This trip took me by surprise. I went with hesitation but now can’t wait to book another! My daughter had been begging to go on a Disney Cruise for years. She even saved up 3 summers worth of lemonade stand money to contribute towards it, so…we made it happen. My family had never done a cruise before and to be honest, I had anxiety about feeling stuck on a ship. All of this went away though once we boarded the luxury liner, Disney Dream.
My partner, our 7 year old daughter, her 7 year old best friend and I flew from NYC to Florida to embark on this incredible vessel in Port Canaveral last September. My boyfriend’s sister and her friend, both Florida residents, joined us. They booked the trip so we could all enjoy the Florida resident discount which saved us about 25%.
We picked the 3-Night Halloween on the High Seas Bahamian Cruise from Port Canaveral. We had two port stops, one in Nassau, Bahamas for a day and one at Disney’s private island in the Bahamas called Castaway Cay. The last night was the big finale with a pirate theme which included a “Pirates in the Caribbean” Deck Party that ended with a spectacular fireworks display.
Check our our video covering our 3 night cruise, and take a look at my tips if you’re thinking about booking:
We booked the Deluxe Ocean view Stateroom with Verandah. This included a queen bed, bunk beds, split bathroom for toilet & showers which made it much easier with 2 kids and my favorite part, a private deck with incredible views. We had an assigned butler who we got to know. He really made our trip extra special. He joyfully greeted the kids every time he saw them racing down the hall, made origami animals out of towels and blankets every night along with chocolates left on our beds. He opened the kids bunk beds and stowed them away for us every day. Jose always made sure we had towels, ice or anything we requested.
Upon arrival you are assigned a dinner time at a different restaurant each night. Although the restaurants are different you keep the same servers the whole trip, so they get to know your food preferences and are able to provide recommendations. Our head waiter had a trick up his sleeve every night for the kids, they loved him (we all did).
Breakfast, lunch and snacks are all up to you, there are many options for dining from upscale restaurants to buffets and pool side snacks. We did the buffets and pool side snacks most of the time for breakfast and lunch. All of the food was good. And of course the all-you-can-eat soft serve ice cream was a hit, we visited it several times a day when aboard the ship.
For entertainment the kids loved the Kids Clubs. These are drop-off clubs so the kids get some independence and the adults get a break! With special wrist bands your child’s identification is encoded and only you are allowed to pick your child up, so it felt very secure and safe. Another thing they loved other than the pool, hot tub and AquaDuck water coaster which encircles the ship was Bingo! Yes, kids can gamble with adults when on the high seas! This turned out to be a blast and we lost lots of money, lol. We won some too but still came up short. It was a lot of fun though. Another thing we all loved was playing shuffle board on the deck every evening after dinner. It was free, never crowded and very relaxing with a fresh breeze coming off the Caribbean.
We did not purchase or arrange any character meet and greets but we participated in lots of dance parties, games and watched a couple shows we all thoroughly enjoyed.
There are many adult only options that include bars, pools and clubs but we did not spend any time on that end of the ship. We were fully in kid-mode ourselves participating in everything the kids did, we truly enjoyed watching them savor the magic of Disney.
- Prior to going be sure to check out the themes each night so you can pack accordingly. It was a lot of fun to dress up or get into costume for dinner and entertainment each night. We were surprised at the level of excitement the kids had over dressing up.
- Check to see if any resident discounts apply to you.
- You can book port excursions through the ship, but also on your own.
- When we stopped at Nassau, we knew we wanted to take the kids to Atlantis. We had been many times so hailed a taxi and went straight to check -in at the hotel. We booked the least expensive hotel room, which was far less expensive than the ship’s fees to visit the property or to purchase individual day passes. Note that Atlantis booking in advance has a 2 night minimum, but as a walk-in you can book one night (of course pending availability). With the room comes towels and wristbands, allowing you access to: 141-acres of state-of-the-art water slides (including one surrounded by sharks), river rapids, waterfalls and a secured lagoon fed straight from the ocean and perfect for snorkeling. We had access to their beaches, numerous pools, shops and their incredible aquarium which is the world’s largest open-air marine habitat, with more than 50,000 sea critters.
- When we stopped at Castaway Cay we hopped on a well organized, driver-provided golf cart and departed at Pelican Bay where we played on the white sandy beaches, rented floats to play in the ocean, snorkeled off the beach and saw a cool fabricated sunken ship and Disney statues with many fish swimming throughout. There is also an incredible Pirates of the Caribbean themed slide which you swim out to, the kids swam out to it but returned before going down it because of the long line. We also enjoyed an included lunch buffet and of course ice cream. Free towels are provided at the beach.
- Pack your own sunscreen, rash guards, water bottles to refill, hats, beach bag and water shoes. All of this is available to purchase on board but much less expensive to bring your own. We also brought our own snorkeling gear which we used at both port stops.