Updated in July 2019
I missed out on Disney holidays as a kid; growing up, my annual summer holiday consisted of three weeks of being dragged around Cyprus visiting ‘The Family’. Resistance was futile. So being invited onto the inaugural cruise of Disney Dream, I finally had my chance to live the, er, Dream.
Taking the Disney Magical Express is the easiest way to get from the airport to the cruise terminal in Port Canaveral, Florida, and takes around 40 minutes. This being Disney, it is no ordinary cruise terminal but one designed specifically for Disney cruise passengers only, at a cost of a whopping $27 million. The building has hints of art deco which is mirrored in the design of the ship. During check-in, we had what seemed to be look-alikes from the cast of Glee belting out Disney showtunes.
Even boarding a Disney ship is made into a special occasion because waiting to greet you are around eight crew members, one of whom has a microphone and announces the name of the arriving guests. The entrance is decidedly grand, being two stories high and garnished with a huge chandelier. This area plays host to photo opportunities with Disney characters during the day and live music in the evening.
I stayed in a balcony cabin on deck nine, which was near to the lift but still very quiet nonetheless. It was spacious at 246 sq ft. After a quick look around, there was just enough time to get changed and join the Welcome Aboard Celebration on deck 11 where the cruise staff put on a welcome show with all the popular Disney characters. Deck 11 is also home to the Pizzeria and Sandwich Bar, the pools, the adults-only area bar, and Jacuzzi. Many guests - including myself - decided to settle in here and enjoy some Champagne as we set sail for the Bahamas.
The evening's theatre show was the Golden Mickeys; an hour long spectacular featuring popular Disney tunes and characters. On the Disney Dream, you get to dine in each of their restaurants on a rotational basis — my first night was spent in the Animator's Palate. What’s unique about this restaurant is that it's more of an interactive experience than the other restaurants. In other words, you’ll be paid a visit by Crush, the turtle from Finding Nemo, on one of the many interactive screens on the walls and have a live conversation with him! After dinner, next was a visit to the ship's nightclub - Evolution - where dancers put on a fantastic show.
Day Two - Nassau
With only two ports of call during this cruise it was essential to plan ahead and decide what to do. Disney offers an extensive range of shore excursions offering something for everyone, but for me there was no doubt - it had to be an unforgettable afternoon of swimming with dolphins. Today was the day to also try the 'Aquaduck', which is best described as a water-coaster and the first of its kind at sea. You enter the ride on Deck 12 and travel 765 feet above, around and off the side of the ship with an exciting four deck drop, and meanwhile get a fantastic view of the ship and the decks below. It was over pretty quick so naturally I had to try it twice. Oh alright, three times...
Entertainment on the second night came in the form of the Villains Tonight show, followed by dinner at the Enchanted Garden restaurant, where the décor is inspired by Gardens of Versailles. Later on there was a fireworks party on deck 11 followed by the Club Pirate Deck party, but instead of this I decided to take it easy and went to the Buena Vista Theatre to watch Tron in 3D.
Day Three - Castaway Cay
This is Disney's privately owned island, on which you're always within five minute's walk of white sandy beaches and clear sea water. The weather was also the best it had been so far, with the temperature in the late 20°s and not a cloud in the sky. The intention was to go kayaking around the island but instead I had a lazy day on the beach (top tip: don’t fall asleep in the sun!).
Back on the ship, travel agents were given a quick tour of the other staterooms, which were very impressive, especially the inside cabins which looked surprisingly bright and airy, and provide a spacious 169sq ft. A nice touch is the TV screen above the headboard in the shape of a porthole which displays alternating views.
Instead of going to the evening show tonight I opted to indulge in some time at the Senses Spa & Salon on Deck 11. Another adults-only area, here you can relax in the a sauna, then take in the magnificent views surrounding the ship while relaxing in the Jacuzzi. Dinner was at the Royal Palace restaurant, inspired by Disney classic films such as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Beauty & The Beast and serves French-inspired cuisine. For some reason my friendly waiting staff thought it’d be a good idea for me to expand my culinary palatte and try the snails in garlic sauce. Not my first choice of starter I must admit, but to my surprise it tasted a lot like chicken, and I have to say it tasted better than it looked! As it was our last night onboard, next was something a little more special; Disney's answer to a Champagne bar - Pink. It's a really funky and intimate bar, with a great range of fizz to choose from! After this there was a final visit to the Evolution disco, where dancing wasn’t made easy as we were sailing through a raging thunderstorm (or maybe that was the Champagne?).
Throughout the cruise all the staff onboard were extremely friendly and always had a smile on their face. Our waiting staff were fantastic, and they told us they had actually been in training for months, which just goes to show the amount of effort that goes in to providing the Disney experience. From the cabin, to the food, to the entertainment — everything was five star, so it’s not just the kids who will have an amazing time. It’s certainly something I won’t forget. Even the snails.
If you've got the Disney bug, take a look at our range of Disney Cruise Line holidays to see what adventure you and yours could go on next!