A Wish is a Dream Your Heart Makes

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If you’ve been following along on my Disney adventures you may remember I recently headed to WDW for a few days before taking my first cruise aboard the Disney Dream.  I spent a few days in WDW before heading to Port Canaveral to board the ship.  My friends and I had a great time running around the parks and enjoying great meals.  A big thank you goes out to all of our readers who made it out to the touringplans Hall of Presidents meet we held!  It was so nice to see familiar faces and meet some new folks.  I even got to sit with a couple of readers during the show and they didn’t make fun of me when I cried during the film!  While I had a fantastic time on land, the main event was my four nights aboard the Dream.

Photo provided by Steve Bassett

Without giving a blow by blow of my four days at sea, I wanted to touch on some of the key things I thought folks would want to hear about if they are thinking about booking a cruise.  So without further ado, lets start with arrival at the port.  When we got to the terminal we dropped our bags at the curb and learned they would be placed in our cabins for us later.  The terminal operations are very well organized and after checking in we hung out and waited for our number to be called to walk up the gangway.  After a bit of running around when we boarded in order to book last minute experiences, we found our state room.  My roommates Doug, Steve, and I opted for a room on the lowest deck because it was more affordable.  Deck level wasn’t

Our bunk beds

as important to me as having a porthole which luckily we had.  Along with our window (which doubled as a bench) the room came equipped with a queen sized bed, a sofa which folded into a twin bed, and another bed which folded out from the ceiling.  The bathroom was split into a small compartment with a toilet and sink and additional room with another sink and the shower.  I found the room to be fairly comfortable even with three adults sharing it.  It certainly wasn’t huge, but with all of the cabinets and under bed storage we managed to share the space just fine.

Photo by Doug Uhlig

While our stateroom was small, the rest of the Dream was enormous!  There is no way to see everything on a ship measuring about 1,115 long on a four day journey, but what I saw was really beautiful.  I love the navy blue, white, red, and yellow color scheme of the Dream’s exterior.  It’s classic nautical design makes me long for my younger days spent sailing off the coast of New England.  The interiors are full of rich wood and marble finishes are gorgeous and only add to the cruising experience.  A lot of activities center around the 11th deck which is home to the pools and the famous Aquaduck.  May I suggest riding the Aquaduck as soon as it opens like any good touringplanner would do?  We were able to ride it several times first thing in the morning before the line got too long.

 

Along with riding the Aquaduck there are a ton of on board activities.  There are shows every evening in the Walt Disney Theater of which we saw two.  The first night The Golden Mickeys was cheesy, but cute and worth seeing.  However, the second night’s show called Villains Tonight is 45 minutes of my life I will never get back (plus I left early).  It was terrible in every way possible.  The jokes were bad, the songs were lame, and it was down right painful.  Disney’s Believe is also supposed to be good, but I did not get to see it on this trip.  In addition to the nightly shows, there are movies playing both indoors and outside throughout the day, character meet and greets, kids activities, and adult only areas to enjoy.  My friends and I particularly enjoyed the an area called the District where all most of the bars and and a nightclub are located.

My favorite on board activity was visiting the Senses spa.  The spa offered a pass to enjoy their Rainforest area.  This included unlimited access to their steam rooms and saunas, showers with aroma and light therapy, hot stone lounge chairs, and hot tubs over looking the water.  A pass for this area for my four day cruise was $56 for individuals and $99 for couples.  My cabinmate, Steve, and I decided we would be a couple for a few days so we could get the discount.  Being able to actually able relax (and fall asleep in the hot stone lounge chair) was worth the price of admission.  However, I would not recommend getting manicure and pedicure services here.  I didn’t think it was anything special even though it was much more expensive than what I would pay at home.  I did not get any other treatments during my trip, so I’m looking forward to maybe giving them a try next time.

Photo by Steve Bassett

The spa was great, but the most relaxing part of the trip (and my favorite) was our stop at Castaway Cay which is Disney’s private dedicated to providing fun in the sun for its cruise line passengers.  A group of us were lucky enough to rent a cabana on the island and it was the best $80 I’ve spent in a long time.  While the cabana experience is a price one, if you split the cost with friends it makes the cost much more tolerable.  Plus the cabana rental also included snorkeling equipment, bike rentals, and great service.  I was really looking forward to snorkeling and it didn’t disappoint!  There is an area set up for guests to swim out to view man made habitats for beautiful fish.  After quite a while in the water, we took most of the rest of the afternoon to relax in or near our cabana.  A day at the beach is always great for me so I couldn’t speak more highly of our

Our cabana

day here.

