Breakdown of 1st Disney Fantasy Cruise in 18mos

TinkerMouse

Mouseketeer
Joined
Aug 16, 2010
I looked through the first few pages and didn't see another version of this thread. I just want people to be able to see this, get details from this cruise and ask questions. I took notes so I can answer questions about some things I forgot to mention in this post. Moderators, let me know if I need to move this to the trip report thread.

Since the policy of everyone needing testing at the port during embarkation didn't start until two days after we set sail, the only people who were tested were the unvaccinated aka everyone under 12 years old and those over who elected not to upload proof of vaccine to Safe Passage. If you were over 12, vaccinated and marked as "clear to sail" from Safe Passage then upon arrival all you had to do was get in line, present your two QR codes (from Safe Passage & Online Check-In respectively), go through security, verify your picture and take a family boarding picture. It was VERY fast.

The first Disney Fantasy cruise after 18 months of shutdown took place Sat 9/11-9/15. It was supposed to be a 7 night but was shortened to 4 nights. Surprisingly, even though it was a short cruise and my family strongly prefers longer cruises it was still tons of fun. There were 925-998 guests onboard. I was told the exact number but forgot. We were noticeably outnumbered by cast members and they were very eager to please.

It was very much a "Be Our Guest" (lyrics) situation:
Been 18 months since they've had anybody there so they were obsessed
With our meal, with our ease
Yes, indeed, they aimed to please

Three Broadway style shows were up and running (Aladdin, Frozen and Believe) so you could say they sung us off to sleep as well. The one night that didn't do a live show had a screening of "Hocus Pocus" which looked beautiful and remastered. As someone who is about the same age as the movie it was great to be able to see it on the big screen!

Although there weren't many themed activities it was still a Halloween on the High Seas cruise with decor, two Halloween movie screenings (Hocus Pocus and The Nightmare Before Christmas), a Jack & Sally photo op/meet & greet, Mickey's Mouse-kerade and the occassional annoucement by the Haunted Mansion Ghost Host. There was a pumpkin tree with photo ops but no storytelling/mini shows for it. Halloween festivities got blended in with Bucaneer Blast (new version of Pirate Night). The pirate menu (same as usual) and pirate themed game show were nice. Pirates danced in and sang during dinner in the MDRs. The fireworks were general Disney fireworks that only lasted about 5 minutes (sadly) and were followed by a dance party on the deck with some good Top40 from the last 40 years from Whitney Houston to BTS.

The movies screening in the Buena Vista Theater were Black Widow, Jungle Cruise, Raya & the Last Dragon, and Shang Chi. Each played four times. Shang Chi also played in the Walt Disney Theatre like Hocus Pocus and The Nightmare Before Christmas though the Halloween movies only had one screening each.

Pre-booking virtual sports and beverage tastings was strongly encouraged as most filled up. Goofy Golf and Aquaduck had their hours posted and were open for good amounts of time every day, but the one time we went to do golf (2nd Castaway Cay day) it didn't open until 4:30p and closed at 9p. There were no variety shows but there were several game shows from "Mousketeer Madness" to "Match Your Mate". Different kinds of karaoke and trivia were also present. I won the last night's Disney Tunes Trivia! BINGO has gone digital but there is still the option to buy paper cards too. There were several musicians. The pianist in Royal Court was joined by a violinist to play Disney Princess songs and the lounge/bar happy hours had live music.

Masks were required everywhere indoors EXCEPT in your stateroom. Masks were NOT mandatory outside (on the deck, Castaway Cay) UNLESS you were on the tram or walking into/around a store or dining location (CookiesToo, Serenity Bay BBQ, etc.). If you were seated and eating/drinking masks could be off regardless of if you were indoors or outdoors. This is also why the movie snacks kiosks were closed and why we weren't allowed to eat in the theatres because they didn't want masks down in such enclosed spaces. I didn't see any rude or problematic people breaking the "rules" or being mean/agressive to anyone about safety regulations. There were social distancing markers on the ground on the ship and on Castaway Cay. In the theatres, every other row was kept empty, ushers escorted you to your seats, the next party was distanced 3 seats away from you and the ushers signaled when it was your row's turn to leave.

I felt very safe and kept my mask on the majority of the time. I got a tan line on my forehead because I forgot my hat AND visor in my stateroom before my port adventure 😅. At least I got to see a sea turtle, nurse shark, barricuda, sting ray and plenty of birds. We even got to eat conch salad that they made right in front of us after pulling the conch straight out of the water.

