Trip Report From Reality....To Fantasy!

Hi everyone! I hope everyone is staying safe and quarantining well on this beautiful May day. I’ve been recently put on half-time furlough and by now my house is looking super spiffy, my town in Animal Crossings is looking amazing, and my family is sick of so much family time :p! So with that being said, I’ve decided to try my hand at my first trip report!

Who: Myself (Matt), my wife (Darci), and our then soon to be 10 year old (Amelia)
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What: Disney Fantasy 7-night cruise

When: November 29- December 7

Where: Port Canaveral with stops at Tortola, St Thomas, and CASTAWAY CAY!!!

Why: We celebrated 15 years of marriage in July ’19 and finally have the free time to celebrate! An added bonus is that being a CRNA, the OR is SUPER JAM PACKED from October to Christmas so any time I get off feels like heaven. This was a big cruise for us in that it pushed us into the Gold Castway Club AND was our Grand Slam cruise after the missus and I enjoyed a 4 nighter on the Magic earlier in February ’19 (for my wife’s 40th Bday). Really a great year of celebrating!

We ended up having to fly to Port Canaveral on Black Friday which was a bit stressful and pricier than usual but all in all, we had an on time flight and everything was super smooth. Touch down in Orlando was a moment of bliss seeing the sun spill in through the windows. It had been prematurely cold and windy in St Louis so Florida was a welcome respite. Our shuttle picked us up promptly and dropped us off at the Residence Inn Cape Canaveral.
I was the pack mule as usual ;)

Now usually, we hit the street and check out the port and the surrounding area. Galveston, Vancouver, and Miami are all wonderful ports and plenty to do around them. Port Canaveral? Noooooot so muchhhhhhh!!! Once we got ourselves acquainted with our room (which was lovely btw) we set off to the port to find….SOMETHING.


After we found the port (which was the source of much bickering because of the map was a bit lacking), we were lucky enough to see the Dream pulling away. Seagulls, sun, and the Dream, it was surreal!

We got hungry and stopped at Grills for some grilled shark and a draft YuengLing. Being from StL aka Budweiser country, Yuengling is always extra tasty.



After a long walk back to our room, we camped out watching Dr Pohl on Animal Planet and tucked in early.
The next AM, I got up early to hit the hotel gym and we enjoyed the continental breakfast and ended up having a great conversation with a family of 4 seated next to us. Turns out they would become great friends on our cruise and still FB friends with my wife. You honestly meet the nicest folks on a Disney cruise!

Up Next: The waiting is the hardest part!

Maelstrom Troll

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Original Poster
November 30: Today is THE day!

After taking a shuttle to the DCL port (which we shared with the above family), we had to wait a just a little while for security to open. We were early and expected the wait, so no big deal. They had us line up in the parking garage of all places but at least it was shaded and had a nice breeze. After passing through the TSA like security check, we got our Key to the World cards and found a comfy bench in the near empty cruise terminal. We had boarding group #4 so we expected that we’d be on the ship in no time flat. We were….mistaken!


I mean EMPTY!

There was way more Christmas decor up but I thought the tree was really well done.

In the past, we’ve gotten on the ship pretty quickly, definitely by noon with plenty of time to get lunch and walk around before our room was ready. So after getting seated around 1030, we sat…and sat…and sat… with no announcement and people continuing to pile in. Around noon, the familiar chime went off in the terminal only to say that DCL was having technical difficulties and to continue enjoying the terminal. By now, it was getting crowed and HOT. If I had to estimate, I’d say probably 2500+ people were sardined in now with little to no space to sit, people napping on the floor, in window ledges, and all about. Bathroom? Good luck getting to it! After what seemed like forever, they began to call numbers and we got the fight through the mob of people surrounding the doorway to the ship. It turns out the computers were down and they had to enter everyone by hand….like paper and pencil by hand! It was nuts!

So after a very tense and angst inducting wait, we finally headed up the ramp to our home for the next week and because it was after 1, lunch as well!


We splurged a little bit and bought a category 5A verandah room for this cruise so it was up on deck 9. This was our first verandah and we were pleasantly impressed!


And hello what do we have here!?

So going back in time a bit, we ran into a couple at our local Botanical Garden who were literally DECKED OUT head to toe in DCL gear. Hats, shirts, mugs, backpack and around this woman's neck was the DCL x Tiffany collab. I could feel my wife take a deep breath and I knew it was something we'd have to pony up for in the future. SO, after a little subterfuge, I was able to pre-order it online and have it in our room earning some bonus points!

