To begin with I want to say that the day before I left on this cruise I had read every review for the Dream on Cruise Critic...numbered 150! I had booked my trip well over a year prior to sailing, so had plenty of time to read them all. After I read that review I determined that everyone has their own opinion and may not be reflective of my own at all. This proved true upon my return when I read reviews from folks that I knew had sailed on the same cruise I had...but, from my experience, you would not have believed we were all there at the same time.
So, I set forth on this cruise with much anticipation and excitement...weighed with a dash of realism. And, I have to add, that I felt so prepared, that when I boarded this magnificent vessel, I felt like I'd been on it many times before. I was not worried about getting lost or feeling like I'd missed anything. I knew ahead of time that my mom and I would not get into those packed pools with all the children...but, they did look like sardines sometimes...albeit fun sardines! I didn't stress over the fact that we wouldn't see everything on a 4-nighter and just tried to enjoy what we did take the time to do.
We had the blessing of staying in a 1-bedroom concierge suite and there is nothing to say except, "WOW!" Expensive...yes...worth it...DEFINITELY! This suite was bigger than my last apartment experience and so much nicer! The concierge lounge and the concierge folks were top-notch all the way...made us feel special every time we saw them...and knew us by name after our first meeting...impressive! Our room host (his name escapes me now but he was from Jamaica) was funny and efficient...took great care of our room and of us also.
The dining rooms were all special in their own ways. We were seated by ourselves, but we had great folks around us that we enjoyed getting to know a little more each night. Alex and Benjamin...our servers...were great...funny...attuned to us completely. They made the food to be the best it could be; I'm not a food snob by any means, but I think the food was fine, not over the top great...but certainly better than a McD burger (and I like those microwaved slabs of mystery beef). The only thing I would have marked down...had I been willing to downgrade the whole cruise for but didn't...would have been the pancakes the last day before disembarkation...not good (McDs are much better). We did room service for breakfast everyday and pretty much stuck with what our tastes are...cereal/oatmeal, etc...and it was set up very nicely for us and enjoyed at our dining room table. We also had brunch at Palo and that is definitely something I would highly recommend to everyone to try and secure a reservation. From the manager, to our server, to the beautiful buffet and beautiful seating...it was a great way to celebrate my birthday. Try it...you won't be disappointed.
We enjoyed all the shows and took in a movie one day as well. I haven't been on any other cruises, but I cannot imagine that there is any entertainment group out there that can even begin to compete with the calibre of Disney. I'm not a Disney fanatic, but I love Disney and the philosophy of the company. I have spent many trips over the years going to Disneyworld/land and now live in South Florida. I'm not wealthy, but I feel like every time I've spent my money on a Disney trip I have gotten my money's worth. This cruise is no different, in fact I believe this ship is top of the heap for wonderful accomplishments by the Disney industry.
We had two spa experiences on our Bahamas day: the couples massage and then facials later that day. Both were wonderful. While the products were shown and discussed, I don't think either one of us felt pressured to purchase at all. It's a really beautiful spot on this ship and everyone should try to visit it once while you're there. We did go off the ship early, for just a couple of hours; Nassau is crowded and we're not looking for jewelry or liquor...so, we aren't the best ones to critique this area. There are probably nicer places to go...I'm not too experienced with that.
We loved Castaway Cay and had the pleasure of a cabana on Serenity Bay. It was just so quiet and relaxing...and beautiful. At lunch we ate at Cookies 2...no kids...it was funny to not hear children in the background (although this never bothered us at all). We also went parasailing and had a great group on our trip and the experience was perfect...worth the time and money! The day was beautiful and although we didn't get to see everything we didn't feel like we'd missed a thing. My mom said she thought she could live there permanently (if only there was a Walmart!) Again...the cabana is an expensive choice, but I felt it was worth the money and that was just for two of us; it would probably be better utilized by a larger family. Once more...it's a matter of opinion.
Finally I would say that it's good to read the reviews, but don't be put off by the negative ones, or built up too much by the good ones. Why the world is interesting is because we are all different and like things differently. The same is true with cruising. Some would ask why, if we're not Disney fanatics, would two adult women go on a Disney cruise? As I've said before, I just love Disney...the company and it's philosophy, and kids don't bother me much either. I knew that the ship would be gorgeous and that was true. I had the joy of walking the 4th deck every morning before a lot of people were up and around and to watch the crew members take such care to keep this ship spectacular truly amazed me. I thought that what they were doing had to be boring to them, day in and day out; but, to me, it spoke highly of this entity called Disney and I was impressed by those simple things. It doesn't always take the spectacular events to touch me...it's usually the mundane, done well.
As a side note: we stayed at the Country Inns & Suites; had the Cruise/Park package. It couldn't have been any better...a wonderful place to begin a wonderful trip!