At first glance, I don’t seem like a cruise person. Heck, I’m in my mid-20s and I am perpetually broke so why would a cruise be on my agenda? Well, my family has been cruise people since I first went on a Disney Cruise back in 2008. Since then, we have been on the Disney Cruise Line four times, our last visit being over New Years! After a few days of exploring the Disney Parks (including EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, and Magic Kingdom) and the Universal Parks, we shuttled over to Port Canaveral, Florida.
Previously, we’ve been on a couple different ships. We’ve been on the Wonder, the Magic, and now the Fantasy. In 2011, Disney introduced one ship that is 50% bigger than the Wonder and Magic. They followed suit with the Disney Fantasy in 2012. While we booked our cruise last minute, we were lucky to get a pretty good one! Our cruise was the 7-Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise.
Originally, our itinerary included Tortola in the British Virgin Islands at St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. Unfortunately, because of the mass destruction of the hurricanes, our cruise had to be altered slightly. Tortola was replaced with Philipsburg, St Maarten. We were a bit bummed because we actually have been to both St Thomas and St Maarten before. I will cover these destinations in a subsequent post. Nonetheless, how can you not get excited about a Disney Cruise?!
The cruise ship itself is stunning. I mean, compared to my cruise ship in Egypt, this was like a palace. I love how even with such a large ship they are able to make it look elegant. The Disney Fantasy’s elegant interior décor is influenced by Art Nouveau. The lobby is the best example of the style of the ship’s interiors with its gorgeous chandelier. Hues of vibrant blue, green, pink, and gold dazzle the atrium. Every Disney Cruise ship has a lobby mascot and for the Disney Fantasy it is Mademoiselle Minnie Mouse, cast in bronze and dressed in vintage fashion with a parasol and steamer luggage at her side.
You’ll see the Disney Art Nouveau concept throughout the ship. And, if you’re on the cruise around Christmas time, you also get to see all the beautiful Christmas decorations.
We managed to score two cabin rooms with balconies, even when booking at the last minute! My brothers, Victor, and I shared one room and my parents were in the other. Our cabin room is small for obvious reasons, but it worked out great for us. Victor and I took the big bed, and then there is a dividing curtain between us and my brothers in their bunkbeds that pop out of the ceiling. It’s also handy that the toilet is in a separate room from the shower so everyone can get ready in the morning with ease. Walking around the deck, we noticed that so many people had door decorations! We had to join in so we bought some pirate magnets to put on both our doors. My mom got a little creative with using the leftover magnetised pieces!
Disney Cruise Line offers a wide range of activities that no other company can rival with. Up on Deck 11 you can have fun in Donald’s Family Pool or Mickey’s Pool. Up on Deck 12 is the Aquadeck entrance. The aquaduck is a tubular water coaster that is more than just a slide! It is the only one of its kind out on the sea and let me tell you, it’s a ton of fun.
If you don’t feel like getting wet, there is also plenty to do inside the ship. One of my favourite parts of the Disney Cruise programme is the theatre. The Walt Disney Theatre hosts three fantastic shows on the Fantasy: Disney’s Believe, Disney Wishes, and Disney’s Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular. I saw both Believe and Wishes and they are truly a fun time. Don’t miss out!
Of course Disney is all about celebrations. As soon as you hop on board the ship, there is a sail away party filled with a dance party and lots of confetti. There’s also a Pirate Night! I mean, don’t we look adorable with our pirate look?
The biggest celebration onboard though is the New Years’ party! It’s pretty cool to be celebrating New Years’ on a cruise ship, but Disney makes it even cooler by having activities all night long. Up on Deck 11 there was a giant countdown and party complete with free champagne. I went with my mom and Victor, and needless to say we had a blast!
Not only were the New Years celebrations big, but they were also all over the ship. After the deck party, we went down to the Tube where my Dad was hanging out. The Tube is a British-mod nightclub where people were partying into the wee hours. It kind of made me and Victor chuckle as this kind of tube looked quite different from our Tube.
