Very Merry Time Cruise - A Post Trip Report

We are in the Orlando airport waiting to check in for our flight home after an incredible week at sea! We boarded the Disney Fantasy on Christmas Eve for their 7 night Eastern Caribbean cruise featuring stops at Tortola, St Thomas and Castaway Cay. It was an amazing way to spend half of our Christmas break and we had the best time. Some thoughts:

**Travelling Party & Cabin **

Our group consisted of myself, DH and our two daughters, DD18 and DD16. The trip was billed as a sixteenth birthday present for my younger daughter but who are we kidding? It was definitely for all of us.

We booked a Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Balcony. It’s not a lot of space for four people but none of us are particularly large so it worked for us. There is a ton of storage space in the closets and drawers. We completely unpacked our suitcases and didn’t even fill up all of the available drawers!

We had a fantastic surprise on arrival to our cabin. Our travel agent had our room decorated with stickers, magnets and hanging decorations to celebrate our cruise. She also included a bottle of wine which DH enjoyed throughout the trip and two Marvel themed water bottles which were great to take on excursions. It was so nice of her!

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**Christmas Extras **

Since this was a Very Merry Time cruise, there were a ton of Christmas extras. The decorations on board and at Castaway Cay were incredible. The tree in the lobby was so beautiful and there were wreaths and ribbons and garlands absolutely everywhere. Castaway Cay had sand snowmen and a sea creature themed tree. There was also Christmas music playing throughout the ship pretty steadily for the first few days.

We saw most of the Disney characters in Christmas gear and Santa and Mrs Claus were meeting children in the lobby Christmas morning. I think they were also giving out presents to the children but I did not actually see that. The crew was also giving out all sorts of Christmas cookies and hot chocolate in the evening on Christmas Eve and on Christmas morning.

We missed them but there were also Dickens carollers performing on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Day had a special dinner including turkey, ham and roast beef as entree options. I had to go for the traditional turkey dinner though I did have a seafood sampler appetizer which was delicious. DD18 went for the pumpkin ravioli which she really enjoyed.

**Dining **

I love the rotational dining on Disney cruises. You get to enjoy all three of the restaurants (at least twice on a 7 night cruise) but still have your regular serving staff. Our waiters Anak and Vini were lovely, so incredibly friendly. We ran into Vini at breakfast and lunch on a couple of occasions and he always made sure to come over and talk to us.

The food at dinner was consistently fabulous. We ate so much seafood. I love the variety you get by having both an appetizer and an entree. And the serving sizes are good, just enough. We also took advantage of ordering an extra appetizer or dessert to share on a couple of occasions. The baked lobster tail on our last night was probably my favourite but everything was so good that it is hard to pick just one.

Animators Palate has the shows with dinner which are a lot of fun. We had quite a conversation with Crush on the first night and it was pretty cool to see our drawings come to life on our second night there. Royal Court is so elegant and I think we all had our two favourite meals there. For me, Enchanted Garden is the most beautiful restaurant. All of the decor is gorgeous and the lighting is wonderful.

We ate breakfast in Royal Court every day but the one where we had an early excursion in St Thomas. So many choices! I had waffles, French toast, Eggs Benedict, omelettes and a breakfast hash. All were delicious. Plus pastries, fruit plates and yogurt parfaits. And the wait staff is constantly refilling coffee, tea and juice.

We used room service on our early excursion day. So convenient to hang your order on the outside door knob before bed and have the food arrive at your requested time the next morning.

We moved around for lunch depending on what we were doing. Some days we ate in Royal Court, some days in Cabanas and once on the pool deck. Not a bad meal in the bunch.

Lunch at Cookies on Castaway Cay was also nice. A barbecue buffet with lots of snacks and of course ice cream. Great for a day on the beach.

We made use of the ice cream stations on the pool deck a couple of times and also splurged in the ice cream shop on our last night. They have quite a few interesting flavours. And we got popcorn for the two movies that we watched, the new Black Panther and the new Avatar. It does annoy me a bit that they charge extra for popcorn considering how cheap it is to make but it is nice to have during a movie.

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**Onboard Entertainment **

The live theatre shows are one of my absolute favourite things about Disney cruises. The Fantasy has both Frozen and Aladdin as well as Believe which uses a mix of songs and characters from various Disney movies. All were excellent. There was some great use of puppets in Frozen for Olaf, Sven and the child Elsa and Anna as well as Iago the parrot in Aladdin. The magic carpet in Aladdin was also a fun surprise.

We liked Aladdin best. The Genie was fantastic, totally hilarious. And the special effects were incredible. Frozen was also very well done though not as visually spectacular as the Disneyland version. Believe is cute and has a great mix of songs.

There were also three variety acts: Charles Peachock, a juggler who was a finalist on America’s Got Talent, Eric Jones, a magician and another AGT finalist and Moonshot, an acapella group. They were all good but the juggler was the standout for us. He and Moonshot both did shows in the Tube later in the cruise as well.

We saw the new Black Panther movie in the Buena Vista theatre one afternoon. We had seen it before but it is a really good movie. We watched the new Avatar in the Walt Disney theatre one evening. It’s not in 3D which was fine with us since the 3D glasses usually give DD18 a headache. Visually stunning movie.

We did several of the trivia games as well managing to win the Knowitall trivia early one morning. We also did quite well on Marvel trivia though there were clearly some Marvel super fans on board. Disney and Pixar trivia were fun but we are definitely not experts in those!

The girls also went to a learn to cook event where they demonstrated making apple strudel (and gave out free samples) They said it was good.

