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Old 01-22-2014, 07:17 PM   #1
Laurie26739
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A 'Fantasy' come true....I've got BINGO fever

How about a cruise? my DH said one, cold snowy January day last year. Of course, our DD (age 12 at the time) was onboard from the moment he mentioned it. I was a little more apprehensive about the whole situation. The typical worries of seasickness, hurricanes, and the terrible stories that had been broadcasted on the news regarding other cruise lines concerned me but since they were so excited about the prospect, I gave in.
We had been to DisneyWorld in 2008 and again in 2011, but DH and DD wanted something different. You see, I am a little OCD when it comes to planning vacations..okay who am I kidding, I am A LOT OCD with vacations. My DH compares our vacations at Disney to his former days in bootcamp&only worse. Up at the crack of dawn, go, go, go all day, collapse into bed of exhaustion late that night and get up and repeat the next morning. I just feel that I have to get my moneys worth. So that is how a cruise came into the picture. DH actually wanted to relax on vacation. RELAX, what an awesome concept.

First order of business was to decide when to cruise and for how long. We knew that if we were going to go on a cruise we would prefer a longer time at sea (especially since we were skipping the parks this trip). We decided on a 7 night Western Caribbean cruise aboard the Fantasy and chose to go in September, yep hurricane season. You may ask why not the summer to cruise but summers just dont work for us. DH and I are both law enforcement officers and summer is a really bad time to take vacation, additionally our DD is very active in 4-H and sports so summer is a bad time with camps, sport schedules, and competitions. Therefore, it was a no brainer to pull our DD from school for a week (before basketball practice started of course) for an educational vacation.

A 20+ hour drive to Florida was not in the cards for us (we have previously flew on both trip to DW) so we started looking for flights. We have previously flown Jet Blue and Southwest out of Dulles (Washington DC), however this time we could not get direct flights with either of those airlines. So using skyscanner.com we were able to get an awesome deal on flights (United), direct ones at that. Just a side note, I had Disney quote us flights and I was able to secure three tickets for $100 LESS than ONE TICKET from Disney so shop around.

Next Up...FE and DIS Boards......

Last edited by Laurie26739; 01-22-2014 at 07:55 PM.
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Old 01-22-2014, 07:25 PM   #2
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80 days away from my western Fantasy trip so I am looking forward to your reports!
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Old 01-22-2014, 07:51 PM   #3
Laurie26739
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So once we booked our cruise and flights, I began to get excited and warmed up to the concept of cruising. So again my OCD kicked in. I started reading everything that I could get my hands on relating to Disney cruising. I joined DIS Boards and found our cruise meet page, which led me to the Facebook page for our cruise. I absolutely LOVE social media. I also purchased the PassPorter book relating to cruising. I had purchased these books previously when we went to the World and think they are an awesome reference for newbies.

DIS Boards is where I first learned about FE and thought it would be fun to participate in this activity. Creating gifts for the fish extenders helped to build in the excitement of the trip. Our gifts became a family activity. For the adults we made Mickey Mouse coasters and book marks; for the kids we made paracord bracelets and keychains. We also worked on decorations for our stateroom room, Mickey heads, name fills, and port hole covers.

For months we researched excursions, this also became a family activity. DH and DD are VERY adventurous and were excited about the excursions that were offered. After tons of research, we settled on the following excursions: Grand Cayman- turtle farm and dolphin extreme swim (with DH and myself being dolphin observers), Cozumel- off road adventure to Jade Caverns, Castaway Cay- Seahorse Catamaran Snorkel Adventure and Parasailing. Whoa, thats a lot of excursions, but like I said a very adventurous group!
Oh, we also decided we were going to go all out and also dress up for pirate night, therefore we also purchased full pirate costumes for the trip.

Next up.....we are off....
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Old 01-22-2014, 08:17 PM   #4
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Because of my fears of our flight being delayed (yeah it was September, ya never know) and missing the ship, we flew into Florida the day before the cruise, which was Friday the 13th (LOL). We flew out of Dulles, which is about a 3 hour drive from our house. My parents were gracious enough to drive us to the airport and drop us off so we didnt have to pay for our car being at the airport for a week (thanks Mom and Dad). Our flight was 1 ½ hours and was a relatively smooth flight. We made reservations to stay at the Radisson at the Port in Cape Canaveral that night and take the shuttle the next morning over to the port.

