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Our family of four – fifty-somethings with a young teenage girl and boy – took the Disney Dream in mid-July 2015. This was the 4-day Bahama’s cruise and we scheduled it at the tail-end of four days at Beach Club Villa’s in WDW. We also had another family along. Pre-Cruise setup: We booked the cruise through the DVC cruise folks. Once you are booked, the online setup is well designed. You can “check-in” online within 30 days of departure. The site is designed to play to non-savvy clientele and it works. All of the documentation you need is provided at online check-in. You DO need passports for children under 18. For adults, a valid driver’s license will suffice. The same site allows you to book excursions. We booked parasailing on Castaway Cay and the Atlantis waterpark at Nassau. You can setup ground transportation online. We did this at the cost of $70 per person. This includes pickup from your WDW resort to the ship and pickup from the ship to the airport ( or to the parks in Orlando…) Day before the cruise: The following is based on pickup from a WDW resort. The day before the cruise, Disney hand-delivers a schedule of exactly when and where to meet for the ride to the ship. If you have large bags to bring along ( and who doesn’t… ) they will pick them up early on the morning of travel. The bags will be taken directly to your room on-board. We were at Beach Club and met a group of perhaps 30 people in the Solarium. Disney personnel meet you, check you off the list and make sure you are on the bus. The bus is the familiar Mears luxury bus and DOES have a restroom. The trip to Canaveral was an easy 75 minutes. Bus pick-up was 11AM, so a nice sleep-in day. Check-in: Check-in begins in a massive hall that is absolutely crawling with Disney staff. It is impossible to make a wrong turn. The line was long but the check-in desk was manned with perhaps twenty friendly cast-members and flowed along quickly. All through the cruise, Disney’s practice of throwing large numbers of well-trained, always friendly staff at large events really works out well. Travel is typically one of the most stressful aspects of vacation and they truly minimize the worries as much as possible. As long as you have completed your online check-in and have all of the hardcopy documents with you, check-in takes about five minutes. Like most cruises you are provided with a room key that doubles as a “buy anything” charge card on-board. After check-in, you walk through the Mouse-Ear entrance and you are on the boat. We took the elevator to our room, a Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom With Verandah on Deck 6. Our large bag was outside of our room. Inside the room, our excursion tickets were on the desk. Too cool. The Room: The room is small like all cruise ship rooms. There is a very comfortable Queen bed. A sitting area in front of the television is converted by your attendant at night into twin bunk beds. There is a curtain you can pull between the Queen and the bunks. The shower is in a separate room from the toilet which provides two “changing rooms”, allowing morning preparations to be more efficient. There is adequate storage in the closet. The room opens into a spacious balcony where I finished two books and considerably more than two beers. On-board: Unlike some other cruises we had taken, The Dream was ready for action as soon as we embarked. The buffet was open and the slides were running. Like most cruise ships, there are a thousand things to do. The pool area is on Decks 11 and 12. The pools themselves are nothing special. There is a decent water slide just right for the ten and under crowd. For big kids, there is AquaDuck, a raft ride through a frothy tube that is an absolute blast. Its’ popularity does result in long lines at prime-time but it is worth the wait. There is a sign marking a 45 minute wait but it was always more like 25. If you go off-hours, such as when a lot of folks are onshore or late at night, you can do it three for four times at a shot. There is a MASSIVE big-screen above the pool that alternates between Disney Classics and augmenting live shows. Good lounge availability is spotty in prime-time but not as bad as some other cruises I have been on. Deck 11 also has a decent arcade where my son and I engaged in highly spirited competitions of air hockey and one of those car racing thingies. Deck 12 has ping-pong ( highly subject to the always brisk wind…), a mini-golf course, basketball and foosball. Dining: They say cruising is all about the food, so here goes. The pool area has two places to eat: The Cabanas buffet is above-average. Take a look at the link below. My only complaint is that the hours are spotty after 2PM. I am not sure what they are exactly but I headed there several times and they were closed. http://disneycruise.disney.go.com/ships-activities/ships/dream/dining/cabanas/ A burger/hot-dog/pizza/fries place is always open, along with the free ice-cream and soda fountains. My kids overdosed on ice-cream cones and plates of fries. The food is anything but gourmet, but is the kind of stuff that kids love. Lunch is served in Cabanas and also at least one of the sit-down restaurants down on decks 3 and 4. We ate lunch off the boat every day so I have no comment on the on-board lunch. The lunch at Castaway Cay is served at one of two locations and consists of a so-so “kid pleaser” buffet. It’s a bit of a step up from the Deck 11 burger fare. There are barbequed ribs and chicken, coleslaw and potato salad to go with all those burgers and fries. Still, strictly two-star, but an adult can cobble together a decent meal with careful selection. We also had lunch as part of the Atlantis water park package and this is strictly burger shack fare. Dinner is where the adults get pay-back. It was served in three different venues over four nights with a different menu every night. The fare was interesting and very well prepared. Everything from the obligatory prime rib to very fresh seafood and esoteric French entrée’s. We selected the Wine-program which allows the table to select a bottle of wine each evening. This was more reasonable than buying a bottle each night ( Reasonable being a relative