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Disney Fantasy Cruise Review

We’re talking about summer bucket lists this week. Well, here’s something for your life bucket list: It’s time to add Disney Cruise to your top 10.

Perfect. Vacation. With Kids. End of Story.  Is that enough?

Disney Fantasy Cruise Review

We got lucky enough to be invited on the press preview of the Disney Fantasy last month and since we got home I’ve been plotting family reunion cruises with both sides of our family (yes, trying for two separate trips).  This is all aside from the fact that I’ve  just lost worked off my Disney Fantasy cruise food baby, so it only makes sense to go back and carb up!

Here’s my Disney Fantasy Cruise review of what we loved, and what makes a Disney cruise unique – or in other words, why I’m trying to find every chance under the warm Caribbean sun to go back.

The Disney Fantasy Ship

The ship’s layout and decor is amazing down to every detail (themed after travel and cruising in the 20’s and 30’s), but wandering about the ship, of course, are all of the characters. You and your little ones are bumping into princesses, pirates, and all of your favorite Disney characters right and left. What I loved is that there weren’t big huge lines, and that even if the character looked like they were on their way out, no matter what, they would stop and interact with the kids and pose for a photo.

Disney characters on the disney cruise ships

Every little detail of the ship is designed, in essence to come alive or interact. You might be stopped staring at a painting on the wall, and it will suddenly start moving.  On one floor the big windows (you know, the circle kind on a big ship) are not only designed to be windows, but they are also curved benches like window seats.  The fun is really in every little detail.  My kids favorite was in one elevator as you’d move up or down the animations on the wall would change.

Here’s a quick view looking down from the 3rd floor onto the main lobby of the ship.  The kids were down there dancing with characters.

the grand lobby of the disney fantasy

Even the outside of the ship had every little detail considered. I love how Dumbo is a permanent fixture on the ship.

Dumbo on Disney cruise ship review

The not so little detail that’s a fixture of the ship? There are over 1,450 “cast and crew” members.  What that means, is that if you need something, there’s someone (or 5 someones) there to help.

The Sleeping Arrangements

Fitting 5 people in one stateroom can be tricky. On most ships, staterooms can’t accommodate a family of five without an upgrade. First of all I was ecstatic when I heard we didn’t need to get 2 staterooms, second of all, I was amazed when I walked in and saw how the room was set up.  At first I thought we’d been put in the wrong room. I could not figure out how the couch would pull out and assumed there wasn’t a bed there. But I could see that there was a Murphy bed in the wall.

When we came back later that night and our room was turned down, I almost died of excitement (and I’m not overstating that, I really love bunk-beds). The couch and the wall above it were transformed into an awesome set of bunk-beds and the ceiling above revealed a constellation of stars!

Disney Fantasy Cruise Review

Our side of the room? First of all, I’m a pillow and mattress snob – and I slept like a baby. Cozy bed, and the perfect pillows.  There is also a thick drape/curtain that pulls out in between the master bed and the kids area of the room. I could put all 3 kids to bed on their side of the room, and pull the drape and read on my side of the room.  It was perfect.

Furthermore here’s what you wake up to:

Deck view from the Disney Fantasy

disney fantasy Caribbean cruise


The Disney Fantasy The Water Slide

You know that whoever came up with this water slide idea is like the Disney Imagineer of the year. Word to their mother! More details on the Aqua Duck over here.

The slide itself juts out just a bit over the edge of the boat and circles the upper decks. If I would have let them, my 2nd and 3rd grader would have stayed on that slide from sun-up to sun-down.

Disney Fantasy Waterslide Aqua Duck

A view of the Aqua Duck when we first got on the ship


The Disney Fantasy’s pools and water play areas were amazing. The Aqua Lab was cool for my elementary aged kids, but what I really loved was Nemo’s Reef for my 3 year old. I’m big on containment. There’s one way in and one way out so keeping track of her in there was easy. Here she is plugging up the holes in Bloat the Pufferfish.

Disney Fantasy Cruise Nemo's Reef

The Spa

I don’t have any pictures, well, because I’d left all of my belongings in my locker, but the treatment rooms in their spa are the most amazing things I’ve seen. Big huge windows looking out over the ocean. Gorgeous!

I did acupuncture for the first time in my life.  It was probably the most relaxing thing I’ve ever done. I’m pretty sure it made me pass out.

More this week:

The Food (aka the reason for my food baby), The Entertainment, The Private Island, Child Care, Tips for Making it Affordable and the question on all paranoid moms mind? What happens if there’s a hurricane?


