Saturday, February 29, 2020

The Fantasy's Vista Gallery

All four Disney ships have a Vista Gallery, an onboard gallery where art available for purchase is displayed.  The art is fun to look at, but not fun to buy, since almost all of the art is expensive.
During the Fantasy's dry dock a few years ago, the Vista Gallery was moved from Deck 4 to Deck 2 to make space for Tiffany's.  The gallery is now outside of Enchanted Garden, on Deck 2 Midship.  However, it's more of a Vista Hallway now.  There is no longer has a dedicated room for art.  Even with this downside, I think the gallery is better on Deck 2, since people can easily view the art before or after their dinner at Enchanted Garden.  

On my cruise in January, I walked by the Vista Gallery every time I went from my stateroom to the Midship elevator lobby.  On the last night, I noticed that I had taken over 900 photos, and I wanted to reach 1000.  So, I thought of places around the ship that I hadn't taken pictures of, and I remembered the Vista Gallery.  I went down to the gallery at around 11 at night, and luckily nobody was around to get in the way or question why I was taking so many pictures.  I took a photo of every piece of art, but unfortunately some of my pictures came out blurry, so they won't be included in this post.  Also, these pictures don't capture all of the detail of the actual art.  So if you want to get a better, more complete look, you'll have to go on a cruise.  That doesn't sound too bad.

Please enjoy my Virtual Vista Gallery!

When I go on the Fantasy again next year, I'll be sure to get better pictures of the Vista Gallery.  I hope you're excited for the Virtual Vista Gallery (2021 complete edition)!

Sunday, February 23, 2020

The AbDUCKtion of Quacks

In January 2019, I went on a Southern Caribbean cruise on the Wonder.  While on it, I noticed that the poolside store, Quacks, was never open.  Quacks is a large, two sectioned column that slides open and sells pool essentials like sunscreen.
I thought the reason for Quacks never being open was that people rarely bought anything from it, and that it wouldn't be productive to have a shop attendant inside.  All of the items sold at Quacks were also available at the main shops down on deck 4, and people could just buy what they need there.  I assumed Quacks would be taken out during the Wonder's next dry dock, which was in September 2019.  If anybody reading this has been on the Wonder since then, is Quacks still around?

On my cruise on the Fantasy in January, I noticed that Quacks was gone!  AbDUCKted!  It must have been removed in the Fantasy's dry dock in the middle of 2017.  Now that I think about it, Quacks wasn't on the Dream either.  

On the Dream-Class ships, Quacks was pointless.  Whozits and Whatzits is a shop on deck 11 (the pool deck) in the Midship elevator lobby.  This store sells everything Quacks had, plus clothes, books, and various other items.  It's as convenient as Quacks was, and there was no need for both.

Since the Wonder and Magic don't have Whozits and Whatzits or an equivalent, there is more of a reason to have Quacks.  But what's the point of having something that never gets used?  Since it was removed from the Dream and Fantasy, it nearly confirms that Quacks will be removed in their next dry docks.  The Magic is scheduled to have a dry dock later this year, so we'll see what happens!

Sunday, February 16, 2020

The Midship Detective Agency Experiment

Before my recent cruise on the Fantasy, I wrote about what I was planning to do on this cruise.  One thing I planned to do was to bring my Midship Detective Agency badge from an unfinished game on the Dream onto the Fantasy and attempt to finish the same game on a different ship.  The goal of this experiment was to learn more about the how the game works and how game progress is saved.  I thought the progress would be stored to the badge, and I just had to find out if I was right.
This is the painting that didn't let me finish my game on the Dream.  It was a game of Midship Defective Agency.

To do my experiment, on embarkation day before leaving Port Canaveral, I found some Enchanted Art (that's the official name of the animated pictures around the Dream and Fantasy) to test my Dream badge.  I excitedly took it out of my backpack and held it up to the painting.  To my surprise and amazement... didn't work.

As it turns out, game progress is stored to the ship the badge was registered to.  It isn't saved to the badge, which was what I initially thought.  Because of this, the Fantasy unfortunately didn't recognize my badge and I had to start over.  I was sad I couldn't finish, but this raises even more questions.  If I go on the Dream again with the same badge, will it still have my progress from August even though I used it for a new game on the Fantasy?  Do the ships reassign badge numbers?  If this is true, would I have someone else's progress saved to my badge?  Could I ruin someone's game by using the same number that they are using?  That would be fun and really awkward if I encountered the other person.

