Disney Cruise Line

Disney Dream

Fodor’s Expert Review

Ship Overview

Disney Cruise Line
Cruise StyleMainstream
Ship SizeLarge

Insider Take

Best For People Who Want

More Disney! Bring it on, Goofy, Mickey, Tinkerbell; a family-oriented vacation with the focus on spoiling your kids to pieces with a lifetime experience they will never forget.Read More

Restaurants

Disney Dream has the same “rotational dining” concept as the earlier ships, but let’s start with the two premier dining spots especially meant to appeal to adults.

The first is Palo’s, a similar restaurant as to what is presented aboard the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder. There will also be a Palo’s on Disney Dream, but it will be much larger to accommodate more patrons at once. The price will remain at $20 per person to serve up special steaks and seafood.

But brand new to Disney Dream – and a dining attraction many of the Disney designers are especially looking forward to is “Remy” based on the name of the culinary rodent from the recent Disney motion picture film hit, “Ratatouille.” This very small, French themed bistro will feature exclusive French dishes designed by two chefs, one American and one French, the latter with two Michelin stars. The room is tiny and will only hold about 80 total diners every night. The cover charge to dine there is a dear $75 per person, wine pairings are available for an additional $99 per person.

Those are two of the finest dining establishments onboard. Regular dining rooms, included in the cruise fare, are equally enticing although the focus may be just bit more on the fun rather than the food.

The first is “The Enchanted Garden.” In this room diners will feel as if the meal is starting as something like an outdoor picnic is one of the more exquisite portions of the gardens of Versailles, the royal palace once home to Marie Antoinette near Paris. But as the meal progresses this seemingly outdoor garden house magically transforms into nighttime as the twinkling stars come out all around, lamps suddenly open up, blossoming like flowers, and fireflies and tiny Tinkerbelle-like fairies start to dart through the night-time skies.

Next is an updated version of Animator’s Pallet. This restaurant is also on the first two Disney ships, but it has a significant twist on the Disney Dream. On the first two ships this room first appears to be a typical cartoonist’s studio where he might engage in sketching out a quick animation on a flip pad, or perhaps just sketch and color in a concept for a brand new character. As the meal progresses each of these basic sketches would come to life and soon the diners would be fully surrounded in a thriving animation studio with cartoon characters acting everywhere, in full color, doing and saying funny thing.

On Disney Dream this goes several dimensions further. Animator’s Pallet begins with a simple sketching studio, as we described, but this time there is an underwater theme to all the sketches. As dinner progresses these water creatures not only start to move, the come to life in a real sense, where they are looking at you, watching you and soon asking you questions about what you may be having for dinner.

Crush, the cool surfer-turtle dude from the movie “Finding Nemo” becomes the star of the show as he finds a way to swim up to every table in the room (each has a window nearby) so he can find someone to interact with. Surprisingly, he already knows someone at each table by name, so he is ready to have a full conversation when he arrives. How an animated movie character could ever get to be on first-name basis with anyone on the ship remains a mystery for the rest of the cruise.

Service

As you might expect, it could hardly be more upbeat, especially in children’s areas. There is a surprising numbers of Americans working onboard- especially in the children’s areas where communication is vital.

Tipping

Gratuities can be charged to your shipboard account. The recommended tipping guidelines per person (including children) are as follows: Dining Room Server $25.75 Dining Room Asst. Server $18.75 Dining Room Head Server $ 6.50 Stateroom Host/Hostess $25.25.

Dining Manager and Room Service tipping is at the passenger’s discretion on all cruises. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to bar, beverage, wine, and deck service tabs.

Entertainment

Entertainment on the Disney Dream is spectacular. We saw a new stage show called “Believe” where a young girl wants her father to learn how to believe in magic. Somehow, he conjures Aladdin’s Genie and his third wish, to believe in magic” is finally granted after much tribulation.

