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Old 02-07-2013, 08:32 AM   #1
Earning My Ears
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 61

Review of January 26-February 2 Fantasy Eastern Caribbean

We just returned home from our second Disney cruise. I donít post often (mostly because I've been using the app on my tablet and forgot my sign in ), but I often read posts and have used all the input I received to make this another great vacation for my family. I thought Iíd share some thoughts on our experience in case it comes in handy for anyone else.

Weíre a family of four from Ottawa, Canada. My husband and I are in our mid-thirties, with a daughter who is 7 and a son who is 3 weeks shy of 4. As mentioned, this was our second cruise. We did the Western Caribbean on the Disney Magic two years ago, and just got off the Eastern Caribbean on the Disney Fantasy on February 2.

We stayed in room 5516, which is a Deluxe Family room. I canít remember all the descriptors, but itís the larger of the one-porthole staterooms. We had stayed in the smaller version on the Magic. While I would love to have a verandah, my kids actually love sitting in the porthole and would probably be quite upset if we didn't have one . The larger porthole room actually added quite a bit more space over the smaller one on our last cruise. I was quite happy that, despite the fact that we grossly over-packed, we didnít even use all the cupboards that were provided. The coffee table that opened up was also quite helpful for storing all the kids toys/pirate outfits/etc. We were in the forward part of the ship, and I do have to admit that it was noisier than when we were in the back on the other cruise. But, I didnít find it bad, and it was mostly at times that didnít really affect us (i.e., not while we were trying to sleep). We also found Deck 5 to be quite convenient. We could easily get to the Oceanneerís Club/Lab, movie theatre, Walt Disney Theatre, all the restaurants, etc., without taking the elevator. We only really took the elevator to get up to the pools and spa.

Pools, Nemoís Reef, Aquaduck, etc.
My son is now two years older and completely potty trained, so it was a relief not to be confined just to a splash pad. With that said, however, the Fantasy is definitely better set up to accommodate the younger ones with Nemoís Reef. Itís quite a step up from the five or so fountains on the Magic (although at the time, I was amazed at how well those five fountains kept my son occupied). Even I had fun in Nemoís Reef. Not only was it generally fun, but it was covered and therefore offered some relief from the sun, and it has walls around it, which on a windy day offers relief from the wind. They kids enjoyed the Mickey and Donald pools. I liked the new Mickey pool, with the flat part surrounding the pool with just a bit of water, making it easier to sit around the pool to keep an eye on your kids. I remember not being able to be so close on the Magic without actually getting into the pool. We did do the Aquaduck once. We did think it was fun, but Iíd like to say that it is definitely not a thrill ride Ė we were a little bored with it. So, anyone who is worried about it because they think itís too scary, itís actually quite tame. I know Iíve seen a few posts before, and Iíd also like to say that the tubes you sit on are quite large. Iíd consider myself on the larger side of average, but the tubes are quite accommodating and would easily work for those of us that are a bit more ďPooh-sizedĒ as Iíve heard mentioned. The only other thing I want to mention is that I wish that parents with children that arenít potty trained would be made fully aware at the beginning of the cruise exactly what happens if their child fouls the pool and why they are not allowed in. We were so frustrated on our last sea day with the number of children in the pool with swim diapers on. The cast members were trying their hardest to keep them out, but a few made it through. Then, of course, the Mickey Pool closed because someone fouled it, and then about 30 minutes later, the Donald Pool was closed for the same reason. I know it sucks that they canít use the pool Ė Iíve been there and had to use a splash pad nowhere near as interesting as Nemoís Reef. But please donít take away everyone else's enjoyment of the pools away for 3-4 hours in the middle of a hot, sunny day!

Kids Club
My daughter is very outgoing and LOVES the Oceanneerís Club and Lab. I swear, if I could book a room for her right in the club, she would be completely happy going there on her first day and not seeing us again until it was time to leave, then start crying that she had to leave. My son is a bit more shy. We learned at the beginning that the key was not to give him a choice and to just say we were heading to the kids club. He complained, but then was distracted by the cool hand-washer machines right at the entrance and barely looked back to say goodbye when he got there. I really liked how the Club and Lab are now connected through the back. My daughter is 7 and probably divided her time equally among the two. And it was nice for her shyer brother to be able to follow her for the first little bit each time to get comfortable with the surroundings (it would have been harder on the Magic, since they need to ask to go to the other room and he would be too shy to ask). My daughterís favourite part was building her very own fairies in Pixie Hollow, with the highlight that ďI can print pages without even asking!!!Ē We now have five ďfairy booksĒ that she made while there.

