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Old 11-14-2012, 10:06 PM   #1
SrisonS
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The Royal Voyage: Fantasy Eastern Caribbean Nov. 3 – 10, 2012!!! (with Pictures!!!)

Pre-Fun


IMG_0663 by Scott Smith (SRisonS), on Flickr


This marks our 3rd voyage aboard a Disney Cruise Line vessel. We went on the Magic in 2008, for our honeymoon (Western Caribbean); and again on the Magic in 2009 (Eastern Caribbean). The destinations for this cruise are St. Thomas, San Juan, and Disney's Castaway Cay. This is also our 1st cruise with our 2 year old daughter. So our traveling group is made up of me (Scott), my wife (Mollie), our daughter (Samantha), and my in-laws. Going in, we had planned on doing the 2nd dinner seating with the in-laws, and would just occasionally hang out with them. We still only saw them once in a while; but we thought it better to change to the earlier seating for dinner, in case our daughter wasn't able to stay up that late. My in-laws still kept their original time though. It would've been nice to sit with familiar faces at dinner (the first night of our first cruise was SUPER awkward); but everything for this trip worked out quite nicely.


IMG_0585 by Scott Smith (SRisonS), on Flickr


Packing for our weeklong vacation went fairly smoothly on Thursday and Friday. I saw somewhere that there was a 50 lb weight limit per bag; so we had to add another bag to our arsenal. And I also had to figure out a way to pack my not-so-small camera tripod. I'm really into photography, as you will see; and I wanted to get some night shots of the ship, as well as capture some other indoor details. So I would've kicked myself for not bringing the tripod along. But we were able to pack everything without any fuss.

Another pre-boarding circumstance we dealt with had to do with certain necessities for our daughter. We had to think about packing plenty of diapers and wipes, as well as certain foods that we know she likes (shes a really picky eater). With some of the things we needed, there were stipulations stating that they had to be in factory sealed packaging. It wasn't a big deal for small amounts (i.e. things for the diaper bag); but we didn't know how strict they would be with everything else. We eventually ended up just using the service where you could order things online, and a box with your order would be waiting in your stateroom. This helped to keep us in the guidelines, as well as helping to lessen our load. As far as prices for that service were concerned, they weren't really all that bad. The items were a tad more than what we pay in the stores; but not by too much at all. The kicker is the price for shipping (I'm sure it wasn't shipped through a mail service though... its probably just the process of getting it to your room). I think the shipping was about 20-something bucks for diapers, wipes, Cheerios, infant oatmeal, and maybe one other small item. Then again, looking at it all, the overall cost was about as expected. So I could definitely recommend it.

Oooo!!!! I almost forgot another little interesting tidbit about our Pre-Fun& we probably almost missed it. The week before, we were in (or On& whatever) Long Island, New York for a wedding. As most people are aware, Hurricane Sandy was on course to hit that area on Monday. Without making any last minute adjustments, our scheduled flight was set to leave at around 5:40 PM that Sunday before (from Islip airport). We happened to be the LAST flight leaving that day. The rest of the flights for that night were canceled; as well as all the ones for Monday and Tuesday. I'm not sure when Islip opened back up; but we have family that couldn't leave LaGuardia until Saturday or Sunday (they had planned to leave the Monday the storm hit). My in-laws were also in NY, but were able to get an earlier flight than they originally planned. So luckily for us, cruising on the Fantasy wouldn't just be a Fantasy.

My Disney Pics on Flickr!!!

Last edited by SrisonS; 01-22-2014 at 07:16 PM.
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Old 11-14-2012, 10:49 PM   #2
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Sounds like fun. We ( me, DH and my now 2 year old daughter) will be going on the Fantasy Eastern next year. Look forward to reading your review.
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Old 11-15-2012, 12:21 AM   #3
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Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your cruise. You were lucky to make it out, I would have been in nervous breakdown mode.
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Old 11-15-2012, 06:02 AM   #4
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looking forward to your report
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:20 AM   #5
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We will be on this itinerary in just over two weeks, would love to hear all about it
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Old 11-15-2012, 06:08 PM   #6
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Wowsa! Talk about luck with your flight...thank goodness for that! Looking forward to hearing about your cruise!
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Old 11-16-2012, 06:45 PM   #7
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Day 1: A Royal Pain

When we finished eating, we noticed we had a little time to kill before we’d be able to go to our room at 1:30. So we took advantage of the Open House time for the various kids’ clubs. Our first stop was for the It’s A Small World Nursery. The age limit for this area is from Infant to 2 years old. We already had our daughter booked here for a couple of hours, during 3 days of the trip (we eventually cut that down to 2 days). The nursery overall was OK. The area was cute and clean, and there seemed to be a decent amount for the kids to do. But like my wife mentioned; there’s a HUGE difference from this toddler area to the next level up, the Oceaneer Club (ages 3-12). For a child that isn’t in daycare at home, this seemed like it would be fine (unless their home setup is VERY VERY nice). But for a child that goes to daycare everyday (like my daughter), it really doesn’t seem to be enough room in there. The Oceaneer Club is a completely different story though. It has about four richly themed areas; as well as a cool little common space that connects them. That club definitely would have been too much for my daughter. So it would’ve been nice if there was a little more balance between Oceaneer and It’s A Small World. But therein lies the gap.



