We just got back from a Disney Dream cruise, and I'd like to share our wonderful experience.
Boarding: My advice is to arrive at the cruise terminal early. The terminal itself is big enough to hold many people, it's quite adequate despite what others have posted. However, seating is limited. If you want to sit while waiting to board and don't want to sit on the carpet, arrive early. We got there at 9:45 and not only got a seat but also a low boarding number. Hint: If they hand you a high boarding group number you're not happy with, show your displeasure to the person who checks you in- they can change it with the stroke of a pen! Once on the ship, you find they will not allow you into the rooms until 1:30. But that's ok, as Cabanas buffet is open and you can get your first taste of being spoiled with good food and service. When we arrived at our room, our luggage arrived shortly after and the whole boarding process was complete, including unpacking everything, by about 2:30 p.m.
Eating: They rotate you through a different dining room each night, with the exception of one night they repeat one. We went on a five night cruise, and our cruise was only the second one to sail five nights on the Dream according to our server. Food is very good, and the servers will tell you their preferences. Breakfast is also offered in the main dining rooms, but we didn't do that: Cabanas buffet is just too good and fast to pass up. Lunch can be had at Cabanas or several quick serve windows located on the pool deck. (Cabanas can be accessed from the pool deck as well).
Cabin: Disney will spoil you with their roomy cabins. Don't expect this on other ships. And they have split bathrooms with toilet and shower in separate compartments. Very smart!
Shows: We saw a movie and two live shows. Good advice: Make sure any children under age 8 take an afternoon nap if you are going to see shows after dinner- and you take a nap with them too. It really helps ease the late night crankiness and refreshes you as well.
Ports: We live near a beach so Castaway Cay wasn't a really big treat for us. However, if you come from somewhere away from a beach, the sand at Castaway is really soft and the lunch offered there is good as well. Plenty of chairs with umbrellas and tube/raft rentals. They have fun slides you can swim to- but the water is 6 feet deep at the bottom of the slides so young ones may not get to use it if they can't swim too good.
We also docked at Nassau but regretted getting off. Sailing into Nassau we saw trash floating in the water, and it only gets worse from there. You get off the boat in Nassau and descend into absolute poverty. I wouldn't walk those streets after dinner let alone after dark. We went there 10 years ago and it looks much worse today. Sorry, but it has to be said. If they can clean up the port area, it would do them a lot of good. Atlantis is no big deal- if your town has an aquarium and public pool, you basically have what Atlantis offers. Not worth the money at all. I'm actually surprised Disney stops in Nassau, but I guess since the Dream is registered in Nassau, there's some money in it for somebody at the top.
Leaving the ship: Go to bed early the night before you disembark- they want you off the ship by 8:00 or 9:00 a.m.. Grab breakfast at Cabanas the morning you leave for your last taste of the great food they offer. They also offer breakfast the last morning in the main dining rooms, but the first seating is 6:30, yes 6:30a.m. so Cabanas was our choice. The disembarking process was smooth, and from ship to car took only about 45 minutes total.
Overall impressions: The Disney Dream is the greatest ship I have ever sailed on -detail is superb- food is good- shows are great- service is excellent. Make sure you have passports. Make sure you take a Bonine or other motion sickness tab every afternoon before dinner "just in case". We had absolutely no motion sickness problems doing this even though we could feel the ship moving at times. Make sure you nap in the afternoon to prepare for those late nights, and don't bother getting off the boat at Nassau. You will truly have a great time, and will remember your "Dream" vacation always!