A dream family vacation awaits travelers aboard the newest ship in the Disney Cruise Line, Disney Dream. Full of the entertainment and activities worthy of the Disney reputation, the Dream is the third ship in the Disney line. Loaded with many industry firsts, including special areas designated for each member of the family, a cruise aboard Disney Dream is a vacation for all ages.
Designed to be reminiscent of the cruise ships of the 1900’s, from the moment I stepped aboard the Disney Dream I noticed an air of sophistication mixed with touches of Disney whimsy. Disney fans are thrilled with the bronze statue of Admiral Donald and the hidden Disney characters in the scroll work of the staircases in the grand lobby, although the references are subtle enough not to be overpowering for the refined travelers of your group.
The staterooms are built with families in mind, offering a little extra room. We were thrilled with the queen size bed, couch that converted to a twin bed and an upper berth pull down, perfect for our family of four. Larger families or multi-generational travelers can opt for adjoining staterooms. A curtain can be drawn to separate the sleeping areas, granting privacy as well as accommodating night owls or early risers. A perfect family feature not offered on other cruise ships is the convenient split bath. One of the best features for me was the private verandah that provided a relaxing window of the world sailing by. It also made the stateroom appear even larger.
Speaking of windows, interior staterooms feature a Magical Porthole that displays real-time views of the sea from cameras posted on the exterior of the ship. Throughout the cruise, glimpses of Disney characters will virtually appear at the porthole. As a parent I was glad to know the porthole can be turned off, aiding in the bedtime ritual. Another magical touch is the painted ceiling of the upper berth revealing glow in the dark stars and characters from Peter Pan in the constellations. With these special touches, the 133 interior staterooms are some of the most sought after accommodations on board.
Besides the Magic Portholes, another extremely popular, first of its kind feature aboard the Disney Dream is the AquaDuck, a 765-foot-long water coaster. The AquaDuck slides guests down, around, and over the side of the deck and is perhaps the most fun I have had in the water in a long time! Guests climb the steps to Deck 12 and climb aboard a two-man inflated raft for the speedy, but gentle ride that eventually deposits you in a shallow pool below. A conveyor system returns the rafts to the upper deck. On our trip the system was broken, however guests eagerly assisted, bucket brigade style, shuttling the rafts to the top. Those efforts turned out to be almost as fun as the ride. Warning: Before the kids get too excited about this experience, note that there is a height restriction of 42 inches tall.
Youngsters can enjoy Nemo’s Reef, a water play area and splash deck featuring the characters from Disney/Pixar’s Finding Nemo. Nemo’s Reef is located next to the children’s swim area known as Mickey’s Pool. Limited to a depth of 2-feet, Mickey’s Pool is perfect for the small fry, and near by is a special deck high slide shaped like Mickey’s hand. Another pool, Donald’s Pool, is intended for family use while a third, Quiet Cove Pool, is restricted to guests 18 and over. (Note: U.S. Public Health Regulations provide that only toilet-trained individuals many enter swimming pools on cruise ships.)
From Youth Clubs to Night Clubs there are places aboard the Disney Dream for everyone to find a place to escape.
- It’s A Small World Nursery provides a space for children age 3 months to 3 years to engage in play, crafts, story-time and movies. It also has a quiet rest area for naps and relaxation.
- Disney’s Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab for children aged 3-10 with areas dedicated to play and exploration. With activities based on interest and maturity level, siblings and friends of various ages can play the latest video games, create animation and music videos, watch movies, visit with Disney characters, or even spend quiet time with a books. They won’t even need to leave to eat as lunch, dinner and snacks are served here.
- Being a ‘tween can often be awkward, but not on the Dream as kids 11-13 have their own hi-tech space known as Edge. The most popular feature here seems to be the 18 foot long, 5 feet high video screen. There is also the Chill Spa, reserved just for their ‘tween pampering.
- The Teen only indoor/outdoor lounge known as Vibe features a coffee bar, DJ/dance area, gaming space and outdoor deck for sunbathing, splash pool and deck games. Teens (14-17) must present a special key to gain entrance to the club.
All youth clubs are supervised by trained staff members, so parents can enjoy some adult time at one of the lounges, decks or schedule a relaxing spa treatment of their own.
There are numerous spots that welcome families during the daytime, yet are reserved for adults throughout the evening hours. Together families can spend time at Goofy’s Sports Deck offering miniature golf, virtual sports games, a basketball and volleyball court. I found the best part here was not only being together, but the spectacular views as well.
It wouldn’t be a Disney Cruise without delightful entertainment. Children and adults can meet and greet some of their favorite Disney characters and discover the mystery that lies within the ship’s artwork. Families can enjoy live performances like The Golden Mickeys or catch a flick at The BuenaVista Theatre, which reminded me of the movie theater from my childhood. One of my favorite family moments was the Pirate Party on deck that concluded with a fireworks show.
Trying to decide what you want to do? You can pre-register for onboard activities prior to sailing, or register on ship during the open house on embarkation day. Once onboard, check the daily newsletter for any change in schedules or special daily offerings.
Photo credits: J. Ingersoll
NOTE: The author was granted a complimentary cruise for the purpose of a review; the opinions expressed, however are solely her own.
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Having been transplanted numerous times, I have learned to explore the sites around our new found hometown, uncovering hidden gems and attractions. When vacation time rolls around, I enjoy traveling with my family and the occasional weekend escape with my husband, coming home to share our travel experiences with others. You can follow me on Twitter @JAIngersoll. My top three destinations are Walt Disney World Resort, the Midwest and any beach I can walk along.