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View Full Version : Just back from Disney Dream 2/2-2/5


my2disneyboys
02-06-2012, 08:52 AM
UGH I wish I could write a better review. It isn't all bad, but bottom line is that I will never cruise again with Disney. We did spend two amazing days at Disney beforehand, and the Dream just couldn't measure up to that.

We arrived and sailed right through the check in- and we were on the boat in 20 minutes I think! This was a great thing!!:woohoo:

Once on the boat, all of our carry on luggage with us and the kids we went up to deck 11 to have lunch at Cabanas. Lunch was good- but the people that come by asking if you want a cocktail got to be so annoying- We were only there for 15 minutes and I swear, atleast 12 people stopped by to see if we wanted the drink special or waters for our cabin. We tried to go to the pool - it was a scene I wish I never saw. It was INSANE. If there were 4,000 people on this boat, I would say 3,000 of them were kids and they were running, screaming, slipping on the wet decks, just totally crazy. The pools and jacuzzi were so jammed packed with people there was no chance of getting in them. We sat up on the deck above just trying to get away from the scene below. Our rooms would be ready soon. THANKFULLY!
TIP: Get on the boat later OR go have a nice lunch at Enchanted Garden until your room is ready!

At 1:30 our rooms were ready and they were BEAUTIFUL! I was SO glad we had a room with a verandah because we ended up spending most of our time out there. It was the only place besides the adult areas that we could sit and relax. I know this is a Disney Cruise - and I have kids but I had NO IDEA the public areas of the ship would be that crazy and packed!!

We headed up for the sailaway party- of course we couldnt get on an elevator (this happend the whole cruise. They were ALWAYS full! We ended up walking the stairs A LOT!) We tried to get a spot on the main deck but it was full, so once again headed up to deck 12 to watch below. It was really exciting when the boat started to move. I had thought they passed out champagne but maybe that was for just the first cruise. But the kids had a blast and it was fun!!

We headed down to the cabin after to get ready for our dinner. Met our servers, Katrina and Andre. They were great! Royal Palace was our first dinner and it was our favorite one from the whole trip. The next night was Animators which was cute with Crush, but the lighting was so bright and the place was SO loud. Enchanted Garden was ok. One thing I loved about the dining as that our servers had the kids drinks waiting for them each night. It was so cute.

The kids were SO excited about the kids club that they couldnt even finish dinner! They LOVED the kids club. Which worked out great. They spent atleast 3 hours each day after that in the kids club.

On our nassau day, most people stayed on the boat so the pools were still packed. We tried to go golfing with the kids or play shuffleboard but the people on the boat were just so rude. We had random kids with no parents around jumping in our games and kind of pushing us out... We ended up having the kids go to the club and we had a couple of hours in the adult pool area which was reallly nice. It just really bummed me out that i had to send my kids away in order to have fun in a pool and swim- i would rather have been able to enjoy that with them.

We also tried the spa. I had gotten rainforest room passes and we showed up and the girl at the desk was like ok, welcome. Have fun! I was like- where do I go?? What do we do?? It was weird. The water with the cucumbers were empty. The chairs were all taken and the showers were all cold! :scared1::confused: We sat in the jacuzzi for a few minutes and both decided to just leave.

The Pirate night was really fun and the fireworks were awesome and we went to D Lounge with the kids and we all danced and had some fun.

Castaway Cay was beautiful. It was overcast with showers and cool so we didnt get to enjoy it as much as we would have if it was hot and sunny though.
TIP: Make sure everyone has their cards when going to castaway! And wait until most people are off the boat to go.

We headed down when we heard the announcement that we were cleared to go onshore. We couldnt get an elevator (all packed) so walked down to the 1st floor. We were stopped on the 2nd floor because the people were all lined up- it was hot, and people were all complaining. There was SO many people jammed and waiting to get off. We were supposed to get off at 8:30 but it was 10:00 at this point. So after about 30-45 minutes in the hallway we finally start moving. We get to the guy to check out and he says he needs a card for everyone. :scared1: Well my sons card was in the slot to keep the lights on in the cabin. My husband had to fight the crowds in the wrong direction to go back to the cabin and get the card! :scared1:

That night after dinner, the kids went to the kids club and we checked out Pink, Skyline, and the 80's music trivia in revolution. It was lot's of fun.

We had a really fun vacation and the ship was SO beautiful but it just wasn't for us. I didnt like that I had to have my kids in the kids club to enjoy my time on the ship. We didn't make any special family memories together like we do at Disney World. Well that isnt totally true, we did have some fun like ordering room service at midnight and watching the fireworks on Pirate Night!

From now on, we know to stick to Disney World!! If anyone has any questions, I would be happy to answer them!!

chudson98
02-06-2012, 09:01 AM
So sorry to hear about your trip. I was wondering what was your impression of the kid's club? Were they really crowded? Also, did you make it to any shows or movies? :confused3

mesaboy2
02-06-2012, 09:05 AM
So, there were lots of people and some rude people, therefore you're never cruising DCL again. Have you been on other cruises and were they any different?

mimmi
02-06-2012, 09:06 AM
It must be frustrating to have such an experience after having paid quite a lot of money :hug:
We got off the Dream on 02/02 and thankfully had a totally different experience.

About the keycards: on our cruise there were several announcements in the mornings that reminded us to take our keycards with us when getting off the ship, but it was so loud in tge restaurants that the rest of my group couldn't hear properly, thankfully I was in the restrooms and heard everything. Maybe this happened to you, too?
The aircondition works without a card in the slot, does anybody know if you can charge ipads, phones etc. without a card?

clten
02-06-2012, 09:07 AM
Sorry your trip didn't build as many family memories as you would have liked. Unfortunately, that is the nature of 3 night cruises -- jammed packed with people all trying to do the same thing at the same time. I'm not trying to sell you on cruising again (it isn't for everyone), just pointing out that longer cruises may be more to your liking as there are more ship activities that spread out the crowds a little bit and the classic ships have approximately the same amount of deck space (pool deck) with far less people. (Not that it isn't crowded on some days and the deck parties still have people having difficulty finding good viewing areas. But I find it to be far less of a problem on the Magic/Wonder than the Dream.)

I LOVE cruising but you couldn't pay me to go on a 3 night.
(Thanks for the CC info, I'm trying to keep track of it this year. So I appreciate it!)

my2disneyboys
02-06-2012, 09:10 AM
What was your impression of the kid's club? Were they really crowded? Also, did you make it to any shows or movies? :confused3

The kids club was GREAT! My kids loved it. I was very comfortable leaving my kids there. before we went I was worried that they would be kind of all alone in there- but there were so many people in there working and all VERY involved with the kids. Everytime I picked them up they were doing an activity with one of the Counselors.

We saw Believe and LOVED it! My DH even teared up. We are BIG TIME Disney freaks!! With the early dining it was tought to make it to the shows because the kids wanted to go to the kids club after dinner each night. But on our last night there was a 4PM showing of Believe so that is why we could go to that one!

my2disneyboys
02-06-2012, 09:15 AM
Sorry your trip didn't build as many family memories as you would have liked. Unfortunately, that is the nature of 3 night cruises -- jammed packed with people all trying to do the same thing at the same time. I'm not trying to sell you on cruising again (it isn't for everyone), just pointing out that longer cruises may be more to your liking as there are more ship activities that spread out the crowds a little bit and the classic ships have approximately the same amount of deck space (pool deck) with far less people. (Not that it isn't crowded on some days and the deck parties still have people having difficulty finding good viewing areas. But I find it to be far less of a problem on the Magic/Wonder than the Dream.)

I LOVE cruising but you couldn't pay me to go on a 3 night.
(Thanks for the CC info, I'm trying to keep track of it this year. So I appreciate it!)

We talked to lot's of other families and they all felt the same way about the crowds. One family had cruised with other cruise lines and DCL on the longer cruises and said the same thing about it not being as crowded. I am so glad we did it and we had a really fun vacation. It was just so beautiful waking up to the sunrise and going out on the verandah with my coffee. My DH and I both agreed that it just wasn't for us. Disney World has our hearts! :lovestruc

my2disneyboys
02-06-2012, 09:17 AM
It must be frustrating to have such an experience after having paid quite a lot of money :hug:
We got off the Dream on 02/02 and thankfully had a totally different experience.

About the keycards: on our cruise there were several announcements in the mornings that reminded us to take our keycards with us when getting off the ship, but it was so loud in tge restaurants that the rest of my group couldn't hear properly, thankfully I was in the restrooms and heard everything. Maybe this happened to you, too?
The aircondition works without a card in the slot, does anybody know if you can charge ipads, phones etc. without a card?

I wondered if our cruise was extra busy!!?? I have been reading reviews on here for the last year so wasn't really expecting it to be so crazy! I think you are right- it was SO hard to hear what they were saying because it was SO loud everwhere!! I am sure they probably said it and we just didnt hear.

Conservative Hippie
02-06-2012, 09:34 AM
I've been on two sold-out 3-nights, and yes it is crowded, but with a little planning you can avoid the crowds and have a great time. A friend even asked how full the ship was because our pictures looked like we had the ship to ourselves!

The spa - I think they assume you have been there before or went to the tour on the first day, unless you ask for help. My first time in the rainforest room, I walked back to the front desk to ask how in the world do I get the door open! If I ever saw the water empty, I mentioned it to a cast member. The loungers do get full sometimes. The showers are all different. Some are cold, some start cold and get warm, etc. I froze trying all of them until I found my favorite and stuck with it!

The lights - any card will work to keep the lights on. I use an empty gift card.

Castaway Cay - it is announced several times you will need everyone's KTTW, and it is also in the Navigator. It is also not just at Castaway Cay - anytime you disembark the ship everyone is required to have their KTTW. We've found if you wait until after about 10:00 you can walk right off without waiting in a crowd.

my2disneyboys
02-06-2012, 09:45 AM
I've been on two sold-out 3-nights, and yes it is crowded, but with a little planning you can avoid the crowds and have a great time. A friend even asked how full the ship was because our pictures looked like we had the ship to ourselves!

The spa - I think they assume you have been there before or went to the tour on the first day, unless you ask for help. My first time in the rainforest room, I walked back to the front desk to ask how in the world do I get the door open! If I ever saw the water empty, I mentioned it to a cast member. The loungers do get full sometimes. The showers are all different. Some are cold, some start cold and get warm, etc. I froze trying all of them until I found my favorite and stuck with it!

The lights - any card will work to keep the lights on. I use an empty gift card.

Castaway Cay - it is announced several times you will need everyone's KTTW, and it is also in the Navigator. It is also not just at Castaway Cay - anytime you disembark the ship everyone is required to have their KTTW. We've found if you wait until after about 10:00 you can walk right off without waiting in a crowd.

I did ask the girl for help at senses. She wasnt very helpful. I couldnt even get my locker open :rotfl2: Oh well!

having gone to Disney so many times now, we KNOW how to do Disney! I am sure the cruise is the same way. I just didn't know the tricks of avoiding the crowds. I had read before about ordering room service for breakfast- we did this each day and it was a great relaxing way to start our day and avoid crowds!

gretchnh
02-06-2012, 09:46 AM
Oh wow. We're getting ready to hit our first Disney Cruise with a 3 night on the Dream.
This really scares me. I pictured crowded, but not as ridiculously crowded as I now picture it in my mind! :eek:
Are ALL 3 night cruises on the Dream like this? Has everyone has similar experiences?
I've made a mental note to take ALL of our cards EVERYWHERE!
--Gretchen in Ks.:confused:

ThePhantomsGirl
02-06-2012, 09:55 AM
I was on this same cruise. I was in Concierge, and we hated to leave that area because of the crowds. The ship seemed full beyond belief, and the kids on this cruise were especially unruly. The parents were definitely "on vacation" for this particular cruise. I think I could write volumes on that, but will just leave it at that statement.

Trying to get elevators was incredibly difficult. And yes, we tried to use either the Forward or Aft elevators, rather than the Mid ones.

Granted, there are some very nice things about the new ship. Although yes, I am going to cruise on the Fantasy, in many respects I prefer the smaller, classic ships. It may not bother some people - but the increased numbers of people was very noticeable.

AmandaRG
02-06-2012, 09:56 AM
That's too bad. I, too, have heard about 3-nighters being "interesting" compared to some of the others. We have one booked in May.

I guess if you aren't taking your cruise next year, that's just more time at your most happy place!!!

RedSox68
02-06-2012, 09:58 AM
Unless I'm reading your trip report wrong, it seems like 80% of your trip was great. :confused3 Most of the things you talk about you liked. The biggest complaint seems to be the crowds and some items in the spa. Did you tell an attendant the water was empty and there were no seats? They would have checked it out and filled the water.

We've been on the Magic and Wonder where the decks were so packed for the deck party that we went up to the next deck. Whether there are 2500 or 4000 people onboard, and no matter how big the ship, if there is an event or a port, 90% of those people will be there trying to see it or get off.

On the Dream last May we got clogged on deck 2 trying to get down to get off at CC. We just turned around and went back up to the promenade deck, got a chair and enjoyed the view for an hour. When we went back down at 9:30 we were able to walk right off.

It appears this was your first Disney cruise. I wouldn't let it be your final opinion of Disney cruises. We have taken 9 so far -- we have had rude passengers to the point of shoving us and being vocal, we have encountered overwhelming crowds at the buffet and getting off and on the ship in ports, and we have experienced rude and over the top behavior in both the movie theater and the show theater, and had people smoking on balconies around us that prevented me from enjoying my verandah 100% (I have asthma). We even had a piece of furniture missing in one of our rooms. But none of those reasons would prevent me from sailing Disney again.

Was this your first ever cruise, or just your first Disney? We have been on one NCL cruise and our experience was so awful (think filth and attitude) that we kissed the deck of the Magic the next time we got on :lmao:

Anyway, I'm sorry the crowds put a damper on your tip but I hope you all give DCL another chance. Maybe February is a high travel month?

Conservative Hippie
02-06-2012, 10:02 AM
Oh wow. We're getting ready to hit our first Disney Cruise with a 3 night on the Dream.
This really scares me. I pictured crowded, but not as ridiculously crowded as I now picture it in my mind! :eek:
Are ALL 3 night cruises on the Dream like this? Has everyone has similar experiences?
I've made a mental note to take ALL of our cards EVERYWHERE!
--Gretchen in Ks.:confused:


Finding out all you can on this board really helps. We don't even try to get in the pool on the first day. We like to watch Sail Away and the fireworks from deck 12. We make a point to only see one show per cruise (because we know we're going to take another one!). We wait until about 10 to get off at Castaway Cay. My kids are 4 and 18 months, and I only took their keys out of the room to disembark the ship. Older kids might be different, but for the under 10 set, I think it's true that you don't need their keys except to embark/disembark (every single time you step on or off the ship).

acourtwdw
02-06-2012, 10:03 AM
I was on that cruise and had a great time. Mind you, I don't have kids so I can't comment on the crowds where there were lots of kids. Never had a problem with elevators. The only time I really saw a lot of kids was during the last night at the party in the atruim. I was disappointed that I didn't get to ride the Aquaduck again. The first day-line was too long, 2nd day-wasn't sure it was a great idea 16 weeks after back surgery. 3rd day- it was too windy to ride solo. :(

my2disneyboys
02-06-2012, 10:04 AM
Oh wow. We're getting ready to hit our first Disney Cruise with a 3 night on the Dream.
This really scares me. I pictured crowded, but not as ridiculously crowded as I now picture it in my mind! :eek:
Are ALL 3 night cruises on the Dream like this? Has everyone has similar experiences?
I've made a mental note to take ALL of our cards EVERYWHERE!
--Gretchen in Ks.:confused:

well it sounds like i am a minority here! AND even with the crowds we still had a great time. I took some pics of the crowds and i will post tonight when I am home to upload them. It was INSANE. But now having gone, I know not to go up to that main deck until after you put your stuff in your room- not boarding until your room is ready or going for a nice lunch would have been very helpful! Knowing about needing all of our cards to get off the ship would have helped us with that stressful time..... I guess I should have planned better. I tried to read and research a lot. There is just SO much going on. So many people. It was so loud. Just not relaxing to me at all. (Except for the adult areas which were quiet and lovely)

sabrecmc
02-06-2012, 10:12 AM
We've been on 6 DCL cruises, and certainly love them, but I agree that a 3 night cruise is a different beast. And cruising certainly isn't for some people. But, if you are looking for quiet family fun times...then yeah, a 3 night is probably not going to meet your needs! Its sort of like going to the World at Christmas. It can be a wonderful experience, but it isn't the same experience as going in October when things are quieter and less crowded. Just different. Some love it, some hate it.

