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Old 06-16-2011, 02:23 PM   #1
LollieFollie
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Disney Dream, June 6-12, 2011

This was our second cruise with Disney. Last year we got a surprise trip from the Grandparents to go on a 4 night to the Bahamas on the Wonder. I had hardly any time to prepare and had no idea what to expect. It was the BEST trip we have ever taken!!! Before we were off the boat last summer we knew that we absolutely wanted to go on another Disney Cruise as soon as possible.

As soon as we booked our 5 night double dip on the Dream I started looking around on the internet for tips to get the most out of our cruise and quickly found the Dis boards. These boards have been an amazing resouce and wealth of information!!
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I joined our Cruise Meet threat and decided to participate in the FE Exchange. For those of you that have never done it, DO IT! My kids had so much fun checking to see what was in their pockets every time we went back to the cabin and it was so fun to explore the ship and track down the other cabins participating and sneak in our treats.
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If I had nothing to compare it too, I would have given our cruise 2 big green thumbs up. ...but...

In comparison to our cruise last summer on the Wonder I missed a lot of "Disney" touches. Disney sets the bar high, and once you come to expect their exceptional service and attention to detail anything short of that stands out like a neon sign.

We had a Deluxe family oceanview stateroom with veranda, room 8144. It was just around the corner from the laundry room. I was worried that there would be extra traffic and noise because of that but it was not an issue at all. In fact, it was very handy. We were close to Aft elevators but convenient to Midship elevators as well. Our room was spacious and beautiful. The verandah was wonderful but not oversized. Our stateroom host, O'dell aka the Whatsup Man, was fantastic. The room was always tidy, he made at least 1 towel animal every night and left chocolates on the beds.

