Disney Fantasy Cruise Review by deh242: Horrible Vacation for 4yrs or younger children
Overall Member Rating
Horrible Vacation for 4yrs or younger children
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
If your children are about 4 years old or younger, this is NOT the vacation of your dream. Probably more so your nightmares. First of all, a Disney cruise is all about WAITING IN LINE. I don't know many 4 year olds who have the patience to wait this much. You have to wait in line to get the bus to the ship, then wait on the bus for 45 minutes, then wait in the terminal for 2 hours, then wait in line for food. Then if you want to see characters, you have to wait in line almost 30 minutes to see them also! Also, after the airplane ride we got on the Disney ground transfer bus (after waiting in line!) and then my young kids (4 and 2 years old) started to doze off and then they turn on a loud movie on the bus which wakes them up... thanks disney!
The second problem is that there is nowhere on board for this age range of kids to just PLAY. There is no open space with foam mats or any type of play structure, even a small room, where your kids can safely play while you spend time More with them. The ship forces you to separate from your kids by placing them in the nursery or the kids club. Problem is, if you have a toddler, they are not going to love when you drop them off in the nursery. I saw and heard many toddlers cry when their parents tried to leave them. If your kids is 4 or 5, the kids club is overrun with older kids that these younger ages don't enjoy it much at all. I know my child and other children at this age who were scared of the club. So our only "safe" activity that we could do with our children was to jump on couches in the lobby.
Also, the kids club (oceaneer club and lab) basically 90% of the time has 100 decibel music playing, so it is not an enjoyable experience and is probably downright unsafe. I was worried about my kids hearing. Also, the kids club is basically a big room with 100s and 100s of computer screens and video screens. Think of a very loud arcade, and now multiply that by 100. My kid can play the Dora video games at the library for a long time, but she found the actual video games on these 100s of screens to be obtuse and boring. I tried them, and they were silly. But apparently all Disney wants your children to do is watch their movies and play video games because even in the Pixie's hollow room which apparently had some arts and crafts, there was also a movie screen. So if kids were actually doing arts and crafts, then they all stopped to watch a movie and become screen time zombies. So, if your idea of a vacation for your kids is having them sit in a dark, loud room watching movies, then this is the vacation for you. Even in a room with a simple play structure, also a movie screen. I am surprised movies weren't on in the bathrooms. And we sent my 4 year old to one "class" there, and it was on drawing and animation, but it turns out it was just a movie on animation. Yay?
Another unsafe activity was the Mickey Pool. Think of a very crowded community pool, and now multiply that by a gazillion. This pool is not supervised by lifeguards. I repeat, no lifeguards. Therefore, there were tons of kids jumping in this 2 foot pool, and actually jumping near and on top of other kids. I am surprised no one has been paralyzed yet in this pool. Also, that big funnel vision they like to talk about is just a huge tv screen above the pool deck that they show movies on constantly throughout the day. So the pool deck becomes VERY LOUD. Other cruises have nice music playing on the pool deck so it feels relaxing but this was definitely not relaxing.
So if this pool was not your thing, you could try Nemo's Reef splash area with your toddler (this is designed I imagine for the under 3 set who aren't toilet trained). However, the lifeguards actually do watch over this pool area like a hawk - reason is because it is shady here and they are lazy and they can lean on the bars and want to stay out of the sun. But to justify spending their time here, they also like to make up rules and harass every kid that comes in. If they look like they are too old, they get told to leave. Even if they are not too old for the area, but just too tall, they are asked to leave. And then they don't allow water shoes on the small slide in this area - so if your kids wear water shoes they will have to stop and take them off before going on the slide. Yes, every 2 year old understands to put on and take off their water shoes every time. Mind you, this rule isn't posted anywhere, just made up on the spot.
Also, the "broadway like shows" were very loud as well. Think of the volume of movies in a movie theater these days. Not sure they have to be that loud. They were also scary for the younger set. If your younger children are afraid of movies, they will be afraid of the shows as well.
Basically, we really struggled to find ANYTHING for our young children to do that did not involve separating them from us or watching tv/movies. We tried that Detective thing, but it is a bit too advanced for a 4 year old, I thought. My kids did not really follow it.
The dinners were good and I was surprised at how good the food was generally. Just like Disney World, the bathrooms were generally clean. However, the Filmore's grill thing which is where the burgers and stuff like that were was very far away from the general buffet Cabanas seating, so you would have to walk very far if you wanted a burger for lunch, and then that whole area looked very sketchy (burgers were basically just in a metal drawer and placed on a bun, the fruit was sitting out in the heat, etc.).
Overall, I can see how this could be a good cruise for maybe a 7 year old or older, but definitely was a horrible experience with a 4 and 2 year old. We had a lot more fun at Woodloch Pines a few months before. Less
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Nothing wrong with the cabin, it was decent. It was actually pretty quiet.
Port and Shore Excursions
We were looking forward to this port because we heard such good things, but the beach is awful. Extremely rocky and covered in broken shells so it was uncomfortable to walk. Bring water shoes if you can. The barbecue was nice, but we didn't see any high chairs around and they only had picnic tables, so our 2 year old fell off the bench and hit her head on the floor. Because they stop here on the last day, the staff is not very helpful at all. Overall, we were very disappointed with this port and beach.
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