|The 130,000-ton Disney Fantasy has two new Disney shows. One constant, though, is the memory of Walt Disney, reflected in this wall photo outside the ship’s theater.|
In creating the new 130,000-ton Disney Fantasy, Disney Cruise Line meticulously analyzed guest feedback, operational data and traffic flow onboard its relatively new sister, Disney Dream, which launched in 2011. Changes were made in the new ship—some subtle, some not. Why so much effort for two ships so close in age?
“It’s in our DNA,” Karl Holz, president, New Vacation Operations and Disney Cruise Line, told reporters as he led a media tour through the new ship last month at Meyer Werft in Germany. He stressed innovation, the company’s entertainment focus, meticulous attention to guest feedback and the new ship’s itinerary as reasons for the tweaks.
While Disney Dream sails three- and four-night cruises from Port Canaveral, FL, Disney Fantasy will sail weeklong voyages from that port, starting later in March. Guests on a seven-night cruise to a warm climate need more onboard activities, as well as more sun, shade and water spaces, than what they might desire on a shorter cruise.
Given the solid loyalty of Disney’s traditional client base, agents will likely hear from their clients: “So, what’s different? What’s new?” Here’s a snapshot look at the ship.
Artistry in Motion: Disney Dream’s decor is Art Deco in styling with crisp lines, while Disney Fantasy’s three-level atrium has more curves, is a bit more sophisticated and reflects Art Nouveau style. Guests sailing on the new ship will encounter a sweeping staircase, towering fluted columns and a Carrera marble-and-stone inlaid floor.
Guests can expect a fun space with flora and fauna patterns and lots of blues, greens and pinks. The atrium’s cascading, gold-plated crystal chandelier comprises glass and crystal beads. Look for peacock patterns sprinkled throughout the atrium, and, of course, those ubiquitous hidden Mickeys. Disney Fantasy’s atrium is also more spacious than Disney Dream’s, as the line moved out administrative “back-end” offices from the area, although leaving the cruise director’s and hotel director’s offices here.
Upon entering the atrium, Disney Dream passengers encounter a statue of “Admiral Donald,” whereas onboard Disney Fantasy a bronze “Mademoiselle Minnie” statue will greet guests. She’ll be dressed in a 1920s and 1930s-era evening gown, standing by her steamer trunk.
New, Expanded Experiences: Kids and adults may choose to receive “makeovers” at Disney Fantasy’s Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, a new upscale place that replaces a conference room area on Disney Dream. The shop offers “princess” dress-up options (for a fee) with everything from gowns and wigs to crowns, makeup and jewelry.
Once on a seven-night cruise, the boutique is transformed into Pirate’s League, where boys, girls and grown-ups can receive a swashbuckling makeover. The pirate option may be so popular that the line may eventually decide to offer it by reservation-only, but they’ll see how it goes.
Another family activity is a trio of interactive, Muppets-themed detective games. Designed for those nine years and up, the games are self-guided with guests finding clues within the ship’s art. Separately, a new, much larger space on Disney Fantasy is Shutters, where guests can view their vacation photos, print them or create a customized photo CD.
Innovative Dining Updates: At the Royal Court, the biggest change is that Disney took out the raised seating level in the dining room’s central core. With the seating now a bit lower, the line was able to add a huge chandelier which hangs above the captain’s table. Also new: More than 200,000 pieces of glass have been used to create 23 artistic mosaics.
On all Disney ships, the Animator’s Palate dining room impresses with its fiber optics and changing lights. On Disney Fantasy, circular ceiling lights resemble colorful paint tins, while both a giant pencil and paint brush connect the floor with the ceiling that resembles an artist’s palette.
|Disney Fantasy’s staterooms are essentially the same as those of Disney Dream.|
What’s not viewable is that Disney has now split this dining room into nine technology zones, each encompassing seating for 70 guests. As kids and adults doodle on their placements, cameras silently capture the imagery—whether stick figures or a magnificent drawing. Mickey Mouse provides a virtual welcome early in the meals, then food-themed animation on the walls entertains families during dinner, and just before dessert the real fun begins.
Children and adults alike will look up to their doodle or drawing actually singing and dancing with Disney characters and closely displayed on the walls around his or her own table. All guests will experience this once on their cruise; on other nights the same guests, when dining at Animator’s Palate, will enjoy an interactive Crush (the sea turtle from “Finding Nemo”) presentation or pirate-themed entertainment.
The line’s two adult-exclusive alternative restaurants Palo—serving northern Italian cuisine—and Remy—with its French menu—have some facility tweaks on Disney Fantasy. One change is that Disney has added larger semicircular seating areas for multiple couples or groups of friends.
More Sun, Shade and Water: One of the most creative uses of space onboard Disney Fantasy is the new adult-exclusive Satellite Falls on Deck 13. While water spray flows from around the ship’s satellite communications bulb, adults sit below on a circular tile bench, as their feet dangle in a two-foot-deep pool. Shaded areas are nearby for lounging.
Near the ship’s aft funnel, the new 1,800-square-foot AquaLab is a children’s play area with water fun; kids must be potty trained. At two 10-foot-long leaky walls, kids put their finger in one hole to plug a leak, and other leaks develop elsewhere on the wall. Children also work “pretend” controls so they think they’re adjusting the flow and temperature of the adjacent AquaDuck, an enclosed water pipeline-type ride.
On Deck 12 forward, families have a new wading pool with a fountain water feature. Shaded loungers are nearby.
New Lounges, New Shows: Agents may be familiar with Disney Dream’s adult entertainment enclave called The District. The equivalent on Disney Fantasy is called Europa.
One wildly popular Disney Dream venue is the Skyline lounge with changing panoramic views of global cities. The new ship’s larger Skyline lounge reflects real-time views of more cities, including Athens, Barcelona, Budapest, Florence, London, Paris, and St. Petersburg, Russia.
The District Lounge is replaced by the Venetian-themed La Piazza. Pink, the Disney Dream’s champagne bar, is now the French-styled Ooh La La, in a boudoir-like setting with ornate mirrors, velvet fabric walls and Louis XIV-era lounge chairs.
Where 687 pub venue is on Disney Dream guests will find the Irish-themed O’Gills Pub. Replacing Evolution, The Tube is a 1960s style nightclub themed around the London underground. Entertainment-wise, Disney Fantasy has two new shows. “Disney’s Wishes,” a 45-minute, Broadway-style production, and “Disney’s Aladdin—A Musical Spectacular.”
Spa and Accommodations: There are no major changes to the ship’s spa or to accommodation types or stateroom layouts.
Following its christening in New York on March 1, Disney Fantasy will reposition to Port Canaveral for its March 31 inaugural cruise. The ship’s seven-night cruises will alternate between eastern and western Caribbean itineraries. At press time fares were quoted from $1,085 per person double for a standard inside stateroom.