Disney Fantasy Cruise Review by grandmaR: First Disney Cruise
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First Disney Cruise
Background information : This was my sixth trip with a grandchild and my first with Disney. My granddaughter is 12 and I am 75. When I was trying to decide what to do with this granddaughter that would not be a repeat of another grandchild trip, I thought maybe I would try Disney to the Caribbean because I thought she would like Disney and she did. I myself am not a big Disney fan.
Since I am opposed to flying in the same day as the cruise, I had to decide whether to go to WDW or just stay at the airport. We had a very early flight into Orlando, and I thought it would be silly to be in Orlando and stay at the airport. Disney would not admit to the possibility of any other location other than WDW or the airport, and since I had Disney transfers, I wanted them to be able to find me. So I booked the Disney All Star Music Resort (because music is my granddaughter's main interest). The hotel itself was nice although the rooms that faced the guitar shaped pool would be very noisy. More There was a refrigerator and there was a Mickey outline on the bed with towels, and a shampoo with a Mickey head on it. I booked a scooter for moving around the hotel and Disney from Buena Vista. There was a food court type operation where we could get food and they had something for my gluten allergic granddaughter to eat.
We went to Downtown Disney to see the Cirque de Soleil show. Afterward, we bought some gluten free donuts and a cupcake from a store there at Downtown Disney. Then the scooter started acting up and eventually stopped altogether and refused to run, even though it said that it was still fully charged. The scooter place closed at 8 pm and it was now 8:30. Two wonderful Disney employees pushed me and the scooter to the bus so we could get back to the hotel. The bell desk got a wheelchair for me, but absolutely refused to help my granddaughter with pushing it.
The Disney transfers picked up our bags at 8 a.m. and my granddaughter (working very hard because it was slightly uphill and she only weighs about 1/3rd as much as I do) pushed me back to the lobby to get the bus to Port Canaveral. We had TV screens every couple of seats and they played videos about the ship and cruise all the way to the port. The time went very fast.
When we got to the port, I asked for a wheelchair (again, my granddaughter had to push). We went through security and up to the area to check in. It was very quick. As I normally do, I had rented a scooter for the trip from Special Needs at Sea. At check-in, they gave me the scooter I had booked to use in getting on the ship so my granddaughter didn't have to push me. We were able to get into our stateroom after about 15 minutes (at 1:30) and dropped our carry on bags and then went up to get something to eat.
Ship info: Fantasy is a new ship and had all the bells and whistles that one might expect. It's just very big and there were a lot of people on board. One thing very nice about this ship is that the doorways out to the promenade deck are almost level - no big lump in the doorway to get the scooter over. I rarely had a problem getting an elevator and it was nice that most of the elevators had mirrors on the back wall so that I could see how to back the scooter out. One thing that they do NOT have is a computer area. If you want to use a computer and you didn't bring one with you, you could check out a laptop, but it was configured so that you could not do anything except log on. You could not write your email off-line and then log on and send it - you had to pay for typing the email in. You couldn't even play solitaire.
We had cabin 2020 (second deck) which was convenient for the Enchanted Garden restaurant. I liked the porthole window and my granddaughter liked to sit there and look out. It was also convenient to have two sections to the bathroom - one side had the shower/tub and a sink, and the other side had the toilet and the sink. There was plenty of closet space, and there was a mini-fridge. The TV was nice and we could see all the Disney cartoons and movies for free. The remote was extremely difficult to use. I reported it once, but it did not get better. But the huge enormous king bed (not a fan of king beds) was fixed in place and could not be moved. It also meant that I could not bring my scooter into the room as I usually do. I had to plug it in out in the lobby. This was VERY inconvenient. I don't need a handicapped room as I can walk a little, but because the bed couldn't be moved, I had to walk farther than I would have needed to on any other ship just to get to my scooter.
Dining: Fantasy has an 'interesting' way of rotating you through the three restaurants - always at the same number table with the same servers. Except for the Royal Court there are no windows to the outside in the dining rooms - they do not take much advantage of the views of the sea. One great advantage that this ship had - they managed magnificently to give my gluten allergic granddaughter food that she could eat and wanted to eat. (Although when I phoned to ask before the cruise the person on the phone specifically told me that she could only have gluten free at dinner.) She ate like a queen and I did not have to worry that she would get sick from the food. The server brought her the menu each night for the next night, and she picked what she wanted, and they made it gluten free for her. This included the lunch at Castaway Cay. They had a special lunch for her there too and the also had gluten free pancakes, waffles, donuts etc at breakfast. It was nice that soft drinks were free, but neither of us drink soft drinks. My granddaughter likes pink lemonade, and I was very happy to be able to get cranberry juice at any meal.
Children's Clubs: My granddaughter was not too impressed with Oceanears - she said all the children there were little and only came up to her knees. She could do either that or Edge but when she went to Edge she said that all the kids were in cliques playing with their friends, and she did not feel welcome there.
