(Story by Katie G./photos courtesy of Walt Disney World & Disney Parks Blog)
Disney offers many wonderful adventures, one of my favorites is the Disney Cruise Line. Disney Cruise Line started in 1998 with the Magic and has expanded to the Dream, Wonder, and Fantasy with three new unnamed ships that will join the fleet in 2021, 2022, 2023. We set voyage on the Disney’s Dream four-night cruise. This one was a special cruise for it was the Very Merrytime Cruise. This was my fifth cruise and my second time on the Dream.
The Disney Dream first voyage was in January 2011 and sets sail out of Port Canaveral, Florida. This cruise route is three days, four days and the occasional five days to Nassau, and Disney’s private cay, Castaway Cay. This ship has 14 decks, with many activities, food and shows to see!
The Very Merrytime Cruise on the Dream is decorated beautifully. As soon as you step into the Disney Cruise Line Terminal, you will notice the big Christmas tree decorated with fish, shells and starfish ornaments. Once your number is called, you start your vacation though the Mickey shaped terminal. You will scan your Key to the World card and its vacation time! There will be a photographer so you can take a family picture before you walk onto the ship.
Once you walk in they will have Cast Members announce your name, make sure you have your camera ready! As you step into the Lobby Atrium, you will notice just how grand it is, and the Christmas decorations will make it even more breathtaking. Another awesome feature in the lobby is the festive gingerbread house. This large gingerbread house includes 650 pounds of gingerbread, 3,750 gingerbread bricks, 1,500 bricks on the roof and 220 pounds of icing. (Tip: If you want to grab a picture of the gingerbread house, try to avoid it on embarkation day, it will be packed)
You are allowed into your stateroom around 1:30 p.m. It is always fun to decorate your door. This cruise we went all out. We had flashing Christmas lights, garland and a banner that said Merry Christmas. Everything is magnetic so make sure you bring magnet friendly clips to hold your decorations together. This way the doors will be in perfect condition for the next cruise. We had three staterooms all next to each other, and all were decorated the same way! (Tip: We had three connecting rooms with verandah, call guest service and they will open the dividers. We had one big verandah.)
Here are my top five favorite things about this cruise.
- Mickey’s Tree Lighting Magic. Do not miss this event. This is done on the first night of the cruise between the first and second sitting. I would suggest showing up to dinner right when the doors open and mention you are planning to attend the tree lighting event. They are good with knowing there is an event and getting everyone in and out beforehand. This event features Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, and Goofy leading the guests in Christmas carols. A special family is chosen to light the Christmas tree. Once it is lit, it will stay lit the whole cruise.
- The Broadway shows. This cruise was a little different from others I have been on for a couple different reasons. Each ship has three shows, each is different and they offer them for three nights. Depending on how long your cruise is they will offer movies and variety shows every night after dinner. With this cruise Star Wars was being released and the new stage show Beauty and the Beast just joined their line-up of Broadway shows. On this cruise, we had the Golden Mickey which is a great show for all ages and they showed Beauty and the Beast two nights in a row. Beauty and the Beast will leave you speechless. It is a true Broadway show that is just done spectacularly. Miss none of the shows. Arrive early to grab seats for it fills up.
- Santa Winter Wonderland Ball. This is a great family event as Cast members sing Christmas Carols and Disney Characters are in their holiday outfits along with Santa Claus and snow!
- Castaway Cay. This time we did the Castaway Cay 5k. This event is free and you sign up at guest services. I suggest if you do this, to do it in the winter. It is a nice way to see the Cay. You can walk or run this. We walked it and enjoyed it. After you finish, you get a Mickey Mouse medal. I have been to Castaway Cay multiple times, but this was one of my favorite. The weather was perfect; the water was cool, so some actives were canceled. The beach wasn’t too crowded, which made it even more enjoyable. With it being four adults we had a blast and stayed out there all day. Make sure as soon as you get off the boat you take a picture with the giant Christmas Tree and Sandman.
- This is a tie between the Deck the Deck Tropical Holiday Party and the See You Real Soon.
Deck the Deck Tropical Holiday Party is right on the on pool deck with Mickey, Minnie, and friends. Guest will be invited to play games and dance along to Christmas songs. It is fun for all ages! See You Real Soon is the last night on every cruise, they will show pictures and the character will show up to greet you one last time. During the Very Merrytime Cruise, the characters arrive in the holiday attire and the carolers will sing Christmas songs. It is a perfect way to end a wonderful vacation.
This is just some of the Christmas activities. They also offer gingerbread house making, hot chocolate, story time and Santa Claus in the lobby along with Christmas movies playing.
Just like all other cruises, there are many activities for all ages: live music, trivia, tasty food, pirate night, and sail away deck party. The pools are heated except for Aqua Duck. It was a wonderful cruise and we will be doing this cruise again!