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354 Disney Eastern Caribbean Cruise Reviews

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 ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Disney just knows how to do it right! They wowed us and they will wow you too! The ship is spectacularly beautiful inside and out. Even the public restrooms are gorgeous. Yes, it's true, you will even see people taking photos of ... Read More
Disney just knows how to do it right! They wowed us and they will wow you too! The ship is spectacularly beautiful inside and out. Even the public restrooms are gorgeous. Yes, it's true, you will even see people taking photos of the restrooms in the adult night club section called Europa. They feature splendid Italian glass tile mosaics. I even saw one woman have her husband make sure no man was in the men's restrooms so she could capture photos of them as well! The three themed main dining rooms are unique, the service is splendid, and the food very good. If you don't care for haute cuisine there are some plain offerings like chicken and steak with a baked potato every night. You should try the Palo brunch just once for an up charge of $20 that is well worth it. Just make your reservation online for an at sea day as soon as you can. Disney bus transportation is seamless to and from the airport and you can get to the port terminal even before it opens for others, just be sure to choose an early port arrival time as soon as you can complete your online check in. The entertainment is true Disney family Broadway style shows with special effects that everyone will love, and they show first run movies every day. We saw the just released "Oz" in 3D. All this and a pirate night with fireworks at sea! It is just over the top! The ship is constantly being cleaned inside and out from top to bottom 'round the clock. I've never been in a cleaner more super spotless space. As you enter any dining room or buffet you are greeted at the door with a sanitizing wipe to cleanse your hands. Also, when returning to the ship from port there are hand foaming stations set up before you step onto the ship. This really made me very happy to see how proactive Disney is about keeping germs at bay! All of the cast members you will interact with will treat you like royalty. They are a very happy crew that are treated well themselves. They love working for Disney, and it shows! All this is topped off with a luxury stop at Disney's own Island, Castaway Cay! I spent the day in Serenity Bay, and it was idyllic. I found myself wondering if there was some way I could become a real castaway there and go home on another Disney ship in a couple of weeks or so! I took the very last tram back to the ship. I even ran into Captain Jack Sparrow while on the Island. I'm 62 and I went down the Aquaduck water coaster on the ship ten times! It is at the same time exhilarating and relaxing. I don't like roller casters or any scary rides, so try it...you'll like it! I could write a lot more, but let me just end by saying....BOOK IT!.... and get a veranda for sure. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Our family of five (2 adults and 3 kids ages 14, 11 & 7) boarded the Disney Fantasy on March 9th. This was our 4th Disney cruise. We have sailed previously on the Magic, the Wonder and the Dream. As usual, Disney was awesome. From ... Read More
Our family of five (2 adults and 3 kids ages 14, 11 & 7) boarded the Disney Fantasy on March 9th. This was our 4th Disney cruise. We have sailed previously on the Magic, the Wonder and the Dream. As usual, Disney was awesome. From the speedy embarkation process to the painless disembarkation process, everything was exceptional. We had two connecting outside Family cabins on deck 8. The rooms were very spacious. Lots of space to store luggage. The split bathroom is a wonderful feature on all the Disney ships. The beds and pillows are more comfortable than on any other cruise line. We ate dinner at Remy's and had a champagne brunch at Remy's as well. The food and service at Remy's is well worth the additional fees. We ate at Remy's on the Dream as well and it is by far the best dinner experience we have ever had on land or at sea. The food in the main dining room is good, but not memorable. The servers in the main dining room however are fantastic - always going the extra mile. Liam - our head server - was exceptional. We have never had such personal attention from any other head server on any ship. Our 11 and 14 year old were involved in the kids programming from the time the woke up to the time they went to sleep. They did grace our presence for dinner nightly, but otherwise, they were off doing their own thing. Our 7 year old also enjoyed the kids programming a few hours a day, but also spent a lot of time with mom and dad at the pool. He loved the Midship Detective Agency. We rode the Aquaduck countless times. Castaway Quay, as always was our favourite port. It definitely is the prettiest beach we have seen anywhere. It never feels crowded. Lots of beach chairs and shade. We did the Campo Zip Lining excursion in San Juan and loved it. The kids have voted this cruise the best vacation ever! We did a dummy future cruise booking on board the ship. Looking forward to going back in 2015! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Our return to DCL (cruise number 4) after the adventure of doing B2B on the Dream during Hurricane Irene in August 2011. We had cabins 8678/8680. Father-in-law who cruises with us was in 8680 (technically he is along to spend time with ... Read More
Our return to DCL (cruise number 4) after the adventure of doing B2B on the Dream during Hurricane Irene in August 2011. We had cabins 8678/8680. Father-in-law who cruises with us was in 8680 (technically he is along to spend time with the grand-daughters - I try not to take it personally). This was our spring break cruise with our girls (8 and 4) and DW's birthday. Stops: St. Thomas. San Juan. Castaway Cay. Father-in-law wasn't feeling well so we didn't actually do or see much in either St. Thomas or San Juan. In both cases we were off the ship less than 2 hours. What we did see we liked and we will definitely have to go back to explore some more. FIL stayed on the ship on Castaway Cay day. Water was a little cool but we spent 4 hours on the beach and had a great time. Cabins: Great location. Aft starboard cabins. Close to the aft stairs. Great views of Castaway Cay beach. Couple of decks up or down to get to everything. Cabins directly above and below. Only issue was the vibration of the ship. First time in 5 cruises I have ever felt it and it was esp. a problem at night. Bothered me more than anyone else so if you are sensitive to vibration get a cabin towards mid-ship. Ship: For some reason when we walk on to a Disney ship it just feels like home. Stress levels go down and you just can't help but smile. The little added touches from the Dream are really nice. Still love the AquaDuck, however I do wish the water was heated. Nothing like a cold splash of water on the back after dinner. Thankfully it was followed by a soak in the hot tub. Dining: Had a ERAERAE dining rotation with main seating. First four menus are a repeat of what we had on the Dream previously. The second show in Animator's palate was cool although the fixed app's did't appeal to me. Had brunch at Palo for the first time. Some of the best cruise food ever. Will definitely be booking Palo on all future DCL cruises. Kids clubs: Girls had a great time. In fact there were times when they didn't want to leave which was a first. For the first time DW and I actually got to explore some of the adult areas of the ship. For us a DCL cruise is really about the ship (atmosphere, service). We cruise other lines for the destination. Next DCL cruise won't be till 2015 but already looking forward to it. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
There are six of us (my husband & myself and our 4 kids ages 13,11,7,5). Probably the top reason to cruise with Disney is the kids/family entertainment. The Oceaneers Club(young kids club) staff and facility was great... my 5 year ... Read More
There are six of us (my husband & myself and our 4 kids ages 13,11,7,5). Probably the top reason to cruise with Disney is the kids/family entertainment. The Oceaneers Club(young kids club) staff and facility was great... my 5 year old especially made many friends and really didn't want to spend time with us on the boat, except for swimming in the Mickey pool each afternoon. There were even unscheduled character visits in the club several times. Both of my two younger children opted to skip dessert in order to go back to kids club (with the dine&play option where Oceaneers staff pick up kids at the front of the restaurants at 9:15) after our second-seating dinner most nights which says quite a lot about how much fun they were having. We were also very impressed with Edge, the tween club, which had extensive programming for that sometimes difficult-to-entertain age and allowed my two older children some freedom and tons of fun. The food was spectacular and we ate in the dining rooms we were assigned each night. We never felt the need to try the optional "upscale" dining restaurants because the food was top-notch at the regular/included dining rooms. Animator's Palate was fun the second night we were eating there with the animation show of characters we each drew on our menus. We ate at Cabana's every morning rather than the dining rooms so we could pick from the extensive delicious buffet (including Krispy Kreme donuts which are a fave with our family and not available near our home!), eat outside on the back deck most mornings, and then get on with our day.We all had fun riding the Aquaduck. We got an early boarding time (11am) to get on the ship and headed right to the pool with our swimsuits so there were no lines to ride when it started up at about 12-12:30. Also we found that the pools and Aquaduck lines emptied out by about 4:30-5:00 each day so we would ride a few times then (without the normal 30 min wait during the peak day time), and still have time for a shower to (maybe) see a show at 6:15 and make our second-seating dinner at 8:15. We loved the variety shows- a ventriloquist one night and a magician another- which provided laughs for our whole group, but didn't especially love the Wishes show so we skipped the Believe show the last night. The only critique is the disembarking procedures. Disney usually is impressive with their organization of crowds but not this time (although I'm sure that some of it is out of their control with US Customs). It took an hour to get off the boat from the time we got into line on the ship after breakfast until we walked out of the terminal. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Our Favorite Things: Aqua Duck: Amazing, fun water ride gives a wonderful overall view of the ocean and the ship while rafting through the see through tubes Concierge Level: Three phenomenal crew members, PJ, Kemisha and Alice always had ... Read More
Our Favorite Things: Aqua Duck: Amazing, fun water ride gives a wonderful overall view of the ocean and the ship while rafting through the see through tubes Concierge Level: Three phenomenal crew members, PJ, Kemisha and Alice always had the answers to our questions and performed miracles when necessary Port Excursion to Bacardi Rum Factory: After discovering our handicapped member would miss the excursion because of incorrect information from shore side, the Concierge team arranged appropriate transportation to the Factory by Rico Sun Tours with Javier Elias as our amazing driver. He even escorted us to our chosen restaurant in downtown San Juan, the Parrot Club, where the owners of the Club actually made a ramp for the motorized scooter while we waited. Everyone involved worked miracles for us that day. (At the Parrot Club have the guava flan; it is to die for). Palo Restaurant: Our evening meal at Palo's was wonderful, but our brunch was outrageously good. Each person orders his/her entree (Oysters Rockefeller, Eggs Benedict, Mahi Mahi, Pizza and on and on then while waiting, you serve yourself from dozens of mouth watering items such as pastries, crab legs and prosciutto wrapped asparagus. AND a dessert table. Split bathroom arrangement: One room has the toilet and a sink while the other has a sink and small round tub with a hand held shower AND an overhead rain shower. Best ever on a cruise ship. Dining Rotation: We enjoyed all three restaurants, but our favorite was the second night in Animator's Palate. We each received a paper placemat on which we drew a figure. These were collected and given to animators who did an absolutely amazing show on the dining room screens. Our figures danced in a chorus line then with Mickey, right in front of us. Our servers were Edward from England and Hanti from South Africa; like leaving family when we left the ship. Ship: By far the cleanest ship ever, especially thanks to our room steward, Rannie and his assistant Sam. Mickey 24/7 is not my cup of tea, but the Fantasy is subtle Mickey all the way. Beautifully done. Much of the wall art comes to life when you step on the round metal plate on the floor a few feet in front of the picture; adults as well as the children were fascinated. Also one day we mentioned a squeak in the ceiling and two carpenters and their manager were there within the hour to fix it. This is one beautiful ship populated with amazing crew members serving delicious food, but we will probably choose a cruise line that caters to a more mature population next time. That being said, because of Disney's ability to do most everything to perfection from embarkation to disembarkation, a Disney cruise should be on every family's Family Bucket List. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We just got home from our cruise and I have to say overall we liked it. The transportation from the airport to the cruise terminal was flawless. We did not even have to get our bags off of the baggage terminal. We got to the terminal ... Read More
