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Old 01-22-2013, 05:57 PM   #1
jackal24
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Fantasy review

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.

Ports:
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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Old 01-22-2013, 06:00 PM   #2
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Sounds great, Welcome back!
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:33 PM   #3
Weedy
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Just a FYI. On the last morning if you don't want to go to breakfast that early Cabanas is open and you can get breakfast there until about 8:30 am.
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:34 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackal24 View Post
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:

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. Your boarding number is determined when you do your online check-in.

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). Your stateroom host can explain the lights to you.


Food: Overall the food was pretty decent with 2 exceptions: The bacon is horrible (We noticed this at DisneyWorld a few years ago) I don't understand why the chefs can't do "crispy" bacon, or do scrambled eggs without getting them too watery. 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. We lucked out and had lots of interraction with Crush. Only a few people get to interact.

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.

For everything that was great, debarkation left a sour taste in my mouth. We had to be at breakfast at 6:45 Cabanas is open on the last morning. We were able to eat later without worrying about a 2nd seating. . 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. There was probably an issue with immigration because they generally start disembarking much earlier. 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. With 4 or more people in your party it's cheaper to hire a car service. Without commercials.

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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Old 01-22-2013, 06:56 PM   #5
jackal24
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Just a FYI. On the last morning if you don't want to go to breakfast that early Cabanas is open and you can get breakfast there until about 8:30 am.
I'm sure we would have done that if we had known it was going to take so long to debark.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:00 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by jackal24 View Post
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. .
We were on the same sailing. There was a fatality on Castaway Cay which caused us to leave nearly two hours late. This put us in Port Canaveral two hours late and behind the Carnival Dream. Because of this it took much longer than usual for the ship to be cleared and everything was backed up. We felt that Disney did the best they could with an unusual circumstance. The delay was definitely hardest on those with early breakfast, but the sad circumstances could not be helped. We were on the section of Castaway Cay where the tragedy happened and it was incredibly sad.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:04 PM   #7
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We were on the same sailing. There was a fatality on Castaway Cay which caused us to leave nearly two hours late. This put us in Port Canaveral two hours late and behind the Carnival Dream. Because of this it took much longer than usual for the ship to be cleared and everything was backed up. We felt that Disney did the best they could with an unusual circumstance. The delay was definitely hardest on those with early breakfast, but the sad circumstances could not be helped. We were on the section of Castaway Cay where the tragedy happened and it was incredibly sad.
Can you tell us what happened?
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:05 PM   #8
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Can you tell us what happened?
Apparently someone had a heart attack while snorkeling.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:11 PM   #9
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Can you tell us what happened?
There was a large family reunion on board with about 40 people. The grandfather had a heart attack while snorkeling. It was heartbreaking.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:45 PM   #10
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We also witnessed this very sad event and so we anticipated and understood the delayed arrival at PC. Of course this was something that could not be announced or shared with the general population on the ship. We were very impressed with the crew members who responded to the emergency. In addition to the medical staff many crew members gathered and quietly stood shoulder to shoulder to form a wall around the EMTs and poor gentleman to preserve privacy. It was such a sad way to end the day.
I can relate to several of the comments that the OP made, especially concerning the bacon and steak. On the other hand we found the lamb and other cuts of beef to be quite good (sliced sirloin, Beef Wellington). We really enjoyed most of the seafood especially the sea bass on the first night and the salmon and shrimp served daily at Cabanas. As has been mentioned in another post, the lobster tail was large, but tough and lacking in flavor.
We attended all of the shows and thought they were great. We also liked meeting the Buckets and Boards guys around the ship and talking to them. As far as excursions go we took the island tour of St. John and explored on our own in San Juan, walking to El Morro and around the cobblestone street in Old San Juan. We were very pleased with our choices.
Our debarkation was quite smooth. There was a line but it was constantly moving. We were second breakfast and actually left the ship about 9:30 also.
We had a wonderful time and will be planning a Western Caribbean cruise within the next year.
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:08 PM   #11
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Thank you for starting this thread! We have a 7-day Eastern Caribbean Fantasy cruise planned for Jan 2014. We have only done one other cruise before and it was on the Magic to the WC last Nov. I LOVED the Magic and was so afraid to cruise something different and be dissapointed! This thread has made me feel better about giving the Fantasy a chance. I was also nervous about sailing in Jan afraid it would be to cold Our stateroom numbers are 7677, 7679, 7681, 7685 and 7686 and counting lol
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:10 PM   #12
jackal24
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We were on the same sailing. There was a fatality on Castaway Cay which caused us to leave nearly two hours late. This put us in Port Canaveral two hours late and behind the Carnival Dream. Because of this it took much longer than usual for the ship to be cleared and everything was backed up. We felt that Disney did the best they could with an unusual circumstance. The delay was definitely hardest on those with early breakfast, but the sad circumstances could not be helped. We were on the section of Castaway Cay where the tragedy happened and it was incredibly sad.
We did not know that. I feel sorry for the family involved.
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:13 PM   #13
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I was also nervous about sailing in Jan afraid it would be to cold
It was actually very pleasant weather all week (70s) except for the last day on Castaway Cay where it was a little cold to swim in the ocean (but some people were doing it)
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:25 PM   #14
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Moving this to the trip reports board.
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:42 PM   #15
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I offer my prayers and condolences to the family of the deceased.
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