The family and I recently returned from a 7-night voyage on the Disney Fantasy and outlined below is a very thorough review of the ship and ports of call visited. Our itinerary included stops at Tortola, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay. Our travelling group included me (35) my wife (33) and daughter (3.5). This was our fourth cruise and second with Disney. We have previously sailed the following: Celebrity Silhouette, Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas and Disney Magic. I will review our cruise chronologically and will touch on everything from food, entertainment, adult spaces, kid spaces and of course the ports. A few other subjects may come up as I start to write, I hope you find the review informative and gets you excited for your families cruise on the Disney Fantasy.
This was our second time embarking at Port Canaveral and it was another smooth process. Let’s back up a bit though. We arrived late Friday and within 30 minutes of landing we had our rental car and were on our way to Cocoa Beach. We rented from Budget and stayed at the Best Western Cocoa Beach. The drive is about 45 minutes, all highway. You encounter two tolls that cost $1.00 each so be sure to have those dollar bills handy. The hotel isn’t 5-star but it certainly does the trick the night before the cruise. The rooms were a nice size which was good since we travelled with three large suitcases and a few carry-ons. This time we were in the tower and had a view of Cocoa Beach which was very nice. We woke up early on Saturday and headed over to another building within the hotel complex for some breakfast. This is more than just a continental breakfast as it offers; scrambled eggs, pancakes, toast, bagels, sausage, cereal and an assortment of juices. More than what you’ll need before eating like royalty for a week on a cruise. We kept our rental car overnight and after breakfast we headed over to the Budget location on Astronauts Drive (eight minutes from port) to drop it off. It was very busy there that morning as you there were a couple dozen people coming back from their vacations to pick up cars and a couple dozen dropping off cars to begin their vacations. The number of people will appear intimidating if you’re like me and want to be uber organized and get to the port as smoothly as possible. That said; while the process looks a little chaotic it is quite organized. The free shuttles arrive from port with people who have disembarked and pick up people embarking. There were a few lineups to board shuttles and we were all divided by ship. That day we had a Carnival and Norwegian ship in port as well as Fantasy. We arrived at the terminal at around 10:45am which was a little early given our PAT was 11:00am. One of my biggest concerns was the fact that we didn’t have luggage tags and how this would be handled and would we encounter any troubles receiving our bags. This was absolutely no issue at all. The porters have unmarked luggage tags and labeled them for us and off the bags went to board the ship. It did take a little longer than normal to receive our bags but we’re talking maybe 30-45 minutes. Enough for me to notice but not significant at all. We whizzed through security and once in the terminal there was no line up for check in. Within 15 minutes of arriving at the port we were all checked in and my wife and daughter lined up to meet Mickey who was already in front of the model ship taking pictures with guests. While they lined up for a picture with Mickey I headed over to the Youth Activities desk to pick up my daughters Magic Band. I highly recommend pre-registering your kids when you do your online check in as this will save some time and perhaps some frustration at the terminal as there is only one small desk to fill out the necessary paperwork. If you don’t pre-register don’t worry it’s not the end of the world. I didn’t think anything of this until I was in line but you will need to have your children with you when you get their Magic Bands. Not only do they fit your child with the right size band but depending on their age their band may also have a lock placed on it. I suppose some crafty eight year olds must have taken their bands off in the past… In addition; once at the actual Youth Activities desk they’ll want to see your child and swipe your Key to the World card. At this time they’ll confirm with you who can pick up your child and who cannot (if anyone) as well as confirm your secret password. You’ll be asked this password each and every time you want to pick up your child. I thought all of us (wife, daughter and I) would have to know the password but only my wife and I were ever asked when picking up our daughter. Shortly after picking up the Magic Band our boarding group was called. We were boarding group number 10. Even though we knew they were going to announce us as we boarded the ship we were still excited for this moment. Once on board my priorities were to get tickets to the Disney Junior Breakfast, Anna and Elsa meet and greet and the Princess Gathering. We all hopped into line and waiting about 15 minutes until we were at the front of the line and picked up our tickets. You pick up the tickets at the Port Adventures desk on deck 4. It’s not mandatory that you rush and get this done as soon as you board however I like it get tasks like this out of the way quickly. On our next Disney cruise I am going to request that our Anna and Elsa meet and greet is on a different day from the Princess Gathering. Doing all three in one day (first sea day) is very exhausting especially if it’s your first full day on the ship. After getting those tickets I headed off to wait in line to change on dining from second to main while my wife and daughter headed up to Cabanas for lunch. I waited in line for maybe 10 minutes before they opened the back doors to Royal Court and waited about five minutes once inside. Our request to change seatings was accommodated immediately. We were very happy although we probably could have managed the second seating with our daughter. We simply would have pushed her a bit more to have a nap if our seating remained unchanged.
We stayed in stateroom 8091 which is an inside cabin that connects with stateroom 8591. Originally we were supposed to travel with my in-laws and as such intended to open the connecting door but at the last moment they had a change of plans and did not sail. This was the first time we had an inside room so we were very interested to see how not having a verandah would or wouldn’t impact our enjoyment of the cruise. The room was plenty big enough for two adults and our little one. The couch converts into a single bed and we requested the side rails so she wouldn’t fall out at night. I also advised our stateroom host that he could simply keep the bed set up throughout the cruise as oppose to converting it from couch to bed at turndown service every night. This way we could take our daughter for a nap on sea days at any time and not have to worry about converting the bed ourselves. I’m not sure if it was only our inside stateroom or all inside staterooms but we did not have a split bath like we did last year. As a young family this wasn’t a problem but if you have teenagers who like to take their time primping for dinner you may want to consider that split bath as an essential. For us, at this stage in our lives it simply wasn’t and was more than enough for our little family. Storage space was quite good. We love that our bags store easily under the bed so you don’t have them taking up valuable floor space. The closet was plenty big enough and even had more hangers than what we needed. I even brought a dress shirt for each night, three pairs of dress pants and a suit. Not to mention all the dresses my wife and daughter brought. The drawer space was limited so if I were to recommend anything as it relates to staterooms it would be to visit the dollar store and get one of those pocket hanging organizers which you can hang in the closet. We brought one on our first cruise and for some reason haven’t on the last three. We regretted it this time as the extra ‘drawers’ would have been nice.
Due to mechanical issues we missed Castaway Cay. See review for more detail.
Port Canaveral is great for embarkation.