Editor’s Note: Our client Nicole, just returned from a cruise on the Disney Dream, her second Dream cruise in just four months! Thank you for sharing your review Nicole!
Here is my second Dream review, from the May 27th 5 night Double Dip cruise to Castaway Cay. This was my sixth DCL cruise, and second on the Dream (having done a 4 night on her in February). My parents and I had a wonderful time. It was my dad’s first cruise and now he is hooked on DCL, he can’t wait to sail again and has agreed to join me on the 12 night Eastern Mediterranean cruise on the Magic next summer! My mom, who sailed only once in 2004 on the Wonder, said she enjoyed this cruise much more than her first. We both agreed the food has improved DRAMATICALLY on DCL since our first cruise in ’04. I remember not liking anything but the fast food options on that cruise, and now I love everything from the chicken fingers to the Chilean sea bass to the desserts! Food at CC was the best ever, we had steaks, lobster, mahi mahi, salmon, and all the usual other BBQ stuff—it was hard to fit it all in! My mom was a bit weary of doing a 5 nighter but liked it so much she has agreed to do a 7 day in 2014. I’m so glad because I don’t think I can do anything less than 7 again. The 7+ day cruises are just so much more relaxing, more time to do things, and more offerings like the classes, tastings, tours, etc, plus the real formal night is one of my highlights.
Overall we got pretty lucky with the weather in my opinion. I’m so glad we got away from that tropical storm near Florida the day we sailed out, made it out just in time and got the sailaway party in, which really kicks off the experience. I would have been crushed if it had been rained out. The Castaway Cay first day and sea day were absolutely gorgeous; the Nassau and second Castaway Cay day could have been a bit sunnier/drier but overall not too bad and we still got in a good amount of pool/beach time both days, so we can’t complain.
Our servers, Vijay and Gusti, were 2 of the best I’ve ever had. My parents and I enjoyed sharing stories with them nightly. We did do Palo and Remy and missed them as our servers those nights. Palo was terrific as usual and this was our first time at Remy and we are hooked. We have done Victoria and Albert’s at Grand Floridian twice and we all agreed Remy is way better. The view was priceless, each course better than the previous – it was just over the top amazing. I will undoubtedly go to Remy on all of my cruises on the Dream/Fantasy going forward. Our room steward Badrud was the best I ever had. I left him a note the first day asking for ice in our rolling cooler twice daily, 3 extra shampoo & 3 conditioners daily and he did exactly as I asked every day, as well as being so nice and checking on us throughout the cruise. This was a relief because in my February cruise on the Dream my room steward was horrible, she left dirty glasses all the time, and I had to ask for new shampoo and conditioner all the time, and get my own ice upstairs. She definitely didn’t live up to the DCL standards I was used to so I was glad to have Badrud and the amazing service I’m accustomed to on this cruise.
One disappointment was room service. I am very unimpressed with this service on the Dream. On the Magic and Wonder we would order room service nightly around 11:30 or 12:00 and get through with minimal hold time, and food coming in 20-30 minutes. It was always a cruise highlight. On my February Dream cruise, I called one night and couldn’t get through at all. Another night I was on hold for 5 mins again, hung up and called Guest Services and asked what was the problem- was that normal? They told me unfortunately it was and there was nothing they could do. Luckily I called room service right back and someone answered right away, and I ordered. However, on this cruise, we tried 3 nights in a row, and was on hold for over 5 minutes each time and finally just gave up and went up to get pizza upstairs. This was a big disappointment because my dad was really looking forward to getting late night snacks and I’d really hyped it up to him leading up to the cruise, since he loves snacking in bed at home. I don’t know if I just have bad luck or if this is common on the Dream because of the size, but I am looking forward to getting back on the Magic next summer and having the same speedy room service I was used to. It is unacceptable to wait on hold like that—I would rather be able to get through to a person and place my order and be told it would be an hour or so than have to wait forever or get lucky calling to have it come in 20 minutes, so hopefully they figure out a better more efficient way to run that.
Another small issue- the pirate night scheduling. Leading up to the double dip cruises this season there were several threads on here about what night would be pirate night since a lot of us were seeing the day it showed online under My Cruise Activities but when we called DCL they were telling us a different thing. For my cruise many of us called and were told it was Nassau night but online it said sea day. I made my Remy reservation for the pirate Nassau night but of course when onboard found out it was indeed the sea day, so I did have to take some time to change my reservation which luckily was easily done with a phone call, but I really wish DCL would get better at conveying accurate information once and for all and stop confusing people. Yes you can change things onboard but I hate to even waste five minutes of my time on the ship on something I could have done at home if the information had been given correctly.
