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Old 09-09-2012, 08:37 PM   #1
InspiredGal
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Exclamation Fantasy Sept 1 - Sept 9 2012 Report

Hello!

We've just returned from our cruise this past week on the Fantasy Ship - Western Caribbean Cruise. Before time gets away from me, I thought I'd share a few highlights and tips that might be helpful. This is a quick overview - as we've only been home a few hours and I've got to start making headway on the vacation laundry!

Our travelers included: Me, hubby, Chloe (14) Noah (6) Abby (22). We reserved 1 Deluxe Family Stateroom with Oceanview Verandah and 1 Deluxe Family Stateroom with Oceanview. Both were located on Deck 7, midship.
  • Noah loved the Kids Lab area! Lots to do and the staff very helpful and enthusiastic about activities with the kids!
  • Even though we all packed only carry on size luggage (1 bag each stuffed), we could have packed less. I recommend 3 swim suits (so you can rotate out - humidity makes for slow drying). 2 coverups (guests are discouraged from walking through the ship in their bathing suits). 3-4 pairs of shorts and t shirts and 2-3 nicer outfits for dinner that are interchangeable so you have a total of 1 new outfit for each dinner. (We spent most of our time at the pool and I think we could have packed less every day clothes.) I packed 3 pairs of shoes (running shoes, pool flip flops and dressier black sandals). Of course I would have liked to have more options, but didn't really need them. 3 pairs worked fine.
  • The rooms are beautiful. Sufficient shampoo, conditioner, bar soaps and lotions are provided. Hair dryer provided as well. Unless you prefer specific toiletry products, these items don't need to be packed. Irons are not en-suite. They are located in the laundry areas. Only 1 iron per laundry area - so iron hubby's dress shirt with plenty of time! The ironing line was long on formal night.
  • Our stateroom host and food servers were exceptional. In addition to standard tipping, I wish I would have packed small gifts for each. Small items from our home state would have been perfect since they probably have had their fill of Disney and the DCL gift shop items are expensive.
  • We didn't find Costa Maya impressive at all. The area looks like it has been hit by a hurricane and there wasn't much there to see. We wished we would have stayed on the ship for a line-free day of Aqua Duck riding!
  • Loved our catamaran/snorkeling excursion at Cozumel. Lots of fun!
  • We packed an extra empty duffle in our bags so that we would have extra room for souvenirs/dirty laundry.
  • Don't give out the cruise ship contact number that is provided in your cruise booklet provided to you. This number is extremely expensive to use and will result in high charges being charged to your room account. It's cheaper to receive a cell phone call or text in the event of an emergency!
  • Pack lots of sunscreen. You will need it!
  • Pack a couple of zip loc bags so the kids can put a few collected shells from the beach.
  • "Cabbanas" restaurant on the ship is awesome for breakfast and lunch!
  • Thursday night on the ship is pirate night. Be sure to bring a few items for the family to wear as part of the pirate theme. Pirate night party and fireworks doesn't start until 10:30pm. Late for little pirates! In hindsight, we would have taken an afternoon/early evening nap so we would have been able to stay awake for this event.
  • If you work out regularly, the ship has a beautiful work out room that is free. There is also a walking/running track on deck four. It's beautiful to walk/run at sunrise before the ship gets crowded!
  • One of our rooms included a verandah. I highly recommend it if your budget will allow. Sitting out with coffee at sun rise is also a great way to start the day. The ocean is serene and you'll enjoy the quietness before the ship gets busy!
  • If you need to do laundry, don't wait until Thursday to do it! There is only 1 laundry room on each floor - with 3 washers. The line to do laundry on Thursday was crazy. I would have gotten up early on Wednesday to do it had I known….
  • Bring on your own bottled water. The heat of the day makes you thirsty and nothing like 5 thirsty people at 10 o'clock at night. Room service delivered bottled water to our room. Evian at $40 a case (12 bottles) with tip was expensive!
  • Bring those handy little Tide soap pods to do laundry. Buying soap on the ship costs $2 for a small box and it can add up quick between the washer and dryer costs. If I recall, they were each $2 per cycle as well.
  • We had the early dining rotation (5:45pm) and loved it. Each dinner took about 1 1/2 hrs to get through all the courses. The second rotation doesn't begin until 8:15pm. Wouldn't want to finish up a big meal at 10pm!
  • Last, but important! We found Disney staff incredibly customer service oriented. I can't say enough about our stateroom hosts and dining servers. These are lower rank positions and these staff members work tirelessly to make your vacation memorable. They work hard, long hours! Please help acknowledge their hard work by completing the survey provided at the end of your cruise. They get little recognition and your completed survey is very important to them!

