BY VERONIQUE F. SAIYA JUN 2014
A LUXURY LINER THAT HELPS FAMILIES’ DREAMS COME TRUE WITH SOME DISNEY MAGIC
Designed to provide each family member with a a magical experience tailored to each guests’ age, every member of your family can’t help but to be wowed with first class service—a vast selection of entertainment, and decadent dining experiences. It is hospitality, fun, and opulence in the extreme! Live theatrical spectaculars, dynamic deck parties, enjoyable recreation, and entertaining games are all offered up in dreamy Disney fashion.
On a recent Disney Dream cruise, I traveled with my husband, infant, and five-year-old daughter on a nautical journey to Nassau and Disney’s private island—Castaway Cay. After boarding, my first order of business was to check out the available programs for each member of the family. There was an abundance of choices.
We enjoyed a scheduled rotation through several top-notch restaurants that offered sumptuous culinary delights along with a bit of entertainment. Our servers moved with us from restaurant to restaurant. This personalized service helps your server anticipate your preferences and any special needs your family may have. It also means that you have the convenience of tipping only at the very end of your stay.
Restaurants offer exemplary dining with a nice variety to please everyone. We enjoyed dining at Animator’s Palate for two of our meals, which included a night of “Undersea Magic” in which the restaurant transforms via interactive screens throughout the room. Crush, the sea turtle from “Finding Nemo,” made an appearance and began a conversation with a young guest at the table next to us.
The menu offered appetizers like sesame-flavored rock shrimp and salmon tartare. Entrées ranged from ginger teriyaki-dusted Angus beef tenderloin to veal and wild mushroom risotto. Available desserts were both simple and sophisticated.
Our meals at the Enchanted Garden and Royal Court/Royal Palace were equally special with fanciful décor that transported us in opulent fashion to Disney’s whimsical worlds.
The Royal Palace menu includes world-class, continental French cuisine with offerings such as lobster and jumbo shrimp, escargot, Dijon-roasted rack of lamb, and beef tenderloin with garlic shrimp.
At the Enchanted Garden, breakfast and lunch are served buffet-style, while full-service dinners offer wonderful entrées like slow-roasted prime rib, pan-seared sea bass, oven-baked salmon, and roasted wild boar tenderloin. My husband loved his Grand Marnier soufflé, while I indulged in a delicious Tahitian vanilla crème brûlèe for our desserts.
Cabanas Food Court is a casual dining restaurant featuring a variety of beverage stations and 16 specialized food stations. Freshly prepared meals include American classics: comfort foods such as pizza and pasta, grilled specialties, stir-fry, savory soups, fresh salads, and sushi. To satisfy a sweet tooth, another station showcases an dazzling display of decadent desserts. Cabanas has numerous selections of terrific buffet breakfast foods and made-to-order omelets. In the evenings, the restaurant morphs into a table-service—a casual dining experience, where dinner entrées are cooked to order.
If for some reason you are crazy enough to miss one of the terrific scheduled meals or you just have the in-between meal munchies, there’s always burgers, chicken tenders, pizza, fresh fruit, salads, and sandwiches available on Deck 11 24-7 at Flo’s Café, Luigi’s Pizza, Tow Mater’s Grill, and Fillmore’s Favorites. For fruit smoothies and self-serve ice cream, head over to Eye Scream Treats or Frozone Treats.
Of course, if you don’t want to leave the comfort of your stateroom there is always fresh, made-to-order meals just a phone call away.
After you’ve had your fill of culinary delights, you might opt to take in one of the family-friendly, Broadway-worthy theatre productions at The Walt Disney Theatre, a 1,340-seat show place. During our stay, we enjoyed several performances with our five-year-old: “Disney’s Believe,” “The Golden Mickeys: A Timeless Tribute,” and “Villains Tonight!”
Games & Movies
D Lounge on Deck 4 is a cheery, laid-back family room that accommodates around 350 guests at a time. There are age-specific games as well as games to be played by the entire family.
Goofy’s Rock Stars and Guitars Family Dance Party is a interactive dance party filled with classic rock and roll!
ESPN Monday Night Football Call It! features video highlights of memorable Monday Night Football games. The on-screen action stops and fans recall (or not) what happened next.
A Pirate’s Life For Me is a game show, complete with pirate props, rollicking music, and “Yo ho, yo ho” fun.
For Family Fusion, guests are live, on stage, in a quest test of their knowledge of their loved ones and how well they can work together as a family in a variety of mental and physical challenges.
How about a movie? The 399-seat Buena Vista Theatre is the place to be. Enjoy first-run motion pictures as soon as they are released. We loved watching Frozen in digital 3-D that just happened to be a Disney film. Or watch a movie in the open air, on the Funnel Vision—a state-of-the-art, 24-by-14-foot LED screen on Deck 11.
Get partying on the upper decks beginning with “Sailing Away,” a “welcome aboard” show on embarkation day with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and other favorite Disney characters.
Get in touch with your inner pirate at “Mickey’s Pirates IN the Caribbean,” and become members of Mickey’s Pirate Crew. The ensuing live-action pirate showdown “Hunt Fer Jack” features Jack Sparrow. The culmination of the showdown is “Buccaneer Blast,” the cruise industry’s first fireworks display at sea. As the night rolls on, guests can dance to club music under strobe lights at “Club Pirate,” a family-friendly affair.
