When it comes to the Disney Fantasy, choosing the right sales pitch is fundamental to winning over the client. There are multiple reasons why taking this cruise will not disappoint, but it’s how travel advisors choose to sell it that will make all the difference.
Whereas many will argue that the sole market for a Disney cruise is those traveling with children, I would have to disagree. After having recently returned from the Eastern Caribbean sailing with my lifelong friend, I found there are three demographic groups that travel advisors should be targeting here. They are: parents with kids, adults-only, and multigenerational families.
Regardless of which client you’re selling to, if they choose to rebook their next cruise onboard in exchange for a 10% discount, be sure to remind them to transfer their booking to you within 30 days so you don’t lose out on the commission.
By category, here are the top reasons to pitch your clients on the Disney Fantasy.
Parents with kids
This traditional market understandably makes up the majority of passengers. The reasons why parents will want to consider the Disney Fantasy are limitless, but here are the highlights.
Oceaneer Clubs: These age-appropriate spaces are chock-full of fun for kids of all ages and they provide not only entertainment for the children, but an opportunity for moms and dads to have some alone time without feeling any guilt for not being with the kids 24/7 – and the best part is that it’s all included in the price of the cruise. Parents can drop off their children ages 3-12 to explore different Disney lands, such as Andy’s Room from Toy Story, a Star Wars-themed galactic zone, or a Super Hero-themed activity center, among others.
Parents can drop off children to explore different Disney lands, such as a Star Wars-themed galactic zone.
The Oceaneer Lab is a nautical wonderland where they can also participate in arts and crafts and gaming activities led by counselors. While iPads are at the ready, the emphasis in these clubs is for the children to interact with one another through physical games, thus keeping them active and engaged.
For those younger than age 3, It’s a Small World Nursery allows parents to drop an infant more than 6 months of age to be cared for by trained Disney counselors (for an additional fee), providing a reprieve from the day-to-day caretaking while sailing.
For teens and tweens, Vibe (ages 14-17) and Edge (ages 11-14) offer comfy couches, music, video games, and a private sundeck and pool to help this age group acclimate to the cruise and easily interact with other kids their own age.
Stress-free dining options: Keeping the entertainment flowing while providing cuisine choices that appeal to both parents and kids alike makes dining on the Fantasy that much more enjoyable, not to mention the staff that goes the extra mile to offer up magic tricks or recall special requests that make you feel “remembered” in a truly personal fashion.
Guests rotate through three themed family restaurants – Animator’s Palate, Royal Court and Enchanted Garden – accompanied by the same serving team and offering a variety of menus. Any parent knows that keeping children entertained during mealtime has its challenges, and the Fantasy delivers. For example, the line’s signature restaurant, Animator’s Palate, brings cartoon creativity alive by displaying the drawings of diners as they interact with Disney characters on screens throughout the room. The results are truly magical.
Entertainment: From character meet-and-greets and theme days culminating with fireworks at sea, to movies, deck parties, and live Broadway-style shows adapted from Aladdin and Frozen, the Disney Fantasy keeps families amused around the clock. What’s more, unlike the theme parks, where you might spend a good part of your day waiting in line to see Mickey Mouse, the characters aboard these ships are much more accessible for photo opportunities and autographs. Passengers can easily access the Fantasy Navigator app or the daily printed newsletter for information on where they will be appearing, as well as the multitude of family-themed activities and shows – everything from karaoke to bingo to hilarious baby diaper races – available throughout the 7-day sailing.
This particular sailing had two themed days at sea: Pirates in the Caribbean Celebration and Star Wars Day at Sea. The cast and crew of the Disney Fantasy help bring these theme days alive, and most families are eager to join in the fun by donning costumes of their own. Don’t be surprised if your clients are lounging poolside only to be approached by a Storm Trooper in full regalia!
The Magic Play Floor is a fun area for kids while parents enjoy adults-only activities.
Fun in the sun: With multiple kid pools, two water slides, Nemo’s Reef Splash and play area for kids under 3, mini-golf, basketball courts and more onboard, there are plenty of options to keep kids active on their own and create new family memories together.
To top it off, the week culminates with a stop at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, where there is so much to do, you will wish you had more time. Equipped with multiple expansive beach areas, Pelican Plunge (a 2,400-square-foot floating platform with water slides and cannons) and a water play area called Spring-a-Leak, Castaway Cay is every kids’ version of paradise. Guests here can snorkel, swim with stingrays, participate in a fun 5K run, take a bike ride, or simply sit with their feet in the sand or atop a float in the turquoise water. Like the cruise itself, every need and want is accounted for, with an all-you-care-to-eat-lunch barbecue buffet served outdoors for their convenience. Complimentary chairs and beach towels are provided and private cabanas are available to rent.
