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LittleMissMagic

LittleMissMagic's 2014 Disney Fantasy Western Caribbean Cruise - A Photo Review!

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Hello, Cruise Critics! Welcome to my 2014 Disney Fantasy trip report!

 

I’m Victoria, a new alumni of the Clemson University School of Architecture!!! In addition to architecture, I enjoy photography, traveling, and sharing my experience with others. This is my eighth photo review on Cruise Critic – you can find links to my other photo reviews in my signature below. And if you enjoy my review, you can read more travel writings on my travel blog, Victoria On Vacation or keep up with me on Facebook and Instagram.

 

I start every cruise review with a little ‘disclaimer.’ This review will be told in a journalistic style with lots of photos. With the exception of this first post, I don't expect there to be too many posts with only paragraphs and paragraphs of text – I rely greatly on photos to tell the story. I also don’t take myself too seriously, and you shouldn't either. There will be a lot of fun-poking and maybe a little sarcasm, and you’re all invited to join in on the fun! I encourage you to post comments to share your thoughts and experiences, or just tell me who you are!

 

My Cruising History

 

I don't normally start my cruise reviews with a history of my past cruises, but with this cruise being such a monumental one, I thought this would be fun. Feel free to skip this section if you aren't interested - you don't have to tell me! ;)

 

My first cruise ever was actually a Disney Cruise. It was a 4-night Bahamian cruise on the Disney Magic on April 10, 2000. I know this because after booking the Disney Fantasy, I looked up my Castaway Club membership, the exact date of our cruise (and the cabin number - 6120!) appeared in my "Past Cruises" record. I need to ask my parents why they decided to take a Disney Cruise. It might be because my parents have always enjoyed Walt Disney World and thought that if Disney did cruises, they might as well give it a go... maybe they were interested in cruising but never thought to try it until Disney Cruise Line... or maybe someone my dad worked with suggested it to him. I really don't know.

 

Enjoy these embarrassing photos from our first cruise...

 

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So why switch cruise lines? Well, I don't think that my parents were necessarily looking to cruise again, except my mother's parents wanted to go to Alaska. They were going to drive their camper to Alaska, but none of their children thought that was safe, so it was suggested that they cruise instead. I believe it was my dad and my uncle who researched Alaskan cruises, and my family accompanied my grandparents on Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas. It was a cruise without many children, so we got a lot of personalized attention in the kids' club which was much more enjoyable for shy children like my sister and myself. I think my parents were also pleased because Royal Caribbean cruises are a bit more affordable than Disney Cruises.

 

After that cruise, Royal Caribbean became go-to cruise line. We tried Carnival a few times, but stayed relatively 'Loyal Royals'.... until we had just too much. The itineraries became been there/done that, as did the ships. It was time for a change, and I became enticed by Princess Cruises' 10 and 11-day Panama Canal Partial Transit itineraries. For our 2012 Christmas Cruise, I convinced my family to sail the Island Princess Panama Canal. Then it was the Norwegian Epic in the Mediterranean and Royal Princess in the Caribbean.

 

Return to Disney Cruise Line

 

I really love Disney. It just makes me incredibly happy. I have a great appreciation for "The Man Behind the Mouse" and particularly enjoy Walt Disney's history in his company, as well as his personal life. I love Disney Parks and the attention to detail and creation of environment. The high-quality design throughout the parks, merchandise, and movies makes me happy.

 

I regained an interest in Disney Cruise Line with the introduction of the Disney Dream in 2011. I started researching Disney Cruises, but I found that they are actually significantly more expensive than our typical cruises - in some cases over double the fare in stateroom cost. The expensive cruise fare was no aid in convincing my Dad to return to Disney.

 

Dad had a few concerns...

1) Too expensive!

2) Disney Cruises are for children. / There will be too many children.

3) Disney isn't any better than our favorite cruise lines, and the extra cost won't be worth it to us.

 

The only way to lock in a Disney Cruise..... was to declare it as my college graduation present!

 

I wanted to sail on one of the new ships, and the longer the cruise, the better! So it was an easy selection of the Disney Fantasy Western Caribbean Cruise sailing May 10, 2014 - the day after my college graduation!

 

My Traveling Party

 

Consisted of five adults, myself included. While everyone in the group would point at me as being the 'Disney Addict,' I feel like I must clarify that besides just myself, we aren't just average adults who may have had a fondness of Disney movies as children but otherwise don't care one way or the other. A friend once asked me if my entire family loved Disney, and I responded, "No, it's really just me." My roommate was quick to speak up, "They might not love Disney as much as Victoria, but they definitely like Disney more than normal people." I guess it's true. We visit Walt Disney World multiple times a year. My parents, sister, and I are current annual passholders at Walt Disney World. We visited Disney this past October and January.... and snuck in a quick day at Magic Kingdom after the cruise. My Dad and I have also had Disney Visas since 2012. And while my parents' entire house has Disney influences in artwork, there is an entire room themed Mickey Mouse.

