• Welcome to the WDWMAGIC.COM Forums!
    Please take a look around, and feel free to sign up and join the community.You can use your Twitter or Facebook account to sign up, or register directly.

1st Disney Cruise! Heck, my 1st cruise EVER!

AVeryDifferentDisneyDad

Member
Original Poster
Ok, I am SO lost. Booked a 3-night on Disney's Dream. Overwhelmed by info, links, descriptions... argh!

Starting a thread for the newbie I am at cruises. PLEASE help!

1st, let's start with my basic ned: FOOD - when we do the DW parks, we have the meal plan. We stop and eat QS whenever we like, or I book sit-downs months in advance. How the heck do you eat on a ship? Do I book my meals? Eat when I want? Is all food included? Certain restaraunts have additional costs? (I know alcohol is extra).

I'll ask more questions as we go. Thanks in advance!
 

Tony the Tigger

Premium Member
Advertisement
Following. We’re in the, um, same boat. Probably not until Fall 2020, though.
 

KeithVH

Well-Known Member
OK. Just so you know, there is info out there. Check the other main Disney-oriented forum sites. Out of respect for this site, they shall remain unnamed.

Anyways. Don't worry about food. You will get 3 squares AT LEAST per day. That's table service. There is also buffet three times a day that is very casual and bugers, dogs, pizza, and gyros around the pool. Oh yeah, unlimited softserve. All included. You will have the same service team each nite and eat in a different venue each nite with menu variations at each. Usually at least 4 entree options - if they are serving blackened halibut or filet, YOU CAN ORDER BOTH if you want. Or three desserts. Or just appetizers if you want lite. Sodas, tea, and coffe, outside of dinner, are self-serve. You can carry on some wine and beer but no hard alcohol.

My first suggestion is to go to the Disney site and order the free cruise planning DVD.

Also. Have a CC with a with some room on it for a charge during the cruise. You can book a placeholder for your next cruise on board and it'll get you 10% off the total price when you book at a later time. This is one of the best deals around.
 

lostpro9het

Well-Known Member
Ok, I am SO lost. Booked a 3-night on Disney's Dream. Overwhelmed by info, links, descriptions... argh!

Starting a thread for the newbie I am at cruises. PLEASE help!

1st, let's start with my basic ned: FOOD - when we do the DW parks, we have the meal plan. We stop and eat QS whenever we like, or I book sit-downs months in advance. How the heck do you eat on a ship? Do I book my meals? Eat when I want? Is all food included? Certain restaraunts have additional costs? (I know alcohol is extra).

I'll ask more questions as we go. Thanks in advance!
Congrats!

As far as food goes for breakfast Cabanas will be open all morning and its a huge buffet style environment. They have just about every breakfast food you can think of and some things you probably didn't realize were breakfast foods. No need to reserve. Since you will be on the Dream you may also do breakfast at Enchanted Garden as well. Same food as Cabanas just a different location. On your last morning, you will eat breakfast in the restaurant that you had dinner in the night before. If all this is just too much food and you want something simple and quite you can always have room service deliver breakfast to your room or you can head Cove Cafe for a good coffee and some pastries. Coffee's and lattes at CC do have an additional cost but the pastries there are complimentary.

For lunch, again, Cabanas is open and will have swapped out the breakfast food for lunch food. No need to reserve, just stop in any time during lunch as much as you want. In addition to Cabanas, there is Flo's cafe that includes Luigi's pizza, Tow Mater's grill, and Filmore's favorites. Here you can get burgers, salads, pizza's, and sandwiches virtually all day. Flo's is located conveniently between the adult pool and the family pool. Again, no need to reserve, just pop in as much and whenever you like. Also located between the adult pool and family pool is EyeScream which will serve softserve ice cream all day long. (NOTE: you can have mickey bars, in addition to regular food, delivered to your room at no charge!) Also next to the family pool are the drink stations. These are self serve coke& coffee stations. These are available all day long as well, no extra charge.

