Calling all Disney fans!! It's the happiest place on earth.. at sea! CP Travel Ambassador Angeletha Long had an epic adventure with her family aboard the Disney Dream and gives us the lowdown on everything we need to know!
What specific cities and /or countries did you visit? Bahamas, Cayman Island
What was your favorite memory from this trip? This trip was about spending time with my family. My son became a celebrity on the boat. He got called on stage to be a part of the magic show; this was awesome!
Did you travel via cruise ship? If so, please describe the experience and some of the standout features that you were excited about. We were on Disney Cruise Line – Disney Dream. Disney fans need no convincing to sail with one of the best family entertainment enterprises. Combining timeless beauty and contemporary luxury with legendary Disney storytelling was a dream that became a reality onboard the Disney Dream.
From personalized welcome the minute we went on board to servers that relocated to the different restaurants with us each night, every single crew member was unbelievably extraordinary. Our cabin was very roomy and meticulously maintained. The split bath setup, one room with a shower/tub and sink and another with a toilet and sink, is beneficial. Having two vanities is essential; it's nice to be able to use the lavatory while another person is in the shower. Toiletries include full-size bar soap, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and body lotion, so there is no need to pack these items.
Mickey's influence ranges from subtle to blatant. It's omnipresent but generally not overwhelming. Hidden Mickeys are everywhere on the ship; on railings, in cabins, on dinnerware, and even in your coffee.
Entertainment is magnificent and geared towards cruisers of all ages. The Walt Disney Theater is always at maximum capacity. With the elaborate sets and costumes, beloved songs, and hypnotizing performances, you could undoubtedly fail to recall you're at sea. The Walt Disney Theater offers up much-loved fan favorites like "The Golden Mickeys," my seven-year-old brought home a quart-size bag. New additions like "Beauty and the Beast," exclusively on Disney Dream, as well as its signature show, "Disney's Believe." In the Buena Vista Theater, you can watch first-run Walt Disney Studios movies. A lineup of a minimum of four films will play in rotation, not just the PG-rated animated shows.
Pirate night is a must-participate dinner and deck party featuring a fireworks event. They name it Pirate night, but I call it Pirate day. Throughout the day, you will find pirate crafts, trivia, and other pirate-themed events. You will also find a party bandana left in the cabin for each guest; tie it on for a bit of pirate flair. Our servers dressed for the occasion at dinner in swashbuckling garb and spoke to us like pirates.
The menu resembled an old treasure map; you will see me sporting one atop my head later in the evening. Menu options included Jolly Rogers Barbecue Rib Salad, Pirates Golden Pot Stickers, Chilled-to-the-Bone Honeydew Melon, and other pleasing Caribbean delights. As always, the children are taken care of; one thing you can only get during this meal is the souvenir kids' pirate drink cup that lights up. The price of the souvenir cup is $6.
After dinner came the deck party. Get there early to grab a seat up front or find a great viewing spot from the balcony. There was no sign of a pool, and the deck screamed pirate. Mickey led the deck party in a sing-along early in the evening for kids called "Mickey's Pirates in the Caribbean," followed by "Buccaneer Blast," in which Jack Sparrow rappels off the funnel. The show ended with Disney's famed fireworks display. The show is not as long as the fireworks show at the Disney theme parks. It is incredible and a must-see! Immediately following the show, enjoy a buffet filled with yummy treats. There are nachos and tacos and plenty of desserts!
If you are not a Disney admirer or have never seen a Disney ship, you may think DCL is only for parents and grandparents with little kids who love Mickey Mouse or the occasional intense Mouse fanatics. Character experiences are the mainstay of Disney Cruises. There is no scarcity of opportunities to meet or greet Mickey, the princesses, and the rest of the gang, generally in the Atrium or the D Lounge. However, there is evidence to suggest otherwise. DCL features an "adults only" pool, sun deck, bars, lounges, high-quality multi-course dining, and some shore excursions where you must be 18 or older to participate.