What makes Disney shows so special is that they are real theater – the kind that enchanted you as a child. They use real actors in speaking roles and there are story lines. These are not typical musical revues as you see on most cruise ships, they are actual stories that children will especially love. The Walt Disney Theater is the main showroom for live entertainment, and every show is a Disney production (they do not fly in comedians, for example).

The Buena Vista Theater is the real movie cinema theater onboard. It is a full-fledge movie theater with state-of-the-art seating and even 3-D projection. All movies are 3-D and glasses are readily available inside. All movies are made by Disney, of course, and they even show first run movies onboard the same day they come out in movie theaters.

Cabins

Most staterooms on Dream sleep at least one extra person, most will sleep two and some will sleep three extra people in addition to the two main berths.

One of the best features is the added “half-bath” allowing people to use a toilet and sink when needed in addition to the full bathroom. All staterooms also have water facilities to bath infants and toddlers; like small tubs or showers with extra high walls (to hold some water) and a movable shower head.

Inside staterooms have an LED-screen for a “window” that shows live pictures of what is right outside the ship – often with a few surprises like Captain Hook sailing by the ship (animated).

Fitness/Spa

There are three pools, one adults-only, one kids-only and one for everyone. Kids especially love the AquaDuck – the longest water slide on any cruise ship in the world at 765-feet. The slide pushes a water raft for two people through a transparent plastic tube starting from one of the smokestacks (a faux one) – out over the side of the ship with nothing below but a 100-ft drop to the open sea, then back and completely around the pool area.

The Vista Spa and Salon, operated by Steiner’s of London, has hydrotherapy and all the usual massage and beauty treatments. -oriented passengers will love the gym, with sports activities including basketball, paddle tennis and volleyball. There is a quarter-mile separate track for jogging.

Attire

With the exception of the Captain’s Dinner, at which formal attire (dress or gown for women and dark suit or tux for men) is recommended, evening attire for gentlemen is pants and shirt, skirts or pants for women.

Fellow Passengers

Expect almost everyone onboard to bring their children, with the exception of some avid Disney lovers.

Overview

Disney Dream is the most elaborate of the Disney ships with a beautiful art deco theme throughout. Fun for Adults and Kids.

Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer

Adult oriented cruising including quiet time in the sun, a casino at night; a library; adult-oriented (rated PG-16 at least) entertainment and to be around as few children as possible.

Onboard Experience

Just like the older ships, Disney Dream abounds with Disney characters, and not just the ones walking around in character. There are subtle homages to everything Disney throughout the decor from the ship’s horn, which can play six different Disney tunes, to the chair fabrics and bannisters with subtle Mickey-ears in the patterns. Disney Dream has many of the same features as the smaller ships but they are bigger and more technically advanced. But the ship also has more – such as the AquaDuck water coaster and Remy’s French Restaurant. There are three swimming pools onboard – one for kids, one for adults and one for families (all ages).

The “rotational” dining program is identical to the earlier ships in concept; you dine with the same dining companions and servers each evening, but in a different restaurant.

Technology takes center stage on Dream – including “interactive artwork” which are wall hangings that come to life for passers by. You may spot a nice drawing of Bambi from 10 feet away and as you approach she a butterfly lands on her nose and Thumper appears to laugh. Birds take flight and continue flying through the adjacent wall hanging.

The kid’s area are a cornucopia of video-based games including two “Magic Floors” which are large squares of floor mounted video screens under durable glass. 16 people can stand in separate control areas around the square and control one game simultaneously. What appear to be windows are actually well disguised video screens where the view changes subtly over time. For example, the adult nightclub “Skylines” has a “Windows on the World” feel like a penthouse bar, but the scene outside the “windows” is a different major world city every night of the cruise.

Decor

The ship has an opulent Art Deco fell throughout – in homage to the grand day of ocean liners. The three deck tall main lobby has a very dignified statue which works as a focal point for character photo opportunities. Sumptuous fabrics, wood, and hand-woven carpets and furnishings – and the Disney logo – are ubiquitous. The cabins are decorated almost identically, combining modern design with nostalgic ocean-liner elements such as a steamer-trunk closet for kids, globe- and telescope-shaped lamps, map designs on the bedspreads, and a framed photograph of Mr. and Mrs. Walt Disney aboard the ocean liner Rex sometime in the 1930s.

