|01-03-2014, 04:17 PM||#1|
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Mooresville (Race City), NC
Post Christmas Cruise - Dream Dec 26-29
My wife, two kids and I just took the Dec 26 three night trip on the Dream out of Port Canaveral to the Bahamas and we had a great time. My intention for this Trip Report is to highlight what stood out to us and to point out what we did not properly learn from reading the pages and pages of trip reports and questions on these DIS forums.
We spent Christmas in Daytona so we drove to the port. We had a PAT of 10:30 or 10:45 and we drove on to the port right at 10:30. Our first lesson learned was to drop the bags off and then park. We parked on the ground level, unloaded and brought our bags to bag drop-off. The baggage guy suggested we go back over the garage and wait on the 3rd floor. We’ll get it right next time.
Once they opened the check-in area things started moving quickly. I was very impressed that there were at least 20 CM staffing the check-in. We did not try for an upgrade. We were assigned the boarding group 3 and made our way over. Just like the airport, the people with higher boarding group numbers were clogging the area, but we squeezed our way through. We made our way through the first photo shoot and then on to the ship. I was picturing a different type of gang-way because it seemed like we moved from one room to another and we were on the ship. I suppose when I last cruised, over 20 years ago, things were different.
The Dream is very impressive. Both while we were in Port Canaveral and Nassau, a Carnival ship and a Norwegian CL ship were docked near us. Everything about the Dream seemed to be superior. Top to bottom, the Dream is a classic ship. It is easy to imagine what cruising was like 100 years ago on the luxury liners. The Carnival ship looked much older and dirty. It had many fewer cabins with verandas. I noticed they had a CAT diesel generator container on the top deck chained down behind the funnel. The Norwegian ship may have been a little bit bigger than the Dream but it did not have the classic lines. My DW said they had someone dressed as a turtle character at the bottom of the gangway in Nassau but the passengers seemed to avoid it.
My DD and I headed to lunch at Cabanas while DW and DS went off to find Edge and the Detective Agency. The many bar staff CMs eagerly greeted us with the drink of the day as we stepped outside on the 11 deck. I purchased one and enjoyed it. The buffet was impressive and we found a spot on the aft rail. I remember reading the crab claws were grainy because they were refrozen but I had to try them because they looked so good. They were grainy.
DS is 13 and uses a wheelchair. The ship is very wheelchair accessible. The only exceptions were a couple of the thresholds had a small lip that required a wheelie because they were fire doors. The hallways are narrow and the housekeeping carts that always seem to be in the hall need to flush against the wall for him to zip by. He spent a lot of time in the Edge tween club which is in the mid ship funnel up on the 13th deck. It is only accessible by one staircase and only one of the six mid-ship elevators. And that elevator had a key reader that only read his KTTW card. He quickly figured the system out and had a great time.
We stayed in cabin 8090 – cat 4b accessible Deluxe Family with Veranda. It was huge. When we were going into the room one time, someone that was in the hall behind us remarked that the room must be a suite. I believe it is 50% bigger than the typical room in that class. The accessibility features are top-notch. The door opens with a swipe of the KTTW card and the bathroom is great. Based on the shower design and equipment we are planning changes for the kid’s bathroom at home. The room is very near the mid-ship elevators and I cannot remember hearing the neighbors even once.
We had 1st seating for dinner. Our service team was awesome and we shared an 8-top table with a mother and her 14 year old DS. Conversation was friendly though light because we were always busy eating. The service team was awesome and on top of everything. I was prepared for long waits for food based on complaints from other posters. My guess is since we were at the dining room as it was opening we got our orders in before the rush. The food was awesome and we never left dissatisfied or hungry. Again, I was left with a good idea of what cruising was like 100 years ago.
We did not plan any excursions in Nassau but I did make two trips off of the ship. My DD and I were some of the first tourists into Nassau though not necessarily the first off the ship. Pretty much everyone that got off before us was waiting for an excursion. We milled around the Straw Market and snapped a few photos of the ship. The vendors in the market were nice. I was expecting worse based on the comments in other posts. They would ask if we needed anything or suggested we check out their wares. Everything looked alike and was probably made in China. The last time I was there (20 years ago), there were “Bahama Mamas sitting there weaving hats and bags. A little latter my DW decided she wanted to look around the market. She is in international merchandising and deals with foreign manufacturers but I had no idea she knew how to bargain. She was awesome! Never pay what they suggest. There is a reason nothing is priced.
For CC I had pre-booked the Bottom Fishing trip and snorkeling for myself. DD did her thing with the teens and DW and DS waited for me to return from the morning fishing trip to head to the beach. The fishing trip was nice and everyone (8 of us) caught something. Everything is catch and release. Even a shark was caught. Very exciting. By the time we got to the beach it was packed but we were able to get a beach wheelchair for DS and we did find a spot in the shade of a palm tree. Snorkeling was great - though you had to swim quite a ways. For late December, the water was great. We had gone to the beach in Daytona and the water was numbingly cold.
On purpose, we did not do anything that required standing in line. I am glad my kids are over the character interactions like they once were, though it was cute seeing all of the little girls wearing their Disney Princess dresses waiting in line to meet their favs. We did not do the Aqua Duck and only once did we have our picture taken before dinner and that was because we were early and there was no wait. It was also nice not having to share the family/kid pool area with all of the families. The adult areas are very nice and much quieter – with the exception of the whir of the occasional prep of a fruity drink.
Other than the first drink before we left port, I did not order drinks. I brought a bottle of Bacardi (it’s a pirate’s life for me) on board with me and it served me well. I did buy a six pack of rum cakes (it’s still a pirate’s life for me) while I was in port. Each night at dinner my kids got the non-alcoholic drink of the day and two of the three nights I got one of the other drinks. I am pretty sure this is where Disney makes all of their $$.
One area we found the ship needs help with is that the CMs need to know where things are a little bit better. My DW and DS went to find the Edge tween club. It is in the aft funnel on the 13th at the mid-ship elevators. The few CMs she asked pointed her in the wrong direction. Most kids access the club through a special staircase. My DS is in a wheelchair. Only one of the mid-ship elevators goes all the way up. An Edge CM told me it was the elevator on the far left. Did not tell me I had to be facing the starboard side of the ship. It is the only elevator that has a button for the 13th deck. They did tell me that only a kid in the tween age range can access it with their KTTW card. At first, waiting for that specific elevator to show up was a chore but he figured out if he rode any mid ship elevator to the 11th floor, got off and pushed the UP button, only that one elevator would arrive. My DW was also misdirected to the spa. She also thinks Disney is “missing the boat” on the retail side. They would do better to have more of the Disney Store merch.
All in all it was an awesome vacation and we will be back. We just cannot decide where to go next.
|01-30-2014, 06:34 PM||#2|
Earning My Ears
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Central Florida
Thanks for posting the review. I'll be on the Dream next month, and your report was very helpful (especially the info about The Edge).
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