First I would like to say that if you don't like Disney entertainment and the Disney brand you will probably not like Disney Cruise Lines because you are immersed in Disney from the terminal at Port Canaveral. I like the mouse and grew up with him so of course I'm a fan.
After this first cruise I must say I'm saying goodbye to other cruise lines.
Disney was just that much better.
The only Maiden Voyage I could compare this to was when we went on Oasis of the Seas Maiden Voyage.
Oasis was a great ship but poor food, and substandard cruise director and staff made the experience not so memorable.
Well on to Disney.
Embarkation was a breeze. We used Disney's ground transfers from the All Star Movie Resort and they had picked up our baggage the day of the cruise from the hotel and got it safely on board the ship to our stateroom with no problems. Plus we took the great Disney Cruise Line bus to port.
I would highly recommend using ground transfers if you stay at Disney the night before.
The Disney Cruise Line Terminal at Port Canaveral provides a unique beginning to your magical voyage. The terminal is reminiscent of Art Deco architecture falling in line with the Classic Ocean liners of the 1930s.
They are very well organized and we were on the beautiful Dream within 1/2 hour.
It takes a little longer getting on board because as you go on board your family is introduced and you walk on board a double line of officers who are clapping and welcoming you on board.
Very nice touch.
The atrium here is spectacular to say the least. Very classy looking. Plus there are all kind of Disney character photo opportunities once you get on board.
We were on the ship by around 2 so we were able to go right to our stateroom. When you check in at the terminal they do give you a card that tells you when your room will be ready.
Keri our room host did a great job for our entire cruise lots of little surprises in the room.
And hey they still include the little chocolates with turn-down service.
Beware our room though 7048 we heard what sounded like a heavy door being slid at all hours of the am and night. Figured out it was the elevator sliding open.
The stateroom was a good size 246 square ft with veranda.
We did a room tour on board and actually went through the Roy Disney suite. They had a 42 inch TV which came out from the foot of the bed through a remote control as well as a huge hot tub out on a huge veranda. The room was decorated with Disney memorabilia but you could see a lot of the same things around the ship. Very neat suite if you got the cash.
Hint since we were first time Disney cruisers we had no idea on our room key cards what the AEER stood for but found out it was a acronym for the order of our rotational dining (ie Animators Palate,Enchanted Garden twice and Royal Palace.
The food and staff here was superior to anything I have had on RC (included Oasis) or Carnival both which are really more on the level of a Golden Corral.
Disney's food and staff were off the hook.
Your team travels with you and we had great service every night from Andre,Dion and finally a great maitre D in Matteo Manfrinato.
We did not know you could keep the champaign glasses we toasted the start of the cruise with and shared this with our servers and Matteo.
Came back the next night to find a glass for us and all our table mates that were from the preview cruise, we also were given a glass from the Maiden Voyage as well as a glass from the Christening Cruise.
The food was gourmet and Im not a big gourmet guy but the Marinated Angus Beef with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes with Bok Choy and a Tamarind barbecue reduction was off the hook as well as the Wild Boar in the Royal Palace.
Plate presentation was superior over any cruise I have been on as well as Desert choices.
If someone would pass on desert at our table Andre would bring out a plate that said NOTHING and was decorated as well. It was the little things that made this all great.
The restaurant were all very beautiful. Animators Palate had Crush swimming around all over the place interacting with guests (Kind of like Crush Talk that they have in the parks).
Enchanted garden was beautiful with lights that even bloomed like flowers.
The Royal Palace was very grand as well with all the princesses walking around curtsying and bowing at the tables.
On board there was plenty to do for the adults and The District was a really nice group of clubs with Skyline being our favorite. The Skyline changed every 15 minutes from one major world city to another.
As you walked around the ship the art on the wall would come alive and animate when you got close enough. The cool thing was it didn't always do the same thing.
The Aquaduck was very exciting and just the right amount of thrills for anyone. Line was never longer than 15-20 minutes.
The Pirate night was very well done with a great firework show and Captain Jack Sparrow doing a leap off the top funnel and dropping from a rope to the stage to be chased all over the crowd by Blackbeard and his pirates.
All the shows were very well done Disney shows the thing I liked the most was the deck parties though.
The Sail away party was great huge excitement generated here and we loved the cruise director Rachel Quinn who was very approachable and really wanted to know if you were having a good time no matter if this was your 1 or 21 cruise with Disney.
No comparison to the rude cruise director we had on the Oasis Ken Rush who was only interested in interacting with people in Diamond status or above on RC Oasis Maiden voyage.
the comments were true about people hoard. Very bad experience but Disney quickly took control of this by controlling the flow into the shops and limiting purchases of Maiden Voyage merchandise.
We did the RSP and got everything we asked for except for one item. Then came to find the item waiting for us for free on our stateroom bed next to the towel animal. (PS I made know fuss about this item it simply was not available to me on the list for purchase-I got it for free then how neat is that?)
Went and saw Tron Legacy on board in 3D massive Dolby sound. All theaters were beautifully decorated and we had front row seats to every great Disney show.
A great value is to get a Rainforest day pass. Senses Spa was great and the day pass was only 16.00 a person. For that you got robes, slippers access to all the cool showers with there different effects as well as the thermal lounge chairs and two hot tubs looking over the front of the ship and ocean.
We did purchase some pictures but cast members are always ready to take a picture using your camera as well.
One hint here though.
They do not have anything smaller than a 8x10 available for purchase for you unless its a photo shot with characters. There were no 6x8 photos available to us of the shots we had taken at dinner etc.. which was kind of a drag. Shutters was very well organized though and all you had to do was tap your Key To The World card to the computer and your pics came up.
The service levels on this ship surpassed anything I have experienced you really do get what you pay for.
We spent a good six hours on Castaway Cay. Lots to do and see very decent prices on aqua trike rentals etc..
We actually liked the family beach better than the adult beach,.
The adult beach had a lot of seaweed washed up on shore and smelled a little.
Good place to chill out though.
Disembarkation was not very well organized at all. There is some opportunity here.
You went to breakfast where ever you ate at the night before then just stood in line. No groups called at certain times, it was hard to find where the line ended at as well as no marked off queues so folks would just pretty much enter in when and wherever they wanted to. Once we got in line it was about 1/2 to get through customs and off the ship.
Again we purchased ground transfers so we already had transportation to the airport boarding passes and our bags were already tagged and headed toward our plane. We never saw our bags again until Dayton. And they did arrive in Dayton.
If you want a good investment of your money and time and want a great vacation I would highly recommend Disney Cruise lines. We already booked the Disney Magic next Oct and new Disney Fantasy for next April 2012.
For us we will do Disney on all our future cruise's. Plan on doing Disney to Europe and Alaska as well.
But hey we love the mouse.