Disney Dream Cruise Ship Review – A First-Timers Guide

While I haven’t had the prospect to set sail too many occasions, I like cruising. From the scrumptious meals and enjoyable actions to waking up at an thrilling port of name to all of the pleasant individuals you meet alongside the way in which, there’s simply one thing magical about it. 

And actually, what could possibly be dreamier than listening to the sound of the waves as you stare at an limitless blanket of twinkling stars? Enjoying all of it from the Disney Dream, that’s what (as I not too long ago found). 

Disney Dream-ing on the High Seas – Setting Sail on Our First Disney Cruise

Prior to touring on the Disney Dream, my solely cruise expertise was a few sailings with Carnival. Now, I do know that there are some cruise snobs on the market who would by no means set sail with that enjoyable-peddling cruise line. 

However, I all the time totally loved it for what it was – an reasonably priced entry into the world of cruising. So, for sure, it doesn’t take a lot to please me. After all, I’m on trip! That being mentioned, I nonetheless had some issues. 

Disney Cruise Line is a pure alternative for households with youngsters. But, for this journey, I’d be touring with my sister and sister-in-regulation, two first-time cruisers, on our yearly sisters’ journey. Would there be sufficient grownup-pleasant actions (and distance from the kiddos) onboard to maintain us comfortable? Would all of the pixie mud be too overwhelming for our women’ getaway?  

As it turned out, the one factor we would have liked to fret about was whether or not Hurricane Ian would blow our trip out of the water or, on the very least, ship it reeling to the Bahamas as an alternative of the Cayman Islands. Fortunately, regardless of a miserable parade of downed bushes and powerlines as we made our technique to the port in Miami, our journey went off with out a hitch. 


Atrium of a cruise ship

Our cruise on the Disney Dream departed from the Port of Miami, which, although not less than three and a half hours from the Walt Disney World bubble, touts beautiful views of town’s skyline as you set sail and usually barely cheaper charges. 

The three of us are typically barely anxious vacationers, particularly with all of the journey uncertainty swirling round as a result of hurricane. So, we determined to get to Miami the night time earlier than we embarked to save lots of ourselves some stress.

Then, the subsequent morning, it was time to drive to the port. Although in a single day parking is obtainable straight on the port for $22 per automobile per day – a steep price for our 5-night time cruise – we opted to park in an offsite lot as an alternative. Plenty of choices can be found on-line, with charges starting from as little as $8 per night time to $15 or extra nightly, and most embrace shuttle service on to the port. Alternatively, for these flying into Miami International Airport, a shuttle to the port can be obtainable. 

By the time we lastly made it to the port, we have been prepared for journey – with a sprinkling of pixie mud. Luckily, since we accomplished the net examine-in previous to our arrival, the method was clean crusing from the second we dropped off our baggage to going via safety to the time we lastly acquired into our stateroom. 

Plenty of individuals have been on-hand to help us alongside the way in which, whether or not grabbing our checked baggage, checking our passports or simply wishing us a contented voyage. Best of all, not like my previous cruises with Carnival, there wasn’t a single lengthy line to talk of. 

Finally, with our Key to the World Card in hand, it was time to climb aboard. As we walked into the ship’s atrium from the gangway, the one factor extra dazzling than the Dream’s Art Deco chandelier glittering above us was the welcome we obtained from the crew members. Between the excited cheers and being greeted by identify, discuss making an entrance!


Deck of cruise ship

Like the theme parks or Disney hotels, Disney Cruise Line ships are chockful of design particulars, and the Dream is not any exception. Every ship in Disney’s fleet blends the romantic attraction of the golden age of ocean liners with a heaping dose of pixie mud – and, within the case of the Dream, the wealthy colours, decadent particulars and glamour of Art Deco model and the Roaring 20s. 

As somebody who prefers my Disney magic in measured doses fairly than a 24/7 bombardment, I used to be somewhat fearful that I’d be pixie-dusted out earlier than we even left port, not to mention making it via a complete 5-night time cruise. Happily, Disney does a superb job of balancing every little thing out in order that it by no means actually feels prefer it’s an excessive amount of. 

