We have cruised 43 times so far including once on the Disney Wonder when our children were younger. Because I wanted to go back to Castaway Cay I booked the Disney Dream for my husband and I. It was also to celebrate the Fourth of July at sea which I like very much. We flew down on the day of the cruise and everything went smoothly. I had purchased transfer from Disney and our check-in was done at the airport. We arrived at 9:00 AM and were on the bus by 9:40 AM. The trip to Port Canaveral was a pleasant one. I takes 45 to 50 minutes. We were so tired from getting up very early to catch our flight that we pretty much napped the whole ride. They showed cartoons and videos of the ship. That kept the kids entertained.
Arriving at the terminal there was a line to take pictures with Mickey wearing his captain uniform. Families with little kids were having a great time. There was also a counter to register the little ones for their specific age activities for the cruise. It didn't take too long for the boarding process to begin. We were group 4 and we boarded by 11:30 AM which was also the time that stated on our cruise documents. Every family is introduced upon entering deck 3. I remember my kids loved that when we cruised on the Wonder .
We went straight to our cabin on deck 6 to drop off our luggage. The cabin was not ready yet and we went upstairs to Cabanas to have lunch before it got too crowded. I like the fact that it is divided into sections so you don't have to form a long line to serve yourself. You just go to the ones you want to get the food from. Plenty of choices and the food was good.
After a quick lunch we walked a little bit around the outside decks and checked out the adult only area. I have been on many ships and I'm always pleased to see how elegant the Disney ships are. Every detail is a feast to the eyes. Starting with the Grand Foyer on deck 3 all the way up to the pools, everything is just gorgeous. I noticed that the ship was very clean. I didn't see people actually cleaning all the time, I think they have little elves...
Usually we stay at a high end suite. I think they only time I have stayed in a balcony cabin was on a 1 night cruise out of NY on NCL with some neighbors. This time I booked a 4 D Deluxe Family Ocean View Stateroom with Verandah. The cabin was absolutely beautiful! So nice that my husband asked me why I always spend money booking expensive suites if a balcony cabin looks like that. The answer is that not all cabins are the same. A Disney stateroom is by far one of the nicest. This particular room 6598 on deck 6, was good because it was between the life boats underneath on deck 5 so you could actually see the ocean below you when on the verandah. We had a wonderful stateroom attendant named Suzanah who couldn't have done more for us.
Because we didn't have our kids with us, even though they are now 21 and 19, we didn't go to the sail away party on the main pool but went to the opposite way with a nice drink to watch the festivities from a distance. I don't know how many kids were on this cruise but it was sold out and it had a lot of little kids. I mean a lot. I didn't notice many teenagers like on Royal Caribbean. I think that the best line for teenagers is RCCL.
That evening we had dinner at the Royal Palace. I have to confess that I never saw the inside of the restaurant because they gave us a table for 4 (even though I had requested a table for 2) on the outside of the main eating area overlooking the serving station. My husband was not happy at all. However, the other couple Disney paired us with was absolutely delightful. From the same area as we are and by coincidence we were on the same flight going down seating next to each other. We were on the same age range and we got along very well. We were having a great time talking about our grown kids and what they are doing with their lives. Unfortunately when our food arrived starting with the appetizers all the way to the end, the food was bad. Really bad. My fish was raw, my husband's meat overdone. I didn't want to send it back. I just pushed the food around the plate. After that disaster meal we decided not to do the rotation dinner anymore so I never saw the other restaurants.
The following night we had reservation at Palo. We loved it! Service was wonderful and the food was superb. I loved the view and they gave us the honeymoon table which is a semi private table with a great view. Our server was from Venice. We have just come back from a cruise leaving from Venice so we were happily talking about La Serenissima. We enjoyed our evening so much that we booked Palo for the last night. Our third dinner was at Remy. Once again we loved it. Everything was nicely done. Service was perfect. We had another gorgeous table. Food was very tasty. It was worth every penny not to eat in the main dinning room. I say that because it was just the 2 of us. If we had had little kids we would for sure have done the rotation, just like we had done before. But this time without kids we went for gourmet dining instead. That night was Pirate's Night and we watched the fireworks from the adult area above the Cove. It was nice, a little modest, but still nice. That evening we went for a night swim on the Cove and it was wonderful!
I can't really comment on any of the kids areas or activities because on purpose we were avoiding them. We stayed by the Cove the whole time except on sea day. On sea day The Cove looked like a zoo, body to body in that small pool. All the chairs were taken. One thing that I think Disney should do is put some windows that can actually open around the Cove area because it gets very hot and stuffy around the bar. When you are cruising in July to the Bahamas it gets hot pretty fast. So sea day the adult area was out of commission for us. We went instead to another adult area that was completely empty for the entire cruise. The Meridian Bar. It's between Remy and Palo and since we ate up there every night we were like family. The view from the aft was glorious and it was quiet. My husband worked up there and I read and took it all in.
I think we can get old but we never loose the Disney spirit in us. We went to all the shows and I actually enjoyed Golden Mickeys and Believe. Villains was my least favorite. Unfortunately we never made it to the comedian. I understand he was very funny. We visited the District one night and it was pretty dead. We also saw Brave and The Avengers. Every day early in the morning I went down to Bon Voyage for a good cup of coffee and a croissant. Brought them back to the cabin and that was our breakfast.
After 43 cruises I have been to Nassau so many times that I don't even bother to leave the ship anymore. Once on the Seabourn Quest I exited the ship in Nassau took a picture of the outside of the ship and ran back on board fast. This time we just stayed on board. We thought we would have a chance to try the Aquaduck. But to my surprise, the ship was full. It seemed like every family stayed on board as well. So no Aquaduck for us. We decided to give it another try the following day at Castaway.
The reason why I booked this cruise was to go back to Castaway which in my opinion is one of the most beautiful private islands. We were the first ones out of the ship (it's easier when it's only the 2 of us) and we were the first ones at Serenity Bay. For at least 30 minutes we had the entire beach to ourselves. After that only another couple came in and by 1:30 PM when we left Serenity Bay was still very serene, not crowded at all. The water was absolutely fantastic. We placed our chairs in the water and were just filled with gratitude for such a beautiful place. Bar service was very good (but again, it was pretty empty). BBQ was okay, nothing to write home about, but good enough. Early afternoon we decided to go back to the ship and try the Aquaduck again. Unfortunately it started lighting and they closed it down. I'm sure they reopened it once it got nice again but by then it was crowded. So no Aquaduck for us.
I recommend a Disney Cruise to everyone with a young child. There is no other company out there who can do better than Disney. It's true they are more expensive but it's totally worth it. From the moment you board the bus to bring you to the ship to the moment they drop you off at the airport, everything is superb. Except for the dinning room food (in my opinion). Disney even printed out our boarding pass which I was apprehensive since this cruise I didn't have a concierge to take care of that for me. But if you buy transfer they will print your boarding pass.
In summary, I think nothing out there can compare to Disney. However, without little ones, it's difficult to justify taking another Disney cruise. I'm glad I went back to Castaway but I don't see another Disney cruise in my near future. We spent most of the cruise avoiding the kids. The Cove is very small to accommodate all the adults who want to enjoy it on a sea day. Like the kids pool the Cove pool is too small. They should get rid of the resting area where the cool jets are and make it part of the pool and add a swim up bar.
I love cruising. I enjoyed my time at the Disney Dream. I'm glad we went. Now I have to wait until my daughters start their adult lives, get marry and give us grandkids. Then, I'll be the first one to book another Disney cruise to once again take "my" little ones ...