Disney Fantasy Cruise Review by kuncelk: Disney knows how to do it!
Overall Member Rating
Disney knows how to do it!
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
Having looked through all the reviews on this website a lot before we left on our cruise, and during the time when we were deciding which cruise line to go on, I thought I'd offer my two cents. We chose the Disney cruise for our 10 year old daughter's sake, and found it to be lots of fun for adults and kids no longer into Disney Princesses. The boat was beautiful and immaculate, with enough activities to keep us all busy. When we just wanted to chill out, the Disney movies (and others) on demand in our stateroom was awesome. Like other reviews, we found the pools to be woefully too small to accommodate so many people/kids. And after a while, the water was an uninviting murky color anyway -- so no thanks! We did enjoy the hot tubs -- again, need more and/or bigger ones. We sailed right after Royal Caribbean had 600-700 people get sick, so when Disney clamped way down on the sanitizing while in Costa Maya, I thought we were in for an awful time. We did hear that a few people were sick, More
but their extra care in preventing everyone from being near the food obviously contained a potential outbreak. Dining rooms and the food and food choices were amazing, also they totally make sure kids are happy with typical kid food available, as well as fancier foods. Our daughter's favorite was Animator's Palate. Didn't get a chance to dine at Palo or Remy, but would have liked to. Cabana's (breakfast and lunch buffet) was good, but got really congested around the buffet and in the dining area. Food choices were good, but I have to give the scrambled eggs and bacon low marks. We are bacon eaters and there was never any crispy bacon that wasn't totally dripping with grease. In fact, all bacon sat in a pan with a 1/2 inch of grease on the bottom. Yuck! Need to offer chewy greasy bacon in one pan, and crispy bacon on paper towels in another pan. We tried so hard to like the bacon....
Like others had said, the children's programs were really top-notch. Our 10 year old begged us not to make her go there, but once she met another little girl (thanks for pairing us up at dinner with a family that had a 9 year old daughter!) and they went together, they both loved it. A lot of fun activities and computer games keep them happy. The one thing my daughter really enjoyed was the detective game that had us running all over the ship for days it seemed. Very clever! Good way to figure out how the ship is laid out!
We really miss the ice cream station -- bad. Ice cream on demand is a wonderful thing.
The shows were awesome and although we didn't ever stand in line to get a photo with a Disney character, if was fun watching little kids getting their photo taken with Mickey or whoever.
The staff go above and beyond to make sure you're happy -- remembering your personal likes and dislikes. That's awesome service!
A few things that really bugged us: we booked 3 months in advance and couldn't get into early seating for dinner. Our daughter is hypoglycemic and we begged over and over again to be allowed into early seating, but to no avail. So, we dealt with it and the 8:15 seating wasn't too bad. Didn't like feeling full (but happy!) at 10pm, but what else could we do? The problem we had was that Cabana's closed at 2pm every day, so for those with the late seating, you would need to eat a late breakfast and late lunch (3 or 4pm) in order to accommodate eating so late. The only place to eat after 2pm is Flo's V8 Café and it was just burgers and fries, and other fast food. We didn't pay a LOT of money for this cruise to get burgers and fries after 2pm. Less
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Cabin review: 7108
Cabin size was adequate, and it was nice to have a couch to lounge and watch TV on. Loved the veranda to check out the sunrise or sunset and watch the ocean roll by. Hands down, the best thing was the separated bathrooms (shower and sink, toilet and sink), which allowed two people to get ready at the same time. Would have loved an outlet for the hair dryer in one of those bathrooms! There was only a shaver outlet on the ceiling. If I got up early, I couldn't dry my hair anywhere other than next to my sleeping daughter. That didn't work out so well... My daughter loved the bunk bed that came out of the ceiling, except that her pillow fell off the bed several times a night. There is a removable side rail, perhaps there could be a removable head rail?? After seeing Royal Caribbean's storage for clothes, I initially thought that all our stuff wouldn't fit in the room, but it was no problem. However, if a 4th person were in the room, it could get real tight on storage space. I liked that you could store the empty luggage under the bed, which was nice and comfortable.
