I've just returned yesterday from a 4 night Disney Dream cruise to the Bahamas.
I have been on about 10 cruises. Royal Carribean 8 times and Carnival twice so this was my first Disney Cruise and first time cruising with kids.
We arrived at 11:30 am. We didn't follow the arrival time assigned by Disney, which was 2:30. We got to the port and there was already a line. We waited about 20 minutes to get on the ship. Not bad but I was not thrilled about the way that they give you a number to wait to get on the ship but it was fine. They had Mickey taking pictures with the families so that killed some time.
Once on the ship...
We headed up the the Cabana for lunch on Deck 11. Typical cruise lunch buffet.
Nothing bad or special. We went and toured the childrens club area and that was amazing. Andy's room, the lab, and all the different rooms were very nice. The luggage was delivered to our staterooms pretty quickly.
The food was good. It was not out of this world and not bad. I think it was a typical cruise meal. The buffets were all the same as other cruise lines and dinner was good but didn't blow me away by any means. We did go to Palo's one night and that was very nice, wonderful food and service. We loved that. I wish we could have dined there every night (but we did want to eat with our children at night). Palo's is adult only.
Ship and Stateroom:
The ship is beautiful with a very lovely Atrium. The decor is elegant, nice, clean, etc. We stayed in Stateroom 5654, a deluxe cabin with balcony. It was very nice. The bed was so comfortable and our boys were on bunk beds which were also very comfortable. Loved that the cabins have the two bathrooms, with a family of 4 that was very nice. You could get ready in one bathroom while others were showering. I loved the fact that the bathroom had a tub and shower. With small children it was great to be able to give them a bath. Negative things about the cabin is that the blow dryer is the worst. Pack your own blow dryer!!!! I have longer hair that is not even that thick and it took me forever to blow my hair. It is a complete joke. Your little ones need to watch their step while coming out of bathrooms or in the cabin from the balcony. My boys stubbed their toes a few times. Their is a huge bump out that you can trip over. I am sure there is no way around that because of stopping maybe water but just watch your step.
The child care facilities and program was nice. The bands were a little big on the childrens hands but mine got used to it and it was not a big deal. The security is great. Your children will be safe in the kids club and they will not let them out without you picking them up and giving a password. Their hand washing basins are also pretty cool (they work with sprayers that wash their hands for them) and definatelly make it fun for the kids to use. The staff are welcoming and friendly. My kids were fine in the kids club but were only in there a few hours here and there. They were not crying when we would pick them up and they were not begging to go to the kids club but I do think they had fun in the club and a lot of characters made appearances which was exciting to them. My younger son (4 years old) was crying one night when we dropped him off but the staff was very helpful and really made him comfortable and calmed him down to take him inside. I called a few minutes later and the staff counselor said he was doing fine. It is a big area and a bit intimidating to drop off your children the first time. My kids 4 and 7 years old have been in daycare children from the age of 4 months old and I was alittle worried the first drop off but they were fine.
The shows were amazing and entertainment was great. The Characters meet and greet were fabulous. I would rather go on a Disney cruise anyday then walk around a park at Disney World. The characters looked amazing and the princesses were BEAUTIFUL. The Characters and Princesses really went above and beyond greeting every child and taking pictures, and not rushing people. That was amazing. My kids loved it. I was so impressed by that.
The Pirate night and show was hands done the best family night we had. The kids loved the Pirate show and they give you bandana's for their heada to wear at the party and then a few hours later they have the fireworks, that was wonderful, what a treat that no other cruise line can offer. That was an awesome night.
Castaway Cay was beautiful. Such a gorgeous island with a little of everything, kids areas, adult areas, food, ice cream machines, bars, shops, a train that takes you around so you do not have to walk if you did not want to. My mom and I got mothers day massages in the cabanas on the adult beach. Expensive but worth it. It was so nice!!!!! My son stayed on Pelican Plunge basically the entire day going down the slide. That was very fun for the kids. This is the best cruise ilne private island I have ever been to.
POOLS and DECK 11
The 2 main pools are however WAY too small given the number of passengers (especially kids) on this ship. Some days, you couldn't move a foot in either pool without hitting someone. I cannot believe they messed something so important up spending millions of dollars making a ship. 4,000 guests need way bigger pools. Two times one of the pools (Donald Pool) was drained??? So you have thousands of kids in one pool? That did not make any sense.
So my two biggest complaints were the blow dryer and pools which I think is not that bad at all. Blow dryers fixable but I think they are stuck with the pool deck.
Overall this was an amazing family vacation. There will always be pros and cons of vacations and sailing with children is an entire different experience. My kids loved this trip and I think will talk about it forever. I am so glad we went on this cruise and I am sure we will do it again in the future. My review is not negative but I just wanted to give people some information and tips.
I would recommend this trip!!! Just go in knowing that there is no perfect cruise ship.