We just got home from our cruise and I have to say overall we liked it. The transportation from the airport to the cruise terminal was flawless. We did not even have to get our bags off of the baggage terminal. We got to the terminal around 11 and were checked in immediately and given a "20" as our boarding number. This did not sound bad initially until we realized they called numbers every 15 minutes or so. It took close to an hour 30 minutes to have our boarding number called. Our room was just fabulous! We had a delux ocean view verandah that had plenty of storage space and room for 4 of us (me, my husband, and 13 and 8 yr old girls). The first night I asked for two more pillows and I had two different people bring them to me and then the next day our stateroom attendant followed up with it. Every night our room was cleaned, turned down, had animals waiting for us etc. Originally we had the 2nd seating dinner but once we asked to be switched it only took about 24 hours to get the earlier one. We loved our serving staff but they seemed to be short handed? It took time to get drinks, we had to ask numerous times for ketchup, butter, rolls etc. they both just seemed to be running all over the place. We absolutely loved cabanas breakfast and lunch buffet. Their was food for all ages and preferences. Our only disappointment was one night we were exhausted and tried to go there for dinner and found it was a sit down service. We really did not want to wait to be served. Overall we truly enjoyed the food minus this popcorn soup they served one night at animators. It was "interesting". As other have mentioned the pools were very crowded and finding a seat where you could watch your child was not easy. We ended up just trying to find people leaving and then leap frogging closer to the front row. My kids tried the programs but neither were very enthralled with them. So they hung out with us for the most part. In san Juan we really wanted to do a beach day and found an excursion listed as "family beach day" it was over 100 per person and included transportation, a buffet, and water rentals (boogie board, paddle boards, snorkel etc). When we got there it was an old hotel that was nothing to look at. The beach was littered with asst trash. All the chairs were locked down, not exactly clean, the buffet was so so, and the water was very rough for swimming, snorkel etc. My only big complaint is I understand this was a cruise for kids but how about some discipline? There were kids running up and down our hallway at 11 pm at night. The kids above our room where jumping at all hours, playing on verandas and just plain s reaming. The would run in and out of the buffet line, I got hit by ice cream a couple of times because little ones were running around with ice cream. I just wish parents would of stepped up to the plate a little. I still made sure my kids used their manners and behaved on the trip. Would we do it again? Yep but I think our next one will be a royal Caribbean one. Then maybe another disney after that. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
The reason for this cruise was to celebrate my daughter's 8th birthday. In total we were a traveling party of 5, with my daughter being the only child in our group. I had heard rave reviews from prior Disney cruisers and from some ... Read More
The reason for this cruise was to celebrate my daughter's 8th birthday. In total we were a traveling party of 5, with my daughter being the only child in our group. I had heard rave reviews from prior Disney cruisers and from some reviews, so I was expecting a totally magical experience. There were pros and cons to this cruise and overall, I feel Disney needs to work a little bit harder to Improve certain aspects of this cruise. I would consider myself an experienced cruiser and traveler and was expecting the same amazing experience we receive when traveling to Disney World, but just on a ship. To begin, embarkation was complete chaos. The terminal was clean, but did not have enough space or seating to hold the passengers that were waiting. After completing online check in and being assigned a time of 1:30 for embarkation, I assumed we would be on the ship between 1:30 and 2 give or take. We waited and waited and waited, while lines were forming for photo ops with Minnie and lines to enroll children in the kids program, there wasn't a square inch to be had, and passengers waiting were in all of that mix. There were 2 vending machines to purchase snacks and by the time we arrived to purchase a quick something to hold us over until we were able to board, we were left with an empty vending machine. Standing in chaos without a place to sit with an anxious, hungry 8 year old, was not the way we anticipated starting our vacation. Upon embarkation we were given antibacterial wipes, to cleanse our hands, and kudos to Disney, because throughout our cruise, the ship was spotless. The attention paid to maintaining a clean ship was impressive. From our stateroom to all public areas, it was spotless. Our stateroom was ready when we boarded the ship and our luggage was delivered promptly, which was another pro. Our stateroom was like any other out there, but another pro, separate shower and toilet areas, which was super! Our stateroom attendant, Ederson, was out of this world!!! He is definitely one of the best ! He ensured that my daughter had the best towel creatures and surprises every day in our cabin. His warm and caring personality and attention to details made this part of our Disney cruise experience wonderful. The food was equally wonderful. The rotational dining was a pleasure and the entertainment was typical of Disney. The quality was phenomenal and even my husband, who does not enjoy theatre, was impressed with the entertainment. Our server at dinner was outstanding as well. His name was Tumelo and like our stateroom, attendant, made sure we were well taken care of. Tumelo mad sure my daughter was able to order as much Mickey pasta and cream sauce as she wanted. His attention to detail and hard work was impressing. While out at sea, plan on getting up early in order to get a good seat at the pool and in the proper spot to watch movies on the funnel vision, the mega screen on the pool deck. Again, it seems there needs improvement with this. Be prepared to have to wait to get into the pool, hot tub and Aquaduck. This space was extremely crowded and it seems as though the family pools were not large enough to accommodate all the families on board. The novelty of the Aquaduck was thrilling until our first ride. Carnival and NCL have much better watersides. Our ports of call were great and if in St. Thomas definitely book the shoe excursion on the Champagne Cat to St. John. We have booked with them before and Captain Ocean, Captain Ryan and all the crew were great!! We will definitely be visiting them again. We enjoyed the launderette and on board irons there. Be aware the machines are tricky to use and we ended up being charged for more uses than we actually used. Lastly, debarkation was equally chaotic as embarkation and something that could be organized better. Overall, our trip was enjoyable and thankfully the pros out weighed the cons. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Overall the cruise we took on the Disney Fanasy was great! There is quite a bit to do on the ship to keep you and the kids entertained. As with everything in life there are pros and cons, thankfully the cons were few. Some of the positive ... Read More
Overall the cruise we took on the Disney Fanasy was great! There is quite a bit to do on the ship to keep you and the kids entertained. As with everything in life there are pros and cons, thankfully the cons were few. Some of the positive aspects were, plenty (and I mean PLENTY) of things to do for the kids. Lots of character greets (though truth be told on a ship of 4000 passengers there were some massive lines...even showing up 20-30 minutes early!), great activities in the kids clubs (my girls are 5 & 7) , the pools, although crowded (but show me a cruise ship that isn't!) and the water areas including "Aquaduck" were very much enjoyed along with the "Funnel Vision" movies (a giant video screen on deck) . Generous sized stateroom (we had a deluxe family room with verandah). Great staff service (although sometimes they don't seem to understand "personal space"). This ship is spotless....I mean REALLY spotless! It was quite incredible just how clean it is (I know it's less than a year old but WOW!) The "magic" paintings and the "Mystery Detective" game was very cool. A couple of the negatives were that the crown mouldings in the staterooms were made of plastic and the joints rubbed together creating a constant creaking sound. At night this was particularly noticeable and annoying (kept waking me up).The Air Conditioning in the room at night was not very cold. I can't imagine what it would feel like in the summer! There is also NO character breakfast or "tea with Alice" on this ship, they are only offered on the smaller ships...WHAT??!! Disney REALLY needs to work on the clarity of their website! My kids were disappointed. Disembarkation was the worst of any ship I've been on. Seemed like it was a mad dash by a herd of cattle....no order or sequence to speak of. The food in general was very good! Not incredible, but still MILES ahead of Carnival. Comparable with Norwegian and better than Princess Cruises (from my experience). I love going on cruises and food is one of the big reasons for me. We went to PALO one night and truth be told, although the food was very good....there wasn't much of a difference from the main dining rooms in terms of quality. Animators Palette was a great experience! However we didn't get the show until our SECOND seating at this restaurant (contrary to just about EVERY review I read that said definitely don't miss your FIRST seating here). As a result I had booked our PALO restaurant for our second night, so we just went with the kids to Animator's Palette for their dinner and the show. The food at Castaway Cay is the exception...tasted like it was from a Carnival cruise ship...edible but not very appetizing. Stateroom was comfortable, spacious and well appointed with ample storage for 2 Adults and 2 kids. The verandah was very much enjoyed by my oldest daughter...and me! The shows were very well done, very Disney "feel good" performances. A small pet peeve of mine....this is NOT Broadway OR a full scale theatre production. Some reviewers say that it's just as good or better...it isn't. The shows are great! But they are what they are....very well done cruise ship shows. The performers, directors and choreographers do a really good job, but if they were great they WOULD be on Broadway. Relax and enjoy the vacation and shows for what it is....pure Disney entertainment! The fireworks show was actually very cool and very well done. This IS an expensive cruise to take compared with other lines. However, the daycare is free (and fun) and you can bring your own alcohol on board!(even with all that personal alcohol available the people seemed to be MUCH more responsible with it). A couple of last observations...not good or bad, just observations. Firstly, there was a lot of movement for a ship this size. The water was calm yet you could constantly feel the motion....not enough to get anybody sick but movement nonetheless. Secondly, the clientele on this ship seems to be very Caucasian and obviously there are a lot of kids (Most of whom were wearing their princess gowns and tiaras!). Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
This was our third Disney Cruise, first on the Fantasy. We had a great time. We had an inside stateroom with the virtual porthole. It was great. We were able to see a live view of outside and were "visited" by cartoon Disney ... Read More
This was our third Disney Cruise, first on the Fantasy. We had a great time. We had an inside stateroom with the virtual porthole. It was great. We were able to see a live view of outside and were "visited" by cartoon Disney characters about every 30 minutes in the porthole. I enjoyed it as much as my 10 year old daughter. Food was good. If I had anything I didn't like, I don't remember it. If anything, I was tired of eating by the end of the cruise. Didn't try any of the specialty restaurants, the MDR were enough. Enjoyed the free snacks at Cove Café. Every morning, grabbed a coffee and snack and went up to Satellite Falls to watch the sunrise, It was magical and glorious. Enjoyed the deck 4 walking path that circled the ship. It was empty first thing in the morning and was able to start the day with a 2 mile workout just by walking around the ship 5 times. Liked the On Demand movies. So many to choose from, all free and included many old and new Disney movies as well as some recent non Disney releases. My daughter loved the clubs and made many friends. We skipped the shows and didn't feel we missed anything. We found that during the shows was a good time to ride the Aquaduck, and go in the hot tubs. Everyone was either at dinner or at the shows so we almost had deck 11 to ourselves. I would definitely recommend this cruise to anyone; Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We booked this family cruise last year with only about 2 months to go! I was in sore need of a vacation and the price was very attractive, even received a balcony upgrade! We thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. My daughter and granddaughter ... Read More
We booked this family cruise last year with only about 2 months to go! I was in sore need of a vacation and the price was very attractive, even received a balcony upgrade! We thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. My daughter and granddaughter shared an inside room across from me & Hubby. I loved this cruise so much that I booked the same time this year. We live in central Texas, so it is very convenient to drive to Galveston to board....It was nice to visit Galveston as well. Very easy to park and board the ship. The Disney experience on board was wonderful! Food was a little bit above my expectations for such a mass produced eating experience and of course, I ate way too much! The desserts were fantastical every night! We enjoyed the entertainment every day and evening--top notch in all venues... I highly recommend Disney for all ages.....The kids club was spectacular---they of course, know how to entertain kids of all ages. Our waitstaff and cabin steward are underpaid for their incredible friendliness and service....I could not find even one thing to complain about. I returned home a new person....refreshed and ready to get back to work! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Where do i start? Flew virgin atlantic to florida(wow service) Week in florida shopping in the florida malls/ outlets!!  Disney parks waterparks etc amazing service from all staff!  They just cant do enough for you! Disney fantasy: ... Read More
