might wear. I didn’t have that much extra room in my suitcase for something like that. And even if I had, I wouldn’t have wanted to lug around the extra weight that would have added to my bags. I had brought enough stuff with me as it was. Still, it did add to the Pirate Night atmosphere to have some pretty good looking pirates around.

[caption id="" align=“aligncenter” width=“600”] I liked this statue of Mickey Mouse[/caption]

One of the activities we wanted to make sure to do was to get a photo with Captain Jack Sparrow, who was going to be in one of the adult clubs for photos. Not that you had to be an adult at that time to go in for the photo, but just that they chose that location for the photo opportunity. We met up with Brant and Zach, who had finished their movie and both enjoyed it, and headed to the appropriate place. There was a short line, but it looked like it was moving pretty quickly.

Evidently, it wasn’t moving quickly enough for everyone. The family in front of us had some kids that either didn’t want to be there, or didn’t want to get along with each other, or maybe both. And for some reason, the mom eventually left to go somewhere else, leaving the dad in charge of the kids. Except that he didn’t have very much control over them at all. They were running around, yelling, throwing fits, arguing, and whatever else they could do. At one point, I looked over and saw the son standing on some chairs that had been stacked up off to the side to get them out of the way for the line of people. And sure enough, those chairs started to fall, sending the kid tumbling to the floor. As you can imagine, loud crying immediately followed, and the dad didn’t know whether to fuss at him or make sure he was okay. A parent from farther back in line came to check, too. Cold-hearted me figured the kid wasn’t hurt and got what he deserved for standing on the stacked chairs in the first place. Parents, control your children!

[caption id="" align=“aligncenter” width=“600”] Us with Captain Jack Sparrow[/caption]

Anyway, back to Captain Jack. One neat thing about the “face” characters, or the ones whose actual faces aren’t hidden behind character masks, is that they can interact with people. And Captain Jack was perfect for this. If you didn’t know better, you would almost swear that it really was Johnny Depp as Captain Jack, because he had everything down perfectly. When we had passed by him earlier on Castaway Cay, someone else walking by said, “Hey look, it’s Jack Sparrow!” Not really in his direction, but just remarking as he was passing by. But Captain Jack immediately replied, “Captain,” making sure he was addressed by the proper title, and then resuming his conversation with whoever was there with him. Here, he was much the same. Perfectly in character, but taking time to talk to everyone, especially the children. I don’t know who was more excited to see him, Jaylin or Laura. We chatted for a minute before getting a photo and an autograph, and then we waited for the Riedels to do the same. Those character encounters seem much more fun and relaxed on the ship compared to in the parks when there are so many other people waiting somewhat impatiently for their turns.

[caption id="" align=“aligncenter” width=“600”] Pirates are everywhere[/caption]

[caption id="" align=“aligncenter” width=“600”] Pirate Party people[/caption]

Before too long, it was time for our dinner seating, which was to be at the Royal Palace restaurant, the only one we hadn’t yet been to. Of course, being that it was Pirate Night, we would have a special pirate menu instead of the usual Royal Palace menu. Also, all of the servers were wearing pirate garb as well, and the head servers were dressed as pirate captains. Cool.

For an appetizer, I had the sun-ripened pineapple, because I always love pineapple. And this one was a good one. I had the conch chowder, followed by grilled shrimp and scallops served over pasta. My only complaint about the main course was that there could have been even more shrimp and scallops, because they were quite good. For dessert, I had a delicious fruit cobbler, which satisfied my sweet teeth. Yes, I have more than one sweet tooth. Who would have just one?

As with our last cruise, we noticed that several people did not stay for dessert. Either they were trying to get out and get a good place for the pirate party and fireworks, or they knew that there was more food to be found on the pool deck during the party. Or maybe both. Or maybe neither and they had just had a long day with all of the fun at Castaway Cay. But we stayed all the way through dessert. We all did remark, however, that it seemed like the servers were bringing the food out more quickly all during the meal, perhaps in an effort to make sure everyone was finished in time for the party.

We were wanting to go to the party as well, mainly to see the fireworks. The upper decks were pretty full, but we eventually found a place near the forward end of the ship on deck 12. As it turns out, that may not have been the best place to be. There was a show on the pool stage down below that featured Captain Jack Sparrow fighting off other pirates, but we were on the opposite side of the front funnel, so that we couldn’t see it. It certainly sounded interesting, but I don’t know that we missed all that much. Maybe that just means we should go back again to try to see the show!

The fireworks on the Disney cruises have evolved over the years. On our first cruise in 2003, back before there was a Pirate Night, the fireworks were launched from a smaller boat that sailed alongside our ship as we left Nassau. And then with the advent of Pirate Night on our 2007 cruise, they were launched from the rear of the ship. This time around, the fireworks were launched from the tops of the two main funnels over the starboard side of the ship. That’s the right side for all you landlubbers out there. So because we were right next to one of the funnels, we had a great view. Although I would imagine that any where on the upper decks, especially deck 12, would have a good view of the fireworks. And of course, I had my camera and tripod ready. In fact, that was about the only time that I used my tripod on the whole cruise. But it was worth it for the fireworks photos.

[caption id="" align=“aligncenter” width=“600”] Fireworks at sea[/caption]

[caption id="" align=“aligncenter” width=“600”] Oooh! Aaaaah![/caption]

Once the fireworks were over, we decided to skip all the food and fun, because it had been a long, but fun, day for us at Castaway Cay as well. So we made our way back to our rooms for the evening. When I went out on our verandah, I could still hear the music and see the lights from the party up above. But then once I closed the door, I couldn’t hear it any more. The soundproofing on those doors is great!

Soon, we drifted off to sleep, dreaming of pirates and deserted islands. And food. Because that’s what you do on a cruise.

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through Burnsland.com, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.