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Old 01-20-2013, 12:59 PM   #1
atbda
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Just off the Fantasy - Eastern Caribbean

Hello everyone!

My family of 4 returned to CA yesterday from a wonderful 7 night E. Caribbean cruise onboard the Fantasy. I will do a quick recap of some highlights for us and then will gladly answer anyone's questions (sorry I do not have an Navigators).

*Lunch at Enchanted Garden on the 1st day was excellent! We were very pleased with the wide variety of delicious food offered (much better than Parrot Cay on the Magic and Wonder we felt)

*Tequila and Margarita tasting with Lindsay in the Tube was a highlight for us all. You get 3 samples of Patron tequila (silver, gold and coffee infused) and then the guests get behind the bar and become bartenders, making traditional and mango margaritas.

*The ATV excursion for $119 in San Juan was absolutely incredible! If you are looking for something to do in this port and the price is within your budget, I highly recommend this tour. We were bussed right from the ship to the base of the El Yunque rainforest where we got on our single or double ATV's (your preference) and rode through mud, large puddles (almost ponds at times!), a huge downpour and the beautiful rainforest for 2 hours with a stop at a wonderful little river. We were very pleased with this tour and quite happy we chose this one instead of our scheduled Rainforest Hike for $69 as we heard many complaints from fellow guests who were on this tour.

*In St. Thomas we originally had the St. John Trunk Bay Beach and Snorkel tour booked but it was canceled the day before as they were predicting 10 foot swells on Trunk Bay the following day (it ended up being a beautifully sunny day). Thus, we were left with two options to get to St. John as we really wanted to go as we had previously visited St. Thomas. Between the Eco hike and the Island Tour we chose the hike and although Honeymoon Beach was beautiful with warm water we did not feel like this was the best excursion for the money ($69) and would not recommend this tour for the value.

*In Castaway Cay we originally made the trek to Serenity Bay but the weather was windy and cold and the waves were large and uninviting so we walked back to the family beach where we relaxed on the beach the majority of the day. We ate at Cookies and then started walking back to the ship around 2pm. On the way back we noticed a large group of medical personnel gathered around on the beach. Later that evening we found out a man tragically passed from a heart attack which caused us to leave the island approximately 2 hours later. We felt so terribly sorry for the man and his family who had to end their cruise that way.

*We only ate in the dining room 4 of the nights but noticed the food was much, much better than the food we had on the Wonder last year. Our servers, Herry and Antonio were wonderful, as was our head waiter, Plamen.

*We dined at Palo two nights and had wonderful meals both times (even got to see the fireworks from pirate night as we were finishing our souffles!)

*We ate at Remy the night of San Juan and by far we all agreed this was the highlight of the cruise. If you can afford it, you need to try it at least once. My family was skeptical about the high price, but by the second course they were all thanking me for insisting that we try it. Celia was our waitress and she was absolutely fantastic! This was the best meal I have ever had or probably will ever had - a truly fantastic dining experience at sea!

*We loved Remy dinner so much we booked the champagne brunch for the next day with Celia. Again the food was absolutely incredible and the champagne pairing enhanced the meal wonderfully. Chef Benoit is a wonderfully personable chef, and along with Celia and the maitre d David, we all left the restaurant incredible satisfied and happy.

*My mom and I booked a couples hot stone massage and had the best massages of our life by Alex and Lidija. If you can request them for your massage, you will not be disappointed!

*There was a large assortment of inaugural merchandise including Dooney and Bourke purses, sweatshirts, shirts, mugs, bags, luggage tags and more. Some of the stuff was already being discounted at quite nice prices (I got a shirt for $12.99, usually $27.95).

*Overall it was a beautiful ship and our family all had a wonderful time, any questions let me know!
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:01 PM   #2
4mousefans
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Wonderful!

Just off the Fantasy yesterday as well! It was a beautiful ship and the weather was overall super.

*We had cabin 7686, which is a 6B category and located aft. Felt some movement when the ship was docking or moving at full speed, but otherwise, this was a quiet and perfect location.

*Because of the cabin location, we found it convenient to the nightlife and the restaurants. The only down-side was being so far away from the adult areas and spa, located at the front of the ship.