After getting changed into more appropriate clothes for the weather, we went exploring! We usually cruise on the Wonder/Magic and haven't been on the Dream since 2013 so this was really fun for us. Mia loved the Oceaneer clubs and made a few friends pretty quickly.


Up next: More ship highlights!


Well-Known Member
This sounds awesome! Can't wait to hear more!

One question though; might I ask how tall you are? You look quite tall from your photos and the reason I ask is because my fiance is 6'2" and I was curious if anyone of similar height has trouble sleeping in those tiny cruise line beds 😅

Maelstrom Troll

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
This sounds awesome! Can't wait to hear more!

One question though; might I ask how tall you are? You look quite tall from your photos and the reason I ask is because my fiance is 6'2" and I was curious if anyone of similar height has trouble sleeping in those tiny cruise line beds 😅

I'm just about 6'2 but I look much taller because my wife is only 5'1 ;) I have no problems with the DCL beds but we've only ever cruised Disney so I'm not sure how they compare with the cruise standard. I also tend to sleep a couple inches away from foreign headboards. Headboards in general FREAK ME OUT. We stayed at a high end hotel in Vancouver and although the room was beautiful, the 4 foot tall fabric headboard kept me awake. I'm also the guy that goes in under the mattress/around piping/under edging with a flashlight in every hotel room looking for bugaboos.

Maelstrom Troll

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I promised my wife no one would see this picture but I know you guys are cool so here she is, gushing over her personal hero Thor :)

She used to smile like that at me too 😋

Anyway, while we were getting to know the Fantasy a bit better, people were still trickling in very slowly so we were able to get a lot really great pics without folks in the way. I LOVE the DCL Christmas decor and since the Gingerbread house was still very fresh, it smelled amazing.

The tree and all those lights combined with the Christmas tunes just puts me in a good mood.

Note the tree picture was actually taken after the lighting when the lobby was library level quiet. I think that people were just exhausted after their wait and ended up staying topside or in their rooms for the afternoon. The ship was eerily quiet for a few hours at least.

Next we explored Europa, the club district and it is my FAVORITE adult district of the 4 ships! Skyline was so great with amazing drinks and a friendly staff. It quickly became our new nightly chill spot. I actually liked it so much that I sometimes stole away there in the afternoon with my Kindle for some quiet reading time. It was super relaxing. Europa also has an amazing bathroom covered in murals and this hallway that looks like some otherworldly sand dune or something from StarWars. The other bars were cool too, especially La Piazza with its Negroni infuser. $10 well spent!

Freaky hallway

Wouldn't you want to go here? Not the sink of course but....

That fireplace is so cool that I forgot to get a picture of the actual feature wall of Skyline which is a massive screen behind the bar that looks into a different city every 15 minutes. I'm a bit embarrassed by this actually.

Back up to the top deck to check out the Aquaduck!

After some drinks and a snack we headed down to Tiffany to claim my wife's prize. And of course this happened too.

Yes, she's 10 and she bought something from Tiffany. Ok, it's a bad example I know but she gets $5 a week of allowance and with her Bday money she had over $150 to spend. She's a really, really good saver so we let her splurge and buy the teeniest, tiniest Tiffany key that they make. She was on cloud nine and kept asking if she could go back to the store to get it polished 😊
We finally made it to dinner after waiting for champagne and chocolates at Tiffany (free? you mean really free? fix me up!) and met our table mates. We've been pretty lucky with table mates over the last 5 cruises with only one family being a little...weird. Palatable but very weird....but our new table mates are amazing! They had an 8 year old girl and she and Mia became inseparable all well. The parents and their other 2 children were just as nice as can be but man did they every SPILL stuff. Our poor servers (Levandra & Loredana) were constantly putting down napkins. Our table looked like a napkin baklava :D Small price to pay though for fun meal times!

After dinner was the "A Fantasy Come True: Welcome Show" which was pretty good and then we hit the soft serve stand and got a few night time shots before heading to bed. We were pretty pooped! Of course I was so excited to take pics of Satellite Falls and was looking forward to spending time there but spoiler alert, it didn't happen all week!

Next up: Our 1st day at sea!


Well-Known Member
Wow, we have the same trip scheduled for this Dec including the same deck. When you get to the island portion of the report, please comment on the water temp.