It’s A Small World Nursery. This is about 1/3 of the area. Seriously.
IMG_0591 by Scott Smith (SRisonS), on Flickr


Just one of the areas of the Oceaneer Club.
IMG_0597 by Scott Smith (SRisonS), on Flickr

IMG_0598 by Scott Smith (SRisonS), on Flickr


We finally make our way to the stateroom (#9510), to really kick off this voyage. Being that we are Castaway Club Members (just means you’ve been on at least 1 Disney Cruise), we are instantly greeted with our Castaway Club goodies. We received a very nice backpack (which became EXTREMELY useful… mainly as a diaper/camera bag), pretzels, cheese crackers, and a DCL keychain. Checking out the rest of the room, we start looking at the differences between this stateroom and the one we had on the Magic; as well as trying to figure if we had enough storage space.


IMG_0609 by Scott Smith (SRisonS), on Flickr


One thing that is totally new to us is the energy conservation system. Disney has set it up to where a room key has to be inserted into a little reader that is near the door. This will then allow you to turn on the lights, turn on the television, and I think control the AC. To make things easier, we just left our DD’s Key to the World card in the slot for the majority of the trip. We would’ve taken quite some time to figure that whole system out; but I remembered it being mentioned during the Dis Unplugged Podcast. So memory immediately kicked in. Another big difference is the amount of space under the bed. I don’t remember there being a whole lot of usable area under there before. But this time, it very much came in handy. We just bought a nice-sized suitcase before the trip, and it fit perfectly under there. Our other suitcases were smaller in size; so as chance would have it, they all just fit nicely into one another. Even if that wasn’t the case, we wouldn’t have had a problem.

Our stateroom (#9510) was starboard-side, and had the porthole. The porthole was bigger than the one from the Magic; and had a cushion to where you could sit in it. It was even big enough to where you could semi lay there. Going over to check out the familiar view (we had similar placed staterooms on previous cruises), I instantly see a surprising sight. Directly below us, I see two guys looking at something the water. And what do you know… it’s a manatee!!!! I don’t recall ever hearing about them being around the ships; and I’ve never seen a wild one before. But sure enough, it was right there in plain view. And my wife can attest to how weirdly excited I was about that for like 15 minutes. It’s the little things.



IMG_0617 by Scott Smith (SRisonS), on Flickr



IMG_0614 by Scott Smith (SRisonS), on Flickr


So everything in the room seemed to check out, except for one small thing. They forgot the pack-n-play for our daughter. But true to Disney service, they immediately took care of the situation. And within a few minutes, one of the room attendants was bringing one in to set it up. They were also surprisingly very apologetic. We weren’t making a fuss at all about it either. We were just hoping it would be in there before going to bed that night. But I have to give them kudos for handling that situation. This also started a nice little friendship between us and that specific room attendant (Stephany from the Dominican Republic). She tried to engage my daughter; but my DD wasn’t havin’ it…. at least not right away. Stephany worked the rooms in the next section of our hall; so we would constantly see her. Every time we passed her, she would interact with the DD. And it was great!!! We had a thing going to where our daughter had a crush on our room attendant (Valentino from India… who was also magnificent), and other little cute things. So that was a very fun aspect of our trip.
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Old 11-16-2012, 07:17 PM   #8
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Loving your report and photos. You daughter is a cutie!
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Old 11-16-2012, 10:19 PM   #9
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Great report. Nice pics. In for more.
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Old 11-16-2012, 10:28 PM   #10
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Your family is adorable! Can't wait to read more!!
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:16 AM   #11
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Just joining in. Great report so far! LOVE the very cool manatee pic.

Nice family picture with Mickey at the start!
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Old 11-17-2012, 11:37 AM   #12
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Can't wait for more. We leave with out almost 2 yo in 2 weeks.
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Old 11-17-2012, 11:40 AM   #13
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You just cannot beat Disney service! How awesome you also had another attendant on your floor who was great as well. We experienced that on our Magic cruise this past May...our stateroom attendant rocked; and another attendant just down the hall was incredibly friendly as well. Gotta love Disney!
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Old 11-19-2012, 12:25 PM   #14
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Day 1: A Royal Pain

IMG_0622 by Scott Smith (SRisonS), on Flickr



After unpacking, we relax a bit before having to go to the emergency drill at 4:00. On the Magic, I used to hate the drill. I honor its necessity; but it was terribly uncomfortable. You had to don your life vests, head to a packed Deck 4, and brave the heat until the proceedings were finished. This time around, you’re required to take the steps down; as before. But instead of going outside on Deck 4, we met in the Walt Disney Theatre. You also didn’t have to wear the life vests. Thinking on all of that now, I realize that other people were directed elsewhere. The theatre definitely wasn’t full; and everyone on the ship couldn’t fit in there anyhow. But I’m not sure where they had to go.