From the ship’s exterior paint job impressed by Mickey Mouse’s iconic black, pink and yellow coloration scheme to characters hidden in elegant architectural particulars and different bits of “Disney whimsy,” every ship incorporates the magic of Disney in a means that feels extra delicate than in your face. 

What’s extra, not like Carnival cruise ships, which regularly felt like Las Vegas accommodations at sea, the Disney Dream feels surprisingly elegant, even with scenes starring Disney characters within the elevators, enchanted art work, Disney Princess-inspired mosaics and different in-your-face touches. 

Plus, with devoted areas for adults, teenagers and children, every with its personal considerate design touches and ranging quantities of pixie mud to match, there’s very a lot a select-your-personal-journey vibe to the Disney-ness of all of it. 


Mickey pumpkin head

With three girls touring collectively – and extra outfit modifications than we would have liked for a 5-night time cruise – we knew that house could be tight, particularly when preparing for the day or earlier than heading out for dinner. So, we opted to guide a Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Navigator’s Verandah.

While this wasn’t my first time cruising, it was my first cruise with a balcony – and let me let you know, there’s no means I’m going again to an inside stateroom. Sure, the enchanted “home windows” that inside Disney Dream staterooms provide are charming, however nothing compares to ordering room service and having fun with a cup of espresso because the solar rises over the ocean or listening to the lapping waves earlier than mattress. 

Located on Deck 9, our 246-sq.-foot stateroom felt cosy at occasions whereas nonetheless providing greater than sufficient room for the three of us. When it got here time to sleep, essentially the most snug spot was simply the cloud-like queen mattress. However, the only couch mattress and pulldown mattress have been additionally comfortable sufficient, notably after a full day of cruise adventures. 

Storage house was additionally surprisingly ample, with a number of drawers, loads of hangers and a mini fridge for stashing leftover room service croissants and chilling champagne for mimosas. Best of all, with two separate rooms for the bathe and bathroom, together with two sink areas and mirrors, all three of us have been in a position to prepare on the similar time with out an excessive amount of problem.  


For our Disney Dream cruise, we set sail on a 5-night time voyage via the Western Caribbean, full with stops in Grand Cayman and Castaway Cay (pronounced “key”), Disney’s non-public island within the Bahamas, together with two days at sea. And whereas many Disney cruises characteristic a Pirate Night throughout their journeys, because of the timing, our aquatic journey additionally included one other enjoyable night and total cruise theme: Halloween on the High Seas.

Ceiling chandelier in flower

We spent a lot of embarkation day having fun with the Sail Away Party or just attempting to get acquainted with the situation of every little thing on the ship. In reality, there’s a lot to see and do on the Disney Dream that we solely actually began to really feel like we had figured issues out on the fourth and fifth nights, and even then, there was a lot we nonetheless hadn’t skilled. 

Days at sea, in the meantime, meant lazy days by the pool, within the scorching tub or on a lounger – often with the most recent alcoholic drink of the day (obtainable for $5.50, or $6.49 together with tax and tip) in hand. When we weren’t absorbing the solar, we have been busy having fun with the stacked slate of onboard actions, from trivia video games and interactive reveals to Broadway-style productions and Disney character meet-and-greets. 

Aside from getting a style of Grand Cayman and Castaway Cay (extra on the final one a bit later), a few of the highlights of our Disney Dream itinerary have been undoubtedly Pirate Night and Halloween on the High Seas. Previously, we have been uncertain of how we felt about dressing up in costumes as an alternative of flowery jumpsuits or beachy maxi attire for theme nights. (Yes, we have been perpetually overdressed, and we’re happy with that.)

However, between the particular leisure and actions, themed menus in the primary eating rooms and the general enjoyable of getting dressed up and seeing everybody else decked out for the event, they ended up being a few of our greatest evenings onboard the Disney Dream. 

Onboard Amenities

Thanks to a formidable choice of facilities, we by no means felt bored or like we weren’t positive what to do, even with two total days at sea. In reality, we had extra anxiousness about deciding which exercise not to do. (Lobster ravioli cooking class or an interactive, adults-solely recreation present?)