The Disney Channel at Sea Pool Party! has exciting deck party games and contests—all in between favorite Disney Channel shows.
Outdoor Deck Fun
There’s AquaDuck, the first water coaster at sea. Aboard two-person rafts, guests go on a twisting, turning, up, down, and over-the-side-of-the-ship adventure before splashing down on Deck 12.
Donald’s Pool for families and Mickey’s Pool for smaller sailors are conveniently located nearby one another midship so that families can all enjoy some water fun.
Goofy’s Sports Deck on Deck 13 is an all-ages, open-air activity center featuring a miniature golf course, virtual sports simulators, and a basketball/volleyball court. There’s also ping pong and foosball tables, and a track for exercise.
Kids Are Disney’s Priority
While children are enjoying the most extensive youth activity areas at sea, parents can enjoy the ship “worry-free,” thanks to complimentary use of wave phones that allow crew or kids to contact parents anytime and anywhere on the ship. Further, all youth activities are supervised by specially trained counselors and feature some of the longest operating hours at sea, providing greater flexibility for parents and even more fun for kids.
Infants and toddlers (ages 12 weeks to 3 years) can be cared for and entertained with toys, books, crafts, and games at It’s a Small World Nursery. Disney Cruise Line’s babysitting services offer the longest operating hours of any cruise company. As an added convenience, all baby products needed for a Disney cruise can be pre-arranged and delivered directly to a guest’s stateroom upon arrival. Though there is a babysitting fee for nursery care, it is totally free for all the other age groups.
Disney’s Oceaneer Club and Disney’s Oceaneer Lab (ages 3–12) take children to magical realms of adventure and exploration.
Tweens (ages 11–14) enjoy video games, a multitude of hi-tech entertainment arts, and movies in Edge.
Teens (ages 14–17) can enjoy, Vibe, a ultra-cool teen-only hangout. Vibe is the perfect chill-out spot with music, Internet access, plasma-screen TVs, MP3 players, games, karaoke, and snacks. On the Disney Dream, teens have their own private deck for fun outside in the sun.
Mommy & Daddy Time
Whether an elegant dinner, a backstage tour, or a dip in the Quiet Cove pool, parents will find oodles of ways to relax and enjoy themselves in areas set aside just for them.
Relaxation and rejuvenation can be had at Senses Spa & Salon, where adults can enjoy a massage, body wrap, and pedicure in a “spa villa” replete with an indoor suite connected to a private outdoor veranda with personal hot tub and open-air shower.
Palo and Remy offer a romantic fine-dining restaurant exclusively for adults, while Cove Café provides the perfect place to sit back and sip a gourmet coffee on all ships.
The District is an adult only nighttime entertainment neighborhoods offering an array of entertainment in clubs and pubs each night.
On Disney Cruise Line’s private island, Castaway Cay, adults have a beach all their own. At Serenity Bay, sparkling turquoise waters meet pristine white sand and two-person hammocks provide a peaceful place to relax. Private ocean-side cabanas are the ultimate venue for luxurious spa treatments.
You can have adult time or family time or both while on this Disney island paradise. The ship is easily accessible throughout the day in the event that you need to go back and forth to breastfeed or for any other reason.
Transportation is provided to and from various points on the 1,000-acre island.
A delicious all-you-care-to-eat lunch buffet is served at the open-air Cookie’s BBQ and Cookie’s Too. Throughout the island, guests are treated to a myriad of surprises from Disney characters, including special meet-and-greets, photo opportunities, and dance parties.
Island Activities include:
- Castaway Ray’s Stingray Adventure, (five years of age or older).
- Parasail adventure
- Fishing tour
- Rentals: water cycles, tube, floats, paddleboats, sea kayaks, sailboats, stand-up paddle boards, and snorkel gear for the 12-acre snorkel trail dotted with sunken treasures
- Located within swimming distance from shore, Pelican Plunge is a 2,400-square-foot floating platform featuring water slides, water cannons, and other get-wet fun. On the island, a 2,400-square-foot water play area called Spring-a-Leak helps everyone cool off with fresh-water jets.
- Castaway Family Beach has a swimming lagoon and the beach has plenty of umbrellas, chairs, and hammocks. Private cabanas are available to rent.
- In Da Shade Game Pavilion provides guests wanting to take a break out of the sun a place to play games such as table tennis, foosball, billiards, and basketball in a shaded structure.
- The Watercraft Ski Adventure gives guests a chance to drive a personal watercraft through intricate mangroves and other natural wonders around the island.
- Rent a bicycle and explore numerous paths to the island’s interior.
- A knowledgeable guide explains the ecological wonders found in the Bahamas during the Castaway Cay Walking and Kayak Nature Adventure.
Dreams Come True
Impeccable service made this trip a real pleasure. Absolutely every Disney Dream crew member I encountered seemed to be happy to be there and even happier to make sure my family had an incredible experience.
My only regret is that we did not have more time to truly take advantage of all the offerings of both Castaway Cay and this top notch vessel. For this reason, I would strongly recommend choosing the longest possible stay so that you will have the time to make every single one of your Disney dreams come true. #
To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, visit disneycruise.com, call Disney Cruise Line at 888-325-2500 or contact their travel agent.