Our party of ten – grandparents, sisters, husbands and cousins – sailed away on our fourth Disney Cruise together on Memorial Day!
The Disney Dream 4-night cruise stopping in Nassau and Castaway Cay is our bi-annual tradition. It’s hard to believe that Jay and Whit had just turned 4 on our first one, John was 7 and CeeCee wasn’t even a glimmer in her daddy’s eye.
Day 1 on the Disney Dream
I don’t care how many times I do it, being announced to the cast members as you enter the Disney Dream ship is just fabulous. For each family, they say “Disney Cruise Line welcomes the X family!!” You walk on to the ship and the clap and smile and it’s pretty awesome.
We wear our swimsuits on and come already sunscreened and ready to swim! We head straight to deck 11 and stake out our spot.
The kids all anxiously await the opening of the AquaDuck. We went in every combination of kids, parents and grandparents possible! (Two of ours below…)
In between rides, the cousins pool hop, do the Mickey slide and help themselves to too much ice cream.
While the adults sun and kick things off with a fruity cocktail. Our collective favorite is the BBC. It’s like a pina colada with a banana.
The grandparents usually eat lunch inside Cabanas, but the rest of us bring it out to the deck to keep an eye on the kids.
This was the first cruise we’d ever been on where it rained just as we were sailing away. They brought the Sail Away celebration inside. While I was glad it still happened, I much prefer it outside!
After dinner at Enchanted Garden, the kids headed to their respective clubs (Oceaneers for the three younger ones and Edge for John).
Honey and I split off from the other adults and headed to the District for trivia, music and some games on our own.
Deluxe Verandah Stateroom
We sailed in a deluxe verandah stateroom, which is my very favorite. It is light, bright and spacious as far as cruise cabins go. Since starting in the travel business, I have learned that Disney is literally made for families. You will not find these sorts of accommodations on other cruise lines. I’ve also learned that the savings are really minimal between stateroom categories so go with a verandah if at all possible!
The sofa coverts to a bed and a berth comes down from the ceiling to sleep the boys.
There is plenty of storage with closets, cabinets and shelves, and the suitcases slide under the bed.
Another thing I love about these rooms is the split bath. One side has a shower/tub combo and a sink (I claim this sink!) and the other side has a toilet and second sink (for the boys.)
Day 2 On-board Fun in Nassau
We woke up in Nassau on day 2 and started it in all sorts of different ways. My three boys slept in, Sister and her crew headed out to meet characters and I met up with my parents for coffee at Vista Cafe. This is our favorite way to start a Disney Cruise day!
After a very leisurely coffee, I met up with my family for breakfast overlooking Nassau. We love both Cabanas and Enchanted Garden for breakfast on the ship. They are similar so it doesn’t really matter which one you choose. Cabanas is all buffet style. Enchanted Garden is also a buffet, but you are seated at a table with a tablecloth and the wait staff provides beverage service. Royal Palace also serves a full service breakfast but my kids love a buffet so we very rarely do that.
We opted not to get off at port today. Instead, we spent our time much the same way as we did the day before. We played mini golf, swam, did kids clubs, sent the younger boys off on MidShip Detective games, met characters and had a pretty grand old time. The boat is pretty quiet in the morning in Nassau but activity picks up a lot after lunch.
Our favorite way to spend the late afternoon on ship is in our stateroom with a room service happy hour. It is included in the cost of your trip and we generally tip $1 per item. The kids congregate in one area and the adults take another.
This evening was Jay’s 9th birthday and we celebrated with a special dessert at dinner! We also lucked out with Royal Palace this night, and had the round table right under the Cinderella slipper chandelier.
We have ordered celebration cakes on the cruise (we’ve sailed previously on Jay’s AND John’s birthday) but prefer to order something special from Vanellope’s to be delivered to dinner. It is cheaper and they have a cute variety of items to choose from. They will plate the treats together with a birthday message and deliver to your dinner table just for the price of the items in the case. These were $2.50 each so Sister spent a total of $18! (one for each kid and one for each adult couple to share)
The boys all opted to head to their kids clubs after dinner and the adults and CeeCee went to see the Beauty and the Beast Show. It was absolutely amazing and I highly recommend seeing it! Be there when the doors open 30 minutes before the show for the best seats. We like the seats right behind the sound booth.
Day 3 Castaway Cay
There was no time for Vista Cafe today because we headed off the ship first thing for the Castaway 5k!!
It was so much hotter and more humid than when we did the race in February! But we powered through. John finished in half the time of the rest of us and was already back on ship, showered and headed to a movie with a friend he met on-board by the time we took this picture. HA!
The Castaway 5k is free and you sign up for it on-board.
We headed back to the ship ourselves to grab some breakfast and put on swim suits. Luckily, Daddy-O and Mother were off the boat early and had saved us nice chairs under an umbrella. Sister took CeeCee to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for a Mermaid Makeover and my brother in law took Jay snorkeling for the first time. See, the cruise is our number one favorite family vacation because we can all do our own thing and then meet up together as a big family as well!!
When we got off the boat the second time, we HAD to stop and say hi to our number 1 duck friend. Outside of Mickey, this was the one character Whit chose to meet this trip.
And, as luck would have it, we bumped into this precious mermaid!
We spent the day lounging in chairs, hammocks and floats in the water. John stayed on ship with some friends from Edge and they did waterslides and watched movies all day in the theater. He saw both Solo and Black Panther so was pretty pleased.
We ate lunch at Cookies and enjoyed a round of BBCs before heading back in the late afternoon. We originally had a stingray excursion planned but it was cancelled due to poor conditions.
We dined in Royal Palace again for Pirate Night. It is a different menu and I actually really like it! After dinner we decided to forego pirate festivities and we all went to see Solo in the theater!
Day 4 At Sea on the Disney Dream
Our last day started again at Vista Cafe. Mother and I also decided to hop in line to meet Princess Minnie since we were the only people there 5 minutes before she was due to arrive.
We spent the day at sea enjoying the ship with no real plan. We had a home base of pool chairs and people came and went as they pleased.
Honey and I ducked out for a few hours to enjoy the Senses Spa Rainforest Room and massages. (READ THAT POST HERE)
And then we met up with all but Sister to do one of our collective favorites – Mixology! This can be signed up for in advance but is REALLY hard to get. We always just sign up as soon as we get on the ship at Port Canaveral and have never had an issue. Sister didn’t join us because the time conflicted with officer pin trading and Jay really didn’t want to miss it.
We had our last dinner in Animator’s Palate, which is our favorite. We celebrated Sister’s 40th birthday and Mother and Daddy-O gave her pearls. <3
It was another memorable voyage on the Disney Dream for this crew. We booked a placeholder for a future cruise and are already looking forward to sometime in 2020!!
See ya real soon!
As a Gold Key Adviser with Glass Slipper Concierge, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, I offer concierge travel planning for Walt Disney World® Resort, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland® Resort, Adventures by Disney®, Aulani and other delightful destinations.
DIXIE DELIGHTS DELIVERED