|04-14-2013, 08:05 PM||#1|
Earning My Ears
Join Date: Apr 2013
Disney Dream trip report - April 11-14, 2013
Disney Cruise Review
Disney Dream – 3 Nights Bahamas – April 11-14, 2013
Embarkation—returned Hertz car to rental lot, which is 1 mile from terminal. Free shuttle was no problem. It was kind of confusing figuring out where to park and the line was quite long to pull into the terminal by vehicle. No bathrooms visible until you went through security and up the escalator. Carried on bags fine. Lines were long but moved pretty quickly. Castaway Club line seemed just as long/slow as regular line.
Rooms – Had two connecting Category 10A deluxe inside staterooms (9079 and 9579). Were sooo glad we got two rooms. It was way too claustrophobic for 4 people with just one room, plus with a 3- and 6-year old, it was nice to let them nap or go to bed earlier in one room and be able to be awake with the lights on in the other room. Rooms were identical and were equally good—can’t go wrong with either. Magical porthole was nice and really gave an illusion of looking out a window. Other family members had balcony rooms 8072 (nice, central location) and 10158 (at very end of ship, but larger room and enormous balcony…occasional whiffs of ship’s fuel and could hear music on balcony, though). We were hesitant to book a balcony for fear of children falling off but that seems unfounded—it looked safe. A bigger concern was no child lock to prevent toddlers from opening the door and going in the hallway! We moved chairs/tables in front of the door at night to keep the 3-year old from constantly opening the door.
Things we did not need – Nightlight. Our rooms had a “nightlight” button built-in the ceiling, plus the clocks had such a bright blue face/light that the nightlight was unnecessary. Jackets. We had brought light jackets thinking that it might get cold at night. Nope.
Things we wish we had—A 6-pack of cheap bottled water to bring on-board. Yes, there’s free water up on Deck 11…but it’s up on Deck 11. More snacks for the kids. Yes, there’s room service, but when the 3-year old is hungry, he does not want to wait. Thank God we had pretzels, Cheezits, etc. but not quite enough.
Things we were glad we brought – Two white noise machines. Our rooms were fairly quiet but when the ship was truckin’ it the first night, the walls were a little creaky. Also, the floors are metal, so you can hear people above you and also some kids running down the halls. Don’t get me wrong—it wasn’t terribly annoying (and I am a person who is annoyed by hotel noise), but I would have been much more distracted if not for the white noise machines. Water shoes. Kids were falling down right and left on the Nemo splashground—it’s quite slippery in bare feet. My 3-year old stopped busting it when he put on water socks. They were also handy at Castaway Cay due to shells/coral. Float from dollar store—packs flat, inflates for water fun, can be thrown away with no guilt at the end.
Things we liked – Aqua Duck (6-year old loved it, Mom and Dad loved it, even Grandma rode it). Disney’s Believe show. Character appearances…it was much less of a hassle and wait to see characters on the ship than at Disney World itself. The kids’ club seemed well-run and safe. I was worried that my 3-year old would be mowed down but he stayed with his sister and the counselors told me they really watch to make sure the little ones don’t get trampled, plus there are a lot of organized activities, such as sing-a-longs, so perhaps there’s less opportunity to fight over toys, etc. that way. The adult areas of the ship were really peaceful (not that we spent much time there, sadly). The Cove Café lattes were really tasty. Service was great everywhere. Castaway Cay was perfect—just what an island should be! Families on board generally supervised their children well…I would say overall the kids were very well-behaved…and there didn’t seem to be so much of a focus on midnight buffets and eating all the time like some cruises. We were parked next to the Carnival Sensation and our ship looked literally 10 times nicer. We also were parked next to the Norwegian Epic, which looked stunning.
Things we didn’t like—Too much TV all the time. Yes, I realize Disney is a movie empire, but there is TV playing at dinner, TV playing at the pool, etc. Thank God there wasn’t TV at Castaway Cay, but it wouldn’t have surprised me if there was! Also, there is such a thing as too much Disney music being played over the loudspeakers. (Call me a Scrooge.) I was relieved to hear “normal” music at Castaway Cay. The Villains Tonight show was horrible. It was scary and inappropriate for small children with too many double entendre jokes, plus it was just plain badly written and boring. The spa was pretty but it is annoying that one is not allowed to use the Rainforest Room if one has already paid for a $118 massage. You’d think admission would be included if another spa service is purchased.
Things we would change next time – Three nights is not enough. We started our trip with 2 nights in Orlando and a day at Animal Kingdom (which, at almost $400 for 4 people, made me feel quite ripped off, and it was CROWDED!!). Next time, I would take a 4- or 5-day cruise. There were several parts of the ship that I never got to see. We would spend more time on the adult decks and put the kids in the clubs a little more (we only used it about 3.5 hours, which certainly does not pay for the hefty price difference one pays for Disney). I do think, however, that the higher price does attract a more polished crowd.
Disembarkation—Although the 6:45 am breakfast time was ghastly, and having to bring your luggage with you in order to be able to do express disembarkation was slightly annoying, it was really easy getting off the ship. No lines, no being herded like cattle like some other ships, no waiting forever. We flew out of Melbourne instead of Orlando, which I highly recommend. A very small airport with few restaurants, but easy to get in/out (only about 7 gates), short lines, free kids’ play area, free wi-fi, etc. No tolls on the roads to get there, and 20 minutes closer than Orlando.
Overall opinion – A customer-service oriented cruise line that takes care of its ships. We would definitely consider cruising with Disney again. Our kids loved it. As I said, it was a bit too commercial for me, but not so much that it would prevent me from going again.
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