Fantasy 2-9 to 2-16 as a Shinny New Platinum (Adding photos)

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by allears, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. allears

    allears "If I were not upon the sea..." I'd want to be!

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    Day 6: San Juan

    Another spectacular weather day, sunny and hot!!! This was the first time either of us had been to San Juan and we docked in Old San Juan, which is very, very pretty. Breakfast on deck at Cabanas with very lovely views of the entire region. I never get over just how awesome it is to start the day this way!!!!

    Once again we had chosen not to book any excursions and read a bit about walking around San Juan, which sounded very doable. We could see one of the forts, Castillo San Cristobal, from the front of the ship. It looked pretty easy to walk to so off the ship we went. Again, more photos of the ship and our first chance to take a photo of the window to our stateroom! We were docked next to an MSC ship, which was rather ugly, okay, so I think all other ships are ugly.

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    It was a beautiful day, and we walked to the fort which was about a half mile from the dock. The fort is on a sprawling chunk of land right on the ocean. Admission was $3.00 or you could purchase tickets for both this and a fort a bit further away. We opted for just the one. Up a couple of flights of stairs and you end up on the open grassy areas. We spent about 45 minutes walking all over the open hilly areas, and took a ton of photos. It was really beautiful, and we couldnt get over the access and just how you were allowed to crawl over pretty much everything, including getting right up to the edge of the property without finding any obstructions like fences!

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    We made one miscalculation, and that was under estimating the amount of time we were going to be spending out in the sun, so we didnt think about sun screen on our faces. We could tell we were getting a bit baked while wandering around the grounds. We spent the next 45 minutes or so exploring the main part of the fort. The views were awesome! We would highly recommend this stop.

    While snapping photos at a feverish pace, I noticed that we had nearly filled up our memory card, so our mission when walking back was to find a place to pick up another one, thinking they may be cheaper on land than on the ship. This turned out to be a good reason to wander the streets a bit, check out some of the open air vendors wears before finding a Walgreens and getting a couple of new memory cards. Then a leisurely stroll back to the ship. We very much enjoyed our short adventure in Old San Juan and could see coming back and exploring more someday.

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    Back on board we grabbed some lunch then found a shady spot to lounge on deck 13. We determined that staying out of the direct sun might be a good idea after getting a little crispy on the island. We hung out there until sail away shortly before 5. Sailing out of the harbor was really pretty and we got some nice shots of the coast before heading out to sea.

    We had talked about wanting to ride the Aquaduck at night, which is not easy to fit in between shows and dinner, but we had a plan for tonight. This was our night for Palo dinner, so we went to the show dressed to hit the ride right after the show. Tonight was a full show by Buckets and Boards. We saw them for the first time on the Magic last year and were very excited when we found out they were going to be on board for this voyage. We find them very funny, clever, talented and the show is just plain unique. We enjoyed the show A LOT, but booked right out at the end.

    We headed up on deck to ride the duck. We rode it twice and thought it was so cool at night, with the lights and the view of the ocean at night. Then back to the stateroom to get cleaned up and dressed for dinner at Palo.

    We arrived a few minutes early and were escorted into Meridian where we ordered cocktails. This is truly a nice classy space. A very few minutes later the hostess escorted us to the banquet we had requested. We also requested Luca as our server once again. He was awesome. Dinner at Palo has always been a highlight of our past cruises and on board the Fantasy it seems to have been turned up a notch. They prepare the antipasti from a cart at your table, the venue is so pretty and the meal was astounding. Of course it was topped of perfectly by the chocolate soufflé!!!

    After a great meal, we got changed then headed to the Tube for a couple of game shows. One of the things we really liked on this trip was the two for one drink specials they had every night in the Tube. Not sure this is something they are doing on the classic ships now, they werent last year on the Magic, but it is a great incentive for hanging out in the club. The drinks were always some sort of tropical type concoction, and as Tina (the club hostess said) will get you where youre going! Tonights games were called Pop and 80s music challenge. They were a lot of fun. Afterward we strolled deck 4 before turning in.
     
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  3. allears

    allears "If I were not upon the sea..." I'd want to be!

