PORT CANAVERAL June 18, 2012 — Sailing on either of the two newest Disney cruise ships, Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream, is far from kids’ stuff.
There are plenty of grown-up options — adults-only pools; an adults-only section on Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay; a beautiful on-board spa; an entire section of each ship devoted to themed nightclubs; superb stage shows (this is Disney, after all); plus two highly-rated, adults-only restaurants.
Of course, you can still “get your kid on” by plunging through the ultra-cool AquaDuck, the only water coaster at sea, or by turning detective to figure out a series of clues hidden around the ship in pictures that “come to life.’’
Be wowed at Animator’s Palate, a restaurant with large screens featuring 100 video monitors around the room, where Crush, the talking turtle from “Finding Nemo,” calls you out from the crowd to have a conversation. Be an animator for a night by drawing a character that will come to life on screen in a one-of-a-kind dinner show.
For gourmet, grown-up dining, there’s upscale Remy, which debuted on Disney Dream and continues on Disney Fantasy.
“From the moment our guests walk through the door at Remy, they are transported to a fine French dining experience,” said Ozer Balli, vice president, Disney Cruise Line Hotel Operations. “The success of Palo on the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder encouraged us to create this elegant, upscale and even more intimate dining experience for the Disney Dream.”
Dinner at Remy is a lavish and leisurely affair, starting with a signature chilled Taittinger Champagne cocktail made tableside, followed by eight-to-nine small courses complemented by a stellar wine list.
With a subtle nod to the hit Disney-Pixar film “Ratatouille” and its petite French star Remy, the softly lit, art nouveau dining room seats eighty. The Remy character is subtly and artfully integrated into the room’s design. Keeping with the story line, serving staff dress in long white aprons, black jackets or burgundy vests, and bow ties.
The surcharge for Remy dining is $75 per person in addition to the cost of wine and alcoholic beverages.
Palo Restaurant, which takes its name from those barber-striped poles that line the canals of Venice and where the gondoliers tie up their watercraft, appears on the Disney Dream, just as it does on the other ships.
Palo is one of the best values we’ve found at sea in our 60-plus cruises. This specialty restaurant featuring Northern Italian cuisine, classic reserve wines, and superior service, charges only $20 per person. Such dining would easily top $100 per person on land.
The menu features pizzas, fresh pastas like wild mushroom risotto and penne with fresh tomato, basil sauce and grilled shrimp. Turbot is pan seared with porcini, pancetta and fennel with walnut butter; the classic beef tenderloin is served with a Barolo wine or Gorgonzola sauce.
Desserts include the classic tiramisù as well as a signature chocolate soufflé (divine). An orange soda float with vanilla gelato is a nice nod to Italy.
Palo’s wine list has about 90 labels all from Italy, including a sparkling Prosecco and a lush red Barolo made just for Palo.
Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line’s private island, has all the necessary Caribbean ingredients: crystal-clear turquoise waters, sandy beaches, palm trees, tropical flowers. Unlike on some cruise lines’ islands, the ship actually docks on the cay, so passengers walk ashore instead of having to take a tender.
Take the tram to get a handle on where all the activities are on this 1,000-acre island.
The adults-only beach is Serenity Bay, almost a mile from the main family beach. Private cabanas are for rent for that true “it’s-my-island” feeling. An adults-only lunch pavilion serves typical beach-bar food and drinks.
Castaway Cay offers biking, interacting with stingrays, parasailing, fishing, and volleyball, plus plenty of hammocks and beach chairs. Water cycles, paddleboats, kayaks, sailboats, personal watercraft, and snorkeling equipment are all available for rent.
Back on-board, we retreat from the world of Disney characters and active poolside children by heading to a spot reserved just for us: the couples’ treatment room in Senses Spa and Salon. On the massage menu, there’s an Elemis aroma stone therapy massage, Thai poultice massage, bamboo massage, Elemis deep tissue muscle massage, Swedish massage, and the couples massage.
Insider tip: Try to book spa appointments before embarkation; once aboard, those coveted spa appointments go quickly, especially on sea days.
Rates for the seven-night Caribbean cruise itineraries on the Disney Fantasy start at $959 per person for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy. All pricing reflects a category 11C standard inside stateroom, Government taxes and fees not included.
Kathy M. Newbern and her husband, J.S. Fletcher, have cruised all over the world tallying more than 60 voyages. They’ve been producing travel stories on assignment since 1994 and have visited every continent. They are award-winning members of the Society of American Travel Writers and operate YourNovel.com, their personalized romance novel business based in Raleigh, N.C., where you can star in your own romance. They also operate the award-winning travel site YourSpaReport.com.
Follow Kathy & Fletcher on Twitter @FletcherNewbern
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