By Jill E. Cooper
Four months ago I began the overwhelming process of planning my first Disney cruise. Impressed by all the amazing itineraries offered by the Disney Cruise Line, I finally narrowed the field to the Disney Dream, a journey that I happily took again. To keep your sail smooth, I’ve compiled a list of 5 things every Disney Dream cruiser should know before hitting the high seas.
1. Whether you book a three-, four-, or five-day cruise, plan to hit the ground running.
The Dream is 40 percent larger than Disney’s groundbreaking Magic and Wonder. That means you’ll have plenty of ground to cover in the all-too-short time you’ll spend aboard ship on your cruise. Grab a Personal Navigator (the ship’s daily activities guide) and plan your attack as you await your boarding call in the Disney Cruise Line terminal. Start your first day on ship with a free guided tour of the vessel or by signing up for the virtual Midship Detective Agency game. This is a great way to gain familiarity with the ship that you will call home for the next few days.
2. After booking your Disney cruise, check out your options for port adventures.
The Aquaventure waterpark at Nassau’s Paradise Island Resort and Castaway Ray’s Stingray Adventure on Castaway Cay were huge highlights for my 11-year-old son. Had we not reserved these port adventure online before we sailed, we would have missed out on these memorable experiences.
3. Head to the Senses Spa on day one of your cruise.
Most guests are distracted by other attractions (like the amazing AquaDuck watercoaster) the first day, so you will often find discounts available if you book spa services on the day of embarkation.
4. Get to know your servers in Disney’s clever rotational dining system.
Although you will eat in a different enchanting restaurant each night on a three day Disney cruise, your servers will follow you in your rotation. The 1,400 crew members who staff the Dream represent more than 60 countries and are truly fascinating people to meet. It’s a special treat to have that familiarity at each meal and get to know these engaging people who will be taking care of you during your voyage.
5. Buy any must-have souvenirs on board the Disney Dream before the morning your voyage ends.
Whitecaps, Mickey’s Mainsail and other merchandise stops on board the ship are only open for business while the ship is at sea. Once you dock at Port Canaveral, these shops are closed.
Jill E. Cooper has been an aficionado of the Disney theme parks since age seven. She is a deliriously happy addition to the 2011 Disney World Moms Panel. She and her small family have recently added Disney Cruise Line and Adventures by Disney vacations to their portfolio of magical Disney travel experiences.