However, having done 3 3-night cruises, a 10-night Med cruise, 7-night Alaskan...well, they are just very different experiences. Our 10-night Med cruise was very light on crowds and kids, as it was in May and school wasn't out yet. Same with the Alaskan cruise. We did the Pacific Coast repo and then 1st Alaskan last year and those were not at all packed. On the other hand, we've really enjoyed our 3 night cruises for what they are. Chaotic, crowded, crazy fun! But they definitely aren't for everyone.

my2disneyboys
02-06-2012, 10:13 AM
I was on this same cruise. I was in Concierge, and we hated to leave that area because of the crowds. The ship seemed full beyond belief, and the kids on this cruise were especially unruly. The parents were definitely "on vacation" for this particular cruise. I think I could write volumes on that, but will just leave it at that statement.

Trying to get elevators was incredibly difficult. And yes, we tried to use either the Forward or Aft elevators, rather than the Mid ones.

Granted, there are some very nice things about the new ship. Although yes, I am going to cruise on the Fantasy, in many respects I prefer the smaller, classic ships. It may not bother some people - but the increased numbers of people was very noticeable.

I am so glad to hear that you were on the same cruise and agree about the crowds. I LOVE disney! I am ok with crowds. It was HARD to avoid them on this ship unless i was in the adult area which was empty or my cabin. It just bummed me out because when we go on vacation, swimming in the pools in February is our highlight. We just couldn't do that as a family on this ship.

keaster
02-06-2012, 10:20 AM
We have done only one 3-night cruise, it was just DH and I and we only did it because we got a $99 bounceback deal from our first cruise.

We definitely noticed the "vibe" of the crowd was different from the 7-night and 10-night cruises we've been on, everybody seemed so chaotic and rushed to fit everything in, and the crankiness just seemed to be amped up!

The shortest we will ever go on again is 5-nights, the cost to get there on top of the cost of the cruise itself is not worth it for us!

Dallas_Lady
02-06-2012, 10:42 AM
Thanks for your honest review. I'm interested in seeing some of those crowd pictures. We are doing a 5 night in June so I know the ship will be at capacity.

SoCaOC-Mom
02-06-2012, 10:50 AM
It must be frustrating to have such an experience after having paid quite a lot of money :hug:
We got off the Dream on 02/02 and thankfully had a totally different experience.

About the keycards: on our cruise there were several announcements in the mornings that reminded us to take our keycards with us when getting off the ship, but it was so loud in tge restaurants that the rest of my group couldn't hear properly, thankfully I was in the restrooms and heard everything. Maybe this happened to you, too?
The aircondition works without a card in the slot, does anybody know if you can charge ipads, phones etc. without a card?

I was on the same cruise as mimmi and share her opinion. But I guess on a 4 day cruise it's a different vibe because although the ship wasn't empty on Nassau day,it made the pool area bearable. On sea day I didn't even go near the pool because I knew it would be irritating.

I also knew the stage area would be crammed at the pirate party so we made a point to find a great spot on deck 12. It didn't seem to bother the kids at all that were weren't in the crowd in front of the stage- and where we were we could actually see- and not feel packed in.

We did forget the kids cards when we were going to CC too. I guess because I figured it was Disney's Island it wasn't like getting off the boat in a port so I didn't think to carry them down. DH ran back to get them, but we didnt go to CC until about 11 so the crowds thinned out. Which caused something funny to happen because on the way back, my oldest who is 4 insisted on 'doing it herself' and must have scanned her card twice (which would have checked her off the boat again) because later on guest services called me to make sure she was with us and on the ship.

I agree the situation with the elevators is bad which is why I was happy on deck 6, unless we were going to deck 11 or 12 we just took the stairs so it cut down on our frustration.

bluenosemickey
02-06-2012, 10:56 AM
When I first read this post I was a little freaked! We are going on our first cruise in March 13-18, 5 nt. I know this OP was a 3 nighter, but ours is over march break and we expect it to be packed with lots of kids. But after thinking it over, I'm wondering if it isn't more like what I've heard from disney virgins after their first trip to WDW during a peak or busy season.

I've had friends say to me, after lowering their voice, looking around for any listeners, "our trip to Disney was the worst vacation we've ever had!" how do you do it twice a year?!! I sympathize with them and I know how it happens. If you don't know what you're doing, or don't have a plan to combat crowds, you can spend a lot of $$ to wait in lines and fight cranky, rude people. Of course that's not our Disney experiences, :lovestruc but we know what NOT to do. And more importantly, WHEN to do things.

It always seems that if you go against the crowds, therefore, go against what seems natural for a newbie, you are better off. You can't have the ship to yourself and therefore, you can't do everything right when you want to do it.

I'm going to ask for other crowd-busting tips from all you cruise gurus, but so far this is what I'm thinking:
- if you get onboard early enough and the pool is a priority, if it's still manageable, go for it immediately. But be prepared for it to be crowded, so plan
B is lunch and forget about the pool.
-after lunch, get out of the top deck area and explore some other area while you wait for your room.
-for top deck activities like parties, go directly to deck 12 (on dream/fantasy).
-don't prioritize the pools as your entertainment area for family fun, utilize the family club areas and some of the other less crowded areas of the ship.
-take your time getting off the ship at the ports, leave after 10 and you can just walk off.
-on CC, stay on the tram and go further over on the family beach, it's less crowded there and there's Cookies too for food over there.
-Don't arrive for dinner right on time, wait until 5 mins after to miss the line up to get in.
-Arrive for shows early and be prepared to wait if you want to sit in a good spot, bring some snacks from home to help with the wait for little ones.
-on the last morning, wait until as late as possible to leave and just walk off the ship. Unless you have to be somewhere early, then go to cabanas for breakfast.
ASAP.

Any other advice out there?:confused3

gretchnh
02-06-2012, 11:09 AM
Okay well this brings me to another couple of questions...

With getting off at Castaway Cay, it looks like the main opinion is to wait until 10am to get off the boat.

1. Will there be chairs left on the beach if you wait?
2. I'm planning on running the Castaway Cay 5K when we dock. Will we be allowed to get off first? I wonder if I have to elbow my way down to the front to even let them know I'm running??

--Gretchen in Ks.

my2disneyboys
02-06-2012, 11:12 AM
Thanks for your honest review. I'm interested in seeing some of those crowd pictures. We are doing a 5 night in June so I know the ship will be at capacity.

Thanks! I will post tonight. I will post some beautiful pictures I took as well.

my2disneyboys
02-06-2012, 11:16 AM
Okay well this brings me to another couple of questions...

With getting off at Castaway Cay, it looks like the main opinion is to wait until 10am to get off the boat.

1. Will there be chairs left on the beach if you wait?
2. I'm planning on running the Castaway Cay 5K when we dock. Will we be allowed to get off first? I wonder if I have to elbow my way down to the front to even let them know I'm running??

--Gretchen in Ks.

I felt so bad for the runners on my trip and was glad I decided to skip it. maybe because it was windy but we were having a tough time docking. We ended up docking at 10:00AM and the scene was a madhouse. This I do have a picture of and as I took it I joked with my husband "I am taking this picture to remind myself to never go on a cruise again!" Everyone around me agreed and said how crazy it was! Plus if you are a runner, like we are.... the deck 4 is a tough place to run unless you are up VERY early. It actually goes through the shuffleboard courts. So when running you are dodging the sticks from the kids playing shuffleboard and when you are playing shuffleboard you are always moving out of the way for runners. :scared1:

CherylSue
02-06-2012, 11:22 AM
When I first read this post I was a little freaked! We are going on our first cruise in March 13-18, 5 nt. I know this OP was a 3 nighter, but ours is over march break and we expect it to be packed with lots of kids. But after thinking it over, I'm wondering if it isn't more like what I've heard from disney virgins after their first trip to WDW during a peak or busy season.

I've had friends say to me, after lowering their voice, looking around for any listeners, "our trip to Disney was the worst vacation we've ever had!" how do you do it twice a year?!! I sympathize with them and I know how it happens. If you don't know what you're doing, or don't have a plan to combat crowds, you can spend a lot of $$ to wait in lines and fight cranky, rude people. Of course that's not our Disney experiences, :lovestruc but we know what NOT to do. And more importantly, WHEN to do things.

It always seems that if you go against the crowds, therefore, go against what seems natural for a newbie, you are better off. You can't have the ship to yourself and therefore, you can't do everything right when you want to do it.

I'm going to ask for other crowd-busting tips from all you cruise gurus, but so far this is what I'm thinking:
- if you get onboard early enough and the pool is a priority, if it's still manageable, go for it immediately. But be prepared for it to be crowded, so plan
B is lunch and forget about the pool.
-after lunch, get out of the top deck area and explore some other area while you wait for your room.
-for top deck activities like parties, go directly to deck 12 (on dream/fantasy).
-don't prioritize the pools as your entertainment area for family fun, utilize the family club areas and some of the other less crowded areas of the ship.
-take your time getting off the ship at the ports, leave after 10 and you can just walk off.
-on CC, stay on the tram and go further over on the family beach, it's less crowded there and there's Cookies too for food over there.
-Don't arrive for dinner right on time, wait until 5 mins after to miss the line up to get in.
-Arrive for shows early and be prepared to wait if you want to sit in a good spot, bring some snacks from home to help with the wait for little ones.
-on the last morning, wait until as late as possible to leave and just walk off the ship. Unless you have to be somewhere early, then, get room service and get off
ASAP.

Any other advice out there?:confused3

On the last morning you can't order room service.....but I suggest going to Cabanas to have breakfast instead of your assigned time in the dining room from the previous night. If you have early dining that breakfast is EARLY! :scared1: We wait till the last minute to leave our room, then we go to Cabanas for breakfast then waltz off the ship....MUCH more relaxing!

my2disneyboys
02-06-2012, 11:23 AM
When I first read this post I was a little freaked! We are going on our first cruise in March 13-18, 5 nt. I know this OP was a 3 nighter, but ours is over march break and we expect it to be packed with lots of kids. But after thinking it over, I'm wondering if it isn't more like what I've heard from disney virgins after their first trip to WDW during a peak or busy season.

I've had friends say to me, after lowering their voice, looking around for any listeners, "our trip to Disney was the worst vacation we've ever had!" how do you do it twice a year?!! I sympathize with them and I know how it happens. If you don't know what you're doing, or don't have a plan to combat crowds, you can spend a lot of $$ to wait in lines and fight cranky, rude people. Of course that's not our Disney experiences, :lovestruc but we know what NOT to do. And more importantly, WHEN to do things.

It always seems that if you go against the crowds, therefore, go against what seems natural for a newbie, you are better off. You can't have the ship to yourself and therefore, you can't do everything right when you want to do it.

I'm going to ask for other crowd-busting tips from all you cruise gurus, but so far this is what I'm thinking:
- if you get onboard early enough and the pool is a priority, if it's still manageable, go for it immediately. But be prepared for it to be crowded, so plan
B is lunch and forget about the pool.
-after lunch, get out of the top deck area and explore some other area while you wait for your room.
-for top deck activities like parties, go directly to deck 12 (on dream/fantasy).
-don't prioritize the pools as your entertainment area for family fun, utilize the family club areas and some of the other less crowded areas of the ship.
-take your time getting off the ship at the ports, leave after 10 and you can just walk off.
-on CC, stay on the tram and go further over on the family beach, it's less crowded there and there's Cookies too for food over there.
-Don't arrive for dinner right on time, wait until 5 mins after to miss the line up to get in.
-Arrive for shows early and be prepared to wait if you want to sit in a good spot, bring some snacks from home to help with the wait for little ones.
-on the last morning, wait until as late as possible to leave and just walk off the ship. Unless you have to be somewhere early, then, get room service and get off
ASAP.

Any other advice out there?:confused3

It did remind me of our first trip to Disney the week after xmas!:scared1: We go offseason now, I plan a year in advance and I know exactly where we want to eat each night and book them 180-days in advance. We have our routine of parks in the morning- leaving after lunch for pool time and quiet time at the resort and then back to the parks or downtown disney at night. For us, our Disney vacations are perfect! I knew leaving the Wilderness Lodge on that last day that I might not like the cruise... its that feeling of knowing you love where you are and not knowing if you will love where you are going. But, hey- I am glad we went and tried it out. I know now that I will not ever do a 3 night Disney cruise again!

my2disneyboys
02-06-2012, 11:24 AM
On the last morning you can't order room service.....but I suggest going to Cabanas to have breakfast instead of your assigned time in the dining room from the previous night. If you have early dining that breakfast is EARLY! :scared1: We wait till the last minute to leave our room, then we go to Cabanas for breakfast then waltz off the ship....MUCH more relaxing!

this is exactly what we did. Went to cabanas on the last morning around 8:00 and we were off the ship by 8:30!

Conservative Hippie
02-06-2012, 11:27 AM
When I first read this post I was a little freaked! We are going on our first cruise in March 13-18, 5 nt. I know this OP was a 3 nighter, but ours is over march break and we expect it to be packed with lots of kids. But after thinking it over, I'm wondering if it isn't more like what I've heard from disney virgins after their first trip to WDW during a peak or busy season.

I've had friends say to me, after lowering their voice, looking around for any listeners, "our trip to Disney was the worst vacation we've ever had!" how do you do it twice a year?!! I sympathize with them and I know how it happens. If you don't know what you're doing, or don't have a plan to combat crowds, you can spend a lot of $$ to wait in lines and fight cranky, rude people. Of course that's not our Disney experiences, :lovestruc but we know what NOT to do. And more importantly, WHEN to do things.

It always seems that if you go against the crowds, therefore, go against what seems natural for a newbie, you are better off. You can't have the ship to yourself and therefore, you can't do everything right when you want to do it.

I'm going to ask for other crowd-busting tips from all you cruise gurus, but so far this is what I'm thinking:
- if you get onboard early enough and the pool is a priority, if it's still manageable, go for it immediately. But be prepared for it to be crowded, so plan
B is lunch and forget about the pool.
-after lunch, get out of the top deck area and explore some other area while you wait for your room.
-for top deck activities like parties, go directly to deck 12 (on dream/fantasy).
-don't prioritize the pools as your entertainment area for family fun, utilize the family club areas and some of the other less crowded areas of the ship.
-take your time getting off the ship at the ports, leave after 10 and you can just walk off.
-on CC, stay on the tram and go further over on the family beach, it's less crowded there and there's Cookies too for food over there.
-Don't arrive for dinner right on time, wait until 5 mins after to miss the line up to get in.
-Arrive for shows early and be prepared to wait if you want to sit in a good spot, bring some snacks from home to help with the wait for little ones.
-on the last morning, wait until as late as possible to leave and just walk off the ship. Unless you have to be somewhere early, then, get room service and get off
ASAP.

Any other advice out there?:confused3

All of this is exactly what I would suggest (except there is no room service on the last morning).

- Avoid the midship elevators and take the stairs whenever possible. (We love staying on decks 9 and 10 and always taking the stairs up to 11, then we always take the stairs going down, and take the forward and aft elevators going up.)

