Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Day 4 of Disney Very Merrytime Western Caribbean Cruise: Grand Cayman


Grand Cayman is the port of call we were most looking forward to on this cruise. We had been here before, and had gone to world famous Seven Mile Beach which was simply gorgeous. On this trip we decided to try something different, and signed up ahead of time for a very popular Port Adventure through Disney, the Rum Point Beach Adventure.


At the time of this post, the fee for this excursion is $69 for adults and $59 for children, which I think is a great price considering how much is included. This is a pretty long excursion, lasting 6 1/2 to 7 hours according to Disney's website, and includes a short 15 minute bus ride to Safehaven Dock where you board a 65-foot catamaran which takes you on an hour-long journey through turquoise waters until you reach your intended destination, Rum Point Beach. You get about 3 1/2 hours at Rum Point with a private reserved section just for Disney Cruise Line guests. A buffet lunch is also included.


After tendering to shore, we were ready for a day of adventure and relaxation on one of the most gorgeous and affluent islands in the Western Caribbean.

Sailing aboard Red Sail Sports' 65-foot catamaran

We arrive at a long dock leading up to Rum Point Beach, a smaller and slightly secluded beach shaded with casuarina trees.


Heading towards the beach down the dock, towards the right is the area of the beach for the rest of the public, while the section to the left is reserved just for us! We managed to get off the catamaran first and snagged some of the best seats, right in front of a tiny wading area where the kids could play in the sand to their hearts' content.

To the right of the dock when facing the beach

To the left of the dock, reserved just for DCL guests


Best seats in the house :-D

Those are our beach chairs to the right!

I love all the fun signs scattered throughout the area!







And here's the rest of the beach chairs in our private reserved section, as well as picnic tables where we enjoyed our lunch.



Speaking of lunch, we were given lunch tickets before we boarded our catamaran which we turned in when it was time to eat.


Here's the menu! There was only one small change, which was mango vinaigrette instead of raspberry vinaigrette for the salad.


Let's take a closer look at all the food on the buffet before we sit down to eat.








Iced tea and water

I tried everything on the menu except for the mac and cheese and the brownie bites.


The food was actually really good! The jerk chicken slaw was pretty spicy, but a really cool way of serving jerk chicken in a non-traditional way (perfect for a buffet). The fish was outstanding. The sauce was delicious and slightly spicy. I kind of wish I had the recipe. The rice and beans are a tried-and-true Caribbean favorite, as are the fried plantains. The mango vinaigrette on the salad was a refreshing burst of tropical flavor that worked well with the other flavors on the plate.


After a short digestion break I decided to brave the water to check out some of the snorkeling in the area. It was a slightly windy day, so even though there is a coral reef along this side of the island blocking a lot of waves, the wind itself made for choppier water ashore and not the best clarity for snorkeling. I still managed to see some fish and beautiful coral VERY close to shore (my vertically challenged self could technically stand there if needed).

Snorkeling selfie!


Brain coral



After a bit more beach time, we headed back down the pier to board our catamaran once again for an hour-long sail back to Safehaven Dock.


As we sailed, the crew served us some snacks of Cheetos and Doritos (totally random and not tropical, but such a fun treat for adults and children alike). A bird decided to take advantage of some of the snack spillage.



Back ashore we returned by tender to the Fantasy just in time to shower and get ready for dinner and the Animation Magic show in Animator's Palate.



The Animation Magic show is only on the Disney Fantasy. Each diner receives a print-out so they can draw an image of a person to be animated as part of the show. It's so much fun to see your drawings take shape as actual animations on the big screen, all in the span of the hour and a half or so that you are at dinner. Because of the timing of the show as part of the meal, this is the only day when the dinner menu restricts the selection of appetizers and soups/salads, and only includes a single option for each so the dining team can speed things along. This is a bit of a bummer because neither option is particularly great, and if we had eaten our meal in another dining room this night for the Prince and Princess menu (not one of our favorites to begin with) we would have at least had some better options for our first two courses. Oh well.


The appetizer sampler includes Smoked Duck Breast, Dill-Marinated Shrimp, and Smoked-Salmon Tartar. The tartar is probably the best item, followed by the shrimp, and then the duck which is just a little too smoky. In general, it's just alright.


The soup used to be a macaroni and cheese soup, but it has since changed to a Tomato, Spaghetti, and Meatball soup, which is basically a tomato soup with some broken spaghetti and tiny meatballs. It was actually pretty good, but again nothing over-the-top interesting. There was also hardly any spaghetti and meatballs in it. I would have liked a bit more.


For my entree I was intrigued by Ferdinand's Trio of Veal, which features grilled tenderloin, pulled shank, and tortellacci pasta with a sun-dried tomato and sage reduction, and garnished with a potato crisp. My tenderloin was incredibly undercooked. I ate the most cooked parts on the exterior but it was definitely on the rare side. The best part of the trio was the pasta, and I wish there was more than a couple bites.


After a mediocre meal (did I mention this isn't our favorite menu?), dessert once again was the redeeming course. I had Princess Aurora's Sundae. Rocky road ice cream is topped with chocolate fudge bites, chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Yummy!


This evening I was excited to see that Cool Runnings would be playing on Funnel Vision (the giant screen overlooking the Donald and Mickey pools in the family part of the pool deck). This is one of my favorites, so I staked out a good seat and enjoyed the show. "I see pride! I see power! I see a badass mother who don't take no crap from nobody!"



Afterwards I checked out some of the late night food finds in Europa the bar area of the ship which is 21+ after 9 pm. They always bring out some snacky foods around 10:45 pm, and each night it changes. This was the only night of the cruise I managed to visit, but I definitely enjoyed some of the selections.

Spinach and Feta Cheese Puff Pastry Bites

Mini Corn Dogs

Potstickers

Thai Prawn Fritters



I enjoyed everything I tried except the Thai Prawn Fritters were a little meh. Very doughy and not very prawny, at least the ones I tried.


As expected, we had a wonderful day in Grand Cayman and absolutely loved the excursion we had selected. It made the most of our time on the island. Next on the itinerary we are returning back to Mexico, this time checking out Costa Maya.

Disney Fantasy Very Merrytime Western Caribbean Cruise (December 2017):


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