Disney Cruise Line Returns to the High Seas {Disney Dream: Embarkation, Ship & Stateroom Tour, Palo Dinner}

Our first afternoon and evening on board was spent exploring the beautiful Disney Dream. I’ve sailed 8 times on this ship and it feels like a home away from home. All of the spaces, activities and experiences I know and love were there. Magic was there. Take a peek at my ship tour:

Disney Cruise Line Returns to the High Seas
Pre-Arrival And Embarkation
Embarkation, Ship & Stateroom Tour, Palo Dinner
Castaway Cay, Ship Life & Remy Dinner
Castaway Cay Cabanas, Ship Life & Debarkation
Palo Adult Dining Review
Remy Adult Dining Review
Everything Disney Cruise Line

All Aboard

Disney welcomes aboard about ten families at a time, based on the port arrival time picked during the on-line check in process. I still grin from ear to ear as they announce your embarkation and everyone claps for you. The cast members were positively exuberant and it was a special moment! The old sail away party has been replaced with a wonderful and intimate greeting my Mickey and Minnie. I thought this was an adorable touch and a sweet way to kick off our voyage! At the conclusion of the introduction, each family was individually approached by a cast member to answer questions and help direct them to their next destination. It felt special and personal.

Ship Shape

I don’t think anyone out there can disagree when I say the Disney fleet of ships are immaculate. No cruise line maintains their ships better than Disney. The Dream was absolutely pristine. She sparkled, in fact. There was not one paint chip, not one piece of trash, not one fleck of rust. This is ship shape, y’all.

Safety Check

In general terms, you will find these precautions in place all over the ship:

  • Face coverings inside, except when dining, drinking or posing for a photo with characters.
  • Hand sanitizer everywhere.
  • Hand washing stations at Cabana’s.
  • Limited parties in elevators. (With a good stateroom location you won’t take many anyway.)
  • Physical distancing markers.
  • The Disney Cruise Line app is a CRITICAL part to your voyage. Ensure every person in your party with a phone has the app installed and updated prior to arriving at port.
  • Guest Services is now available via chat on the app. This was incredible and saved me so much time on two separate occasions. If you need to visit them in person, you can make an appointment on the app.

Mandatory Muster Drill

I used to abhor the mass gathering for the muster drill. Well, this process has been reimagine and is fantastic! When you board the ship, you use the Disney Cruise Line app to find your Muster Station, check in, watch a short video, and log your completion. It takes mere minutes and is easy peasy.

Safety Check

  • New muster procedure eliminates large gathering AND gives you time back in your cruise.

Main Dining Rooms

The main dining rooms feature the same entertainment, menus and service you know and love onboard the Disney Dream. We loved that we were able to dine in Animator’s Palate for lunch, something new with the reopening! The cast members were beyond thrilled to have us. Your wait staff stays with you for the duration of your cruise and become like family. They anticipate your every need and are always a marvelous part of any Disney cruise.

Safety Check

  • Dining times are staggered and your arrival time will be noted in the Disney Cruise Line app.
  • Hand wipes are given as you enter the restaurant. (This is not new.)
  • Dining tables are appropriately spaced.
  • Small parties will no longer be combined at random for dining.
  • QR Code menus are used, however paper menus are available on request.
  • All cast members in dining rooms wear face coverings. Guests wear face coverings when they enter, leave or head to the bathroom.

Vanellope’s Sweet Shop

My kids look forward to a daily treat in Vanellope’s Sweet Shop. It is very much unchanged and still just as sweet as ever!

Cabanas Buffet Dining

While we did not dine in Cabanas on embarkation day, I popped in to see how it was working. We did eat in on other occasions in the cruise. The food selections seemed to not have quite as much variety, but what they did have was good quality. I enjoyed having extra cast member assistance at the buffet and drink stations too! Cabanas is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, and offers wonderful views of ports and the sea.

Safety Check

  • Hand washing is required on entry. It always was, but wasn’t strongly enforced.
  • Blue dots on the floor facilitate physical distancing.
  • Cast members direct each party to a section of the buffet. It flows much more smoothly than before.
  • Cast members fill drinks.
  • Tables are appropriately spaced.
  • Cast members wear face coverings.

Adult Dining at Palo

We treated ourselves to a decadent adult exclusive meal at Palo on the first night! It is always a wonderful experience, with everything from the food to the service to the views being top notch. I always try to schedule my client’s meals at sunset. It can’t be beat. In addition to the prix fixe menu, there is a new a la carte menu. We took advantage of this and really liked it! I didn’t completely over eat and I saved a little money to boot. I think it’s a good change!

Safety Check

  • Dining times are staggered and your arrival time will be noted in the Disney Cruise Line app.
  • Dining tables are appropriately spaced.
  • QR Code menus are used, however paper menus are available on request.
  • All cast members in dining rooms wear face coverings. Guests wear face coverings when they enter, leave or head to the bathroom.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

Having Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique open is a REALLY special treat for Disney Cruise Line guests! We were able to take a peek inside and it is as charming and frou frou as ever. Appointments are made in advance and packages can include gowns, pixie dust, nails and hair. It was truly magical to see little princesses running around again!

Safety Check

  • Face coverings are required and makeup is no longer part of the experience. I know many of my clients, including my own Sister, are happy about that :-)
  • Every other chair is in use at any given time.
  • Only one bystander is permitted inside.