term on anything Disney...). Desserts were excellent. The service, of course, was immaculate. Our Head Server was a pretty good magician and entertained us all with some cool tricks. After-dinner show: I went to three of the four shows and thoroughly enjoyed them. They are perhaps an hour in length. Two of the shows were big-number Disney themed spectaculars. They were very well written and executed. Always with a storyline thread knitting the numbers together. The kids ate them up and I suffused with nostalgia and howling myself hoarse. One of the shows was adults-oriented and was designed around an absolutely amazing juggling act. A note about first versus second seatings. Unlike other cruise ships we have sailed on, the first seating for dinner goes to the 8:30 late show after dinner. The second seating for dinner goes to the earlier show before dinner. Thinking back to when my kids were younger, we booked the first seating so we could finish dinner and the show before the kids crashed. If this is your strategy, you are better off with second seating. Getting around the ship: Despite eight elevators mid-ship, the elevator service is slow to very-slow except at very off hours. There are twelve decks and three to four thousand guests and of course folks are traipsing back and forth all day from pool to lunch to the gangway and back. If you are the endlessly patient type, no worries. But I am not. Between water slides and moving between floors on-board, I have never climbed so many stairs in my life, though I tried to take solace in the thought that I was burning off some of those beers I was knocking down by the pool. We were on deck six. Most of the action is on decks 11/12 ( the pool,arcade etc ) and decks 2/3/4 ( dining,theaters). Since gravity is on your side getting to the lower decks, I would think a room on deck 8 would be ideal as it is a quick climb to the pool and not too far from the popular lower decks. Castaway Cay: Disney’s own private island is pretty much all you could hope for. There are three main beaches, all serviced by constantly running trams. The first is where you can rent water-vessels such as wave-runners. The second is the “family beach”. This a beautiful and calm stretch of white sandy beach. A short swim takes you to a pretty cool water slide. Lastly, there is a “Serenity Beach” for adults only. Here is a link for more info. http://disneycruise.disney.go.com/cruises-destinations/bahamas/ports/castaway-cay/ IMPORTANT: I was very concerned about the availability of shaded lounges on the Family Beach, but there seems to be an adequate supply before about noon. So, you don’t have to rush out of bed to claim a spot. Each “spot” Consists of two lounge chairs shaded by a huge umbrella with two chairs at the foot of the chaises. Perfect for a family of four. A lot of folks took the chairs down into the water. Kids-Clubs: Perhaps it is because we tend to vacation with friends and so are self-contained, but my kids have never shown the slightest interest in the highly touted kids/teen clubs on any cruise we have taken. We wasted our money on this years ago on a different cruise and have since learned our lesson. Excursions: We booked parasailing on Castaway Cay. The crew was friendly and very professional. You check-in a Marge’s Barges which is right off the ship. The boat ride is exhilarating and the parasailing serene and beautiful. They make sure to “accidentally” dunk you on the way down. Very nice excursion. We booked the Atlantis water-park excursion on the Bahamas. The Atlantis group meets at Walt Disney Theater for an orientation then heads out to busses that take you to the Hotel. Return service to the ship begins at 1PM and runs every 30 minutes. Basically you are given a wrist-band that makes you an honorary Hotel guest ( it crossed my mind that an actual guest of the property might find this a bit injust…). Atlantis is HUGE. We had all of our texting turned off due to no wi-fi and outrageous roaming charges. We were reduced to 90’s-era strategies such as “meet at the burger shack at 1PM”. I was glad my kids are teens. A few years younger and I would have been a wreck trying to keep tabs on everyone. Having said that, the water park is well-worth the expense. The Mayan Temple ride is an incredible rush. The Abyss still pretty cool but not as amazing as The Mayan Temple. Like any great ride, these are subject to long lines. There is a really cool “Crazy River” that alternates between lazy rafting and white water thrills. A single circuit of this has got to be a couple of miles. Great fun, if a bit crowded. There are seemingly scores of pools and Jacuzzis spread about acres of space. It is a bit overwhelming and it is advisable to mentally catalogue landmarks for back-tracking. Getting back to the boat is painless. They drop you off a bit short to ensure you walk through a series of shops first. Getting home: On the last night of the cruise, your head waiter gives you a specific ticket for morning breakfast and some general overview of the exit process. You will see all three of your waiters at this breakfast so you can save your tip envelopes for this time. Assuming you have signed on for the free airline check-in, checked bags are left in the hallway before 10:30 PM on your last evening. They are picked up and checked through to your destination. Your boarding passes are delivered earlier in the evening. Very painless. Unlike some other cruises, Disney expects the boat to be cleared by 9AM. Our breakfast was 6:45. Second Seating was 8AM. You bring carry-on’s with you to breakfast, then exit the boat. Checking out through customs is as painless as check-in, again because of the army of cast-members assisting. If you paid for the ground transportation ( to the airport or to WDW ), your room key will indicate this and you will be directed to a waiting bus. A totally painless and seamless exit experience. Conclusion: The Disney Dream is a beautiful boat staffed by a huge and very well-trained crew. The four days blows by like a Bahamian thunder storm. The massive and well-trained staff is dedicated to making even thorny travel issues easy. Despite a few minor dings above, a great cruise that we and our kids will never forget.

