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steph5377 08-12-2012 10:48 PM

My Fantasy Cruise Report 7/7-7/14
I cruised on the Disney Fantasy on 7/7 with my mom and my aunt. I’m 34, my Mom is 55 (first time cruiser, who had broke two fingers a week before we sailed and had to wear a cast. Some of the Disney staff affectionately called her “The Claw”, lol), and my Aunt (who has cruised before but not on Disney). I have cruised on the Magic a few years back so I knew the Fantasy would be a beautiful ship. We had a stateroom with a Navigator’s Verandah and we were in the AFT section of the ship in cabin 8674. Our cruise was the 14th sailing and I will tell you some positives and negatives about our trip.

We had a super early fight out of New York that Saturday morning and we had to be at the airport by 5:30 am. Our flight took off at 6:30 and we got into Orlando a little before 9:00 am. We stopped in the airport to get coffee and then we headed downstairs to the Disney Cruise check-in line. There were people there but it wasn’t too crowded and before we knew it, we were on the bus (we purchased round trip transportation from the airport to Cape Canaveral through Disney) in less than 10 minutes. We also didn’t have to worry about our luggage because it would be delivered to our stateroom (which was awesome because I usually wait forever at baggage claim since my bag is always the last one out!). Our ride from the airport to the ship took about 45 minutes and we actually got to Port Canaveral about 11:15 am. We waited a little bit, took some pictures and then our boarding number was called and we were finally making our way onto the ship. I was totally blown away upon entering the ship. Everything was so beautiful, new and shiny. The cruise staff was very welcoming and remembered our names the rest of the trip! After taking in all the beauty of the lobby, we made our way up to Cabanas and had a light lunch since our stateroom wasn’t ready. Cabanas really has a lot of variety to choose from. And there is someone for everyone from seafood, sandwiches, salads, hot food, carving station, etc. The staff at Cabanas were very friendly and they were constantly handing out hand sanitizer and wipes. They do try to sell you the Evian water packs for your room, and we were asked several time but we politely declined. They didn’t do this the rest of the trip, just the first day. When our stateroom was ready we headed down to Deck 8 to check out our room. The room was spotless and the three of us fit comfortably. Having the dual bathrooms really was great. Even though we had a Navigator’s Verandah it felt like a regular one. We had no neighbors on either side of us so we felt like we had the entire row to ourselves. Upon entering the room, there was a Castaway Club gift on the bed for me. It was a black book bag filled with snacks. The bag is not the best quality, but I still thought it was a decent gift. Our dining rotation was ERRAERA. We did the Palo Brunch and ate at Palo the last night (Friday). Palo is absolutely amazing and if you can do it, I recommend doing the brunch and dinner. If you do the brunch, do not eat breakfast! There is so much food and it is all so delicious that you need to go on an empty stomach. Our waiter at Palo was Pedrag from Serbia and he was wonderful. We actually requested him for our waiter for our Friday dinner. I will list some of the positives and negatives about the rest of the trip…..

Positives & Negatives:

The entertainment staff was awesome and we made a lot of friends. Tina, Luke, Robert, Brad, Pierre and Trevor were absolute sweethearts. They really went out of their way to say hello and have fun with everyone. We would go to The Tube at night after dinner and there was always something going on. 80’s music trivia, comedy, etc. The Tube is where the majority of the night activities go on. On certain nights they offer 2 for 1 drinks. We are not big alcohol drinkers but we did sample the drink of the day and everything was really delicious. There are awesome bathrooms on the way to The Tube after you walk through the Oh La La Bar/Irish Pub. The mosaic tile work was stunning. These bathrooms were always empty every time I went in, but I did read on some other reviews that there was usually a line. I never experienced that. We spent a lot of time during the day by the quiet adult pool. The main pool was very noisy and the pool was usually crowded. The AquaDuck was always crowded throughout the day, but during dinner time, was practically empty. There were no lines and people were just walking on.

Pirate Night was really awesome. The whole staff (even all restaurant staff) dresses like a pirate. You will also find that your stateroom attendant will leave pirate bandanas on your bed the night before during turndown service. Some people brought their own costumes on board and I was amazed and how everyone got into it. I saw families in full costumes and full pirate makeup. Some people really went all out. The Pirate deck party and fireworks are a lot of fun. After the fireworks the deck turns into a pirate party and everyone was up dancing and having a great time. I have to say Pirate Night was my favorite!