Some of Disney’s vast archive of animation cels, production sketches, costume studies, and inspirational artwork is displayed around the ship.

Public Rooms

When passengers first arrive and enter the majestic Disney Dream atrium what do they behold but a large bronze statue Donald Duck as the ship’s ambassador, somewhat reminiscent of Lord Nelson in Trafalgar Square.” From there you can proceed to the beautiful Walt Disney movie theater which is one of the best modern representations of an Art Deco movie theater anywhere.

Cuisine

Disney’s cuisine has improved dramatically since the ship was introduced, to the point at which it can now be said to rival Princess’s, with All-American and Continental fare likely to please all but the most sophisticated palate. Hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, and pizza are available until 6 p.m., and late nights snacks are served in the adults-only lounges. Room service is available 24 hours. The exceptional adult-only Italian restaurant, Palo, has a refined and elegant atmosphere and levies only a $25 surcharge. Remy’s an even more exclusive adult’s only restaurant with a menu created by two renowned chef’s one of them with two Michelin stars. The surcharge is $75 per diner.

Children’s Facilities

The ship has age-appropriate children’s programs that are the best at sea separated as follows:

6 to 36 months

3 to 11 years

12 to 14 years

15 to 17 years

Kids can stay with siblings upon request. Kids all get tracking bracelets that allow the “keepers” to keep track of their locations.

The days are filled with fun activities; movies, dress-up like pirates and princesses, massive video games for up to 16 simultaneous players, jungle gyms, etc.

Ship Overview

After more than a decade since their first ships were introduced, Disney Cruise Line debuted Disney Dream in 2011. By building on the style of their first two ships, the line created a vessel distinguished for its classic early-20th-century style seamlessly combined with state-of-the-art technology. From her homeport in Port Canaveral, Disney Dream sails three- and four-night getaway cruises to the Bahamas that can easily be combined with a Walt Disney World vacation in Orlando.

Disney Cruise Line’s largest ships are also their most lavish vessels, distinguished for their classic early-20th-century design—which is reminiscent of the golden age of ocean travel—and their state-of-the-art technology. Playful design accents cleverly incorporate the images of Disney characters and themes without overpowering the stylish decor. Artwork showcases the creativity of Disney artists and animators. The atmosphere is never stuffy.

As on their earlier ships, vast areas are devoted to children’s activity centers, outdoor activity areas, and swimming pools. The Aqua Duck is a unique 765-foot-long water coaster that propels kids and adults alike on a thrill-filled ride up, down, and around four outside decks, over the side of the ship and through the forward funnel.

Theaters cater to family entertainment with large-scale production shows, movies, dances, lively game shows, and even 3-D movies. Adults-only hideaways include an avenue of bars and lounges tucked into deck four aft; Meridian Lounge, located between the specialty restaurants; and Cove Café, a quiet spot adjacent to the adult pool to relax with coffee or a cocktail.

With the launch of Disney Cruise Line in 1998, families were offered yet another reason to take a cruise. The magic of a Walt Disney resort vacation plus the romance of a sea voyage are a tempting combination, especially for adults who discovered Disney movies and the Mickey Mouse Club as children. Mixed with traditional shipboard activities, who can resist scheduled opportunities for the young and young-at-heart to interact with their favorite Disney characters?

Although Disney Cruise Line voyages stuck to tried-and-true Bahamas and Caribbean itineraries in their formative years, and sailed exclusively from Port Canaveral, Florida, where a terminal was designed especially for Disney ships, the line has branched out to other regions, including Alaska and Europe.

