This was our first time going on a cruise so I decided to go with the ship that had the best reviews, the Disney Dream. The ship was kept very clean throughout the cruise.
Day 1: We had a check in time of 1500hrs but decided to arrive alittle early at 1330hrs. On the way to the parking garage, we were greeted by a parking attendant who directed us to an area to have our luggage dropped off. This was very convenient as we did not even have to get out of the car. They took our luggage from the trunk then off we went to the parking garage. After we parked the car, we walked a pretty short distance using a bridgeway to the terminal. We got in line to “check in” and show our passport and ID. We were issued a “Key to the World” card then headed to another line to board the ship. Having provided most of our information on the Disney website, this part of the process was very smooth. We then boarded the ship to eat a late lunch. The Cabanas reminds me of a Golden Corral type buffet as there was plenty of food to choose from. There were beverage stations there as well. We then headed to our room to unpack. Then we went to the top deck (13) to watch the ship leave the port. From there we got in our swimsuits to ride the water coaster. We were told the shortest lines were from 1800-2000hrs while most people were eating. We had second dinner seating (2015hrs) so we could take advantage of this time to ride the coaster. That was very cool! Then we headed to our room to shower and get ready for dinner. There are 3 main dining rooms that you rotate through every night with the same servers. Our first restaurant was the Enchanted Garden. We had a seafood sampler for appetizers and sea bass for our main entrée. The server also later brought us a plate of the scallops as she knew I had debated between the two dishes. That was a very nice touch. For dessert, we got the sampler of 3 different desserts in small portions. The ship was a bit rocky due to weather so I put on my scopolamine patch and that helped me feel better the whole trip.
Day 2: After a rough journey overnight we arrived at the Bahamas where the weather was very nice. We opted not to pay for excursions as taxi cabs were pretty cheap ($4 pp each way to Atlantis)...$6 to downtown (if you go with a group...but there are plenty of people wanting to go to the same places). There is alot of "hustling" when you arrive but not too overwhelming. We took a cab to Atlantis, walked around, then to the casino. You can access the resort amenities but you have to pay...about $39 just to walk around and about $189 to use their pool facilities. You will have an opportunity to buy different things like going to the aquarium. There is also access to a public beach if you are on a budget. At lunchtime, we went back to the ship to take advantage of our free food. The return cab ride was still cheaper than eating at Atlantis. We were kind of tired coming back so we didn't go to our sit down dinner. There is 24 hour room service and you only have to pay the 15% gratuity. The pool area also has pizza, hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches, fruit and salad all day until 2300hrs. The Cabanas has food from breakfast until about 1400hrs. The drink stations in the pool area are open all day too. There was a very nice fireworks display for "Pirate Night" on the main deck.
Day 3: We were supposed to go to Castaway Cay but the weather was so bad the captain could not dock it after 2 attempts. So we got a new “Navigator” (a daily newsletter with schedules of activities throughout the ship) with updated activities. The captain took us to an area where the weather was better and it was our “Day at Sea”. The spa started to get busy and lots of people went to bingo since there was a $5000 jackpot. We also took advantage of the adults only section as it was quieter than the family area. We also booked a reservation at the Palo (an extra $20pp) as we grew tired of the “free food”. The food was very good and worth the money. Then we packed because they were doing luggage pickup between 2030 – 2230hrs. Don’t forget to leave yourself the things you need to get ready in the morning (like street clothes). The ride back to port that night was very rocky due to weather conditions. There was a lot of tossing and turning all night. Again, so happy to have a patch that medicates for 72hrs.
Day of arrival: We were happy to have second seating for breakfast (0800hrs vs. 0645/0700hrs for first seating people). That gave us more time to sleep in. After breakfast, they want you to disembark. We didn't want to bring our carryons to breakfast so we left it in the room and came back to get it before disembarking around 0915hrs. We dropped off our comment card and sheet of tips to Guest Services. They give you recommended tip rates and you can give it to them in an envelope or charge it to your account. There was a long line to get off the ship, luggage had already arrived, then we had to get in another long line to go through customs. We then walked to the parking garage to go home.