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Cruise Ship Information

Disney Dream is a cruise ship operated by Disney Cruise Line, part of The Walt Disney Company, which entered service in 2011. The Disney Dream currently sails 3 and 4 day itineraries to The Bahamas. Its sister ship, Disney Fantasy, was deployed in 2012.

The captain of Disney Dream is currently Henry Andersson.

Atmosphere on board

Disney Dream was Disney's first new ship in 12 years when it debuted in 2011, and it represented the company's step into bigger, bolder and smarter ships. So it's not surprising that the 128,690-ton, 2,500-passenger vessel (4,000 max occupancy) -- and its near-twin, Disney Fantasy -- is 40 percent larger and two decks taller than the company's previous ships, Magic and Wonder. And while Disney kept the same classic design inspired by the ocean liners of the 1920s and 1930s, this ship is far from the same-old; a closer look reveals many innovative features and spaces.

Innovative uses of technology throughout the ship include virtual portholes in inside cabins and "Enchanted Art," digital paintings that come to life as you admire them. Families can pick up a packet at the Midship Detective Agency and use the digital works to solve a mystery. Interactive MagicPlay Floors, a ship-limited social network and a sound studio enhance the kids clubs, and "wave phones" in every cabin can be used to call or text other passengers, as well as receive messages from the youth staff.

If you're a huge Disney fan (or your kid is), you don't need to be convinced to sail with one of the best family entertainment enterprises around. If you're not -- or have never seen a Disney ship -- you might have the mistaken impression that this line is only for families with little kids who love Mickey Mouse and princesses. Sure, young Disney fans are the line's bread and butter, and they always have been. Princess meet-and-greets take place daily and are hugely popular; the shows feature songs from the Disney movies and character cameos, and the family pools are definitely overrun with splashing, shrieking young-uns.

The influence of the Mouse ranges from subtle to obnoxious, but is always omnipresent. "Hidden" Mickeys can be found just about everywhere on the ship: in artwork, on railings, on dinnerware, in cabins. What's endearing to some, though, may be overkill to others. And a few areas on the ship were definitely overlooked. The adults-only pool area and sun deck seem to be an afterthought on Dream; they're unimpressive and easy to miss. The "sports" deck offers a cute mini-golf course and a basketball court but nothing strikingly innovative or athletic.

But, Dream does offer evidence that a Disney cruise is not only for kids or overgrown Mouse fans. The art deco decor onboard is elegant and jazzy and imparts an old-world luxury, mostly refined, but with a touch of glitz. The groundbreaking tech-friendly kids clubs, with spaces themed on Pixar and Disney movies, have a huge amount of beanbag-chair- and video game-filled real estate dedicated to tweens and teens, a noble effort to better cater to the older-than-8 crowd.

Entertaining dinner shows help keep fidgety youngsters occupied during long sit-down meals. Adults can appreciate high-quality, multi-course dining at Remy, the creative use of costuming and technology in the shows, and grownup activities, such as wine tastings and late-night games. They have access to a pool, a sun deck, bars and lounges, restaurants and even shore excursions where those younger than 18 are not allowed. That's good because, in the words of Walt himself, "You're dead if you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway."

Family with Kids/Teens

Disney's acclaimed kids clubs are what keep many loyal families coming back. It's not just the innovative, engaging spaces for kids and familiar characters that make them such a success; the counselors are truly extraordinary. They offer far more than smiling faces to greet you at check-in. Indeed, these men and women are experienced, attentive and downright fun, with a keen eye for spotting children who need encouragement, a friend to play with or a major timeout.

The Oceaneer's Club and Lab on Deck 5 (ages 3 to 12) are connected on Dream (hooray!) so kids can roam back and forth, effectively doubling the space available to them at any given time. Club activities are geared to younger kids and Lab for older, but Disney's innovative approach of allowing kids of all ages to access both clubs means that siblings can hang out together if they choose, and children can pursue their own interests.

Highlights in Oceaneer's Club include the adorable Andy's Room, which has oversized characters like the dinosaur and pig from "Toy Story" for little ones to climb on, and the Laugh Floor, where kids can measure their own volumes on the "laugh-o-meter" and hang out with Mike and Sully of "Monsters, Inc." fame. The Lab has a maritime theme, a new Animator's Studio and a mini sound studio. A notable addition to both the Club and Lab are the MagicPlay Floors, which are ridiculously popular. Picture a dance floor with a giant square in the center (20 by 20 feet). On it, kids play interactive games, controlling the outcome by where they step on the floor -- similar to the popular arcade game Dance Dance Revolution, minus the music.

