3 generations on the Fantasy & cruising concierge: CABANA #10! [updated 02/07/14]
i just returned from our cruise on board the disney fantasy. we were on the 7 night eastern caribbean itinerary (which includes san juan) & cruised concierge in a one bedroom suite, stateroom 12020.
the dates of the cruise was 1/26/13 - 2/2/13.
on this special trip, it was 3 generations of hyun ladies (my mom, me & my daughter) & we set sail to celebrate my daughter's 3rd birthday. also, this trip was a "thank you" trip for my mother who has been my #1 cheerleader & support as i am raising my daughter as a single mother. so indeed, we had much to celebrate during this FANTASTIC vacation.
i took so many pictures and will end this post with a few pictures from my iphone. please check back soon for more updates!
ask away if you have any questions about the cruise & i will try to answer as soon as i can. thanks for reading.
picture taken during the captain's gala. this is me, my wonderful mom & awesome daughter.
the fantasy docked in san juan.
a view of deck 11 from the aqua duck on an early morning at sea.
view of st. thomas from our balcony.
this is beautiful st. john.
the fort in san juan. i did my own tour of the fort for free!
our cabana in castway cay!
our cabana #10 on castaway cay.
panoramic shot of castaway cay.
my daughter in the gorgeous water.
Looking forward to reading all about your cruise!
Subbing o read along! Can't wait to see all your beautiful pictures and hear about your experience. :)
Sounds like a wonderful trip! Can't wait to see more of the fun the three of you had!
of course I am in! So excited to read more!
We're in. Can't wait to read all about it.
thanks for reading everyone & sharing my experience!
BEGINNINGS [the boring stuff]
i booked this cruise through costco last may. i am a disney passholder so we visit the parks quite frequently but i wanted a different experience. i've never been on a cruise before and when i saw the short video about the fantasy (they were using footage from the dream), i knew i wanted to book a cruise for the sheer convenience of everything being on the ship...i don't have to plan adr's, i don't have to book hotels, & i don't have to obsess about character meet & greets for my daughter. everything would be on the ship! it would be the perfect way for my mom to experience disney & i knew my daughter would have an absolute blast. i wanted the three of us to have a great vacation...together (cheesy, i know).
i knew nothing about cruising prior to booking. i gathered my information from the internet & began to price compare online. i had no idea costco did disney cruise bookings. i chose costco because i will be getting a $710.00 costco cash card by booking with them. in my opinion, this was a better deal than a $25 OBC by booking through disney directly or the $200-$300 OBC offered by other travel companies.
to me, costco was the way to go. i had no issues with them & when i did call about a question, they were very helpful & prompt.
TO CONCIERGE OR NOT?
my daughter turned 3 on january 27th and i saw that there was the eastern caribbean itinerary from january 26 - february 2nd. this would be perfect! after deciding that this was the cruise i wanted to be on, i struggled with cruising concierge vs. cruising non-concierge. i read so may discussions on the internet of cruisers who have done both. would the experience be worth the extra cost? there was a significant price difference between concierge & non-concierge.
the key points for me deciding on concierge was the one bedroom suite as well as my desire for my mom to feel pampered. i'm a pretty flexible & frugal traveler (i stay only in value resorts at the park to save on $$) & i would be pretty happy staying anywhere on the ship but i really wanted my mom to have the ultimate experience as she has been such a huge support for me & she never does nice things for herself.
plus, i knew we would spend lots of time in our room (my daughter still naps) & the jacuzzi tub would be awesome for my mom to soak in daily as she suffers from chronic pain. i loved the idea of our private sun deck so that we could get away from the crowds of people when we needed a break.
also, the access to the onshore concierge team would be beneficial to me as i would need tons of help with this cruise. everything was so overwhelming in terms of port excursions, dining rotations, etc & i was glad for the extra help. so i took the plunge and decided to go concierge & prayed that the experience (and price) would be worth it.
the shoreside concierge team was extremely helpful! i had so many questions and they answered every question quickly & pleasantly. they helped me secure everything i wanted (which included a cabana that was sold out online as i missed my chance to book at my 120 day mark), my palo brunch reservation (which i had changed three times), a BBB appointment for my daughter as well as changing my remy dinner time (which i later cancelled).
you also get this nice book which included luggage tags, cruise contract & other important information.
when it was time to book, i had no idea what star side, port side, aft meant and there were only a handful of rooms to book on the 12th floor. at the time, there also wasn't very many room reviews on board the fantasy so i sat and stared at my screen for an hour as i was trying to pick a room. i really have no idea why i chose room 12020 (i think i got sick of staring at the screen & just picked) but it was done & there was no turning back now. we were booked!
also, here's a tip: concierge deposits are non-refundable. however, a few months after i booked, i called to see if i could downgrade my room (i was still in sticker shock mode) to a non-concierge room. costco had to call disney but disney did offer to apply my deposit to a new room as a "one time only" courtesy. but i'm so glad i kept our concierge level room!
now, onto the fun stuff.
it was a short 2 hour drive to port canaveral. we were going to park the car in the garage. it was $120 to park in the garage for the 7 nights. while pulling in, i was totally overwhelmed at the sheer size of the fantasy. it towered over the other cruise ships docked in the port. the ship was breathtakingly beautiful. the three of us said, "WOW" in unison as we were pulling in. i felt like a total kid while parking. i got the goosebumps & was so super excited to get on board.
the view of the ship as i was pulling in the parking lot. the ship is MASSIVE.
we arrived at port canaveral at 11:30am and the place was swarmed with people. it was insanity! we parked on level 2 and walked into the cruise terminal. we were told that concierge check in was in the back corner to the right. we were greeted by the staff & the check in process was quick & painless.
as we were being checked in, we received our KTTW cards, navigators, & my daughter's mickey band (more on that later). here's a first look at the saturday navigator. i took the pics with my iphone while the gentleman was finishing checking me in at the podium.
after check in was completed, we were escorted in a separate line to the right (everyone else was waiting in line to the left) to get our picture taken. i really wanted to buy this picture that the staff took but unfortunately my daughter had her eyes closed in both.
pretty crappy iphone picture but i loved the background.
after our picture was taken, we were introduced by a cm with a microphone as we entered the lobby atrium. it was a really nice touch. then, we were escorted to the concierge lounge on the 12th floor.
but right after a picture with the fabulous minnie mouse in the lobby atrium.
the lobby atrium was beautiful! i could not wait to start exploring the ship. but first, we were being escorted to the concierge lounge for our meet & greet. up to the 12th floor we go. while on the elevator to the 12th floor, i knew i had made the right decision to go concierge. we were already having such a great experience and it was only the first 45 minutes.
hello concierge lounge...we have arrived!!
Great TR....love the pics! :)
Count me in for this one!
I've already seen some of your yummy food pics on Barb's dining board thread
Can't wait to hear all about your trip - what a lovely thing to do for your Mum :goodvibes
I can already tell by the sheer excitement in your "voice" that you had a fabulous cruise!
Thanks for sharing your trip! Looking forward to more as I just booked our first concierge Fantasy cruise.
Cant wait to hear more about your trip! popcorn::
We just booked the Fantasy for Jan 2014 and this will definitely get me excited and prepared for our trip! :cool1:
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