Long time cruiser and travel writer Georgina Cruz is taking us on another adventure. After more than four world cruises and visiting over 150 countries, this family voyage was a whole new way to experience the water.
“Cool!” our grandson Julian exclaimed while enjoying a chocolate sundae with brownie bits during a three-generational cruise on the Disney Dream. Julian and our grandson Aidan, our daughter Veronica, son-in-law Kyle and my husband Humberto and I had been planning the next day of our cruise while enjoying dinner and Julian, as well as the rest of us, liked the plans:
- AquaDuck water coaster for the teenagers
- a spa morning for some of the adults
- a showing of a first-run movie in the cinema for all
Since some of our family lives in New Hampshire and the others live in Florida, we get to see each other just two or three times a year, so we go out of our way to make every moment count. We have found going on a cruise suits our group very well.
A cruise offers activities and facilities for all ages so nobody gets bored and, perhaps best of all, our daughter and I hang up our aprons for the duration as meals and snacks are included in the fare – therefore nobody has to be taking time to do the grocery shopping, prepare the food, serve it and clean up afterwards.
And on a cruise as opposed to a land trip, nobody has to be wondering where we will have dinner, making reservations and arranging for transportation to the restaurants.
Disney Dream for Every Age
Our latest family cruise was on Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Dream, a four-day voyage to Nassau and Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, from Port Canaveral in Florida.
Disney Dream, Disney Cruise Line’s third ship of four, launched in 2010, and offers so much for every age groups.
Our teenagers, Aidan and Julian, headed for Vibe, the ship’s club for teens, a big indoor-outdoor facility with two pools, lounge chairs, big screen televisions, video games, and other features where they were kept busy with organized activities such as origami classes, contests and parties and a big highlight: free smoothies and milkshakes at some events.
The ship’s Oceaneer Club, an area for children ages 3 to 12, kids enjoy being transported to a galaxy far, far away at Star Wars: Millennium Falcon, where they get a crack at piloting, what Disney refers to as the “powerful space vehicle” through hyperspace and triggering light-speed jumps to different locations around the galaxy.
Among this area’s other features are 1,000 blinking LED lights, a wall that replicates the wall in episode 5 of the Star Wars saga where Han Solo kisses Princess Leia for the first time, and animated props including an “android cleaning station” with an R2 D2 that looks like he’s been through a lot and needs to be tidied up.
In this Star Wars Area, children can also enjoy themed crafts, games and activities including watching episodes from the Disney XD animated series “Star Wars Rebels” on a large screen or virtually join the rebellion at gaming stations featuring the series’ adventures.
While the younger sailors are in the kids’ and teens’ clubs, adults have some spaces for themselves.
Among them is an adults-only pool and lounge area with comfortable loungers and a retreat for the 18-and-over contingent of guests. This retreat includes a water feature, Satellite Falls, a circular splash pool with benches and a gently falling rain curtain that provides coolness. Around this upper deck, adult guests can soak up the sun in loungers or relax in the shade under a canopy.
The older generations in our group used these areas, as well as the fitness center in the Senses Spa and the spa’s Juice Bar that serves up made-to-order smoothies, juices, protein and energy shakes and other libations that can be enjoyed after a workout on seating with ocean views.
Adults who are nightlife enthusiasts have the ship’s nightclubs and lounges: 687 Pub, Pink, the District Lounge and Skyline.
When we wanted to enjoy pool time together, the ship has several family pools and water play areas, one of them, the Mickey Pool, equipped with a slide. And, most popular of all with our teens and some of the older sailors, the AquaDuck is a 765-foot-long clear plastic water slide that has been dubbed “the first water coaster at sea” and winds around an upper deck of the ship, cuts through the funnel, and at one point even juts out 13 feet over the ocean.
Activities and facilities for families include organized games and contests, “draw a Disney character” sessions, meet-and-greets with Disney princesses and various other characters, and a Muppets-themed Midship Detective Agency game, “The Case of the Stolen Show.”
The latter is an interactive ship-wide game during which participants uncover clues and solve a mystery using a “detective badge” that activates surprises in “Enchanted Art” (artwork that becomes animated when someone stands in front of it) all around the ship.
Big highlights for all ages include a pirates’ night up on deck with a fireworks display at sea, Broadway-style shows including one themed to “Beauty and The Beast” in the Walt Disney Theatre, and first-run Disney movies in the cinema.
When it comes to dining, the Disney Dream, like all Disney ships, features three main restaurants, Royal Palace (themed to Disney princesses), Enchanted Garden (inspired in the gardens at Versailles) and Animator’s Palate (dinner show themed to Disney animation) and guests go from one to the other each evening with their servers.
Since we were traveling with two teens, we did not patronize the adults-only alternative fine dining restaurants, Palo and Remy, but we did go often to Cabanas, the buffet-style restaurant, and the quick service Flo’s V8 Café especially for quick meals before setting out, and returning from, the ports.
The ports on our sailing included Nassau, Bahamas and Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamian archipelago. In Castaway Cay, we opted for the Getaway Package ($43 for ages 10 and older, $24 for ages 5 to 9) including snorkel equipment and inner tube rental for the day and one-hour bike rental. It was great to explore the island and enjoy swimming and snorkeling.
Castaway Cay attractions include the Pelican Plunge slides, teen beach, family beach, lunch pavilions with included barbecue, a children’s area, organized activities, shops, Bahamian crafts area and post office, and adults-only beach.
Overall a fantastic way to spend quality time with every member of the family.
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Photos courtesy of Disney Cruise Line