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    Day 7: Back at sea on Valentines Day
    This turned out to be a very busy, but excellent day. We had booked the Art of the Theme Ship tour for 9:30. While this experience is free, you do need to get tickets for it at Guest Services. We met our guide, Sheaka (sp) at Meridian. If you havent done a tour like this before, we would highly recommend it, especially if you havent been on this ship before. We started in Meridian, which is themed to represent travel. Then into Remy, where we got to see the private room, which is not open during brunch, and I can imagine its not open for viewing at dinner either. So just for this we think the tour is worth it. Then off to several other areas of the ship, including the Europa district. We got a lot of cool facts about the designs, the theming, and some neat secrets of the imaginers.

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    Next up for the day, brunch at Remys. Apparently they do seating in groups. Not that you sit as a group, but they bring you into the venue as a group, with the first stop the wine room. The sommelier goes over the champagne pairings, and then the chef reviews the menu. You get your first complimentary glass of bubbly here and some freshly sliced Iberico ham to start you with. Then your server takes you to your table where you start off with a nice brioche, unsalted butter and little dishes of sea salt. We chose to do the champagne pairing, which was really nice.

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    Each course is brought out so that all of the tables are served at one time. Besides the ham appetizer, we had five exquisite courses. I have to admit that I was a little unsure as to how full wed get on the little portions, but we were stuffed when we left. The venue is beautiful, only Disney can continue its tradition of turning rodents into elegant characters! If you are unsure as to whether to try Remy, this is a good introduction and was one of the best meals we had on board. Next voyage we think well try dinner here rather than in Palo, so we can experience something new.

    After brunch we got changed and hung out on deck 13 on some nice shady loungers before our scheduled galley tour at 3 pm. Again this is a free tour, but you need to obtain tickets from Guest Services. Chef Darren led the tour, which starts at the side entrance to the Royal Court. We toured the immense galley which services both the Royal Court and Animators Palate. It is a very cool tour and you get a great appreciation for just how much goes into preparing those wonderful meals. And just as I was told on the galley tour on the Magic years ago, most of the food is NOT pre-cooked, but as much as possible is cooked to order and kept as fresh as is practicable. We really like to the behind the scenes stuff and this is a great tour if you also like such experiences.

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    Since we spent much of the day already in structured activities and because we got a little toasted in San Juan, we chose not to go lay out on deck again but to take a little nap in our state room. Did I mention the beds are really comfy?!?

    We woke up in time to get ready and dressed for the show. This was semi-formal night, so we got dressed up again. I dressed down my tux with a button down shirt and tie and DP wore a dark suit. Tonights show was Believe, which we thought was terrific, especially since the Genie was featured prominently in the production. We thoroughly enjoyed the show! And once again the entire cast was amazing!

    We stopped by Shutters and chose the four photos to purchase, got that out of the way before it went nuts the next night. The new set up for Shutters is great!!! And the ability to view photos from several remote locations is also a cool feature.

    Off to the Tube, for Michael Hollys family cabaret. We obviously take in all of the entertainment options that are available to us, I think you cheat yourself if you dont. The fact that Disney brings on four different acts so that there is a variety during the week is a great benefit. We stayed and caught the special Valentine's Day edition of Match Your Mate.

    Dinner was in the Royal Court. As a platinum cc cruiser, we had the option of a couple of different edible gifts, and one choice was sparkling wine. We called room service before we went to the show and a bottle of Perseco was delivered to our stateroom, which we took to dinner with us. This is another nice perk. I know there is a lot of discussion about the CC club benefits, but we appreciated each one that we got.

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    After dinner we got changed then headed to the Tube for the Buckets and Boards adult show. We enjoyed the show a lot, as well as the two for one drink special!

    We had brought some packs of Ghirardelli chocolates on board, and put a gift bag together for our room hostess, Fridah and our assistant server Rosie. We left Fridahs on the bed so she could find it at turn down and took Rosies to dinner with us. They both seemed genuinely pleased by the gesture and along with increasing our recommended tips; we wanted to express our appreciation for excellent service.

    Once we got back to the stateroom, I got us packed. I started this tradition several cruises ago. No matter how late it gets, I pack everything I can so that we dont have to waste any time on Friday doing this and miss time on Castaway Cay or anything else the last night on board. The bed frames, make it super easy to store luggage under them, so even once packed again we could slide them under the bed and out of the way. This didnt take too long and then it was time for sleep.
     
