Boarding day was finally here and we were up and ready to go to the port fairly early. Georgia’s sunburn was bothering her, so Jay went to buy some aloe. We figured it would be much cheaper buying before we got on the cruise.
When Jay returned from the store he said he saw a bunch of families dressed in Disney wear leaving for the port! This was around nine am. We planned to leave near our check-out time 11:00am. Our port arrival time was 11:00-11:30, I think it was the earliest available. I can’t imagine leaving that early to sit at the port, I guess everyone is different.
Port of San Juan
Check out from our hotel was simple and our Uber driver arrived quickly. For reference, the cost to port from our hotel with Uber was $9.27 +tip. It was closer than I expected and we arrived at 10:45am. Based on Jay’s report of people leaving so early for the port I expected it to be mobbed. I was pleasantly surprised to find it not too busy yet. We dropped our bags with the porter and tipped $5/bag, and got in line to go through customs.
The line moved quickly. Technically there were two lines and one of them moved a lot quicker than the other, we moved to the quick line. Once we were through security we got in the Castaway Club line; we were in the terminal by 11:20. It was not busy we waited only a minute or two before we were at the check-in desk. Our cruise was one of the first a that had concerns about the Coronavirus. Our health questionnaire was updated to include questions about travel to China, and the Cast Members thoroughly checked our passports for stamps to China. Once we were checked in we were on our way to the waiting area by 11:25. We were Boarding Group 3.
Port of San Juan Boarding
It is a huge hangar-like area with chairs. I didn’t find the sound system to be particularly good. It was difficult to hear the announcements. There was a large group of people waiting in white chairs, they were the Back-to-Back cruisers. I think there must have been at least one hundred cruisers. They boarded around 11:30. Once they left there were a lot more seats available. Family of the Day was announced at 12:00. Concierge and Platinum cruisers started board around 12:05. There was a huge number of platinum cruisers. Disney will need to adjust their Castaway levels with the new ships. I just hope they don’t change them until we become Platinum. We have our 2 cruises booked to get there by May 2021.
Group 3—our group—was called at 12:16. Altogether we were at the terminal for one and a half hours and waiting to board for less than an hour. I thought San Juan was a great port to cruise out of I wouldn’t hesitate to take a cruise from there again.
Port of San Juan Navigators
While we were waiting to be called we got a paper Navigator to review the week. We wanted to see The Rise of Skywalker while onboard, we had not watched it yet. I like to note the times it is playing so we don’t miss our chance to see a movie.
Our first stop once on board was to change our dining rotation. since we have only sailed one other time on the Wonder we wanted to make sure we were able to dine at Tiana’s Place twice. If you want to make changes to your dining rotation or time, check the Navigator, it will list where to go and times. You can also leave a voice mail. There was a bit of a crowd already when we arrived, but we were in and out within five minutes. I think that might be due to the fact we were in late dining. Late dining is usually much more flexible and it is easier to get a private table.
With our dining changed we headed to Triton’s for lunch. Normally we head to Cabanas, but we decided to change it up on this cruise. It was nice to have a relaxing lunch without jostling for a table.
It wasn’t very busy yet and our serving team was great. I think Jay had the Leek and Potato soup, I don’t have a picture of it for some reason. I had the Seafood and Chicken Gumbo it was ok. Georgia had the Empanada, I think she enjoyed it.
For our mains I had the Grilled Salmon Salad, it was very good. Jay had the Chicken Caesar Salad, he liked it but it was a chicken caesar salad not overly exciting. Georgia went with the Muffuletta sandwich. I don’t think she loved it. It wasn’t what she thought it was, Jay helped her out with finishing it.
For dessert, we all opted for the Cookies ‘n Cream Cheesecake. I don’t think anyone enjoyed it. It was a bit stodgy. Georgia and I decided we would check to see what they had in Cabanas later.
The Lost Pictures
Sorry for the blurry picture of the Grilled Salmon Salad, it is the only one I have. There was an incident with my camera while we were waiting for lunch. I handed the camera to Jay to take a couple shots and somehow all the pictures on the SD card got erased. I think he was more upset than I was. Luckily I had moved almost all my jpegs over to my phone. I only lost a few pictures from the night before and from boarding, and all my raw images. Jay had taken a bunch on his phone so I had those. I started changing out my SD card every day as well as backing up the jpegs after that.
We finished lunch just before 1:30 and headed to our room. I was late booking this cruise and there were no secret porthole rooms available. We decided to go with a 9B room, an oceanview room on deck 2. It was a connecting room and I was a little worried about that. We loved the room. I barely felt any motion when we were in the room. It was relatively quiet, the only noise was from people going by in the hallway, no noise from our connecting room. The location was fantastic for getting around on the ship and even better at Castaway Cay: it was close for getting on and off the ship. The 9B is the same cost as the 10A secret porthole rooms, but you get a non-obstructed porthole.