DH and I attended a few drinks seminars. He did the Beer Tasting on his own and we did the Wine Tasting and Martini Tasting together. The beer and wine ones were quite informative, lots of interesting facts. I don’t actually like wine (just went to keep DH company) but I found it interesting. The martini tasting was a ton of fun! And the drinks were really good. Big Mama, the bartender, was a blast and gave us recipes for all of the drinks so we could try to make them at home.

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**Senses Spa **

I love going to spas but I’m too cheap to go often at home so the girls and I were determined to splurge and take full advantage of the spa onboard.

DD18 and I got Rainforest Room passes for the full cruise and made great use of them visiting almost every day. We made sure to follow the order that @OBNurseNH recommended in her trip report alternating sauna/steam room with the showers and loved it. On a couple of days we did shortened versions leaving out the steam rooms or some of the showers. We couldn’t get stone loungers every time because they were all in use but otherwise it didn’t seem too crowded. And I love soaking in the hot tub while looking out at the ocean or the various ports.

DD16 was super disappointed that she couldn’t use the Rainforest Room so I made it up to her by booking a pedicure for her and a mother-daughter massage for the two of us. The booking process was a bit annoying. As far as I can tell you can only book teen spa services once onboard but the pedicure and couple massage are done in the main spa area not the teen section and they don’t seem to leave openings to fit the teens in. The only times we could get were at 4:30 on the first day for the massage and at 5:00 on the second day for the pedicure. And we were clearly one of the first people to get to the spa after boarding. Only a couple of people in front of us and a long line forming behind. Since our dinner was at 5:45 those times were not ideal but we made them work.

The hot stone massage was delightful. I had never had the hot stones before and I loved it. So relaxing! DD16’s pedicure worked out well too though they had to rush a bit to get her done in time for dinner. Apparently the mother and daughter getting a mani-pedi before her had brought their own nail polish and only brought one bottle so it took much longer than it should have because the technicians had to share. But she wound up with beautiful nails and they threw in a complimentary leg scrub to make up for the delay.

The spa has such a relaxing atmosphere. Every employee is so nice and soothing. It was a fabulous way to spend time.

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Was AJ still the host in The Tube? We loved him in October

Sounds like a great cruise.

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The Tube host was Declan. He was quite funny. It was a fabulous cruise.

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It all sounds amazing! I’d love to see pics.

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I’m terrible about taking pictures but I do have a few. We purchased a couple of Christmas photos as well which I will try to post after I download them.

Tortola:


St Thomas:


Castaway Cay:



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I’m reading this and enjoying. We’re going on the Magic on Friday. First time on the oldest ships. We’ve done Dream and Wish which were both Bahamas and we’ve done western Caribbean on RCI (I was not impressed compared to DCL) but this will be my first time going to Jamaica or Grand Cayman. Thank you for reporting about your trip!

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I’m terrible in the opposite way, I take millions :joy: It looks lovely!

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**Port Excursions **

We had three stops on the cruise: Tortola (British Virgin Islands), St Thomas (US Virgin Islands) and Castaway Cay.

On Tortola we did a snorkelling excursion that included a ride out on a catamaran. We went to a cove with a coral reef and then to a beach where you could relax and get snacks and drinks at the restaurant or do more snorkelling. The snorkelling was excellent, beautiful calm water. We saw lots of different fish, a stingray and off the beach we got a close up look at a sea turtle. I never knew before that remora attached to sea turtles the same way they do to sharks, but this turtle had two remora on its shell! The sail out and back on the catamaran was fun. The crew provided water, pop and rum punch as part of the trip. A tremendously fun experience.

On St Thomas we did a Virgin Islands Ecotour which involved kayaking in a mangrove plantation, hiking out to see a hermit crab colony and more snorkelling. Our guide Troy was fantastic, very informative about the environment, plants and sea life.

My family liked the active and educational kayak tour a bit more than the more relaxed snorkelling trip. I preferred the snorkelling but really enjoyed both.

Castaway Cay was fantastic. We had incredible weather, sunny and about 26-27 degrees Celsius. Apparently it was the first truly nice day the Fantasy had there in about a month. We rented snorkelling equipment and spent most of the morning exploring the lagoon. So many amazing tropical fish! Had a nice lunch at Cookies. Lots of good choices in the buffet though I would avoid the corn on the cob. It was overcooked and mushy. Everything else was great.

After lunch we took some floats down to the water and spent some time paddling around and enjoying the sand and water. Finished off our day with some ice cream and headed back to the ship about 2:30. A fabulous beach day! Even had time for DD18 and I to go back to the spa for one last visit to the Rainforest Room before packing our suitcases before dinner so that we could put them out in the corridor before bedtime.

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Enjoying this report. Thanks very much. I’m heading out on the Dream tomorrow and this has been perfect bedtime reading :blush:

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Loving your cruise TR @paulasc

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Have a fantastic time on your cruise! We did the Dream a few years ago and had a blast.

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Thanks for this report–love hearing about others’ cruises! The next cruise I currently have booked is Oct 2023 out of NY. It doesn’t got to Castaway Cay, and I definitely have some sad feelings about that!

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We were on the cruise right before you!!! And our castaway weather was not good at all lol. But we still had a fabulous time!

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I thought about you when they mentioned how bad the weather had been at Castaway Cay for the last few cruises! Glad to hear you still had fun.

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I finally downloaded the photos that we purchased on the cruise and got DH to send me the ones from his phone.

Our cabin decorations when we arrived:


Christmas morning! The gingerbread house is off to the side of the main lobby:

Photos from the catamaran in Tortola:



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I added a few more photos from DH’s phone and that we purchased.

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They are great!

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