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Fantasy Maiden Voyage 2012 Archives

April 25, 2012

Disney Fantasy Maiden Voyage - The Food, Part 3

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(If you missed them, here are Part 1 and Part 2).

Day 5

On Wednesday we were in Costa Maya. We didn't have an excursion, and were on the ship for lunch at Royal Court. This was one of my favorite meals of the whole cruise.

I ordered the Tomato and Mozzarella Salad, with breasola and argula and balsamic dressing. It was really good.

Lee had the Chicken Tortilla Wrap, with grilled chicken, peppers, sour cream and guacamole. He said it was good - I think the only problem is that it wasn't big enough. :-)

I also had the Smoked Duck Breast Salad with brie, walnuts, oranges and pomegranate dressing. The duck was excellent - a wonderful smoked flavor and not gamey at all. Judging from the size of the pieces it was a pretty large duck!

Lee had the Mild Chicken Curry with rice pilaf and popodum. This was also very good, though a little more heat would have been nice.

My dessert was the best dessert I had on the entire cruise - it was called Double Chocolate Cake, but that really doesn't describe it at all. It was more like a lovely chocolatey flourless cake topped with chocolate mousse. Really, really good.

Lee tried the Coconut Cream Pie - a little individual pie, and he really enjoyed that, too. It was also a very attractive dish.

That night was the Animation Magic dinner in Animator's Palate, which we had really been looking forward to. Dinner was done a little differently, though. Because of the time it takes for us to do the drawings, and for the servers to collect them, they have to simplify the dinner a little bit. They do this by only offering one appetizer and one soup, which are exclusive to Animator's Palate. We chose whether or not to partake in one or both. For entree and dessert we had choices from the menu. The ship-wide menu that night was Prince and Princess, but we received a modified version of that: the entrees were the same and the desserts were mostly the same.

The Crush show is a little too busy for me, and overall I found this one much less intrusive and distracting. And the animation sequence itself, which used our drawings, was really fun. They used everyone's drawings, and it was fun trying to pick them out as they moved and danced across the screen. I wish I'd gotten some video of it.

But, as this is a food blog, onto dinner itself!

As I mentioned we didn't have a choice of appetizer and soup/salad (except the choice to NOT have them). So our appetizer was a plate with three different hors d'oeuvres on it: Marinated Garlic and Herb Shrimp, Prosciutto with Melon, and Sesame-crusted Tuna Sashimi. The shrimp and prosciutto were good (I traded my sashimi to Donna for her shrimp, and I'm told it was good).

The soup was very unusual: Corn Three Ways. It was buttered popcorn soup. According to the menu it was topped with caramel corn and spiced cornbread but those were actually served on the side. I thought it was tasty, and I did put the caramel corn in mine, which gave it crunch and a little extra sweetness. The cornbread was also unusual, and I enjoyed that.

As I mentioned the entrees were from the Prince and Princess menu that was served in all three restaurants that night. I had the Oven-roasted Tom Turkey Breast - green beans, sweet mashed potatoes, rosemary stuffing, giblet gravy and cranberry relish - though I didn't have any cranberries, and I had some dark meat in addition turkey breast meat. The turkey was moist and flavorful, and the accompaniments were good - occasionally there's been some odd spicing in the sweet potatoes and stuffing, but not this time.

Lee tried the Rosemary-scented Medallions of Lamb - with grilled red peppers, yellow squash and zucchini on a polenta cake with lamb jus. He shared a bite of the lamb with me and it was nice and tender.

The dessert menu was a very scaled-down version of what was on the Prince and Princess menu. :-( I would have ordered the chilled chocolate souffle by itself, but I had to settle for the sample of it that was part of the Sweet Temptations. It also came with lemon cheesecake (no sugar added) and tiramisu.

Lee had Princess Jasmine Banana Bread Pudding. It was topped with caramel sauce and macadamia nuts, and he liked it.

Day 6

Thursday we were at sea, and it was semi-formal night, with The Captain's Gala as the ship-wide menu. We were in Enchanted Garden again. I guess most of our table mates had something against Enchanted Garden, since, except for Beci, they were all in Remy or Palo again. (Hmmm...or maybe it was something we said? :-) ) So it was just three of us for dinner. (Our Remy diners, one of whom had been a little hesitant about it, said that it was just incredible. Maybe we'll make it there on a future cruise.)

This menu seemed quite different to me than when I'd had it before on the Magic and the Wonder. It still has the lobster and the lava cake, but a lot of the rest of it looked newer. I started with the Asian Pear, Sweet Corn and Jicama Slaw - with avocado puree and lime vinaigrette garnished with mint leaves. It was a very small serving, but it was quite crunchy and refreshing.

Lee had the Aged Prosciutto - served with sun dried tomatoes, shaved parmesan and roasted garlic. This certainly looked good, and I think he enjoyed it.

We both had the same salad: California Mixed Salad Leaves - with toasted pine nuts and orange segments. It was fine - nothing special about it, though.

There were two vegetarian entrees that I wanted to try. The first was Farro Stew, which Deb Koma had written about on the Preview Cruise. It was described as including "garlic roasted green beans, shallots, hazelnuts and shredded red radishes", but I couldn't find any hazelnuts, and it didn't seem to have very much flavor. It wasn't what I would consider "stew" either - stew should have some kind of savory sauce, and this had no sauce at all. So this was disappointing.

On the other hand, the Green Pea and Fava Bean Risotto - drizzled with pesto sauce and pine nuts, was really excellent. Perfectly cooked, and the pesto sauce added a wonderful flavor to it. The parmesan crisp on top was yummy, too.

Lee ordered the Oven-roasted Pork Tenderloin - over creamy cheese polenta with sauteed wild mushrooms and merlot reduction. The pork was tender and nicely cooked and the cheese polenta was quite good.

I think this was the only night I didn't order Sweet Temptations, because none of the three (amaretto cheesecake, banana creme brulee, and apple pie) appealed to me. And, you may be shocked, but I didn't order the chocolate lava cake, either - because the one I make is better. So I had the Tropical Sundae with rainbow sherbet, coconut macaroon, and rum infused coconut cream. I was expecting the coconut macaroon to be larger and the coconut cream to have a stronger flavor, so I was disappointed in this. It was pretty, though.

Lee did have the Warm Chocolate Lava Cake, so I tried a bite. Nope, mine is still better. :-) Of course I'm not trying to serve it to several hundred people simultaneously, either. Lee liked it, but he also prefers mine.

Day 7

Friday was our day on Castaway Cay. We didn't really have breakfast because of the 5K, and lunch was the BBQ lunch at Cookies Too. It's just ok.

We were back in Royal Court one last time for the Sea Ya Real Soon! dinner.

For an appetizer, Lee and I had what I think was the best appetizer of the entire trip: Grilled Potato and Goat Cheese Napoleon. It was a stack of grilled potatoes, topped with goat cheese, sundried tomatoes, basil, and a balsamic vinaigrette. It was SO good!

Next I had the Cranberry Salad with mixed field greens, sunflower seeds, Craisins and cranberry dressing. It comes with blue cheese, but I requested it be left off. It was a very good salad, though a few more sunflower seeds would have been nice.

Lee had the Potato and Leek Soup. That's almost always good - it's often available at the buffet in Cabanas, too.

For my entree I had a very interesting vegetarian dish, Green Pancakes with Stewed Lentil. This was described as lentils, carrots, leeks and parsnips, sauteed garlic and herbs on a green pancake with lime butter. The pancake was on top of the rest of it, though. :-) And it wasn't really green in color, though it was stuffed with something green (minced spinach, I think) inside. It was...different. Not bad, but not so tasty that I'd rush right out to order it again.

Lee ordered the Roasted Filet of Beef Wellington, served with mushroom stuffing, wrapped in puff pastry, with fingerling potatoes, baby vegetables, and Cabernet black truffle jus. (I think that was the longest menu description of the week!) He said it was good - I thought they were pretty stingy with the vegetables.

For dessert I ordered the Sweet Temptations for the final time: Celebration cake, Chocolate Decadence, and Cappuccino Mousse tartlet (no sugar added). But I got distracted and didn't take a photo of it, because we received a special congratulations and cake in honor of our 25th anniversary. Our anniversary was back in January, but in true Disney fashion we've decided that we're going to make it a year-long celebration. :-)

Our dessert was a very nice chocolate mousse cake - it was actually my second favorite dessert of the cruise.

Lee ordered that night's special - Baked Alaska. Sponge loaf layered with chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream, covered in burnt meringue (not really burnt - just browned). But we did not get the parade of chefs carrying flaming baked Alaskas like we have experienced on the Magic and the Wonder. :-( He always gets the baked Alaska, so it must be a favorite.

Day 8

What do you mean the cruise is over and we have to get off the ship???? Sigh. We were in Royal Court for our final breakfast, which for us started at 6:45 since we had the early dinner seating. Yikes.