The cruise ship is stocked up with lounges and nightclubs exclusively for adults, such as The Tube. Victor and I usually checked one of the bars out after dinner. The bar area is called Europa and it has several distinct spaces. We attended an origami activity at La Piazza, an Italian-inspired bar. We also did Pixar trivia at O’Gills Pub, and Irish pub and sports bar. There is also a French wine bar called Ooh-La-La where Victor and I enjoyed some French wine! It’s fun to explore this area and it was even more exciting because it was the first time I could enjoy these spaces.
As far as meals go, breakfast and lunch are open seating meaning that you can go to any restaurants that serves those meals. For dinner, Disney operates on a rotating dining plan where each night you are assigned a different place to dine. By specifying which restaurant, this also ensure that your waitstaff comes along with you each time.
The Disney Fantasy has three rotating restaurants that are included in your package (as well as two paid dining options) and also plenty of casual eateries for a more relaxed setting or just for a snack. One my favourite spots was Flo’s Cafe on Deck 11. Offering pizza, hamburgers, salads, and other quick eats, it was just really great to have a little something in the middle of the day.
As you might guess, Royal Court is themed around several Disney Princess movies including Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Sleeping Beauty, and Beauty and the Beast. The princesses are scattered throughout the restaurant in mosaics and other works of art. With marble floors, dramatic light fixtures, tufted chairs, and wall scones, this place feels like you’re inside a castle or palace.
Royal Court serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The food is inspired by both French and American fare. While I wasn’t a huge fan of the food here, I will say that Royal Court has the best desserts! From creme brûlée to strawberry short cake to grand marnier soufflé, you can’t go wrong!
The Enchanted Garden restaurant is inspired by the French gardens of Versailles. You’ll immediately notice all the garden-related features such as the water fountain and the trellises.
What was really neat about this place was that the lighting changes as the night goes on so it feels like you’ve passed an entire day. It really is a cute restaurant.
The fare served here is American bistro style, inspired by French and English dishes. For dinner, things like lobster ravioli, sea bass, pork tenderloin, and lots of different puddings and cakes. We also had lunch at their buffet and it was more Italian-esque with pizza, salad, and soup amongst other things. Food-wise, this was my favourite of the three rotating restaurants. I think the simpler the dish, the better Disney Cruise chefs can prepare it.
While Royal Court and Enchanted Garden were new places for us, Animator’s Palate is something we’ve come across before. However, Disney totally revamped this experience for the Dream and the Fantasy, so it was almost unrecognisable. The restaurant resembles an artist’s studio with pencils, paintbrushes, and film strips
Animator’s Palate is a bit more unusual because the two nights that you dine here are slightly different. One of the dinners is a conversation with Finding Nemo’s Crush the turtle. With interactive characters and lots of underwater fun, this night is sure to make the kids happy. The second dinner is an animated dance show featuring your own cartoon drawing.
Animator’s Palate slides away from European cuisine by focusing on a fusion of Pacific Island foods, Asian cooking and fresh California fare. Dinner choices include options such as truffle ravioli, Pacific black cod, and Angus beef tenderloin. You can also get some pretty awesome desserts like cheesecake, cookies and cream sundae, and peanut butter mousse.
Ironically, my favourite place to get food on the ship was the casual eatery called Cabanas! We came here everyday for breakfast and oftentimes came for lunch as well. It’s a huge buffet, which normally isn’t my style, but the food at Cabanas was for the most part freshly made in front of you. In addition, there were so many options for fruit including mango and papaya! Yum!
And that’s a wrap! The Disney Fantasy treated us well and it was a fantastic way to celebrate the new year. This may be a bit delayed, but happy 2018! So far this year has been full of wonderful things and I can’t wait to see what else this year has in store for me, Victor, and my family.
Next up is a close look at our Disney Cruise destinations in the Caribbean.