Took the family on a Disney cruise for the first time. We've cruised 10 times before, and up until now, Royal Caribbean has been our favorite, with the Oasis class ships offering more entertainment than any two other cruise ships we've sailed on. We decided to take a Disney cruise because our two grandkids are Disney fans, and from what we'd read about the Disney Fantasy, we thought this would be a great time for our first Disney cruise.
From our previous experiences with Disneyland and Disney World, we've come to expect Disney properties to be immaculate and well managed. We weren't disappointed. From the friendly, and helpful, young man who took our baggage at the curb at the cruise terminal, to the customs line at disembarkation, we were very impressed with the well trained, high quality personnel, working for Disney. Absolutely the best we've ever encountered with a cruise ship.
The cabins were excellent; the best we've ever stayed in. They were spacious, bright, had more storage space than we could possibly use, including the space under the bed for suitcases. The huge picture porthole was a big hit with the kids and the grandkids. Last, but not least, was the bathroom, or should I say were the bathrooms, because there were two, one which contained the shower and tub, the other with the toilet. Obviously, this arrangement requires more space than a typical single bathroom setup, but we all agreed, it was a wonderful feature of the Fantasy's cabins.
More positives - the dining rooms (you rotate through three separate dining rooms, though your servers rotate with you), were a lot of fun, especially the Animator's Palate. The movie theatre, showing the latest Disney/Pixar movies was great (we actually went to a midnight premier of 'Iron Man 3'), and we utilized them a lot. If you didn't want to make the trip to the theatre, you could also choose from a huge lineup of Disney/Pixar on tv in your cabin.
The Disney characters that were available for photos throughout the day, were a big hit with my six year old granddaughter, and she had a great time speaking with them.
Obviously, there were a lot of things we liked a lot about the Disney Fantasy. Now for the few shortcomings of our cruise. First, was the fact that the food was good, but only good. In the main dining rooms, the meals were typical of what you expected on a good cruise ship, but no better. To me, especially, this was a huge disappointment. I'd read a lot of reviews that said that the food on Disney was much better than average, and I was expecting much more. The entire family agreed that the food was good, and that's about it. The only exceptions, were the lobster, and the prime rib at dinner, which were excellent. The steaks were mediocre, as were most of the other entrees at dinner.
The other big dining disappointment was the buffet. The food was reasonably good, but the selections were relatively narrow. But the biggest problem with the buffet, was that they were frequently closed during the day. Unlike other cruise lines, which typically kept their buffets open from breakfast through dinner (and then usually until at least 9 pm), the Cabanas closed after breakfast, around 10 am, didn't reopen until noon, and then closed after lunch. And then, at dinner, the Cabanas became a pseudo-dining room, with servers and menus, so the buffet wasn't available at all for dinner. I, for one, truly enjoy having a buffet, available throughout the day. I thought the buffet hours on the Fantasy were terrible.
So, overall, a very nice cruise, a very nice ship, and a very nice crew. But the dining experience could definitely be improved.