*On the first day, we toured the spa and chose to purchase the Rainforest package for couples. This was AMAZING and we utilized the heated loungers, hot tubs, saunas and "rainforest" showers every day at least once. The locker area was wonderful to use in order to get ready for the day or dinner after time relaxing. Great bath products and lots of warm towels! The spa staff was super as well!

*I took advantage of having the shellac manicure and also getting my polish color on my toes changed (nice treat for only $16...it included a exfoiliating hand massage!). Alina was wonderful and the view from the spa was so relaxing...nothing like being pampered while staring out at the ocean or Castaway Cay!

*We used the adult areas most of the time on the ship...I did notice the large amount of traffic through the area because of the placement of the forward elevators, but have to say that children being in the area was not a problem. I saw crew approach parents on many occassions and politely, yet firmly, let them know that the area was adults only. Overall, it was wonderful though I do wish that the music was better. We listened to what seemed to be the five same "elevator" songs over and over and over again...for the entire cruise. It seemed so strange that the kids got "Carribean" music and Jimmy Buffet, while the adults got elevator music on all their spaces.

*Food was so good! Only one meal was disappointing, and that was corrected immediately by the wait staff and head waiter. The MDR were crowded and at times a bit loud, but that didn't take away from the experience. Our waitstaff, Naya and Horie, were wonderful and so much fun. By the second night, they had our drink choices waiting and were ready choices they thought we might enjoy. Our dining mates (friends that we made when we all cruised together last January) put in a special request for a coconut shrimp appetizer that I loved and wasn't on the menu...next day, over forty shrimp arrived at our table. YUM!

*We were so busy relaxing in the spa, that we only enjoyed one show, but the quality was wonderful and it was so neat to see. The theater on the Fantasy is two decks high and there were plenty of seats.

*We participated in the "club" life every night, but I have to admit that I was disappointed with the experience on many nights. We LOVE "Match Your Mate" and the trivia...these games seemed to lack compared to what we experienced on the Magic. The guests participating were hilarious...it was more the staff that disappointed. Once the game/trivia/show ended, the staff disappeared. On the Magic, we really got to know our cruise staff and nearly every night or afternoon, found them chatting us up. We just didn't see that type of interaction from Robbie...however, Craig and Lindsay (Tube) as well as Ricardo and Ralston in the adult area really took the time to get to know us. Maybe it is because the ship was so large? I am not sure but I did miss that touch.

*Our room hostess was good, but honestly not over-the-top. In fairness, she was new to the ship and still being trained...not to mention there appeared to be a huge language barrier. It wasn't awful or anything, like the adult clubs it was just different from the experiences that we had on the Magic and Wonder.

*The pool areas were crowded, especially in the family area, but we were able to enjoy a movie on Funnelvision and the Aquaduck. There are no loungers in the family area, just reclining chairs which added additional seating that was needed with more guests. The crew did an excellent job of keeping the area clean, moving lines along and making seating available.

*Loved our veranda and will find it hard if we ever have to go back to an inside stateroom. This was our first experience on the Fantasy and first veranda...I chose this category of stateroom so that if we needed it, we had a quiet place to go to enjoy the views. After booking, I read horror stories from people that had loud neighbors or problems with cigarette smoke...we experienced none of this. It was wonderful!

*Kellie, at the future cruise desk, was wonderful and so very patient. Be aware that Disney has put some restrictions on how many rooms you can book for future cruises and receive the 10% and OBC. We were only able to book one, which was disappointing. I was told that people were booking multiple cabins in the past and then "selling" them to others...now, to book a future cruise with perks, you must be on the ship.

*We did hear the word "excellent" quite a bit. Our wait staff especially seemed to be under a huge amount of pressure to get the excellent rating...they asked at every interaction if it was "excellent" or if there were things they could do to make us happy. After many times of telling them things were great, I finally told them that the excellence began the minute I stepped foot on the ship because we were just so happy and blessed to be on board...lol! Our tablemates agreed with us...it became a bit annoying to be asked so much about the excellent factor.

