The Disney Dream sailed it’s maiden voyage in 2011 as the first of the Disney Dream class ships. It’s recognisable by sorcerer Mickey as it’s stern character and Donald Duck in the Grand Hall. The following is an overview of the ship, it’s facilities and some of the things we’re glad we knew or wish we’d known before we went.
We booked a guaranteed stateroom with veranda which meant that we didn’t get to choose our room but were guaranteed that type of room or better. We ended up in room 7652 which was towards the back of the ship, just around the corners from the lifts. We couldn’t fault it although we don’t have anything to compare it to.
Our room had a double bed and a sofa that made up in to a single bed for Pip. There was a curtain that went across the room so that she could have her own area at night. The TV was on a bracket the two areas so could be watched by her or us after she had gone to sleep.
There was plenty of storage with 2 large wardrobes, several drawers and desk area and cupboards. There was also space under the bed for suitcases and bags if needed. Despite the space not being massive we didn’t feel crowded and having the veranda was a huge bonus especially for watching the ship come in to port and just sitting in the sun.
During your cruise you are allocated a room host, he or she will look after you and your room for the duration of your cruise. Our host Gerald was fantastic. He started off by tracking one of our bags down that had gone missing, pretty impressive since the label with our room number had fallen off and we had only given him a vague description of it. He made up the room every morning and turned down the room and made up Pip’s bed very night including a different towel animal each evening and bedtime chocolates.
You will not go hungry on a Disney cruise, there are so many different food options and you can get something to eat 24/7.
The Dream has 3 main restaurants; Animator’s Palate, Enchanted Garden and Royal Palace. Each has a different theming and a different menu. Each day one of these will be open for an a la carte breakfast and lunch.
There us also Cabanas up on the pool deck which is buffet style and open for breakfast and lunch (in the past it has also been open for dinner but wasn’t on our cruise). The pool deck also has Filmore’s favourites, serving sandwiches and salads, Tow Mater Grill, serving burgers, hotdogs etc grilled to order) and Luigi’s Pizza.
The pool deck (Deck 11 also has 2 drinks stations for soda/ fizzy drinks, hot drinks, water and ice, these are available 24/7. There is also the self serve ice cream machine with it’s rotating flavours which was a massive hot.
If that’s not enough food for you then you could always stop by Vanellope’s on deck 11 for a selection of cakes and sweet treats (these are all at an additional cost) or book yourself in to Palo or Remy’s which are the 2 adult only restaurants that serve brunch and dinner at an additional cost.
Finally there is 24/7 room service. We had breakfast in our room a couple of times which was great as it meant we could get ready at a more leisurely pace. Breakfast can be ordered the night bore by filling in a card and placing it on your door handle before bed and room service can be ordered at any time via the phone in your room.
Disney is one of the only cruise lines to do rotational dining, so you get to try all the restaurants onboard but keep the same servers in all the restaurants. On our 5 night cruise we ate in each of the main restaurants wit their main menu and then Animator’s palate again with the Pirate night menu and Enchanted Garden with 2 different menus.
During the cruise you are allocated a server and an assistant server. On our cruise they were only allocated 2 tables so we pretty much had their undivided attention but on a full cruise they would have more. We loved our servers Alejandro from Honduras and Tarik from Bosnia and Herzegovina, they felt like friends by the end of the cruise and they took such good care of us.
Everything is included in the cost of the cruise except Vanellope’s and Palo and Remy.
The Navigator App
The Disney Navigator Cruise app is genius, everything you need to know about your cruise on your phone. The only downside is that you do need to have your phone with you most of the time so no escaping technology while you are away.
You need to download the app before you go and there are two options for logging on, the first is for while you are not onboard. This mainly just gives you access to your booking, you room number and check-in information. There is also a countdown to the cruise that Pip checked regularly to see how long we had to go.
Once you are are on board your can log on and get all the information you need. You can see all the activities happening each day as well as where all the character meet and greets will be, your dining rotation for that day and anything else you have booked.
The app can also be used to communicate with others in your party, the messaging option allows you to send messages over the ships wifi without needing to sign up for the wifi plan and it’s free to use. Children are able to use this feature without an account once they are on board and it was a great way to keep track of Pip and let her message us to tell us where she was or if she wanted meeting from kid’s club. You are also able to give your ID to others so that you can message other people on board.
If you’re like me and you like to plan what you are going to eat in advance you can also access the menus for each night and room service.
There are various different internet packages available whilst on board. If you choose not to pay for internet you will still be able to use the Navigator app to message your party and others on the ship. We found that iMessage and Whatsapp also worked without a wifi package. I was also able to get notifications from the other apps on my phone, so I could see the first line of an email or who had posted in a facebook group but not actually read the email or open the facebook app.
Andy did pay for a 24 hour basic package but found that it wasn’t great, he could browse social media but web pages wouldn’t load. However they do have better packages and we have heard that they are rolling out an improved internet on all the ships in the future.
