April 25-28 Disney Dream
First about myself - My 30th birthday was April 25th, the first day of our cruise! This was my 7th cruise and I have been on Princess, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Disney (when I was 17?). My husband and I have been married for almost two years now and this is his 4th cruise. We have no kids and seasoned travelers. We chose this cruise because I wanted to be on a cruise on my birthday. My favorite thing to do is travel!
We came into Orlando the night before the cruise. Took a half day at work and parked at the economy lot at Philly airport - then took off around 6:15. We landed around 9pm - grabbed chick-fil-a and one thing I should note for those coming into the airport in the evening is that the restaurants were all closed by 9. Our choices for food were really limited. We got a Hyatt gift certificate to make our stay cheaper (you buy one for yourself a head of time and it significantly cut down on the price).
The Hyatt is very nice - friendly staff and nicely decorated and modern rooms. Good toiletries and there was a good, strong hair dryer. We were up by 7:20 and out the door by 8:30, they had a very convenient web check out I did on my phone.
We grabbed some Starbucks for breakfast (not as good as back home - no sandwiches or toaster for bagels) and by 8:45 we were at the transportation area. They had us sit and wait since we were there so early but by 9am they were lining us up. Showed photo ID and our spiral booklet. Oh and you don't line up at the same area as the resorts - you are by the door - they put up signs to tell you where to go.
We arrived to Port Canaveral by 10:10 and there were two other cruise ships next to us - Carnival Sensation and Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas. Before we left the bus someone from the cruise line was suppose to come to talk to us but I guess we were too early because they weren't there! So we were allowed to deboard and get in line for security. That was pretty fast and then a short line for castaway club members.
They said we should be allowed to board around 11:30 and they passed around Navigators so I could plan the rest of the day! Really happy to see that Oz the Great and Powerful is playing- I really wanted to see it! Also Wreck it Ralph is playing - one of my husband's favs. Might try that in 3D. I am partially blind and sometimes can't see 3d. For example I couldn't see Captain EO or most of Muppet Vision 4d but I could see Philaharmagic. We will see how it works out.
I had made the stupid mistake of making our return flight way too early (10:15) and have fully accepted the fact we may miss our plane, however, I called Disney beforehand and explained the situation and they said that the bus arrives for the airport at 7am and if we walked our luggage off ourselves we had a chance at making it. So I checked in with guest services to make sure I didn't need to do anything special and the girl tells me that the bus doesn't even arrive until 8am oh and by the way your transportation is non-refundable. So now I am panicking and call up a car service just in case, getting really upset and decide to go back to guest services to talk about getting a refund. Same girl goes back to talk to her manager who I guess tells her she is wrong, buses to the airport arrive at 7, buses to the resorts at 8am. So I decide to stick with the Disney bus.
We brought our bathing suits with us so after all of this fuss we go on the aqua duck and someone gets stuck 3 people ahead of me, they have to walk her down the tube without the water going, 15 mins later we are back on track and it was a blast! After that we go have lunch, great buffet comparable to Royal and better than princess. Loved the lamb. Then we walk around, go hang out at our room and see the show - Golden Mickey which was very good! Our dinner was at 8:15 at the Animator's Palette and we had a great table next to two screens. It was a great experience though I was slightly disappointed with how little Crush interacted with us and didn't actually tell individual people happy birthday (it was a generic happy birthday to everyone). Food was excellent and when we were done eating we went back to the room. The tv has very few stations, none with movies and ABC doesn't work when you're at sea. We mostly watched old Disney cartoons.
We woke up early, got breakfast at Cabanas and then went to one of the theaters for the ride to Blue lagoon for our shore excursion Dolphin Swim. Within 30 mins we were on our way and took a 30 min boat ride. The swim was excellent, you get life vests and kiss, hug, and dance with the dolphins. I declined the push when they push you up and through the water but my husband did it and enjoyed it. We had intended to shop and have lunch in Nassau afterwards but the area around the ship is kind of dirty and unpleasant. The boat back actually stopped on Paradise Island on the way back and now I wish I had gotten off. Atlantis is overpriced but it at least is clean and feels safe.
So we ended up going right back to the ship - too late for lunch at Cabanas so we had to go to the burger place. Wasn't so great, I don't recommend the chili.
After lunch we went back to our room, took a nap and then off to Villians Live. That was excellent really enjoyed it. Then went shopping, got my Christmas ornament like I get on every trip and my husband wanted to get a shirt or jacket but they were soooo expensive I get since they were by Nike.
