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Old 03-01-2014, 12:16 PM   #1
"If I were not upon the sea..." I want to already have another cruise booked!
allears's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Southern New Jersey
Posts: 2,512

Winterpocalypses The Escape: Fantasy Sailing 2/1/14

Background: This was my 12th and my DP’s 3rd cruise. The second for us on the Fantasy. We had booked this trip while on board last year. We like sailing at this time of the year, one because it’s around my birthday and two, because we can get away from winter for a week. Mind you we actually like the winter, however, this winter in the Philly Metro area has been unusually brutal. Ongoing weeks of low temps, much lower and more sustained than in years and way more snow than we are accustomed to messing with! So we were really, really, really looking forward to getting out of Dodge and fleeing south!

Travel Day: After the year of planning and anticipation it was finally time to leave! Very happily smooth sailing was going to end up being the way of the week, starting with our flights! We like to fly in the day before, giving us some wiggle room in the event of a problem. And if all goes well, we’ll spend the day in one of the theme parks at WDW.

We typically fly Southwest and initially had booked flights out of Baltimore, due to a big savings. Luckily however, another sale came up during the holidays and for a little bit more money we were able to change our flights to Philadelphia International, which is 20 minutes from our home! About a week before our trip it looked like we might get snow for our departure day, so we quickly formulated a plan B for escape, which would have involved driving, but that didn’t turn our to be the case. We were on the first flight out at 6:30 am. Departed on time and arrived a few minutes early.

Made our way Magical Express and then on to Pop Century, where we were going to be staying over night. Unfortunately it was raining when we got to Florida and continued to varying degrees through out the day. However, it was between 65 and 70 degrees, summer compared to the 19 degrees when had left behind in NJ! We grabbed a quick snacked, checked our carry on with bell service (our room wasn’t ready) then headed to Epcot where we planned to spend the day.

Got to Epcot, bought tickets then attempted to link them to our Magic Bands as well as make Fast Pass reservations. Had some difficulty with this so went to the specialists set up for this. A few minutes later we were all set. I won’t go into the whole Fast Pass + thing, there’s enough on the park boards about this. It all worked out fine for us as we were there just for the day and had very little planned past dinner at the Coral Reef.

The day stayed overcast to rainy, but nothing that stopped us from enjoying our time. Again, it felt like summer to us and we were thrilled to not be shivering! We traversed the park up until our dinner reservation at the Coral Reef. It was great to sit down and have a nice dinner enjoying the view of the large tank. It was relaxing and helped to get us into the vacation state of mind. We tooled around some more until it was time for Illuminations, which we enjoyed. Snagged one last ride on Soarin’ then back to the hotel for some much needed sleep!

Embarkation Day: Woke up bright and early, to get ready for our Happy Limo pick up at 9 am. Grabbed coffee in the food court, it was too insane for much else. Every year there seems to be some huge groups of young people, last year it was cheerleaders, this year we weren’t sure what the affiliation was.

There was an occasional misty rain and it was rather foggy that morning, but warmer than the day before. So fun to be in shorts!

We book a private car to get us to the port. We like to get there as early as we’re allowed. Being Platinum we don’t have to worry about PAT. So we were picked up right around 9 am and excitedly headed to the ship. It was quite foggy that morning, but the rain had pretty much stopped! In fact it was so foggy when first got to the port we couldn’t see the ships! By the time we were dropped, checked our bags and were in line for the terminal it had pretty much cleared up.

We actually had to wait in line for a few minutes before the terminal opened promptly at 10:30. A quick trip through security and we were in the terminal. While we were checking in the cast member noted that we had booked DCL transportation to the airport on debarkation day and that we were flying south west. He told us that starting that day they were testing Southwest and the on board airline check in program and asked if we wanted to participate in the test. After jumping up and down a bit, we said yes. So hoping they make Southwest a permanent participating air line! This is such an excellent program and makes the trip home a lot easier since we didn’t have to touch our luggage after we put it out until we got back to Philly!

After getting all checked in we hung out at the concierge/platinum lounge, and checked our dining rotation. We did not get the rotation we requested, and found that the night of our Remy dinner reservation would be the night we would be in Animator’s for the animation show. We didn’t want to miss that so decided we’d see if we could switch that reservation to Sunday evening. Then some photos out on the balcony and we got a set of pressed pennies from the machine.

By 11:15 they were getting ready to board and we happened to be right at the front of the line area, when they called group one! Stopped for our embarkation photo, and then on board. It felt like we were among the first 10 people to get on the ship! It was awesome to be back!

