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View Poll Results: What do you most look forward to doing on the Fantasy?
Riding the Aquaduck 79 25.57%
Dining in Palo and/or Remy 92 29.77%
Relaxing in the Rainforest Room 30 9.71%
Solving a Midship Detective Agency crime 21 6.80%
Shopping on shore and/or on ship 10 3.24%
Sailing with Mickey and Minnie 77 24.92%
Voters: 309. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-12-2012, 11:07 PM   #166
Holly123
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Thank you we will definatly come back to you with questions. I am interested in the fact that you did not get off the ship at all of the ports. I would say that my DH would follow along these lines so it is nice to know someone else elects not to step off at each port and still has a good time!
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:16 AM   #167
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Excursion vs. remaining on ship

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Originally Posted by Holly123 View Post
Thank you we will definatly come back to you with questions. I am interested in the fact that you did not get off the ship at all of the ports. I would say that my DH would follow along these lines so it is nice to know someone else elects not to step off at each port and still has a good time!
Last year was Sis and my first DCL vacation and we did the Western on the Magic. Vacation for me is typically do as much as you possibly can and so I thought we should do excursions at every port. We signed up for snorkeling in Grand Cayman and the Mayan Ruins in Cozumel.

In Key West, we didn't get off the ship since we grew up not far from there and prefer some of the other Keys to Key West (it is always so touristy - and Sis got turned off by the dual prices they have - for locals and visitors). Key West day on the Magic we spent in a pretty much empty Rainforest Room.

In Grand Cayman we did the snorkeling since we had let our SCUBA certification lapse (not as easy to dive in Virginia as it was in Florida). We've both done a lot of snorkeling and we thought it was really bad. They led us as a group of about 20+ (very young children on up) to a small dive boat in town. The dive boat took us about 100 feet from the town dock and we had two hours to snorkel in the harbor with the cruise ships not far.

We had a lot of foreigners on our cruise and many on this excursion did not seem to understand English or have any experience snorkeling. These also happened to be people who didn't watch their (naked) children (very young children I should add). Perhaps they were so used to the cruiseship where their kids are being watched and they can just enjoy. It was strange but Sis actually had to go over to help a little 4 or 5 year old to keep him from drowning. The dive boat crew had their hands full.

As for what we saw, nothing that exciting - some fish and a sunken wreck of the old dock. Sis got stung by some pretty nasty jelly fish - wrapped all around her legs - you could see the lines and little puncture marks. It burned but she didn't want to freak out the already freaking out foreigners. She asked the dive guys if they had any meat tenderizer or sting relief, but they didn't have anything. (DCL didn't have anything to help her either.)

After everyone got back on board and the hysterics of being in the ocean with fish and salt water with the screaming and shouting of about 8 different languages subsided, the dive crew made pitches for tips (I think we were the only ones who tipped though I think we got the least service from them).

We thought it was a collasal waste of time and money (for how little distance the boat took us I thought the price was too high for the excursion - we could have swam out to the 'dive spot'!). Grand Cayman has some great snorkeling and dive spots, but snorkeling by the cruise ships in the harbor is not one of them!

The next day was Cozumel and my birthday and we wanted to see the Mayan Ruins. We were really looking forward to this. We met our excursion group in the theater and waited and waited and waited for our turn to leave the ship. At one point they handed out a generic dramamine. The ship wasn't rocking but they said that the ferry we take to the mainland can be choppy. I put it in my bookbag.

Our group of about 50 people was led off the ship and down the dock with two other excursion groups of 50 each and we waited for our ferry boat. The boat had cushion seats like a charter bus and no outdoor seating. The windows are all closed with no access to open them. All the seats face the same direction in rows. There are about 150 of us plus the Mexican crew. As we are crossing to Plaza del Carmen the weather kicks up - it kicks and punchs and head butts our little ferry boat. One person starts to puke. Then another. Then another. The crew is running up and down the aisles with plastic bags. They are putting garbage cans in the aisles. No one is safe. Everyone is sitting next to or behind or infront of someone who is puking. The sound alone would drive you to uncontrolably gag. It's too late to take the medicine they gave us - best to save it for the way back. This birthday has turned into a barfday.