Disney Dream - Seamless and memorable

Disney Dream Cruise Review by familyguyventura

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2015
  • Destination: Bahamas
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah
Our family of four – fifty-somethings with a young teenage girl and boy – took the Disney Dream in mid-July 2015. This was the 4-day Bahama’s cruise and we scheduled it at the tail-end of four days at Beach Club Villa’s in WDW. We also had another family along.

Pre-Cruise setup:

We booked the cruise through the DVC cruise folks. Once you are booked, the online setup is well designed. You can “check-in” online within 30 days of departure. The site is designed to play to non-savvy clientele and it works. All of the documentation you need is provided at online check-in. You DO need passports for children under 18. For adults, a valid driver’s license will suffice.

The same site allows you to book excursions. We booked parasailing on Castaway Cay and the Atlantis waterpark at Nassau.

You can setup ground transportation online. We did this at the cost of $70 per person. This includes pickup from your WDW resort to the ship and pickup from the ship to the airport ( or to the parks in Orlando…)

Day before the cruise:

The following is based on pickup from a WDW resort. The day before the cruise, Disney hand-delivers a schedule of exactly when and where to meet for the ride to the ship. If you have large bags to bring along ( and who doesn’t… ) they will pick them up early on the morning of travel. The bags will be taken directly to your room on-board. We were at Beach Club and met a group of perhaps 30 people in the Solarium. Disney personnel meet you, check you off the list and make sure you are on the bus. The bus is the familiar Mears luxury bus and DOES have a restroom. The trip to Canaveral was an easy 75 minutes. Bus pick-up was 11AM, so a nice sleep-in day.

Check-in:

Check-in begins in a massive hall that is absolutely crawling with Disney staff. It is impossible to make a wrong turn. The line was long but the check-in desk was manned with perhaps twenty friendly cast-members and flowed along quickly. All through the cruise, Disney’s practice of throwing large numbers of well-trained, always friendly staff at large events really works out well. Travel is typically one of the most stressful aspects of vacation and they truly minimize the worries as much as possible.

As long as you have completed your online check-in and have all of the hardcopy documents with you, check-in takes about five minutes. Like most cruises you are provided with a room key that doubles as a “buy anything” charge card on-board. After check-in, you walk through the Mouse-Ear entrance and you are on the boat.

We took the elevator to our room, a Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom With Verandah on Deck 6. Our large bag was outside of our room. Inside the room, our excursion tickets were on the desk. Too cool.

