We sailed the Disney Dream on January 9th on a 4 day Bahamas cruise. We had a group of 9 people including our 5 year old daughter, and two sets of grand-parents. Most were experienced cruisers and most had also sailed on the Disney Wonder 2 years ago. We had a great time on the Wonder, so we had very high expectations for our trip on the Dream. In most cases, the Dream exceeded our expectations.
Embarkation: We checked in on-line and we were able to get an early port arrival time(10:30-11:00). We arrived at the port at 10:35. The security and check-in process took about 15 minutes. We only waited an additional 20-30 minutes to board the ship(boarding group 4). Tip: If you don't want a photo boarding the ship, just walk past the line and go right on the boat.
Ship: The ship is beautiful. I was worried that the size and passenger load would negatively impact the experience, but I was pleasantly surprised. It honestly didn't feel more crowded than the Magic or Wonder sized ships. I think Disney did a good job of designing the ship and planning activities to move the crowds around well. I was really impressed with the cleanliness of the ship. The bathrooms were always immaculate and you never saw any garbage laying around anywhere. It is abundantly clear from the moment you get on the ship, that your personal health is a major concern of the crew. They work hard to make sure no illnesses are transmitted during sailing. The public rooms were all beautiful and we had no problems locating them.
Pool Deck: The pool deck was nice, however it could get a little chaotic during the afternoon hours, especially during the day at sea. Once or twice my 5 year old daughter got out of the pool because she thought it was "too crowded". The good news is they have other options like the yellow slide, Nemo's play area(for smaller kids) and my favorite the Aqua-Duck! I really enjoyed the Aqua-Duck slide. It was nothing too crazy when thinking in theme park standards, but you have to step back and realize that it's pretty darn cool for a cruise ship. The line was never longer than 20 minutes. I was impressed to see how attentive the pool staff were. If a kid in diapers went in the pool, they were on it in two seconds, looking for the parents to take them out.Disney movies and sporting events were played on the big screen all day and night. All of the kids on the pool deck seem to enjoy that. The drinks were always flowing.
Tip: If you get on the boat early, go right to the Aqua-duck. I believe it opens at 12:00 noon. I went on and off at my leisure before the line started to get long. You should also check it out early in the morning and in the evening during dinner hours.
Dining: Our head server Andriana and our assistant server Marcia were AMAZING!!! They were extremely attentive and knew all of our names by the middle of dinner on the first night. We never had to wait for a drink and they knew our preferences by the second night. They treated my daughter like a princess. It was almost like they were serving a member of THEIR family. They were getting my daughter to try things, hugging her and joking around. They were just outstanding. But unfortunately, we can't say the same for the food. It was uneven at best. The selections on a few nights were strange. Dishes would sound appealing, then when you read the description, you would discover a weird ingredient that ruined the dish for you. We also had a few people get dinners that were a little cold, or that they didn't like after tasting. Our servers would always work to make things right, but the kitchen staff shouldn't put them in that position. We had the best dining experience in the Enchanted Garden. Animators was a bit of a letdown, I was expecting more with the Crush show. I actually enjoyed the show in Animators on the Wonder more. The buffet breakfast and lunch were great. Never waited on any long lines and we could always find an open table. Food and serving utensils were changed regularly. The fast food served at Flo's was fine and the self-serve ice cream was a big hit.
Shows: The Golden Mickeys is always enjoyable. The second show, "Villains Tonight" was just awful. They should get rid of it. I don't think anyone in our group cared for it. The last show, "Believe" was excellent. We had a great time at the pirate party on the pool deck and the fireworks were pretty cool, especially when you consider they are being fired off from a cruise ship.
Adult Area(District): It was nice, but very empty. One crazy party night, they had a guy came out with a unicycle juggling bowling pins etc....we left. The adult pool was smaller on this boat than the Wonder, but it provided a nice break from the kid pool.
Room: We had an outside room with a window on deck 2. The room had plenty of storage space and the split bathroom worked out well for us. The TV had an extensive, on demand library with just about every Disney movie you could think of. MY daughter had a hard time choosing what movie to go to sleep to. Each room comes with 2 small cell phones to use on the ship or on Castaway Cay. Once we figured them out, they worked great and came in handy when trying to get in touch with other members of our party. Noise level was fine. However, please note that you may feel vibration from the side thrusters during docking. This should only pose a problem for late sleepers.
Disembarkation: We had early seating during the cruise, so we were asked to be in the dining room at 6:45 for breakfast before disembarking. It was not fun waking up so early on our last day. Tip: Cabanas is open for buffet breakfast until 8:30. You don't have to go to the dining room, although everyone makes it sound like you do. Get some sleep and go up to deck 11 at 8:00 for a quick breakfast before you leave.
Summary: The ship is great and the service is outstanding. They just need to work on the food a little bit to get it back up to DCL standards. The second show needs to go.