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Old 12-15-2013, 09:01 AM   #1
PrincessTrisha
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A Salute to All Things Fantasy (but mostly Food)

So, we've been back for a little over a month and I finally have my pictures loaded into photobucket. My Christmas shopping is done and it's just dumped a ton of snow on us here in the North so I thought "what better time is there to post some of our cruise memories?"

(None, I told myself - this is as good of a time as I'm going to get - plus, I don't really want to wrap Christmas presents - I hate wrapping - and it's really a pizza kind of day - I don't feel like cooking - and the laundry can wait - I'm going to need to bundle up this week anyways - plus the house closes on Thursday and I have an appointment with the lawyer on Wednesday and then I will be completely broke and I really don't want to think about that...Oiy, I need to stop talking to myself and get on with this!)

I'm not going to both with introductions, I'll just post a link to my pre-trip report. 2013-10-26 Disney Fantasy Cruise

Not that things went like that - but it's good to know I was a good Diser in that respect and actually had plans (didn't follow many but I had them)

I'm also not going to do a day-by-day report. My days just weren't that interesting. Instead I'm going to post individual memories of stuff that happened and then, well, food pictures (I have quite a few of those ).

I'm going to say upfront that this was A GOOD CRUISE. But I'm not really as "in love" with DCL as many people on this board and I think after experiencing other lines (Carnival and Royal), I expect more since I pay more for DCL than other lines. I also don't have kids so my value doesn't come from the kids clubs or the characters. I'm also not a big drinker (and my mom and dad didn't have a single drink on this cruise) so bringing alcohol on board doesn't add value for me either (I brought 10-12 mini bottles on board with me and didn't drink a single one - because of the FE gifts, I brought home more alcohol than I brought even after giving away some to our tablemates).

I've talked my cousin into doing a Disney cruise (instead of the parks) in 2 years (Oct/Nov 2015) so this was by no means my last DCL cruise (and yes, I'm holding 2 dummy date bookings right now to be used by November 30, 2015). And I'm not saying that I won't book a DCL cruise with my parents again. What I am saying is that I will look at all lines, the prices and amenities and decide on a case by case basis which line & ship that I will sail on for that particular trip based on what I want to do.

If you are expecting nothing but "This was the best thing ever!" then please stop reading right now.


I said, now.


Don't go any further.


Please.


Thank you.


Sigh, no really. I have lots of flattering things to say about DCL but you'll also hear about some of the mediocrity and even an occasional "ick".
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Old 12-15-2013, 09:21 AM   #2
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First off - no Red Robin or KFC Buffet happened on our travels (shucks, I know) BUT...we did make it to Orlando around 3:30pm on Friday October 25th (earlier than I had anticipated).

We decided to stop at Downtown Disney (well, actually my parents had decided to stop at Olivia's in Old Key West Resort but I thought that by the time we got there, we'd be in that down spot between lunch and dinner where they weren't open so I suggested DTD instead). We did a little shopping (my mom and I both got grab bags from Mickey's Mart - the one discount store in DTD) and then my parents decided to get me a NBC key chain and salt and pepper set. My dad also picked up a couple of new antenna toppers as he collects those.

We decided to eat at T-Rex - this is somewhere we've enjoyed in the past and again, it didn't disappoint. Yes, the restaurant is loud (very, very loud) and dark but it's fun and there's no where else I can think of that you get to dine among Dinosaurs.

We shared a few appetizers because that's what we like from these kind of restaurants (I mean, a burgers a burger).

So we shared the Flatbread:



This was very good - my dad enjoyed it despite it having goat cheese (which he doesn't like). It was thin and crispy with loads of chicken and onions and the balsamic drizzle was very oh-la-la.

We also shared the Quesidillas:



(funny but I just noticed that my camera has the wrong date on it - it was definitely Friday, not Thursday).

These were good (despite how they look in this photo) Again, loads of white meat chicken breast and gobs of cheese. I really enjoy the fresh pico de gallo that they serve with this.