The Room:

The room is small like all cruise ship rooms. There is a very comfortable Queen bed. A sitting area in front of the television is converted by your attendant at night into twin bunk beds. There is a curtain you can pull between the Queen and the bunks. The shower is in a separate room from the toilet which provides two “changing rooms”, allowing morning preparations to be more efficient. There is adequate storage in the closet. The room opens into a spacious balcony where I finished two books and considerably more than two beers.

On-board:

Unlike some other cruises we had taken, The Dream was ready for action as soon as we embarked. The buffet was open and the slides were running. Like most cruise ships, there are a thousand things to do.

The pool area is on Decks 11 and 12. The pools themselves are nothing special. There is a decent water slide just right for the ten and under crowd. For big kids, there is AquaDuck, a raft ride through a frothy tube that is an absolute blast. Its’ popularity does result in long lines at prime-time but it is worth the wait. There is a sign marking a 45 minute wait but it was always more like 25. If you go off-hours, such as when a lot of folks are onshore or late at night, you can do it three for four times at a shot.

There is a MASSIVE big-screen above the pool that alternates between Disney Classics and augmenting live shows.

Good lounge availability is spotty in prime-time but not as bad as some other cruises I have been on.

Deck 11 also has a decent arcade where my son and I engaged in highly spirited competitions of air hockey and one of those car racing thingies.

Deck 12 has ping-pong ( highly subject to the always brisk wind…), a mini-golf course, basketball and foosball.

Dining:

They say cruising is all about the food, so here goes. The pool area has two places to eat:

The Cabanas buffet is above-average. Take a look at the link below. My only complaint is that the hours are spotty after 2PM. I am not sure what they are exactly but I headed there several times and they were closed.

http://disneycruise.disney.go.com/ships-activities/ships/dream/dining/cabanas/

A burger/hot-dog/pizza/fries place is always open, along with the free ice-cream and soda fountains. My kids overdosed on ice-cream cones and plates of fries. The food is anything but gourmet, but is the kind of stuff that kids love.

Lunch is served in Cabanas and also at least one of the sit-down restaurants down on decks 3 and 4. We ate lunch off the boat every day so I have no comment on the on-board lunch. The lunch at Castaway Cay is served at one of two locations and consists of a so-so “kid pleaser” buffet. It’s a bit of a step up from the Deck 11 burger fare. There are barbequed ribs and chicken, coleslaw and potato salad to go with all those burgers and fries. Still, strictly two-star, but an adult can cobble together a decent meal with careful selection.

We also had lunch as part of the Atlantis water park package and this is strictly burger shack fare.

Dinner is where the adults get pay-back. It was served in three different venues over four nights with a different menu every night. The fare was interesting and very well prepared. Everything from the obligatory prime rib to very fresh seafood and esoteric French entrée’s.

We selected the Wine-program which allows the table to select a bottle of wine each evening. This was more reasonable than buying a bottle each night ( Reasonable being a relative term on anything Disney...). Desserts were excellent. The service, of course, was immaculate. Our Head Server was a pretty good magician and entertained us all with some cool tricks.

After-dinner show:

I went to three of the four shows and thoroughly enjoyed them. They are perhaps an hour in length. Two of the shows were big-number Disney themed spectaculars. They were very well written and executed. Always with a storyline thread knitting the numbers together. The kids ate them up and I suffused with nostalgia and howling myself hoarse. One of the shows was adults-oriented and was designed around an absolutely amazing juggling act.

A note about first versus second seatings. Unlike other cruise ships we have sailed on, the first seating for dinner goes to the 8:30 late show after dinner. The second seating for dinner goes to the earlier show before dinner. Thinking back to when my kids were younger, we booked the first seating so we could finish dinner and the show before the kids crashed. If this is your strategy, you are better off with second seating.

Getting around the ship:

Despite eight elevators mid-ship, the elevator service is slow to very-slow except at very off hours. There are twelve decks and three to four thousand guests and of course folks are traipsing back and forth all day from pool to lunch to the gangway and back. If you are the endlessly patient type, no worries. But I am not.

Between water slides and moving between floors on-board, I have never climbed so many stairs in my life, though I tried to take solace in the thought that I was burning off some of those beers I was knocking down by the pool.

We were on deck six. Most of the action is on decks 11/12 ( the pool,arcade etc ) and decks 2/3/4 ( dining,theaters). Since gravity is on your side getting to the lower decks, I would think a room on deck 8 would be ideal as it is a quick climb to the pool and not too far from the popular lower decks.