Maelstrom Troll

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Original Poster
December 1: Our first day at sea.

We got up on our first real cruise day and headed to the character breakfast featuring the Disney Junior characters. Amelia was 9 at the time of the cruise (and is 10 now) so she was a little old for this breakfast but we did it anyway. I loved seeing her roll her eyes like she was too mature to meet Vampirina and Fancy Nancy who just a few years ago she would have gushed to meet. So to capitalize on being an embarrassing Dad, I told each of the characters that she was Amelia’s favorite. We died laughing while she forced a smile for all those pictures. :D

That sunrise! And that thumb!

Character Breakfast

She's going to put me into such a crap nursing home some day....😜

Next we headed back to our room after it had been turned down and low and behold another surprise was on the bed, this time an invitation to the Princess High Tea! And since no princess can attend High Tea without visiting a certain overpriced sparkly boutique treatment, off we headed to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique after a fast hot dog. Even though I HATE GLITTER with a passion, I have to admit she looked so beautiful when she was finished with getting ready. It’s funny how regal kids start to act when they have on a tiara, makeup, and a princess dress isn’t it? So while she and my wife headed down to High Tea, I took advantage of going to a watch seminar, getting beer, some sun, and some Aquaduck! No pics of all my drinking, sunning, and swimming...not that anyone should have to see that.

Yes little girl, your hair will be "this" big!




So the verdict was around an 8/10 for the high tea. Mia met new friends, got a ton of autographs, got some swag including a new doll, and some sweets bites. My wife thought it was a bit pricey for what you get, but it's the experience and the memory and since Mia is almost pre-teenish it was our last shot:(

We spent the afternoon tooling around the ship doing the Midship detective game, getting pictures, and then got changed for formal night. Dinner was at Royal Palace which was amazing and the show that night was a juggler named Max Winfrey. He was pretty good but I think the Christmas carolers who came on before him really stole the show. Not that I don’t appreciate juggling, especially on a moving cruise ship but the carolers really were that good!

I really love the Captain's Welcome Reception because of the fanfare, the staff looking prim & proper, and of course the free lukewarm Bud Light and all those fruity cocktails. I'm not sure how many Bud Lights I had because unlike on the Wonder where they look at you funny if you take more than A drink, the servers were all too happy to keep them rolling. My kind of ship!
Anway, I think the captain almost looks photoshopped doesn't he?

Anyway, off to bed for us, another Day at Sea awaits!
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Maelstrom Troll

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Original Poster
Here’s an extra pic of the carolers at the theater

And I mentioned my not getting a better pic of the SkyLine Lounge and Darci had tons! Lucky me!

And a bonus pic of my Mickey Mouse Damien Hirst Swatch while at sea. I’m a major watch nut which you’ll see soon enough :)


Well-Known Member
I'm just about 6'2 but I look much taller because my wife is only 5'1 ;) I have no problems with the DCL beds but we've only ever cruised Disney so I'm not sure how they compare with the cruise standard. I also tend to sleep a couple inches away from foreign headboards. Headboards in general FREAK ME OUT. We stayed at a high end hotel in Vancouver and although the room was beautiful, the 4 foot tall fabric headboard kept me awake. I'm also the guy that goes in under the mattress/around piping/under edging with a flashlight in every hotel room looking for bugaboos.

LOL! Thanks so much! It's nice to hear that the length of the beds doesn't give you any trouble. It'll hopefully be the same for us! :)

Maelstrom Troll

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Dec 2: Day 2 at Sea (aka the bittersweet sea day)...

Day 2 started off great! Since we literally had no plans today, we slept in and then knock-knock, our room service was right on time. Amelia already sleeps like a teenager but she didn't have much to complain about when she took in the view from her "bedroom". Sunny, smooth seas, and comfortably warm. Days like this are the reason we love to cruise!

Truthfully, we always order too much breakfast but we like to keep cereal boxes for our shore days to have for quick snacks. We also always get coffees, tea (for later), muffins, pastries, and if I get lucky sometimes I get muesli if I write it in and they are feeling generous.

Since we spent a lot of yesterday apart with my daughter's primping...and tea party...and princess stuff, we decided we'd hang together today for sure. So we did a bit more exploring to find as many interactive pieces of art that we could find and then hit the lobby for some more princesses.

