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Old 09-05-2013, 10:25 AM   #1
Gambee
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 179

Arrow !! DISNEY DREAM !! To Bahamas ^_^ The Ultimate Review and Complete Pictorial Guide



I want to invite you to visit my blog Cruise With Gambee
Follow me on Facebook and Twitter
As always I have a lot of material to share with everyone.
My reviews are loaded with fun times, great pictures and as always an unbiased point of view.


I invite you to come and experience a Disney Cruise through the eyes of 3 adults! :D



Introduction


Lets see, where do I start this time around… I have been cruising for a little over a year, this cruise kinda marks the 1 year anniversary since we started cruising. We have been on a total of 5 cruises, the NCL Sky, Allure of the Seas, X Silhouette, NCL Breakaway and now the magnificent Disney Dream. If you are new to my reviews I invited you to check out my reviews, they are in my Blog. I have also separated all the information into sections, and it makes it easier to access.

Our quest to experience all the cruise lines, has been slightly modified. I think we are now more focused on sailing on the flagships of each company. I am fascinated by innovation and technology, and what better way to experience this than sailing in the best ships each cruise line has to offer. Of course this all comes at a high cost, since those vessels are usually priced much higher than the older ships. But we do what we can with what we have, so its all good .

This time around we traveled with my friend Sarah, I also asked my boy friend to come with us but he decided not to go since Disney is not really his thing. Of course a few days before the cruise he kept giving me a guilt trip, but it was to late to anything about it :-/. So anyway, it was my mom, Sarah and myself in this trip. This cruise was booked about 2 weeks before sailing, due to several complications I had to cancel my Breeze cruise, and I was lucky enough to be able to fit this cruise during that week and have my mother come with us. I really think that a Gambee cruise is a not a real cruise unless my mom comes with, so I was very excited that all the dates lined up together to make this possible.

Something really neat is that all 3 of us are die hard Disney fans, and this is something that we all had on our plans for a long time. Mom and I thought that a Disney cruise would not be possible until 2014 or even later. So you can only imagine the level of excitement that we all had when I finally pressed the "Book now" button and we realized the cruise was really going to happen! The only drawback of the cruise is that it was only going to be a 3 day cruise, as this was the only time that I managed to get off from work. But that really did not matter to us, just the fact that we were able to go on a Disney cruise was an incredible opportunity, almost like a "Dream" I know, I know corny . I just had to keep in mind that in order to document the entire ship, I had to stay moving at all times.

So anyway lets get this party started!!!






Room Selection


We were very fortunate that Disney was holding a very short sale for Florida Residents, and that is pretty much the reason why we decided to finally book this cruise. The sale was a rather odd one, for slightly less (about 2%) of the cost of an interior cabin, you could get any category balcony cabin that your heart desired. I say odd, because from my experience they usually offer sales on all of the cabin categories, in some cases dropping the inside rooms by up to 40%. My guess is that they were having trouble selling a few of the balcony cabins and that is why they offered it. Anyway, lets keep on going, so it was a good sale. I mean we would still have to pay Disney prices, but we would have a much better room enjoy ourself in.

If you already read my Breakaway cruise review, you know by now how much I love AFT balconies. They offer so much more space than the average balcony cabin does (on some ships), and the views are fantastic! So as you can imagine, my first question to Sarah (she was doing the research while I was at work) was if the aft cabins where available with the offer. And surprisingly they where, that got me even more excited. Later on I discovered that just like the Breakaway the Disney Dream cabins also had large extended balconies.

So here is where I kinda messed up... All I have to say is, do your research! I did some research before setting down foot on the cabin, but maybe it was just not enough. Now don't get me wrong it is a great cabin, with one of the largest balconies on the ship (other than suites). The problem you ask? I ended up booking the infamous flag pole room, cabin number 6192.

To clarify it is not all that bad of a room, and in reality I could of changed the room if I really wanted to. But ultimately decided not to do it. Most of the reviews I read have very little to complain about the pole, and since they only raise the flag on port then it was not much of a problem. I guess in a way the benefits outweighed the negatives, the balcony was so big that it was hard to justify a room change. And since it was going to be 3 of us in the room, the extra space was an added bonus to spread around.

If you think about it we were very fortunate to have this room, specially considering that we booked just few weeks ahead of time, and even more with the rate that we paid for it. Overall we were very happy to have that room!




Planning & Details



First I will go over a few points that are different about Disney.
  • In Disney cruise line you're allowed to bring as many alcoholic beverages aboard with you. This drinks are only meant for in stateroom consumption.
  • Unlike other cruise lines, Disney includes soda pops in their cruise fare charge.
  • Disney's Main Dining Room works on a rotation basis, there are a total of 3 MDRs. Your servers also rotate with you every night, and they are known for the more personalized service.
  • They offer "Waves Phones" to stay in contact with your family members when you decide to go different ways.
  • The rooms offer more space, about 25% and they have a split bathroom concept that facilitates everything.
  • There is no casino on board Disney cruises, I could see how this can be a big problem for many. But not for us.
  • (NEW) Disney just now announced that you're able to dress in shorts in their MDR's.