I’m sure some of you are dying to know more about the food on the Dream.  We tried each of the three main dining restaurants for dinner.  I thought they were all decent, but nothing fantastic.  The menu promised sophisticated dishes which often didn’t live up to their aspirations.  The servers at dinner stayed with us throughout our trip so they got to know us a little which was nice.  Something folks may want to note is that the cruise line restaurants did not seem to be as considerate about special dietary needs as they are at Walt Disney World.  I don’t have any dietary issues, but some of my fellow travelers do, and they sometimes found it difficult to handle.  The clear highlight of my culinary experiences on board had to be brunch at Palo.  This restaurant only serves adults over 18 years old so it has a much more elegant flair than the main dining rooms.  If you get the opportunity to have brunch here, by all means take it.  The meal was massive with a appetizer buffet, pizza, a breakfast entree, a lunch entree, and dessert served.  But everything morsel was delicious and completely worth the extra $20.

I could go on and on about all the things to see and do on board this beautiful vessel, but I think I’ll leave it at that for now.   I will say, though, that I truly loved my first cruising experience.  In fact, I “saved the date” for a future cruise because I loved it so much.  When guests do this they get a 10% discount and an on board credit for their next trip.  I can’t wait to sail with Disney again and check out some of the things I missed this time around.

What about you?  Have you cruised on the Dream yet or do you have a trip planned?  Let me know what you thought about your cruise!

Next week I’ll discuss the wonderful dinner my friends and I had at the California Grill during my recent trip!

 

 

 

 

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Posted on March 9, 2011

14 Responses to “A Wish is a Dream Your Heart Makes”

  • Hi Kristen. Judging by those red lanyards in your photo, I think we were on the same cruise last week. :-) My friend and I had a wonderful time too. I was glad to read your reviews of some of the things I didn’t experience (like the spa and the Castaway Cay cabana). I was also happy to see your opinions of Villains Tonight matched mine completely! Like you, we also signed up for the Save-The-Date for next year’s cruise. Overall, it was a spectacular time, and one we can’t wait to do again!

    • Its a shame we didn’t get to meet then, Paul! I’m glad you had as good of a time as we did! Villains Tonight was torture. We couldn’t take it anymore and left early. I hope you enjoy your next cruise too! Thanks for reading and commenting

  • Great post Kristen! Was cool seeing you on board.

    I totally agree with you about “Villains Tonight” and “Believe”… they need to go back to the drawing board. I’m on a Disney cruise… can’t they come up with something better than cracking Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen jokes? “Villains Tonight” really turned me off, and with the same actor playing *almost* the exact same character in “Believe”, I was really disappointed.

    Other than that, we loved every minute on the boat! Can’t wait to sail again.

    • Since you were on the same trip you probably remember how much the ship was rocking and rolling and I didn’t think I could handle sitting through the show. Could it have been as bad as Villains tonight?

  • What an amazing first cruise! Can’t wait to go again. Totally agree about Villains Tonight i got up and walked out! Was really hard to take it seemed like a high school production. The fine dinning was amazing i had dinner at Palo brunch at Palo and dinner at Remy. Remy was fantastic!! Well worth the money. Loved Castaway Cay and renting the cabana was awesome very relaxing! Well worth splitting the $500 between 6 people. The Disney Dream was an amazing ship! Ready to go again now!

  • It was a great trip, Kristen! I’m glad you reviewed the spa and the cabana. I was wondering about those two things. Can’t wait to read your review of the California Grill.

    • Both of them were fun! Its honestly going to be tough to go back to Castaway Cay without a cabana. We got so spoiled! It was nice to have a home base and a place to relax. Stay tuned to read about our great meal at California Grill! Thanks for the comment!

  • Sorry to come back to this, but the more I think about those shows, the more upset I get. Especially after hearing that other people agree with how I felt about them.

    This was our 6th cruise. I was on the boat with a LOT of first time cruisers. I kept telling them “you’ve GOT to go see the shows, don’t miss them! They’re great!” I should have kept my mouth shut.

    Thinking about previous shows… Disney Dreams, Toy Story the Musical, Twice Charmed, even Hercules – a Muse-ical… they were all astoundingly better than the shows on the Dream. Even the changes to the Golden Mickeys… remember when they used to show Tinkerbell sprinkling pixie dust on the ship, and the whole theatre started sparkling? What a way to start the cruise! Where did THAT go?

    Being a married couple with no kids, we often get questions about why we sail on Disney Cruise Line and not other cruise lines. One of my answers was always “the nightly entertainment is amazing.” Boom, not any more.

  • Have to wonder if anyone gave Disney feed back on the shows??? They need to know if they suck so they can fix them. Hopefully they are aware. I am taking my entire family on the Dream next Janaury for a five day cruise with to CC stops. It will be on my parents 50th anniversary. I hope all the kinks of the ship and the shows are worked out by then :)

    • I left my feedback on that feedback form they gave us the last night. Hopefully they take it to heart. Unlike some of the others, I thought only Villains Tonight was a klunker, but the other two were spectacular.

    • I’m sure your family will have a great time with or without the shows! There is a ton to do on the boat. I hope you have a wonderful trip to celebrate such a milestone!

  • We are scheduled to do a walk through tour of the ship next weekend and are also touring through some resorts at Disney and elsewhere in Orlando and are looking forward to it. We have seen the ship a couple times now from the outside. She’s a b’yute:)

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