Our dining rotation was EG, RP, AP, AP and RP but we did Palo's on the first night and Remy on the 4th (Pirate) night. This is where the problems came in. Our servers were Jersen from Hondouras and Lisette from Spain. I don't know where the disconnect was but we did not have a good experience with them. I wanted to, I REALLY, REALLY wanted to but they were off every.single.night. I don't know if the fact that we were not at dinner for the first night threw them off, although since I made reservations for Palo online months ago I would assume that they would have been prepared for that. It seemed like they were inconvenienced or offended that we didn't come to dinner the first night. There were constant language barriers which is odd because my husband is fluent in spanish. My food at Royal Palace was sub par. My appetizer of the spinach souflfe was way over cooked and the cheese sauce over it was cold and congealed. I know that it must be very challenging to feed over 4,000 people at one time so my expectations were not high. My husband had the lobster appetizer and it did not taste fresh to me, at all. My 8 year old wanted to try escargot and we all agreed that it was good.
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She also had the cream of mushroom soup which really good. I ordered the filet for my entree. It came with a potato side and a reduction sauce. The sauce was burned, plain and simple. I would have never said anything about it and just eaten the steak and potato (which were both yummy) without the sauce but our server just happened to be at the table when I took my first bite and he could tell by the look on my face that something was wrong. I tried to tell him that the sauce was burned but that it was okay, I would eat the rest of the dish without the sauce. But no, no, no he insisted that he take it back and bring me another one. Now, honestly, I would have rather kept my plate. It rubbed me the wrong way that he insisted on bringing me another one. But I knew that he had good intentions and just wanted me to enjoy my dinner. So 5 minutes later he brings out a plate with the steak and potato only and the sauce reduction in a separate bowl and said "the chef said the sauce is good, this is what a reduction taste like." Great. Little did Jersen know, and little did the chef know, but I like to cook. I know how to cook. And I know what a balsamic reduction should and should not taste like. And I can promise you that I didn't pay $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ to sit at our dining room table on the Disney Dream to debate it. The whole ordeal, which should have been a complete non-issue, completely set the tone for every other meal. All of our other dinners in the main dining rooms were awkward and uncomfortable and very un-Disneylike.
My husband ended up saying something in passing to our (fabulous) waitress at breakfast the next morning and she said something to Simone who was the Head Server, Dining Room Manager, I'm not exactly sure what his title is. Either way, he was the guy above Jersen and Lisette. I was uncomfortable talking to him because I knew that they would get in trouble and it wasn't really their fault. Granted they brought my kids the wrong drinks, I never got a refill on my water and they had zero interaction with my kids at dinner but I could tell that both Jersen and Lisette seemed to be under at lot of stress and I felt like they were nervous wrecks trying to be perfect that kept them from being relaxed and natural. I knew that saying anything other than praise and compliments would only make things worse.
So, for dinner the next night we went to AP. We had a fantastic table (which Simone was very quick to point out to us, to make sure we knew they were trying to make us happy) right next to one of the screens where Crush comes out and talks.
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Before I looked at the menu I noticed the table next to us had several orders of fried calamari. I had no idea it wasn't on the menu, I swear. My kids happen to love fried calamari so when Jersen came by to take our order I mentioned that I was excited about the calamari. As soon as the words were out of my mouth I could see the panic on his face. Calamari wasn't on the menu. The table next to us had put in a special request for it the night before. I told him it was fine, no big deal, but again, he was insistent that he was going to do something about it. So he comes back and says that tomorrow night he would have calamari especially for us. Great, except we aren't eating in the dining room tomorrow night, we have reservations at Remy. Which again, were made months in advance online and I'm positive that they have record of that. So then he goes off again, comes back with Simone, they are acting like we're having an emergency when all the while, I've said "HEY, IT IS NO BIG DEAL YOU DON'T HAVE CALAMARI." Simone tells us that we can have calamari on the last night. Okay, awesome. Let's just order our food and enjoy the show at Animators. I don't even remember now what we got for appetizers or entrees but they were good. The food was much better at AP. Except for halfway through our meal, Simone makes this big production of bring out a covered plate of, you guessed it, CALAMARI! I'm about to break out in the hives at this point. I do not enjoy unnecessary attention. I do not like to feel like people are falling over themselves trying to please me when I don't have a problem to begin with. I like for servers, bar tenders, wait staff in general to feel relaxed, pull up a chair, chit-chat and get to know us. And they totally missed the mark. It was like a run-a-way train I could not get back on track.
So on top of all of this drama over the calamari, again, zero attention to my kids and all of our drinks were empty. That's what I care about. Not special order calamari or a burned sauce. I care that my kids feel like special little princesses. That they are having the most magical time possible. And we just could not get them to understand that. They also didn't understand the dine and play deal with the kids club. The CM's in the club told us to let our servers know that we wanted to do the dine and play. They looked like they had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. But my husband I kept an eye out for the CM's and walked the girls over to go play. Once I got back to the table I was ready to enjoy an adult drink and some adult time with my husband . There is a notation on the dessert menu that says something like "be sure to ask your servers for one of our delicious coffee drinks made with specialty liquers" so, we did. They had no idea what we were talking about. They took the menu from us, read it to each other, gave it back, got all flustered, looked at us like we had 3 heads until my husband was like, you know what? I'll just take an irish coffee. They didn't know what that was either. I think he ended up with just a plain cup of coffee. I ordered a Cosmo, which thank the Lord they knew how to make! It was so good!! But I didn't care to order a dessert, I just wanted a bite of my husbands. Jersen seemed so offended that I didn't want dessert. "How about if I make you a special small icecream sundae?" "Maybe you would like to try the trio of desserts?" This isn't the straw market, I don't want to be haggled! I just want to drink my Cosmo, thankyouverymuch. Anyway...
Our 3rd dinner was at EG. This was the last night of the cruise and the kids decided they wanted room service and to go to the kids club instead of dinner. We get to our table and sure enough, there is a gigantic plate of calamari, some crab legs and fresh bruschetta. It was really good but again, I felt like they were offended that the kids weren't at dinner with us. I only wanted the Tuna appetizer. After the calamari and crab legs and bruschetta I wasn't that hungry. It just blew my servers mind that I didn't want anything else. He asked if I wanted it before my husbands entree or with his meal and I said "Whatever is easier for you, I don't have a preference." But he was so stressed out. I guess I could have just ordered an entree to make him happy but honestly, I'm proud of myself for making some healthier eating habits recently and have lost 25 lbs. Not eating when you are not hungry is a big part of that. Anyway, I wanted a glass of wine and DH wanted a rum and coke with a lime. Lisette could not understand what he wanted, at all. Eventually she figured out what rum meant ? and (I think) asked him what kind he wanted. Captian Morgans he said. What does she bring back? A glass of Captian Morgans and a plate of lime slices. It's comical at this point.

Okay, more to come later. We really did have a great cruise and I'll share those parts next!
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Old 06-16-2011, 02:31 PM   #2
loveysbydesign
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wow...what a cruise thus far! I hope the Dream doesn't fail us as we cruised on the Magic in 2009 and it was fabulous!
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Nov. 13-22 2007-2nd trip to WDW with Baby Hartley #3-it's a boy!!! Total cost including airfare, condo. rental at WH, park tix and rental car =$2200
May 2009- 3 nights in a 2 bedroom at SSR and then our 1st Disney cruise on the Magic! Total cost for 2 Cat. 12's -upgraded to Cat. 10's=$2900

June 11-20 2010- Our super cheap, surprising the kids, 1st time driving, celebrating Ryan's 3rd birthday trip! Total cost=$950
Nov.12-22, 2010 Took our in-laws along for their 1st trip ever! Stayed at Indian Creek and had a blast!
Oct.10-15, 2011 Crazy Columbus Crowds(did YES program) & cruised on the Dream Oct. 16-20
Oct. 19-29, 2012 Our trip re-do w/the in-laws, swam w/ the manatees & drove home through Sandy!
June 21-30, 2013 Celebrating our 17th anniversary!
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Old 06-16-2011, 03:07 PM   #3
harleyquinn
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How old are your girls? We're debating taking our DD when she is 4 and wondering if we should wait until she's 5, but I REALLy don't want to wait that long (she's only 2 now!)

