November 3, 2012

Disney Dream Cruise

Disney Dream and Bruce Malcolm
Our family recently took a  four night cruise from Port Canaveral, Florida to Nassau, Bahamas. We were very fortunate to have just missed Hurricane Sandy.  In fact, our ship, Disney Dream, was doing a bit of rocking on the last night.  (Thanks to Bonine, an anti-seasick over the counter pill recommended by my brother, Bob, a retired Navy chief, we all felt fine.)

We entered the Dream at Deck 3 mid-ship to discover a huge golden atrium with a sweeping royal blue carpeted staircase.  That's where our granddaughter, Ava, got the autographs from and had her picture taken with Princesses Snow White, Tiana, Ariel and Aurora. Below, Tiana is about to sign Ava's book.

Ava descending the royal staircase in her Cinderella wedding gown
The huge "magical porthole" of our cozy inside cabin showed a live feed from four cameras positioned around the exterior of the ship so we saw the same sights the cabins with real portholes saw. That was pretty spectacular and a fun surprise. Talk about ship-shape, all 14 decks of Dream, inside and out, were in pristine condition. They were so well tended, Bruce and I tried hard to find a piece of trash, a nick, a scratch. We found nothing.  While we were docked in Nassau, the Disney crew could be seen hanging from scaffold, touching up the exterior paint! And the marble flooring was polished to a fine fare-thee-well.

Mickey Mouse and Goofy and the gang below performing at our bon voage party on deck
 Donald and Daisy Duck
Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck
Our third night out was all about pirates.  On our beds, we found pirate scarves to wear and, of course, Bruce aka Captain Fancy Patch, attended the event wearing his decorated eye patch, garnering lots of compliments. At dinner that night,  the wait staff dressed the part  as well. 

Captain Hook in pirate show on deck
We chose the early seating for dinner and each night the same servers tended us with warmth, grace and humor.  By the end of the cruise,  my usual,  water with lemon and Splenda sweetener, was ready and waiting for me.  We were greeted with a bow or curtsy in the Royal Palace and the menu was written in calligraphy and sealed with wax. Several glass slippers were visible if you took the time to look. 

fancy chocolate sweetie w/ Mickey head

Once the green iron gates of the Enchanted Garden opened, we entered the airy and trellised restaurant, inspired by the beautiful Versailles gardens.The walls were transformed with lavish lighting from day to dusk.  This lush conservatory has glass floral fixtures which changed into fans.  A seven-foot statue of Mickey as Cupid is the focal point of the fanciful room. From a huge framed "aquarium" on the wall in Animator's Palace, a live action talking turtle conversed with Ava, calling her by name, and commenting on her shiny shell.  She was wearing a sparkling princess gown.  Oh, the butter knife was in the shape of a flat paint brush! The food everywhere on board was very good and far too much and the presentation was perfection. When ketchup was requested for Ava's fries, the server strategically plopped three blobs on the plate to make a Mickey head! 

kid's meal with Mickey head in ketchup

Entertainment was vast.  Each night after dinner, in the Walt Disney Theater,  was a Broadway style musical show, the final one complete with a flying Peter Pan and waltzing princesses and princes.  (No filming was permitted.)  Ava's favorite was Villains Tonight, a fun array of the  Disney bad guys and gals we enjoy so much.  The Aqua Duck, is the first on-board water-coaster ever! Two people to a raft and off you go in a  clear  acrylic tube that propels you 150 feet above the ocean!  After Mickey's pirate party and before more adult pirates had their show on deck, fireworks blasted overhead keeping in rhythm to Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean theme song, naturally.  We heard that sometimes ships from other cruise lines pull near Disney's ships so their guests can enjoy the fireworks since they are too expensive to provide.  True?  I only know that in the near distance on the vast ocean, I did see other ships... 

another cruise ship nearby on the ocean
daughter Barbra, in red, and Ava, in white, whirl away the night
Then there was a very clever techno detective game for the whole family.  You searched all 14 decks to find brass plates in the floor. Once found, you stood on the plate and pointed your magic card at the framed picture  before you.  As it interacts with your card, it talks and gives clues about who stole the missing puppies. We took an official tour of the ship and details were pointed out we would have missed.  We saw the first run movie Frankenweenie, in 3-D, too.  Oh, and they had an animation session which Ava and I attended. Below is my drawing of Mickey's head.  Very easy really.  Now, Donald Duck was a bit more complicated what with his beak and sailor's cap.

Jane Marie's version of Mickey.  His ears are a bit uneven.

As an optional port adventure, we took a bus tour of Nassau and then strolled through the beautiful aquarium of Atlantis.

tunnel aquarium at Atlantis
We snorkeled in Castaway Cay's lagoon, Disney's private island.  I overheard my daughter, Barbra, say, "Mom's really proud of herself," and I am.  The last time I snorkeled was when I was a little kid with a plastic tube in our family kiddie pool.  Besides the vibrant blue, yellow and zebra patterned fish, the sting rays and "sunken ships" were fun to find. I felt like a Jame's Bond girl, my arms against my sides, my flippered feet propelling me forward, my masked face submerged to see the sights below.  But what I'll keep with me always is the feel of the touch of Barbra's hand over mine as she guided and guarded her mother in the Caribbean waters.

Jane Marie snorkeling

From shuffleboard to relaxing on canvas deck chairs,  if we didn't do it all, we sure did try.  
Reminds me of Breelan and Nora on the deck chairs
 of the Gentle Comfort in The Goodbye Lie set in 1882...
Some folks can't imagine sailing with all those kids--Well, if you've ever been to Disneyland or Disney World, it was just like that.  There were families so there were as many adults as children.  It was so well organized, the only line we had to wait in was for the elevator when a show let out.  TIP:  No matter if you want to go up or down on the elevator, when it's crowded, get on the first available because sooner or later, if it's going up, it will come back down, etc.  The secret is to just get on! 

Adult offerings are a-plenty.  Two top-notch restaurants are on the upper decks and there is an adults- only pool and several really slick bars.  You can watch the shows with everyone, ride the Aqua Duck, play bingo, take cooking lessons or stay isolated.  When they say a Disney cruise is not just for kids, they mean it.

As for most people, our cruise aboard Disney Dream was an event of a lifetime.

For lots more photos and videos of Dream, check out

Sleepy covered chocolate on our bed waiting for us
Our pillow read: A dream is a wish your heart makes, when you're fast asleep...