I ordered something unremarkable like oatmeal that I didn't even bother photographing. :-) And all they had to go on top was brown sugar - no toppings bar!

Lee had the Chef's Farewell, which was an open-faced omelet topped with barbecue chicken, green peppers, onions and melted Swiss cheese. It looked very good (except for the peppers) and he liked it.

And another cruise comes to an end...as does another set of food blogs.

Some Final Food Thoughts

This is the first time we've had the early dinner seating instead of the late seating, and I really liked it. Because of the second dinner seating, we HAD to be out of the dining room in less than 2 hours, and we usually made it in less than 90 minutes. On too many of our late dining dinners it's been at least 10:30 before we got out of the dining room. Early dining meant we had the late show, but it was usually out by 9:30, giving us some extra time to do something else (like go to Ooh La La).

With late seating we've always found that we had to have a small meal around 5:00 to tide us over until dinner, and we didn't have to do that this time. Fewer meals consumed = less weight gained while on cruise. :-)

We didn't eat very much at the Food Court on Deck 11 this time. The pizza at Luigi's was ok, but I was disappointed with the selection at Fillmore's. The equivalent place (Goofy's Galley) on the Wonder and Magic has always had different sandwich/wrap selections throughout the cruise - Fillmore's had the same sandwiches and wraps every day, it seemed - or at least they did on the four days that I checked it out. Now, they did have a better toppings bar on the Fantasy - in addition to shredded lettuce and sliced tomatoes for burger toppings they had chopped lettuce and grape tomatoes and dressing to make a salad.

We really enjoyed the Palo brunch again - that's a wonderful treat, and I think it may be my favorite meal on board ship.

I'll give you a few of our "bests".

Laura: Best Entree (not counting Palo): Green Pea and Fava Bean Risotto (Captain's Gala). The Pacific Black Cod from Animator's Palate would have won if it had been accompanied by something more appetizing than sauteed mushrooms.
Best Appetizer: Grilled Potato and Goat Cheese Napoleon (final night dinner)
Best Dessert: Double Chocolate Cake (Royal Court lunch)

Lee: Best Entree: Jack Sparrow's BBQ Marinated Beef Short Ribs (Pirate Night)
Best Appetizer: Corn Three Ways (Animation Magic dinner)
Best Dessert: Bananas Foster Sundae (Enchanted Garden)

Hope you enjoyed the blogs - thank you for reading! If you have any questions, please use the links below to send a comment or submit feedback.

Our next cruise will be one of the New York cruises on the Magic in September.



April 18, 2012

Disney Fantasy Maiden Voyage - The Food, Part 2

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(If you missed it, here is Part 1).

Day 2

Monday was our day in Grand Cayman, but we didn't arrive in port until 10:30 or so, so they offered brunch in Palo that day and we were able to go. That's always one of my favorite meals on board! There are so many wonderful things to try, though - and always way more food I want to taste than I have room for.

One of my favorites is the sticky rolls, which are on the fruit and pastry table (in the covered dish in the center to keep them warm).

So I enjoyed things like a shrimp cocktail shot, cheese, olives, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, fruit, the aforementioned sticky roll, Caprese salad, and smoked salmon.

In addition to the buffet, you can order pizzas and breakfast entrees which are served at the table. Some of the entrees are Eggs Benedict, Eggs Florentine, Eggs Julia, Open-Faced Frittata, Oysters Rockefeller, and Rum Raisin Pancakes.

I ordered another entree, the Seared Tilapia with Asparagus Risotto. This was SO good - the tilapia was good, but the risotto may have been the best thing I had all week. There was some kind of cheese in it, too.

Lee had the Eggs Florentine.

Palo also has a very nice dessert buffet. The desserts are beautifully presented, but I think that the other breakfast foods are actually better than the desserts. Which doesn't keep me from trying a selection of them anyway. :-) (I should just have a sticky roll for dessert.)

So I had a berry "cocktail", a chocolate covered strawberry, and a chocolate pot du creme.

Lee had strawberry shortcake, a Sacher torte, and pot du creme.

That night all of the rest of our tablemates were dining in Palo, so we went to Enchanted Garden by ourselves (along with a few hundred of our closest friends). Dinner certainly went a lot faster with only two of us instead of nine at the table! Since we had early seating we were really able to watch the transformation of the restaurant as it went from afternoon lighting to night. It's quite pretty - but the tables are much too close together.

Overall, this was probably my least favorite menu of the cruise, with the least appealing (to me) selections of appetizers and desserts. I didn't order an appetizer - I chose a soup and a salad instead. My soup was the Heirloom Tomato Soup, with sour cream, croutons, and basil. It's a good tomato soup.

Lee had the North Atlantic Lobster Ravioli, in a basil scented tomato juice (it was more like broth than juice). He would have preferred a different sauce, but the ravioli was good.

Next Lee and I had the Spinach and Raspberry Salad, with fresh raspberries and pine nuts and crumbled Gorgonzola. This was very fresh and tasty.

I decided to go with one of the vegetarian dishes, the Pearl-Barley Cakes with Shallots, Leeks, and Rosemary. It was served over julienne carrots, celery root and leeks with a light saffron sauce. The sauce was excellent and the whole dish was very tasty, though I expected a few more vegetables under the cakes.

Lee had the other dish that I had been considering, the Pan Seared Sea Bass with fava beans and pea risotto, so I was able to try it, and it was also very good, (All of the risottos I had on board were really good, though a couple of times my table mates reported that theirs were under-cooked.)

I had the Sweet Temptations again, though none of the desserts on this menu really appealed to me. It included a strawberry cheesecake, Sacher torte, and passion fruit tart.

Lee had the Bananas Foster Sundae. Really more of a fancy name for a banana split than a true Bananas Foster.

Our server brought us some other special treats - the one was sort of a cocoa-dusted ganache/fudge, and the other was sugared jellied fruit - apricot, I think. Kind of different, but interesting to try.

Day 4

Tuesday night, day 4, was Pirate Night, and we were back in Royal Court. Royalty and pirates...kind of an interesting combination. :-)

The Pirate menu seems to be fairly standard across the Disney cruise ships - this one was the same as the one on the Dream in October.

I started with Pirates Golden Pot Stickers - deep-fried pork dumplings with tamarind-ginger sauce. These were quite good, especially the sauce.

Lee had Black Beard's Jumbo Crab Cake, with carrot/raisin/coconut slaw in a Calypso dressing. It's more crab than filler and he enjoyed it.

Next up was Mr. Smee's Bibb Lettuce Salad, with bibb lettuce, baby greens, chicory, tomatoes, pine nuts, and raspberry vinaigrette. This was more of a wedge salad, which wasn't what I was expecting. It was fine, but I wish I had ordered the Jerk Chicken Salad instead - which is what Lee and several others at our table ordered.

And here is the aforementioned Jerk Chicken Salad. It had jerk-seasoned chicken strips (which Lee had cut before I took the photo), plantain chips and fresh greens with citrus dressing.

My entree was one of the vegetarian dishes: Sunken Vegetable Treasure It's black-eyed pea and quinoa croquettes with mushroom sauce. The shape looked more like sausages than croquettes, though. And the "mushroom sauce" was actually a bed of sauteed mushrooms. Unfortunately it's not a very attractive dish to photograph! It needs some more color. I like the croquettes, though I can't really describe the flavor to you. They are not really spiced at all, but still have a nice flavor. I have ordered them in the past and I would order them again, though next time a side of steamed vegetables to go with them might be in order.

Lee had Jack Sparrow's BBQ Marinated Beef Short Ribs with onion red bliss mashed potatoes and plantain chip. He really enjoyed this - the meat was very tender.

Pictured below is the Treasure-of-the-Sea Grilled Shrimp and Seared Scallops dish that someone else ordered. It was on a bed of pasta with tomato sauce.

For dessert I had, guess what, the Sweet Temptations. It was rum soaked chocolate cake, fruit cobbler, and floating island (meringue with marinated fruit). The cake was just ok, and the floating island was actually my favorite part. This is the only menu where the Sweet Temptations did not include one of the no sugar added desserts.

Lee had the Rum Soaked Chocolate Cake, and he enjoyed it.

This is one of the no sugar added desserts - the Banana-Chocolate Crepe

Stay tuned for part 3!



April 16, 2012

Disney Fantasy Maiden Voyage - The Food, Part 1

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I know some of you have been waiting for the food blogs, so here's part 1.

Day 1

Our first meal on board the Disney Fantasy was the buffet lunch at Cabanas. Lots of tasty-looking things.

I always enjoy the shrimp, and was pleased to see that this time they had provided small paper cups for the sauce, rather than having to put it on the plate (messy).

For dessert we had something with a fancy name that was mostly chocolate pudding (but it was good), and a couple of chocolate chip cookies. They make pretty good cookies on the ship.

