We've been cruising with RCI for a few years now and this was our first Disney cruise. I kind of equal it to using a no name brand of peanut butter and discovering that the $2 more brand is that much better.
Know that we have no kids and were a bit apprehensive about sailing with a line that put so much emphasis on children activities. That was quickly alleviated when we got into the adult only areas. The Dream actually has more adult areas than their previous ships.
Embarkation was easy, well guided and organized. If you're not in a hurry then the process will seem quite breezy. If you're eager to get onto the ship, you'll get frustrated with all that you have to do. The ship uses advanced facial recognition software for security purposes so they need to take a moment and get your picture. Everyone's picture. So take your time.
Muster was done *without* lifejackets. Nice!
For dinner, The Dream, you're assigned a table number, dining friends and two waiters, but for every night you are seated in different restaurants, which is great fun. I found the food was better on the Dream than any RCI cruise I've been on, but with smaller portions. But, like RCI, you're never discouraged from getting a second helping! We had dinner in PALO (one of their extra cost fine dining restaurants) and were blown away by the service and the quality of the food. Dinner wasn't rushed at all and was probably one of the top 5 meals of my life. I've never had a Balsamic Vinegar martini before... YUM! The Dream's cafeteria style restaurant was pretty much a carbon copy of RCI's Windjammers-not much difference to report there.
The cabins were slightly smaller than RCI's but had two separate water closets (toilet and sink in one, sink and shower/micro bath in the other) which made getting ready for the day or dinner so much easier. I felt the stowage was smaller too but you are able to keep your suitcase under the raised bed, which helped. Flat screen TVs in all the room but without the connectivity to excursion ordering or bill viewing, like on RCI. WAVE phones are provided (losing one will set you back $250) and can be used like walkie talkies or like regular stateroom phones. Pretty cool, but we didn't use them. iPhone/iPod dock stations are by the bed with the brightest screens ever. You can dim them, but we only learned how to when we got home! Too excited to read ALL the instructions.
My biggest negative (really the only one) was with the Level 5 staterooms at the aft of the ship, directly over Evolutions Nightclub (on level 4). The music was relentless until 2am. I am sure the crew would get complaints nightly about it, especially if you have kids trying to sleep. Thankfully a couple good stiff nightcaps took care of that but I'm really surprised at the noise leakage. DO NOT stay in this section if you can't sleep to a deep bass thumping.
Disney's private island, Castaway Cay, was beautiful and was less stressful than visiting Labadee (no high pressure vendors on the beach!). The adult beach was huge and peaceful. They have private beach cabanas you can rent but they fill up a couple months before the cruise - book early. The lunch provided was your standard BBQ fare. I could have stayed an extra day.
The ship's entertainment was all from Disney's songbook, so don't expect "Chicago"! However, the sets were incredible. And the actors seemed to be more polished than the last couple RCI shows I've seen. The dance numbers seemed more energetic, like I was actually watching a Broadway show.