Day One: The Adventure Begins Greetings! My husband and I just returned from the Fantasy's not quite upside down adventure with Hurricane Sandy, and the opportunity to write a report about our fun-filled, wavy-gravy week was just too good to pass up. This was our fourth cruise with Disney but the first time we missed a port of call or experienced rough weather; a brief introduction is in order before I begin, so here goes: Brenda: Official family vacation planner and determined destroyer of every travel budget ever established. My friends call me Bendy; my husband calls me a remorseless eating machine; and my family calls me certifiable. I like to eat, drink, travel, and write. I also like to laugh ... a lot ... and this leads to much silliness on my part; consider yourselves warned. Jason: Indulgent husband and vacation splurge enabler; friends call him Jay; I call him the pack mule; his family calls him seriously misguided for ever agreeing to marry me. He is calm, cool, and collected, never takes a bad picture, and prefers to spend vacation drunk and surly - just like Lee Marvin. It's us ... sober Jay and I spent five days before the cruise at WDW where we celebrated my birthday and had great good fun with lots of foodie-boozie friends. We used Florida Tours for our transportation to and from the port - we have utilized their towncar service for a number of years and they continue to provide a terrific experience. Thanks to a 10AM pick-up at our resort we arrived at Port Canaveral by 11AM, received boarding group number five, and were on board the Fantasy bulking up our account with Guest Services shortly after 11:30 AM. The first good laugh of the cruise occurred when we were being welcomed aboard. The crew member asked our last name ... we gave it to her ... she repeated it back ... and then had a massive brain fart while announcing us. "Let's welcome aboard the ... the ... the ... sorry, what was your last name again?" She got it right on her second try but then I messed up our grand entrance by taking a sharp right turn towards Guest Services rather than sweeping through the atrium and around the elevators. The crew tried to direct us towards the buffet in Enchanted Garden but we knew better - once we finished transacting, Jay and I headed up to Deck 12, grabbed some paninis, and settled in at the Cove Bar for the first drink of the day. After our brief lunch we visited the spa to secure our rainforest passes and then wandered down to Europa to purchase tickets to a mixology seminar on our scheduled final day at sea. We spent a lot of time in Skyline Cozy drinking spots! I wish we were drinking these right now Did you know that you can purchase a drink passport in Skyline that will give you seven drinks for the price of six? The passport makes a great keepsake and includes one delicious drink recipe from each featured country - they were quite the popular item on this cruise. Skyline's bartender, Novak, was simply amazing; not only were his drinks fabulous but he was extremely personable and so much fun to visit with each night! As promised, our cabin was ready by 1:30PM and two of our bags were waiting for us when we arrived - that always makes me happy because I am a chronic luggage worrier and can never really relax until everything is unpacked and in its place. We stayed in cabin 8566, which was a mid-ship location that we thought quite convenient. You want to know what else makes me happy? Cheese. And Booze. Like this: Fruit and Cheese Platter ... a cruising tradition Iron Horse Fairy Tale Cuvee from our travel agent! Pinot Grigio ... the other cruising tradition See what I mean about happy? Our traditional embarkation lunch has always been the fruit and cheese platter with a bottle of wine. The champagne was a lovely and thoughtful surprise from our travel agent Michelle and it was really tasty; in fact, it was so tasty that it was completely gone before the 4PM life boat drill. Our philosophy has always been that it's best not to be too sober when contemplating peril at sea. Once we were released from the safety drill, Jason and I made a beeline for Deck 13 Forward - that's our favorite spot to be as the ship leaves port and heads out to sea. There is a significant difference between this area on the Fantasy compared with the Dream, and that is the addition of Satellite Falls which is an adults only area with lounge chairs and a splash pool. Cast Members actually asked a few families with children to leave the area during sail away and I did feel a little bad for them ... but that didn't last long. There were a lot of instances on this cruise where guests brought their kids into