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Disney Dream Review

by on March 22, 2011 · 97 comments

For Spring Break, we took our first-ever cruise on Disney’s new ship, The Disney Dream.  I have so much to tell you, but I’m also looking forward to getting back in the kitchen so I’ll try to keep it brief.  If you’ve never taken a cruise and want some info or if you’re a seasoned cruiser who just wants to weigh in or share some tips, read on and please comment! I already miss The Dream.

Disney Dream

Some of my favorite childhood memories involve boating, but the idea of taking a cruise never appealed to me until about 2 years ago when I realized that cruising would be a good way to preview places before taking a ground-based vacations. For instance, I could get a quick taste of Norway, Denmark and Finland or St. Thomas, St. Maarten and St. John before committing to a week-long trip. Plus I’m at age where I appreciate the idea of “all-inclusiveness” and what better way to experience that then on a cruise?

But I didn’t know anything about cruising. Nothing. So I reached out for advice from some of my favorite sources. Among them, friends and Cruise Critic, where I found information on all cruise lines to help me narrow down my choices to what I thought would be the best “first cruise” experience.  The decision was  a 3 night trip on Disney’s new big ship. I figured that would be enough time to find out if motion sickness would be an issue, whether or not I could deal with the crowds, and if the food was as spectacularly mediocre as I’d imagined.

We booked months in advance, made arrangements to fly to Orlando, spend a day at Universal seeing the Harry Potter Islands of Adventure, then drive to Port Canaveral the next day. If you’re dealing with the logistics, here’s a tip. You can pick up a Hertz car at the airport or some hotels (Loews Royal Pacific Hotel has one on-site), drop it off at the Hertz office by the port, then pick it up a new car to drive back after your cruise. With a Costco discount, this was MUCH cheaper than using a driver, and we didn’t have to worry about paying for parking.

Seeing the boat for the first time was pretty exciting, though I admit my heart jumps a little bit every time I see any big ship. Cruise ships, though, are the most breathtaking and Disney’s ships maybe moreso. As silly as it sounds, when you’re out on the open seas, it’s kind of a nice feeling to be on a handsome ship.

Disney Dream

Yikes, I already feel like I’m going on and on too much. If you have questions about cruising or are planning one, feel free to shoot me an email or ask me here in the comment section. I’m just going to move right along to the pictures so I can get downstairs to the kitchen and start baking.

Okay, this picture is of the first meal we had before we even left the port.  After boarding The Dream, being greeted by name and fanfare (a fun Disney touch), we were sent to Deck 11 to have lunch and wait for our cabin to be ready.  On Deck 11 we found the pool, plenty of tables and chairs and Cabananas, the restaurant with  a buffet. It had just about everything you can imagine including lots of fresh fruits, salad items and cold cuts.  Or you could go with a hot meal.   Todd grabbed a lamp chop, asparagus and tomato salad.  We ate on the deck looking out on the sea and knowing this was going to be a fun three days.

disney Dream Meal

And then we went to the cabin. We are Disney Vacation Club members and had just enough banked and borrowed points to get a mid-ship cabin with a veranda. I’d heard mid-ship was good for people prone to motion sickness, but as it turned out, I felt no motion sickness during the entire cruise, which was a huge relief since the Harry Potter ride back at Universal had put me over the edge the day prior.

Disney Dream Cabin

Here’s one of the bathrooms. Disney divides the bathrooms so that one has a toilet, mirror and sink while the other has the small bathtub/shower, mirror and sink.

Disney Dream Bathroom

I think the cabin was about 250 square feet. After staying in New York hotel rooms, it didn’t seem that small!

Late in the afternoon, the ship left port. Fuzz was dying to go play in Disney’s spectacular Kids’ Club, so Todd and I took a walk around the ship. Our assigned dinner time was 8:30 (we chose the latter as opposed to the earlier 6:30), so we had a lot of time to explore.

First, we stumbled onto a Bingo Game (I won $90 but had to pay $40 to play), then found a theater where a show was beginning. The first show was called The Golden Mickeys. To be honest, I wasn’t that excited about seeing a Disney show, but the sets really were spectacular and the actors and singers top notch. In hindsight, I’m glad I saw a lot of good singing and dancing rather than a not-so-great comedy act or dated cabaret type thing. Later, I heard the comedian on board the ship (a hypnotist) was super funny.

