Last week I took a cruise on the Disney Fantasy with my family. I had cruised with Disney two years ago, so I figured I knew what to expect. Disney met or exceeded my expectations in all areas and the three of us had a great time.
Yes this is a Disney ship, so there are definitely Disney Characters, hidden Mickeys, a lot of imagination and some pixie dust interspersed in the make-up of the ship. From the entrance lobby to the design of the restaurants and the sheets on the bed, the Disney difference is palpable.
The Disney Fantasy has 1250 cabins and holds a maximum of 4,000 guests. There are 1,450 staff on board to tend to guests’ needs. That is a ratio of almost 1 staff member per 3 guests, and with ratios like that you would expect great service and you would be correct.
The service on this cruise, especially from my Dining team (shout out to Devendra, Allison and Alberto), far surpassed the service I had received on cruises in the past, including my last Disney cruise.
The Disney Fantasy is truly a ship for all ages; there are a variety of activities offered for kids, tweens, teens and adults. Even babies have a space to call their own. Think you need to bring kids with you to sail on this ship, you would be incorrect. I met a decent amount of couples traveling sans kids and they took advantage of the adult only activities and lounges on board.
The Disney Fantasy has a variety of accommodation from inside cabins to suites. What is unique about the inside cabins on the Fantasy and also on the Dream is that they have virtual portholes. Instead of just having a plain wall in your room, you have a porthole with a screen that shows the view outside wherever your cabin is located on the ship. Every once in a while a Disney character will swim by to provide some excitement.
I stayed in a Deluxe Family Oceanview cabin. This was by far the largest cabin I have ever stayed in at sea. We had a Queen size bed on one side of the room for me and my husband, and a sofa that turned into a twin bed on the other side of the room for my daughter. There was also a pull down bed, if we had a fourth person in the room. Between the bed and the sofa there was a good amount of space so my daughter could twirl around in her princess dresses. We also had a double closet with a sizeable amount of space for hanging our clothes. In the bathroom, we had a tub, which is a nice feature with small children, as well as a detachable shower head. There were only two minor drawbacks to our room. We didn’t have enough drawer space for casual clothes, there were only three drawers, and we had a single bathroom, instead of a split bathroom.
Disney is the only cruise line that I know of that has rotational dining. On the Fantasy, and on the Dream, there are three restaurants that you are rotated through for dinner: Animator’s Palate, Royal Court and Enchanted Garden. You can also choose to eat in Cabanas, which is a buffet by day and a casual dining restaurant by night.
When you get on the ship, your key card tells you which restaurant you will be dining in each night. The order of the restaurants is listed by first initial on the bottom of your card. Tickets with the order of the restaurants are also placed in your stateroom.
Our first night we dined in Animator’s Palate. This is definitely the most casual of the three restaurants and probably my least favorite. Screens are mounted on all the walls and Crush and the characters from Finding Nemo play games and interact with guests. I won’t give away all the secrets, but it is pretty amazing to watch the first time.
Our second night, we dined in the Enchanted Garden. To me this is the prettiest and most fascinating of the restaurants. When you enter the restaurant, it is day time and while you are dining, it turns into a night sky. When it turns from day to night, the petals of the flowers mounted on the ceiling unfurl.
The third restaurant, and the most traditional, is Royal Court. When you first walk in it looks like your typical cruise ship restaurant, but then you notice the details and realize that it is all Disney. There are mosaics on the walls depicting scenes from the different Princess stories. The back of the chairs have a crown, an apple or a slipper to depict Belle, Sleeping Beauty or Snow White. The bread basket is in the shape of a carriage and the menu is in the shape of an invitation. The cuisine in the Royal Court is French inspired. I had two of my favorites, escargot and a soufflé; both were excellent.
Breakfast was served at both Cabanas and Royal Court. Breakfast at Cabanas is a buffet, while the Royal Court is a la carte. I don’t like dealing with buffet lines, so most days I went to the Royal Court for breakfast. The breakfast was typical cruise ship fare, no more no less. Lunch is also served at Cabanas and the Royal Court and on select days, a lunch buffet is also served in the Enchanted Garden. We recommend going to lunch in the Enchanted Garden on embarkation day; it will be less crowded than Cabanas. I did make it to Cabanas a couple of times for lunch and they had a great variety of foods to choose from. The only thing I missed was the curry station that I have experienced on my last few cruises.
On the Fantasy, there are also two adult restaurants that are available for an additional charge, Palo and Remy. Palo serves Italian food and Remy serves French cuisine. We didn’t go to Palo, but we dined at Remy. It was the most amazing dining experience that I have ever had.
Overall, my dining experience on the Fantasy was pretty good and much improved from time on the Dream. The dinners were all excellent and the lunches and breakfasts were similar to that of other cruise lines.
What about entertainment you might ask. There is so much to do on board the ship, that it requires its own post. Part 2 of my Disney Fantasy review will touch on all there is to do on board.
Photos courtesy of Biculturalmama and Yelp user Kristina K