The food: Here is where I’m a little mixed. The Enchanted Garden I thought was so-so. The Royal Court was a little better and Animator’s Palate took very long for the food to come. Our waiter explained to us that there is no kitchen in Animator’s Palate and the food is cooked elsewhere. I don’t know if this is totally true, but we took his word for it. I thought the food was so- so. We really didn’t eat big lunches because we were saving our appetites for dinner. The dinner portions are very small which was fine with us, but after the second day, we ate a little bit more during lunch. We were assigned table 21 and this is not a very good table to be assigned because at the Enchanted Garden it was right next to the drink station (so we overheard waiters complaining to one another, arguing, etc). At the Royal Court and Animator’s our table was literally the first one in the restaurant, so we really never got to see the full restaurants because we were right in the front. Our waiter was Putra from Indonesia and Paul from Thailand. They were very nice, but every night they messed up my mother’s order or our drink order. It was definitely because they were rushing around too much. When we ordered a specialty drink, they never brought them out, but at the end Paul gave us a bill for them. This happened at least three times. My mom would substitute something like a vegetable or potato and they never brought them out. We actually had a lot of laughs about that because my mom always had an issue. We had the second seating dining but our dinners felt very rushed. Our last two dinner nights were spent at Cabanas and Palo, so unfortunately we didn’t get to say goodbye to our servers. We did tip them above and beyond the suggested amount because they were nice but there was definitely room for improvement.

The Spa & Gym: If you tried to get in the gym before 9:00 am, you were not getting a machine. The place was packed! I worked out every day but had to do it in the afternoon in order to get a treadmill or a bike. I know some people don’t like to workout on vacation, but it felt good especially after eating all the desserts! I had two spa treatments booked; one was a hot stone massage and the other a Swedish massage. I booked both treatments online about a month before the trip. Here’s the catch; if you book a spa treatment online and try to cancel it on the ship, you will still get charged. If you book a treatment on the ship, you have 24 hours to cancel it. I feel that if you book online or on the ship in person that the rules should be the same. I tried to change my Swedish massage to a later time in the day and there was no availability. (I wanted to attend the champagne tasting at the Oh La La bar during the day). The woman at the front desk (can’t remember her name, but she was the manager) told me that because I booked online I had three days before the cruise to cancel a treatment and then I loose the option to cancel. If I skipped out on the massage, I would still be charged for it or I could opt to get $159 in merchandise credit. I explained to her that there was an event on board that I wanted to attend and I had no knowledge of it when I booked the treatment. I thought all treatments whether booked online or in person could be cancelled 24 hours in advance but it is not that way so please beware. I went and spoke to her 24 hours in advance and she would not budge. The only other open spa times were when I was doing shore excursions in Costa May and Cozumel. They will let you change your time and move appointments around, but if you book online before the cruise, it is a guaranteed treatment that you must pay for. The manager would not be moved so I ended up missing the champagne tasting and had my second massage instead. That’s the only bad thing I have to say about the spa. The hot stone massage was really good and the Swedish massage was excellent as well. I had Magda from Poland and she was really nice. I would highly recommend her. The showers in the woman’s locker room were awesome and have great water pressure. If I worked at the end of the day, I would shower at the Spa and get dressed there. Super convenient and the hairdryers work much better in the spa than in the stateroom. The men’s showers are the same from what I was told.

The movies and shows: We watched The Avengers, Brave and they were also playing The Help on board. The late showing of The Avengers was packed. There were no free seats at all. We had to keep getting up to let people in and out of our row and it was at that point that I became aware that my camera was gone. When the movie was over I looked up and down the row and found nothing. I went to lost and found and they didn’t have it, so they told me to check back tomorrow. I pretty much figured that my camera was gone, as well as all the pictures I took so far, so I was upset. Sure enough I checked back the next day and lost and found had it! A maintenance worker found it and turned it in. I was so happy because that camera had a lot of pictures that I took on the ship. The Disney theater shows were all great as well. Since we had the second seating dinner, we always attended the earlier show, which was usually around 6:15 or 6:30.