And finally, the brushetta



That white stuff in the middle is whipped goat cheese (so, so, good!) and under neath is marinated eggplant. My mother and I both really enjoyed this (I mixed all of the tomatoes and eggplant with the drizzles of balsamic and then loaded that ontop of the crispy bread and then spread the cheese over it). I would easily order this as my meal if I was here by myself (actually, I would order the flatbread - it was better - really, really exceptional flavours - and large enough for lunch and leftovers).

Even though we were stuffed, I ordered the donut holes (vanilla only) with the chocolate and caramel dipping sauces. (sorry no picture). We've ordered these before and they didn't disappoint! They are fresh fried, served warm, dusted with icing sugar and then have the options of the dipping sauces (the caramel is my favourite).

We packed up our leftovers (which we ate later at the hotel) and headed to Titusville. I had booked the Fairfield Inn and Suites there for the 40% off coupon for parking at the port. The hotel was good, the breakfast was okay (no breakfast sandwiches though which most Fairfield inns have and that I prefer because the egg is all the way cooked and you heat them to your liking). I would stay here again though because the rooms were nice and spacious, included a mini fridge and microwave (perfect for heating up those leftovers), the hotel was clean and the staff were friendly - plus saving 40% off the port parking is a really great deal - I paid $90 for the night (plus tax) so it was a great bargain as well. The only thing I'd change is instead of enjoying the hotel breakfast, I'd probably go to one of the local (or since we have a car, not so local) restaurants and enjoy better coffee and more choice for the extra cost.
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Old 12-15-2013, 09:28 AM   #3
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Shameless Fauning over myself

Just wanted to post my FE gifts. I was very happy with the way these turned out.



















I made laminated cookie recipe books with my 3 favourite cookie recipes (sugar cookies, gingerbread and shortbread) plus 2 icing recipes (1 hard icing and 1 soft icing) and then a set of beach-themed cookie cutters.

I am hoping that people enjoy them and it helps to bring back cruise memories when people are munching on a dolphin-shaped cookie.
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Old 12-15-2013, 09:56 AM   #4
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Shout out to Fantastic Crew Members

I have to give a shout out to a few fantastic crew members



His name is Christopher. He's a bar server (mostly in the WDW theatre).

And yes, I made sure to recognize him on our survey.

We met him on the first day. After lunch at Cabana's we travelled down to the adult clubs to check them out. On my previous cruises, I had never really visited the adult bar areas (other than to literally walk by them) so I wanted to make sure we got there the first day. We had checked out the Tube, Skyline, and O'Gills Pub, walked through the cool area outside the bathrooms, past the empty mini buffet area and into La Piazza. We decided to take a break and sit at one of the tables (there are a number of steep ramps getting around the adult nightclubs which are a bit trying while pushing a wheelchair) to take a break.

My mom had a bit of a headache (she really needed a nap but that's another story) and asked me to get the bottle of water out of her bag and some tylenol from my purse. I got the tylenol out first and was looking for the bottle of water when Christopher asked if we would like a glass of water (seeing the pills in my hand). He brought us over 3 glasses of ice water and we tipped him $2 (cash). He was dumbfounded and actually went over to the bartender behind the bar and asked what he should do (maybe if they should split it - he didn't actually work in that bar, he was just being nice to us). He ended up coming over and talking for quite a while before leaving for his duties that day. Every time we saw Christopher after that, he always came over to talk with us and even in the WDW theatre while he was taking drink orders, asked if we'd like glasses of water.

Our Server and Assistant Server were also very good this trip but I had to temper that with - they were very good but in a very different way - then any other server we've ever had.

You see, there were numerous "issues" throughout the week (wrong desserts, missing items, long lapses between courses, we always had to ask for cold beverages) but our server and assistant servers were so personable that it was very easy to overlook these issues and still say we had great service.

Our server was Goran:



(I was always able to remember his name because I'm a big fan of Law & Order Criminal Intent). He was funny and charming and was working on a cruise ship so that he could marry the love of his life (he carried her picture in his order book). I offered that if he wanted to get married in Canada, I'd do his wedding cake for them! He did a few tricks and was just such a charming man.

