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A year later

Disney Dream still cruising with magic

Published: Saturday, March 9, 2013 1:20 a.m. CST
Caption
(MCT News Service)
The Disney Dream continues the Disney Cruise Line tradition of blending the elegant grace of early 20th century transatlantic ocean liners with contemporary design.

Captain Jack Sparrow swings down upon the gang of pirates overtaking the ship. Swords clash before he calms the rumble and they celebrate with fireworks bursting above.

Sound like a scene from the next “Pirates of the Caribbean” flick? It’s actually a night on the Disney Dream, one of Disney Cruise Line’s fleet. This take-it-to-the-next-level mentality permeates the cruise experience.

A year after its maiden voyage, the Disney Dream sails the same course, blending state-of-the-art technology and amenities with a heap of Disney magic. The 1,115-foot long ship with 1,250 staterooms and suites hauls as many as 4,000 passengers, alternating three- and four- night cruises from Port Canaveral, Fla., to the Bahamas and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. Four- and five-night voyages are offered during the summer months.

Consider the following tips when sailing on the Disney Dream:

—Eat freely: To bask in some serious service, take advantage of the nightly dinners included with each voyage. You and the occupants of your cabin are scheduled to dine in a different restaurant, but your server is always the same.

—Get animated: The set mealtime doesn’t always fit every cruiser’s schedule, but make sure to dine at Animator’s Palace, one of the three main restaurants. Though the Royal Palace has a setting fit for Cinderella and the Enchanted Garden looks like something out of Versailles, Animator’s Palate is like stepping into an animation studio for a bite.

—Splurge on Remy: Since the main dining restaurants are included, budget-minded cruisers may balk at paying for a meal. The adults-only pay restaurants offer a snazzier date night alternative. Palo, an Italian-themed Disney Cruise Line favorite, makes a return appearance. The French-inspired Remy gets top billing with romantic surroundings and gourmet indulgences.

—Always ‘Believe’: Oodles of entertainment is available, including a full-size movie theater featuring first-run flicks. The nightly stage shows have Broadway-style production values, each with a Disney theme. Although all are endearing, the not-to-miss show of the bunch is “Disney’s Believe.” Duck in The AquaDuck Water Coaster is a favorite. From the top deck, it propels guests 42 inches and taller on a 765-foot long ride through a huge acrylic tube up, down, over the side and around the ship. Lines can be long, but the wait lessens at night or while the Dream is at port.

—Go adult: A common misconception is that it’s all about kids. Adult options are plentiful, from a full-service spa to an adults-only pool. The District is an entire nighttime entertainment area for those 18 and older featuring a sports pub, live performances, a champagne bar and a dance club. Skyline features an ever-changing skyline.

—Let the kids be kids: Disney characters are available for photo ops and autographs throughout the cruise. Keep tabs on appearance times and other special events by reading the “Personal Navigator,” a daily publication available in each stateroom.

Children have their own age-appropriate retreats overseen by counselors, and parents must go through a strict check-out policy to ensure each child is in the right hands.

It’s a Small World Nursery is a haven for infants and toddlers ages 3 months to 3 years.

Disney’s Oceaneer Club caters to 3 to 10 year olds. Hot spots include playgrounds with Disney characters and the interactive Magic PlayFloor. Those on the older end of that spectrum may appreciate the adjacent Disney’s Oceaneer Lab with computer games and the Animator’s Studio.

Tweens, ages 11 to 13, kick back at Edge, a lounge boasting video karaoke and a lighted dance floor.

Teens ages 14 to 17 hang out in Vibe, a 9,000-square-foot club with video games, a hands-on DJ station, movie room and private sundeck.

—Castaway Cay: On Disney Cruise Line’s private island, Castaway Cay, you can simply soak up sun on the sprawling beaches. Teenagers and younger ones have their own respective areas just like on the ship. Some go high-end and rent a private cabana or get up close and personal with stingrays. An affordable way to make the most out of Castaway Cay is to explore the snorkel lagoon. All-day equipment rental, which includes a mask, snorkel, snorkel vest and fins, runs $25 for ages 10 and older, and $10 ages 5 to 9. The snorkel lagoon includes oodles of tropical fish, and man-made reefs include faux sunken ships and statues of Minnie and Mickey.

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