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Old 05-30-2013, 02:39 PM   #1
cleophus12
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Fantasy Come True--Fantasy Eastern 5/18-25

I have never posted a trip report, but thought I'd start here and see where it goes. I may never get past day one, but let's see. For starters, we drove on 5/17 from NC to Port Canaveral. Long day, but we made it. Arrived at the Comfort Inn and Suites PC about 6:30. Received an upgrade to an ocean view suite instead of the regular room I had booked. Good start! The property is clearly an older one that has been renovated extensively, but it is well cared for and we were pleased with our room. We had a beautiful view of the ocean and our suite allowed us to spread out a little. BTW we are a family of three: me, DH, and DD (20). Huge Disney fans--been to WDW more times than we can count, but only done DCL once before. Anyway, back to the Comfort Inn and Suites. Upon checking in we asked the desk clerk for a good place to eat and he sent us to the Shark Pit in the Sheraton next door. It was okay. We weren't really in the market for gourmet food anyway, so the fish tacos, quesadilla, and chicken tenders were adequate. After dinner we went to Ron Jon's surf shop and the souvenir shopping began immediately. It was fun to look around, and then we went back to the hotel. We took a walk down the beach until it got dark, and then we returned to our room. Our room was very quiet and we got a fairly good night's sleep--except for being so excited about the ship the next day. When we woke up the next morning, we could see Port Canaveral from the balcony and the Fantasy was clearly visible. So exciting. Lots of cruise people were staying at the hotel, and the Carnival people seemed to be leaving earliest. We had breakfast (complimentary and crowded), and got ourselves ready to go. We had an 11:00 PAT so we didn't hang around very long. We left the hotel about 10:30 and arrived at the port quickly (10:40, maybe). Luggage drop off was a breeze, and we parked in the garage. Made our way to the terminal and received a boarding number of 3! So we were quickly called to board and we were on our way! Check in was very easy, we had our photos made, and went straight up to Cabanas for lunch. At this time of day, it wasn't too crowded so we enjoyed our lunch (the first of many shrimp lunches of the week). We changed for the pool and made ourselves comfortable until our room was ready. It was obvious when the rooms were ready because the pool area cleared out very quickly. We did do the Aquaduck a couple of times and that was great fun. We waited maybe 20 minutes. Then we were off to check out Stateroom 8570!
We were so pleased with our room! It was much larger than we had expected. We have cruised with RCI several times in the last few years and with NCL last year, and our rooms were small. This was great! Plenty of room and a midship location. My DH hates to walk the long hallways to the stairs or elevators. Got ourselves situated and then ready for Muster Drill. We were in the Buena Vista Theatre which was great and quite painless. It was over quickly and I headed up to Deck 12 for Sailaway. DH and DD went back to the pool. Unfortunately, we had a miscommunication here and DH decided to go to the room for a shower. He thought Sailaway was at 5:00 so DD went with him to the room, and I celebrated sailaway alone. So sad. But it was still fun. Such a great party. And one of my "FB friends" got engaged at the sailaway party! Wonderful start to a great vacation.
As I looked over this post, I realize that I didn't give the Comfort Inn and Suites its full due. It was a lovely place and we were so pleased with it. We were very glad we chose this hotel. Staff was friendly and the hotel is well kept. The pool/courtyard is a lovely area, but we didn't have a chance to use it. Just not enough time.

Last edited by cleophus12; 05-31-2013 at 08:40 AM.
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Old 05-30-2013, 07:13 PM   #2
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By the time Sailaway was over, it was time to get ready for dinner since we had early seating. Our luggage had arrived around 3:00 so we had already unpacked. Our dining rotation was ERAERAE, so our first evening was in Enchanted Garden. I don't remember what we ate, but it was good, and our table mates were two sisters and the DD of one who was in college--good since our DD is also in college. Our servers were Herry and Rolando and they were delightful. They caught on quickly to the needs of the table, and we never lacked for anything. We did go the Welcome Aboard show after dinner. Having done DCL once before, we remembered the great quality of entertainment. However, the welcome show was less than wonderful with a hokey story line IMO. We were tired after that so we turned in early.
We had two lovely At Sea days which we primarily spent in the adult deck areas because the general pool deck was packed. I did the Mixology on Sunday and it was great fun. I had wanted to do Champagne Tasting also, but it was offered on Sunday too, and doing two in one day didn't seem like the smartest thing for me to do. Julian was our Mixologist and he was great. The Skyline Bar is amazing. On Monday we had brunch at Palo. Our waiter was Ali and he was superb. The atmosphere was beautiful and the food was over the top. We all found several favorites that required seconds. And the grape pizza was as good as everyone says it is. So is the Chicken Parm--it was our favorite food of the whole cruise. I was afraid DH would ask why I was spending money for brunch when we could have plenty to eat otherwise, but he loved the brunch--we all did. If I hadn't been so miserable when I left, I probably would have done it again.
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Old 05-31-2013, 09:05 AM   #3
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Well, although literally no one is on board here, I'll continue. Perhaps reorganization is in order so let's try this:

ARRIVAL: Even though I've already covered this, I'll give it a quick go here in case someone wants a summary. We had an 11:00 PAT and arrived about 10:40 for luggage check and parking. Got into the terminal right around 11:00 and got directly in line. Received a boarding number of 3 and were on the ship by 11:30 or so I think. Anyway, it was really quick. Made our way to Cabanas for lunch. Not too crowded this early. Rode the Aquaduck after lunch. Waited about 20 minutes to ride.