Where do i start? Flew virgin atlantic to florida(wow service) Week in florida shopping in the florida malls/ outlets!!  Disney parks waterparks etc amazing service from all staff!  They just cant do enough for you! Disney fantasy: Checking in was quick and easy once we was able to drop the two 7 seaters we had!!  They take your cases at drop off and transport them to your rooms!! Room was clean and luxurious we had balcony which was nice to chill in between things! Things? Sooo much to do, theatre shows which was like watching broadway productions.  Cinema showing plenty of films in 2d/3d. Aquaduck was great fun kids/ adults loved it. Plenty of room for sunbathing/ chilling on numerous decks.. Nemo reef was good fun for younger ones.. Smaller water slides for under 10,s was good.. Crazy goofy golf around rear of ship.. Basketball court for teenagers.. They even had a type of creche but for 3/9 yrs approx where you could leave the kids to play with other kids while you have a little me time,, Kids where all tagged so couldnt leave area without adult collecting, mobile phone on ship for coms with other rooms which was handy. FOOD WAS EXCELLENT. Help yourself ice cream for the kids and me!! One problem i noticed was a few teenagers getting like 20 cookies and eating say 8 between them? Greed... Then rest getting wasted? 100% going again!! Ship /staff/ characters/ food/ flawless.. Once in a lifetime cruise but im sure we will be going again.. TO SUM IT UP WELLDONE DISNEY/ STAFF THE PERFECT HOLIDAY MY SON SAID CAN WE GO GET NAN AND STAY FOREVER!! I AGREE CAN WE!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
I hope to provide you an overall review to help new and return cruisers based on our experience. Agent I booked the trip the day before US Thanksgiving online. I was pleased with the purchase price of 2700 for 2 adults and one 9 year ... Read More
I hope to provide you an overall review to help new and return cruisers based on our experience. Agent I booked the trip the day before US Thanksgiving online. I was pleased with the purchase price of 2700 for 2 adults and one 9 year old. sail date was December 1. Transportation We flew into MCO on Thursday night and spent Friday at Disneyworld. We drove the hour to Port Canveral on Saturday. Parking We booked parking with Raddison online for approx 7$ a day. The lot was across the street from the hotel and didn't appear as secure or monitored as I expected from their ad online. Lucky for us nothing happened to the car. I say this because a bus mate had their car vandalized at the Port Canveral parking garage in the past. baggage Handling We booked late so we didn't have bag tags. Regardless of whether or not you have bag tags, get off the transportation shuttle and validate that all of your bags are being handled properly.!!! If we would not have done this, our bags were ready to go on the Carnival cruise ship that was the first stop of our shuttle. Even if I had bag tags....I would still watch to make sure everything is handled properly because the oversight costs you nothing and saves potential headaches and a terrible start to your trip. Be prepared to tip the shuttle drivers and the folks at the port who will be handling your bags. The person at the port will help make sure your bag is delivered timely. Arrival We arrived at approximately 1:00 so we were able to get on the boat right away even though our room wasn't ready until later. We had "day bags" so that we could swim or read if we wanted. Lunch We did each lunch on the ship at Cabanas but Flos is an option too. both are on deck 11. Boat drill If you are on a high deck, like 9, i would suggest getting close to your assembly station so you dont have to walk down all the steps, especially if you have small children. after the drill, go down to go up because the elevators are very busy. Navigators Take multiple highlighters so that you can plan out you daily agenda. Give each family member their own color to make it easy. Extra Navigators are in a stand to the left of guest services. Entertainment Take advantage of the shows and movies that are on board. I enjoyed the musicals, movies, etc. I even enjoyed the family talent show and towel folding. So in other words, do not rule out the options you have! Food I thought the food was acceptable but nothing was great. One of my complaints is that the food wasn't hot. Pirate Night A lot of people do not dress up, dress up and have some fun with it. Things to take Mini medical kit for common maladies Post it notes or a white board to communicate with family or room steward In my case less clothes....if you are spending time in your swimsuit or casual wear, you don't need a different outfit for every day and you can repeat your evening attire. Sand toys if you don't want to buy them at Castaway Key Memory items We took a blank frame for character signature. We dropped it off at guest services right away. They did a great job on this!! You don't have to bring markers. You could also take a pillowcase and get that signed...it is easier to transport home! Pictures We didn't buy the picture package. In hindsight I would have had pictures taken whenever and wherever I could by the staff...that would make the entire package more affordable their individual prices were very high, I thin 20$ a picture and I want to say 349$ for the entire package! De embarkation Disney is very organized. To learn about the process, watch the TV program that explains the process. In general though the bags are grouped by your state room number so it only took a few minutes to find all of our bags. Customs Looking at the mass of people I expected it to take a long time but I bet it only took us 15 to 20 minutes. Room Our stateroom was 9644. It was very nice and accommodated the three of us quite nicely. Definitely unpack right away and put your suitcases under your bed so you have room. Don't forget your sofa table has storage, if needed. The verandah was nice but we had a smoker next to us and that limited our enjoyment of the balcony. Disney should do something about limiting where people can smoke on the ship. Laundry The have machines on each floor. 2$ each for a wash and dry. I brought my own soap. The machines are smaller than what you have at home. Also be prepared for them to be busy so do wash when you have time to tend to them right away so that others can use them. Port adventures We did the snorkeling....be forewarned sea lice are common in this area. Research how to treat and address sea lice. The itching and bumps have been on my daughters arms, face, and shoulders, for 11 days. Disney even has a warning about sea lice at Castaway Cay!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
With all the hype about the new ship, I was expecting to be "wowed". In many ways I was but not completely. The Cabin - We had two adjoining. Great size and the huge porthole was fun for all to sit in. Plenty of storage. I ... Read More
With all the hype about the new ship, I was expecting to be "wowed". In many ways I was but not completely. The Cabin - We had two adjoining. Great size and the huge porthole was fun for all to sit in. Plenty of storage. I wanted to bring the entire bed with bedding home it was so comfortable. Well appointed rooms and always kept in good repair. The split baths were great and the small round tubs were especially nice for bathing small children. The Shows - with the exception of the last show they were excellent. Our favorite was "Aladdin". The quality of the performance was outstanding. We had an illusionist on board who was very good. Numerous movies play continuously throughout the day and evening. New Disney/Pixar films will show on board the day they are released. We saw Monsters Inc. 3D at midnight on the day it was released. The Food - The food in the main dining rooms was good. Portions were small but you good order more than one if you were hungry or just couldn't decide what you wanted. The buffet in Cabanas was only so-so. They had some items (like the carvery roast beef that was wonderful while other things (shrimp, corned beef, crab legs, etc.) were disappointing. The burgers and hot dogs in Flo's Cafe were horrible. Kid's Programs - There was something for every age level. Even the 3 and unders got to make things. This is one of the areas where Disney excels. Public Spaces - The ship is nicely decorated in an Art Deco theme and the Christmas decorations made it festive. There are many quiet nooks and crannies where you can get away from others if you choose. The adult areas were peaceful and a nice way to get away from 1000+ children. The pools were quite small and usually packed with kids. Pirate night - Disney puts on a performance about Captain Jack and then there are fireworks and a dance party. Many (including adults) go all out with some very authentic looking pirate costumes. Dress code - Disney says there is one formal night and one semi-formal on the 7 night cruise. Very few people actually follow this. Character Meetings - Disney offers plenty of chances for kids of all ages to meet, get an autograph from and a picture with their favorite Disney characters. Cast Members - We did not have any thing put positive interactions with the people working on the ship. Your server knows you and your preferences in a day. The assistant server would even cut up the food for the kids. All in all it was a great cruise so I would give it a 5. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
I have cruised with Royal Caribbean and most recently Norwegian Cruise line. To say I was underwhelmed with NCL on our last cruise is an understatement. We booked on Disney because we both love the parks and know that Disney is held to a ... Read More
I have cruised with Royal Caribbean and most recently Norwegian Cruise line. To say I was underwhelmed with NCL on our last cruise is an understatement. We booked on Disney because we both love the parks and know that Disney is held to a higher standard as far as customer service is concerned. Pre-cruise info - We flew into MCO the night before our cruise and stayed at the brand new Art of Animation resort. We stayed in one of the little mermaid rooms. We thought that the whole hotel had been decorated nicely. We were satisfied with our stay. One perk about staying on Disney property is that you get picked up from the disney cruise line bus to go to port canaveral. Your bags are picked up from your room in the morning and then the next time you see them is when you are in your stateroom on the ship! Embarkation was a breeze! We got to the port around 1:30, went quickly through security, check-in and had our picture taken. I would say that this process took less than 20 min. First impressions of the ship: AMAZING everything was so beautiful... I don't think pictures can do it justice! And especially since the whole ship was decorated for Christmas! There are just no words... Disney had the ship decked to the nines with decorations... very classy and tasteful! Stateroom - we were in room 9016... great location, in the forward section of the ship. We loved our room attendant, RG. He was always smiling and always was very accommodating to anything we needed. We had a balcony which we used often. We liked that the bathroom was split so someone could take a shower, while another used the bathroom. this would be great for families. Our only complaint about the room was that the queen bed DOES NOT convert into two twin beds as on other cruises. We are two single girls traveling on the cruise and we felt as if it was strange that NONE of the beds converted. I would think that disney would want to accomodate many kinds of guests. My friend ended up sleeping on the couch bed... it was ok, she dealt with it and requested a foam mattress from housekeeping so she could sleep at night. The queen bed in the room was very comfortable and I just think that DCL should offer some rooms with twin beds. We also liked that the tv in the room had ENDLESS amounts of free on demand disney movies, shows, and other ABC shows. Not that we spent alot of time in our room but we thought it was a nice feature. Sailaway party was great - better than any I've seen on any ship i've been on! So much fun and definitly got you pumped for the vacation! Dining - I will be honest... We did not really care for the food too much. Either the food was "too fancy" or just didn't taste all that good. The restaurants themselves were amazing. Our favorite was Animators palate. Our servers were Elhan and Rakesh. They were so nice and really attentive every night. Activities - We knew when booking this cruise that DCL tailors the cruise to mostly families. And that was fine by us, we don't mind being around kids. Our only concern is there wasn't much for adults to do during sea days. Hmmm... do I want to go to an acupunture or posture analysis class today ;) We went to an animators class where we learned how to draw mickey and donald. that was really cool and I also liked the disney trivia games. I just think it would be nice to have a little bit more to do for adults. We loved going on the aquaduck! It was closed on two sea days because of high winds so we did not get to ride it as much as we would have liked. Entertainment - The shows on this cruise were amazing! Aladdin was so awesome and could be on broadway it was so good. The other two main shows were wishes and believe. those were very entertaining as well! Our entertainment host in the tube lounge, Trevor was great! He was so funny and kept everyone entertained. If you want a good laugh, go to the quest game show. We also went to battle of the sexes. They also had a magician, comedian and a group called buckets N boards onboard that week. they were all very entertaining. Pirate night was also alot of fun. people dressed up like pirates and they have a buccaneer blast fireworks show off the ship. Disney does not disappoint! We also liked going to get our pictures taken with the characters! so much fun! Ports of Call: St. Thomas - GORGEOUS island... seriously paradise! We went on the screamin' eagle jet boat in the morning which was so much fun! then we took the skyride to paradise point, which had amazing views of the island. San Juan - We took an atv tour through the EL Yunque rainforest. so awesome and alot of fun! Castaway Cay - I cannot say enough about castaway cay... it was great! So peaceful and beautiful. There was a private beach called serenity bay for adults. they also had a BBQ lunch on the island as well. I went parasailing that day and will never forget it! You must go to castaway cay! Service was impeccable on this cruise. Every cast member is so eager to help and happy to see you. This was such a different experience then when we were on NCL. Yikes! I would return to DCL in a heartbeat, just because of their awesome crew! Debarkation - We chose to walk off the ship with our bags since we wanted to get off as soon as possible so we could go check in at our hotel and then go to the parks. We were off the boat and through customs by 7:45... amazing... I've never seen embarkation/debarkation go so smoothly! Summary - I would not hesitate once about going on another Disney Cruise! I really want to go back! The Disney Fantasy is an amazing ship with so much to offer. Granted, it is more money for a disney cruise then say Carnival... but you get what you pay for. I felt as though on NCL you were constantly nickeled and dimed to spend more money when you had already spent enough (all the restaurants that you have to pay for) I liked that soda was included and did not have to pay for it extra like on other lines. Bottom line, you will love this cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Our cast of characters: me, DH, DD who turned 9 months while we were on the cruise. Hopefully this will help someone out who's going on a cruise with an infant for the first time...or just going on a Disney cruise for the first time! ... Read More
