We Just Spent Over $10,000 on a Disney Fantasy Cruise – Was It Worth It?

Before you put down that deposit, find out if a Disney Cruise is worth it with our honest Disney Fantasy cruise ship scorecard review!

Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship Review

Disney is synonymous with family entertainment, and a Disney Cruise is no exception. When comparing Disney Cruise Line to other family-focused lines, like Carnival Cruise Line or Royal Caribbean, the cost can be significantly higher. We recently embarked on a seven-night Bahamas cruise on Disney Fantasy. Now, we are back and share all the details in our signature Disney Fantasy cruise ship review scorecard to see if it was really worth it.

Our Honest Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship Review Scorecard

Our weeklong Bahamas cruise included two days at Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point, the cruise line’s new private island. Additional stops included Nassau, Bahamas, and the cruise line’s first private destination, Castaway Cay.

Disney Fantasy Cruise SHip Review

As one of the first cruises to this new private destination, our balcony cabin alone cost us just over $9,000, even though we booked over a year in advance. This price doesn’t even include add-ons like alcoholic beverages, specialty coffee, shore excursions, WiFi, or service charges.

When factoring in all of these additional costs NOT including travel expenses, our Disney Fantasy cruise came to over $10,700! So, was it worth this hefty price tag? Let’s dive in.

Staterooms

One of the standout features of cruising with Disney Cruise Line is the spaciousness of the staterooms. Our balcony stateroom on Disney Fantasy was significantly more roomy compared to other cruise lines like Royal Caribbean or Norwegian Cruise Line.

According to the DCL website, our family deluxe veranda stateroom, cabin 5036, was a comfortable 299 square feet. This includes the veranda, which was an additional 50 square feet more than the ship‘s standard balcony. Still, the interior of the stateroom was easily 10-20% larger than the rooms we have stayed in on other contemporary cruise lines. 

While the layout was about the same as any cruise ship cabin, there was more room between the bed and the accompanying sitting area, as well as more room to walk between the bed and the opposite wall. Not only was the square footage of the stateroom on Disney Fantasy greater, but there was also more closet space and storage.

We had two identical closets, containing a clothes bar and a few shelves. Next to the closet was a small armoire with additional drawers and shelves. As if that wasn’t enough, the desk also had additioal drawers and shelves for storage.

Even for us overpackers, who also had plans to visit the parks after the cruise, we had ample space to unpack all our belongings. Further, there was enough desk space and sofa space to get some work done during the week.

Another staple of Disney Cruise Line cabins is the split bathrooms. The separate sink and shower make it easy for several family members to get ready in the morning. Although there were only two of us, this still came in handy. It made our morning routines quicker and more efficient.

Our oversized balcony was a surprise. Given that our cabin was all the way forward on Deck 5, we were treated to an extended balcony twice as big as the rest of the balconies on the ship. So, we had loungers, upright seats, and a table. This gave us an ample open, private outdoor space to enjoy while at sea.

Given that Disney Fantasy is about 12 years old, the only drawback of the cabin was the outlets. While there were several outlets near the bed and desk, there were not many USB or USB-C connections.

Actually, this room was similar in size and layout to a junior suite on other cruise ships. While the cabin size alone does not justify the exuberant cruise fare for our trip, the room amenities and size were certainly a notable upgrade. Thus, the accommodations put the cruise line on par with a premium cruise line or at least a stateroom of a higher category on mainstream cruise lines.

Rotating Through Main Dining Rooms on Disney Fantasy

Besides the oversized cabins with their unique design, perhaps the other biggest difference between Disney Cruise Line and the competition is the main dining. While most cruise lines offer traditonal dining and some form of flexible dining, Disney does things a bit differently with rotational dining.

One drawback for some cruisers is that everyone onboard is forced into a fixed dining time. This means there’s an early seating and a late seating. On our cruise, the early seating was 5:45 PM, with the late seating at 8 PM. There is no flexible dining option. As fans of traditional dining, this setup did not bother us.   