adults only areas, including bars, and they weren't asked to leave. We found this disappointing and a little perplexing, especially in regard to the bars. That's where we go to behave badly with our friends ... surely people don't want their offspring scarred for life by witnessing that? Ahem. I digress; please enjoy some pictures of the Fantasy sailing past Port Canaveral's doodle. We had incredibly beautiful weather for our departure and very calm seas even while crossing the Gulf Stream that evening - and there were dolphins playing alongside the ship as we sailed from the coast! After cleaning up for dinner, we took the obligatory sunset picture from our verandah and then somehow found ourselves in Skyline ... I wonder how that happened? Every cruiser is required to take at least one picture like this The Ooh La La This drink was one of my favorites - it was made with Bacardi White Rum, Elderflower Liqueur, fresh lime juice, soda water, and mint leaves. I like to call it Ooh La Yum. Il Valentino Jay ordered this one and he really enjoyed it ... I didn't even bother to try it because it included campari, which I don't drink. I'm bitter enough ... I don't need help from campari! The other ingredients were Hendrick's Gin and Carpano Antica Formula 1786 (I have no idea what that is and I'm too lazy to look it up). From Skyline we wandered into La Piazza where there was live music that was actually quite good - Fine Whines played a lot of jazz and swing and we had a good time singing along and swaying on our barstools while we enjoyed another round of drinks. Of course they were fine ... they played our wedding song La Vie En Rose! The Escalus and the Bauta Jay's drink of choice was the Escalus which included Bourbon, Campari, Limoncello, ginger, orange juice, and mint leaves. I opted for the Bauta which had Gin, Fernet Branca, Apricot Brandy, Prosecco, and bitters. We thought both drinks were well made and tasty, but service at this bar was very slow even with three cast members and only a few guests to serve; we didn't return for the rest of the cruise - we had too much fun in Skyline to bother with many other drinking venues. And the best surprise of the night was that our dining partners arrived to share a drink with us! We had arranged in advance to link reservations for dinner but hadn't actually met in person (the internets can be a weird and scary place but sometimes you find really good peoples); Jay and I took it as a good sign that the four of us found each other in a bar before dinner. Feeling fine! Our dining and cruise buddies! Speaking of dinner, our rotation was AERAERA ... Animators, Enchanted Garden, and Royal Palace. Overall we thought the food in the Fantasy's main dining rooms was better than it was on the Dream when we sailed last year, but it's still not anything that really wowed us. It was good, not great; but it's hard to deliver great food when serving that many people at one time. We looked for WOW from Remy and Palo - they did not disappoint, but more about that later. Duuuuuuude; Crush says hiya! Moonlight at sea ... Isn't it romantic? And so ended an enjoyable and busy first day on the Fantasy. We loved boarding so early because we had ample time to explore the ship and enjoy a private lunch in our cabin - we were completely unpacked and settled before the life boat drill. I applaud DCL's improved boarding process - does anyone else remember what a madhouse it used to be prior to their decision to issue boarding group numbers? Stay tuned for our first day at sea which includes much laziness, eating, drinking, and formal night prior to which Bendy wears a free drink! Thanks for reading - any questions please ask away and I'll do my best to answer! Links to Updates: Day 2: At Sea Day 3: Another Day at Sea Day 4: Land Ho; Welcome to St. Maarten! Day 4: Dinner at the House of the Crystal Rat Day 5: St. Thomas; St. John; and a Couples Villa! Day 6, Part I: Stormy Weather at Sea ... It's All Good! Day 6, Part II: The Never-Ending Mixology Class Day 6, Part III: Dinner at Palo Day 7: Rock on With Your Bad Self! Daily Drink Tally: Saturday: 4 cocktails each; 1 bottle champagne Sunday: 4.5 cocktails each; 1 bottle champagne Monday: 2 cocktails each; 4 glasses of various champagnes Tuesday: 1 bottle champagne; 1 champagne cocktail each; 1 glass tawny port each; 1 negroni; 1 glass rosa regale; lots of rum punch in the face Wednesday: 1 bottle wine; 2 cocktails each; massive amounts of champagne / rum punch in the face Thursday: 1 bottle wine; 1 large glass port each; 5 cocktails each; and a lot of mixology tasting portions Friday: 4 cocktails each ... kind of boring, really!