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Old 06-30-2014, 12:48 PM   #271
LittleMissMagic
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Design + Aesthetics = 10/10

I've said it before, and I'll say it, again. This is absolutely without a doubt the most beautiful cruise ship I have ever sailed on. The Disney Fantasy is a gorgeous ship. We can start with the exterior - the black hull is nostalgic of transatlantic ocean liners. The lifeboats are painted a yellow color, rather than traditional orange (back in 1998, DCL had to prove to the coast guard that yellow was just as visible). Of course, branding is essential, and the Disney Fantasy has a very tasteful DCL logo positioned on its stack. A giant Dumbo paints the logo on the aft of the Disney Fantasy (Goofy paints the Magic, Donald the Wonder, and Sorcerer Mickey the Dream).

The three-story grand atrium of the Disney Fantasy is jaw-dropping. Inspired by Art Nouveau patterns, the atrium features hues of pink, blue, and green to complement the vivid gold. At the bottom of the grand stair stands a bronze-cast statue of Madmoiselle Minnie Mouse, dressed in vintage fashion with a parasol and steamer trunk. And one cannot overlook the beautiful chandelier which illuminates the space. The attention to detail is amazing - check out the bronze reliefs of Disney characters along the bottom of the second and third floors which overlook the lobby floor.


Preludes and the souvenir shops aboard the Disney Fantasy progress from Art Nouveau into a more Art Deco style of the Walt Disney Theatre. The beautiful two-story theater is a grand space with plush chairs. The theater design is excellent with surround sound and a stage built for multiple set changes with many moving pieces.


I feel like I've already covered in great detail the beautiful designs of Europa, the adult-only district located at deck 4 aft. Each lounge is elaborately themed with great detail - Ooh La La, the French champagne bar; Skyline Lounge featuring views of European cities; La Piazza, the Italian-themed lounge; O'Gills, the Irish Pub; and The Tube, the British-influenced night club.

The children's clubs on deck five are extremely elaborate and worth visiting, even if you don't have a child of your own. The Oceaneer club has four distinctly-themed rooms - Monster's Academy, Andy's Room (Toy Story), Pixie Hollow, and Disney's Explorer pod. The entire space is designed so that kids will feel as if they have entered an entirely new world. I know that I would have really enjoyed those spaces when I was a kid.

The three rotational dining rooms also have very distinct themes - Enchanted Garden, resembling the Gardens of Versailles; Royal Court, a grand dining room influenced by Disney Classics Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty; and Animator's Palate, designed as an animator's studio with interactive artwork. All three dining rooms incorporate innovate light design which truly helps to transform the space. Small details such as the paintbrush butter knife in Animator's Palate or the carriage light fixtures in Royal Court are very effective in telling the story.


I could honestly continue on and on, analyzing the design of the entire ship, but I will stop short. If you read my rating and conclusion for the Carnival Breeze, you might recall that I all but ripped them apart for having many different themed spaces that did not go together. And I have just described many differently-themed spaces aboard the Disney Fantasy. The difference is that the Imagineers at Disney understand the importance of transition (which is very evident in their theme parks and the architectural transitions from one land to another in Magic Kingdom). The method is to gradually take away important theme-identifying elements to create an almost neutral space before introducing the next theme. And one effective way of doing so is by creating an approach. The next time you're on the Disney Fantasy, notice how the "marble mile" on deck 3 transitions from the Art Nouveau atrium to the entrance of Royal Court to the entrance of Animator's Palate. As you walk up stairs, pay attention to how the artwork and colors change as you ascend from one space to another (this is also evident in the elevator lobbies). Transitions from space to space were carefully designed, and for that, I applaud the Imagineers who designed the Disney Fantasy.

Max's Rating: 9.5/10
It was the best looking ship I've ever been on, that's for sure. I really liked the exterior design - it's a really good-looking ship. It was always clean, inside and out. When you first walk in.... everything just looked nice and fancy and elegant. Even the theming at the bars - the small details like light-up menus at Skyline Lounge were really well done. I thought that Animator's Palate had a cool theme, and I really liked the show where you drew your own characters which was a great way to interact with guests and engage the audience. However, I didn't enjoy the Nemo theme and thought it was too similar to Turtle Talk with Crush at Epcot, and I honestly thought his voice was awful. I actually liked the small detail in the butter knife paint brush so much that I almost wanted to buy one. I really enjoyed the theming of Royal Court and that dining room in general. I liked sitting in the round table in Enchanted Garden, but didn't care for the location of our table on the first night. They really went all-out in every rotational dining room. The spa design was really nice. The Nemo splash area was pretty cool, and I liked the set-up and Caribbean feeling in Cabana's. The only thing pulling away from my design score is that I wish there was a more laid-back, Caribbean-style atmosphere. It was either playful for kids or sophisticated for adults - there wasn't really a middle ground. So while the attention to detail and overall execution was great, the theming isn't my personal favorite.