I played through Midship Detective Agency multiple times on this cruise, and while writing this post I thought of another question, unrelated to how saving data works.  Is the character that committed the crime the same in each playthrough of the scenario?  I doubt this is true, because it would take the whole detective part out of the Midship Detective Agency.  Midship Already Know The Answer Agency doesn't sound nearly as fun.  On my next cruise I'll play through the same scenario twice to find the answer.

I've said this many times before, but I love the amount of detail everywhere on the Disney ships, and the Midship Detective Agency desk is no different.
This newspaper on the Midship Detective Agency desk is actually accurate!  The Fantasy's maiden voyage began on March 31, 2012, meaning the Midship Detective Agency also launched on that day.  I'm sure the Dream's Midship Detective Agency desk has the date of its own maiden voyage also.
This is dated April 1, on the second day of that first cruise.  Pete says, "You'll never catch me, Mickey Mouse!"  He was right, because in all three detective cases, Pete is never a suspect, so it's impossible to catch him.
The Fantasy still uses telegrams?  Maybe that's what the Radio Studio is used for.
This "page" forgot number 6: Take pictures of everything because it might be important.  Wait, no, that's just my rule.
This painting on deck 5, somewhat hidden outside the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, isn't for Midship Detective Agency.  It's actually a pirate ship game, where you sail the ship around and collect treasure.  I thought I'd mention it here because it's kind of similar to Midship Detective Agency.
Finally, if you've ever wanted to play Midship Detective Agency on disembarkation morning, it's closed.  This makes sense, since the crew is busy preparing the ship for the next cruise and I don't think they want people running around playing it.  So if you want to play it, don't wait until the last minute!

I'm happy I found the answer, even if it wasn't what I was hoping for.  The Midship Detective Agency Experiment Part 2 is coming in a year if I don't forget!

Sunday, February 9, 2020

My Cruise on the Fantasy

A few weeks ago, I got on the Fantasy for a 7-Night Western Caribbean cruise.  It was an amazing trip, and I enjoyed both of the ports we visited.  As a result of poor weather conditions, we couldn't stop at Grand Cayman or Jamaica, which was pretty disappointing.  The cruise went like this:  
Port Canaveral-Day at Sea-Cozumel-Day at Sea 2-Day at Sea 3-Star Wars Day at Sea-Castaway Cay
If you love days at sea, this cruise would have been great for you!  Our four days at sea gave me plenty of time to take pictures around the ship, and I took a few, roughly 1,150 (plus a few hours of videos)!  Here are my best from that unrealistically high number.

My family and I arrived early at the terminal, so we waited for a while in the terminal's parking garage.  Luckily, it was a nice place to take my first pictures of the Fantasy and the terminal.

When we finally got inside the building, we checked in and got our Key to the World cards.  I went over to see the model of the Magic, and something caught my eye.
This is the ESPN Skybox in the Magic's forward funnel.  It no longer exists and has been replaced by Vibe.  I'm not sure when it was changed into Vibe, and I'd like to learn more about the Magic's design and the changes made to it.  If I find out more I'll definitely write about it.
Every time I look at this model I'm amazed by how detailed it is.  It was interesting to find locations around the ship that have been changed and others that haven't.  I couldn't look at the mini-Magic for long, though, since I had to go out on the observation deck to see the Fantasy!
After coming back inside, my family's boarding group got called and we excitedly walked through the yellow Mickey Mouse ears toward the ship.  After telling a cast member our last name, we were welcomed into the atrium!
A special addition to the atrium was the Star Wars Day at Sea sign.  I remember a similar sign from my cruise on the Fantasy in 2017.
After that, we headed up to Cabanas on Deck 11.
Just like on the Wonder, the Fantasy now has sink stations at the entrances of Cabanas.  There was never a line at these sinks, and fully washing your hands is better than using a sanitizing wipe.  I'm almost certain these sinks will be added to the Magic and Dream.  This picture was taken at night, and it turns out the screen above the sinks is actually a Windows computer.  This picture was taken by my younger brother, thanks bro.
If you ever need to use the bathroom when you're at Cabanas, just go up a deck to the bathrooms outside of Palo, Remy, and Meridian.  Like the restaurants, these bathrooms are very fancy.  However, unlike the restaurants, they don't cost extra to use.
Directly above is Goofy's Sports Deck.  I played a lot of Goofy Golf on this trip, and I'm still confused about the golf balls.
On some days of the cruise, there were yellow foam golf balls.  But on others, there were wooden golf balls.  I guess Goofy was indecisive on this cruise.  The foam balls were light and blew in the wind, making Goofy Golf more a̶n̶n̶o̶y̶i̶n̶g̶ challenging than usual.  I preferred the wooden balls because they were much heavier and didn't blow away.  On past cruises, Goofy Golf had normal plastic golf balls, but I understand why they've been changed.  Foam balls are safer and less painful if one hit you.  Not wood, though.  The wooden balls probably hurt even more than plastic!