We dropped off our bags in the room. Jay stayed behind to take a video of our room, coming soon. Georgia and I went out to take some pictures around the ship and to check out the desserts in Cabanas.
Port of San Juan and the Wonder
Georgia and I headed up to deck 10 to get some pictures of the Port of San Juan. It wasn’t very busy on the deck and the pool was pretty empty. We stopped into Vibe to sign her up. She has never been very keen on the kid’s clubs but had a good time on our last Transatlantic cruise. Before the transatlantic cruise, she got to know some of the kids and met up with them once we got on board. The kids on this cruise were not as talkative beforehand and she wasn’t as excited to go to the club.
We stopped in Palo and took a couple pictures there. Jay and I have brunch booked on the last sea day. Georgia was excited to see in the restaurant while it was empty. We stopped by Cabanas to check out the deserts but there was nothing that grabbed our fancy.
It was getting close to the time for the Muster Drill. Muster drill is a mandatory safety drill held on embarkation day. All guests must attend the drill. When you arrive at your muster station your KTTW card will be swiped to check you in—normally only one KTTW per stateroom needs to be scanned for attendance. You can find your muster station on your KTTW card and on your cabin door. Make sure you are on time for the drill. It will not begin until everyone assigned to the muster station arrives.
Our muster station was on deck four, but they can be in the Walt Disney Theatre or in one of the restaurants. It usually takes about 15 minutes for the drill. We always hang out on deck four for a little while after to allow the crowds to clear out. The sail away party usually begins as soon as the muster drill begins so the elevators and stairs are packed.
Instead of going to the sail away party headed back to the room to unpack, We saw the Mickey’s Sail-A-Wave Party on our last cruise and didn’t feel the need to see it again. On our way back to the room we stopped in an empty laundry room. I got a couple pictures and Jay decided it was the best time to iron his shirts. Georgia and I stayed in the room and watched Tangled while he got all of his shirts ironed and one of my dresses and my skirt too. this cruise was all about relaxation for us I don’t think we made it to a single show. We did do a bunch of trivia on this cruise.
On our way to the Disney Tunes Trivia, we stopped at the French Quarter, It was our first time seeing the change from the Promenade lounge to the French Quarter. It is very nice and was busy most of the cruise. It was Superbowl night and they had TVs set up throughout the lounge.
Since the renovation of the Promenade lounge was so successful the rumour is that the Promenade lounge on the Magic will get a Tangled makeover, probably the Snugly Duckling.
As I mentioned earlier we were sailing out of the port on Superbowl night. You could watch the game on the Funnel Vision, at the Crown and Fin, and the French Quarter. I am not sure about the other viewing spots but the French Quarter had a buffet set up. The game was taking place during both dining times. It was nice to see that Disney had some options for people who wanted to watch the game.
From there we headed to Fathoms for Disney Tunes Trivia, it is not our area of expertise but it was fun.
After we lost at trivia we went to dinner at Tiana’s Place. They were able to switch our dining rotation. I had checked the app earlier in the day and saw our table location, but it did cause a bit of confusion when we arrived.
Our beverage server was the same person we had at lunch, she was seemed genuinely happy to see us again. Both she and our main server were excellent, definitely one of the best serving teams we have had.
The last time we were on the Wonder we really enjoyed Tiana’s Place and did not find in too loud. While we still enjoyed Tiana’s Place I did find it to be much louder this time. I am not sure if it was because of where we were sitting or the ship was busier this time around.
I do wish Disney would change up the menus a bit more frequently, especially for the menus that are on all the ships like Let the Magic Begin. While I don’t dislike the menu it would be nice to have a few different choices.
To start with I had the Fried Spiced Calamari. I don’t remember having this dish before and I really enjoyed it. Jay had the Smoked Salmon Carpaccio and thought it was pretty good. Georgia starter was the Chilled Mango and Papaya Soup and she really enjoyed it.
Both Jay and I had a salad for the second course. I had the Couscous Salad. There had been some couscous with my salad at lunch and I really enjoyed it so I thought I would have some more, but this salad was not as good. It did not have as much flavour and was a bit dry. I also thought it could have used a few more cranberries. Jay had the Arugula and Spinach Salad he said it was fine not remarkable.
Next up our main course. Jay and Georgia had the Pork Tenderloin Wellington. They both enjoyed it but like Jay said it is difficult to get wellington perfect. For my main, I had the Pan Seared Halibut. It was very flavourful but I found that the halibut was a bit dry.
Finally, for dessert, I had the Warm Sticky Fig and Pecan Pudding it was good but again not remarkable. I found that most of the desserts on this cruise were just so-so. Jay had the Kahlua Crème Brûlée he thought it was good. Georgia’s choice was the Mango Marble Cheesecake it looked good.
There wasn’t a lot going on other than the Superbowl. I had hoped there would be a movie we wanted to watch in the theatre but there was not. We went back to the room to watch a movie there. I think we were all exhausted. The bonus for tonight is that we turned the clocks back and got an extra hour of sleep.
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