 

My dad, Boyd, visited Walt Disney World for the first time in 1971, the year that it opened. He must have liked it because in the late 80s, he and my mother bought a vacation home in Central Florida and bought annual passes to Walt Disney World. Not only is he a great father who supports my Disney love, but he's absolutely hilarious. If you aren't laughing at his jokes, you're laughing at how bad they are - either way, my dad might be the greatest contributor to my side-splitting laughter.

 

My mom, Sharon, is an incredibly talented lady. She designed the Mickey Room and sewed these elaborate costumes. So of course I called upon her to make our beautiful Fish Extender. She has an eye for details and can pick out all of the little things that Disney does to tell the story.

 

My sister, Rachel, might pretend every once in a while that she doesn't love Disney.... but don't believe her for a second because it's a lie. She loves Disney music and can sing along to every Disney song (her favorite is "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid). Rachel also enjoys dressing like Disney characters. She was Minnie Mouse for Halloween and Donald Duck for Mallard Ball (the theme is camouflage... she had a different approach). She was also the one who insisted that we go to Walt Disney World after the cruise.

 

My boyfriend, Max, is not allowed to ask the question, "Which would you choose - Me or Disney?" :D I'm kidding - he's not required to love Disney, but fortunately, that hasn't been a problem. He had visited Disney World as a child, but went with me for the first time in 2012 and had a great time. Max also celebrated his 21st birthday (best birthday ever) by drinking around the world in Epcot. Also, Max loves the movie Frozen. He didn't want to watch it with me at the time, but he came out of the theater saying that it was his favorite animated movie ever. And then he downloaded "Let it Go" and "Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?" from iTunes. Don't tell him I told you that.

 

Choosing the Cruise

 

Like I said earlier, I wanted to sail on Disney Cruise Line to celebrate my graduation from Clemson University. I chose the Disney Fantasy because it sails 7-day itineraries (as opposed to the Disney Dream which sails 3 and 5-day itineraries). Date was more important to me than Eastern or Western, as I've sailed both routes before. May 10 was the date after graduation and allowed Max and Rachel to get back in time for their summer co-op/internships.

 

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Western Caribbean Itinerary C by vshingl, on Flickr

 

Our cruise was the Western Caribbean Itinerary C which consisted of ports Cozumel, Mexico; Grand Cayman; Falmouth, Jamaica; and Castaway Cay. This was actually the first time that the Disney Fantasy sailed to Falmouth, Jamaica. We were told at embarkation that the Fantasy had been sailing to Costa Maya which past Disney Cruisers ranked 10th of ports of call, so they switched to Falmouth, Jamaica, which was ranked 3rd.

 

I learned that this sailing was AllEars.Net's 15 Year Anniversary Cruise. I was really excited and looked into booking it... but unfortunately, booking through AllEars' travel agent was more expensive than our typical online booking site for the same category rooms. It was about a $200 per person difference, and while I would have paid that for myself, I didn't think it was worth it for everyone else in my family. Not to mention, this was a cruise to celebrate my graduation and spend time with family - not to spend time doing "Disney Nerd Things."

 

Choosing the Stateroom

 

I had a bit of difficulty choosing our category of stateroom. We booked two rooms - one for my parents and one for Rachel, Max, and myself. I wanted extra space so that it would be comfortable for three adults in one room, so I looked at family-size rooms. At first, I was set on booking a verandah stateroom, but after looking at room descriptions and deck plans, I realized that the family ocean view staterooms were in my preferred location (near the stairs), while the available family verandah staterooms were all mid-ship with long walks to the stairs. I decided to save the money (it was about $300 per person) and chose the family ocean view stateroom. My dad chose the magical porthole stateroom for himself and my mother.

 

Pre-Cruise Planning

 

This is the most pre-cruise planning that I have done in a long time. I read the message boards for tips and "secrets" on Disney Cruises. I purchased Passholder's guide to Disney Cruises which I read twice. And I read many trip reports and photo reviews.

 

My Disney Cruise research led me to Fish Extenders, which are these (typically) fabric apparatuses with pockets that hang from the Fish (or Sea Horse) which is outside the stateroom for mail delivery. The idea is that these fabric pockets "extend" the fish. Disney people use these Fish Extenders for gift exchanges between passengers. People make or purchase gifts and pass them out to all of the staterooms in their exchange group.

 

So I joined a Fish Extender (FE) Group for my cruise. I'm not exactly sure what I was thinking and realized how overwhelming the whole thing was a month before the cruise. My group had 23 cabins and over 59 people.... which meant at least 23 presents... which quickly became very expensive. I'm a recent college grad on a budget and kept a small budget of less than $60, which was doable thanks to the software and other resources which were available to me in the architecture school. I'll add more information about the Fish Extender gifts I made in the next post.

 

As far as actual cruise preparation, I booked Palo, the adults-only restaurant for $25 per person. I chose Palo for dinner rather than the brunch because taking time out of the morning to eat a paid brunch didn't sound too enticing to me. Part of my reasoning for booking Palo was more for the no-kids venue, rather than the food. I'm not a foodie.

