Saturday, February 11, 2012

Disney Dream

Today was the day when our family was ready for annual vacation and simply couldn't wait to get onto DISNEY DREAM cruiseship. It departs from Port Canaveral, Florida and we knew it was going to be three whole days of fun and relaxation. As our car approached the port, we were flabbergasted to see Disney had such strong presence in cruise industry. They have their own private port so parking car, loading luggage and verification of documents was piece of cake. Red, Black and White were the prominent colors that emerged out as we gazed at that humungous thirteen storeyed boat, where every small detail was in the shape of three circles that represented mickey; even the exhaust pipes on top of the boat.

First things first, before any family boards, all children are requested to wear tracking bracelets, so that parents know where the kids are all the time, peace of mind! All the employees are uniquely dressed as sailors in white and welcome you with warm smiles. They personally announce your last name and welcome you aboard to this gigantic atrium that is lit with gorgeous chandelier with bronze statue of Donald Duck at center; soothing music in the air already starts working like magic. The whole ship is divided into forward, mid and backward sections, so if you were to ever book your tickets be sure to pick mid section as it is closest to the core of activities going on day in and day out. As soon as we discovered the coordinates of our cabin, we were delighted to head to the verandah on sixth floor that gave us amazing view of the port. The cabin was loaded with TV, iPod charger-cum-alarm, digital safe box, wireless phones for families to stay connected all the time even if engaged in independent activities. The TV has a dedicated channel that relays useful information on what to do and not to do while on boat like not miss Princess meet scheduled next day 9 am, walk out of cruise ship in pajamas when family leaves its luggage to be picked; sounds funny although you will end up seeing few people walking out in night suits on last day.

Soon we headed to the cabanas along poolside for quick bite and inspite of it being just one hour since the official boarding time, the area was buzzing with little kids; and we realized that it is never early to board!! The pool area is state-of-the-art design distributed across three storeys, the kids pool is well designed keeping in mind appropriate depth and shape for kids to get easily comfortable in water with minimum parental guidance. There are slides, wet area with Nemo theme and gigantic screen that has cartoons, trivia being telecast nonstop. AquaDuck is highlight which is thrilling water coaster that takes you across the periphery of the cruise, it makes your adrenaline rush. There is adult pool at top level on forward with warm jacuzzi and bar. You will never run out of chairs to just relax if you were not yet ready to get wet. On backward top level is sports recreation, where you can enjoy basketball, mini-golf, foosball of just chill at the tip of the boat.

Evening dinners are served in three different restaurants so every night is unique dining experience:

Princess: bread served in chariot shaped serving bowl
Animation palate: walls are made of high-tech digital screens where turtle from Nemo entertains guests with real-time interaction with kids celebrating their birthdays and such
Green Emerald: One-stop for savory lox and bagels, ahi tuna, mickey waffles and the list is endless

In addition there are some half a dozen lounges, bars and snack areas to cater your appetite on the go. We decided to wrap the night by attending an extremely action-packed live entertainment show in the theatre.

The second day was at Nassau Bahamas, but when you have infinite options right at your disposal who would even consider running behind a mirage. We were busy the whole morning meeting all of the six princess: snow white, tiana, belle, cinderella, ariel, sleeping beauty. Having shopped lighted tiara the earlier night, our daughter was the seventh princess. They were so ditto that even parents could not resist to pose with them and have a royal handshake! And how neat of the staff to address all girls as princess whenever they want to guide them in child care facilities, teen club or elsewhere. Throughout the day, kids meet various disney characters like Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto, Chipmunks in various costumes like sailor, pirate, princess; so not a single kid is left disappointed about not meeting either of the characters.

Disney's official photographers are constantly capturing your families fun-filled moments in their high tech camera, so you are not bothered to click all the time that makes you feel like celebrity with papparazzi around you! The photo pick up mechanism is well-organized where each family has their own digital and hard-copy album maintained that gets loaded with more and more photos as time passes. They are a keepsake.

The second night was dedicated to Pirates of Carribean theme where we met Jack Sparrow and also shared some of his gold treasure. All voyagers wear red bandanas on their heads and share the spirit. The entire pool area changes into wooden dance floor!!! And dads-daughters and moms-sons dance the night out to live music where professional dancers mingle with you on dance floor and help discover hidden dance talent within you. By the way did I not mention about spectacular fireworks that was the finale?

The third day was at Disney's private island Castaway Cay which is pure joy for sea-lovers. The lagoon gives you satisfaction of enjoying sea activities at limited risk. White sand, hammocks, fresh towels boost your energy to get ready for another action-packed wet day. Snorkeling, kayaking, jetskiing, biking, so much to do, so little time. Barbecue of shrimp, scallops, fish, kalamari, served just the way you want. This was the day when our daughter tried to ride bike with training wheels for the first time and it was a success. What a memory to cherish!

The final breakfast was all about expressing gratitude to our cabin caretaker, server, assistant server, head server, with whom you build warm bonding in past few hours as they help you make the best of your stay. Although we were not ready to say good bye, we forced ourselves to do so, just to meet everyone again real soon!

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