Adults can join in said activities by having the little one participate in Disney's pioneering, tech-friendly kids' club with spaces themed on Pixar and Disney movies. The kids' clubs also have an outpost on Castaway Cay so parents can enjoy private beach time. There is so much to do on the ship; it is impossible to fit it all in one cruise.
Top excursions and landmarks/sites to visit: On Disney cruise line Castaway Cay, we went with the more economical Extreme Getaway Package, which was great. The package includes Stingray Adventure, Snorkel Equipment for the day, Float Tube Rental, and One Hour Bicycle Rental. The Stingray Adventure is one of the most popular excursions on Disney's beautiful private Island; if you want to have this experience, it is best to book before your cruise. Upon arrival at the Stingray hut, you will receive instructions and small group assignments. Get up-close and personal during a nurturing session where you use specially designed feeding trays to feed the stingrays.
Feeding these Stingrays takes patience and timing. Feel the rush of a stingray taking food right from the palm of your hand. You may even pet these majestic animals as they go by; they are a bit slimy, surprise! The water will be more transparent earlier in the day as not so much sand will have been kicked up by other guests who did the excursion. At the end of the first hour, don snorkel gear and head out into the lagoon for self-guided snorkeling among the other rays who call Castaway Cay home. We spent the rest of an exhilarating day on the white, sandy beaches of Disney's Castaway Cay. We enjoyed this excursion to the fullest; it was the most fun we've ever had on a tour in a long time.
Were there any standout restaurants or foodie must-haves on this trip? One of the greatest pleasures of this cruise was the cuisine. We dined on artfully prepared meals in wondrously themed restaurants every night. Disney Dream's three themed main dining restaurants, Animator's Palate, Enchanted Garden, and the Royal Palace, each has its appeal and elaborately themed decor. The servers were marvelous and funny, adding a personal touch by immediately remembering all our names and providing fun folded towel animals and hats from our napkins.
Think princess-lovers with its hand-painted portraits of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, and you have arrived at the Royal Palace. Servers decked out in imperial garbs make you feel as if you're about to observe the changing of the guard. Slight majestic touches are everywhere: bread hampers in the shape of Cinderella's coach, window shutters topped with crowns, and a focal chandelier decorated with glass slippers. While the decorations are no comparison to Animators Palate and the Enchanted Gardens, the food did not disappoint. Appetizers included sesame-crusted tuna sashimi, Malaysian chicken satay, and broccolini soup.
There were plenty of options for the main course: Roasted filet of beef wellington – enclosed in a mushroom stuffed puff pastry wrap served with fingerling potatoes, baby vegetables, and a cabernet black truffle jus; herb-crusted rack of lamb – with ratatouille, roasted thyme potatoes, and a rosemary red wine reduction; grilled garlic marinated shrimp with linguine pasta, roasted cherry tomatoes, artichokes, sauteed baby spinach, and a tomato basil provencal sauce; chicken schnitzel – breaded chicken breast fried in butter, accompanied with roasted potatoes and buttered green beans. For dessert, it was the decadent celebration cake – layers of cheesecake covered with strawberries embedded in rich vanilla cream.
Animator's Palate screens decorated with Disney painting convert into a subaquatic world with fish, bubbles, and appearances by Nemo, Dori, Bruce the Shark, and Crush the Turtle, who dialogues during diners. The restaurant not only comes to life, but the color also changes depending on where you are in your meal. The offerings were exotic and lived up to expectations. We all enjoyed the Gaston's Escargot Gratinee herb marinated snails with finely chopped mushrooms topped with garlic butter for an appetizer and the farmhouse salad. We especially enjoyed the black truffle pasta purseittes pasta purses filled with truffle scented cheese and coated with delicate champagne sauce. Chicken and walnut salad was bold but not overpowering. My husband's animal instinct kicked in as he honed in on the ginger-dusted Angus beef tenderloin with wasabi mashed potatoes, bok choy, and a tamarind barbecue reduction, which everyone enjoyed for the main course. Dessert consisted of the scrumptious lemon ice box and the coconut crème flan.