UPDATED INFO BETWEEN ***'s ADDED on 9/10:

***I notice lots of folks inquiring about transfers and other travel related specifics pre and post cruise. Here's what we did and here's what I learned:

Our boat was set to sail on Saturday. We flew from New Mexico on Friday to Orlando. We used Executive Limo and Shuttle service to get us from Orlando Airport to Cocoa Beach on Friday evening after we landed. Executive is reliable, affordable and professional. We overnighted in Cocoa Beach at the Comfort Inn Cocoa Beach. Wouldn't recommend it. I recommend the Best Western (located right on the beach). It's a newer hotel and I wished we would have stayed there. The Comfort Inn is older, run down and not as clean as we would have liked. We used the Cocoa Beach Taxi Svc to get us from hotel to port on Saturday. CBT doesn't run a meter - you pay what you think is fair.

On the return from the ship on Saturday, we rented a car from Budget/Dollar rental agency. We used their shuttle from the port to get us to their facility where we picked up our car. We chose a rental on our return because we had a whole day to spend in Florida before our flight back to New Mexico on Sunday. If you haven't already, visit Shirley's Help Thread in this DCL forum. She has a ton of info and all contact #s for the places and services I mention are located there. See Shirley's Help Thread at http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1520273.

Finally, one more thing to add: Bring hats! I don't typically wear a hat, but the sun gets really hot in a hurry and nothing like a sunburnt scalp to ruin a fun trip! I ended up buying a hat in the Cayman's and paid more than I would have at home. My husband and son were relieved that they had taken theirs. Also, I had my hair braided on the ship after seeing several little girls doing it. Glad I did it too! It looked great and it was fuss free in and out of the pool and for the duration of the cruise! A note on braiding: Braiding svcs are located on deck 11 poolside. $2 per braid. Wish I would have chosen thicker/fewer braids. (I ended up with 14.) Would have saved my scalp from the sun better, would have saved some $ and would have taken less time to take them all out later. ***

Hope someone finds this information helpful. We loved our Fantasy cruise so much that we took up their "current cruisers/future booking" promotion offer and booked our next cruise on the spot.

Happy cruising!

Last edited by InspiredGal; 09-10-2012 at 09:17 PM. Reason: adding a couple of after thoughts
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Old 09-09-2012, 10:46 PM   #2
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts! We are booked on a Fantasy (Eastern) cruise in March and some of your comments/suggestions are really useful ones!
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Old 09-10-2012, 04:39 AM   #3
SueTravelsWithKids
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Thank you so much!

Thank you so much for all of the helpful information. I never would have though to of half of the things you suggested and I leave in just a few days. THANK YOU!
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Old 09-10-2012, 06:04 AM   #4
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Thanks so much for posting your thoughts and tips. We have a Western Caribbean booked on the Fantasy for next fall and I am reading as much as possible in preparation.
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Old 09-10-2012, 10:26 AM   #5
DisneyRhondaKay
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Thank for the report! We sail away on the Fantasy in 5 DAYS!!!!!cool1:
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Old 09-15-2012, 04:05 PM   #6
soy1
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Great recap! We were on your cruise. I second the advantage of the Verandah. We loved ours and were able to escape the crowded deck areas and just sit out and have a relaxing break anytime we wanted.

One note on the late dinners... we had late seating and my DS is 7, so I too worried about the time. However, we found that they weren't too bad and it not only allowed us to do the Dine and Play, but we also were able to ride the Aquaduck before dinner when there were no lines.

Also, my daughter discovered that many of the shows were broadcast on the TV in the rooms. So on those nights we were only "so-so" about seeing the shows (which were all very good), we just stayed late on deck and then watched them on TV while we got ready for dinner. (I also have two teenage daughters, so getting ready for dinner was always a major production with showers, hair-drying, make-up, etc...)

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Old 09-15-2012, 07:08 PM   #7
Joanna71985
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Thank you for the review! I sail in 34 days!
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Old 09-16-2012, 08:12 AM   #8
InspiredGal
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soy1, wonderful to know! Thanks for adding your experience! - Inspired Gal
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Old 09-20-2012, 09:56 PM   #9
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Loved the review! Thank for sharing! Excellent information that I will be sharing with everyone in my group!

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Old 09-21-2012, 03:37 PM   #10
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did you do any excursions in the other ports? thanks
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