Very Merrytime Cruise, Disney Dream, part 1
Our first sailing with the Disney Cruise line was for the Very Merrytime Cruise on the Disney Dream. We chose a 4-night cruise with stops in Nassau and Castaway Cay (pronounced: key).
We flew, the day before the cruise, from Boston to Orlando and stayed at the Hyatt Regency located inside the airport. Since we were traveling with a small child and concerned about the possibility of inclement weather in Boston, this extra day was worth the expense. It helped keep the stress down, no worries of delayed flights, and jump-started our vacation.
Disney offers transportation from the airport to the cruise terminal for $70 per person round trip. Disney does not generally offer transportation from hotels (unless it is a Disney resort) however sine the Hyatt is part of Orlando International, this is an exception. The Hyatt will give you all info needed to catch the Disney transportation. This would be paid for through the Disney Cruise reservation. Before checking out of the hotel, you attach the Disney luggage tags that are provided with the service. Simply put your tagged bags right outside your hotel room door the rest is like magic: next time you see your luggage it will be on the cruise ship in your stateroom!
The hotel was great and the rooms had balconies that looked down into the airport terminal.
There was even a beautiful pool however the water was freezing! Being from Boston and it being December, my daughter couldn't resist a quick swim. What is best about the pool is you can watch the planes taking off and landing!
Inside the cruise terminal there are characters doing meet and greets! (The lines are really long for the characters so a better option would be to wait until you get inside.) There is also a model replica of one of the ships which is really neat. It is extremely detailed.
The entrance to the ship is a hidden Mickey!!!!
As soon as you enter the ship there are plenty of photo ops. The coolest part of entering the ship is the cast members announce the entrance of your family by name! "Welcome aboard, the Lucci family!" Talk about feeling special. This definitely set the mood for a fun trip.
The festive Sail Away party begins before you set sail. Some say it is the official start of the Disney Dream experience. If it rains, the Sail Away party moves to the Atrium. We had light rain but, happily, they kept the Sail Away party outside. Here are some pictures from the Sail Away party. Can you tell my family was feeling the magic?
One thing I loved about cruising on the Disney Dream was the ship's horn, which is first heard during the Sail Away party to announce our send off. Disney uses familiar melodies such as "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" and "When You Wish Upon a Star" -- if you can, imagine that sound in the form of a mighty ship's horn. In the world of Disney, it really is "all about the details."
Another cool detail you will notice is that the ship uses colors inspired by Mickey Mouse like the yellow lifeboats. Disney had to get special permission from the U.S. Coast Guard to substitute the regulation orange with the Disney yellow. The yellow lifeboats represent Mickey's boots!
Be sure to pack a day bag as you will not have immediate access to your room and luggage. We boarded by 12:30, our stateroom was ready around 4 pm, and our luggage arrived about an hour later.
The day bag allowed us to enjoy the festivites that start as soon as you board. We wanted to take advantage of the onboard pool -- so our day bag was packed with swimsuits, sunblock, and a change of clothes.
My family of three had an inside stateroom. Despite being one of the smallest categories (11A), we felt cozy and comfortable. Every room includes a bathtub which is unique for cruise lines and another example of how since Disney caters to families.
Our stateroom was on Deck 9, and in the middle of the ship -- conveniently located by the elevators and staircase. We never had to walk down a hallway to get to our room, and it was surprisingly quiet. I would highly recommend this part of the ship.
Try to get a room on the highest floor possible. In general, you will feel less motion and, in our case on Deck 9, we were just two flights up to the pool on Deck 11. Elevators can get backed up on cruise ships. It's great to have quick access to the stairs.
There are 3 categories of inside staterooms: 11A ( Deck 8, 9, 10), 11B (Deck 5, 6, 7), and 11C (Deck 2). Our stateroom category sleeps 4 and is 169 square feet. It is furnished with a queen size bed (comfy!), a convertible sofa, and an upper pull-down bed (unique to some of the staterooms that sleep 3-4) . Our daughter loved her pull-down bed and decorated ceiling -- Peter Pan and Wendy flying through the night sky.
Another exciting feature of inside staterooms are the Disney "virtual portholes." A camera mounted outside the ship is connected to a live feed straight to your virtual porthole. If you keep your eyes peeled, you may see a Disney character zoom by!
We had family join us for the cruise from Santa Fe and they were able to get a room right across the hall from us. They had a veranda stateroom, so we were able to visit and take advantage of the great views!
Amara Lucci McShain
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