Castaway Cay day is both a fun day as well as a sad day. Fun, because of spending a day on Castaway Cay - sad because it is the last day of the cruise. Luggage is collected tonight and early tomorrow morning you leave the ship for the last time.
Up early for breakfast, I step out on to the verandah to see us approaching Castaway Cay. Knowing that the ship will dock facing away from the island, I know that we will need to turn 180° so that the port side of the ship - where my stateroom is located - is against the dock. As we have breakfast the ship executes that maneuver and I watch the lines being shot out so we can tie up. It will still be a while until passengers are allowed off - the island will be staffed by ship’s crew and they have to disembark first to get ready for everyone. Iris and Brooke will be meeting us and going on to the island, but Sandy wants to go to Serenity Bay as soon as possible, and leaves the ship by herself. I tell her I will meet her there for lunch after noon.
Iris and Brooke show up at the appointed time and we go to Cabanas for a bit of breakfast before we head off the ship. Today is a perfect beach day, unlike the last time we were here in January of 2013 when is was cold and windy. We leave the ship and stop to have our pictures taken at two of the photo stations and then take the tram to the family beach.
In the past I have always gone straight to Serenity Bay, the 18 and over beach, but since Brooke is with us, we will be spending this morning at the family beach. As we get off the tram, I spot a beach set, containing a pail, shovel, sifter and other cool beach implements which I purchase for Brooke. When we arrive at the beach, there are no lounges or chairs available so we put our stuff in Brooke’s stroller and place it under a tree as we walk down to the water. Sitting at the edge of the water, we sit down and give Brooke a few of the toys from the bag and she promptly starts to have fun with them. She is enjoying her first time in the water at a beach. (She has been in pools before.)
Before we know it lunchtime is upon us and I have to go off to meet Sandy at Serenity Bay. Iris will take Brooke for lunch and hopefully meet Jason. As we head to the tram where I will take the one heading there, we stop to get a cold drink at the Olaf themed stand. I see one with lychees (which I cannot get enough of) and that’s what I get. The tram arrives and we go off in our own respective directions.
At the BBQ over on Serenity Bay I meet Sandy who has just arrived and gotten her lunch and I head over to do the same. Serving food here is DeJan who supplies me with a few steaks, and corn and I load up on fruit and a drink. Sandy has reserved two lounges for us and when we finish our meal we go back to them, and then into the water. Since this morning when Sandy was able to get into deep water, the tide has gone out and you can walk as far as you see and the water goes no higher than just above your knees. No reason then to go way out and I decided to just sit down where I am for a while. As I watch the fish swim around me, I put my left hand down and discover a sea star … I put my left hand down and just beneath the sand is a sand dollar. Very different here where things are quite calm from on the family beach.
Eventually, about 2:00 Sandy and I decide to head back to the ship. Once on board we find Iris and Brooke in our room - she never was able to meet up with Jason - and I decide to do something that I had been meaning to do all trip … ride the Aqua Duck. With everyone on Castaway Cay, I am hoping that it is not crowded, and it isn’t. I get to ride twice before I head back to the room to get out of my bathing suit and take a shower.
Jason finally is able to get in contact with Iris and we watch Brooke so they can have some time together. Before it’s time to get ready for tonight’s farewell show, Sandy and I get all of our luggage packed and ready to put out just before we go to dinner. Iris and Jason take advantage of us having Brooke to do the same until they pick her up and Sandy and I head to the Walt Disney Theater to see the show.
We meet back in our room to head to dinner which tonight will be back at Royal Court for the third time, but before we get there, we stop at Shutters for a final look at the photos. We decide that a 10 photo digital package will be enough and order it. We will have to pick it up in the morning. Then we go to dinner. Tonight, Brooke is entertaining the folks at the table next to us and we have a good final dinner aboard ship.
Back to our room where we settle in for our final night aboard the Fantasy. Our luggage has been collected and we will next see it back in the terminal before we go through US Customs.
Up earlier than normal, but not as early as those with the first seating. I take a walk to Shutters to pick up our USB drive containing all the shots. I will decide on the 10 once I am back at home. Iris, Jason and Brooke meet us and we head to breakfast at Royal Court … you have your final breakfast at the last restaurant you had dinner at … along with all our carry-on luggage. Once done, it is time to head off the ship … where we hire a porter to collect our luggage. Disney does an excellent job of keeping your luggage together in a designated area and we have no problem getting all 8 of our pieces. Getting through customs is a breeze and once again we find ourselves on the shuttle back to the Park and Cruise lot. On the way back we have a discussion with a family who have just taken their first Disney cruise, but are veteran cruisers. They marvel at the Disney difference and admit that while DCL cruises are more expensive, they are worth every penny. We agree.
Finally we get our cars, Brooke rides with us and we head back to Iris’s house where we give Brooke back and then Sandy and I make the drive back to our house.
August 21 - 23
We now have one day to pack and get ready to head back to NY until we come back for the winter. During the day I select the 10 photos and download them from the USB stick. I make copies to take back with me to NY as well as send them to Iris.
Next day we leave and close down the house until December and make the drive to Sanford to catch the Auto Train. It is a few hours late arriving from Virginia, but although we board a half hour late, we leave exactly on schedule - and actually arrive in Lorton 90 minutes early! Surprisingly, our car comes off in the first third of cars.
We encounter no traffic getting through DC and have a smooth trip home to Staten Island, ending our latest trip.