STATEROOM 8570: Our room was ready as promised about 1:30. Once the pool deck began clearing out, we knew the rooms were ready. Room is midship. I was worried about noise from the hallway, but that was never an issue. The only noise issue we had was from the room above us who apparently had some occupants that liked to run around the room late at night and early in the morning. We also had a few kids down the hall from us who always ran back and forth from their room, but other than that, noise was not a problem. The room was surprisingly large and the verandah was great. We had a port view in St Maarten and St Thomas instead of the city view because we were on the starboard side, but in Castaway Cay we had the beach view which was amazing. Our room steward Anthony was very conscientious and kept out room in great shape.

DINING: We had early/main seating because we just aren't late night people and a late meal is not for us. Our table mates were well matched with us, and our serving team of Herry and Rolando were great. Food was very good. I don't know what people expect when they say the food isn't good. We didn't have a bad meal. We did have brunch in Palo which I covered in the original post, so I won't give those details again. But it was amazing, as our server Ali was fond of saying.

ENTERTAINMENT: Welcome Aboard show wasn't great, but other entertainment was very good. Loved the Aladdin show and I don't really understand why they don't just do more of this type of show onboard. While the Believe and Wishes storylines were weak, the musical performances were outstanding. I would be happy to just sit and watch them do one performance after another without trying to connect them with a silly story.

POOL DECK: Yes, the pool deck was crowded on the Sea days, but if you don't mind sitting alone for awhile, which I don't, you can always find one seat. Even the adult areas were crowded, but we managed to find some chairs and enjoy our three Sea days. By all means wear shoes when walking around or using the Aquaduck. DD had to return to our seats to retrieve our shoes when we first went up to the Aquaduck. Decking was so hot we couldn't stand on it. Lots of people in front of us were putting their towels on the deck to stand on them.
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Old 05-31-2013, 11:32 AM   #4
CowboyPrincess
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We had friends on this cruise and they had an amazing time. Would love to read more. Do you have any photos?
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Old 05-31-2013, 12:14 PM   #5
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I don't know how to post pictures. Not computer savvy enough. Sorry.
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Old 05-31-2013, 12:43 PM   #6
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I did the Fantasy Eastern with my Mom last September and loved the cruise and the ship! Love reading other peoples experiences!!
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Old 05-31-2013, 01:48 PM   #7
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PORTS OF CALL: We have been to STT and SXM several times each, so we didn't make big plans for either of these places. In St Maarten we had booked a Resort for a Day at the Westin Dawn Beach. The hotel is lovely, but all did not go as planned. It has all been worked out since, but we spent the morning there and then went back to the ship for lunch. Then we took the water taxi into town. All we did in STT was shop for jewelry and return to the ship. Took a taxi into town, walked back to the ship. Castaway Cay was a beautiful day. DH and DD ran the 5K, and while they were running I found 3 lounge chairs under trees with a hammock behind them on the family beach. Perfect. It was a hot morning for running, but they loved doing the 5K. Other than that, we just laid around all day. Very relaxing. Only bad part was that DD left her tennis shoes on the island, and they have not yet been found.

MIXOLOGY: Loved this. Signed up immediately upon boarding. Most of the tastings sold out pretty quickly, so I was glad I got in early on this one.

CHARACTER INTERACTION: There is not shortage of character meet and greets onboard the Fantasy. The Princess gatherings seemed to be the most popular. We waited until the last sea day to meet them and we waited in a very long line. But let me say, this is people watching at its finest. Watching the princesses interact with every child was, well, magical. I wanted a picture with Jack Sparrow, but he was not around much. Mickey and Minnie are out and about alot too.
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Old 05-31-2013, 01:51 PM   #8
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I am enjoying your report. Please continue. Just love your writing style. You are very informative. We will be on the Fantasy for the Eastern itinerary in September. We hope to have the dining rotation you mentioned.
Thank you for your report
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Old 06-01-2013, 10:19 AM   #9
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I'm enjoying your TR, too. Thanks for sharing.

