Dina's and Peter's FANTAS(y)TIC First!!

iloveeeyore

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 12, 2003
Monday, January 6, 2020 - Cozumel and Pirate Night

I'm having trouble managing DISboards today and cannot multiquote or post pics in the way that I could. Trying to move along with this report.

Peter woke up early on Cozumel Day to work out and took some sunrise pics, or should I really say, pics around the time of sunrise, as it was overcast so he couldn't technically see it:

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He came to get me for breakfast, and we went up top to watch the pilots escort us in to Cozumel. I have an eternal appreciation for pilots, as my grandfather worked on one in NY harbor during my youth.

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We grabbed a nice filling breakfast at Cabanas. I'm not gonna necessarily say how many plates we filled. I LOVE bagels and lox and all the fixin's and also Mickey waffles, so I ate at least one of each every morning for the rest of the cruise. Weirdly, the pancake was not good...though I'm not sure how one messes up a pancake, but, I tried it, and this one was enough. We later learned that there was also a special sandwich of some sort each morning, and those didn't necessarily repeat. So say, if there was bacon egg and cheese on a croissant one day, the next day there may have been egg and sausage on a muffin. We missed the sandwich this day and in retrospect I thought it was probably the best of the week but it never appeared again. I told Peter we have to do another Disney cruise so we can taste that sandwich haha!

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Going back over the photos of this day, it seems we drank an awful lot of adult beverages, much more than usual for us, and apparently we kicked the day off right with this amazing Bloody Mary right from the bar in Cabanas, a surprise gift from my sweet hubby:

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This made up for the barely drinkable coffee! Delicious! Hubby knows how to order my Bloody Marys, spicy and chewy! Looking back, we could probably have bought a few decent coffees from Cove Cafe for the price of the cocktail, but hey, we were on vacation, and I have to mention here that the cocktails aboard are all very fairly and decently priced! It seemed like a better value, since we weren't supposed to have to pay for coffee. Spoiler alert, more drinks to come!

After a leisurely breakfast, we made our way to our designated meeting place for our excursion, our first-ever-booked-through-any-cruise-line excursion. The excursion we chose was called The Original Tequila Experience by Jose Quervo operated by Discover Mexico Park (see where I'm going with the drinks, no lie...). Our meeting was in the D Lounge at 10:15 am. Yes a tequila excursion that begins at 10:15 am. You can obviously see why it was necessary to begin the day with a blood mary!

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Stay tuned for our thoughts on our tipsy excursion!
 

iloveeeyore

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 12, 2003
Monday, January 6, 2020 - Cozumel - The Original Tequila Experience

I am usually the planner and Peter is happy to participate in everything I choose, which is great...but also a lot of pressure on me lol! I was so excited and thrilled when he expressed a real interest in doing a tequila excursion in Mexico! I did a lot of research, and the reviews on this excursion on multiple travel sites were all really high with enthusiastic thumbs up, so we went for it. I want to say...it was fine. There was nothing wrong with it. And I think it took the right amount of time, not a whole day affair but gave us some time back aboard a relatively quiet ship later in the afternoon. But all the raves? We don't get it...we're not on the same page with the solid 5s. If you are contemplating this excursion, I recommend a tequila tasting on board the ship, and then a beach day or a snorkel day in Cozumel. So we had already had that amazing Don Julio tasting during the sea day, and now we know we can say with full confidence that we prefer the Don Julio to the Jose Cuervo. Glad we got that out of the way.

We were escorted from the D Lounge by a Disney cast member and met our Mexican guide Memo at the pier. Memo took our group of about 24 to 2 large taxis which took us on about a 20 minute ride along the coast to Discover Mexico Park. This place is like a cultural museum where one can learn about local traditions, arts and crafts and food and beverages. There was a model of ancient Mayan ruins, but that section of the park was closed and inaccessible at the time we visited. They have a chocolate making exhibit/activity but that was not included in our particular excursion.

We were greeted with some absolutely delicious traditional-style margaritas:

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But these margaritas wouldn't hold a candle to the ones we would enjoy later!