Show on Disney Dream

After Bingo and the show, we started getting hungry and taking pictures of Rice Krispies Treats in the gift shop.  Finally, it was dinner time.

rice krispies treat

We picked up Fuzz from the Kid area and had dinner at our assigned restaurant, The Enchanted Garden. Being assigned to a table with strangers was interesting.  Disney worked their magic and paired us with a nice family of three from Nashville. We got to know them pretty well, as they were our dinner companions for all the dinners on the ship save for the one Todd and I booked at Palo, the specialty restaurant for adults only.

I didn’t take pictures of our companions or mention anything about blogging, but I did take a photo of the dessert. The food was fine, like something you’d eat at a wedding, but the desserts seemed kind of hit or miss.  At this restaurant, my recommendation is to go for something with ice cream, like the bananas foster dessert our companions ordered. That, or a Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Bar. Most restaurants will serve you one of those for desserts if you just ask.  I didn’t know that at the time and ordered this trip of mousse, cake and cheesecake.  It looked pretty, but again — go for the ice cream.

Dessert at Enchanted Garden

The late dinner seating ended around 10:30, so we just walked around a bit then went back to the cabin to read and go to bed. If you are big into night life, there’s plenty to do and a lot of it is geared for adults only. However, since we’d planned to wake up early and go explore Nassau, we didn’t really take advantage of the late night night options.

Okay fast forward to the next day.

I don’t think I’d ever go on a cruise without a veranda. Waking up in a new place, having breakfast on the veranda while reading the Personal Navigator describing they day’s events on the ship was one of the highlights of the trip; and on a cruise, you can get room service every day for free! Disney’s room service breakfast includes a nice variety of cold cereal, milk, juices, fresh fruit, all types of baked goods including muffins. We ate a lot of these little fruit muffins.

muffin

That big building in the background is The Atlantis.  I didn’t take my good camera on this voyage, so I apologize about the over exposed pictures.

Fuzz at breakfast

I also didn’t take a lot of pictures of Nassau.  We’ve been to Nassau quite a few times on ground trips and know our way around, but our goal this trip was to go to the courthouse and find the justice of the peace who married us 12 years ago to say hello.  We made it to the office where he worked, but it turns out he died.

After that we just walked around Nassau kind of aimlessly until we met a few locals who when finding out we were from Austin, asked us if we knew Alex Jones.  We talked about Infowars for a while, said we’d give our regards to Alex, then moved on.   Austinites abroad, be prepared to discuss Alex Jones and The Bachelor, Brad Womack.  I don’t live under a rock, but I had no idea he was from Austin….or that his name was Brad Womack.  Now he’s everywhere!

Okay, enough of that.  Here’s a nice photo of the ship.

disney dream

We got back on it around noon and had lunch again at Cabanas where anything goes.   I’m not a “more is better” type eater, but apparently I do love variety because I was thrilled to have so many choices during every meal. And while some of it was kind of “eh”, there were other dishes that were really good.  Cabanas actually had some of the best food on the ship.

Sushi and French Fries

After our second buffet lunch sitting on deck looking out at the other ships docked at Nassau. The Norwegian Epic was on one side of us…

Epic

…while our neighbor of the seas (we’d often see her off in the distance), The Carnival Sensation, was on the other.

Carnival Sensation

And then it was time for The Aquaduck and more fun by the tiny, tiny, pool. For such a large ship, The Dream really does have a small pool, but Fuzz didn’t care.  Here she is enjoying the dance party.   One of the kids in the photo was someone she’d met the night before at the Kids’ Club. Making friends on the ship was a HUGE deal for a 9 year old girl and she’s been talking about her new friends for days.

kids dancing on Disney Dream

That night Todd and I had an excellent dinner at Palo where we were waited on by Safit from Bosnia. He was great. All our servers were awesome. Most were from eastern Europe, so I picked up tons of travel tips for future vacations and am dying to go to Hungary.

Didn’t take any pictures at Palo (Todd might have, and if he did I’ll post them later), but you really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. Email me if you have questions.

Also that night, after picking up Fuzz from the Kids’ club where she’d made chocolate chip cookies, colored a pillow case and listened to a comedian, we went to a big pirate party on the top deck and watched fireworks.  I think The Dream is the only ship that does fireworks at sea and they are pretty darn cool.

Fast forward again to next day.

We woke up docked at Disney’s private artificial island, Castaway Cay. This, surprisingly, was my favorite port. Todd and Fuzz went parasailing (I got back on the ship and watched from Deck 13), then we walked over to the island and had lunch at Cookie’s barbecue. Cookie’s was another buffet type affair with offerings such as couscous salad, corn, ribs, chicken, etc. Second to Palo, I liked the food on Castaway Cay. The chocolate chips cookies were excellent.

chocolate chip cookie

The apple cake was interesting. It tasted like a packaged snack cake, but fresher and very light. Or maybe I was just super hungry.

castaway cay

apple cake

Fueled up, we found the place with rental bikes. Austin is a big bike riding town, but the only person in our family who rides a bike is Fuzz. I hadn’t ridden a bike in quite a while, which made this excursion even more fun. The trails included an old airplane runway which veered off into more shady trails that led to a beach. We rode until we were tired, then headed over to the big slide so Fuzz could do some swimming before getting back on the boat.

bikes on castaway cay

 

castaway cay

Fuzz refused to get into the water because she saw all the fish. Ha. Back to the boat we went for more riding on the Aquaduck and exploring.

Here’s another tip. If you don’t want to stand in line for the Aquaduck, plan on riding it in the morning before noon when everyone is heading over to Castaway Cay. Deck 11 clears off until about 1:30 or 2:00. The line goes back to its usual 30-40 minute wait by 3:00. Or at least that was our experience. As we departed, I heard some little kids saying “Bye bye, Aquaduck. Sorry we never got to ride you.”. That was kind of sad.

aqua duck line

On our last evening, we had our picture taken with the captain of the ship. He’s from Sweden.

captain of Dream

Then we had a final dinner with our Nashville friends, took the girls to the gift shop for a sword fight, and went to bed very SAD to be leaving.

sword fight on ship

 

Oh, let me back up a bit.  The last meal was at Animator’s Palate and I enjoyed the food there more than Enchanted Garden (I never got to try Royal Palace).  Everyone loves Animator’s Palette and I liked our servers and company.  As for the atmosphere, it’s kind of crazy with SO much going on in every corner and talking turtles on the wall.  I kind of felt like my head was going to explode.    Still, the kids enjoyed it and I had a glass of wine so I was able to deal.  But oh my was there ever a lot going on in that room.

And this is a good time for me to mention that for more details on the food and Disney Dream Restaurants, check AJ’s Disney Food Blog.

Disembarking was pretty easy. We put our bags out the night before and kept day bags in our rooms.   The next mornings they had us all go to breakfast at a now much quieter and relaxing Animator’s Palate, where we said goodbye to our servers and ate our glum (but tasty!) departure breakfast.

Then there was more standing in line, showing ID, then we were back on land.

We’re officially cruise nerds at this point, so if you want to comment on cruising or share tips or memories of your own, I’d love to hear them.  My big dilemma is do I book Disney again or try another ship?  Celebrity Solstice seems like something we’d like, Seven Seas is supposed to be incredible, but it will be hard to break away from Disney and Fuzz is absolutely enchanted.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen her smile so much — not even at the parks.

Published on March 22, 2011

{ 97 comments… read them below or add one }

Anna April 6, 2011 at 5:21 pm

There always seemed to be food on Deck 11 and plenty of free ice cream, but I can’t think of any real stand out snacks other than the chocolate chip cookies.

Lynn April 7, 2011 at 8:52 pm

We returned from our Disney Dream 4-day cruise today. My 19 and 14 year old kids had a blast. The age limits on the various clubs are strictly enforced. The most positive thing I can say is that the staff members that are assigned to spoil you are fabulous. Our only complaint was the process of getting on the ship the first day. We arrived at the terminal at 11 AM and had to wait until 2 PM to board the ship. There were no seats available so we had to sit in the floor and were starved by the time we got to lunch on the ship. After that, everything else was definitely a dream. Getting off the ship on the last day was a breeze. We were in our car headed home at 8 AM. Be sure to take something along for sea sickness. I was fine until the last night and had to give up our Palo reservations because of nausea. The boat was really rocking that evening. Ended up ordering a BLT from room service around 11 PM and was fine by then. Don’t stress over what to wear….pretty much anything goes. It is a vacation that I would certainly recommend and would love to go again someday.

Katarina April 7, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Lynn,
How was the weather and how was the temperature in the rooms? Do you recommend to bring layers/sweaters? I’m definitely worried about motion sickness, praying so the water is not choppy! Glad to hear your overall experience was great! We are boarding this Sunday, also doing the 4day cruise! Thanks

Lynn April 8, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Katarina,
The temp got into the 80′s each day. We wore shorts and swimsuits with coverups during the day. If you’re cold natured, a sweater for the evening would be good. Several excursions at Castaway Cay were cancelled (we got refunds) due to the wind and the water was quite cold but many people went swimming. I enjoyed time in a hammock under a coconut tree reading a book. We headed back to the boat around 2 because of the strong winds. You have complete control over the temp in your stateroom. As far as motion sickness, we could feel the boat move some everyday but the last night was really bad. My son took a dramamine and I stuck on a patch that I had gotten from my dr before the trip. Take something with you just in case. Enjoy your trip! :)

Anna April 9, 2011 at 8:39 am

Lynn, something must have gone wrong for them to have kept you off the ship so long and for you to have had to sit on the floor; but I’m glad the service made up for it. Sorry you missed Palo.

Katarina, I take sweaters wherever I go because even when it’s warm there’s air conditioning to contend with. For us, it was a little bit chilly at night and in the 70s and 80s during the day. As for motion sickness, I agree that you should take along some Dramamine just to be safe. We didn’t have to use ours, but we were also mid-ship so that could have had something to do with it.

Deanna April 13, 2011 at 4:00 pm

I have a question regarding meals. My girls will be 10 and 13 when we cruise and my 13 yr. old always orders from the “adult” menu when we go out. Since she is still consider a child on the Disney cruise…will she only be able to order from the childrens choices or from the adult choices? I wasn’t sure if you knew how that worked. I just know that she loves the “grown-up” food and selection much more than mac-n-cheese, chicken tenders, etc. thanks, more and more ?’s just keep popping up in my head?

Anna April 13, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Deanna, your girls can order from whichever menu they choose. My daughter and the other little girl at our table both had fun ordering off the adult menu.

Karen April 18, 2011 at 11:45 am

Reading about your experience has me so psyched about going on the Dream in November . . . .our first cruise too. Since you went during Spring Break, and I would assume a busy time, what were the crowds like on the ship? Did you feel crowded? I have read some other reviews where that seemed to be a problem. I know our specific cruise is already sold out so expecting a full house.

Anna April 18, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Hi Karen,

There were a couple of moments when I felt crowded. One was standing in line to go to breakfast on the last day and the other was during the lifeboat drill on Day 1. I’m pretty sure we had a full ship seeing that it was Spring Break, but it wasn’t bad.

Katarina April 18, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Hi everyone,
Just wanted to post that we came back last Thursday from cruising the Dream and being on our very first cruise and we all absolutely loved it! It was a smooth sail:-) Even when it came to organization, dinners, everything for us was a positive experience. As far as crowds go, we didn’t feel it was crowded and I know our cruise was sold out. Maybe it helped that we were on Deck 10 therefore we didn’t have to wait for the elevator every time we wanted to go on Deck 11, where the food is, along with pools, the AquaDuck, and the spa! You do have to walk to deck 6 (I believe) on the first day for the lifeboat drill, but that’s once in a time occurance. I felt it was pretty well organized. My 4,5y old really enjoyed their day camp and my 2y old was in their Nursery from 9:30 until 12:30 and he didn’t want to leave. So my husband n I got some quality adult pool time:-) Around noon that area got a little congested, but that was on a day when we were at sea. We very much enjoyed the shows, the fireworks were absolutely awesome! Anyway, to us the whole experience was very positive. I hope whenever time you go your experience is as great as was ours:-) Bon Voyage!

Karen April 18, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Good to know Katrina. We will also be on deck 10 so maybe that is a huge contributing factor as to perception of crowds. We cannot wait.