 

My plan for the ports of call was to just go to the beach. We did end up booking a beach tour through the ship for Jamaica for $32 per person just because the last time we were in Jamaica (Ocho Rios), we were told not to take cabs anywhere, so we wanted the added safety of a cruise line-sponsored tour.

 

My Camera Bag

 

I usually get several questions about cameras and gear, so below I've listed all of the gear in my camera bag for this cruise!

 

Nikon D7100 camera body

Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 lens

Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 lens

Nikon SB-700 AF Speedlight

MeFoto Backpacker Travel Tripod

Wireless Remote

Edited by LittleMissMagic

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Fish Extender Gifts

 

I rather foolishly joined a Fish Extender group under the notion that I'm crafty. And by crafty, I don't mean that I do arts and crafts. I'm an architecture major. It is my job to be creative and have good craft.

 

Along with my cruise group, I joined a group on Facebook about "All Things Fish Extender." And I think that was a mistake. Because the Facebook group mainly consists of ambitious, do-it-all stay at home moms and grandmothers that appear to have a lot of time and money to spend on Fish Extender crafts. And these women are most certainly not procrastinators. Some post photos of the FE Gifts that they have completed for cruises that they have booked a year out. Some people make and post photos of FE Gifts, and they aren't even booked on a cruise!! So rather than inspiring my FE Gifts, the updates from this Facebook group made me bitter.... because there are two critical things that architecture students do not have and those are time and money.

 

Architecture students are also major procrastinators and are known for taking on more than they can handle. So about a month before the cruise, I realized that I was in over my head. After reading several threads titled, "Worst FE Gifts ever received," I felt incredibly overwhelmed. I debated with a group of my close Disney friends on if I should drop out of the FE group or not and got mixed opinions and advice. Finally, I decided to stick with it because whether it was a success or not, at least I'd be able to blog about it!

 

One of my Disney friends who enjoyed FE groups suggested that I print out magnets on large car magnet sheets from Vista Print and cut them out because it was an affordable option. I designed an "I (Mickey) Cruising" graphic using Adobe Illustrator. I had gotten the idea from Carnival, which actually sold some very cute "I (heart) Cruises" merchandise. The color palette of cyan and magenta is a fun twist and also fits in with my branding of my blog, Victoria on Vacation. The ears are dislocated from the body so that it would be an easier graphic to print. Most printing companies will not print anything Disney due to character licensing, so separating the ears makes it just three recognizable circles, rather than the distinct Mickey Mouse silhouette. I cut the magnets out of the large sheet using an exacto knife and metal straight edge.

 

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Disney Cruise Magnets by vshingl, on Flickr

 

Architecture school provided me with several resources to use, and one of those was the laser cutter. I designed a Mickey Mouse silhouette keychain using AutoCad and cut and etched the design onto basswood using a laser cutter. Also, Max sanded the burn marks from the laser cutter off the back of the keychains. He would want you to know that.

 

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Disney Fantasy Keychains by vshingl, on Flickr

 

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Disney Fantasy Keychains by vshingl, on Flickr

 

To package, I found 4x6" zip-seal bags in the craft section of Walmart. I designed labels on Adobe Illustrator and printed them out on cardstock. To get the packages to lie flat, I did not attach the key rings, but did include them in the bags, so hopefully no one minded ringing their own. Also, I ran out of key rings at the end, so I apologize to the one group that got no key rings.

 

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FE Gifts by vshingl, on Flickr

 

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FE Gifts by vshingl, on Flickr

 

Shameless blog promotion...

 

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FE Gifts by vshingl, on Flickr

Edited by LittleMissMagic

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Yay! It's finally here! I have been waiting on this review....My husband and I are not able to cruise this year :(, especially Disney, so I am cruising through you! :D Looking forward to the rest of your review!

 

Cindy

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I am learning so much already!!! What a fabulous gift you made! Love your reviews! Thanks for taking us along.

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Welcome back Victoria, so happy to see you have already started your review. Enjoying it thoroughly so far. Looking forward to reliving your week aboard the Fantasy. Love the gifts you created for the gift exchange.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums mobile app

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I absolutely LOVE your Mom's Mickey room! I want one! :D

 

You did a great job on your FE project. I don't buy a lot of souvenir junk, but I do like to buy fridge magnets from different places we visit. That is something I could actually use!

 

Looking forward to reading more.

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Thank you for posting the link on your previous reviews! You know I wouldn't want to miss one!!

 

Love those gifts you made -- so clever! But now I know to not get involved in that. I can barely manage the one gift exchange I do a year for ONE person! We're doing a gift exchange on the Quantum inaugural, but it's just one person, too, and from your home state. Much easier!

 

Looking forward to the rest of your travelogue!

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I absolutely LOVE your Mom's Mickey room! I want one! :D

 

You did a great job on your FE project. I don't buy a lot of souvenir junk, but I do like to buy fridge magnets from different places we visit. That is something I could actually use!

 

Looking forward to reading more.

