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Old 05-06-2012, 09:51 AM   #1
time4dis
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Join Date: May 2012
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Western Caribbean Fantasy Apr 28 - May 5

Used the forums to gather a little information prior to cruise, so I figured I should pay it forward with some info of my own here's a quick rundown and i'll add more if questions, etc, and when I get time.

Stats:
Western Caribbean - Disney Fantasy. April 28 - May 5th.
Me 34, Wife 34, Daughter 12, Son 1.
also my 2 parents 60.
Been to Disneyland 2 times, Disney World 3 times.

Booked my first ever Cruise through a Disney certified agency for onboard credits, back in May 2011 I think?
Other than that, not a lot the agent had to do, but maybe answer some basic first time cruise questions, etc.
We did book our OWN travel insurance through TravelGuard, just the emergency package.
We also used Adult Passports and kids Passport Cards, vs birth certificates.

Rooms: 6th floor, Cats 5D and 6B. not adjoining.

Not sure how full this cruise was. saw a post saying not sold out, but other than that, unsure. Cruise Director Brent said 1200 kids were onboard.

Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, Cozumel, Castaway Cay.

Needless to say, rebooked already

details next.

Last edited by time4dis; 05-06-2012 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 05-06-2012, 10:02 AM   #2
time4dis
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p.s. probably no photos on this as the keeper o' the photos will be reviewing, sorting and editing for a while.
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Old 05-06-2012, 10:23 AM   #3
time4dis
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Join Date: May 2012
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Ok,

I'll just start at the beginning of the trip and go from there.
Point #1. I am "frugal", if I can save a buck, i'll consider it.

We booked separate airline tickets ourselves, and arrived a day early, Friday. our round trip return home trip was not till 3:30 p.m at the end of the cruise, so PLENTY of time to get back to the airport afterwards.

So we booked Cocoa Beach Shuttle to bring us from the airport to our hotel. I have read they are hit or miss, and our experience overall is the same. but they were cheapest. We had NO problems getting from the Airport to the Hotel with them, and they brought the carseat as promised. I would NOT use them for shuttle service to the Port from the hotel though, more to come on that.

We booked a Cocoa Beach Hotel, La Quinta Inn, on Atlantic ave, through Priceline for Friday night. It was fine for our needs, 2 rooms, free breakfast, dinner option onsite (Siam Orchid & also a Sports bar) and nearby.
We had dinner at Siam Orchid and really enjoyed it. Sushi and Asian-style options at good prices. They were polite and attentive.

We had time to explore Cocoa Beach after dinner and walked across the street and through another hotel property to get there. It was fun and a nice evening for the beach, my son's first ever visit to a beach or ocean.

The hotel had a pool which was clean and decent temperature. Our rooms were on the backside of the complex, first floor, in the # 130's. I would recommend this location as it is away from the pool noise, though it WAS quiet when we went by there, and everyone was nice.

The hotel staff was kind, it was not at capacity but busy I think, but that did not cause any issues. Room was clean and got nice and dark for sleeping. No problems.

Hotel location is a bit south of most of the rest of Cocoa Beach, so I probably wouldn't walk to the pier from there, but overall, if you are just looking for a room and maybe explore the sand, this was great. good price, good value.

Breakfast was a free continental style. No meats.
waffle maker,cereal, bagels, toast, oatmeal, tea, coffee, milk, juices, yogurt, apples, oranges, bananas.
plenty of food, nothing ran out, but I've never had good luck with ANY hotel waffle maker, and this looked no different, so I avoided that.
In fact, off topic, once in San Antonio the hotel waffle maker caused a small fire that made us evacuate at 5:30 a.m. in our Pjs.

Being that breakfast was included, i'd continue to say La Quinta Atlantic Ave was perfect for us.
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Old 05-06-2012, 10:47 AM   #4
time4dis
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Time to Cruise!

So Saturday morning, we had Port check in from 11:30 - 12.

Our 'Cocoa Beach Shuttle' was to pick up at 11 and take us to the port. since I booked them round trip from the Airport, i just rolled this into it too, from hotel to port.

They were just supposed to show up, but I called anyways at 11 to say we were ready. they said were just running a little behind and would be there in 10-15 minutes. ok.

I called again at 11:45 asking what's up, they said the shuttle was out making stops and really should be there anytime.

at just about 1pm I called and said not to bother coming, as we were hitching a ride with another service that was there. please cancel and refund.

There was a lady in a white van with no current fares sitting there, I 'think' it was something like RJ tours, but i'm NOT sure, so sorry for any false advertising. I asked her if she could take us and she did for her standard port fare.