Do you remember which night the Pirates party was held? We've done the Eastern on the classic ships but not the Fantasy.
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Old 06-01-2013, 11:48 AM   #10
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PIRATE NIGHT: Pirate Night was the night after our stop in St Marteen. Our dinner was in Enchanted Garden, and although I have heard this is most people's least favorite menu, we all found something we liked. I think they called it Movie and Pirate Night and they were showing Iron Man 3D in the Walt Disney Theatre. We had seen it at home in 2D, but went to watch again anyway. Wow! Their movie, their theatre, their sound, their 3D: very impressive. However, the movie didn't start until 8:15 and it is a 2:20 movie. Since I knew how it ended and wanted to get a decent spot on deck 12 for fireworks, we left before it was over. I really wish they had scheduled this better, because by the time I got up there, the place was packed. But we found a good place and enjoyed the Buccaneer Blast. Nothing quite like fireworks on the open sea!

SERVICE: Our stateroom attendant and our dining servers were all terrific. They were very attentive even though we were probably one of their lower maintenance tables--no one under 20. We had early seating and never felt rushed. We generally had a leisurely cup of coffee after dessert, and no one made us feel like we needed to leave. Still, we were almost always out by 7:15 or 7:30. Tables with children did seem to take longer. I did take a page from the books of others here and when asked about the service always said, "Excellent". We did get the excellent speech, but I think it may have been abbreviated. I asked our stateroom attendant one day for ice and had it everyday thereafter. And I asked for an extra blanket for DD's bed. It showed up that evening.

DINING ROTATION: I think I already mentioned that we had ERAERAE which was good for us. That put us in Royal Court for formal night and that was nice. Our best table location was in RC by a window. Beautiful! Our two nights in Animator's Palate were really fun. While the atmosphere in Enchanted Garden was probably my least favorite, it didn't in anyway effect the taste of the food or the service.

WHAT I WISH I'D DONE: I wish I'd gone to the DVC presentation on the first day, but there is so much going on, you kind of hate to spend a moment doing a sales talk. It also conflicted with my Mixology class I think, so I wound up not going until the last sea day. I really believe if I'd gone earlier and gotten DH to go, we would have bought. We have done the DVC thing before and have discussed it many times, but the perks for buying on the cruise are amazing. Hard to say no, but we did--again
I wish I'd done more than one tasting. Those are a bargain and a good time.
We also did not rebook onboard. At this stage of the game, it's just hard to imagine that we will do another DCL cruise in the near future unless some itinerary changes come up. Still, I wish we had taken that plunge.
I wish we had brought a friend for DD. We have never taken a friend for our only child on vacation, but I think this time she would have had more fun. If I didn't have to have a veranda room, we could get two inside rooms and let her bring a friend, so I accept full responsibility for her loneliness.
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Old 06-02-2013, 09:18 PM   #11
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We were on this cruise also!
Our 5th cruise and first on the Fantasy!
Enjoying your report!
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Old 06-03-2013, 09:54 AM   #12
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SPA: I had purchased four Rainforest Day passes several weeks before boarding. They were waiting for us in our cabin upon arrival. The idea was that I would go once with DD and DH could go the second time with her. She and I went on Monday, our second sea day. The spa area is lovely, and the Rainforest is a nice retreat. But the showers are cold! Only one I found was really warm. And, I'm sorry, but I don't really want a cold shower. We did enjoy the saunas briefly a few times, and the heated tile beds were wonderful. They were the perfect place to relax with a good book. Fortunately, it was never crowded when we were there, so we never felt like we had to rush off. So DD and I enjoyed our first day in the Rainforest. DH went with her on the last sea day and discovered it was not his thing. They went in the morning, and he did not want to go back. The staff was more than accomodating and allowed me to use his pass for the remainder of the day so that DD and I could go back. To tell the truth, the two days were plenty. There just simply wasn't time for us to use any more passes than that. Would I recommend the Rainforest? Yes, but I'm glad we didn't purchase the week pass or we would have wasted some money.
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Old 06-13-2013, 02:40 PM   #13
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My husband and I are doing this itinerary in January-did you do any excursions in the ports?
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Old 06-13-2013, 08:53 PM   #14
cleophus12
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Sorry, Pixie Dust, I can't help you on the shore excursion front. We are not shore excursion people. I always book activities myself. In St Marteen we did the resort for a day at the Westin Dawn Beach. It was supposed to include a room and the use of the entire property for the day for $149 for all of us. Although we had a nice morning, it didn't turn out exactly as I had hoped. In St Thomas we took a taxi into town and walked back to the ship. We have been to both islands several times, so we didn't feel the need to do a lot of exploring. We love both places. I had spoken to the guys at the Virgin Islands Paddle Club on St Thomas about doing Stand Up paddle boarding and it sounded like fun. The only problem was that if we did that we wouldn't have time for anything else since the STT day is a short one.
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Old 06-18-2013, 01:50 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pixiedust1125 View Post
My husband and I are doing this itinerary in January-did you do any excursions in the ports?
We will be on this one too!
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