IMG_0640 by Scott Smith (SRisonS), on Flickr



After the drill, we head to Deck 11 for the Sail Away Party. We had a really great spot for the show. And our daughter was able to stand in the very front, until some lady’s camera kept hitting her in the head. The worst part was that the lady even looked down at her, and pretty much didn’t care. Non-jerks would see a super little one next to them, and maybe step back or to the side, so that the kid could have a good view (and yes, the lady was standing, and she wasn’t a dwarf). We ended just pulling our daughter back and holding her. She seemed to be a little bit tired anyway. So at least she could get off her feet a bit. Note: Never mess with a photographer’s daughter. Your picture could end up on the internet, and you could be put on blast!!!


SEE!!!!!!!!!!!!
IMG_0623 by Scott Smith (SRisonS), on Flickr


IMG_0628 by Scott Smith (SRisonS), on Flickr


All-in-all, the party was still fun. There was also a VERY enthusiastic Cast Member dancing to Baby, by Justin Bieber. He wasn’t just dancing, but doing literal movements to the lyrics of the song. He was also a great MC to the baby crawling race I saw a few days later.


Part of his dancing…..
CM Dancing to Bieber!!!
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Old 04-27-2013, 11:17 PM   #15
SrisonS
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Day 7: The Cherry On Top

Aquaduck (Know The Ledge) by Scott Smith (SRisonS), on Flickr



Now that we were back on the ship, it was time to do something that was a total must…. tackle the Aquaduck!!!!!!! My wife was more thrilled than I was about this; but I couldn’t NOT go on there. And I gotta admit, it was GREAT!!!! Sure, the water was a little too cold for my wussy self; but I still had fun. So we ended up going down twice together; then my wife went down once by herself. And as chance would have it, our tablemates happened to see us during the first ride, and were able to get some nice candid shots of us. I of course got some shots of them as well. So it was a nice final “adventure” for our trip; as the rest of the day would be pretty easy going.



IMG_1799 by Scott Smith (SRisonS), on Flickr


IMG_1809 by Scott Smith (SRisonS), on Flickr




Afterwards, I also had my final solo photo outing, while my wife and daughter went to rest-up. I was able to get a few shots of Castaway Cay from aboard the ship. And I also noticed that you could get some cool views from the steps that lead up to the Aquaduck loading area. You could really only see the pools and the Funnel Vision screen. But it was nice to get a different look at things. Just adjusting your vantage point can make a world of difference sometimes. (Quick photo tip: When taking pictures of people, keep the camera at their eye level. Try not to shoot up or down at them. Test on a little kid or with someone sitting. You’ll instantly see the improvement).



IMG_1806 by Scott Smith (SRisonS), on Flickr


IMG_1835 by Scott Smith (SRisonS), on Flickr


IMG_1862 by Scott Smith (SRisonS), on Flickr


IMG_1884 by Scott Smith (SRisonS), on Flickr




A little while, we venture out to the “Sea Ya’ Real Soon” character meet and greet, in the Lobby Atrium. All of the main characters were there (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy….) as well as some of the princesses. So it was a great way to get those last minutes autographs and pictures. Even better that it wasn’t crowded at all. And at the end of the session, the characters do a little dance number on the stairs there. Can’t say this is a MUST SEE. But if you’re on the ship, and you have time, it’s nice to check out.




IMG_1893 by Scott Smith (SRisonS), on Flickr


IMG_1905 by Scott Smith (SRisonS), on Flickr




Something that we MUST do though, is to make our final selections for our Shutters photos. I put in my 2 cents for a couple of minutes, before my wife just took over. Not because I wasn’t a help or anything (because I thought I was); but because we had already made the decision on most of them during other days of the trip. We ended up getting the disk with a lot of pictures, but where we can select 10(?) to officially download. We still haven’t made our selection of pics (procrastination). So hopefully there isn’t some type of expiration date involved. And one thing that helped to keep our picture count low, was the fact that I was able to get some pretty decent shots with my camera. For the professional setups on the ship (with the pretty backdrops), you weren’t allowed to just hand your own personal camera to the photographers. So there was no “I think I got a good enough shot there”. But for some of the other situations, it was nice to have a few different photos to choice from; especially when 2 of you (you and the PhotoPass person) are shooting from different angles, or the little ones aren’t consistently stable from shot to shot.



IMG_1920 by Scott Smith (SRisonS), on Flickr


IMG_1915 by Scott Smith (SRisonS), on Flickr


My Disney Pics on Flickr!!!!!!!!
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