Disney Dream thanksgiving cruise 11/23/2011
This was my 19th cruise. I have travelled on most major lines. What I look for is itinerary, timing, ship, cost, then features etc. For this cruise,it was just my wife and I. I did not have my kids for this trip. I believe a bad day on a cruise ship is better than a good day at work. As I go through this, I am pointing out details that may not be significant to all. That is understandable. I hope to inform all types of cruisers.
Right away, for the avid cruiser, you notice that the price is much higher than the other lines. Considering that many of the Disney cruises are the standard Nassau and Disney cay, it is unusual to see prices close to 700 to 1000$ per person. Considering this was a holiday, and it fit our schedule perfectly, I knew that we would pay more. We used a TA for this. Disney is so good with their product, all ways work well. I do not think their log on system is anything like their competitors. For example, once you login in, you have to type in your reservation numbers each time. Carnival, RCL, princess etc all quickly show any and all reservations that you have made. RCL even shows your previous dream trips you have saved. The Disney land vacation system is a little better.
Getting to the port
I always recommend going a day earlier for the trip. It allows you some prep time and peace of mind. In the case a plane is cancelled, you have time to get on another flight. We stayed at Caribbean beach. A cheaper Disney option that worked well. There is a nice transportation system to get you around. I definitely recommend the transfers. Cabs will cost you about 55$ for two one way airport to hotel. Keep in mind, when you stay at the resort, you will not be the first on the ships. Depending on what location you stay at, you may arrive just a few hours prior to departing. Your bags will be picked up from your room around 8am. You will see them next outside your cabin prior to the ship departing. Smooth process. Relax. It is about an hour to hour and a half trip depending on traffic and other pickups.
If you fly in the day of, definitely do the Disney transfers, that will save you trouble.
At the port
Disney has a dedicated port. It is very nice. It is sandwiched between two other ports that house a variety of carnival, RCl, and HAL ships. We had the Carnival pride there when we left and sensation and freedom of the seas when returning. The check in process is almost a walk through if you are not there right when it opens. Since Disney transfers get you there later, it is a quick check in. On line check in works great.
There were two reasons we took this trip. The ship and timing. Both were a hit. The ship is beautiful. The first thing you notice is the beautiful foyer. It does not look like anything out on the see. Very 20's traditional with no neon and flare. Simply classy. The Christmas decor was perfect. The ship is filled with music 24 7. Not annoying music, unless you do not like Disney music. It is soft and pleasant.
Staterooms are my favorite. The split family style bathroom was really cool. One room for the commode and sink. Another room for the tub/shower and a second sink. Lots of storage on the balcony room. Keep in mind that they won the 2011 award for best inside and outside cabins. Did I say storage? The beds are nice with a large space under for luggage storage. The balconies are standard size. Most rooms have the Pullman drop down beds. They are not in the way of course. The tv's have flat screens with 24 access to sports, on demand tv shows and disny movies. These Disney movies are free. Hundreds of them. Note.... If you are in the back of the ship, you will feel a shimmy. If this bothers you on those sea nights, get a room towards the center. If you are on the right side, you will get the best view of cast-a-way cay and the port. Aka starboard. The rooms have a iPod, I phone dock. All rooms have cell phones that are used to communicate on the ship while you are around the ship. No Wilkie talkies needed. Two for each room. I am sure they would give you more if needed.
Three dining rooms
This is a clever idea. Everything they tell you is true about the dining. You move from place to place. Repeating on 4 nights or more trips. The meals are a little more elegant than I expected. The kids like the kids menu. The food was well displayed. Multiple portions allowed without any problems. Best news..... Sodas are free, except for the bars. Easy access to sodas. They servers are quicker with it than other lines too. Self service of sodas are available on deck 11 in the cabanas lido restaurant and on the pool deck.
The royal palace restaurant is beautiful. It is laid out well and actually allows the servers more room. You feel less cramped. No problems getting to your seat. They seat you quickly and service is fast. One thing we notices right away is that they do not clean up after each course, other than the used plates. Even on carnival, they will swipe the table between each course with the medal scoop. Not on Disney. They do give you wipes before you enter instead of the spray. That actually is a nice touch. It does not dry your skin.
The animators pallet is a cute restaurant. It is different than the Disney wonder and magic. There are screens all around that give the illusion you are surrounded by a fish tank. Characters from Nemo entertain you through out the meal. At one point, crush actually talks to the people. I was surprised that he did not get to all of the sections. He only got to 2 or 3 of the 6 sections.
