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Old 05-11-2017, 09:23 AM   #1
carolina_yankee
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Default Disney Fantasy, WDW, and Friends, Friends, and Friends

Index

Dirk's Introduction (this post)
Kim's Introduction
Travel Day - NJ to SSR
Cruise Day 1 - Embarkation Day
Kim & Eric - Embarkation
Cruise Day 1 - Setting Sail
Kim & Eric - Setting Sail
First Night At Sea - Addendum
Cruise Day 2 - Sea Day
Cruise Day 2 - Formal Night
Cruise Day 3 - At Sea
Cruise Day 4 - Tortola, Prelude
Cruise Day 4 - Tortola Arrival
Cruise Day 4 - Tortola Tour
Cruise Day 4 - Tortola Tour Conclusion
Cruise Day 4 - Tortola Road Town
Cruise Day 4 - Remy
Cruise Day 5 - St. Thomas
Cruise Day 5 - St .Thomas Continued
Cruise Day 6 - At Sea
Cruise Day 7 - Castaway Cay
Cruise Day 7 - Castaway Cay Continued
Cruise Day 7 - Castaway Cay Concluded
Cruise Day 7 - The Final Sunset
Cruise Day 8 - Debarkation



So, here it is, the trip report of our April 22 Cruise on the Fantasy and subsequent week at Walt Disney World. This was her last before dry dock.

No pictures on this this post, but many in the posts to come.

The Who

As many have read in the Upcoming Cruises thread, MO owners Kim and Eric were also booked on the same cruise. Mutual friends Leslie & Katie also joined us. Kim, Leslie, and I were in graduate school together so this actually was a mini-class reunion, as well.

Following the cruise, Kim & Eric flew home, and another classmate, Suzannah, came down to join us for a few days at Walt Disney World. After they all left, two other friends of ours from Gainesville joined us for our last day. No grad school connections there, but we met them on our first Disney cruise in 2006, and have managed to overlap Disney days ever since.

I'm not sure if we go to Disney for the attractions, or to hang with friends!

The What

Jim and I have cruised twice before, all Eastern itineraries: Magic in 2006, Fantasy in 2012, and now the Fantasy in 2017. The twist this cruise is that we dropped St. Maarten for Tortola. This made me a little nervous as I love St. Maarten, but it all turned out great.

Kim and Eric haven't cruised before, neither have Leslie and Katie. Motion sickness could potentially be a big issue for the last two.

We all have differing levels of Disney joy and touring styles. Jim and I are more commando. Or, rather, I'm more commando (I prefer to think Tigger-ish with a side of Carson from Downton Abbey) and Jim is (willingly) commanded. Katie & Leslie have lofty goals but can be slow to get started. Kim & Eric were probably the most chill about the schedules. In the end, we all did what we wanted at our own pace and joined up over meals and shared activities.

The How

We had talked off and on about doing a cruise together. The big questions were schedules, cost (was Disney worth the premium?), and motion issues in one case. I assured everyone that while the first night could be a little bouncy, the rest of the cruise should be smooth as glass. Well, sorta . . .

Planning began in October 2015 when the 2017 spring itineraries were released. Robin of tomandrobin was fantastic in working with each of us in booking our cruises. I normally like to book things myself, but for cruises, I prefer working with a travel agent and I have found Robin to always be outstanding.

I definitely advise booking early. I watched prices go up for our category by $200 overnight the first week bookings were open, and within a few months, our staterooms were $1000 more expensive than what we paid for a cruise that was nearly a year out.

I like cruising in late April - nice weather, outside of hurricane season and spring breaks, and reasonable prices.

We book category 5C on deck 7 midship starboard, with Leslie and Katie in a connecting stateroom and Kim and Eric a few doors down. If I had to do it over again, It think I would book a little closer to the aft elevators since we often used those (midship elevators really do get crowded), but not so far aft as to experience the vibrations the Fantasy is known for. That's real, and while it's not annoying to me when I'm out and about on the ship, I don't know how I would feel about it in the stateroom. I'm not sure if it's just the thrusters or the main screws, but something definitely causes it that isn't on the other ships.

Jim and I flew down on April 21, to do a day at Animal Kingdom and spend the night at Saratoga Springs (best laid plans . . .).

Following the cruise, we did 7 nights at Animal Kingdom Villas - Kidani Village.

Transportation

Since I posted many questions about prices and transportation logistics, I'll just put the modes out there now with comments in their respective posts.
  • We used a local car service from home to EWR.
  • We flew from EWR to MCO on United - our first flight to Disney since 2011 (we drove our other trips).
  • We took Magical Express from MCO to SSR.
  • We took Happy Limo from SSR to the Port.
  • We rented a car from Alamo at Port Canaveral and returned it to MCO on departure day.
  • Flew home on United
  • Local care service from airport to home.

