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Old 10-06-2012, 06:51 PM   #1
Nikki'sMommy
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Our take on the Fantasy 9/22 cruise...

IT WAS FREAKING AWESOME.

Pre-Cruise- this was our 3rd cruise- both prior had been the quick Bahamas trips on the Wonder and the Dream. We are myself, husband, Mark,and daughter, Nicole. Mark was very hesitant about going on a 7 night cruise- he thought it was too long, didn't want to leave the house during hurricane season blah, blah blah... I wore him down and we booked in June for our Sept. cruise. We traveled with our friends who also have a 6 yr. old daughter( as only children we try and do many of our trips together and they are like sisters) I immediately became active on our cruise meet thread and facebook page and felt it was so organized and had an amazing group of people. We booked a 4A room as we are a family that does spend quite a bit of down time in our room and enjoy the extra space that the family rooms allow.
I started immediately preparing for the FE gifts. It made the few months before the cruise go by a bit quicker as I had some crafts to do. We got lots of tips from the DIS and from our friends that sailed the Fantasy in May.
We drove to the port as we do every year the night before and stayed at CI&S. We were able to use some of our points and it was a good deal. We were supposed to make a dinner meet with our DIS group but an unplanned Dr. Appt for dd(just a minor finger injury) and torrential rain made our usual 2.5 hr. trip up I-95 to 3.5 hrs. So we did not arrive until 8:00- ordered takeout and watched baseball.

DAY OF CRUISE

Our major plan was to get to the port as early as they would let us in, get in line and hope for one of those conceirge rooms which I had been checking the availability on every day , sometimes 2-3 times a day. To my surprise, dh was on board and hoping so much for the 1 BR, but would have been happy with a Cat V. (I am greatly indebted to those of you who have posted trip reports, you tube videos etc. to show Mark what could be there for us at a price that we would normally not be able to afford.) He was almost as obsessed about getting one as I was. So, at 9:30 we were at the port- security let us in but explained that no one would be able to take our luggage until around 10:30. Mark stayed on level 1 of the garage( we park at port) and I went up to level 3 where there was 1 family in front of me and Nicole. They put you in the garage until they are able to check you in and walk down the ramp to wait to get through security. Our friends met us there 10 minutes later. We met some very nice people waiting at the port all in hopes of getting those few conceirge rooms available. (No one discussed this, however- as we realized it when they were all in line at the supervisor's desk). At 10:30 they took the luggage and shortly thereafter we were through security and on our way to the terminal. That's when it felt like Walmart on Black Friday- people were hustling to get their medical forms completed and get checked in. I was like OJ Simpson running through the airport in those 70's commercials..(you know, before all that "other stuff").. We got checked in and just so happened to have a lovely CM who wanted to chat- I politely cut him off, took our KTTW cards and was 2nd in line at the supervisors desk. Our turn came and were told our upgrade from 4a to Cat T would be only $1,225. Mark gave the thumbs up and I couldn't contain myself.. I was so excited- jumping up and down like some kind of fool(or a contestant whose name got announced on The Price Is Right).. Tears were in my eyes as I knew we were about to start one of our greatest family vacations. We were given our choice of 4 1 bedroom suites and since there were none available on deck 12 I chose 11018- near the stairs so my many trips to the conceirge lounge would be easy.(more on that not so good choice later).. Our friends were able to upgrade from a 6a to a Cat V so we were so happy to both get the upgrades...we were escorted to the conceirge waiting area and our Fantasy trip was about to begin...
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Old 10-06-2012, 07:11 PM   #2
Nikki'sMommy
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We were on the ship, pictures taken, the girls were introduced as Nicole, Brooke and their entourage - which was adorable, as were sent to the conceirge Lou he where we would meet people who would become our cruising, eating and drinking buddies for the next 7 days. I was amazed at the incredible warm welcome we received from Julia and Kemisha- we were never treated like the "cheap" upgrade people and truly enjoyed the entire conceirge experience. There were so many kids up there and they were treated so special.. A lovely lad, named Collin would become another close CM of ours.. He was the bartender in the lounge and although we carried on 2 suitcases of beer and wine we enjoyed the cocktail hours at the lounge so much because that was a time when many of our new friends would meet every night and discuss the day. The kids would play games, have smoothies made for them and just enjoy the seclusion of that area. Julia asked if there was anything we would need from her- excursions we haven't yet booked, Palo reservations etc... we didn't need her services as we were happy with all of our prior bookings..The guys wanted a more hearty lunch and Nicole wanted shrimp so off to cabanas we went for lunch. By 12:30 we went back to the rooms and they were ready...
The feeling we got walking into that suite was one of disbelief- I couldn't believe that we were fortunate enough to be staying in this beautiful room during this cruise.. And...OMG- that bathroom!!! amazing...I will review the suite later but what a treat...
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Old 10-06-2012, 07:58 PM   #3
Nikki'sMommy
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I guess this could be a very long TR is I added every detail so from here on I will just summarize a few things...