Castaway Cay:

Disney’s own private island is pretty much all you could hope for. There are three main beaches, all serviced by constantly running trams. The first is where you can rent water-vessels such as wave-runners. The second is the “family beach”. This a beautiful and calm stretch of white sandy beach. A short swim takes you to a pretty cool water slide. Lastly, there is a “Serenity Beach” for adults only. Here is a link for more info.

http://disneycruise.disney.go.com/cruises-destinations/bahamas/ports/castaway-cay/

IMPORTANT: I was very concerned about the availability of shaded lounges on the Family Beach, but there seems to be an adequate supply before about noon. So, you don’t have to rush out of bed to claim a spot. Each “spot” Consists of two lounge chairs shaded by a huge umbrella with two chairs at the foot of the chaises. Perfect for a family of four. A lot of folks took the chairs down into the water.

Kids-Clubs:

Perhaps it is because we tend to vacation with friends and so are self-contained, but my kids have never shown the slightest interest in the highly touted kids/teen clubs on any cruise we have taken. We wasted our money on this years ago on a different cruise and have since learned our lesson.

Excursions:

We booked parasailing on Castaway Cay. The crew was friendly and very professional. You check-in a Marge’s Barges which is right off the ship. The boat ride is exhilarating and the parasailing serene and beautiful. They make sure to “accidentally” dunk you on the way down. Very nice excursion.

We booked the Atlantis water-park excursion on the Bahamas. The Atlantis group meets at Walt Disney Theater for an orientation then heads out to busses that take you to the Hotel. Return service to the ship begins at 1PM and runs every 30 minutes. Basically you are given a wrist-band that makes you an honorary Hotel guest ( it crossed my mind that an actual guest of the property might find this a bit injust…).

Atlantis is HUGE. We had all of our texting turned off due to no wi-fi and outrageous roaming charges. We were reduced to 90’s-era strategies such as “meet at the burger shack at 1PM”. I was glad my kids are teens. A few years younger and I would have been a wreck trying to keep tabs on everyone.

Having said that, the water park is well-worth the expense. The Mayan Temple ride is an incredible rush. The Abyss still pretty cool but not as amazing as The Mayan Temple. Like any great ride, these are subject to long lines. There is a really cool “Crazy River” that alternates between lazy rafting and white water thrills. A single circuit of this has got to be a couple of miles. Great fun, if a bit crowded. There are seemingly scores of pools and Jacuzzis spread about acres of space. It is a bit overwhelming and it is advisable to mentally catalogue landmarks for back-tracking.

Getting back to the boat is painless. They drop you off a bit short to ensure you walk through a series of shops first.

Getting home:

On the last night of the cruise, your head waiter gives you a specific ticket for morning breakfast and some general overview of the exit process. You will see all three of your waiters at this breakfast so you can save your tip envelopes for this time.

Assuming you have signed on for the free airline check-in, checked bags are left in the hallway before 10:30 PM on your last evening. They are picked up and checked through to your destination. Your boarding passes are delivered earlier in the evening. Very painless.

Unlike some other cruises, Disney expects the boat to be cleared by 9AM. Our breakfast was 6:45. Second Seating was 8AM. You bring carry-on’s with you to breakfast, then exit the boat. Checking out through customs is as painless as check-in, again because of the army of cast-members assisting.

If you paid for the ground transportation ( to the airport or to WDW ), your room key will indicate this and you will be directed to a waiting bus. A totally painless and seamless exit experience.

Conclusion:

The Disney Dream is a beautiful boat staffed by a huge and very well-trained crew. The four days blows by like a Bahamian thunder storm. The massive and well-trained staff is dedicated to making even thorny travel issues easy. Despite a few minor dings above, a great cruise that we and our kids will never forget.
familyguyventura’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah
Cabin 04A 6572
The room is small like all cruise ship rooms. There is a very comfortable Queen bed. A sitting area in front of the television is converted by your attendant at night into twin bunk beds. There is a curtain you can pull between the Queen and the bunks. The shower is in a separate room from the toilet which provides two “changing rooms”, allowing morning preparations to be more efficient. There is adequate storage in the closet. The room opens into a spacious balcony where I finished two books and considerably more than two beers.

This room is near the elevators/stairs. Elevators are quiet but minor distraction from kids running up and down the stairs at night...
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins