If I could have a Groundhog Day experience of repeating a portion of time over and over again, I would like to choose the past 11 nights on the Disney Fantasy for my repeat time. This year, my husband, daughter, and I are scrimping, saving, and working our tail feathers off to live out a bucket list dream come true of sailing on all four Disney Cruise Line ships in one year. Although we still have two more to go, this trip on the Fantasy is the signature cruise for us–eleven nights exploring completely new to us ports in the Southern Caribbean.
I’ll let you know right now, it would be impossible to squeeze everything in about this amazing vacation. If you have the opportunity to sail on it next year, I highly recommend it! In the meantime, here’s the whirlwind summary of the experience in this supersized Best Week Ever.
Day 1: Port Canaveral
Embarkation day is always a mix of excitement and controlled chaos. Once our luggage was dropped off and we were checked in, we boarded the ship, grabbed a bite at Cabanas, and went to explore some of the new parts of the ship from the drydock enhancements. In the Oceaneer’s Club, we loved seeing the Star Wars room and the Marvel Room, and of course we had to visit Sweet On You (the new ice cream and gelato shop), but our favorite enhancement was a new wading pool type area on deck 11. It was perfect for our daughter to play in, it was in the shade, and it was almost always empty. I’d love to see this added to other ships.
Day 2-3: Sea Days
Sea days are the time when so much is crammed into the schedule that it is impossible to do it all. One highlight, as always, was brunch at Palo (this time for Father’s Day). We also got a behind-the-scenes look at the Aladdin stage show as a Gold and Platinum Castaway Club event and the first of several presentations by Pixar supervising animator Bobby Podesta (but alas, no photos were allowed for those two). One unique event on the sea day was a Cheese Seminar–complete with tastings.
Day 4: Aruba
Ever since I saw the commercials with Lewis Black way back when for Aruba, I wanted to visit. I’m pleased to say, Aruba lives up to its ad campaign. We took the Natural Wonders of Aruba trip and got to see ancient petroglyphs, the “baby bridge” (a natural stone bridge), and different types of beaches, from black rock beaches to beautiful white sand ones.
Day 5: Sea Day
Another sea day meant some more exciting things to do. One surprising event that we really enjoyed was a Q&A with the Bridge and Engineering crew. There were some basic questions and some pretty technically advanced ones, but we learned a lot from it. During our down time, we finally got to see Rogue One and spent some time enjoying the Rainforest Room.
Day 6: Barbados
For Barbados, we took a port excursion to visit Harrison’s Cave, where you ride a tram through several caverns of limestone cave. It was incredibly informative, and something very unique from the islands we visited.
Day 7: Martinique
We had no port excursions planned, so we decided to visit the spice market in Martinique. Even though we spoke no French and the vendors spoke no English, we picked up some amazing spices and were in awe of the fruits and vegetables that we couldn’t bring back. On the way back, we wandered through one of the local Catholic churches–a beautiful, old building with amazing stained glass.
Day 8: St. Kitts
Our trip today took us on the St. Kitts Scenic Railroad, an old sugarcane train that goes along the shore of the island. On the train, we got to try local sugarcakes, hear songs sung by a local a cappella group, and see villages, views of the ocean and neighboring islands, and even some of the wild vervet monkeys.
Day 9: Tortola
With a short day in port, we briefly stepped off the ship for a bit of shopping and looking around the historic Pusser’s Tavern. By far, the Sunny Caribbee Spice Shop and Art Gallery was one of the most interesting shops that we visited on any of the islands, and we bought both spices and art. In the evening, we had a blast with the a cappella group Six Appeal and then dueling pianos with Scotty Kilwein and Michael Sunshine (from Jellyrolls at Disney’s Boardwalk). But another surprise highlight of the cruise was a hide and seek game with the Steering Committee, looking around the ship for them with them in disguise.
Day 10: Sea Day
Another day with so much to do. One of the highlights was the Battle of the Chefs: Captain Fabian and Hotel Manager Claudio versus Cruise Director Natalie and Assistant Cruise Director Lee. We also got to see another performance by Alton Fitzgerald White (who performed the role of Mufasa on Broadway more than 4,000 times), who did an evening event that we enjoyed a few nights before.
Day 11: Castaway Cay
With so many amazing experiences on this cruise, taking a day to just wade out in the ocean and watch the fish swim by was the perfect end to an incredible cruise. What’s not to love about Castaway Cay?
So there you have the whirlwind tour of the cruise — I cannot recommend this one enough, if you have the opportunity to sail on it. Now it’s time to get back into real life to work to pay for the next one. But no question, this is a Best Week Ever that we’ll be reminiscing about for years to come.