Disney Dream: Ship Review

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I’ll probably turn the cruise into two reviews.  One on the ship itself and one on our port visits.  Let’s start with the ship itself first.

A little background:  We booked a Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah (Cabin #9110), which was a category 04A room (if that means anything to anyone).  I booked only a few months ago (maybe February) and didn’t have much to pick from cabin wise.  And it cost a fortune.  Seriously.  We could have stayed in a VERY nice five star resort for what we paid for much less.  But we wanted to go on a Disney Cruise in May, so we considered ourselves lucky that we were even able to get a cabin at all!

Water Activities
The Pools: The ship has three pools: Mickey’s Pool (2ft. depth), Donald’s Pool (5ft. depth) and the Quiet Cove Pool (Adults Only ~ 4ft. depth).  L loved splashing around in Mickey’s Pool and it was the perfect depth for him.  However, it was also very very crowded most of the time. Packed.  The best times to go were early morning and around dinner time and you pretty much had the pool to yourself.

Nemo’s Reef:  I think of all the places on the ship, Nemo’s Reef was L’s favorite.  It’s a super cool water play area for kids under 8.  It’s all in a shaded area, which is totally awesome since you don’t have to worry about applying sunscreen every two minutes.   All L wanted to was go to “Nemo Pool” as he called it.  He played in there for hours!  Nemo’s pool was never too crowded, no matter what time it was.  It was always loud though!!  So loud.  Bring earplugs.  And a drink.

Aqua Duck: B went on the Aqua Deck and declared it “just okay”.  I think he was expecting something a bit more wild, but let’s not forget this is a Disney ship.  Lines for the Aqua Duck ranged from 2 minutes all the way up to 40 minutes, depending on the time of day.  Again, early am and dinner time are the least crowded.

The Restaurants:
We had the late seating at dinner (Main Seating is 5:45pm and Second Seating is 8:15pm), however, since I know that cruise ship meals typically take around 2 hours, we never once ate in the dining room.  We could have switched to the earlier dinner, but two hours at dinner still isn’t for us.  Or for the people at our table.  If you were to eat at your scheduled time, you would get to eat in all three of the dining rooms, which I think is pretty neat.  And each dining room had a “theme” to the meal every night.  I heard mixed reviews on the dining room.  Some loved it, some didn’t.  I think we would have been somewhere in between.  I mean, I enjoy long dinners with fabulous food and drinks.  But I would not have enjoyed keeping a toddler entertained.  It was a trip for L’s birthday and we did things the kid way!

Dress Code: Disney’s dress code calls for no shorts or flip-flops or tank tops in the dining rooms.  From what I saw, some people respected this.  Some didn’t.  It totally wasn’t enforced.  If I were in charge (and clearly I am not), I would have a dining room for people who wanted to follow the dress code and one for people who didn’t.  I would feel uncomfortable sitting around in my jorts(*) next to some couple in black tie.  Strike that, if I had jorts on, I would probably not even care.  And if I really wanted fine dining on the cruise, I would have eaten at one of the adults only restaurants (Palo or Remy).  This is a Disney cruise and it was jam packed with little kids, so you can decide if you think fine dining is happening in the dining rooms.
Night #1: Room Service: We went to see the 6:15pm show on the first night and then let L decide what we were doing for dinner.  He opted for room service.  The menu is fairly limited, but we all found something we liked.  I couldn’t even tell you what I ate though. To our delight, the food arrived in less the 30 minutes, which we thought was great. There isn’t a ton of room to eat in the rooms, but we happily had a picnic on the floor. It was the perfect start to the cruise.  Great service too!  We left the tray out in the hall and it was gone by the time we got up.
Night #2: Cabanas: At night (well the 2nd night of the cruise anyways), Cabanas turns into a sit-down restaurant.  It served a few of the options being served in the dining rooms (I think there were 10-12 items on the menu) and we all loved our meals.  Dinner took maybe 45 minutes to an hour (total) and we had a great table by the window and were able to watch the ship leave port.  All kids got a box of Crayola Crayons (8ct.) and a few cute coloring pages / activities.  Our service was awesome.  They even sang Happy Birthday to L and brought him a special treat.  And when they saw us the next day on the ship, they all totally remembered L.
Night #3:  Flo’s Café (Tow-Maters Grill, Luigi’s Pizza and Fillmore’s Favorites): After a day in port, we opted to grab a quick meal on the pool deck.  There are tons of options to pick from (all different kinds of pizza, salads, hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, wraps, fruit, etc.).  And, of course, it’s all free.  Gourmet dining it was not, but it was better than expected.  And this was a great place to grab a quick slice of pizza or a small sandwich mid-afternoon after a long day at the beach.  And you can’t beat the view!