Each morning of the cruise, I got up early because the whole ship is empty at 6 in the morning!  This was no problem for me, but it turns out staying up until 1 watching Star Wars and then waking up at 6 isn't a great idea.  Who knew?  One morning, I went to Goofy Golf while it was empty to take pictures of each hole.
This says "I see you rock putter swing easy at Mt. Cup to defeat your friends."  Somehow I could read the message by looking at the picture but not by looking at the actual sign, which is kind of Goofy.
So that's all nine holes of Goofy Golf.  I hope the pictures brought back great memories of the foam balls rolling away in the wind!
Another benefit of getting up early was that I got to watch the sun rise.  This picture reminds me of the background of an inspirational internet quote.
I think I prefer it without the words.
This is the view from Goofy's Sports Deck on our first day at sea.
If you go down a deck, you'll be at the AquaLab.  This area was originally exclusive to the Fantasy, but has been added to the Magic and Wonder.  The Dream doesn't have it, and because of this there's a small difference between the two AquaDucks.  On the Fantasy, there is a small section at the end of the slide where the tube is blue, as seen in the photo.  I don't know why it's blue, maybe just to make the slide more interesting to look at from the AquaLab.  On the Dream, this section of the tube is white, not blue.
Forward from there is the pool deck and AquaDuck.  The AquaDuck is my favorite feature of the Dream and Fantasy, and I really hope the Wish has a similar or enhanced version of it.  On this cruise, I took advantage of our later dinner and rode the AquaDuck almost every night during the 5:45 dinner.  I often had a raft waiting for me by the time I climbed the 70 steps!  I also rode the AquaDuck when it was completely dark outside for the first time on this cruise, and I think it was more fun and exciting than during the day.
One morning while walking around, I looked up and saw someone in the AquaDuck!  I quickly got out my phone to take a photo, and I'm so happy I could get this picture!  It's my favorite picture from the entire cruise, just because of how random and unexpected it was.  Did you know every time the lifeguards start the water in the slide they have to test ride it before any guests ride it?  Hey Disney, if you need to hire someone just to test ride the AquaDuck, I'm a great fit for the job!
During the 5:45 dinner seating, the lifeguards often changed the wait time to 0 minutes.
If you've ever wondered how the lifeguards change the expected wait time number, there is a wheel on the back of the sign.
What's wrong with this picture?  Edge is having AquaDunk Fun!  The AquaDunk is only on the Magic, so Edge must have magically gone to the Magic while Vibe was riding the AquaDuck.
This is a map from the Wonder, and as some readers know, last January I looked for Pinocchio's Pool but couldn't find it.  Bad news:  It's not on the Fantasy, I checked.
In my opinion, Mickey's Slide (top) is the worst part of the pool deck on the Dream and Fantasy.  It's small and underwhelming compared to the Twist n' Spout (bottom) on the Magic and Wonder.  The Twist n' Spout curves down two decks while Mickey's Slide just spins down one.  To create the best possible slide combination, the Wish should have both an AquaDuck and a Twist n' Spout.  You never know what Disney will surprise us with.
Near the pools is Nemo's Reef, a water area for younger children.
Between Nemo's Reef and Cabanas is Sweet on You, the specialty candy and ice cream store.  The last time I was on the Fantasy, three years ago, this was the Arr-Cade.  I didn't get anything from Sweet on You, but some of the desserts I saw people eating looked delicious.
Also near the pools is Funnel Vision, and I was able to get this picture early one morning.  Every night, crew members stack deck chairs by the sides of the ship to clean them.  The next morning, they bring the chairs back out.  I've never paid much attention to it until now, but keeping everything clean is crucial on a cruise ship.
Up on deck 12 is the Funnel Puddle Pool.  While it is near the Quiet Cove, the adults-only pool area, this is a family pool.
Next to the Funnel Puddle is...the forward funnel!  Have you ever noticed how close the Forward and Midship elevator lobbies are? It's because of the funnels.  Midship and Aft are much farther apart, and it can feel especially long if you're walking through the stateroom hallways.
Inside the forward funnel on deck 13 is Edge, the club for ages 11-14.  It's small compared to the other youth clubs and can feel crowded, especially during open house.
I've never noticed how weird the map of deck 13 is.
Above Edge on deck 14 is Outlook.  Deck 14 is pretty small, and I was able to get all of it (except Outlook) in a single picture.  I don't know what the inside of Outlook looks like, since the door to it was always closed whenever I went up to check.
On the Dream, deck 14 has two restrooms, one for men and one for women.  On the Fantasy, there's just one.
Another feature of deck 14 is the Radio Studio.  It's behind a crew door, so I've never seen inside.
On deck 4's Promenade, I got to see a lifeboat up close, while it was being tested.
This lifeboat has a maximum capacity of 270 people.  Assuming each lifeboat has the same capacity, the Fantasy's 16 lifeboats can hold up to 4,320 people.  Additionally, the Fantasy has some smaller boats that can also be used if needed.
Also on the Promenade is the entrance to Vibe, the club for ages 14-17.  It's hidden and hard to find if you're not looking for it.  With that said, on the first day, a family came into Vibe looking for the Oceaneer Club.  How did they find Vibe but not the Oceaneer Club?  I don't understand how that's possible.  If you're ever trying to find Vibe, go as far forward as possible on the Promenade and go up the staircase on the port side.  Don't go up the starboard staircase, since it's a crew staircase.
At the top of the stairs is a door.  This door is closed for most of the day, except during open house.  By scanning their Key to the World cards, teens can open the door.

