I prefer to plan any trip myself directly through Disney's or any cruise line's website. I know some people love to use a travel agency, but I guess I just go by the whole "control your own destiny" motto.
Seamless, flawless and a breeze would be the adjectives I would choose to describe the process. Disney knows what they're doing and have a flawless system. I'm a Castaway Club member and had completed the check-in process online prior to leaving home (I highly recommend this.) When I arrived at the terminal (around noon), I breezed through security, signed a health form on the go and went right over to the Castaway Club Members only check in line, where there was no waiting. I walked up to the counter, smiled for a picture and received my key to the world card (used for all shipboard purchases including purchases at Disney's private island Castaway Cay) and my boarding number and was all set. I went out to the viewing deck for a couple of pictures of the ship and in about 15 min was walking on board.
Pictures can't do it justice. She's beautiful in every way from bow to stern. The perfect blend of classic decor paying tribute to the classic liners of the past with it's sweeping main staircase, giant atrium chandelier, finely detailed custom fittings and more combined with every modern and innovative technology available. Disney really sparred no expense!
Wonderful!! Cabanas breakfast and lunch buffets offered plenty of selection and great tasting food. The fast food options were what you would expect, and the ice cream bar was exceptional with the surprise of having multiple flavors to choose from. I've always been a fan of the rotational dining system ever since sailing with Disney on the classic ships, and the Fantasy didn't disappoint either in food, service, or atmosphere. The Royal Court was by far my favorite but The Enchanted Garden and Animator's Palette were both magical as well. Kids LOVED the Crush show in Animator's Palette. (So did I, I was grinning from ear to ear the whole time too!)
The pool/deck areas were great! I was nervous about this based off other reviews about the Fantasy's sister ship, the Dream. However, while I stuck with the adults only pools (more on that shortly) I never found the family or children's pools as crammed packed as reviews would lead you to believe. Even on sea days! There was always a place to sit and room to swim. Granted, if you want a prime spot in the sun, by the pool, you have to mark your chair early. This is no different than any other ship.
As I mentioned, I stayed in the Quiet Cove Pool and Satellite Falls anytime I wanted to get some sun. Quiet Cove Pool isn't as small in reality as it looks in pictures. It was wonderful, with plenty of room to swim or just get your feet wet while sipping on a drink.
I also really enjoyed Satellite Falls but as has been mentioned, the rain curtain is usually off, due to wind, when the ship is at sea.
By far, the best part of the adults only deck space was the whirlpools! Sitting under shade and cantilevered over the ship's side, you can look through the clear glass bottom and see the ocean 10 decks below. VERY COOL!
Adults Only Lounges/Clubs aka Europa:
Ooh La La- beautiful! regularly offered wine or champagne tastings but I never attended them.
La Piazza- again, beautiful and very innovative. regularly had programming all through out the day for families and live music for adults in the evening.
O'Gills Pub- awesome sports bar...too bad I'm not huge into sports...
SkyLine Lounge- As awesome as everyone says it is!!
The Tube- The BEST place in the adult district! Awesome setting of the London underground and was host to awesome adult variety acts and dancing until way in the morning.
I booked a standard ocean view stateroom with a small porthole, and to my surprise was upgraded to a navigator's veranda stateroom. I LOVE DISNEY STATEROOMS! Compared to other lines, there is no comparison, Disney rooms are very spacious and the bed was super comfy!
St. Maarten Island- Beautiful! I booked an island tour/ Butterfly Farm excursion through Disney and loved it!
St. Thomas Island- A US Virgin Island and beautiful! I booked an island tour/ Beach Day excursion through Disney. The beach was beautiful but the tour wasn't so great. The driver drove too fast and didn't share very much history about the island.
Castaway Cay- By far, the BEST island I have ever been too in all my years of cruising! It's wonderfully designed with separate beaches for families, teens, and adults each offering excellent food and activities. I spent the day at Serenity Bay (the adults only beach) and had a great time!
The shows that I got to see were top notch, Broadway quality filled with every special effect in the book. (Again, Disney spares no expense.)
I saw the Sailing Away/ Welcome Aboard show, the first night and found it a fun way to start off the week. Aladdin was by far the best show and could debut on Broadway tomorrow if it wanted to. I skipped Believe, but did go see Wishes, which was again, awesome! The Farewell Show on the last night lacked a consistent story but was filled with memories from the week and touching quotes and archive videos of Walt Disney himself, so I still give it an A-.
It's true the shows are definitely designed for the whole family, but they're great shows that allow most adults to reconnect with the magic of Disney.
Overall, AMAZING trip! I would highly recommend a Disney cruise over Carnival or Celebrity any day as a single adult. The only exception to this would be if you like to party. If that's your scene, skip Disney and sail with Carnival. As for the more laid back type like myself, I'll stick with Disney. I hope you find this review in someway helpful. Happy Sailing!
Disney Magic- September 2006
Disney Wonder- July 2008
Celebrity Century- March 2009
Carnival Glory- June 2009
Disney Fantasy- May 2012
Disney Fantasy- May 2013
Disney Magic- December 2013