To be (together), or not to be (together)? That is the question posed by families who want to take a cruise.
Since most cabins are designed to comfortably accommodate two travelers (or maybe two adults and a child), any party with four or more people has to decide 1) if they want to stay close, and 2) how to do so. On most cruise ships, the options are limited to booking adjoining staterooms that share a common interior door, or upgrading to a roomier suite. The average size of a cruise liner cabin is 175 square feet, so it's an important consideration.
True, if you're spending a lot of your waking hours on a cruise ship in your stateroom, you're missing out on the whole point of taking a cruise. So size isn't really supposed to matter that much. But when you do have to be together, you want to have enough room so you're not constantly on top of your cabin mates. The Disney Fantasy solves this problem with staterooms that are specifically designed for families.
That means you get more room than the industry standard. So much so, in fact, that all cabins are designed to accommodate at least three or four passengers -- and many more can easily sleep five.
We were in a Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah, and there was plenty of elbow room for the four of us at 299 square feet. The area with a plush queen-sized bed can be partitioned off with a heavy privacy curtain, turning the other side of the curtain into a de facto sitting room/TV-watching area. The couch turns into a very comfy bed, and a berth pulls down from the ceiling. Once nice Disney touch is the Peter Pan star-filled mural that graces the ceiling above the pull-down bunk.
Expect to find Art Deco styling, original Disney artwork on the walls, crown molding and the warmth of teak. And, of course, little chocolates left on your bed at turn-down time each night.
If you can afford it, a cabin with a verandah makes the cabin experience feel so much more expansive. And it's simply nice to be able to step out onto the verandah and sit down to enjoy the waves and sea breeze.
But where the Disney Fantasy really excels is the bathroom.
Anybody who has been on a cruise is familiar with the ingenious ways that ship designers have shoehorned a bathroom into such a cozy space. Not only does the Disney Fantasy offer a split bathroom arrangement (vanity and sink in one space, and a shower in another space), but our cabin featured a small bathtub. That's truly a rarity on the high seas. From a practical standpoint, this means two people can be getting ready at the same time. On most cruise ships, the bathroom is strictly a one-person-at-a-time kind of thing. And when you're waiting to take a shower or put on makeup or brush your teeth, even a little wait can grate on your nerves.
One final thing to consider: When you double the occupancy of a cabin, you double the chances of sleeping in close proximity to a snorer. So be prepared and pack some ear plugs in your luggage!