Thursday, October 12, 2017

[Day 3] Princesses and Palo Brunch

This morning we arrived in Nassau.  However, we decided to treat today like a sea day and not get off the ship.  We've been to Nassau many times, and it's not our favorite port of call.  The public beaches are no match for those of Castaway Cay, and the private beaches, like Atlantis, are expensive (you have to pay just to walk inside Atlantis Resort).  Since we only had a few days on the Disney Dream, we figured that today would be better spent enjoying the ship.

Nassau

Rachel booked us two character meet and greets in the morning, along with Palo Brunch.

We started with the Princess Meet & Greet in the atrium at 9 AM.  These character interactions require a reservation to be made online in advance, similar to booking and excursion, and you receive a printed excursion ticket in your stateroom with the time of your meet & greet printed on it.  Note that it's important to get an excursion ticket for all members of your party, even if they aren't meeting the characters.  For example, if you have two kids and only book two meet & greet tickets, only the kids will be able to go through the line to meet the characters, and you won't be allowed to follow with a camera (which might be fine if you have the photo package because there are photographers with every princess).



I watched a lot of people disappointed to learn that you had to reserve this in advance.  I will note that all of these princesses are available for meet & greets at different times so if you can't get a reservation, don't worry - just check the Navigator for location and times.  The benefit of doing the princess meet & greet is that you get to meet four princesses in a row - for us it was Rapunzel, Tiana, Cinderella, and Belle.

Princess Meet and Greet

While we were posing with Belle, a videographer came and had us wave to the camera - and we made the cruise in review video!

Princess Meet and Greet

Next we headed to the Frozen Meet & Greet located in Animator's Palate.  They were very strict on making sure that you had a ticket to enter.  Also, something that I found frustrating was that they would ask us our room number for the photos - but we were in two rooms!  Usually Mom or Dad would give them their room number.  Our rooms were supposed to be connected as far as the photo package, but a lot of our photos only showed up in one folder.  Not a problem for us since we hadn't pre-purchased a photo package, but if we had, it would have been a hassle to deal with making sure we got all of the photos in one room folder.  So if you're in multiple staterooms and have pre-purchased an unlimited photo package, I'd advise deciding at the beginning of the cruise whose room number to use for photos - it will just make your life easier.

Anna and Olaf were meeting guests.  I was excited that Olaf was there, but a little disappointed that there was no Elsa - I just assumed she would be included in a Frozen Meet & Greet.

Frozen Meet and Greet

Mom wanted her photo with Olaf, and the photographer gave me her settings to use and some tips on my flash.  I saw her again getting off the ship at Castaway Cay the next day, and we talked a little more about cameras.

Frozen Meet and Greet

Then Dad couldn't be left out.  The character attendants seemed a little confused/annoyed that Dad wanted his picture alone.... but hey, he's paying for the cruise, he has his own meet & greet ticket, if he wants to have his photo taken with the characters, he's totally in his right!

Frozen Meet and Greet

We had a little bit of time to kill before brunch at 11. We noticed that we were docked next to Harmony of the Seas (I think - I can't really keep track of all of the new Royal Caribbean ships these days).  I'd say that right now, Royal Caribbean is kind of in the awkward middle for us.  We'll start to price out one of the newer megaships, but then realize that for less money we could get better staterooms and a beverage package on Norwegian Cruise Line.  And if we wanted to do a splurge, we'd rather splurge with Disney Cruise Line.  So I have no idea when I will finally cruise on one of those giant ships, I don't really have a strong desire at the moment.

Harmony of the Seas

Harmony of the Seas

Now on to brunch!  We had dined at Palo before on the Disney Fantasy for dinner, and we honestly weren't too pleased with our experience.  The dining room was loud and dimly lit, and it was difficult for us to carry on a conversation.  Also, I remember our service being so slow that we actually left for bed (and Dad to pay the bill) before they brought us limoncello shots - which they sent to-go with Dad.

Already, entering Palo, we enjoyed the atmosphere so much better - it was daylit, and we had a great view outside.

Palo Brunch

Palo Brunch

Our server was very sweet and friendly. She explained to us that we could order from the menu as many times as we want and that there was no rush.

Palo Brunch

Also, she gave us a tour of the serve-yourself buffet area which we could visit as many times as we want. Here they had fruits, veggies, fish, and cold cuts, and there was also a separate dessert bar. I tried to make my plate pretty, but it just didn't work out this time around.

Palo Brunch

First round of food, I ordered the Zucchini Fritata -

Palo Brunch

Rachel ordered the Apple Cinnamon Waffles which we were very excited to see came in the shape of Mickey Mouse! Even adults need Mickey waffles.

Palo Brunch

Next we ordered the Goat Cheese and Sundried Tomato Flatbread for the table. It was really, really good -

Palo Brunch

And envious of Rachel's Apple Cinnamon Waffles, I ordered my own -

Palo Brunch

The meal comes with one champagne/mimosa drink, but you can purchase additional.

