This was our first cruise and Disney did not disappoint. The weather even cooperated with only 1-2 foot seas (estimate) and mainly sunny skies every single day. We were worried about getting sea sick, but other than my wife getting dizzy once for a short amount of time it was no problem.
My wife and I flew into Orlando the day before the cruise and took a private sedan service to the port terminal Saturday. We arrived there around 1130 a.m. and were on the ship in less than one hour. Embarkation was very simple and the lines went fairly fast.
Stateroom: Our inside stateroom (9103) was just right for two people, but would have been crowded for 3+ people. The magical porthole was a nice touch to keep from getting claustrophobic with Disney characters flying by once in a while. There was not much storage, but our suitcases fit under the queen bed. The bed was very comfortable. We were glad that we had packed a little fan which helped drown out some ship noise, but overall the ship noise was minimal and hardly ever heard our neighbors in the adjoining stateroom. Our stateroom hostess was very efficient in cleaning our room. It seemed that we would turn our back for a second and our room would be cleaned.
Food: Overall the food was good. The best food by far was at the adult only restaurant, Palo ($20 per person extra charge). We did not try the other adult only restaurant, Remy. The waiters/servers rotated with you through the three main dinner restaurants. This was a nice touch, with them getting to know your likes and dislikes. Our head server was outstanding, always making good suggestions, doing magic tricks, and making every dinner a wonderful experience. We were assigned second seating (815 p.m.) for dinner which turned out to be o.k., but if we take our son next time I would want first seating (545 p.m.). Animator's Palate was our favorite restaurant with Crush, the turtle from Nemo, interacting with guests the first night, and then on the second night guests drew pictures on placemats that came to life (animated) on the large screen TVs later in the dinner. The only bummer was that we were scheduled in Animator's Palate on formal and semi-formal nights with Royal Court and Enchanted Garden better suited for those nights. We only ordered room service once and the cheese burger was o.k., on par with the food at Luigi's Pizza and Tow Mater's Grill. Service at Luigi's Pizza and Tow Mater's Grill was quite fast. Cabana's food was good, but could be very hectic at times, especially right before "All Ashore" at a port. At those times I suggest ordering room service or going to one of the other sit-down restaurants (usually Enchanted Garden).
Entertainment: The nightly shows in the Walt Disney Theatre were well done and lasted about 1 hour. Aladdin was our favorite. Disney did a great job on special effects, and the acting and music were spectacular. The comedy & juggling of Michael Holly was exceptional and I hope to see him perform again. On the other hand, I was not impressed with the comedy & magic of David Williamson, but the children loved it. You will not be bored on this ship with constant activities throughout the ship. The "Midship Detective Agency" (Muppet interactive game) is a good way to learn your way around the Fantasy and have fun at the same time.
Pools & AquaDuck: The family pools were way too crowded, but kids still seemed to have fun playing in the pool and watching Disney movies on the Funnel Vision. However, the Quiet Cove Pool for adults was peaceful and never crowded. It was amazing to me that the children's pool was only about 20 yards away, but you could hardly hear them. The AquaDuck was a lot of fun, but I would not want to wait 20+ minutes to ride it. The best times with hardly any lines were after 5 p.m. as people begin to head to Dinner (first seating) or to the main early evening show (615 p.m.), or on port days. We did this a couple of times when there had been a matinee showing of the musical, and we didn't have to be at dinner until 815 p.m. The 9-hole miniature Goofy Golf was fun...but not overly challenging.
Miscellaneous: The ship's decor was out of this world. I would just walk around the ship and just look at the art and decorations. We also took advantage of as many character appearances as possible. Although there could be lines to see the characters, most lines were between 10-20 minutes, a far cry from Walt Disney World. We did not take advantage of getting pictures with the many princesses on board. Their lines could have been longer. Let me tell you, there were a lot of little princesses running around after going to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique throughout the week. The free soda at the restaurant and at the beverage station on deck 11 was a treat and used often by us. Although we did not have a need to use the kid or youth facilities, we did take advantage of an open house at the Oceaneer Lab and found our 9 year old would have enjoyed it. Shoot, we enjoyed some of the interactive games (e.g., simulation of docking the Fantasy into different ports), and wished we could be 10 again.
Debarkation: Passengers assigned first seating for the cruise were assigned breakfast at 645 a.m. at the restaurant they were at the night before, while passengers on second seating dinner rotation were assigned a time of 8 a.m. I do not remember anybody telling us this, but Cabanas was also open. Overall debarkation was much more hectic than embarkation, but we were through customs and getting into our private sedan service to the airport in less than one hour. I highly recommend having a porter help with your bags. He made the process a lot easier. All the customs agent did was look at our passports and said your good to go and the pixy dust cleared and we were back to our reality.
- If you have a late flight out of Orlando Airport, you can try to get a day room at the hotel located inside the airport.
- In the Skyline lounge look very closely at the breathtaking skylines from around the world that change about ever 10-15 minutes, and you will see Jedi walking around and once in a while Mickey will pop up in a window.
- Get snacks and soft drinks on deck 11 or through room service to take to the Walt Disney Theatre for the evening show. There is a concession stand right by the theatre, but you have to pay for those items. However if you want popcorn than you will need to buy it from the concession stand.
- If you hear a knocking in your stateroom, it might be he hangers in your closet. If you have not hung clothes on them, they sway with the ship.