As may be apparent from the blogs posted so far, most of the time we have traveled on the two older and smaller Disney cruise ships, the Wonder and Magic. In August of 2013, we traveled to the Western Caribbean on the Fantasy. We were very excited to try out the new ship. Overall, it was amazing. Newer, bigger, fancier, with all the bells and whistles -- portraits that interacted with you, a sports deck with miniature golf, the Aqua Duck water slide, a whole adult area with night clubs and pubs, and more. We were certainly never at a loss for things to do. I really expected that at the end of this trip, we may be spoiled by the newness and bigness of the Fantasy and never want to go back to the Magic or Wonder.
Interestingly, I was wrong. Yes, the Fantasy was awesome and we had a great trip. But a bigger ship means a bigger crowd of people. And there were times when the ship, despite being roomier, felt crowded. The kids’ pools were packed most of the time. The deeper pool was wall to wall bodies. Even the restaurants and public spaces felt busy -- there were always lines. Especially for the Aqua Duck -- we had to go at off-peak times to wait under 30 minutes for one trip in the Duck. The adult space on the Fantasy was pretty roomy and it did not feel as crowded -- it was a shame that the kids spaces were not as correspondingly large. Even our inside stateroom (with a magic porthole) felt crowded. There were fewer drawers, no nightstand and some weird shelving. We just didn’t have as much room to store our stuff. My husband also complained because the pub only showed two channels of sports -- ESPN 1 and 2 (I believe we were cruising during opening football weekend).
I do recommend trying different ships and seeing what works best for you. It is neat to compare the Disney ships -- there are even differences between sister ships (Fantasy vs. Dream and Wonder vs. Magic). Do not be dissuaded from taking a cruise on the Magic or Wonder. They may be older and smaller than the new-fangled Dream and Fantasy, but for us, they were cozier and just the right size. And for now, if you want to travel outside the Caribbean, Magic or Wonder will be the ships to take you there.