Day 7 – Castaway Cay
Today was our day at Castaway Cay (pronounced Key … no, I don’t know why either). We chose to sleep in a bit, and then go ashore after breakfast. Some people got off the boat much earlier. For the runners, there’s an event called the Castaway Cay 5K, which is free (a free disney race? unheard of!), and started sometime around 8am, if I remember correctly. Not being a runner, I did not participate. (With that said, 5K is only about 3 miles, which is less than a typical day in the parks, so I may actually try to complete this next time).
The nice thing (well, one of many) about Castaway Cay is that there wasn’t any customs inspection to pass through getting off or on the boat. Once you’re off the boat, there’s a pretty long walk to get to the gift shops, beaches, and activity spaces. The adult beach, Serenity Bay, is at the very far end of the island from where the ship docks. You can walk it, or you can take a tram.
Tracy and I had chosen to rent bikes, and there are several well marked and maintained bike paths along the island. We found the rental place easily, gave our name, and were issued our bikes and helmets. (helmets are mandatory, even for adults) The rentals had an hourly charge, but it was pretty reasonable … $7 or 8, I think? I also got the impression that they weren’t really keeping close track, and you could probably keep the bike for longer without being charged more.
After we had ridden around for a while and returned the bikes, we went over to the adult beach, Serenity Bay. I am most decidedly NOT a beach person, but even I managed to enjoy Serenity Bay. I think I brought a book and read for a while, then went in the water to cool off. Serenity Bay, by virtue of being adults only, is also much less crowded than the family beach. And it has it’s own restrooms.
There are also cabanas you can rent on Castaway Cay (not to be confused with Cabanas, the buffet restaurant on board). We did not do this, the cabanas are a little pricey, and book very quickly. We were booked on what is called a “Space Available” rate. Basically, what that means, is that for cruises that aren’t as full as Disney would like, they will offer rooms at a discount to Cast Members. However, the Space Available rates are frequently only published 30-45 days in advance, so by then, pretty much all the cabanas are booked. The author of this website explains why: http://blog.touringplans.com/2014/12/18/10-reasons-cabana-castaway-cay-worth-trying-get/
And then, it was lunchtime. Lunch is served on the island, in 2 or 3 large patio areas with picnic tables. They had an assortment of freshly grilled items – I seem to remember burgers, fries, steaks, chicken, and some sort of fish, as well as salads, rolls, and desserts. There is also a soda machine, so you can have your choice of Coke products, free. (There are bars available, with all varieties of bar drinks, at typical Disney drink prices). There are water stations throughout the island. The food was tasty, if not terribly memorable.
After lunch, I’m pretty sure I headed back to the boat. I don’t remember what I did for most of the afternoon … I may have gone to see a movie, I may have gone to the gym, or I may have taken a nap … it was 2 years ago!
In the evening, we had a reservation at Palo, one of 2 additional cost restaurants on the ship. At the time, I think it was $25/person, now I believe it’s $30. Palo and Remy (the other one, also much more expensive … $85/each, i think) are also adult only, and formal dress. (Palo – shirt/tie, Remy requires jackets too). Palo features Italian cuisine, Remy is French.
Any time I was dining on the ship, the service was always wonderful. At Palo, it was a big step above that. (I’ve heard that the service at Remy is on par with Victoria and Alberts). The team of waiters (I think we had 2 or 3 in the restaurant) took time to explain every dish on the menu, and make recommendations. They also brought out a traditional “pre-appetizer” charcuterie cart, along with a selection of cheeses.
Dessert at Palo was an absolutely incredible chocolate souffle. It comes with a warm chocolate sauce and white cream sauce … those get poured into the center, and, needless to say, there wasn’t a crumb left on my plate.
The Palo menu can be found online with a quick google search … copy/paste looked ugly without formatting.
I don’t remember what we did after dinner. I want to say it was the rescheduled fireworks, but looking back at the trip reports, I seem to have indicated that was on Day 6.
Day 8 was debarkation day … woke up early, our breakfast time was 7:45am. As soon as we were done with breakfast, it was time to leave the ship. Nothing really trip report worthy from Day 8.