“Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it” is a phrase we have all heard before, but I have to admit, for a long time, I wasn’t fully sold on the idea of cruising! That said, as one of David’s Vacation Club Rentals Cruise Specialists, it’s important to have some first-hand knowledge, and so I needed to see just what this type of vacation, beloved by so many, was all about, and in early 2020 I sailed on my 1st every cruise!
Spoiler alert – if you couldn’t tell by the title of this blog, my thoughts on cruising changed very quickly! From the moment our motorcoach was close enough to see the ship docked at the cruise terminal, I knew this experience was going to be different than what I had originally been expecting!
Seeing the ship come into view as we approached the terminal in Port Canaveral sparked excited energy for everyone on the motorcoach, in fact, and the bus was quickly buzzing with frenzied chatter about all of the fun things awaiting us aboard the ship. It was very heartwarming to see so many families and friends sharing smiles and excitement even before we had set sail!
Once we arrived at the terminal and had marveled at the sheer size of the ship, it was time to get the check-in and embarkation process underway! Much like I was used to at Disney’s parks and resorts, the Cast Members were kind, friendly, happy to answer the many questions of a first-time cruiser such as myself, and kept everything running smoothly. There were characters to meet, as well as other activities in the terminal to keep guests entertained while we waited to board the ship. Before we knew it, we were making our way into the lobby of the Disney Dream!
From the smooth and friendly efficiency in the terminal to the grand entry onto the ship where Cast Members greeted each party with an enthusiastic round of applause as they made their way into the lobby, Disney’s embarkation process definitely made a great first impression on me!
The warm welcome aboard was quickly followed by my jaw dropping to the ground upon finally seeing the lobby of the Disney Dream in person! With a perfect combination of upscale elegance and whimsical Disney features, I quickly realized that the photos and video I had previously seen of the Dream didn’t do it justice! I loved the Art Deco style and could have spent hours just admiring my new surroundings, especially the stunning chandelier!
When it was time to settle into our cabins, we were warmly greeted by our Cabin Steward, who took the time to introduce himself and let us know we could call on him if there was anything we needed during our voyage.
Our Cabin Steward, along with all of the Cast Members that we encountered onboard, offered an outstanding amount of warmth, kindness and made a real effort to get to know their guests. Each Cast Member seemed to magically know me by name on the first day of our sailing!
By the time we disembarked, it was like saying goodbye to old friends. From trips to other Disney destinations, I knew to expect good customer service, but the Cast Members aboard the ship truly went above and beyond!
Though my fellow team members and I were traveling without children, we did tour the numerous areas where kids can immerse themselves in tons of activities and programming customized to their age group.
These areas are full of Disney magic, with fun-filled themes, décor, and features! As a group of grown-ups, we still thoroughly enjoyed testing out some of the activities such as virtual reality, reading nooks, and games that the Cast Members have waiting for the youngsters on board. I can only imagine how much fun kids must have! I was very impressed by the safety procedures required in these areas as well, and I could easily picture myself as a kid begging my parents for more playtime!
Beyond the spaces specifically designated for children and young adults, there are tons of activities onboard for kids of all ages!
My first 3-night sailing was a busy one, and I did my best to pack in as much fun as possible, but we still barely skimmed the surface of all the experiences there are to be had! I had fun at each and every one of the activities we attended, but my favorites were the silent disco, trivia, and deck parties!
Of course, another reason to sail the seas is the numerous ports of call that lie beyond the horizon! Disney Cruise Line sails to a variety of destinations, and since my first cruise, I have added many of them to my travel bucket list. My first sailing was to the Bahamas, and as we made our way through the Caribbean, I was eager to experience some Disney magic in a tropical setting!
My favorite part of my first sailing with Disney Cruise Line was definitely their private Bahamian island paradise – Castaway Cay!
After spending a perfect day lounging next to crystal clear turquoise water, digging my toes in the squishy sand, and soaking up the sun, I was certain that I would return to the leisurely life of cruising! Stretches of white sand, swaying palm trees, tons of activities and excursions to choose from, a delicious BBQ lunch, and more make Castaway Cay an award-winning port, and I didn’t want the day to end!
Something I had really been looking forward to ahead of sailing was the stage shows! Disney definitely knows how to put on a high-quality production, and the theater entertainment on the ship didn’t disappoint! The Broadway-caliber performances, elaborate costumes and effects, heartwarming stories, and catchy song and dance numbers are truly dazzling!
With all of the amazing activities to participate in, you’re sure to work up an appetite, and Disney knocks it out of the park with their onboard dining options as well! Whether it’s a quick lunch, snack, or a multi-course meal in one of the ship’s dining rooms, you’re sure to find something to tempt your taste buds. I definitely didn’t expect there to be such a wide range of dishes and styles of cuisine to choose from! Our party’s tastes varied drastically from adventurous to super picky and also included special dietary restrictions, yet everyone was able to find menu options they enjoyed, and the Cast Members were able to accommodate each person’s needs. This made for a seamless experience and allowed us to enjoy our time together without rushing or worrying about the details!
They say that all good things come to an end, and unfortunately, this was also true of our sailing. After lots of smiles and laughs aboard the Disney Dream, our party disembarked the ship, taking home countless happy memories as souvenirs. Of course, the Cast Members know that many guests will have a long day of travel ahead of them as they make their way off the ship, and they are happy to assist with luggage and serve a lovely sit-down breakfast before saying, “see ya real soon!” This is a very nice touch in my opinion, as we didn’t feel hurried, even though we knew that they were already beginning to prepare for the next group of guests waiting to board!
The fact that cruising easily combines amazing activities, dining, port locations, entertainment, and more without the need to pack and unpack more than once was something I also found incredibly convenient!
Having so much fun, festivities, and food just footsteps away definitely added to the magical atmosphere and allowed me to relax more than I had on other types of trips in the past.
It was now fully solidified in my mind that there are so many reasons to love cruising!
Finally, having the chance to try it for myself proved to me why so many people love cruises and continue booking again year after year. It was easy to say that I was caught in the cruising spell as soon as my feet stepped aboard, and not long after that first sailing, I decided that I needed to be cruising again and have booked another cruise! I can’t wait to see what’s next on the horizon!