Whether you’re a Disney enthusiast or not, the Fantasy offers all the amenities that adults are seeking on an ocean cruise. The bonus is that if your client is a Disney aficionado, their experience will be magnified by the “magical touches” onboard.
Lesley Dallas, cruise director on the Fantasy, has been with the company for 16 years, and has witnessed the evolution of what was once the typical cruise passenger. “Initially, it was the nuclear family. Today we are seeing adults come back alone, getting a chance to explore the ‘other side,’ such as the adult-exclusive areas.” And there are plenty to be had in that category.
Peaceful lounging space: As you walk from one end of the Fantasy to the other, you can’t help but feel you have boarded an entirely different ship when reaching the adult deck. Leaving the kid-friendly zones behind, you are met with waiter service, private plunge pools, and cold towel service, among other amenities. The Fantasy knows how to offer up relaxation, adult-style.
Adult spaces: From a fully-equipped fitness center offering yoga, Pilates, and spin classes, to the Senses Spa & Salon (both with captivating floor-to-ceiling ocean views), adults have numerous options to appreciate grown-up time. Guests can indulge in spa treatments, massages, manicures, pedicures and a rainforest-themed aromatherapy steam room and sauna. Beyond the spa and fitness center, the ship also caters to adults by offering sophisticated experiences such as cooking demonstrations, backstage tours, and even seminars.
Specialty dining and room service: While the main dining areas on a typical rotation allow guests to indulge in specialties like baked lobster tail, roasted rack of lamb, tuna sashimi, or black truffle pasta, guests can also opt to take it to the next level with specialty dining at either of Disney’s adult-exclusive restaurants, Palo and Remy (where an extra charge applies). Palo (specializing in modern Italian cuisine) and Remy (an upscale and romantic dining experience serving French-inspired cuisine) both feature stunning ocean views and a formal ambience. On the other hand, if you’re looking to relax on your verandah away from the crowd for a meal or two, just order room service from an extensive menu, 24 hours a day, at no additional charge.
Shore excursions: Depending on which itinerary your client chooses, there are a multitude of options ashore for adults. On the Eastern Caribbean itinerary, stops typically include Tortola and St. Thomas. However, this sailing swapped out Tortola for San Juan, Puerto Rico, enabling guests to soak up the history of Old San Juan on a walking tour paired with a visit to the restaurant where piña coladas were first invented. On the flip side, when arriving in St. Thomas, guests were greeted with rum punch as they boarded a catamaran setting sail for a snorkeling excursion and private beach getaway. Some other Disney Port Adventure options include ziplining, submarine tours and turtle encounters, to name just a few.
Nightlife: There is no lack of options onboard the Fantasy for evening entertainment. While adults can certainly join the mainstream crowd to take in the latest Disney film or a live Broadway-style show, they can also escape to an entire area of the ship that takes on a European twist called Europa, a cluster of adult nighttime entertainment venues. Here, they will find high-energy clubs and sophisticated lounges inspired by the night spots of Italy, France, Ireland and London.
Disney Cruise Line first set sail in 1998, and today, over 20 years later, the crew of the Fantasy welcomes aboard families who traveled those years alongside them on the very first ships. “Parents who used to bring their kids, those kids are now coming back with their own kids. We love seeing that,” said Dallas. “I had someone recently tell me, ‘My 18-year-old took his first steps on the Disney Magic!’”
When traveling with people of multiple age groups, being able to accommodate everyone’s needs can be challenging, but cruising Disney-style serves up a solid resolution. In addition to the kid- and adult-friendly reasons above, here are a few more.
Andy’s Room from Toy Story is another play land for kids.
Handicap-accessible: Guests with disabilities have access to comfortable staterooms and suites, along with a full range of services and facilities. Firsthand, I can report that the crew aboard the Disney Fantasy goes out of their way to accommodate handicapped passengers both onboard and on shore. Whether by providing separate transportation upon debarkation at Castaway Cay or carrying food trays from the buffet for wheelchair-bound guests, there was no limit to the extra service they provided.
Reconnecting: Traveling with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins on a cruise is an ideal way to not only reconnect and make new memories, but also offer up a balance of age-appropriate activities for every individual and their activity level. There is truly something for everyone, regardless of their age or interests.
Disconnecting: As much as a Disney cruise allows for ample time together, it equally affords groups ample time to be apart. Families can pick and choose activities that they want to enjoy as a group or go their separate ways. And while evening meals are typically shared, the multitude of dining venues for breakfast and lunch provide the freedom to sit alone.
Rooms with families in mind: Family suites and connecting rooms are options that suit the style of groups traveling together. Grandkids can even stay overnight with their grandparents while parents steal away for the evening.
Ultimately, all the reasons above to travel with kids or without would apply to multigenerational travel as well. Big groups come in all shapes and sizes, and this cruise has the entertainment, activities and amenities to appeal to them all.
The Disney Fantasy sails out of Port Canaveral on seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, with every cruise stopping at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.