Trip Report Starting the New Year Off Right, With a Tan - A DCL Trip Report

Our 6-day cruise on the Disney Fantasy started January 2nd. Before the cruise my husband and I spent a few days in Disney World celebrating New Year's Eve in Epcot. As much fun as that was, I’m going to skip that part of the trip and focus on our adventures aboard the Disney Fantasy. Just a bit of background: This was my 14th Disney cruise, 2nd Disney pandemic cruise, and 30th cruise overall. So I’ve been on my fair share of cruises. I blame my parents, who also joined us on the cruise, for giving me the Disney/ cruise/ travel bug early on in life.


So let’s start off on Day 1: Port Canaveral.
We boarded the motor coach for the port around 9:20 in the morning and before we knew it our home for the next 6 nights was in site.
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All in all, the ride went by pretty quickly except for one large family of 12+ on board who took their masks off as soon as the bus departed. I mean I get it, no one wants to wear masks but those were the rules. Anyway, getting off the bus we were ushered to the makeshift testing village. The whole process was orderly, we were in a line, took our tests with the representative, then were directed to a sitting area to wait for our results. By this point we had already seen a few families get the dreaded secondary screening message which was code for someone in the party tested positive. So my anxiety was already heightened. After which felt like the longest 45 minutes of my life, we got the “Clear to Sail” as did a bunch of other people in the tent at the same time. Never have I felt a sense of relief and we were on our way to check

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Off the bus and onto testing...

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Leaving testing "Clear to Sail" in hand!




Unfortunately, we did see the family of 12+ from the bus get the dreaded message and we never saw them again. So it was clear just in the short time, a ton of people were not going to be making the ship that day.



The process to check in has been completely simplified thanks to the online check in. Rather than checking in upstairs, you check in prior to security. And it is much simpler than previously. All they do now is scan your port arrival bar code and take a picture of your passports. Then it is through security and up to the waiting area, which at this time had hardly anyone waiting. Before we even had a chance to sit down and wait for our boarding number, a lovely cast member asked us if we wanted to go ahead and board. From testing through check in, we were on board in under an hour!

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Rather than the sail away party, they now do a short show in the lobby welcoming you aboard. I really enjoyed the quick show. It doesn’t replace the sail away party but it was a nice change of pace. One difference we already picked up on by this point from our previous covid Disney cruise was with pictures. In September, we could briefly take our masks off for the professional photographers but not anymore while inside. Any pictures they take inside the ship, you have to be wearing a mask which kind of stunk but we completely understand.


Another great improvement to the cruise experience is the updated muster drill. Once you leave the welcome aboard show, you now find your muster station and then take a picture of it in the DCL navigator app. So much better than the old way of having to fight your way through a crowd when getting to and leaving your muster station.


From there, it was time for lunch ...​
 

twall0415

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 1: Continued

As much as I enjoy Cabanas I’m a bigger fan of having the sit down lunch in Animators Palate. We had a fantastic server Marie who was hilarious and had so much personality. She got us into the vacation spirit right away. Even though she only served us this one meal, she still remembered us and would say hey anytime we walked passed her on the ship. We also celebrated with a bottle of champagne to kick off our vacation and to help ring in the new year off right (even if it was already January 2nd). The food was good. I had some really flavorful empanadas, gumbo soup, and some beef while my other half went for the pasta.

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By that point my parents, who “politely” asked me not to post their pictures online, let us know they were onboard and had actually just reserved the rainforest room for all of us on our second sea day. While I have experienced the rainforest room before, this was going to be the first time for my parents. But we will get to that a little later on. We then met them up in the adult area for a bit before heading to our rooms. We could see a few number of ships in port that day. RCCL’s Harmony and Enchantment, Carnival’s Mardi Gras and Paradise, and the MSC Meraviglia. So a full day in port. I’ve only seen the port with more ships once, after our self dubbed “Hurricane Avoidance Cruise” on the Dream back in 2019 which turned our 3 night Bahama cruise to a 6 night Caribbean Cruise. But that’s a story for another time.
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Back in our rooms, we got our luggage unpacked and relaxed for a little bit before going back outside to watch us sail away. Our room attendant Made stopped us on the way out to make sure everything was good with our room and we got all our luggage. He also asked us since my parents had the room next door if we wanted to open the balcony partition. So that was one less thing to need to ask for.


Sailing away, we had perfect weather. At this point we could really see how empty the ship was. We had no problem finding a spot on the upper deck to see us leaving port which was not the norm two years ago.


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Up next was showtime and for tonight’s showing Aladdin. While I had seen the show before, you can tell the impact of the Covid surge as there was a noticeable number of cast members absent from the numbers. Not that the show wasn’t good but you could see cast members were clearly missing. And this was another time of how evident it was that the ship was no where near at capacity. Even with social distancing, there were tons of available seats throughout the theater.