Our dinner on the first night was in Royal Court, the Royal Palace/Lumiere's/Triton's equivalent. It's a beautiful restaurant. Our table of nine had the circular "royal table" in the center of the restaurant. The only problem is that it was noisy, and we had to practically yell to be heard by someone who was across the table.

As far as I can tell, the menu here was identical to that served in Royal Palace on the Dream, though I think I at least ordered a different entree this time. :-) I really enjoyed the bread service - a pumpkin-shaped load served in a wire "coach". Wish they sold those in the gift shop!

As an appetizer we both had the Double Baked Spinach and Cheese Souffle. It was light and cheesy without too much spinach. (I like raw spinach, not wild about cooked.)

We also both had Belle's French Onion Soup. This has never disappointed me - it's hot and beautifully crowned with gooey cheesy goodness. I have to be a little careful because it's pretty filling.

For my entree I tried the Double Cut Rack of Lamb with a Dijon Crust - with fine green beans, gratin potatoes and rosemary jus. It was quite good, and I could taste the dijon in the lamb. It was cooked medium, but was a little more rare than I like towards the center. I thought the green beans were a bit underdone, but the potatoes were very good.

Lee ordered the Aged Angus Grilled Beef Tenderloin topped with Garlic Shrimp, served with snow peas and Marquis potatoes with a Cognac Reduction. He pretty much cleaned his plate. :-)

On this cruise I almost always had the Sweet Temptations selection for dessert. It includes three small samples of selected desserts that are on the regular dessert menu, and at least one of them is almost always one of the "No Sugar Added" (hereinafter referred to as "NSA") desserts. On this first night the three were peanut butter mousse, mango cheesecake (NSA) and Tahitian vanilla creme brulee. I also had this on the Dream. The mango cheesecake was more flavorful than the one I had on the Dream, and the creme brulee was good. I have to admit I didn't try the peanut butter mousse - I'd had enough to eat and I'm not a huge peanut butter fan.

Lee had the full serving of creme brulee, which he enjoyed. It was very nicely presented.

Day 2

On Sunday morning we went to the buffet in Enchanted Garden for breakfast.

The usual breakfast selections, though I was pleased to find a "toppings bar" - intended more for those who got yogurt, but it worked very well on my oatmeal! (Later I found that Cabanas had something similar,which actually offered more choices, though Cabanas didn't have fresh strawberries).

Lee enjoyed the roasted potatoes and the corn beef hash.

We had a very nice buffet lunch at Cabanas. I have to say I've been impressed with the food in Cabanas on the Dream and the Fantasy - it seems a cut above what I've had at Topsider/Beach Blanket on the Magic/Wonder, and I've had several things that I would have been very happy to have been served in the main dining rooms. One of my favorite appetizers all week is on the plate below (right side next to the bowl) - it was roasted zucchini topped with a tomato chutney and feta cheese. It was so good I went back for two more pieces. The margarita pizza was very good, too.

We were in Animator's Palate on the second night, but we had the "Turtle Talk with Crush" dinner instead of the new Animation Magic dinner. It was the basically the same menu they have been serving in Animator's Palate on the other ships for a while.

For a change I didn't have my beloved Sesame-flavored Rock Shrimp and Caramelized Onion Cheesecake - instead I had the Baked Potato and Cheddar Cheese Soup as my first course. It's always been good. Sometimes it's not quite as hot as it should be, and this was one of those time. It wasn't cold, just not overly warm.

Lee had the cheesecake, though. It was as good as always. (He had the Baked Potato Soup as his second course.)

Donna was sitting next to me and I have photos of her dinner, too - she had the Black Truffle Pasta Purseittes - filled with truffle scented cheese with a champagne sauce. These were a hit with several of our tablemates.

For my second course I tried the Curly Endive, Arugula and Watercress Salad, with sliced peaches, toasted almonds, and sherry vinaigrette. It was a very nice salad - the peaches added a touch of sweetness and the watercress gave it a little bit of a tang.

Lee enjoyed the Creamy Butternut Squash Soup.

Donna ordered the Vine Ripe Tomato Salad - with bell peppers and red onion brunoise topped with micro greens and herb dressing. This looked really good, but the bell peppers scared me away.

Lee and I both ordered the Grilled Pacific Black Cod with sauteed morel mushrooms on a sweet potato puree - which was what I had on the Dream last October. That one came with split pea puree instead of sweet potato, though. The fish was excellent and I enjoyed the sweet potatoes, but scraped the mushrooms off. (At least mushrooms don't lend their flavor to other foods like peppers do, so I can eat around them.)

The Sweet Temptations selections were crunchy walnut cake, pineapple financier, and lemon mousse (NSA), though I was tempted by the Dense Chocolate Cake on the NSA list. The crunchy walnut cake is more like a dense chocolate brownie, and it was a nice chocolatey bite. The financier is an almond cake with pineapple on top. It was different, but I wouldn't have wanted a full serving of it.

Lee had the Cookies and Cream Sundae - a pretty basic dessert, but tasty. One thing we appreciated about our server - anytime we had ice cream desserts he brought them first so that they could be eaten before they started to melt too much.

Something new on the Fantasy - these LED outlines in the floor that led us out of the restaurant.

Part 2 and 3 coming soon.




April 13, 2012

Disney Fantasy Maiden Voyage - Final Thoughts

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This is going to be more of a random collection of observations, what's new on the Fantasy, and other things that have occurred to me as I have been going through photos and writing some of my other blogs.

In case you couldn't tell, we thoroughly enjoyed the Maiden Voyage of the Disney Fantasy. Was it perfect? No, but the annoyances were minor, and for the most part I thought things were organized and went very smoothly. As I said before, from what our tablemates who were on the Dream's Maiden Voyage told us, they learned a lot from that and corrected a lot of the issues.

The crew is obviously still new and learning a lot - we were told that about 2/3 of the crew is new to Disney, and a fair number of them are also first-time cruise ship crew members. And that showed in some places more than others. While everyone we encountered was pleasant and friendly and obviously trying to do a good job the service was a little uneven. Our stateroom hostess could not seem to get our room made up before noon, even when we'd see her in the hallway at 8:00 or 9:00 and tell her that we'd be gone for a couple of hours. And twice we didn't get our Daily Navigator at night and I had to pick one up at Guest Services the next morning. But our room was sparkling clean - and it had that "new stateroom" smell. ;-)

I felt badly for our dining room team - they were nice people and it seemed like they were trying, but they didn't work well together, and were rather inefficient - particularly our assistant server. Our server was doing some of her job more often than he should have been. They seemed overwhelmed, since on the two nights that there were just two or three of us at the table they did better. But I can understand that - the night that Lee and I were in Enchanted Garden by ourselves we had the opportunity to observe the "dance of the servers" more closely. It's quite intricate and it's actually amazing to watch them carry those heavy trays loaded with plates as they weave around tables and dodge each other. I don't know how they do it, but like most things I assume they get better with practice.

Random Observations

  • The Itinerary - Since several people have asked about that, here's the itinerary and menu for the Western Caribbean cruise. I'm not listing the shows, since we had a different schedule for those on the Maiden Voyage.
    • Day 1: Embarkation, Dinner: Restaurant Menu, Attire: Cruise Casual
    • Day 2: At Sea, Dinner: Restaurant Menu, Attire: Formal
    • Day 3: Grand Cayman, Dinner: Restaurant Menu, Attire: Cruise Casual
    • Day 4: Cozumel, Dinner: Pirate, Attire: Pirate
    • Day 5: Costa Maya, Dinner: Prince and Princess, Attire: Cruise Casual
    • Day 6: At Sea, Dinner: Captain's Gala, Attire: Semi-Formal
    • Day 7: Castaway Cay, Dinner: Sea Ya' Real Soon, Attire: Cruise Casual

  • The Atrium - I think this one is my least favorite of the four ships, mostly because of the chandelier. If you look at the surround above it, it's asymmetrical, and I think that makes the chandelier look lopsided. And I must be more of an art deco person (Magic and Dream) than an art nouveau person (Wonder and Fantasy).

    I love the peacock pattern on the floor, though.

  • Ship Motion - our stateroom was on the very back of the ship, and I wasn't sure what that would be like but it was pretty minimal. We were pretty much at the center line of of the ship, though, so that probably helped. And we really didn't have rough seas at all - the most I saw was maybe 5' swells one day. The most motion we felt was when we were docked at Costa Maya and it was so windy that the swells were crashing against the side of the ship. Sometimes it felt like we were running over a big log. :-)

  • Internet Access - This was better for me than usual, mostly because it seemed a lot faster. I still got disconnected any number of times for no apparent reason, though. And sometimes I couldn't tell for sure that I was really logged out.

  • Beverage Stations - There are still two beverage stations on deck 11, but they've modified the stations. They both have two sides, and one side is hot beverages and the other side is cold beverages. That seemed to work pretty well - especially since cold cups are only on the cold side and hot cups are only on the hot side. I know that in the past on the other ships I've grabbed the wrong cup by mistake.