Memo then took us to a small area where they had some agave growing and he told us about the history of tequila.

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We went inside for the tequila tasting, which was much like the one on the ship with corresponding varieties. The room was lovely and modern and yet traditional Mexican in a way and we really enjoyed the vibe.

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There were some tip jars for the leaders on the way out of this room.

After they loosen you up with all the tequila, they try to sell you stuff, foremost, tequila!

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Some of those bottles looked gorgeous! There was also a large gift shop with all kinds of souvenirs including t-shirts and key chains but also hand-crafted things like jewelry and pottery and woven/beaded clothing. We were given an allotted time to spend in the gift shop (tip jars in every corner) before heading over to the (pole ritual?), the *** (donkey), and the margarita bar....

Excursion continuing next...

Edited to add: I was censored for naming an animal its biblical name. Sorry!
 
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iloveeeyore

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 12, 2003
Monday, January 6 - The Pole Ritual? THE ***! and the margarita bar

This is an ancient spiritual (religious) rite performed about every hour at Discover Mexico Park. This represents some kind of spiritual cleansing? but we never got the whole story of why they do it. There is a drum and maybe a flute? as these guys start up at the top of the pole and fly upside down on ribbons until they reach the ground. Then they offer to take photos with you and you tip them.

The whole pole with the guys on top for perspective.

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Spinning down:
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Peter didn't want to get in the photo. He would have felt obliged to tip more. And we were asked for a lot of tips this day.
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Then there was this donkey and you had to pay an exorbitant fee to get your photo taken with it. It was cute, and I'm sure the photo would have been more adorable if we had paid for the pose. As it was I had to take the photo when nobody was looking,

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Then we came to my personal favorite part of the day, the margarita bar!

Hand-painted glasses on display for purchase:
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Stunningly delicious margarita included in the admission, maybe the best I've ever had. Don't know what they did to make it so amazing but it was! The texture reminded me of the texture of the Avocado Margarita at La Cava, but I'm not sure if it had any avocado in it. Maybe some cactus? It was so good!
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Additional margarita that we purchased along with the shot glass that we also purchased as our souvenir, which I promptly broke when we got home (sniff, sniff). Yeah, it made it home in one piece and I killed it when I was washing it to put it away. So sad!
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The mango chile margarita was delicious too, but not as totally amazing as the one that blew me away before this one. I would have had more but...I was getting a bit tipsy at this point! Peter was gonna cut me off! But first we had to tip the bar tenders. Good thing it was time for lunch!

Next up...lunch at Discover Mexico Park and making our way back to the ship.
 
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  • iloveeeyore

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 12, 2003
    Monday, January 6 - Lunch at Discover Mexico Park and Afternoon Shenanigans

    The lunch that was included in our tour was really, really good! It was all in chafing dishes in one area, and you had to get in line, but one or two people were serving the whole thing (you didn't help yourself, so no germ sharing!). It was what we would consider a kind of taco bar. There were what appeared to be freshly made tortillas, pork, beef, chicken (all lovely seasoned), rice and beans, veggie stew, cactus and corn on the cob. And there were a lot of sauces that were labeled with different extremities of heat. I don't have photos of the sauces for some reason, but they were really delicious and they and the cactus were the real winners there for us (most different from what we find at home). This is a photo of Peter's meal, I think he's got some of the green sauce on his ropas viejas there? Beer was also included!
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    I'm not really a beer fan, and anyway, after all that tequila, who can drink a beer (Peter), so I had diet coke, called Coke Light in Mexico, and I loved the glass bottle:
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    There was no dessert included in this meal, which was fine because we were stuffed. There is a chocolate experience that can be added to the tequila experience, but not on the particular tour we were on. I guess that would be your dessert if you elected to participate (I guess you'd have to book that on your own).

    All told, this tour cost $63 pp through DCL, plus several small cash tips that were requested over the course of the day (but theoretically optional). We also spent a little more on an extra margarita (not needed but, hey, when in Mexico...) and the souvenir shot glass. It was a good value considering it included round trip taxis, a lot of food and drinks, and a unique entertainment experience. I'm glad we tried it once, but if/when we ever return to Cozumel, I imagine we will choose a more nature-related tour or something that goes to the mainland cenotes or Mayan ruins.