Rachel: 10/10 (visual) 7/10 (function)
Really ritzy, fancy, and nice. It felt expensive, which I guess is good because it was expensive. While the appearance was awesome, the layout bothered me because it could be really confusing which floors you could actually cross the ship on. On Deck 4 by Europa, if you went on the wrong side of the stairs (by O'Gills) you felt like you couldn't cross through, but you could - you just had to open a door. And by the pool deck, there was one spot by the Aqua Duck where it was hard to get down because you had to walk through Cabanas which was awkward if you were just by the pool in a swimsuit because you felt like you couldn't just walk through in a towel. The walkability of the ship could have used improvement. I feel like I've been on other ships that have done it better. And I did a walking tour of that ship, so I felt like I really should have known my way around better than on other ships.
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Old 06-30-2014, 12:49 PM   #272
LittleMissMagic
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Cabin = 10/10

In my cruising history, I've had all sorts of cabins - from an inside cabin on the Carnival Inspiration to a grand suite on the Monarch of the Seas with ocean views, balconies, family rooms, and junior suites in between. That being said, the family ocean view stateroom on the Disney Fantasy is by far my favorite stateroom that I've ever stayed in. If you read my Disney Fantasy Glad I Did/Wish I Did, you already know that I debated heavily between booking a family verandah stateroom or a family ocean view. Ultimately, I am so glad that I chose the ocean view cabin because we loved our giant porthole window and did not miss the balcony at all.

This stateroom is incredibly well-designed. Disney was the first stateroom to introduce a ship in which almost all cabins had a split bath back in 1998 with the Disney Magic. The idea is that with a toilet and a sink separate from the bathtub and the toilet, families can get ready quicker and at the same time. And it's nice to be able to use the bathroom while someone is in the shower. Speaking of the shower, the family staterooms on the Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream feature a smaller, round bathtub (as opposed to a standard-size bathtub) with a rainfall shower head which is absolutely amazing.

We had plenty of storage space in the room, and I was surprised that we actually had an empty cabinet left once everything was stored, and we never put anything in our steamer trunk (this is with three people who are far from light packers). Another neat feature is that all of the drawers are slam-proof. When you close a drawer, it stops short and slowly closes the rest of the way. Our vanity was huge with a large mirror, and we had plenty of space to get ready side-by-side.

I enjoyed having the pull-down murphy bed in addition to the sofa bed which converted into a twin. Since we only had three people in the room, even when the beds were made down, we still had plenty of space to sit and move around in. Also, while the two little beds weren't incredibly comfortable, the queen bed more than made up for it. But since I'm assuming that the fold-out beds on Disney ships get used probably more than on any other ship, they could be a little softer.

As far as overall design in the room, it was beautiful. I loved the nautical decor - the wood finishes, navy and blue hues, and nautical Disney artwork. There are also small Disney details everywhere from Mickey-shaped door knobs to cutouts in the lamp heads. The room was really great, and I would definitely book this stateroom again and recommend it to others.


Max's Rating: 10/10
The cabin was really nice. Even the way the extra beds pulled out was cool. I loved everything about that window. It was amazing. I liked how the room was pretty big, and it could be completely dark in there, even if it was daylight outside. It was pretty soundproof, and I never heard anyone else from other rooms or the hallway which was nice. I really, really liked the rainfall shower. It was great. I enjoyed the on-demand TV, even though we discovered that a little late in our cruise. One downfall to the cabin was that it creaked really bad - it was severe, especially on the last night when it was really rough at sea. But aside from that, I didn't have any problems. Well, the fold-up beds could have been more comfortable.

Rachel's Rating: 10/10
The best one I've ever stayed in. I loved it. I loved my window and my big queen bed. I loved my rainfall shower. Oh my gosh - that shower was amazing. I liked all of the counter space and cabinets. It was a really big room, and I didn't feel like I was crammed into a cruise ship cabin. There was plenty of room for activities... like handstands.
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Old 06-30-2014, 12:51 PM   #273
LittleMissMagic
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Total Score = 90/100 (90%)

This cruise was exceptional, and I loved almost every bit of it. Disney did not disappoint. However, I think it is now important to talk about value. I have said before that for less than what we paid for our family ocean view stateroom on the Disney Fantasy, we could have sailed in a suite on the Carnival Sunshine with nearly the same itinerary. So why Disney? Was it worth it?

I chose Disney Cruise Line because this was a cruise celebrating my college graduation. I love Disney. I love cruising. A Disney cruise just made sense. The price was a little difficult to swallow, but if there was ever a time to try a Disney cruise, this was a pretty darn good one.