Disney Fantasy cruise review

Disney Fantasy is home to three uniquely designed main dining rooms. Guests rotate through these venues on a set schedule along with their waitstaff. On a seven-night cruise, guests get to experience two distinct menus at each of these three dining rooms.

On Night 4 of our cruise, everyone was able to dig into the line’s signature Pirate Night food and drink across all the main dining rooms.

For this Disney Fantasy cruise ship review, we dined all seven nights in the main dining room, as we were unable to get specialty restaurant reservations. Our waitstaff team of head waiter Duran, waiter Wira, and assistant waiter Ashley were fantastic. They were some of the friendliest and most attentive servers we have had in years.

A benefit of this more traditional dining approach is the servers get to know you and your dining preferences. This dining team was no different, and they quickly caught on to our dining and drinking habits.

Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship review Main Dining Room

Thus, the service, paired with the upgraded menus and remarkably themed dining rooms on Disney Fantasy, were more similar to a premium cruise than a contemporary cruise. It’s tough to compare this dining experience to what you find on Carnival Cruise Line or Royal Caribbean.

Royal Court

We started our rotation at the Royal Court.

Excuding elegance and royalty, this the most formal of the three main dining rooms. It is home to exquisite finishes and an equally upscale menu. This dining room is adorned with luxurious accent pieces, including stagecoach embellishments, chandeliers, and mosaics of your favorite Disney princesses.

Of all three dining rooms, this deck 3 mid-ship restaurant most resembled a main dining room you would find on other cruise lines.

Night 1 featured iced lobster and shrimp as a starter, with a rich and savory chateaubriand and seafood pasta entrees, finished with a Grand Mariner Souffle for dessert.

Our second Royal Court menu, on Night 7, was the most formal dinner, featuring Oysters Rockefeller and an oven-baked lobster tail. Of course, no formal meal would be complete without rich desserts like chocolate lava cake or warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream.

Animator’s Palate

The most Disney-ified dining room is the Animator’s Palate, We dined here on Night 2 and Night 5 of the cruise. This dining room is meant to resemble an illustrator’s drawing room. Thus, it is filled with Disney art and sculptures. Plus, it is home to two interactive dining experiences.

The first night’s dinner features Crush and the characters from Finding Nemo. The digital screens make this partially interactive show possible. While dining on smoked salmon tartar, grilled tuna steak, or lemon-thyme chicken, guests can play games and even talk with Crush.  

The second night in this venue is perhaps the most fun dinner of the cruise. Guests draw a character and then get to watch their creations come to life, thanks to some Disney magic. Of course, the show features all of your tablemates’ artistic creations partaking in hilarious skits.

Even my poorly sketched character, that apparently resembled Abe Lincoln, made an appearance. This second dinner boasts menu items like Malaysian chicken satays, grilled marinated shrimp, herb-crusted rack of lamb, and the sweet celebration cake.

Enchanted Garden

While the first two main dining rooms were located on Deck 3, the Enchanted Garden is situated on Deck 2 midship.

Evoking the gardens and palace of Versailles, this restaurant offers a fresh and floral 18th-century, aristocratic vibe. Complete with a water fountain and flowers that “bloom,” travelers are transported to a completely different setting in this dining room. We dined here on Night 3 and Night 6 of our cruise.

Enchanted Garden on Disney Fantasy

The two menus here are heavy on seafood. Standout menu items included the ahi tuna and avocado tower, garlic and parsley sauteed shrimp, pan-seared seabass, oven-roasted turkey breast, and warm sticky date pudding.

The restaurants also featured two specialty cocktails on each evening’s menu. Most nights, we opted for one of each to sample the different offerings, but none of them really wowed us.  

Specialty Dining

When it comes to alternative dining, Disney Fantasy does not offer many options.

Few restaurants are open during dinner hours for cruisers who want to skip the main dining rooms. While there are two additional, adult-only restaurants on the ship, getting reservations is difficult.

