Review of the 5-day Dream cruise 3/22-3/27
Overall we enjoyed our first cruise on DCL. The Dream is very well maintained and the staff in general cares about doing a good job. If a french fry hits the floor it is picked in less than 30 seconds. We dined at Palo our last night - relaxing, upscale atmosphere, very good food (my main course was slightly overcooked, but every other course, including dessert, was great). Definitely worth the $20/person upcharge.
-The stateroom - we had a family oceanview with porthole and felt we had more than enough space for everyone, luggage, etc.
-Castaway Cay Serenity Bay beach (adults only) - great, relaxing, not crowded. Our 4 year old was in the kids club this day and we were able to enjoy this beach.
-Golden Mickeys and Believe show were excellent (we missed Villains Tonight)
-In-room video on demand - dozens if not hundreds of animated and live action movies to choose from
-Adult Sundeck/Currents Bar area on Deck 12 forward- relaxing, comfortable
-Dining room servers were excellent
-Our stateroom host Jocy was excellent - his towel animals had our 4 year old in stitches every night
-Breakfast servers were good every day except 1 day
-Overall the food was very good...I liked the multiple courses and smaller portions in each course. Surprisingly, the best piece of beef I had all week was the thick slice of prime rib (they called it sirloin? but it was prime rib/ribeye) I got on pirate night. It was perfectly medium rare and had a flavorful dijon crust.
-Mickey pool in general - too many chairs around the pool with towels on them but no people...no where to sit. Our 4 year old wanted to be in the pool so we had to be right there. Music/Funnelvision way too loud at times
-Castaway Cay family beach - entirely too crowded...very difficult to find a place on the beach at the water's edge without physically touching someone else. They need to expand the available beach areas somehow...they had a lot of beach roped off for no apparent reason. This is possibly a dealbreaker for us in booking another DCL cruise where Castaway Cay is the featured destination.
-Adult pool on ship - very crowded, too shallow (large parts of it only have 2-3 inches of water. The "deep" part is tiny.
-Chicken fingers not a constant feature of Cabanas buffet. They had them on day 1, but after that we had to walk halfway across the ship for Chicken fingers for our daughter (picky eater) when we wanted to sit outside at Cabanas. The whole logistics of getting your food and drink to the table at the same time at Cabanas was tough. They should have some servers who can assist you in getting drinks to your table.
Things we'd do differently
-Book late dinner. Having dinner at 5:45pm causes you to cut your day short...have to go get ready, etc.
-Use port parking rather than Radisson. Nothing really bad to say about the Radisson, but it added an extra 30 minutes or so to getting onboard on embarkation day, and it was not what I would call 5 star service. Wife was torqued up about having to wait at the Radisson for 15-20 minutes to get on the shuttle, as there was a Carnival Cruise leaving that same day and they were very busy. It was just another complication that we didn't need on embarkation day...not sure it was worth saving $60. The ride back after disembarkation was fine - it was just Dream passengers on the way back.
-Show up 20 minutes early for Princess gathering. We were close to last in line and waited over an hour to get Princess pictures.
-Get to the port earlier. We didn't board until 1:40pm or so, and we missed the opportunity to eat in Enchanted Garden (which closed at 2). Next time would like to be onboard by noon if possible. There is a lot to do the first day...just to get settled in.
-Eat at Palo one additional night
-Try to take more advantage of the nightclubs/bars. We were so beat after being out in the sun all day we were ready for bed at 9-10pm most nights.