I'm a very frugal person, so I'm always looking for the best deal and I don't like parting with my money. However, as we were going to Orlando for 23 days over November and December last year, I decided to add on a 3 day Bahamas cruise with Disney Cruise Line. It wasn't cheap, at over £600 for a deluxe stateroom with a balcony, but it was possibly the best 3 nights of our lives. We loved it so much that we're going on a longer Disney cruise for our honeymoon. We sailed on the Disney Dream.
Disney Cruise Liner photo from Shutterstock
Things to do
The Disney Dream entered service in 2011 and has 1,250 staterooms available. The ship still has a very new feeling to it, and the lobby in particular was stunning and finished to a high standard. There is a wide range of activities available, including the cinema showing the latest Disney releases, 9 hole mini-golf, fitness suite, sport courts, a range of swimming pools and even an adults-only Quiet Cove pool with a pool bar. There is also a large screen on the funnel of the ship, playing Disney films called Funnel Vision.
Alongside all of this, Disney Dream has the AquaDuck, the first water roller coaster at sea. It is a 765-foot long waterslide that goes over the side of the ship and plunges those brave enough to ride into the lazy pool at the end.
In the room
Our stateroom was lovely. Located on deck 8, the air conditioned room had a queen sized bed, a large flatscreen tv playing Disney films on demand, a sofa, desk and vanity area with a hair dryer and postcards, a coffee table/storage unit hybrid, a fridge and wardrobe space for both of us to have separate wardrobes. The bathroom is in two rooms - the toilet and a sink in one, with the shower/tub combo and sink in another. It definitely made getting ready much quicker. The balcony was a fair size, equipped with a small table and two chairs.
One of the main reasons for picking a Disney cruise over any other cruise was the stop off at Disneyís private Island, Castaway Cay (pronounced key). Although other cruise lines are cheaper, we opted for the DCL because of Disneyís own private island, Castaway Cay. Castaway Cay is exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests where you can enjoy everything from laying on the adults only Serenity Bay to snorkeling. The island hosts beautiful white sandy beaches with clear water, alongside two shops, two beaches (Castaway Family Beach for families and Serenity Bay Beach for adults), 2 water play areas, open air BBQs served by the ship's chefs and some great excursions. It was lovely to go swimming in the clear sea.
Dining choices on the Disney Dream are among the best I have experienced. Each night you can attend a formal meal (although dressing up is not required) with other guests. If you prefer to dine on your own then you can ask at Guest Services. There are three restaurants to choose from, and Disney offer rotational dining,†so each night you will move to the next restaurant with your servers. There are also two adults only restaurants, but these come with a surcharge. If formal dining isn't you thing, or you're just hungry later on, there are plenty of other restaurants to visit, ranging from cheeseburgers to a world cuisine buffet. And if you're still hungry, there's always room service.
There are 11 nightclubs and lounges on Disney Dream, and they each have their own theme. My favourite was "Pink", an adult's only champagne bar. Skyline is also worth a visit, as each night a different city is featured.
Being a Disney cruise, there were a lot of children on the ship. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but it seemed that a lot of the parents relax their parenting whilst on the cruise - perhaps because there weren't many places their child(ren) could run off to. We both found that the children were much more unpleasant than we had seen at Disney. You can, of course, skip going past the children's pool to get around the ship, but they were still around at dinner time. The adult's only area of the ship wasn't well policed, and a lot of children were walking through the area.
How to save money
There are plenty of cheaper cruises on the market, so only pick a Disney Cruise if it is something you will enjoy. There are very few savings to be made with Disney Cruise Line, but here are some suggestions:
- If you have sailed with Disney Cruise Line before, and you book your next cruise whilst on board, you will get a 10% discount.
- Shop around for different months - if we went on honeymoon straight after our wedding next year, the cruise would be £1,000 more than going a few months after the wedding.
- You won't get money off (Disney don't allow it), but you can haggle with travel agents to get some onboard credit applied to your room. We booked through Virgin, who originally quoted us over £800. I mentioned how much Disney did the cruise for, and they instantly dropped their price to match Disney.
- Take your own alcohol on board - we bought some flavoured vodka from Walmart for $0.99 for two measures, and these were great in our room for a late night drink.
- Don't pay for expensive port parking - Park N Cruise offer daily parking at half the cost of the port's parking. They offer a free shuttle bus to and from the ship.