Tiana, Cinderella, Belle, and Ariel were all there in their finest. Belle had her winter gown on which even as a guy I think is really beautiful.

Darci is very good at princess hair and styled her bun the same as the day before!
Princess Tiana Love!

As we were exploring the ship, we found this room. Amazing! As we stood there getting pictures, housekeeping opened the door and the cross wind from the verandah slammed it shut. It was a monster cascade of magnets!!!! An older gentleman quickly came out and we helped him put his wall back together. Super nice couple that were avid cruisers and they printed a lot of those magnets themselves. Really cool stuff.

We did a quick bite at Cabanas and I got my fill of seafood and despite the football field of food and dessert, Mia twisted our arms into getting some gelato from Sweet on You. Back story here is that I grew up in the Italian neighborhood of StL and have eaten a ton of different types of gelato. Amelia has inherited her love for the stuff as well so I figured despite the free ice-cream just a few yards away, it was worth the try....and it was rather delish! Mickey and Minnie inside were really cute too.

Then we briefly hit the shops which were much less crowded today, bought those hard to find Animators Palate butter spreaders, and did some drooling at the Bulgari boutique.
One day.......maybe........pricing is around $14k for those Octo Finissimos :( That's a lot of cruising!
I did try one on though and it felt nice. Too nice. One more reason I don't drive cars or try on jewelry that I can't afford! That being said I also checked out some Omegas, a Tag or two, and a couple of Hublot. I did practice some restraint though with the $150,000 tourbillon in the case. :p The Fantasy does have some amazing watch shopping for sure!

Anyway, it was still early afternoon and the sun was really nice and warm so we hit the Aquaduck and did some sunning while Amelia hung out (within sight) with her new friend Madison. The sea was still super calm despite there being a tropical storm some thousand knots away that was supposed to create some bad weather for us (anyone else sense any foreshadowing?).

Just plain gorgeous sea day!

Again we'll spare you swimsuit pics 👍

After an hour or two of delightful sunning and swimming, my wife got a text via our DCL app that our tour to the Baths out of Tortola was cancelled and we needed to hit Port Reservations ASAP. Apparently, that far, far away tropical storm had created some severe waves that made the parks and beaches unsafe. This was a crusher! We basically chose this trip because we'd be able to see the Baths and get some beach time. I even bought new hiking sandals and a water proof bag for it. 😥

So, I tossed my shirt on and ran down to the desk but about 50 people beat me there. Sadly, there wasn't a single tour left worth booking that my daughter would have enjoyed. I trudged back up to the pool deck and broke the news to my family And although we were bummed we were still in the Caribbean, on one of the most beautiful ships, and surrounded by Disney. It's hard to be TOO sad.

After getting a gin and tonic to drown my sorrows, we were off to Enchanted Garden for dinner.

EG was the first restaurant we ever got to experience on the Dream so many years ago and we love it. The menu is always good and the venue is possibly one of the most beautiful places that Disney has ever created. Funny enough I swear we were in the same table albeit on the Fantasy now. It brought back the memory of our assistant server on the Dream who was new and when she poured my water, she lost her footing and the pitcher went straight into my forehead. She was mortified but we and our neighboring family found it hilarious! She apologized the entire cruise! We had a nice meal with our new family friends who may have spilled balsamic vinegar that night.

After dinner we headed to the Walt Disney Theater for Aladdin, A Musical Spectacular! This was one of the shows that we were all very excited about and it definitely didn't disappoint. Tons of wonderful theatrics and the mix of lighting and sets was really good for a cruise ship IMO. No pics of the show of course, but I found here is the outside of the WD Theater.

Can anyone tell me if this is the same pic as the Dream has? I don't remember and have no pics of it to remind me. I know the Wonder and Magic have the office pic that the edited out his cigarette. You can still see a tiny swirl of smoke if you look hard. My wife is so tired of me pointing out this fact :)

It was late but Amelia wanted to see her friends at the Oceaneer's Club for an hour so we hit Skyline for a nightcap. We ended up buying a Drinks Passport for around $65 (I think) and got 7 drinks for the price of 6. If you finished your passport you got a booklet with all the drink recipes. Worth it!

Il Valentino (Negroni) & Londinium (Tangeray, lemon, lime, orange, mango puree, & champagne)

Then off to bed! Tortola was tomorrow but what to do????

Up next: Tortola, more watch talk, and we spent the morning in jail...
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