    After lunch we had a few more minutes to roam in the gift store as we waited for the taxis to bring us back to the port. Once back, we roamed the souvenir shops in the mall attached to the pier, and made our way back to the ship.

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    We met some characters willing to pose for a picture with Peter (heads up, no charge for the photo, but they also had a tip jar). Did I mention bring lots and lots of dollar bills when you get off the ship in Cozumel?!

    Once back on the ship (maybe around 2 pm), we had lots of time to rest and play in the Pub Quiz at O'Gill's Pub. Since we were there, why not...have another drink?

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    Specific names of these drinks are not provided on our bill. Peter had something on tap and I ordered...poorly. I literally read the menu over and over and decided on a drink and said the wrong thing to the server anyway. This is what I got. I think it was called something Leprechaun, and contained peppermint schnapps and almond milk, and it just wasn't my cup of tea. It wasn't overly sweet, which was good, but it was kind of medicinal and also very filling after all I had already consumed that day, meh. I have been searching on line for what this thing was called and I can't find a menu, so I'm sorry I can't help in that way. Charge for this round was $16.10. O'Gill's also serves these delicious little snacks with their beverages:

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    Salt-and-flavor-dusted crunchy deliciousness! We polished off everything, and had a blast at, but did terribly in the Quiz game (Matt divided the room into two teams, so it wasn't just us haha). I can't say for sure whether the alcohol consumed over the course of the day had any impact on our performance in the Quiz. I'd like to say it did?

    Coming up next...AAaaaargh! We be pirates!
     

    iloveeeyore

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 12, 2003
    Monday, January 6 - Pirate Night!!

    So...in case you haven't surmised this by now and I have to go ahead and say it outright: we're totally cheesy. And Pirate Night is exactly up our alley, and, to be honest, it's one of the aspects of DCL that enticed us to try this cruise.

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    So naturally, we had to dress in our pirate gear before heading out to dinner. This was the one night we decided to skip the main entertainment, which was The Ventriloquism and Comedy of Taylor Mason. I'm sure it was great, we had seen him a few times earlier in the cruise and decided to take our time at the quiz show and changing for dinner. As per our usual, I'm sure we took a stroll through Mickey's Main Sail to check out the merchandise.

    Our rotation schedule placed us in Enchanted Garden on Pirate Night. I was surprised to find that there was no special pirate menu, but it seems that on cruises that are themed Star Wars or Marvel Day at Sea, the special menu falls on those nights and there is no pirate menu. The pirate menu will have to wait for a different crusie for us, maybe some day!

    I took this photo at the end of dinner. I wish I had taken more photos of this place, I thought it was lovely!
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    North Atlantic Lobster Ravioli with tomato broth:
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    I don't have any photos from Peter's meal this night (must have been all the day drinking), but I think he had the ahi tuna tower with avocado (I may have had one of those, too...I can't imagine not ordering one of those, lol).

    For my entree, I had the Pan Seared Sea Bass - also scrumptious!

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    No phot of Peter's again, but I'm pretty sure he must have had the Prime Rib and I'm sure he loved it.

    Our server Joseph liked to play little games/riddles with us and would lay crayons out in a specific pattern and tell us to make something else with it by moving one thing, etc. This was the first time I took a photo of it so I could remember...but I don't remember haha. I mean I remember we played games but can't remember the puzzles or solutions but it was entertaining!
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    Peter had the Chocolate Brownie Sundae, sorry, no photo, and I went with the Warm Sticky Date Pudding:
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    I thought this was just OK but couldn't finish it anyway, too full.

    With our bellies stuffed, we headed out of the Enchanted Garden for some Pirate adventures!
     

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    iloveeeyore

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 12, 2003
    Monday, January 6 - Pirate Night continued

    Backtracking...this was on our way into the restaurant...we found the scoundrel we had been looking for, Captain Jack Sparrow!

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    After dinner we raced up to the deck party!

