Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Disney Dream, sailing in Concierge

We just returned from a three night sailing on board the Disney Dream.  For this trip it was me, my husband, our 11 year old son and 5 year old daughter.  This was our fourth cruise on board the Disney Dream, so we felt like regulars … except this time we chose to book into a Concierge Balcony Stateroom.  What a mistake that was!  I don’t think I can ever sail outside of concierge again!  It was fantastic, and we hardly used the services.  Being concierge virgins (as my husband put it) we were not so sure of our benefits other than what was visible.  So here is a review of our cruise, and I am including our concierge services that we took advantage of.

Now, if you have ever sailed Disney before, you know about the typical Disney lines.  You get in a long line to check in, you get in a line to register your kids for the children’s programming, you wait again for your boarding group to be called … we were dreading this part!  Well, upon arriving at the pier when our documents were scanned we were informed to go right past the regular check in lines and head to the back of the cruise terminal.  There we would find a separate check in for Concierge and Platinum Castaway Club members.  We waited for about three minutes, and we were called up to start the process.  We were checked in, our kids were checked in and given their bands that allow them to participate in the children’s programs, we were then escorted past the guests waiting to board by a Concierge team member and we were on board just like that.  I was very impressed … I mean that alone made the extra few dollars spent worth it.  As we were walking to board, we were informed that in the Concierge Lounge we would find some snacks, small sandwiches and drinks.  What!  You mean I don’t have to go up to Cabanas (the casual dining option, AKA the buffet) and battle 3,000 guests that obviously have not eaten in a week and think that the ship might just run out of food?  At this point, I figured I had just died and gone to heaven.  Day one of any cruise is my absolute least favorite for some of these reasons mentioned and the Disney Concierge team just made day one a pleasure for me.  I was as happy as my five year old daughter meeting Minnie Mouse.  We made our way up to Deck 12, dropped off our things in our room and headed over to the Concierge Lounge.  WOW!  What a great place to be.  A nice quiet area, some food, drinks, coloring pages and crayons for the kids.  Then a Concierge member comes over to introduce herself and tell us about all of the things we had access to on our cruise.  She had a folder with her, with our agenda printed out (we didn't plan anything because we really just wanted to enjoy the ship).  She told us about happy hour each evening, told us about making any reservations for us, free on demand movies in our room, access to board games, told us about a private character greeting just for concierge level staterooms.  At this point all I heard was beautiful harp music in my head (again, I was just in heaven), so I’m not so sure I caught all of our benefits.  After that, we went back to the room to check it out before roaming around the ship.  The room was beautiful.  Disney really does a fantastic job with their staterooms.  We were in a standard balcony room.  Plenty of room for all four of us.  The concierge rooms have some different decor to them, really nice!  So, off we go to walk around the ship.

This was a Merrytime Cruise, being close to Christmas.  The ship was decorated with trees, garland, and lights.  There was even a huge gingerbread house in the Atrium Lobby.  Smelled quite tasty!  This was a nice treat.  When I booked this cruise a year and a half ago I had not even given the slightest thought to a Christmas themed cruise.  It was an added bonus for sure.  After snapping some photos and wandering around, it was time to get ourselves together for our early dinner seating.  Tonight’s dinner was in Animators Palate, which is my favorite of the three rotational dining options.  I love the big screens with the Crush from Nemo swimming around conversing with guests.  We happened to also have friends on board, and we had dinner with them each evening.   Made an already great cruise even better!  In the evening there was a special appearance by Santa himself along with the Disney characters.  What an amazing night for kids and adults.  The Disney characters are so accessible on these cruises.  Mickey Mouse came over to my daughter, held her hands and danced to the music.  What a dream come true for her!  It is now late, it’s been a long day … off to bed.

Day two, we stopped in Nassau, Bahamas.  We chose to stay on the ship, as we have been to Nassau multiple times.  My husband made a surprise spa appointment for me, so after lunch and a game of mini golf with the kids, I headed off for my massage and facial, he took the kids to the Buena Vista Theater to watch Big Hero 6 in 3D.  My massage was absolutely amazing!  My therapist, Arlene, was fantastic.  It amazes me the strength that some of these petite therapists have!  After my spa appointment I met up with the family to catch the end of the movie, then headed to the pool so the little one could splash around a bit.  She loves the Mickey shaped pool and the waterslide next to it.  This was a nice, relaxing day.  Time to get cleaned up and ready for dinner in Enchanted Garden.  Tonight was Pirate Night, and it was off to the deck party to watch the pirate themed show with the characters.  Later this evening it was fireworks, which we could see from the privacy of our balcony.  What a great way to end the evening!  (Also, I have to say we visited the Concierge Lounge a few times today, just because we could!).

Day three, we were in Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island.  We did get off the ship for a bit and walk around, but not for long.  We figured we would take advantage of no crowds on the ship and take our daughter on the AquaDuck (Disney’s water coaster on board the Dream and Fantasy).  Last time we sailed the Dream, she was not quite tall enough to go.  This time, there was no stopping her.  First ride, Daddy took her and I rode with my son.  Then I took her.  She loved it and claimed “this is my new favorite thing.”  Then it was back to the pool, then another ride on the AquaDuck.  It was a very nice day.  The kids wore themselves out.  We got cleaned up, headed to the D Lounge for some Bingo, then off to dinner in Royal Palace.  All of our meals were outstanding, not a complaint there at all.   Knowing that this was the last night, it was a little sad.  Yes, it was back to reality the next day.  We had to get the kids to bed early, as they were going to school right when we got off the ship.  That was part of the deal … I picked them up from school early Friday, but they had to go to school on Monday.  We live so close to Port Canaveral, so it is easy to do.

Monday morning, time to disembark.  We had a reservation to meet in the Concierge Lounge with our luggage at 7:20 am to be escorted off the ship.  This was such an easy process.  We were through customs and in our car by 7:41, which was fantastic!

We loved sailing this way so much that we booked again while on board.  We are trying Concierge Class again next year and I cannot wait!

Interested in any information on a Disney cruise (or any other cruise)?  Let me know!  You can visit my website or send me an email or give me a call anytime, 888-882-5793.

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