ETA: Also, read your Navigators cover to cover so you know exactly what is going on and don't miss any important information!

lilpooh108
02-06-2012, 11:28 AM
I totally agree about Senses. For our Oct 2011 cruise, DH booked me a spa appt way in advance. I even attended the 1st day tour and raffle just to check out the rooms, ambience, meet the attendants.

After the raffle I asked an attendant for specifics on a maternity massage. She couldn't tell me a thing, and she kept avoiding eye contact and just seemed really disinterested. I cancelled my appt on the spot.

2 Days later, I got a call on our Wave phone (which I just happened to be holding otherwise would have missed the call) about missing my spa appt which they were going to charge me for. Luckily I remembered the name of the girl that I spoke to and that settled it.

For our May 2011 cruise, my family of 3 was yelled at by people during the Sail Away party for sitting on a lounger on Deck 12 overlooking the party (only 1 lounger for 3 of us) since we got to the party 30 minutes early. They said we were taking up too much space even thought they arrived later than us. I stood up, pushed the lounger back and shockingly (insert sarcasm here) the 3 of us took up the same amount of space :rolleyes1 Some people are just really really rude. On the Wonder, tons of people were sitting on chairs and loungers at the sail away party on deck 10 overlooking the party. No one made it a big deal. Most families shared 1 or 2 chairs or loungers. During our Oct cruise we opted to Sail Away on our verandah and ordered room service. Best idea ever! Tons of great pics, no one shoving us or screaming. Mellow send off.

We didn't let these things ruin our cruise, by any means. I actually forgot this happened until I read the OP's post, but the vibe on the Dream is definitely very different than the vibe on our 1st cruise on the Wonder.

My parents cruised Alaska on the Wonder last year and said that they met really nice people in general. We've enjoyed our cruises on the Dream, but I think the 3-day Dream cruise just draws a very different crowd.

bluenosemickey
02-06-2012, 11:28 AM
Thanks, I edited my post!:thumbsup2

sherpasmom
02-06-2012, 11:31 AM
I'm sorry you didn't have the magical of cruises but this information is useful to a Disney cruising newbie who knows the parks and whattodo/not to do like the back of her hand! I had anticipated pool use being marginal since I've been on other cruises and just don't enjoy crowds...this cruise is actually a taster for dd to see if she'd enjoy a longer/ Med cruise...

so keep the tips a comin'! I'm on the fastly approaching cruise with Gretchen (Hi Gretchen) and will report back my findings.

I will say I've been on 7 night cruises and the vibe of that cruise was ruder people? It's weird! So I dunno that it has to do with length of cruise specifically but I do know people trying to rush do have a different energy about them...

will be interesting....racheting down expectations even as I type! :scared1:

SoCaOC-Mom
02-06-2012, 11:31 AM
Okay well this brings me to another couple of questions...

With getting off at Castaway Cay, it looks like the main opinion is to wait until 10am to get off the boat.

1. Will there be chairs left on the beach if you wait?
2. I'm planning on running the Castaway Cay 5K when we dock. Will we be allowed to get off first? I wonder if I have to elbow my way down to the front to even let them know I'm running??

--Gretchen in Ks.

We had no trouble finding chairs or loungers. Granted it was 4 adults and 4 kid so we had to do some moving of things- but we managed to get 4 loungers and 4 chairs for the kids. The dads ended up finding 2 more chairs to take down to the water level to sit in while watching the kids.

I don't know about the 5k run- but I think it starts before most people get off the ship.

JUSTAND
02-06-2012, 11:37 AM
i tink we may stick to the two smaller ships then we are thinking of the TA in 2013

sorul82?
02-06-2012, 11:39 AM
If swimming as a family is one of the highlights of your vacations, then I would suggest something other than cruising. Or, maybe do some research of other cruise lines and ease of using pools.

I'm sorry your cruise wasn't as hoped. Our DCL cruise wasn't great, but it was good.

WiscBill
02-06-2012, 12:01 PM
To the OP,
I am sorry you had a less than magical time but I do thank you for sharing your comments. As others have said, the vibe on the 3-day cruises is very different than all the other cruises, including the 4 night. I have done one three night cruise and I would never, ever do it again, even if it was a back-to-back. I do hope you try another cruise and have the time to try a longer one, I think you will find it a very different (and far more pleasant) experience. I look forward to seeing the pictures from this cruise and contrasting with our 4 night in January.

Regarding not having the KTW card getting off, that happens all the time and is a larger problem on the Dream. I kept leaving mine in the light slot on our four day in January and I'm used to the system since it is quite common in Europe.

You are also correct in that the pools and elevators (especially midship) are inadequate. I hope they do something to correct this on the Fantasy(they are adding additional pool space) but until the Dream gets a major drydock all that can be done is to follow the coping strategies suggested here (take the forward and aft elevators whenever possible, use the pools on off hours).

joelnkelly
02-06-2012, 12:10 PM
everyone has given really good responses to your cruise. the only response I can say is "never do a 3 day cruise again!". We did a 3 day back in Oct. and it was a mad house, everyone is trying their hardest to cram everything in on those 3 days and it becomes a mad house. We have a 7 day booked in March of 2013 on the Fantasy. Our girls loved the cruise but to me it was a bit rushed.

Dallas_Lady
02-06-2012, 12:14 PM
I felt so bad for the runners on my trip and was glad I decided to skip it. maybe because it was windy but we were having a tough time docking. We ended up docking at 10:00AM and the scene was a madhouse.

I'm wondering if this added to the long lines on the CC day. I thought they were supposed to dock around 8:30 or so.

SoCaOC-Mom
02-06-2012, 12:19 PM
I'm wondering if this added to the long lines on the CC day. I thought they were supposed to dock around 8:30 or so.

Thank goodness they were able to dock. If they weren't then missing CC would have certainly and understandably added to frustration and disappointment to all the cruisers effected.

At 10 am on CC I was able to walk right on the aqua duck and even later in the after noon since we went back to the ship early it was only about a 10 minute wait. Not to mention the pool area wasn't so crazy.

RedSox68
02-06-2012, 12:48 PM
Regarding not having the KTW card getting off, that happens all the time and is a larger problem on the Dream. I kept leaving mine in the light slot on our four day in January and I'm used to the system since it is quite common in Europe.

We read that charge cards in the slot also work. So we bring an old cancelled no longer usable charge card and use that for the slot. If we leave it there, no harm done. However, I actually found using our room key the first time for the lights a good way to remember our keys as we always wanted to turn off the lights and then you'd have your key ;)

Dizzyworld
02-06-2012, 01:57 PM
Sorry about your not so magical experiences, but I'm glad there were some good times in there too. On our first cruise on the Magic we had lots of things go wrong. I thought I'd never get back on a DCL ship ever again. My best friend lives in FL and got the FL rate for us the following year for the Wonder, and we decided to go with them. It was a totally positive experience.

I realized that each cruise had a different set of guests that can make or break a cruise. So no two cruises are a like. We did a 180 degree turn around. Most of our cruises have been terrific vacations. We did a B2B on the Dream last summer, and it was up there with one of our best vacations. :confused3

The pools are crowded. DCL dropped the ball on that area. We had been on two other non-DCL cruises and had the same pool issues there too. Luckily we are not big pool people. As for rude people, sadly they are everywhere and seem to be a growing bunch.

I hope whatever your next vacation is has the outcoming you wish for. :grouphug:

my2disneyboys
02-06-2012, 02:28 PM
Sorry about your not so magical experiences, but I'm glad there were some good times in there too. On our first cruise on the Magic we had lots of things go wrong. I thought I'd never get back on a DCL ship ever again. My best friend lives in FL and got the FL rate for us the following year for the Wonder, and we decided to go with them. It was a totally positive experience.

I realized that each cruise had a different set of guests that can make or break a cruise. So no two cruises are a like. We did a 180 degree turn around. Most of our cruises have been terrific vacations. We did a B2B on the Dream last summer, and it was up there with one of our best vacations. :confused3

The pools are crowded. DCL dropped the ball on that area. We had been on two other non-DCL cruises and had the same pool issues there too. Luckily we are not big pool people. As for rude people, sadly they are everywhere and seem to be a growing bunch.

I hope whatever your next vacation is has the outcoming you wish for. :grouphug:

Thank you!! And thanks for all the great replies.

dgundry
02-06-2012, 02:32 PM
A few points about this particular cruise that haven't been mentioned:

1. It was completely sold out.
2. It was reported there were over 1,400 kids onboard.
3. CC docking was delayed until after 10am due to high winds. Most boating excursions were cancelled and the morning character greetings were all moved inside. Then on top of it, it rained for part of the afternoon.


I didn't have any frame of reference on comparing this to other cruises, but it was pretty crazy in the public areas most of the time.

We did have a completely different experience in the Rainforest Room, but I do know exactly what time you are talking about when it was packed. Mid-day on Nassau day is NOT the time to go to the Rainforest Room. Alternatively, the first evening after we left port was nearly empty (only 2 other guests there) and the morning of Castaway Cay until about 10:30am we were the only ones in the room. In all, we spent almost 8 hours in the RR and only once (mid-day on Nassau day) did I have to retreat across the hall to the Relaxation Room because the heated chairs and jacuzzis were all occupied. And I even got to see Chip and Dale working out in the Fitness Center one morning! That was great!

floydfamily4
02-06-2012, 02:36 PM
Thank you so much for sharing your honest review (especially on this board ;)). I'm sorry it wasn't as wonderful as you had hoped :hug: Your review is very helpful for some of us considering whether DCL is worth it. Thanks again!

kbaerncopf
02-06-2012, 02:39 PM
I was planning on taking my daughter on one of these for her 16th birthday, but doesn't sound like it would be all that great. do you think a teenager would enjoy it more?

AmandaRG
02-06-2012, 03:21 PM
The crowded pools have been a hot topic on these boards. There is some changes made to the Fantasy, but it remains to be seen how much they help.

We are doing a 4/3 back to back in a couple of months. We are hoping for a few decent movies on the 3-night portion as we will probably just be relaxing and avoiding the crowds.

It doesn't matter which ship you are on, the midship elevators are usually pretty crazy. When we were on the Magic, we stayed midship and used the stairs for the most part! It was WAY easier.

pearljammer
02-06-2012, 03:28 PM
I have to say, the crowds on the Dream didn't bother me near as much as the parents who were obviously on vacation from being "a parent". And some wonder what's wrong with kids these days.

Anyway, this is posted today and seemed fitting. Goes to show it's not just DCL with issues but cruising in general.

"Controlling Your Kids at Sea"

http://todaytravel.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/01/03/9924872-controlling-your-kids-at-sea

StaciMay
02-06-2012, 03:32 PM
I also appreciate your honest opinion. I sailed on my first DCL cruise last April (4 day Dream), and had some mixed reviews.... crowded pools, poor wait staff, and bad food. I just wasn't sure it was worth the extra money for me. Well, I am giving it another shot this April but I could only get off work a couple of days during my son's spring break so I had no other option that the 3 night Dream. I hope it will be okay. I think it is all about expectations and I now know what to expect. We are gonna have an awesome time!!

If the OP is a disney freak like me, I bet you give it another try one day like I did.

mickey2000
02-06-2012, 03:33 PM
I have to say, the crowds on the Dream didn't bother me near as much as the parents who were obviously on vacation from being "a parent". And some wonder what's wrong with kids these days.

Anyway, this is posted today and seemed fitting. Goes to show it's not just DCL with issues but cruising in general.

"Controlling Your Kids at Sea"

http://todaytravel.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/01/03/9924872-controlling-your-kids-at-sea

You mean like !
"I'm on vacation NO ONE will tell me how to dress in the MDR" :scared1::scared1:

Sad to say the world has changed :confused3:confused3

Silverfox97
02-06-2012, 03:41 PM
OK, I advise: wait a while, then try a longer DCL cruise. Here's why:

DH & I got married at WDW in 2005 and were there for 2 weeks. In the middle of our stay, we booked a 3-night cruise on the Wonder.

Ugh. It was not only crowded, it was a whirlwind. Honestly. The DCL buses dropped us off at 2pm, we went to our stateroom (didn't even know lunch was available!!!), and had to try to get Palo scheduled, found out we never got the "Romance Package" that we requested for our honeymoon, and then it was already time for the Sail Away Party and dinner! The next 2 days were also crazy and we didn't see 1/2 of the ship! That was in 2005 and on the Wonder! (Also, I remember thinking how expensive it was....)

It took us 5 years to try DCL again and we got re-hooked (this time we had a DD to take along). We booked a 5-night Double Dip (2 stops to CC) for Aug 2010 on the Wonder and loved every minute. Every single minute. So much, that we booked another 5 night double dip on the Magic for Jan 2011. Cruising off-season is amazing.

The best cruise? The 7-night western Caribbean cruise on the Magic. It is SOOOOOOOOOO different from a 3-night cruise, from clientele, to wardrobe, to everything. People aren't trying to pack in everything, they are relaxing. We have four 7-night cruises scheduled (2 Easterns, 2 Westerns between this and next year).

A crazy thing happened. We decided to book a 3-night cruise (leave Thurs). DD is off school Friday, so she only misses 1 day of preschool, and we were able to get FL resident rates making it a bargain. It will be our 5th DCL cruise and get us to Gold status, and we can check out the new ship/get the lay of the land before heading on the Fantasy. Plus, we can say we've been on all 4 ships. I am expecting to "enjoy" the pools & Aquaduck on Nassau day, but am fully expecting what you encountered. We are not looking forward to 4,000 people on the ship or at our beloved CC. I guess you can say I am lowering my expectations. To me, a 3-night cruise is like WDW during peak periods, which as an annual passholder who goes twice a month, we avoid every peak season possible and don't even drive thru Orlando on I-4 from Dec 21-Jan 2nd :lmao: That is a 3-night cruise.

(Also, and this is true, we NEVER EVER take the elevators. Ever. Stairs all the way. Helps save the waistline, too. DD loves them as well and never complains.)

It took us 5 years to try DCL again. Wait a while, decompress, try a longer one, and my opinion, try one on the Magic or Wonder. I would never say never......

ETA: And, furthermore, our DD, who will be 5 in March, would love to spend every waking minute in the Kids Club, but we don't let her. She gets about 1 hr a day, if that. Palo time, and then we let her pick out a few things on the Navigator here and there that she'd like to attend. I can only speak to the most recent 3 cruises we took - the majority of the kids were very well behaved. Honestly. 3 night cruises are a whole different animal.....

jenseib
02-06-2012, 03:47 PM
What a bummer. But for future reference, cruise ships pools are always crowded. And the Dreams seem to be worst of all because they are so small. This was a complaint since day 1. We never cruise for the pools though as ship pools are still pretty small compared to on land pools.

We did find going late at night was the best time. My DD would take a 10 minute dip and be completely happy. With may 4 other kids in the pool with her.

As for KTTW cards, you have to have them no matter what whenever getting off the ship. They have to account for everyone and who is on or off. I took a tour of the Dream this summer and we even had to have a card scanned when we got on and when we got off a few hours later.
If you want to keep the lights on, use on old used gift card.

I'm glad your kids loved the kids clubs. And you could've still went to the show while they were there.
As for the elevators, I have only been on a few cruise ships, but none have great elevators. Always too small. We use the stairs mostly because of that. We do try to get a room near the stairs most of the time as well. (I actually have learned now to practice walking up steps before going to help strengthen myself. I didn't do it much before my last cruise and my legs were screaming by the end)

SoCaOC-Mom
02-06-2012, 03:48 PM
I have to say, the crowds on the Dream didn't bother me near as much as the parents who were obviously on vacation from being "a parent". And some wonder what's wrong with kids these days.

Anyway, this is posted today and seemed fitting. Goes to show it's not just DCL with issues but cruising in general.