For dinner you will be assigned a dining rotation and it will either be early, 6:15, or late, 8:15. You will receive your rotation and seating time about a month before your cruise when they mail you your cruise booklet. Since you're doing a three day you will have one dinner each at Animator's Palate, Royal Palace, and Enchanted Garden. You may be seated with another family/couple during the dining. You will have the same wait staff each night as they move with you from restaurant to restaurant. If you decide rotational dining isn't for you the you can just go to Cabanas! For dinner Cabanas turns into a sit down restaurant where you can order from ANY menu from the other restaurants that evening. This is good if you just don't want to sit with other people, want to eat dinner at a different time one night, or just because you feel like it! Additionally, say you're at Enchanted Garden and nothing is appealing to you but you really liked what you saw on the Royal Palace Menu they will bring you anything you want from any other menu. Also, there is no limit or real structure to ordering. You want 3 entrees for dinner , do it! You want 2 appetizers, a salad and 2 desserts, do it! the service team will even encourage you to try multiple items so you are happy.

The above assumes you have no specialty dining reserved, i.e. Palo brunch or Palo/Remy dinner. Palo and Remy are by reservation only and do incur an additional fee.


All this to say that, even after 3 days, you will be tired of food because it is ALWAYS available!

To speak to your alcohol comment. DCL allows each guest of drinking age to bring either 1 6-pack of 12oz beer OR 2 bottles of wine on board PER PORT. So if you decide to grab an extra bottle of wine or some more beer at Nassau you may bring it back on the ship and enjoy it.

Finally, BOOK A PLACEHOLDER WHILE ON BOARD! Its a fully refundable $250 that is applied to a future cruise that you have 18 months to book. The PH will also get you 10% off non restricted cruises. PH's are only available while you are cruising. Not getting a PH was my only regret from our first DCL cruise.
 
Last edited:

Tony the Tigger

Premium Member
Congrats!

As far as food goes for breakfast Cabanas will be open all morning and its a huge buffet style environment. They have just about every breakfast food you can think of and some things you probably didn't realize were breakfast foods. No need to reserve. Since you will be on the Dream you may also do breakfast at Enchanted Garden as well. Same food as Cabanas just a different location. On your last morning, you will eat breakfast in the restaurant that you had dinner in the night before. If all this is just too much food and you want something simple and quite you can always have room service deliver breakfast to your room or you can head Cove Cafe for a good coffee and some pastries. Coffee's and lattes at CC do have an additional cost but the pastries there are complimentary.

For lunch, again, Cabanas is open and will have swapped out the breakfast food for lunch food. No need to reserve, just stop in any time during lunch as much as you want. In addition to Cabanas, there is Flo's cafe that includes Luigi's pizza, Tow Mater's grill, and Filmore's favorites. Here you can get burgers, salads, pizza's, and sandwiches virtually all day. Flo's is located conveniently between the adult pool and the family pool. Again, no need to reserve, just pop in as much and whenever you like. Also located between the adult pool and family pool is EyeScream which will serve softserve ice cream all day long. (NOTE: you can have mickey bars, in addition to regular food, delivered to your room at no charge!) Also next to the family pool are the drink stations. These are self serve coke& coffee stations. These are available all day long as well, no extra charge.

For dinner you will be assigned a dining rotation and it will either be early, 6:15, or late, 8:15. You will receive your rotation and seating time about a month before your cruise when they mail you your cruise booklet. Since you're doing a three day you will have one dinner each at Animator's Palate, Royal Palace, and Enchanted Garden. You may be seated with another family/couple during the dining. You will have the same wait staff each night as they move with you from restaurant to restaurant. If you decide rotational dining isn't for you the you can just go to Cabanas! For dinner Cabanas turns into a sit down restaurant where you can order from ANY menu from the other restaurants that evening. This is good if you just don't want to sit with other people, want to eat dinner at a different time one night, or just because you feel like it! Additionally, say you're at Enchanted Garden and nothing is appealing to you but you really liked what you saw on the Royal Palace Menu they will bring you anything you want from any other menu. Also, there is no limit or real structure to ordering. You want 3 entrees for dinner , do it! You want 2 appetizers, a salad and 2 desserts, do it! the service team will even encourage you to try multiple items so you are happy.

The above assumes you have no specialty dining reserved, i.e. Palo brunch or Palo/Remy dinner. Palo and Remy are by reservation only and do incur an additional fee.


All this to say that, even after 3 days, you will be tired of food because it is ALWAYS available!