Our assistant server was Alexandre (from France):




He had a high, quiet voice. And he was very sweet to my mother. She started drinking hot tea each night with dinner and always had her tea cup and a couple of tea bags ready for when he rolled up to the table. (both my dad and I had ask for our diet cokes each night but the tea was always ready).

I also want to pause and tell you about our table mates. They were a couple from Detroit Michigan (Rudy and Jill) along with their adult daughter (Marie) and her husband (Johnathan) and Rudy & Jill's son Christian (just turned 21).

They were a hoot. Rudy & Jill paid for the trip for all 5 of them and they were really enjoying the variety of alcoholic beverages available onboard. The first night Jill and Marie came to the table (it was a long table for 8 in Royal Court or Palace or whichever one is on the Fantasy). We were seated on the outside of the table (because of my mom's wheelchair). They arrived and then left saying they needed to find their husbands and I thought for sure they were heading to the Maitre D to ask for a new table but sure enough 5 mins later they returned with the men in tow. If it weren't for them, I think we would have eaten at Cabana's a couple of nights (not due to service but food variety and quality), and probably kept our Palo dinner reservation. The only night we ate alone with the last one because they were celebrating Johnathan's birthday at Remy.

My mother snaps lots of randam pictures:

Here's Jill and I (notice that neither of us is aware)



And Marie & Johnathan:


Last edited by PrincessTrisha; 12-15-2013 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 12-15-2013, 10:06 AM   #5
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Here are just some random photos of the Fantasy:

By the elevators inside Cabanas:



Motorcycle in La Piazza:





Picture that Christopher took of us in La Piazza:



Bar in La Piazza:



Bar stools (in person they look kind of like saddles):



The seating around outside the Vista Cafe on Deck 4 (and the desks at the end are the DVC on the left and the future cruise desks on the right) and of course, pluto in the door way

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Old 12-15-2013, 10:23 AM   #6
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Mosaics in washrooms in Adult area:







Adult area (Satelitte Falls) (and yes, that's me in the purple swim suit):



My mom and I with our feet in the adult pool:



(funny story - this is the first time since her stroke that my mom's done any "pool" activity - we transferred her from her wheelchair to the seat and then laid her down and sat her up so that she was facing the pool - the moment we sat her up and got her feet in the water, she burst into tears - and the few people who were in the pool - we did this on Grand Cayman day - turned to stare and ponder what terrible people we were because we were obviously hurting her so she burst out with "I'm just so happy!")

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Old 12-15-2013, 11:07 AM   #7
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First, I love your report so far. Second, I am so excited to get a food report! (My favorite kind.) And third, I LOVE the photo of your mom with her feet in the pool! Made me smile!
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Old 12-15-2013, 11:10 AM   #8
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Thanks for the trip report. Sweet story about your mom n the pool!
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Old 12-15-2013, 11:21 AM   #9
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Love foodies!

I always say the next meal is the best meal. LOL!!!!

Please post lots of pics, we are going on our first Fantasy cruise in Feb.
I want to see what we have to look forward to.
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Old 12-15-2013, 12:52 PM   #10
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Yay PrincessTricia!

Great idea with the FE's You were in the "all" group too! You must have had several suit cases with cookie cutters

Love the pic with you and your mom in the pool
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Old 12-16-2013, 07:11 AM   #11
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Food

Okay - so food.

I'm going to leave off my other thoughts/photos about activities on the cruise and post some food stuff now because, well, I want to.

Just a few general comments:

1. Cabana's is good; each day there is 1 or 2 really good items (the trick is to find them). Crab claws are located in the island with the shrimp (and saw lots of cross contamination) and since my mother is allergic to crab, it meant no shrimp this time for us. Handscooped ice cream here is really great and probably the best dessert in the buffet. I don't like the pod set up - there were people treating it like one long line and you'd get dirty looks if you didn't start at one end plus there were people travelling each way so there would regularly be issues when people came from both ways and met in the middle of a pod - I'm wimpy when it comes to stuff like that and so I'd let the other people go ahead and it would usually result in me being almost pushed out of the buffet line. Not once did any CMs offer to help with my mother's plate (she has the use of only 1 hand) so I would just go up, get her meal, return it to the table and then go up and get my own (I found this a little unusual because almost every other cruise I've been on with her, at least once someone offers to help but this time, no one offered). Overall, I like Cabana's for breakfast and it's my first choice when I want a hot breakfast but otherwise, I prefer to eat elsewhere.

