Living the dream. That's how you'll feel onboard Disney's Bahama-based cruise ship.
Last month I boarded the Dream with my husband (total travel snob) and 6 year-old daughter (princess lover extraordinaire). We've now been on three cruises thanks to my career in the blog world. And I've always understood why people love a cruise. You get to see the world without having to pack and unpack and it really suits those who hate looking into details. (Be sure to check out ClassyMommy.com for tips on getting the best price for your Disney Cruise.)
Well, Disney of course covers the cruising 101 basics, but they go way, way beyond that. That's what I mean when I say "living the dream" all the attention to detail and excellence that we've come to expect from Disney is built into this vacation experience.
Organized and efficient travel? Check.
Whimsy and playful touches? Check.
Friendly and professional staff? Check.
Cleanliness and eye for design? Check.
Mesmerizing shows? Check.
Childcare that's inspired as well as safe? Check.
Destinations that captivate? Check.
Let's do a little Q & A recap.
Do the staterooms feel cramped? No. Disney does a great job of maximizing space. In fact our closet was 50% empty. We could have packed more! The rooms are very well organized and our steward, Brian, was always tidying up, arranging toys playfully and making sure we had fresh towels.
Is it just for little kids? Nope. From babies to teens, there's something for everyone. Disney Dream has clubs organized by age group so teens don't feel like they are being babysat.Older kids have access to check in and out at age 11. One of our friends sone was totally pumped to be old enough to visit "The Edge" club just for tweens.
Are the kids going to be eating donuts and junk food all week? Sure, you can get unlimited soft-serve ice cream on the pool deck, but you can also get steamed veggies and salads on the kids' menus. For the kids, our favorite spot was the Animators Palette. Just as there was a lull, we would see the turtle from Nemo pop up to interact with guests. The food was fresh and portions are were manageable. And let's not forget about the service; Ean, our server, was very nice and took time to cut up our daughter's steak for us at dinner. Other places we loved included grabbing salads and eating outdoors at Cabana's. And having breakfast at the Royal Palace.
Do you have to pay extra for everything? The cruises are a great value. 80% of what we wanted to do was covered in the cruise price. Im fact, I was shocked at how much was included. In addition to food, all the entertainment (even the morning princess parade), the gym, the snacks, ALL INCLUDED. We even got special extras like a welcome bottle of prosecco and another night chocolate-covered strawberries.
What do you pay extra for? Excursions, alcohol, spa services and wifi are extra. And the $64 princess dress-up we had to have.
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Are there any signs of Frozen on the ship? Sadly not much. A few toys, but nothing in the show and no sign of Elsa or Anna on board.
What about grown-up food? Yes! There are two adult-only spots. Palo was the restaurant we tried and I highly recommend the tasting menu. This spot is offers a sophisticated menu, stunning views and a fantastic wine list that can be paired with your meal. TIP: We should have purchased the 3 bottle wine package for $139. There were some very nice bottles including Kim Crawford and Connundrum.
Am I going to gain 5lbs in 4 days? Nearly impossible. For one thing the ship is HUGE. Walking to all the activities and shows keeps you moving. As I mentioned above, there are many healthy options for food and finally there's a fantastic fitness center (workouts are free, the special classes are extra). I suggest signing up for the 2-day workout. For $33 you get two sessions.
How good are the shows? Really, really good. Think Broadway (I know I am a NYer). We saw both "Golden Mickeys" and "Believe" two big thumbs up. The choreography was stunning and when Rapunzel sang on the balcony sang directly to our daughter a few feet away we were all mesmerized. And um, whoever is responsible for the six-pack on Tarzan, bravo. Very authentic.
Is it too loud and noisy? Sure it can be a raucous time at the Pirate Pool Party. But there's also plenty of serenity. If you need a bit of calm, put the kids in a club and head to the Senses Spa. Chilling in the Rainforest Room will help you find your zen.
You got to go free. Are you jaded? Maybe, But here's the thing. I already started pricing out a family trip on OUR DIME on the Disney Cruise to Alaska. It's that good. Wait, theres' more. Here's a quick video explaining the difference you'll experience on a Disney Cruise.
Since there was too much to cover in one blog post I created a series of videos. You can click the links to see more:
Finally here's a tip for first-timers: Definitely pack a swimsuit and sunscreen in a carry-on. The hyper-efficient Disney staff will whisk your luggage to your room after after you embark. There are a few hours between bag drop and when your are re-united with your bags. Since you don't want to miss out on the pool and Aqua Duck slide, be sure to be prepared.
This is not a sponsored post. We were given a basic trip package and paid for the extras ourselves.