Disney Fantasy - Eastern Caribbean - 13 July Another Great Adventure!

turbojsf

Earning My Ears
Joined
Mar 19, 2011
Just returned from 13 July Eastern Caribbean on Fantasy. We were a family of 4 (55,53,20,17) in cabin 10636. I tried to include a lot of info in this report and maybe some things you won't easily find in this forum. My wife (school teacher) painstakingly “red penned” it before letting me post, I guess I needed to pay more attention back in grammar class in 4th grade. I hope this helps you in preparing for your next cruise.

Pre Cruise
Booking - We booked our cruise about 30 days out taking advantage of military discount. The discount is usually about 15% off the standard price but most times do not become available until 60-90 days out. With our late booking most all ship activities and many excursions were sold out. We usually use an agent as you seem to be able to do better with onboard credit that way.

Parking – We have typically used off port parking but this time decided to try Port Canaveral valet ( https://portcanaveralvalet.com/ $109 flat rate) . You meet them about 5 minutes from the port, they drive you in your car to the port, return to pick you up at the end, and you drop their driver at the same spot where you met originally. Great service and only waited 5 minutes for the driver each way.

Boarding time – In the past we have always tried to get the earliest boarding we could and usually ended up with 11:30. Once again, due to late booking the earliest available was 12:30. When we arrived at the terminal we waited about 5 minutes to go through security and then had no wait at check in and boarded he ship right away. This was by far the fastest we have ever boarded the ship so I will be picking this time from now on. It gives a chance for the initial rush to pass but before many of the shuttles from Orlando arrive. We arrived at the port at 12:20 and were on Deck 11 at 12:45.



Our standard plan is bringing our swimsuits in our carry on and riding the Aqua Duck as soon as we board (rarely much of a line before 1pm). We then head to Cabanas for lunch and following that rooms are usually ready.

Sail Away
Drink – We learned this on our first cruise, buy the Sail Away party drink in the souvenir cup. Yes, it will cost you about $15 but then you keep giving the bartender those cups for your drinks the rest of the cruise. They take your old ones and give you new ones but the advantage is you get about 2-3 ounces more drink for the same price as these cups are larger than the standard drink cup and if you stick to the drink of the day you are only paying about $6 per drink rather than $10. Of course, these are usually tropical drinks which seems to be the right call for the Caribbean.

Port Canaveral camera Fishlips restaurant has a camera on the roof that films all the cruise ship departures. They zoom in to the decks where the crowds are and film the ship as it passes. You can have friends and family watch if you are on the starboard (right) side along the railing. They also archive them so you can look up your cruise and watch when you get back.

Ports
Tortola – We really wanted to do the Baths on Virgin Gorda but all the excursions were sold out. You can check the Guest Services desk when boarding and may be able to get something that showed sold out on the website (this includes ship activities and meals at Palo and Remy). I did a little research and found a group called Patouche charters (http://patouche.com/). They listed an excursion to the Baths that included a snorkeling stop and a lunch stop and was about the same price as the Disney excursion. Unfortunately, they didn’t show availability for the day we would be in Tortola. I called and was told they would open another booking. Turns out my family of 4 were the only ones that booked so we basically had a private charter from 08:30-3:30 that day. We went snorkeling (in an area all by ourselves) spent some time at the Cooper Island Beach Club (where we had lunch and laid on the mostly deserted beach), and then went to the Baths for over an hour. All of that was awesome, but even better was how Captain Oscar timed it so that we arrived at the Baths after the large cruise group was gone.

