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Old 03-27-2013, 07:49 PM   #1
mjf
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Our experience on the Disney Fantasy - the Good and the Bad

Hi Everyone,

We are frequent readers here on the DIS and we wanted to "give back" by providing some of our experiences on a recent DCL cruise. Its not really a trip report but more like the Good and the Bad.

Hope it provides useful for future cruisers!

Our cruise - Disney Fantasy Mar 9-16 Eastern Caribbean (St. Thomas, San Juan, Cast Away Cay) Stateroom 7562 Cat 5C (we had 4 adjoining staterooms )

The Good - Cast Away Cay and Palo

The Bad - Disappointed with regular evening dining experience. Service received at our table was poor. We have sent an email to Disney giving them our feedback and the details. Also in general the majority of our party found the food offering too formal and would have preferred more Cabana`s style food at least a couple of evenings.

Embarkation day - very smooth. We arrived at the port for 11am, dropped everyone and the luggage to wait outside the terminal on the benches while the rental cars were returned back to Budget. It was close to 11:30am when the Budget shuttle arrived back at the terminal right on time for our designated port arrival time. We were allowed to board immediately. Woohoo! We went straight to Cabanas for lunch and then the AquaDuck and kids pool. I went to Palos to change our dinner reservation as it conflicted with the animation show night in AP. There were limited options available but we were able to change to semi formal night. Later that afternoon we also booked beverage seminars. Again availability was limited. Champagne and mixology classes were already gone. These should be booked as soon as you board. The rooms were ready on time. Luggage came in spurts.

Kids club bracelets - It was interesting that one CM recommended we get the bracelet on board and another said there would be long lines at the club so do it in the terminal. We decided to go directly on board. We meant to go to the open house at the club right after lunch. Instead we went to the club after 3pm and it was closed. We should have checked the navigator. We went after the sail away party and there were a LOT of people waiting. We were one of the first there so we didn't wait long, but I would try to avoid that time in the future. Later that evening we saw that there was a special table setup and the lines were not long so we could have waited until then with no trouble.

Picture package - even if you use the same stateroom card for all photos you will NOT see all the photos in your account due to the facial recognition software. In other words the only photos you will have in your account are those that contain at least one person in your stateroom. It doesn't matter which card you use the system knows which room you are in. There was an older post here on disboards indicating that you could use the same card to share the package, but that is no longer the case. Overall I am not happy with the photo CD for the amount of $$ spent. Next time I would take more pics with my own camera, and avoid Shutters as its really just not worth the money.

Cast Away Cay 5K - poor organization, that said I am happy I did it and would do it again!
See my post here: http://www.disboards.com/showthread....9#post47862049

2 for 1 drinks of the day - Avoid. Junk.

PALO - NOT to be MISSED. This was exceptional, we had Kristian as our server. I know there are lots of posts on this so I won't elaborate.

Wine Package
- we bought the classic package online and we were happy with the wines. Although one evening we waited 20 minutes for a bottle as they had to go to another restaurant to get it? Also make sure you see the bottle to confirm your selection, as we were served the wrong bottle of white and didn't figure this out until they came back to fill our glasses.

Room Service
- Late night Hot wings and cheese plate from room service are a must do. Wish we had done more of this Wait time was not long at all.

Pirate Night Buffet
- They had Turkey Legs!!! Aside from Palos this was the best evening meal

Spa / Fitness Center
- Rainforest Spa - We ordered day passes online. Some of us loved it and others in our party were not as impressed, and thought it was over priced. It was less busy earlier in the cruise. Also I went late one evening 9pm-10pm and literally had the place to myself, for me totally worth the $16.

- Spa Stone Massage - I enjoyed the overall experience even though there was a bit of a hard sell at end for some sort of bath salts. I probably wouldn't spend the $$ on this again. I enjoyed the Rain Forest a lot more for $$.

- I used the treadmills in the Fitness Center a few mornings and was surprised at how busy it was. I never had trouble getting a machine, but just never expected to see that many people at 7am while on vacation I later decided to run around Deck 4 as I prefer the fresh air. Loved it! Lots of people running on the deck as well.