Port and Shore Excursions
Castaway Cay: it was awesome, like everyone else has said. WAAAAY better than Royal Caribbean's private island. So much more to do. We snorkeled out beyond the swim area (lots of fish, no coral, but two sunken boats and some sunken Disney characters) and rode bikes. Disney even puts up water stations along the bike trail! The roped-off swim area did get murky but if you went way out (with life vests), the water was super clear. Snorkel equipment was of good quality too. Didn't visit the adults only area, but rode past it -- wondering what the $500/day cabanas looked like on the inside! This is a place you can easily get sunburned -- be careful. There are thousands of beach chairs and umbrellas along the long beach, so there was plenty of space for everyone. The lunch was OK, wished I'd gone back to the boat for lunch -- but way better than Royal Caribbean's lunch offerings on Coco Cay. And they had the ice cream stations there too! Plenty of bathrooms, shopping, things to rent for fun -- an awesome day!
Costa Maya: we had contacted the Tropicante (Steve Uhl) to enjoy some beach time, but found we were a bit late and he was booked. However, he advised us to come anyway, and we were somewhat expecting a hotel with a beach front available to tourists. It wasn't. The most valuable thing that happened that afternoon is that our daughter saw the poverty that many Mexicans live in. Tropicante appeared to be a small restaurant (in a long row of rundown buildings) with some chairs/tables/umbrellas in a somewhat narrow strip of sand and palm trees out front. You are given a table and a menu, and there are lounge chairs available, snorkeling gear, and kayaks available to rent. I didn't really talk to anyone who understood English well, so when it looked like rain was imminent, we paid for our drinks and left by taxi. My advice: swim in the nice big pool in the shopping area right off the dock -- perfect for kids and adults. Largest pool I saw the whole cruise. Found some cool souvenirs there too.
As part of the catamaran tour/snorkel (highly recommended), we went to a private beach area owned by Fury and had about an hour to spend there -- there were bathrooms, food/drinks, lounge chairs, big inflatable slides in the water, rubber floating mats, kayaks, paddle boards, and horseback riding (for a fee). My daughter loves horses, so we went riding. A little sad -- the horses didn't look all that healthy or taken care of, and it was hot, no food or water for them in sight. Took a ride through the jungle, through standing water on a rocky path which was really tough on them, and kind of gross. There were ducks in this really dumpy enclosure back in the woods - also sad. But eveyrthing else about the beach was really nice -- except for the $11 hamburgers. We laughed and walked away. Thankfully, it was over around lunchtime so we went back to the ship for lunch.
Cozumel: Totally enjoyed the Fury Catamaran and Snorkel tour. We motored out to where we could snorkel, drifting along in a pretty significant current. It was nice to just float along and see amazing fish and eels hanging out around these rocky piles on the sea bottom, in about 10-15 feet of water. Saw lots of cool fish and coral in ~45 minutes and our daughter finally got the hang of snorkeling. My daughter and I get seasick and were worried about the boat, but it was really stable and we had no problems.
Cozumel: Totally enjoyed the Fury Catamaran and Snorkel tour. We motored out to where we could snorkel, drifting along in a pretty significant current. Saw lots of cool fish and coral in ~45 minutes and our daughter finally got the hang of snorkeling. My daughter and I get seasick and were worried about the boat, but it was really stable and we had no problems. Husband enjoyed the free beer on the way back to the ship.
Caution: bring food! There is no food offered during lunch time and we were all starving and had to buy snacks in Hell (heehee). The tour drove by a few places of interest probably only to Caymanians, then to Hell for a 20 minute stop (very bizarre, but kitschy and cute tourist trap), but the driver was really nice and shepherded us around so we wouldn't miss the boat to Stingray City. Bathrooms were there and much appreciated!
AWESOME! Part of the Island Tour was a short boat ride out to a sandbar where you stand in water about waist deep and stingrays move around you. Really amazing how unafraid they were. We were able to touch, hold and feed them, as well as pay $25 for 9 pictures they took of us holding them. My daughter wanted nothing to do with holding a dead squid so a stingray could suck it out of your hand, but my husband and I thought it was really cool. The stingrays even bump into you trying to find out if you have food. Well worth the money and this was a cruise highlight for me. Totally beautiful there, took some amazing photos. Bring underwater camera - snorkels available.
Part of the Island Tour was a trip to a Sea Turtle Farm where you could touch and hold little sea turtles. Our daughter LOVED that. They have a really large collection of sea turtles of all ages and they took the time to explain all about them. You end up in the gift store, so bring cash. Don't ask for a free gift coupon from your driver -- it was a cheapie key ring with the name of a business that had nothing to do with the Turtle Farm.
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