Things we loved- adult entertainment was plentiful and of good quality. From the guitar/keyboard guy by the pool, to the piano duo in the District Lounge, to the Match Your Mate and comedy shows, to the DJ dancing, we had a blast. We loved the quiet cove pool area and was pleasantly surprised to experience the castmember coming around with a plate of chilled towels every hour, nice touch I’ve only experienced elsewhere at Four Seasons resorts! We loved all of the food, from the snacks to the main meals to the adult specialty restaurants. However, I felt like the poolside food hours were a bit short. Maybe I’m wrong but I don’t remember them closing those areas for several hours a day- I always remembered being able to get a sandwich or pizza or chicken fingers pretty much anytime from 11am to early evening, but if felt like on this cruise around 5-8pm there was either Luigi’s pizza closed or Fillmore Favorites closed. Maybe I just never noticed it before in my 5 other cruises but it felt like we were always missing the window of snack time by a bit. Can someone else confirm if it has always had brief hours where they close and then reopen or is this new? At least the Frozone treats custard was always open- and great flavors too, my favorite was blueberry mango. Our fish extender group was amazing- about 20 participating rooms- and such creative, unique gifts! Such a fun experience. And I commend the person who recommended in a previous trip report to deliver up and down in aft, midship, and forward, instead of all over by floor, which is how I’d always done it on the smaller ships—much easier to do it this new suggested way because the Dream is just so large and it’s a LOT of walking if you were to go around each deck from front to back. And last but not least two stops at Castaway Cayis of course amazing- you can never get enough of that island.
We spent three days post cruise at the Yacht Club in Walt Disney World. Our first day there was mostly a rainy washout which bummed us since three days in WDW is already short, but luckily our room was ready when we arrived at 10:30 so we had lunch and napped all afternoon which was a much needed break after the cruise. We loved the cruise but there was just so much to do every day it was exhausting- up at 7:00 am to workout, then out and about all day, then dinners and adult entertainment in the clubs afterwards, it was a lot. This is why we are looking forward to 7+ day cruises from now on so we have some more downtime. We enjoyed our stay at the Yacht Club, its our only hotel we stay at for 16 years since our first visit in 1996. However, I must say that after the superior service you receive EVERYWHERE on the ship, the service from cast members in WDW felt really lacking. Still good, but nowhere near the friendliness and eagerness to please on the cruise. Especially the housekeeping—they were borderline rude to us. On the first day, I noticed there was shampoo and shower gel in the room but no conditioner. A housekeeper was in the hall so I asked for 2 conditioners and she says “you just checked in and you already want extra conditioner?” I was shocked! I replied, um yea, I did just check in but there is no conditioner at all in our room, so yes I would like 2 of them. it was very uncomfortable especially after having such amazing service by our steward on the cruise. Bottom line, I’ll always love WDW, the parks, the Yacht Club, and my favorite restaurants there but I genuinely feel that nowhere else on earth can match the service I receive on DCL.
We were disappointed in our visit to Atlantis, which was a big surprise to me given that I’ve been there many times. Once in 2002 for a vacation there, and 2 other times in 2004 and 2009 for the day on a cruise. I have always loved Atlantis and all the slides and the resort, but this time it just felt like they really let things go. There was noticeably less upkeep, trash and things around on the sidewalks/between chairs, a lot of bars and restaurants were closed so it felt like a lot more walking to get to things that were open. Overall it just wasn’t like my other visits and I think I’ve had enough of Atlantis for awhile. I had a very enjoyable day staying on the ship on my Nassau day in February and think I’ll do that again if I ever do a Bahamian cruise. It just wasn’t worth the $180/pp to do Atlantis this go around for us, but we live and learn.
The other thing I wanted to mention was the auto added tips. I did not like this. I loved the past practice how they delivered the form to your room, you filled out your amounts and dropped it in the box, then they returned your tip tickets in an envelope to your room- very seamless. Now, midway thru the cruise they give you a letter saying they’ve pre-charged your tips as the standard amounts and you have to either add cash or go out of your way to Guest Services to add/subtract to them. I figured that would be easy, I just crossed out the amounts and wrote in my corrected ones, and asked them to change, but they said it wasn’t that simple- they had to void and cancel out all the tips, then give me a whole new form (it was the same as the old one they used to give you to fill out), had me complete it, then they had to type it all in and reissue the tickets. It took about 15 minutes of time and good thing there was no line since we were getting off for Castaway Cay day, I can’t imagine if I had waited to later in the day it would have taken an hour. I can understand them going to the auto tips to cut down on those who didn’t tip in the past, but they shouldn’t make it more cumbersome for those of us who want to leave extra. It should always be as seamless as possible to reward great service.