Nothing held back - Disney spoils you rotten!: Disney Dream Cruise Review by getcluedin
Overall Member Rating
Nothing held back - Disney spoils you rotten!
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
We really loved our servers each night at dinner, and they are consistent throughout. Like I said they accommodated all our separate dietary needs. Just tell them at boarding that you have special dining requests and you will meet with specialized staff who will work with your party. The 6-month old got different pureed foods each night, the More vegetarians got special meals each night (Indian vegetarian meals complete with rice and naan), and the meat eters could order off the menu, and of course there are sugar free desserts for diabetics too. The options are endless for food. The motto was "if you see it, eat it." and Disney was not kidding. Our favorite place to eat was Cabanas for the variety, and how everyone could get a snack or breakfast items that they wanted. When we first boarded the ship, we ate at the Enchanted Garden and it was a decent buffet, but cabanas always worked best for us. You can eat at Castaway Cay but the food on the boat I think is best. Some folks in our party ate at Royal Garden for lunch and loved the food- it is sit down and order. I thought the food was tasty and well-prepared and did not have a problem. In my opinion, all the options were great! The ice cream on deck 11 near the pools was a great touch, Disney. Disney has two beverage bars on Deck 11 to fill up water bottles and get late night tea/coffee. Room service is included (not gratuity) so please tip your folks! Room service was fabulous and kept you from overeating which is good. So I learned this the third night - whoops! If you are main seating, you are also first seating (0730) for breakfast and you go to the same place you went the night before. Whoops... we did not do that. But you can. 0730 is too early for those of us on mountain time. We just ate at cabanas and liked it. Or you can order room service.
Do not miss the shows- we loved each one and the adult humor is built in. We wish the movie times were better. Showing Cinderella at 1030 for kids is tough, and then we do not want miss Castaway Cay or the shows either to see a movie so, be prepared to pick and choose. We couldn't see the movies which is a bummer. But on a longer cruise, you can do it all. I think having second seating is actually better- allows you to do more. If you have older kids, try second seating for dining. Plus here is something else I learned by day 3 - too late. They serve the kids super quickly so you can take them to the Oceaneer Lab. You must do the Oceaneer Club for your kids (ages 4 and up) because it is basically free child care and you can then have a quiet dinner with your spouse or family. So, on day 1 go register them at the Oceaneer club and get them these bracelets ($12.95 deposit each) and then you can check them in and out. They do all sorts of activities and have a great time. I wish we could have used it more but didn't have time.
If you can skip Nassau, do it. Get off the boat, buy souvenirs and walk around and head back... but we had to see Atlantis and did a 2-hour excursion. I think Nassau you can do it on your own, or skip it. Enjoy the boat especially if you have only a 3 night cruise. Nassau is a cheaper place to get some souvenirs for friends and neighbors. Bring bug spray to Castaway Cay and plenty of sunblock - woh! We burned out there, but we loved the private island and beach. You will need water shoes because the rocks hurt in some places. OUCH! But Castaway Cay is awesome! We loved loved it. We rented boats but the waves are strong and I could not even properly row the kayak. The stingray experience is supposed to be awesome, but we did not have time with all the family activities. What is disappointing in the Cay is how they are only open for lunch from 11-2 - the island shuts down by 3pm but all aboard time is 445pm so it is annoying. I wish they shut things down at 330 ish. Anyway, the island was empty after 2pm... I recommend getting out after 1pm and then shutting the beach down. Get your lunch on board the ship. The food on the island is OKAY - the best part is the fruit bar and ice cream bar. That is it! The BBQ/burgers are not all that. Enjoy the Aqua Duck (completely empty on Castaway Cay morning) and pool areas, then head off the ship AFTER lunch and enjoy Castaway Cay from 1pm to 4pm - you will beat all the crowds on both ends. The Aqua Duck is awesome but the lines the first day are insane. Always hit it first thing (10am open time) and later in the day before shutting down or at night. I think it would be fun to do it at night and kinda scary.
The ship will rock in the ocean, so bring dramamine and the first night was the roughest. You will feel it on decks 2 and 3 the most during the shows, and dinner. The thing is with Disney you never have to worry. IF you need anything, so many people are there to help and it is literally 5-star service (hotel and restaurant) on the ocean. I can't really imagine our first cruise experience with any other cruise ship. This one was perfect for all generations and all diets, all activities and interests.
Read my Deck 8 room review too - it is a little loud on the ship and in the rooms so be aware of that. On Deck 8 starboard we could hear the other people on balconies talking, and shuffle board players. But I think Dec 7 or 8 are good locations and away from a lot of the other noises. The pirate party is great and the fireworks are on the STARBOARD side so head to that side on Dec 12. The rest of the pirate show is okay and the dancing was fun but the kids are all exhausted by this time. The parties are fun on Deck 11 but you will not make it all. Pick and choose what you can do. Use the Navigator hard copy but the APP is the best. Download that from your APP store BEFORE boarding. You can do character meets throughout the ship, throughout the day. My advice is after you board, get the princess passes or Disney Jr passes right away on Deck 5. Do not delay this and your kiddos can see a few characters at set times. You will have tickets/fast passes for these. Do not miss the times. It is so much better than Disney parks and a great way to get all your autographs and pictures done.