Here’s our tackle every little thing we tried aboard the Disney Dream. 

Restaurants & Menus

Treats behind glass counter

No matter the place I’m touring, meals is a big a part of the journey, and cruising is not any completely different. So, after listening to how good the meals was on Disney Cruise Line, I used to be fairly excited. Fortunately, actuality principally matched my admittedly excessive expectations, thanks largely partly to our server’s distinctive service. 

The Disney Dream, like different Disney Cruise Line ships, makes use of rotational eating for dinner. In different phrases, your devoted server accompanies you when you rotate via the ship’s varied eating rooms, together with Animator’s Palate, Royal Palace and Enchanted Garden. Not solely does this present a way of ease and consistency, nevertheless it additionally units the tone for some unbelievable service. 

Although we heard nice issues about Palo and Remy, we determined to skip out on these adults-solely, extra-value eating places and solely benefit from the complimentary eating choices. Ultimately, we have been fairly proud of our determination. 

With the exception of the Caribbean-inspired menu on Pirate Night, which felt barely pressured and wasn’t pretty much as good as what was supplied on different nights, the meals was usually very tasty. And with a large assortment of dishes obtainable, together with soup, salad, steak, seafood, pasta and extra, there’s one thing for everybody. Best of all, there was no upcharge for premium choices like steak or lobster.

All these choices may be overwhelming for somebody like me. Fortunately, our server by no means shied away from giving his rating of the night time’s high dishes. Needless to say, with as many dishes as we needed included with our cruise, we totally took benefit. 

Cruise ship in ocean

During the day, in the meantime, cruisers can select between informal eating choices like Cabanas, the ship’s buffet providing, and child-pleasant counter-service retailers equivalent to Tow Mater’s Grill, or revisit one of many most important eating rooms for a full, sit-down meal. With the exception of breakfast on debarkation morning at Royal Palace and a random lunch of rooster strips and pizza, we opted to stay with Cabanas most mornings and afternoons onboard the Disney Dream. 

While issues began to get iffy if we lower it too near closing time, the meals on the buffet often met or exceeded our expectations. Was the orange juice somewhat watered down? Sure. Are the scrambled eggs barely questionable? Absolutely. But that’s what the espresso and recent-made omelets have been for. In reality, in comparison with the unhappy excuse for a chorizo hash throughout breakfast our final morning, which featured one measly nibble of the spicy sausage, that spoonable slab of scrambled eggs was nearly most popular. 

Need a sugar rush throughout your day? Vanellope’s Sweets and Treats scoops up all kinds of confections (for a worth), from ice cream along with your favourite combine-ins to colourful desserts straight from the bakery case. Or, make like us and revel in cone after cone of complimentary comfortable-serve from a self-service stand on the pool deck. 

What a couple of java jolt? Spots like Cove Café and Vista Café brew specialty espresso drinks all day lengthy. Though they aren’t included like common brewed espresso, the number of choices, an assortment of milk choices and a loyalty punch card make them a worthwhile splurge for many who can’t perform with out caffeine.

Recreation Areas

Toys in a kids club

Along with loads of scrumptious eating alternatives, the Disney Dream additionally options an array of recreation choices, whether or not you’re within the temper for a pleasant recreation of mini golf, a refreshing plunge within the pool or down a waterslide or a warming dip in a scorching tub. 

When it got here to enjoyable poolside, we spent most of our time within the adults-solely space away from the household pool deck, which featured a wide array of loungers and a few swimming pools and scorching tubs, in addition to a swim-up bar. Luckily, since our cruise was crusing at lower than 50% occupancy – round 1,800 individuals out of the max 4,000 – we by no means felt like we would have liked to combat for a spot within the pool or an empty lounger. 

Although we didn’t spend an excessive amount of time there, the household pools on the ship appeared busy even with the decrease occupancy ranges, making me dread what issues could possibly be like on a principally full crusing. That mentioned, sections like Nemo’s Reef splash pad and the AquaDuck, a 765-foot water coaster that circles the deck of the Dream, are positive to excite thrill seekers, whether or not younger and previous. Unfortunately, we made the error of ready to trip the AquaDuck till our final night time and missed out on it solely. Next time! 