It was then time for dinner in Enchanted Garden where we met our dining team Eduardo and Adrian. They were a rockstar team the whole trip. Again, another ton of empty tables around us. The food was the standard menu and consistent with other cruises. So nothing new there ecxcept for needing to use the QR codes that seem to be everywhere nowadays. While I miss the traditional menus, they are more convenient for me at least. The dinner ended with the Disney characters dancing around the dining room.
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All in all, it was a great first day aboard and we were all exhausted and ready for bed. Stay tuned for the next day… which was a full day at sea.​
 

Darstarr

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
No
I’ve only seen the port with more ships once, after our self dubbed “Hurricane Avoidance Cruise” on the Dream back in 2019 which turned our 3 night Bahama cruise to a 6 night Caribbean Cruise. But that’s a story for another time.
….which is why you always pack extra underwear! 😂

I haven’t been on a cruise in forever and I am enjoying hearing about it.
Your smiles are infectious! (Can one say infectious during a pandemic🤷‍♀️)

…also, would love to hear the hurricane avoidance cruise story.
 

twall0415

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day Two: Starting off at Satellite Falls


Typically on a vacation, I like to sleep in but for some reason no matter how much I tried to this trip, I was somehow up everyday well before 8:30. So we were up and on our way out bright and early. A quick fun fact about myself is that I am not a fan of breakfast, which means right on out to Satellite Falls we went. Which was ultimately a good call because we had our Remy brunch later on in the day, which would be another first for both of us. By the time we made it up, only two groups of people were lounging. So we had our fair share of places to sit.

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A view I never get tired of

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The awkward trying to take a selfie in the sun photo


Side note: As much as I enjoy the adult pool areas on the Disney ships, they do not compare to the solariums on Royal Caribbean. I feel their pool game is much better with larger pools and more hot tubs. But don’t get me wrong, I still love Satellite Falls, but I think Disney could do better. I’ve never been a fan of the traditional adult pool either. It always felt claustrophobic and crowded to me each and every time with too much shade. End rant



After about 3 hours in the sun, it was getting close to time for our Remey brunch. So we went back to the room to get ready. On the way back to the room we noticed something new for this cruise. The towel art on deck. Sitting onto of one of the towel stands was some creative towel art. These would continue each day of the cruise, which I thought was a nice touch and just a bit of fun.

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Up Next: Our Remy Brunch
 
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twall0415

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day Two Continued: Remy Brunch



This was our first time experiencing Remy and we were not disappointed. When we first got to the podium, our table wasn’t quite ready yet so they sat us in Meridian to wait for a minute. This definitely confused the bar staff because they thought we were there for snacks and a drink and didn’t realize we were just waiting for our table. After the confusion and a few minutes later, we decided to ordered a quick drink but as soon as we ordered our hostess came to take us to our table. So talk about my poor timing. Still, they couldn’t have been better about it. Our hostess waited with us for our drinks and actually brought them with us to the table on a silver platter while talking with us pointing out details of the restaurant.
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Our server Remy (the irony not lost on me), explained how the brunch menu worked and gave us an overview of what to expect over the courses as well as if we were going to do the wine pairing. Which I happily said yes to.

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I wish I could remember the names of the courses and more importantly I wish I took some pictures but unfortunately I was in such a food and wine coma, I could barely think. The one dish I partially remember had in it some chicken sourced from North Carolina, where we are from. So again some more situational irony. To add to the experience, the knowledge of the food and explanation from Remy definitely helped to make this an unforgettable dining experience. It definitely was worth the price tag and I felt like I needed to be rolled out of there.

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It was also here that we learned from one of the other servers that apparently 200 families were denied boarding on the ship a few days earlier and that we were only sailing with about 1,080 other guests. Apparently over 400 families cancelled a few weeks prior too. Because of that, there were apparently a ton of open reservations for the Remy dinner. As tempting as it was to book, we decided against it for something to look forward to next time.




Up Next: Shopping, an unexpected character deck party, and more food​
 

twall0415

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 2: Continued:


After Remy and a much needed nap, we awoke from our food comas and explored some more around the ship. We stopped by the gift shops and much of it was the same as in early September. One thing I did notice, even on day 2 of the cruise, a ton of items were already sold out in the smaller sizes. We did find a couple new things including a dog collar for our puppy Pebbles back home.
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As much as I love her, Pebbles is a horrible model, so this is as good as it’s going to get :)



As much as I sail other cruise lines, I feel it is the people at Disney that go above and beyond, even in the gift shops. This difference is nothing I’ve been able to ever verbalize but there is just something about the Disney crew that make the difference. Not to say that the crew on other ships aren't amazing because they all are hard working and super. It's just a special touch Disney has. We met Claudia, one of the shop crew members. A quick chat wound up turning into an almost 20 minute conversation. Even though this was the first time we met her, we felt like we knew her for years and had some great conversations. Anytime we walked by the shops during the cruise, she would see us just to say hi remembering us both by name. Kind of a small thing but definitely something that felt special. So if you ever see her on board, make sure you take a few minutes to talk with her and let her know Tyler and Jacob say hi!