On Deck 12 on the portside is Remy. This upscale specialty restaurant boasts a seasonal menu comprised of French cuisine. In partnership with a 3-star Michelin chef, the multi-course menus offer the most exquisite dining experience on the ship.

Disney Fantasy restaurants

Along with delicately curated and prepared menus for dinner, on select days, Remy offers a dessert experience as well as brunch.

Next door on the starboard side of Deck 12 is Palo. This Italian restaurant is home to a variety of classic Italian-American offerings. From calamari and shrimp to burrata and pizzas, fresh seafood, and a selection of steaks, it is the perfect restaurant to celebrate a special occasion.

On some sea days, Palo opens for brunch as well. Classic breakfast items like waffles, pancakes, and omelets are paired with comfort food like chicken parmesan and lasagna.

Given that Heidi is a picky eater, we knew Remy was out of the question. There were too many menu items that she wouldn’t eat to justify the $135 cover charge.

Disney Fantasy restaurants

We certainly would have dined at Palo and did try to get reservations before our cruise with no luck. On embarkation day, we even waited in line for close to an hour in an attempt to get either a dinner or brunch reservation. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful.

Entertainment onboard Disney Fantasy

Perhaps another reason why Disney Cruise Line can command a higher cruise fare is the onboard entertainment. Nowhere else at sea can you see Disney productions come to life. Across our seven nights on Disney Fantasy, there were three signature production shows.

Of course, all of them were Disney stories.

The first production show on Night 2 was Disney’s Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular. This 75-minute reimagining of the classic Disney movie includes fantastic singing and set pieces, a high-tech stage that brings the story to life, and some comedic reimagining with the Genie.

We watched a similar version on our Disney Wish cruise two years ago, but we were still impressed with this fun and fast-paced version on Disney Fantasy.

However, on Night 6, we were a bit let down by Frozen: A Musical Spectacular. We are big fans of the Frozen movies, but the show’s adaption seemed disjointed. At times, it felt almost cheesy. The hour-plus production also felt rushed towards the end.  

Frozen A Musical Spectacular on Disney Fantasy

While it was still better than many cruise line shows, it didn’t live up to Disney standards for us anyway.

The third show was Disney’s Believe. This original production incorporates several Disney characters from classic Disney live films and cartoons. While it started off a bit slow, we both ended up enjoying it. With some ornate sets, fun songs, and a heartwarming theme, this final show on Night 7 was the ideal way to end the cruise.

Disney Believe on Disney Fantasy

On other nights, the Walt Disney Theater was home to a few headliner acts. Illusionist Kid Ace performed a family-friendly magic show on Night 3. The percussion band Junk rocked out the theater on Night 5. We would say these shows were on par with headliner acts you’d find on other cruise lines.

Unlike Disney Wish though, which had a Welcome Aboard show featuring the Disney characters, there was no similar show on the first night of the cruise, which really surprised us.

While we would still say Royal Caribbean has some of the best entertainment at sea, especially on its Oasis-class ships, Disney Cruise Line is a close second. So, if you are a fan of theater and Disney, then you probably don’t mind paying a bit more to sail on Disney Cruise Line.

A Variety of Onboard Activities

Many cruise lines offer a variety of daytime and nighttime events and activities. Disney Fantasy was no different. Throughout the day, something was always happening at one of the venues around the ship.

From various Disney-themed and general trivia to animation classes, game shows, and family arts and crafts, there were plenty of complimentary activities for cruisers of all ages. One could learn to draw their favorite Disney characters or partake in versions of majority rules, memory games, or couple match games.

Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship Scorecard

These were not just for families. At night, the cruise director staff, led by activities manager Declan, offered adult versions of these games too. One of our favorite nights onboard included a double dose of these cruiser favorites in the Tube.

Additional adult-only activities during the day included a variety of alcohol seminars and tastings. While an upcharge, we were surprised at how many different wine tastings, bourbon classes, and other seminars took place throughout the week. Plus, many of them were sold out.