Wanting one thing a bit extra energetic? Goofy’s Sports Deck on Deck 13 gives up every kind of outside enjoyable, together with basketball, ping pong and 9 holes of putt-putt, together with some unbelievable views. Alternatively, make like us and gradual issues down with a go to to Senses Spa. 

This serene retreat is a soothing place to get in a workout, take pleasure in a soothing spa remedy or drink within the views over a glass of recent juice. Though massages and different providers may be expensive right here (oh, the upsells!), there are some offers available, particularly for those who go to the open home on the very first day. 

Space ship cockpit

We snagged a Perfect Day bundle at a worth that was a lot decrease than if we had booked every remedy individually. And whereas the therapeutic massage was mild on strain, it didn’t disappoint by way of leisure. Or, for an much more reasonably priced possibility, think about reserving a day or cruise cross to the favored Rainforest Room. 

Of course, as it is a Disney cruise, there are additionally particular locations to hang around for youthful cruisers. Exclusive recreation areas can be found for company as younger as 6 months as much as these of their late teenagers. With the exception of the It’s a Small World Nursery (ages 6 months to three years previous) which expenses $4.50 per half hour with a one-hour minimal, youngsters, tweens and youths golf equipment are fully free. 

These are additionally a few of the most closely themed components of the ship and have appearances by Disney characters, fingers-on actions grownup supervision. Other child-centric areas embrace the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab (ages 3 to 12 years previous), Edge (ages 11 to 14 years previous) and Vibe (ages 14 to 17 years previous).


As it is a Disney cruise, it’s no shock that one of many highlights is the leisure, and there’s a lot of it. From characteristic-size Broadway-caliber productions with a full forged to extra intimate trivia contests, drawing classes, cooking lessons or recreation reveals led by just some crew members, there’s all the time one thing to do. 

We have been lucky to get pleasure from three of those large, Broadway-style reveals throughout our journey, every held within the Walt Disney Theatre, together with The Golden Mickeys, Beauty and the Beast and Disney’s Believe. While The Golden Mickeys may use an replace (hey there, Bob Iger!), the forged that helms all three reveals is extremely proficient, and every manufacturing options stunning vocals on a lot-liked songs, standard characters, spectacular staging and loads of drama, motion and comedy. 

Cruise ship in ocean

Speaking of Disney characters, cruisers have plenty of alternatives to fulfill their favorites, with appearances taking place on and off all day lengthy and into the night time. Most meet-and-greets may be simply skilled by merely hopping in line, whereas others, like these with the princesses, require an advance reservation. While we didn’t do too many of those, it was good to see a few of our favorites in distinctive outfits or with a shorter line than we’d at Walt Disney World. 

In addition to character appearances and Broadway reveals, company also can cross the time with smaller, crew member-led reveals or a exhibiting of a Disney movie. During our crusing, they even supplied quite a few showings of Hocus Pocus 2, which premiered the day earlier than we embarked. 

However, as tempting because it was, we skipped it in favor of actions like karaoke and trivia contests. Why? The crew members! The pleasant employees that runs these actions are simply as enjoyable because the actions themselves, and we frequently discovered ourselves returning repeatedly in hopes of seeing our favorites as soon as extra. 


You would possibly assume {that a} Disney cruise ship with nice nightlife is a little bit of an oxymoron, and to some extent, you’d be proper. Compared to the earlier Carnival cruises I’d been on, the Disney Dream appeared downright tame by comparability, with a lot of the ship feeling quiet and empty by the point midnight rolled round. 

While you will see a number of adults-solely lounges on the Dream situated in The District, the ship’s comparatively pixie mud-free nightlife space, they tended to be fairly mellow affairs even by the point comfortable hour rolled round. Unless there was a trivia contest, some recreation present or one other exercise happening, we by no means noticed greater than 10 or 15 individuals hanging out at any given time. 

Still, contemplating we have been happening the ship extra to chill out than celebration, the chilliness vibes have been simply what we would have liked, even when the nighttime enjoyable did fizzle out faster than we’d have appreciated. Fortunately, we discovered the desolate late-night time hours to be the proper time to snap crowd-free images in usually busy areas just like the atrium. That mentioned, there have been a number of lounges that we discovered ourselves returning to time and again. 