Entertainment: My granddaughter didn't think much of the fireworks show and she wanted to have her picture taken with Jack Sparrow but he wasn't at the appointed place.
Service: I have no complaints at all about the service. Service in all areas was excellent. Less
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Cabin review: 2020
Good things - liked the big round window. Liked the two separate bathrooms each with a sink. I was able to reach things from the toilet and had places to put my medicines. Plenty of storage. Nice options on the TV. Near to the Enchanted Garden for eating. Very pleasant decorNot-so-good: The bed was too big - it was a King bed and I don't like king beds anyway - they are TOO BIG. If I was on one side and the phone rang, I could not get across the bed to answer it. Also it meant that my granddaughter had to sleep on the couchSince the bed could not be moved, so I could not get the scooter into my room. I don't need a handicapped room because I can walk a little On most cruise ships I can shift the bed over and get the scooter in so that I can park it in the room. Not on Disney. Remote was very very difficult to use. It just didn't respond in any kind of timely mannerThere were strange noises periodically like someone playing horse shoes but with light aluminum shoes - never could figure it out.
Port and Shore Excursions
Castaway Cay: The first time we went, we stopped at the post office for my granddaughter to send a post card from the Bahamas. There was a lady there who hadn't realized that her room card wouldn't work at the post office and that they didn't take credit cards. So my granddaughter lent her some money (which she paid back).
Then we tried a Fun Cat (a motor driven catamaran), which was kind of lame. You couldn't really go anyplace.
We also fed the stingrays. I did the stingrays here rather than in Grand Cayman because I've done the Sting Ray City in Grand Cayman and was NOT impressed. The sting ray feeding here was very good - they had the sting rays trained to come up on a platform in the water and take the food from your hand on a Mickey shaped target. Then you can stay there afterward and touch the sting rays as they swim around. The rays have their stingers removed. They are not wild rays like in Grand Cayman and the water isn't as deep as it is there.
We also rode the free tram down to the second stop and back, and had lunch at the BBQ.
I used my scooter as I knew there was no way that my granddaughter could push a sand wheelchair. The sand is extremely difficult to walk on and that restricted what I could reasonably do. Plus I am not a beach person. Lying on the beach is not my thing.
My problem was getting to the tour which involved walking down a long pier in the heat and across the shopping area to a parking lot. I thought if my granddaughter could push the wheelchair to where there was a free shuttle that I could probably walk from the end of the shuttle to the bus. But the shuttle had just left when we got there so the man who was in charge of leading the tour just pushed the wheelchair himself to the shopping area and then took it back. The bus took us to the dock for the glass bottomed boat and snorkel tour. I had a hard time walking down the dock and had to stop several times and rest, but I got there eventually. First we went over the reef in the glass bottomed boat. Then they showed us how to put on and use the snorkels. My granddaughter did really well for her first time. I was having a problem staying with the group because there was some current. I saw two squid swimming along the sea floor. Eventually I just hung on to the boogie board with my granddaughter and let Diego the guide tow us. They brought the vans for the ride back to the port out on the pier so I didn't have to walk far to get on. Then when we got back to the port, Diego got the EMTs to put me in a wheelchair and take me all the way back to the ship. My granddaughter was thrilled that she didn't have to push. They also brought us in the far gangway and we were the only ones coming in there. Then the gangway people gave us the wheelchair and pushed me back to the room. This was a very successful excursion.
In Cozumel, I took one of the bike rickshaws down the pier. They let me go out the back gate (so I didn't have to climb the stairs to the overpass) and put us in a taxi for the Atlantis Submarine tour. We were the first ones there. I suggested to my granddaughter that she look at the shop there and she came back and said "There's nothing there, not even a key chain, for less then $150.00. I said that must be pesos. After a little argument back and forth I told her to go and ask how much it was in dollars for what she wanted. It was $4.00. They showed us a safety video and loaded us onto a boat which took us out to the submarine. This was really pretty interesting. We went down to 100 feet over the reef and saw a lot of fish and coral and my granddaughter saw a shark. We got a lot of nice photos. When we got back to the office and gift shop I asked if the taxi could take us to a store that my granddaughter wanted to go to. The lady said sure, and put us into a cab and he took us out there.
This was the Duck tour. If they had offered Trolley Roger I would have loved to do that, but they didn't. For the tender, there was a special place on the top deck for handicapped and also a place for the wheelchair. But my granddaughter had to push me in the wheelchair. We had the land tour first, and we saw some of the little green iguanas, but none of the blue ones. It was kind of bumpy and hard to take photos. Then they inflated some side bumper things and we went into the water. They had an underwater camera and then went over a shipwreck. They gave us round soda crackers to throw to the fish. We enjoyed this excursion. Afterward we went shopping. When we got back to the tender dock, the dock people pushed me up the ramp (my granddaughter absolutely could not have done it) and they put me on the deck, still in the wheelchair for the ride back