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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Parasailing on Disney Cruise Line's Castaway Cay



Riding in a hot air balloon?  Check.  Flying in a helicopter?  Check.  Parasailing?  Not yet. That is until our last Disney Cruise aboard the Disney Dream.

Our itinerary allowed for two stops at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay—click here to read more.  Our first stop at Castaway Cay was July 20, 2011, also our anniversary.  We thought parasailing would be a great way to celebrate.  We were right!




We reserved the parasailing port adventure on-line at our paid in full/make reservations date, which happens to be 90 days before we sail as we are Silver Castaway Club Members.  We made our reservation for the 11:00 am time slot.  The thinking behind the selection was that we would be off the ship between 8:30 and 9:00 am, we were, and have some time on the beach, we did, then parasail and then have lunch, which is exactly what we did.  We also made our reservation for the first day in Castaway Cay taking into consideration that if the weather was poor and we couldn't parasail that day, we may have another day at Castaway Cay to try again, if there was an opening for a reservation.  We didn't have to use this plan, as the weather was beautiful—both days.





The Port Adventures tickets were waiting for us in our stateroom on our first day.  We took the tickets with us when we left the ship at Castaway Cay.  After playing on the beach, we took the tram back to the ship, but stopped at Marge’s Barges, which is located near the ship.  There was a waiting area for guests with tables and umbrellas.  It wasn’t long before our tickets were collected; we were lined up—two groups of 10 guests each, and were being lead to the two parasailing boats that had just finished with other guests.  Shoes were left on the dock and we climbed backwards down the ladder onto the boats.  Our crew of Jay and Walter introduced themselves and shared some information about the boat—put all loose objects under the seats, etc. and we were off.  






I was strapped into a vest and gear before I knew it.  The boy and I would be the first of our group to parasail. 



 (The husband took this great picture--the boy and I
parasailing with the Dream nearby!)



It was easy.  Put the straps just on your thighs and sit down on the launch platform.  Hold onto the straps on either side of your head.  Feel the boat speed up.  Scream like a girl.  And watch as the boat gets smaller and smaller.



It was an incredible feeling!  The boy and I were flying.  It was so calm in the air, quiet.  And the views were incredible.


Now, our operator, Jay, asked if we wanted dipped or dunked—before we went up.  I replied, “Neither.”  But the boy insisted.  A dip means your feet will be in the water.  A dunk is up to your waist.  We compromised on a dip.  But, when Walter brought us down for our dip, the boy kept raising his legs, so he got a dip, and I got a dunk!


I took a disposable water-proof camera up with me to take some pictures.  I got a few good ones.  Look at how far up we were.  Yep, that high!  I left my visor and sunglasses in the boat.  A strap is recommended for prescription glasses.  We didn't know that, so we didn't bring a strap for the husband.  He wore his glasses and was fine, but a strap would have lessened any concern.




The landing was easy.  Just stand up.  Jay had me unstrapped and moving towards a seat in no time.  The husband was on deck ready to be strapped in after me.  I asked Jay if the boy could fly again with his dad.  Of course he could.  So, the boy stayed strapped in for another flight.  Lucky boy!





Yeah, they got dunked, too.  And, nailed the landing after a several minute flight.



Since our family was first, we spent the rest of the hour watching others in our group parasail enjoying the views of the island, the ship, and the water sprays.  It was fun to be out on the ocean in the boat.


This also gave me an opportunity to ask a few questions of our crew.  Jay and Walter work for a tour operating company—parasailing—based in Nassau.  They both live in Nassau and have a 20 minute commute by boat to Castaway Cay and come everyday a ship is in port at the island—no matter the weather.  It seems that parasailing excursions are canceled hour by hour based on the weather, rather than by the day.  So, don’t assume that your port adventure will be canceled just because others that same day might be.  Since the ship is not at Castaway Cay everyday, that Jay and Walter provide parasailing opportunities for guests in Nassau or on Paradise Island or on other islands on days when they are not at Castaway Cay.

(One of my favorite photos.  Our family with the beautiful
Disney Dream in the background!  Sometimes the
candid shots are some of the best!)

TIP:  Know that as others in your group parasail, you may be shifted from seat to seat.  Don’t worry if your stuff is now under someone else’s seat.  It will all get collected when you return to the dock.


There were three kids in our group:  the boy, another boy a bit older, and another boy, the oldest in the group.  I would say, the oldest boy was about 12.  And, that is the order in which they parasailed.  The middle boy was with just his mom, and was able to go up once.  The oldest boy parasailed with his mom and discovered that it was not a pleasurable experience for him, therefore did not go up with his dad.  But the other boy would have gone with him in a heartbeat!  He was a bit peeved that our boy got to go twice and he didn’t.  I was so grateful that our boy went up first, as I don’t know if I would have been able to get him to go up after he had seen the reaction of the oldest boy in our group.

Note:  The minimum age is 8 years old to participate in the parasailing Port Adventure at Castaway Cay.


Jay and Walter did an excellent job as our excursion operators and we wanted to tip them.  Since guests don’t need cash at Castaway Cay for purchases, except at the Post Office, we didn’t bring any cash with us.  Luckily, the ship was making another stop at Castaway Cay in three days, so we brought cash with us that day, and stopped at Marge’s Barge’s on our way off the ship.  Jay and Walter were getting ready to take a group of guests and we were able to tip them for their excellent service.  Having read this, you will be better prepared to offer a tip than we were!  (The rest of the guests in our group, were in the same boat, so to speak.  They didn’t have cash either.  I don’t know if they did what we did—brought cash for a tip the 2nd day or not.)


We are so glad we parasailed at Castaway Cay.  We couldn’t have asked for better weather conditions, views, experience, or service!

The cost for Parasailing at the time of our adventure was $79 per person.  There is a weight limit of 375 pounds combined weight for parasailing.  The ride operators actually want more weight than less, as they have more control over the parachute, especially when there is more wind, hence the need for tandem rides.


When our hour was over, Jay and Walter, seemingly effortlessly, sailed the boat back to the dock and we got off.  They even hosed down the dock for us, as it was hot on our feet.  Our shoes were waiting for us just a few steps away. 

Soon we were back on the tram to Pelican Point, found the beach chairs where we had left our bag, towels, and sand toys.  We deposited more stuff onto our chairs and were off to lunch!


2 comments:

  1. Thanks for this kind and informative post about Parasailing,..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Henry,
      You are welcome! Thanks for reading!

      Delete