We just returned from a 7 night Western Caribbean cruise on the Disney Fantasy. We are a family of four with two girls 10 and 11. My parents also cruised with us. We booked this cruise in November of 2010 when the prices for this itenerary were "low."
Our vacation started with a Friday night stay at the Country Inn at Port Canaveral. The accomodations were basic, clean and close to the port. We were disappointed with the shuttle to and from the port. Saturday, we had an 11:30-12:00 check in at the terminal. I was able to get the shuttle for 11:30 to the port. They were running behind and our shuttle left at noon....we were disappointed, but did our best not to get stressed. Leaving the cruise ship, we arrived at the bus stop with a Country Inn van waiting. Unfortunately, it was full. They only have ONE van to transport people to and from the Disney ships. This van also transfers to another cruise line. While we waited 20 minutes for it to return to pick us up, at least 4 Radison vans circled. For this reason, we would not chose Country Inn again.
Getting through the terminal and onto the ship was organized and quick. We arrived late so our group was able to board immediately. It was overwealming to us the number of people in the terminal and getting onto the ship. We immediately went to Enchanted Garden for lunch as it was 12:40. We had a nice lunch although it was crowded and the lines were long for the buffet. The food was good. By the time we finished with lunch, it was 1:30 and we could check into our room. Unfortunately, we did not know our way around the ship and the main elevators were jammed. We had to lug all of our carry-ons up to the 7th floor. We struggled to find our room, but this was because we were disorriented and first time cruisers. Our room was perfect. Clean and bright and plenty big for our family.
We had an amazing first cruise once we got settled in. Our girls enjoyed their freedom. It took them a few days to get acclimated. Being 10 and 11, one daughter was old enough for the Edge and one for Oceaneers Lab and Club. The counselors were great and let both girls sign up for both places. Neither place was a great fit for them and they spent some time in the clubs, but most of the time near the pools together. They enjoyed the icecream and counter service restaraunts and frequented those during the day. We felt very comfortable with them sticking together and checking in with us every hour or two and I am probably an "over-protective" mom
The entertainment on the ship was really good. We were not thrilled with the show the first night, but the rest were really good even if they were corny. The stage effects were great. We saw Brave in 3D, but hated it. It was really scary for the girls and I would not recommend it for young kids. The Pirate Night fireworks were good. We did not get a spot to watch the show, but we could see the fireworks. We got the girls the Empress package at the Pirate League that day and that was fun for 30 dollars a piece. They enjoyed the experience. The trio of musicians in the main lobby were fantastic!!
My husband and I enjoyed the nighclubs especially Skyline. we went to two "Name that Tune" shows hosted by Trevor. He was hilarious and we had a great time attending those games.
The food was good....not great. We felt the variety for breakfast and lunch at Cabanas to be really good and they had many healthy options. My husband and kids loved the counter sevice burgers and fries. I agree that they looked good. The water on the ship was really good too. This was a fabulous surprise to me as a water drinker. The dinners were hit or miss. We like trying new things and that we did, but many meals were just okay to us. Standouts were the 9 ounce lobster tails and the lava cake. My kids got to order from the adult menu and/or children's menu and often tried entrees from the adult menu. This was fun for them and we all tried many new things. The show in Animators Palate was great! We enjoyed our servers although they didn't work great together. This was their first week as a team because our head server was just returning from her 6 week break. We enjoyed getting to know them through the week.
We met many characters throughout the week. Sometimes lines were long, but we often saw characters without lines....time of day had a lot to do with this. We saw Goofy and Minnie on Castaway Cay with little waits. Goofy had the girls jump with him to have a shot in the air. Amazing! It was 90 degrees outside and and Goofy was still "goofy."
The staff was amazing!! Everyone was friendly! The ship was beautiful!! Disney did not spare any expense on the ship. Everything was the highest quality! You could tell that the crew took great pride in being on this new, beautiful ship.
As first time cruisers, would we do it again? My husband would next year, but the prices for a Disney Cruise are high. How did it compare to a Disney World vacation? I prefer Disney World I think, but my husband would pick a cruise. My kids love them both and would have a difficult time choosing. One thing is certain though.... when you travel with Disney, they do everything they can to make you happy.