On September 22-26, 2013, my wife and I took a 4-Night Bahamian cruise on the Disney Dream. This was our 2nd time on the Disney Dream, as we did a trip on it during the Inaugural Year of 2011. This time we went by ourselves, where in the past we have gone with other couples.
We drove down to Port Canaveral on Saturday, Sept. 21st. Like the past 2 years, we stayed at the Country Inn and Suites – Port Canaveral. We like to stay here, because it is close to the port, and they have a package where you can have breakfast before going to the ship, you can leave your vehicle there during the cruise, and they have a shuttle to drop you off and pick you up at the cruise terminal. From the hotel, we could see all the cruise ships in port.
On Sunday morning (9/22) we got to the Disney Cruise Line terminal around 11:45. The check-in went relatively quick, as we had done all the prior check-in arrangements online. Since we had requested to board the ship around 11:30, as soon as we checked in, we were allowed to immediately board the ship to let the fun begin.
Disney always welcomes your family to the ship in grand fashion. When you enter, they ask you last name, and then announce your entering of the ship over the speakers of the ship.
Once on board, a member of the crew welcomes you, and gives you directions on where you can go for some lunch, and the events of the day. On the past 2 Disney cruises, upon boarding, we would be directed to the large buffet, Cabanas for lunch. However, for some reason we were guided to the Enchanted Gardens dining room for a less crowded buffet. The food was awesome, but this Pumpkin Pie was the best I had had in many years (aka Grandma’s!).
After lunch, around 1:30, we were allowed to go to our staterooms. This was our first time getting a room with a balcony (#6574, on Deck 6). Let’s just say this spoiled us, and we will have to have a balcony on all the future cruises! It was awesome. So much more freedom that lower decks with just a porthole window.
We had our special gifts for being a repeat member of the Castaway Club (2 more to GOLD Status!)
It is always fun to decorate your stateroom door in Disney fashion on the cruise. Many do it, and it is fun to walk down the halls and see ideas for future cruises. Here is our stateroom door decorated.
We changed and walked around the ship. Our first stop was a Disney Vacation Club Member (DVC) Meetup. This typically means “free stuff”!
After the meetup, it was time for the life boat drill at 4:30. After this, we went back to the room for the sail away. Typically on the past cruises, we have gone up to the pool deck for the sail away party. However, on this cruise, since we had the balcony, we thought we would try it out from our room instead, with no crowds and a glass of iced tea!!! Awesome!!!!
After the sail away, it was time to get ready for dinner, since we had the main seating at 5:45pm. Our first night’s dinner rotation was in Animator’s Palate. This is a neat restaurant as it has many different screens in there, and Crush and others from Finding Nemo, rotate through the room and visit tables, interacting with guests. Since we did not go with another couple this year, we figured we would probably get paired with at least one other couple for dinner. We were a little nervous about dinner, and as to whom we would be dining with for the remainder of the week. We we arrived there were two other couples seated at the table. We seemed to hit it off really well with all of them the first night. It was difficult to hear in the restaurant, so we couldn’t carry on a great conversation, but we got to know the others. One couple had reservations at Palo (I will tell of this restaurant in Day 3’s review, as that is the night we went there). Just to spoil the later posts, but we really liked the other couples from our table. They were really awesome, and we all hung out about the ship for the remainder of the week. We later found out the one of the couples, was actually in the stateroom next to ours! We all liked each other so much, we met at Disney World on the Saturday after we got off the ship!
I almost forgot. We received word from Disney Cruise Line, that for the first time ever, that the 4-night cruise, starting with ours, until Halloween, was going to be a Halloween themed cruise, called “Halloween on the High Seas”. So there were Halloween decorations everywhere, and Halloween themed shows and events throughout the cruise.
Upon boarding the ship, we saw this unusual tree in the lobby atrium. It was a ghostly tree, that had branches but no leaves, looking really eery.
Well, after dinner, the first Halloween themed event was to gather at “The Pumpkin Tree” as we learned of it’s name and purpose. They had an older lady come out and tell the story of the pumpkin tree.
At the conclusion of the story, we were given cards with tear away pumpkin seeds on it, where we would put our names on the seed, and place them in a bucket at the foot of the tree. Strange but ok.
The next day the Pumpkin Tree began to grow pumpkins on its branches. This continued throughout the cruise, and you will see the progression of the tree in future cruise posts. It turned out to be really neat.
After this, I hit MAN HEAVEN! They were playing the Sunday Night Football game on the huge Funnel Vision screen out on the pool deck. I experienced this last year on the Disney Fantasy, and it is truly awesome, to watch NFL football at sea, on one of the biggest screens ever! We sat on the pool deck chairs and watched some of the game until it was time for our next event of the evening.
We did not go to the show on the first night, as we had seen it before on prior cruises. So we held out for another Halloween themed event with a late night showing of the “Nightmare Before Christmas” in 4-D in the Walt Disney Theater. It was called the “Nightmare Before Christmas – Sing & Scream”. That sounded interesting. I am not one for 3-D movies, but this was really neat. I had never seen the movie before, so that added to the excitement. As the movie progressed, if there was a song, the put the subtitles at the bottom to sing along. Throughout the movie, they used special effects, sounds, and lighting elements in the theater to add to the movie experience. At the conclusion of the movie, Jack Skellington & Sally came out for a meet and greet.
This concluded our first night of Halloween on the High Seas on the Disney Dream.
Tomorrow I will do a post on Day 2 when we were at Nassau, Bahamas.