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Old 03-01-2013, 08:18 PM   #1
Earning My Ears
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 10

Fantasy - Eastern vs. Western Carribbean!

Need Help We just got off the Dream 2 weeks ago and rebooked on the Fantasy (Yep, we took the Disney Drugs - LOL) going to the Eastern Carribbean on May 31, 2014!

I am so in debates about whether to go Eastern or Western. We love the beach and want to get off at the different ports and enjoy the "beach life". We are traveling with our daughters who will be 5 & 7!!

Any recommendations, thoughts??? Also - can you give me your pick for best excursions on either itinerary when traveling with kids this age!

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Old 03-01-2013, 08:59 PM   #2
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I've done both and enjoy them for different reasons. I tend to prefer the Western a bit more because I don't need all the sea days you get on the Eastern. I like to enjoy the ship while everyone else is off exploring! Plus, I love Grand Cayman! 7 Mile Beach is one of my all time faves. Also, I enjoyed Costa Maya when I did the Fantasy 7 night Western last September It was beautiful, super easy access off the ship, very clean, shops were nice, pool was gorgeous, etc,

Looks like I just changed my own mind!...... I may need to change my 7 night Eastern for September to a Western!
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:11 PM   #3
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Like PP, we chose western because we wanted more ports, fewer days at sea since this will only be our second cruise this year. Also, we went to Grand Cayman on our honeymoon and thought it would be cool to take our kids there. It really is a beautiful place. That being said, we are booking the eastern while onboard so that we can see some new places.
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:53 PM   #4
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We have done both. The eastern caribbean on the Fantasy last june and the western on the Magic in January. We took our 8 kids +. We definitely prefer eastern over western. The ports seemed cleaner and safer to me. I never felt uncomfortable with my small children while off the ship which was not the case in cozumel, or Grand Cayman. We were unable to dock at costa maya due to weather so I can't speak for that stop. Will absolutely cruise the eastern caribbean on the Fantasy again though!
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:45 PM   #5
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Love, love ,love the Eastern. Have done it twice. St John is a slice of heaven on earth. Tried Western last year for the 1st time. Once was enough, We found the Eastern ports so much prettier, nicer, & just all around better. We will probably do the Eastern again @ some point. But, I wouldn't book another Western. We traveled with another family & they felt the same way. But, everyone is different. You may love the western. Try one & book the other one for your next cruise

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Old 03-01-2013, 11:18 PM   #6
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We did Western with our 9 and 11 year old kids and it was amazing. We were on the Fantasy at the end of September and loved the different ports. We were told not to bother with Costa Maya but it ended up being one of our favorites! In Grand Cayman we did the reef/shipwreck snokel (about $35/pp - very reasonable!). The water was so clear! We brought a waterproof camera with us and got some great shots of the ship beneath the water and the kids snorkeling.

In Costa Maya we watched the dolphins showing off but didn't do the excursion. Then we headed to the pool at Senor Frogs, ordered margaritas and enjoyed the music while the kids swam. We were served lunch in the pool and even got to hold a baby lion while we were in port.

We had terrible weather in Cozumel and our excursion was cancelled (and refunded). We were still able to get off the ship in the afternoon for a bit and did some shopping and exploring in town. We did a non-Disney , the chocolate factory tour, which we did quite a bit of research on before booking. That involved getting a $10 cab (a rabbit with about 400,000 miles which stalled 3 times getting there - choose your cab wisely!) and then the tour was about $10/pp plus chocolate. It was definantly interesting and gave us a more realistic look at the city beyond the port.

And at Castaway Cay we did the StingRay Excursion along with the rafts, bikes, snorkel equip package. The stingrays were the coolest thing EVER! Loved it! The snokel equip - not the best (compared to the equip used in Grand Cayman). The rafts were great and we enjoyed the bike ride around the island although my kids only did the slide once or twice - the lines were long and the water was a little deep. CC was still thier favorite port. The lunch there was rather disappointing compared to all the choices you get onboard. They ran out of plates, utensils and even food but they got it all together pretty quickly. Seating was crowded and I would pass on the lunch experience if I had to do it again but I'm not much for bbq and that was pretty much the only option offered.

