Review: Disney Dream

Professional Review for Disney Dream

PoolDisney Cruise Line’s newest ship, the Dream, launched in January 2011. It is about 50% larger than Disney’s other two ships, the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder. It is the first new Disney ship since the Wonder debuted in 1999.

The Dream embarked on its maiden voyage on 26 January 2011, from Port Canaveral to the Bahamas. It is sailing 3-, 4- and 5-night cruises to the Bahamas from Port Canaveral. Its sister ship, the Disney Fantasy, is under construction at Meyer Werft and is scheduled to set sail on its maiden voyage on 7 April 2012.

The linerlike vessel features two squat, black-topped red funnels. Art-deco stylings include a 1.5-deck-tall, 24-karat gold-plated Swarovski crystal chandelier centerpiece, hand-carved stone inlays, plaster friezes and hand-tufted carpets.

The Dream features about two dozen pieces of framed artwork placed throughout the ship’s 13 decks that will come to life when a passenger stands in front of the frame, some of which will include historic photographs of Walt Disney. The Enchanted Art feature also includes a detective game where clues are digitally hidden in some of the art.

Since the Dream is 40% bigger than the other two Disney ships, Disney’s creative team had a lot more space to use the plethora of Disney and Pixar characters at their disposal. There are obvious Disney touches such as the Disney show music piped into almost every space on the ship; the ubiquitous mouse ears on rugs, mugs and bedspreads; and Donald Duck shooting hoops with kids at the basketball court.

For dining, the Dream offers Disney Cruise Line’s first French eatery, an upscale restaurant called Remy. Arnaud Lallement, the French chef from l’Assiette Champenoise, a Michelin two-star restaurant just outside of Reims, France, collaborated with Scott Hunnel, executive chef of Victoria & Albert’s in Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort, to create Remy’s concept and menu.

Disney is calling the adults-only Remy its first premier dining option, but the eatery is still very much Disney. It is named for the star of Ratatouille, the movie Disney released in 2007 about a rat who dreams of becoming a chef. The dining room has a similar look to the one in the film’s restaurant. Remy carries a $75 cover charge, before wine. There is a separate price and menu for a private chef’s table for 16 in a separate room off Remy’s main dining room.

Adjacent to the Atrium, the Royal Palace restaurant features “lazy susan” revolving-booth seating and opulent decor inspired by four Disney princesses: Cinderella, Snow White, Belle from Beauty and the Beast, and Aurora from Sleeping Beauty. SuiteCuisine furthers the theme with dishes such as king salmon and princess cakes.

The Dream’s Animators’ Palate restaurant seats about 700 passengers, up from the approximately 450-guest capacity on Disney’s other cruises. About 130 wall-mounted flat-screen monitors help transform the restaurant with a Finding Nemo-inspired undersea theme, and there is live dialogue between diners and an on-screen version of Crush, the surfer-turtle character from the movie. This place is fantastic for kids. Crush speaks at tables throughout the meal, even instructing them on the proper “lingo” of the turtle language, where apparently the word “dude” is used as much as possible.

Additionally, the ship’s Oceaneer Club and Lab children’s play areas have what Disney says is the first interactive, floor-based videogame on a cruise ship. The 250-sq-ft play-floors, which look like dance floors and enable players to control the action with their feet from the periphery, allow as many as 32 kids to play at once.

In the Enchanted Garden, which is fashioned after the gardens of Versailles, the setting gradually transforms from day to night and the offerings will be fresh, seasonal and organic.

The restaurant and play areas are some of the features Walt Disney Imagineering is developing for the 4,000-passenger Dream in an effort to broaden family activities.

The ship also features Nemo’s Reef water-play area and Goofy’s Sports Deck.

Nemo’s Reef takes its name from the Pixar film Finding Nemo and incorporates a number of characters from that movie in its features, including a small slide that is shaped like Mr. Ray. It also includes a water curtain that moves back and forth.

The water-play area is surrounded by a glass enclosure, with a main guest entrance and a wheelchair-accessible entrance. The Dream also features the cruise industry’s first onboard water coaster, AquaDuck, a 765-ft, acrylic-tube “water coaster” suspended above the football-field-size deck area. One of the ship’s most anticipated features, it is capable of handling up to 250 people per hour.

The minute-long ride employs “master blaster” water jet technology that whooshes guests at speeds of up to 14 feet per second through both funnels and, at one precipitous loop, 160 ft above the sea.

On Goofy’s Sports Deck, passengers can play a nine-hole minigolf course. Each hole offers special instructions with a “goofy twist.”

SpaAlso on Goofy’s Sports Deck, two digital sports simulators provide virtual game experiences for soccer, tennis, basketball and golf. Max’s Courts, two small sports courts, offer soccer and basketball for kids. Table tennis and foosball tables are available, too.

A walking track rings Goofy’s Sports Deck.

Adults desiring a break from the kids can head for the Quiet Cove Pool, an area exclusively for passengers age 18 and older. The area features a swim-up bar, sunbathing pool with built-in loungers, a 4-ft-deep plunge pool and a hot tub.

Also for the adults is an exclusive nighttime entertainment area called the District, with themed lounges, bars and nightclubs. The Skyline Bar features a high-definition projection of a different cityscape (Paris, New York, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Chicago) each night with matching music, drinks and food.

The main nightclub, Evolution, boasts fog screens, butterfly-shaped banquettes and backlit ceilings emulating deep-orange Monarch and brilliant-blue Morpho butterfly wings.

Pink, a champagne bar named for the pink elephant in Dumbo, sports bubble-shaped Italian light fixtures and offers its own exclusive brand of Taittinger champagne.

Of the ship’s 1,250 cabins (1,000 of which interconnect), 150 are inside cabins that feature one of the coolest cruise ship innovations yet: “virtual portholes” fed by real-time LED projections from four outside positions around the ship. Disney characters, such as the starfish from Finding Nemo, randomly make cameo appearances in the video view, placed above the cabin beds.

Cabin sizes range from 169 sq feet to 1,781 sq ft. Nineteen concierge-level suites on Decks 11 and 12 have gated access and balconies partially enclosed by glass canopies.

All cabins feature new “scan key” technology and yacht-inspired decor with a soothing deep blue, red and white palette.

Disney gets high marks for its baths on the Dream. It kept the bath design from its first two ships. In the majority of cabins, even most inside ones, the bath is divided into two rooms—one with a full bath and a sink—the other with a toilet and a sink. Parents with toddlers appreciate that one parent can bathe young kids in the tub while other members of the family can use the separate toilet and sink room. And parents of teenagers who constantly battle for mirror time appreciate the additional vanity.

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Ship Profile for Disney Dream Cruise Ship 

Cruise Line:  Disney Cruise Line
Ship Type:  Cruise Ship
Year Built:  2011   Gross Tonnage:  128,000
Year Refurbished:      Length (ft):  1115 ft
Deck Quantity:  14   Beam (ft):  125 ft
Passenger Capacity:  4,000   Speed (knots):   
Number of Inside Cabins:     
Number of Outside Cabins:     
Nationality of Officers:     
Nationality of Crew:      Number of Crew:  1,458
Number of Indoor Pools:      Spa: Yes
Number of Outdoor Pools: 3   Casino:  
Animator’s Palate

Enchanted Garden

Royal Palace

Description: Sports Bar

Bon Voyage
Description: Lounge

Description: Lounge

District Lounge
Description: Lounge

Description: Dance club, karaoke

Description: Lounge

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