Is Disney the ultimate family vacation? My Disney Dream cruise review

At my son's request (actually a year of begging) we took a Disney cruise for a 3 day weekend getaway.  I knew he would love it, but my expectations were low for us adults.  We're not mouse maniacs and I don't even really like animated movies at all. Since we had not had a vacation where neither of use were working in a long time I was also not too happy about spending it on a Disney ship. Fortunately, the experience really blew me away and we will be returning. 


Pros:

The kids club, Oceaneer Lab and Oceaneer club is undeniably amazing.  It is huge with so many things to do that all the kids seemed engaged and happy every time we looked.  Automatic hand washers are just the coolest things ever to me.  I am definitely the 'wash your hands lady'.  They are open until 12 or 1 a.m. so parents have plenty of time to hit the entertainment district bars & lounges.

The staterooms - the split bathroom concept is a lifesaver.  We also had one of the best stateroom attendants ever on this cruise.  We didn't see her much but our room was always ship shape.  Just the way I like it!  I like to sleep late on vaca and hate the ones who are making noise and knocking early to hurry up and get their work over with. 

The food - I have had feedback from others that the food was not as good as they expected.  This is such a subjective topic, but I thought the food was great.  There is a wide variety of freshly prepared food at the buffet, including fresh seafood.  Dinner menus had real food for the kids, not just chicken and fries every night.  Of course the typical things were there like Mickey pasta, but there was always a selection of fresh fruits, vegetables and soup for the kids.  Even if you have a picky eater like mine it's a great time to try new things. 

The shows - of course the shows are awesome!  Even though Disney themed, there was plenty of comedy and adult innuendo (nothing objectionable) to keep us entertained.  They brought back some memories of Disney movies I'd forgotten about.  The diverse singers and actors are incredibly talented as expected.  Other entertainment includes first run movies, deck theme parties and live music. My hubby got to see Thor: The Dark World on the ship so he was sold the first night.  We also watched the classic Jungle Book on Funnel vision together lounging by the pool (tropical drink in hand of course for me) one afternoon.  My son had never seen this or Mary Poppins so it was fun to talk about the movies I watched as a kid.

Castaway Cay - Having the kids club on the private island is great.  We had time to play together at the family beach, eat a delicious BBQ lunch, then my son was ready to go play with his new friends while we headed to the adults-only Serenity Bay.  It was quiet (except for the moron at the bar who wanted to loudly talk about politics and his miserable life) and relaxing given that the little one was safe and having fun.  The wave phones also help squash the anxiety of nervous parents.  They work (even text!) all over the ship and Castaway Cay, so you can keep in touch with each other or call the kid's club to check on your babes. 

Cons:

The dining hours - too short.  I saw many people walking away from the buffet mad.  That should never happen on a cruise in my opinion.  Though the grill is open, who wants to fill up on pizza and burgers on vacation?

Only traditional dining - I missed Norwegian's freestyle dining.  We were getting hungry between meals and it made for a cranky boy by 8:15.    Assigned table mates can also be hit or miss.  We're about 50/50 on great ones and others that make us want to skip dinner.

Debarkation procedures - nobody likes to leave the ship but their policy of assigned breakfast restaurants and no set groups left long lines.  I definitely felt they were ready to kick us off and disengaged the morning of.  On the way to breakfast a crew member pointed to the gangway and said 'debarkation is that way!'.  Now if everyone is supposed to eat at the same time and we're headed to a restaurant, posting someone in the way to point you off the ship is a clear message that I don't like having as one of my last memories.  After eating, still standing in line for a very long time to get off made me wish for the colored luggage tag groups some other lines use.  There would still be lines, but you just didn't feel as rushed to hurry up and wait. 

So it looks like my cons revolve around food...LOL what a surprise!  Overall it was a really fun trip.  Disney Dream definitely beats any other short Bahamas cruise out there.  For 7 days, I'd still give some other lines the edge in value. 
Since it was a personal vacation I didn't take a ton of pic like I usually do.  For more see the Disney Cruise Line Brochure http://disneybrochures.com/bp2b#

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