Our cast of characters: me, DH, DD who turned 9 months while we were on the cruise. Hopefully this will help someone out who's going on a cruise with an infant for the first time...or just going on a Disney cruise for the first time! We were in both categories for this trip! A few months ago, I decided I wanted a vacation, specifically a cruise vacation to someplace warm. The only other cruise I've been on was with Royal Caribbean in the Mediterranean about six years ago, so I kind of figured we'd go Royal Caribbean again. They have a new ship that sounded awesome: Oasis of the Seas. Just for a laugh, I thought I'd research how much more a cruise on a Disney ship would be. Disney also has two new ships: the Dream and the Fantasy. To my surprise, all told, the Disney cruise wasn't really that much more expensive than Royal Caribbean. Since we never use the casino, that wasn't a big loss, and there were some extra amenities on the Disney ship that would make travel with a 9-month-old a little easier (a great nursery, larger staterooms that would help accommodate a pack-n-play, bathtubs in the rooms to make bathing our princess much easier). DH agreed, and we booked a cruise to the Eastern Caribbean on the Disney Fantasy, which is not even a year old. We went the first week in December, so we got the relatively new itinerary with San Juan, Puerto Rico as one of the ports of call. We flew in the day the cruise left rather than spend an extra night in a hotel. Thoughts of dragging our tremendous amounts of luggage, and our daughter, from the airport to a hotel, then pack everything back up to drag it all back to the airport does not appeal to me. Disney's transportation option from the airport to the cruise terminal in Port Canaveral seemed like the easy option: we wouldn't have to lug our baggage around once we arrived in Orlando or worry with a one-way rental car or a car seat. After snaking through a long line to check-in for the transportation, we then ended up waiting over half an hour to get on a bus to take us to the port. About the time we were waiting to load the bus we thought the rental car might have been a better idea. However, once we arrived at the cruise terminal, we didn't have to wait at all in any lines because we had checked-in for the cruise at the airport before getting on the bus. If we do this again, I'd be willing to shell out the money for Disney transportation just because we didn't have to deal with all of our luggage. Of course, the more kids in your party, the more expensive the Disney shuttle gets, so a one-way rental car may end up being cheaper in that case. The ship is fabulous! I think much of it has to be because it's so new, but everything is clean and bright and beautiful. We were so happy with our stateroom. What a great idea to divide the bathrooms up into a shower/tub/sink room and a toilet/sink room! Before we had our daughter, we would got a cheaper inside stateroom and would have always done that. We're the kind of people who spend all our waking moments out and about, enjoying the views and the activities. Now that we have a 9-month-old, I can say that having a room with a veranda was the way to go. Not only did DD enjoy being out on the veranda (always with our supervision, of course), but we also enjoyed having the view and outdoor space since we spent much more time in the stateroom with our child than we would have otherwise (naps, nursing, taking longer for everybody to get ready in the morning or before dinner). Guests are free to smoke on their verandas and whether you have a smoker near your stateroom is luck (or unluck) of the draw. Our neighbors were apparently chain smokers and there were very few times when we went outside that they weren't also out there smoking. However, we knew we were taking this chance when we booked a room with a veranda, and there were still several times that DD could go out and crawl around on the veranda without the smoke. Disney provided a pack-n-play, a diaper genie, and distilled water for DD's bottles. There is so much storage space in the stateroom on this ship! We were so surprised. Even with a 9-month-old, we didn't use every drawer. I can see how there would easily be enough space for storage in this room even with two or three kiddos. It definitely helps that the bed is high enough to store luggage, snorkel gear, or any other bigger items you might have. DINING: I read so many people's criticisms of the food on Disney ships, including the Fantasy, that I really lowered my expectations before we left on this cruise. I love to cook and am often disappointed in restaurant food anyway, so I figured as long as it was edible and I didn't have to cook it or clean it up I was going to be extremely grateful. The food was fabulous! It helped that we had a head server who really told us the best things to order for each course. One night, one of our tablemates ordered an appetizer and he told her he wouldn't order that and offered her another suggestion. Every time I asked him which entree I should get, I was very pleased it. Even the lunch buffet at Cabanas had at least one really tasty selection every day. Another thing I heard about the dining on the Fantasy was that dinner takes forever. While it is longer than we usually spend eating, it definitely wouldn't have made us late to any of the evening shows. We had main seating, which worked so well with a 9-month-old! We usually made it to dinner a bit after 5:45 and were done by 7:15 or 7:30. Our DD takes a bottle before she eats her baby food, so I would feed her the bottle while looking over the menu and ordering. Sometimes DH and I had to take turns eating our appetizers while giving her the bottle. Then for the rest of the meal, she would sit in her high chair and eat with us. The first night at dinner, our server had the kitchen puree veggies for DD and asked if we'd like him to do that every night. We took him up on it, although some nights DD like the puree better than other nights. (You could have them puree anything you want from the menu.) I brought along baby food that I knew she'd eat, so there was always a back-up. They provide a lot of puree, so I brought some take-n-toss containers to keep the leftovers in and use for lunch the following day. We had the best tablemates ever! It was our little family and another family of three whose little girl was a few months older than our DD. They actually were in a stateroom just a few doors down from us! We got along so well that our conversation and feeding the girls is probably what made dinner seem to pass at a good pace. DD is not as good away from us in the evening, so almost every evening she just ate dinner with us and was fine either taking her bottle or sitting/eating in her high chair. Both the girls at the table seemed to be ready to go about the same time, but it was usually just about the time we were finishing up dessert anyway. Eating with her at the buffets for lunch worked out well as long as DH and I just took turns getting our food, eating, and feeding DD. We mostly utilized the "It's a Small World Nursery" during the day. On sea days, DD went to the nursery as soon as it opened for a few hours so most of our breakfasts were just us two adults unless DH got ready early and brought up a plate of food for us to eat in the stateroom while we got ready. Both ways, it all worked out nicely. One morning we ate at the Royal Court, which I do not recommend if you have young kids. It seemed that all the hot food was taking forever to get out to the tables. It took way longer to eat breakfast than we would have liked. The coconut muffins they have for breakfast there are amazing, but I would skip the pancakes/waffles/French toast. A couple times we ate at the Enchanted Garden buffet, which is much less crowded than going up to Cabanas for breakfast. The buffets are adequate, and you can find good things to eat. We got reservations the last evening of the cruise for dinner at Palo. The nursery workers really do a great job at not interrupting you if they know you're eating at Palo or Remy. When we went to pick DD up after dinner, we were pleasantly surprised that, although she hadn't eaten anything, they were able to get her to sleep. They even looked to see if there was room for her to stay longer since she was sleeping, but it turned out they were booked the rest of the evening. Back to Palo. The food is amazing. As I said before, I really thought almost all the food on the cruise was fantastic, so this was just a notch above. We didn't have a choice when I booked our reservations, but I would not recommend leaving Palo (or Remy) for the last evening. By the end of the week, we were both kind of full and just tired of eating. Even though our meal was great, I did not finish anything. We also kind of missed our last evening eating with our tablemates since we really had made friends with them by then. I think night 2 or 3 would be ideal for dinner at Palo. ST THOMAS/ST JOHN: My DH is the kind of guy who refuses to pay for an excursion. It's kind of a game to him to figure out how we can do things on our own for cheaper. Since we've traveled plenty, I have confidence in him by now! Plus, the excursion options if you want to take your infant with you are pretty limited. I think I mentioned this earlier, but we did not bring a car seat with us. Honestly, most of the taxis readily available in St. Thomas and St. John do not even have the means to attach a car seat in them. San Juan has regular car/minivan taxis, so if you wanted to haul a car seat with you, I'm sure some drivers would wait for you to install it for your taxi ride. We just put DD in an Ergo carrier when we were on the buses/open air taxis/taxis...and prayed for her safety. It was all fine. On the advice of my parents and some friends, we decided to spend our St. Thomas day on St. John. I wanted to go to the beach (DD's first beach experience!), and DH figured out how to make it happen. Trunk Bay on St. John is the most popular beach, so it could be crowded, however it is also the beach with bathroom and shower facilities, a food stand, and umbrellas for rent. We thought all those amenities might be helpful with a 9-month-old. We were some of the first off the ship. Somehow we made our way off with a group of people who were all lining up along the pier (we assumed to get through the customs officials). Then DH noticed Disney cast members taking papers from everybody in line ahead of us. We pulled another cast member over to ask what we were in line for: the champagne catamaran tour. Um. Yeah, guess that's not one of the excursions we're allowed on with a 9-month-old! So, that only set us back a few minutes. The taxis are all right there by the dock, and lots of people are generally going to the Red Hook ferry to go to St. John, so we hardly waited at all before our full taxi was headed to the ferry. I think since DD was in a carrier the entire time, none of the taxi drivers charged us anything for her ride. The ferry over to St. John and back does require a ticket for everyone, but I'm pretty sure DD's ticket was a reduced price. I'm not sure how long the ferry ride is since DD spent the entire trip screaming her head off...I think she had gotten sunscreen in her little eyes. Anyway, the screaming made it seem about eight hours, but I'm pretty sure it's closer to 25 or 30 minutes. Once in St. John, the taxis are, again, right there by the dock. So, you just ask for a taxi going to Trunk Bay. We were lucky to be the last to fill our taxi, so we didn't have to wait at all. The taxi drivers will stop at an overlook of Trunk Bay for a photo op. The ride is probably 20 minutes. Getting off the ship early was not a problem for us since DD wakes up so early, and really it wasn't crowded at all when we got to Trunk Bay! We stayed from about 10 to 2, took turns doing some snorkeling, had fun watching DD play in the sand, got some food at the food stand (I brought a bottle and baby food in our bag for DD), played some more, then rinsed off and got a taxi in the parking lot back to the ferry. DD took several naps during our cruise up on DH's shoulders! It's so funny how she just slumps over and can sleep up there for half an hour! This happened while we walked up and down the beach at Trunk Bay. Unfortunately, our taxi driver must have thought we were leaving with some Holland America excursion group or something and took us to a ferry dock that was going back to a different place on St. Thomas. Just be sure you specify you need a ferry going back to Red Hook. Even though we got dropped off at the wrong dock, we only had to walk 5 minutes down the road to get to the correct ferry. St. John is absolutely beautiful, and we had a really fun time at Trunk Bay, so I don't feel any regret about missing St. Thomas. And to sum up the transportation: taxi to Red Hook ferry, ferry ride, taxi to Trunk Bay, then back again. It does take time to do the transportation, but you also get to see some beautiful scenery. I say do it if you can enjoy the ride! SAN JUAN: Since we did the beach in St. John and knew we were going to do the beach again on Castaway Cay, we decided to spend our day in Puerto Rico in El Yunque, the rainforest. We rented a car from Charlie Car Rental, which worked out pretty well even though we couldn't get them to come pick us up at the port like they had promised. When we called in the morning, they asked at which pier we were docked. We didn't know, so told them we'd find out and call back, but when we tried to call back (repeatedly for 20 minutes) no one answered the phone! We had the address for Charlie's and ended up taking a taxi to their office. This