Anna April 18, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Thanks for the trip report, Katarina! I’m glad you had fun and that your first cruise was a good one. Since our first cruise was on Disney too, I can’t help but wonder what our impression of cruising would have been if we’d gone on a different line.

Tara May 8, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Hi!! i would very much recommend the celebrity solstice class ships. They are brand new, and it is beautiful!!! it is also great for kids, as i am 15, and my brother is 10, and my sister is 8. I would recommend their summer cruises to europe

Tara May 8, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Hi!! i would very much recommend the celebrity solstice class ships. They are brand new, and it is beautiful!!! it is also great for kids, as i am 15, and my brother is 10, and my sister is 8. I would recommend their summer cruises to europe

Anna May 8, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Tara, thanks so much for the Solstice recommendation. I’ve heard great things about the Solstice and am considering a cruise next year. Right now we’re actually considering Alaska for this year and I’m looking at Holland America. They have some great rates and I hear they do Alaska cruises well. Plus, they go to Glacier Bay which is a must for a first time Alaska trip.

Pat May 16, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Hey… we’re sans kids but choose Disney Cruiseline hands down! We just came home from a 4 night Dream cruise and December is # 10 on the Magic for a seven day cruise and my brother and his wife are also going with us! On the two smaller ships the staterooms are a bit larger! Having space under the beds is a definite plus for luggage folded strollers, etc on the Dream/Fantasy. There are fireworks on every Disney cruise..the only cruisline in the industry to do so. Also the seven night cruises have a formal and semiformal night! Definitely dine at Palo’s it’s a don’t miss.. FYI if you book your next cruise while you’re onboard you get an onboard credit and pay less for your cruise. Ditto.. love the veranda, but our tablemates had an inside stateroom with the new virtual porthole (only on the Dream/Fantasy) It is a nice touch to havean outside oceanview!

Sprite's Keeper June 7, 2011 at 8:07 am

I just Googled reviews for the Disney Dream and yours was almost at the top! We’re also DVC members, and extremely excited to go on the Disney Dream in November for the four night cruise. I did have a few questions about the kid’s club which I couldn’t seem to find any help on. My daughter (turns 5 the first day of our cruise) is interested in the kid’s club, and my husband and I want to be able to have one night sans child, does the kid’s club have special hours until a certain time or do you need to special arrange those nights? Glad I stumbled on your site!

Anna June 7, 2011 at 8:19 am

Thanks for letting me know! I do want the post to be helpful and am happy to answer any questions. About the hours, the kids’ club stays open until either midnight or 1:00. I found that info here.

http://www.wdwinfo.com/wdwinfo/cruise-new/cr-childrensactivities.htm#clubhours

Hope that helps!

Karen June 7, 2011 at 8:21 am

The Oceaneer Club and Lab look to be open until midnight and if I remember reading right you can schedule for your child to have dinner there as well. If you go to the Disney Dream website there is a lot of information of the kids clubs and the hours, etc.

Here is where I found all of my info on the kids clubs:
http://disneycruise.disney.go.com/ships-activities/ships/dream/youth-clubs/

We will be on the Dream in November as well.

Sprite's Keeper June 7, 2011 at 11:45 am

Thanks for the info. The site listed everything I needed to know. Much appreciated!

Arielle August 8, 2011 at 12:50 am

Okay heres what i thought of vibe. I am a 16 year old girl and i loved it!!! I was in there every night till 2am for the dance parties then we went over to D-lounge and we were there till 3am+. I made over 20 new friends. The counselors are GREAT!!!! In my opinion Britney, Manwell, and Fernanda are the best by far. There is always something going on from 8am(i think) till 2am. On the second night they give you a sheet with choices of activities that you could do on the remainder of your trip. Chose wisely;) You will always know what the activities are for the day because every night in your room you will get your “personal navigator” with all the activities for everything on the boat and their times.I had the best vacation EVER on this boat and i think you dont really get the full “Disney experience” untill you take a vacation on a Disney cruise line.

Mindy February 3, 2012 at 8:06 am

Hi Anna!

I’ll be going on my very first cruise for our honeymoon in April. I’ve been wondering if you know if they do anything special for these kind of things? Did you hear or see anything? I listed that we are celebrating our honeymoon on our reservation online, but I don’t know if that will be enough. I know Disney loves to give special treatment – we were treated wonderfully in Disneyland when we got engaged. I just want to make this the most magical trip possible!!

