Tips and Tricks for the Best First-Time Cruise aboard the Disney Dream

in Disney, Entertainment, Food

I recently embarked on my first-ever cruise aboard a Disney Cruise – the gorgeous Disney Dream – and I’ve brought back with me a few tips by way of a trip report that may help future first-timers enjoy the ship’s many offerings to the fullest, including its delicious cuisine, captivating entertainment and the private island, Castaway Cay.

The Disney Dream is one of Disney Cruise Line’s newest ships. It first set sail back in 2011 and offers guests three, four and five-day cruises to the Bahamas and to Castaway Cay. The Dream is the third ship in the luxurious cruise line’s fleet. Constructed 40% larger than the two older ships in the Disney Cruise Line, it features 1,250 staterooms, and carries up to a maximum of 4,000 passengers.

Recently I was invited by Disney to set sail aboard the Disney Dream for a 3-night cruise and in this article I’ll share with you my experiences from each day of the vacation, including my impressions of the ship’s activities, dining, and entertainment. I will also share with you some tips of how to take full advantage of each of the many experiences available to guests aboard the ship.

Day 1

11 am Board Ship – As my friend and I boarded the ship for the first time we were immediately greeted by smiling cast members who asked for our names, which were announced over the main interior’s sound system to celebrate our boarding.

12:30 pm Lunch – Dining is immediately offered to guests in the ship’s buffet-style restaurant Cabanas. The Buffett at the restaurant features a bunch of delicious foods. We went for chicken tenders, steak, asparagus, French fries, mixed vegetables and a cookie.

I recommend going here as soon as you enter the ship, especially if you have an earlier boarding time. As the day gets later, more people swarm the buffet making the process of getting food overly time-consuming. If you’d like to explore the ship before the vast majority of other guests board the ship, you definitely want to arrive here earlier.

1:15 pm Explore Ship – After lunch we began walking around the ship to take in all of the beautiful and intricate design elements the Disney Dream offers. Seeing hidden mickeys, beautiful chandeliers and exciting lounges and bars that make up level 4.

Here is where the adult/nightlife area is. Definitely a great place to check out once the kids are put to bed. The area features District Lounge, Pink: Wine and Champagne Bar, D Lounge, Evolution, Pub 687 and Skyline.

1:30 pm The Room – Located on the 9th floor, our Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah slept 4 guests and was approximately 246 square feet in size. The room included a verandah and featured a queen bed with an open frame, a single sleeper sofa and an upper-berth pull-down bed.

The best part of the room had to be the view. A little tip for those looking to book a room with a verandah, stateroom numbers 9500-9670 all face the ports of both Nassau and Castaway Cay. Below you can see our view from our verandah at both ports, which shows scenic scenes at both islands.

Nassau, Bahamas

Castaway Cay

5:15 pm Sailing Away Party – The Sailing Away Party took place on the main deck and was where everyone’s favorite Disney characters came out and celebrated the official departure of the cruise from Port Canaveral. The show featured fun Disney music, dancing, confetti and the characters Mickey, Minnie, Chip n Dale, Goofy, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck.

Like any event on the cruise, you definitely want to arrive early if you want a good view of the party’s show. You can get a pretty nice view from the ground on deck 11, but if you walk up the stairs to deck 12 you can get a great view from the railing as well.


5:45 pm Dinner at Animator’s Palate – For those who have never dined at the Animator’s Palate, I have to say it is a pretty awesome experience. The restaurant is reminiscent of a real-life, hand-drawn environment in black and white. The restaurant also features monitors along the walls that showcase characters and scenes from Disney and Disney·Pixar films.

The night I dined at the restaurant I started with the Curly Endive, Arugula and Watercress Salad, which comes with sliced peaches and toasted almonds tossed in a Sherry Vinaigrette. If you’re not a fan of fruit on a salad then I don’t recommend this option. Although, I found that the peaches and almonds added a sweetness to the salad, which I found enjoyable.

For my main course I got the Lemon-thyme Marinated All Natural Chicken Breast, on top of rice, roasted root vegetables and Grain Mustard Jus. The chicken was nice and tender and the addition of the rice and vegetables made it an overall hearty meal.

Another interesting part of dining in this restaurant was Undersea Magic. On the walls are monitors that help immerse guests in the underwater world of the Disney·Pixar film “Finding Nemo.” As you dine, guests receive a visit from some of the stars of the film through digital animation and puppetry.

One character that visited us during dinner was Crush, who actually held conversations with guests in the dining room. Similar technology exists at Walt Disney World but when dining in the restaurant it did make for a fun pass-time while waiting for our food.

One thing to note about my dining experience throughout the entire cruise was the fact that I do have a food allergy. If you are someone who suffers from a similar condition, do not fret because every restaurant I ate in for the duration of my cruise was more than happy to specially prepare meals that fit within my dietary restrictions.

Upon sitting down at every restaurant on the ship the first question you are asked is if you have any food allergies. And if the answer is yes, the waiter not only goes through the menu with you to show you the options that are free of your allergy but they will also work with you to rework most meals on the menu into an allergy free version.

8:30 pm “The Golden Mickeys” show – Like most cruises, each night aboard the ship features a Broadway-style show. The first night was “The Golden Mickeys.” The show revolves around a red-carpet award show celebrating your favorite Disney friends throughout Disney history. It’s essentially the most popular songs from hit Disney films combined through an award show.

Of the three shows offered on the cruise, I wouldn’t say that this was my favorite but it was definitely a nice combination of great musical performances from some of my personal favorite Disney movies. If you are a Disney movie buff then I would definitely check it out because this show does offer many iconic musical numbers.

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