419932

St. Thomas – We really wanted to try the ziplining here but both the excursion and the place was sold out for the morning slot. Tried to email them but never got a reply. We ended up heading over to Water Island. We docked at Havensight instead of Crown Bay Marina so we had to take a taxi over (about 2 miles $6/person) to catch the Water Island Ferry . We didn’t budget time very well and didn’t plan on traffic and the taxi being a shared ride with other stops. We missed the 9 am ferry by 10 minutes but it was back at the dock around 9:25 (short ride over $10/person) and the driver decided to take the 20 of us that were gathered at that point over before his 10 am run. On Water Island we rented a golf cart from Rachel’s Rentals (https://rachaelsrentals.com/) since we wanted to explore the island before heading to Honeymoon Beach. We reserved it in advance ($40/day). This enabled us to go around the island looking at the WWII Gun emplacements of Ft. Segarra and over to Limestone Beach. The gun emplacement areas were nice because it is at the high point on the island with a 360 degree view around. The tunnels are open but not maintained and I would not recommend venturing in. Limestone Beach is not the type of beach for sunning and swimming. A rocky path leads down to it and it is mostly rocky shoreline, but we are sea glass collectors and we did find some pieces. (We also found some right at the beach near the ferry dock). Honeymoon Beach is very close to where the ferry docks so if that is all you want to do there is no need for the golf cart. We spent about 3 hours on the island and got some great photos and met an amazing woman named Maggie from Rachel’s Rentals who is a resident of Water Island. Many places on this day (taxi, golf cart rental, ferry) required cash so be prepared. One place that would take a credit card was the Pirates Treasure Museum It is not a large museum, but it is well laid out and has a lot to offer about pirates, shipwrecks, and local hurricanes. The museum docents were engaging and very knowledgeable. One was dressed (convincingly) as Captain Jack Sparrow and didn’t break character once while teaching us about the weaponry pirates used over different time periods. We spent between 60 – 90 minutes at the museum before walking across the street to board the ship.
419937
Pirate Treasure Museum St Thomas

Castaway Cay – We have been to Castaway Cay several times and always stayed at the family beach. This time we split time at the family beach and Serenity Bay. Our son rented snorkel gear and I had brought my own so we did a quick snorkel out to see the underwater sights.

419939

The water path we took from the beach this year brought us right to the underwater boat, then sub, then Mickey statue. In years past we have spent time swimming around looking. Serenity Bay is amazing. The water is clear and you can walk out 100 yards and never get above your waist. There are stingrays, fish, giant conch shells and an abundance of Caribbean beauty. The only down side (and its minor) is the beach is a bit sloped rather than flat like the family beach. We had lunch there and it was not very crowded (with the exception of the Sea Gulls trying to find their snacks).




On Board
Kids – We have a 17-year-old son and 20-year-old daughter. Our son was in Vibe and daughter in the 1820 society. They had a blast, found groups quickly, and made friends they will keep in touch with. This seems to be the case for the 7 day or longer cruises we have taken. Enough time to get to know the others. As typical, we rarely saw them aboard the ship except for dinner. We did see our daughter with her group for late night events. We started with Disney because of the kids and even as they have aged, they still love it (and so do we!)

App – You really need to use the app as you no longer get a paper copy of the Navigator with the day’s activities delivered to your room. There is a Navigator you get when you board that covers the highlights for the cruise. The chat feature of the app is greatly improved from the past and we used it to keep in touch with each other and the kids throughout the week. It tells you sunrise sunset, drink of the day description and lots of other useful info. Our frustration was that the signal from the ship frequently dropped and we kept having to reconnect.

Activities– We liked to do the trivia and they had several through the cruise. The variety acts are always entertaining and we typically go to see both their family shows and adult shows. We always do the Silent DJ party, it’s a blast especially when there is a good sized crowd. We also try to compete in some of the couples’ contests in the evening. I am not the most outward going person, but when you consider you will likely never see those other folks again, getting outside your comfort zone isn’t as threatening.

Rainforest room – We sign up for the length of cruise pass every time as this is one of our favorite things aboard the ship. The prices have gone up for both the day passes ($34/day) and length of cruise passes ($270 for a couple for the week) I think the price increase has cut down on the number of people buying day passes especially on the port days, so it was never really crowded. We also learned that going when one group is at dinner or between the first show and second dinner seating are the best times. It may seem like a lot for some fancy aromatherapy showers, hot tubs, steam rooms, sauna and heated tile recliners, but you get great views from the hot tub area and it really is relaxing.

