It has been a few months sine we returned from our cruise on the Disney Fantasy but I get asked questions on my social media all the time about our experience so I figured it might be helpful to write an in depth review. This is going to be loooong so I am going to break it up over the course of a few posts!
Perhaps the most important bit of information to start out my review is that my husband and I are NOT cruise people, while we we like Disney, we haven’t been there in 10 years and we typically find vacations with kids not very relaxing. Yes, we do our obligatory week at the Jersey shore but we also try and do a kid free vacation each year. That being said, when we talked with people about taking the plunge and doing our first “real” family vacation with kids, hands down people recommended a Disney cruise. I don’t think I heard one negative when planning!
Our first dilemma was timing. We wanted to go late spring or early summer- we have gone on vacations in the Caribbean in January and February and there are times it can get a bit chillier than we prefer. On the other hand, if we went too far in the summer, prices go up since kids are out of school. Ava was due to turn 3 at the end of May and kids must be 3 to use the kids club – there is a nursery available for younger kids but you have to pay for it and space is limited. We also figured the kids would enjoy being together in the kids club. We explored going her birthday week but were told by Disney that she would have to use the nursery the days she was 2 and then could start at the kids club on the day of her birthday. No thank you. In the end, we played it safe and booked for 4 days after her 3rd birthday.
The inside of the Fantasy looked amazing…and it was!
When I vacation, I like to VACATION, so we chose a 7 day sailing. Yes, it was pricey but with the chaos of embarking and disembarking, you basically lose 2 days. The Fantasy offered both an Eastern Caribbean and Western Caribbean itinerary leaving on alternate weeks. My preference tends to be eastern only because I love St. Thomas but timing worked out that the Western itinerary fell on the week we wanted to go. The ports of call were scheduled to be Cozumel Mexico, Grand Cayman, Jamaica and Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island) which sounded great to us- I had always wanted to visit Grand Cayman and people RAVE about Castaway Cay!
Spoiler alert: Castaway Cay lived up to the hype! It was amazing!
We booked a Family Verandah stateroom on deck 6. Generally I like to be on a higher deck but it turned out that deck 6 was PERFECT because we were only a few flights of stairs up from dinner and the kids club. The elevators often got packed so it worked out great. One mistake I made is that we booked a deluxe family verandah stateroom because it said it had the couch that converted to a bed as well as a murphy bed that pulled out from the wall. I wanted the low murphy bed because I was hesitant to put my older one in the bunk. When we actually got on the ship I learned that some deluxe rooms don’t have the murphy bed and guess what? Ours was one of them. Mom fail. In the end Ryan was totally fine in the bunk bed and we had a bit more space than a normal stateroom but I think I would have preferred the extra money in my pocket :)
I had to tell myself “calm down helicopter mom…he is fine!!!” He LOVED being on the top bunk!
We decided to play it safe and fly out Friday for our Saturday sailing. The Orlando airport is about an hour from Port Canaveral so we decided to Uber from the airport to Port Canaveral. The uber ran us about $120. When all was said and done if I had done it again, I would have booked a private car because the Uber only had 1 car seat for our 2 kids and I would have preferred a seat for my 5 year old. Disney transportation wouldn’t have worked for us since we were staying in Canaveral the day before but it is an option if you arrive on the day of your sailing or are staying at a Disney property.
I surprised the kids with some Disney gear the morning of our flight!
Kindle and Daniel Tiger FTW!
Once in Cape Canaveral, we stayed at the Residence Inn which was about 5 minutes from the cruise terminal! The room was a suite with a bedroom- the kids shared a pull out sofa bed while Alex and I got to hang out in the bedroom area once the kids went to bed. The hotel offered free breakfast in the morning and we took an Uber to the CVS to grab some wine (you are allowed to bring 4 bottles of wine on board…paaaarty) and then off to the cruise terminal. Uber to the cruise terminal was under $15 and I liked that it allowed the flexibility of leaving whenever we wanted vs booking the shuttle through the hotel where we would have had to be downstairs at an exact time.
If you arrive a day early and have time, you can go to the beach in Cape Canaveral around 3pm and see the cruise ships sail off!
Loved that our room was separate from the kids’ room!
I am going to leave off here and start my next post with embarkation and the first couple days of our cruise! Leave any questions in the comments below- so excited to share the trip with you all!
Check out my Amazon page HERE for some of the Disney gear I purchased for my kids, travel essentials as well as some other products to buy before leaving on your trip!
Stay tuned because Part 2 is coming up soon!