Mid-Ship Detective Agency
This was probably the highlight for my son. Most of you probably know, but for those who donít, there are framed pictures throughout the ship that are actually screens that will change picture, move, etc. They look quite real when theyíre just on their own, so itís neat to watch them change. Anyway, you can head to deck 2 or 5 and be given a detective case to solve. You get a special code on a piece of paper that you point to the pictures and reveal clues. My son loved finding the right pictures and making them change. It was a good indoor diversion.

Rainforest Room
After talking about the kids' highlights, I have to talk about my own - the Rainforest Room! I had been reading about it and wanted to try it out on the Magic two years ago, but never got around to it. My son was only 2 and didnít really like the nursery, so we ended up not having much time to ourselves. This trip, however, they were both old enough for the Kids Club, so my husband bought me a pass for the week for my birthday. Yes, he did get suckered into buying the whole week because they told him they were almost sold out (which is something I had read here before). I didnít use it every day, but came darn near close. While it probably cost a bit more for us to do that than to buy day passes, it was nice to know I could always pop in any time I wanted, and I probably used it a bit more because of it. My husband also got upsold into the scrubs. They were really very nice, but I donít know if they were worth the $50 extra. I enjoyed them for the gift they were, but probably wouldnít bother if I was buying it for myself. By far, my favourite part of the whole trip was snoozing or reading on the heated tile loungers. I want one for my home! It is definitely a must for the next trip.

Because I know I was looking for this info before my trip, I'll share the moves that were playing while we were on board (I think Iíve got them all here):
The Odd Life of Timothy Green
Wreck It Ralph
The Avengers
Finding Nemo

The Case of the Missing Monkey
On our first night, my potty-trained son who has an accident maybe 3 times a year had an accident in his bed. Heís small enough that we just moved him to the other end of the bed to finish out the night, but in the morning I bundled all the sheets together and left a note for our wonderful stateroom hostess, Svitlana. Later that day, I noticed that while I could see my daughterís teddy bear, my sonís beloved stuffed monkey was nowhere to be found. We went to Guest Services to ask if maybe I accidentally bundled it with the soiled sheets and if it might have been found in the laundry. They didnít have it in lost and found right then, but she promised that they would look into it. About an hour later we got the wonderful phone call that MoMo the Monkey had been located on the 4th floor. My husband went to pick it up, and it had been mixed in with his sheets. We were so grateful that it had been found. Later on in the trip, we had allowed MoMo one excursion from the room, to accompany my son, dressed in pjs, to watch a movie in the theatre before bed. While walking back to the room, a stateroom host on the other side of the ship commented on his monkey and then asked ďIs that THE monkey?Ē So, it looks like it was all hands on deck searching for MoMo, the lost monkey.

You Never Know Who Youíll See
Finally, I wanted to mention that you should be prepared every time you leave your room that you will never know who you will see. One time, when going to pick up my daughter at the Oceanneerís Club in my pjs, I ran into Cinderella and felt completely underdressed . Another time, when we went to see Aladdin in the Theatre, the people in front of us kept turning around and looking. Then my daughter said something and it ended up being another little girl from her class back home that she played soccer with one season. We ran into another couple whose son used to go to my daughterís daycare. In the end, there were four families from our little town of Stittsville, Ontario on that boat!

I hope that helps someone in some small way. I know we've gotten lots of little tips and tricks on these boards, so thanks to everyone who posts regularly. It really did help to make this trip a great experience.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:14 AM   #2
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Location: Hudson Massachusetts
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Glad you had a great time! We are going on the fantasy next Saturday. I was curious about the movies also so thanks for posting that.
DW are getting the couples pass for the rainforest. Very excited about that! On our last Magic cruise we had several cool days so we lived in there. I hear the Fantasy one is so much nicer!
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:25 AM   #3
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 80

We were on the same cruise! I also heard that the same kid messed up both pools. My son is not pt'd and we followed the rules. It was such a shame the pools were closed for so long and I hope people realized that they caused a huge mess for others when they don't follow the rules! Yes my son wanted to go in the pools, but we just kept him away as much as possible and he loved nemo' reef. DD was upset about the pools.

