I have cruised with Royal Caribbean and most recently Norwegian Cruise line. To say I was underwhelmed with NCL on our last cruise is an understatement. We booked on Disney because we both love the parks and know that Disney is held to a higher standard as far as customer service is concerned.
Pre-cruise info - We flew into MCO the night before our cruise and stayed at the brand new Art of Animation resort. We stayed in one of the little mermaid rooms. We thought that the whole hotel had been decorated nicely. We were satisfied with our stay.
One perk about staying on Disney property is that you get picked up from the disney cruise line bus to go to port canaveral. Your bags are picked up from your room in the morning and then the next time you see them is when you are in your stateroom on the ship!
Embarkation was a breeze! We got to the port around 1:30, went quickly through security, check-in and had our picture taken. I would say that this process took less than 20 min.
First impressions of the ship: AMAZING everything was so beautiful... I don't think pictures can do it justice! And especially since the whole ship was decorated for Christmas! There are just no words... Disney had the ship decked to the nines with decorations... very classy and tasteful!
Stateroom - we were in room 9016... great location, in the forward section of the ship. We loved our room attendant, RG. He was always smiling and always was very accommodating to anything we needed. We had a balcony which we used often. We liked that the bathroom was split so someone could take a shower, while another used the bathroom. this would be great for families. Our only complaint about the room was that the queen bed DOES NOT convert into two twin beds as on other cruises. We are two single girls traveling on the cruise and we felt as if it was strange that NONE of the beds converted. I would think that disney would want to accomodate many kinds of guests. My friend ended up sleeping on the couch bed... it was ok, she dealt with it and requested a foam mattress from housekeeping so she could sleep at night. The queen bed in the room was very comfortable and I just think that DCL should offer some rooms with twin beds. We also liked that the tv in the room had ENDLESS amounts of free on demand disney movies, shows, and other ABC shows. Not that we spent alot of time in our room but we thought it was a nice feature.
Sailaway party was great - better than any I've seen on any ship i've been on! So much fun and definitly got you pumped for the vacation!
Dining - I will be honest... We did not really care for the food too much. Either the food was "too fancy" or just didn't taste all that good. The restaurants themselves were amazing. Our favorite was Animators palate. Our servers were Elhan and Rakesh. They were so nice and really attentive every night.
Activities - We knew when booking this cruise that DCL tailors the cruise to mostly families. And that was fine by us, we don't mind being around kids. Our only concern is there wasn't much for adults to do during sea days. Hmmm... do I want to go to an acupunture or posture analysis class today ;) We went to an animators class where we learned how to draw mickey and donald. that was really cool and I also liked the disney trivia games. I just think it would be nice to have a little bit more to do for adults. We loved going on the aquaduck! It was closed on two sea days because of high winds so we did not get to ride it as much as we would have liked.
Entertainment - The shows on this cruise were amazing! Aladdin was so awesome and could be on broadway it was so good. The other two main shows were wishes and believe. those were very entertaining as well! Our entertainment host in the tube lounge, Trevor was great! He was so funny and kept everyone entertained. If you want a good laugh, go to the quest game show. We also went to battle of the sexes. They also had a magician, comedian and a group called buckets N boards onboard that week. they were all very entertaining. Pirate night was also alot of fun. people dressed up like pirates and they have a buccaneer blast fireworks show off the ship. Disney does not disappoint! We also liked going to get our pictures taken with the characters! so much fun!
Ports of Call:
St. Thomas - GORGEOUS island... seriously paradise! We went on the screamin' eagle jet boat in the morning which was so much fun! then we took the skyride to paradise point, which had amazing views of the island.
San Juan - We took an atv tour through the EL Yunque rainforest. so awesome and alot of fun!
Castaway Cay - I cannot say enough about castaway cay... it was great! So peaceful and beautiful. There was a private beach called serenity bay for adults. they also had a BBQ lunch on the island as well. I went parasailing that day and will never forget it! You must go to castaway cay!
Service was impeccable on this cruise. Every cast member is so eager to help and happy to see you. This was such a different experience then when we were on NCL. Yikes! I would return to DCL in a heartbeat, just because of their awesome crew!
Debarkation - We chose to walk off the ship with our bags since we wanted to get off as soon as possible so we could go check in at our hotel and then go to the parks. We were off the boat and through customs by 7:45... amazing... I've never seen embarkation/debarkation go so smoothly!
Summary - I would not hesitate once about going on another Disney Cruise! I really want to go back! The Disney Fantasy is an amazing ship with so much to offer. Granted, it is more money for a disney cruise then say Carnival... but you get what you pay for. I felt as though on NCL you were constantly nickeled and dimed to spend more money when you had already spent enough (all the restaurants that you have to pay for) I liked that soda was included and did not have to pay for it extra like on other lines. Bottom line, you will love this cruise!