 

Thank you! I was hoping that if nothing else, people could at least enjoy the magnets and put them on their doors during the cruise.

 

Thank you for posting the link on your previous reviews! You know I wouldn't want to miss one!!

 

Love those gifts you made -- so clever! But now I know to not get involved in that. I can barely manage the one gift exchange I do a year for ONE person! We're doing a gift exchange on the Quantum inaugural, but it's just one person, too, and from your home state. Much easier!

 

Looking forward to the rest of your travelogue!

 

Thank you, Joan! The FE Exchange was a bit stressful in the making of the gifts, but once the cruise started, it was really just fun. Delivering them to each cabin actually wasn't too bad. I can't say I would do one again in the future, though (maybe...).

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I am subscribing to this review! I love reading your reviews on MB so I might as well read here too!

 

I am going on the Fantasy in May 2015, my first Disney cruise. It will be Eastern Caribean but I still can learn more about the ship from following your cruise!

 

I ordered a Fish Extender from someone on Etsy. Like you I think it will cause me some stress trying to come up with some gifts.

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Hi, Victoria!! Loving the TR. I'm reading in each place (Blog, MB, here).

 

Can't wait to read more!!!! :cool:

Edited by ilovewdw

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I am subscribing to this review! I love reading your reviews on MB so I might as well read here too!

 

I am going on the Fantasy in May 2015, my first Disney cruise. It will be Eastern Caribean but I still can learn more about the ship from following your cruise!

 

I ordered a Fish Extender from someone on Etsy. Like you I think it will cause me some stress trying to come up with some gifts.

 

So glad to have you, Brandon! The Disney Fantasy is a beautiful ship - you will have a wonderful time!

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I am subscribing to this review! I love reading your reviews on MB so I might as well read here too!

 

I am going on the Fantasy in May 2015, my first Disney cruise. It will be Eastern Caribean but I still can learn more about the ship from following your cruise!

 

I ordered a Fish Extender from someone on Etsy. Like you I think it will cause me some stress trying to come up with some gifts.

 

 

Hey, Brandon!

 

I'll be doing Eastern on the Fantasy in February. Does yours include San Juan? Mine is San Juan, St. Maarten and Castaway Cay.

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Subscribing, too! Victoria, your reviews are always a treat. The attention to detail is just superb. Can't wait to read about your week. (Feels like you just got off your Spring Break cruise, but I'm guessing it felt longer for you!)

 

And big congrats on graduation! Have you decided on your next adventure?

 

 

Sent using the Cruise Critic forums app

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Getting There...

 

So I think in order for you to truly understand my stress level when talking about FE Gifts and Door Magnets, you need to know my schedule in the weeks leading to the cruise....

 

The week April 28-May 2 was exam week. I had to finish up graphics for a curriculum research creative inquiry that I had been taking, make a book of my work for freehand drawing class, and make final adjustments and fabricate the prototype for our flat-pack greenhouse for another creative inquiry (check it out!). I spent Friday afternoon laser cutting the FE gift keychains, and then I had to pack...

 

Because Saturday, May 3, I drove to Destin, Florida for a beach trip that Rachel had planned with two of our friends. We returned Thursday evening (May 8).

 

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Destin by vshingl, on Flickr

 

I stayed up almost all night Thursday evening working on finishing FE Gifts and designing, printing, and cutting out stateroom door magnets.

 

On Friday, May 9, I graduated from the College of Architecture, Arts, & Humanities at Clemson University.

 

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Clemson Graduation by vshingl, on Flickr

 

Immediately after Graduation Commencement, I returned to my apartment to finish packing for the cruise! Max and I didn't arrive at my house until around 8:00PM.

 

The reason for leaving the evening of May 9...

 

Story told by Rachel is that she, Mom, and Dad were trying to determine when to leave (because it is perfectly normal to not know what time or even what day you're leaving the morning before your cruise... Max is still learning to deal with the chaotic, go-with-the-flow, don't worry about time lifestyle of my family). Dad spoke up, "I have a proposition to make." "And what's that?" "Let's leave after Victoria's graduation so that we can get to Cape Canaveral in time for the satellite launch at 9:30 in the morning." "Are you serious?" "Yeah, my buddy at work was telling me all about it."

 

So we drove through the night and finally arrived in Cape Canaveral at 4:00AM. Luckily, I slept most of the way - big thanks to Dad and Max for doing the driving!

 

Anyway, dad goes in to get a room at some Marriott-owned hotel for a discounted price of $97. He asks for more information about the satellite launch. "Oh, that was cancelled." "CANCELLED!?!?" "Yes, it's been postponed a few weeks due to technical issues." So we drove all the way to Cape Canaveral watch a satellite launch... that was cancelled.

 

We then had to figure out how to put five adults into two queen beds. But after that challenge was conquered, we all slept great!

Edited by LittleMissMagic

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Looking forward to your review! (Even if you are a Clemson fan). We were on the fantasy last January to the Eastern Carribean and now thinking about going on the Majic this Jan.! MIZ....ZOU!

