Background: We are veteran cruisers, having done 21 cruises over the last thirty years in the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe, and Tahiti. We are in our mid-50's, with no children. This was our sixth cruise on DCL and our first on Fantasy; we have now been on all four Disney ships. We used Disney Vacation Club points to book a category 5D veranda cabin, located on deck six near the mid-ship elevators.
Flights, Hotel, Transfers: We booked our own flights using miles on United and arrived in Orlando the day before the cruise. We stayed in the Hyatt hotel right in the airport and paid for transfers from Disney to the port. The hotel was quite nice and we enjoyed the stay. Our bags were collected in our room for transfer, and our coach embarkation in Terminal B went seamlessly, other than a highly unusual encounter with a rude Disney employee who demanded to see our travel documents and photo IDs a few steps away from a check-in podium where we had to show the same information again. This was awkward, as I suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis and had to find a way to extract these items from my bag with barely functioning hands while standing there juggling carry-on bags and a cane. The Disney employee was not patient with me during this process and I was also quite frustrated. Every other Disney employee we encountered was wonderful, so this was an aberration.
Embarkation on Fantasy: We arrived at the port, went through security very quickly, checked in and immediately walked on board around 12:30 pm (an advantage of now being Gold Castaway Club members). We love the family greeting as you enter the ship on Deck 3 in the opulent Art Nouveau atrium. Our cabin was ready around 1:30 pm, so we went to the Quiet Cove adults-only area on Deck 11 forward for a drink and snack.
Stateroom and the ship: The Disney ships are renowned for their roomy staterooms and the split bathroom concept. Our stateroom, a veranda cabin on Deck 6 port side mid-ship, was tastefully decorated and had a very comfortable Queen-sized bed with wonderful linens and comfortable pillows, plus a seating area with a large couch. Our checked bag (we crammed everything into one large roller bag) showed up about 3:00 pm and we had everything put away before the lifeboat drill at 4:00 pm. The ship looks brand new and the public areas are awe-inspiring and full of fun Disney touches. At full capacity, Fantasy carries 4000 passengers. This number of passengers only became apparent when waiting for an elevator or finding a place to sit in Cabanas (buffet).
Dining: Disney Fantasy has a rotation dining concept between three dining rooms (Animator's Palate, Enchanted Garden, and Royal Court). We were at second seating (8:15 pm) and started our rotation in Animator's Palate, at a table for two. Our servers, Herry and Ronaldo, followed us through the rotation. They were a friendly and efficient team. We had three nights in Animator's Palate and one night each in Enchanted Garden and Royal Court (we missed the second nights in both of those dining rooms as we also dined at the adults-only Palo and Remy restaurants). We thought the rotation dining food was the best in Animator's Palate and we loved the animation shows, especially on the final night when we drew our own characters and saw them animated in a Sorcerer's Apprentice setting with Mickey Mouse. The food was a little bland and dry in Royal Court and Enchanted Garden, although the settings were magnificent. Other food options on board include Cabanas, the huge buffet on Deck 11 (we had breakfast there on most days) and the Cars-themed fast food options on the pool deck (great pizza and other offerings). Now a little about Palo and Remy: Both of our meals in these exquisite restaurants were phenomenal! Palo has a menu full of beautifully-prepared items with a Northern Italian theme. Our meals included antipasti, prepared table side (fantastic Parmigiano Reggiano cheese), appetizers, and delectable (and huge) Colorado lamb chops. The famous dessert at Palo is their chocolate souffle. The up charge at Palo is only $20 a person. Remy, named after the gourmand rat in "Ratatouille", is beyond description. The up charge is $75 per person, plus wine pairings add $99 a person and it is worth every penny. We both had the five-course Gout menu, designed by Chef Scot Hunnel (of Victoria and Albert fame at the Grand Floridian at WDW). Every course was a work of art and incredibly delicious and the wines were perfectly selected. The view is spectacular, the dining space is charming and sedate, and the service was top-notch. This is among the best cuisine experiences at sea (and I include the food-centric Oceania Cruise Line in that group for comparison).
Activities: We used the pools and hot tub in the Quiet Cove area and relaxed. We did some shopping in the boutiques on board and bought some nice cruise shirts and memorabilia for 15 years of Disney cruises. We did not use the spa facilities.
Ports and Shore Excursions: Our cruise stopped at St. Thomas, San Juan and Castaway Cay (the Disney resort island in the Bahamas) and also had three wonderful days at sea. We have been to St. Thomas and San Juan several times. We did two ship excursions (Beach Break at Megan's Bay on St. Thomas; Criollo Cooking Deminstration in Old San Juan); both were enjoyable and worth the cost. We spent a few hours enjoying Castaway Cay again (this was our fourth visit), it is truly a magical experience and so well-managed by Disney.
Entertainment: We enjoyed Pirate's night and the fireworks at sea. Having seen many of the shows on previous cruises, we did not see any on this trip. We did spend some time at the adults-only bars on board, including the beautiful and quiet Cove Cafe, the Currents bar on Deck 13, and the Skyline Bar and Ooh La La (champagne bar) in the Europa district. The bar staff are phenomenal. We did not have many encounters with the characters, but did get our picture taken with Captain Mickey.
Disembarkation: This process was extremely smooth and we did the on-board airline check-in. As I am writing this in the Orlando airport before flying home, we hope our checked bag makes the journey as we have not seen it since last night.
Summary: We had a fantastic time on Disney Fantasy. Most of our fellow passengers were also having a great time and we had some nice conversations. One does not need children to enjoy the Disney experience and their hospitality. Fantasy deserves the accolades it has received.