Dream has a kids club dedicated entirely to tweens, ages 11 to 13. (Yes, 11- and 12-year-olds have access to the Oceaneer Club and Lab, as well as the tween club.) True to its name, the Edge is located in the funnel on Deck 13, far removed from the other kids clubs. What seemed like a decent idea in theory doesn't work here; we didn't like seeing preteens hanging out in the staircase, unsupervised. Inside, however, it delivers, with an 18-foot-tall video wall, video karaoke and computers with access to an intranet-based (limited to the ship) social media app. The 9,000-square-foot teen club, Vibe (ages 14 to 17), has modular furniture, a fountain bar and its own outdoor space (new for Disney) with a sun deck and wading pools. It's located forward on Deck 5.

The kids clubs also have an outpost on Castaway Cay, so parents can enjoy some private beach time while kids hang out with their friends in a supervised setting on the island.

For the tiniest tots, there is the It's a Small World Nursery on Deck 5 midship, reserved for those from 6 months to 3 years. (Babies as young as 12 weeks are allowed onboard through 2014 and are grandfathered in to 2015 bookings made before the change in age restrictions was announced in July 2014.) The price is $9 per hour for the first child, $8 for the second, and it's open from 9 a.m. to midnight. The nursery offers an age-appropriate playroom, as well as a quiet area with cribs, swings and rocking chairs.

Note that all children enrolled in the nursery and Oceaneer Club/Lab, for which they need to sign in and out with a special wristband, will be charged a $12.95 fee for the band. If it's returned at the end of the cruise, the charge will be removed. (Neither the fee nor how to avoid it was made clear to us on our sailing.)

If you want to play with your child in Dream's kids clubs, look for Open House hours in the daily newsletters. These are times when the clubs are open for unsupervised (by Disney staff) play, and age restrictions don't apply. You can let your toddler explore Andy's Room or experience the MagicPlay Floor. There are also special toddler play hours in the Nemo's Reef splash zone and in the waiting area outside the Enchanted Garden restaurant for safe baby play.

For parents with babies and toddlers, the ship can provide Pack 'n Plays and diaper pails in your cabin, as well as high chairs and pureed food in the restaurants. You can buy diapers, wipes, formula and other baby supplies onboard at the Whitecaps store.

Past Passenger Programs

Advance booking of shore excursions, child care at Flounder's Reef Nursery, fine dining at Palo and pampering at Vista Spa & Salon

Welcome Back stateroom gift

Exclusive content on disneycruise.com—the latest cruise news, behind-the-scenes information, videos and Castaway Club Compass newsletter

Complimentary Castaway Club lanyard and special Key to the World card

Dedicated Castaway Club toll-free number—call for details, to ask questions or to book your next cruise

Special benefits for all Castaway Club members designed to make your next Disney Cruise even more magical

And much more!

Fitness And Spa

Spa

The Senses Spa on Deck 11 is beautiful and offers the usual range of treatments, from salon-oriented hairdos and manicures to more exotic fare like hot-stone massages and body wraps. There's a men's barber shop, and options for teeth whitening and acupuncture. Look for port-day specials. Sense has a minimum age of 18.

The spa also sells passes to the Rainforest relaxation area, which offers a series of steam rooms and saunas, scented rain showers, heated loungers and hot tubs looking out over the sea. Prices range from $16 for a one-day pass to $42 for unlimited use on a three-night cruise or $56 for unlimited use on a four-night cruise; access is not included with treatments. (Free saunas are located in the locker rooms.) Two Couples Villas offer a romantic getaway with a lounge/treatment area, open-air shower and private verandah with a whirlpool and plush loungers. Treatments there will run you several hundred dollars. Also, kudos to Disney for introducing Chill, a spa just for teens with treatments like the "Acne Attack Facial," "Mother/Daughter Paradise Massage" and "Truth or Hair" hair styling.

Fitness

The Fitness Center is small for a new-ish ship, with the group class area out in the open at one end of the gym. You'll find treadmills, stationary bikes and elliptical trainers, free weights and resistance machines. Fitness classes include yoga, Pilates, group cycling and boot camp; some require advanced signup, and boot camp incurs an extra fee. You can also sign up for personal training or a body composition analysis.

Food & Dining

In a sea of new ships boasting dozens of dining options, Disney Dream's five main restaurants (excluding the buffet at Cabanas and Flo's Cafe on the pool deck) might seem comparatively limited. But, Disney does more with five than others do with twice that many, and it reminds us that quality trumps quantity. Each of Dream's three themed main dining restaurants -- Animator's Palate, Enchanted Garden and the Royal Palace -- has its own appeal, and all have elaborate themed decor. It's in this area -- creating magical, whimsical spaces that come to life -- where Disney really triumphs.

