I chose this cruise because we had a terrible winter, we are bad at renting lake houses (the weeks we choose are invariably colder than normal), and I noticed that the Fantasy, the only DCL ship I hadn't been on, had a 3 night that ... Read More
I chose this cruise because we had a terrible winter, we are bad at renting lake houses (the weeks we choose are invariably colder than normal), and I noticed that the Fantasy, the only DCL ship I hadn't been on, had a 3 night that was at Castaway Cay on my BDay. Sold! Booked it at the end of January; sailed July 11.
We started sailing DCL in 2003 with the Wonder, then Magic in 2004 and Dream in 2016, so this grand slam took 15 years. (in contrast, I heard one older couple on the ship say this was their 69th DCL cruise!)
I have wanted to try aft cabins but none were available, but we booked 9148, a veranda cabin 10 cabins from the back. I know the debate about "get an inside and save your money and go to the common areas to see the ocean" but we enjoy our time on our own veranda.
Embarkation was smooth. I had everything filled out including our post-cruise trip right to the airport with Disney transporting our checked bags, so it took about 4 minutes to check in. We had stayed at Disney the night before but opted for a towncar service so we would know when we were leaving for the ship, rather than DCL busses going. We were in boarding group 7. Hey people in the terminal, you're all getting on, no need to hover over the previous boarding groups!
We went right to Cabanas and were the first people to choose an outside table. Good food, I focused on shrimp and a slice of prime rib. If you like crab legs they had tons of those too! We did opt to get a half case of water and a little DCL cooler with it (only 2 of us, and we did drink them all).
At 130 promptly the cabins opened and we dropped off our carry on bag. We looked around the ship and went to the 230 DVC presentation, which is always fun even though we never win the stateboard credit. Got another DVC hat.
After muster drill we found things to do and see until Aladdin, which I would HIGHLY recommend to anyone! Then we did 70s trivia in O'Gill's pub, which I think I came in 2nd in (a total genius young gentleman got a perfect score).
Our first dinner was in Animator's Palate. Our server was Freddy and assistant was Nicha; can't say enough about how attentive and great they were. The truffle appetizer was great; my steak was a little dry medium and I switched to medium rare after that. The desserts never disappoint; I had chocolate walnut cake. Crush taught my husband to say "Happy Birthday" to me speaking whale.
We had decided to not go to Nassau so we got up early and had some light breakfast in Cabanas, then headed to the spa when they opened; I had purchased day passes ahead of time. We watched the boat docking at Nassau from the rainforest room, alternating between the hot tubs and the warm chairs. This went on for about 2 hours. I have read that on sea days these chairs are "hogged", but we were the only ones in there. We then spent 10-1130 in the adult pool. BTW, at 8 AM there were chairs at both other pools without towels, right in front.
They had closed Aquaduck for a crew drill until noon, and at 1130 I thought it was open and dragged my husband over there (I did it in 2016 when we had our then teen son with us but husband had not). It was not open, but opened at about 1150 and we waited about 10-15 minutes in line. It is very fun, but the worst part for an overweight (not obese) 55 year old is getting out of the damn tube!
Lunch at cabanas and back to the adult pool until 315, when we finally got out and got ready for our mixology class, which was a blast and I would recommend to anyone over 21. You get pay $20 each, get 5 drinks (you get to make at least one of them), have fun and learn a little. Since my BDay was the next day I got a much bigger chocolate martini which was yummy. If you go on the Fantasy make sure you visit Lionel in Skylines!
We went and changed for pirate night and then spent some time up at satellite falls watching the ocean before we did 80s trivia. I won this one---perfect score, baby! I narrowly defeated the same young man who beat me the night before, and I was still tipsy! Maybe that's the key.
Dinner at Enchanted Garden. I had the lobster ravioli appetizer and the prime rib and the orange yogurt cake for dessert, plus they brought me ANOTHER dessert to celebrate my BDay. Between two desserts at late seating and 5 drinks earlier, I did NOT stay up for the pirate fireworks.
CC day, up at 7 for a (very) light breakfast in Cabanas, then got off the ship right at 830. Walked right to the Serenity Bay tram and was in the water by 9 or shortly after. Our first two trips we had 3 kids under 11 or 12, and last trip CC had a monsoon from 10 AM on, so this was our first chance to enjoy Serenity Bay, which we really did! I rented a float. Tide was decently high in the morning, but by the time we left after 1 it had gone pretty far out. I kept using sunscreen so we did not burn--it's really important, we saw some folks looking like lobsters that night. Ate at Cookies 2 at 1130--wish you could get a small portion of steak, they gave me a huge one and I did not finish it. Everything was wonderful there;it is cook out BBQ food, not a gourmet feast. During my whole day at CC I had two conch coolers; after that mixology class I wanted to take it easy on alcohol.
We spent more time on the beach but on one side were dark clouds and thunder (no one got out, LOL) and we even saw a water spout on the other side, but no rain where the DCL people were. We did get out about 1:30 and made our way to the other areas to take some other pics and do some shopping. We got onboard at about 230; husband went to the adult pool and I showered, then went to the DCL desk and booked another one for next summer. I was going to switch lines, but the Mouse got me again.
Got a picture with Captain MIckey (how can you not?) Dinner at Royal Court, I had the iced lobster and jumbo shrimp appetizer and the chateaubriand with the grand mariner souffle for dessert. Went to the cabin to put bags out, did some shopping and I went back to go to sleep. Husband was going to see a movie but went to the wrong theatre LOL and the performers were rehearsing, so he just came back as well.
We had the 8AM breakfast and then disembarkation was so smooth; we only had one carry on and a tote bag and nothing to declare, so off the ship by 9, onto a DCL bus and off to MCO. Had a few hours to kill before our 145 flight, but if the ship had been delayed we would have appreciated the time.
I would highly encourage anyone to celebrate things on DCL. Since Friday was my "actual" bday (as the booking agent put it) every time I did anything I got a "Happy Birthday" from the crew, even when I wasn't wearing my button (like when I got my drinks at CC). It always gave me a huge smile.
I had really thought this was my last DCL cruise. In fact I had booked a 6 night Carnival for the same price next year. But dammit it if the crew didn't go so far above and beyond and give me such a damn warm fuzzy feeling, I booked a 4 night for next June (for our "actual" anniversary) on the Dream with two days at CC instead. That chocolate martini was pretty powerful kool-aid! Read Less