must be a somewhat regular occurrence because they reimbursed us for our taxi with no problem. They had car seats available for the rental cars, so that was a plus. We rented a small SUV (a Jeep), and having the back area was great for diaper changes and letting DD crawl around a little bit. It's about a 45 minute drive to El Yunque from San Juan, and the rainforest is beautiful!!! We made a few scenic stops (Yokahu Tower and La Coca Falls) and went on one hike (Big Tree Trail to La Mina Falls). The U.S. National Forest website has info on all the hiking trails in El Yunque. Appropriately for a rain forest, it rained while we were on Big Tree Trail, so it's a good idea to bring a rain coat if you're planning to hike around in El Yunque. DD was strapped into her Ergo carrier, which has a little sun shade/rain cover that snaps over her. She stayed dry and got a nice nap on the way back to the parking lot from the falls. A bit further up the road from the Big Tree Trail trailhead is a little restaurant called Yuquiyu that has great hamburgers, quesadillas, and several authentic Puerto Rican items on the menu. I believe there's an ad for Yuquiyu in the Big Tree Trail parking lot. We stopped there for lunch and had some nice conversations with other visitors while eating on their covered patio. Originally we thought we might stop at Luquillo Beach on the way back, but we were all tired after getting in and out of the car and hiking a little bit in the rain, so we just headed back to the rental car place. They took us back to the pier right where the ship was, which is probably less than a ten-minute drive. Renting a car is also great if you happen to need anything from a Walgreens or Walmart (especially with kids, you never know what you may run out of or lose by mid-week of the cruise). A GPS would come in handy if you're looking for a specific store. We made a quick Walgreens stop on our way to El Yunque because we happened to notice one on the road we were traveling. I really loved the beauty of El Yunque, but I know there is so much to do and see in San Juan as well. Puerto Rico is definitely a place where we could vacation for a week; maybe someday we will! CASTAWAY CAY: We didn't want to leave DD in the nursery all day, so we just put her in for a few hours in the morning. That gave us time to have some breakfast and then go to the adult beach on the island for a little while. It was hard to think of the last time I sat in a chair in the sun and did absolutely nothing! After we picked DD up from the nursery, DH and I took turns riding the Aquaduck several times since there was absolutely no one up there! Then we headed onto the island to have lunch at Cookie's. I actually thought the chicken and ribs were great! There's a splash park on Castaway Cay, but I thought the water was a little cold, so after lunch we just headed to the family beach where we ran into our tablemates and spent an hour or so hanging out with them, watching our girls play in the sand. It was just enough sand, sun and water for DD before she reached her exhaustion point. She actually fell asleep on DH's shoulders on the way back to the ship and he just continued walking around the ship with her while I got cleaned up so she could just finish her nap. HOW TO SEE A SHOW WITH AN INFANT: Two of the sea days, the big evening show was performed an extra time during the afternoon at 3:00. This was fantastic for us! We never made it to an evening show, but we got to see those two afternoon shows ("Aladdin" and "Believe"). Disney sure has the best ship entertainment out there! We took DD in because she loves music and dancing, and she did pretty well. We sat right near the front, but over to one of the sides where not many others were sitting. If she got too squirmy, I let her crawl around in the empty side aisle or one of us would walk up and down the side aisle or up to the back of the theater with her. I read that some people would take their infants and let them fall asleep during the shows, or take a nursing cover to nurse them if it was time for that. Unfortunately, our DD is too squirmy to stay under a nursing cover anymore and has an extremely hard time falling asleep if anything more exciting is going on. If you get to the theater five or ten minutes late, that is actually right about when the show will start and it seems like they'll let you in the theater at any time. TO BRING (OR NOT TO BRING): I read some helpful tips on these boards and others before we left. Someone mentioned bringing little Ziploc bags of candy to give to the people who work in the kids clubs and guest services. We had a ton of leftover Halloween candy, so I brought a bunch of that and gave a bagful of it to the nursery workers every time we picked DD up from the nursery. They loved it! I imagine being stuck on the ship for so many months, with not much away time, they don't get much "outside" food...definitely not regular candy. I brought one of those hanging shoe racks with about ten different compartments to hang in one of the closets. It was great for some of our clothes, DD's things, sunscreen, sunhats, etc. It really made use of the space well. I also brought along some clothespins , which came in handy a few times. We used them on the clotheslines in the bathroom, to pin things to the chairs on the verandah to dry quicker, and to keep the curtains closed completely since we all like it pitch dark when we sleep. We brought all of our own diapers with us. There is a service you can order diapers and wipes from to have delivered directly to your stateroom: http://www.babiestravellite.com/ct01-diapers.html I just brought a few large size flannel lap pads to use for a changing pad. We did not bring a stroller. I think most strollers would actually fold up and fit under the bed in the staterooms, but then you also will want to put your luggage under there so whether everything would fit depends on how many bags you travel with! With just our DD, we did not ever have a need for a stroller. I read that you can borrow a stroller from Guest Services on port days. On the ship, with all the steps and other people moving around, I think it might be hard to maneuver a stroller. Most of the time, we just carried DD around the ship, and I don't really remember noticing many strollers. I saw a few umbrella strollers. SHIPBOARD ACTIVITIES FOR INFANTS: I didn't expect there to really be any shipboard activities suitable for infants, but leave it to Disney to think of something for everyone. OK. Well, maybe the Diaper Dash they held on a couple of the sea days was more for the entertainment of mom and dad and other adults, but it was an activity only infants would be eligible for! The Diaper Dash is a crawling "race" held in the main lobby. DD was definitely the underdog the day we took part since the other babies who entered were like three to five months older than she was! She lost, but it was fun and all the babies who took part got a free Disney Cruise Line bib (free souvenir!). Plus, for the rest of the cruise we had random people coming up to talk to us because they had seen DD in the Diaper Dash! Also, you can look in your navigator for the little Disney Kids dance party in the D Lounge that takes place some mornings. (I forget what the real name of it is.) DD was always already in the nursery when that went on, but if your child likes music and is available at that time I think it looks like a fun thing to go do. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
After 18 months of waiting/planning our first Disney Cruise finally came. A little about the players: DH (41), me (Mom/DW) (40), DS (8), and DS (4) are all certified, card-carrying Disney fanatics. We have traveled to WDW numerous times ... Read More
After 18 months of waiting/planning our first Disney Cruise finally came. A little about the players: DH (41), me (Mom/DW) (40), DS (8), and DS (4) are all certified, card-carrying Disney fanatics. We have traveled to WDW numerous times and we love all things Disney! We booked our cruise in late June, 2011 and chose the Deluxe Family Ocean view room for the extra space and large porthole. We really wanted a balcony but with DS only being 4 my nerves couldn't handle it ?. DH and I read many reviews and posts on various subjects while planning the cruise. With 18 months, we read A LOT!!! We chose the Eastern Caribbean because we had never been there. We tried in 2010 on a different cruise line, but two back-to-back hurricanes re-routed us to the Western. This was our family's first Disney Cruise and both sons' first cruise ever. DH and I have traveled Carnival several times. We originally planned on not telling the boys until we left but I could not wait so 3 months prior to departure, we told the boys. I am so glad we did. Hearing my 4 yo talk about "Mickey's boat" and "the cruise" was priceless. That pretty much summarizes us so on with the review. This is my first review of any trip we have taken so thanks for tuning in. I will start with the cost. A Disney cruise for 4 people is expensive. A trip to Disney for 4 people is expensive. In comparing apples to apples -- most notably the size of the rooms that Disney provides. You have to start with a suite level on both Carnival and Royal Caribbean to get the roughly the same size room and for a family of 4 the cost is almost equal. Can you cruise cheaper than Disney? Of course, you can. What you spend on a vacation is a matter that only you and your family can determine. Disney does not nit-pick the little extras with you. Sodas have been mentioned numerous times but something I would not have thought about happened in San Juan. It was a typical Caribbean rain storm when we docked. I jokingly said to my husband "I wonder if they have the ponchos they sell at the parks for sale today?" His response "I'm sure they do". As we are leaving the ship, there are several cast members handing out (no extra charge) the very ponchos we had talked about. One cast member sees me making knots in my youngest son's so that it would fit better and he walks over and hands me a child size and says "this may fit better". The Ship: By far the most gorgeous ship we have been on. We love Disney but we love subtle Disney. The Fantasy does Disney subtle. Yes there are Mickeys (hidden and overt) everywhere but the characters are so well done, you forget that you are surrounded by cartoon characters. The main chandelier is indescribably beautiful! I took several pictures of it and still don't think I did it justice. The ship was decorated for Christmas and we loved it! The giant gingerbread house was fabulous. We have not seen the one at the Grand Floridian but this one has to be close, just not big enough for people to go in. The art work both interactive and just art work is great. We LOVED the Mid-ship detective agency! You get your walking in which is good because you eat from the time you wake up until just before you go to bed ?! Service: I will tell you the service on the Fantasy is top notch! We had a great dining team and a wonderful room steward. Every cast member we came in contact with was smiling, polite, and went above and beyond to ensure our vacation was superb! A couple of examples: while at Flo's Cafe for an afternoon snack, one of the officers was also ordering lunch. He sees me, steps back and insists that I order before him. All I wanted was a couple of chicken fingers for a snack. The gentleman serving the food asked did I want fries with that, no I said. He asked how many fingers and I said three. He smiles and looks up at the officer and says "He's my boss, aren't you sure you don't want more? We have plenty". All three of us laugh. We are working on our mid-ship detective agency when around the corner comes Goofy. He stops, gives the boys high-fives and proceeds to "talk to us". He acts out who he thinks the culprit is and my boys eat it up. I could go on and on with stuff like this. Our room: perfect size for our family of 4. Plenty of storage space. I try really hard to "pack light" but unfortunately I never succeed. All luggage, as many have mentioned, fits easily under the bed. The table in front of the sofa/bed is a storage chest so we could keep our dirty clothes out of the way. The split bathroom is awesome! Having one boy in the shower while the other was brushing teeth/hair and not all in the same space....fabulous! Made getting dressed a snap. Oh and Mom had her own dressing table in front of the sofa. I had read how you don't need to bring your own hair-dryer because the one Disney provides is great. About 5 days into the vacation after not being impressed with the wattage of the dryer, I plug the dryer into the full wattage outlet (all the converter outlets were being used with battery chargers for our cameras) and get a surprise...the dryer is great! So for all you women out there, don't plug the dryer into the converter outlet (it does fit by the way) use the round one (don't know what it is called ?). It makes a huge difference. Food/dining: There is plenty of it! We loved rotating restaurants for dinner. Dinner menus had a great variety. I had some super good dinners and some that were just ok. I don't remember anything that I did not like. My husband had one appetizer that he did not like but that had more to do with his personal taste than the dish. Cabanas had options for everyone. Breakfast and lunch was always great. Flo's Cafe is also great. I have fairly picky kids when it comes to food. They don't like to try new things but when they do, they do generally like it. I say that to say, they frequented Flo's because that is their kind of food. I do have to say that Cookies (and Cookies Too) food is fantastic. Even with the downpour that occurred just before lunch on Castaway Cay, the food was terrific. My boys frequented Eye Scream as did the adults. We did not do Remy or Palo as this was our first cruise. We had booked a Palo lunch but had to cancel it because it conflicted with another event that we did as a family. We had late seating and we are so glad we did. With the time difference, it would have felt like eating at 4 in the afternoon on some days. We had a table for 4. We did not request it because we have always enjoyed meeting new people at dinner. I must say that we did enjoy having dinner just the 4 of us each night. Disney does great job with dine and play. Dinner starts at 8:15 and the servers get the kids appetizers, entree, and desert completed in an hour all while not rushing the adults. At 9:15, kid's club counselors meet at the front of the restaurant and take the kids back to the clubs for the rest of the evening. It is the best of both worlds, mom and dad get a