Evolution in The District was our spot from the very first night time. Though billed as a dance membership, the one dancing we noticed happening on this butterfly-themed bar was throughout a semi-awkward although fully hilarious silent dance celebration. 

After all, it’s onerous to wish to bust a transfer to a drained soundtrack of songs which are tough to bop to – knowledgeable DJs Disney Cruise Line shouldn’t be. Fortunately, the majority of the occasions taking place in Evolution have been centered extra on PG-13 enjoyable than reducing a rug, making for an ideal place to let unfastened and chortle.    

Pink, the ship’s champagne bar, is a fizzy confection of rosé-hued blown glass that’s impressed by the long-lasting pink elephants’ scene from Dumbo and the best spot to chill out with a bubbly cocktail as you hearken to dwell, acoustic takes in your favourite pop songs. 

Located proper subsequent door to Evolution, the Skyline Lounge was the spot I used to be most enthusiastic about. Evocative of a lofty sky bar, company drink in sweeping scenes of a few of the world’s best cityscapes – with a devoted drink to match. Sadly, once we stopped in, Skyline was depressingly empty, and we left quickly after. 

Castaway Cay

While not an onboard amenity, we are able to’t discuss concerning the Disney Dream with out mentioning Castaway Cay. Disney’s non-public island within the Bahamas, Castaway Cay is a tropical oasis and the spotlight for a lot of company on a Disney cruise. And it’s not onerous to see why – between the beautiful blue water, comfortable sand seashores and cookout classics on provide at Cookie’s BBQ and Cookie’s Too, like grilled scorching canine, barbecue and corn on the cob, there’s rather a lot to love. 

The island has one thing to supply cruisers of all ages, whether or not you’re within the temper for waterslides and snorkeling close to the entrance or the child-free serenity of the adults-solely seashore. Naturally, after snapping a photograph with Captain Jack Sparrow, we booked a motorbike rental ($13 per hour) and excessive-tailed it to the relative peace of the grownup aspect of the island. 

As anybody who has ever battled it out for completely shaded loungers at Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach or different aquatic scorching spots can attest, discovering a touchdown pad for the day can usually be aggravating. As a end result, armed with towel clips and seashore baggage, we went in able to wage conflict for the perfect spot. 

Thankfully, regardless that we acquired a barely later begin than we had meant, as a result of ship’s low occupancy, discovering and preserving loungers was surprisingly easy. Were they missing some shade? Yup. Did we (and by we, I imply me) get somewhat an excessive amount of sunshine? Also, sure. Did we nonetheless have a good time noshing on potato salad and studying our books with our toes within the surf and sand? No doubt about it. 

Is Sailing with Disney Cruise Line Worth It?

And now, the large query: Is happening a Disney cruise price it? In my opinion, completely. The meals was plentiful and, for essentially the most half, scrumptious. Even although some issues may use a number of updates, the leisure was glorious. With sanitation stations and crew members handing out wipes, cleanliness was by no means a priority. Plus, there’s really one thing for everybody, whether or not you’re cruising as a household with young children or with a gaggle of adults like us. 

However, what could have me coming again to cruise with Disney once more is undoubtedly the individuals. From the second we stepped on the ship to our remaining goodbyes to our server, the service we obtained on the Disney Dream was a minimum of distinctive. And personally, it’s these little connections and crew members’ considerate attentiveness that make the worth tag worthwhile. 

True, the ship’s decrease occupancy ranges undoubtedly had a optimistic impact on our expertise. But, whereas most individuals received’t be fortunate sufficient to sail on the Disney Dream when it’s lower than 50% full, if there’s something we discovered from our server, who simply marked his 14th 12 months with Disney Cruise Line, crew members are specialists at making magic regardless of how many individuals there are onboard. 

Have you had an opportunity to sail on the Disney Dream? How concerning the different ships within the Disney Cruise Line fleet? What is your favourite a part of cruising with Disney? Let us know within the feedback! Then, learn to save in your subsequent trip with our Disney discounts


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