Whenever there was the occassional person without a mask when they needed one it was because they honestly forgot to pull it back up. When I forgot people would stare at me until I remembered and adjusted my mask. They were blank stares (instead of glares) but I still wish people would have just said "Hey, you forgot" to save time. There were plenty of compliments for those with cool or pretty patterns on their masks especially if it coordinated with their outfits. The vast majority of cast members had their masks on whenever we saw them. As usual, there were hand sanitizer machines EVERYWHERE and the MDRs also had hand wipes at their entrances. In Cabanas they'd rather you wash your hands at the station instead of just using the sanitizers.

Each party had their own table so the attention from the dining team felt even more personal. The food was great! Some highlights include:
-Dole Whip on the deck (I didn't but you can add two different rums)
-the steak cooked to your liking at Serenity Bay BBQ 🥩😍
-soft rosemary bread from Animator's Palate
-Escargots
-truffle pasta

Although it was too short, this cruise was relaxing and lots of fun! I felt safe the entire time. Although some programming was missing there was still a number of things to do, and due to scheduling conflicts there was no way to do it all. 😄
 
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KashasMom

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 28, 2012
Thanks for sharing! It sounds like it was a great cruise. It was 2 stops at CC? Any insight as to when they'll be back to regular Eastern/Western itineraries?
 

scrapbookjulie

Mouseketeer
Joined
Feb 28, 2005
Thanks for sharing! Questions about photos onboard...Are there still Shutters photographers on the ship? What photo opportunities are available? Still backdrops up before dinner or no? Thanks!
 

TinkerMouse

Mouseketeer
Joined
Aug 16, 2010
Thanks for sharing! It sounds like it was a great cruise. It was 2 stops at CC? Any insight as to when they'll be back to regular Eastern/Western itineraries?
Yes, we did two stops at CC. They were back to back on Monday and Tuesday. Both days it was ashore 8:30a and onboard 4:45p. Monday evening we left port, sailed a bit, had the fireworks then docked again Tuesday morning.
If you had a port adventure booked you could debark without needing to enter the virtual queue. If you sleep in, the virtual queue is essentially non-existent because by 10am the virtual queue wait only lasts about 5 minutes before you get the app notification to debark.
I think from mid-October on the cruises are back to regular 7 night itineraries.
 

Arianabtd

Mouseketeer
Joined
Sep 24, 2016
I was on this cruise too! Our headserver said it was about 960 guests. It felt eerily empty sometimes especially in the atrium... But I'm not complaining, I liked having the space :rolleyes:.

I agree about the food! I think it was the best off of any disney cruise I've been on.
 

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  • TinkerMouse

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 16, 2010
    Thanks for sharing! Questions about photos onboard...Are there still Shutters photographers on the ship? What photo opportunities are available? Still backdrops up before dinner or no? Thanks!
    All the backdrops were present. There was a different set of them every night so you might need to walk by them all each night to check for the ones you want. They are spread out between the area in between the shops and theatre entrances on deck 4 and around the atrium in front of royal court on deck 3. There was a general starry night backdrop, general color splash Lifetouch style backdrop, sunset backdrop, Halloween backdrop, Pirates backdrop, cruise balcony backdrop, etc. You could also get photos in front of the pumpkin tree. Photographers were in the MDRs every night and all over Castaway Cay at different times. There were also Shutters photoshoot appointments for magic shots and family portraits.

    Characters were everywhere for two kinds of photo ops: waving and social distanced mask off photos. Mickey & his friends had their regualr sailing outfits and Halloween costumes. There were also Disney princesses in different groupings on different days and times. Photos with Marvel superheroes were available one morning and Jack & Sally were available one night with the movie screening 11:30pm. There were times posted every day in the navigator.

    The main Shutters balcony open floorplan store area that overlooks the atrium was open with staff and hand sanitizers almost the entire cruise including during disembarkation. In terms of new offerings, everything was available for digital download purchase straight to your phone. Every other self-serve kiosk was down for social distancing. Staff was there to help with purchases and wipe down all the surfaces regularly.
     
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    TinkerMouse

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 16, 2010
    What time were the fireworks?

    Great review. Thanks for sharing!
    10:30p on Bucaneer Blast/first Castaway Cay night. We could see about five other cruise ships in the distance. They were all hanging out before returning to their private islands too, trying to give us a wide berth for fire safety...and maybe trying to see our fireworks too:P.

    I almost forgot: cast members escorted us to our social distancing markers on the deck before the fireworks started. They lit up the starboard sky.
     
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    RAD

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 15, 1999
    Did you notice if the vibration issue when they are going high speed (>20Knots) has been fixed?
     