After shopping, the seas started to get a little rough and that’s when the captain made an announcement letting us know we were going to be late getting into Costa Maya due to the strong winds and currents. This also meant our ATV tour got pushed back to later in the day, which I wasn’t complaining about.
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As the time went on, the seas continued getting stronger and if you weren’t sure before, you knew you were on a ship at that point. Still nothing like going through a hurricane but we heard a lot of people were getting sea sick.

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We continued roaming the ship just enjoying walking the upper decks when we stumbled upon a Mickey Dance Party outside by the main funnel. I’m sure the weather kept a lot of people away but it was almost like a ghost town. So we decided might as well stay and watch from deck 12.

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As much of a planner as I am, it’s things like this that make a nice surprise. Just stumbling onto something small like this.






Up Next: Dinner and the Tube​
 

twall0415

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 2: Continued


Tonight was dinner at the Royal Court. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures but I can assure you the food was good. Honestly, I was still so full from lunch that the only reason I went to dinner was for my favorite desert, the soufflé. On the way out we did see a couple of characters dressed up in their best.

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After dinner we decided to check out Europa, the adult only area of the ship with bars and lounges. Tonight was the first performance of John Cassidy in the Tube. We learned that every show they do twice due to social distancing. So there were two performances (four of the main stage shows) each cruise. That way no one would miss out on anything.

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We arrived about 30 minutes before the show and instead of the Tube being open, it was roped off. Typically on the cruise, the main entertainment venue remains open throughout the evening and you can walk in at any time but it seemed that they were only opening them about 15 minutes prior to the show. So in the meantime we went to Ooh-La-La, the champagne bar to sit and listen to the live music. They were playing some ragtime piano music. Not my typical jam but it was entertaining.
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After about 15 minutes, we got in line for the comedy/ magic show. With the motion of the ocean, some of the jokes and tricks didn’t work out like they were suppose to but it was still a good time. Also different this cruise, after any event, the venue quickly shut down afterwards. They still kept a couple of the other lounges like Skyline but most everything else was closed.

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All in all, another great day.
Next up: A rainy day in Costa Maya

 

twall0415

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 3: Costa Maya

The day started off with some clouds as we made our way back to Satellite Falls where I read for a little bit with a nice cup of tea. After a little bit the sky opened up and it began pouring rain.

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It was then time for us to head to our meeting point for our port adventure. After a bit of chaos in the lounge, we made it off the ship and were on the way to our ATV excursion. The weather was still a bit mixed but still better than at home where we had learned it had started snowing. So I’ll definitely take the rain. The cool thing is Disney provided everyone with free ponchos. Unfortunately I didn’t grab them walking off the ship thinking Jacob had grabbed them. So none for us!

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This made for quite the adventure on the open air bus to the ATV port. The 30 minute drive was a little rough but at least the rain held off. I'm just glad we grabbed some extra towels because we were drenched by the end of the drive. Our tour lasted about an hour and was a lot of fun. The guides were great and made sure everything went smoothly, including when my ATV died halfway through the trip. Also we got completely covered in mud. So be prepared if you ever decide on this excursion.
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Then it was back on the bus to the beach for about two hours. While the weather was still rough, we made the best of it and spent some time just relaxing. We also learned during the tour, due to getting into port so late and some issues getting tours off on time, Disney gave everyone 50% of their excursion in the form of a refundable stateroom credit. So quite the unexpected surprise.

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Even though the weather was rough in port, we still had a fun time with no regrets.

Up Next: More of Day 3​
 

twall0415

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 3: Costa Maya Continued

Back on board and after a wardrobe change, it was time for the first showing of Frozen in the Walt Disney Theater. Because we were running a bit late back from our tour, I didn’t think we were going to make it but I apparently had nothing to worry about. The show actually started 15 minutes late. Even a few minutes prior to showtime, the theater was mostly empty.
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During the show I still noticed a few missing cast during certain numbers and one actor wearing a mask the whole show. So it was interesting to say the least. But the show was still impressive even being down a few dancers.


Next up was the first trivia in the Tube we went to this cruise: Ultimate Disney Park trivia. Unfortunately, it would not be my day to win a Mickey Medallion and we came in with a respectable 23/25 questions right. I’m still embarrassed with the two super easy questions I missed. I’m so ashamed, I refuse to list the two questions here. Just trust me, it was super easy.

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After trivia was dinner in Animators Palate where the Crush Turtle Talk show was performed. It is very similar to the show in the parks except you’re just eating while Crush talks to you. I loved that we got sat by some of the Wall-E props since it is one of our favorite movies. Again, another night of good food but if you have been on the ships before, they are still the same menus. So it can get a bit repetitive.

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Last up for the night was the second showing of John Cassidy’s magic/ comedy performance in the Tube. This time it went a little more smoothly than the night before. Different enough that it was still worth seeing a second time.
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Next Up: Day 4 - Another full day at sea
 

ShookieJones

We need time for things to happen.
Premium Member
Still following along! Love the attitude toward the weather! Honestly who cares when you're living your best life on a Disney Cruise!?!
 

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