This entire review is written from an Adults Only perspective, we do not have children.
We recently completed our first Disney Cruise aboard the Fantasy and we were excited to see what the “Disney Experience” was all about. We’re seasoned cruisers with this being our 7th cruise aboard 5 different cruise lines; Princess, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and now Disney. This was an adults only cruise for our 20th Wedding Anniversary, we thought that was fitting since our honeymoon was spent at Disney World. There’s a lot to love about Disney and some things fall short for adults. So here’s our honest assessment of the Disney Fantasy and the overall Disney cruise experience.
BOOKING THE CRUISE
We were in cabin 7194 which is in the center of the stern of the ship. Cabin itself was a good size with lots of storage in both of the dual closets plus plenty of room under the bed for all our luggage. Easily the most standard storage space of any ship we have sailed so far. There was a choke point between the end of the bed and the wall where only one person can get by, that was a bit of pain at times, but not awful. It’s not uncommon to have this in verandah / balcony cabins as the beds are almost always sideways in the room.
We really liked the split bathroom design with the toilet and shower split into two rooms, however we both hated the positioning of the light switches between the doors. When going into the shower, the switch was behind the door so we were constantly stepping out of the doorway, closing the door, turning on the light and then back into the shower room. BUT we did like the split bathroom concept which gave us two sinks and plenty of room for toiletries. These were also the first bathrooms we’ve had finished in tile. Most ship rooms are usually that plastic paneling prefab look. Definitely made the bathrooms look a bit nicer. Towels were a bit thin and not as absorbent as other ships, but functional. My wife loved the dual drying lines over the tub, usually you just get one, but it’s nice to have the two especially after pool and beach visits.
If you have mobility issues, be aware that the step into the tub for the shower is quite high. The tub sides basically came up to our knees and we’re in the 5’ 6” height area so if you have mobility issues, you might want to consider a handicap cabin.
Inside the cabin you’ll find a good sized fridge and the TV features most all Disney and Pixar films on demand. This is especially great when you’re getting ready in the mornings or before dinner to have a fun film playing in the background.
We usually try to book an aft cabin because we enjoy the vibrations from the engines which helps us sleep, we love the sound of the prop wash which is a waterfall like sound and we especially love that the aft balconies are usually a bit larger than the other cabins in the same category. This was easily the largest balcony we’ve ever had on any ship, even when we’ve booked a junior suite on other ships. Plenty of room for two full lounge chairs plus two regular chairs and a small table. That being said, the design of the aft meant that HALF most of the balcony was uncovered. We prefer ships that have a different angle on the back so most of the balcony is covered, but that’s not the Fantasy was designed. In addition to being more exposed, the balcony was exceptionally dirty from exhaust soot from the main engines. So there was a trade-off with the aft balcony. Larger space than many other cruise lines, but less cover and dirt from the exhaust.
Our room Hostess (also known as a room steward or cabin attendant on other ships) was Gaeliza and she was simply AWESOME. We felt her service was the best we’ve received on any ship, with Celebrity service being a close second. She was incredibly friendly, personable, took care of all our needs and really had a great time with the towel animals, even giving me a momentary scare one evening with the monkey on the toilet. That was absolutely hilarious and we were very sad to say goodbye to Gaeliza at the end of our cruise.
This is truly a “private island” with Disney being the sole inhabitant of the small island. Some cruise lines have more of a “private area” on a larger island. The bulk of the developed beach area is the family beach area with all sorts of activities, food and some shops available as well. The adults only beach, Serenity Bay, is at the far end of the developed area. You can walk to it, but it is a bit of a hike and in the heat and humidity we had that morning, it was better to take the two trams to get out there. Castaway Cay overall was just “ok” for us.
As I mentioned we took two trams to get out to Serenity Bay and that wasn’t too bad. The beach itself was beautiful and it was obvious that Disney has carved and shaped the beach to make the beach chairs sit perfectly and create aisles. The water was very shallow for a long ways and there is even a sand bar about 100 yards off shore were many people were standing and hanging out.
It was the layout of the beach and the services / food that really didn’t work for us. All of that was at the far left end of the beach where the tram dropped us off. So after a long walk out to finally secure a beach chair and location under an umbrella (there’s is very VERY little shade available at Serenity Beach, you must get an umbrella) we were far enough away from the services that we never went back over there. There was only the occasional server passing by to order drinks and we ended up never ordering anything.
Food was served back at that main drop off area on the far left of the beach and as I mentioned in the Dining section of this review, my wife is a vegetarian. The food was served as part of a cook out and she simply cannot stand the smell of grilled meat. Because all of the food areas were covered, that grilled meat smell was overpowering for her so we opted to leave the beach early and head back towards the ship for lunch.
We took the first tram back to the family beach area and decided to walk around the shops and food vendors there. I tried to get a frozen drink at the Summertime Freeze shop but after 10 minutes of the two waiters ignoring me and helping others who came up after us, we just left. There really weren’t any other vegetarian options that were appealing to my wife so we continued back to the ship.
Serenity Bay would have been a better design if the services were located in the MIDDLE of of the beach making them more easily accessible and centrally located. As this is Disney’s own private island there really isn’t any reason why it wasn’t designed this way. For a private island / private location we much prefer the Royal Caribbean Labadee location which is much easier to walk around and offers plenty of shade via palm trees and such. Grand Turk is also another excellent beach location with plenty of palm tree shade available. Castaway Cay was a beautiful island, but just an ok experience for us.