Palo – We had both brunch and dinner at Palo. We have done Palo before and I think I prefer the brunch. The upcharge for both is $40/person. Brunch has a buffet for appetizers and dessert and includes a prosecco or mimosa. Dinner has an appetizer tray prepared tableside and does not include a drink. The food at both is very good and worth experiencing at least once. There is a bar adjacent to Palo/Remy called Meridian. Never crowded since I think most folks assume you can only go there if you are dining. We usually try to go at sunset at least once when heading east or on the sail away from Castaway Cay. Remember to bring nice clothes as they do have a dress code.

Cove Café – This is probably one of our favorite adult spots as we would stop in daily for an afternoon specialty coffee. There is the added charge of the coffee but they have a punch card system where you earn a free drink after five purchases. Our cappuccinos came with amazing coffee art and a small cookie. Additionally, there are some treats (no charge) in a display case at the end of the bar.

Laundry – We did laundry once. There are several laundry rooms, each with different numbers of washers/dryers. In each laundry room there is a list of all the locations so you can find the laundry room closest to your cabin (which may be on another level). They can get crowded towards the end of the cruise or when folks are trying to iron before formal nights. They are pretty high tech and not the most user friendly. You must start with a machine that puts credits on your account for wash cycles and dry cycles ($3 each) by using your key to the world card (room key). Then choose a machine and tap your card to activate it. You can cycle through the options for wash and dry (they show on the screen) once you have closed the door. A cool feature is that you get a text to your phone if using the onboard app or to your room wave phone notifying you when the load is done.

Cabin – 10636 Veranda room just forward of the aft elevators on the starboard side. The 10th deck verandas have the overhang from deck 11 that obscures your view looking up. But it protects from sun and rain so it was never a problem being on the veranda. Several people have commented on the vibration on the Fantasy, especially when she is running at higher speeds on the trip back from the VI. We noticed it, but it never impacted us for dining or sleeping.
419931
All in all another relaxing and magical experience.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

turbojsf

Earning My Ears
Joined
Mar 19, 2011
Just returned from 13 July Eastern Caribbean on Fantasy. We were a family of 4 (55,53,20,17) in cabin 10636. I tried to include a lot of info in this report and maybe some things you won't easily find in this forum. My wife (school teacher) painstakingly “red penned” it before letting me post, I guess I needed to pay more attention back in grammar class in 4th grade. I hope this helps you in preparing for your next cruise.

Pre Cruise
Booking - We booked our cruise about 30 days out taking advantage of military discount. The discount is usually about 15% off the standard price but most times do not become available until 60-90 days out. With our late booking most all ship activities and many excursions were sold out. We usually use an agent as you seem to be able to do better with onboard credit that way.

Parking – We have typically used off port parking but this time decided to try Port Canaveral valet ( https://portcanaveralvalet.com/ $109 flat rate) . You meet them about 5 minutes from the port, they drive you in your car to the port, return to pick you up at the end, and you drop their driver at the same spot where you met originally. Great service and only waited 5 minutes for the driver each way.

Boarding time – In the past we have always tried to get the earliest boarding we could and usually ended up with 11:30. Once again, due to late booking the earliest available was 12:30. When we arrived at the terminal we waited about 5 minutes to go through security and then had no wait at check in and boarded he ship right away. This was by far the fastest we have ever boarded the ship so I will be picking this time from now on. It gives a chance for the initial rush to pass but before many of the shuttles from Orlando arrive. We arrived at the port at 12:20 and were on Deck 11 at 12:45.



Our standard plan is bringing our swimsuits in our carry on and riding the Aqua Duck as soon as we board (rarely much of a line before 1pm). We then head to Cabanas for lunch and following that rooms are usually ready.

Sail Away
Drink – We learned this on our first cruise, buy the Sail Away party drink in the souvenir cup. Yes, it will cost you about $15 but then you keep giving the bartender those cups for your drinks the rest of the cruise. They take your old ones and give you new ones but the advantage is you get about 2-3 ounces more drink for the same price as these cups are larger than the standard drink cup and if you stick to the drink of the day you are only paying about $6 per drink rather than $10. Of course, these are usually tropical drinks which seems to be the right call for the Caribbean.