Free Dining

The Rotational Dining system in place on Disney's other ships carries over to Dream, so you rotate among the three themed restaurants each night while your servers follow you. It's fun to move to a new setting nightly and get to know your waiters, but the system does necessitate traditional assigned dining times of 5:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. Families with young children might prefer more flexibility.

Overall, the quality of the food is exceptional, though success varies from venue to venue. Disney handles food allergies and dietary restrictions remarkably well, in both the sit-down and buffet venues, and can even whip up baby food for the littlest cruisers. The kids menus are a mix of perennial favorites (mac 'n' cheese, burgers, chicken strips) and healthier/more adult fare (such as cream of mushroom soup, baked cod and port tenderloin with green beans).

Coffee, soda, fruit juice and tea (iced or hot) are available at no charge; wine, specialty coffees, smoothies and other bar drinks incur an extra fee.

Animator's Palate (Deck 3): At Animator's Palate, screens adorned with Disney art transform into an underwater world with fish, bubbles and appearances by Crush the Turtle (who holds conversations with diners), Bruce the Shark and other "Finding Nemo" characters. The restaurant serves contemporary American and Pacific Rim cuisine. We especially enjoyed the butternut squash soup and truffle ravioli.

Enchanted Garden (Deck 2): Also promising to entertain you while you eat, the Versailles-inspired Enchanted Garden throws a bit of pizzazz into the dining experience by cleverly transforming day into night with lighting effects. The pan-seared sea bass at Enchanted Garden was outstanding and cooked perfectly. The venue is also open for buffet breakfast (8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.). Breakfast has limited offerings: meats and cheeses, pancakes and Mickey waffles, breakfast meat, oatmeal, fruit, yogurt and cereal with no made-to-order options.

The Royal Palace (Deck 3): The Royal Palace will tickle princess-lovers with its hand-painted portraits of "Cinderella" and "Sleeping Beauty." Waiters decked out in royal duds make you feel as if you're about to witness the changing of the guard, and little imperial touches are everywhere, right down to bread baskets in the shape of Cinderella's coach. However, compared to the technical effects of the other main dining venues, this one is a bit lackluster, without even princess stop-n-chats to add that wow factor. The food did not disappoint, however; we enjoyed the deep-fried brie appetizer and oven-baked salmon royale, as well as the perfectly sized Sweet Temptations dessert sampler. A sit-down breakfast is served from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Cabanas (Deck 11): This is a food court with food and drink stations and the predictable selection of hot and cold buffet items, with very few, if any, made-to-order items. Seating is indoors or out. There's a late-night pirate buffet held there on Pirate Night. (Open for breakfast 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., lunch noon to 2 p.m. and dinner 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., though hours vary slightly each day.)

Flo's Cafe (Deck 11): Flo's Cafe is three Cars-themed dining venues in one. Tow Mater's Grill offers up burgers, sausage, grilled chicken and chicken fingers; Luigi's Pizza serves mediocre slices; and Fillmore's Favorites comprises a salad bar and a sandwich station with Panini and wraps. (Open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., with late-night pizza at Luigi's from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.)

Eye Scream: A soft-serve ice cream station is located on the opposite side of the pool deck from Flo's Cafe. Serve yourself from a rotating selection of flavors.

Room Service: Continental breakfast can be ordered via door tags for delivery between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m., or you can call in the morning. A 24-hour menu includes sandwiches, salads, burgers, pizza and snacks. Room service is not available after 1:30 a.m. on the final night of the cruise.

Fee Dining

Remy (Deck 12); $75: Remy, which debuted on Disney Dream, is so very French that you may want to have your French-English dictionary handy. The venue -- named after the star of "Ratatouille" -- is, in our minds, the first cruise-ship restaurant to vie for a Michelin star. (Its menus were created by a Michelin two-star chef in France and Scott Hunnel, the head chef at Disney World's award-winning Victoria & Albert's.)

Remy means serious business when it comes to food, and it charges serious prices, with an industry-high service fee of $75 per person just to set foot inside the door. (And, don't even think about coming if you're not properly dressed in 50th-anniversary gala kind of garb.) Having said all that, Remy truly is a wonderful special-occasion restaurant; the steep cover is significant value for money -- it was that memorable of an evening. Remy offers a private dining room for special group events. If it's not in use, you can request to be seated there if space is available.

Cocktails and wine are additional, and a wine-pairing option costs an additional $99 per person (total charge $174). Passengers are invited to meet with Remy sommeliers before their meals to plan wines for the evening. Go for it -- it's a great chance to learn something, and the menu's marvelous. The lobster with vanilla sauce and veal chops with sweetbreads were outstanding.