2. The MDR's not for dinner - I ate lunch in the MDR once this trip and my parents ate breakfast there twice (when I didn't eat breakfast). The food was okay (except for my mother's eggs benedict - those were excellent) and service tended to be very slow. I used to love eating in the MDR all meals but now, I'm not so sure. I think I'd rather enjoy room service or the food by the pool.

3. Room Service - as good as always. Sandwiches, soup, and cheese plates - exactly the same as previous cruises. I didn't order chicken wings this time because I forgot about them. Had 1 Mickey bar from room service and it was as good as always.

4. Pool food - only ate there once this trip (on Castaway cay day) but it was good. Maybe because they weren't busy but my burger was fresh made, the fries were just out of the fryer, and they had hot pretzels!

5. MDR - because of our tablemates, dinner was quite an event for us. Food was hit or miss. Some good items but a lot of mediocrity. And there were several nights I didn't order dessert because there was nothing appealing.

6. Palo brunch - finally tried this and it was very good. But maybe not "$90 extra" good (the new price of $25 per person plus and extra $15 tip = $90). The chicken parm was very good (my dad thought it was the best thing ever), the shrimps and scallops were awesome (loved these), the desserts were okay (I think there was maybe 1 I really liked and several I didn't end up finishing). I think what always make me think twice is that I've already paid for meals on board and then this is extra charge (and on this day we only ate the brunch and dinner - I didn't snack or anything that day) it's tough for me to justify.
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Old 12-16-2013, 07:35 AM   #12
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Dinner Day 1

Our first night's dinner was in Royal Palace (or court or whichever one is the one on the Fantasy ).

I do like the folded napkins



I have to admit that this was always my least favourite menu for entrees. This was the menu that one my Dream cruise, I didn't have an entree because nothing appealed to me (raisins and mustard are my two bigs "no's" and the fish and the chicken contain one of these). I was pleasantly surprised to find out that there were a couple of new menu items to try.

(one of the few menu shots I took)



My mom and dad both ordered the shrimp and lobster (and gave me the bite of lobster since they don't really like it)



Shrimp = good. My dad wishes that DCL served shrimp cocktail every night since it's one of his favourites. My mom ordered it because nothing else really appealed to her (although she loves cheese, she's not a big fan of Brie).

I order the brie bites. I had such high hopes but was uber disappointed when they came:



The little cup has some hard cranberry sauce stuff.

Although these were a brand new item, they tasted freezer burned. And that's about all they tasted like. My mom had a bite of them to try and she didn't like them either.

Good thing I'd also ordered the onion soup (I love French onion soup):



This was good but it was over cooked. The bread was hard around the edges and the cheese wasn't really gooey-melty it was almost crispy. I cup up the bread-cheese and pushed it into the soup to soften up. The flavour was good - rich and salty.

For entrees my dad ordered the Chateaubriand filet:



It was pretty unremarkable and a small portion. After this my dad always ordered a "side steak" at dinner. Our tablemates also picked up the habit of ordering extra because a lot of the portions seemed very small this cruise. He ate it and said it "was fine" but I think he ordered room service a little later.

Both my mom and I ordered the *new* Lobster Macaroni.



This wasn't very good at all. It was super plain (like eating plain pasta). Other than the small dry piece of lobster ontop, my serving had two small nuggets of lobster and I don't think my mom had any (I was actually really surprised that my mom didn't order the lamb for dinner like she normally would but she said she felt like pasta tonight and this was the only option). All we could really taste was the Tarragon (we both thought it was basil until I looked back at the menu and realized it was tarragon - it was very bitter and very powerful).

