The latest over the top fun-boat to be added to lineup of Port Canaveral cruise ships is the Disney Dream. Although not as big as many of her competitors, she more than makes up for it by offering guests a lot of Disney magic on the high seas. From the moment guests walk aboard, they are immersed in a Disney world full of fun, entertainment and food to excite and tantalize everyone, regardless of age.
The magic, or in this case the Dream, begins as soon as you walk on board. The atrium area is smaller than most cruise ships with their dizzying heights. However, the attention to detail and Disneyesk nuances are a feast for the eyes as you to stand and pick out every minute detail. Guests are welcomed aboard by last name and with great fanfare by cast members, which becomes a bit irritating after the third announcement.
The cabins are roomy and efficiently laid-out. One of the coolest features is that all of the beds are on four-legs not pedestals as on most cruise ships. There are three distinct advantages, 1) It gives more storage room to put a variety of items underneath including suitcases, life-size Mickeys and the occasional stow-away. 2) There’s no seam down the middle, which on other ships is the result of putting two single beds together to make one. I don’t know about you, but I have lain awake at night fearing a chasm might open and swallow me. 3) The open area underneath eliminates the constant stubbing of toes, which can be very painful to one or all 10-digits. That small feature also helps reduce the litany of curse words that usually follow such unfortunate accidents. After all, young impressionable children are likely to be within earshot. If you are prone to clumsiness, you should also be wary of the two exposed legs at the end of the bed.
There are a variety of outside cabins with traditional-size portholes and very large round bay-window size portholes. In addition, there are balconies of varying dimensions and configurations available. None of the rooms have obstructed views. The lifeboats have been designed into the ship and do not obstruct the vista from any of the cabins. Disney has even incorporated portholes into the interior cabins as well. How you ask? The portholes are actually screens that change scenes regularly or show real-time outside pictures of the surrounding environs while in port. Doing so introduces light into the cabins to reduce the typical black-hole feeling on most cruise vessels.
In typical Disney fashion they have thought of (almost) everything. For example, it has been widely written and stated by couples traveling without kids that they do not feel overwhelmed by the little people. This is accomplished in several ways. First, as you might expect the kid’s programs from toddlers to 17-year olds are so awesome they don’t want to spend any more time with their parents than is absolutely necessary. Secondly, there are adult’s only areas that provide really cool venues including a pink champagne bar, an explorer’s club and a lounge with images of world cityscapes that change regularly.
The onboard spa offers pampering options for adult guests and even teens. From teeth whitening to an old fashioned Swedish massage, virtually every possible treatment is available. The spa has warmed tile-lounges where you can sit and relax your muscles before partaking of some “me time”.
To say there are some very cool features on the Dream is like saying the Great Wall is a really long stone fence. One of the most obvious is the AquaDuck water coaster that carries intrepid guests 42″ and taller through a huge acrylic tube around and over the top deck. Guests ride in rafts and experience myriad thrills plus panoramic views up, down and all around. There’s a portion that even juts out over the ocean 11-stories below. One of the newest features is the interactive art. Walk up to any of the pieces found throughout the ship and watch them come alive. There’s even an interactive mystery challenge incorporated into the art. In addition, each cabin has two portable phones that allow kids and grow-ups to stay in contact with fellow tribe members anywhere on the ship. The variety of entertainment venues is very impressive. No expense has been spared in their quality, appearance or attention to detail.
Dining is anything but boring. There are many eating options throughout the day in a variety of locations. In the evenings, guests move to a different dining experience each night. There are a total of three main dinning rooms each with its own unique theme. It’s not just about eating, but being immersed in truly imaginative environments as well. And of course there’re the characters walking around and through each of the dining venues, which are a delight to kids of all ages.
Evening dining is another place where adults traveling without children are amazed by the lack of indigestion caused by rowdy munchkins. As on most cruise ships, early and late seating options are available. Disney presumably uses some computer magic to group guests so families and couples are seated in different dining rooms and at different times. This way couples traveling without children can enjoy relative quiet without the mayhem associated with feeding kids that are hyped-up on sugar and excitement. Wait staff moves with the guests to a new dining venue each night to maintain continuity throughout the voyage.
There was one major disappointment during our visit. Disney is the master at crowd control, but they really blew it with the queuing process for lunch in the Enchanted Garden restaurant. As in most buffet-style dining venues, people lineup on either end to forage for food. However, the lines stretch out into the public areas past booths where people sit and eat. At the same time others are trying to go back and forth to get seconds and/or dessert. Guests have to negotiate around and through the human maze, which is no small feat with kids in tow and while trying to balance several plates at once. On top of that, the food options were limited compared to many other cruise ships. The food tasted good, but was by no means over-the-top.
I do not pretend to cover all of the amazing attributes found on the Dream. For that, you have to experience it yourself. Here are the three things I do and do not like about the Disney Dream: Do like: 1) beautiful ship with extreme attention to detail and one-of-a-kind features, 2) the number of adult and kid venues that are strategically located apart, 3) number of room layouts and options. Don’t like: 1) eating lunch at the Enchanted Garden, 2) expensive (not saying it isn’t worth it, but you have to save a lot of pennies compared to sailing the same number of days on other cruise lines), 3) ceilings seemed very low, and it felt a bit claustrophobic in some locations.
Disney has already starting booking it’s newest ship the Fantasy, which will debut in 2012 at Port Canaveral. If you want to sail on one of the newer or older ships, you must plan ahead, because they sell out quickly. Whether you go on a three or four-night cruise from Port Canaveral, with or without kids, you will not be disappointed. Let Cooney World Adventures know if we can help determine which ship and number of days is right for you.
|Mike Cooney, Cooney World Adventures – In 2008, Mike and his wife Catrell decided to sell virtually everything they owned to take their three teenage sons on an around the world trek. Their year long odyssey included six continents, 22 countries and more than 61,000 miles. They have traveled to nearly 50 countries, and now own and operate a full-service travel agency. They use their first hand travel knowledge to help others experience exciting adventures too. Contact Mike and Catrell at www.cooneyworldadventures.com or call 407.477.5833.|
Originally Published on October 12th, 2011