Value for money.... Disney provides an exceptional product. In many areas, I believe that Disney excels beyond other cruise lines I have sailed. Customer service is wonderful. Design is extraordinary (and we must keep in mind that as a graduate of architecture, design is something that I truly value). And so I did not feel like I had been ripped off or overcharged for the price of the cruise. The reason that Disney can afford to charge a higher cruise fare is because their product is worth it - or at least enough people believe so.

That being said, I would not consider myself a Disney Cruise Line convert. For one, I have worked to rid myself of obsessive loyalties since leaving Royal Caribbean to try other cruise lines in 2012. Second, Disney Cruise Line only has four ships in the fleet and is therefore limited as to what itineraries they can sail at certain times of the year. Other cruise lines may simply be a better fit for my needs. And finally, I simply cannot afford to only sail Disney Cruise Line - at least not if I were to continue vacationing as frequently as I like. But in the future, (hopefully not too far in the future) I will definitely return to Disney Cruise Line.

Max's Rating: 90%
Overall, I really, really enjoyed the cruise. I thought it was really fun. As far as it being Disney which is well-known for children, I didn't think that children were a huge factor (aside from princesses). It's definitely, as far as the ports, my favorite itinerary. And I felt like we were doing things most of the time - we didn't even lay out by the pool that much. There were plenty of things to do, and I enjoyed the variety of things they had. As for an overall cruise rating, I liked it a lot. It's up there with the Epic, and it could very well be higher than the Epic, but honestly, I no longer completely remember it because it was a year ago. As far as value, I thought it was a little pricey. I think the Epic was a better deal for the money, but I feel that's expected with anything with the Disney name. It's going to be overpriced. But you're still getting a really good product. It's expensive, but I felt like I got my money's worth. I was a little worried about going on Disney because of the kid atmosphere and not having stuff to do, but it was surprisingly well-adapted for adults. I would go on another Disney cruise, even with the cost. Being a new cruiser, there are other ships that I would definitely want to try before I do another Disney cruise, but I would absolutely sail Disney again, even as an adult with no children. And it's definitely something that I would want to bring my kids on in the future. This was probably my favorite cruise I've been on when including itinerary and cruise ship. That being said, money plays a part. If I had to choose between going on an Epic cruise or this cruise with the same itinerary, I would probably choose the Epic because it's significantly cheaper, and I liked it just as much. It can't be that every time I go on another cruise, it's Disney... it's got to be like, "Yeah, I got a bonus!" or something like that - a celebration cruise.

Rachel's Rating: 89.5%
The most impressive cruise that I've ever been on. A lot of times with my spring break cruises or last minute ships, I go in with really low expectations or no expectations at all because it's a cheap cruise or an old ship. So then, I feel like the cruise itself has an unfair advantage because I had no expectations, so the cruise exceeds my expectations. That being said, I went into Disney with extremely high expectations, and I would say that they exceeded them. So when you compare those on two level playing fields (if there were no expectations for Disney), Disney Cruise Line really stands out. Disney wins. I didn't expect myself to like it as much as I did.... which was so much more than other cruises. Disney is my new favorite cruise line, but I also know that it's significantly more expensive, so it's not like I look down upon other cruises because they're not Disney. I don't expect everyone to live up to Disney's level of awesomeness because they cost half as much.
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Old 06-30-2014, 02:36 PM   #274
kamikat
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Your post trip review is by far the best I have read, thank you. We sailed the Fantasy last summer and we are sailing next summer, W. Caribbean (we loved the ship that much). I really enjoyed the Cozumel part of the report, I plan on doing the same thing as you while in port. One questions about Grand Cayman if you please; Does the Port itself have much shopping or things to see? We don't plan on a excursion and we will have 4 kids 14-6 with us so I wonder if it is worth tendering in to shop/wonder.
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Old 06-30-2014, 10:56 PM   #275
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleMissMagic
You should be able to purchase them out of a kiosk or something, even.
I think you can:

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Old 07-01-2014, 09:35 AM   #276
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I've really enjoyed your TR and coming from someone who has never taken a cruise, it really makes me want to book one. Your pictures are beautiful and the details you cover are great. If I book a cruise I am definitely coming back to this report to get some pointers.
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Old 07-01-2014, 02:03 PM   #277
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Great trip report! We just returned from the same trip. Can't say that I would do that itenerary again. The shopping area in Falmouth was very nice, but did you notice that the shops were all owned by people from India. Not trying to sound racist here, but if I'm going to shop, I would rather be shopping from the locals. There was also an area with local vendors, which we ended up buying from. Did not feel that it was safe to venture outside the gate, could have been, but just did not look safe.