ROOM 11018-
It was beautiful.. 3 closets, one of them being a small walk- in (we were able to keep a bag which we used as a hamper in there and it was out of the way. There was a nice desk which became the home to all things FE... I tried so hard to keep track of what was given by whom but it just became so overwhelming- so much stuff! The living area had a nice Flatscreen TV, Blu-ray player, referidgerator, wine and champagne glasses, a nice comfy couch which pulled[/B]out into a double sleeper, a Murphy bed and the first set of sliders onto the veranda. The dining room had a round table and another set of sliders- which was great for me since I could go out on the veranda every morning while Nicole slept and didn't have to climb over her bed to get there. The bedroom had dividers which could completely close off into a separate room.there was a lovely vanity with great lighting there also. There were 2 bathrooms- 1 with a shower and potty(yes, I stil say potty- I have a 6 yr. old) and the other.....( I keep hearing angels singing when I think of it) had 2 sinks, a shower, the potty area, and what my daughter refers to as " The Magic Tub" a whirlpool tub with changing lights etc... Sitting in that tub watching The Aristocats became a nightly routine for the kid who only took showers since she turned six(her idea not mine) Oh, yeah, and the Tv was inside the bathroom mirror!! I mean, we have a spa at home on our pool but this was something so much better...The best part... I didn't have to clean it- or make the bed for a whole week!!! Our stateroom host, Air, was so sweet. She was like a magic angel- sweeping in making the beds, restocking the glasses, doing towel animals and just so kind. Nicole would love seeing her.. We spent a lot of time in the suite and loved every second...

CONCEIRGE SERVICE

We are believers!! We will find it hard to not have it. Lucky for us we travel at off peak times so prices may be better. When we book again- most likely for next fall- we will book concierge level. Most likely a family stateroom (unless we get some extra income) and can hope that DCL will continue to offer upgrades at port for the larger suite. We know how lucky we were to get this upgrade- I would have camped out at the port if I could have to get the best chances of it. No one knows if they will discontinue this policy- I know those who pay full rates for them may not be thrilled when they hear of people getting what they have for, in our case, 3k less than what it would have cost us to book at Cat.T before the cruise. I do have to say, however, that no matter who paid what for those rooms, everyone we came in contact with were friendly, kind, wonderful people. I did not notice one bit of pretentiousness the entire trip.
Some of my favorite perks of this level....
Our fantastic concierge hosts, Julia, Kamisha and Angeline...They work their butts off and somehow remember every woman, man and child's name after the first time meeting them. It was incredible- and they were so awesome.. Kamisha would play with the kids all the time- she ran around the lounge on Pirate night pretending to have a sword fight with the girls. Mark and I had reservations at Remy and Julia saw us in the hall and insisted on escorting us personally to the restaurant. She made special princess hot chocolate, gave us popcorn of she knew we were going to a show, pb&j sandwiches when we were on a port day for the girls.. I can not say enough good thing about them- it was very important to us that we took care of them at the end of the trip. Along with a tip and a comment card I wrote a special letter to DCL commending those ladies on a spectacular job!!
I loved the sun-deck..I have read on previous TR that it didn't seem to be used that much. We were there almost every day- it was so serene- except when my daughter and her friend were running all over - it was a great place to go and read- the loungers were so comfortable- they brought up hula hoops for the kids- they had private parties and a character greet up there.. It was very nice and well used by our group.
COFFEE BABY!!!
I have a keurig- I want the Mac-daddy machine they have.. We made coffee in the morning , we made coffee in the afternoon and made sure that we would have "that" coffee after dinner.. It's been a week and I think I won't need an intervention after all...
- we loved unlimited Evian, diet cokes and that giant croissant I had every morning before my crew woke up... The cocktail hours were fun- it was a chance to come together and have some laughs with our shipmates..
For us- it was worth every penny and we are now willing to save a little extra to ensure that we can do this again.
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:04 PM   #4
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So glad you were actually able to upgrade at port - can't wait to get your take on the cruise.