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May 10, 2014 - Embarkation

 

We all woke up around 10AM and started getting ready. Rachel and I had gotten a lot of sleep (which maybe made up for my lack of sleep the night before?) since we slept well in the car. All I can say is THANK GOODNESS we did not do anything ridiculous and try to cram five adults into one stateroom, because that would have been absolutely miserable. It is quite a challenge for five adults to share one bathroom (sure, maybe the split bath would have helped, but it still would have been uncomfortably tight quarters).

 

We weren't ready to go until after noon. Now, I had scheduled Max, Rachel, and I for a Port Arrival Time of 12:15 PM. However, by the time I told my dad to schedule his, the soonest available was 1:00 PM. So we figured that 1:00 PM for all of us wouldn't be a problem.

 

But before we could board the cruise ship, we needed to make a run to the liquor store. I had read in Disney's FAQs that you can take on alcohol in a carry-on size bag if you are 21 and older, which is unheard of on all other mass-market cruise lines (most now allow you to bring one bottle of wine or champagne per adult). I have no idea how many times my dad or Max asked, "So are you sure we can bring on alcohol?" YES! Yes, I'm sure!!!

 

Rachel asked Siri (on the iPhone) for the nearest liquor store.... and she took us to an Aldi Market. Which didn't sell alcohol. So we moved on... and luckily found a liquor store right past the port. We bought some vodka and rum for mixers and headed on to the port.

 

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Disney Cruise Terminal by vshingl, on Flickr

 

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Disney Cruise Terminal by vshingl, on Flickr

 

At the first security checkpoint, we showed all of our passports (and Rachel is still traveling with a driver's license and birth certificate because her passport expired, and she hasn't renewed it, yet). And then we drove forward fifteen feet and had to show the next security checkpoint all of our passports. There was another checkpoint in front of us, and we might have freaked out a little if we were required to show them, again. But, I must mention that even the security people were especially friendly and "Disney-like," even wearing Disney uniforms. Normally the security guys outside of the port are grumps.

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Disney Cruise Terminal by vshingl, on Flickr

 

Disney's Cruise Terminal is no basic, one-size-fits-all building. The terminal is full of custom Disney theming.

 

We drove on to the luggage drop-off, and there was no wait. We were told that we could go ahead and start checking in while Dad parked the car. Security was a breeze, and they did not confiscate our alcohol.

 

They split us up and sent us to two different check-in desks to make our check-in go faster. The CM asked me if I had filled out everything online, and I told her that I thought I had (shouldn't she know if I had?). "Well, I can look it up here." The only difficulty we had was putting Max on a different card. He has a student credit card ("UPromise" Mastercard) of some sort under his mom's name... his mother's name is actually on the card, rather than his own (I really don't understand why - don't ask me). Anyway, the CM had set up Max's separate account and then saw the card and said she couldn't use it because his mother wasn't on the cruise. She called over her supervisor to see if there was anything that could be done. This was the same card that he had used on our Carnival Breeze cruise with no problems. I asked if his mother could fax them a signed document authorizing the use of the card, and they looked at one another and suggested that we go to Guest Services on the ship. They then tried to set him up on a cash account, but he didn't want to be on a cash account because he had only allotted enough cash for port expenses. They then were unable to hook us back up to charge to my parents' stateroom. I suggested that we put everyone on my credit card. So that was a bit of a waste of five minutes, but we still finished checking in before the family beside us with four children who were rolling around on the carpet.

 

So finally, we were set to move on. There was no wait, and we could board immediately. But we I had to take a few photos of the terminal first...

 

The Disney Magic!

 

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Disney Cruise Terminal by vshingl, on Flickr

 

Max - "How do you know it's the Magic?"

Me - "Because it says the name on the side of the ship."

 

Had to archi-nerd out over this section model...

 

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Disney Cruise Terminal by vshingl, on Flickr

 

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Disney Cruise Terminal by vshingl, on Flickr

 

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Disney Cruise Terminal by vshingl, on Flickr

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Disney Fantasy, here we come!

 

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Disney Cruise Terminal by vshingl, on Flickr

 

They announce your name when you board the ship which Rachel and Max thought was creepy and weird. Max looked at the bar and said, "They're waiting for these guys to shut up already." I, however, thought it was cute. They asked us our name, and Rachel said, "Shingleton." "Shinleton?" (strong accent) "Yes." "Please welcome aboard the Shilton Family!" Ehh... close enough. Really, the gorgeous atrium provides more of a grand welcome than the guys on the microphones do.

 

We split up immediately and went off to find our staterooms.

 

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Family Porthole Stateroom by vshingl, on Flickr

 

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Family Porthole Stateroom by vshingl, on Flickr

 

They thanked us for returning... fourteen years later.

