Both of my parents turned 50 this year and my dad really wanted to go on Disney Cruise, specifically a Halloween Cruise since his birthday falls around Halloween. We took a Friday – Monday cruise on the Disney Dream. This specific cruise stopped in Nassau, Bahamas and Castaway Cay which is Disney’s private island.
Covid – 19 Requirements
My family and I sailed in October 2021, and at the time the ship was operating at 50% capacity. Our specific cruise had a little less than 2,000 guests and the Disney Dream has a maximum capacity of 4,000. At the time we cruised adults were required to be vaccinated but children aged 5-12 were not, that has since changed to also include children. I recommend looking at the current requirements when you book/before you sail. A Covid-19 test is also required before you sail, but unlike other cruise lines Disney includes the cost of the test in your fare. Something we did not expect, our tests were self-administered. Masks were required in all indoor areas.
As someone who got extremely sick on her first cruise, I highly recommend booking a room with a balcony if you can. They really do make a difference and are a great way to appreciate the views. My family booked rooms on the back of the ship which made the balconies much larger. This was a huge bonus since Disney Cruise ships back into Castaway Cay and we got amazing views while docking on the island.
In general, the rooms do not differ too much from other cruise lines except for the bathroom. The bathroom is split into two rooms, one with a shower/bath and one with a toilet. This was very nice, especially since each room had their own sink which is great for families and larger parties.
Dining on Board
The Disney Dream has three main restaurants included with your fare: Enchanted Garden (pictured above), Royal Palace, and Animator’s Palate. These places are only open for breakfast and dinner, and you will eat at all three during the cruise. Dinner is assigned when you book, but you can eat breakfast at any location without an assignment with the exception of the final morning before you disembark the ship.
The ship also has the buffet style Cabana’s and quick serve restaurant Flo’s Cafe which are open for longer hours. And of course, they offer delicious soft-serve ice cream, changing the flavors daily.
The Disney Dream has two fine dining restaurants that are not included with your cruise fare: Palo and Remy. We did not try either of these, but we liked the food that we tried at all other locations. The only place I personally did not try was Flo’s.
Things To Do on Board
Because our cruise was so short, we didn’t get to experience everything the ship has to offer which is quite a lot! If possible, I recommend trying to book a cruise that has at least one Day at Sea to give yourself time to try more things. The Disney Dream had one stage show performance, a Broadway style production of Beauty & the Beast based on the live-action version. The show was incredible so make sure to check out the show that your cruise offers.
Other than that in terms of activities: They play movies all day long, have spots and mini-golf, and have multiple clubs for kids and teens. There are bars, trivia, and other activities for adults as well. The biggest bonus that comes with a Disney cruise are character meet and greets. If you and your children like to meet Disney characters, you will not be disappointed as they are all over the ship with typically very short waits.
The two Disney merchandise shops host a variety of regular Disney merchandise and Cruise Line specific merchandise. If you plan on buying any, make sure to go on the first day since once the store runs out of product they will not restock.
Events on Board
Disney Cruises usually host a Pirate Night, but since we our cruise was on Halloween they hosted a Halloween party. Many of the attendees wore costumes and the party was super fun. There is also a short fireworks show, usually the same night as Pirate Night.
Ports of Call
Our particular cruise went to two stops, Nassau and Castaway Cay.
At Nassau, my family purchased tickets to Aquaventure Water Park at Atlantis. They are $150 a person and should be purchased before arrival. When picking up our tickets they checked our passports and vaccination cards. The weather was a little gloomy/cold so the place was practically empty. The easiest way to get to Atlantis from the port is a taxi. The taxis are $5 a person, cash only.
We liked Atlantis but the food we ate at the waterpark portion was not good and ridiculously overpriced. In full transparency, I was pregnant during this cruise and did not get to go on any rides at the waterpark. However they looked amazing and my family all loved them.
Castaway Cay (pronounced key) is Disney’s private island and super fun! The island is large and there is lots to do. We paid for a package that included a bike ride, snorkeling, and tube rental. This was a good deal since it was $50 per person and the snorkel rental alone was around $30. If you can only do one thing, make it snorkeling since Disney has lots of statues and artifacts hidden in the bay that you can swim around and find.
In terms of food, they serve a BBQ at lunchtime which was some of the best food I had on the cruise. They also serve their same soft serve all day.
If you want any Castaway Cay merchandise, you have to buy it on the island since they do not sell it on the ship. When I was there, they had different cute matching family outfit sets.
My only complaint about this cruise was that it was too short! If you’re looking to go on a cruise, and a Disney cruise in particular, now is the time. The reduced capacity is a big bonus and many cruise lines have deals right now. Disney fans in particular will love a Disney cruise, but in general I find cruises great for family vacations.