Otherwise it was a great trip!
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:26 AM   #4
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Nice Review! We were on board with you. Wasn't the weather great!
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:34 AM   #5
Join Date: Aug 2010
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Thanks so much for the great report!!!
We have an eastern coming up as well.
I am so happy to hear you loved the rainforest room!! I got us day passes, but now wondering if I should at least buy another day too! LOL

Did you guys do any excursions??

Thanks again!
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:07 AM   #6
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Thanks for sharing!
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:15 PM   #7
Earning My Ears
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 61

Thanks everyone!

OKW Lover - The weather was absolutely amazing! Anything would have been better than home, but I couldn't believe just how nice the weather was. We were a bit worried the morning on Castaway Cay, but it warmed up quite nicely. I could not have asked for anything better.

As for kids in the pools, I didn't mean to sound bitter. I honestly think some people don't realize exactly what it means if someone does something in the pool. I admit when we planned our first trip, I considered sneaking my son in. But, when the pool can be out for 3 hours on a sea day, it really does put a wrench in things. Oh well, at least the weather was beautiful and there was lots of other things to do.

We didn't do any excursions. We had been to St. Thomas before kids and already knew that it wasn't one of our favourites. We decided to stay onboard that day for the first time, and it was so nice and quiet on the ship. We had also already been to San Juan before, and knew that we just wanted to take in El Morro (the fort right at the mouth of the port). We actually walked there from the ship, paid the $6 entrance fee ($3 per adult and the kids were free), explored and then walked back to the ship. San Juan is quite safe and very walkable (without a wheelchair or stroller - I imagine the cobblestone streets would be a bit more difficult on wheels). At Castaway Cay, we just wanted to lounge on the beach. Sorry I'm not more helpful in terms of excursions!

Sigh, now I'm back home looking out at my snow-covered pool To quote my daughter when we got back home "I h-word snow".
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Old 02-07-2013, 01:36 PM   #8
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: London, Ontario
Posts: 110

Same cruise for us! Had a fabulous time...except my son (10) was in the pool when it was soiled on the last day, and ended up with mild vomiting and diarrhea 48 hours later. I'm blaming it on the "poo"l cause he is old enough not to touch everything and put random things in his mouth. The rest of us were fine (but avoided the pools...I call them "kid soup")!
Jan 2013: 7 night Fantasy; Nov 2013: 5 night Magic

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Old 02-07-2013, 01:44 PM   #9
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: London, Ontario
Posts: 110

I will add that we were off the ship by the time my son was ill (thank goodness)!
Jan 2013: 7 night Fantasy; Nov 2013: 5 night Magic

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Old 02-07-2013, 01:53 PM   #10
Earning My Ears
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 61

Oh SunSeeker - that sucks!!! We were lucky we didn't come down with anything (it's been a bad winter for us with bouts of pneumonia, scarlet fever, the flu, a sinus infection, and an unexpected diagnosis of asthma all since the end of November, so I was completely expecting that someone would get something). I hope he wasn't sick for very long! And at least it was after the trip and after you were home!
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Old 02-07-2013, 05:01 PM   #11
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: London, Ontario
Posts: 110

Well, not quite the Hyatt at MCO! They have a great housekeeping service! He was fine the next morning for our 8 am departure to Toronto (thank goodness)! Otherwise, Jan. 26 - Feb. 2 was a perfect cruise week for us...we are now Disney Cruise converts!
Jan 2013: 7 night Fantasy; Nov 2013: 5 night Magic

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Old 02-07-2013, 06:56 PM   #12
Earning My Ears
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 61

Oh, that stinks This is our second Disney cruise and we love it. Now that we know that my son will go to the kids club, I think it will become a regular destination for us. By the way, we grew up in Windsor and my mom is from London! There were lots of Ontarians on board last week, I think!
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:19 PM   #13
Earning My Ears
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 11

Hi Moser. Thanks for the great review (we are fellow Ottawans, btw!).

We were on Fantasy in December and the Magic last winter and had a great time. We're planning on sailing on the Fantasy Eastern itinerary next December. Our son will be 3.5 and I'm wondering about your experience with your 4 year old at Oceaneers. Like your son, ours is rather shy. I know that the staff is amazing everywhere on board, but did you find that there was any special attention paid to the little ones in the kids club? I worry that our son won't be able to entertain himself very easily in the club and that the staff will mostly be running activities for the older kids. Just wondering what your experience was.

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