The are 4 different kids clubs on board split in to different age groups:
Pip was 10 at the time of our cruise. We started off by visiting the Oceaneer club and lab and we really impressed by how much space there was and how many different activities there was for the kids to do. The 2 areas are next door to each other and on our cruise the children were able to go between areas although based on things I have read, this isn’t always the case. There are a number of timetabled activities through out the day like dance parties and games and the rest of the time there are smaller activities set up and free play. We were able to set it up so that Pip could sign herself in and out of the club herself but if this isn’t something you are comfortable with you can keep it so that they have to be signed in and out by a named person.
When you sign up to the kids club your child is given a wristband to wear which they scan in and out of the club. This is charged at approximately $12 which is refunded if you don’t wish to keep it.
We were also able to sign a waiver so that Pip could attend Edge even though she wasn’t quite old enough. This is a smaller, more chilled tween/ teen area which has areas for video gaming and movies as well as activities run by the counsellors. They also spend time out and about around the ship doing activities.
Pip attended both and thought they were both good, she liked that the characters visited so she got to see Pirate Stitch at Oceaneer Club. The disclaimer on this is that Pip is not a fan of kids clubs, she wouldn’t normally willingly chose to go but she went along a few times and didn’t hate it. The kids clubs are open all day and in to the late evening so there is always somewhere for the kids to hang out with their new friends if they don’t want to do stuff with the boring grown ups.
As Disney’s main business is entertainment it wouldn’t be a Disney cruise without it and it comes in several forms. There are the main shows which are amazing, full Disney shows on board a ship. We saw The Golden Mickeys, Beauty and the Beast and Disney’s Believe. I may have shed a tear or two at Beauty and the Beast and Believe. There was also the on deck parties for Halloween and Pirate night and the Sail Away party and also some entertainment in the Grand Hall.
On top of the shows there are also things like quizzes and bingo to get involved in although we didn’t have time for this and Andy did a beer tasting which he enjoyed. Then there are also the Disney films shown on Funnel Vision at the pool and in the cinema. Funnel Vision usually shows the classic animated films and then the cinema has newer films, we watched the new Pinocchio film. There are also a huge number of movies on demand on your TV in your room so you will never be far away from a Disney film.
The ship has a massive range of facilities so it’s probably easier just to list what there is.
There is quite probably more that I have missed as well. We were really surprised by the range of facilities and because it is Disney they were always pristinely clean.
The usual US tipping rules apply on board. There are four automatic gratuities added to your account at the end of the cruise unless you instruct Disney not to add them, these are for your Room Host, Head server, Server and Assistant Server. There are different amount added for each one per day. On the last evening you will get a set of envelopes and a sheet with the total amount for each person left in your stateroom. You are then encouraged to put the slips in the envelope and give them to each person, this also allows you to add extra cash or adjust the tips at guest services if you feel they have done a particularly good job. These gratuities are added to you account or you can pre-pay them in advance.
A gratuity of 18% will be automatically added to any drinks or coffes bought on board. Room service is free but it customary to tip the person that brings it. From what I could see online the rule of thumb is usually a couple of dollars per plate unless you are getting lots, then a little bit more would be acceptable.
If that made no sense, there is a much more detailed and succinct explanation on this blog post.
There are lots of photo opportunities throughout the cruise. Every character meet has an official photographer with them and there are also photographers with various backdrops on an evening in the Grand Hall so that you can get photos done when you are dressed for dinner. There were also Halloween and Pirate night back drops for those nights. Additionally there were photographer during the day at various places. The same again on Castaway Cay. The cast members will also take photos for you on your camera or phone.
You can views your photos throughout the cruise on the screens on deck 4. There are various photo packages to purchase or you can buy individual photos.
Additional things you need to know:
Facebook groups – there will be a Facebook group for your cruise. If you search your dates and the name of the ship you will usually find it. This was extremely helpful for answering questions about what to take, which night was pirate night, how everything works and lots more.
Fish Extenders – Through your Facebook group you can join a Fish Extender group. These are little pockets that you hang outside your room for each person, that your group will leave little presents in. You will see them hanging on doors as you walk around the ship.
Pin Trading – If Disney pins are your things you will see boards outside people’s rooms for you to take and leave a pin.
Ducks – Hiding rubber ducks around ships is a thing, if you find a duck it will have a label on it to say who hid it and a note to tell you to hide it again or keep it. There is also a Facebook group for postimg photo’s of your found ducks.
Costumes – Our cruise was a Halloween on the High Seas cruise so we had both Halloween and Pirate night. You have the option of dressing up for both, some people had hugely elaborate costumes, others just had a t-shirt or accessories and some people didn’t dress up at all. So really it’s up to you how dressed up you want to get, you won’t feel out of place whatever you do.