We have cruised 6 times before this cruise, on carnival, ncl, rccl, and princess. This was our first cruise on Disney and with our son who was 21 months.
Travel to Port of Embarkation
We drove, since we only live 2 hours away. Traffic was fine. Parking was easy at the terminal.
We arrived the terminal around 11 am and were on board by 1 pm. I was able to check us in while my husband parked, which I appreciated. I was happy they boarded by boarding group and didn't just have people line up. But you did get a little of the airport line up by the boarding area while people were waiting for their number to be called. I thought the process was smoother than other cruises I have been on. Especially given that we arrived so early at the port.
We were in a standard inside cabin. It felt bigger than other cruise lines' standard cabins and had enough space for the pack and play. However, next time we cruise with Disney we will splurge for a larger cabin if we are traveling with a toddler, just to have a little more breathing room. The cabin had a bath tub which was great for us, since my son is afraid of showers. The inside porthole was cool, and we saw a few characters float on by.
The dream is beautiful. I thought it was the perfect size. On our last cruise, we were on a smaller Carnival ship and it got boring. I never felt that way on the dream.
The food was great. I loved the way the buffet worked - without lines. I hate waiting in line. I also liked that there were hostesses in the buffet that found a table for you.
The dining room service was very good. Our waiter had fruit ready for our son immediately each evening. They were also willing to bring out his entrEe before ours. I found the food to be very good too. The Royal Palace was a bit boring for a toddler, but he enjoyed the other two better. Animators Palate was fun with Crush. We didn't have a table that he spoke too, but it seemed pretty exciting to the kids who did get to talk to him. I read other places that he was too loud and distracting, but I didn't find that at all. He isn't talking to the tables around for very long, the majority of the dinner is crush-less.
We didn't participate in much. We did the mixology class -which was free! We got to make a few different drinks and sample them. You need to go to guest services to book it. I went to the wine tasting - it was $12. I didn't think it was really worth the money. My husband did the whisky tasting (also $12), and he enjoyed it quite a bit.
We did some character meets and greets - mostly where the line wasn't too long.
We used the nursery twice ($6 per hour). The first night our son was very excited to go in there to play, the second time also excited, and the third time he went into panic mode and made himself throw up. We tried a fourth time, and once again he threw a fit. The employees seemed great in there, and I think the fact he got upset was a function of his age. However, I did think they should have been better about calming him down. It might be a function of them being newer to working in the nursery, but that should be part of the job.
As far as booking the nursery, on the second day, they let you book more than your 10 allotted hours. It seemed like there was unlimited availability, so I wouldn't worry about that.
We visited the children's club several times as a family and played. My son enjoyed the toy story themed room quite a bit.
I thought service was quite good. The employees were very friendly and always saying hi. We never had a bad experience. However, I did overhear some employees talking about how terrible morale is. I didn't see any evidence of low morale.
We only went to one show - Dreams (or something like that). It was quite enjoyable. Next time we will hopefully be able to do more.
We hung out in the district a few times. We liked the area although it wasn't too busy. I guess that is a function of mostly families being on board.
We didn't do any excursions. In Nassau, we just walked around. We had been there a few times already in the past year. I would suggest going to Atlantis though and doing the waterpark. It is amazing. Also check out the fish fry and try some conch fritters (YUM!).
At the private island, we just went to the beach and played in the sand. Lunch was exactly what you would expect on a private island - burgers and hotdogs. It was decent. The beach was beautiful.
We had early dining, so we had the early breakfast on the day of disembarkation. We were supposed to be there at 6:30. After breakfast, we walked around deck four outside for a while and before we knew it they were disembarking. We were in our car by 8. I much preferred Disney's approach over Carnival's where you wait for your number to be called.
We loved Disney. I don't know if I'll be able to go back to another cruise line now! I used to think it would be weird to go on a Disney cruise without kids - no more! I want to do one with just my husband. You pay a premium for Disney, but it is totally worth it.