No kids. No husbands
I know it sounds crazy, but I had a terrific girls getaway on the Disney Dream.
When I received the invitation for the Disney Dream christening cruise, I immediately had visions of the adult beach at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. White sand, colored umbrellas and fruity drinks (not the lunch box kind). The perfect opportunity to check out the adult amenities I missed on my family’s Disney cruise last summer to the Bahamas.
I invited two friends: one had never cruised before and was nervous about the large ship, while the other’s husband was warning her not to stand too close to the railing. However, both were excited to have a few days away from spouses and kids to relax, be pampered and have fun.
We were a bit worried about being surrounded by loads of kids when the premise was to spend time away from them, but the reality is that it’s easy to avoid the kids and families and escape to the adult-only amenities. And for the most part, the kids are happy and smiling on the ship — they are on vacation and completely excited and entertained.
By the end of the 3-day cruise, we unanimously concluded that as 40-something moms, if we wanted to go on a cruise for a another getaway weekend, we’d choose a Disney family cruise over a younger, partying-type of cruise. Here’s why:
Castaway Cay for adults
Hands down this was the highlight of our cruise. The adult beach, Serenity Bay, on Castaway Cay is a perfect little strip of tranquility. You cannot hear or see the family beach from here. The vibe is pure relaxation beginning with a popular morning yoga class on the beach. After that, the biggest dilemma is which beach chair or hammock to choose. The water is crystal clear and we saw tropical fish, star fish and sting rays in shallow water. If you’re a swimmer or snorkeler, the sand bar farther out is a stunning resting spot.
The BBQ lunch here offers different food options not available at the family BBQ including steak and grilled fish, and a bar with every kind of drink. If you can’t spend your full Castaway Cay day here, stop in at the bar for a drink and the view although be warned, you may not want to leave!
Dinner is the one area where there is no escape from kids and noise, especially if you are at the early seating. Kids are understandably tired and the dining experience can be loud — not unpleasant — but not necessarily relaxing either. There are several ways to get around this; take advantage of the full service breakfast and lunch which is offered at a different restaurant each day and has fewer families, eat at the later dinner seating or treat yourself, plan ahead and reserve a dinner at adults-only Palo or Remy.
Palo – For an additional $20 per person, you get great Northern Italian food and service and an ocean view. If you aren’t able to get a dinner reservation or don’t want to skip family dinner, try it for brunch when the view is spectacular.
Remy – This is the most upscale dining experience offered on the ship. For an additional $75 per person you will enjoy a 3-hour plus French dinner with 7-8 courses. Wine pairing is extra. Look for the very subtle, hidden “Remys” in the fabric of the banquet tables. Some of the iron work also has images of Remy (I couldn’t see them until it was pointed out to me), and according to Kevin Cummings, Sr. Development Manager Principal for Walt Disney Imagineering, the iron work “was done by an artist in Austria with five guys in his garage” — not what you’d expect, but a fun detail to know. The private dining room here feels like a Parisian brasserie straight out of “Ratatouille”.
Gym and Spa
The gym practically invites you to work out. It’s bright, has great ocean views and feels very clean. Working off the previous night’s dessert(s) was not hard here. It’s rare that a gym can feel tranquil but this one manages to do just that. We didn’t join the group classes, but spinning, yoga and pilates are offered.
The Senses Spa is truly gorgeous. The décor of blues and greens and browns is soothing. Two of us tried facials and while the overall experience was good, it was the one area of the cruise that didn’t meet the high Disney standards we had experienced with the rest of the amenities and services on the ship. The treatment and therapist were fine, but the ambience of the spa rooms was fair. No robes were offered at check-in. The treatment room — while beautiful with a view — was cold with no blankets, and the room was strangely absent of music. We also wish the steam and sauna would be included with the spa treatments (it’s an additional charge). At $169 for a facial, expectations are high.
When I talk about nightlife I mean the bars, lounges and night club, although we enjoyed the Broadway quality shows at night just as much as the kids. There are adult bars and lounges scattered throughout the ship but we spent our nights in the main area for adult entertainment at night — The District.
The District is a collection of bars, lounges and a nightclub including one lounge for families. According to Tom Wolber, COO of the Disney Cruise Line, “The District gives parents an opportunity to go out and is designed in a circular flow so that you can easily wander from one venue to the next.” We followed his advice.
The venues are varied and include:
D-Lounge – A family-friendly lounge with scheduled activities throughout the day and night.
687 – A pub/sports bar with large portholes views of the ocean.
Pink – A champagne/cocktail bar with décor that feels light and airy – an ode to its champagne theme.
Skyline – A cozy, library-like intimate setting with LCD panels on the wall that rotate different city skylines.
Evolution – A night club and the place to be for dancing.
We loved the convenience of going from dinner to Skyline for a drink to Evolution for dancing without ever having to return to our staterooms to “dress-up” for a night out. Dancing started around 9:30 PM and it’s important to note that there are no Disney characters roaming in the bars or nightclub – no dancing Goofys or Disney-themed décor – you really feel like you are out for a night on the town. The 5-minute walk back to the stateroom after a big “night out” is a perfect way to end the evening.
Photos courtesy of Kristi Marcelle and Disney Cruise Line.
Kristi received complimentary airfare and cruise accommodations from Disney Cruise Line. Ciao Bambino was not asked to express any particular opinion.
What other bloggers are saying about the Disney Dream:
AllEars.Net – Everything you need to know about the Dream
Wife & Mom University – Riding the Waves of the Disney Dream
Everything Mom – Photo Tour of the Disney Dream
Inside The Magic – Adults Cruising the Disney Dream
Mamanista – Castaway Cay