Before we knew it, it was dinner time and we were at the Enchanted Garden. It was really beautiful and we had a half booth/half chair table. Food was excellent again and afterwards we went straight to the fireworks show. The whole show with Jack Sparrow was lame but the fireworks were awesome. We only stayed for the fireworks and then left.
Afterwards we went to the only 2D showing of Oz the Great and Powerful that also happened to be close captioned. I am partially blind so a lot of times can't see in 3D and so we had to wait to see it until the 11pm showing. I was very excited to see it since I had intended to see it in theaters and it was great! Other movies playing throughout our trip included Lincoln and Wreck it Ralph (3D). By 1am I was exhausted and we went straight to bed.
We got up a little later at 9am since it was such a late night. Got breakfast at Cabanas and then off to Castaway Cay. I deliberately made no plans since everytime we are in the Caribbean my husband wants to just lay on the beach but there is no time with all of the excursions so we headed straight away to Serenity Bay, got a lounge chair toward the right end of the beach (plenty of space at the end with fewer people) and got served our drinks. We tried out the water and it was so cold! Saw Jack Sparrow pass by and just laid around. Had lunch at the BBQ and the ribs were excellent, highly recommend! And warning to those who like to experiment and do silly things with their dessert - ice cream sandwiches don't work all of the ice cream melted by the time I got to the table!
We went back to the beach after lunch and lounged around more before heading back to the ship.
we got back to the ship and discover how truly sunburned we were... took a nap and I didn't feel like going to the show so we ordered some light room service (I always have to order room service on cruises, it's free!) and watched the show on tv. Kind of glad I did, I would probably say it was my least favorite of the three. All three shows are honestly kind of similar, the songs we know but shown off in a different way. I would personally like to see Disney Cruise lines bring in maybe some of their Broadway shows - maybe the ones no longer in production.
The sunburn kind of made me feel sick and tired so I wanted to get through dinner quickly, which was a shame. I really enjoyed the wine selection, so I had a glass of wine every evening - Moscato, Asti champagne, and Riesling. All were great.
We got dessert to go which I actually ended up eating for breakfast since I wasn't hungry. We had an early morning so I pretty much immediately went to bed.
Next morning we got up bright (er not so bright actually, it was still dark!) and early at 5:30am. Did the remaining of the packing and got ready and out the door by 6:40am. I felt really stressed about getting to the airport on time since everyone kept on telling me how our flight was too early. They opened up the doors and let us leave at 7am and then we got through customs really quickly. It was super easy taking our own luggage, no having to look around for it and since we were up so early got on an elevator super quickly. We got on the bus at 7:15 and we had to wait over 20 mins to take off so the bus could fill up. I gotta admit I was getting nervous but we were at the airport at 8:15. Also I want to note that the guest services was kind enough to print out our boarding pass for us, which definitely saved us time.
The security line was maybe 15-20 minutes long, not bad at all. We were there and at the gate with time to spare, so I was very happy with how quickly we got there. Though I will never make that mistake again, it's not worth the stress!
I have to say that the Disney Dream was the most beautiful ship I've ever been on (I've been on Explorer of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Disney Magic, Grand Princess, Carnival Celebration). I was also surprised by how the ship didn't seem overran by kids than any other cruise ship. I didn't feel like I was the only adult without a child. I think the service was about up to par with Royal, not quite as good as Princess. The food was up to par with Royal, better than Princess. I would say Royal will continue to be my favorite for two reasons - 1. The price is a bit better and 2. More destinations and ships. I definitely plan on going back though, maybe next time with kids of our own. I love the idea of starting off a trip at WDW and then moving onto the cruise. Though even the 7 day cruise sounds nice, I'd like to see what Disney has to offer on an at sea day, I don't think I got to experience enough of the ship because of the lack of a sea day.
All in all, a lovely birthday and I had an incredible time!
We were on the same sailing!! I'm sure we'll sail DCL again, but our next cruises will be RCCL (adding Barbie experience for my daughter) and Norweigan.
We were on the same sailing!! Loved it!!! I have only been on one other ship (Norwegian) and hated it and swore I would never cruise again!! But then my Step Mom offered to take us on the Dream and boy am I glad I did!! I am now in love and cant wait to go again!!
Wonderful, well written review. You really took your time to break it down thoroughly.
Reviews like this, give people like myself, ideas when their turn is up for a cruise.
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