  • Cabanas stairwell - The aft stairwell and elevator still come up in the middle of Cabanas. This was one of my pet peeves on the Dream, and unfortunately they didn't change it on the Fantasy. Since we were aft we used that staircase a LOT. During mealtimes if I was going to deck 11 but not to Cabanas I would go forward and use the midship stairs just to avoid going through the restaurant. I still think it's a poor design.

    And speaking of Cabanas...I thought the food there was a cut above that of the buffet restaurants on the Magic and the Wonder. I had a couple of things there that I would have been very happy to see on one of the regular dining room menus. I thought the breakfast buffet had more selections than the one in Enchanted Garden.

  • Dining Room shows - On the longer cruises on the Magic and the Wonder I'm used to seeing some kind of show in the dining room on several evenings - like the parade of flags and the chefs with their flaming baked Alaskas - but there wasn't anything like that on the Fantasy.

  • It was so cool to meet up with the Disney Magic in Grand Cayman and Cozumel! The Magic arrived in Grand Cayman first, then followed us to Cozumel, where the two ships were docked right next to each other. We didn't get a "battle of the horns", though...just a couple of "When You Wish Upon a Star" from them and replies from us. (I never did hear us go through the full repertoire. :-( )

What's New

  • Satellite Sun Deck - This adult-only area on deck 13 forward was one of my favorite additions to the ship. It was usually pretty quiet up there, and there were always plenty of lounge chairs. I enjoyed the Satellite Pool with the rain curtain - it was a nice place to cool off. And on some afternoons we even had entertainment up there - there was a guitar player on board who played and sang soft rock like the Eagles and Jimmy Buffett. It was very relaxing!

  • Splash Pool - There was also a new splash pool on deck 12, just above the Cove pool. It had a small fountain, and there were padded lounge chairs in that area - which is probably one reason it was more crowded, and I didn't hang out there.

  • Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique - At this time, the Fantasy is the only Disney cruise ship with a BBB on board. It's on deck 5 midship - on the Dream this area is conference rooms. It seems to be very popular - I saw lots of little girls who had been transformed into princesses or glamorous sailor girls. On the day when Pirate Night takes place, BBB itself receives a transformation and becomes The Pirates League. The salon chairs get a pirate logo cover, the princess costumes and accessories are replaced by pirate attire and swords, eye patches, etc., and the Fairy Godmothers-in-Training become members of Jack Sparrow's pirate crew.

    As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I did the Pirates League and had a wonderful time. While BBB is only for girls (ages 3-12), Pirates League is open to boys and girls, kids and adults. I had what's called The Empress, which included nail polish (choice of black or pink), eye makeup, stick-on face jewels, pirate bandana (black or pink), earring, pirate medallion necklace, eye patch, choice of sword or hook, pirate sash (brown or blue) and tattoo. Oh, and the pirate teeth, of course!

    I thought it was a pretty good value for $34.95, and I certainly had at least that much fun out of the experience. My pirate artists and I were plotting a takeover of the ship, as I tried to entice them to join my crew. I be Pirate Captain Bettie Sunbain, don't you know! Arrr....

    Deb Wills shows off the First Mate package, which is similar except that it includes scar/beard makeup instead of eye makeup and nail polish. (Also $34.95.)

    I would highly recommend making reservations in advance, or when you first board the ship. I booked about 3:00 on boarding day and the only times available were 2:00 or 8:00 p.m. Since I went at 2:00 I was in my pirate attire and makeup for a long time that day. I would also recommend bringing makeup remover - I had raccoon eyes for a couple of days.

  • Buccaneer Blast Fireworks - We were told this was a new show, though I couldn't really tell you how it was different. It looked to me like there were fireworks being shot from places other than the stern. It's always very cool to see fireworks on a cruise ship!

  • Muppet Adventure Game - Deb Wills did a wonderful writeup on this, read it HERE. I'll just say that this was great fun, and more of a challenge than the cases on the Dream (though those two are also available on the Fantasy). As Deb suggests, you definitely want to take a photo of Pepe's door and the Muppet Call Board to refer to later. Make sure you stay until the end of each Enchanted Art sequence - there seems to always be some funny little thing at the end.

  • Shutters - Shutters (the photo shop) was modernized a lot on the Dream, and even more on the Fantasy. Photos are collected in a personalized folder instead of being placed in huge displays on the walls where you have to search for them. To find your folder, put your Key to the World card against one of sensors and it will tell you the section and folder number. Or you can see all of your photos at one of the many Shutters kiosks (also activated by Key to the World card). I was very impressed by their facial recognition technology - we had some photos taken where they did not take one of our cards, yet those photos still showed up when we looked on the kiosks! Even the ones when we were in pirate attire and I thought we looked very different.

    New to us was a different option for purchasing our photos - instead of purchasing all of our photos on CD for $349, we had the option of purchasing either 10 or 20 for $149 or $249. We chose the option for 10, but the beauty of this is that we didn't have to select which 10 while on board! We received a CD with ALL of our photos, but with software that will only let us save 10 of them. The downside to this is that the photo CD had to be picked up on the morning we disembarked, and the line was pretty long - it wasn't as organized as I thought it could have been.

    There is also the new Shutters Photo Play Wall. It's a large touch screen just outside the Shutters kiosks on deck 4. Place your Key to the World card on the pad, and it brings up 2-3 games that you can play with your photos (it appeared that the third game was dependent on having enough photos in the system). No prizes for doing well, just a "rank" (Captain was higher than Admiral!), but it was fun - we tried a couple of the games. We found that you could play the game (and see our photos) even when Shutters was closed.

  • Animator's Palate - I'd heard a lot about the new show in Animator's Palate, but was very surprised when on our first trip to Animator's Palate we saw the Crush show instead of the Animation Magic show! It turns out that on the Fantasy 7-night cruises they are running BOTH shows - the Crush show on your first visit, and Animation Magic on the second. Deb Koma wrote an excellent account of Animation Magic that you can read HERE, so I'm not going to say too much more about it. Just a few additional comments:

    • You really need to be facing one of the screens at dinner - I was sitting with my back to it, and it was too close for me to be able to see the show well.
    • The name that you put on your "Magic Placemat" will be what shows up in the "Guest Animators" credit, so I would suggest making it a little more artistic and distinct than you usually would - dot your i's with Mickey ears, use block letters, or something like that.
    • I felt rushed to get my drawing done - I know they had to keep the process moving, though.
    • Because of the show, the dining process is a little bit different. Instead of choice of appetizer and soup/salad, everyone is served the same thing (though you can choose to have only one or neither one). The appetizer plate is a sampler: prosciutto with melon, garlic and herb shrimp, and tuna sashimi. The soup is Buttered Popcorn soup. I thought this was interesting - it's corn chowder with a side of caramel corn to put into the soup. I enjoyed it, others...not so much. Anyway...you still have your choice of entree and dessert. While this worked ok for me, it can be an issue for those with food allergies - we had people with shellfish allergies and lactose intolerance at our table. They were not offered an alternate choice of appetizers/soup - instead they received plates without the shellfish (with an extra portion of one of the others), and instead of the chowder, our other diner received an extra plate of appetizers.

    At the end of the Crush dinner they had these LED puppies in the floor to lead us out of the restaurant (I did not see them after the Animation Magic dinner).

    I really enjoyed the Animation Magic show - both the series of clips that were shown during dinner and the guest animation sequence at the end. That was a lot of fun and I think everyone was smiling!


  • Castaway Club stateroom gifts - This is another thing that might not be new, but was new to us. Instead of the red and black bag that we've been getting, we got a new blue Castaway Club backpack. Which we both wanted. (I won. :-) ). Instead of those yucky who-knows-how-old sandal-shaped krispie treats, there were a small bag of Chip & Dale pretzels and a small container of Mickey cheddar cheese crackers. And we ate those. We also received the usual keychain, but no water bottles. This was our first time cruising as Gold members, and we also had a stationary set. On this cruise Gold and Platinum members were invited to a special reception, and we also received a 10% discount on merchandise at some of the stores on-board (not at Shutters, and not on Castaway Cay).

  • Aquaduck camera - The Fantasy has been set up with a camera on the AquaDuck to take pictures, but unfortunately it wasn't working when we rode. As far as I could tell it didn't work all week. When it IS working, you place your Key to the World card against the sensor just before getting into the raft so they can identify the photo. We saw the flashes from the camera anyway - it's located at the end of the first straightaway just before entering the enclosed tube. Seems like a great idea - I would've liked to have a photo of us on the AquaDuck. So I hope they get the bugs worked out.

  • AquaLab - This is a great new water play and splash area on deck 12 just behind the AquaDuck. Though its target audience is kids it's not exclusively for small kids like Nemo's Reef, and we saw a few adults like us enjoying it, too. There's water fountains that come out of the floor, leaky pipes that spray from the sides, and water buckets (in "Duck Boy" paint cans) that dump from overhead. It looks like there are a couple of games, but they did not seem to be working.