We arrive at shore. Everyone is pale and blue and embarrassed. No one makes eye contact with anyone else. They then force our group of 50 on to a charter bus and make us wait. The rains come pouring down now. They take us to a reststop for some local Mayan crafts and a bathroom. This takes about an hour and many people buy trinkets (this also looked exactly like places I've been to in other countries - funny how tourist traps all look the same). They also give us our lunches - Subway sandwiches but most people are still too green to eat. We are then driven to the Mayan ruins and given a short tour and then two hours to explore on our own. The rain is pouring down - it's strange since most tropical storms are short - this went on and on with a driving rain. Everyone is soaked to the bone but we must wander in this unsheltered place for two more hours. You can't go near these ruins - they have ropes about 20 feet from each. There is a beach but the rain is really coming down. Some women wore heels - gollashes would have been better! Everyone is drenched and wishing we could go back, but we can't. They keep us to our original schedule.

On the way back - everyone is dreding this ferry ride. A few fathers complain about the lack of safety and we are all assured we will be fine. We are offered another Mayan trinket to purchase while on the bus ride and eventually we are at the dock. We have to wait to get on our ferry, in the pouring rain, lined up on the street. It takes about an hour to get on the ferry - there seems to be a hold up getting boats out.

The crossing back to Cozumel I truly thought was going to be my final resting place. I've watched enough Deadliest Catch to know the captain should drive the boat into the waves, not be tossed entirely side to side like we were. We were pitching 90+ degrees side to side. Everyone had taken their little generic sea sickness tablets before this trip so less puking and more just all out fear. You had to hold on to the seat infront of you. I began to realize this ferry company is the first commercial boat I have ever been on that didn't tell me where the life jackets are (even our little two minute dive boat in Grand Cayman did) or have a safety video/talk. I start looking around and don't see any signs of life jackets or any safety equipment. We can't dock at the port because of the weather and the waves have come up over that dock and even the street by the beach is gone. We have to dock at another dock "where the locals dock" and it is not safe so we are told we all have to go together. We are more than an hour late to get back to the ship. Since 150 of DCL passengers are on this ferry from hell, DCL knows these excursions are late and are waiting for us. Sis and I have enough and a few other folks take off with us - practically running through town. Still in the pouring rain. We just wanted to get back and we had dinner at Palo in a couple minutes. Even as we are trying to run in the rain the shopkeepers are standing in the way and pulling at us to stop in their shops and buy this or that.

Our excursions were an hour and a half late. The captain announced that dinner would be served for those people on the excursions with early seating (which they missed) and they held the boat that whole time for us.

Disney can't be blamed for the weather, but they can be blamed for not having a more reputable and safe operator to contract with on Cozumel. They also shouldn't have let us off in the first place - I think that's why we were so delayed leaving - they were waiting on weather reports. Right after our excursions left the excursions departing after us were all canceled (and refunded).

Anyway, Sis and I determined if we want to see Mexico or a Carribean island we should make a trip to visit it - I'm sure they are very nice but where you go on the cruise ships are so touristy and you are there for such a short amount of time, you might as well stay on the ship and enjoy that. Seems like the ports all have the same shops and bars. We looked at the excursions for the Eastern and determined that for us, we'd rather just explore this ship.

Dad really enjoyed the golfing on St. Thomas with the DCL excursion. If you have a big group and want a private tour on St. Maarten, Joyce Prince did a nice job. The sisters from Buffalo and the Scots enjoyed taking a water taxi to some shopping and bars near the port. I've only been on these two cruises so not a good judge - this is just my experiences.
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Old 06-13-2012, 10:35 AM   #168
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jegsnakkernorsk View Post
Disney can't be blamed for the weather, but they can be blamed for not having a more reputable and safe operator to contract with on Cozumel. They also shouldn't have let us off in the first place - I think that's why we were so delayed leaving - they were waiting on weather reports. Right after our excursions left the excursions departing after us were all canceled (and refunded).
Lack of safety on something like this is inexcusable. I can't believe you weren't told anything about lifejackets and/or they weren't visible on the boat. It sounds like a terrifying experience. I hope you complained to Disney? If so, what did they say. And your poor sister with the Jellyfish! Been there and it's not fun.
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Old 06-13-2012, 01:21 PM   #169
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Yeah, we complained to Disney guest services and the port excursions, and I think every single person did as well. There were a lot of posts about it on DISboards too last year. Disney didn't do anything. I just decided not to do port excursions again.
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Old 06-13-2012, 01:40 PM   #170
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Remy in daylight!