Shows/Entertainment
- The Disney evening shows were just ok, I think we liked the first one the best. On our cruise just about every Disney show played in the afternoon, and they seemed to be just a busy as the evening showings. If you want to get up close you need to be there early i.e. when the doors open. Everyone loved Magic Dave and Ron Lucas (Ventriloquist). His evening adult show in the Tube reached capacity and a lot of people were disappointed they missed it. Somehow Disney was surprised by this, and the other adult night time entertainment was moved to the Theatre for the next evenings. The kids also went to the Magic Class given by Dave during the day, they had a blast.

- Bingo - a lot $$ for a very small chance of winning anything. Only did it once too many other things to do.

- We saw maybe 2 or 3 movies, we brought our own snacks and water. Even saw people bringing plates of food from the takeout venues.

- 80's Music Challenge in the Tube - the host was fantastic and really got the crowd going, believe it or not it was one of the highlights for evening activities for us.

- The kids loved the special activities in the Lab - Super Sloppy Science (Flubber/Volcanos), Piston Cup Challenge, Phineas and Ferb Best Party Ever.

- Art of the Theme Show Tour - was good, interesting to hear some of the secrets from the imagineers when designing the Fantasy.


Other
- The white board provided by Dreams Unlimited was great. Very practical and lots of fun for adding messages. We were a group of 4 rooms so we put ours outside on the doors to leave message between the rooms.

- Brought way too much clothing even after removing a good 25% before leaving. Pack less! See last night packing below.

- Tried the back of the door shoe hanger, it was semi-useful, not sure I would take it again, as I found there to be lots of shelves in the bathrooms.

- The last night was very hectic trying to fit in the Disney show, packing, shutters, etc.... perhaps the later seating would be better for this? Next time I would try to not pack as much and start packing some stuff on the last sea day.

- Rough waters. The seas were pretty rough and several people in our party got sea sick early in cruise. If anyone is prone to motion sickness start with the sea sickness pills immediately.

- Booking a future "dummy" cruise. I recommend doing it as early as possible. I did it on the 2nd evening before early dinner and just walked up to the desk. Others in our group did it on one of the last nights and there were lines.

Excursions

- St. Thomas - Doubloon Snorkling. Awesome time, great crew, lots of fun. Definitely recommend this however it was pricey. We saw a few turtles and a small coral reef. The snorkling on Cast Away Cay was better. I would recommend bringing your own gear for kids if possible. We had a hard time fitting our 7 year old son.

- San Juan - our group did 3 different outings.
Horseback riding in the Rainforest - would not recommend, very tiring, expensive, and long bus ride.
Surfing - loved it!
Self Paced Walking tour - http://www.puertoricodaytrips.com/ol...alking-tour-1/ . This was an excellent way to see the historic sites of San Juan at your pace.

- Cast Away Cay - this was the high point for everyone, we had a fabulous day. However we had a bad experience with Stingray Feeding (my son got bitten by a ray and didn't want to go back in) We were in the water 10 minutes max . Next time, I would plan to just relax on beach and maybe rent floats. Lunch was awesome. Best cookies ever. Bike rentals - great way to see all of the island.
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Mar13 - DCL-Fantasy
Nov12 - CBR(FD)
Mar12 - POFQ(FD),SSR
Mar11 - DCL-Dream, AKV
Mar10 - CBR/AKV
Mar09 - BCV
Nov09, Mar08, Nov08, Dec07 (SSR)
Feb07 - OKW, HGVC
Feb06 - OKW, RitzCarleton OGL, Homewood Suites
Feb05 - Country Inn&Suites LBV, MysticDunes
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:08 PM   #2
TaTa4Now1968
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We also had a really bad server team on our last cruise. We also were not impressed with some of the food choices at the MDRs. We ate at Cabanas one night and really loved it. We also enjoyed the food at the counter service. On our next cruise we have decided to skip MDR and just go to Cabanas and counter service. Maybe some Palo Brunches & Dinner, Palo was great.
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:16 PM   #3
carpenta
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We just returned from the Dream and this was our second cruise on that ship. The first cruise our service was below par and also disappointing. This cruise both the food and the service was super. Could not complain. Disney really did a good job of fixing the problems. Maybe the Fantasy is going through the same "problems". We did the Dubloon and we had a great time also and still is one of our favorites in the Caribbean. Thanks for the review.
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:22 PM   #4
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Thanks for the review!
Want to do Art of the Theme next cruise. Glad to hear you liked it!
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:23 PM   #5
BlakeNJ
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You review was perfect for me. I enjoy spa treatments and love to work out so hearing your review helped me a lot--oh and I have kids so the info on the kids club was useful too.

