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Saturday, October 7, 2023

Disney Fantasy New Year's Cruise - Glad I Did/Wish I Did

Glad I Did/Wish I Did posts are a fun way for me to quickly share with others what worked and what didn't. It's been really helpful for us to refer back to over the years when preparing for our next cruise.

Glad I decorated our Stateroom Doors

Door decorations are very popular on Disney Cruise Line, and I'm always glad to partake. In the past, I've printed the door decorations onto magnetic sheets. This time, I made the door decorations out of metallic cardstock because I wanted Mickey's hat and shorts to be shiny and festive for New Year's. To magnetize them, I used super strong Neodymium magnets that I stuck to the paper with double-sided removable glue dots which ended up sticking to the door much better than the magnetic sheets. Because I went with fancy paper, I wouldn't say this is a cheaper way of making magnets than with the magnetic sheets, but at least this way I can reuse the magnets for our next cruise door decor.

Glad we rented a Cabana at Castaway Cay

Rachel was able to snag a cabana reservation at Serenity Bay, the adults-only beach at Disney's private island, Castaway Cay. We enjoyed having a "home base," and the refrigerator was nice to have - we used it to stash the beer we brought with us. Cabanas have increased in price since our cruise in January 2023. As of April 2023, the Serenity Bay Cabanas are $493.90 for the first four guests, and $50 per person for up to two additional guests.

Glad we brought beer back on the ship in Jamaica

DCL has one of the more generous alcohol policies for a cruise line. Each guest can bring two bottles of wine or six beers onto the ship at each port of call. We took advantage of this policy in Jamaica and each brought a six pack back onboard which we then took with us to our cabana at Castaway Cay.

Glad we stayed on the ship in Grand Cayman

After visiting Grand Cayman on the Celebrity Summit over Christmas, I was super happy with our decision to stay on the Disney Fantasy when we visited Grand Cayman. Because Grand Cayman is a tender port, getting on and off the ship is time consuming.

Glad we booked the Champagne Tasting

I've been to the Champagne Tasting on both the Disney Wonder and the Disney Fantasy, and both were unique experiences that I really enjoyed. They really do a great job of demystifying Champagne, and the food pairings on the Fantasy make Champagne more approachable. It's truly a bummer that they've jacked the price to $75 per person, but I think even at the increased rate, I would recommend this seminar to others. It's a great way to try different Champagnes and learn from sommeliers who are passionate in a welcoming environment.

Judy was glad she discovered Cove Cafe and Vista Cafe.

Cove Cafe is an adults-only lounge located on Deck 9 by the Cove Pool. They serve specialty coffees, wine, cocktails, and offer light bites. Vista Cafe is located at Deck 4 Atrium, opposite Shutters, and serves coffee, pastries, and cocktails.

Wish we went to the New Year's Eve Deck Party earlier

The New Year's Eve Deck Party was so much fun, I just wish we went there earlier!

Wish we booked Mr. Sancho's instead of Nachi Cocom

I'm glad we tried Nachi Cocom, but we learned that we prefer the livelier party vibe of Mr. Sancho's. Mr. Sancho's is larger and has two pools and loud music. Nachi Cocom is smaller and quiet and limits the total guest count to 130 per day - great if you want a peaceful day at the beach, but not the place to go if you're looking for a party.

Wish I got a Konk Kooler in Castaway Cay

I learned the hard way that the bars close early on Castaway Cay - I think the Heads Up Bar closed at 2:45. Next time, I'll make sure to get a Konk Kooler early in the day!

Wish I purchased photos and merchandise earlier in the cruise

I actually didn't purchase any merchandise this cruise. I wanted to, but nothing really spoke to me. Stove found a baseball cap that he wanted, but when he went back to the shop with me to get it a few days later, it was already sold out. Stock on the cruise ship is limited, so if you see something that you like early in the cruise, don't wait to purchase! I also wish that I would've viewed and purchased photos earlier because it's always a madhouse when trying to buy photos on the last day.

Stove wishes he didn't watch Avatar Way of Water for 3.5 hours of the day.

He also didn't watch it in one sitting because he was trying to fit in between things we had planned, so he kept timing it to catch different portions of the movie at different showings. Stove watched Avatar like it was a chore. Seriously, I passed him in the hallway and asked him where he was headed, and he grumbled that he had to go catch the middle part of Avatar.

I'm officially done with Palo.

I mean it this time! I've had mediocre experiences with Palo Dinner on the Disney Fantasy and Disney Wonder, but we had a really great Palo Brunch on the Disney Dream in 2017. We returned to Palo for Brunch on this cruise and the experience was just..... meh. Palo Brunch is $45 per person and no longer includes the buffet table (not a deal breaker for me because I'm not a fan of buffets, but I know that many are disappointed in the removal of the buffet table). The menu is a very Americanized version of brunch which is interesting considering that Palo is supposed to be an authentic Italian restaurant (heavy sarcasm with the use of the word authentic). I do not think that Palo Brunch is worth its $45 upcharge. You can get great quality food in other locations in the ship's many themed dining rooms with unique menus at no additional charge and spare yourself from the pretentious atmosphere of Palo.

All in all, it was a great cruise. Documenting what I was glad I did and what I wish I did helps me not make the same "mistakes" on my next cruise, and can hopefully help others reflect on what is valuable to them when it comes to a cruise vacation!

Next: Disney Fantasy New Year's Cruise - Rating & Review