To speak to your alcohol comment. DCL allows each guest of drinking age to bring either 1 6-pack of 12oz beer OR 2 bottles of wine on board PER PORT. So if you decide to grab an extra bottle of wine or some more beer at Nassau you may bring it back on the ship and enjoy it.

Finally, BOOK A PLACEHOLDER WHILE ON BOARD! Its a fully refundable $250 that is applied to a future cruise that you have 18 months to book. The PH will also get you 10% off non restricted cruises. PH's are only available while you are cruising. Not getting a PH was my only regret from our first DCL cruise.
More answers bring up more questions!

1. The buffets: would you consider them QS quality, Tusker House quality, or ?

2. Can you at least put in a (no guarantee) request for early vs. late dinner - or does it even matter because if you need a snack at 6pm, there’s always something somewhere?

3. Re: Palo/Remy: is this basically paying for the meal completely out of pocket, or more of an upcharge? And is it signature-level dining?

4. Where’s the gym? 😉
 

lostpro9het

Well-Known Member
1. The buffets: would you consider them QS quality, Tusker House quality, or ?
Never hit Tusker House as we're not big buffet people but I can say its better than Chef Mickey, Trails End, and 'Ohana. It is certainly better than 90% of the QS locations at WDW and even several TS locations.

2. Can you at least put in a (no guarantee) request for early vs. late dinner - or does it even matter because if you need a snack at 6pm, there’s always something somewhere?
Absolutley! We've always requested late and always gotten it.

3. Re: Palo/Remy: is this basically paying for the meal completely out of pocket, or more of an upcharge? And is it signature-level dining?
Pretty much, Palo dinner is now $40/person and Remy is up to $125. I cant think of a sig at WDW that is better than either but I also have not experienced V&A. Folks Claim Remy is supposed to be as good/better than V&A but to be honest we didn't think it was worth the charge and thought Palo to be far superior but we're also riff-raff so there's that.

4. Where’s the gym? 😉
What's a gym, precious!?!?

Each ship has some treadmills and weight machines. You can also pay to sign up for classes. To me, if you absolutely HAD to do something I would head to deck 4 and knock out some burpees and a few laps around the ship.
 

Master Yoda

Pro Star Wars geek.
Premium Member
1. The buffets: would you consider them QS quality, Tusker House quality, or ?
I would put it at the aforementioned Tusker House quality or better. There are quick service locations around the pool and you will find the food very similar if not identical to the QS locations in the parks.

2. Can you at least put in a (no guarantee) request for early vs. late dinner - or does it even matter because if you need a snack at 6pm, there’s always something somewhere?
We have always done this when we booked the cruise.

3. Re: Palo/Remy: is this basically paying for the meal completely out of pocket, or more of an upcharge? And is it signature-level dining?
It is an up-charge when compared to other WDW restaurants of the same caliber. Remey was one of the best meals I have ever had, but the presentation was a little past my comfort zone. The only way to describe it was the service was too good. In some instances it took our waiter longer to describe what we were eating than I took to eat it.

4. Where’s the gym? 😉
Don't even bother. On my first cruise I stayed really active and actually watched what I ate and I gained weight. I behaved like a Hobbit on my last one and came back about the same.
 

LAKid53

The wand chooses the wizard, Mr. Potter
Premium Member
Ok, I am SO lost. Booked a 3-night on Disney's Dream. Overwhelmed by info, links, descriptions... argh!

Starting a thread for the newbie I am at cruises. PLEASE help!

1st, let's start with my basic ned: FOOD - when we do the DW parks, we have the meal plan. We stop and eat QS whenever we like, or I book sit-downs months in advance. How the heck do you eat on a ship? Do I book my meals? Eat when I want? Is all food included? Certain restaraunts have additional costs? (I know alcohol is extra).

