With Disney Fantasy‘s star-studded christening behind us, thoughts now turn to the ship itself, a 4,000-passenger beauty that’s a sister to Disney Dream — but with its own special flavor. During a Thursday tour, we got an up-close glimpse of the vessel, with a focus on the new-and-improved areas. And at first blush, “improved” is the operable word (that’s a good thing). Disney Fantasy took some of the less impressive parts of Dream and added some sparkle. Next step: Add passengers and see how it all works.
Art nouveau is cheerier than art deco. While both ships are among the loveliest at sea, Disney Fantasy’s design cues allow for a more vibrant color palette, which hits you in the face the moment you board. The atrium is awash in colors that would make a peacock proud — and that’s the point. Expect a broad range of blues, pinks and yellows from the massive chandelier down to the carpeting.
Water + shade = more inviting outdoor spaces. While the adult-only Quiet Cove Pool on Deck 13 remains largely intact, the deck space directly above it has been redesigned. Instead of wide expanses of plain teak decking, long canopies for shady lounging have been installed, as well as a small pool dubbed the “funnel puddle” (it sits directly below the ship’s iconic funnel). Even better, one deck up all the way forward, what is a barren, unpeopled wasteland on Dream has been transformed on Fantasy: The new kid-free Satellite Sun Deck provides adults with more canopies, loungers and — best of all — Satellite Falls, a circular pool with a “rain curtain” (sort of a large umbrella-shaped fountain you can sit under) that will come in handy under hot Caribbean skies.
It pays to pep up the party zone. While Disney Dream’s entertainment district is, yes, entertaining, it’s ultimately a disjointed affair that’s not helped by its entrance — two ho-hum bars that are separated by a walkway. On Fantasy, that space has been opened up, given an Italian sheen and dubbed La Piazza, with a giant bar in the shape of a carousel. The expected result: When the late-night brigade heads to the Euro-inspired district, the first thing they’ll encounter is a rollicking watering hole. Bonus points to the Tube, a club awash in a London vibe, complete with phone booths you can boogie in, subway-like seating and illuminated dance floor.
Crush is cute, but … Hey, I love the technicolor Animator’s Palate dining room, one of three in Fantasy’s “rotational dining” scheme, as much as the next, and Dream’s “Turtle Talk With Crush” — in which the cartoon terrapin chats up diners — is impressive. But it’s a bit intrusive, and unless Crush actually singles them out, little ones may feel a bit left out. Fantasy ushers in the amazing “Animation Magic” show: After you draw a character on your placemat (basically scrawl whatever you want in a template that looks like a person), they’re scooped up by waiters. Then, about two-thirds into the meal, everyone’s masterpieces come to life (dancing, skipping, singing) on the screens around the room. The effect is breathtaking. (Don’t worry, Crush fans: The show will remain in repertory on Fantasy.)
Get ready for costume drama. This is the one I’m not so sure about. Kids will absolutely adore Deck 5′s Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, a Disney theme park stalwart making its first appearance at sea. At this lovely little salon for half-pints, parents can pay from $55 to almost $600 (for three makeovers, including wardrobe) to have their tots gussied up as their favorite princess or pirate. It’s another brilliant way to nab revenue on a casino-less ship, no doubt, but that cost means you better have some bibbidi bobbidi bucks on hand.
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