*In addition to the staff interaction with guests, we did miss seeing characters in random locations throughout the day. Unlike the experiences that we had on the Magic and Wonder, EVERY character interaction was scheduled and lines formed. I understand that on a ship this large there needs to be order, but we just missed those random interactions.

*Palos is not to be missed! Michael and Juan were wonderful...we thoroughly enjoyed brunch and dinner. I think that we tried everything on the menu and it was, well, wonderful! The restaurant is so over-the-top beautiful...the ocean views are private, no longer can people walk by and watch you eat. When there early in the week for lunch, I commented on a beautiful table in an alcove with a mural backing of Italy...Juan reserved that table for our party later in the week when we came for dinner. We felt like royalty!

*Ports were nice and we did a tour in San Juan to the Bacardi and Old San Juan...nice and would highly recommend it. In St. Thomas, we chose to take an excursion offered by a local...it was well worth it and much cheaper than the Disney-offered tours. Clem was a great tour guide and we have some spectacular photos to share.

*Castaway Cay day was not the warmest, but hey, how can it really ever be bad when you consider the winter weather I left at home? LOL We finally made it over to Serenity Bay...water was too cool for our taste, but the view was gorgeous. I did notice that things were beginning to look worn in terms of the loungers and chairs...they were really faded and worn. We also had a difficult time finding an XL t-shirt for my husband...they had sold out from the previous cruise we were told. Disney has added (or maybe it has always been there and we never ventured far enough to see it) some "flea" market type shops that sell "Bahamas" items like cheap tees, wind chimes...stuff you might find in a gift store on another island. We didn't care for that...but that is just a matter of preference and we moved along.

Definately a great cruising experience all the way around! We are booked on the Western leaving Jan. 4th with our Canadian friends and time just can't go fast enough!
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:13 PM   #3
mrsgalles
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What were the comments from others about the rainforest hike? We hav that scheduled next week with our twin 5 year old boys. Curious as to what others thought.
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:59 PM   #4
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We were on the same cruise and we might have just been in the right place at the right time, but we ran into a lot of characters in random places. Peter Pan, Donald Duck, Goofy, Cinderella about 3 times, Princess Tianna, Princess Aurora and Pluto twice as well. I just wanted to post this so people didn't think that this didn't happen at all!
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsgalles View Post
What were the comments from others about the rainforest hike? We hav that scheduled next week with our twin 5 year old boys. Curious as to what others thought.
We talked to a lady who took her 5 year old twin girls on this excursion and she said overall it was disappointing. She said the majority of the time they were on the bus and not in the rainforest much at all. She said the "hike" was more like a 20 minute walk on a trail. She did not feel like she got her money's worth for this tour and wished she had booked something else or just walked to the fort. Another guest in the spa also complained about this tour with similar comments as the lady above, and said she wished they had spent a little bit more money for a better excursion. Sorry about the negative reviews, we actually changed our excursion for San Juan just days before sailing so maybe you can find something else that will work for your family, should you decide to.
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlakeandMaddysMomma View Post
We were on the same cruise and we might have just been in the right place at the right time, but we ran into a lot of characters in random places. Peter Pan, Donald Duck, Goofy, Cinderella about 3 times, Princess Tianna, Princess Aurora and Pluto twice as well. I just wanted to post this so people didn't think that this didn't happen at all!
Thanks for sharing your experience...I was hoping for your experience, but we just didn't have it this cruise. Maybe we spent WAAAAY too much time in the adult-only areas or spa!
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:05 PM   #7
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Thanks
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:07 PM   #8
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Keeping in mind we ave 5 year old boys
What were some positive excursions for kids in San Juan
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:14 PM   #9
atbda
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What were some positive excursions for kids in San Juan
Unfortunately I did not hear any reviews of child friendly excursions in San Juan, not to say that there isn't any, just that we did not hear of any. Many people visited the forts on their own and seemed to enjoy that. After we got back from the rainforest we went into town near the port and was very disappointed. We made a quick U turn and were back on the ship in under 30 minutes so I can't recommend the port area unfortunately, although others may have enjoyed it. The Rainforest is quite spectacular and beautiful so I would definitely recommend still going if nothing else is appealing to you.
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:20 PM   #10
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4mousefans,

We were your neighbors in 7664 and 7674! We too felt that we were quite far from the spa and some of the attractions in the middle/front of the ship but overall our staterooms were in a nice location. Room 7674 creaked terribly loudly during the last night as we were going quite fast to make it back to FL in time which was a disappointment as we did not feel that a brand new ship should make so much noise.