Excursions: We ended up doing excursions in every port except Castaway Key.
In the Cayman Island we did the 7-mile Beach Break excursion, which was nice. Buses transport you like 10 minutes from the port to the beach and we spent about 3 or 4 hours there and then came back. They also give free vouchers for soft drinks or water on the beach. There was a bar and little restaurant, but I had a strawberry smoothie that tasted amazing. My mother had a margarita and she swore it was the best she ever had. We also did a little bit of shopping before we got on the tender to get back to the ship. I was a little nervous about taking a tender but Disney aced this one. They had tender after tender and our boats were never crowded and we got back to the ship very quickly. It was like a 4-minute ride back to the ship, maybe less. It started raining as we got on the tender and there were rainbows everywhere. A super beautiful way to end our day in the Cayman Islands. The rain does not last long and one part of the island looked dark and if you looked to the left the sun was shining.

Costa Maya: Unless you do a shore excursion, there is not much to do here at all. There was a Senor Frogs restaurant and some shops, but to me, it was overpriced necklaces and souvenirs. I didn’t see many people in the shops; they were empty for the most part. The nice thing is that the ship docks right next to the pier and it is about a 5-10 minute walk to the village, depending on how fast you can walk. There was a tram taking people to and from the ship to the port but we wanted to walk. We did the dolphin encounter and it was just ok. It was about $100 per person. The whole excursion was very disorganized. Our dolphin trainer met us at the end of pier and brought us into the dolphin facility. Our trainer divided everyone taking the excursion into groups of 10-12 people. They give you life jackets to wear. As we got in the water, we were all lined up against the wall of the enclosure. Each person got to pet, kiss and do a hand motion with the dolphin. It was very quick. As you spend time with the dolphin, there is a photographer taking your picture that you can buy afterwards. The trainer spoke in English and Spanish to the dolphin and she understood everything. It was really amazing at how intelligent these dolphins are. I’ve done other dolphin encounter programs (Discovery Cove in Orlando, Dolphin Quest in Bermuda) and enjoyed those better. Buying and viewing the pictures afterwards was very chaotic. We spent the most time in there. There are computers set up where you can view your pictures and select which ones you want to purchase. At least half of the computers were out of order so there was a lot of pushing and shoving to get to a computer. We waited more than a hour to get on a computer. An individual picture is $25 and I believe the CD was $125 if I remember correctly. After the excursion, we got back on the ship.

Cozumel: We did the FURY Catamaran excursion and it was a lot of fun. We went on a catamaran which took us about 30 minutes away from the ship. We got to snorkel for around a hour and then got back on and went to a beach for an hour. The beach was really beautiful and clean. They also had a slide and bouncy things for kids set up in the water. When we got to the beach you could purchase food and drinks. The only downside is that the beach part is only one hour and it goes by very quickly. Everyone was saying how the beach part should’ve been longer. The crew aboard the catamaran was excellent and very friendly. After the snorkeling part, they pass out sodas, waters and margaritas and played music. Very much worth the $60 and I would highly recommend it.

Castaway Cay was my very favorite. I had been there several years ago on the Magic and it has improved if that could be possible. We walked off the dock and we ran into Captain Jack Sparrow who we took several pictures with. There were other characters on the island as well. We saw Donald, Mickey, Minnie and Daisy. We kept walking till we got to the beach and all the chairs were taken. People weren’t even there; all the chairs had bags and towels on them. That was the only downside. We found chairs but nowhere near the beach, so if you want a good seat, you need to be off the ship very early. The BBQ was really good and we even had smoothies which we had to pay extra for but were well worth it. The gift shops on the island have some cute stuff and if you like something, you should buy it there because the ship will not have it. As we walked around the island we saw a lot of crew from the ship and I stopped to take some pics of all the cute signs and decorations on the island. I was very sad to leave and I seriously think that Disney should consider two days at Castaway Cay!

I was really sad to see this cruise end. Just debarking made me very sad. Pulling away from the port, I felt like I just wanted to turn back around and get back on the ship. I met so many great people, staff and other cruisers a like. I definitely will book another cruise on the Fantasy, it was the best cruise I ever took. If anyone has any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me!