  4. nannylori

    nannylori Mouseketeer

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    Leaving on Saturday for our 3/9 cruise,same itinerary as yours.
    Totally enjoying your report.

    If you ever need any help navigating Key West,shore or land excursion,give me a shout out!!

    Looking forward to Buckets & Boards,as they weren't around for the MV.
    There weren't two for one drinks then either,so that's something else to look forward to.

    Thanks for a great report and adding pics!!!:flower3:
     
  5. allears

    allears "If I were not upon the sea..." I'd want to be!

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    Thank you, that was a very sweet offer!

    We're sure you'll have an amazing cruise! Wish we were still on board!
     
  6. cleophus12

    cleophus12 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for adding the pictures. I had started reading before photos were added, and it's even better now.
     
  7. allears

    allears "If I were not upon the sea..." I'd want to be!

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    Thanks!!! Glad you're enjoying it!
     
  8. Nawlins Cruiser

    Nawlins Cruiser Earning My Ears

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    I'm enjoying your report. Thanks so much for adding the photos.:thumbsup2
     
  9. sheldonlarson1246

    sheldonlarson1246 Mouseketeer

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    This might be a long shot but do you have pictures of the princesses or Peter Pan on your cruise?
     
  10. DMMarla07860

    DMMarla07860 DIS Veteran

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    I see you did the mixology class. Where did you sign up for that? I read a navigator that says you can sign up at La Piazza. I know it use to be at guest services, can you still sign up at guest services or now just La Piazza?
     
  11. phoenixleigh

    phoenixleigh Mouseketeer

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    I signed up at guest services as soon as I was on board. The mixology fills up quickly. I was on that same cruise.
     
  12. DMMarla07860

    DMMarla07860 DIS Veteran

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    Cool, thanks yeah I know it fills up fast
     
  13. tgropp

    tgropp DIS Veteran

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    San Juan is so nice
     
  14. allears

    allears "If I were not upon the sea..." I'd want to be!

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    Yep, guest services! And we did that as soon as we got on, which was about 11:35.
     
  15. allears

    allears "If I were not upon the sea..." I'd want to be!

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    I'll have to check. I think we may have taken a shot from deck four looking down on deck 3. I remember seeing Peter Pan once but didn't get a photo.
     
  16. DMMarla07860

    DMMarla07860 DIS Veteran

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    that's prob when we will get on or close too it, we are platinum as well. And we plan on going to see about tastings and galley tour
     
  17. allears

    allears "If I were not upon the sea..." I'd want to be!

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    Day 8: Castaway Cay:
    We were warned the day before by Brent that the weather was likely not to be so great today, but when we docked it really wasn’t too bad. A bit overcast, but the temps were in the high 70s. We actually had to nudge our way through the deck two lobby to make our way to the elevators. The ship had not yet been cleared and despite Brentt’s repeated “encouragement” to wait for his announcement, folks were stacking up on this deck to get down the stairs to the gang way. We had breakfast up on deck at Cabana’s. Not sure if I’ve mentioned enough how much we enjoyed this space. We found the variety and quality of the food great, as well as enjoyed the layout of the space, and love eating on the open deck!


    Castaway Cay is simply beautiful, as my DP says; it’s the ideal image of a tropical island. The view from outside Cabana’s was great.


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    We breezed off the ship at about 10 am, guess what, no lines! Of course I took a ton of pictures of the ship from the dock then we hopped a tram to the first stop. We tooled around the shops a bit then headed back to Marge’s Barges for our 11 am parasailing excursion. I’ve done this a couple of times on the island, but this was going to be the first time for DP. The skies were cloudy, but fortunately the winds were calm enough not to have canceled the experience. We motored out past the ship then took our turns being sent aloft. We also got to see a water spout, out toward the adult beach. I know there are photos of it posted already. DP and I were the last ones to go up, and it was AWESOME! Such an incredible view of the ship, the island and the water. It feels so much different than you might expect. You have very little sensation of going up, it just seems like the boat is getting smaller. It is also very quiet up there and peaceful.

    We got reeled in and started heading back to the dock. Just like tendering at a port like Grand Cayman, you get some very unique and unequaled views of the ship. The little boat was a tad rocky, so taking great photos wasn’t happening. As we got closer to the dock the rain started to fall. When we got off the boat it started to pour. We had to run back onboard the ship anyway, so that’s where we took refuge. We hung out on deck for a few minutes, deciding what to do, stay on board or head to the beach. The clouds broke and the sun came out, so the decision was easy, Serenity Bay here we come.