We also greatly enjoyed Juan in Palo, he was so friendly and down to earth while still being professional. Glad to hear you also had a great cruise! Next January you MUST try Remy, you will not be disappointed in the slightest!
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:21 PM   #11
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What were some positive excursions for kids in San Juan
The children we saw really seemed to enjoy the tour of the fort. There were children on the tour that we were on...the fort tour was also combined with a tour of the Bacardi factory. I am not sure I would bring a child (under ten) on the combined tour...not because of the alcohol that was served, but because the children we were with didn't seem to be too interested and the Disney tour was pricey. You can easily walk off the ship and to the downtown area...less than two blocks. We know several people that went to the downtown area and the fort on their own and said it was really easy to navigate and not expensive.

There is a surfing excursion that I heard had a good number of young kids on it...the older teens that I know who went didn't think it was worth the over $100 cost, but said the younger kids seemed to be having fun. The teens were somewhat experienced surfers and were disappointed that the surf boards provided were made of foam, more like boogie boards rather than surf boards.

Hope this helps a little...
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:28 PM   #12
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4mousefans,

We were your neighbors in 7664 and 7674! We too felt that we were quite far from the spa and some of the attractions in the middle/front of the ship but overall our staterooms were in a nice location. Room 7674 creaked terribly loudly during the last night as we were going quite fast to make it back to FL in time which was a disappointment as we did not feel that a brand new ship should make so much noise.

We also greatly enjoyed Juan in Palo, he was so friendly and down to earth while still being professional. Glad to hear you also had a great cruise! Next January you MUST try Remy, you will not be disappointed in the slightest!
Hey neighbors! We booked 7682 for next Jan. 4th...our travel buddies will be in the adjoining stateroom and we have four rooms for our kids and their friends. Loved life in the Aft...it was so quiet and actually, really convenient. If not for the long walk to the spa, we might not have gotten any exercise while on board because we were so relaxed! I couldn't hear a thing once we retired for the night and I know we had kids around us. I was surprised at the person that posted that they could hear their neighbors snoring...but yes, it was a fast trip back to Florida and there was quite a bit of "ship" noise and movement on that last night. I about got knocked over when I got up to walk to the washroom!

Hope you had a wonderful cruise as well...it is tough to be home but since United lost all three pieces of our lugguge, I have just HAD to relax all day...watching Disney movies, sipping tea and on the Dis!
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:29 PM   #13
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Very good information. Sounds like you have done both the Magic and Fantasy. Curious which one you prefer and why? Thank you.
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:03 PM   #14
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I think the noise must depend on what is beside you. Our neighbours must have both had colds because we could hear them coughing at night. It was very rough the last night, I hear ya about falling over while going to the bathroom!

A little info about San Juan. We did the fort on our own with our 4 year old son. He loved it! We got off the ship, and went to the right about a block and got on a free trolly. This will take you right around the town, but we got off at the first fort. It was $3 for my husband and myself, and children were free. If you are going to go to both forts, you pay for both at the same time and it is $5 for both. You just hop back in the free trolly and it takes you to the next one.
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:23 PM   #15
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I have to say that my favorite ship is the Magic. Don't misunderstand, the Wonder and Fantasy were beautiful with a great crew, shows and dining. But the Magic has a special place in our hearts because of the people that we met. We really got to know the crew on the Magic...everyone from those you would expect like servers and stateroom hosts to those that you wouldn't expect like bartenders and even the captain. It felt more like "family"...probably because of the smaller number of guests. There were also some little touches that we experienced on the Magic and didn't experience this last cruise. Again, great cruises but just different.
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Fantasy 7-night Eastern 1/13
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Mother-daughter cruise Dream 3-night 3/15

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