Disney Cruise Line has just launched the maiden voyage of the newest and largest ship in its fleet, the Disney Fantasy from Port Canaveral, and is continuing to set the bar for memorable family vacations.

Disney Fantasy joins its sister ship that debuted last year, the Disney Dream, to embark on seven day vacations to the Eastern and Western Caribbean from Florida. With its state-of-the-art technology and never-before seen interactive software throughout the ship, Disney Fantasy is the destination for making family memories this year.

“Disney knows families and Disney knows how to create memorable moments,” said Disney Cruise Line president Karl Holz. “The impact of Disney is in the storytelling and people look to Disney to tell a story. That sense of storytelling is so strong on this ship.”

The Disney Fantasy is designed to look and feel like guests are entering a classic 1930s ocean liner, with an elongated hull and sleek lines from bow to stern. It is a 130,000 gross ton, 1,115 foot, 14-story ship built at Meyer Werft shipyards in Papenburg, Germany. The ship offers 1,250 staterooms with room for 4,000 passengers. It was christened after an Atlantic ocean crossing by its godmother, award-winning singer Mariah Carey, in New York City before heading to its home port in Cape Canaveral.

“One of the first ‘wow’ moments is when people step into the atrium,” described Holz, who also oversees the Disney Vacation Club and Adventures by Disney in addition to Disney Cruise Line.  “To see the smiles of delight and reactions on the faces of our guests is priceless.”

Starting with the arrival to the ship, guests are greeted in the atrium lobby by Mademoiselle Minnie Mouse, the Fantasy has been designated as her ship and throughout the ship, Minnie’s influence can be seen. The décor is art nouveau as compared to her sister ship, the Dream, in which the décor is art deco.

“The influences of a peacock can be seem throughout the ship,” said Senior Development Manager Lysa Migliorati, who moved to Germany for three years to oversee every detail of the ship construction and is thrilled with the results. “From the color scheme in the hand-loomed carpeting, to the marble slabs handpicked from the quarry in Italy, every detail of the Disney Fantasy has been created specifically for this ship.”

In addition to the décor, attention to detail is apparent throughout the ship. Each of the main dining rooms has custom china, silverware and distinct color schemes, napkins and accoutrements on the table.

Once inside the lobby, most guests will seek the top deck for the ever-popular Cabanas buffet or straight to the cabins to have a look around and start exploring the ship.

Within the staterooms, guests will find state-of-the-art touches that offer the comfort of home while on vacation. From individual environmental controls managed by each guest room to the air conditioning system synchronized with the balcony doors which need to be locked to function, every environmental concern and opportunity for reducing impact on the environment has been taken with the ship’s systems.

Rooms are spacious and larger than industry standard. Our family of four with a seven and 11 year-old were very comfortable and had room to spare in one of the 901 verandah state rooms on board. Each offers the dual separation of commode with sink and shower with sink to make for a very family-friendly bathroom sharing environment. Many family verandah staterooms also fit a family of five which is also a unique feature in the industry.

Storage was plentiful with a nightlight feature available above the kid’s bunkbed and plenty of drawers, closet and luggage storage.

Beds are pillow top and covered with 300-thread count custom-made Egyptian cotton sheets and pillows and towels are also 100 percent Egyptian cotton.

In addition to great balcony rooms, families in the 150 inside cabins will not be disappointed. All 150 inside staterooms feature the Magical Porthole, a real-time window ‘view’ of the outside world. High definition cameras on the exterior of the ship feed real-time video to each porthole. Watch for animated Disney characters to make an appearance in the window, too.

After checking out the cabin, guests can start exploring the ship. Keep your eyes on the walls for Enchanted Artwork that comes alive when guests pass by.

Parents will find the Oceaneer Club and Lab, designed just for kids and featuring a huge reserved access environment for kids to play, learn and immerse in a safe environment engaging with highly trained staff, while parents enjoy the ship. Centrally located on Deck 5 midship, the club and lab are open to three-10-year-old children and feature 103-inch plasma screen for movies and appearances by Crush from Finding Nemo.

Also, the Magic PlayFloor, an interactive game floor, life-size Andy’s room from Toy Story, Animator’s Studio, Monster’s Academy, Pixie Hollow and more await.

For younger children, It’s a Small World Nursery offers care for toddlers three months-three years old, including a quiet room for naptime.

After checking with the kids programs, continue to explore the pool deck. The expansive outdoor areas of the pool decks are created to surround the massive screen television. From daily updates to nightly movies under the stars, the screen becomes the central hub of the main pool deck.

