Sailing the Disney FantasyThe impressive Disney Fantasy that measures over 1,000 feet and spans 14 towering decks is the latest of Disney’s four major cruise ships; the others are the Magic, Wonder and Dream.
The Fantasy, in keeping with its name, inspires each visitor— big or small— to step into mini worlds that Disney has beautifully created and curated. In this aspect, there is truly something on this ship for everyone.
From the dining venues to the spa, each micro cosmos is a fantasy world: The Disney Oceaneer Club (which --like the Fairy Godmother--watches children till 12 a.m. nightly) boasts a Star Wars command post, as well as several Marvel-inspired games. The Oceaneer Lab gives you the chance to try your real-life hand at animation, and also steering wheels that simulate navigating a ship.
Tweens can enjoy the cool feeling of Vibe that allows them to dance and play video games; teens have their own Club Edge, that allows them to play video games and rock out on the dance floor to pop tunes. Adults are not left in the lurch, as I happily discovered while my daughter disappeared into the Oceaneer club with her best friend: there are global-themed bars that serve impressive cocktails.
The Skyline, The Tube, O'Gills Pub and Ooh La La Champagne bar are beautifully-designed nighttime venues that take you around the world through spirits (if you’re particularly adventurous, get a passport stamped with your cocktail journey).
The best (and most upscale) dining venues for adults are the Italian-themed Palo and the French-themed Remy. Palo is the only place on the ship that is free of any Disney character motifs and feels decidedly Italian, with its twinkling Murano chandeliers, handmade pasta, beautiful antipasti and an impressive array of desserts from its excellent Tiramisu to pistachio layer cake. Remy, inspired by the main figure from “Ratatouille,” boasts some of the finest wines in the world, including the Chateau Margaux, which consistently ranks as one of the top three wines produced in the Bordeaux appellation in France.
The best aspect about sailing a 7-day cruise on the Disney Fantasy is the chance to dine at each of the major restaurants at least twice. During the first night, we experienced the Enchanted Garden that bloomed with flowers and mood lighting; the Animator's Palate was my kid's favorite, with its film-themed motifs and characters that came alive on the many screens spread throughout the restaurant; the Royal Court has a prince and princess theme throughout and you feel as though you've stepped into Cinderella's castle.
But the theatrical entertainment each night surpassed expectations.
From the Character Breakfasts in the morning to the Broadway-style shows in the evening, it was hard to keep up with the level of quality entertainment. One evening, we witnessed comedy shows, world-class musicians and magicians.
The service was also spectacular, with a dedicated staff assigned to each guest that made bonding even more special (by the tail-end of the journey, the dining team knew our favorite dishes and my daughter's favorite ice cream). This was a bond that would have been hard to forge even if you repeatedly dined at a restaurant.
A cruise is not quite the same without its onshore itineraries, and during the seven day trip, we explored the beaches of St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Disney's own island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay. While my most favorite memory of these shore excursions was watching my daughter bond with her new best friend, it was marvelous to see the ease with which we were able to embark and disembark, and enjoy the day in a sun-soaked destination.
During the at-sea days, the entire family delighted in solving the highly interactive and addicting "Midship Detective Agency" mysteries that had us running through the decks, from fore to aft, and keeping us on our toes like no Disney movie ever could.
And that's how it all ended: we felt part of the crew and the cast at the end of it all, and ready to grab a Kleenex at the thought of saying goodbye to our new friends. There's no question about it: if you can go on Disney cruise, don't even think twice.