sit down dinner (a rarity for our family because we are always on the move at home) with the boys and the boys do not have to endure a 2 hour meal. Our dining rotation was AERAERA which we thoroughly enjoyed. We got Animator's on pirate night and Royal Court and Enchanted Garden on formal and semi-formal night. Crush show is FANTASTIC!! Very similar to Turtle Talk with Crush in EPCOT. What impressed us the most is that we could not figure out how/where the microphone was hidden because when Crush was talking to our boys it was hard for us to hear what they were saying much less the turtle. The boys still talk about that night. The animator show is just absolutely amazing. We all loved drawing our characters and seeing them on the screens. This is the only night the boys did not leave dinner to go to the clubs. Royal Court and Enchanted Garden are both beautiful! Loved the changing from day to evening in Enchanted Garden. Ports: St. Thomas: our youngest son is 4 but not the least bit scared of water and water adventures. Disney has a 5 yo cut off for all of their snorkeling excursions so we had no choice but to book on our own which we would have done anyway. We have found that you can get better and cheaper port excursion on your own if you do your research ahead of time. We booked a full-day (6 hr) sail aboard the Rumbaba out of Red Hook Bay. The sail included breakfast bread, appetizers, a full lunch, two snorkel stops, anything you can think of to drink, and a gorgeous day of sailing. San Juan: the day started off wet but after a couple of hours cleared up beautifully. My cousin lives there so we had a personal guide as we toured the island and waited out the rain. We walked through the old Spanish fort at the mouth of the bay. The boys really liked "shooting the cannons at the pirates". We ate lunch at a local restaurant and had mufungo (I hope I spelled that right). It is a dish made with meat (I had beef) and smashed plantains. It is absolutely delicious! Castaway Cay: How do you describe a perfect island in the Bahamas with a touch of Disney flair? You can't. We were on the bow of the ship as we are docking and all we could say was WOW. It is this small island that has been perfected by Disney. There is a sea wall that is to keep out "big" sea life. The island is divided into a boating both motor and manual area, two family beaches with snorkeling area, and the adults only area. When we arrived it was low 70's but we knew that was not going to last long as there was a storm approaching. We played on the beach for a couple hours. We wanted to do Pelican Plunge but for us the water was just too cold. We were just about to take out the bikes that we had rented to explore the island when the bottom fell out. I mean real tropical down pour. It rained for almost an hour and during that time the temperature dropped about 10-15 degrees. After lunch we through in the towel and returned to the ship. Because of the weather, the crew had added some more activities for the afternoon so the boys and I went to see Wreck It Ralph while DH took a nap. After the rain and clouds cleared, the sun came out and it was again a perfect island. Only down side was the 30-40 mph wind gusts and change in temperature. We would have loved to have had more time on the island but no one can control the weather. Kid's clubs: My boys RAVED about them! The Oceaneer Club and Lab are for ages 3-12. My youngest took most of the week to realize that he could go to the club even though his brother stayed in the Lab. There was so much for the kids to do that we would sit down each night and highlight each person's activities for the next day. We made it to most of them but missed some too. My oldest loved making flubber and the WII challenges and my youngest loved the magic dance floor and having the characters come and read stories or play with him. Overall this was one of best family vacations we have taken. Does it replace WDW? For our family never! Does it stand on its own merits? ABSOLUTELY yes! I can say that this cruise is the only one DH and I have taken that when we left, we looked at each other and said we will do this cruise again -- same ship and itinerary. And we did, we are booked for August, 2014. Can't go back next summer because we have to go to WDW ?. It's been 18 months since we were last there. Thanks for reading! I am sure that I have missed something but I hope you have enjoyed our adventure. We sure did! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Arrived at the port at noon, check in was a breeze as we had pre-registered online. Took pics with Mickey in front of a model of the ship, on board by 1pm. Made our Palo reservations. We couldn't get the day and time we wanted when ... Read More
Arrived at the port at noon, check in was a breeze as we had pre-registered online. Took pics with Mickey in front of a model of the ship, on board by 1pm. Made our Palo reservations. We couldn't get the day and time we wanted when I tried to do it online, but we got the exact day and time we desired when we made it soon after boarding. Ate lunch at the buffet at Enchanted Garden. Made my pedicure appointment (same experience as our Palo resv) Changed into swim suits from our carry-on and the kids went on the Aqua Duck. Suitcases were outside our cabin doors by 3pm. Safety muster was at 4pm. We did NOT have to take our life vest. Our meeting location was the Walt Disney Theater (very nice to be able to sit during the safety briefing!). Don't get there more than a few minutes early as you'll just have to wait, but don't get there late either as there won't be any seating left. Get a deck map for each member of your party from Guest Services. Cabins Very first thing--see if your wave phones need to be charged. There are 2 wave phones per cabin for use on board the ship and at Castaway Cay, but there is only 1 charger. The only drawback is they are large, they only vibrate (no audible ring), and they don't always work. Coffee table is actually a trunk. Great for storing kid's shoes. Bring a hanging toiletry bag as there is not a whole lot of storage space in the bathroom. Bathroom has 2 retractable clothes lines, very handy. There is a lighted clock/docking station for I Pods and I Phones (but not I Phone 5). Hair dryer has a special outlet at the desk. There are 2 regular kinds of outlets at the desk. The only outlet in the bathroom is for shavers. Keep dollar bills handy in a drawer for complimentary room service. $1 to $2 per item ordered. (our boys enjoyed ordering pizza at midnight!) Navigators (schedule of the following day's events and activities) are delivered to your cabin each evening after dinner. Get an extra copy to keep as souveniers from Guest Services. Spa/Fitness If you weren't able to make appointments online before sailing, go to the Spa immediately upon boarding and you will still be able to make appointments on sea days (the most popular appointment days). Show up to the raffle which is held following the safety muster. You must be present to win so there are a lot of winners compared to the number of people present. Cardio and weight equipment is very nice. Individual TVs on the cardio equipment. If you do a spa treatment, they give you a questionnaire to fill out. Do not report any problems or issues--if you do, they have all kinds of products they will try to sell you to "solve" your various skin problems, ect... When you get your Navigator each night, peruse it quickly for any spa specials that might be advertised for the next day. If you are interested, call the spa immediately and make your appointment--these promotional treatments fill up quickly and although it is advertised for the next day, there will be no treatment rooms left if you wait until the next day to book it. Dining On a 7 day cruise, there is 1 formal night and 1 semi-formal night. On the formal night, I wore a satin skirt and dressy blouse and my husband wore a sport jacket and tie. On the semi-formal night, I wore a casual skirt and blouse and my husband wore a dress shirt and tie(no jacket). On both nights our young sons wore dockers and polo shirts. We had breakfast at the Royal Court several times. There is a big variety of menu items and you are waited on just like at dinner. The breakfast buffet at Enchanted Garden is good as well and the waiters bring your beverages to your table and anything else you might need. The breakfast buffet at Cabanas is completely casual (swimsuits and cover ups are ok) but you must fetch all your food, condiments and beverages yourself. Right before dinner, the area in front of the restaurants are jam packed. Wait until just a few minutes after your dinner hour and you will be able to stroll in and proceed straight to your table. If you have reservations at Palo or Remy (you pay an extra fee to eat here), you must dress up, even shoes. No T-shirts, jeans, shorts, flip flops. There is counter service food venues, ice cream machines, and serve yourself beverage stations (including soda) near the pools. On Board Water Play If you go on the Aqua Duck during the following times you won't have to wait in line longer than 10 -- 15 minutes: Morning, afternoon on port days, and evenings. Aqua Lab, the splash play area for pre-schoolers and older is somewhat hidden on deck 12. Make sure your kids check it out as it's a great alternative to the pool and Aqua Duck. Do not save your deck chair with a ship towel only. Pool attendants constantly collect towels that are left on deck chairs when there is nothing else there (like a bag, cover up or flip flops). Kids My 2 boys loved the kid's club, Oceaneer Lab. Although there are a multitude of activities available, they mainly stayed near the computer games. You don't have to wait for an "open house" to stroll through and see what's there. When you go to pick up your child, you are given a "child pick up" badge and you are allowed to walk into the club and find them. Note--if your child is in a state room with some one other than his/her parents, that adult will have to add you to the list of those allowed to pick up your child--just because you're the parent, you will not automatically be on this list originally, only the adult in your child's cabin will be (in our case, it was their adult brother), he then can add you to the list of those allowed to pick up your child. The electronic wristband that your child wears does have a way of falling off on occasion. There is a $50 fee if it is lost. They highly recommend that you cut it off and leave it in your cabin when you go ashore. The next time your child goes to the kids club they will re-attach it for you. My boys loved the Mid Ship Detective Agency game. It's like an interactive scavenger hunt. Register at either of the 2 kiosks and then follow the map and find the interactive art work located throughout the ship to solve the crime. Don't wait until the last day of your cruise to do this as the art work locations will be crowded. Be sure to leave your child's electronic wrist band at the club on the last night or the last time they attend before disembarking. Entertainment There are lots of fun activities scheduled throughout the day on sea days and throughout the evening on port days. The trivia games get redundant after a while. The cooking demonstrations are fun and worthwhile. The 6 big evening shows are absolutely not to be missed. They are Broadway quality productions that the entire family will definitely enjoy. On our cruise, 13 movies rotated through the Buena Vista theater. Pictures Gladly, Disney cruise line does not try to snap your picture every time you turn around. There are professional picture opportunities as you board the ship, before dinner, in the atrium lobby, and with Disney characters at specific times throughout the day. You can also use your own camera at these times and some of my own pictures (in front of their backgrounds) turned out really nice. Fun places to take pictures include: The castle mosaics, sweeping stair case, bronze Mickey statue and bronze Peter Pan mural in the atrium lobby; the English phone booth, funny chairs and motor cycle with side car in the Europa lounges (which children can go to in the morning, afternoon and early evening); the beautiful mosaics in the restrooms in the Europa hallway, sitting inside a rounded window on deck 3, in front of the "Fresh Catch" photo op scene on Castaway Cay near the tram stop nearest the ship, and as your driving/flying to and from your cruise. San Juan My older son and his cousins, aunt and uncle did the "Campo Rico Ziplining Adventure and Kayak" . They said it was a lot of fun and well worth the cost. Besides ziplining and kayaking, hiking and a chicken lunch was included. My husband and the younger boys and I walked around San Juan ourselves and went shopping and to San Cristobal fort. The fort is just a few blocks from the ship and well worth the nominal entrance fee. Besides running around and checking out the dungeon, perimeter walls and iguanas that roam around the grassy areas, my young sons enjoyed the film presentation on the history of the fort. Due to a huge breakfast on board and the anticipation of a huge dinner on board, we only had smoothies and empanadas while in town. St Thomas 13 of us in our party had booked the "St. John island tour" that included a ferry ride to St. John. After we had checked in for our tour and were waiting in the Walt Disney Theater for our tour to start, we were told that our excursion was cancelled due to "mechanical difficulties". We and about 100 other cruisers immediately went to the shore excursion desk to see about booking another excursion but the only other one available for a party of our size was a dolphin experience which most of us had already done on previous cruises. We opted instead to walk around on our own and our cancelled excursion was credited to our account. Across the street from the port (Haven Sight Pier, one of 2 piers in St. Thomas) was the Aerial tram ride. It cost about $12 per person (cheaper than buying tickets for it onboard the ship). The view from the top was spectacular and there was a gift shop as well but that was it. We then waved down an open air bus/jeep ($3 per person) and rode for about 10 minutes to the shopping area of Charlotte Amalie. Tons of shopping and places to eat. To return to the ship, simply wave down another jeep. If you enjoy long walks and don't have small children with you, walking is a nice option as well. Castway Cay If you have children who swim, get off the ship as early as possible and snag beach chairs in front of the children's ocean play structure. It's in the water (you have to swim a little to get to it) and the kids