And so goes the continuation of the Disney Dream favorites! You may like these ones because they are highlights from our ports of call in the Bahamas.
The Dolphin Encounter at Atlantis, Bahamas. When my husband and my brother-in-law were planning the trip, they asked the kids if they’d like to have a dolphin encounter. Who wouldn’t want to meet a dolphin up close? Even Jamie was excited and she talked about it for weeks on end. And so for our first port of call at Nassau Bahamas, we visited the lost city of Atlantis.
The entire Dolphin encounter took most of the day. We got our tags at 1030AM; disembarked and got to Atlantis at 1130AM, and made our way on foot to Dolphin Cay. We got briefed close to 1215pm and finally had the 90-minute encounter. By the time we washed, dressed and finished it was 2pm and the kids were cranky for their lunch. In any case, I digress.
The wonderful thing about the Dolphin encounter is that the keepers there truly love and care for all the dolphins. You can see and feel it in the way they handle the groups and the dolphins themselves. They all say they love their job (and it doesn’t sound like they’re just saying it too, you know what I mean?) The briefing is important so you know what parts of the Dolphin NOT to touch, and what you can do with them. Here we also understood that they had to adjust the water temperature and make it cooler so that it is more comfortable for the Dolphins to live in.
At the beginning of the encounter, they encourage everyone to stay in the shallows and stay still if possible. I think the kids were just too excited that they kept moving about, and so it took a while for a dolphin to want to come to us and be comfortable with us.
Finally the baby of the bunch, 2-yr old Sans, decided to stick around.
The keepers then showed us how to hug and kiss them and one by one everyone was given a turn to be near baby Sans. At first the adults accompanied the kids to pet and hug and kiss. Once everyone was done, Sam asked them if she could do it herself. They said yes of course and with my heart in my throat, I watched her approach and do the whole thing all by herself.
I was worried not-so-light Sans would snap the nose off my little girl, but the guides said dolphins are gentle. And they like to be kissed! She even got to feed him this time around.
Jamie was excited too and she did kiss the baby dolphin smack on the lips.
But then when it was time to “hug” him and I bent down into the water the cold sensation and his gurgling noises frightened her. She wouldn’t even let me go near him on my own. The funny part about it was that when she started to cry, he started to cry with her as well.
Strangely enough, he didn’t seem scared of her. They say that if the child is scared, you shouldn’t force them to approach because the dolphins can sense the fear and they too will shy away. I suppose because Jamie got a kiss in Sans decided she was okay.
It was an incredible and unforgettable experience. I’d never gotten that close to a dolphin before. They feel very soft and squishy. And they’re surprisingly heavy too! You feel the weight when you “hug” them as you wrap one arm gently around their bottom and slightly press against them as if you wanted to carry them.
Of course, these dolphins are trained to pose for the pictures (and smile even!) but you can still feel the weight of them on you. Even little baby Sans was quite heavy – we never expected it!
At the end of it all the dolphins come together and perform several tricks for everyone. The keepers encourage you to clap and cheer for them because dolphins are like kids they say, they love positive reinforcement.
Everything is provided for, before and after the encounter: water (with fresh pineapple bits!), towels and wetsuits. Basically you just have to worry about food and a change of clothes for after. (Incidentally, you can also swim through some slide tunnel surrounded by sharks, but our kids were all too young for it — something to consider for families with older kids!).
We killed some time walking around Atlantis and looking at the sunken parts as well as the sharks and other sea life that were there, but the kids were tired and it was soon time to head back to the boat anyway.
Castaway Cay. Quite honestly, I had no idea that Castaway Cay was a privately owned Disney island until I got there. What gorgeous sand (it feels like our very own Boracay!). The island is partitioned in such a way that there’s (again) something for everyone.
And there are areas designated for you to eat, with buffet set-ups in two areas. It’s like a replica of the ship’s buffet set-up… but on the island!
The kids were supposed to do a stingray encounter (Jamie wasn’t allowed as she was under 5-yrs old), but in the end the crew decided to cancel it due to the weather. Instead the kids chose to play on the beach, but Jamie and I hung around the cabana with the dance party, and so she got to dance with two of the Disney characters — Minnie and Goofy (I’m told that the characters change every time, but you always get two to dance with the kids).
Afterwards we moved to the family area of the island where the kids found a giant slide that leads into the ocean.
All the kids need life vests to cross and go on it (because the water is more than 6-feet deep), but they loved it. Sam went back on it at least 6 times. Jamie on the other hand, discovered a little sprinklers park and had her fun there.
There are other parts of the island where you can bike, play beach volleyball, shop or simply just lazy around.
And of course, there was also free ice cream!
It is definitely worth disembarking and spending the day out on Castaway Cay. In fact the cruise moves a majority of its activities on the island (also because the crew on the boat are the crew that run the island as well), to encourage you to get off and pay it a visit. It makes you want to buy an island too actually! 😉
So there we have it! The last items on our Disney Dream favorites list. If I said anymore then the rest of the cruise wouldn’t be a surprise (should you choose to go on one in the near future!).
Essentially like every cruise, it’s what you make of it. Everything is set up for you to enjoy, you just need to pick and choose and go. And really when it’s a Disney Cruise, I doubt very much that you wouldn’t enjoy it!