On to Guest Services to put some cash on our account and book a mixology class. Before we even got to the desk, we were greeted with big warm enthusiastic hugs from Leo, one of the cruise staff team. We have sailed with her on our last two cruises and had a lot of fun with her and the rest of the staff. It is so cool to be one of 4000 guests, just that week, and be remembered by cast members and be made to feel so at home! We knew we were in for a good trip!

Quickly handled everything at guest services then off to Cabana’s for lunch. The day had cleared up beautifully and it was wonderful to be sitting out on the deck enjoying our massive leisurely lunch! Took some photos while there, and when we got home and looked at them, we discovered that the couple sitting at the table right behind us turned out to be our table mates for dinner. So unbeknownst to any of us, we sort of shared our first meal on board together.

After lunch we went up to Remy to see about changing our dinner reservation, no problem, we were now in for Sunday evening. Then we went to the spa to see about booking appointments for facials. We wanted to book them for the same time, which we couldn’t do on line. No worries, we were put in for Monday at 4:30. Then we wandered around the ship a bit, got signed up for the Mid-ship Detective Agency and even checked out our table number in the Enchanted Garden to see how many folks we’d be seated with. Ours was a four top, so it was either going to be four of us or just the two of us.

Our room was ready by 1:20. We had booked an 8A (5518) while on our cruise the year before. We were really looking forward to staying in this room. It looked great in photos, a big square room, two huge port holes and lots of space. It did not disappoint! The room was AMAZING! We would book this room again in a heartbeat. It does not have a split bath or a tub, but this wasn’t a problem for us and the bathroom is huge. The view out of the two portholes was spectacular and we enjoyed it thoroughly throughout the week. We met our stateroom host, Donovan, who I’ve actually sailed with before. He was beyond excellent! He took very good care of us and I swear if we left the room for five seconds, it was all fixed up and cleaned!

Our luggage arrived very early and we were able to get all unpacked and settled in before heading to the spa for the raffle. Alas, we were not winners this year! Then to the safety drill followed by the sail away party. We were just so tickled by the lovely weather and the chance to be warm and in the sun!

Back to the room to dress for the show and dinner. We got to the theatre and decided to try the box seats at the front of the balcony. We usually sit closer to the stage, but we figured this would be fun to try and for the opening show, the view wasn’t as critical. It was cool though, felt like we were at the Opera!

As always the cruise director kicked things off. We were sailing with Clayton, who is very high energy and a lot of fun! John Charles was the variety act for this show; he’s always very funny and entertaining. We enjoy each and every show in the main theartre. We appreciate the hard work and talent of the main stage cast and this cast was very energetic and enthusiastic.

After the show we headed to the Tube for Freddy Fusion’s family cabaret. He is very funny and his magic tricks can be quite impressive. The club hostess for the week was Tisa, whom we’ve sailed with before and were excited to re-connect with. She’s a lot of fun and works very hard. Again we knew we were in for a good week!

First dinner at Animator’s Palate. We met our table mates John and Marita, from Connecticut. They were very, very lovely and we enjoyed our week with them. Our server was Brett Humphrey, who John and Marita had requested to be in his station because they enjoyed his service so much the year before. Our Assistant Server was Joseph Imperial and Head Server was Fasial Fasial. The team was attentive and friendly. We enjoy our times in the main dining rooms and this week was no exception.

On the way in we ran into Ciao Romano! Many on the boards remember him from his days as one of the most excellent servers in Palo on the Magic, which is where we met him two years before. We were all excited to see each other and we were so thrilled that he was part of our rotation.

Once we were finished our wonderful first meal we headed to the Tube for Match Your Mate, which is always a hoot! We hung out a bit after the game show then headed to our room for some much needed rest!
I only hope we never loose sight of one thing, that it was all started by a mouse. -Walt Disney
Things always work out best for those who make the best out of how things work out.

Disney Wonder 2000, Disney Magic, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, Disney Fantasy 2013 & 2014

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Old 03-01-2014, 06:47 PM   #2
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Ontario
Posts: 113

Great start! Can't wait to hear about the rest of the trip!
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Old 03-07-2014, 05:30 PM   #3
Grumpy's Wife
Dollar Tree gal here
sissy fluffed, sissy fluffed!
Someone needs to pretend we've got a clue
Chocolate is a girls heaven
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Mandeville, La
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Joining in.

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