I'll ask more questions as we go. Thanks in advance!
Unlike the parks, your dinners on DCL are planned. There are three restaurants on the Dream you will rotate amongst. You will be assigned both a table AND the rotation when you check in at the Port - they will be noted on your Key to the World card: A for Animator's Palate, R for Royal Palace and E for Enchanted Garden. In addition, either Royal Palace or Enchanted Garden are open for breakfast. Cabanas is a buffet style restaurant on Deck 11 by the main pool that is open for breakfast, lunch and a special party after Pirate's Night. And 24 hour Room Service...so if you want a burger and wings at 3AM, you're good. All of this, including Room Service, is included in the price if your cruise. Make sure to download the Navigator app before your trip. You can use it to check the menus of the restaurants, "text" with your stateroom mates, check on your precooked activities, etc.

In addition to the restaurants mentioned, there are two adults only restaurants - Palo (Italian) and Remy (French). Both have an additional fee per guest and are AMAZING. I could die after eating at Remy and be happy, that's how good it is. You need to make separate reservations for both, which you can do once your window for booking activities opens...I believe it's at 70 days before embark date for a first time cruiser on DCL.

As far as good and beverage goes, everything is included, except alcohol. So you don't have to pay for sodas served at a meal or the various machines around the boat. DCL also allows each guest over 21 to bring 2 bottles of unopened wine (not bigger than 750ml) on board in their carry one luggage. We bring the boxed wine, so we don't have to worry about someone breaking a bottle (it happened, to a nice Reisling in my daughter's bag, as we were walking to the car).
 

LAKid53

The wand chooses the wizard, Mr. Potter
Premium Member
More answers bring up more questions!

1. The buffets: would you consider them QS quality, Tusker House quality, or ?

2. Can you at least put in a (no guarantee) request for early vs. late dinner - or does it even matter because if you need a snack at 6pm, there’s always something somewhere?

3. Re: Palo/Remy: is this basically paying for the meal completely out of pocket, or more of an upcharge? And is it signature-level dining?

4. Where’s the gym? 😉
1. Cabanas has a wide variety of foods - seafood, chicken, beef, pizza, etc., so it's hard to compare. But it's my choice for eating as much shrimp as I can without making myself sick. In addition, there are DCL's version of QS on Deck 11 (main pool deck).

2. When you book your cruise, you select either 1st (5:45 PM) or 2nd seating (8:15 PM). The show's, like Golden Mickwys, are timed with the dining times. Palo and Remy times are selected when you book a reservation.

3. The only out of pocket for either Remy or Palo is the upcharge, any alcohol and a tip. But those wines can be pricey - they have bottles costing in the thousands. If you are a foodie, you have to try one of them. Both have dress codes, which unlike the signatures at WDW, are enforced.

4. Both the gym and spa are on Deck 11. Nice gym with treadmills, ellipticals, arc trainers, weights and circuit machines. Water is provided, along with bananas. You can purchase a one day pass to the spa for $16. Gets you access to saunas (have both wet & dry), showers, two hot tubs and these amazing heated lounge chairs. The hot tubs and chairs overlook the ocean. Any spa services (massages, facials, mani/pedi, etc.) have to be booked separately and have a fee. In addition, there's a salon if you need a haircut.
 
Last edited:

LAKid53

The wand chooses the wizard, Mr. Potter
Premium Member
As others have mentioned, a few weeks before your embark date, DCL will mail you a booklet with all the info about your cruise - dates, stateroom number, prebooked on-board/port activites, dining rotation, etc. Also included are two DCL luggage tags for each person in the stateroom to put on your luggage BEFORE you arrive at the Port - your luggage will go through Customs and be delivered to your stateroom after staterooms open at 1:30 PM. When your online booking window opens up, you will provide information for each guest on the reservation (name, address, emergency contact, type of travel ID to be used at check in at the Port), set up a ship account for each guest, select the time you plan on arriving at the Port, select any activities (yes, they do have character M&G on board), make dining reservations at either Palo or Remy, and finalize your cruise contract. Part of that will be requesting which version of the booklet you want to receive. Make sure to select Full - otherwise you'll be missing some booked activities and the important "how to get in touch with us while we're on the ship" card to give family, friends, who's watching your pets, etc. Make sure to print out the check in form...and pack it in your carryon. DCL staff can reprint for you at the Port, but that will slow down check in. And MOST IMPORTANT - everyone MUST have their ID (passport, govt issued photo ID, copy of birth certificate) at Port check-in. Anyone without this will not be allowed on the ship. Make sure to check that everyone has this and is packed in their carry on BEFORE leaving for your cruise. My SIL forgott his passport, which we found out the night before we were leaving WDW to drive to Port Canaveral. Fortunately, his mom had his birth certificate at their house and was able to email a photo, which the resort front desk printed out for him. Otherwise, he'd be driving back home and back to WDW that night. Trust me, there's been guests not allowed on the ship because they didn't bring the proper ID or form if their trip includes children they aren't parents of. This is a US Customs reg, not DCL.
 