I spent a lot of my time on the Fantasy in Vibe.  It's nearly identical to the Dream's Vibe, so I knew what to expect.  The counselors were great, and the activities I participated in were all fun.  I didn't play as much Super Smash Bros. as usual, however.  Most of the people I played with were bad at the game, and I got bored of beating them and their yelling.  I figured there were better ways to spend my cruise.  One night while I was playing Super Smash Bros. with some people, Goofy came to Vibe and played with us.  To my surprise, he was good!  I guess when he's not playing on his sports deck, he must play Super Smash Bros!

 Let's take a break from the ship and move on to Cozumel, the first port we visited.
The water from the pier in Cozumel.
I featured this picture in a recent post, which you can read here.
In Cozumel, to get to anywhere from the ship, you're required to walk through a shopping mall.  It has everything you'd expect from a tourist-heavy mall, like deafening music and people trying to sell you Cozumel themed merchandise.
I found Mexican Lays chips at a store in the mall.
Mexican stop signs say "Tall", but they also translate to "Stop".  I should start calling stop signs tall signs.
This sign translates to "There is no passage".  It's basically a Do Not Enter sign.

In Cozumel, my family and I went to Mr. Sancho's, a resort about twenty minutes away from the cruise ship port.  It's all-inclusive, meaning we could eat all the food and have all of the (non-alcoholic, my blog has kid in the name) drinks we see.  It has a private beach, pools, and an inflatable play area in the ocean.  I had a great time there and would like to go back in the future.
I'm currently learning Spanish, and it's kind of hard to practice when the English words are bigger than the Spanish words.  I took this picture on the way back to the ship, through the mall again.
"Thank's for you visit"
The red, white, and blue ship is a ferry.  It runs from Cozumel to mainland Mexico.
The Fantasy left shortly after we got back on.

The next day was supposed to be a stop at Grand Cayman, but because of bad weather, we couldn't stop.
Around noon that day, the ship slowed to a stop.  I saw people looking off the port side and I wondered what was up.
There was a small tender boat by the ship.  Someone was getting transported off the ship for medical reasons.
While we were stopped, the water around us got really calm.
After the person and the ship's medical crew were safely on the boat, it left.
About twenty minutes later, the boat came back with the medical crew.  The person who was evacuated was safely on the island.
So we did stop at Grand Cayman, but we didn't stop there.

One day while wandering around the ship, I found some interesting pictures in the deck 7 Forward elevator lobby.
These are pictures taken during the Fantasy's construction.  It took one year to build, so the Wish's construction will probably start at the end of 2020.  I doubt many people know about these pictures, and I'm glad I got to see them.

The next day was Falmouth, Jamaica.  This would've been my first time there, but we couldn't dock.  We attempted to dock at another town, Ocho Rios, but we couldn't dock there either.

On this cruise, we had great dinner servers, so I should probably talk about the restaurants.
We got lucky with our rotation on this cruise.  We got Animator's Palate 3 times, which has never happened to us before!  I love Animator's Palate, especially when Crush the turtle comes to talk to people.  Crush talked to my mom, and he asked her to sing a song.  She got up and started singing, which definitely wasn't embarrassing at all.