  • 14 passenger decks
  • 2 specialty restaurants, 3 dining rooms, buffet, café, ice cream parlor, pizzeria
  • Wi-Fi, safe, refrigerator, DVD (some)
  • 3 pools, children’s pool
  • fitness classes, gym, hot tubs, sauna, spa
  • 11 bars, dance club, showroom, video game room
  • children’s programs
  • dry cleaning, laundry facilities, laundry service
  • Internet terminal
  • no kids under 12 weeks
  • no-smoking cabins

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Pros
Cons
Mickey’s Pool (for young kids) and Donald’s Pool (for families) have seating for parents
Adults-only Quiet Cove has loungers in the shallow section of the pool
A privacy curtain can be drawn between the sitting and sleeping areas in staterooms
The largest suites sleep a maximum of five
Youngsters who wear swim diapers are restricted to the Mickey’s Pool splash play area
Disney cruises aren’t all Disney all the time, but can get tiring for passengers who aren’t into it

What to expect on board

Staterooms & Cabins

Cabins
Amenities
Accessibility

Designed specifically for families, Disney ships have some of the most functional staterooms at sea. A nautical flavor adds to the art deco-inspired decor, which even includes a touch of Disney-inspired artwork. Eighty-eight percent of the staterooms have an ocean view and, of those, 90% have a private balcony. Most can accommodate at least three people; categories designated “family” are able to sleep four or even five comfortably. To accommodate larger families and groups traveling together, there are 500 connecting doors that create adjoining staterooms. All have a seating area and, with the exception of the standard inside category, feature a unique bath-and-a-half arrangement. Suites feature two bathrooms, including one with double sinks and a whirlpool tub. Royal suites have a second whirlpool tub on the balcony.

Though not luxurious, Disney cabins are comfortably furnished and have some useful amenities, including a flat-screen TV, small refrigerator, safe, iPod docking station, and hair dryer. All inside staterooms have a real-time underwater view of the outside of the ship on an LCD flat-screen monitor disguised as a “virtual porthole,” which can be turned off at night. Shampoo, conditioner, and lotion are provided for all; suites receive upgraded toiletries and bathrobes for use during the cruise. All suites have concierge service and daily deliveries of canapés, fruit, or cookies.

Thirty-seven staterooms in a variety of categories are equipped for accessibility.

Food & Drink

Food

In a novel approach to dining, passengers (and their waiters) rotate through the three main dining rooms in assigned seatings, while breakfast and lunch are open seating. Palo is a beautifully appointed northern Italian restaurant for adults that requires reservations for brunch, dinner, or tea and carries an extra charge. Also adults-only and requiring reservations and a surcharge is Remy, the ships’ most upscale restaurant that serves French-inspired cuisine for dinner. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are also offered in the casual pool-deck buffet, which offers table service for dinner. Poolside pizzerias, snack bars, grills, and ice cream bars serve everything from pizza, burgers, and hot dogs to fresh fruit, wraps, and frozen treats during the day. Specialty coffees are available in the adults-only Cove Café for an extra charge. Disney characters make an appearance at a character breakfast on seven-night cruises. Room service is available around the clock.

Entertainment

After the production shows, energetic deck parties, and activities designed for the entire family, adults can slip off to bars and lounges reserved for them after dark, such as a sports bar, a wine and champagne bar, or nightclubs where the entertainment staff offers activities such as karaoke or themed dance parties. For quiet conversation and a nightcap under the stars, Meridian is a cozy bar with adjacent outdoor seating.

Spa & Fitness

Treatments such as massages, body wraps, and facials are offered in the Senses Spa, but the Rainforest is a showstopper. Offering the benefits of steam, heat, and hydrotherapy combined with aromatherapy, the specialized areas include steam baths, sauna, and aromatic showers that simulate everything from a waterfall or tropical rain to a refreshing mist. Heated tile lounges and two hot tubs on the adjacent private teak deck offer sea views. The Chill Spa for teens occupies its own space.

QUICK FACTS

SHIP STATS
Entered Service
2011
Number of Cabins
1,250
Passenger Capacity
2,500(4,000 max)
Crew Members
1,458
Passengers to Crew Ratio
1.71
Gross Tons
128000
Width
125 feet
Length
1,115 feet
CRUISE LINE INFO
407/566–3500 or 888/325–2500

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