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    Took the trams out to SB, and scored loungers not too far down the beach. The clouds came and went, so we decided to test the water. It wasn’t as chilly as I expected, but I chose to venture only knee deep, DP went for a swim, while I lay out on the lounger. We spent some time enjoying the beach before hitting the BBQ for lunch. We do like the slightly upscale selections there at SB. After lunch we spent a little bit more time on the beach, but as the clouds got thicker and the breeze picked up we decided to start back.

    We took the tram to Pelican Point, with plans of playing at Pelican Plunge. We did this last year and it was A LOT of fun. Since it was a bit cloudy we chose to skip it as we knew we’d be pretty chilly when we got out of the water. We walked around some more then headed back to the ship.

    Since the weather was taking a turn for the worse, we decided to use our last day of our Rain Forrest Room pass. Man we love this place!!! Spent some time there enjoying the hot tubs, loungers and showers. The rain was coming and going, but when we did get to spend some time in afterward in the adult pool, since we hadn’t actually been in there yet.

    We got cleaned up and dressed for the farewell show. Once again, we like all of the shows, even these bookend ones, especially when the cast is performing production numbers. We also get a kick out of how much stuff is dropped on your heads during the shows! The Genie made a great joke about this during one of the performances.

    After the show, we swung by the stateroom to put our luggage out and then we still had some time to kill, so we ventured up to Palo go say good-bye to Luca, and give him a little gift. As we noted before, we do plan ahead and bring some treats on board for those cast members who provide us with a bit of extra magic. Yes we tip, we usually over tip, so we’ve covered that, and I’ve already engaged in a silly argument on one of the threads about such extra gifts. So I won’t re-visit that here, but this has been my tradition for years, and our token of appreciation has always been met with the same enthusiasm and gratitude that I express when my customers do the same for me. That being said, he seemed really delighted.

    Our final dinner was AP, and this was the animation show night. You are asked to create a character on a special placemat.. Then because the focus of the evening is on the show, they run service a little differently. There is only one choice of appetizer and the soup option is the popcorn soup. You choose whether you want them or not and you choose your entrée. It was cool to get so see and taste both the animator’s sampler and the popcorn soup as we learned a bit about them during the galley tour. The show starts a bit after the entrée is served and it was totally cool to see your goofy little character show up on the screens in your area and then see them worked into scenes with some classic Disney Characters! It was a lot of fun and truly a technological marvel!

    After dinner we hung about to see the See You Real Soon “show” in the atrium. I have to admit, I like Until We Meet Again on the Magic a bit more, while at both you get some great additional meet and greet time with the characters, but I missed seeing some of the live characters and main cast members from the shows, which was the case on the Magic. One big change is that they run this twice in the evening, which really helps break up the crowd and gives those kids who can’t hang out until 10 pm a chance to see their favorite characters before leaving the ship the next morning.

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    We had struck up a bit of a friendship with a couple of the main stage cast members and were hoping to see some of them at this event, but like I said, it was a bit different. We had decided to give them the rest of the treats we brought with us. Happily we stumbled upon one of the principal dancers and shared once again how much we enjoyed their work and asked him to get the goodies to the group. These folks don’t usually have as much interaction with the guests and many of us don’t realize that very often the character handlers are also the stage performers. We’ve always made a point of seeking them out and letting them know how much we admire and appreciate their hard work.

    Next stop, the Tube and Michael Holly’s adult cabaret. So you can tell we truly don’t try to miss the entertainment opportunities!!!! We enjoyed each of them a great deal and encourage others to take advantage of what is offered!

    Before turning in and doing the last of the packing, we wandered the ship at length, taking lots of pictures and trying to commit her to memory. Then one last sleep before we had to leave our new favorite home away from home!
     
  18. allears

    allears "If I were not upon the sea..." I'd want to be!

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    Bits and Bobs

    Before I finish up with our last day, I wanted to cover some of the details I may have missed for forgotten through the report. No particular order, just what I can remember or made notes about.