"Controlling Your Kids at Sea"

http://todaytravel.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/01/03/9924872-controlling-your-kids-at-sea

I really didn't find out of control kids in my cruise other than a couple of minor things. There was one little girl on the Mickey slide who seemed to be unsupervised because at one point I was the only parent around with the exception of a couple more who came after so I know who was their child. She kept on running up the stairs which made me nervous and a few times she ran past other kids which IMO is cutting the line and rude. I didn't say anything but I was disappointed the CM didn't because there was a great potential for her to get hurt or hurt someone else.

I saw one child leave with their mom and they slipped and fell- and they weren't running- it was just very slippery, so I know I wasn't being paranoid in my nervousness.

There were also two teenaged boys in the elevator and when I pressed my floor, they said "NO". They did it when some one else got on too. Finally, I said "What's the problem, are you in some kind of race?". Then they jumped off on the next floor saying they would take the stairs. The weird thing was, they didn't even have a floor pressed. Even the lady in the evaporator commented that something was up.

There was also a few toddlers behind us one night at the show who were talking a little bit to their mom, it was mildly distracting but having two little ones of my own, I am pretty tolerant of that sort of thing. Thankfully my kids were unusually quiet because they were so engrossed with the show.

But more so, I came across kids that were very polite and respectful and even helpful. One morning I was carrying a tray of drinks and a plate of breakfast from Cabana's to my room and two tween age kids in the hall asked if I need any help and held the plate and tray for my while I opened the door.

ruadisneyfan2
02-06-2012, 03:56 PM
OK, I advise: wait a while, then try a longer DCL cruise. Here's why:

DH & I got married at WDW in 2005 and were there for 2 weeks. In the middle of our stay, we booked a 3-night cruise on the Wonder.

Ugh. It was not only crowded, it was a whirlwind. Honestly. The DCL buses dropped us off at 2pm, we went to our stateroom (didn't even know lunch was available!!!), and had to try to get Palo scheduled, found out we never got the "Romance Package" that we requested for our honeymoon, and then it was already time for the Sail Away Party and dinner! The next 2 days were also crazy and we didn't see 1/2 of the ship! That was in 2005 and on the Wonder! (Also, I remember thinking how expensive it was....)

It took us 5 years to try DCL again and we got re-hooked (this time we had a DD to take along). We booked a 5-night Double Dip (2 stops to CC) for Aug 2010 on the Wonder and loved every minute. Every single minute. So much, that we booked another 5 night double dip on the Magic for Jan 2011. Cruising off-season is amazing.

The best cruise? The 7-night western Caribbean cruise on the Magic. It is SOOOOOOOOOO different from a 3-night cruise, from clientele, to wardrobe, to everything. People aren't trying to pack in everything, they are relaxing. We have four 7-night cruises scheduled (2 Easterns, 2 Westerns between this and next year).

A crazy thing happened. We decided to book a 3-night cruise (leave Thurs). DD is off school Friday, so she only misses 1 day of preschool, and we were able to get FL resident rates making it a bargain. It will be our 5th DCL cruise and get us to Gold status, and we can check out the new ship/get the lay of the land before heading on the Fantasy. Plus, we can say we've been on all 4 ships. I am expecting to "enjoy" the pools & Aquaduck on Nassau day, but am fully expecting what you encountered. We are not looking forward to 4,000 people on the ship or at our beloved CC. I guess you can say I am lowering my expectations. To me, a 3-night cruise is like WDW during peak periods, which as an annual passholder who goes twice a month, we avoid every peak season possible and don't even drive thru Orlando on I-4 from Dec 21-Jan 2nd :lmao: That is a 3-night cruise.

(Also, and this is true, we NEVER EVER take the elevators. Ever. Stairs all the way. Helps save the waistline, too. DD loves them as well and never complains.)

It took us 5 years to try DCL again. Wait a while, decompress, try a longer one, and my opinion, try one on the Magic or Wonder. I would never say never......

ETA: And, furthermore, our DD, who will be 5 in March, would love to spend every waking minute in the Kids Club, but we don't let her. She gets about 1 hr a day, if that. Palo time, and then we let her pick out a few things on the Navigator here and there that she'd like to attend. I can only speak to the most recent 3 cruises we took - the majority of the kids were very well behaved. Honestly. 3 night cruises are a whole different animal.....

Even my ds11 picked this up right away! :laughing: After 4 cruises on the Magic & 1 on the Wonder, he said his misses the old ships that were not so crowded and the kids were more polite. :lmao:
He says he likes to cruise with "more experienced cruisers" :rotfl2: and is really looking forward to 7 nts on the Wonder going to Alaska.

lesroi
02-06-2012, 04:02 PM
I wondered if our cruise was extra busy!!?? I have been reading reviews on here for the last year so wasn't really expecting it to be so crazy! I think you are right- it was SO hard to hear what they were saying because it was SO loud everwhere!! I am sure they probably said it and we just didnt hear.

Edited because I thought you were referencing disembarking re: the KTTW cards.

We also thought the crowds were terrible but I was expecting it with a 3-day. Luckily we are Florida residents so we didn't spend a ridiculous amount of money. I would not do a 3-day again at this time of year. Perhaps another time would be less crowded?

Of course we will cruise Disney again, for the 4th time so it didn't ruin us.

Tracy

Silverfox97
02-06-2012, 04:02 PM
Even my ds11 picked this up right away! :laughing: After 4 cruises on the Magic & 1 on the Wonder, he said his misses the old ships that were not so crowded and the kids were more polite. :lmao:
He says he likes to cruise with "more experienced cruisers" :rotfl2: and is really looking forward to 7 nts on the Wonder going to Alaska.

Yep. My almost 5 year old says (and I quote), "A 3-night cruise? Yuck. Why did you even book a 3-night cruise?" She hasn't even sailed on it yet - we leave Thursday. Spoiled, yes, I agree. she knows more about WDW and DCL than most adults. Our friends that we cruised with in Aug 2010 are Platinum DCLers and thought about joining us due to the FL res rates for a fleeting moment, than decided no way. I love kids and their honesty, though.

lesroi
02-06-2012, 04:13 PM
I felt so bad for the runners on my trip and was glad I decided to skip it. maybe because it was windy but we were having a tough time docking. We ended up docking at 10:00AM and the scene was a madhouse. This I do have a picture of and as I took it I joked with my husband "I am taking this picture to remind myself to never go on a cruise again!" Everyone around me agreed and said how crazy it was! Plus if you are a runner, like we are.... the deck 4 is a tough place to run unless you are up VERY early. It actually goes through the shuffleboard courts. So when running you are dodging the sticks from the kids playing shuffleboard and when you are playing shuffleboard you are always moving out of the way for runners. :scared1:

My husband is a runner and went down for the 5k as well. I figured when we could feel the ship still trying to dock at 9:30 that he would not be running any time soon. So much for 8:45, LOL! Of course, I don't know why ANY runner would choose to run on deck 4 when the fitness center is free of charge and free of kids and shuffleboard sticks!

BeeTeacher
02-06-2012, 04:22 PM
My2DisneyBoys--I am sorry you had such a bad experience. I was also on this same cruise and my experience was very different, but then I did not have my kids with me so we did not feel obligated to hang out at the main pool.

A few thoughts:

The pool area was very crowded during certain times. We walked past it at 6pm one evening and it was not so bad, and when we boarded (at 11:50) it had like 5 people in it. There was not a single child in the kiddie zone splash area at that time. I would def hit the pool first thing when boarding, and then early evening.

While the pool area was very loud, just a few feet away in the Quiet cove it was nicer. I was surprised at the occasional small child in this area, but they have to walk through if they use the fore elevators. Poor design...

Elevators: we only had elevator problems during peak times--right before shows and after dinners. We learned after the first night to take the forward elevators--never had a problem going up or down.

Dinner--I agree that AP was loud. The crush thing is obnoxious, and I adore crush. It would be impossible to have that many people in a dining room and not be loud, but it didn't seem near as loud as say Rainforest Cafe or T-Rex. And the food was WAY better...

Kids--There were a lot of kids on this cruise. More than I expected. The only night I found it kid-crazy was Saturday night. Shutters was insane. The atrium area was a mess. But we never had an issue w kids running in the hall.

Castaway cay--I think the issue here with the crowds getting off was that it took 2 hours to dock. He pulled back out once so lets consider ourselves lucky we got to go there AT ALL, I didn't think it was going to happen. I watched the whole thing from my veranda, and was worried! So the late-wakers were in the same crowds as the people getting off early. We got down to disembark at 11:00 am and not a soul was in line --we walked right up and got off.

There were lots of announcements on the PA about needing the key card. We used a CVS card in our slot to keep the power on as our ket cards were in our lanyards.

I've read your pre-trip report and like myself, it seems you may have set your expectations really high. I think this board is a double edged sword. You get a LOT of info but you also get a LOT of "this was the most magical cruise ever", and if you are like me, you read the good reports AND the bad, but chalked the bad ones up to "bad apples" or "they just don't bleed disney like me", and decided "That won't be MY experience".

My saddest moment on this cruise was night one, Animators Palate. Dave and I were sat at a 4-top set for 2. I really wanted to dine with other couples. I actually started to cry and told dh we should just eat at Tow Maters. The server came over and asked me what was wrong and I felt like such a DORK, but told him. And within minutes he whisked us away to a table with another couple which were very nice to dine with.

So consider that when you think of your experience. It was not what you had planned entirely, and yeah, the pool area was INSANE (I bet its worse in July tho). Look at what you didn't like and adjust for next time or just go you and hubby.

And if you want peace--Deck 4 promenade was a ghost town at 5pm on Nassau day, and deck 12 all the way forward had very few people every time we went up. Your kids could have had a blast there looking forward as the ship sailed. We watched the fireworks with a dad and his two girls from Currents...and my complaint there would be the smokers and not the kids. We had a front row seat, and it was lovely.

We rebooked a 7-night western on the fantasy. Will be interesting to compare the 2.

Conservative Hippie
02-06-2012, 04:39 PM
I suppose I am part of the "different kind of crowd" that a 3-night attracts. We've never had any trouble with other guests, or anything really deal-breaking. Yes, there are 4,000 people on the ship. Yes, you are trying to cram as much as possible into 2 1/2 days. Having two small children, we try to be "roll with it" kind of people, and we make a few things a priority and know that we won't be able to do absolutely everything. I can see us taking a 4-night, but until my kids are older, I don't think we will do anything longer than that.

Weedy
02-06-2012, 04:57 PM
Why do people need to keep the lights on in the room when no one is there????

AKMOUSE
02-06-2012, 04:57 PM
While I have only been on one cruise, I think my experience wouldn't have been so nice I had I not had the boards to reference. My DH kept saying "I am so glad you knew XYZ"......I only hear that on vacations! :rotfl:


Anyway, we were on a sold out spring break cruise. And I can remember kids EVERYWHERE. But it is Disney, so I expected that. We were disappointed that we couldn't swim in the goofy pool - just not enough room without touching someone else. Ewww!!
For us, swimming is a big deal - we are from Alaska, so swimming outside only happens when we travel. The kids would get their swim time in at the kids pool, and while they were at the club we would get our at the adult.


I had read on here before we cruised that elevators would be a packed, so when we cruised, we vowed no elevators for the week. It worked well nad we got some exercise! We already determined that when we go in a few weeks - no elevators!!

I think that the DIS boards are a wealth of information and I love the tips that others can share. :idea:

ThePhantomsGirl
02-06-2012, 05:00 PM
Why do people need to keep the lights on in the room when no one is there????

It's the air conditioning. Our room host put in a special card to keep it on. Didn't need it blasting, but enough to keep it from getting hot while we were out.

Conservative Hippie
02-06-2012, 05:07 PM
Why do people need to keep the lights on in the room when no one is there????

We don't leave the lights on - you can turn everything off. Leaving a card in there just makes it more convenient when coming back to your room. Also sometimes at night we did leave a light on in the room so we wouldn't come back to a pitch black room.

ruadisneyfan2
02-06-2012, 05:11 PM
We use a room key from our pre cruise hotel stay. We still pull it up a little when we leave to shut the lights off but we don't like to put a KTTW card in there because the kids have left theirs there in the past.

BeeTeacher
02-06-2012, 05:40 PM
On the way home I told DH that a 3 night cruise was just too short. It reminded me of the people who go to Magic Kingdom and try to do it ALL with a one day one park ticket. They are in a mad craze to get it all in. They run to get in line, they push at the buffets, they act like the soda is going to run out and complain when it does instead of just telling a CM so they can change the tank.

We rebooked a 7-nighter just so we could relax and not feel pressure to "do it all". I was really sad to not make it to the rainforest room on the 2/2/12 Dream but reading Dgundy's comment it sounds like I didn't miss anything! We would have gone mid-day on Nassau day.

Another issue with on ship crowds--I'm thinking very few people got off at CC. The family beach was not crowded at all (I wish I took a pix), there was not a Shutters photographer to be found, there was no line at the buffet at 1:00, and only about 20-25 people at serenity bay.

While it was overcast it was not raining but a few drops here and there. We rode bikes, ate lunch, and spent a few hours on the adult beach even though the family beach was deserted. I bet this just made for more crowds on the ship. I didn't know people would stay on the ship on a CC day, as I thought that was THE place to be, even with overcast skies. But so many excursions were cancelled due to high winds, I guess people just stayed on ship.

KIDS--the kids we saw were mainly preschool age. There were older kids but the majority was toddlers. We looked in teen club a few times from deck 12 and it was not crazy crowded. I think longer cruises during school season would be less crowded?

ThePhantomsGirl
02-06-2012, 06:10 PM
Several of the slightly older kids (say from 6 to 11) seemed to be from other countries, so their school system may have had different times for vacations. (please don't think I am saying it was only foreigners that had badly behaved kids - I saw/heard several American kids that were!)

I think what happened is that certain kids managed to "team up" and they ran amok thereby making themselves more noticeable.

We did run into some very well mannered kids too. That always impresses me when they are not around their parents and they are so polite. Makes one want to track their parents down and tell them to be proud!

SweetSpot
02-06-2012, 06:40 PM
We had pretty much the same experience last July on back to back Dream cruises. I couldn't believe the crowds. The pools were jammed packed as were the restaurants. We have been on 10 DCL and several RCCL cruises and have learned that for us RCCL definitely doesn't work and we like the smaller ship longer cruises with DCL. There is a definite difference in passenger mentality, trying to cram everyting in, on shorter cruises the crowds and sometimes rudeness can be overwhelming. Also, the set up of the Dream is not ideal for the crowd level. The pool deck isn't set up for the amount of people. The Fantasy has made some fixes by adding water features but the Dream won't change until dry dock.

I don't think I will ever get on the Dream again and just cancelled our summer back to back Fantasy cruises because I don't think enough changes could be made for me to like the design and the amount of people. I'm looking forward to getting on the Magic again in June and think I will stick with the smaller DCL ships.

Don't cut DCL out completely. You would be surprised how completely different the smaller ship, longer cruises could be. We love the Magic and consider it our first choice for a family vacation.

SoCaOC-Mom
02-06-2012, 06:53 PM
Several of the slightly older kids (say from 6 to 11) seemed to be from other countries, so their school system may have had different times for vacations. (please don't think I am saying it was only foreigners that had badly behaved kids - I saw/heard several American kids that were!)

I think what happened is that certain kids managed to "team up" and they ran amok thereby making themselves more noticeable.

We did run into some very well mannered kids too. That always impresses me when they are not around their parents and they are so polite. Makes one want to track their parents down and tell them to be proud!

I am reading your and your friends TR. The ringing of your door bell pranks is just pure straight up obnoxious behavior. My kids would be way to young to reach it or even know that it was a prank to do such a thing (they are 2 and 4) , but if I had older kids who did it, I would want to know about so I could fix their wagons.

sneadae
02-06-2012, 07:21 PM
We were on this same cruise and I have to admit I have very similar thoughts as the OP. This was our second Disney cruise, but we have been on numerous other cruises (RCCL, Carnival, NCL). Our first Disney cruise was on the Wonder and we did not enjoy it as much as we expected to, but, we had bad weather and had just spent 5 days in the parks. We decided to give Disney another chance because we really wanted to go on the Dream. The Dream is an absolutely beautiful ship. It was probably one of the nicest ships I have ever cruised on. But, having said that, I will probably not spend the extra money on a Disney Cruise in the future. Not that I didn't like it...just didn't like it enough to pay double the price of all other cruise lines. We are HUGE Disney fans and are DVC members as well, but the Disney Cruise is simply not for us. It's like cramming a huge theme-park filled with lines and crowds and LOTS of kiddos into a small ship with not quite enough space to accommodate.