    Where else can you stand on the deck of a ship in the middle of the sea and see fireworks?!

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    We really made our way up to the Buccaneer Blast and Club Party very late in the game and were barely able to find room to stand. Luckily, a lovely cast member told us which side of the deck to stand on to have the best view of the show and fireworks.

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    After fireworks there was a big dance party that honestly was SO much fun!! The deck was rocking!! One of the funny things we noticed was how much fun parents were having (while some tweens sat on the sidelines watching). I believe maybe there was even a buffet?

    We finally made our way back to the stateroom stuffed, exhausted and maybe still a little bit buzzed, to find this guy:
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    We had to get to bed because the next day would be another port day, and we had big plans!

    And that brings to a close another amazing day aboard the Disney Fantasy! Next up...Grand Cayman!
     

    tink too

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 27, 2005
    Just found your TR - thanks for sharing your great photos too. I'm hoping to take another Western cruise next year - fingers crossed!

    I also want to thank you for everything you're doing at work during this pandemic. Here in the UK it's been quite bad too with lots of local lockdowns lately.
     

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  • missjackiemcg

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 2, 2013
    HI!!! :wave2: I've just found your TR, and read all of it at once! I'm so excited to follow along on the rest of your report because my husband and I just booked a Western Caribbean cruise for June 2021 (we hope!) to celebrate our 15th anniversary.

    We were considering the Jose Cuervo tour, as well, so I appreciate all the details you included about it, and your tequila tasting on board. We did the martini tasting and mixology classes on our last cruise and really enjoyed them, but were thinking of switching it up this time around.

    Can't wait to read more!
     

    MainStreetFireman

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 19, 2007
    Comparing the Tequila Experiences:

    So.....I have a few things to talk about in comparing the Jose Cuervo tour with the Tequila and Margarita tasting experience (which exclusively used Patrón) on board.

    First of all, I want to mention that both experiences were booked through DCL. That was pretty much where most similarities ended.

    Second of all, I did not have a preference between tequila brands before this. I honestly believe that the preference I found AFTER having both experiences is simply one acquired from taste, and not any reflection of the events themselves.

    All of that being said, here we go....

    The DCL Tequila & Margarita Tasting Experience:

    It was an easy walk from our stateroom to the lounge. While the title was generic, the tasting samples were exclusively Patrón. The difference between the various grades was incrementally noticeable, with the añejo tasting complex like a fine whiskey. While the presenter mentioned that the various grades were available at the bar in drinks we might order throughout the cruise, there was no pressure sales of individual bottles. With the generous pours given, I felt that the experience was a great value, as well as a great showcase of really complex flavors. I would absolutely do this tasting again (and again and again).

    The Jose Cuervo Tour:

    My initial misunderstanding was that this was just a Jose Cuervo event. I thought the location we travelled to by minibus might be a Jose Cuervo outlet of some kind. It was not either. Don't get me wrong, this was an adorable "clearing house" highlighting specific aspects of Mexican culture and food. But each of these aspects was clearly a vendor that had paid to be a part of the presentations, and each had something to sell us and sell us and sell us. I'm not saying the food and margaritas weren't delicious (they were), or the guys spinning on the pole weren't cool (they were) or the photo-donkey wasn't cute (it was). But I had paid to experience all of them, and then I was being asked to pay more throughout each "station" in many different ways.

    The Jose Cuervo tasting was simply another station amongst others at this one-stop location. It was held in a converted cargo container, which is not a knock on building ingenuity. It's just that if you're going to try to sell me (and sell me and sell me) a bottle of super-rare and expensive bottle of añejo, I'm probably going to be a bit skeptical if I feel like I'm buying it off the back end of a converted truck.

    That being said, the portions were generous. And you could taste the difference between the various grades. But if you're going with the focus of a tequila experience, it should be noted that this tasting was only one of many stops at this tour.

    Personal opinion:

    If you're looking for a one-stop highlights of some Mexican culture, the Cuervo Tour was fine. But if you're looking for a real taste experience about tequila, the ship event is an incredible experience, and a great value to boot.
     
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