Oh speaking of photos, let them take all the pictures of you possible and do a family pose on the stairway on pirate night. you can only buy these pics on board. Try to get to Deck 4, Shutters BEFORE the last night or it will be packed... you can always buy the morning of disembarkation too when it is less crowded. You find your photos by scanning your room key. IF you have a multiple staterooms, here is a trick - PUT all the pictures under one stateroom if POSSIBLE --- then, you can buy 10 digital prints. They only sell by stateroom which is silly on digital prints but this is where the DISNEY SIDE (I think) comes out. So, if you are enterprising back at 'em, you can get the 10 prints you want and split the cost. You cannot access these pictures again so get what you want on board.
Oh, and try to BOARD right away at your boarding time. When you show up at Port Canaveral, drop off your bags and then go park in the garage for $60 or in the close lot for $80 - it is not all that crowded when you leave so it doesn't matter where. For embarcation, try to pick the earliest time possible. Enjoy the ship as long as you can on this one because you only have 2.5 days really on the ship. They rush you off on the 3rd day by 9am! :-( And no pools are open that day. Board right away, get lunch and hit the pools. Then do the party where you sail away, and the characters all come out to dance. Most of all. relax and have fun. The best part about sailing in international waters is NO cell coverage and no internet other than the wifi on the ship so you can chat with one another thru the navigator app, so ENJOY! Disconnect and enjoy this time with your family. I know we did. What a great cruise, Disney. Everything was perfect. I didn't find the Disney merchandising or hype too overwhelming on the cruise like I do in te parks. We went to the parks after this and I no longer like the parks - the cruise is the way to go! Less
Cabin review: 5B8564
The rooms, I think, are a little small for four people (2 adults, 2 kids, ages 6 and 7) but the balcony made it seem bigger. I think the bigger rooms midship are better for families of 4 or more. If you have 3 kids, you may want to consider adjoining staterooms but that is pricier. You could do 1 adult, 2 kids per stateroom and do joining staterooms to spread out a little more. We were forward starboard and the views of Castaway Cay were amazing - gorgeous. But when docked in Nassau, The Norwegian peered into our room :-) There are ships on all side when we dock at Nassau, so no escaping it. But at Castaway Cay, you want to be starboard side for sure. The views are amazing, and I got some great pictures. They come and make up your room twice a day- now that's service! We loved the guy we had and he made towel animals for the girls, adn left chocolates each night. The animals are amazing! You do not need to take your towels from the room with you on Nassau or Castaway as they provide you beach towels. Our wave phones sometimes worked and did not work on Castaway cay at all. Bring walkie talkies and change channels often. I found the room a bit noisy - when people close drawers/dressers and their stateroom doors. When kids run up and down the halls, it is loud in the rooms. We brought a sound machine but that did not help the noise. Beware of this. Deck 8 is nice and easy climb to 11 and down to 5, etc. The stairs are the way to go! Elevators get nuts and exercising is good, right? If you can find a room away from elevators/stairs and main entry ways, that may be quieter. You will feel the waves no matter where you are but the lower we got, the more we felt it with deck 2 and 3 being the rockiest. Bring dramamine because you will sleep like a baby. Enjoy!
Port and Shore Excursions
We did a short 2-hour Discover Nassau tour through Costco so got it for $33 each adult and $28 per kid... it was okay but like I said above- stating again:
If you can skip Nassau, do it. Get off the boat, buy souvenirs and walk around and head back... but we had to see Atlantis and did a 2-hour excursion. I think Nassau you can do it on your own, or skip it. Enjoy the boat especially if you have only a 3 night cruise. Nassau is a cheaper place to get some souvenirs for friends and neighbors.
My husband did a SCUBA Excursion and I wrote about that above.
My husband did the scuba diving through Disney and thank God it was through them because they did not make the all aboard time but lots of crew members were with him. It made me nervous when they called me at the pool looking for him. Yikes! If you get off the boat for a long excursion make sure it is through Disney.
Bring bug spray to Castaway Cay and plenty of sunblock - woh! We burned out there, and I got bitten alike. But we loved the private island and beach. You will need water shoes because the rocks hurt in some places. OUCH! But Castaway Cay is awesome! We loved loved it. We rented boats but the waves are strong and I could not even properly row the kayak. The stingray experience is supposed to be awesome, but we did not have time with all the family activities. What is disappointing in the Cay is how they are only open for lunch from 11-2 - the island shuts down by 3pm but all aboard time is 445pm so it is annoying. I wish they shut things down at 330 ish. Anyway, the island was empty after 2pm... I recommend getting out after 1pm and then shutting the beach down. Get your lunch on board the ship. The food on the island is OKAY - the best part is the fruit bar and ice cream bar. That is it! The BBQ/burgers are not all that. Enjoy the Aqua Duck (completely empty on Castaway Cay morning) and pool areas, then head off the ship AFTER lunch and enjoy Castaway Cay from 1pm to 4pm - you will beat all the crowds on both ends. The Aqua Duck is awesome but the lines the first day are insane. Always hit it first thing (10am open time) and later in the day before shutting down or at night. I think it would be fun to do it at night and kinda scary.
If you can, snag an umbrella area right near the food first beach area, but then go all the way down to the end and do the water slide, and check out the 5K area - what a great island - small, but plenty to do. Have a great time!!!!
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