MommaBerd 08-13-2012 01:01 PM

Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences! :thumbsup2

MiaSRN62 08-14-2012 11:27 AM

Thanks for your report !!!! Glad you had a nice time :goodvibes

Kman34 08-14-2012 02:44 PM

Well done...thanks!
I know that sad feeling leaving the ship. It keep me from writing a trip report last year (I just didn't want to believe that it was over). I'll try to do better this year.

Trish82 08-15-2012 10:49 AM

I keep hearing the same report about Costa Maya..thanks for all the info

MiaSRN62 08-16-2012 07:26 AM

I wanted to add.....thank you for the information on the cancel policy for spa treatments booked online ! Had NO IDEA we had to cancel 3 days prior to boarding the ship. If it stated that online when i booked then I didn't see that ?!! I think I will email DCL about upfront disclosure of this policy. Thanks !

Sent from my iPhone using DISBoards

MiaSRN62 08-16-2012 11:20 AM

I stand corrected. DCL does indeed state the 3 day cancellation policy in the small print at the bottom of the reservation page. But thank you for pointing it out to me....I had not noticed it before.

steph5377 08-16-2012 12:16 PM

Apparantly, when you book spa treatments online, it is different than booking them in person on the ship. I was nervous that there would be no availability for the treatments that I knew I wanted so I went and booked them early online. When I went to the spa for the first time there were plenty of times available according to the manager and it actually seemed empty. From my experience, when booking spa treatments online there it seems that a lot of things are sold out. That is not the case when getting on the ship. They obviously reserve some spots for arrivals on the ship. The thing that kind of annoyed me is that when you get your Navigator in your stateroom there is so much going on so sometimes people need to change/move around appointments. When I asked the manager politely to change the time of one of my last appointments because I wanted to do something else on the ship that day, she would not budge (Even thought I had already spent $600 in there for other treatments and that's without the tips). She told me that I could get merchandise in exchange for the treatment. She also said there was no way I could cancel even though it was a 24 hour window, because I pre-booked online. So I just ended up going, I wasn't going to argue.... I was getting a hot stone massage and the times are very limited for those (according to what she told me). On another note, something I forgot to mention in my review; my mom broke her hand two days before our cruise! She had a cast on her right hand, and could not go swimming or do anything to get it wet. I had booked her a bamboo massage online and we went down to the spa upon arriving on the ship because she obviously was in pain and did not want the massage. The same manager (don't know her name, she has blond hair though) gave her a hard time and finally just cancelled the appointment. When I explained that she was willing to do a pedicure or facial, the manager brushed us off and said, "I just cancelled it"... She wasn't the most friendly or personable. Maybe she was having a bad day, but we were being so nice and she had a really big attitude.... They probably get a lot of people trying to cancel online appointments and they probably have to put their foot down. Sorry for the long rant, lol. Anyways, enjoy your cruise!!!!!

TracyBoston312 09-13-2012 09:25 AM

How was the room
We have room 8674 booked and wanted to know what you thought of it? Thanks

MissMet 09-14-2012 10:25 AM

Thanks for all the info!

Glad I didn't book my spa appointments yet. :goodvibes

steph5377 09-14-2012 03:26 PM


Room 8674 was a good room, but be prepared to walk a lot since it is in the AFT of the ship. The room itself is beautiful and you will have a Navigator's Verandah which means that you just will have a little bit of an overhang on your balcony. We had plenty of space and loved our room! I also noticed the AFT section of the ship was more quiet, sometimes we hardly saw anyone and we sailed during a busy cruise. Have a great time!

3Califanos 09-20-2012 10:44 PM

thanks for your story! cruising with my family nov 10. I just cannot wait! Really enjoyed reading your trip review! Thanks for sharing!
Sarah :hippie:

DanelleVT 02-08-2013 09:59 AM

Dining and fireworks
It's been awhile since my Magic cruise for 7 day cruise is the dining rotation between the 3 main restaurants? Also which side of the ship does the fireworks go off on? Thanks

AussieMice 02-10-2013 05:25 AM

Thanks for the info :)

staley98 02-12-2013 02:46 PM

Great info
Thanks for the great report! My family will be sailing on the Fantasy on June 15. We've got a room on deck 9 aft, so your comments about that part of the ship were very insightful.princess:

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