This is our 10th cruise and 3rd Disney. We've sailed Holland and Royal Caribbean, with RCCL being the most. Our family is myself, DW and DD (3 almost). This is DD's 4th cruise and 2nd Disney.
Our preferred itinerary is Alaska and this was the first time we've done the Eastern Caribbean route and that is why we booked this, new Disney ship (try it out) and an itinerary that we haven't done before.
Got to the port about 11, scheduled time was 11:30 and we were swiftly moved through the off loading of luggage, parking the car in the garage, check-in and then getting on-board. Very smooth and the port wasn't that crowded like we had experienced on our previous cruise out of Port Canaveral on the Wonder.
I honestly hadn't done a lot of reading and video watching about Dream or Fantasy as I like having surprises when getting on a new ship. Yea, I know hard to do these days. My first overall impression was that the ship was certainly larger then the Wonder, but I was kind of disappointed in that it felt very much the same. I would have hoped that Disney would have laid it out differently, but I guess they like the flow and location of things and decided to stick with it. We tried to experience as much as possible, but we ultimately never really spent time in the adult/bar area. In walking through a couple of places I didn't like the feel, kind of dis-jointed and it really felt like they were stuffing different types of places in there. The Irish bar really didn't feel very Irish Pub like, yes it was green, but that was it. Very small and just not a welcoming feel. I liked the Tube as it was wide open and had lots of great seating and bars.
The pool area was greatly improved, from the Nemo area for little kids, the very very small area that was on the Wonder was terrible and this was a great improvement, and on par with the newer ships on RCCL. We had fun in the Mickey and Donald pools, but as others have commented the water gets kind of nasty the later in the day, but once crowds relax in the evening starts to get better. So, I would do those pools early in the AM or later in the day. Disney was very restrive with the Mickey Slide, DD was 36" and the minimum was 38" so she didn't get to go. This was very frustrating as a parent as she is a in love with water slides and goes on them all at WDW, including the big one at BCV/Stormalong Bay. I also felt the height restriction on the AquaDuck was very unnecessary. She could have easily sat with me and done that slide as well. We did not spend any time in the Adult area, except to walk through. Very large space dedicated and I am sure a great escape from the family pools for those without kids or where the kids are able to be left to their own adventures..
Sports deck area as decent. The mini golf course was fun and certainly an improvement over the Wonder, but other than the basketball court not much else. With Rock Climbing Walls and Flowriders and other adult sports activities on other cruise lines, I think this is an area still needing some improvement.
Deck 4 walking/running deck. I really like this deck. The nice lounge chairs and the view out to the ocean, underneath the lifeboats, is nice. This is where I see some newer ships falter in that this deck gets taken up by more cabins, so glad to see Disney kept it.
The kids area was great. DD was technically under age, but we were able to bring her up and they talked to her and let her experience the open house and we got a badge allowing her to come back. Which meant no more Nursery, so she certainly loved that, as did we. The staff here was great and the variety of activities throughout can certainly occupy anyone for a good amount of time.
We LOVED Cabanas for Breakfast. It's a tradition for us to have Breakfast on the back of a ship outside enjoying the fresh area and seeing the ocean or whatever we are passing by. I think the layout and space was greatly improved from the one on Wonder and the food was excellent and very much to our liking.
Main Dining rotation was great for us as we got to do Animators 3 times, which was my favorite of all 3. Truly a great entertainment and dinging experience. Royal Table was also great. We didn't like Enchanted as it just didn't feel like a place I would want to dine in and the food just didn't seem to be that great. The other negative for Main dining were our waiter and asst waiter. They were not good at all. Nothing was ever ready as we requested and they assumed that being hyper friendly would mean great service and it wasn't.
The food areas up near the pool were excellent as well. We had a couple of lunches and snacks and I really like the selection and how the food was offered. We didn't eat everywhere, but overall the food was very good.
Palo - We had brunch, dinner and the ladies had tea. Both Brunch and Dinner were outstanding. We had Michael for brunch and liked him so much requested him for our dinner. Outstanding. The High Tea was terrible. The waiter apparently didn't know anything about tea or the intent of the experience. We heard from a CM that they were going to be eliminating the High Tea.
We were in a category 4C and we really like the cabin a lot. Great amount of room and perfect for the 3 of us. We were in 7104 which didn't have any connecting rooms, which is why we picked it.. Room steward was decent and I think I'll sail in this category on future DCL cruises. Only negative was that when you look down you only see the tops of the life boats. This is very distracting and on other ships this would be considered an obstructed view and discounted, but on DCL it's the normal view.
It was great cruise and a great vacation for the family. Like all of our cruises there were plus and minus, but we try and look past the minus as much as we can and have a great time. We obviously love to cruise and will continue to do so in the future. It will be a tough decision for us to do another DCL on the Fantasy or do the Oasis/Allure. Right now as I type this I would give the nod to Oasis/Allure as it has better activities for adults and still has the wow factor for families and kids of all ages, but the Fantasy is still an enticing option. Yes, I booked on board for a cruise next summer on the Fantasy and have an RCCL booking I keep moving around, but I am a big fan of the onboard booking bonuses the lines offer, so why not have a couple of reservations to play with.
Hope this is helpful to future DCL cruisers and if anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask.
Thanks and Happy Sailing
PS - So, I forgot to mention why I called this the Bee cruise. While we were in St. Thomas apparently a queen bee and her workers decided to leave the adjacent butterly fly farm, which is right next to where the Fantasy docked, and set up home under a chair right next to the Mickey Pool. The clamity that ensued by watching deck hands and officers try and figure out how to extract and clean up the bees was hilarious. Yes, they had to finally enlist an actual beekeeper to come and coral the queen, but a lot of workers were left behind and it was just fun to watch. I didn't see anyone get hurt, but a lot of swatting was going on.