My family and I (myself, husband, two daughters age 9 & 3) had never been on a cruise before. We're Disney fans - we visit the WDW Resort annually - and thought that the Disney Cruise Line would be a great fit for us.
We booked a 4 night Bahamian cruise on the Disney Dream. One day at sea, one day at Nassau, and one day at Disney's Castaway Cay.
Check-in and embarkment were a breeze. Lines weren't too long (we arrived early) and the terminal was pleasant. It was nice to see characters in the terminal.
We were blown away by the beauty of the Disney Dream. The ship was extremely clean and well maintained. All the public areas were lovely. The attention to detail on the ship was exactly what I expected from Disney. And unlike the resorts, the characters actually do run around the ship quite a bit. My girls loved this.
We stayed in a deluxe family oceanview stateroom with veranda, mid-ship. The room felt much bigger than I had thought it would and my family appreciated the split bathroom (toilet and sink in one room, shower/tub and sink in the other). The bed was VERY comfortable and turndown service was excellent. Our veranda was large enough for all of us to be on without feeling too cramped. The cabin was kept very clean throughout our cruise. My only complaint about the cabin was the lack of outlets. I am working toward a master degree and had to bring my laptop and kindle with me so I could work on two papers. I was disappointed that there was only one outlet by the queen bed.
On board activities
- The Aquaduck was fantastic. My oldest daughter rode it several times. The pool area was nice and I loved the "dive-in" movies. However, the family pool was very, very small and always crowded. My youngest daughter loved Nemo's Reef.
- We watched two movies on board. The theaters were very nice. Snacks for the movies were quite expensive.
- There were several activities I would have participated in - such as a cooking class, wine tastings, and exercise sessions - if my children weren't traveling with us.
- My family did the detective game and it was fantastic. Great way to get acquainted with the ship!
- Both of my children loved the kids' space. The counselors were all wonderful and I felt very secure leaving my girls there. They had many activity and play options. No complaints at all!
- We frequent the Walt Disney World Resort and are a little spoiled when it comes to service. I wasn't wowed by our wait staff. They often forgot a drink or two and the head waiter telling us every single night how they just wanted to provide excellent service grew old quickly.
- We dined at Palo and had an outstanding experience. It is well worth the additional money. Our waiter was top notch and the food was excellent. THIS is what I expected from a Disney Cruise!
- 24 hour soft serve ice cream? Yes, thank you.
- Breakfast on our final day was awful. Our wait staff was completely inattentive and the bread selection was pitiful. We were also asked to dine very, very early - 6:45! We'll skip breakfast next time.
Port & shore excursions
- My family did not visit Nassau. We wanted the additional time on the ship and thought the port adventures offered by Disney were pretty pricey.
- Castaway Cay was fantastic. My husband and oldest daughter signed up for the Stingray excursion and loved it. They feed the rays and then snorkeled in the stingray cove. The island was beautiful and well maintained. This was the highlight of our trip.
- Getting off the ship was rough. There were no crew helping form and monitor the line, which ran from the gangplank up two decks of stairs. A large family cut right in front of us, which was very frustrating since we had been waiting about 10 minutes and they had just stepped off the elevator. Very un-Disney.
- I wasn't able to attend any shows because my 3 year old was too tired by the time the shows began. My husband and oldest daughter attending the magic show and loved it.
- Our friends attended two of the nightly shows - The Golden Mickeys and Disney's Believe - and said they were outstanding.
- The live music in the atrium was okay if that sort of thing is your cup of tea. I didn't stick around.
- Characters were terrific. My girls saw Anna from Frozen, Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, and Captain Jack Sparrow.
- My husband and oldest daughter loved the Sail-away and Pirates in the Caribbean deck parties. They were underwhelmed by the fireworks, but that's only because we're used to the show at Disney World. Still....fireworks!
- See the dining section for a review of our wait staff.
- All the crew were very friendly. It was nice to chat with a few who weren't busy.
- Our room steward was wonderful. He took excellent care of our space and was very helpful. We tipped him more than the recommended amount for his outstanding service.
Disembarkation was a breeze. We walked right off the ship and passed through customs pretty quickly.
All-in-all, we had a great experience. I booked a cruise for my husband and I in 2014 to celebrate our 15th anniversary. I look forward to being back on the Dream!