The restaurant was open to wander around though no one was there during the day on a port day.



Crystal rat - the only rat I like.



Photos in the back room. We weren't in this room last night for dinner.



Still in the back room - themed like the restaurant in the film.



here's our table...


at night though there's no view. Too bad they don't do an eariler dinner so you could enjoy more of the view.

The chairs all have arms and I thought they were comfortable. They also have some curved booths that are for two or four (with two people at chairs). Looking at these photos reminded me of how the waiter pushed the chair in for me as I sat but I had such a flowy short dress on that the skirt had flown up and gotten caught on one of the arms. So as I sit half my skirt is up and I'm putting on a show for half the room. I haven't even had a cocktail yet!



This is the stool they bring over for your purse.



Chataeu LaToure wine from the movie





This table is inside the wine vault.

At night this is full of roses -



The sterling silver rose holder keeps each stem separate.

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Old 06-13-2012, 01:59 PM   #171
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Let's go get a snack in Concierge Lounge



or maybe this



and definately one of these



It was about this time that Sis developed a sore throat. She's back at the room resting while I'm picking up snacks to take back to her. While in the lounge I over heard a woman talking to Julia, the concierge, about her family taking turns going to the medical station with sore throats all week. Ah hah! Patient Zero! We used the hand whipes they hand you as you enter each of the restaurants (except for Palo and Remy). Before Palo brunch and after ordering at Remy we used the restrooms to wash our hands (the restrooms up on the 13th deck aft are very nice (as I discovered the first day) and they also are set up so you can use the paper towel to open the door (garbage is handy). But I never thought to grab a sanitizer whipe before picking up the utensils in the concierge lounge. And niether did Sis. They do have the whipes to the far left of the food - near the silverware. I just never noticed until this day. That sore throat slowly made it around our family and I just got it last week - well after the trip. I don't understand germs at all! It was like no one got better until they passed it on to someone else!
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:32 PM   #172
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The Mayan Ruins was the only excursion I was considering - soooo that would be the end of that. I truely believe that I would loose my mind on a boat ride like that - even in good wheather it does not sound all that much fun. Again, thank you for all of your information!
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Old 06-14-2012, 11:44 AM   #173
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Originally Posted by luvslikepi View Post
I feel the same way about most cruise shopping. I prefer shopping for items that are handmade/known to the island I'm visiting. For instance my mom bought a beautiful hand carved wooden box in Antigua straight from the young lady making them. I loved shopping for spices in Tortola and I'm excited to try the Guaveberry liquor from St. Maarten. For me the travel shopping experience should be about local items - not duty free gems and the like.
I do agree on looking for cool local finds. When I was in St. Martin with my mother we saw a guy weaving really pretty palm frond baskets on the sidewalk. She bought a couple and they're still holding up 5 years later.

Awesome trip report btw. It's getting me (even more) excited for my Fantasy cruise in January.
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Old 06-14-2012, 09:34 PM   #174
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Awesome trip report btw. It's getting me (even more) excited for my Fantasy cruise in January.
Cool!
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Old 06-14-2012, 09:51 PM   #175
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Sneak Peak of tomorrow's cabana!!!!

Back in our stateroom this is waiting for us...

I messed up though - we got this in our room St. Thomas day even though Castaway Cay is not until the day after tomorrow. I forgot that. So you still have another day to wait until the Cay.



Sis stayed up to midnight 120 days before our vacation to try to get a Cabana. She had researched and determined that cabanas 5-7 would be best based on view, beach to water ratio, proximity to food and proximity to bathroom.



She got us Cabana #6 on the family beach. In the 10 minutes or so that she spent reserving the cabana online, the cabanas around us all were booked. By 7 am that morning every Cabana on the Cay was reserved. For this reason, it's also very nice to be booked in Concierge so you can book 120 days before the cruise.