Can't wait to hear more!
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Old 06-16-2011, 03:20 PM   #4
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Can't wait to read more... we have read more and more about disappointing servers on the Dream, so we went ahead and requested some that were highly recommended on this board for our cruise a few weeks from now. Hope that we get some better servers. This must have been so disappointing for you!

I'm subscribing to read more of your report!
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:46 PM   #5
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Thanks for a great report and fun pictures!
I was cringing reading about your servers! Such a shame it was all made into such a big-deal. It sounds like the whole thing just snowballed! I started to laugh when the calamari was there for your arrival on the last night! Although it was all a little disappointing I hope writing this report will be good therapy! You write well, with humor, and I'm looking forward to hearing more!
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Old 06-17-2011, 12:35 PM   #6
LollieFollie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harleyquinn View Post
How old are your girls? We're debating taking our DD when she is 4 and wondering if we should wait until she's 5, but I REALLy don't want to wait that long (she's only 2 now!)

Can't wait to hear more!
Absolutely no need to wait til she's 5. My almost 3 year old had an absolute blast! At 4 she's old enough to ride the Mickey slide and might be tall enough to ride the AquaDuck (42" w/ an adult). The only benefit I can think of waiting til she's 5 is age requirements for some of the excursions but that wouldn't be enough reason for me to wait a whole extra year to cruise. Take the first one when she's 4 and rebook on board to go back when she's 5!
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Old 06-17-2011, 01:22 PM   #7
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part II

So for some of the good stuff...
We went to Palo's for dinner on the first night. I will say that we had planned on doing Remy's the first night and Palo's on the 4th night but I went to the hostess stand and asked if they could flip-flop our reservations and it was not a problem at all. We were put on the wait list for Palo brunch but we didn't get called up for that. Next time for sure!!

Dinner at Palo was delicious. We had the tuna appetizer, DH had the Cioppino and it was so good, best I've ever had. My husband couldn't decide between the lamb and the lobster ravioli so our server suggested that he get the lamb and a half portion of the ravioli. Great idea because it was delicious. I don't know what kind of lamb they get on the Dream but it was always so, so good. We had it on the buffet at EG for lunch one day and it was incredible and it was the best dish we had in Palo. Wonderfully prepared and perfectly cooked. I had the gorgonzola gnocci. It was decadent and I was stuffed after about 2 bites. We had tiramisu for dessert.

I almost cancelled our Remy reservations and I am so glad I didn't. My husband forgot to bring a suit or sports coat and a part of the dress I was planning to wear got caught on something in the suitcase and ripped so I was all stressed out with wardrobe issues but finally my husband said, "Wear another dress and I'll borrow a sports coat from the restaurant, who cares, let's just go enjoy dinner." Brilliant. So we did just that, and boy did we ever enjoy dinner. As I mentioned before, I like to cook. And I have an appreciation for well prepared dished and enjoy trying new foods. I personally thought the food served at Remy's was some of the best prepared dishes I have ever had. The service was very formal but friendly, not stuffy at all. The staff was incredibly warm and relaxed. The first thing they do is prepare a signature cocktail called the Collette. It has muddled raspberries, pear vodka (I think), champagne and they finish it with some chopped dried apricots for flavor and also the sugar in the fruit causes the champagne to bubble. It was a nice drink and the presentation was fun to watch.
Next another guy brought out some breads and rolls with butter and a little pot of the most delicious salt I have ever tasted in my life. I seriously considered sneaking the pot of salt in my purse but my husband convinced me that I could probably just order myself some from Amazon. The server shows you how to mix the salt with the butter for your bread. Then a guy brought out these two tiny breaded cubes and said it was tomato soup. I don't know how they made it but sure enough, inside of the cube was a delicious tomato soup. You pop it in your mouth and eat it with one bite. So fun and yummy. My husband and I shared a nice bottle of red wine and we each ordered one of the tasting menus. I ordered Saveur and he ordered Gout, which I realize looks like gout, as in the swollen arthritic foot, but don't let that keep you from ordering that tasting. It was divine! The smoked Bison was amazing. Both menus offered a Sea Bas which were both really, really good but the Sea Bass off of the Saveur menu was served in a thai broth was out of this world good. Everything was just top notch, the only thing I didn't care for was the potato side that came with my beef tenderloin. I didn't care for the texture of the potato or the heavy truffle and pepper flavors but I could still tell it was well prepared. I think it was after the main courses but before dessert our server brought out the most amazing cheese tray I have ever seen in real life. I LOVE cheese She was very knoweldgeable and told us all about the different cheeses, where they came from, what the flavors were like, etc. I was in heaven.
Dessert was delicious but we were so full of wine and our six course meal and cheese plate that they wrapped it up and had someone deliver it to our room. Remy ended up being one of my top favorite parts of the entire trip, I am so glad I didn't cancel our reservations!


