Thursday, June 19, 2014

2014 Disney Fantasy Western Caribbean Cruise - Glad I Did + Wish I Did

Disney Cruise Line Glad I Did / Wish I Did Review

This is my personal reflection on decisions that I am happy I made and things that I wish I had done differently on my May 10, 2014 sailing on the Disney Fantasy 7-day Western Caribbean cruise from Port Canaveral. Please note that these are my own opinions, and I am in no way affiliated with any cruise line.

Glad I Did / Glad I Did Not

I'm glad I booked a Disney cruise.  Disney cruises are expensive - more so than other mass-market cruise lines.  We could have stayed in a suite on the nearly identical 7-Day Western Caribbean itinerary of the Carnival Sunshine for less than the price of our family ocean view room on the Disney Fantasy.  That being said, I found that Disney Cruise Line offers a great product.  The ship is the most beautiful I've ever sailed.  The stateroom was perhaps the best I've ever had.  The entertainment was wonderful and and by far the most talented theater cast I have seen at sea.  Castaway Cay is the nicest, most extensive cruise line-owned private island I've ever been to, and it's the only one with an adults-only beach.  So yes, Disney Cruise Line is expensive, but I am quite happy in my choice of graduation present.



Disney Fantasy Embarkation

I'm glad that I did not book a balcony room.  Like I said above, Disney Cruise Line is expensive.  I was initially set on a family balcony stateroom.  However, after I realized that I could get a family ocean view stateroom for $300 per person less (and was located in a much more desirable location), I started exploring that option, and after Rachel and Max both agreed that they wouldn't mind having a window, rather than a verandah, we booked it.  And I am so glad we did.  This is by far the best ocean view stateroom I have ever stayed in.  The window was over 5 feet in diameter (I know because I could stand in it) and had a window seat.  It was nice because the window allowed in so much natural light and great visibility of the ocean.  From sitting on the bed, you could see out our huge window.  Rachel said that she might have enjoyed that she might have enjoyed our window more than a balcony!  While I don't think we would have hated having a balcony, we definitely didn't miss it.

Disney Fantasy Family Porthole Stateroom

I'm glad that I decorated our door.  Door decorating wasn't a completely new concept to me, as I used to design magnets for people going on Disney cruises, and I have gone as all-out as to cover the door in wrapping paper to as 'minimalist' as hanging a wreath on our Christmas cruises.  However, I'm really glad that I took the time to design a theme for our door and make my own graphics.  I'm also glad that I printed them out on magnet paper (this was more of luck than an actual plan, since I already had a pack of magnetic sheets) because they stuck so well.  It made our room easy to find, and we got several compliments from passerbys.

Disney Cruise Line Door Magnets

I am glad that we went to Playa Mia in Cozumel.  Our morning in Cozumel started out a little crazy, as I had done no research before the cruise as to what we should do.  I could only rattle off names of beaches that I remembered people praising online.  It was our cab driver who suggested Playa Mia, and we initially wrote him off.  We were going to return to Paradise Beach which Rachel and Mom had visited over spring break and weren't too crazy about.  Rachel had suggested that morning that we visit a water park in Cozumel, but she couldn't remember the name until she saw the billboard for Playa Mia, so after another debate on how to spend the afternoon, we gave our cab driver another (third) different location to take us!  At only $30 per person for unlimited use of the beach, pool, slides, aqua park, and non-motorized water sports, Playa Mia was a good deal and great fun.

Playa Mia

Wish I Did / Wish I Did Not

I wish I had started on my Fish Extender gifts earlier.  It was actually really difficult for me to decide whether the Fish Extender gift exchange was a "Glad I Did" or "Wish I Did Not", so I decided, rather, to categorize it as a "Wish I Did".  The Fish Extender gift exchange involved a lot of work pre-cruise and was stressful and a true pain in the butt.  But while I'm rather confident that I will not participate in one so large again, I'm glad that I did it for the experience.  And it was rather fun to get little gifts in our Fish Extender throughout the cruise.  Speaking of which, I was so happy to be able to display the beautiful Fish Extender made by my mother.  However, I did not allot nearly enough time to making Fish Extender gifts.  I spent a lot of time stalking a Facebook group which consisted of women who had a ridiculous amount of time on their hands to complete Disney-inspired arts and crafts, worrying that my gifts weren't going to be expensive or creative enough, rather than just making the dang gifts.  After receiving gifts from everyone else, I felt that my gifts were actually quite similar in terms of budget and scale.  What I learned was that the Fish Extender gift exchange does not need to be a ridiculous crafting competition, so if the crazy "FE Gifters" are psyching you out, too, leave the Facebook group!!

Disney Cruise Fish Extender Gifts

I wish I brought a pirate costume.  Like I said in my post on Pirate Night, I had intended to come up with a pirate costume, but in all of the pre-cruise chaos, I simply forgot.  So many others had brought great pirate costumes, and I really wish that I could have joined in on the fun!  I feel like a pirate costume would be a good thing to invest in, considering that I enjoy going to Disney Parks special events which allow you to wear costumes (like Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party), but it wouldn't be something too embarrassing to wear to a non-Disney party.

Disney Cruise Pirate Night

I wish I ordered a Mickey Mouse ice cream bar.  This is actually my mother's only regret that she could think of post-cruise, so I am kind of stealing it from her.  Researching for the cruise, I had learned that you can order a Mickey Mouse ice cream bar like they sell in the parks either through room service or at dinner.  Rachel ordered a Mickey Mouse ice cream bar one night, but I never did, and I'm not quite sure why.  But writing this post makes me really want one.

Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Bar on Disney Cruise Line

I wish we spent more time in Europa.  I'm actually surprised that we didn't hang out more in the adult-only district on the Disney Fantasy.  We did visit The Tube several times for adult-only entertainment and Ooh La La twice for pre-dinner drinks, but we never "hit up the town" and did a bar crawl.  The lounges were so well-themed that I really can't believe we didn't spend more time there.

Disney Fantasy La Piazza Lounge

I wish our cruise was longer!!!  The Disney Fantasy is a beautiful ship, and I would have loved to spend three more days on her.  Seven days just isn't long enough!