More on TodaysMama:

The Disney Wonder

First Timer to Disneyland

Traveling with Kids

Disney Fantasy Cruise Review: Castaway Cay

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Comments (20)

  1. Kellie 10/19/2014 at 9:08 pm

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  4. Kelsie ramos 02/02/2014 at 6:37 pm

    Hi, I have a question witch ship is this magic,dream,fantasy, or wonder. Please respond back quickly, my family wants to do the Disney cruise and I really love dumbo so I want to get a ticket for the 1 with dumbo on it. 🙂

    • Rachael 02/02/2014 at 8:24 pm

      The Disney Fantasy has Dumbo on the ship! Have fun!

  5. Pearland Movers 04/16/2013 at 1:27 pm

    You made some really good points there. I checked on the net for more info about the issue
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  6. Katey 05/03/2012 at 6:21 am

    My family went on the Dream this past December ( all decked out for Xmas, was beautiful). Anyway it was a whole family 11 of us, grandparents, 4,14 and 19 year old, and 30 and 40 something’s. Everyone one had an amazing time. Way exceeded out expectations. We loved it SO much we are crushing again 9 of us this time , on the Fantasy in 317 days! Honestly the best vacation ever!

    • Rachael Herrscher 05/03/2012 at 11:18 pm

      So awesome! I love that you are counting down the days! (I’m not going to lie, I would be too!)

  7. ~j. 05/01/2012 at 1:43 pm

    This is TOTALLY already on my life list. How would a family of seven be accommodated?

  8. Carly 05/01/2012 at 11:45 am

    This looks amazing! What a fun trip. Loved your review and I can’t wait to hear about the food!

    • Rachael Herrscher 05/01/2012 at 2:34 pm

      The food is series. I don’t even know if I can say that I was carrying just one food baby, it might have been twins or triplets! 😉

  9. Kathy 05/01/2012 at 10:48 am

    This is already on my bucket list! Thanks for sharing, loved learning more abou it!

    • Rachael Herrscher 05/01/2012 at 2:35 pm

      The problem is that I don’t think I can take my kids on any other vacations. Spoiled! Childcare anytime you want it, food anytime you want it, super safe pools etc. It’s so low maintenance —

  10. Stephanie O'Dea 05/01/2012 at 10:23 am

    Thank you for writing this—I found you via twitter from Kristen on Dine and Dish. I’ve been mapping out costs for a Disney Cruise reunion for quite a while, and I’ll tell you— the hurricane thing is what freaks me out the most.
    I’m interested to see your report! And I appreciate the age of your kids— my youngest is 2, and my oldest is 10. What do you think the cut-off age is for a Disney Cruise? If we can’t afford to go until age 13, is that too old? Did you check out the tween/teen offerings?

    • Rachael Herrscher 05/01/2012 at 2:43 pm

      I’ll talk more about the hurricane stuff this week, but the short of it is that they are all over the weather like a sea hawk. They simply steer around hurricanes so they never really have problems with them. The only way it can really impact your trip is that it would change some of the places you would stop at and if it were really bad in Florida they’d redirect you to Texas etc.

      As for teens! They really have planned for every demographic amazingly. There are private “teen areas” that were cool, teen programs in the day, etc. Here’s a list of some of the kid areas on the boat (including teen):

      “Vibe” was pretty cool:

      Plus at 13 I still think you are happy to bounce between worlds. There is a movie theater on the ship and they show a good variety of movies. We went to Tangled, War Horse and John Carter.

      Even on the private Island they have different areas and beaches for different age groups. But the family beach has a killer water slide in the middle of the ocean that anyone would want to go on.

      I know this is a long answer, but there is a ton to do – I wouldn’t worry for a second about teenagers.

      • Stephanie O'Dea 05/01/2012 at 4:03 pm

        ohmygosh those links are amazing. I’ve got a 7yr old drooling over my shoulder! I really appreciate the hurricane info— the cruising industry has gotten such bad press lately, I began looking more into purely land vacations– the kids REALLY want to tie Universal (Harry Potter, specifically) into a trip, and to do it all is a bit overwhelming, but we’re on the *other* coast, so if we’re gonna do it, we should do it, you know?
        thank you!

  11. Kristen 05/01/2012 at 10:10 am

    I think a cruise is the BEST vacation ever. I can’t wait to take my kids on one someday! Thanks for the great review.

    • Rachael Herrscher 05/01/2012 at 2:44 pm

      Seriously! I never thought I’d be a “Cruise” person – but it is the ultimate in low maintenance vacations. It almost ruins all other vacations!

    • Rachael Herrscher 05/01/2012 at 2:45 pm

      And dude. Have you seen the Disney Family adventures? We got this little magazine on our shuttle ride home. It’s stuff like “go to Ireland and stay in a real castle” etc. etc. It was blowing my mind