The Cabana price is for up to six people but you can have up to 10 ($50 for each additional person after 6). Sis and I decided to split the price of the cabana (you're welcome, mom and dad) and we just asked our five friends to split the $150 for the extra three people. The concierge were able to bill our friends each the $30 to their accounts directly, which was nice - no money exchanging.

You get a wristband for each guest.

We also got information on the meet and greet with a Disney character for concierge guests.

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Old 06-14-2012, 10:00 PM   #176
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Back in the Concierge Lounge...



Dad's back from golf and comes into the concierge lounge and Andy, Julia and PJ jump up and down exclaiming that they heard that he is the champion golfer. They present him with a certificate from DCL along with a magical moments pin. Dad goes back to the room to get the certificate he got form Mahogany golf course for triumphing over the Devils Triangle holes. The certificate was for the best golf score on the golf outing. I think the conceirge were sincerely thrilled with Dad's success - they were so proud and loved when Dad said he had to represent our deck.



Sweet rewards



We had some snacks and played a round of rummy with the cards in the lounge.

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Old 06-14-2012, 10:07 PM   #177
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apparently we had some more snacks...



and this

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Old 06-15-2012, 09:55 AM   #178
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Happy hour

I think those last food photos were from happy hour in the Concierge Lounge and what is better to follow happy hour but with drinks in Ooh la la with our friends.



The bartender in Ooh La La making a line of champagne cocktails for our table.

Since no one wants to see photos of us drinking and carrying on. How about a pretty picture of a pretty picture. This is above the main attrium lobby - love it
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Old 06-15-2012, 10:05 AM   #179
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Prince and Princess dinner at Enchanted Garden

Tonight was one of the theme menu nights.



During dinner these lights went from bright white, to peach to blue like an Enchanted Evening.



I must be sititng by Mom and couldn't resist taking a photo and taking a ravioli!



My Goat Cheese salad - I think this was the night I ordered two from the appetizer and nothing from the second course (there are three courses before dessert) and Lily brought my second with everyone else's.



my #2 - quesedilla.

and



Turkey Dinner



told you the lighting changed. and the flowers bloom at night.

Jaime brought this out for mom and dad as a surprise




That's all the photos fit to share for that day...
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Old 06-15-2012, 10:48 AM   #180
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May 24 – Sea Day

So this day was kind of blur for me but I was congested with a cold at this point. So I got some rest today so I could enjoy castaway cay the following day. It was still a packed day though!

My sister and I went to Enchanted Gardens for breakfast. This is a buffet breakfast and yes they had Mickey Waffles. Couldn’t resist those! The buffet was really good and as I mentioned before, I really like the theme of this restaurant. It just feels very relaxing to me.

After breakfast, we went to satellite falls for a bit but soon I returned to the room and back to sleep! At some point my sister woke me up with some goodies from the concierge lounge and from Tow Mater's Grill. I still like the chicken fingers better than the fancier and healthier sandwiches from the concierge lounge : )

We ate lunch on our verandah which was so nice and relaxing.
My sister and I headed to a lecture at the Buena Vista Theater on future plans at Disney Parks. But the cast member only could share the information that has already been released publicly. Since I follow Disney news closely I didn’t get much out of it, except more excitement to visit cars land next year and dreams of visiting Tokyo Disneyland someday. I learned something from someone in the audience actually that the new castle at Shanghai is not going to have a specific princess (they probably can’t have it be Mulan) but it is just going to storybook castle and have a ride inside it. Kind of a copout if you ask me.

At 3:00 we went to a demonstration of the lobster ravioli from two chefs from Remy (the head chef and one of the sous chefs). The two were very amusing together. I can see in my workplace and in others that attitude really trickles down from the boss. And this head chef had a great personality. He teased his sous chef about cutting himself at the last demo so he was giving him a blunt knife this time. The sous chef shot back that the head chef last injury was a paper cut since the head chef spends more time in the office than the kitchen : ) The back and forth between the two had everyone laughing.

My mom caught an error on the recipe card which called for a whisked egg in the ravioli mix. She asked if they skipped a step because she missed seeing them put the egg in and the chef responded that he wouldn’t recommend egg in this but my mom pointed out that it was on the recipe card. The head chef seemed embarrassed and said that was the first person in 8 times to point that out.