Enchanted Gardens is a delightful settlement; the garden of Versailles inspires this restaurant and features market-inspired continental cuisine. Upon arrival, you will find white trellises, floral stained glass light fixtures, and a fountain in the center of the garden, with Mickey's sculpture at its highest point. At the Enchanted Gardens, Disney cleverly transforms the dining experience from day into night with lighting effects.
Tuna and Avacado tower, followed by Spinach and Raspberry Salad Baby - Spinach tossed with fresh Raspberries, Toasted Pine Nuts, crumbled Gorgonzola, and a Raspberry Vinaigrette warmed our pallets for the main course. The group opted for a variety of entrées tonight. Choices included the caramelized sea scallops with roasted asparagus that were extraordinary and cooked perfectly. The slow-roasted prime rib with thyme-roasted vegetables; the marjoram-scented roast chicken is served with baked crushed sweet potatoes, buttered baby spinach, and a red wine chicken, cooked to perfection. Please do not underestimate the cream of green asparagus soup; my seven-year-old had three servings.
If you are into pecan, here is where you will find the southern-style pecan tart with caramel sauce, one of Dream's signature desserts. The lemon raspberry mousse embedded with fresh raspberries is all you can ask for in a dessert, but don't accept my word for it. It would be best if you tried it yourself. We had so much fun eating the desserts; Floyd and Kerstin brought us one of each dessert on the menu: Lemon raspberry mousse bombe, orange almond cake, sticky date pudding, and Mickey Mouse sweet chocolate sundae.
The famed "Pirate Night" has its very own menu. To start, we partook of angelicas lime marinated shrimp and some deep-fried calypso crab cake, followed by a baby gem salad with blue cheese, radish, cherry tomato, shallots, sweet pecans, and thousand island dressing.
The main course consisted of King George's roasted privateer strip lion with thyme, roasted potatoes, buttered savoy cabbage, Yorkshire pudding, and a rosemary wine sauce. Jack's treasure of the seas was also a favorite at the table that night. We feasted upon caramel macadamia-nut cheesecake tart, served with whipped cream and caramel ganache, and the coconut crème flan with tropical fruits for dessert.
The main dining restaurants add to the cruise experience. You are free to try anything on the menu, and remember, the dining experience is complimentary and essentially unlimited. Do you love escargot? Order as many servings as you can eat! The restaurants have a wide array of allergy-friendly menu options. We always appreciate that our server teams go above and beyond to ensure we have delicious meals each night of our cruise.
My best tip for the main dining is to come hungry and order everything. You will not be disappointed. If in doubt, as your server for recommendations. Across the board, the food quality is exceptional; as the saying goes, quality, not quantity.
Prelude snack bar sits outside the Walt Disney Theatre, selling beverages and snacks during live performances and movies. The fresh popcorn is worth the extra few dollars! I recommend getting one of the reusable containers, they are refillable as often as you want for a small fee ($1.50 for the Mickey bucket), and they make for a great souvenir!
How would you describe the people and culture of this destination? Any interesting cultural lessons? DCL is a more laid-back version of the theme parks. The staff creates an atmosphere of belonging, and all strive to exceed customers' expectations. The employees are empowered to fix most issues a guest encounters. Disney's family-oriented focus is an advantage as it strengthens its popularity.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about this destination?
- The ship carries full-size H2O products. You'll find shampoo, conditioner, soap, body wash, and body lotion in every bathroom.
- The dinner menu is excellent; I love the variety of flavors and cuisine in their eclectic entree menu. There is a little something for everyone
- You can get coffee with Mickey Mouse's face in it
- You get the same wait staff every night of your cruise
- Disney films debut at sea the same day they premiere in theaters on land.