The hotel offered a package called fly, ride, and stay, which was perfect for us. This included transportation from the airport to the hotel and our lodging for the night. The hotel was nice and very clean. The pool was absolutely beautiful and there was a live band playing there when we arrived. We did not get a chance to try out the pool due to the time of our flight and we were pretty beat and was looking forward to getting up early to get to the port, guess there is always next time. We also took advantage of the shuttle the next morning over to the port. It was very organized and we arrived at the port in plenty of time for our 10:30 PAT.

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Old 01-23-2014, 10:35 AM   #5
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Once the porter got our bags off the shuttle we were ready to enter the terminal. First step was to go through security. There were no lines at all; we passed through and headed up to check in. We arrived at the terminal with only 2 people in line in front of us. We checked in and received our boarding number #6. We were also informed that we were on the cruise that was testing out the new Disney navigator app. Of course, I had already researched this and had it downloaded on my phone. I just had to reload it once we boarded the ship.


They called our number and we were ready to board. We stopped for the mandatory picture before getting on the ship. Stepping foot on the ship for the first time was amazing. Seeing pictures of the interior just doesnt do it justice, no words can describe it. Even as an adult, I got choked up seeing it for the first time.



It was getting to be lunchtime so we decided to head up to Cabanas to grab something to eat. The buffet was incredible and our DD who will eat just about anything and everything was in seventh heaven. A cruise is a dream come true for her when it comes to food. We feasted on crab legs, lamb, and swordfish for lunch as well as an abundant amount of desserts (hey it was vacation).

Last edited by Laurie26739; 01-23-2014 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 04-25-2014, 04:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurie26739 View Post
So once we booked our cruise and flights, I began to get excited and warmed up to the concept of cruising. So again my OCD kicked in. I started reading everything that I could get my hands on relating to Disney cruising. I joined DIS Boards and found our cruise meet page, which led me to the Facebook page for our cruise. I absolutely LOVE social media. I also purchased the PassPorter book relating to cruising. I had purchased these books previously when we went to the World and think they are an awesome reference for newbies.

DIS Boards is where I first learned about FE and thought it would be fun to participate in this activity. Creating gifts for the fish extenders helped to build in the excitement of the trip. Our gifts became a family activity. For the adults we made Mickey Mouse coasters and book marks; for the kids we made paracord bracelets and keychains. We also worked on decorations for our stateroom room, Mickey heads, name fills, and port hole covers.

For months we researched excursions, this also became a family activity. DH and DD are VERY adventurous and were excited about the excursions that were offered. After tons of research, we settled on the following excursions: Grand Cayman- turtle farm and dolphin extreme swim (with DH and myself being dolphin observers), Cozumel- off road adventure to Jade Caverns, Castaway Cay- Seahorse Catamaran Snorkel Adventure and Parasailing. Whoa, thats a lot of excursions, but like I said a very adventurous group!
Oh, we also decided we were going to go all out and also dress up for pirate night, therefore we also purchased full pirate costumes for the trip.

Next up.....we are off....
This is one of the few excursions on Cozumel that looks interesting to us. would love to hear your review of it!

Thanks!
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3/2014 Solo weekend Yacht Club, 9/2012 Eastern Cruise on the Fantasy, 9/2011 Animal Kingdom Lodge to celebrate our 15th Anniversary, 11/2010 Cruisin on the Magic, 12/5/09 First Cruise with a stay at the Poly, 1/16/08 First Family trip: Boardwalk Villas, 5/2000 PO, 10/1997 Dixie, 8/1995 Yacht Club, 6/1995 All Star Music, 1972 - 1989: off property trips in my youth!!

Currently saving for a Fall Western Fantasy in 2014!
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Old 04-26-2014, 10:39 PM   #7
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You have the exact same excursions as we plan to go on! Can't wait to read the rest of your TR!
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