Overall, we had a wonderful time. We were very happy with the Western, enjoyed our 2 days at sea on the ship, did Palo for lunch on our Costa Maya day (late arrival at port - 1pm), the Rainforest Spa (only used it twice - I suggest getting a day pass rather than a week's pass - hard to get your money's worth). Kids spent quite a bit of time in the Occeaneers Club and really enjoyed it but we still didn't have much time on our own, by our own choice. We prefered to do things as a family.

Happy Cruising!

2006: Port Orleans FQ (EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival)
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First time cruising!

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Alex (11) & Abby Kate (9)
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Old 03-03-2013, 06:08 PM   #7
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THANKS so much for all your responses! I am still unsure both are appealing and you all bring some great points up!

When you all went to the beach - did you do an excursion or did you take a taxi? Thanks again
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Old 03-03-2013, 06:22 PM   #8
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I just got off the Fantasy Eastern and have done two Westerns on the Magic. I now know that I prefer the Western. I love beaches and feel that the beaches in Cozumel and Grand Cayman were better than St. Thomas. San Juan isn't really a beachy port.

We did Nachi Cocum in Cozumel (by cab) and loved that the best of all. Definitely the most bang for your buck and the most un-crowded of all the beaches as they only allow 100 guests there per day. It's all inclusive and the food is amazing.

We went to Sapphire beach in St. Thomas and although it was nice, it was crowded (5 ships were in port) and food was expensive. Although I have heard St. John is best of all, I didn't think that making the trek there was the best use of our time, especially with two small kids.

I also found that the two sea days right off the bat on the Eastern were a bit much for me. The boat was really rocking and I was so happy to see land after two days.

We took cabs to all beaches and booked Nachi Cocum on our own (twice!).
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Old 03-03-2013, 06:48 PM   #9
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Done both too and prefer Western. My son was 5 on the Western and 7 on the Eastern. On the eastern we booked another western.

Cozumel-is great. Nachi Cochum is what we did and very affordable. Food and beach great. Took taxi. We always felt safe. Will do again when go to Cozumel next year.

Grand Cayman-went snorkeling but weather wasn't great and reef was crowded. Plus the water was a little too choppy for our son. Will do 7 mile beach next time.

Key West-Trolley tour and stopped at beach. Great day trip island.

CC-always great and so many things to do with young kids. Beach, bike rides and snorkeling.

Eastern the only port we really liked was San Juan-we did the fort excursion with kid activity and we all loved it!

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Old 03-03-2013, 07:41 PM   #10
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Another vote for Eastern

My family has done both & we all like the Eastern better. We like the shopping & beach. To us, we thinking the Eastern ports are cleaner, friendlier & safer. We LOVED having the extra sea day also. Have no problems going on our own on the Eastern. Wouldn't do that at Cozumel but liked the beach excursion we did. The people were nasty & didn't feel safe in Cozumel. We did like the beach at Grand Cayman but the people weren't real friendly nor was it good shopping. We thought Key West was just dirty!
We loved St. Marten the best but enjoyed St. Thomas too.

Our "Magic" cruises:
Our First cruise - Eastern Caribbean Cruise 1/29/11
Second Cruise - Western Caribbean Cruise 1/21/12
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Old 03-03-2013, 07:59 PM   #11
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We have done both and I think that we prefer the Eastern more. We loved St. Marten. The shopping and the beach was just beautiful. The people were super nice. We enjoyed the extra sea day on the Eastern.

When we went on the Western, we could not stop at Grand Cayman due to weather. Too bad because it looked like a nice port. Costa Maya was literally a port created for boats to stop and there wasn't a lot to see. Cozumel was nice when we arrived at our excursion.
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DCL 2011 Magic Eastern Caribbean | 2013 Fantasy Western Caribbean
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