Originally when I decided to write a blog about our cruise, I was going to write about anything and everything there was to know about this ship. However, after some consideration I decided to actually talk more about our specific experience on the cruise and the things we actually enjoyed. Everyone's journey is going to be different but here is some insight into our time on the Disney Dream. This was a three night cruise leaving Port Canaveral, stopping in Nassau, Castaway Cay, and heading back to Port Canaveral.
Before our cruise, like many others do, we vacationed in Walt Disney World for a few days prior. You can purchase transfers from DCL that are very similar to the Magical Express (however they are not free). We had to have our luggage ready to be picked up from our room at 8:00 a.m. the morning of the sailing. We placed our DCL luggage tags on them and then did not see them again until they were delivered to our cabin later on in the day. We met our DCL rep in the Belle Vue Lounge in the Boardwalk Inn where we were staying at 11:45 a.m. At 12:00 p.m. he lead us to the DCL bus that brought us to the port. The check in was very smooth, after getting off the bus, we were on the actual ship within twenty minutes. My favorite thing about boarding a Disney ship is that they introduce your family as you board, this can really make your younger children feel extra special and is just an added Disney perk!
We booked our cruise pretty last minute in the cruise world so we did not have much of a choice left in cabin selections. We selected a Deluxe Oceanview cabin on deck two. It was directly outside of the elevators which is one of our favorite spots to be (not for everyone, it can get a little noisy).
Weeks before our cruise we joined a Facebook group for our specific sailing. Almost all cruise lines and sailings have a cruise group on Facebook to join. This is a great way to get to know others who will also be sailing, learn some great insider tips from others who may have been on the ship before, and also to join a Fish Extender Group. What exactly is a Fish Extender you ask? It is something that you hang from the fish (like the organizer below) extending the “mailbox”. Then, other passengers like yourself, sign up to participate in a gift exchange with each other, and deliver gifts to their Fish Extenders throughout the sailing. Many participants actually make the gifts they hand out. We purchased small inexpensive photo albums and printed up the itinerary for our sailing and some fun facts about the ship to put inside them. Then the guests could place pictures of themselves from the cruise in the additional empty pages of the photo albums. For the kids, we handed out Mickey Mouse Ears from Walt Disney World. Many people also make or purchase Disney themed magnets for decorating their cabin door. We made ours using sheets of magnet purchased from the craft store, cutting them into Mickey Mouse shapes, gluing colored poster board to the shapes and then finally decorating them with Disney stickers. Below you will find the Fish Extender we created along with some photos of the gifts we also made. Once we boarded the ship we put up our Fish Extender right away and decorated our door with our magnets.
When you board the ship you are able to grab something to eat and it is a good idea to grab something to tide you over between the muster drill and your assigned dinner time. The muster drill can be long and boring so if you are hungry it can be slightly aggravating. Before heading to dinner we did enjoy walking through the youth clubs offered on board during the open house hours even though our son was too old for most of them. It was neat just to see the different things they offer in each age category. We also went to the teen club with our 14 year old son to help ease the oddness of him going in by himself later on that night. I recommend doing this the first day you board so your kids can get comfortable with you there.
We had the first seating for dinner this cruise which started at 5:45 p.m. The first night aboard the ship we dined at Enchanted Garden which is inspired by the gardens of Versailles. This restaurant also offered a buffet breakfast every morning and it was very convenient since our cabin was within a moments walk from it.
We were seated with another family and really enjoyed getting to know them during the course of the cruise. Although you change dining rooms every evening, the wait staff follow you and so does the family you are seated with. After our first dinner on board we decided to go and see the new Star Wars movie. Disney Cruise Line always offers movies that are also currently out at the theaters. We purchased a popcorn bucket and were told we could fill it for the rest of the cruise for $1.50 for any other movies we were going to see during our cruise. The theater fits around 250 guests.
The next day was our day in Nassau. Since we have already been to Nassau, we decided to book a short excursion and to spend the rest of the day on the ship while everyone else explored. We booked a boating excursion with Bahamas Jet Boat. We met our rep right outside the cruise terminal and she walked us down the road to their office. They had a clean office that offered lockers to put your belongings in and also offered rum punch for adults and punch for those not old enough. After a safety briefing they walked us to the boat where we spent an hour and a half speeding through Nassau and doing donuts. This excursion is not for the faint of heart or families with young children. They even sent us a complimentary photo within 24 hours afterwards.
After our exciting jet boat excursion we headed back to the ship for lunch and to relax on the pool deck. My husband and my son decided to tackle the AquaDuck which is a water coaster on the Dream and the Fantasy ships. You will find video of their time below. You will see it is completely enclosed so it is not for everyone. I am claustrophobic so I had to pass on this.
This was the Pirate Night dinner so we went back to the room early and got ready for dinner. Many guests go all out and wear costumes but we purchased cute personalized shirts and wore the bandanas Disney puts in your cabin before dinner. On most Disney Cruise sailings they host this special event. It is a combination of pirate themed live shows, fireworks, a pirate makeover option, a late night dance party and special character meet and greets. Our dinner was at the Royal Palace which happens to be my favorite restaurant on the ship because of my love of Cinderella.
After dinner we headed to the movies again to watch Frozen II before the Pirate party on the pool deck. This did not start till 10:00 p.m. They had a cute show where Jack Sparrow showed up and the fireworks were just as good as they are in Walt Disney World. After the fireworks they had a DJ and parents danced for an hour to club music. It was really a fun night.
Our third and final full day was the day we were supposed to dock in Castaway Cay however due to gale force winds we were not able to stop. I will be honest, it was very disappointing. With such a short cruise we were really looking forward to exploring their island. That being said, we had some much needed family time exploring the ship and playing together as a family. We enjoyed mini golf, foosball, shuffle board and later on in the day bingo. We even enjoyed a smoothie at Frozone Treats!
Tonight's dinner was our last with our wait staff and was in Animators Palate. Another favorite of mine for the neat atmosphere. During our dinner Crush from Finding Nemo chatted with guests from the table next to us and made silly jokes. When Crush was not on the screen some other marine life would do neat puzzles and trivia for us to solve. Each ship has a little bit of a different way of running Animators Palate and so far I have enjoyed my time on the DCL Magic the best. While this was fun, it did not blow me away like the experience I had on the Magic.
After dinner we freshened up and then headed to the Walt Disney Theater to watch the 50 minute show Believe. It features a host of beloved characters such as Peter Pan, Tink, Cinderella, Belle, Mary Poppins, Aladdin and more. It is a heartfelt story about how fast childhood goes and the bond between a father and his daughter. Make sure to bring your tissues! It was a lovely way to end our cruise and a great reminder to why we travel with our family when we can, life goes by way to fast!
The next morning after a quick breakfast in Cabanas we disembarked the ship (everyone had to be off no later than 8:30 a.m.). We had rented a car from Alamo because our flight was not till later that night so we were going to head back to Walt Disney World for the day. They have a very convenient Alamo shuttle that picks you right up from the port and takes you over to pick up the car. After getting out of the shuttle we were in our car and driving away within ten minutes. The cruise was a nice distraction from our daily lives. In my opinion it was the perfect amount of time on that ship especially since we could not dock in Castaway Cay. We did not pre book anything at all besides our excursion in Nassau. Did not do any character meet and greets and only watched one live show and still had a great time.
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