 

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Family Porthole Stateroom by vshingl, on Flickr

 

I'll go ahead and say it - we LOVED our room! Not only are the furnishings beautiful with a nicely done nautical theme (and Mickey touches), but the extended size of the family stateroom was really nice for us. We had plenty of storage - an entire cabinet by Max went unused (though he did tend to pile his clothing up on the counter under the cabinet...), as did our steamtrunk. The room was very bright, thanks to our porthole window seat. Speaking of the porthole.... Max and Rachel LOVED IT! They said over and over how they really loved the window. It's huge - almost floor to ceiling - so you can see outside while sitting on the bed. You can also sit in the window (well, Rachel and I could curl up in the window comfortably).

 

I am so glad that I decided to go with the ocean view room rather than verandah. I've had balcony rooms in the past (our first Disney Cruise was in a balcony stateroom), but I really didn't miss it at all with this room. It is without a doubt the best ocean view stateroom I have ever stayed in.

 

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Family Porthole Stateroom by vshingl, on Flickr

 

Getting Max and Rachel to stay out of the photos proved to be a bit of a challenge...

 

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Family Porthole Stateroom by vshingl, on Flickr

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I can't wait to read all about your cruise. We went on the Disney Magic on April 25th and it has been our favorite cruise experience to date!

Edited by mairinmaureen

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Disney Cruise ships have a split-bath concept in all rooms except Cat 11 inside staterooms.

 

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Family Porthole Stateroom by vshingl, on Flickr

 

The bath in the family staterooms on the Dream and Fantasy-class ships have a round tub which is smaller than a standard bathtub. However, these tubs are much larger than the typical cruise ship shower. Not to mention.... it is a RAINFALL SHOWER!!!

 

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Family Porthole Stateroom by vshingl, on Flickr

 

I should also note that there are two retractable wash lines in the shower.

 

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Rainfall Shower by vshingl, on Flickr

 

It was by far the nicest shower I have ever had on a cruise ship (and that's including a Grand Suite and Junior Suite on Royal Caribbean). Rachel actually had a shower in the spa after her massage later in the week and said that our shower was better.

 

The other bath had a toilet and sink. We really only used this bathroom for the toilet and did not rely on it for the vanity at all, as we used the large mirror at the vanity in the cabin for applying make-up and fixing hair.

 

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Family Porthole Stateroom by vshingl, on Flickr

 

The pillow flips over to say "A dream is a wish your heart makes, when you're fast asleep..." on the backside, and the cabin steward turns the pillow over when they make down the bed.

 

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Family Porthole Stateroom by vshingl, on Flickr

 

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Family Porthole Stateroom by vshingl, on Flickr

Edited by LittleMissMagic

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There are so many beautiful details and small Disney touches in the room.

 

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Family Porthole Stateroom by vshingl, on Flickr

 

I also loved the artwork -

 

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Family Porthole Stateroom by vshingl, on Flickr

 

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Family Porthole Stateroom by vshingl, on Flickr

 

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Family Porthole Stateroom by vshingl, on Flickr

 

14037909318_2ac2a26aaa_b.jpg

Family Porthole Stateroom by vshingl, on Flickr

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After we finished exploring our room, we decided to go and check out Mom and Dad's. We went upstairs.... and realized that we didn't remember their room number. "It's like 8160... 8686... 8681..." Rachel tried calling but had poor service. Max is looking at the deck plan and finding our options... and then I remembered - they had an inside room! It had to be room 8681. So I went and knocked on the door... no one answered. Finally, we gave up and went up to Cabana's to eat lunch. And we found them there! Their room number was 8681 (and I forgot to mention that our room was 7172).

 

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Family Porthole Stateroom by vshingl, on Flickr

 

We were really hungry and happy to see food. We all got really excited about the crab legs because we'd never seen that in a cruise ship buffet before, but it turned out that none of us were really fans. The crab meat was too rubbery for my taste - I prefer a softer, flakier crab.

 

Max was especially excited for the complimentary self-serve soft drinks. "Now this I can get used to!" It was really nice to not have to worry about buying a soda package and getting sodas from the bartenders who have better things to do than give you a pre-paid soda.

 

Our view from Cabana's -

 

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Cape Canaveral by vshingl, on Flickr

 

It turned out that the reason Mom and Dad weren't in there room is because Mom made sure that they didn't touch anything so that it would be perfect for photographs! How kind!!

 

We took them to check out our room first....

 

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Family Porthole Stateroom by vshingl, on Flickr

 

Perfect for headstands. (P.S. You probably don't want to show this photo to your kids.)

 

14037946810_d65b57e34f_b.jpg

Family Porthole Stateroom by vshingl, on Flickr

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Great start, we cruised on the Dream last April and it was great. It was our kids first cruise, I participated in the FE, but it was very stress full and I spent way more $$$ than I wanted to. While it was fun to see the gifts each day, I don't think I would do it again.

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We then went to see my parents' room, a Magical Porthole Stateroom (8681).

 

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Magical Porthole Stateroom by vshingl, on Flickr

 

The room is very spacious. It is definitely the largest inside stateroom I have ever seen. The sofa can be turned into a bed, and a bunk pulls out of the ceiling for a fourth child/small person.