Port Canaveral camera Fishlips restaurant has a camera on the roof that films all the cruise ship departures. They zoom in to the decks where the crowds are and film the ship as it passes. You can have friends and family watch if you are on the starboard (right) side along the railing. They also archive them so you can look up your cruise and watch when you get back.

Ports
Tortola – We really wanted to do the Baths on Virgin Gorda but all the excursions were sold out. You can check the Guest Services desk when boarding and may be able to get something that showed sold out on the website (this includes ship activities and meals at Palo and Remy). I did a little research and found a group called Patouche charters (http://patouche.com/). They listed an excursion to the Baths that included a snorkeling stop and a lunch stop and was about the same price as the Disney excursion. Unfortunately, they didn’t show availability for the day we would be in Tortola. I called and was told they would open another booking. Turns out my family of 4 were the only ones that booked so we basically had a private charter from 08:30-3:30 that day. We went snorkeling (in an area all by ourselves) spent some time at the Cooper Island Beach Club (where we had lunch and laid on the mostly deserted beach), and then went to the Baths for over an hour. All of that was awesome, but even better was how Captain Oscar timed it so that we arrived at the Baths after the large cruise group was gone.

View attachment 419932

St. Thomas – We really wanted to try the ziplining here but both the excursion and the place was sold out for the morning slot. Tried to email them but never got a reply. We ended up heading over to Water Island. We docked at Havensight instead of Crown Bay Marina so we had to take a taxi over (about 2 miles $6/person) to catch the Water Island Ferry . We didn’t budget time very well and didn’t plan on traffic and the taxi being a shared ride with other stops. We missed the 9 am ferry by 10 minutes but it was back at the dock around 9:25 (short ride over $10/person) and the driver decided to take the 20 of us that were gathered at that point over before his 10 am run. On Water Island we rented a golf cart from Rachel’s Rentals (https://rachaelsrentals.com/) since we wanted to explore the island before heading to Honeymoon Beach. We reserved it in advance ($40/day). This enabled us to go around the island looking at the WWII Gun emplacements of Ft. Segarra and over to Limestone Beach. The gun emplacement areas were nice because it is at the high point on the island with a 360 degree view around. The tunnels are open but not maintained and I would not recommend venturing in. Limestone Beach is not the type of beach for sunning and swimming. A rocky path leads down to it and it is mostly rocky shoreline, but we are sea glass collectors and we did find some pieces. (We also found some right at the beach near the ferry dock). Honeymoon Beach is very close to where the ferry docks so if that is all you want to do there is no need for the golf cart. We spent about 3 hours on the island and got some great photos and met an amazing woman named Maggie from Rachel’s Rentals who is a resident of Water Island. Many places on this day (taxi, golf cart rental, ferry) required cash so be prepared. One place that would take a credit card was the Pirates Treasure Museum It is not a large museum, but it is well laid out and has a lot to offer about pirates, shipwrecks, and local hurricanes. The museum docents were engaging and very knowledgeable. One was dressed (convincingly) as Captain Jack Sparrow and didn’t break character once while teaching us about the weaponry pirates used over different time periods. We spent between 60 – 90 minutes at the museum before walking across the street to board the ship.
View attachment 419937
Pirate Treasure Museum St Thomas

Castaway Cay – We have been to Castaway Cay several times and always stayed at the family beach. This time we split time at the family beach and Serenity Bay. Our son rented snorkel gear and I had brought my own so we did a quick snorkel out to see the underwater sights.

View attachment 419939

The water path we took from the beach this year brought us right to the underwater boat, then sub, then Mickey statue. In years past we have spent time swimming around looking. Serenity Bay is amazing. The water is clear and you can walk out 100 yards and never get above your waist. There are stingrays, fish, giant conch shells and an abundance of Caribbean beauty. The only down side (and its minor) is the beach is a bit sloped rather than flat like the family beach. We had lunch there and it was not very crowded (with the exception of the Sea Gulls trying to find their snacks).