AVeryDifferentDisneyDad

Member
Original Poster
You folks are INCREDIBLE!!!

Ok... feel great about my most primary need - food. Next up, entertainment. I have to admit, I have never done the cruise since I am overtly in love with the parks. I know they have the show "Beauty and the Beast" to see, I know one night will be a "Pirates Theme" night. I know they have clubs, bars, etc. I know there are pools and spas. I read that some ships have theaters and show Disney movies.

My parks itinerary (5 visits ober the last 25 years) usually keeps us moving. I have NEVER used a day to lounge by the pools at the resort - I see that as missed opportunities to experience Disney Magic. (I know, I know... PLEASE don't judge me) 😁

I get it... a cruise is very different. You are SUPPOSED to lounge and relax. But I want to take advantage of everything they offer. I will be frustrated if I am driving back on that Monday going, "We didn't do this, we didn't do that, we missed this..."

So my #2 topic question is: what are the MUST DO's and what are the "Won't Hurt To Skip This" things on the Dream?

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!
 

Master Yoda

Pro Star Wars geek.
Premium Member
You folks are INCREDIBLE!!!

Ok... feel great about my most primary need - food. Next up, entertainment. I have to admit, I have never done the cruise since I am overtly in love with the parks. I know they have the show "Beauty and the Beast" to see, I know one night will be a "Pirates Theme" night. I know they have clubs, bars, etc. I know there are pools and spas. I read that some ships have theaters and show Disney movies.

My parks itinerary (5 visits ober the last 25 years) usually keeps us moving. I have NEVER used a day to lounge by the pools at the resort - I see that as missed opportunities to experience Disney Magic. (I know, I know... PLEASE don't judge me) 😁

I get it... a cruise is very different. You are SUPPOSED to lounge and relax. But I want to take advantage of everything they offer. I will be frustrated if I am driving back on that Monday going, "We didn't do this, we didn't do that, we missed this..."

So my #2 topic question is: what are the MUST DO's and what are the "Won't Hurt To Skip This" things on the Dream?

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!
You won't really have to skip anything.

One of the great things about the cruise is all of the rush, rush..I must get to the show 72 hours before it starts BS you have to deal with at the parks gets tossed out the window.

You will want to see the Disney shows that they have almost nightly. On your longer cruises, they will mix in some typical "cruise ship" entertainment (eg comedian you have never heard of, singer that was popular for 10 minutes 70 years ago, etc) that can be skipped if you like.

What is awesome is the theaters are more than big enough to accommodate the crowd. At most, you might want to arrive 10 minutes before they open the doors if you want to sit in a particular area.

When it comes to fireworks, you can literally leave from any point on the ship 5 minutes before showtime and you will be fine. On deck parties are the same.

Quite honestly, about the only crowd you will run into is around the family pool and about the only line is for the AquaDuck.

With only a 3 night cruise about the only decision you will need to make is if you want to give up dining at one of the main restaurants for either Palo or Remy.
 

LAKid53

The wand chooses the wizard, Mr. Potter
Premium Member
We've done 7 night cruises....and haven't had time to do everything we wanted.

Definitely see Beauty and the Beast. The navigator will tell you which night it is playing and times. If I remember correctly, there's a show at 6:00PMish for those on the 2nd dinner seating and one at 8:00PMish for those on the first dinner seating.

There are two theatres on the Dream - one is used for Broadway level shows and one for first run movies. If time is limited, skip the movie.

Who's in your travel party? If you've got little girls, book a character M&G. Frankly, I'd do that the day you're in Nassau. Also think about getting a day pass for the spa. Our 1st Disney cruise was a 3 nighter. We got off the ship in Nassau, walked around for an hour or so, headed back to the ship and booked an afternoon session at the spa.