On our Nassau day, we decided to stay on the ship and enjoy the pool and slides. Unfortunately, I think everyone else decided to do the same thing. The Aquaduck was a 40 minute wait for most of the day, the pools were overcrowded, and lots of unsupervised children. We rode the Aquaduck at night - no wait - but it was freezing!!

Castaway Cay was as gorgeous as I remember, but the weather was the pits. Too bad...I would really like to visit that island at a time when the weather is nice. Both times we've been there, the weather has been cool, windy, and rainy.

The shows were AMAZING! Disney definitely takes the lead when it comes to stage productions on cruise ships...no other cruise line or ship can come close. Loved all three of the shows.

Our family had a great time, but it was definitely crowded, so be prepared!

Weedy
02-06-2012, 07:32 PM
It's the air conditioning. Our room host put in a special card to keep it on. Didn't need it blasting, but enough to keep it from getting hot while we were out.

The airconditioning is NOT controlled by the key card.

my2disneyboys
02-06-2012, 07:36 PM
If I didnt have kids my review would be SO different. The adult areas were so quiet and peaceful and relaxing. We boarded at noon and the scene was INSANE. I actually almost had a panic attack. There were kids running and screaming and slipping and falling all over the place- my 4 year old got knocked down. I tried to go into the Newmos reef with them because the pools were so full but there were so many kids inside of Nemo's reef at 12:00 Noon that I was scared he would get hurt in there.

My only real complaint and what would keep me from booking another cruise was that I didnt have that magical feeling at all. I didnt get to experience many special family times because in order to be in a public area and not get trampled you had to be in the 18 plus area.

my2disneyboys
02-06-2012, 07:58 PM
Here are some pics of the deck and the stairs.....

http://i663.photobucket.com/albums/uu359/nickie0214/dream%20cruise/DSCN0633.jpg

http://i663.photobucket.com/albums/uu359/nickie0214/dream%20cruise/DSCN0634.jpg

http://i663.photobucket.com/albums/uu359/nickie0214/dream%20cruise/DSCN0568.jpg

jenseib
02-06-2012, 08:18 PM
I don't find the pictures shocking at all. the pirate party actually looks like less people than the one I went to and I thought it was manageable. As for getting off the ship, if you line up when you first dock, that is typical as well. Since you arrived late, many people were anxious to get off.

ruadisneyfan2
02-06-2012, 08:26 PM
Here are some pics of the deck and the stairs.....

http://i663.photobucket.com/albums/uu359/nickie0214/dream%20cruise/DSCN0633.jpg

http://i663.photobucket.com/albums/uu359/nickie0214/dream%20cruise/DSCN0634.jpg

http://i663.photobucket.com/albums/uu359/nickie0214/dream%20cruise/DSCN0568.jpg

Wow! I have cruised on the Dream 4x and never saw the stairs like that. Please know that is not the norm. OTOH, the crowd at the pirate party is typical. But really, even if you were the type to have major issues with crowds, have you never seen that many people gather at WDW? We only go off peak and deal with far worse crowds watching fireworks at Epcot. Either situation we can walk away and accept that the entertainment being offered isn't worth dealing with the crowd. Right?

I am glad you posted the issues for a 1st time cruiser though. DCL reads these boards and your opinion should be valued too, not just gold & platinum members. I have a coworker whose never been to WDW but has cruised when single & taking their 2 boys on the Dream. I can give her some tips to avoid some of the issues you had.

I hope you'd reconsider someday and cruise on the Magic. To me, that's still the gold standard of Disney cruising. :cloud9: I think it always will be unless they remove 1 deck full of tiny cabins on the Fantasy.

Silverfox97
02-06-2012, 08:29 PM
I hope you'd reconsider someday and cruise on the Magic. To me, that's still the gold standard of Disney cruising. :cloud9:

Yep - I agree. And the Wonder too :goodvibes

my2disneyboys
02-06-2012, 08:31 PM
I posted those pictures as examples of what the deck looked like at most times as I passed thru it. It wasnt only like that at Pirate night lol:rotfl: It was like that most of the time on the ship. True the floor was a pool- but all those people were in it! The stairs not only looked like that when we departed for castaway.... it looked like that during any event/show time!

Conservative Hippie
02-06-2012, 08:34 PM
Here is deck 11 during the Sail Away -

http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/395928_10150624301626411_509141410_11694078_183731 3769_n.jpg

And here is where we watched it from on deck 12 -

http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/s720x720/419195_10150624302076411_509141410_11694082_512050 307_n.jpg


Yes, it's going to be crowded. There are 4,000 people onboard. Any time everyone needs or wants to be in the same place, it will be uncomfortable. But, aside from trying to get back up after the muster drill, I find it can be easily avoided.

DMMarla07860
02-06-2012, 08:36 PM
Here are some pics of the deck and the stairs.....

http://i663.photobucket.com/albums/uu359/nickie0214/dream%20cruise/DSCN0633.jpg

http://i663.photobucket.com/albums/uu359/nickie0214/dream%20cruise/DSCN0634.jpg

http://i663.photobucket.com/albums/uu359/nickie0214/dream%20cruise/DSCN0568.jpg

Pirate party doesn't seem crowded, stairs seemed crowded, but if you go a little after the crowd it might not be that bad. I have seen worse at Disney World parade at night.:goodvibes

my2disneyboys
02-06-2012, 08:38 PM
Here is deck 11 during the Sail Away -

http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/395928_10150624301626411_509141410_11694078_183731 3769_n.jpg

And here is where we watched it from on deck 12 -

http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/s720x720/419195_10150624302076411_509141410_11694082_512050 307_n.jpg


Yes, it's going to be crowded. There are 4,000 people onboard. Any time everyone needs or wants to be in the same place, it will be uncomfortable. But, aside from trying to get back up after the muster drill, I find it can be easily avoided.

Could you watch it from where you were - or only on the big screen? I have little boys who have dreamed of the sail away party for the last year and wantd to see it. You can see the crowds in your photo of people up on deck 12- we were up on deck 12 and adults were pushing my kids out of the way so THEY could see it. Anyway u look at it, Disney overbooks the cruises and it makes it less magical for us cruising.

Conservative Hippie
02-06-2012, 08:39 PM
I posted those pictures as examples of what the deck looked like at most times as I passed thru it. It wasnt only like that at Pirate night lol:rotfl: It was like that most of the time on the ship. True the floor was a pool- but all those people were in it! The stairs not only looked like that when we departed for castaway.... it looked like that during any event/show time!

That is awful if the stairs were always like that. Having been on 2 3-nights, both sold out, I've never seen anything like that.

ruadisneyfan2
02-06-2012, 08:43 PM
If I didnt have kids my review would be SO different. The adult areas were so quiet and peaceful and relaxing. We boarded at noon and the scene was INSANE. I actually almost had a panic attack. There were kids running and screaming and slipping and falling all over the place- my 4 year old got knocked down. I tried to go into the Newmos reef with them because the pools were so full but there were so many kids inside of Nemo's reef at 12:00 Noon that I was scared he would get hurt in there.

My only real complaint and what would keep me from booking another cruise was that I didnt have that magical feeling at all. I didnt get to experience many special family times because in order to be in a public area and not get trampled you had to be in the 18 plus area.

The magic I find is not on the pool deck. It's when room service calls our cabin after I have afternoon coffee delivered just to say, "Mrs. B______, how was your order from room service? Is there anything else we can do for you?"
Or our dining room server (who we've had 3x now) show my DSs how to perform a magic trick with forks, toothpicks, & salt/pepper shakers, painstakingly showing them where they're going wrong, how to make it right and every night bringing them a pile of forks & toothpicks, without being asked, so they could practice.

This same server, Daniel, was our assistant server in 08 on the Magic with Rafael who recognized me (in sunglasses) in 09, a year later!!, and stopped to hug & tell me he just saw my parents at the adult pool. :eek: Then I saw him again in '10 at CC handing out wipies near the BBQ entrance. Again, he didn't know my name but recognized me still 2 yrs later with a big warm hug & a "hey how've you been?" :goodvibes Even hugs dh. :laughing:
I'll be requesting him for sure when we sail the Med in '13.

This last time, Daniel told my ds15, then 14, that he didn't need to bring him a menu anymore, that he could order his dinner every night: the beef, medium, baked potato. :lmao:

Sure AP is loud. It bothers my parents too. They say it sounds like a school cafeteria. When it gets too much, we have a Palo night. :thumbsup2

gilsan
02-06-2012, 08:46 PM
We were also on the same cruise. We booked last minute and I expected it to be crowded, it was our first cruise and really have nothing to compare it to.

I do agree that there were many kids running in the halls and seemed to be lacking an parental supervision. One of the tables near us had 4 kids and the parents seemed oblivious to their running around the dining room. We also had a family near us who wrote all over the cloth table clothes with crayon :confused3

I was also surprised at the behavior of he guests at the shows. We only attended the last show and arrived on time, I thought they did not admit you to the theatre after the performance began, boy was I wrong. People were in and out the whole show. Adults were carrying on whole conversations during the performance. I was actually shocked at the behavior. We had attended a movie the day before and there was hardly any noise from the audience.

A good time to go to the pools was during the first show and first dinner seating. My daughter watched all of Tarzan from the pool the first night. There was only about 10 kids in the pool and the aqua duck was a walk on. We did the aqua duck the second night and waited about 15 minutes. I did not think that it was very crowded during the pirate show.

I was not thrilled with the kids club, I found that the councilor were not that attentive and my daughter did not have a great time there. Twice I picked her up and she was upset. It is a little disappointing since the ship really promotes how great the clubs are.

We also did the 80's music trivia and had fun. The champagne tasting was good. When we were leaving to get off the ship at Castaway Cay we went down to the exit at 9:35 and waited until 10 so we were some of the first people off the ship.

Overall we enjoyed the cruise, but we did not try to do everything, so I think that helped. We rebooked, ( I haven't received a confirmation code so I think we rebooked;) ), on the fantasy for 2013 for 7 day cruise and I expect we will enjoy that more.

One other thing I didn't enjoy was the number of sick kids with phelmy coughs. It seemed everywhere I was there was some kid coughing on me. Needless to say I now have a cold.:headache:

Conservative Hippie
02-06-2012, 08:47 PM
Could you watch it from where you were - or only on the big screen? I have little boys who have dreamed of the sail away party for the last year and wantd to see it. You can see the crowds in your photo of people up on deck 12- we were up on deck 12 and adults were pushing my kids out of the way so THEY could see it. Anyway u look at it, Disney overbooks the cruises and it makes it less magical for us cruising.

We were standing by the rail where I took the first photo, and you can see the view I had of the stage (I'm also very short). If I turned to my left I could see the screen. We put the kids up on our shoulders so they could get a good view, but pretty quickly my kids got tired of watching and wanted to dance. I knew if we were down on deck 11 they would not be able to see anything in the crowd, and wouldn't have enough room to dance.

On a side note, if you look nearly in the center of the Sail Away photo, you can see a toddler in pink. She was running around on the stage pretty much the whole time and no parent tried to get her! Cast members kept getting her and carrying her back to her mother?/an adult female sitting down, but then the mother? would let go and the girl would be off again....

Silverfox97
02-06-2012, 09:00 PM
The magic I find is not on the pool deck. It's when room service calls our cabin after I have afternoon coffee delivered just to say, "Mrs. B______, how was your order from room service? Is there anything else we can do for you?"
Or our dining room server (who we've had 3x now) show my DSs how to perform a magic trick with forks, toothpicks, & salt/pepper shakers, painstakingly showing them where they're going wrong, how to make it right and every night bringing them a pile of forks & toothpicks, without being asked, so they could practice.

This same server, Daniel, was our assistant server in 08 on the Magic with Rafael who recognized me (in sunglasses) in 09, a year later!!, and stopped to hug & tell me he just saw my parents at the adult pool. :eek: Then I saw him again in '10 at CC handing out wipies near the BBQ entrance. Again, he didn't know my name but recognized me still 2 yrs later with a big warm hug & a "hey how've you been?" :goodvibes Even hugs dh. :laughing:
I'll be requesting him for sure when we sail the Med in '13.

This last time, Daniel told my ds15, then 14, that he didn't need to bring him a menu anymore, that he could order his dinner every night: the beef, medium, baked potato. :lmao:

Sure AP is loud. It bothers my parents too. They say it sounds like a school cafeteria. When it gets too much, we have a Palo night. :thumbsup2

Us too. My DH trying to learn how to fold a napkin in Oct., when our Palo server from Jan (Alvin) came over to help and teach him. Then another server joined in. Not our servers, mind you. By the end of the cruise, he went to the napkin folding class and already knew how to do it. Yes, he's 32 years old and loved it.

The servers knew by the second night that DD will get whatever seafood or pasta featured on the adult menu and a side Caesar salad and a water in an adult glass with a lemon wedge with a Mickey bar for dessert. She loved them and they loved her. That is the Disney difference. Magical indeed.

Or getting to know Alec in the Merchandise shops. We talked to him outside the liquor store on Beat Street for 1 hour. Yes, one hour. We went to see him every day on our 7 night and even saw him on CC. We learned a lot from him about DCL as well as himself. Unforgettable experience.

These are 3 small things. The Magic is there for sure :goodvibes

Those pics actually do not surprise me. The Pirate Party is a zoo regardless of which ship you are on. Packed in. So is the Sail Away Party, and we have NEVER in 4 cruises watched it on the same deck it's on - we always watch it from above. The stairs look like that from about 1:00-1:29pm in the halls while everyone is waiting for their stateroom to open (but never again after that). And, in Jan 2011, the Magic cleared customs super late and everyone was walking off in one huge crowd just like your pic (this is very abnormal - usually you can just stroll off the ship at your leisure).

On the Magic/Wonder, we have always done the pools on Nassau day and have NEVER encountered a problem. We avoid the pool deck like the plague on a sea day and have never even entertained the thought of going there when we first board the ship at Noon (that's lunch time)!

It takes some planning to get savvy, just like going to WDW. Things have improved for us with each cruise we have done and will continue to do so with each subsequent one.

gichicdoc
02-06-2012, 09:01 PM
It did remind me of our first trip to Disney the week after xmas!:scared1: We go offseason now, I plan a year in advance and I know exactly where we want to eat each night and book them 180-days in advance. We have our routine of parks in the morning- leaving after lunch for pool time and quiet time at the resort and then back to the parks or downtown disney at night. For us, our Disney vacations are perfect! I knew leaving the Wilderness Lodge on that last day that I might not like the cruise... its that feeling of knowing you love where you are and not knowing if you will love where you are going. But, hey- I am glad we went and tried it out. I know now that I will not ever do a 3 night Disney cruise again!

These are awesome tips!! Thank YOU!

AmandaRG
02-06-2012, 09:07 PM
We did run into some very well mannered kids too. That always impresses me when they are not around their parents and they are so polite. Makes one want to track their parents down and tell them to be proud!

I have done that several times. If I can see their parents, I love being able to tell them their children have been well behaved!