Also I had seen Travelynx come by 2 times in the 2 hours we were sitting there, I think they were the carrier that the hotel uses if you just book your port transport through La Quinta, which I would do if I had to do over again.

so finally, we made it to the Port, wayyyy after our check-in time. it was busy, but all lanes were open and we popped on through, they had general boarding open, so our boarding # was irrelevant at this time. there was a long line for photos with Minnie, so we just went aboard. We had our cruise photos take, a family group shot and were announced onboard! YES!

It really was not a big deal to be late, but sitting and waiting for your shuttle for 2 hrs sucks. Not sure what the circumstance was, maybe just bad luck that day. But I would use the hotel recommended service next time, to ensure we had them on our side to help.

So we are onboard. we went to Cabanas for lunch. good variety of food. Ate and my daughter went to the AquaDuck. by then our room was open so we went up and dropped off our carry-on stuff. I had requested a Diaper Genie and a pack-and-play and they were in the room already. I also ended up renting a bottle sanitizer from Guest Services and that was handy for our sippy cups. a $50 refundable deposit on that. Charged to the room and refunded the same way on the last day. We just hung out, had some character photo ops, and sailed away!

We were the first dinner seating. 5:45 p.m.
our rotation was
Animators
Enchanted Garden
Royal Court
then A,E,E,R for the rest. Animators 'interactive show' is on the SECOND visit there FYI.
Royal Court was then our breakfast location for the disembark day at 6:45 a.m.
the last place you dine is where your disembark breakfast is.

The show that night was the intro show - A Fantasy Come True
at 8:30 p.m. about a family coming onboard and all going off to do their own things. a way to see what the ship has to offer. it was cute if you've not seen it before.
Shows ran 45-50 minutes or so, I believe.
More to come:
our 12 yr old went to the EDGE
Infant used Small World Nursery
movies & 'Avengers' premEar, YES!
Excursions :
Grand Cayman - Botswain's Park
Costa Maya - Chaccoben Ruins
Cozumel - Dolphinaris.

Last edited by time4dis; 05-06-2012 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 05-06-2012, 11:00 AM   #5
ThePhantomsGirl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by time4dis View Post

Not sure how full this cruise was. saw a post saying not sold out, but other than that, unsure. Cruise Director Brent said 1200 kids were onboard.
I was on this cruise, and I heard two different numbers: Just under 3,000 and just over 3,000 (which is pretty darned close) I sailed the Dream on a full cruise, so I can tell you it was a HUGE difference!
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Old 05-06-2012, 11:46 AM   #6
time4dis
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ok thanks! I'll call it 3k then.
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Old 05-06-2012, 12:12 PM   #7
time4dis
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Sunday - Day at Sea, Formal Dining. Aladdin was the evening show.

Went to Cabanas for breakfast, did a bunch of Character photos, watched Jack Jack's Diaper Dash, a crawling baby race using volunteer babies.

Went to Nemo's reef, the splash area for babies, quite fun for the 1yr old. checked out the AquaDuck and the AquaLab - water pipe works play area. Daughter went to Edge for a bit.

Wife went for a Seaweed wrap treatment at Senses Spa. Emma was her attendant, very nice and good at her work.

Watched a presentation from the head pastry Chef on Apple Strudel, complete with sample.

Made paper airplanes in a class and then went and FLEW THEM IN THE ATRIUM. ha ha so funny, I mean really, doing this without getting yelled at, ahh Disney.

Bingo later in the afternoon, then time to dress for dinner.
It was formal night and we were a mix of degrees. I wore a tie, no jacket and felt quite comfortable with my decision. Saw some more casual and some very formal, and really, it's about being happy. Its fun to dress up when everyone else is, but if you don't want to, it didn't seem to be a big deal.

I'll have to make a separate food list, because I don't remember it all at the moment. menus were reusable, not given to you and we didn't think to take photos of it.

Our attendants for the week were Ned, with Daniel assisting, and Ivo supervising. Great guys and we really were happy. Ned really took to our son and said he really loved serving him. I'm not so sure if the cleaning crew would agree, but we tried

This night for formal for us was in the Enchanted Garden. We totally forgot to observe the surroundings and see how it changed, we were so wrapped up in dinner. The grandparents were always on time, and our son was always running about 10 minutes late each night, but most of the party was there on time and we 6 sat at an 8 person table with 2 empty chairs the entire cruise, I assume there was nobody else assigned there.

The show was Aladdin and i've seen the Disneyland version once before, but I don't remember the details. It was very good and in my opinion re-watchable. I'd advise seeing all the broadway-style shows at least once.