PS. Your review was AWESOME. One of the best I’ve come across online. :) Thank you.

Anna February 3, 2012 at 8:35 am

Hi Mindy,

I’m so happy to hear it was helpful. Feel free to email me if you have any other questions. About the little perks and things to make your honeymoon special, have you checked with your travel agent? If you don’t have one, I’ll give you the name of mine.

Karen February 3, 2012 at 8:38 am

Congratulations. We went on our first cruise on the Disney Dream in November and had so much fun. In fact, we have already booked one for 2013. One HUGE recommendation – wear shoes/flip flops on the pool deck. I slipped and bounced (according to my 12-year-old LOL) down some steps and ended up with a very nasty bruised and sore rear-end and hip. While they do try to keep the decks dry it is very hard to keep up. Palo is also a MUST ~ chocolate souffle is to die for!! I am sure Disney will do something special for y’all. Have fun!!

Julie February 9, 2012 at 3:05 pm

We are taking our first cruise at the end of April. After reading your review I am really excited to have picked the Dream. My kids will be 5 1/2 and almost 8. Will they be able to stay together in the kids rooms or will they be seperated based on their age? Also, should an adult ride with the child on the aquaduck? Anything else you may have noticed that would be helpful regarding the younger children please feel free to share. I just want to be as prepared as possible to make this a wonderful trip for them. Thank you

Anna February 9, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Hi Julie,

The way I remember the Kids’ area is that it’s like one giant room with little rooms and stations all over the place. And I remember kids wandering from room to room. I’m pretty sure they can stay together if they want to.

Karen February 9, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Yes, the kids area is one big room. They will LOVE it!!! There is a height requirement for the AquaDuck. Yes, both will need an adult or someone of height to ride with them. My 12-year-old could ride with my 8-year-old. The pools are small, just a warning on that one.

sheila glenton March 26, 2012 at 12:39 pm

hi there…i hope to go with family next april on the disney dream from cape canaveral…3 day cruise…my nephew and neice will be 17 and nearly 14…will this entertain them enough for their age group?!
i worked on cruise ships 30 yrs ago but its the 1st time cruise for my family.. thanks….sheila

Anna March 26, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Hi Sheila,

Disney is a great cruise line and if your teenage niece and nephew are social types, they may enjoy Disney’s teen areas. As far as activities such as ice skating, bowling, rockwall climbing, etc., you may want to check out Royal Caribbean. Feel free to email me if you’d like more info. I’m still trying out various lines and doing my own research.

Lynn March 26, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Sheila, Your nephew and niece will love it! We went April 2011 and my kids were 14 and 19. I was a little worried about them being too old for a Disney cruise but they are begging to go back this year. It was a wonderful cruise and great for all ages.

Madeline March 28, 2012 at 10:04 am

I loved reading your review! This was very helpful! My fiance and I are getting married January 2013 and considering a Disney Dream cruise for our honeymoon. We’ve compared all of the rates from different cruise lines and are willing to sacrifice a little extra for the Disney experience. But… I’m a little worried about everything being too kid-oriented. Would two adults enjoy this cruise without children? Or would we be annoyed by the constant kid-everything? I’m most nervous about being paired with lots of children during our meal times. Don’t get me wrong, I love kids, but it would be nice to have adult time. It is our honeymoon after all.
Would you have any particular advice for honeymooners on this cruise? Would selecting the later meal time decrease the kid/adult ratio?
Thanks!

Anna March 28, 2012 at 10:52 am

Hi Madeline,

If you are a big Disney fan and want the Disney experience, then it’s worth it. I won’t lie, though. There are lots of kids. If you go when school is in session, there will be fewer school age children, but on Disney you can expect to see lots of strollers and toddlers. That being said, the kids (all ages) on our cruise were really well behaved. The parents and some of the older passengers appeared exhausted some days, but the kids were just fine. Since you love kids, it shouldn’t be much of an issue. As for the late dinner, we had the later dinner and there were still kids everywhere. I don’t recall any crazy tantrums or being uncomfortable because of the number of kids, though I did feel a bit overstimulated in The Animator’s Palette due to so much stimuli in the decor itself (mainly, the talking turtle).

