Gail's review of Disney's newest ship, the DREAM April 2011

I recently was invited to a tour of Disney’s new DREAM ship.  We stayed in Port Canaveral the night before to ensure we would be at the ship for the 10 a.m. tour.  There are plenty of family hotels nearby.  Rita was our guide and she really gave us a great tour.  It is difficult to see everything in three hours, but we did! 

From the moment you arrive at the terminal, your Disney cruise experience begins.  While you are waiting in the terminal to board,  you can sign your children up for various programs and activities.   No whiny kids here!  Once they clear passengers to board, you actually enter the area through a set of Mickey Mouse ears.  Upon boarding the ship, your family is announced as you step into the atrium.  Admiral Donald Duck stands watch over the atrium.  The DREAM at 128,000 tons is much larger  than the WONDER or the MAGIC at 83,000 tons.   Rita told us that many of the features on this ship came from guests requests.  They definitely listen to their passengers.

 

Even though the DREAM is a much larger ship, Disney managed to incorporate what they have on their other two ships and added many new touches that Disney is known for.   

One of the new items is “animated art” with motion. These are pictures throughout the ship that move when they sense motion..   Disney has even created a Scavenger Hunt with them.  They take the cards, locate the “animated art” and hold it up in front of the picture.  A clue appears and they continue with solving the mystery.  What fun the children were having.  Disney is all about families and there truly is something for every child.  Disney’s Oceaneer Club and Lab along with Pixie Hollow, Andy’s Room and Animators Studio will keep the children entertained for hours.  Oh, by the way, when you drop them off, they will be given a wristband. When you come to pick them up, the counselors will be able to “track” where they are.  How cool is that?  They do have a nursery area for babies and tots.  Of course, the most “popular” innovation is the AquaDuck..billed as the first water coaster at sea.  This 765 foot long attraction splashes you around, through and over the edge of the top deck of the ship.  They recently adjusted the height to 41” with an adult. 

Rotational dining is still very much a part of the Disney Cruise experience.  They kept   Animators Palate,  the dining room that brings drawings to life. Enchanted Garden is fashioned after Versailles and the Royal Palace features Disneys fairy tales.  Each guest has at least one evening in each venue depending on the length of the cruise.  Disney’s newest exclusive dining rooms are Palo for Northern Italian ($20) per person and Remy’s ($75) exquisite French cuisine.  Reservations are required for both restaurants.

Other dining and beverage options,

I was very impressed with their COMPLIMENTARY 24 hr beverage stations by the pool.  Normally, these are present on most ships, but on Disney’s DREAM, they even offer sodas. This is self-serve ONLY.   Rita also told us that if you are at a meal and request a soda, they do not charge you.  This is a huge bonus for passengers that have spent money for soda packages on other ships.  Again, self serve and with your meals.  If you go to the bar and order a soda, you will be charged.

CABANAS is a food station area for guests to eat in rather than going to the dining room. No cafeteria trays here.  Lunch had stone crab, peel and eat shrimp just to name a few top of the line items.

 

As we were touring the ship, we came across the ships staff including Captain Henry. Capt. Henry was captain of the WONDER for eleven years prior to being promoted to the  DREAM.   Hint: Use the mid-ship elevator to access Deck 11-13 where ALL the pools, Aqua Duck, basketball court etc. are located. 

Cabins on the DREAM are generously sized and there are many different categories.  All of the family staterooms have split baths. No fighting over the bathrooms…priceless.  A unique category on this ship is the inside stateroom with a “virtual” porthole having outside views.  The porthole itself is showing a camera view of what is outside. Camera is high up on deck.  In our case, it was viewing a Carnival ship which was docked across from the Dream!!.  At night, when there isn’t any view, they have Disney characters that appear.  Very unique.  Certain categories of oceanview Family staterooms have very large porthole windows. Not your typical oceanview window. Disney has made it possible to have five in a room which is very economical for families. If you reserve a cabin in a Concierge stateroom on Deck 11 or 12, you have a Concierge lounge on Deck 12.  There are cast members to assist you with anything you might need.  When we were there, it was full of families.  This is a nice way to get away from the crowds just boarding the ship.

Adult areas:  There are several areas for adults-only on this ship. During the day, Cove Pool and bar, the Senses Spa with the Rainforest room (addl fees) and at night, the District which has five distinct clubs for the adults.  How about the Skyline lounge, where the landscapes of cities all over the world are constantly changing?  Or a pink champagne bar!! 

This is definitely a deluxe product for family cruising.  Disney does a great job with their “touch” and it shows on the DREAM.  They are now building the Disney FANTASY which will be launched in 2012.