Additionally, there were a variety of activities in the D Lounge, The Tube, and other bars and lounges. These included a comedian juggler, silent discos, karaoke, and several musical acts. Like many cruise lines, the musicians rotated through several venues.

Perhaps our favorite was the piano and acoustic guitarist duo Sister Sister. Offering sets that included Disney music and other pop tunes, their vibe drew guests to the Atrium or the Piazza. Other featured musicians included a violinist, a piano soloist, and the piano and guitar duo of Vox and Keys.

But, we would say the nightlife didn’t compare to the likes of newer mega ships where the offerings are a bit more upbeat. This ship could have used a more traditional rock band or a solo guitarist performing in the O’Gills Pub. Most bars do close by midnight, and with no casino, there really isn’t much to do for night owls.

Along with the main theater, Disney Fantasy was home to the Buena Vista Theater. This stadium-style movie theater showed a variety of first-run Disney movies, including live-action movies and cartoons. We just happened to be sailing when Inside Out 2 was released and were among the first in the world to see it. While the movie was free, the popcorn refills did cost $2 with our WDW bucket.

Of course, signature to Disney Cruise Line is Pirate Night, which occured on Day 4 of our sailing. This shipwide festivity includes a special menu in the main dining room, pirate shows on the pool deck, and it culminates with the only fireworks at sea! Guests get in on the action too by dressing in their best pirate attire. We’ve definitely decided that we need to step up our game for our next Disney cruise.

Meeting Your Favorite Disney Characters

While there is plenty happening throughout the day and night on Disney Fantasy, perhaps the most popular activity on any Disney cruise ship is the character events. Yes, even Heidi and I got in on some of the photo ops.

Disney Fantasy cruise ship review scorecard

All week, cruisers get the chance to meet and take pictures with classic characters, like Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck. They even don their best formal attire and Pirate Night attire! Plus, several Disney princesses make the rounds, like Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, and Tiana.

Along with the meet and greets that occur in the Atrium and near Preludes, there are character shows too.

This starts with the sail away party and then continues with deck parties like Mickey’s Pirates in the Caribbean Party or the Color Spin Deck Party. While geared towards children, there are plenty of adults who get in on the character events too.

Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship Review

Other characters pop up here and there, too, depending on the day and sailing. On Pirate Night, you won’t want to miss Captain Jack Sparrow or Captain Hook and Mr. Smee. You might even bump into Stitch walking around one day.

Exploring the Outdoor Decks

Decks 11 to 13 consist of the main outdoor areas. Midship on Deck 11 are Mickey’s Pool and Donald’s Pool, which are family pools open to all cruisers. Nearby is the Mickey slide which is designed for junior cruisers.

For those more adventurous cruisers, the Aqua Duck “water coaster” is on Deck 12. This two-person tube water slide takes cruisers all around the pool deck. Utilizing Disney engineering, cruisers go up and down this slide as they circle some 765 feet in the wet and wild ride that could only be brought to you by Donald Duck.

For cruisers 8 years of age or younger, Nemo’s Reef is a water splash play area themed after the popular Pixar movie. Located in the shade, it is a nice reprieve for both the kids and parents as they supervise their little ones. There’s also the Funnel Puddle on Deck 12 which is a small, shallow puddle-like pool.

A more interactive water zone is the AquaLab, aft on Deck 12. Designed for the entire family, this splash zone has a number of interactive water features all designed to get cruisers drenched. Keeping with the duck theme, this “experimental area” is designed by Donald Duck’s nephews, Huey, Louie, and Dewey.

Aft of this area is the Sports Court on Deck 13. It includes a 9-hole mini golf course designed by Goofy and Max. There is also a court with basketball hoops. However, the court never seemed to be utilized much for organized games or activities. There are also two virtual sports simulators. These were “sold-out” before our cruise but never appeared open when we walked by them.

