Disney Dream was Disney's first new ship in 12 years when it debuted in 2011, and it represented the company's step into bigger, bolder and smarter ships. So, it's not surprising that the 128,690-ton vessel (with a maximum capacity of 4,000 passengers) -- and its near-twin, Disney Fantasy -- is 40 percent larger and two decks taller than the company's previous ships, Disney Magic and Disney Wonder. Disney Dream is the size of almost seven consecutive Olympic pools.
And while Disney kept the same classic design inspired by the ocean liners of the 1920s and 1930s, this ship is far from the same-old; a closer look reveals many innovative features and spaces. Advanced uses of technology throughout the ship include virtual portholes in inside cabins, and "Enchanted Art," digital paintings that come to life as you admire them.
Families can pick up a packet at the Midship Detective Agency and use the digital works to solve a mystery. Interactive Magic Play Floors, a ship-limited social network and a sound studio enhance the kids clubs.
If you're a huge Disney fan (or your kid is), you don't need to be convinced to sail with one of the best family entertainment enterprises around. If you're not -- or have never seen a Disney ship -- you might have the mistaken impression that this line is only for families with little kids who love Mickey Mouse and princesses.
Sure, young Disney fans are the line's bread and butter, and they always have been. But, Dream does offer evidence that a Disney cruise is not only for kids or overgrown Mouse fans. The art deco decor onboard is elegant and jazzy and imparts an old-world luxury, mostly refined, but with a touch of glitz. The pioneering, tech-friendly kids clubs, with spaces themed on Pixar and Disney movies, have a huge amount of beanbag-chair- and videogame-filled real estate dedicated to tweens and teens, a noble effort to better cater to the older-than-8 crowd.
Entertaining dinner shows help keep fidgety youngsters occupied during long sit-down meals. Adults can appreciate high-quality, multicourse dining at Remy; the creative use of costuming and technology (and some mildly adult humor) in the shows; and grown-up activities, such as wine tastings and late-night games and dancing.
Adults also have access to a pool, a sun deck, bars and lounges, restaurants and even shore excursions where those younger than 18 are not allowed. That's good because, in the words of Walt himself, "You're dead if you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway."
Although it’s a larger and more impressive ship than the line’s oldest vessels, Disney Dream decks plans are in many ways similar. Most staterooms are housed in cabin-only decks (decks 5 to 11), while louder public areas such as restaurants, pools, bars and theaters have their own separate areas. This allows for quiet nights in most staterooms. Disney Dream Concierge cabins and suites are all on Deck 12.
That said, the best deck on Disney Dream for those looking to get a good night’s sleep is one that’s not directly above or below any public spaces – namely, Deck 7, 8 or 9.
The Disney Dream ship layout allows for easy passenger flow – mostly thanks to its three elevator banks and smart design. Family and adult-only pools are located on Deck 11, while Deck 12 is home to the ship’s two adult-only restaurants – Palo and Remy. The rest of the dining venues on Disney Dream are spread across multiple decks, offering easy access to food and treats from almost every corner of the ship.
The influence of the Mouse ranges from subtle to obnoxious. It's omnipresent but generally not overwhelming. "Hidden" Mickeys can be found just about everywhere on the ship: in artwork, on railings, on dinnerware, in cabins. What's endearing to some, though, might be overkill to others.
A few areas on the ship, though, were definitely overlooked. The "sports" deck, for example, offers a cute nine-hole mini-golf course and a basketball court but nothing strikingly groundbreaking or athletic.
Above all else, the line pays attention to details -- little things like putting lids on kids' drinks to minimize spills and pouring ketchup in the shape of Mickey's head in the dining rooms, and adding touches like a life preserver and pair of Donald Duck legs to the side of the funnel to make it look as if the loveable character has gotten himself stuck.
The Disney Dream cruise ship is perfect for warm weather destinations due to its multiple outdoor pools and ample sun decks. One of the most popular itineraries is Fort Lauderdale to Bahamas, which is offered as 3-, 4- and 5-night sailings. (The longer ones call at Cozumel or Disney’s private Bahamian destination, Castaway Cay.)
Other popular options aboard Dream include Western Caribbean and Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona.
Disney is strongly influenced by American and Canadian travelers, and its primary market, of course, is families (especially those with kids younger than 8). Beyond that, Disney has strong appeal for multigenerational travelers, and its superb spa, bar district and alternate dining facilities mean that adults of any age will find their own spaces onboard.
Daytime: Disney Dream has two dress codes: Princess Formal and Pirate Casual. We're kidding, of course, but it's true that princess dresses and other costumes for kids (and fun-loving adults) are always in style. The actual dress code is casual during the day.
Evening: At night, we'd call the dress code "family resort casual" most evenings. Nice shorts and jeans are allowed in the dining rooms. However, Disney Dream cruisers love to dress up, and themed evenings -- whether Pirate Night, formal-optional, or Caribbean -- are wholeheartedly embraced.
Dream's three- to five-night cruises feature one night each of pirate/tropical and formal-optional dress, with the remainder of the evenings being cruise casual. The dress code in the specialty restaurants Palo and Remy is fancier -- no shorts, capris, flip-flops or sneakers. Jeans are allowed in Palo but not Remy. A jacket (but not a tie) is required for men at Remy.
Not permitted: Shorts, tank tops, swimwear and hats are not permitted in any dining venue. Jeans and women's capri pants are not acceptable in Remy.
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