Our absolute favorite part of any Disney cruise is the stop at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas. For each cruise we upon which we had traveled, this had always been the last full day of the itinerary. Unfortunately, on our most recent Disney cruise, the Disney Magic had not been able to pull into port at Castaway Cay and the captain informed us of an unplanned day at sea. During that cruise, we had also not been able to tender at Grand Cayman, just like on this cruise, so this time around we again anxiously waited for the ship to pull into port. Brooke woke early just to watch the ship pull into the port and for a while it appeared that we were not moving, but turning around. Fearing a similar fate as our previous cruise, she began to worry. Fortunately, the Commodore was just turning the ship around to back into the port.
We had placed a room service order for breakfast that arrived at 7 AM (and served as my wake up call) to save time so that we did not have to visit a busy Cabana’s buffet. In addition, Brooke would be disembarking onto Castaway Cay with four kids by herself this morning as I was running the Castaway Cay 5K and was required to meet at 8 AM to leave the ship with the rest of the group of runners. I left the cabin and headed to the Walt Disney Theatre, still not fully certain that we would be making port as the Commodore had yet to come over the speakers to inform the passengers that we had been cleared. Knowing that there was nothing to worry about, I still anxiously awaited this announcement and finally overheard the entertainment crew begin to instruct the runners off of the ship. We were getting off the ship onto Castaway Cay!
It is difficult to explain the anxiety, worry and consternation that Brooke and I had endured since booking the cruise (and before that) over how we would react if we did not make port here again. But, nothing to worry about, we were coming ashore. I followed the group off the boat and walked almost a mile to the starting line for the Castaway Cay 5K.
It was surprisingly not long before they announced the start of the race and we were off. The course took us down the runway, then a right turn onto the loop to the Observation Tower. The loop is marked in meters so it was nice to watch them count down as I ran past and then back onto the runway. After a right onto the runway, we u-turned at entrance to Serenity Bay (the adult only beach) and headed back down the runway. This time it was a left onto the Observation Tower loop and around again (seemed much longer this time around) and then back to the start / finish line. I finished the course in 27 minutes, which wasn’t bad considering the amount of ice cream and pizza I had consumed over the past week.
After grabbing my medal, I quickly scanned the beach to see where Brooke had set up post and met up with the kids and her already playing on the beach.
We ended up moving down the beach to be closer to Cookie’s BBQ and then left our sand toys to drop the kids off at Scuttles Cove, first stopping so that we could take a few pictures with the Disney characters.
One of the great things about Castaway Cay is how Disney almost literally brings the cruise off the ship onto the island, including the secured child care area. I ventured into Scuttle’s Cove with the kids to familiarize them with different water and sand play areas, along with the sports (soccer and volleyball). Brooke and I then bolted (almost literally) to the tram for Serenity Bay, but first we stopped for one of the few couple only pictures from this vacation.
For all the times we had visited Castaway Cay, we had never been able to take in the adults only area. As soon as our feet touched the sand, we understand the allure. We love seeing our kids having a great time in the sand and water. But, the peaceful (yes, even serene) sound of the soft ocean waves crashing and the touch of ocean breeze is incomparable.
We sought out some chairs and pulled them down by the water. While I relaxed with the waves slowly cresting over my feet, Brooke explored the water, traversing 50 yards out without even reaching waist deep.
The buzz of our phone came way to quickly as the kids were ready to leave Scuttle’s Cove. We lingered a while longer lounging by the water and then checking out the buffet as they were setting up.
We boarded the tram back to Scuttle’s Cove and, while I picked up the kids, Brooke headed to the buffet at Cookie’s BBQ to get the kids’ plates setup. By the time I arrived, the table was set for each kid with burgers, corn on the cob, ribs, chips, cookies and loads of fruit. Brooke and I also grabbed a plate. This is one of our favorite meals during the Disney cruise as it almost comes as a welcome reprieve from the richer food aboard the ship and feels like a cookout.
After lunch, we headed back out to the beach where, even though it was a bit overcast, the kids were non-stop in the sand and water having a great time. It didn’t take long for Weston to wear out and he and Brooke retreated up from the water a bit to a shaded chair. A few minutes later, covered in towels, with the clouded sky and cool breeze, he fell asleep.
Meanwhile, the girls had a blast enjoying more ice cream (yes, there is a a soft serve machine on the island too) and playing on the hammocks.
Our time on the island was coming to an end, but we wanted to take our time back to the ship, so instead of taking the tram we made the walk (about 1 mile). We made many stops, and found some great picture taking areas along the way.
We purposefully boarded the boat earlier than the majority of passengers to enjoy the top deck with a smaller crowd. The older girls took turns on the AquaDuck, while the younger kids played in the hot tub, Mickey slide and Mickey pool.
We sadly made our way back to the room to get ready for dinner and start packing. Our last dinner on the cruise was subdued, especially for Emily and Brooke, as they have the hardest time leaving the Disney cruise.
After dinner, we continued to pack and then attended the main entertainment together. We then finalized our packing and left our luggage outside the room to be collected. From here, Weston and Lila were ready to head to bed, but Emily and Caitlyn wanted to continue their vacation to the very end. It was another trip to Family Karaoke where Emily bravely performed another Taylor Swift song.
Emily still didn’t want the night to end and tried to convince Caitlyn to return to the Oceaneer’s Lab without success and ended up going by herself. Caitlyn returned to the room to go to bed, but not before losing a tooth! That was a first for us on the Disney Cruise. I picked up Emily from the Lab as they were closing down and we made our way back to the 11th deck for more ice cream and pizza, trying to extend the night as much as possible. Without anything left to do, we returned to the cabin. The final night of every cruise is difficult for her and this one was no different. But, we were all in agreement of one thing; this was the best Disney Cruise we had ever taken and were already thinking of when we could go on our next one!
This was Day 7 of our Disney Cruise. Be sure to check out the entire Western Caribbean Disney Cruise on the Disney Fantasy in January 2017.