We loved being on the Fantasy that week. The weather was absolutely amazing and I loved meeting many of our group peeps!
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:30 PM   #5
Nikki'sMommy
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Main Dining Rooms
We requested AERAERA and got it.. We loved that rotation- our server on this trip was good, but we have had much better... His assistant server was pretty bad- no real interaction with the kids- which we have come to look forward to. The food was good- we enjoyed every meal.

PALO
This was our first time at Palo. We were able to go with our friends while we put our kids in the club- (my child prefers spending time as a family and on all 3 cruises has not spent much time in the clubs but she knew how important this was to us ...and I bribed her). We LOVED our experience. We brought a very good bottle of wine with us and happily to pay the corkage fee to enjoy a bottle that would have set us back much at a restaurant. The sun was setting so our view was beautiful. Zuzy was our server and was fantastic. The food was great and that chocolate soufflé was worth whatever my daughter would cost us when we picked her up.. Truly a lovely night with great friends.

REMY
Mark and I wanted to try it. We had heard so many great things and wanted a night to ourselves. It was an incredible experience. A very long incredible experience. From the time the maitre d kissed my hand until we were rolling out of there it was 3 1/2 hrs. The food and service were impeccable with the exception of the sommelier . Mark did the wine pairing with his savour menu- he seemed like he was "in the weeds" all night- many times our food had already been tasted before he even presented him with a new wine...I do have a disclaimer.... We own a bar and Mark enjoys beverages with his meals- and with his football, and his toast But small pours weren't for him... Granted we are not the most refined couple out there but we get the idea of pairings- they work to bring out flavors, yada, yada ,yada... For us, he didn't get the full experience of it and because the service was so slow with it he feels he could have found a better way to spend the 100 bucks...that said, it was a beautiful night- that Wagu beef was worth the price of admission itself.. Definatety glad we did it, but don't have to do it again- we would have preferred Palo again..

PALO BRUNCH-
We cancelled our reservation as it was on the morning after our Remy dinner and I just couldn't eat that much so soon...Next time we will not miss it!!

Ports-
St. Marten- no excursion just took water taxi to beach- bartered for chairs and umbrellas- had a lovely day except for people constantly offering massages, hair braiding jewelry etc... It breaks my heart that the people on the island have to walk that beach all day carrying armful of goods just trying to make a dollar.. We always were polite but it was a bit of a hassle. Had an amazing lunch at a local restaurant!! Met some really nice locals who enjoyed having some beers with us. The bad part...Looks like I will be out of the running for Mother of the Year...again... somehow, Nicole got sunburned- Yes, I live in south Florida and she gets sunscreen on daily but somehow we didn't put enough on her and for the 1st time in her 6 years of life she got burnt.. It made us take it easy the next day on St. Thomas but thank goodness for that aloe in the room!!!!

St.Thomas- our friends did the St.John snorkeling tour and loved it.. We took it easy and went to paradise point and went shopping. It was nice to enjoy the quiet ship and my daughter wanted to hang out in the "lounge" and play board games-

Castaway cay- beautiful as always- wish we booked a cabana, however... Lovely day...
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:43 PM   #6
Nikki'sMommy
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bibbity bobbity boutique-
We did the mermaid package on our 2nd day. The girls loved it, although it was pretty quick- they put on their adorable bathing suits , got a quick hair style, some sunscreen lines on their face, nails polished and they were on their way.. The "tail" cover up was so cute and they got made up before the princess gathering so pictures were cute. Her necklace broke twice during the trip but BBB didn't hesitate to give us a replacement.

we also did the empress package on pirate night.. Both girls got the t-shirt and tutu costu,es which was great! Nicole wore her short today as it is so cute. We had a ball on pirate night.

SHOWS
All great! We love the shows and the magician was really good!!
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:01 PM   #7
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How awesome!! Can't wait to hear the rest!
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