While there are plenty of outdoor areas for families and kids, the Quiet Cove forward on Deck 11, is reserved for adults only. Home to a pool, bar, and coffee shop, it is a nice departure from the rest of the pool deck.

Quiet Cove Pool on Disney Fantasy

A step above, both literally and figuratively, is the Satellite Falls sundeck on Deck 13. Also an adults-only area, it offers a wading pool with waterfall feature and plenty of loungers with several in the shade. It is just a short walk from the Currents outdoor bar as well.

With the two adult-only areas, there is actually more space for adults on this ship than on Disney Wish, despite Disney Fantasy being considerably smaller.

The outdoor pools and sports court are in line with other mega-ships of a similar age. But, when compared to newer cruise ships, Disney Fantasy can’t compare with the Icon of the Seas pool deck or waterpark.

Bars and Lounges

While Disney is big on theming, we didn’t love the entertainment district on Deck 4.

This “Europa” section is the main hub of nighttime activities and is home to different lounges and bars all with a distinct European vibe. Heading from midship, La Piazza is an Italian-inspired venue with a circular bar resembling a carousel. Along with live music, the bar featured cocktails infused with regional spirits, like Prosecco or Limoncello.

Next door was the cozy champagne bar Ooh La La. This French lounge offered a more subdued experience. Home to light music from a piano or violin soloist, the bubbly concoctions at this bar complemented the velvet fabrics and elegant furniture.

For those looking for a more lively nighttime spot, O’Gills Pub is a traditional Irish Pub. With a variety of beers on draft, including the pub’s signature O’Gills ale, this venue was home to televised sports events.

The large wooden bar was the perfect place to pull up a seat and grab a pint, especially during happy hour when most drinks were only $5. Although, not having any pub entertainment here was certainly a miss.

The closest thing Disney Fantasy has to a nightclub is the Tube. With nods to British pop culture, music, and fashion, this venue was also home to several game shows and events. While during the day the Tube was one of the venues open for family-centered activities, it became an adults-only venue at night.

Drinks at the Tube on Disney Fantasy

But, if you plan to attend a party or event at the Tube, get there early. The venue becomes standing room only for more popular events like the Couples Match game show or Majority Rules.

Lastly, the Skyline Bar is the ship’s martini bar. Here, guests are treated to a rotating selection of city skylines behind the bar. Using some of that Disney magic, the bar transports guests from London, to Paris, Florence, and other European destinations every 15 minutes.

The signature drink menu features cocktails from each city. Or, guests can opt for an old-fashioned made with the espresso-infused bourbon on the whiskey trolley.

For guests dining at one of the two adult-only specialty restaurants, the Meridian Bar is the ideal place for a pre-or post-dinner drink, with a selection of classic cocktails and a signature bourbon trolley. The bar’s rich wood décor and nautical accents call back to the early days of ocean liners.

Along with the indoor bars, Disney Fantasy offers several outdoor bars open during the day to quench your thirst. There are two pop-up bars near the family pools and two bars in the adults-only areas. These bars offer a small menu of poolside favorites, as well as a selection of spirits, beers, and wine.

Of course, there are also two cafes to get your caffeine fix, the Cove Cafe and the Vista Cafe. Each serves espresso-based beverages adorned with your favorite Disney characters.

Casual Dining Options

Perhaps the place where Disney Fantasy fell short compared to other cruise lines was the casual dining. On the pool deck, there was Flo’s Café. This Cars-inspired quick-service venue featured pizza, a grill, sandwiches, and salads. The food here was fine, but nothing wowed us.

The burgers at Guy’s Burger Joint or the chicken at Shaq’s Big Chicken on Carnival Cruise Line ships are much better. Even Heidi agreed that the pizza at Luigi’s was just okay.

Further, Filmore Favorites offered a small selection of premade sandwiches and salads, but the offerings didn’t measure up to the onboard delis and cafes found on competitor cruise lines.

Disney Fantasy could have used some additional casual eateries. A Tex-Mex take window serving bowls or tacos would have been a perfect addition. The selections definitely had us missing Mickey’s Festival of Foods on Disney Wish.