Our son did not join us for this, he was in Small World Nursery from 8-10:30. They were EXCELLENT and it was a fantastic experience for us. He is a pretty good natured kid, and no anxieties generally and this was no different. We used them several times throughout the cruise.

He fell asleep there and my wife and I picked him up and took him asleep to the Buena Vista theater to watch some of War Horse. We watched half of it and then went to bed.

Our daughter was at the Edge or exploring the ship from sometime after Aladdin until her bedtime.
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Old 05-06-2012, 12:57 PM   #8
time4dis
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Ok, Monday Grand Caymans
Ashore Tenders start 10:45
All Aboard 4:30

We went downstairs and had breakfast at Enchanted Garden's buffet. nice mix of table service for drinks and self-service for buffets.

Our Excursion - Botswain's Adventure Park, met at 11:15 in the Tube and went ashore.

I know you can book this on your own, and just take a taxi or bus, but having never been there before we stuck with the Disney version. I still never saw where the public bus stop was, so i'm guess i'm glad we did. I didn't want to mess around with kids, maybe if I was just with adults, we could have struck out on our own.

We enjoyed the Turtle park and the guided tour. It was fun to hold the sea turtles. They were very cool and we saw some neat stuff, and got some good information.
Turtles are apparently popular as food, so having this operation really helps to eliminate poaching and illegitimate sourcing of them.

As part of our excursion, on the property we got access to a waterpark and a snorkeling bay, a nature trail and a small aviary facility. we didn't get to the nature trail but everything else was fun. They stocked the bay with fish and some turtles so that was cool to see. i'm not a good snorkeler, and this was a very easy, safe way for beginners and kids to have fun. Lunch was included in our tour, a small buffet of beans and rice, pasta salad, chicken legs, mahimahi and hamburgers.

Our full group took part in this excursion and i'd say we enjoyed it. kids would like it, adults might wish to go see more of the island next time.

weather was pretty hot, humid mid 80s and some good sun mixed with clouds and a sprinkle of rain, which kept the heat down for a bit, which was nice for our infant.

got back to the ship, tendering was no problem, dinner was Royal Court.
I had Boar Tenderloin, very good! We all took a bite of the Escargots, too, just for fun.

We skipped the 'Magic Dave' show, in favor of some onboard shopping, exploring and character greetings. Then my wife and I took our infant up to the deck to watch Bugs Life on the funnelvision.

Later we checked out the bars again. Over the first couple days we briefly explored the various bars in Europa. Skyline, Ooh La La, the Tube, O'gills and La Piazza. I would say I actually liked the look of Ooh La La quite a bit. it's not as 'girly' as I thought, to go in for a specialty cocktail was quite nice.

I was a little surprised how empty much of Europa was much of the time, but based on the number of things to do, it makes sense. Makes you feel a little like an exclusive club member

We never made it up to the Outlook, or Meridian, the bar for Palo & Remy- which we did not do either, as it was our first cruise.
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Old 05-06-2012, 01:35 PM   #9
time4dis
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Tuesday Costa Maya
Ashore 12:45
All Aboard 5:30

Prince & Princess Menu
Theater: Disney Wishes

We had breakfast at Cabanas, spent the morning onboard doing some of the Detective Agency magical artwork activities, mini golfing and seeing more characters of course.

We went to the Vista Art Gallery and purchased a fun print of Captain Mickey.
We then sent it for Mickey to sign at guest services.

We grabbed lunch onboard just before disembarking to do our tour.
We booked our own tour this day. We went to see the Chaccoben Mayan Ruins, but we booked directly with "The Native Choice" via their website.

This was fantastic, if you like this kind of thing. Joel & Hacho were great. Joel the guide was very knowledgeable and fun. The weather was pretty hot, so he did a good job of keeping us comfortable, and he really knew how to skirt around the crowds and keep us entertained. You are trapped out there, but there is plenty of space to run around and see the ruins for the kids. I found it informative, interesting and entertaining. HIGHLY recommend. My favorite non-Disney moment. They were sensitive to our time constraints and did a great job. We went with our group of 6 plus about 5 other people, who were Disney cruisers too.

We got back in time for dinner, which we were worried about timing because it was Animators Palate for the interactive show. But the tour was perfect and we were back in our room by 5:15 and to Animators practically on time! yay!

Animators was really fun and that's all I can say.

After dinner it was more characters and then Disney Wishes, a story about 3 friends getting ready to graduate High School and 'grow up'. again cute if you've not seen it before. I really liked it and would see it again depending on what else is going on. Later my wife and I caught the end of War Horse, which we started a couple days earlier. We were able to pick up basically where we left off, and brought in a couple Cranberry no-Jitos. the non-alcoholic drink of the day, along with some ice cream.
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