From January 19-21, 2011, I sailed aboard the new
Disney Dream cruise ship into the Caribbean. While technically it’s not a theme park, I think it still qualified for a new adventure. I took nearly 2,000 pictures during this trip, posted more than 900 of them in our ParkSpotting photo gallery, but have pulled out only my favorites to share here…
I was offered a pretty incredible view of both the Disney Dream and the nearby stage set up for the ship's christening ceremony. Media platforms are always welcome. The white chairs would soon fill in with VIPs and other guests for the incredible show to begin.
Out of hundreds of characters and performers that were part of the Disney Dream christening, Mickey Mouse always stole the show.
As the event wrapped up on stage, Jennifer Hudson sang alongside Disney CEO Bob Iger, Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs, and plenty of familiar characters. Getting shots like this is one of the many reasons standing on a media platform is fantastic. They almost look like they're posing just for me...
...but clearly that is not the case. Zooming all the way out reveals my actual view from the platform, filled not only by the events on stage, but also the excited guests in the seats as well as several rows of media on the platform risers in front of me. Consider this a 'behind the scenes' view of covering a Disney event.
Once on board, the most striking visual element is this massive chandelier hanging high above the main atrium lobby. It's impossible to take a bad picture of it.
In the same area, Disney Princesses often meet and greet with guests. This regal greeting between a young fan and Princess Aurora was too perfect not to photograph. The golden architecture and winding staircase create the perfect backdrop.
But while the above photo is cute, this one really steals the show, as the girl twirls to show off her dress to Sleeping Beauty. Priceless.
Later, Cinderella was in the same spot. It's as if she had descended the grand staircase to greet her prince.
Nearby, the Royal Palace restaurant is easily the prettiest and most photogenic on board. It's filled with subtle and not-so-subtle Disney Princess touches that combine to create an inviting, yet formal atmosphere.
I've always had a fascination with long hallways. The Disney Dream is full of them. This one is a main path that leads past the Oceaneer's Club and into the atrium above. It just seems to go on forever.
The entrance to The Walt Disney Theatre is the perfect spot for a photo (even if people walk through the shot when you take it). It's beautifully symmetrical, horizontally and vertically.
Inside, I attended two fantastic shows on board, 'The Golden Mickeys' and 'Believe.' Both offer well-crafted, multi-layered scenes that are just begging to be photographed. Flashes are not allowed, but really shouldn't be used anyway. Here's a dreamy Snow White sequence from 'The Golden Mickeys.'
Later in the same show, a Lion King sequence proved to be quite photogenic. I should mention that none of the photos on this page have been retouched in any way, offering a true-to-life look at what sailing aboard the Dream is like.
Stage shows often conclude big musical numbers with grand poses, allowing the audience time to applaud and giving me a chance to grab a great picture.
Here's another example of a posed shot from 'The Golden Mickeys.' I much prefer the lighting here than in the Goofy photo above.
But stage shows are far from posed. They're quite kinetic, often filling the stage with dancers. This 'Believe' scene inspired by 'The Princess and the Frog' combined fun jazz music from the film with high-energy performances. And yeah, that's Aladdin's Genie in there too.
The best views on a cruise are not found within the ship but outside it. The wide angle lens on my GoPro HD Hero allowed me to capture this enticing view of Castaway Cay, showing both the wide expanse of the ocean and island as well as the floor-to-ceiling windows on board that stretch far enough to give passengers a chance to fully take in the view.
Once on the island, Serenity Bay provides incredible views of the ocean that just seems to go on forever. The wide angle lens once again creates a great effect, curving the horizon as if I had photographed a slice of the Earth in one shot. (Just try to ignore my shadow, which inadvertently crept into the frame.)
Back on board, Quiet Cove gives adults a chance to relax away from children. This photo, which I took taken early on during the Christening Cruise, is almost too perfect that it borders on looking like a PR shot.
An elevated reverse angle on the same pool reveals the sun glittering on the pool's water. I think it captures the essence of what a cruise is all about.
We left Port Canaveral at sunset, creating a spectacular view and a great photo opportunity. This shot was taken from our state room's balcony. I highly recommend booking an aft balcony room on this (or any) cruise ship if you want views like this.
A few minutes later, the port was out of the way, offering an incredible sunset view over the water.
Later that night, I snapped this night-for-day shot from our balcony. It was nearly pitch black outside, but the long exposure allowed blue and orange hues to sneak their way in.
This photo was taken just after the one above, but with a shorter exposure, revealing that what looks like the sun in the picture above is actually the moon, reflecting brightly on the water.
Elsewhere on the ship, I caught a glimpse of the moon over the water through a porthole. It created a nicely-framed image, with some motion blur showing that we were indeed sailing at sea.
As with any Disney theme park, the Disney Dream glows at night with ambient and decorative lighting. With no one around, the Quiet Cove at night looks even more inviting.
Circling the main deck is the uber-fun AquaDuck water slide. It's an entirely different experience riding at night, with blue and red lights illuminating the path.
The last of my favorite photos from my trip on the Disney Dream offers a hidden bonus. I framed this shot to not only feature the illuminated AquaDuck tube and giant Disney Cruise Line logo, but also a reflection I spotted while walking the deck. The word 'Dream' is actually reflecting on a plexiglass barrier from a large screen far behind me, over one of the ship's main pools. The word spins around on the screen, while 'Disney' remains stationary, which is why in this reflection, 'Disney' is backwards and 'Dream' is not.
You can find several hundred more photos from the Disney Dream in our
photo gallery along with plenty of articles, information, and fun videos in and around the ship. But the pictures presented here are my favorites, which I found worthy for a fun adventure at sea. I’ll be back with another soon, likely on land. ParkSpotting