The set up of the demo worked really well. I am used to seeing demos where above the cooking surface there is a mirror for the audience to see. But in this case they actually used a video camera above to send live images to large screen to the side. This was better than the mirror set up since they could zoom in on the techniques.

We had to leave early because we had tea reservations at Palo. I really enjoy the tea at Palo and am sorry they are doing this anymore. We had a nice table looking out to the water and our server was so nice!

While we were at tea, dad went to a mixology class at Sky Line Bar where he learned to make one of those awful cocktails. It turns out that they keep the drinks flowing so much during the demonstration that by the time he tasted the cocktail he made he couldn’t really taste if it was good or bad. So maybe that is the secret to enjoying the cocktails at Skyline – drink a lot before you go in : )

After the tea we stopped by the concierge lounge for the Character meet and greet. It was Minnie in her cruise casual outfit! So much fun.

We then planned to meet up at aquaduck at 5pm. My sister changed for it but since I wasn’t feeling 100% I stayed in my dry cloths to snap pictures. When we got to the Aquaduck we couldn’t find our dad. We looked all around and tried his wave phone – but no luck. We were standing on deck when suddenly above us dad goes by waving at us! We both shouted "there’s dad" and made everyone laugh around us. That would make a good advertisement for the cruise actually. So our Dad was really enjoying the aquaduck : )
My sister got back in line with our dad – which really wasn’t long and I tried to take photos of them going by.

It was soon time to get ready for the evening. It was semi-formal night. My sister decided to stay back to watch the show on tv. There is a channel that plays the performances live. But I went to the show with my mom and dad – that night it was Believe. Another good show but I liked Wishes better. Something struck a chord with my dad – maybe it was the story line of the father who works too much and doesn’t spend enough time with his daughter. At any rate after the show my dad announced that he wanted to join us on the panama cruise! Yay!

So we were off to the onboard booking desk. There was a line that took 45 minutes! More than enough time for my sister to get a picture with Mademoiselle Minnie. Once we got through the line we didn’t get the same helpful cast member that worked with us the first time but the other less experienced cast member. Apparently she was new and messed up a lot of peoples bookings. Anyway , she put us in a two bedroom suite but didn’t add my dad which was the whole point us trying to change our reservation.

(When we got home on Saturday. My sister looked at the layout of the 2 bedroom suite and realized this wouldn’t work for us at all. My sister and I would have a lot less space and we would have a small room with no window. We’ve become accustomed to more space and a verandah so this just won’t work especially for a two week cruise. Plus it isn’t fair to split the cost of the 2 bedroom suite evenly if my parents get such a nicer room and bathroom. So my Mom called Disney that Saturday and it turned out that the one bedroom suite we originally booked had a connecting stateroom which would be same configuration that we had on the Fantasy. The only difference is that the connecting stateroom was not concierge. But that doesn’t matter as much on the Wonder since they don’t have the concierge lounge and sundeck on the Wonder. Anyway this was the perfect set up. Since the cast member onboard should have booked us this way when we wanted to add our Dad, Disney honored the 10% discount and onboard credit over the phone for the connecting stateroom for my sister and me. Somehow we overpaid the deposit too so they didn’t need anymore deposit money for us. This is why I love traveling with Disney. They seem to really go out of their way to make things right.)

Okay back to the trip report.

After the attempt to add my dad to the rebooking, we had dinner at Royal Court back at the main Royal Court table. This time we had two “lords” at the table with my dad being there also. We also filled the table better since now there were 9 of us. The table seats 10. It was another wonderful dinner. Lobster was on the menu but I think I went with the venison instead sharing some of mine for a bite of lobster from my sister. I was very happy with my choice as I thought the lobster was a bit salty.

That night was the first and only night I noticed kids acting up at several tables. Not sure why they seemed to have more energy that night. Maybe it was the day at sea. But there were extra cast members (maybe servers in training?) that went directly over to the kids to entertain them with magic tricks and toys. I wish restaurants in my neighborhood did that!

After dinner I went to Ohh La La with our friends while my sister and parents headed to bed. I slept so much that morning that I still had some energy. We had so many good laughs! As I sit here at work I really miss that night!
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