On Board
Kids – We have a 17-year-old son and 20-year-old daughter. Our son was in Vibe and daughter in the 1820 society. They had a blast, found groups quickly, and made friends they will keep in touch with. This seems to be the case for the 7 day or longer cruises we have taken. Enough time to get to know the others. As typical, we rarely saw them aboard the ship except for dinner. We did see our daughter with her group for late night events. We started with Disney because of the kids and even as they have aged, they still love it (and so do we!)

App – You really need to use the app as you no longer get a paper copy of the Navigator with the day’s activities delivered to your room. There is a Navigator you get when you board that covers the highlights for the cruise. The chat feature of the app is greatly improved from the past and we used it to keep in touch with each other and the kids throughout the week. It tells you sunrise sunset, drink of the day description and lots of other useful info. Our frustration was that the signal from the ship frequently dropped and we kept having to reconnect.

Activities– We liked to do the trivia and they had several through the cruise. The variety acts are always entertaining and we typically go to see both their family shows and adult shows. We always do the Silent DJ party, it’s a blast especially when there is a good sized crowd. We also try to compete in some of the couples’ contests in the evening. I am not the most outward going person, but when you consider you will likely never see those other folks again, getting outside your comfort zone isn’t as threatening.

Rainforest room – We sign up for the length of cruise pass every time as this is one of our favorite things aboard the ship. The prices have gone up for both the day passes ($34/day) and length of cruise passes ($270 for a couple for the week) I think the price increase has cut down on the number of people buying day passes especially on the port days, so it was never really crowded. We also learned that going when one group is at dinner or between the first show and second dinner seating are the best times. It may seem like a lot for some fancy aromatherapy showers, hot tubs, steam rooms, sauna and heated tile recliners, but you get great views from the hot tub area and it really is relaxing.

Palo – We had both brunch and dinner at Palo. We have done Palo before and I think I prefer the brunch. The upcharge for both is $40/person. Brunch has a buffet for appetizers and dessert and includes a prosecco or mimosa. Dinner has an appetizer tray prepared tableside and does not include a drink. The food at both is very good and worth experiencing at least once. There is a bar adjacent to Palo/Remy called Meridian. Never crowded since I think most folks assume you can only go there if you are dining. We usually try to go at sunset at least once when heading east or on the sail away from Castaway Cay. Remember to bring nice clothes as they do have a dress code.

Cove Café – This is probably one of our favorite adult spots as we would stop in daily for an afternoon specialty coffee. There is the added charge of the coffee but they have a punch card system where you earn a free drink after five purchases. Our cappuccinos came with amazing coffee art and a small cookie. Additionally, there are some treats (no charge) in a display case at the end of the bar.

Laundry – We did laundry once. There are several laundry rooms, each with different numbers of washers/dryers. In each laundry room there is a list of all the locations so you can find the laundry room closest to your cabin (which may be on another level). They can get crowded towards the end of the cruise or when folks are trying to iron before formal nights. They are pretty high tech and not the most user friendly. You must start with a machine that puts credits on your account for wash cycles and dry cycles ($3 each) by using your key to the world card (room key). Then choose a machine and tap your card to activate it. You can cycle through the options for wash and dry (they show on the screen) once you have closed the door. A cool feature is that you get a text to your phone if using the onboard app or to your room wave phone notifying you when the load is done.

Cabin – 10636 Veranda room just forward of the aft elevators on the starboard side. The 10th deck verandas have the overhang from deck 11 that obscures your view looking up. But it protects from sun and rain so it was never a problem being on the veranda. Several people have commented on the vibration on the Fantasy, especially when she is running at higher speeds on the trip back from the VI. We noticed it, but it never impacted us for dining or sleeping.
View attachment 419931
All in all another relaxing and magical experience.
Day 1 Navigator attached
 

jane2073

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 30, 2007
We were on that same cruise. I bet we attended some of the same trivia games. 😀 My husband and I won the tv theme song game and general knowledge trivia.
My daughter is 14 and loved that she was eligible to go to Edge and Vibe. She enjoyed Vibe the most.
 

KatieKepic

Earning My Ears
Joined
Oct 5, 2015
We're looking at booking with Patouche charter. Is the meeting spot close to where the Fantasy docks?
 



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