Our family recently returned from a 5 night Bahama Cruise aboard the Disney Dream. As you know, I am a huge fan of Walt Disney World and I returned amazed and delighted by the Disney Cruise Line experience.
I have a lot of details I would like to share with you, but before I do, I wanted to let you know that there are some great fall rates for the Disney Cruise Line this fall (September and October). In addition, I am running a promotion on sailings that begin by Sept. 28 of this year. Details can be found below.
Our family sailed on the Disney Dream on a rare 5 night sailing. We spent a day at sea, a day at Castaway Cay, a day at Nassau and had a second stop at Castaway Cay. Castaway Cay was definitely a family favorite, but we also loved the water slides and rides at Atlantis.
1. The Disney Cruise Line Ship have been built with families in mind. Each room has a split bathroom. One room has the toilet and sink and the other has a shower/tub combination and a sink. So, two people can get ready at the same time. It was a sanity saver when it came time for the kids to get brush their teeth. (Why is there always drama surrounding this mundane DAILY task?)
The part of the stateroom I liked best was the curtain separating the kids area from the very plush queen sized bed. The kids could go to sleep and my husband and I could read without bothering them. Or in the mornings, the kids could watch a Disney movie and we could still sleep in. I have never had this happen on a family vacation before, usually we have to revolve around the youngest child’s sleep schedule.
The kids slept on a couch that converted to a bed and a bed that dropped down from the ceiling. There are staterooms that can sleep 3 children and 2 adults too.
2. The food is wonderful but the staff is AMAZING!
Dinners are held in three different restaurants. On our ship it was the Animators Palate, the Enchanted Garden and the Royal Palace. We always had the same table number and the same servers, even though we rotated restaurants.
Unlike other cruises, we didn’t have to sit with people we didn’t know and have those awkward conversations. Our family and it looked like most families had tables to themselves or with their traveling partners.
The food was so delicious. I still dream about the fried Brie cheese with fruit compote and the souffle. Oh my -
As wonderful as the food was the staff was amazing. Aut was from Thailand and he spoke about his family and farm back home. He also had the best way of serving food to our youngest. He would set the plate down, make the Mickey head out of ketchup and then say “Yum, yum, yummy, yum.” nod and smile. Since our return, We have found ourselves since saying the same thing at diner times and chuckling over fond memories.
Our other server was from the Dominican. He found out the Elliott really loves turtles and so our night at Animators Palate, he took the crayons and drew one on the table cloth. (insert photos) I was a little nervous that he was drawing on the nice white tablecloth, but it seemed to be perfectly acceptable thing to do. I haven’t encouraged Elliott to do this at home …
Of course one is never too cool -
3. Adult time and a taste of independence -
My kids are a little older than some of yours (13 and almost 10) and they were able to have some freedom on the ship. One day Lydia took her brother to go see Cinderella in the movie theater. A couple of times they went to get snacks by themselves or got a head start on Aqua Duck. This combined with the awesome kids and teens clubs gave my husband and I some time to have adult conversations or simply take a nap. (Aren’t naps the best thing? In my opinion coffee and chocolate come in a close second.)
4. Castaway Cay - best beach and tons of family fun
Castaway Cay (pronounced Castaway Key) was amazing. The beach area has had a man-made sea wall built, so that the waves are controlled. The beach was beautiful and so many families were enjoying themselves playing in the waves, building sand castles etc. Chris and Lydia worked on making her a mermaid tale out of sand (see photo) and Elliott and I worked on making him a small “bathtub.” The first day we were at Castaway we only spent about $10 on one inner tube to share. Life vests are provided and we had brought our own snorkel mask. Lydia went off snorkeling for a while and had a great time.
The second day at Castway Cay, I decided to surprise my family with the Sting Ray Excursion. There are over 60 sting rays, all of whom have their barbs removed. There is one male and apparently he has to be hand feed because the women won’t let him eat. At the time we were there, there were 5 pregnant females.
We were able to hand feed and pet the sting rays. When feeding time was done, we were able to snorkel with them for another 45 minutes. I didn’t take time away from my chance to enjoy the feeding to take a photo or video. (Sorry!) When the stingrays ate from your hands, it felt like a Velcro vacuum. It was so cool!
I did take photos of the kids and Chris snorkeling. This is one of my favorite photos showing the sting rays near Chris and Elliott and the Disney Dream in the back ground.
5. Perfect for all families - from newlyweds to grandparents with grand kids
I was on the ship with a friend and fellow travel agent, Molly. She has kids much younger than mine (7 and 3). She also felt that the cruise worked great for her family. She said they would go to Castaway Cay first thing in the morning and then head back to the ship after lunch for nap and quiet time.
I also saw honeymooning couples. They choose to hang out in the adult only areas of the ship and on the adult only beach at Castaway Cay. We also saw a wedding that took place on the family beach overlooking the water.
Both Molly and I observed a trend of grandparents with grand kids and no parents. This is a perfect way to explore having some alone time with grandparents while parents focus on their work or head to a different destination.
6. Bonus - Character meet and greets
Molly’s family also loved the shows and in particular all the character meet and greets. (My kids only wanted to see Anna and Elsa, they were hoping for Olaf, but that was not meant to be.)
Here is my run by selfie with a pirate -
I do think that the Disney Cruise Line has something for everyone.