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Old 11-14-2012, 09:06 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 06:16 PM.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:49 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 11-14-2012, 11:21 PM   #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, 05:02 AM   #4
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looking forward to your report
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Old 11-15-2012, 09:20 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, 05:08 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 11-15-2012, 08:22 PM   #7
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Can't wait to hear more about your trip.
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:19 PM   #8
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Day 1: A Royal Pain

Day 1: A Royal Pain


IMG_0590 by Scott Smith (SRisonS), on Flickr


And were off!!!!

We live in Orlando; so lucky for us, Port Canaveral isn't a very long drive. Our estimated time for departure from home was from 9 9:30, and we left at a surprising 9:15 (we've been known to occasionally be a little off in our leaving). After about an hour, as were traveling down SR528, we start to slightly see the wonderful sights of the Port& a.k.a. the ships!!!!! As the Disney Fantasy becomes clearer into view, the expected happens& my wife gets teary. Its like an unplanned tradition. We get close to the exit& we feel like we can just touch to ship& and then the flood gates open up. I gotta say though& I love it.

Unloading and parking ($120 for the week) go off without a problem; and we finally enter the terminal. As great a sight the terminal is, I expected it to be changed some. I remember hearing talk about renovations to it; although I don't recall any specifics. But everything was pretty much as I remember it from our last cruise in 2009. I'm definitely not complaining; it was just a thought I had.

As we head towards check-in, we get a precursor on how a good part of our day would be. The DD. Most days, she is as pleasant as can be. Even on the drive over, there were no signs on what was about to come. But for some reason, she just got really upset. She didn't want to really be held& she didn't want to walk or sit in the stroller. And I had to wipe away her tears so that she wouldn't be crying in her photo. Even the sight of Mickey didn't do anything for her. And she loves Mickey!!!!!! So we get our photo taken with Mr. Mouse, and just sit for a bit until our boarding number is called. At about 11:30, Group 4 gets called, and were getting on the ship.


IMG_0708 by Scott Smith (SRisonS), on Flickr



For those of you that have never been on a Disney Cruise, you should know that you just don't casually walk on. They announce your family, as all of you enter the beautiful atrium. A Cast Member with a microphone goes *blah blah blah.. The Smith Family!!!!; while other CMs are there to greet you. Being that this was our DDs first cruise, I wanted to capture that moment on video; or at least snap a couple of pictures. Neither of those things happened. I virtually did all of the photo/video taking for the trip; so I had my gear at the ready. While my wife dealt with the stroller, I had control of our daughter. I tried to let her walk in as I held her hand; so at least my other hand could get to business. But noooooooo, she wanted to be held. So after denying hi-5s to a couple of Cast Members (which they remembered days later), we proceeded to Deck 11 to grab something for lunch. This led us to Cabanas. Its a nice Finding Nemo themed buffet that we frequented quite a bit. Not necessarily because the food was super outstanding (it was still good though); but it was convenient, since we kept missing chances to eat elsewhere. I highly enjoyed the grilled lamb chops this day. And the pork lo mein was particularly delicious.



IMG_1271 by Scott Smith (SRisonS), on Flickr


IMG_1331 by Scott Smith (SRisonS), on Flickr


My Disney Pics on Flickr!!!

Last edited by SrisonS; 01-22-2014 at 06:17 PM.
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Old 11-16-2012, 03:21 PM   #9
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Outstanding photos! I absolutely love the shot of Donald in the staircase, and the Nemo mural is fantastic! (I have yet to capture a good shot of that.)

Hopefully once on board your DD was able to relax a bit and enjoy it all!
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Old 11-16-2012, 03:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iloverags2 View Post
Outstanding photos! I absolutely love the shot of Donald in the staircase, and the Nemo mural is fantastic! (I have yet to capture a good shot of that.)

Hopefully once on board your DD was able to relax a bit and enjoy it all!
Thanks!!!! And after that first day, she was great the rest of the trip.
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Old 11-16-2012, 05:45 PM   #11
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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, 06:17 PM   #12
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Loving your report and photos. You daughter is a cutie!
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:19 PM   #13
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Great report. Nice pics. In for more.
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:28 PM   #14
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Your family is adorable! Can't wait to read more!!
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:16 AM   #15
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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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