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Old 02-18-2014, 09:12 AM   #106
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OK, I both love and am slightly terrified of your latest towel animal
Wow, the color of the water in St Maarten is beautiful
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Old 02-19-2014, 10:17 AM   #107
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We were on the same cruise (Eastern) funny because last year I remember reading your LAST trip report getting excited for the Fantasy!! Great job! Wasn't it the best cruise! FYI, re: St. Maarten....we did Captain Alan's snorkelling tour and it was phenomenal. Look into it the next time you're there (which I have a feeling will happen for you guys lol). It is consistently number 1-3 on trip advisor.
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Old 02-19-2014, 10:21 AM   #108
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Originally Posted by tracylkj View Post
We were on the same cruise (Eastern) funny because last year I remember reading your LAST trip report getting excited for the Fantasy!! Great job! Wasn't it the best cruise! FYI, re: St. Maarten....we did Captain Alan's snorkelling tour and it was phenomenal. Look into it the next time you're there (which I have a feeling will happen for you guys lol). It is consistently number 1-3 on trip advisor.
We will keep that in mind...and yes we had a blast on this cruise.
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Old 02-19-2014, 10:24 AM   #109
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The rest of the afternoon

Off the bus we headed to our ride in the "parking lot".

This was parked right near the Fantasy...completely ridiculous.

I honestly didn't even know I did this until Jenna showed me this picture hours later...

I don't remember what time we got back but it was early enough for us to still go to Cabanas.

We enjoyed more time outside by the pool and made some decisions about our evening. We were starting to get a little burnt out with the whole process of going to dinner and just wanted a quiet night to ourselves. It was also pirate night, which is ok food but nothing that we would have missed out terribly on. We also figured if we went to Cabanas they would probably have some of it anyway. Another deciding factor was we were supposed to be in Animator’s Palate again. Between both cruises we were scheduled there 5 times. So we finally decided to do Cabana's early and then catch an 8 p.m. showing of "Saving Mr. Banks" which let out just in time to go up for some fireworks.

Dressed for dinner early we watched the Epic sail off into the sunset.

Then we headed up to dinner...
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Old 02-19-2014, 03:33 PM   #110
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Thanks for your post, looking forward to our Dream cruise.
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Old 02-19-2014, 05:39 PM   #111
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Pirate Night

We found no line to see Pirate Donald so we thought we'd stop by. I didn't realize he would try and steal my girl.

But we soon got over it.

We headed up to Cabanas for dinner...

Dinner here is fine if you need a quiet night but there are some odd things about it. In the dining room you can order ginger ale free of charge and the iced tea is brewed. In Cabanas you are limited to what's at the drink stations. If you want a ginger ale you have to pay for it and the iced tea is that terrible mix they have. But we weren't expecting much so it was nice. The food all seemed a little more fresh. The potstickers were so hot and tasty we ordered seconds.

It was a quiet simple and, compared to regular dinner, very quick meal. We got great seats for the movie which we were very much enjoying for 20 minutes and then the projector broke. A very exhausted looking Assistant Cruise Director who had clearly run across the ship dressed as a pirate gave the sad news that it wasn't getting fixed anytime soon. Watching that movie on this vacation was just not in the cards for us.

We can't remember how but we killed the time someway or another and headed up for the fireworks. The weather was great so they did the full show and the fireworks went off without a hitch. It was a lot of fun.

We made a drive by off the pirate buffet but there is nothing there that we find appetizing.

We had an early start to our St. Thomas excursion so we were off to bed.
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Old 02-20-2014, 05:34 AM   #112
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January 15th, St. Thomas-St. John Champagne Catamaran Sail and Snorkel

Our excursion met in the Walt Disney Theater at 7:45 so we had to get ourselves up early to make sure we had breakfast but when I looked out the window I perked up pretty quick.

Full disclosure this was taken in the middle of the day but you get the idea.

The nerd in me also noticed that parked not too far away was the yacht that Steve Jobs had designed for his family. It's the middle of the three.

We were doing the "St. John Champagne Catamaran Sail and Snorkel". We really wanted to go to St. John so this appealed to us. We first boarded an "open air safari taxi", translation "expedition everest without seat belts or doors". Also in St. Thomas they drive american cars, steering wheel on the left, but drive on the left also. It was um...exciting. Once to the Marina we were led out to our Catamaran.

There were 3 crew leading the tour and all were very nice. Megan, Ryan, and Captain Theresa. As we sailed along Megan shared some trivia about the islands. She pointed out one large flat rock where old ships used to test their cannons. If you snorkel there you can find cannon balls littered all over the ocean floor.

I think the ride was a quick 45 minutes or so. There is so much around the look at that it felt very fast.

Once we pulled up the sun was out and they claimed the water was about 80 degrees.

They pointed out two buoys not too far from the boat and said between them you can often find sea turtles. Right off the boat the water is probably 30-40 feet deep. We headed straight over and found some right away.