Also, if you've got kids, don't forget the kids clubs. Great place to park them if you want adult time - there's an adult area of the ship with a small pool and bar. Also those two adult only restaurants. Problem is your kids may not want to leave the kids clubs. One of them is Star Wars themed.

There's also mini golf, but you probably won't have time.

You will spend all day on Castaway Cay. Lots to do - bike ride, snorkeling (frankly, bring your own set), jet skis, several kids play sets, etc. There are two beaches - a family beach which has the cool snorkeling and an adults only beach. Take the tram to which ever beach you decide on. No need for beach towels, there are ones available when you get off the ship. Stop by the post office and send a postcard to family, friends, yourself. They'll get a kick out of it. Lunch is provided on the island - several spots. And of course, ice cream, fruit, and guys walking around the beach asking if you want anythibg to drink. Water & sodas are free, alcohol isn't. Several bars on the island. No cash needed, everything will be charged back to your stateroom account.

Pirates Night is usually the 2nd night. Definitely plan on dressing up. Your stateroom attendant will leave bandanas in your room that evening. Dinner that night will be pirate themed food. It's a blast to see families dressed up as pirates.

Everything I mentioned will be listed in both the Navigator app and the paper navigator schedule placed in your stateroom each evening. You'll get a Navigator for the first day of activities when you check in at the Port.

Oh, and you've GOT to do the Aquaduct.
 

ChuckElias

Well-Known Member
With only a 3 night cruise about the only decision you will need to make is if you want to give up dining at one of the main restaurants for either Palo or Remy.
Not necessarily. You could do Palo brunch on Nassau day, and still do all 3 rotational restaurants. ;)
 

LAKid53

The wand chooses the wizard, Mr. Potter
Premium Member
Oh, bring an extra empty suitcase. Those on board shops are very tempting......
 

Wendy Pleakley

Well-Known Member
I have dug into my archives to provide the following observations and advice when it comes to Disney cruises.

The buffets offer standard selections, but I found the quality to be high. For both of my cruises I hit the lunch buffet first thing and enjoyed a meal on the outside deck:

408368_10151045058835025_745431026_n.jpg

The upcharge restaurants are worth every penny. Palo does both buffet style and menu ordering. The buffet including specific items you could have made to order.

562017_10151077222800025_344655872_n.jpg

564105_10151077222600025_529796497_n.jpg

Remi, which cost $75 at the time was crazy good. I was told it was the type of meal you'd pay hundreds for in the real world. It was a lot of courses, of very small portions. Here's a photo of the quail as an example:

1474562_10151748726105025_569862678_n.jpg
 

Wendy Pleakley

Well-Known Member
I don't recommend skipping any scheduled dinners for a buffet or alternate location. The restaurants are well themed, and some include a show element with dinner, specifically Animator's Palate.

One could try and change to an early dinner if they wanted to take full advantage of the late night buffet they do on Pirates night. I always did late dinners so those buffets were too soon for me to partake in.

Longer cruises will include one scheduled character breakfast.

Your wait staff move with you each night to the different dinner restaurants, which makes for good service.

I didn't hit the gym, but I found walking helped. On my first cruise I spent more time walking around the outside deck than on my second cruise. I felt more bloated on that second cruise.

Shows are of high quality. A few too many are "Disney's Greatest Hits" with a flimsy story acting as an excuse to pull various numbers out of the Disney vault for my taste, but they're still good.

Everyone does the big theater shows of course, but check out the smaller shows. You can find some real gems. On my first cruise they had an adults night in the kids area, where a scientist character led us in making Flubber. This wasn't some bored cast member in a wig, this was a fully engaged actor who really seemed to relish playing to adults for a change. He really demonstrated why you hear that parents often don't see their kids during the day on these cruises, the kids activities seem extremely engaging.

384205_10151046741515025_1075797722_n.jpg

Drinkology classes can be fun, as well as being the best bang for your buck in terms of sampling alcohol. Some are purely informative, others offer guests a chance to step behind the bar and craft interesting cocktails.

185187_10151046739145025_588342077_n.jpg

1010052_10151827169785025_840043333_n.jpg

1544423_10151827170440025_143397469_n.jpg
 
Top Bottom