Well, The Hunter Family is back from our very first Disney Cruise…actually, it was our very first cruise, EVER, but I can assure you it will not be our last! My son and I are completely in LOVE with cruising, and I believe given a little more exposure, the hubster will be as well.
We flew into Orlando the day before our cruise, on Black Friday. I was terrified of a same day flight, with visions of missing the boat haunting me, so we spent the night at the Hyatt at the airport. While expensive, this was well worth the cost. Not ONLY do they have a heated roof top pool which my son adored, but they transport your bags to the ship for you! Hubby was happy about not having to wrangle the luggage, and I was happy to be assured of not missing the boat. We were up at 6 AM, showered and had breakfast in our room, so that we would be first in line at the DCL check in line…sadly, we weren’t even close to first, but we did make the first DCL transfer. After presenting our citizenship documents and getting our Key to the World cards, we were whisked to the Minnie Mouse Motor Coach. I know a lot of folks balk at the Disney Transportation, but getting to check in at the airport as opposed to in the terminal at Port Canaveral, made this expense (the DCL transport is not free, another difference between a resort stay and a cruise) one I will bear each time we cruise.
While my son enjoyed the classic Disney cartoons, I craned my neck this way and that, anticipating the first glimpse of The Fantasy. While I was looking right, my son looked left, and there it was. The Fantasy. I was completely speechless, and that is no easy feat, my friends. As we drew closer, my chin hit the floor harder with each passing second. Our family was first off the bus, but last into the terminal, as I stood snapping picture after picture of that magnificent sailing vessel. We breezed thru security, and passed by the check in desks, as we had already received our KTTW cards. We then picked up our son’s Mickey Band, for the Oceaneer’s Lab. Again, as I had registered him on-line, no wait at at all. We sat, staring out the terminal windows, at the ship that would take us to exotic lands…and waited for our boarding number to be called.
We had drawn a “3″ as our boarding group, so we did indeed have a very short wait. Once our number was called, we waited in line for our turn at the photos before boarding. After our photos, it was our turn to be announced. As I heard the words “Now welcoming The Hunter Family”, I burst promptly into tears. As I walked into that amazing atrium, and watched my son’s eyes fill with wonder, I was just overcome with emotion at being able to share this with my son and husband. I have always hoped to give my son more than I had as a child, and this experience of going on an adventure to Mexico, well, it was quite an accomplishment for me.
My son’s wonder at the atrium lasted about 10 minutes, which, coincidentally was when the Aqua Duck opened. What, you ask, is an Aqua Duck? It is a water slide/roller coaster that is awesome! It is a short ride, but it offers panoramic views of the ship as well as the ocean. This is one ride not to be missed. Unfortunately, they would not allow me to take my camera ON the ride, so you will will have to take me at my word. After a fantastic meal of steak, pasta and cheesecake at Cabanas, the buffet establishment, we changed into our bathing suits and hit the Duck (six times…), and then the Donald Pool. The Donald Pool, which is the “family” pool, is a tad on the small side, but it was water, and my son would grow a dorsal fin if we let him, so he was happy. After the water, we decided to check out the kids clubs. Since he would be turning eleven on board, our son was eligible for both the Oceaneer’s Lab and The Edge, which is the “tween” club. While both had tons of activities, our son preferred Edge, and never went back to the Lab.
By this point, our room was ready, so off we went in search of Stateroom 8042. We quickly adjusted to the three sets of elevators, forward, midship and aft. Our stateroom was the first room after the forward elevator, was lovely and quite spacious. My husband immediately fell in love with the verandah. He could be found there, morning, noon and night, with his binoculars, just taking in the view. Our luggage arrived quickly, delivered by Allan, our stateroom host. He introduced himself, and asked if there was anything we needed, or wanted. I let him know that we would need lots of clean towels, and clean towels we had all week long. I dubbed Allan “The Cleaning Ninja” as we barely saw him, but our room was spotless, we always had ice, hot water for tea, cups, spoons, pastries, and plenty of the yummy DCL toiletries.
We joined, briefly, the Sailing Away party, but it was very crowded and loud. My husband does get easily “crowded” and that is why we invested in the verandah. We watched Port Canaveral get smaller and smaller in private, and then, we were truly at Sea! We explored the ship, got the lay of the land from forward to aft and port to starboard, and then returned to stateroom to dress for our 8:15 dinner. I was nervous about the whole sitting with another family, the dining rotation, and formal dinners…but I didn’t need to be. The meals were one of the best parts of the cruise, and I have an entire upcoming blog post dedicated to them. For now, I have some pictures to share, and would LOVE to answer any questions.
More from Phyllis’ series on The Fantasy and Disney Cruise Line
Just Like Starting Over… (Part 1)