Since it’s your honeymoon, I recommend spending a little extra and booking one meal at Remy and another at Palio. We didn’t have a meal at Remy, and I regret it. However, we did dine at Palio and thus far it’s probably the best meal I’ve ever had at sea. It’s very quiet and the service is outstanding. Also, you’ll be seated alone and won’t have to worry about being paired up with a family of crazy hoodlums. In our case, Disney paired us with another party of three — two parents and a little girl the same age as Fuzz. They were very nice and it was enjoyable dining with them. I’m pretty sure if we didn’t get along or felt uncomfortable, we could have asked for a change.

I think the biggest issue with Disney is that all the trivia is Disney oriented, the music is all Disney and there’s no casino. That, and it’s pricey compared to other lines. But that has an upside too.

Diane May 1, 2012 at 11:31 am

Great information — I love that it’s so unbiased and realistic! We are first-time cruisers and I have a couple of questions for you. I know Disney pairs you up with others at dinner, but how many do the dining tables accommodate? Our kids are just wondering if our famiily of five will automatically be pared up with other guests that may have kids. I just can’t envision how large the tables might be. Also, I’ve heard about a walkie talkie-like system that parents and children can use while on the ship. What can you tell me about that? Finally, what’s your best peice of advice for first-time cruisers?

Anna May 1, 2012 at 11:58 am

Hi Diane,

That’s a nice compliment. Thanks! We were first time cruisers when we went on Disney and have gone on two other cruises since. It’s really important that your first experience is a good one. I’ve heard too many stories about people taking a party boat atmosphere cruise for their first cruise and being completely turned off to cruising. This is so sad because every ship is different and it’s just a matter of finding the perfect fit.

Anyway, to answer your question, we were paired up with another family of three and it was obvious Disney had thought things through. I can’t remember exactly how big the tables were, but there were some big ones! I think they may go up to 12, but it varies. Either way, they’ll pair you up with a family with kids. If they paired you up with, oh, a honeymooning couple, it might be awkward (or awesome, depending on personalities). But I think they do put some effort into it. And if you don’t like the family, you can ask to be moved.

I don’t know about the walkie talkies on Disney, but on Liberty of the Seas a lot of older children were using them to talk to their parents. I think they brought them from home because the type they were using looked similar to the type we use at home with Fuzz. Check Radio Shack. They’re called Cobra.

My advice for first time cruisers is to a) avoid spring break if possible (which is sometimes *impossible*) and b) look for longer cruises — 7 Days. The short ones are fun, but it takes 7 days to really experience ship life. But if you can only take a short Spring Break or Summer cruise, you’ll still have fun — especially on Disney because people have paid a premium for the experience and are usually well behaved; and when they’re *not* Disney is good at making people who are ticked off and tired of crowds forget about it. That’s the Disney magic. You’ve already made a good decision by picking Disney as your first cruise.

Also, feel free to email me if you want more info. Also, my friend Marisa specializes in cruising and will be happy to answer any of your questions even if you’ve already booked through someone else. She just genuinely loves cruising and can answer from personal and professional experience. She’s also got a Facebook page if you’d like to reach out to her that way. https://www.facebook.com/SunshineTrav

Karen May 1, 2012 at 12:21 pm

We were first timers too back in November. We are a family of 4 and they did not pair us up with anyone at any of our dinner seatings but maybe because an even number?

I think what the Dream has are called Wave Phones. We did not take the time to learn how to use them but if I remember right that is their purpose.

Advice. . . . wear some kind of shoes on the pool deck. I slipped down some steps and got a very nasty bruise on my rearend and to this day have an indention in my skin. They try to keep up with keeping it dry but very difficult and when it is wet it is very slippery.

We are going on the Dream again next summer and cannot wait.

Enjoy.

Yvonne August 3, 2012 at 8:42 pm

It’s great to see so many positive comments & the enthusiasm for the Dream! Does anyone know how the cruise accommodates children w/disabilities in the kid club?