You aren't allowed to touch the turtles obviously but I swam down to them and was able to get pretty close. When they come up for air they would swim right near people also.

After spending a good amount of time observing my flippered friends we decided to swim up towards the beach. It's difficult to really express how clear and perfect the water is, or how soft and wonderful the sand is closer to the beach.

We had a great time. The beach really is amazing and I would not hesitate to ever go back...We wish we were there right now.

We had about an hour in the water, just long enough to get cold, and then they called us back. The sun was shining beautifully the whole way back and they had an open bar of champagne, beer, and rum punch. We learned a harsh lesson about drinking rum punch on a catamaran on our honeymoon so we stuck to beer and champagne.

Again the scenery was wonderful going back. Once back to the marina we boarded the "safari-taxi of terror" and headed back to the ship.

I took more video than pictures of this excursion so I threw this video together quick to give a better idea of what it was like.

Be sure to watch in HD.
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Old 02-20-2014, 06:26 PM   #113
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The Rest of the Day

It couldn't have been too late when we got back to the ship because we were able to go to Royal Court for lunch. We were seated right next to a window looking out at the beautiful bay. It was completely delightful.

When asked what we wanted for dessert we said nothing.

I guess we should have been more specific...

We spent the rest of the day on deck 13 Forward. We spent a lot of time there because in addition to being an adults only area it is extremely quiet. You can't hear any noise from the family pool area or funnel vision and there is no reason for kids to be wandering through there. We both fell asleep for a while and then cooled off in Satellite Falls. When it isn't windy Satellite falls is wonderful.

The Fantasy blew her "When you wish upon a star" horn which was a signal that we were showing off as the Norwegian Epic, yes we were parked behind them again, was about to depart. We were treated to a show of the last two passengers sprinting down the pier trying to get there before they left and then they were off. We decided that we gotten enough sun for one day and watched us sail away down on Deck 4.
It was nice and cool and we were able to just walk easily back and forth to see both sides of the ship because the views were incredible.

You can see different small islands for probably 90 minutes after you leave. After a while we remembered that our room had a verandah and enjoyed the rest of the ride from there.

The sun went down on a perfect day.

Dinner was back in Enchanted Garden. Our assistant server had gotten very playful with us and was giving us a bunch of brain teasers to keep us busy. They started off simple...

And eventually got much more complicated...

And then even more complicated...

This night in particular we were her only table so we got a lot of attention, she was really fantastic. At the end of dinners it looked like 10 children ate there because there were crayons, and crayon drawings all over the table cloth.

It was a lot of fun and it marked the end to a really fantastic day.
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Old 02-20-2014, 06:41 PM   #114
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Hi I'm am thoroughly enjoying your trip report.

Looking forward to reading the rest.
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:53 PM   #115
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really enjoying your report and pictures. We are on the Fantasy December 2014.
FONT="Comic Sans MS"]Myself DW DD16 DS12 = obsessed with our favourite place on earth, WDW!
March 2003 - offsite [COLOR="navy"]March 2004[/COLOR] - offsite March 2006 - offsite March 2007 - offsite March 2008 - 4 night Wonder March 2009 - offsite Xmas 2009 - 4 night Wonder March 2010 - Beach Club & Wilderness Lodge January 2010 - offsite [/FONT] March 2011 - 4 night Dream January 2012 - Beach Club July 2012 - 5 Night Magic
March 2013 4 Night Dream cruise[B]August 2013 [/B]Vistana Villages December 2013 Clearwater Marriott/Vistana Villages Orlando- March 2014 Vistana Villages
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Old 02-20-2014, 10:54 PM   #116
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Great trip report and wonderful pictures. DH and I set sail on the Fantasy in May, we can't wait now!
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Old 02-21-2014, 05:17 AM   #117
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January 16th, At Sea

January 16th, At Sea

I woke up very early to get some video with the ship very empty and with the sun coming up. At that hour there are a lot of dads carrying very young babies around and older people waiting to watch the sunrise. It is a very peaceful time of day.

Once Jenna was up we spent a little time in the Cove Cafe...

This was also one of the days that they had warm croissants so we took our time. It was still pretty early so we were able to get on the Aquaduck again before the line got too crazy. We were standing in line behind a very small girl with her mom who was looking very nervous and clearly didn't want to do it but the mom and the ride attendant were able to calm her down enough to go. When we got off we saw her dragging her dad by the hand enthusiastically up the stairs to go again.

It was another day perfectly built for spending outside. We took in as much sunshine and swam as much as we could. It was picture perfect out.

It was a lucky thing that we started early because by mid afternoon the weather turned a bit...

A little chilly but quite content with our day so far we retreated inside...
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Old 02-21-2014, 05:20 AM   #118
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More Odds and Ends

Once inside I can't really remember what we did so here's some pictures of things that we like around the ship.