Having just sailed on ships like Icon of the Seas and Carnival Jubilee, we missed these additional casual grab-and-go options.

The Cabanas buffet, aft on Deck 11, was a standard cruise ship buffet. We dined here twice, and the food was what we expected from a mega-ship buffet. However, Disney Cruise Line does have its signature crab legs and peel-and-eat shrimp in the buffet for lunch.

The biggest downfall is that the buffet is only open for breakfast and lunch; it does not offer dinner service. Thus, besides the quick service poolside bites or room service (which is free on DCL), there is no alternative to the main dining room for dinner.

Would We Book Another Weeklong Disney Cruise?

On the surface, it is difficult to compare Disney Cruise Line to other family-oriented cruise lines. While the cruise line charges considerably more than the competition, it does offer more in its cruise fare. For instance, soft drinks are available around the clock on the pool deck. They are also complimentary at the sit-down restaurants.

Further, the staterooms are larger and have features like the split bathrooms, making them feel more like hotel accommodations. The same feeling is evident around the ship, with Disney cruise ships resembling a Disney deluxe hotel with their decor and ambiance.

Disney Fantasy cruise review

We must admit that DCL ships feel more upscale than other family cruise lines, which can sometimes have a shopping mall feel in some of the public spaces.

Dining in the main dining room on Disney Fantasy was also a couple notches above contemporary cruise lines. From the menu choices, to décor and design, to the service, our nightly dinners were exquisite with a touch of Disney magic.

That Disney magic spilled into the main theater shows too. While we would have expected more Disney entertainment in the main theater, the three production shows put the cruise line near the top of our list for best live entertainment at sea.

Along with the entertainment in the Walt Disney Theater, there were also a variety of onboard daytime and nighttime activities that matched other cruise lines. Admittedly, these were heavily Disney-themed.

In fact, the one thing you can’t escape on a Disney cruise is Mickey and Friends. They are found in the Atrium for photo-ops and are part of the deck parties and shows. So, you and the family better really love Disney!

When it comes to other aspects of the cruise, Disney Cruise Line is more in line with the competition. The pool deck and sports deck were average, and the bars and nightlife were pretty typical too. Since DCL does not offer a traditional drink package, you can expect to come home with a bar bill at the end of the trip in addition to the other expenses you may rack up.

So, it does boil down to whether you are a Disney fan. Many of the cruisers we talked to were avid Disney fans and regular Disney cruisers. For families and couples who are fans of Disney, sailing on a Disney Cruise will make you feel at home. Whether it is worth the up-charge depends on your budget.

While we do love Disney, we wouldn’t spend as much on a Disney Cruise again as we did on this one. We could have easily gone on at least two other cruises on other cruise lines for this same price.

Luckily, we don’t have to worry about that price tag for our next Disney cruise. For our sailing on Disney Treasure in January of 2025, our veranda stateroom is much more reasonably priced at under $4,500 for a seven-night Western Caribbean cruise. At that price, we have no qualms about booking a Disney cruise.

Now, if you and your family don’t LOVE Disney, the DCL price point is probably not worth it. There are definitely other family-friendly cruise lines that will offer very similar experiences, minus the Disney touches, at cheaper price points. Don’t think just because it’s Disney that its the only cruise line out there for families.

Comments

Have you sailed on Disney Cruise Line? Do you agree with our Disney Fantasy cruise ship scorecard review? Drop us an anchor below with your latest DCL cruise reviews!

Don Bucolo, or “DB”, loves everything about cruising- the ocean, the food, and the atmosphere. While he may be obsessed with doing extensive amounts of research on ships and all elements of a cruise, Don enjoys sharing his new found knowledge with fellow cruisers. When he is not sailing the high seas, he does whatever his wife tells him to do-it only took 10 years to realize this.
Don Bucolo
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We Just Spent Over $10,000 on a Disney Fantasy Cruise – Was It Worth It?

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