The next night at Animator's Palate was the Animation Magic show, where you draw on the placemat and the drawings come alive.  When dinner was over, I noticed something unusual on the floor.
It's one of the 101 Dalmatians!  These were scattered around the tile sections of the floor after the show.
The compass at the entrance of Animator's Palate.
Deck 2 Aft has always confused me.  Near Animator's Palate, it's taped off, so I know guests aren't allowed to go down to it.  But if guests aren't supposed to go down to it, why is there an obvious staircase leading to it?  I think it leads to Enchanted Garden's kitchen, but there's no way to know for sure.  I want to see what's down there.  Next time I'll do more investigation of it.
This is the long hallway between Animator's Palate and the atrium.  I was able to take this picture early in the morning.
This is at the end of that hallway, artwork based on Peter Pan.
Royal Court is the least exciting restaurant on the Fantasy in my opinion.  Nothing special happens during dinner, and I don't like it nearly as much as the other two restaurants.
Keeping with the royalty theme, the ceiling of Royal Court has a glass slipper design.  It's a nice touch that probably often goes unnoticed.
Enchanted Garden was the first restaurant I ever went to on a Disney Cruise, so I've been there a few times.
Outside of Enchanted Garden is the Vista Gallery.  I'll have more on the gallery coming in a few weeks, so stay tuned.
Our last day was Castaway Cay.  Like in August, I did the Vibe-exclusive excursion, the Wild Side, and it was even more fun than last time.  There were only eight people on the excursion, so it felt much more laid back than in August.  Also, nobody got hurt this time, which is always a plus.  We went snorkeling, rode bikes, and rode a speedboat.  I didn't take any pictures on the excursion, so you'll just have to take my word that it was fun.

This visit to Castaway Cay was probably the best day I've ever had on the island.  I spent the morning on the Wild Side and then spent the rest of the day at Hideout.  It was such a relaxing day and I can't wait to go again!
A castaway tree on Castaway Cay.
Bob Iger is the CEO of Disney.  According to this sign, he's also the owner of a (probably fictional) shrimp company.
Here's a closer look at the map of Castaway Cay.
After lunch at Cookie's BBQ had finished, some seagulls came to get their lunch.
This is the message on the other side of the welcome sign.
I love Castaway Cay since it feels like the ship but on an island.  I was able to take some awesome pictures of the Fantasy from the island.  These pictures are edited, but I think that makes them look better.
This looks like something you'd find in a Disney Cruise Line advertisement.
In this picture, one of the lifeboats was being lowered for testing.
When riding it, I never notice how far the AquaDuck goes off the ship's side.  It's just too much fun to pay attention to that.
The bottom of the ship is one of the only areas that isn't constantly getting repainted.  There's no point to it, since the paint will just get worn away again.

Anyway, when I got back on the Fantasy after a great day at Castaway Cay, I went up to the pool deck to eat ice cream and ride the AquaDuck.  Speaking of ice cream, I was incredibly disappointed with the flavors on this cruise:  Only vanilla, chocolate, banana, and strawberry.  There was no blueberry or mango (or coconut, but I wasn't too sad it wasn't served).  Each day I anxiously checked back to see if there was blueberry, my favorite, and to my disappointment, there was none.
Later that day, when I was in the pool with a friend, I looked up and saw these unusual but pretty clouds.  In a rush to take a picture, I got out of the pool and grabbed my phone.  My friend probably thought I was crazy for randomly getting out of the pool, but hey, the picture is cool!

I had taken about 920 pictures by that night.  I knew I could get to 1000, so I took pictures of random things I saw around the ship, including...
A wet paint sign,
A life preserver,
The atrium's peacock carpet,
The atrium's peacock design on the elevators,
A towel dog,
And Shutters.  On the last night of the cruise, it was extremely busy.  If you want to buy your photos from the cruise, don't go after dinner on the last night.  Like the AquaDuck, go during the 5:45 dinner for significantly less people.

The last night is always the worst.  I didn't want the cruise to end, because there were so many things I didn't do.  I didn't go to the Oceaneer Club to compare it to the Dream's, I didn't go to Sweet on You, I didn't go to Grand Cayman or Jamaica, I didn't see any of Disney's live shows, I didn't order room service, and I didn't hear the special Star Wars ship horns.

That's why my parents booked the exact same cruise next year:  Same ship, same week, same itinerary, and hopefully better weather!

This post took me forever to finish.  It wasn't fun to work on, and I probably forgot about a lot of my photos, but I hope you enjoyed it.  Taking over 1000 pictures is great, but next time I'll organize them into smaller, more manageable posts.  You may have noticed I didn't write about Star Wars Day at Sea.  This is because I have another post on the way about it.  I also have one coming for the Vista Gallery, my Midship Detective Agency experiment, and maybe even one about the shops.  I'll get those out as soon as I can!