It is crazy how much incredible, and a lot of times HUGE, artwork is around the ship. It's worth walking the height of the ship in every stairwell just to see it all.

The carpets are super nice too...

2 for 1 Drinks... Big Fan.

Anyway it was Semi-Formal night and once again people got dolled up.

We spent some time at the Bon Voyage Bar enjoying the action of the lobby.

Then it was off to Royal Court...

We had another great meal and finished it off with a table full of chocolate lava cakes...

Two of our tablemates convinced us to go see the "Buckets N Boards" adults show after dinner. We saw their family show last year and were less than impressed. We had to walk out. We figured we'd give the adult show a shot to be fair. A lot of people love these guys and think they are hysterical but we just don't see it. Again maybe we're jaded because we work in entertainment but we were less than impressed. Lots of other people seem to love it though so I'm glad people are enjoying themselves; I'll just stay out of the theater from here on out.

We were off to bed, ready for a fun filled day at Castaway Cay.
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Old 02-22-2014, 07:36 AM   #119
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January 17th, Castaway Cay

We woke up to a mostly sunny and not very windy day but the air temperature was cooler than we had seen in a while. We weren't terribly discouraged, we've managed our expectations of having a proper beach day at Castaway in January. We had signed up for parasailing again since it had gotten cancelled when we were at Castaway on the Magic and it looked like a nice enough day for it.

We weren't going to get in until after 9 so we had another leisurely breakfast at Royal Court and took our time getting ready. Before long we were parking and treated to one heck of a view.

I was planning on running the Castaway 5K and then our Parasailing was scheduled at 11 a.m. We showed up in the Tube to check in for the run and were greeted with quite a turnout.

Last year I think there were about 40 of us, this time there had to be around 100. I really wouldn't be surprised if they find a way to charge for this one day.

It took a little longer to clear the ship than we had hoped and coordinating all of the runners made the walk to the start line a little slow, so of course now we were starting to get a little nervous about the time. Parasailing is at Marge's Barges, right next to the ship and the start line of the race is further down the island so I was trying to figure out how much time I needed to be safe to finish the race and then get all the way back by 11.

We officially started the race at 10:15 and I had a little extra motivation to hustle. It was a good run. It's a fun way to start your day. Once I finished we started back to Marge's Barges and just missed a tram so with time of the essence we just started to walk.

We got back at just about 11, signed a waiver and were immediately led to a boat. Since we were the last ones on the boat we were the first to get harnessed up and before we knew it we were being raised up into the air. The whole thing was so hectic that we never got a chance to be nervous about it at all.

The view was incredible. One fear we had was that it might be very cold but it wasn't bad at all. By the time our 5-minute flight was ending our feet were a little chilly because they were exposed but otherwise it was perfectly fine. The whole experience is so gentle and peaceful that the height wasn't even scary.

Once we were pulled in the rest of our group began questioning us as to how scary it was. We tried to reassure everyone that it is surprisingly not scary at all. As each pair of people went up and back they returned to the same interrogation that we received. A lot of people were nervous about it and one kid was very much against it. Everyone reassured him that it wasn't bad at all and eventually everyone made the flight and was happy they did.

It was a lot of fun and we are very happy we did it. At $95 a person I doubt we will ever do it again though. The 2 guys running the boat weren't the best either. I get that they don't really work for Disney but they had zero personality. There was also no talk about safety or even a description of the harness you were going to wear. They just told me to get up and stand on the end of the boat, which was still moving, he clipped me in and we were off. The most they ever said was mentioning that they accept gratuities as we were pulling back to the dock, no one jumped at that.

Since we were conveniently right next to the ship we decided to hit up the post office while there was no line and drop some stuff off in our stateroom.
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Old 02-22-2014, 11:31 AM   #120
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Fun in the partly cloudy sun...

Our assistant server Maureen had mentioned that she was going to be working at the BBQ at Serenity Bay. She also had the opinion that the food was better there. She's a lot of fun and we love good food so it sounded good to us. I think we had just missed the first lunch rush because we walked up without any line. The food was definitely better than we've had in the past. The ribs there are a lot more tender than at the main BBQ and they heat up steaks to order, which I don't think they have at the family beach. We chatted up Maureen for a while and then set off to walk along Serenity Bay.

It was still too cold for us to want to go swimming but there were a handful of people splashing around.

I couldn't resist getting in a little though.

Jenna stayed firmly planted on land.

We spent some time walking along the water and enjoying the view.

We were able to find plenty of space to ourselves.

We decided to head back to the main beaches and walk around a little more.

A quick mention on merchandise quality... Jenna saw this dress that she liked but would have preferred the green color underneath it. Despite being mostly identical otherwise the green one didn't say "Castaway Cay" on it, it was just a generic print...weird.

We returned to the ship to find a nice setup of flavored waters and iced tea. Nice touch.

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