Cabanas: We had breakfast every morning at Cabanas and were never disappointed. It’s a great buffet and had everything you could ever want for breakfast.  Eggs, bacon, cooked to order omlettes, eggs benedict, toast, bagels, assorted muffins and pastries, yogurt (in cartons and made from scratch), mini boxes of cereal, fruit, cheeses and deli meats, pancakes, just everything.

Other Food Related Items:
Eye-Scream Treats
: Self-service ice-cream.  I think there was a line here every time I walked by!  We stopped there a few times and grabbed a quick cone.  The ice-cream was okay.  Nothing amazing.  I wouldn’t call it your normal soft-serve ice-cream.  I used to work at Dairy Queen (best job ever) and we had problems with our machines on super hot / super busy days and the ice cream would get too soft and runny.  This problem never happened here and I am wondering if it’s because they use a different type of ice cream?  I never saw any toppings or anyone with any topping, but the sign said there were?  I didn’t care enough to ask.

Self-Serve Beverage Station: Deck 11 (aka the pool deck) has two self-serve beverage stations with soda, milk, coffee, hot water, lemonade, water, tea, etc.  I love this idea and wish they had this on other cruises I went on.  All of it was free too, which was great.  It was always well stocked and clean.

The Cabin:
Location: Our cabin (#9110) was on Deck 9 (duh) and was in a fabulous location.  Deck 11 was the pool area, Cabanas, the snack bar, etc. and since that’s where we spent most of our time, it worked out perfect.  Seriously I don’t think I could have picked a better location.  Our room was near the middle of the ship so we didn’t feel too much rocking or movement or anything.

The Room: The room itself which a nice size.  For a cruise ship room anyways.  My favorite parts of the room were:

The separate bathroom areas.  Instead of just one big bathroom, there were two.  One with a sink and a toilet and one with a sink and a bathtub / shower.  Yep.  I said bathtub. On a cruise ship.  If I heard correctly, Disney ships are the only ones with bathtubs. Such a great idea.  It wasn’t huge, but L loved playing in it and it worked out perfect.

The cabin service.  I don’t know where they find the cabin stewards (is that the right word) to work on cruise ships, but I swear, they are always the nicest people on the planet.  I know you are going to tell me that they are only nice because they work for tips, but lots of people work for tips are aren’t nice at all.  Our guy was always smiling and and would always unlock our door for us when we saw us coming in the hall.  So thoughtful.  I wish I could have brought him him!

Storage: The room had tons of storage.  No really.  There was a closet with two areas to hang things up and lots of drawers and shelves.  We unpacked everything we brought and still had room to spare.  And at the end of the day, we would put all of L’s toys and whatever into the table, which opened and doubled as extra storage.  It was great to have a clutter free space on vacation!
The balcony: I really liked having a balcony.  It was great to be able to get some fresh air every once in a while and looking out into a sea of nothing, with no birds or land or anything is amazing!  And L totally loved it.  And I loved even more that the doorwall had a lock high up, way up high, that kids couldn’t reach, so there was no chance he was going to be able to sneak out there (which I know he would have tried).  And it was super cool on the last night to look outside our doorwall and see a big storm with lighting and thunder right there!  I have never been in an ocean storm and it was very neat.

Miscellaneous Items:
Internet Service: I think I paid $75 for 200 minutes.  Not too bad I thought.  But the internet was SO slow.  I know, I know, it’s the middle of the ocean.  But really, there has to be a way to get better service.  That said, I would buy it again.  Only because I cannot be without internet and access to the outside world.  It makes me nervous.
Television: I am pretty sure that all the stations on the TV were owned by / affiliated with Disney in some way.  ABC, ESPN, Disney Channel, ABC Family, etc.  Oh and CNN too.  There was a channel that played the stage shows live, which L loved.  Too bad they only played them live though.  I wish they would have replayed them too.  I always enjoy the bridgecam and the port shopping channels, so I couldn’t complain.  Be careful though, the ABC channel doesn’t work half the time due to international restrictions  or something like that.
The Shows: We went to one live show (The Golden Mickeys) and watched the other two on tv.  They were all great and were top quality shows and were not crowded at all.  And they all started on-time!
The Characters: The ship’s daily log / newspaper had times and places where you could meet up with the characters on the ship.  We only went to one meet-up (I think it was the Castaway Party?).  The lines for the characters were nice and short and I think we got to see everyone (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Donald, Daisy and Chip & Dale) in like 30 minutes or less?