 

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Magical Porthole Stateroom by vshingl, on Flickr

 

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Magical Porthole Stateroom by vshingl, on Flickr

 

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Magical Porthole Stateroom by vshingl, on Flickr

 

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Magical Porthole Stateroom by vshingl, on Flickr

 

It's called a "Magical Porthole" because a camera delivers real-time views of their side of the ship. Randomly throughout the day, different Disney characters will appear. However, we all agreed that there should be some button that you can push to make a Disney character appear. Also, at night, the screen appears as static, not completely black.

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14037935590_58bc6e0842_b.jpg

Magical Porthole Stateroom by vshingl, on Flickr

 

My parents got the Castaway Club gift, too. One per stateroom.

 

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Magical Porthole Stateroom by vshingl, on Flickr

 

The Magical Porthole Stateroom is the most spacious inside stateroom that I have ever seen. My parents have actually only stayed in an inside stateroom once - on the Carnival Imagination in 2007 - and this was quite an upgrade from that. My parents enjoyed the room, and I think that I would be comfortable booking that stateroom the future.

 

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Magical Porthole Stateroom by vshingl, on Flickr

 

This guy....

 

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Magical Porthole Stateroom by vshingl, on Flickr

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Great review.

Love the headstand in the porthole.

Can't wait to hear your final thoughts on DCL's newest, considering your varied cruise history.

 

:)

Edited by bear3412

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Awesome start ... i am following .. love the pics!

 

The magical porthole you mentioned is not on all the time? Just randomly will turn on and off??

 

PS. How come you got gifts ? Are some special status or something :D :D :D .. that bag looks great ... cannot wait to sail the Fantasy one day

Edited by purplethorn

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That's that, just gotta do a Disney cruise, adults only, too!

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Subscribed! I've followed you over here via your Breeze review!

 

I am hoping to do a 7-day on the Fantasy sometime soon! Keep up the great work! And congrats on your graduation!

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Awesome start ... i am following .. love the pics!

 

The magical porthole you mentioned is not on all the time? Just randomly will turn on and off??

 

PS. How come you got gifts ? Are some special status or something :D :D :D .. that bag looks great ... cannot wait to sail the Fantasy one day

 

The Magical Porthole has a switch which so that you can turn it on and off. Like in the first few photos where it is black, the porthole is off.

 

The characters that come by do so randomly. My mom said that sometimes you can go an hour without seeing a character - that's why she wanted a switch to make a character to appear. Sometimes Tinkerbell would fly by and make pixie dust, or Winnie the Pooh in a hot air balloon. Also, the starfish from Finding Nemo will stick to the glass. My mom did say there were several characters that she didn't recognize (she hasn't seen a lot of the newest Disney movies).

 

The tote on the bag was from the Castaway Club which is Disney's loyalty program. They remembered us from fourteen years ago!

 

The Fish Extender exchange is just something that anyone can sign up for with their cruise "Meet"/Roll Call/or Facebook Group.... or you could organize your own! It looked like the AllEars group was doing their own FE Exchange.

Edited by LittleMissMagic

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While we were in Mom and Dad's room, the Muster alarms sounded. We were directed down "Crew Only" stairs to the fourth floor. I've never taken crew-only stairs before. We then split up because Max, Rachel, and I were Muster station "M," and Mom and Dad had "O."

 

Disney lines everyone up outside on the promenade deck by muster station and family. I haven't done that since Royal Caribbean's Monarch of the Seas in 2012. Everyone was supposed to line up tallest to shortest, but there was a man on the left of us who was shorter than his wife... and standing behind her. Because he couldn't see, he squeezed Max out of our line... so Max just scooted back and chilled by the wall.

 

The Carnival Sunshine pulled away at the end of our drill. I was really disappointed that she left so soon, because I thought there would be a horn battle or something of that sort. Sunshine didn't even blow her horn. Maybe she knows better...

 

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Carnival Sunshine by vshingl, on Flickr

 

We retreated to O'Gills for a moment, as we were being stampeded by people leaving the muster drill.

 

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O'Gills by vshingl, on Flickr

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Hey, Brandon!

 

I'll be doing Eastern on the Fantasy in February. Does yours include San Juan? Mine is San Juan, St. Maarten and Castaway Cay.

 

Mine does include San Juan, St Thomas and Castaway Cay!

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Thanks, Victoria! Loving the posts/pics!! Congrats on your graduation and wishing you all the best for the future!!!

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I wanted to finish decorating my door before the Sail Away Party because we were supposed to have our Fish Extenders hung by 4PM (that's when Muster was).

 

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Door Magnets by vshingl, on Flickr

 

I knew all about the door magnets before the cruise because I am a retired "DISigner" on a Disney message board and used to get many requests for designs to use as magnets.

 

I did all of the magnets myself, though not without inspiration from other Disney cruisers and DISigners. If you need ideas or want designs personalized, I'd recommend that you visit the "Creative DISign" board and meet DISigners there who would love to help you. Also, there are a few design groups on Facebook - "Graphics for All Lovers of Disney" and "Magical Mickey Graphics & More" that I know of. I'm going to give my old DISigner spiel... I do not recommend that you purchase graphics from sites like Ebay or Etsy. Not only are these sellers distributing copyrighted Disney graphics illegally, but many have actually stolen graphics from DISigners, profiting from something that is not their own work and was never intended to be sold.