Lisa Martinez August 5, 2012 at 7:12 am

Thank you so much for your review. We will be sailing on the Dream in March 2013. I wanted to share a story about the patches used for sea sickness. I happen to get an itch behind my ear and when I scratched I got some of the medication on my finger tips. Later on I cleared something from my eyes and got the medication in my eyes. It dialated my pupils and really made things unpleasant to see. Tip be aware that the patch is there or do what I did on my second cruise. Ask the doctor for Scopace which is the same medication as the patch but in pill form. You can also take half a pill or a quarter pill. Depending on how much you need. The patch is constantly dosing. When I reach ports of call I take nothing until that evening when we are leaving port. Works great. Thank you again for the review.

Anna August 5, 2012 at 7:45 am

Thanks for the info, Lisa! I get motion sickness too, but have found I don’t need any sort of medication or patches for big ships.

Yvonne, I asked my travel agent your question. As expected, Disney does their best to accommodate all kids. Have you asked this question on Cruise Critic? If not, try their Disney boards (forum). There’s bound to be someone who has had personal experience with this.

Sara August 31, 2012 at 10:35 pm

Hi, Great review. I saw Katrina mentioned she had brought her 2 year old on the cruise. We are booked for Feb 2013 & my little one will be that age. Is there a good amount of activities/things to do to keep a toddler entertained during the day (outside of the nursery).

Jenn September 1, 2012 at 8:35 am

Hi Sara!!! We in 2011 on the Dream when our boy was one. We had such a great time that we went again this year when he was two. We spent most of our time with him in the Nemo splash area – he loved that area and we had to drag him away. Also, at two, the shows and characters were more entertaining to him than the previous year. We also loved the nursery – worth the extra payment in order to get some adult time! Enjoy your vacation!!

Diana November 1, 2012 at 6:05 pm

I’ve not long returned after my first cruise onboard the Disney Dream and I just can’t praise it enough. It was magical in every way. Someone previously mentioned about being honeymooners and I would say that there is no problem going on this cruise without children. Yes there are lots of them but there’s plenty of space and adult areas to escape them!! ( I have two myself!!). The busiest days onboard are the ‘at sea’ days when we become a captive audience. Saying that, my two went to the kids clubs and then me and my partner went to the adult only pool. There’s no disney music this side of the ship at all and up on the upper child free decks there were plenty of sun loungers and lots of empty spaces to move around in!! In fact, I couldn’t believe how quiet it was. I would get that cruise booked now!! :))

Cathy January 8, 2014 at 10:55 am

We are going on the Disney Dream Spring Break March 2013 with our family. I have been worried about sea sickness but this has helped me a lot. I plan on getting the Bonine and using it. My daughter uses it and says it works great. She has really bad car sickness. This reveiw has made me want to go where I was afraid of it.

Anna January 8, 2014 at 11:02 am

Hi Cathy,
Definitely do not worry! Take some Bonine or maybe some Sea Bands as a back-up, but I really doubt you’ll have problems. Have fun.

Cathy January 8, 2014 at 11:02 am

I meant we are going March 2014

Karen Farmer January 8, 2014 at 3:19 pm

Hi Cathy,
I went on the Dream in June 2013 for our second cruise. I get major motion sickness and have always had something with me just in case but have never needed it. Ironically, in June when we went on the parasailing excursion at Castaway Cay (which is awesome) I did not even think about getting sick doing that but it was a small boat and choppy water but boy could I have used it. Not sure how I kept from getting sick on that one. Took me an hour to recover but fortunately had a nice lounger with the sea breeze to do so while the kids played on the slides.

Enjoy. Sure to love it!!!

Cathy January 8, 2014 at 3:28 pm

My daughters are going to do the parasailing at Castaway Cay so I will make sure they know this. With everyone talking about it I’m getting excited, I was just scared of it I have to admit.

Karen Farmer January 8, 2014 at 3:39 pm

I was very nervous on our first one because I do get sick. The only part you may feel anything is going through the straits, which I could tell on the first cruise (in November) but not the second. Our first cruise was only a 3 day because I was afraid of being sick but did a 4-day the next one and now want to do a longer one. It is one of those things unfortunately you cannot predict but would definitely have something with you just in case.

It will be here before you know it for sure and will be very worth the wait.

One note, as I was reading through previous comments, I had mentioned about wearing shoes on the pool deck, which I still strongly urge, but the steps where I busted my rear I was happy to see they put down some nonslip strips. Guess I was not the only one.

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