Fun in the Sun

Deck 11 is Up.And.Running!!!! This is where you really have FUN in the SUN!! There are three family pools, the kiddie Mickey Slide, AquaDuck water rollercoaster, Nemo splash area, hot tubs, food, drinks and ice cream, sport courts, mini golf and adult only areas. Fruity drinks were flowing and magic was in the air. I love Castaway Cay days, but also relish time on the ship. There is hardly time to do it all in one cruise!

Safety Check

  • Lounge chairs are appropriately spaced and cast members outfit them with towels. There were PLENTY of chairs.
  • Family pools and hot tubs do have a capacity, which is monitored by the life guards.
  • The lines for the slide and AquaDuck were socially distanced.
  • Cast members assist with soft drinks and water and ice cream. Both are unlimited and included!
  • Fruity drinks and the full bar are going for the adults.
  • Face coverings are not required outdoors but you will see some guests and cast members wearing them based on comfort levels.

Adult Pool Deck

Adult only spaces were also in full swing! There are an array of areas for sunning, lounging, drinking and swimming. This was my first time sailing without the kids and it was, for lack of a better word, a Dream. :-) My parents sail all the time without us. In fact, with the new requirement that everyone 12+ must be vaccinated until November 1, they just booked a last minute sailing for September!

Safety Check

  • The key thing I noted was your bar bills come straight to your Disney Cruise Line app! It was so easy and paper free. Your purchases pop up on your phone and you have the option to close your tab or add additional gratuity. It was a really nice bonus to be able to see all of your onboard purchases in one place now.

Characters

You can now meet more characters than ever before!!! The character interactions were absolutely incredible, personal and intimate. You still just show up at the noted times – no need for an appointment or anything. While the characters are a little distanced, you can still get close enough to have a full and detailed conversation with each and every one. You are also allowed to remove your face covering for indoor photos, which is sweet! You’ll find characters in the main atrium, but also wandering all of the ship and on Castaway Cay.

Safety Check

  • Characters are safely distanced, but still close enough for wonderful conversations and photos.
  • Face coverings can be removed at indoor character meets for a photo.

Entertainment

Pictures are not allowed inside the theater, but on day one we enjoyed a fabulous live stage show: Beauty and the Beast. It is one of my very favorite live shows and was completely unchanged. 3-night sailings now have one show and many time offerings for it. 4-night sailings have two shows, each running two nights.

Current movies are also showing in the theater. We saw Raya and the Last Dragon on our first Castaway Day before dinner and it was darling.

Safety Check

  • Seating is every other row, with three empty seats between parties.
  • Popcorn is no longer served.

Kids Club

Oceaneers (ages 3-12) is just as enchanting as ever with themed spaces, attentive cast members and a full slate of activities! I loved peeking in during open house.

Edge (tween) and Vibe (teen) were running business as usual.

Safety Check

  • Oceaneers now requires pre-booking. You can do up to 2.5 hours per day in advance. Once on ship, additional time can be booked based on availability. They will make arrangements to take your kids during adult dining and spa as well.
  • Everyone washes their hands on entry. (not new)
  • Only one parent can come to drop off or retrieve kids. (again, only one is necessary)
  • The pool in Vibe is not open.

The District Night Life

The District is the adult only space of lounges, tastings, activities and entertainment. Pink is my absolute favorite and we visited every night. Skyline is now used for tastings and mixology and doesn’t have normal business hours. The others were unchanged outside of having a little more space between tables.

Safety Check

  • Distancing between tables.
  • QR code menus.
  • Checks go straight to your app.

Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah

We stayed in a verandah stateroom, which I highly, strongly, absolutely recommend. It is nice to have a line of sight on the horizon AND to use that space for reading, happy hour and soaking in ocean breezes. Disney’s staterooms are ingeniously planned, with plenty of storage packed in and families in mind.

Take a tour here:

I was thrilled that stateroom attendants still fully clean and care for your room twice daily. I have missed that service in other hotels. They still make your little towel animals and leave chocolates on the pillow. It’s just lovely, and I’d say the stateroom experience is relatively unchanged.

The split bathroom is another thing I love about these staterooms. You have two sinks, a toilet and a tub/shower combo. This is so convenient for a family or even friends!

I use the verandah every single day. My favorite thing is to order room service and sit out here for a quiet afternoon break.

As you can see, sailing with Disney Cruise Line is absolutely magical. So much thought and detail went into this reopening, and that is apparently at every step of your guest experience.

Let’s Sail and My Services

With the reopening after covid-19, some aspects of planning a Disney Cruise Line vacation will look different and the experience itself may be different too.  You can book with confidence, knowing that your deposit is completely refundable up until the final payment deadline. Now, more than ever, it will be crucial to have the most current, up to date information based on personal experience to plan your vacation! 

I can hardly find the words to convey how special it felt to be back at sea with Disney Cruise Line. Extensive thought and planning went into reopening in a safe and comfortable way, while keeping the magic and wonder that Disney is known for. All of the activities, dining, shows, characters and more are here. Magic is here.

While I charge for my concierge vacation services at Walt Disney World and Disneyland, ALL of my services for Disney Cruise Line are complimentary.  The cost of the cruise will not be any more expensive than if you booked it on your own!

Learn more about the reopening here: Disney Cruise Line Know Before You Go

See ya real soon!

As Premier Level Advisor with Glass Slipper Concierge, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, I offer concierge travel planning for Walt Disney World® Resort, Disney Cruise LineDisneyland® Resort, Disney Aulani Hawaii, Universal, Sea World and to 35 countries on 6 continents through Adventures by Disney®.

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