I have visited Castaway Cay twice on previous Disney cruises and I must say, it is always a highlight of my trip! Disney purchased (well, leased actually) this Bahamian island in 1997 and went to work making it a true tropical paradise. There isn’t a lot of development on the island which makes it that much more wonderful.
This being the final full day of our 7-day Caribbean cruise (*tear*), we wanted to take advantage of every opportunity and pack in as much as we could! Our morning started with a very light breakfast of…bananas. Teresa and I had signed up for the Castaway Cay 5k and had to meet up with the rest of the runners at 9:00.
Once everyone had signed in, we disembarked en masse to walk to the start of the race on the island. I really think we walked a mile (possibly more) in the already ridiculously hot temperatures under the already ridiculously scorching sun. This was going to be a fun race…
We finally made it to the start line, stored our bags in a bin, and waited a few minutes for the horn to blow, signaling the start of the race. The course ran through some tropical foliage, along the unused airstrip, and around the bike trail. Not much shade anywhere and although it was only a 5k, it was really challenging in the heat. I poured water over my head at each hydration station I passed trying to cool my body down a bit.
We were just a little bit excited (or a lot) to finally cross the finish line. And we were really excited to receive a finisher’s medal! Neither of us had expected to get anything for running this free race. Score!
We met up with Teresa’s mom and spent some time in the shade stretching and trying to cool down a bit. Once we felt the life returning to our bodies, we jumped on a tram that took us to Serenity Bay – Castaway Cay’s adult-only beach.
At this point it was close to 11:00 and we had to walk to the end of the beach before finding free lounge chairs. By the time we had settled in to our little beach oasis and tested the water temperature (cold!), it was 11:30 and the lunch buffet was open. Teresa and I were both really hungry after our earlier sort-of-breakfast and run, so we both made a bee-line for the outdoor buffet.
We waited in line and filled our plates – I, in my extreme hunger, selecting a hamburger (what I nearly always crave when I’m really, really hungry).
It was all actually pretty tasty (our crazy hunger might have helped with that critique) and I absolutely loved the variety of fresh, tropical fruit that was offered.
Our bellies satisfied, we headed back to the beach (after taking advantage of the soft-serve ice cream…) and were delighted to find this scoundrel strolling along the sand:
Once back at our lounge chairs, we laid out for a bit, then I dragged the float I had rented into the water and nearly fell asleep floating on the gentle waves. This is the way to lie out! Seriously. So, so lovely.
While I was floating along, I saw something dark sitting on the ocean floor. The water was crystal clear and it was very easy to see anything in it. I dove down and picked up the object which turned out to be the biggest starfish I’ve ever seen! Actually, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a starfish in person before!
It was pretty heavy but I managed to swim to shore holding it and my float. It was so cool! The longer I kept it under water, it’s arms would relax and drape over my hands and it’s suction cups (I have no idea what the scientific term is for those 🙂 ) would suction to my hand.
I brought it to shore so Teresa and Karen could see it, then swam back out to the deeper water to lay it on the ocean floor again.
Teresa and I swam to a large sandbar and discovered even more marine life – live sand dollars, colorful fish and multiple stingrays. One stingray swam right up to us as we stood frozen in the sand. Right before I was about to suggest to Teresa that we make our escape from this apparent attack stingray, it lowered itself to the ocean floor and flipped sand over it’s body until it was completely covered – just it’s tail still visible. So neat.
We spent the rest of the afternoon floating in the sea, laying on the lounge chairs, reading, dozing off, and just enjoying the serene beauty and views.
Our day on Castaway Cay ended too soon but we had to get back to the ship to get ready for dinner. As soon as we were back in our stateroom I broke into the macaroons I had received the day before. Yum!! And when I got out of the shower, I was delightfully greeted with a plate full of fresh french fries. I had been craving them for lunch but they weren’t available on the island. After we returned to the ship, Karen so sweetly went to the buffet and surprised Teresa and I with these yummies.
For dinner, we headed to the Royal Court for the second time and enjoyed another wonderful meal. And for dessert, our entire table ordered chocolate covered Mickey Mouse ice cream bars! 🙂
And then we each ordered a dessert off of the menu. Of course.
We had some time between dinner and the final production at the Walt Disney Theater so we went outside and took pictures of the beautiful sunset.
The final show, An Unforgettable Journey, was the shortest one yet but was a nice farewell from the entertainment cast.
After the show ended, we spent some more time wandering the ship, taking pictures, then packing our suitcases. 😦
The following morning we woke up early to make our assigned 6:30 am breakfast. Not cool, Disney. Not cool.
After breakfast we bid farewell to the Fantasy and disembarked for the final time.
These seven days at sea were so enjoyable and just what I needed to relax and unwind! I can’t wait for my next cruise!