Saturday, November 5, 2011

Our Dream Vacation with Disney Cruise Line

It's been 7 years since we had a family vacation.  When my son was 6 months old we went to the beach.  I spent a week in the condo with my son and my mom.  It was great.  No, no it wasn't.  My mom had Alzheimer's so naturally since I was stuck in the condo with my son who was terrified of the sounds of the waves everyone thought I would be the designated babysitter for her as well.  Good times, good times!

We finally did it though.  Yes we did.  We took the kids on a Disney Cruise.  Not just any Disney Cruise but the brand new ship - Disney Dream.  I had the best travel agent who helped me plan the trip, then helped me re-plan the trip, then listened to all my fears and concerns and then basically told me to relax and enjoy my trip.  She had it all right, plus it cost us thousands of dollars less than what my local travel agency was able to come up with.  Love her!

We actually chose to arrive two days earlier than our cruise departure and spend it at Disney's Port Orleans-French Quarter hotel and visited Downtown Disney and Typhoon Lagoon.  We had a blast!

From the moment we got on the Disney Express motor coach bus our excitement was building.  Then as you near the port you see it - you see the ship.  It is bigger than anything you can image and you wonder how something like that could ever float.  If you stood this ship on end it would be almost as tall as the Eiffel Tower!

Getting through the registration process was very quick and well organized.  We received all of our documents weeks before our trip and when you complete the on-line check-in and have all of your documents together the only thing left to do was smile and hand them over to the clerk.  They took a picture, gave us our cards and on board we went.

The staff who work for Disney really are amazing. They always smile and always are attentive.  This is the lobby of the main floor on the ship.  Another great thing about arriving on the ship was that we didn't have to handle our luggage.  Yep.  At Port Orleans - French Quarter they came the night before and picked up our luggage and the next time we saw them was outside our stateroom on board the ship. Awesome!

Speaking of our stateroom - Amazing!  Our room was the Deluxe Oceanview w/ Verandah.  We loved it.  There were two huge closets with shelves in it. There were two bathrooms - one with a shower and sink and one with a commode and sink.  Can you say Disney thinks of everything? I can.  It was great that two of us could be getting ready at the same time and there was no knocking on the bathroom door with someone yelling hurry up because they had to go.  There was a flat screen TV, a desk, more drawers for clothes and an ottoman that opened up for more storage - we chose this as our shoe's home.  Oh and the luggage all fit under the bed and out of they way!

The bed was the most comfortable bed my husband and I have ever slept in.  Seriously.  It was so comfortable that we even asked for the name brand so that we could look into getting one for ourselves.  The kids loved the fact that there was a bed that lowered from the ceiling while the other slept on the couch that converted to a bed. 

Another cool feature were the Wave phones.  Simply a must if you have kids.  There are two of them and for us we had one and my daughter had the other.  You can call and text just like a regular cell phone but without the wild international/at sea roaming costs.  They also worked on Castaway Cay.

But what was the best feature was the verandah.  Two chairs and a small table and the best view of the ocean! My husband and I have been on two cruises before (not with Disney) and we never had a room as wonderful as this one.  The verandah really makes it special.

While on board the ship we enjoyed the food at the 3 different dining rooms, the food at the buffet dining room, the food at the fast food take out and the ice cream at the soft serve ice cream center.  We loved the food that was put out at the night club also! Oh and my frozen raspberry margarita was delicious! 

I cannot say enough about the Broadway-style musicals that we saw and the comedian/ventriloquist was hysterical.  Then there were the fireworks at sea during our Pirates IN the Caribbean party one night. 

My kids absolutely love going to the kids program they have on the ship.  For my son it was the Oceaneer Club and my daughter it was the Edge (tween club).  We were terrified to have my son go to the club because of all the behavior/emotional troubles he has but guess what - nothing.  He had the best time and there were no issues.  He had one issue with taking another child's toy but it was ironed out by the club counselors without a problem.  My daughter loved going to the Edge and meeting kids from all over the country.  She even exchanged numbers with them and they Skype all the time now.  My husband and I got to enjoy a few drinks and a comedy show together one evening - I still cannot believe that happened.  We haven't been out together on a date for years.  We even got to enjoy lunch together one day without the children.  Yippee!

Our dolphin excursion while at Nassau was top notch.  Truly a lifetime memory to kiss, hug and dance with a dolphin! 

The next stop was Castaway Cay.  I cannot even put into words how well thought out this place is.  There is a family beach area and a private adults only beach area.  There is a kids club on the beach. There is shopping, hair braiding, hammocks, cabanas, massages, snorkeling - you name it!!  There is an all you can eat barbecue and more ice cream! 

And then there is a the Aqua Duck!  The water coaster at sea.  What a great ride that is.  It is much faster than we all thought it would be.  Woooo!  I hear that Disney's new ship - Disney Fantasy has one also. Just saying.

So our take on cuising with Disney is this - DO IT!!  The kids loved it, we loved it! I wish I could do this trip every 6 months!

I also wish I had taken more pictures to show you but we were so busy having the time of our lives that I kept forgetting to take the camera out of my bag.

I trying really hard to think of any negative for this trip.  We had one day where the weather was rainy but that isn't anyone's fault and it happened to be the day we were at sea so there was plenty to do that we barely noticed - except for the occasional boat rocking.  Okay, there is just one thing - maybe the bathrooms could be a bit closer to the restaurants. My son always had to go just as our appetizers were to arrive. 

Disclosure:  There really isn't a disclosure since I asked contacted Walt Disney World to see if they wanted to work with me on this before I began booking our trip and they were so very nice about saying that they do not work with bloggers.  What they meant was they do not work with my level of blogging but hey I understand.  It wasn't going to stop us from taking our trip. I just figured since I was gonna talk about it anyway it wouldn't hurt to ask. So Disney technically gave me nothing for this blog post and they never asked me to say anything about our trip.  What I got from Disney though was a lifetime of memories that my family will enjoy forever - thank you Disney!

1 comment:

Tammy said...

How fun! We're Disney Cruise Fanatics - we've been on 5 of them - and have a 6th one planned for next year. We haven't been on the Dream yet though - but the next one we'll go on the Fantasy.