can climb, jump and swing on ropes. This area is also near the Pelican Plunge water slide that you must also swim out to. Do this as soon as it opens before the lines to the slide get too long. There are shops and another BBQ area for lunch and a very simple splash play area for kids near the Pelican Plunge. Don't bother crowding around the shower area to wash your feet until you get to the dock where the ship is. There is a foot washing station there. Disembarkation Make sure to bring a small suitcase or large tote bag for your overnight items as you must place your suitcases outside your cabin door by 10pm on the last night. You can then claim them at baggage claim as you disembark the next day. This is much easier than hauling them to breakfast (once you leave your cabin you can't go back) through the crowded ship, gang planks, and cruise terminal escalators yourself. Be sure and leave your Wave phones in the cabin. There is a $200 fee if you accidentally take it with you. Although our "Welcome Home" disembarkation flier didn't list it, along with the 3 restaurants, Cabanas buffet was open for breakfast on this last morning as well. This was a better option for us as the flier said we'd have to have breakfast at one of the dining rooms at 6:45 am if we had been assigned the early seating for dinner. We finished eating and headed towards the ship's exit at 9:30am. You will need your key to the world card as you disembark. This is how they know who has left the ship. We proceeded through baggage claim and customs very smoothly. The area in front of the cruise terminal where everyone waits for a ride or off-site shuttle was extremely crowded. If you parked in the parking structure there at the terminal simply walk into it with your entire party and then find a spot there on the first floor to wait while one person goes to get the car. Handy things to pack Baby wipes to keep hands clean, esp. while ashore, lots of sunscreen, various size zip locks (comes in handy in a variety of situations), 2 sets of swim suits so you don't have to put on a wet one the next day, over the counter meds (pain reliever, sea sickness, cough and runny nose), small bills for bargaining, copies of the front page of your passport, driver's license, insurance card, credit cards--keep in your cabin safe, put your contact information inside each suitcase as well as on the outside, re-fillable water bottles with attached filter, disposable wire hangers (there are never enough hangers for me), carry on bag with swim suits and sunscreen to use until your suitcases arrive at your cabin on embarkation day, cheap cabin door decorations to help you find your cabin easily (get magnets from the craft store with sticky backing to adhere to the back, Disney does not allow tape on doors. Print out colorful pictures from Google Images to use as door decorations. Don't use anything, like cute picture magnets, that might get stolen), Post it notes or paper to leave notes for your kids and reminders for yourself, pirate night dress up gear (we got swords and eye patches at Party City) your cabin steward will put bandanas in your room before dinner that night, cash for port shopping and shore excursion tips, packaged snacks for shore days (most ports don't allow fresh food to be taken off the ship--each of our sons had their own light weight, draw string back pack with a bottle of water and snacks), water proof watch, If your going to put soda or juice in your re-fillable water bottles to take ashore, bring a small container of dish soap to wash out your water bottles later. Conclusion Living in south Florida, we take our children and enjoy about 2 cruises a year. We've cruised on Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian as well as Disney. You most definitely get what you pay for and although Disney is the most expensive, the service and value for your money is well worth it! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We walked over to the terminal (5 minutes)from just getting off the Carnival Dream and continuing on the next week with the Disney Fantasy. What a difference. While we had a great time on the Carnival Dream, nothing compares to the ... Read More
We walked over to the terminal (5 minutes)from just getting off the Carnival Dream and continuing on the next week with the Disney Fantasy. What a difference. While we had a great time on the Carnival Dream, nothing compares to the service and quality you expect and get with Disney! From the staff at the Disney Terminal to the bus drivers on the way back to the resort, Disney employees are professional, friendly, helpful and go out of their way to greet and address you at every turn. The ship was beautiful both inside and out and in top condition. We always travel without children and we met so many adult only families on the Fantasy as well. It's not only for children, but the child inside each adult. From the complimentary soft drinks to the much appreciated adult only areas, this ship did not disappoint. The calibre of guests on a Disney cruise is much higher than on a Carninval cruise (must be because of the cost). I just felt the trip was more refined and loved the fact that the crew, officers, staff all looked so professional in their crisp, clean uniforms. It made me feel special and in good hands and I felt pampered at every level. This was our 7th Disney cruise and I felt that the Disney Fantasy was a little better than her sistership, the Dream. A special thank you to all the pool staff in the adult area only, who made sure that only guests 18 plus were in our special retreat area of the ship. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the adult only entertainment section of the ship was alive with so many guests in the late evening. It made our vacation fun and we made some new friends. Also pleased that Disney paired us up with a couple of tablemates similar in age to us. Cabbanas is still one of the best buffet venues on any ship with the wide selections and quality of food and great dining areas that are not crowded like the ones on the Royal Caribbean ships. Also liked the fact that at the entrance to each and every dining venue, staff made sure each guest took a hand wipe to keep germs and bacteria levels down. Wish they did this on all cruise line ships! The cabin layouts are also probably the best on any ship, with the split washrooms and the spacious bathtubs and showers. And the bedding, especially the pillows, gave us such restful and comfortable sleeps all week. We have cruised many times over the last 10 years (21) and Disney by far is hard to beat! The only thing I would change would be to change the first seating from 5:45 pm to 6:15 pm so we would not have to rush to be ready for dinner. Also the shops are quite expensive and do not have too many items really for sale. It was great that this ship was basically smoke-free! Much appreciated. This ship was not overrun with children and yes, adults only can enjoy and get to experience the Disney difference. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
We are first time cruisers who decided to add a 7 Day Caribbean Cruise to our WDW vacation. We weren't sure what to expect being to adult travelers without kids, on what is clearly a family line. I have to say, what Disney does best ... Read More
We are first time cruisers who decided to add a 7 Day Caribbean Cruise to our WDW vacation. We weren't sure what to expect being to adult travelers without kids, on what is clearly a family line. I have to say, what Disney does best is make you feel as though the cruise is tailor made for you. Legendary Disney service is ever present on this ship, wiping away any feelings or misgivings about being on a family cruise liner. From start to finish we enjoyed an adult dinner table (second seating) and fully used the adults only sections that were always available. Can't say enough about the magic moments you have with the staff just over regular interactions and how they go out of their way to make your vacation special. My humble assessment: Embarkation: Way too easy. Maybe waited 5 minutes to get onboard. We decided to avoid the Cabanas crush and had leisurely lunch in the Enchanted Garden. It kicked things off perfectly. Stateroom: This particular room has an unusual window and is more prone to movement because of its forward location. That said - the room itself was some 400 square feet and was as larger than any oceanview room. If you are like us, where space was more important than a tiny ledge for a balcony - I highly recommend this category. Dining: We were impressed with the food. It was never the same menu twice. We enjoy good food and weren't disappointed. We dined at Palo and Remy and both were superlative. Looking back, it would have been just as enjoyable to not have gone to them, since we found the regular food to be just as good. One interesting thing we learned was that Remy offers a brunch. If you opt for the champagne pairing it will cost about the same as the dinner and we found the experience to be tastier and less stuffy. If you want to try Remy, go for it and try the brunch instead! Entertainment: Wow! The fact I'm a grown cynical adult and was floored by the technology, acting and lighting says a lot. I wish our own theaters back home were this impressive. We enjoyed watching Frankenweenie during opening week. This theatre makes your multiplex back home seem woefully inadequate. Room Service: Not the most amazing part of the experience, but just fine. The chicken tenders are definitely a standout. Adult Areas: Enjoy them, they are great! Our favorite thing to do was to visit the Cove pool during the first dinner when the parents were dining with their kids. You have the entire deck to yourself. If you want a place to get away from people and just lay back and watch the ocean while reading - try the Promenade Deck. It's always empty and shaded. Disembarkation: A snap - we opted to leave the ship without breakfast at 7am and were already enroute to our next destination (after having picked up our rental car) by 8 am. It was that easy! Final thoughts: I found the crew and the guests to be really good people. It's a family ship, so everyone is on their best behavior, and it showed. I honestly expected more kids - but they were having fun in their own parts of the ship, so didn't really see too much of them. You see more at the parks. Special moments included a personal conversation with princess Ariel (what do you talk to a princess about?!) and quietly spending time at Serenity Bay only to look up and see Jack Sparrow smiling at you - on a beach in the Caribbean. Oh yes, you will find some very VERY Disney oriented people onboard. Befriend the, and have fun - they will share secrets with you. :) Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
This was the first cruise for me, my wife and my 8 year old son. We originally wanted to go for vacation to Walt Disney World and stay at The Animal Kindom Lodge but the week we had scheduled for our vacation they were completely booked. ... Read More
This was the first cruise for me, my wife and my 8 year old son. We originally wanted to go for vacation to Walt Disney World and stay at The Animal Kindom Lodge but the week we had scheduled for our vacation they were completely booked. Just out of curiosity I checked the Disney cruise website looking for cruise prices. We also spent a long time reading all the reviews and most people absolutely loved the DCL. We learn the some people regret not booking a cruise longer than 3 or 4 days, with that in mind we booked a 7 night cruise on the Disney Fantasy on October 20th. We are from the northeast so we flew in to Orlando on the 19Th and we rented a car. We spent our evening in Downtown Disney shopping and we ate at the RainForest Cafe. The morning of October 20Th we arrived at Port Canaveral around 12:00 noon. and there it was The Fantasy ... WOW !!! Spectacular very impressive ship, we took some pictures and got in line to board the ship - that took about 25 minutes -and before going in to the Fantasy we took our picture with Mickey. They announced our name as we were boarding the ship - from there on the wows never stopped. They sure know how to make you feel like you are the guest of honor from beginning to end. By reading some reviews we took some people's advice to bring our swimsuit so my 8 year old son was swimming by 1:30. We ate at Cabanas after that around 3:00 PM We really enjoyed the sail away party. We toured the ship and visited the Oceaneer Club, we really like it they have lots of things to keep the kids busy. The first day my son called us to pick him up 15 minutes after we dropped him off. By reading other people's reviews that is the case for most kids so I told my son: I will go back and get you in 20 minutes just try to get busy until I get there - so 20 minutes went by and I show up to pick him up ... he said... "I change my mind Dad, can I stay here a little longer ?" He absolutely loved the oceaneer club. After the first day he practically wanted to be there all day - he made a lot of friends and they used the phones to text each other all day. We took the late dinner and Disney matched us up with a very nice family from SC they have 3 wonderful kids 2 girls and a boy - we really enjoyed sharing the table with them . The restaurants are all very nice and the staff follows you around. They really learn to know you and what you like. The Aquaduck is great we went on it about 27 times the best time to ride is after 4:00 pm the lines are very short about 6 minutes wait if not less. We went to Remy once - wow ! It is worth the extra money - the view of the sunset is fantastic the food excellent and the service second to none and not to mention the desserts. We took some back to our stateroom for a late evening snack. If you have a chance don't miss Remy ! The food in Cabanas is very good and lots of different dishes to pick from and they try different things every day. Trust you will find lots to love and lots for every person. They have excellent desserts and fantastic coffee. The plays are wonderful - we went to see them all and our favorite was Aladdin but trust me they are all very good. Our stateroom was always ready in the morning after breakfast and they also clean the room every night. We got fresh towels at night and in the morning. Thanks to Merlin Rivera our stateroom host he spoil us every day, our room was on deck 10 the view from our balcony was great. Don't miss the pirate night party we really enjoyed that and the fireworks ! Because of Sandy we missed our stop at Castaway Cay. We took advantage of the on board booking offer for our next 7 night cruise. So we are really looking forward to visit Castaway Cay next year. Our last night we were trailing Sandy so was a little rocky we have dinner that night at Animator Palate we have lots of fun not only because you get to see your own drawings interact with the Disney characters but also because of the rocking of the ship. The staff did a fantastic job making us feel safe. Probably most people felt the same way we did about their servers. Personally we feel like we got the best 2 Benny and Horie they are a great team. I hope we are lucky and get them again next year. Our son has some food allergies and the head server Burak personally check every night what my son eat and a couple nights they made special dishes just for him including desserts. I can go on and on for hours ... All I can say is... if you have a chance to take a 7 night cruise on the Fantasy ... Go for it !!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
