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Right after school ended in June, we headed out on the Disney Fantasy for a 7-night cruise. Earlier this year, we went on a 3-night trip on the Disney Dream to celebrate my 40th birthday, and booked this trip while on board. While we loved the 3-night cruise, it wasn’t enough for us! After cruising with Disney for 7-nights, I definitely think a Disney cruise of this length is the perfect trip for a Disney-loving family. Here’s our Disney Fantasy review – what you can expect from a 7-night cruise on the Disney Fantasy.
Disney Fantasy Review
On board the Disney Cruise Line, you’ll get to experience several different themed restaurants. Your servers will rotate along with you, offering personalized service each and every night. This was especially helpful for us, as my daughter has a tree nut allergy. The Disney Fantasy offers three sit-down restaurants in the rotation – Royal Court, Enchanted Garden, and Animator’s Palate. Since we were on a 7-night cruise, we went to Royal Court three times, Enchanted Garden once, and Animator’s Palate once.
The experience and food at all of the restaurants is fabulous, but we especially enjoyed Animator’s Palate. During our first trip there, we celebrated my son’s 8th birthday. He proudly wore a “Happy Birthday” button and Crush (from Finding Nemo) “swam” over on the screen and chatted with him. It was the highlight of his birthday. On our second Animator’s Palate night, we drew our own characters and watched them dance around in an animated show.
You probably won’t be surprised to hear that the Disney Cruise Line is kid-friendly. But you’ll be amazed to see the number of activities offered for kids of all ages. My kids especially enjoyed the Oceaneer Lab and the Oceaneer Club, two connected, kid’s clubs that offer kids’ programming throughout the day. Kids receive wristbands, pictured above, that they wear throughout the cruise. The band is used to check into the club, and there are numerous security measures in place to ensure that your children stay safe. A schedule of kids’ club activities is included in the Navigator newsletter that is delivered to your stateroom each evening, so you can make sure that your children are in the club when the activities they want to participate in are going on. There’s also a nursery for younger kids and tween and teen clubs for older kids.
My kids also really loved the Midship Detective Agency, an interactive adventure where they help solve a mystery by collecting clues around the ship. It’s a fun way to explore the ship, and it actually gave us lots of exercise too.
Many popular Disney characters, including Phineas and Ferb, the Fab Five, the princesses, Stitch, Captain Jack Sparrow, and Captain Hook are on board the Disney Fantasy. A schedule of these appearances are published in the Navigator. Each morning, my son would grab the day’s Navigator and highlight the items he didn’t want to miss.
Lots of free entertainment is offered on board the Disney Fantasy. The highlight of the evening is a big show that is held 2-3 times per night to accommodate the two dinner groups. On the 7-day cruise, there were 3 large-school Broadway-type performances, a movie (Maleficent in 3D), family music performance, an opening show, and a closing show. We watched all of them – they were the perfect end to our vacation nights.
There are also lots of smaller shows and performances, including magic shows and ventriloquist shows, as well as game shows, trivia contests, and more. My daughter and I were contestants on a family game show – while we didn’t win, it was such a fun experience.
My son’s favorite activity was the four animation classes that we took while on board. We learned to draw several popular characters, and got an overview of Disney animation history. We’ve been home for weeks, and my son is still drawing characters every day. Although we never ended up watching a movie during the day, the Buena Vista Theater shows first-run Disney movies throughout the day.
Like the other Disney Caribbean cruises, there is a pirate night on the Disney Fantasy. The characters and servers (and many of the guests) don their best pirate garb for the evening. There are two separate pirate parties on the pool deck, capped off by fireworks at sea.
Days at Sea
Our cruise included three days at sea, and they were some of the most relaxing, enjoyable days ever. We generally started out by having a leisurely breakfast at Cabanas, and then headed out to the pool deck. My kids would get in line for the Aquaduck as soon as it opened, and in between rides, would watch the Disney movie showing on the big screen. After a few hours at the pool, we’d get changed and eat lunch (again, at Cabanas) and then the kids would head to the Oceaneer Lab for a few hours. During that break, we’d visit the gym and hang out at the adult-only section of the ship. Every time I picked the kids up from the club, they begged to stay.
Our first port of call was the Dutch/French island of St. Maarten. We booked a beach excursion for the afternoon, so we spent the whole morning on the ship. In retrospect, I’d probably stay on the ship all day. Because everyone left early, we had the pools and Aquaduck to ourselves for the morning. The beach we went to, Orient Bay in the French section, was nice but the waves were rough and we were eagerly pursued by polite but persistent beach vendors.
Our second port of call was St. John in the US Virgin Islands. After days without WiFi and cell phone service, I was thrilled to learn that my AT&T service plan includes the USVI as part of the service area. We spent the day at Magens Bay (click here to read more), and really enjoyed it. I’d definitely return.
Our final port of call on the Disney Fantasy was Castaway Cay (click here to read more), Disney’s private island. This was my third time on Castaway Cay, and it’s definitely my favorite port of call of any I’ve visited.
On our last full day on board the Disney Fantasy, we rebooked another 7-day Disney Fantasy adventure for next summer. We loved it that much, and can’t wait to return! Here’s our review of the Western Caribbean itinerary on the Disney Fantasy.