The Disney Cruise Line Disney Dream – A Review
Let’s preface this post by saying that before we went on the Disney Dream, we were already experienced cruisers. We have cruised on most contemporary cruise lines: Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian. We had never tried Disney because of its (higher) price point and age of our daughter. However, we discovered there was a Halloween themed cruise and we jumped at the opportunity. Needless to say we thoroughly enjoyed it and my daughter was very happy to have experienced the magic of Disney at sea!.
Since this is a review we will list the great, the good, the not so good and the ugly. Just kidding!. There was really no ugly on this cruise. The Disney Dream is truly an amazing ship and the experience is truly unforgettable, specially for kids.
It is beautiful, elegant, amazing. End of story.
According to our research the Dream was introduced in 2011 and went through renovations in 2015, It holds 4,000 passenger so it is a big ship.
I have to say that the main highlight of the ship, specially for the kids is the 765-foot water coaster named AquaDuck.
It is high enough that you can see the ocean while you are sliding down. If you are afraid of heights I would not recommend it. However, it is not a scary ride and lots of fun.
The cabins are very spacious, well appointed and we did not feel closed in. We had a deluxe Ocean View with a large Porthole.
One little detail that may sound weird to some but I find that I should mention is the shampoo in the shower. While I loved it because of the sea smell and how I felt it really cleaned my hair, I would be careful if using it on younger kids. My daughter who’s 10 used it and it was too strong for her scalp. She got a little bit in her eyes and it was really painful. I would not use it on younger kids.
The public areas were beautiful, very elegant and spotless. Seriously, we did not see one dirty spot in any of the areas we walked by. That combined with the amazing service makes this ship worth the higher price point compared to the other cruise lines.
The Kids Club
This is where Disney goes all out. I have used Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Kid’s club and this one is hands down the most impressive so far. It is impressive mostly because of the amount of equipment, electronics and games that they have. They also have tons of games, organized activities and theme parties.
Their kids club is divided into five specialized clubs based on age. One thing that surprised me is that they have a nursery for infants from 6 months to 3 years. I had not seen a nursery at sea before.
Mickey Walking Around The Ship
To say that there’s always something going on for every age group would be an understatement. There are princesses walking around, taking pictures with the kids. Disney characters as well walk around saying hi. If you want an autograph you can stand in line and get one or you can make a reservation for a certain time when they will be making appearances.
I do have to warn parents of younger kids (specially girls) about the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. You will leave half of your spending money here. This boutique is like a hair salon which turns your kids into any kind of character they wish including pirates, princesses, and kings. We saw so many girls dressed and made up like princesses. It was too cute. We loved it. I tried to get my 10 yr old to do it but she gave me the evil eye.
Another highlight in terms of Kids entertainment (and I would say adults as well) was the Pirate night. They give you bandanas to wear and the whole theme of the ship is pirates. The at night after dinner at about 10 pm there’s a firework display at sea which is amazing. I have never seen a firework display like this in the middle of the ocean and according to Disney they are the only ones who do it. My daughter loved it and so did I
Entertainment for Adults
I was actually surprised at the amount of entertainment the ship offered to the adults, considering it does not have a casino.
During the day, while my daughter went to the Kid’s club I would go to the adults-only Quiet Cove pool and also to the Senses Spa & Salon where I got myself a well deserved massage!.
The ship has a section called The District which is like a long boulevard and at night the adults can enjoy the bars and lounges along this long hall. I loved the late night comedian show. He was a very R rated ventriloquist who also had a G family show earlier in the week.
Before I go into detail on the restaurants I have to say that the food at the Disney Dream rotational restaurants, although good, in my view, was not exceptional. The service was top notch and the servers and everyone goes out of their way to make you feel welcome and special. However, I have to say (and I can’t believe I am saying this). I have had much better food on Carnival’s traditional restaurants.
Having said that, I do think that the buffet at the Disney Dream was very good and it offered a lot of variety and fresh food. Compared to other cruise lines I would say Disney is doing a much better job on the buffet.
The Disney Dream has nine themed restaurants including two specialty adults-only restaurants.
Since I was traveling alone with my underage daughter, we ate in our assigned restaurants every day. We were not able to experience the adults only specialty restaurants.
Disney has what they call a rotational system for dinner. Every night you rotate restaurants. We were assigned one night to the Animator’s Palate, one night to the Enchanted Garden and 2 nights at the Royal Palace.
Of these 3 our favorite was hands down the Animator’s Palate. It was the highlight of our cruise when it came to dining. The whole restaurant looks like an animator’s studio which comes to life while you are eating. The silverware, the table settings, everything is meant to represent something from the animator’s studio. It is really cool.
While you eat, you will get a visit from some of Finding Nemo characters. Crush the turtle came by and interacted with us. It would ask us questions and follow up to our answers. We couldn’t figure out how they did this so we concluded that there was someone behind the screen.
Disney’s Private Island
One of the stops on the Disney Dream’s itinerary was Castaway Cay which is Disney’s private island. It is quite small but there’s a lot of activities for families in the island. Mainly water sports, snorkeling, bicycling, para- sailing, and other beach activities. You can also get a massage overlooking the ocean. If you are traveling without kids, or if your kids want to stay at the Island’s kid’s club, there’s a beach just for adults called Serenity Bay.
One thing to know is that although there’s a kid’s club in the island, the children will not be taken to the beach or to any water activity. They will stay in an enclosed location with a play structure. I decided not to leave my daughter here as I wanted her to experience the island and its activities.
Another thing to know is that every activity you do in the island other than getting into the water or eating, involves a cost. We paid $10 to rent an inner tube.
Finally, I would like to say that the Disney Cruise experience is one of a kind which, if you can afford you should definitely experience it. Specially if you have kids, I would say, between 4 and 9.
One of the issues my daughter had was that she was a little old for her age group at the kids club, but she was not old enough to hang out in the teen area and the teen disco. The teens we saw seemed to be having a great time.
However, I casually to a couple of them and they told me they thought they were a little too old to be on a Disney Cruise.