We have visited Disney World in Florida more times than I can count. After so many years of driving in Florida and touring every theme park in Orlando, it's time for a change. Our bags and passports were ready to travel abroad.
We knew we wanted to go on a cruise and we knew we wanted it to be on a Disney ship. After years of wonderful Disney experiences, we felt loyal to the brands and comfortable with their level of family fun. We started our research online and started developing our plan. The first questions we answered were "Where and when are we going?". Traveling with my wife and two daughters, we wanted to make sure we had as much available as possible without spending a fortune. We opted for a night trip to the Bahamas from Cape Canaveral, Florida, to the Bahamas. We decided to sail the second week of January to save on Disney's off-season rates. The travelogue includes stops in Nassau, Castaway Cay (Disney's private island in the Bahamas) and a full day at sea.
We drove from New York to Jacksonville on Saturday, January 19, 2013. This 14-hour ride became an annual ritual for us, so it was just a regular occurrence. We left Jacksonville at 9:00 the next morning to arrive at Cape Canaveral in time for our boarding hour at 1:30 pm. Cape Canaveral is incredibly easy to reach on I-95. We followed the signs to Terminal B and before 1:00 pm had already discarded our bags and parked our vehicles.
Disney's Cape Canaveral terminal offers on-site parking at $ 15 per night. Premium parking is subject to higher prices. I have read many reviews of families who save about $ 30 by off-site parking in private parking lots or hotels. While this may seem like a bargain, I suggest you park at the terminal for convenience only. The car park is directly connected to the catwalk terminal. So does the ejection of the wind, too. Once you pack your bags, you'll just walk down the road and get in your car. No need to wait for further transport or taxi.
Check-in at the terminal was incredibly quick and easy. Be sure that all tenants in your state room are together. You will need to sign some papers and paint which will be used to identify you on boarding or leaving. The whole application process, a few pictures and waiting for our boarding call to take approximately twenty minutes. Once we entered the aisle, we took a few more photos and then entered the atrium of the ships.
The Disney Dream Atrium is a huge rectangular three-level gathering space adorned with art-deco glass chandeliers, marble stairs, a piano and Admiral Donald Duck's statue. Once boarded, we barely had a chance to tour the sights before offering two dining options: Option 1 would send us on deck 11 back for a buffet lunch in Cabanas, while Option 2 brought us one level to the buffet for enchanted garden. We chose an enchanted garden. The buffet offers many seafood choices such as shrimp and crab legs, as well as a carving station, steaks, vegetables, salad and grilled lamb chops.
Right after lunch, we headed to our country room. Our family chose the Category 4A Family Porch Room at Level 9. Once we entered the room, the first thing we did was to turn on the lights. At all times, we had to insert the room key to turn on the room power. When we realized that, we explored the balcony. Once we pulled the curtain down and opened the sliding glass door, we knew it was the place we would spend most of our time in the cabin. About 30 square meters of outdoor property has been added to the balcony. The glass wall offered unobstructed views of the ocean as you sit or stand. There were two chairs on the balcony and a small coffee table that served as our breakfast table each morning.
Once we were introduced to ourselves, it was time to head to our mandatory exercise station. Once the workout was over, we headed to the pool for a party. The kids liked the dancing Disney characters and streamers flying everywhere. Definitely a good time if you have kids. Shortly after the party began, the ship withdrew from the terminal, sailed slowly down the jet and opened into the ocean. We watched our first sunset from deck 12 of the sports area. Our cruise was finally underway!
That evening we had dinner at the Animator's Palace. The Disney Cruise Line offers a rotary meal that guarantees that at least one meal will be served at all three major restaurants. The Palace's animator is a homage to Disney artwork. It also has giant screens that show characters from Pixar's Finding Nemo. Our desk was right next to one of the screens. Before we knew it, we were being questioned by Crush, a sea turtle. The girls really laughed when Crush called my glasses "sea glasses." Our evening ended with chocolates and a swan-covered towel waiting for us in our room. It was a great way to end a very busy day.
We woke up the next morning at 8am knowing that room service would soon deliver our morning order. Coffee, donuts, cookies, hot tea, juice and milk were delivered just in time! We drank a drink, took a snack and headed right to the balcony. Once outside, on the horizon, we could see approaching pilot ships and the land mass behind them. We were slowly approaching Nassau. Once we entered Prince Georges Wharf, the ship took a 180-degree turn in the basin and returned to port. Directly opposite our ship was the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas (Oasis Class – the largest cruise ship in the world). Right behind this mammoth ship, we could see the towers of Atlantis.
Atlantis is located on Paradise Island, north of Nassau. This tourist island would be today's destination. We booked a tour of the Atlantis resort by cruise. The $ 59 excursion provided us with transportation to and from the terminal, guided hotel tours, and full access to the aquarium and predator lagoon. We gathered on board at the D-Lounge to get our wrists, handed out release forms and waited for us to be escorted to the buses. Once at 11am, our excursion group left the boat and left for about 5 minutes to reach the bus. The bus, which seats about 20 passengers, was perfectly clean, air-conditioned and in good working order. The bus driver also served as our guide in downtown Nassau. The ride took us through the government district as well as famous hotels and attractions.
After reaching Atlantis, we were greeted by our tour guide. He first walked us through shops and fashion boutiques in the hotel lobby. Very reminiscent of a Las Vegas-style hotel. We then walked through the hotel casino and the main lobby. The tour then continued to the underground ruins called "The Dig". Suppose they mimic the archaeological excavation of the ruins of Atlantis. The main attraction here is a giant aquarium filled with tropical fish and huge mantles. Afterwards, we toured the resort's main pools, which gave a great view of the famous hotel towers. A little more walk took us to the Predators lagoon. Here you will walk an underwater tube surrounded by sand sharks, sting rays, barracudas and colorful tropical fish. After the tour was over, we were able to explore any of the reasons we had visited previously, including the casino. Around 4:00 pm, we boarded the bus and headed back to Nassau.