Silverfox97
02-06-2012, 09:10 PM
I do agree that there were many kids running in the halls and seemed to be lacking an parental supervision. One of the tables near us had 4 kids and the parents seemed oblivious to their running around the dining room. We also had a family near us who wrote all over the cloth table clothes with crayon :confused3

One other thing I didn't enjoy was the number of sick kids with phelmy coughs. It seemed everywhere I was there was some kid coughing on me. Needless to say I now have a cold.:headache:

Part of this is the parents trying to pack everything in. It's like going to WDW and once the fireworks are done there are overtired kids everywhere and either crying, or completely out of control because they are slap happy. Now, I am not making excuses, because this isn't the case for all of them. Some people just do not control their kids. However, this really bothers me because when it isn't the kids fault, they suffer. OP said that she give her kids a break when they visit WDW and that is fantastic. Advise everyone should follow!

We are not super parents, but DD still takes a little nap. She's going to be 5 in March and still takes a nap. So, on the last 3 cruises, guess what she does every day? Takes a nap. We go back to the stateroom, DH walks around, while I hang out on the verandah, or we both hang out together on the verandah. We went back to the stateroom everyday by 1:20-2pm (even on CC day), so that she could sleep. This made a HUGE difference as she was never miserable. Never. She got up at the same time (~7am), took her nap, and then went to bed later than normal, but was fine since she napped, even if it was just 45 min-1hr. Did we "waste" time? Nope. We were all happy because she stayed on a schedule. This is a mistake parents make when touring the parks, too. Pay lots of $$$ for vacation and then pack it all in. That is a 3-night cruise in a nutshell.

Lack of sleep, overtiredness, airlines + the winter season = :sick: At WDW we use hand sanitizer after each ride because in the winter, the amount of people sick is crazy. Ugh.

Conservative Hippie
02-06-2012, 09:29 PM
Part of this is the parents trying to pack everything in. It's like going to WDW and once the fireworks are done there are overtired kids everywhere and either crying, or completely out of control because they are slap happy. Now, I am not making excuses, because this isn't the case for all of them. Some people just do not control their kids. However, this really bothers me because when it isn't the kids fault, they suffer. OP said that she give her kids a break when they visit WDW and that is fantastic. Advise everyone should follow!

We are not super parents, but DD still takes a little nap. She's going to be 5 in March and still takes a nap. So, on the last 3 cruises, guess what she does every day? Takes a nap. We go back to the stateroom, DH walks around, while I hang out on the verandah, or we both hang out together on the verandah. We went back to the stateroom everyday by 1:20-2pm (even on CC day), so that she could sleep. This made a HUGE difference as she was never miserable. Never. She got up at the same time (~7am), took her nap, and then went to bed later than normal, but was fine since she napped, even if it was just 45 min-1hr. Did we "waste" time? Nope. We were all happy because she stayed on a schedule. This is a mistake parents make when touring the parks, too. Pay lots of $$$ for vacation and then pack it all in. That is a 3-night cruise in a nutshell.

Lack of sleep, overtiredness, airlines + the winter season = :sick: At WDW we use hand sanitizer after each ride because in the winter, the amount of people sick is crazy. Ugh.

My kids still nap (or DD at least has "quiet time" even if she doesn't sleep). The first day is still hard for us - both cruises, just as soon as we are able to finally get them calmed down, settled and asleep, it's time for the muster drill! So we get them up, they get wound up again, and are little monsters by dinner time. We have to have a better plan for the next cruise.

my2disneyboys
02-06-2012, 09:31 PM
We were also on the same cruise. We booked last minute and I expected it to be crowded, it was our first cruise and really have nothing to compare it to.

I do agree that there were many kids running in the halls and seemed to be lacking an parental supervision. One of the tables near us had 4 kids and the parents seemed oblivious to their running around the dining room. We also had a family near us who wrote all over the cloth table clothes with crayon :confused3


This is funny but maybe WE were that family!!! BUT we were told to by our waiter to color on the tablecloth!! He even wrote his name. I told the kids they could only do this there and not any other place!!:rotfl2: They thought it was so cool!!! See, we did have fun times and enjoyed our time, we just didnt like the crowds. The meals were so fun and the servers were awesome. Katarina was our server- this is her 4th year with Disney and she was telling us how she works 6 months and then 2 months off. She was so great!! i didnt really get the whole "head waiter" thing and why we tipped him but maybe there is something he does behind the scene!?:confused:

Silverfox97
02-06-2012, 09:39 PM
My kids still nap (or DD at least has "quiet time" even if she doesn't sleep). The first day is still hard for us - both cruises, just as soon as we are able to finally get them calmed down, settled and asleep, it's time for the muster drill! So we get them up, they get wound up again, and are little monsters by dinner time. We have to have a better plan for the next cruise.

I get ya there. DD knows the rule upon entering our stateroom the 1st day is to take a nap. The 1st 2 cruises she was on, she was in bed about 2pm-ish, and then woken up by the announcements for the drill, which start about 3:30pm. On our last cruise, I don't think she ever actually fell asleep that 1st day, but she did get some quiet time. I think you are doing the best with what you are given time-wise.

I think this cruise or our June cruise will be the last napping cruises for her because with starting Kindergarten in the fall, that will be the end of that.

my2disneyboys
02-06-2012, 09:45 PM
One other thing to mention when I compare Disney World to this cruise, is I expect to deal with crowds at Disney- I prepare myself for it and I plan to head back to the hotel at noon to escape it with a swim and relaxing by the pool. I couldnt do that on the cruise. I didn't expect to deal with crowds like leaving the magic kingdom after the fireworks to see the fireworks on pirate night or to go visit the island. I expected the cruise to feel more intimate... oh well!! I hope my review helps others set there expectations when it comes to kids/crowds at a low level and then I am sure their cruise will be so much more enjoyable!!

3xthejoy
02-06-2012, 09:49 PM
DH and I were on that same cruise with our 5 year old triplet daughters and my mother. This was our second DCL cruise,but definitely not the same as our 1st on the Wonder that never made it to CC due to bad weather. Nevertheless... We had a ball. Yes it was crowded and loud,but that's to be expected when booked at capacity. I found it extremely helpful reading all the tips here on what to expect/to do/to avoid beforehand.
We avoided crowded gangway by leaving the ship about an hour and a half after docking. We walked right out without any lines both at Nassau & CC. Aquaduck line isn't as long at the end of the day when everyone is getting prepared for either diner or shows. DH & I took turns riding it with our daughters and waited no more than 15mns,they loved it. We avoided the mid elevators and use the Fwd/Aft ones or used the stairs.
Surprised/disturbed that there were so many unsupervised little ones in the mickey pool & slide. On day 1 there were a lot of older kids in Neemo's Reef. I even had to speak up for a little boy who was pushed by an older kid who clearly did not belong in there (again... No parents in view). That area was ridiculous with kids slipping and falling left and right.
Call me crazy,but I found the sailaway & Pirate party less crowded than when I was on the Wonder. Unfortunately,we did encounter a few rude people during the pirate party,but we didn't sweat it. We decided to watch the fireworks from our verandah instead of going back on deck 12 and it was lovely. At CC I was surprised that it wasn't as crowded as expected.
We did rebook a dummy date,but won't book a 3-night again as it's way too short.Besides... The kids are getting older and I think they can handle longer than 4-day cruise now :)

djnorth
02-06-2012, 09:49 PM
My wife and I were on the 1/29 cruise and were both disapointed with the Dream. We have cruised with disney several times on the Wonder and Magic.
We both agree the food and the service were excellent this trip. The shows were what we have come to expect from disney. Always love Castaway Cay and were not disapointed, perfect day.

The ship itself is to large. The adult area seemed to be an afterthought when it was designed, small pool and no stage for entertainment.
Dining areas were unimpresive. Much prefer the Animators on Wonder and Magic. All the dining rooms reminded me of eating at a high school cafeteria, very loud.

Overall not giving up Disney just the Dream.

mickey2000
02-06-2012, 09:51 PM
Here is deck 11 during the Sail Away -

http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/395928_10150624301626411_509141410_11694078_183731 3769_n.jpg

And here is where we watched it from on deck 12 -

http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/s720x720/419195_10150624302076411_509141410_11694082_512050 307_n.jpg


Yes, it's going to be crowded. There are 4,000 people onboard. Any time everyone needs or wants to be in the same place, it will be uncomfortable. But, aside from trying to get back up after the muster drill, I find it can be easily avoided.

:scared1::hippie::eek::scared1::hippie::eek:

3xthejoy
02-06-2012, 10:07 PM
Deleted

my2disneyboys
02-06-2012, 10:21 PM
Deleted

the stairs were crowded like that after any show or getting on and off for cast away.....

lmhall2000
02-06-2012, 10:24 PM
I don't know if this has been said but I could never do a 3 day cruise! We have done the 10 day Med and 8 day MR...we also try to sail on low 'kids' months :) September or early May....the longer cruises people aren't trying to 'pack it all in' in just a few days or make the most of a ship, things are much more laid back...the port days are awesome b/c if you plan your day correctly the pool can be yours and just one or two other families! :) We just do not do the pools when they're crazy busy! With the longer cruises I do not see it as crazy as I've seen and heard on the shorter ones!! :) So, maybe when they're a bit older and you're ready to try again, give a longer cruise a shot! :) We were commando DW travelers...the kids were so reticent to try a cruise..they gave us the 'just once' and then back to DW! Well, we're going on our 3rd cruise this September and they say, "Maybe we'll do DW after we've been on all the boats." They love it!! But they also love sailing the slower time ships....we did the same for DW..always traveled the slow months..much more enjoyable! :)

3xthejoy
02-06-2012, 10:33 PM
the stairs were crowded like that after any show or getting on and off for cast away.....

I deleted my comment after realizing that you went right before or exactly when the gangway opened,but when we got off & got on CC... There were no lines and we walked right off/on. Like I said in my previous post though: we waited about an hour and a half after they cleared everyone to get off. I also went to the first shows and walk back up to our stateroom on deck 9 to change for dinnner and never encountered such crowd in the stairs. So maybe the time difference is where our differences lay???

The3rdDisneyBoy
02-06-2012, 10:34 PM
Hey there, I am the OP's husband and I just wanted to say I endorse her message.

I think we did expect some crowds, but it was more the rude and unsupervised children. I, at one point, feared that we would be stuck in a Children of the Corn-esque takeover at sea. These kids OWNED the boat and we were powerless against their screams and obliviousness to the world around them. I remarked, several times, that I felt I was trapped on the boat Pinocchio takes over to Paradise Island. It was THAT insane. I even talked with one of the cast members working at the Mickey slide as I watched her have to tell EVERY SINGLE KID, more than once, to not go down on their stomach. Or backwards. Or with someone else. Or before the green light goes off. I mean, seriously, where ARE your parents right now?

I will say, I did see one parent take it into his own hands. As we were getting off the boat to go to Castaway Cay, the father in front of my punched his son in the head and called him stupid. So, we were exposed to some true winners.

And yes...we knew the pools would be crowded. But come on. You couldn't even enter the pool without rubbing shoulders with someone else. It was like Caddy Day at Bushwood.

We know lines. We go to Disney quite a bit. But, I guess, when we got on an island we didn't expect a theme park. We expected, you know, an island. I guess we should have done more research, but I can't imagine someone doing more research than my wife does on these sorts of things. And regardless, even if we "expect it," does that really make it more enjoyable?

In the end, we DID have fun. The days at Disney were, of course, amazing. And we liked many things about the cruise - the food, our stateroom, hanging on the verandah and looking out at the ocean, the amount of fun our kids had at the Kids Club, the quiet time we did get when they were at the Kids Club and Believe was really a great show (yeah, I teared up. Whatevs.) I just think that, for us, Disney World is much more enjoyable. There are crowds, but there are ways to escape them while still not having to go back to your hotel room or sequester your kids.

I am with you hun. Fight the power.

3xthejoy
02-06-2012, 10:42 PM
I think we did expect some crowds, but it was more the rude and unsupervised children. I, at one point, feared that we would be stuck in a Children of the Corn-esque takeover at sea

Haha!!! This had me rolling over as you are so right,lol :rotfl2::rotfl2::rotfl2:

BeeTeacher
02-06-2012, 10:58 PM
I think the OP and OPs husband make some good points. While our experience was indeed different, I think a LOT of this was timing.

After shows we didn't even attempt to get into an elevator. We would look around some at the shops, or check out something else. We did not do early dining and that makes a HUGE difference I think.

This was our very first cruise. I did have a few moments where I was dissapointed. My friend went for her anniversary and her bed was covered with towel swans and rose petals and we didnt have anything like that. We only had our servers sing to us after we mentioned we were celebrating.

The pool area--yeah, it was a mess. I had seen photos on here and so I was not shocked at all. I expected that and would have never let my kids in that pool--it was just too crowded. I imagine its worse on a longer cruise on an at sea day. Maybe if you go again have a quick dinner at Cabanas and get in to the pool during main dining? Or stay on board CC day in the AM and enjoy the ship then and go to CC in the afternoon.

I hope you had fun on CC despite the weather. We sure did--it was very quiet from 1-4--we almost just hung on the family beach it was so un-crowded. I was afraid everyone was at Serenity Bay. Instead, many stayed on the ship.

Anyhow, its obvious people just have different experiences. And truly, I think timing is the key.

BeeTeacher
02-06-2012, 11:03 PM
I want to add...

The pool on the Dream is tiny. I've been to small hotels with bigger pools. Heck, many florida homes have bigger pools. Why on earth is the dream's pool so small?

I've never been on another ship but are all cruise ship pools like this?

Silverfox97
02-06-2012, 11:06 PM
This really makes me sad and I hope someone from DCL is reading this thread. A 3-night cruise is suppose to make people want more & to wet their appetite. They are suppose to fall in love with DCL & book longer cruises. This is sad to see people getting turned off. DCL should be ashamed. The Dream is just a cash cow....

OrcaPotter
02-06-2012, 11:11 PM
Such a shame your cruise did not blow you away! Like others have said, 3-day cruises (no matter what line) are just too short and rushed. I did my first DCL vacation last month and it was my 3rd cruise but first 4-night. It's definitely a different experience when you only have 3 full days to experience everything.

My family loves cruising and I'm relieved and elated that we all had an incredible time despite the shorter-than-we're-used-to trip. I can't imagine how much more rushed I would feel, though, if we were only on the ship for 3 nights. There is so much to see and do!

I will agree, though, that the Dream (and upcoming Fantasy's) pools are way too small for the number of families on board. As a Floridian, though, pools are not a novelty and easily something I don't mind missing. Regarding crowds, my family and I never had too much of a problem with them. We only had to wait a while for an elevator during peak times--such as right before dinner or a deck party. Otherwise, we could walk right on or at least squeeze in. The main pool area was easily the most crowded on the ship. While it would have been nice to curl up on a deck chair and watch a movie, that just wasn't going to happen. We otherwise hung out on the otherwise deserted forward deck 13, in Quiet Cove, the shops, and the adult clubs.

My sailing was January 15th and I was shocked at the number of kids on board. However, I seemed to luck out (I guess?) with how the majority of them were relatively well-behaved and the parents relatively responsible for them. It was rare that I encountered a child or children that disrupted me. We did have a next-door neighbor to our veranda who seemed to have 6 children in her room and they would run laps up and down the room to the veranda constantly during the morning hours and before dinner. The pounding was so loud it sounded as if it were coming from all directions. The children would then play on the veranda, dragging the chairs (a lot of people did this and it echoed), peeking around walls, and generally making you think they never left the room. They also decided it was a great idea to feed the seagulls in Nassau from their veranda and take pictures, which resulted in a huge swarm of sea birds outside our veranda causing a ruckus and making it so we couldn't sit outside. Despite all this, for the most part, our room was quiet at the important hours (we usually sleep in but since we had so much we wanted to do and such short time, we woke up early each day).

My only real complaint is also the badgering of alcohol sales during lunch the first day. Every 5 minutes they'd walk by and ask. It got pretty old. But just like our previous cruises, whenever you were on the top decks, they were out in force making sure you had a drink.

