I recently took a Disney cruise on the Disney Dream, a 4-day with stops at Castaway Cay and Nassau. I did not think I would ever take a Disney cruise. I’ve been on about 20 Royal Caribbean and Norwegian cruises and didn’t think I would ever spend the extra money for the Disney experience. But, now that I have, I’m glad I was able to see the difference and had a lovely cruise. I’ll try to explain a few differences between the Disney Dream and Royal Caribbean, in case you are trying to decide between a Disney cruise and a lesser expensive line.
Booking: We booked the cruise by calling the 1-800 Disney cruise line phone number. We asked for two ocean view rooms, which connected. The ocean views we had were on Deck 8 and the ocean view windows were lovely. The windows were big with cushions for kiddos or small adults to sit and relax. From what I saw while on the cruise, there are other ocean view rooms with smaller windows (and are probably less expensive) but we were not offered this option, even when we asked for the cabins to be less expensive. I should have done more research on my own before booking the cabin offered by the phone agent. But, our cabins were lovely and there were plenty of room for storage. The coolest feature of the room, which Disney has over every other line, is the separate bathroom… one with a sink and potty and the other with sink and bathtub. The bathtubs are very, very cool. There is an overhead shower, a bath option, and a hand-held option. The bathtubs are great for kids and are just very cool in general on a cruise. Room service worked really well. The food was good and delivered quickly. The rooms had great Disney On Demand and tons of movies, which was nice for our kids. This was a nice perk you don’t find on other lines (the variety and amount of free movies).
A note about “boarding time:” Going into this cruise, my biggest concern was getting on board the boat, as our “boarding time” was 1:30pm, which I did not like. I performed all my online check-in’s about 3 weeks before. I should have performed this sooner, but so be it. Since I am very familiar with cruises, I didn’t think I should have to wait until 1:30 to get on board the boat. With Royal Caribbean, we are used to getting on board at 11am or 11:30 on really, really big boats. I inquired with Disney customer service line several times about getting an earlier boarding time. With three phone calls I didn’t get anywhere. But, on the morning I left for the cruise, I called one more time to inquire and was told I could probably get on board a little sooner at Port Canaveral (rather than cruises which leave out of Miami). This was wonderful to hear and I arrived at the port a little sooner and was able to board about an hour before my “assigned boarding time.” There were numbers for “boarding times” but I acted like I didn’t see them and just got on board. I’d recommend getting to Port Canaveral about an hour before your “boarding time” because it takes a bit of time to get through security and get checked in.