Downtown Nassau is packed with gift shops, retail stores and jewelry stores serving cruise tourists. The area is very popular and can sometimes look a lot crowded. Despite the crowds, we always felt safe walking around and wished we had more time to explore the surroundings. We managed to stop by the local Tortuga Rum store for a great rum cake!
Once we got back to the terminal, we went directly to the immigration office to get a passport stamp. The attendant stamped all our passports in an instant and without any questions. After that we went through security clearance and boarded the ship.
Our second evening was the Enchanted Garden Dinner. Seafood options were added to the a la carte menu as well as chicken and pork dishes. If you are a picky eater, you can always order from a kids menu that includes better-known choices like burgers, hot dogs, pizzas, pasta and chicken fingers. Each meal includes an appetizer and dessert. Our evening was once again finished with chocolates and a folded puppy of towels that wished us a good night.
On the third day, he started knocking on our door while room service was being delivered to us. Our morning coffee and tea took us back to the balcony and a beautiful view of Castaway Cay! Parasailing boats and a glass-bottomed boat sailed as we exited. We could also see shore workers preparing areas for jet ski and boat. The cabana line and colorful buildings served as the backdrop to the sparkling blue waters of the Quay. We only had one thing in mind: let's hit the beach!
Once we left the ship, we were greeted by Lilo and Stitch posing for pictures. We also recorded a few dreams before boarding a tram car to the beach. When we reached the beach, we took three floating tubes, changed into swimsuits and hit the water. The beach was gorgeous and gave a perfect view of the Disney Dream. It was mid-January, so the water was about 70 degrees. The swimming temperatures were not ideal, but the sun was warm enough to keep us warm.
Around 1pm we decided to eat at a nearby restaurant, Cookies II, an open-air barbecue. Cookies II served burgers, hot dogs, ribs, chicken, as well as various salads and side dishes. Endless drinks and ice cream are also available. Meals at these restaurants are included in the price of the cruise, so no extra money is needed on the island. If you want to rent any beach equipment there, simply drag in your room key and the cost will be added to your room.
After lunch, we decided that this was the perfect time to get back to the boat and take the Aqua-Duck ride. We boarded the moment and headed straight for Deck 12. It was a very short waiting line for the ride, much shorter than we saw. We rode the Aqua-Duck several times before finally returning to our country room. When we arrived in our room, a pirate bandana was waiting for us on the bed. It was pirate night!
Our third dinner was at the Royal Palace. It was also a pirate night in Disney's dream. The entire staff was dressed in pirate dress and a surprisingly large number of guests wore full pirate costumes! The menu also featured pirate themes with selections like Jolly Roger salads and Jack Sparrow short ribs. The evening also featured a live broadcast of "Pirates of the Caribbean" followed by "Buccaneer & # 39; s Blast" fireworks! At the time, the Disney Dream was the only vessel with fireworks at sea. They were a real treat! As we retreated to our state room, we were greeted by a folded monkey from a towel hanging from the ceiling and a handful of chocolate spread across the bed.
Our fourth day was all day at sea. With no plans in place, we knew this would be our only chance of falling asleep late. We also knew that this would be our only chance to explore the ship. Service was delivered to us at 9am this morning. We had a great time relaxing and enjoying the view from our porch. Then we embarked on our boat research campaign. Our first stop on the boat was the Level 4 outdoor promenade. After walking along the promenade, we moved indoors, according to a roller coaster photo studio. After a brief look at the family pictures, we decided to buy a DVD package that included each 8×10 print, along with a digital copy for future prints.
We then headed to Level 3 ahead to visit the retail stores. We picked up all our souvenirs here, including Disney Cruise hoodies, cracked glasses and resin boat models. Then we decided to walk through three levels of the atrium where we came across a photo option with none other than Captain Mickey Mouse himself! Immediately after, we headed to the Walt Disney Theater to see the "Believe" music show. "Believe" is the story of a father who is so engrossed in his work that he realizes that the real important things in life are things, not people. The show is for all family tours and I highly recommend it.
Further exploration of the ship took us around more lounges and clubs in Decks 4 and 5. We then headed to Deck 11 from the back for lunch at the Cabanas Buffet. After lunch, we walked around the 11th and 12th decks exploring the swimming pools, sun lounges and sports complex. Watching all the fun, we went back to our quarters and changed into swimwear for a few more Aqua-Duck rides. My wife also had time to take a few laps of Bing while we spent time outside.
Our last dinner at Disney's Dream was once again at the Royal Palace. The menu featured a French theme with appetizers such as French onion and red brulee desserts. Participants included beef, roasted salmon, organic chicken breast and others. At our final dinner, a folded rabbit towel, some more chocolates and customer satisfaction research were also presented. It will also give you a brochure for booking future sailing that includes a 10% discount on the boat. After dinner we packed our bags and put them in front of our door. It was our last night on Disney's Dream and our final view of the starry sky from our balcony. Our dream vacation was nearing its end and long before we wanted to.
Our final morning at the Disney Dream picture offered a hearty breakfast at the Royal Palace. It was the last opportunity to exchange comforts and benefits with our dining staff. Our waiters, who were with us throughout the voyage, were cordial and incredibly attentive. Those four evenings and the final morning were part of the family. It’s all part of Disney’s charm that makes everyone exclaim how wonderful Disney destinations can be.
After our breakfast, it was time to disembark. It was bittersweet to step away from Dreams and return to the cold winter weather in Florida. We rounded up our bags, strolled to the parking lot, and once again embarked on the journey of New York: an experience we hope to repeat again soon!