|01-22-2013, 04:57 PM||#1|
Earning My Ears
Join Date: Nov 2009
Sailed last week on Fantasy 7-day Eastern Caribbean with my wife and 3 daughters. Overall a great time and Disney does a great job. Here are some random and unsorted thoughts:
We took the magical express from the airport to the cruise terminal and it was enjoyable on the way there with a video about the upcoming cruise. The way back had commercials for Disney stuff (DVC, Adventures, etc.) for half the trip before playing assorted shows. (This was annoying as the commercials do not keep the kids entertained).
Embarkation was slow, and they gave different boarding numbers to different groups in our party even though all rooms were booked/payed together as one reservation.
The ship is beautiful and there was not a speck of dust anywhere. We never had an issue finding our way.
Stateroom: We had a Family Stateroom with Verandah (4b). Very spacious as far as most cruise staterooms go. There was a full size bed, two bunk beds (one a couch during the day/the other in the ceiling) and another fold down bed that we did not use (our smallest used the pack n play). Having a diaper genie in the room was a very nice though. The circular bathtub was great for bathing the children with a place for me to sit and multiple options for water flow (overhead shower, hand-held shower, and tub faucet). The lighting in the stateroom was nice with dimmable overhead lights (although it took a few minutes to figure out how the switches all worked).
The television was on a swing arm allowing different viewing positions. There is a ton of Disney programming available on demand from tv shows to movies (classic and modern and pixar). The main issue is that a lot of the movies are very low volume and some were unwatchable even with the volume on the tv turned all the way up.
There are housekeeping carts in the hallway pretty much nonstop from 7am to 11pm. My wife found this very annoying. I understand they need to clean the rooms, but a better system should be found.
Food: Overall the food was pretty decent with 2 exceptions: The bacon is horrible (We noticed this at DisneyWorld a few years ago) and the steak is poor. It was definitely not up to Disney standards. I would say the steak was on a par with Golden Corral (buffet restaurant). The Lemon Pudding that we had for dessert one night was one of the best desserts I have ever had. Our server noticed we liked it and brought it for us the next few nights also. We did not go to Palo/Remy although others in our party went to Palo and thought it was great.
The dinner shows were good with the Animator's show being out of this world. One of the neatest things I have seen. The Crush show was a disappointment though. We saw Crush at Epcot a few years ago, and were expecting the same. The problem is that there are too many people in the dining room to make the Crush show work. Only a few people get to interact.
The only production show we went to was Aladdin and we loved it. There is enough to keep all ages entertained up to and including the adults with this show.
We saw Lincoln and The Avengers 3D and the theater was great with stadium seating and comfortable seats. Having to pay for popcorn seems a little ridiculous to me especially since it is not even fresh popped like from a theater. It comes in a bag.
Service: Our server and stateroom attendant were awesome. All the staff on the shift were very pleasant and most went out of our way to do anything for anyone. We did have problems getting coffee refilled at both the dinners and the sit-down breakfasts though.
Kids: The Oceaneers' club/lab and the nursery were both wonderful and the kids loved it. We never had a problem with getting our youngest into the nursery even without reservations. The staff was wonderful and I always felt my children were in good hands.
The pools are too small. It seems that they used up too much space with the shallow sections of the pools (a few inches deep) and left the deep sections too small for the number of guests that wanted to use them. Nemo's Reef was great for my smallest and my oldest loved the AquaDuck (we rarely waited more than 5 minutes to ride it). Pretty cold getting out of it (not Disney's fault, just what you get when you cruise in January).
Drinks seemed reasonably sized and priced and the one bartender we talked to was very knowledgeable about drinks and very friendly. We did two tastings. The Cognac tasting was great and the bartender really seemed to know what he was talking about. The Tequila tasting was not as great. All the tequilas were from the same brand (Patron) which is a decent brand, but isn't a tasting supposed to be about variety? The bartender for that tasting also seemed as though she was speaking from a script and wasn't as knowledgeable as the one for the Cognac tasting.
Characters were constantly out and very friendly. Our children loved seeing the princesses and Phineas and Ferb especially.
St. Thomas was a typical tourist trap with 9 million jewelry stores and 8 million duty-free shops. Not a bad town though. My oldest and I walked to a butterfly farm and she loved it. They even had a free bird show with birds riding bikes and similar stunts.
In San Juan, we didn't do much except for ride the free bus around. Although they say it is not a sightseeing tour, we did get to see a bunch including the forts. Highly recommended and free.
Didn't do a lot on Castaway Cay because it was only 60 degrees and cloudy. The facilities seemed nice though. We went swimming in the heated pools on the ship and pretty much had the ship to ourselves which was nice.
For everything that was great, debarkation left a sour taste in my mouth. We had to be at breakfast at 6:45 and were rushed out for the second seating. There was a huge line to leave the ship and they didn't let the first person off until after 9:30. Nowhere to get a beverage, nothing to do except stand in line for hours. After getting to the bus, we had to watch commercials for half an hour.
If it sounds like I am complaining, I am not. I loved the cruise and my children had an experience they will cherish.
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