  • Europa - the new adult nightclub district on the Fantasy. I'm going to talk a bit more about this in an upcoming blog, and Deb Koma has already written about it HERE, so I hope you won't be tired of reading about it. I am not a nightclub/bar person, and I had way more fun here than I ever expected to.

  • New shows - The Fantasy has two new stage shows that are exclusive to the ship. Aladdin - A Musical Spectacular is almost identical to the show we've been seeing at Disney California Adventure for the last nine years. Which isn't a bad thing at all - it's a terrific show. I thought they really did a good job adapting it to the ship - it doesn't feel like the staging was scaled back much at all. The biggest difference I noticed is that Prince Ali came in on a horse instead of an elephant - that would have been a little too big. :-) I especially enjoyed the flying carpet scene - it looked really good. The Genie still gets to do a bit of ad-libbing, which makes the show different every time you see it.

    Wishes is the other new show, which follows three high school seniors during Grad Night at Disneyland, as they consider how their lives will change after they leave high school. After making a wish at Snow White's Wishing Well they take the "ride of their lives" and of course meet some Disney characters along the way! I thought it had a little bit of "High School Musical" feel to it, and the original songs didn't do much for me. I enjoyed the Disney numbers, though - especially the "Reflections" duet between Mulan and Kayla. The plot of this one actually worked for me, and I didn't find it contrived and annoying like Believe, Disney Dreams, and Golden Mickeys, where I think the "plot" detracts from the overall experience.

    There are two other shows which we didn't see because of some special presentations on the Maiden Voyage. “A Fantasy Come True” is the welcome aboard show on the first night, and “An Unforgettable Journey” is the farewell show on the final night. Believe is the other show, but it's not new, since it premiered on the Dream last year. Supposedly there were a few tweaks to it, but I haven't talked to anyone who was able to identify them.

    One thing I should mention here - Disney Cruise Line has established a "no photography" policy for ALL of the shows on all of the ships. No video or photography of any kind, flash or no flash, is permitted. That was disappointing, since that's how I refresh my memory on what I saw and heard!

It was a wonderful week on the Disney Fantasy...I was so sorry to see it come to an end - I really didn't want to get off the ship! Now I just need to figure out when we can get back again...I'd like to try the Eastern Caribbean route one of these days.

If you have any questions please use the links below to send me an email (Feedback Form) or submit a comment. Food blogs still to come!



April 8, 2012

Disney Fantasy Maiden Voyage - Day 8 - Disembarkation

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As I write this I am sitting in the Orlando airport, waiting for our flight home, which isn't for another 2 hours. The Maiden Voyage of the Disney Fantasy is over - it went so fast! But it was just wonderful - truly a once in a lifetime experience, made even more special because we were able to share it with friends. And everything went so well. Everyone else at our table was on the Dream's Maiden Voyage, and they all said how much better this one was. Disney obviously learned a few things!

Our final night dinner was nice - I think it's a new menu, and it had lots of really appealing menu items - more than I was able to try. Some menus I look at and say: "Well, I guess this would be ok...", but on this menu there were a lot of great choices! The final night is always bittersweet, though.

Like on the other ships, this menu featured the Baked Alaska for dessert, but we didn't get the parade of the flaming baked Alaska and the servers and flags through the dining room like they do on the Magic and the Wonder - we all missed that.

We went back to our stateroom to pack after dinner. And had yet another gift on our bed - a collection of all of the dinner menus with the "Maiden Voyage" notation on them.

With all of these wonderful gifts my suitcase is a lot heavier than when I boarded! We wanted to make sure we could get off the ship early since we had an 11:30 flight, so we were planning to carry our own bags off. That meant we didn't have to do ALL of our packing last night, but we did most of it.

Lee went to see the Believe show, which we were told had been tweaked slightly. But when they compared notes later, no one who saw it seemed to be able to tell what was different.

And we finished our evening off, in, guess where, Ooh La La! As I think you can tell we had a great time there. The three Ooh La La ladies, Adriana, Kristina, and Lindsay, were just wonderful, and they made us feel very welcome. It wouldn't have been the same without them, and I'm really going to miss them!

It was not too busy when we arrived but the crowds picked up later - I guess after everyone had finished their packing. it was the place to be - we saw John and Nancy Lasseter and Joe Lanzisero in a group there. Someone came in with this towel creation and showed it to John - and John took a photo of it himself! Very clever.

All too soon it was time to say goodbye. Kristina told us that they rotate around the various bars and only stay about two weeks at any particular one, so who knows if/when those three will be together in Ooh La La again. But I hope so.

We knew when we arrived in Port Canaveral this morning - the stern thrusters started about 5:00. We did manage to go back to sleep, but the alarm went off at 6:00. Way too early. We finished getting everything in our suitcases and went down to breakfast at 6:45. We were the only ones there for a while, but eventually everyone except Beci arrived (and she'd told us she wouldn't be there - much too early for her! :-) ). Breakfast was pretty quick, and we said our goodbyes to everyone. :-( That's always the bad part of every cruise. I miss them already!

We had ordered a photo CD from Shutters, and we needed to pick that up. Quite a few other people were doing the same thing, and the line was pretty long. I thought the process was rather disorganized - we were picking up pre-paid CDs, so all they needed was our stateroom number, but it took a lot longer than it should have - we were probably in line for 20 minutes. The CDs did not seem to be very well organized so that they could find them quickly.

The photo CD contains all the photos from our ruise, but we will only be able to save 10 of them. We'll see how that works.

Getting off the ship and though Customs was very quick - we left a little before 8:00. We didn't have to wait in line at all to get off the ship, and the Customs line was pretty short so it didn't take long at all. We called our Happy Limo driver when we exited the terminal, and didn't have to wait too long for him to arrive. We got some final looks at the Fantasy from the car...sigh. We were at the airport by 9:00 - in plenty of time for our 11:30 flight.

And so we come to the end of another cruise. I'll still have a few more blogs, though - the food blogs, some final thoughts, the new Animator's Palate show, and a little more about Europa and Ooh La La. Thanks for reading!




April 7, 2012

Disney Fantasy Maiden Voyage - Day 6 and 7, At Sea and Castaway Cay

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We'll see how far I get with this blog entry - I missed yesterday's entry, because for a day at sea it was pretty busy, and all the short nights caught up with me so I took a long nap in the afternoon.

We had a big night Wednesday night - new show in the Animator's Palate restaurant, and new show, Wishes, in the Walt Disney Theater!

The Animation Magic show in Animator's Palate was excellent, and a whole lot of fun. I'll write about it in more detail later, but for those who haven't read about it elsewhere: all of the guests get to draw their own character on the "Magical Placemats" provided, and then, with a little Disney magic, these characters are animated and inserted into animated scenes that are projected on the screens in your section of the restaurant. The drawings are returned at the end of the evening.

I was so impressed by this - it was amazing what they could do with our little one-dimensional drawings, and so much fun to watch them move and dance across the screen.

We even got credit at the end of the show for being Guest Animators! They use the name you put on your placemat, so you might want to make it look a little more special. (Read more about Animation Magic in Deb Koma's blog, which includes a video interview with Imagineer Bob Zalk, HERE.)

After dinner we saw the new show, Wishes, in the Walt Disney Theater. Apparently as of a few months ago, Disney Cruise Line has imposed a "no photography" rule on all the ships. :-( So, no photos. I enjoyed the show - it's about three high school seniors who go for the "ride of their lives" at Grad Night at Disneyland. One tip for this show: I think you really need to sit in the middle section of the theater. We were off to the side so we couldn't see some of the video effects they used in the staging.

I found the plot much less contrived and forced than Believe or Disney Dreams, though I don't think that overall the production numbers were quite as good as those in Believe.

After the show we actually started off in O'Gills instead of Ooh La La - but we ended up in Ooh La La and had a lot of fun. But it was a pretty late night.

When we returned to our room we had another gift - a keel coin for the Disney Fantasy. Very cool.

We changed timezones that night, which made for an even shorter night. All of the gold and platinum Castaway Cay members on board had been invited to a special reception at 9:30 the next morning in the Walt Disney Theater, featuring a presentation by John Lasseter. Which meant we had to get up a lot earlier than we wanted to. But it was worth it!

He showed us lots of interesting photos and video clips - like of his senior project at the California School of the Arts, a couple of the shorts he made at Pixar for the SIGGRAPH conference, a video of the people at Pixar hearing that they had a green light to make Toy Story, scenes from Toy Story, The Incredibles and other movies, and previews of Wreck It Ralph and Brave. It was a fascinating couple of hours!

It sounds like they might be doing this kind of thing periodically for Castaway Club members. We certainly felt very privileged to be there!

Yesterday afternoon I went to a Champagne Tasting in Ooh La La with Lori (her husband didn't want to go and she offered his ticket to me. Thank you, Mike!). We tasted 4 champagnes and a champagne cocktail - the Elderbubble, which is one of my favorites.

Adriana, one of the bartenders in Ooh La La, was there, and did the presentation on the Elderbubble cocktail. George, one of the sommeliers, did the rest, and I learned a lot about champagne and the difference between cuvee and blanc du blanc and the difference between champagne and sparkling wine.

We had a very special show in the Walt Disney Theater last night - a concert feturing Stephen Schwartz and Lea Salonga. It was just wonderful! Stephen Schwartz wrote lyrics/music for Hunchback of Notre Dame, Pocahontas, and Enchanted, as well as Broadway shows like Pippin, Godspell, and, probably his most famous, Wicked. He started out by playing piano and singing some of his Disney and Broadway songs, like Out There from Hunchback, Just Around the Riverbend from Pocahontas, a couple of songs from Pippin, Popular from Wicked, and Day by Day from Godspell. His wife came out and sang Now is the Time from Pippin.

Then Lea Salonga came onstage and they sang Whole New World (which he did not compose). Then she sang Colors of the Wind. One thing we didn't know - he was the original choice to compose the music for Mulan, but had another commitment. He still wrote some songs for it, though, and Lea sang his version of the "Reflection" song, which was called Written in Stone, and we thought it was quite good. Then she sang Reflection. It was really interesting how both songs conveyed the same idea, but in very different ways.

They performed a few others, but they really brought the house done with their encore, "Unlimited" from Wicked. Wow. It was Amazing.

We of course finished the evening in Ooh La La. It's gotten busier every night which is very nice for them, but it's not as quiet and intimate as it was the first few nights.

No sleeping in for us this morning because we started the docking process at Castaway Cay at about 7:30, and those stern thrusters provide quite a wakeup call for us.

We were doing the Castaway Cay 5K. No charge for this one, but we were supposed to meet in O'Gills at 9:15. We got there a little early but there were already quite a few people there - Lee found out later that 98 people signed up and this was the biggest turnout they have ever had. Lots of Disney race t-shirts in evidence! They looked at our Key to the World cards and assigned us a numbered bib. No charge, though, which was nice!

At about 9:30 they walked us off the ship and over to the start of the 5K, which is next to the bike rental place. We took some group photos with Donald Duck, and then they started the run. There was a race clock this time, which Lee said he did not remember being there when he did it in October. We ran along the bike path loop, then along the tram route to Serenity Bay, turned around at the end and did the same thing in reverse (another loop around the bike path). It was a warm and humid morning, but a little cooler than normal, for which I was very grateful. There was a pretty strong breeze, too. We both had good times, espespecially considering the heat - 27:50 for Lee and 29:35 for me.

At the end they had medals for us! That was a nice surprise. And at the shop right next to the finish line they had Castaway Cay 5K shirts for sale. The shirts were $21.95, and we bought them. $21.95 for a Disney race and t-shirt - that's actually a very good deal!

We walked back to the ship and met Deb Wills, and she took this photo of us.

After we'd showered we headed back out to the island. Our travel agent, Beci, of Mousefan Travel, had been able to book a cabana on the island and had invited all of us to join her. It was really wonderful! The cabana had a cooler inside stocked with fruit and drinks, and there were some snacks as well. There were tables and cushioned chairs inside, plus some lounges and a hammock outside. We had a call button to use when we wanted service. It was really great. Definitely the nicest day I've had on Castaway Cay!

The day started out warm and sunny, but quite windy - all of the excursions had to be canceled. After noon the clouds moved in and the wind really kicked up even a little more. We left the cabana about 3:30 (all aboard was 4:00), and by the time we arrive back at the ship it was looking very threatening - and within 10 minutes we had quite a squall, with rain, wind, and thunder and lightning. They even closed all the outside decks for a while.

(Lilo and Stitch were greeting guests on the dock and we got a photo with them before we boarded.)

Tonight we have to pack. :-( I really wish we had one more day!!!




April 5, 2012

Disney Fantasy Maiden Voyage - Day 5, Costa Maya

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I usually post photos of our towel animals, and it occurs to me I haven't done that yet. Here is the towel animal that was waiting for us when we returned to our cabin last night - it's always one of my favorites:

This morning we docked in Costa Maya quite early - about 6:30 - and it was quite noisy. I haven't written much about our stateroom. First, let me say that we HAVE a stateroom on the Disney Fantasy's Maiden Voyage, and I'm very happy about that! But that said, it's not what I would have chosen. We are on the stern of the ship, so we are looking behind us instead of on the side where we can see more of where we are going. There's a nice large verandah, but maybe because it's on the back of the ship it's doesn't seem to get much of a breeze most of the time. (Lee has a much more favorable opinion of the stateroom than I do.)

We seem to experience quite a bit of noise and vibration where we are. Not just us, but others who are also in this section. The vibration hasn't really bothered us, but we've heard some people compare it to the sensation of having that oin-operated "Magic Fingers" massager going on all of the time. :-)

This morning when we docked in Costa Maya it seemed to take quite a while, and there was a lot of noise from the stern thrusters. The sea was very choppy and even after we docked we still seemed to be moving around a lot, and sometimes it felt like we were going over a big log or something like that. We were joking that we were actually experiencing more motion while we were docked than we had in the three days we'd been at sea! :-)

The water here is an absolutely beautiful blue, as you can see below, and the port area is very colorful. Unfortunately what you see in this photo is just about all there is in the port area. If you don't do an excursion there's not very much to do.

It was quite windy today, and as I mentioned the sea was choppy, so a fair number of the excursions were canceled. The Bahamian flag flies just below our room, and you can see what kind of breeze there was!

We really didn't have any plans to go ashore today, though. We tried to sleep in a bit, but, as I mentioned, it was noisy. Lee went running and I went walking on deck 4. I like the jogging track on the new ships - they have enclosed the bow and stern areas so they don't usually have to close them during the docking process like they do on the Magic and Wonder. It's a really nice surface, too. 2.5 laps is supposed to be 1 mile, but I think that's a bit optimistic. I haven't been able to measure it with my GPS (being in motion and also going inside the bow nad stern confuses it), but I know how fast I walk, and 2.5 laps just isn't quite a mile. (I ran with my GPS the first day, and had to laugh - because we were underway, it thinks I traveled 15.84 miles in my 40 minutes of jogging! Don't I wish! :-) )

While we were out this morning we saw the maintenance staff already hard at work. Here we are, a brand new ship on its Maiden Voyage, and already they are repainting the railing and re-finishing the deck chairs. But I'm sure they have a schedule, and to make sure all the railings get repainted on time they have to start now! The ocean is a harsh environment, and we've always noticed how good the Disney cruise ships look.

We had a chance to try out the new "photo" game on the Fantasy. Outside Shutters there is a large touch screen monitor. If you activate it with your room key it accesses your photos and brings up a few games that you can play with them. We tried the "Snapshot Smackdown" - it displays your photos and some stock photos, and you have to touch only the photos that are yours. I thought it was a nice addition.

Although we didn't have any interest in going into Costa Maya, we still got off the ship so that we could walk along the pier and take some photos. There was some nice wave action on the rocks along the shore.

The light wasn't great for photos of the Fantasy, but we took some anyway (the breeze was also blowing the smoke from the stack towards us, making it a little hazy).

We got back on board at just about lunchtime, and happened to meet up with our tablemates Mike, Lori, and Aaron, at Royal Court, so we all had lunch together. It was really good - I've been disappointed with some of the lunch menus in the past, but this had interesting selections, and everything I had, and that my tablemates had, we enjoyed. There will be more in the food blog, but I have to say that the Double Chocolate Cake is the best chocolate dessert that I have had on this cruise - it was a very rich chocolatey flourless chocolate cake with ganache and chocolate mousse on top. Yum.

It was a short port day - everyone was due back on board by 2:30. We left port about 3:00. We were up in the Satellite Pool area enjoying the sun and waiting for our departure, and the lovely Miss Minnie Mouse joined us! It was very nice to see her hanging out in the Adult area for a change, and a lot of people took photos of her - but of course I didn't have my camera. Lee was able to get a shot with his iPad, though.

Lee went to the "Conversation with Joe Lanzisero" presentation. Joe is the Senior Vice President of Walt Disney Imagineering Creative, and has been very involved in the design of the Dream and Fantasy. He'll share some details of that in a future blog.

Tonight we're dining in Animator's Palate, and it's supposed to be the new animation show, which we have been looking forward to experiencing. And we'll see the new Wishes show, also.

Day at sea tomorrow!



April 4, 2012

Disney Fantasy Maiden Voyage - Day 4, Cozumel and Pirate Night

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The rest of our table was dining in Palo last night, so it was just Lee and me in Enchanted Garden for dinner. We had more of an opportunity to talk to our servers since they weren't quite so busy, so that was nice. We also had more of an opportunity to watch what was going on as the food came out of the kitchen...it's pretty amazing watching them carry those heavy trays on one hand as they try to maneuver around the dining room. That seems like even more of a feat in Enchanted Garden where the tables seem a lot closer together than any of the other restaurants.

When our server, Ned, came to offer us fresh ground pepper we noticed that the pepper mill looks like a wine bottle! I don't remember that from our dinner at Enchanted Garden on the Dream last year.

Last night's show was Larry the Cable Guy, which didn't really appeal to us (though several of our tablemates went and said it was hilarious), so we went to see the Muppet Movie instead. It was really cute, though I thought it started out a little slowly. But I loved the Rainbow Connection number.

The ladies in Ooh La La had told us that one evening on each cruise they had dancers visit Europa and go place to place. It's called Viva Europa, and it was last night. There were different performers - we saw a singer and dancers in La Piazza.

And there were two can-can dancers in Ooh La La.

We didn't see any of the others - we stayed in Ooh La La. We are really enjoying it there, though we should try some of the others! Lee had another glass of the Ooh La La champagne. I don't remember if I mentioned it, but it has a picture of Jessica Rabbit on the label.

When we returned to the cabin we had another gift waiting for us - special luggage tags.

We've come further south and it was a little warm this morning but I still got my run in. We've had more overcast today, but it's still been quite warm - 86.

We pulled into Cozumel about 9:00 - and not far behind us was the Disney Magic! She docked next to us.

Neither of us was interested in going into Cozumel, so we've spent the day aboard ship. It's been quite pleasant on board, though there are a fair number of passengers who had the same idea. Still, there weren't nearly as many people up at the Satellite pool when I went up there. I really enjoy that area - it has been a wonderful addition to the Fantasy.

Tonight is Pirate Night, and the Pirate League has taken over Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique! I made a visit there and they transformed me in pirate Bettie Sunbain...Arrrr.

The process was fun. After I checked in I rolled a couple of dice, and that determined my pirate name - after that I was only called Bettie Sunbain. They took me back to one of chairs and one of the "wenches" did my nails (I had a choice of black or pink nail polish - I chose black - no pink for this pirate!), and the other did my eyes and face (lots of black eye makeup, and "mermaid snot" glitter - hey, that's what THEY called it!). Throughout we had kind of running piratical conversation - I advised them not to even think about stealing the rings off my fingers. And I tried to recuit them as crew of my own ship - the Blue Tiger. We're going to take over the Fantasy tonight when everyone is distracted during the pirate party!

I took the Pirate Oath, though I changed the words a bit - how can a pirate pledge to be "a true and honest pirate"? Hello, PIRATE here. :-) I pledged to false and dishonest.

I also got to pick out a pirate accessory - I had my choice of a hook or a sword (I chose a sword), and I also received a pirate sash (blue or brown), face jewels, a pirate earring, head scarf, pirate medallion, and eye patch. It was $34.95, which I thought was actually a very good deal! The process took about 30 minutes, and the whole experience was a lot of fun. Deb Wills and several other people from our table also did it - you may have seen Deb's tweets. She was rather scary-looking! :-) We all got lots of comments from people on how great we looked.

If you're interested in doing the Pirate League I recommend booking it in advance. I booked the day we boarded, and by the time I called the only times available were 2:00 or 8:00 p.m. It was a little difficult trying to keep from messing up the makeup for all of those hours, so I would have preferred something later.

Dinner was fun - there were lots of people in costume - including our servers, of course. The "show" tonight in the Walt Disney Theater was the movie John Carter, in 3D. It was interesting...but the story was not much like what I remember from the books. And it was a lot longer than one of the usual shows (over 2 hours!), so we didn't have a chance to get up on deck to get a spot where we could see the Buccaneers Blast stage show. But we stll had a good view for the fireworks from Deck 12, starboard side.

So it's been another great day on the Disney Fantasy. We'll be in Costa Maya tomorrow. It's a short port day - we arrive early and will probably be docked by 7:30, but all aboard is at 2:30!



April 3, 2012

Disney Fantasy Maiden Voyage - Day 3, Grand Cayman

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Last night after dinner several of us met in Ooh La La and enjoyed the champagne and the company there. It was the place to be - John Lasseter came in, too. (And in recognition of Formal Night he was wearing a sportcoat over his Hawaiian shirt...)

In the Piazza area of Europa there is a motorscooter and sidecar - it was a fun photo op. :-)

When we returned to our stateroom there was a lovely gift awaiting us - a commemorative lithograph, signed by the artist, Ducky Williams. Thank you, Disney Cruise Line!


We were still at sea when I woke up this morning - earlier than I wanted to (6:15). I went up to Deck 11 and 12 to take some photos.

Here's the Quiet Cove pool with no one in it.

I went for a 3+ mile walk on deck 4 - like yesterday, there were a fair number of people who were also out walking and running, even though it was only 7:00. After I finished I took advantage of the fact that most people were still sleeping to take some photos of the atrium lobby. I really like this "peacock" design on the floor.


We reached the port of Grand Cayman about 10:00. This is a tendering port - a coral reef surrounds the island and the water is too shallow for a dock.

The Disney Magic was also here in port with us! It was rather odd to be on a Disney ship looking at another Disney ship... but lovely to see the Magic again - we'll be cruising on the Magic again in September.

We had brunch at Palo with some of our tablemates and other friends - that's always such a treat, and we both really enjoy it. I have to say that I really prefer brunch over dinner, if I had to choose. As usual, there was a wonderful selection of pastries, fruits, cheeses, seafood, hors d'oeuvres, pizza, breakfast dishes, and of course dessert. The sticky buns remain one of my favorites. I had the seared tilapia with asparagus risotto as my breakfast dish - oh wow. The risotto was SO good!

After brunch Donna (one of our tablemates) and I went to the port. The tender process was very efficient - we walked right onto one, and it left not too long after we boarded. Neither of us had a definite objective in mind, but we wanted to wander around a little bit. To be honest there's not very much to do if you're not into shopping - especially jewelry shopping.

But the best part about going ashore was that we could see both the Fantasy AND the Magic at the same time. A couple of pretty classy ladies, don't you think?

We had a pretty early departure from the port - about 5:00. The Magic and the Fantasy both sounded their horns, but we didn't get the "battle" we had hoped for. As I type this we can still see the Magic cruIsing behind us - we think that it will also be in Cozumel tomorrow.

Lee was up on deck watching our sailaway - along with Bob Iger. They had a chat about how classy the Disney ships look compared to other cruise ships. Lee mentioned that the Magic and the Wonder need a horn upgrade so they can compete with the newer ships, and Bob Iger said that the Magic will be going into the shipyard for an extended period fairly soon. He told those around him that if we have any other good ideas about upgrades that we should send them in. (Donna suggested Adult nights in the Kid's clubs - I think we need a magic play floor in one of the adult clubs.)

Cozumel tomorrow!





April 2, 2012

Disney Fantasy Maiden Voyage - Day 2, At Sea

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It's a beautiful At Sea day on the Disney Fantasy! Generally sunny, and in the 80s.

Since I didn't get a chance to post them yesterday, here's some photos and information on the Sailaway Party and other things that happened yesterday evening.

I tweeted some photos of the Sailaway Party, including the champagne toast by Bob Iger, Tom Staggs, and Karl Holz.

Once we pulled away, the Port Staff gathered outside to wave goodbye, wearing their Mickey hands.

We were escorted out the channel by a couple of tug boats spraying water - that always looks so cool! And thank you to all of the people who came out to the parks and restaurants along the channel to cheer and wave and send us on our way. The captain sounded the horn a number of times as we went out.

We have early dinner seating this cruise (5:45), so we didn't have time to linger on deck. I'm happy to say that our luggage was delivered to our stateroom very early (it was there when we returned from lunch), so we were able to change quickly.

We were in Royal Court for dinner. As Deb Wills tweeted, we were at the Royal Table in the center of the restaurant (there are nine in our dining party).

The restaurant is quite beautiful, but the menu is pretty much the same as Royal Palace on the Dream, Lumiere's on the Magic, and Triton's on the Wonder. We also noticed that it seemed very loud - we had to yell across the table to hear each other.

We're used to lingering a bit after dinner, but since we were the first seating we had to get out of there so they could prepare for the next set of diners, and eventually they turned the lights way up - the classic "Get Out of Here!" signal. :-) It was strange to be done with dinner by 7:45! But nice to have some extra time.

The opening night show in the Walt Disney Theater was a comedian, and we weren't very interested in that, so we decided to go into Europa, the Adult District. We wanted to try Ooh La La, the champagne bar on the Fantasy, since we'd enjoyed Pink so much on the Dream.

Ooh La La seems bigger, and the decor is much different - Pink was sort of a funky 1960s look, and Ooh La La is more of an opulent French look - one of the bartenders said Louis XIV. It wasn't very busy, and we had a nice chat with the bartenders working there. We of course tried the exclusive Ooh La La champagne (made by Tattingers), which was very nice.

Ooh La La has a guest book which you can sign with a feather pen, so we did that. It was nice and quiet while we were there and we enjoyed our time there...so we never made it to any of the other bars.

So far we like Europa more than The District on the Dream - Europa has that whole "Europe" themed tying everything together, whereas The District is more of a hodgepodge. And the various clubs just seem more interesting.

Last night we moved into the central time zone so we gained an hour, so we slept in a bit this morning. After we got up we went out and ran on deck 4. I was impressed by how many other people were out walking and running this morning - I've never seen that many out there. The seas are very calm so the running was easy, though it's a lot warmer and more humid than I'm used to.

For breakfast we went to Enchanted Garden, where they offered a breakfast buffet. I have my new favorite breakfast now - oatmeal with toppings from the yogurt bar!


After breakfast we visited the Midship Detective Agency on Deck 2 (just outside Enchanted Garden) and went out to solve the Muppet Adventure: The Case of the Stolen Show. The two cases from the Dream, stolen art and stolen puppies, are also available on the Fantasy, but use a separate clue brochure. Both brochures are offered at the kiosk, and you have your choice of cases when you activate your Detective Badge.

This is a hoot - we were laughing just at the intro with Kermit and Pepe the Prawn. I found the Muppet Adventure more challenging than the other two cases - for the Muppets we really had to write the clues down and keep track of things, and I didn't have to do that with the others. Some of the tasks we had to do were a little different, also.

I know I've said this before, but I think the Adventure game is a great way to learn your way around the ship. It takes you to most of inteior decks, so you pass by most of the public areas.

One of the areas we went by on our search were the shops, so we went in to see what they had. The shops were pretty crowded and the lines were very long last night, but today they were not busy at all. We were pleased to see that they still have lots of the non-limited Maiden Voyage attire and merchandise available, as well as a good selection of Inaugural Voyage items, which will be on sale all year.

This afternoon we enjoyed some of the many things you can do on a day at sea...we had lunch at Cabanas, and then went and played mini golf on Goofy's Sports Dec on Deck 12. We changed into swimsuits and went to check out the new Satellite Sun Deck, an adult-only area on Deck 12 forward. It was very nice up there - not too many people. We sat in the Satellite "pool" for a while and then found a couple of lounge chairs. Ahhh.

(I'm demonstrating Goofy's recommended stance in this photo - each foot pointing a different direction.)

After a while we moved over to the AquaLab - that's really clever, and a lot of fun. It was a little chilly because most of it was in the shade and the wind was blowing, but it's a fun way to cool off. We noticed a few effects that weren't working, though. :-(

The line for the AquaDuck wasn't too long, so we tried that. This was the first time we'd actually done it together. Something new on the Fantasy: there's a camera on the AquaDuck, and if you put your room key against the sensor just before you get on the raft, it will be able to track your photo. We had intended to see how it worked, but unfortunately the AquaDuck camera system wasn't working today, although the flash was still going off and it looked like photos were being taken.

We watched about the last 30 minutes of Bolt on FunnelVision. It's really a cute movie - we were both laughing at the part where Mittens teaches Bolt about being a dog.

Tonight was Formal Night, so we got all dressed up for that. We were in Animator's Palate, and it was the Crush show, like they have on the Dream, and not the new show, so we were a bit disappointed. But we are supposed to get the new show on our next visit there, on Wednesday.

We saw the Aladdin show - which is very much like the show we've been seeing at Disney California Adventure for the last 6 years or so. No photos allowed, unfortunately. The flying carpet sequence was well-done, I thought, and some of the newer special effects looked very good. I thought it was just as good as the one in the larger theater in California.

It's been a great day! Grand Cayman tomorrow.



April 1, 2012

Disney Fantasy Maiden Voyage - Embarkation Day!

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It's finally here! The Maiden Voyage of the Disney Fantasy!

Here's a look at some pictures that I took today after we boarded - not sure I'll have time to caption them before sailaway, but we'll see how far I get.

First look at the Fantasy as we approached the port;

Banner in the Terminal

Mickey and Minnie greeting guests!

Getting ready to board.

Banners just for this voyage!

Crystal chandeliers in the atrium.


Art nouveau central chandelier.

A looooong hallway.

Our stateroom - we are in the stern of the ship on deck 7.

Our stateroom.

The champagne glasses are already here - no need to scrounge them. :-)

We have a large veranda!

And the flag is just below and to the right.

Stateroom from the other direction.

Tigger is ready to cruise.

Clocks in Cabanas

Royal Court restaurant.

The chandelier again.

The stairway in the atrium.

Mademoiselle Minnie.


Floor inlay in the lobby area.

Shutters is quite different and very modern and futuristic-looking!

I loved this detail above the entrance to Shutters.

D Lounge - this is a really terrific looking space.

One of the entrances to Europa, the Adult district.

Piazza

O'Gill's Pub

The entrance to Ooh La La, the champagne bar - it seems much larger than Pink.

Inside Ooh La La


The restrooms are really interesting!



The Tube

But first we went into Skyline.


Now the Tube

Outside the Walt Disney Theater

Really cool elevator dials.

Maiden Voyage logo on the Funnelvision screen.

The Quiet Pool Bar in the Cove Cafe adult area.

Outdoor shower up on deck 13 forward - the Satellite Sun Deck.

Satellite Falls - this is a really nice new area for adults.

A new splash pool area above the Quiet Cove pool.

The new AquaLab waterplay area - this looks like a lot of fun.

Seating area inside Remy.

Meridian bar between Palo and Remy.

I don't have any photos ready yet, but the Sailaway party was fun - we had a few showers and it was quite windy at the start, though. I posted a few pictures to Twitter: @AllEarsLaura. The Fantasy was escorted out to sea by two fireboats spraying water, and there were lots of people waving Mickey hands at us from the parks and restaurants along the shore as we went out the channel..

We have early dining this time, which I think I'm going to like - it was nice to get done with dinner and then have time to go have a drink in Ooh La La (the champagne bar) rather than it being time to go to bed!

At Sea day tomorrow!



March 30, 2012

Disney Fantasy Maiden Voyage - Preview

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Lee and I will be on board the new Disney Fantasy cruise ship on her Maiden Voyage March 31 - April 7! We're very excited. The Fantasy will be traveling to the Western Caribbean, and our scheduled ports are Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Costa Maya, and Castaway Cay. We'll have two days at sea.

I hope you've all seen some of Deb Wills' and Deb Koma's reports from the Fantasy Preview cruise (thanks to that four-letter word that starts with "w" and ends with "k", I was not able to go this time). Here's links to a few of them:

Photos from Day 1
Preview Cruise Day1
Preview Cruise Day 2
Preview Cruise Day 3

The ship looks just beautiful and I'm looking forward to having a whole week to get to know her!

Just in case you haven't heard, here are some things that are new on the Fantasy:


  • The Case of the Stolen Show is the new "Enchanted Art" interactive whodunnit game - starring...The Muppets!!!. I love the Muppets and I can't wait to try this.
  • Animator's Palate offers a totally new dining show experience, where guests get to be the animators. I'm really interested in seeing how this works.
  • New shows! There are two new Broadway-style shows on the Fantasy: Disney's Aladdin - A Musical Spectacular, and Disney Wishes. Aladdin is largely based on the long-running show at Disney California Adventure, and it will be interesting to see how they have adapted it to a cruise ship.
  • Europa is the new Adult District, with new themed areas like The Tube, O'Gill's Pub, and Ooh La La. The Disney Fantasy version of Skyline features European cities: Paris, London, Barcelona, Athens, and St. Petersburg.
  • Royal Court - In the spirit of Lumiere's, Triton's, and Royal Palace, Royal Court is the most elegant of the three rotational dining restaurants on the Fantasy, and offers Continental and French cuisine.
  • Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique comes to a Disney cruise ship! Princesses can receive magical makeovers, and on Pirate Night, wannabe pirates of all ages can be transformed into swashbuckling scurvy scum and initiated into The Pirate's League. (I think we're going to do this!)
  • AquaLab - an interactive squirting and spurting waterplay area on Deck 12.
  • Satellite Falls- a new adult-only sunny deck area with a splash pool and rain curtain fountain.

I'm planning to blog each day, if I have internet connectivity - always a big if. If not, we'll post the blogs after the cruise. And yes, I'll post food blogs, too!

You can also follow me on Twitter: @AllEarsLaura



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About Fantasy Maiden Voyage 2012

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Salute to All Things Disney but Mostly Disneyland in the Fantasy Maiden Voyage 2012 category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Dream Christening Cruise 2011 is the previous category.

Mediterranean Cruise 2010 is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.