All of this was for less than the cost of renting a car for 15 days from MCO, not even taking port parking into account.

Generally travel logistics worked flawlessly (even DME), though some other choices might have been a bit better in a couple of cases. More on that to come.

Off to work . . .
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Last edited by carolina_yankee; 05-23-2017 at 08:41 AM.
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Old 05-11-2017, 09:55 AM   #2
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Great start.....Looking forward to reading about your cruise adventure.


Quote:
I definitely advise booking early. I watched prices go up for our category by $200 overnight the first week bookings were open, and within a few months, our staterooms were $1000 more expensive than what we paid for a cruise that was nearly a year out.
One of my top rules for booking a DCL cruise.....book early, the prices will go up.

Quote:
We book category 5C on deck 7 midship starboard, with Leslie and Katie in a connecting stateroom and Kim and Eric a few doors down. If I had to do it over again, It think I would book a little closer to the aft elevators since we often used those (midship elevators really do get crowded), but not so far aft as to experience the vibrations the Fantasy is known for.
I always recommend using the AFT elevators. The only time I use the mid-elevators is late at night or early in the morning.....or if one happens to open by chance as I am walking by.
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Old 05-11-2017, 10:01 AM   #3
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Old 05-11-2017, 10:38 AM   #4
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I'm looking forward to this! Unless I'm staying CL (which is forward) I always choose aft rooms. For whatever reason, that's where I like to be.
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Old 05-11-2017, 10:57 AM   #5
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Looking forward to hearing about your trip and seeing the pictures! We are 57 days out from our land/sea/land trip!
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Old 05-11-2017, 11:20 AM   #6
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Following along -we'll be on the Fantasy for the first time next year. Sounds like you all had a good trip.
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Old 05-11-2017, 12:42 PM   #7
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Following along. Glad everyone had a good time! Thanks for sharing!
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Trip Reports: 2013 Oct-Nov Trip Report


Visits to the World:

Oct 2016: SSR (Hurrican Matthew) ~~ Feb-March 2015: AoA Nemo ~~ April-May 2014: POFQ ~~ Oct-Nov 2013 - AoA:LK Suite ~~April 2013: Pop ~~ Oct 2012: CSR - "A much needed trip" ~~ Dec 2011: POFQ - "Mickey Boot Camp" (Per DH) ~~June 2008: Pop ~~ July 2004: AS-S ~~Aug 2002: AS-S ~~ Summer 1999: Disney's College Program (MK outdoor foods) ~~Aug 1994: (1st Trip to the world) - HoJo Inn
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Old 05-11-2017, 12:49 PM   #8
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Can't wait to hear more! Love cruising and AKV! Nice photo to start of the thread!
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Old 05-11-2017, 01:26 PM   #9
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I'm going to piggy back on Dirk's TR here.

Eric and I actually arrived at WDW (AKV-Kidani) on Wednesday, 4/19, primarily to just hang out, go to a few of our favorite restaurants (Sanaa and Raglan Road, I'm looking at you), and get adjusted to the time difference between the west coast and the east coast. I get horrible jet lag going west to east, and if I hadn't had that time, the first couple of days of the cruise would have been awful for me.

We arrived at SNA (John Wayne Airport) bright and early for our flight on Wednesday -- and it's a good thing we did. Because we were *THOSE* people -- the ones who have to stand in the middle of everything and switch clothing from one bag to another to get the weights between the bags to even out. Please note that this occurred only because we are beer snobs and wanted to bring 12 really excellent craft beers with us on the cruise. Had we not had the booze, the luggage weight would have been fine. We do have priorities, however. Had we had children, I would have left one of them home rather than given up my beer. Just sayin.'

Anyway, we arrived at MCO with no difficulty and made our way onto DME. This was our FIRST TIME EVER on DME. Why? Because we always rent a car. And while I can see the appeal of DME, I will never set foot on a DME bus again. Why? Because of Ron, our driver. How do you spell "fun"? "R-O-N!" And how do you spell "Ron?" "F-U-N!" We must have heard that 50 ******* times while we made our way to AKV. I shit you not.

Ron did things like explain how everyone should love The Mouse because The Mouse creates jobs. Yep, that's why I, personally, love The Mouse. At one point, while we were on the highway, FUN exclaimed, "Why look at those animals over there: That's Animal Kingdom!" And all of the kids on the bus ran to the right side of the bus to see the animals. What was over there? Nothing, of course, except weeds, and FUN subsequently exclaimed, "JUST KIDDING." And all the kids were like, "WTF?"

By the time we arrived at AKV (we were the last ones off the bus), I'd had enough FUN to last me a life time. If I'd had access to my luggage at that point, there would have been four fewer beers for us to take on the cruise.
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Old 05-11-2017, 01:55 PM   #10
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Excellent! Cannot wait to read more of your adventures from both views!!
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