Remy night was also pirate night and we got a little bit of a Parent Fail for mostly skipping out on that. We grabbed the kids and raced back to our room to catch the fireworks, only to figure out that we couldn't see them from our verandah. So then we ran up to the top deck and caught the end of the party. The girls didn't care though, they were having a great time in the kids club and the part of the show we caught was fun. My husband and Emma went to the late showing of POTC and the little one and I went back to the room and crashed within about 5 minutes.

here are a few random pics until next time,






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Old 06-17-2011, 01:35 PM   #8
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Loving your TR..especially your review of Remy..we have reservations there next month and I can't wait to try it. It sounds like most everyone gets the tasting menu..love your description of the tomato soup (bite size!)..sounds so unusual but very delish Looking forward to reading more.
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Old 06-17-2011, 02:01 PM   #9
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Servers

This was our 9th cruise...and we have had all kinds of servers. But we had he worst servers on the June 7th Double Dip We had Joyce and Marcia....soooo bad. No interaction with kids...no oragami...no tricks...couldnt even make a ketchup mickey...never refilled drinks....very forgetful...it really was bad. Also Our room hostess Wayne...lifeless...we have been on the Wonder 6 times the Magic twice and the Dream once...we are booked for the Fantasy for next June but I dont know. I may do Alaska on the Wonder just to have an experienced staff is half of the experience. We love Disney we are even on their in room commercial for future booking suggestions...but this was a huge downside....and dont get me started about the crowds near the food and drinks...they should spread them out instead of having them all togehter so the people disperse more.
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Old 06-18-2011, 08:19 PM   #10
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Simone was our head server and we loved him. I'm so confused, though! We were on the same cruise, but had a different dining rotation?!? I wonder if there are two Simone or do they cover more than one restaurant each night?
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Old 06-19-2011, 02:27 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lenshanem View Post
Simone was our head server and we loved him. I'm so confused, though! We were on the same cruise, but had a different dining rotation?!? I wonder if there are two Simone or do they cover more than one restaurant each night?
I may be calling him the wrong title. He was like a dining room manager, one of the ones that wore a white coat. But, I think I have heard on a different thread that there are 2 Simone's. We had the late seating, did you?
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Old 06-19-2011, 08:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LollieFollie View Post
I may be calling him the wrong title. He was like a dining room manager, one of the ones that wore a white coat. But, I think I have heard on a different thread that there are 2 Simone's. We had the late seating, did you?
We were early seating and our rotation was AERRA. There must be two Simones! Our Simone was a head server. Server was Kruno. We loved them both. Assistant server was nice, but a little slow on drinks. Nothing big. He seemed overwhelmed. After reading all the recent reports we're feeling a tad lucky. Sorry about your dining experience. It's really luck of the draw it seems on the Dream!
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Old 06-19-2011, 08:53 PM   #13
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Smile Thanks for your TR! DH likes fried calamari also!

Can you put in a "special request" at say AP for fried calamari?

I also like steak and potato, but I will remember to "hold" any special side sauces!

Thanks very much!!!!!
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:37 AM   #14
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I can't understand why many of the dining room servers seem overwhelmed. I would think that after one week on a ship they would have the serving rotation down pat. Are there really that many brand new staff on the dream week to week?
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Old 06-21-2011, 05:36 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LollieFollie View Post
Absolutely no need to wait til she's 5. My almost 3 year old had an absolute blast! At 4 she's old enough to ride the Mickey slide and might be tall enough to ride the AquaDuck (42" w/ an adult). The only benefit I can think of waiting til she's 5 is age requirements for some of the excursions but that wouldn't be enough reason for me to wait a whole extra year to cruise. Take the first one when she's 4 and rebook on board to go back when she's 5!
Thanks!! That's my evil plan. I want to get DH hooked on cruising so we can alternate between WDW and a cruise each year. Surviving WDW in August every year is getting to be a bit much!
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