We wanted to visit Castaway Cay and thought a 4 Night cruise on the Disney Dream would fit the bill. That is until Hurricane Matthew decided to show up. After we got back, we read of the destruction and loss of life, which was sobering. However, while we were on the ship, far away from the weather, we had a great time, even if we had to adjust our travel arrangements! Still, we ended up on the ship for 6 nights, 5 nights as a cruise, and the last night in Port Canaveral as a hotel!
Ports: We knew we were headed to Cozumel, which was a fine alternative to Castaway Cay, and certainly better than Nassau. We decided to spend the day at a beach resort, since we were not getting to do that at Castaway Cay. It was an additional cost, but we spent time at Mr. Sancho's and it was pricey, but wonderful since you did not have to worry about paying by the drink, food item, etc. Costa Maya got added in as a bonus during the cruise, once we knew our 4 Night cruise was going to be at a minimum a 5 Night cruise, though we didn't really care much for it. Seemed like another manufactured cruise port, and the prices for anything rivaled prices back home. Nice shopping for trinkets and such, though.
Stateroom: We were a family of four, but we were able to get a Deluxe Family Oceanview with Verandah for only a couple hundred more than the price of an Interior. We used the upper bunk and the murphy bed, so we always had a sofa to relax on all day or at night. We were on Deck 6 so we were just about the lifeboats, but that didn't distract us as much as I thought it might. The extra cabinets in the stateroom (since it was an extended length) came in handy for putting away things. Not really needed for a short cruise, but then we ended up staying on the ship for 6 Nights! We were aft of the ship, so vibration was much higher than I expected; it did not prevent me from sleep, but it was noticeable, compared to being mid or forward.
Dining: It was mostly wonderful. Since we ended up 6 nights on the ship, we ate in each of three dining rooms twice. Animator's Palate was our favorite and our 1st night there was on Pirate night, so the monitors showed a slideshow of images and art depicting pirates; it really transformed the place. We also liked the new Pirate menu; it had more flavorful options compared to the old menu, at least in our view. The regular menus were hit or miss, but never bad. Cabanas was good for breakfast and lunch, and it was nice to visit late night on Pirate night, even though we were not really hungry. The mini-buffet that is set out late night in the Adults area was subpar; if you need something to eat that late, room service or the pizza on the upper deck might be a better option. We did have Palo brunch on a sea day, but it was not as satisfying as a Palo dinner we had the last time we cruised with Disney. The service was fine, but the food quality was lower than expected, though there were lots of options. We were able to even get items that were no longer on the new menu. We did not eat at Remy, but we spoke with another cruiser who did and found it very satisfying.
The character encounters and shows were of course great. Once it was apparent the cruise was going to be extended, Disney even flew in an extra performer who came on board in Cozumel so that we would have another entertainment option on the extra day. The only show we thought was a bit stale was Villains Tonite. There were far more casual character encounters (particularly with Princesses) on this cruise compared to a past cruise. It was also great to see the ship officers in the atrium on several evenings. Captain Thord and Cruise Director Jimmy gave daily updates on the Hurricane and how it would affect our return, and once it was going to delay our return, Guest Services kept the satellite phones open at Guest 24 hours until the end of the cruise to help guests make any travel arrangements.
Other than a bit of rain when we arrived at the port on embarkation day, we had nearly perfect weather the entire cruise. While we know the following cruise was canceled and created havoc for those that were supposed to be on the ship, and we knew that Matthew was a terrible storm that left a path of destruction and death, we were fortunate to still have a great cruise. It is a bit surreal to have a vacation knowing that others are dealing with life and death, but such is the way it ended up.
Great size room with a round bathtub if you need to bathe any young children. Split bathroom is very helpful with any party greater than 2, and especially again with children. Even though the stateroom we were in could sleep 5, we only had 4 and put the extra room to good use. Lots of space under the bed to put your luggage. Our stateroom was toward the aft of the ship on Deck 6, so we did have a bit of vibration, more than expected, but not enough to prevent sleep. However, some light sleepers might prefer to be more forward.
Embarkation was quick and easy. We had an early PAT and once we got to the terminal, we had at most a 5 minute wait to check in and our boarding group was called within 10 minutes thereafter, so we were onboard well before noon.
Wonderful time at Mr. Sancho's. It is a bit pricey, but if you get there early and stay all day, it is all inclusive food and drink beachfront club with pools, bars and lots of clear water to enjoy.View All 222 Private Resort Day Pass Reviews
Your typical manufactured cruise port. Very inflated prices for food and drink, but okay to shop for local souvenirs. This might have been a good port to do an excursion, but we decided to spend more time onboard after a visit to the shopping village.