Cruise report: Disney Dream, August 14-17

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, August 18, 2015, 8:28 PM | comments: 0

Oops, we did it again, another three-night Bahamas trip on a Disney Cruise Line ship. I've said it before, but the reason we've done this itinerary five times in the last two years is because it's probably the most care-free and easy full-service vacation we can do living in Orlando. That, and we really love being on those ships. They're kind of fancy without having to be fancy. We've also had some great fares, though this was not one of them. We did, however, book a winter cruise with our Seattle counterparts at 10% off with a room credit while onboard.

I won't get into the details of the itinerary, since we've done that before. The service was fantastic as usual, the room cleaner than clean, way more good food than we should have had, etc. Despite the more expensive summer fares, it didn't seem that crowded. The parking garage was empty in the upper levels, there were noticeable empty tables at dinner and the beach at Castaway Cay seemed less crowded. Let me talk about the more interesting variations on this one.

This was the second time they had us sitting with another family for dinner. They weren't ideal, but not a deterrent to having a good time. It began with the mom informing us that she popped a squat to pee off the side of the road on the Beachline on the way to the port, coming from Tampa. She brought it up the next two nights as well. Ironically, she wouldn't pee in the restrooms closest to the restaurant, even though they're continually cleaned by an attendant during meal times.

We had a bit of a rough time with Simon at first, having to deny him mini-golf because of misbehavior the first day. We're having a hard time lately redirecting his negative behavior into more positive things, and it came to a head that night with us feeling pretty defeated. Fortunately it got better after that. Things started poorly when he lost another tooth that morning, and then eating felt weird all day so he didn't eat.

Our day in Nassau was spent on the pool deck, and we watched Inside Out in the Walt Disney Theater. We totally loved it. The juxtaposition of joy and sadness as symbiotic components of our lives is probably over the head of most kids, but what a great movie. Also loved the short, Lava. What a beautiful piece that was. I don't think it was better than Feast (which was in front of Big Hero Six and featured a Boston Terrier), but it was a very interesting idea. This is the first time we saw something screened in the big theater, and Dolby 3D is surprisingly watchable, if not at all worth an upcharge in a theater on land. Our evening wind down included watching Peter Pan up on Funnelvision.

Our best day was easily on Castaway Cay, where things were very nearly perfect, even with non-perfect weather. Remember, I'm not a beach guy. Sun and water makes me tired, and not being much of a swimmer, I don't care for deep water without floatation. But it was a great temperature, the water was perfect, I rented a tube, the bar runners kept mai tai's in my hands, and after significant coaching and coaxing, Diana managed to get Simon to finally trust a life jacket and be confident out in the water.

We parked our stuff just beyond Cookies BBQ, which is unusual because normally we go out to Cookies Too, as fewer people go that far. Still, our umbrella was 30 feet from the water, in front of the platform where the climbing ropes and rope bridges were about 50 feet out. That turned out to be a great motivator for Simon, who got to a point where he was confident floating out there with us, unassisted, and getting on and off the platform via the ladders. It was a seriously big deal for him, and wonderful to see him so confident and happy.

By about 1:30, a little shower had turned into a huge downpour, which was OK until the lightning started. That was made more freaky when I was standing in the restroom with Simon in an inch of water. It was the kind of epic rain we get at home, only without all of the storm water management. The beach really cleared out as people went back to the ship. We got pretty soaked, but I'm glad we didn't bring shoes as we originally considered, to go out to the observation tower off of the old air strip.

We dried off and hung out in our room for a bit, watching people come back to the ship (our room was on the port side), while doing a little video-on-demand for Simon. By 3:30 we were able to go back up to deck 13 for mini-golf and foosball, sun returning, and it was crazy to see the beach almost empty. Bummer how that worked out, but we still had a great time.

As we were finishing dinner, Simon decided that he really wanted to go ride the Aqua Duck, which was another goal of mine. I assumed his earlier confidence had a lot to do with that. So we bailed on our table (and discussions of roadside urination), changed to swimmies, and went up to deck 11. It's usually only a few boats to wait. We got up there, and Simon freaked out. With that freakout came puking all over me, and three places along the stairs. They had to close the ride temporarily as they sanitized it. We headed right to the poolside showers to de-barf. It was hard for me to not be angry, and it felt like a setback after the amazing day on the beach.

We ended our last evening by seeing Believe, which is a pretty good show (though the audio mix wasn't good at all this time). It was a fun weekend, even with the difficult start. I describe the ships as my happy place because I literally don't have to think about anything. I show up, get on the ship, and they tell me where to eat. I sleep better than ever at sea. I always feel more relaxed. I do think that Diana and I need to do one without our little guy... we could use a weekend like that.


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