Palo Brunch

Next I was convinced to order the Lasagna Bolognaise, which I was told by everyone else at the table was really good, and I think I liked it too, I'm just not a huge lasagna fan -

Palo Brunch

This is the Artichoke Ravioli -

Palo Brunch

Now on to the desserts! There's no scale figure here, but they come in tiny portions, so you can try them all -

Palo Brunch

Palo Brunch

Palo Brunch

We spent around two hours in Palo.  Which is a long time, but on a sea day or a port day when you aren't going ashore, it's a good use of it.

Overall, we enjoyed Palo Brunch much more than Palo Dinner.  For one, it just seems like a better value.  When we did Palo Dinner, we were disappointed to learn that we were missing out on a special Princess menu.  Also, we really enjoy seeing our same wait staff every night.  For dinner, when the dining room food is already really good, it just doesn't make much sense to spend an extra $25 per person to dine somewhere else, especially on a shorter sailing.  But with Palo Brunch, you're getting a new and different experience.  Also, I much preferred the daylighting, and for some reason, the dining room was so much quieter than we had experienced at dinner (I think when it's dark and you can't really see who you're sitting across from, you feel like you have to speak loudly so that they can hear you).

Meridian

Meridian

Meridian

We got back to the stateroom to seek this lovely ship in our Magical Porthole. Not even some Disney magic can make this ship look new...

Carnival in the Magical Porthole

We spent the rest of the afternoon in the sun - took a few rides on the Aqua Duck, and then hung out in Satellite Falls, the adults-only pool deck.

Satellite Falls

Satellite Falls

Satellite Falls

We headed to the Atrium to watch Jack Jack's Diaper Dash which is an adorable race in which people race their crawling babies.

Jack Jack's Diaper Dash

Jack Jack's Diaper Dash

Jack Jack's Diaper Dash

Tonight we planned to get pre-dinner drinks in Meridian.  Rachel had gotten that idea from her research, and she also decided that she would definitely need a drink before our dinner in Animator's Palate, having to tolerate the children screaming, "IT'S A SHARK!!!  A SHARK!!!"

Well, it turned out that a couple staked out at the bar in Meridian would be far more annoying than any children at dinner.  First of all, service was SO SLOW!  The bartender didn't pay us much attention when we walked in.  We sat down at a table, but it took us forever (until another bartender arrived) to get service.  I think that the bartenders were making drinks for guests dining in Palo, as well, which is what really slowed down the service.  While we were waiting and waiting on our drinks, we got to listen to a couple shout about their cruise (according to their conversation, they were hammered because they had been to an alcohol tasting and a mixology class that day).  Once our drinks finally arrived, we decided to sip them down to a walking level and take them out to the patio so we could enjoy the quiet.

Meridian

Meridian

Meridian

Meridian

Meridian

Time for Animator's Palate!

Animator's Palate

It was thankfully not as loud as it was when we were on the Fantasy. We had noticed that the tables around us tended to be older children and all adult parties. The second seating typically has less little kids than the early seating (though we did have the late seating on the Fantasy, as well - we never get the early seating). But Animator's Palate can get really loud because during dinner, the school of fish from Finding Nemo arrange themselves in different shapes on the monitors, and you're encouraged to guess (by shouting out your answer) what they're going to make next, hence "IT'S A TURTLE! A TURTLE!!" "A what?! What is it?" "IT'S A TUUURRRTTTLLLEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!" We had some screaming young ones near us on the Fantasy, but that was not the case this time on the Dream.

Animator's Palate

Crush swims from screen to screen, and the palate above the paintbrush column will turn blue when he's in the area.

Animator's Palate

I had kind of forgotten this because I could only remember the screaming, but the food in Animator's Palate is really good!  Honestly, this might have been my favorite dinner for the cruise.

Baked Potato and Cheddar Cheese Soup -

Baked Potato and Cheddar Cheese Soup

Ginger-Teriyaki dusted Angus Beef Tenderloin (so good!!!) -

Ginger-Teriyaki dusted Angus Beef Tenderloin

And for dessert, Lemon Icebox Pie!! -

Lemon Icebox Pie

Animator's Palate, you have redeemed yourself in my book!

After dinner, we went to Evolution where they were playing Match Mate, Disney's version of the newlywed game, but with one newlywed couple, the longest married couple, and a somewhere in the middle couple. Every cruise line has some version of this game. Honestly, I think I'm over it. I've been watching this for.... 15 years now?! It was funny the first few times, but honestly they all start to blend together, now. But I just want to point out that the newlywed couple on the left was wearing matching t-shirts, so it was very easy for him to answer the question, "What is your wife wearing?" because she was dressed just like him, only her shirts said "bride" and not "groom."  I think they won.

Match Mate

Match Mate

NEXT: [Day 4] Castaway Cay (Again!!)