Perhaps because the 3-night cruises take place over the weekend, you get a lot more kids and families who view the trip as a quick getaway where they take a vacation from all responsibilities. The 4-night necessitates families to take their kids out of school for most of the week, so I suspect most of the kids I saw were home schooled or 5 and under. But at the same time, you just never know who walks on board with you!

My parents and I had such an incredible time, we absolutely cannot wait until we go again--and hopefully on a much longer itinerary. Everything Disney did was much more efficient and superior to our previous cruises. Unfortunately, cost is what holds us back. The premium cost has convinced us it's worth it, but only when Disney offers "discounts". I can imagine for a family traveling in to Central Florida that cost is a big factor when equating your experience. My suggestion is to wait until an itinerary on the smaller ships becomes convenient for you, and try DCL again. I love the theme parks, but it's such an exhausting experience compared to a cruise!

rosermama
02-06-2012, 11:15 PM
When we board we take some time organzing our stateroom and then try to take tours of the different kids clubs and the spa and we never run into crowds and see different parts of the boat we never saw or really don't get to experince.

Golf late at night- we golfed after diner it is open 24 hrs a day

Run in the gym it is beautiful- Deck 4 hazordous.

We cruise in Nov and just expect the new ships to be sold out way more than the old ships were because it is a new toy everyone wants a part of.

The adult pool was very busy in April since it was warm - more so than we had imagained but it was still nice and even though there were a bunch of 21 year olds there who I thought would be out of control cause they were loud during the on deck party in the adult area that day but after that they were very nice- it is luck of the draw.

In Nassau most people stay on board cause you get a lot of repeat cruisers who have been there done that and over it already. When we went upstairs that morning with the intention of staying on the ship we saw it was busy already we decided to get off the ship and walk around then go to the pool in the afternoon when it wasn't as busy.

The pool is normally really empty at dinner time, if you don't like a dinning room don't go, go to the pool, order room service or eat at Cabanas and have the pool to your selves. We noticed more people in the pool areas and I think it is crazier than the Wonder or Magic because the kid pool and family pool are all togther.

Go for the double dip if you love swiming, we love CC and we did a 7 night double dip on the Magic in 2009 and it was wonderful. If I didn't love the beach soooooo much I would have probably spent a little more time on the boat cause it is empty. But we have a specfic spot we like on CC and send someone out in the mass crowd to get our spot- plus I normally do the CC5K. I will say that I have had issues with the crowd on this one since I smacked a kid by accident when I was running and he stepped right out in front of me- but I hear they changed some stuff so its not like this as much any more.

As for CC being overly crowded with 4000 people- I didn't think it was since they opened the new beach area, if you stay closer to the ship it is less crowded since everyone wants to be by the new water attraction thing which is really crowded.

I agree with the stairs and the weight we always use the stairs to move about the ship it keeps me from gaining the dreaded 1-2 lbs a day. I even do them in my heels although I have fallen a couple of times.

In regards to the elevators at peak times I was so upset on the Dream and gave up the night we went to Palos because we had to hike from deck 2 up to Cabanas before we could get an elevator to take us the last floor yikes... :sad2: good thing it made me hungry

Also once you have cruised more times you won't feel like you have to get everything in - like the first time you went to WDW

DVC Jen
02-06-2012, 11:24 PM
To the OP - I get it.

Our first cruise was nearly 6 years ago - 7 night western on the Magic. Our DDs were a very shy and quiet 18 yr old and a very social and outgoing 13 yr old. We were hoping that since both of them would be able to hang out in the teen section they would have a ball together. WRONG!

We didn't have a horrible time but I can't say we had an amazing time either. During the sail away party literally as the singing and dancing began, I started sneezing - came down with the head cold my DH had the week before. So I spent most of the cruise on cold meds that made me sleepy and dealing with two daughters that made me nuts!

Luckily I don't remember kids being out of control or parents taking a vacation from being a parent while their children were still with them. I do know that I see that quite often and unfortunately I have been seeing it more and more often lately. As hard as I try to not let it put a hamper on my good time - it still does to an extent. So I get that.

When we got off the ship 6 years ago I wasn't sure cruising was for us - but 6 years have passed.. my girls are both "adults" (19 and 23 when we sail) so we are giving it another go.

I hope it is as awesome for us as it is for so many others. I really want that - but it just might not be.. and if it's not.. that's OK. It just means cruising is not our thing.

Going to Disney as much as we do is not a lot of peoples "thing" I think all of us have experienced that "you're going back again???" What is right and beloved to one is not always what is right and beloved to another.

So who knows.... maybe in a few years you, like us will be ready to try again. If you do I hope for you.. like I am hoping for us that it will be exactly what you are wishing and hoping it is.

:hug:

Silverfox97
02-06-2012, 11:24 PM
Hey there, I am the OP's husband and I just wanted to say I endorse her message.

I think we did expect some crowds, but it was more the rude and unsupervised children. I, at one point, feared that we would be stuck in a Children of the Corn-esque takeover at sea. These kids OWNED the boat and we were powerless against their screams and obliviousness to the world around them. I remarked, several times, that I felt I was trapped on the boat Pinocchio takes over to Paradise Island. It was THAT insane. I even talked with one of the cast members working at the Mickey slide as I watched her have to tell EVERY SINGLE KID, more than once, to not go down on their stomach. Or backwards. Or with someone else. Or before the green light goes off. I mean, seriously, where ARE your parents right now?

I will say, I did see one parent take it into his own hands. As we were getting off the boat to go to Castaway Cay, the father in front of my punched his son in the head and called him stupid. So, we were exposed to some true winners.

Awful. Horrible. Terrible. Disgusting.

I am with you hun. Fight the power.

Really? Fight the power? Come on. Yes, your experience wasn't great. I get it and I agree. That sort of behavior is awful and unacceptable anywhere. However, I hated being dragged to the Magic Kingdom on Christmas Day in 1994 by my parents. It was awful. Every minute of it. Did that deter me from WDW? Nope. I go at least twice a month during off season or more. You guys have made up your mind about cruising DCL again, and that's OK because cruising isn't for everyone. It's going to be hard to "fight the power" on a DCL message board where so many of us keep going back, and back, and back. If every time I went on a ship I had your experience, there is no way I would keep subjecting myself to it. Lucky for me, I started with the Magic and Wonder :goodvibes I am not jaded by Disney, either. I live 20 minutes from the Port of Tampa and have all cruise lines accessible to me, but I choose Disney :thumbsup2 (Usually, it's a great choice.....)

my2disneyboys
02-07-2012, 05:43 AM
Awful. Horrible. Terrible. Disgusting.



Really? Fight the power? Come on. Yes, your experience wasn't great. I get it and I agree. That sort of behavior is awful and unacceptable anywhere. However, I hated being dragged to the Magic Kingdom on Christmas Day in 1994 by my parents. It was awful. Every minute of it. Did that deter me from WDW? Nope. I go at least twice a month during off season or more. You guys have made up your mind about cruising DCL again, and that's OK because cruising isn't for everyone. It's going to be hard to "fight the power" on a DCL message board where so many of us keep going back, and back, and back. If every time I went on a ship I had your experience, there is no way I would keep subjecting myself to it. Lucky for me, I started with the Magic and Wonder :goodvibes I am not jaded by Disney, either. I live 20 minutes from the Port of Tampa and have all cruise lines accessible to me, but I choose Disney :thumbsup2 (Usually, it's a great choice.....)

My DH is a writer- and pretty funny:rotfl2: He means no harm. The kids on our cruise were really just that crazy and it was awful to see so many parents not involved with their kids or worse, the poor boy we saw get punched by his father! This all happens at Disney World too- but I think his point is at Disney we can escape the madness by leaving to our hotel and on the cruise we were trapped. Even escaping to our cabin wouldnt work as we had little runners above us so even sitting out on the Verandah all you could hear was "thump, thump thump thump" :goodvibes

DMMarla07860
02-07-2012, 06:09 AM
This all happens at Disney World too- but I think his point is at Disney we can escape the madness by leaving to our hotel and on the cruise we were trapped.

Sorry you guys felt trapped with the crowds on the cruise ship. I've been on 13 cruises a couple that were pretty full. I seemed to be able to get away from crowds, as for at Disney World, haha I've seen the worse crowds there and I can never seem to get away.

speicher46
02-07-2012, 07:43 AM
i tink we may stick to the two smaller ships then we are thinking of the TA in 2013

We did the EBTA in May of 2011 and have booked the 2013 EBTA as well.
Transatlantic crossings are truly magical.

BeeTeacher
02-07-2012, 07:55 AM
My DH is a writer- and pretty funny:rotfl2: He means no harm. The kids on our cruise were really just that crazy and it was awful to see so many parents not involved with their kids or worse, the poor boy we saw get punched by his father! This all happens at Disney World too- but I think his point is at Disney we can escape the madness by leaving to our hotel and on the cruise we were trapped. Even excaping to our cabin wouldnt work as we had little runners above us so even sitting out on the Verndah all you could hear was "thump, thump thump thump" :goodvibes

If you go again I would suggest deck 12 all the way forward. You go out there where you can see the teen pool area and there is NO ONE there. There are deck chairs and these comfy round benches. We took a nice nap out there, and only a few families would come by and look out the front as we sailed.

Also on Nassau day, go inton Nassau. So many stayed on the ship, it was nice just walking around. You could go get a day pass at a hotel and have some pool time, take a boat tour, etc. When we came back to the ship, we took a nap and then walked deck 4 all the way around and encountered one nice dad and his 2 sons playing shuffleboard. The only other person we saw was a CM cleaning.

Finding the right times is the trick, and maybe if I had my kids with me it would be different. The way you feel is the way I feel at MK on a summer weekend, where I have to leave the park to keep myself from harming someone else's child.

What amazes me--on the cruise and at the parks, is the lack of parenting. As we were headed into Enchanted Garden, some kid was walking in blowing that Kazoo donald duck bill toy you can buy in the gift shops. Right behind me, very loud. Really? WHY would you let your kid take that to dinner? :confused3

Not much anyone can do about this of course and that can happen anywhere.

I also think someone above made an excellent point--the 3 day'ers fall on weekends and there are likely to be more kids on these. Its much easier to take kids out of school for 2 days vs 4-5. We're planning a 7 nighter on our Spring Break and I am sure it will be crazy crowded but I'm not keen on taking the kids out of school for so long since one is in high school next year.

Anyhow, I am sorry you had a bad time. I had a few dissapointments and I think I set my expectation too high for just 3 nights. I've started my report on the reports section, and you will see how the same cruise can be very different for others.

my2disneyboys
02-07-2012, 08:04 AM
If you go again I would suggest deck 12 all the way forward. You go out there where you can see the teen pool area and there is NO ONE there. There are deck chairs and these comfy round benches. We took a nice nap out there, and only a few families would come by and look out the front as we sailed.

Also on Nassau day, go inton Nassau. So many stayed on the ship, it was nice just walking around. You could go get a day pass at a hotel and have some pool time, take a boat tour, etc. When we came back to the ship, we took a nap and then walked deck 4 all the way around and encountered one nice dad and his 2 sons playing shuffleboard. The only other person we saw was a CM cleaning.

Finding the right times is the trick, and maybe if I had my kids with me it would be different. The way you feel is the way I feel at MK on a summer weekend, where I have to leave the park to keep myself from harming someone else's child.

What amazes me--on the cruise and at the parks, is the lack of parenting. As we were headed into Enchanted Garden, some kid was walking in blowing that Kazoo donald duck bill toy you can buy in the gift shops. Right behind me, very loud. Really? WHY would you let your kid take that to dinner? :confused3

Not much anyone can do about this of course and that can happen anywhere.

I also think someone above made an excellent point--the 3 day'ers fall on weekends and there are likely to be more kids on these. Its much easier to take kids out of school for 2 days vs 4-5. We're planning a 7 nighter on our Spring Break and I am sure it will be crazy crowded but I'm not keen on taking the kids out of school for so long since one is in high school next year.

Anyhow, I am sorry you had a bad time. I had a few dissapointments and I think I set my expectation too high for just 3 nights. I've started my report on the reports section, and you will see how the same cruise can be very different for others.

Great tips! Thank you!! Yes looking back now I can already see how if we did things a little different it would have made things a bit calmer. I know we cant do anything about the issue of parents not watching their kids! We had thought staying on the boat on the Nassau Day would be great- the boat would be less crowded and all and now looking back- most people stay on the boat so going to a hotel for the day and spending it on the beach would have been the perfect way to have fun with the kids and relax! oh hindsight!

MrsMinease
02-07-2012, 08:42 AM
It's refreshing to see an honest post about a not-so-great DCL experience, and a post that hasn't gone off the rails discussing said experience. :)

For us, our 3-day cruise was about testing the seas... DH worried that he'd be horribly motion sick, and the 3 day was a great way to try out cruising. We had some of the same challenges that the OP mentioned (we didn't even attempt to spend any time in the pools).

We planned our days around avoiding the crowds, and when we stayed on board in Nassau, we had DS booked for 3 hours of nursery time. It allowed us some wonderful time in the adult areas, and to enjoy a quiet lunch together. It really helped to make the time feel less rushed.

Thanks for sharing your experience!

sabrecmc
02-07-2012, 09:15 AM
I'm also glad to see the responses to the OP have been understanding and helpful, and the OP has a great attitude! Cruising isn't for everyone. 3-night cruises on a sold out ship are not for everyone. We've done that and had a blast, but knew what we were in for.

On the kids run amuck, I do think you see this more on the 3 night, quite frankly. At least, that's been my experience. We had a little girl come play with DD on the beach at Castaway Cay. They were having a blast building a sandcastle. Her mom asked if we'd keep on eye on her while she went to get some food. Sure, fine...well, 2 hours later (yes, 2 hours later!!!), I had to find a CM to take the child so we could head back to the ship. The little girl was crying, Mom was nowhere to be found, did not have her Wave phone, and I didn't even know their last name. So, yes, I think some parents sort of abdicate the parental role for the weekend! That was an extreme case, but I get where you are coming from. On the other hand, I saw lots of families having a great time together, plenty of parents keeping close tabs on their kids and great CMs. In our case, DD loves the Mickey Pool and Nemo's Reef, especially when it is full of other kids. I sit and watch her, but try not to interfere unless there is a problem. I do always know where she is though, but I try not to helicopter parent.

queenreen
02-07-2012, 11:59 AM
My DH is a writer- and pretty funny:rotfl2: He means no harm. The kids on our cruise were really just that crazy and it was awful to see so many parents not involved with their kids or worse, the poor boy we saw get punched by his father! This all happens at Disney World too- but I think his point is at Disney we can escape the madness by leaving to our hotel and on the cruise we were trapped. Even escaping to our cabin wouldnt work as we had little runners above us so even sitting out on the Verandah all you could hear was "thump, thump thump thump" :goodvibes

I am a Disney Expert right along with you and queen of escaping the crowds there. My first Disney Cruise was a 3 day too and terribly frightening. However, my DD and I picked only 1 or 2 things we "had" to do that day and played the rest by ear.

After you go on more cruises you learn how to escape the crowds, swimming at night instead of during the day, usually then you will have all the pools to yourself or share with maybe 2 other families and be able to walk on aqua duck.

Think of it as reverse to the Kingdom, do inside activities during the day, sit on deck 4 and watch the water, do the midship dective agency, then at night enjoy the sports deck or the pools.

Just like you were able to get to "know" Disney World, it takes a couple of times to learn the ships...I highly recommend trying again!

queenreen
02-07-2012, 12:04 PM
We had a little girl come play with DD on the beach at Castaway Cay. They were having a blast building a sandcastle. Her mom asked if we'd keep on eye on her while she went to get some food. Sure, fine...well, 2 hours later (yes, 2 hours later!!!), I had to find a CM to take the child so we could head back to the ship. The little girl was crying, Mom was nowhere to be found, did not have her Wave phone, and I didn't even know their last name.