    One thing that struck me was despite the classic beauty of the ship, the use of technology was incredible. Lots of LED screens, some used outside of dining rooms showing the menus, screens highlighting venues in the elevators and the lighted drink menus in the Tube and Sky Line were great, no reading glasses required! Speaking of, the Tube is a marvel; we were told the bubble like lights were invented for this space! There is a lot to take in here and it should be appreciated. We were also struck by the big photo wall outside of the D Lounge at which you can access your Shutters photos. The pod area for Shutters was also pretty cool as is the remote viewing desk on deck two.

    We also took note that there were an incredible number of character interactions available on board. There always seemed to be something going on in the atrium lobby and I think you’d have to try not to see your favorites.

    Food is a hot button and very subjective topic on the boards; however, we consistently found the food to be from very good to excellent at each meal. The variety was outstanding, very, very available and all delicious. While it isn’t particularly unique or extra special, we found ourselves stopping at I Scream pretty much every time we passed the place! Also, along with the usual quick service options at Flo’s, they had unique daily specials, like pulled pork sandwiches. Make sure you check that out.

    Enchanted Art, WOW!!! These were totally amazing. It didn’t take too long to figure out that the enchanted art is in a specific type of frame, so you think you can guess which ones are and aren’t enchanted. Exception being that there are non-enchanted pieces in the exact same frames, so you really have to check them all out. We did play two of the Mid-ship Detective Agency mysteries, The Muppet Caper and the Missing Puppies. These were both a lot of fun and they are truly a cool piece of technology. We very much encourage folks to take part. One hint, for the Muppet one, before you play, take a good photo of Pepe’s door and the Muppets Call Board (outside the movie theatre). Being able to pull up and read these images can save you some back tracking!

    Day 9: Going Home

    Well here it was at last, the dreaded day of disembarkation! The only thing that made this day not quite so depressing was the fact that we had booked next year’s trip! Having one in the wings takes the sting out of leaving!

    We were the only couple from our table to go to the dining room for breakfast. One of the reasons we like having late seating for dinner, is that breakfast on the last day isn’t until 8 am! So off to AP, carry ons and completed comment card in hand! We had a light breakfast and got to say our good byes to our serving team, especially Rosie, she was so sweet!

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    Before heading off, we ran up to deck 5 to see if we could check out the stateroom we booked for next year, 5518. By this time, most of the staterooms are open and we could check out the layout. 5518 is a category 8A, one of the two porthole rooms we had read about on the boards. Of course, 5518 was the only room not open when we got there, but we decided to check out 5018 since it would be pretty much the same. It was open and we’re really looking forward to staying in this stateroom next year!!! The portholes are much larger above deck two and these rooms are really spacious.

    The only major complaint we have about the entire trip and DCL in general is that they are WAY too good at getting you off the ship! We got to deck three, and walked right off, down the hallway, down the steps! It feels like there should be a decompression process, but no on this trip, we were off, luggage collected by the porter, through customs and on the bus in a flash! I passed out on the bus once we pulled away from the port and woke up just as we were approaching the air port. The trip goes very fast that way!

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    Ours was the first stop at the air port. We gathered our luggage, did some re-arranging, got a cart and headed up to ticketing. We had a 1:30 flight so we weren’t in a big hurry. We checked in, got our boarding passes and slogged through security. While waiting for our flight we had lunch.

    The flight departed on time and arrived a few minutes early at Philadelphia. The first reality check was the drastic change in temperature!!! From shorts to winter in a few short hours! The shock really starts to hit when you get home and there is no one to take your luggage, fix your meals or turn down your bed. Our lament was, “we miss our people!”

    It was an amazing trip!!! Our expectations were met and exceeded in all areas, most especially the Fantasy herself! Now the countdown to next year begins!
     
  19. Mtinkerbell5189

    Mtinkerbell5189 Mouseketeer

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    Hi. Just wondering, did you buy the weekly couples rainforest pass? If so, did it come with scrubs and how much was it. Great report! Thanks!
     
  20. allears

    allears "If I were not upon the sea..." I'd want to be!

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    We bought a three day pass and used our platinum discount. Didn't I mention that in the report?
     
  21. Mtinkerbell5189

    Mtinkerbell5189 Mouseketeer

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    It was. Sorry I missed that. So I assume this would not be available to everyone since it was only given when you referenced your platinum letter?
     

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