This was our first Disney cruise and our 5th cruise overall. My husband and I had a great time. We were impressed by the ship, service and restaurants. Everything seemed so perfect and so Disney style. They sat us with 3 other couples with ... Read More
This was our first Disney cruise and our 5th cruise overall. My husband and I had a great time. We were impressed by the ship, service and restaurants. Everything seemed so perfect and so Disney style. They sat us with 3 other couples with no kids and around our age group and I have to say we enjoyed their company. The rotational restaurants were great and it is nice eating every night in different restaurants. Enchanted Gardens was our favorite and seemed so fairy tale. Animator Palate was very interesting but was very noisy and probably our least favorite. We also ate at Palo, one of the specialty restaurant and that fantastic!! Food was top notch and service was outstanding. We had breakfast and dinner at Cabanas and was very good but could get very crowded at times. We enjoyed the pools in the evening when it was much less crowded.They do have an adult only pool and area. Our only complaint is that the pools were very small. The lounges were very well themed and very relaxing. During the day they had many activities to chose from. The main shows at night were very well done and we enjoyed most of them. We also watched Nemo in their theater. Our cabin was a deluxe family stateroom with balcony, very large and with a bath and a half which was great to speed up our getting ready process. Overall we had a wonderful time and we highly recommend this ship! Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
This was our 5th Disney Cruise. I thought the new ship was great overall. It has pluses and minuses from the smaller ships. I think I will start off with some things that seemed off. I thought the Adult pool is better on the magic ... Read More
This was our 5th Disney Cruise. I thought the new ship was great overall. It has pluses and minuses from the smaller ships. I think I will start off with some things that seemed off. I thought the Adult pool is better on the magic and wonder as it is more swim-able, the new pool is really too small and very crowded on sea days. I would also mention our cruise had less than 3000 passengers onboard and wasn't sold out so with some of the crowding I wonder what it would be like with 4000. The family and kid pools were always very crowded. Things that were just ok would be I really thought the aqua duck was fun on the first side the other was rather boring all in all it was fun but not worth waiting for more than 10-15 min. The satellite falls splash pool was nice but when the ship moves it is very whirlpool like. I think the new show Wishes was just ok, the musical numbers where fun but it didnt have a story really. they should just call it a review show. The greats for the cruise were The expanded rainforest spa area was excellent and had great views, much improved on over the inside one on the classic ships The firework show seemed larger and it was fun to see fireworks being fired from each of the funnels. On the upper deck we didn't notice any crowding issues. I think the food was improved from the other ships we have been on, things often were somewhat bland and not very spicy but the quality was great. Our service was speedy and much improved since our last cruise. All in all it was a great cruise. the only thing I would do differently next time is not book ahead of time like we did, the day after final payment we could have booked a nicer room for less. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
We booked a category 6A guaranteed stateroom on the September 8 sailing of the Disney Fantasy to the Eastern Caribbean. II have previously sailed Carnival and found the experience to be too loud and energetic for my personal tastes so this ... Read More
We booked a category 6A guaranteed stateroom on the September 8 sailing of the Disney Fantasy to the Eastern Caribbean. II have previously sailed Carnival and found the experience to be too loud and energetic for my personal tastes so this time around I was very interested in the new Disney ship and was not disappointed. My fiance is a Petty Officer in the US Navy and while he has been on many "cruises" this was the first one he didn't have to work on! We flew into Orlando the day before and used Disney's transportation to their resorts where we stayed the night. We have been to Disney World previously but have never stayed on the property so we took this opportunity to give it a test run. Since it was just the two of us in the off season the cost was comparable to staying near the airport and a nice way to get us excited for the cruise. We also used Disneys transportation to and from the port. It removed a bit of extra planning and stress out of the equation for me and so I found it to be very enjoyable but would be unlikely to use it for a group larger than two or three as it becomes very expensive at that point. When we arrived at the port around 2 there was no line and the longest wait was probably at the security checkpoint, about 15 minutes. We walked right on the ship and to our stateroom which had been upgraded to a category 4B on deck 8! It had the round tub, extra chair and more floor space. We were in between stairwells so there was a bit of noise from traffic but it wasn't enough to take away from the overall trip. We loved the views from our veranda on the port side. After getting settled in our room we ventured out to Cabanas to get something to eat. It was very very crowded and we spent a large amount of time searching for an open table. I was already prepared for this though from my last trip and so we scouted the area BEFORE getting any food so that we could avoid walking around with plates piled with food while running into everybody. After the first day Cabanas was never that busy and we had no difficulty finding seating. The food was ok, pretty much your basic buffet fair, nothing really special to make note of. The dining at the restaurants was much much better. My favorite restaurant would have to be Royal Court, it didn't feel very crowded and the food was excellent. My least favorite was Animators Pallet, but my fiance disagrees, it was his favorite. The shows in Animators were cute and definitely worth seeing, but being there with no kids I was glad to not be directly interacting when Crush came out, though the children that were there seemed to love it and we enjoyed watching him talk to them. One night we ate at Palo and I cant stress enough how much we loved it. The atmosphere is more upscale but not intimidating and our server Michael was one of my favorite crew members on board. He even took the liberty of ordering desert for us and brought out three for us to try. We walked out very full and very happy that night. I also have to recommend eating at Cabanas for dinner, there was almost no one else there and you get seated right next to the glass walls overlooking the ocean as the sun sets. The food was the same that they served in the other rotating restaurants so was very good. I personally am more of a lounger when it comes to vacations, but even I was enticed out of my cozy room several times by the entertainment and attractions offered. The quizzes in the adult lounges were a lot of fun and we really enjoyed Aladdin. We only saw Wishes after that and it was ok but a little hokey if you are over 12. Amazing productions though, the sets and skill involved in each was very evident. We had one excursion at St. Maarten where we kayaked to a beach at a resort and snorkeled. The group was nice and small so it didnt feel chaotic like some other excursions I've been on. Unfortunately I was unable to do the snorkeling bit as I had come down with a pretty bad ear infection and couldnt get my ear wet. I did however get to experience the ships health center and can say that I received excellent care and was given antibiotics and ear drops so that by the last few days of the trip I was feeling much better. The cost to see the doctor and get the medication was about $250 all together, which considering I couldn't use my insurance on board was not bad at all. We stayed on the ship for St. Thomas and took advantage of the nearly empty ship to visit the spa. The spa hot tubs were our favorite with the open windows over looking the port. The themed open showers are also worth a try, we enjoyed tropic thunder the most. Castaway Cay was wonderful and met all our expectations. Its a beautiful island and Disney has really designed it well. We spent most of our time at Serenity Bay which was very peaceful and serene. Next time though I really want to check out the family beach as well and maybe go down a slide or two! Disembarkation was very painless if not a little sad, we had the earlier dinner seating so we were scheduled to have breakfast at 6:45. I don't recommend the eggs, it seems the other reviews I've read on here were correct, they are powdered and not very appetizing, stick to fruit and cereal. Once breakfast was over we took our carry on luggage out and breezed through customs where we picked up the rest of our luggage before being taken back to the airport. Over all I'd have to say what impressed me most about this trip was not just the beauty and size of the ship, but all the little things you don't ever think of until it's there in front of you. I feel like Disney does this very well and there is no end to the little "wow" moments they provide. So if you are like us and are willing to pay a little more in exchange for a one of a kind experience, then Disney Cruise Line really delivers and we will be back again December 2013, this time with the rest of the family in tow! Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
This was a 4 day get-a-way with a friend & acquaintance. DH was not interested in going. It was basically Nassau & their island. This being my 20th cruise (w/o DH), it was just to relax and see if Disney was a good choice to do ... Read More
This was a 4 day get-a-way with a friend & acquaintance. DH was not interested in going. It was basically Nassau & their island. This being my 20th cruise (w/o DH), it was just to relax and see if Disney was a good choice to do a family cruise. Embarkation was a breeze as was debarkation. Canaveral is a great in & out port. Disney makes it easy for passengers, but kids rule on their cruises. If you want your kids entertained every waking minute (what parent doesn't?), this is the cruise for you. Two things that stood out for me was: great food and good choices (didn't need to do fee restaurants). Service was impeccable. There wasn't a thing they wouldn't do for you! Our extra tips reflected this!! Did Palo the first night so we missed the Animators' Palace. (Really wanted to experience it.) But, the chocolate souffle was incredible. Cabanas (buffet) had boiled shrimp, crab legs and oysters every day for lunch. Good quality choices. Didn't try mac & cheese, but the chix tenders were "to die for!" Was disappointed one day (conflicting schedule) that they closed it @ 1:30. But, managed to get some food and a server actually went into the kitchen to get me two desserts. One day, I asked if a dish was spicy, and a server said it might be and then proceeded to go back and make it w/o spice for me. Free soda was a perk. Kudos to the servers. Everyone said hello and asked if they could be of service. In the dining room had steak (filet mignon) three nights. From the breads to the desserts, being a foodie, I was impressed. Cabin mate raved about the fish dishes. They even went to Cabanas to get a tea my friend drank! Except for one ventriloquist (adult & children's' shows) (sorry, I love Jeff Dunham), loved their production shows. I can't do steps, so my friend found a cast member to take me to a seat up front via a special elevator system. I felt special. I didn't do bingo as I suspect it would have been expensive as it is now on other ships. YES, I did miss gambling casino. They have some really nice shops, but boy could you spend a fortune as the kids could see the merchandise and 'want everything' they saw. I suspect Disney makes a fortune on their merchandise. The rooms and ship were kept immaculate! The ship is beautiful especially the atrium. Our room steward was incredible and extremely friendly. We were in a veranda room with a queen bed and convertible couch. After some whining on my cabin mates' part, I took the couch bed; it was comfortable. It was okay for 3 people, but would have been tight for supposedly 5 passengers. Was worried about the tub/shower, but with a rail, it is not bad. Nice having two separate bathrooms was nice. I am not a balcony lover, but the two others loved it. First time for room service, and was very impressed not only for the menu, but the service. We needed it by a certain time to make a venue, and it was in the room 10 minutes later; it was very good. Friends did the Acqua Duck and loved it. A sore point for me was the Pirate Party & fireworks. That size ship cannot accommodate everyone on board in one small space. Chairs were at a premium. That seems to happen a lot on the larger ships (been on Oasis & Epic)! They even had a good-bye show with all the characters in the atrium. Again, impressive!!!!! I am trying not to be long-winded. Would I go again? Yes, if the price is right (they are pricey) and I went w/ husband, grown children & grandchildren. Disney Cruise Line is a class organization. You do get your "money's worth!" It would be fun (as I've read on other reviews) seeing it through grandchildren's' eyes! Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
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