:scared1: WOW, I wouldn't even think of asking strangers to watch my daughter while I ran to the bathroom, Just WOW

Disney Pal
02-07-2012, 04:22 PM
We went on Disney Dream back in December and I would never go on another.
I was disappointed with the limited acitivities and places to relax for the adults. The kids club was great but so are the other clubs on most of the cruise lines.
The family pools were so small that maybe 25 kids would be in the one and the other was a wading pool. It was so crowded. For a first time Disney cruiser I was expecting more.
We paid alot of money and I really felt it wasn't worth the money we spent. So I know I'll never cruise again with Disney.

princesscinderella
02-07-2012, 07:26 PM
Here is deck 11 during the Sail Away -

http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/395928_10150624301626411_509141410_11694078_183731 3769_n.jpg

.

Hey we are in your picture. We are in the front row my husband is the tall guy with the blue shirt and camera around his neck, DD and DS are right in front of him. We went right to deck 11 after the muster drill and were able to get right up front, we had about a 15 minute wait. We were next to the people who were letting their little daughter run under to roped off area I could not believe they were just letting her run around.

I found the three night definitely rushed, but since we already had been on the dream we knew what we wanted to do and how to navigate the crowds. As for the elevators they are definitely crowded after a show or muster drill, but otherwise we had no issues. We went to the pools on Nassau day, right after breakfast, I to DDs to princess meet in the atrium while dh took DS on the aqua duck and were first to ride that day. By 11:30 they were crowded, but the kids got 2 hrs at the pools and were done at that point. That gave us time for lunch and then we took the kids to the club while we did 2 tasting classes. 3 days is definitely short, but it still was fun!

Silverfox97
02-07-2012, 07:47 PM
We went to the pools on Nassau day, right after breakfast, I to DDs to princess meet in the atrium while dh took DS on the aqua duck and were first to ride that day. By 11:30 they were crowded, but the kids got 2 hrs at the pools and were done at that point.

You nailed it! This is ALWAYS what we have always done (minus the Aquaduck as we have only done the Magic/Wonder); we did this on the Nassau days on both of our 5-night cruises and on the sea days of our 7-night. We are outta there by 11:30-Noon when the crowds start piling in. (Plus, we have a pool in our backyard, so for DD, 2 hours is enough time to Mickey slide and play with other kids in the pool and be done.) For us, after that, we go to lunch, and then get some activity in and then it's nap time for DD. When she no longer takes a nap, we'll still keep the same schedule.

I remember walking by the pools on deck around 2pm and the pool deck was terribly crowded.

Of course, that's what we do at the WDW theme parks - in early, out early......

joannalh
02-07-2012, 08:17 PM
To the OPer-thanks for your review; this thread has been very helpful for a first time cruiser (though it's making me a bit nervous.) Also, your husband is a funny guy. :)

Thanks for the tips everyone. I'll be going on my first cruise ever next month. It's a four day, not a three day, so hopefully a little less crazy, and there's been a lot of good information to help us avoid the crowds in this thread. I'm confused about one thing though-what time to get off the ship for CC. A lot of people in this thread suggested waiting to avoid the stampede off the ship, but in a lot of other threads I've read that it's best to go early to make sure you get an umbrella etc. ???

Silverfox97
02-07-2012, 08:31 PM
I'm confused about one thing though-what time to get off the ship for CC. A lot of people in this thread suggested waiting to avoid the stampede off the ship, but in a lot of other threads I've read that it's best to go early to make sure you get an umbrella etc. ???

Enjoy breakfast, then leisurely mosey off the ship. I work out, take a shower, corral spouse and DD to the breakfast buffet, then we go back to the room, pick up our beach things, and head off. Yes, do that - avoid the stampede. There are plenty of umbrellas and chairs. There are not plenty of hammocks, though :sad2:

You'll have a blast! :beach:

JJsmama
02-07-2012, 11:54 PM
Several of the slightly older kids (say from 6 to 11) seemed to be from other countries, so their school system may have had different times for vacations. (please don't think I am saying it was only foreigners that had badly behaved kids - I saw/heard several American kids that were!)


Maybe. A lot of Asia was celebrating Chinese New Year/ Lunar New Year. It is a major school holiday in the region. We were able to do the MR the week before because of that.

jctwizzer
02-08-2012, 06:52 AM
So, there were lots of people and some rude people, therefore you're never cruising DCL again. Have you been on other cruises and were they any different?

Yes. about eight where a multitude of small children were not involved...
we were on the Dream 2/26-2/29, our third disney cruise...I thinki the
shorter cruises attract families with children since they're out of school
for a shorter period. And the kid with the vocal cords like an air raid
siren has been following me for 15 years,,,,airports, airplanes, hotels, etc.
The noise levels in all areas, including the pool and dining rooms were
painful. Many of the rude ones were in wheel chairs which evidently means
you rule the world and everyone else is secondary. We will never do a
short disney cruise again. Over all it was enjoyable to be with our grown
grandchildren, but there are bette ways to do that:cool1:

Brandis
02-08-2012, 07:28 AM
Wow, this looks really bad! We were on a 3 night cruise on the Dream in September and the ship never felt crowded at all! After we boarded and went to Cabanas, we had the place practically to ourselves for the first 20 min. or so.

Also for leaving the ship in Nassau and CC, there was no line. Ours was the only cabana occupied at Serenity Bay.

The only time we saw lots of people was for the Sailaway and Pirates Party, but not too bad, it was pretty easy to find good spots to view the shows.

RedSox68
02-08-2012, 01:28 PM
When we sailed on the Dream last May, we were not in any hurry to get to the Pirate deck party as we had cruised 8 times before. However, we did not realize until the show began how much they had changed it and how much more was going on down below and on the stairs.

When we arrived we were taken aback by the crowds, but moreso by the way they were allowed to cover the stairs with no possible passage to anyone going up or trying to come down. I felt it unnerving trying maneuver our way down for fear of tripping on someone, so when we left we walked all the way back and took those stairs.

The pirate show, however, was awesome and the double fireworks were amazing. Even after seeing it 8 times, it still takes our breath away! :thumbsup2

gilsan
02-08-2012, 02:45 PM
We arrived back from WDW last night and I wanted to post some of my pictures from the same cruise. I agree with previous posters I really think timing was key to crowds. We skipped the shows the first 2 nights, had late dining, and stayed on ship in Nassau. The only time I saw really heavy crowds on the elevator was after the Muster drill.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7155/6842812683_43fba708ee_z.jpg

These were taken on the first day at 5:52pm

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7033/6842808365_f8cb0423c7_z.jpg

The next 2 were taken around 6:10pm

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7005/6842820899_72a6c62dcd_z.jpg

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7142/6842817517_3931418599_b.jpg

The Aquaduck was a walk on at this time.

These pictures of the character meet and greet were taken on Feb 3 (Nassau day) at 3:45

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7159/6842831381_1831eab615_z.jpg

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7009/6842829453_157d9d0810_z.jpg

We did enjoy the cruise and booked a 7 day on the Fantasy for next year. The 3 day gave us a taste of what cruising is and I think that the 7 day will be much better and more relaxing.

I was presently surprised at how little the motion bothered me. I am prone to motion sickness and had no problems and the ship was very rocky on the last night.

Originally Posted by my2disneyboys This is funny but maybe WE were that family!!! BUT we were told to by our waiter to color on the tablecloth!! He even wrote his name. I told the kids they could only do this there and not any other place!! They thought it was so cool!!! See, we did have fun times and enjoyed our time, we just didnt like the crowds. The meals were so fun and the servers were awesome. Katarina was our server- this is her 4th year with Disney and she was telling us how she works 6 months and then 2 months off. She was so great!! i didnt really get the whole "head waiter" thing and why we tipped him but maybe there is something he does behind the scene!?

:rotfl: I don't think it was you guys, at least on of the "kids" in the family was drinking.

Our servers Alfredo and Debora were great and our head waiter Pascal came around every night to see how we were doing. We had changed our dining rotation and he was who we met with to change it. He seemed to recognize us each night when we came in the restaurant so I didn't feel to bad about tipping him:laughing:

RedSox68
02-10-2012, 12:44 PM
Your pictures are great -- but everybody in those pool pictures look like they're freezing. What were your temps like at sea?

gilsan
02-10-2012, 12:58 PM
It wasn't hot that is for sure I would guess the tens were mid to low 20's C so 70-80's F
It was mainly kids in the pool. It was also really windy especially on deck 12.

my2disneyboys
02-10-2012, 01:03 PM
Yes, so your pics were taken during the first seating of dinner (which we were in) I think if I ever do another cruise- w/o a doubt I will choose the 2nd seating just because of the crowds and having that time to enjoy the ship would be nice.

my2disneyboys
02-10-2012, 01:05 PM
We arrived back from WDW last night and I wanted to post some of my pictures from the same cruise.
:rotfl: I don't think it was you guys, at least on of the "kids" in the family was drinking.

Our servers Alfredo and Debora were great and our head waiter Pascal came around every night to see how we were doing. We had changed our dining rotation and he was who we met with to change it. He seemed to recognize us each night when we came in the restaurant so I didn't feel to bad about tipping him:laughing:

Nope - not us!! :rotfl: My kids were only drinking milk :rotfl2:

my2disneyboys
02-10-2012, 01:08 PM
I had talked with a mom while our kids swam in the Mickey pool and she told me that at her dinner there was a table of 8 kids that were seated at their own table. She said they were screaming thru most of dinner- throwing food and putting the bread baskets on their heads. UGH I just can't imagine letting my kids act like that!! :scared1:

WDWKevin
02-10-2012, 02:15 PM
I was on the same cruise and had a blast! IMHO Disney Cruise Line is doing a great job of spreading the guests around to different venues to help with crowding. The only times I saw huge crowds was after muster, at the sail away party and the fireworks. However, on all three of those occasions the majority of the guests are there. Otherwise I never had an issue with the crowds, the pools, or anything else.

There was a backup getting off at Castaway however that was due to a delay in getting docked thanks to high winds and guests not listening. The CD was announcing for people to not go to the gangway until they gave the word that we were all-clear to go ashore. However, guests didn't listen to her words of wisdom and crowded the midship gangway. I just went to the aft gangway and walked right off, no line.

Overall -- KUDOS to the officers and crew of the Dream for an fantastic vacation! Can't wait for my next cruise.

DisneyDee27
02-10-2012, 02:55 PM
I agree with the others who said a 3 nifhter is hectic. I haven't sailed the smaller ships so I can't comment on those sailings. It having spent 7 nights on the Dream sailing b2b I can tell you a 4 night cruise is much better. I wish I had cruised the 4 night last because it was awesome.
The ship is still new and a lot of people want to sail her. I think crowds will be huge through 2013.
Deepirate:

alaska8
02-11-2012, 02:20 AM
[. We also had a family near us who wrote all over the cloth table clothes with crayon :confused3

Not sure if you were aware (it took us a couple of days to realize) but the crayons are washable and are provided by the servers for the kids to draw on the tablecloths :)

my2disneyboys
02-11-2012, 06:44 AM
[. We also had a family near us who wrote all over the cloth table clothes with crayon :confused3

Not sure if you were aware (it took us a couple of days to realize) but the crayons are washable and are provided by the servers for the kids to draw on the tablecloths :)

Yeah- the servers told our kids too- they loved it!! the only problem was the crayons were melty and we all had crayon all over us!!:rotfl2:

mmouse37
02-11-2012, 07:07 AM
Last fall we had to close a thread that got too heated about the "drawing on the tablecloths" debate.

Some thought parents were horrible for allowing it and the kids were heathens for doing it.... but bottom line is....if DCL servers are encouraging it then don't pass judgment on the people doing it.

MJ

joannalh
02-11-2012, 08:34 AM
Agree. Obviously the table cloths are going to be washed after each meal; washable crayon on them doesn't make any extra work for anybody.

gilsan
02-11-2012, 09:51 AM
As the poster who originally questioned the colouring on the table cloth, I will say that I did not realize the crayons were washable or that it was encouraged by the servers. Our servers never mentioned that colouring on the table cloth was ok, so it was surprising to see adults marking up a table cloth with crayon.

Not trying to start a disagreement, just stating that without knowing it was considered to be acceptable, it seemed like an odd choice for a family of adults. They were the only ones near us who were partaking in the colouring of table cloths so it did stand out. Perhaps if we were in a section with multiple colourers it would not have seemed as out of place.

nannylori
02-11-2012, 02:53 PM
Just to get back to the original subject-we'll be on the Fantasy MV & I'm expecting some hectic times,just due to the large amount of people. It will be our 6th cruise and third with Disney,with the previous two on the Magic. I'm glad we did the Magic before getting on a Mega ship,because it does give us something to compare it to,but I'd be lying if I didn't say I have some trepidation going on such a large ship. With it being just me & DH,we can make use of the quieter adult only areas,but I'm certain it would be a different experience with grandchildren along. If I could give one tip, it would be to start your first cruise on a smaller ship & actually,a longer cruise. When it's 7 days,you do get more opportunities to relax and get more of a true feel for cruising. As for me & DH,we've never been on a cruise shorter than 7 days. It takes at least a day to unwind & get your head in that vacation mode,plus,if I'm packing,then I'm not going through any unpacking for at least a week!!!!:hippie:

braysmommy
02-11-2012, 03:53 PM
Last fall we had to close a thread that got too heated about the "drawing on the tablecloths" debate.

Some thought parents were horrible for allowing it and the kids were heathens for doing it.... but bottom line is....if DCL servers are encouraging it then don't pass judgment on the people doing it.

MJ

I agree with you!
Last May my DS4 accidentally colored off the edge of his menu one night. As I was reminding him to be more careful our assistant server overheard me, picked up a handful of crayons and drew all over the tablecloth. The two of them continued to see who could draw the best. I did remind my DS this is something we only do on the Mickey ship.:rotfl2:

pixarmom
02-11-2012, 04:34 PM
Hi my2disneyboys! Thanks for the review - it's very balanced and I think it's really important for cruisers to know about the crowd issue.

We were first-time cruisers last August. We sound like your family - we love Disney and decided to try a cruise. Part of the reason is that we thought the Alaska cruise would be an ideal mix of something new and something Disney, but we needed to give it all a trial run before committing to the 7-night for 2012. The best way for us to do that was to book the 3-night to see how it went. It was crowded, but we also had a great time and we think the Wonder 7-night to Alaska will be different in a good way.

Here's what helped us on the Dream:

1) The verandah. Loved it! Necessary for me because I get claustrophobic, but a lovely place to escape the crowds.

2) Late boarding. We took DCL transfers from BWI and arrived late, as expected. We walked right onto the ship after a quick check-in and straight to our room. Yay! We walked up to Deck 11 just to check out the craziness, laughed, snapped a photo of our boys laughing and then left that deck ASAP!

3) Early mornings at the pool. We arrived at the pool around 7:30 or 7:45am both mornings and it was EMPTY. We were literally the only family in the pool and in the hot tub for a good long time two mornings in a row. Our ship was packed, arrived in Nassau late and didn't stop at CC, so there were lots of people around and on board - they just weren't awake yet! I have photos of our youngest in the Mickey pool all by himself. We lined up for the Aquaduck at 8:55am and were the first family on the ride. By 10am, we were done with our swimming for the day (and with most of Deck 11, for that matter!)

4) The stairs. From the beginning, we planned on taking the stairs always. And that's what we did - so I didn't get frustrated with the elevator crowds.

5) WDW at the beginning and the end. We started our vacation with two nights BWI CL and ended with one night BC CL. That way, if there was something we didn't like about the cruise, it wasn't our whole vacation. And we really enjoyed the cruise, but loved our time at the resorts before and after.

6) Great servers and a quick breakfast on the last morning. We arrived at breakfast a few minutes early, told our servers we would like to eat quickly and it worked! Super fast breakfast, then lined up and walked right off the ship - all very fast and easy.

We don't plan to book another 3-night cruise in the future, but this was perfect for our purposes last year. Really looking forward to the Wonder in August!!!