    TinkerMouse

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 16, 2010
    Did you notice if the vibration issue when they are going high speed (>20Knots) has been fixed?
    During sailing I only seriously felt the vibrations in the Walt Disney Theatre (forward) during a couple of shows (9:45p) and in the aft for early dinner in Enchanted Garden but the aft always has more bump than anywhere else. The forward was a little rocky the first night. I couldn't tell if we were speeding up or just dealing with choppy water. I felt nothing in the mid. As per usual, I did feel vibrations during docking.
     
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  • Lillebelle

    Luck favors the prepared
    Joined
    Aug 3, 2021
    Thank you for the report! We have the Fantasy booked in May - glad to hear you had fun even with the shortened itinerary!
     

    RAD

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 15, 1999
    During sailing I only seriously felt the vibrations in the Walt Disney Theatre (forward) during a couple of shows (9:45p) and in the aft for early dinner in Enchanted Garden but the aft always has more bump than anywhere else. The forward was a little rocky the first night. I couldn't tell if we were speeding up or just dealing with choppy water. I felt nothing in the mid. As per usual, I did feel vibrations during docking.
    Thanks for the response
     

    Sherrilatte

    Bad to the Bone
    Joined
    Apr 29, 2001
    Thank you the report TinkerMouse! We set sail on the Fantasy in January and I do miss DCL. Did they have a virtual queue for guest services for such things as specialty dining, spa, excursions, etc or are we still required to go stand lines for dining services or spa services or excursions? As a silver castaway, I will not be able to book somethings until I board the ship.
     

    TinkerMouse

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 16, 2010
    Thank you the report TinkerMouse! We set sail on the Fantasy in January and I do miss DCL. Did they have a virtual queue for guest services for such things as specialty dining, spa, excursions, etc or are we still required to go stand lines for dining services or spa services or excursions? As a silver castaway, I will not be able to book somethings until I board the ship.
    For most of these teams the answer is technically both. DCL was pushing for everyone to do everything virtually through the app chat with a cast member feature but not all teams were available each day. In the app you select which department/team you need to speak with before typing your message. It's supposed to be a live chat but there's always the chance they could take a while to reply to you.

    Guest services said they wanted you to use the chat feature first then reach them via pre-booked in-person appointment, then speak to them via walk up as a last resort. That being said, the guest service desk was usually empty of guests so whenever I walked up to them they were happy to help.

    The dining team was only available during embarkation. The guest services cast member I spoke to only knew of them being available on that day and through the app only. The port adventures desk was often closed but a cast member was usually available for their app chat. Those were both shifts that the port adventures cast members rotated between.

    Most spa services were available via app pre-booking but there were also cast members eager to book for you in person. Although several services were marked as sold out, the spa/fitness center looked mostly empty when I visited. The fitness trainer offered personal training, one pay class and a morning yoga on the beach class. You had to speak to them in person to sign up.
     

    OhioWDWDuo

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 19, 2009
    Thank you, @TinkerMouse ! Great report. We were on the same cruise. It was fantastic! We had a concierge cabin and were told there were 970 guests on the sailing. Never thought I’d see an empty atrium, but the cruise was so relaxing. Totally agree that we felt safe and the cruise was way too short!
     

    mark nakamichi

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    May 6, 2020
    Great report TinkerMouse!!! My wife, daughter and I were on this cruise and we enjoyed it immensely. We had a concierge stateroom and the concierge team was fantastic. Thank you Andy, Ropa, and Ashley!!! Also going above and beyond to make this cruise so special were our stateroom host and his assistant and the CM's who staffed the concierge lounge and bar providing snacks, lite bites, and drinks during the day and into the evening. Yup, never felt so pampered!!! With only 900+ guests it felt so very safe and almost empty at times. We never encountered anyone else exiting an elevator that we were waiting to enter and never encountered anyone waiting for an elevator that we were exiting. Our ride to and from deck 12 to our stateroom was so quick it was amazing. Our server, Linval, and his assistant, Farzan, fantastic and accomodating. We are scheduled for a sailing out of Miami in November on the Magic and theyn will have big shoes to fill in order to provide same the great service and magic provided by the CM's on the Fantasy!!!
     

    mighty quack

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    May 28, 2012
    Did you notice if the vibration issue when they are going high speed (>20Knots) has been fixed?
    I was on this cruise in stateroom 9652 which is right next to the aft staircase. We felt vibrations while spinning around to dock in castaway and the last night when we were booking it back to the port. We didn't notice it any other times but that could be because we were barely moving until the last night.
     

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