The garden restaurant that is modeled after Versailles is very pretty. A low sealing with some clever lighting, make this restaurant evolve nice throughout the day. A little cramped compared to the other two, but very nice. Nice lobster ravioli.
The cabana .... Aka lido deck.
A wonderful surprise. Clean. Fresh chilled shrimp and crabs served during the day. You do not see that on other lines. The silver ware is wrapped and ready on the tables. Very clean and well kept up. I have to brag on one employee. I told their boss before we left. A little girl tripped and broker her plastic flashing cup. He asked for a look at it and notice the crack. He went and got her a brand new one. Nice touch!!!! Nice selections on deck. There are also 6 flavors of soft serve and three flavors of regular ice cream served throughout the day. The cones are not as good as the other lines.... Pizza is available.. , but Disney really has an awful pizza compared to the competition. Bring in new pizza Disney!
Aqua duck... And he pools
Relax, you will have plenty of time to ride it. They rush is right when everyone gets on the ship. Go at night. Hardly no wait. Ride during the firework show. Night rides till midnight! I rode it twice. Fun. Nothing amazing, but your on a ship!!!
the pools are nice and were heated. The spa is nice, but needs actual bubbles. They hand over the side of the ship with glass sides and bottom. The adult pool does get general traffic, but is very nice. We saw no issues with young folks hanging out there. The towels are laid out for you. Easy access for towels. Service around the pools is pretty good. We have seen better. The drink options are plentiful. The kids will fill up the other pools.
Cool feature..... The funnel vision is the biggest and best at sea. Followed up with an amazing sound system, it is the way to go. Wow!!! They showed several football games on it, most of the dads were out there watching the games. Four of carnivals could fit on this one screen. Three of princesses screens would be close. Wow!
Entertainment.... This is where Disney rocks. All three shows, golden mickey's, the villains, and believe we're excellent. Great for all audiences. There is also a movie theater - very large - on board with an amazing sound system and 3d technology. We saw cars 2 in 3d, real steel, and the new muppet movie onboard. Throughout your trip, there are seemingly impromptu shows by the Disney characters. The kids love this. Times are announced for the kids. The downside for them is they have no live band, and their comedians and entertainment choices in the other areas are lacking. No band, very little options for the great live entertainment you get on the other ships.
The adults only areas are not crowded. They are well decorated and are non smoking. We like the non smoking aspect. Each bar has its own feel. The dance club is nice. They look nice, but last the excitement you see on other lines. Expected for Disney. Service is great.
They rocked. This is what they are known for. They have the largest staff at sea to take care of the kids. We did not have kids on this trip, so I can only go by what I heard. Zero negative comments. Their kids areas were not an after thought, but a forethought.
The service is great, but not excellent. If you go outside of their process, like carnival, they flinch or may even say "I don't know." this was a let down. I expected higher level of service. Still not bad, but not as expected.
Nassau - a nice stop with plenty of things to do. The water is a little cold, but not impossible to swim in. Not too bad. Not going into the stops as much.
This is a great stop for Disney. You feel as though you just went onto a new deck of the ship. All you need is your room key. Food is provided and sodas are free. Ice cream and all sorts of goodies. A few Disney store shops and beach item shops on shore. It is all about the beach and the water sports. So many things to do. The bike rentals cost 6 dollars per hour. Nice easy bike ride around the island. Beautiful and wonderful time there.
Debarkation was the best yet. No calling out. If you want to get off early, be in the lobby at 7am to hang out. They will start letting people out by 8 am at the latest. No issue over waiting in common areas. They actually like when you go to your breakfast spot and leave when things are free. The luggage tags are set up by character. We were Goofy. Simple process there. Walk out. All in order. Help standing by. Easy time through customs and out you go. Took us just a few minutes for the whole process. Busses are waiting outside to load up folks for the different destinations. Definitely recommend transfers. We actually went back to beach club resort for a day at Epcot. Wou walk out the back of the resort and you are next to the back entrance to Epcot. We stayed at Epcot until 4 pm. We took a cab from the hotel and got to our flight early. Our flight was at 7:30pm. The hotel held our luggage. Awesome service there. My favorite Disney resort!
Disney did a great job. It was a wonderful cruise. I am a little nit picky due to costs difference, but don't lose sight, the cruise was great