For dessert my dad ordered 2 of the strawberry shortcake sundaes (can you tell he was still hungry?):



Strawberry shortcake is one of his favourite things so he really enjoyed these and ended up ordering these again on another night.

My mom had a strawberry shortcake sundae and the creme brulee (I think at this point we were all looking for something we knew we'd like):



My favourite dessert of the week is tonight - the Grand Marnier souffle and it didn't disappoint - it was excellent.



I only take a little of the vanilla sauce because I find it overwhelms the gentle orange flavour. On our dream cruise the server poured the entire jug of sauce over the souffle without asking and - as far as I was concerned - ruined it. This time I took no chances and moved the sauce far away from the plate and was able to enjoy the entire thing.

I also ordered a second dessert - the chocolate peanutbutter dessert:



I love peanutbutter cups and was hoping this would be a mousse version of it but alas, it was not. The texture was too stiff and it just tasted like peanutbutter (no discernible chocolate flavour). I had one bite and that was it. My dad tried it and again, one bite was enough.

Overall, first night dinner was okay but not a meal I'd be happy to repeat.
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Old 12-16-2013, 07:43 AM   #13
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Breakfast the next day was at Cabana's.

My mom's plate - a sunny side up egg, bacon, strawberry yougurt hike and fruit:





(and yes, that's my diet coke in the background)

My breakfast - omelet with salsa, steak, potato patty, and two pastries (which I didn't end up eating)



This was good but really far too heavy. I learned my lesson and this was the only day I ate breakfast. Normally I'm a coffee and muffin or bagel and some yougurt for breakfast person. Steak and eggs (while they tasted very good) meant that I didn't eat lunch this day and if I have to choose between breakfast and lunch, I choose lunch. Even though the omelet was one of the precooked ones (they had several choices - plain, ham & cheese, veggie, and maybe one other) it was very good. I like my eggs fully cooked and this certainly fit that bill without being dried out or with that brown crispy stuff that eggs can get if cooked to quickly on too high a temperature.
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Old 12-16-2013, 07:50 AM   #14
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Early in the afternoon we stopped at the Vista cafe for a Caramel Latte for me, a Chai Latte for my mom and an Americano for my dad (which he didn't like - he's a coffee drinker - coffee with double cream - and even after watering down the americano and going up and getting cream instead of milk he found the Americano way too strong). My dad also grabbed a plate of sweets for us to share:



Starting at the top centre:

Chocolate brownie - my dad ate this. he finished it so I'm guessing it was good.
Eclairs - I ate one and I think my dad ate one. They were filled with a mocha cream. Good choupaste and good cream filling.
Strawberry tarts - my mom and dad ate these - they liked them and my mom even ate the crust so it must have been tender (because she doesn't like tart/pie crust)
"Carrot" cake - I think they put a carrot on a string and dragged it through the batter or someone made a mistake and forgot to add it to the batter. These were dense and dry.
Peanut butter square - I swear this is the same ones that they served at Palo brunch later in the week. It was very peanut buttery but generally unremarkable and I didn't finish it.
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Old 12-16-2013, 07:57 AM   #15
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Room Service:

Around 4pm we watched Man of Steel on demand in the cabin and ordered room service.

My mom had tomato soup (which she loves - she orders this every single cruise)



And the cheese plate (we brought breton crackers because my mother prefers the whole wheat crackers with the cheese and used the water crackers in her soup).



(Oh, and I got the brie since she doesn't like it )

I had the tomato and mozzeralla panini (though it was more like regular grilled cheese not a panini). The coleslaw was hot so I didn't eat it and the chips were stale - the sandwich itself was good but I was surprised because it was actually only half a sandwich .



My dad ordered the steak sandwich and the macaroni and cheese (he loves this stuff on board - he ordered it all the time and would get some every time he was in the buffet).





Picture of inside of steak sandwich (to show it's a whole steak)



One of the things my dad likes best about disney cruises - mac'n'cheese and steak sandwiches from room service while watching a new movie!
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