- DCL was the first cruise line with yellow lifeboats instead of the regulated orange color; it had to get special approval from the Coast Guard to use the yellow lifeboats. The yellow boats are to be the same color as Mickey Mouse's shoes, which keeps the ship's Mickey color scheme.
- The carpet on the ship is your guide; the stars always point toward the front of the vessel. The doors' clips are also a guide to help recall what side of the deck your cabin is on. The starboard (right) side rooms have starfish clips, and the port (left) side rooms have fish clips.
- The horn on Disney dream echoes the first lyrical line of "When You Wish Upon a Star," plus the second line of the song "makes no difference who you are." You will also hear several measures of "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)," "It's a Small World,” "Be Our Guest,” "Hi Diddle Dee Dee (An Actor's Life for Me)," and "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes." The Disney Dream added "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" to her horn's musical repertoire in 2015.
Top 5 Tips and recommendations for this trip:
- Bring your costumes - one night is officially pirate night; however, you will see children in Princess outfits and Mickey Mouse ears throughout the cruise, day and night. Children are not the only ones in costumes, so remember to take themed family apparel.
- Broadway-like shows are a must - Disney knows how to put on a show; you would not want to skip any live performances on Disney Dream. The main stage shows a mix of original storylines with favorite Disney songs and a spectacular live version of "Beauty and the Beast." This performance is truly unlike the films or other presentations and is unique to the Disney dream. The Buena Vista Theater shows first-run movies by Walt Disney Studios -- both animated features and more adult-oriented live-action films (including Marvel movies).
- Pack light – ample laundry rooms with full-size washers and dryers on many floors make it easy to re-wash and wear clothes during the trip. Your "Key to the World" card will buy wash and dry time and detergent; very convenient. Sunrise and sunset are better times to access available washers and dryers easily.
What makes this destination a must-see in your opinion? Experience the exquisiteness of the Grand Cayman Islands on a guided tour of the Island, starting in the capital of George Town. Along West Bay Road, you will find luxury resorts and condos as you learn the history of the Island along the way. A quick stop at Government House on 7 Mile Beach, then off to the black limestone rock formations known as "Hell." Salt and lime deposits created this uniquely named, not to be missed attraction. The Hell attraction site is at no cost to the public and accessible at all times. The post office fashions a fun photo option; don't forget to send your loved ones a postcard with a "from Hell" stamp. You will also find the gift shop painted in blood red, with an ancient gentleman in his devil's outfit greeting visitors.
A quick halt for some famous Tortuga rum cakes, then off to the dolphins at Dolphin Discovery. This activity is an educational establishment offering a swim with the dolphins' program. Three packages are available, the Dolphin Royal Swim, the Dolphin Swim Adventure, and the Dolphin Lovers' Swim. The Dolphin Lover's Swim does not involve getting in the water; it concentrates on the dolphins' life, habits, anatomy, and interesting facts. Since we were not water-ready and had limited time, this was our choice. Suppose you enjoy getting up close and personal with the dolphins, enjoying activities such as riding on their bellies, or getting towed while on a boogie board; the adventure package is definitely for you.
Many rum distilleries in George Town welcome visitors for a tasting session. The Big Black Dick Rum, named after a fabled formerly enslaved person, Richard Le Noir, is a popular pick. The Big Black Dick is stiff yet tasty and is flavored rather than spiced. My favorite is the coconut flavor; it provides an excellent snout and is rather enjoyable. Grand Cayman Island sets the bar high regarding a quality standard of living. This tropical paradise is exceptionally photogenic, with jewel-colored wooden buildings lining the waterfront. Seven Mile Beach, rumored to be only six miles long, is one of the world's most popular water sports and activities destinations. Pristine coral sand and calm, crystal clear water are ideal for sunbathing or relaxing swimming.
Additional thoughts and insights? DCL is one of those cruise lines that makes you want to sell your house and live on a cruise ship.
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