We also had a similar experience to yours in O'Gills. We wanted to watch the College World Series games, and they were not playing on the channels in our rooms, so we went to O'Gills. They had the soccer games on, and we asked the bar tender to change ONE tv for us to watch baseball (America's game!). He said no, that futbol was on. We were dumbfounded. Another worker there said he should change one tv, but he refused. We told him that was not football!
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Old 07-01-2014, 05:13 PM   #278
LittleMissMagic
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kamikat View Post
Your post trip review is by far the best I have read, thank you. We sailed the Fantasy last summer and we are sailing next summer, W. Caribbean (we loved the ship that much). I really enjoyed the Cozumel part of the report, I plan on doing the same thing as you while in port. One questions about Grand Cayman if you please; Does the Port itself have much shopping or things to see? We don't plan on a excursion and we will have 4 kids 14-6 with us so I wonder if it is worth tendering in to shop/wonder.
Thank you very much!

Our first time in Grand Cayman, we actually didn't plan anything and just walked around and shopped... it was only entertaining for an hour or so. If you're looking to do some sightseeing, you can take an inexpensive cab to Hell to mail a post card and check out the rock formations. It's one of those tacky roadside attractions that you've got to see once to check it off your list!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrShiny View Post
I think you can:

WHAT! Did I miss that?? When did that get there?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KelleyK75 View Post
I've really enjoyed your TR and coming from someone who has never taken a cruise, it really makes me want to book one. Your pictures are beautiful and the details you cover are great. If I book a cruise I am definitely coming back to this report to get some pointers.
Thank you - I'm glad that you enjoyed sailing with me in this trip report! In addition to Disney, I've sailed Princess, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, and Carnival, so if you decide that you'd like to give cruising a try but choose to go with a different cruise line, check out my blog, www.victoriaonvacation.com, for trip reports and information on other cruise lines!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmi View Post
Great trip report! We just returned from the same trip. Can't say that I would do that itenerary again. The shopping area in Falmouth was very nice, but did you notice that the shops were all owned by people from India. Not trying to sound racist here, but if I'm going to shop, I would rather be shopping from the locals. There was also an area with local vendors, which we ended up buying from. Did not feel that it was safe to venture outside the gate, could have been, but just did not look safe.

We also had a similar experience to yours in O'Gills. We wanted to watch the College World Series games, and they were not playing on the channels in our rooms, so we went to O'Gills. They had the soccer games on, and we asked the bar tender to change ONE tv for us to watch baseball (America's game!). He said no, that futbol was on. We were dumbfounded. Another worker there said he should change one tv, but he refused. We told him that was not football!
Actually, my dad and Max pointed out the Indian store owners to me which I found quite interesting. I don't really shop on vacation - just look around and take photos. It's funny - the only souvenirs that ever grab my eye are Disney souvenirs, so I knew I was going to be in trouble on a Disney cruise ship with all of that adorable, exclusive merchandise (still, Max and Rachel bought more than me!). I did speak to a local in one of the outdoor markets who tried to sell me a giant wooden shark carving... which was actually really cool, but I didn't know what I would do with it!

It's funny - I think earlier in this TR when I posted a photo of O'Gills from embarkation day, someone commented that they saw their favorite bartender... and I was wondering if it was the same guy who was a jerk to Max and my dad.
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Old 07-02-2014, 08:12 AM   #279
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Great pictures and report. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this all up.

And congratulations on your graduation!
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Old 07-05-2014, 02:37 PM   #280
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WONDERFUL trip report. Thoroughly enjoyed it all. Your pictures were amazing.

Thanks for the tip on the Jamaica beach day. My DH ended up joining my DD and I on this excursion. We absolutely LOVED the beach. Water was so refreshing and calm, and the sand was so fine. My DD played in it for awhile.

We loved the Fantasy again.

Thank you again for all your hard work on the trip report. I truly appreciated it!
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Old 07-06-2014, 06:41 PM   #281
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What a great trip report! I love trip reports with lots of pictures! One of the best reports I've read here.

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Old 07-09-2014, 10:49 AM   #282
TLovesDisney
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Awesome Trip Report! Makes me so excited for our cruise. My sister and I are going on the Fantasy in Oct.
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Old 07-21-2014, 10:56 AM   #283
Cinderbrella1
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I really enjoyed your trip report!! I did a cast member search to see if our dining team of Selcuk and Jelena were still on the Fantasy, because we really enjoyed them on our Eastern Caribbean cruise last year, and I came across your incredible trip report! The pictures were breathtaking, and your descriptions of everything are going to help me plan our upcoming Western Caribbean cruise! Thank you for all of the hard work that you put into your report, and CONGRATULATIONS on your graduation!!
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