 

Now if you're curious as to how I made my magnets...

 

For my door, I wanted to commemorate my graduation, and I love how other cruisers have been putting ears on the stateroom porthole number. The portholes on the doors are 7.5" in diameter.

 

To make my Mickey ears, I used AutoCAD (you can download the student version - what I use - for free from Autodesk). I simply imported and traced over an image of a graduation hat and added Mickey ears, fitting around a 7.5" circle.

 

I then saved as a 2007 DXF and opened in Adobe Illustrator (do not scale). There, I colored the cap "Regalia" (Clemson Purple), the tassel Clemson Orange, and added the tiger paw.

 

I then saved as a PDF and opened in Adobe Photoshop where I added shadows to the hat (by selecting the areas I wanted to shade using the polygonal lasso tool, shading with black paint set at a light opacity and no hardness) and texture to the tassel (by selecting the tassel with the polygonal lasso tool and adding a tassel texture I found on the internet, changing the layer to "overlay" and masking with my tassel selection).

 

I then saved as a PNG and opened again in Adobe Illustrator where I had to cut the hat in two pieces so that it could fit on an 8.5x11" sheet of paper.

 

All other body parts were much easier because they didn't have to fit around the porthole, and I did not add shading. I simply Google-searched "Mickey's Gloves," "Mickey's Pants," and found silhouettes that I liked which I imported into AutoCAD and traced, then saved as a 2007 DXF and opened in Illustrator to scale and paint.

 

All of the magnets were printed on magnetic sheets that I had ordered a long time ago from a website called "Print on It." And by a long time ago, I mean four years ago. I know now that I should have sprayed a fixative on the magnetic sheets because the ink (most noticeably black) was easy to rub off. However, to be honest, I didn't have time for that because I was scrambling to make magnets the night before my graduation!

 

My mom sewed my Fish Extender

 

I looked into buying them off Etsy (I said don't buy Disney graphics from Etsy... personally, I think other crafts are okay), but they were all $40+, and to be honest, I wasn't impressed by the craft of many of them. The ones which I found to be well-crafted were simple, and the more elaborate ones were just too many prints for my liking. Bottom line was that I knew I would not be happy with shipping my request off to someone across the states who makes hundreds of Fish Extenders a year. I knew exactly who I wanted to make my Fish Extender.... someone with a high standard of excellence who would do it for absolutely free..... my mother!

 

Luckily, she agreed! I asked her if she wanted me to purchase a pattern from Etsy, and she said no need - the dimensions were simple. We did download the Mickey Ear Hat font which had to be converted to 16 floppy disks for her Husqvarna Viking! We worked together to design the FE. I wanted something simple, traditional, and clean. Because our stateroom isn't actually a family, but rather an odd combination of myself and my two favorite people, I opted for the DCL logo, rather than "The Shingleton Family (+Max)".

 

I didn't see it until she gave it to me on the ship, and I am so happy with how it turned out! Thanks, Mom!!!

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After I put up all of our magnets, we headed to the Sail Away Party.

 

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Sail Away Party by vshingl, on Flickr

 

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Sail Away Party by vshingl, on Flickr

 

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Sail Away Party by vshingl, on Flickr

 

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Sail Away Party by vshingl, on Flickr

 

Sail Away drinks were surprisingly difficult to obtain. My dad purchased two ahead of me and wouldn't get out of the way as he was signing the check, so another lady passed me on the other side of the bartender. When she was finished, he didn't have any alcoholic drinks left, so he went to get me one. Well, I waited and waited... we decided to move over to the little bar beside the ice cream where Max bought a beer mug and had his first glass of Michelob Amber Bock (which he became obsessed with). The blender was broken at the bar, but the bartender I had ordered from had finally returned with a drink. I learned later that he was probably going back and forth from the wave bar which was up a deck and quite a walk through the crowd of people.

 

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Sail Away Party by vshingl, on Flickr

 

There is child-proofing everywhere on DCL (I forgot to mention that all of the drawers in the stateroom are slam-proof... you can push it closed, and it will stop and then slowly close the final inch so that no little fingers are jammed). Well, the glass barrier was above my head (I'm only five feet tall), so I had to shoot through glass and got all kinds of reflection. After the first day, I held the camera over the glass and no-scoped it. Looking back, I could have turned my LCD screen on live-view. That probably would have been smart.

 

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Cape Canaveral by vshingl, on Flickr

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After seeing Max's beer mug, Dad had to go get his own.

 

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Sail Away Party by vshingl, on Flickr

 

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Sail Away Party by vshingl, on Flickr

 

They really enjoyed their mugs throughout the cruise. The initial cost is $14.95 for the mug + the cost of draft beer. After that, you get 22 oz refills for the price of 16 oz.

 

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Aquaduck by vshingl, on Flickr

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