Disney’s theme park at sea is smooth sailing for all ages.
Disney Dream, which turns a year old this month, is the entertainment giant’s newest luxury liner—newest, that is until the next ship in the cruise line, Fantasy, debuts in March. But for now, it’s hard to top the Dream for a family cruise. The ship features everything from family karaoke and clubs especially for tweens and teens, to a water flume ride and continuous character meet-and-greets. Here are five things to know (and like) about the Dream:
It’s for grown-ups too. “The District,’’ on the ship’s fourth deck, is dedicated to adult nightlife, with a collection of five bars, pubs and nightclubs. So whether you’re in the mood to have a beer and watch college hoops, or get cozy in a pinkish champagne bar, or loosen up on a lighted dance floor, this is the place to be for grown-up fun. Plus, there are two high-end restaurants, Remy and Palo; an adults-only swimming/bar area (barstools in the water!); and a couples’ massage villa that offers a fine view of the high seas.
You can skip Nassau and stay on board. On the three-day cruise, the Dream stops at the Bahamas port for a day, and you can shop or sign up (at extra cost) for on-shore adventures like swimming with dolphins or lying on the beach next to the Atlantis hotel. But you don’t have to get off. Consider staying aboard and relaxing, or enjoying AquaDuck when the lines aren’t so long. However, when the ship docks at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island, you’ll definitely want to debark and enjoy everything from swimming and snorkeling to paddle boats and biking. And endless barbecue.
Even the interior rooms are nice. Dream cruises aren’t cheap. For example, a 3-night Bahamas cruise for two adults and two kids in February ranges from $2,544 to $3,978. But even the inside staterooms (i.e. those without an ocean view or balcony) have a “magical” porthole, featuring a real-time view outside the ship. The kids won’t be disappointed—animated characters continually float in and out of the picture.
AquaDuck rocks. Raised above the top deck of the ship, the water coaster begins with a sharp turn that takes riders—two to a raft—over the ocean. The 765-foot-long, transparent tube of rushing water takes you down the Dream’s port side and across its upper deck before heading down the starboard side. It’s one giant loop, with views of the ocean and ship’s topside.
The stage shows dazzle. Disney songs are a constant audio backdrop nearly everywhere on the ship, so why take in a stage show and risk overdosing on pixie dust? Because the dancing, color, acrobatics and singing featured in Villains Tonight! and The Golden Mickeys are a delight. Disney bills these character-laden shows as Broadway-caliber, and that’s not a hollow boast.