Can you tell me a little more about the food at Cabana's? Also, was there popcorn available at the movie?
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:29 PM   #6
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I guess they could expand the menu in the MDR, but I hope they don't Cabanaize it entirely. The main dining room offers the more formal dishes, and Cabanas less formal, no need to duplicate it in the MDR. But, full disclosure, I've been cruising for 33 years, and we cruise for the formal, leisurely dining experience. We always have late seating, and usually are in the dining room for 2 hours.
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:33 PM   #7
TaTa4Now1968
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Was not impressed with the Fire and ice manicure/nail treatment that I got (the fire and ice part felt good) but the girl only put one coat of polish on and then told me if I wanted to add another special coat to have it last longer it would cost another $15, spent over $50 and it only lasted like two days. They told me if I wanted a touch up I could go back, to be honest with you, I did not have the time and I did not want to hear the sales pitch.
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:38 PM   #8
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DH and I were also on this cruise. We had a great servers at diner and were fortunate to have fun table mates. We did Palo for dinner and brunch and both were amazing and worth it. We would definitely go there again.
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:43 PM   #9
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Thanks - we leave next month and your info was great.

Question: The mixology classes - you said a couple were already sold out on the 1st day.

Can you tell me how much they are and where do you sign up. That martini one sounds great!!!
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:46 PM   #10
TaTa4Now1968
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The Kids Club was great, my DD still talks about it and cannot wait to go back. The CM's were awesome and very enthusiastic. A couple of times bringing her to the Kids Club we ran in to a couple of characters and they were so accommodating with pictures and interacting with her.
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdurette View Post
Thanks - we leave next month and your info was great.

Question: The mixology classes - you said a couple were already sold out on the 1st day.

Can you tell me how much they are and where do you sign up. That martini one sounds great!!!
You sign up on the first day in La Piazza from 1-3pm. Mixology is $15 & martini tasting is $15 also.

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Old 03-27-2013, 08:57 PM   #12
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My daughter got chomped by a sting ray at CC too. She flipped out, and other than directing her to the first aid station to get bandaged up, the staff there did NOTHING. She was bleeding like crazy and no one ever checked to see if she was okay. The whole experience was ruined for us because my husband had to take her to First Aid so they both missed the rest of the excursion.
I was especially shocked at the whole situation because it has never even occurred to me that it could happen. It certainly wasn't part of the info they gave before we got in the water!!
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moomy-san View Post
My daughter got chomped by a sting ray at CC too. She flipped out, and other than directing her to the first aid station to get bandaged up, the staff there did NOTHING. She was bleeding like crazy and no one ever checked to see if she was okay. The whole experience was ruined for us because my husband had to take her to First Aid so they both missed the rest of the excursion.
I was especially shocked at the whole situation because it has never even occurred to me that it could happen. It certainly wasn't part of the info they gave before we got in the water!!
It happens unfortunately. Since we live somewhat near the beach, our kids have been taught to shuffle their feet when walking in the ocean. Even with doing that, it happens.
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moomy-san
My daughter got chomped by a sting ray at CC too. She flipped out, and other than directing her to the first aid station to get bandaged up, the staff there did NOTHING. She was bleeding like crazy and no one ever checked to see if she was okay. The whole experience was ruined for us because my husband had to take her to First Aid so they both missed the rest of the excursion.
I was especially shocked at the whole situation because it has never even occurred to me that it could happen. It certainly wasn't part of the info they gave before we got in the water!!
I live in CA so I have no experience with sting rays on the beaches here. Are the sting rays all over the beach? I'm creeped out by this. Would water shoes prevent a bite injury? I have no desire to ever do a sting ray encounter. Just not my thing. I don't care how gentle they are, lol. Dolphins, sting rays, nope.
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:34 PM   #15
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I live in CA so I have no experience with sting rays on the beaches here. Are the sting rays all over the beach? I'm creeped out by this. Would water shoes prevent a bite injury? I have no desire to ever do a sting ray encounter. Just not my thing. I don't care how gentle they are, lol. Dolphins, sting rays, nope.
There are most certainly sting rays in the CA beaches. My friends son was stung on two separate occasions in San Clemente.

I, too, prefer my ocean swimming to be free of creepy creatures.
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