Deck Parties: We went the Welcome Aboard Party (likely called something different) and the Pirate Deck Party.  The Welcome Party was jam packed but the Pirate Party was not too crowded at all.  We got there right before it started and still got a good spot.  It was a great show and we all loved it.
This post is getting insanely long and I doubt anyone is still reading anymore.  I do want to mention though that there was a medical emergency on the ship and one of the passengers had to be airlifted off by the Coast Guard.  Can I just say that the Coast Guard rules?  It was a flawless rescue!

Questions?  Ask away!  I’d be happy to answer any cruise questions I can!

(*) This is just hypothectical.  I do NOT wear jean shorts.  And neither does B.  Or L for that matter.

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Jennifer is the author and founder of Subscription Box Ramblings. She first discovered subscription boxes in 2012 and has been addicted since. Current favorites include CAUSEBOX, Boxycharm and Beachly!

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Shannon

    I think this looks like so much fun! I cannot wait till KP is big enough to enjoy that stuff!

  2. Farra

    Looks like you had a great time….I’m not one for cruise ships (I’ve only been on 1 and didn’t care for it much) – however this looks awesome! Thanks for sharing your review…

  3. Mom

    When are you planning to cruise again?

    1. Jennifer

      I don’t know. Do you want to go this time???

  4. Amy Pelletier

    Great review! And, yes, I read the whole thing. Makes me really want to take my kid(s) in another year or so. 🙂
    I loved working at DQ, too. I think our ice cream machines crapped out all the time because Mr. V was too cheap to buy good ones…or good ice cream mix. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing your cruise opinions! 🙂

    1. Jennifer

      LOL! Do you remember when we used to run out of like vanilla ice cream? What DQ runs out of vanilla ice-cream?????

      1. Amy Pelletier

        I know!! Or when the ice cream was so soft we couldn’t even make a dipped cone without the ice cream falling off in the dip! 🙂 I loved that job! But, now as an adult and a mom I realize how much of a dump that place really was. LOL!!

  5. Cindy

    Ahhh….it’s so nice having wealthy relatives! Okay, I read the whole thing and it sounds so fun! (You can quiz me later.) For some reason, I just LOVE that Eye Scream machine…Monsters, Inc. is my favorite modern day Disney movie (from my kids “day”) Oh, and why didn’t I ever visit you when you worked at DQ?? Who knew?

    1. Jennifer

      That would have been a long drive for a free blizzard!!!!

  6. Stacey

    Oh wow it looks like you had an amazing time! I’d love to go on a Disney cruise, i’m such a big kid at heart!


  7. Ginette

    Thanks for a great review! My husband and I are treating our son, his wife and our 2 grandsons (5 and 2 1/2) to a cruise on the Dream next March. We have sailed a number of times but our son and family have never. Now that I’ve read your review I’m looking forward to it even more!

  8. Dani

    I so agree about self serve beverages on regular cruises. That was the one thing that bothered me on our cruise.

  9. Ariana Gross

    Thanks for the great suggestions. My husband, 5 year old daughter are leaving next week and I was looking for some honest reviews.

    Love your pictures.

  10. Ron

    Thanks for the great review. We are going in May 2012 just a few weeks away and are looking forward to this adventure. Our daughter is 5 and this will be her first cruise. My wife and I used to cruise often but stopped when our daughter came along, so this is a long needed break for us as well.

    Thanks Again… Ron

  11. SG


    Thank you for your detailed post. We’re sailing on DD 3 day cruise with my 5 yr old daughter. Can you give some input on dress codes on the cruise? I’m a little nervous. Some say to dress up and some to ignore it but any advice is appreciated.


    1. Jennifer

      Oh my gosh, don’t be nervous at all! We went on the 7 day Fantasy ship in the Spring and went to dinner every night but one. We did not bring Black Tie and I would say most people didn’t either! I blogged a little about the dress code here:


      Bottom line is that they want you at dinner happy and wearing whatever you are comfortable with!

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