A Champagne brunch is offered on sea days on cruises of four nights or longer. The fee is $50 per person, or $75 for a Champagne pairing.

Palo (Deck 12); $25: Palo, the ship's other adults-only venue, is a Northern Italian eatery and worth every cent of the $25 cover. It serves dinner nightly, as well as a Champagne brunch on sea days, also for $25. A set menu with wine pairing will run you $84. The fish and seafood entrees are superb, and the panna cotta with fresh berries and chocolate souffle are dreamy. The brunch is equally enticing, with a cold buffet (meats and cheeses, shrimp, salads, desserts) and a selection of hot made-to-order items (omelets, fish).

Vista Cafe (Deck 4) and Cove Cafe (Deck 11): These two venues specialize in specialty coffees and teas, though they also stock a variety of liquors for cocktails. Snacks and pastries are complimentary. The Vista Cafe overlooks the Atrium, while the Cove Cafe is by the Cove Pool and is for adults only.

Preludes (Deck 4): With stations by both theater entrances, this is the place to stock up on candy, popcorn, smoothies and cocktails (all for added fees) prior to the show. There's also a popcorn stand outside the Buena Vista movie theater.

Entertainment

Theater

Walt Disney Theater (Deck 3-4): Disney's prodigious stage shows always draw a full house with their intricate sets and costumes, beloved songs and captivating performances. You could easily forget you're at sea. The Walt Disney Theater on Dream offers up much-loved favorites like the "Golden Mickeys" and "Villains Tonight," as well as its signature show: "Disney's Believe," directed by Broadway veteran Gordon Greenberg. A host of old-time favorites make an appearance, including Peter Pan, Genie from "Aladdin" and Cinderella, but the story of a workaholic single father who reconnects with his young daughter is refreshingly new.

Buena Vista Theater (Deck 4-5): Dream has license to show first-run Walt Disney Studios movies in its theaters -- and not just the PG-rated animated shows. A lineup of four or five movies will play in rotation; check the daily newsletter or the screen outside the theater for show times. The counter outside sells popcorn in souvenir buckets and smoothies in souvenir cups, for an added fee, of course.

Daily Fun

Character experiences are the backbone of Disney cruises, and like the other ships, there is no shortage of opportunities to greet Mickey, the princesses and the rest of the crew onboard. This vessel affords kids a much more intimate experience than the parks do. Instead of paying the high cost of character dining or waiting in insanely long lines just to snap a mediocre shot, the characters are accessible, typically in the Atrium or the D Lounge. If you miss the formal greetings (times are outlined in your daily newsletter), you can count on seeing them around the ship, and they'll always stop for a photo.

The D Lounge on Deck 4 is also the main venue for all-ages games and activities, such as family karaoke, bingo, Disney trivia, animation classes, etc. Live music in the Atrium can lead to impromptu dance parties.

An "Arr-cade" is found outside Cabanas on Deck 11.

For a DIY scavenger hunt, stop off at the Deck 5 kiosks to access the Midship Detective Agency. You will search the ship for clues, hidden in the "enchanted art" onboard (digital pictures that come to life via motion detectors) to solve a Muppets-themed mystery.

At Night

The popular "Pirates in the Caribbean" party has become two separate events, happy news for parents unable to keep little ones up late. There is a sing-along and Mickey-led deck party early in the evening for kids called "Mickey's Pirates in the Caribbean," followed by "Buccaneer Blast," in which Jack Sparrow rappels off the funnel; a short performance with special effects ensues and ends in Disney's famed fireworks display.

There is no casino onboard.

Fellow Passengers

Disney is strongly influenced by American and Canadian travelers, and its primary market, of course, is families (especially those with kids younger than 8). Its new approach to teen cruisers may help the line appeal to families with older kids. Beyond that, Disney has strong appeal for multigenerational travelers, and its superb spa, bar district and alternate dining facilities mean that adults of any age will find their own spaces onboard.

Our recommendation

The Disney Dream is the majestic third ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet. Boasting 14 towering decks, a ship length of 1,115 feet and a maximum width of 125 feet, the 130,000-ton vessel includes 1,250 staterooms and has the capacity to comfortably accommodate 4,000 passengers—along with the over 1,458 Crew Members who tend to the needs of every cruise Guest each and every day.

Building on the classic style of the previous 2 ships, the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder, the Disney Dream is a valiant vessel distinguished for its classic early 20th-century design—which harkens back to the golden age of cruising—and state-of-the-art technology. As can be expected from Disney, the cruise liner was specially designed with families in mind, combining sleek style and convenient facilities with splashes of magic and cruise-industry firsts—like the splashtacular AquaDuck, the very first water coaster at sea.