Parents can also escape to the tranquility of Satellite Falls and sun deck in the adults-only areas while children play in the AquaLab and ride the AquaDuck.

The Disney exclusive 765-ft. award-winning AquaDuck is an open view, water coaster that takes its passengers around the entire top of the ship for ocean and scenic vistas and a river rapids experience unparalleled in the industry.

After a full day of ship exploring, it might be time for eating!

Dining aboard the Disney Fantasy is a pleasure. Guests are given a scheduled dining reservation either early or late preference and are scheduled for a different restaurant each evening. For us, starting in Animator’s Palate, heading to the Enchanted Garden and finishing our experience at the Royal Court was the perfect complement to the trip. The head server, server and assistant server followed us to each restaurant and got to know our preferences on the first night.

For parents, a more intimate dining experience can be found in the Palo and Remy restaurants that both require special reservations. Palo offers Northern Italian fare and is the perfect romantic getaway. Remy’s is an applicant for a Michelin rating and offers a special dining experience with artfully prepared cuisine and spectacular tasting and wine pairing menus.

After dinner, the adults-only entertainment district called Europa beckons. With nightclubs and lounges, including La Piazza, O’Gills Irish Pub, Ooh La La champagne lounge, The Tube swinging London nightclub and the Skyline bar, whose interactive window-scapes provide video views of European cityscapes.

Nightlife is filled with opportunity aboard the Disney Fantasy, including a night of fireworks during the Mickey’s Pirates in the Caribbean pool stage show, which ends with the Buccaneer Blast perfectly paired with the on-deck pirate party featuring songs from the popular Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

Broadway-style stage spectaculars include the signature show Disney Wishes, a musical journey about three best friends and keeping the spirit of their inner child while growing up. Disney’s Aladdin-A Musical Spectacular and Disney’s Believe about a father rediscovering his belief in magic.

In addition to dining, theatre, kids programs and fun, Disney Fantasy offers fitness and relaxation in its Senses Spa & Salon with a relaxing retreat spanning two decks for pampering, relaxation and fitness. A special Chill Spa is a great treat for teens, offering services including facials, manicures, scrubs and more.

While the Disney Fantasy will stay in Port Canaveral, Disney Cruise Line has some great upcoming itinerary opportunities for its guests. Hawaii; New York; Canada; Galvaston, Texas; Alaska and, in 2013, Europe schedules  will add extra travel destination opportunities aboard Disney Cruise Line.

The Disney Fantasy joins its sister ship, the Dream, which launched last year and can also accommodate up to 4,000 passengers. The Disney Magic and Wonder, both of which began sailing in the late 1990s can accommodate 2,700 passengers and round out the four ship fleet.

Disney's own private island, Castaway Cay

Disney Fantasy itineraries including eastern (St. Maarten and St. Thomas) and western (Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, Cozumel). Special Eastern sailings in November and December will include stops in St. Thomas and San Juan, Puerto Rico. All itineraries include a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, Bahamas.

Top 10 Must-See’s on the new Disney Fantasy Cruise

  1. Animator’s Palate Restaurant, where ‘YOU’ become the certified Disney Animator For the Night
  2. The AquaDuck, only 2 of its kind of award-winning, massive, clear view ship surround water slides
  3. Oceaneer Kids Clubs where parents have to literally ‘tear’ children away from the state-of-the art kids facilities
  4. Broadway Disney stage productions with all the favorites
  5. Europa, a adults-only section of bars, pubs, and intimate spots for a parent’s night out or a custom cocktail
  6. Disney Detective program, let the ship itself guide you through a series of ‘clues’ so that you search high and low to solve the mystery with interactive photo frames throughout the ship
  7. Disney’s own paradise island, Castaway Cay, there is no ocean more perfect, no sky more blue, a postcard day at its own private island.
  8. Bippity Boppity Boutique where every little girls princess imagination and every boys pirate can come alive at sea with a captive audience to share it with about the cruise and with their favorite characters
  9. Fireworks at sea. The four Disney Cruise line ships are the exclusive ships to have fireworks shows each sailing.
  10. Walt Disney’s fingerprint. From the classic photos of the man himself to his influence throughout the ship, Walt is one of the top 10 reasons the Disney Fantasy is a must-see family vacation destination.


Rates for the seven-night Disney Fantasy cruises start at $959 per person for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy. For information or to view cruise itineraries, visit www.disneycruise.com, call 888-325-2500 or contact a local travel agent.

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Marie Gilmore
Marie is the Managing Editor at the Osprey Observer. She covers news, transportation, education and likes to make a positive impact on the community and be 'in the know'!