So given those details I will go over our a planning mentality for this cruise. With this cruise there was very little planning involved. For those who know me, you're aware that I like trying different specialty dinning venues. But with the disney cruise we decided not to, we wanted to try all 3 MDRs and we only had 3 dinners aboard this ship. For those intreated in more, aboard the Dream there are 2 specialty dinning venues, Palo $20 (Italian) and Remy $75(french).

As far as port planning we really did not have much planned. The main idea behind this cruise was to spend as much time getting the Disney experience as possible. We had already been to Nassau, and had no major plans on anything to do there. As for Castaway cay, we wanted to see how different it was from the other cruise line own private islands. Plus maybe get some snorkeling done :D. But I really had no plans on any other than a lazy beach day.

Since we live in Ft. Lauderdale, it was just about a 3 hr drive to Port Canaveral. I also made reservations in Park N' Cruise to park our car for $8.00 a day instead of the $20 if you park in the terminal itself.

Other than there was not much in the way of planning, it was going to be a quick getaway and a chance to sail on Disney Cruise line.



Camera

I am a proud owner of one of the Sony NEX systems, more precisely the Sony NEX-F3. This camera is possibly the most affordable camera on the NEX lineup, yet she still has the same sensor as some of its more expensive siblings (the NEX-F3 is being replaced by Sony with the new NEX-3N, although most reviews claim that the F3 is a better performer). What makes this system so great is that she delivers quality pictures while still being such a compact size. I cannot say enough good things about this camera. This is possibly the best camera that I have ever owned and one that is very easy to travel with due to her size. I have considered upgrading to a full frame DSLR, but honestly, since I am a really easy going person, the thought of carrying a heavy camera while traveling just turns me down. I love great pictures and I won’t settle for just any system, but I have finally found a compromise in my camera’s weight, size and picture quality. This is, after all, my vacation ;-).

I also carry a few lens with me:

The Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar 24mm F1.8. What can I tell you about this lens? This is my absolute favorite piece of glass! This is my #1 lens. If I was told that I could only travel with one lens, then this would be it. If you see interior pictures, the odds are that they were taken with this lens, as it is very fast and it delivers very good pictures (even during the most unpredictable situations). Of course, all this comes at a high cost, but unfortunately that is the sad part of photography… good equipment is just not cheap.

The Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 is my only zoom lens. It is a pretty basic lens and nothing really special to write about here. As long as there is enough light it performs pretty well, however, it does tend to struggle when light becomes scarce. Hopefully, Sony will soon release a faster zoom lens, but until then I am very happy with this one!

The Rokinon 8mm F2.8 Fisheye lens is just a really fun toy to work with. This time around I really did not use this lens at all, I am not sure why. Maybe it was because I was not carrying my bag like I usually do. I am also considering selling this lens.

How does the camera perform with the provided kit lens? For those of you wondering, she does very well. She might not have the capabilities of low light that the Zeiss has, but the overall pictures are excellent. If you are thinking of buying it, I can guarantee you that you will not be disappointed with the results!



Underwater Camera

I am constantly looking for better equipment, in an effort to improve my underwater pictures I recently acquired a new rugged camera. I went for the Olympus Stylus TG-2 iHS Digital Camera, this camera is an overall excellent tough camera, with good image quality. I hold a very high standard for my pictures, and in a way I compare all my pictures to my NEX camera results. I know this is not fair as the sensor of the cameras simply don’t even compare in any possible way, but still it is just something that I do. Not only does this camera offer good picture quality, but she is also a dream to operate! Everything about it is just PERFECT! I guess you would have to play with it to really see what I am talking about. I highly recommend this camera for those days when you find yourself in a shore excursion on a boat, or snorkeling around in your favorite island. I am very happy with this upgrade, my old underwater camera was not to my standards, this one DEFINITELY pleases me. Oh I forgot the GPS in this camera is possibly the BEST one that I have ever used to date! Not to mention that it has a really fast F2.0 lens, that allows you to shoot pictures with poor lighting without a flash. If you’re looking for an all around great rugged camera that is a blast to use, this is your baby!



The New Addition

So one day in my Celebrity review someone suggested looking into the Sony DSC-RX100 20.2 MP Digital Camera this was a product I was not familiar at the time. This camera is basically Sony attempt to make the BEST point and shoot EVER! And I have to say that they pretty much accomplished it, the camera is a solid performer, and paired with a 1 inch CMOS censor she delivers some solid pictures. The main reason I bought this camera was to try to have a light camera when I don’t feel like hauling my NEX setup with me. I would like to conclude by saying that the NEX still delivers way better pictures, but the RX100 still holds her game with impressive results. One thing you should look into is the Illustration mode on the RX, it is the only camera to have this mode, and it delivers some very cool pictures. keep an eye open for them. Overall I am very excited to have bought this camera and added her to my tool kit :D.



Software & Image Hosting

For most of my picture editing I use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5. Like I said, I am not a pro. I use this software for some light color correction and sharpening. It is also great at compressing 5mb files into 400kb files with minimal quality loss. The one thing that I don’t like about Lightroom is that it is not capable of doing panoramas on its own. For panoramas I use Adobe Photoshop CS6. And lastly, for collages I use Picasa, and Paintbrush for adding arrows and text to some images.

I also host my images on Facebook for those who just like browsing through pictures. Feel free to ask for a friend request and follow me on Twitter.

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