Castaway Cay
Castaway Cay / Disney Cruise Line / Diana Zalucky
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AquaDuck on Disney Dream
AquaDuck on Disney Dream / Disney Cruise Line
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AquaDuck Water Coaster
AquaDuck Water Coaster / Disney Cruise Line / Todd Anderson
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Minnie Mouse at Sail-away
Minnie Mouse at Sail-away / Sherri Eisenberg
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Donald and Daffy Duck at Sail-away
Donald and Daffy Duck at Sail-away / Sherri Eisenberg
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Nemo's Reef
Nemo's Reef / Disney Cruise Line / Matt Stroshane
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It's a Small World Nursery
It's a Small World Nursery / Disney Cruise Line / Preston Mack
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Vibe Teen Club
Vibe Teen Club / Disney Cruise Line / Preston Mack
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Vanellope's
Vanellope's / Sherri Eisenberg
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Sundae from Vanellope's
Sundae from Vanellope's / Disney Cruise Line
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Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom on Disney Dream
Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom on Disney Dream / Disney Cruise Line
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Deluxe Oceanview Verandah Stateroom
Deluxe Oceanview Verandah Stateroom / Disney Cruise Line / Matt Stroshane
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Inside Cabin with Virtual Porthole
Inside Cabin with Virtual Porthole / Disney Cruise Line
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Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique / Sherri Eisenberg
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Pirate Makeover at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
Pirate Makeover at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique / Disney Cruise Line / Todd Anderson
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Millennium Falcon
Millennium Falcon / Disney Cruise Line
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"Star Wars" Kids Club
"Star Wars" Kids Club / Disney Cruise Line
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Jedi Training
Jedi Training / Disney Cruise Line
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Disney Dream's Edge
Disney Dream's Edge / Disney Cruise Line / Matt Stroshane
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Disney Dream's Oceaneer Club
Disney Dream's Oceaneer Club / Disney Cruise Line
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Disney Dream's Animator's Palate
Disney Dream's Animator's Palate / Disney Cruise Line
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Remy Restaurant
Remy Restaurant / Disney Cruise Line / Matt Stroshane
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Smoked bison with fennel salad and blood oranges at Remy
Smoked bison with fennel salad and blood oranges at Remy / Disney Cruise Line
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Skyline Bar on Disney Dream
Skyline Bar on Disney Dream / Disney Cruise Line / Todd Anderson
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Skyline Lounge
Skyline Lounge / Disney Cruise Line / Matt Stroshane
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Disney Dream's Senses Spa
Disney Dream's Senses Spa / Disney Cruise Line
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Quiet Cove Pool
Quiet Cove Pool / Disney Cruise Line / Matt Stroshane
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Senses Juice Bar
Senses Juice Bar / Disney Cruise Line
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Smoothies from Disney Dream's Senses Juice Bar
Smoothies from Disney Dream's Senses Juice Bar / Disney Cruise Line
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"Buccaneer Blast!" Fireworks at Sea
"Buccaneer Blast!" Fireworks at Sea / Disney Cruise Line / Todd Anderson
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Disney Dream
Our Ship Review
Disney Cruise Line
Cruise Line
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger

No line serves families better than Disney Cruise Line: In the dining room of the 4,000-passenger Disney Dream, waiters entertain with magic tricks and, after the first night, drinks are waiting on your table when you arrive, and in the kids clubs children of all ages are tended to better than anywhere else at sea. (Picture ship-wide scavenger hunts, a super cool teen lounge, and a "Star Wars" theme area with a life-size Millennium Falcon cockpit.)

And it isn’t just service that wows, staterooms are impressive as well. Cabins have split bathrooms that speed up bedtime, plus bunk beds that pull down from the ceiling, phones you can use to keep in touch on board, and loaner Diaper Genie diaper disposal systems. Parents are taken care of as well, with an adults-only pool and Remy, an elegant “Ratatouille”-themed French restaurant that is the perfect night out.

What We Love

Amazing Kids Clubs: We can’t rave enough. The It’s a Small World nursery cares for children ages 3 and under, who are woefully underserved on other lines, and parents get walkie-talkies for check-ins. The clubs for older children also have impressive activities, such as Jedi Knight training and a Disney Infinity play room with state-of-the-art video games you can play on giant wall monitors. Vibe, the teen club, also has an area called Chill, a teen-only spa, and smaller children can go to the kids-only hair salon, the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.

Impressive Adults-Only Areas: Grown-ups can escape to an adults-exclusive pool (complete with a swim-up bar), adults-only restaurants (including the modern French Remy and Italian Palo), or a quiet adults-only beach on Castaway Cay, the line’s Bahamian island. There’s even a sports bar on board that shows all the games and serves complimentary bar snacks.

Castaway Cay: With character photo ops, a waterslide that looks like a pirate ship, a splash park, and a tram that takes you around the island, we find Disney's Bahamian hideaway serves up the perfect beach day. There are bungalows for rent, which come with their own quieter stretch of sand, but even if you don't splurge on one, you'll board the ship at the end of the day having soaked up plenty of sun. The island has rental inner tubes and snorkeling gear, and there are sand toys for purchase, too, if you didn't make room in your suitcase for buckets and shovels.

Best Known For

Character Meet and Greets: Expect many photo ops every day, and a rare chance to meet all of the Disney princesses at once. Just consider yourself warned: Some character moments, including the meet and greet with Elsa and Anna from "Frozen," require advance tickets, which run out fast. As at the theme parks, checking the schedule as soon as you arrive will save you from dealing with disappointed little ones later. 

AquaDuck Water Coaster: The ship’s waterslide is actually a roller coaster that extends across the deck — and over the edge of the ship. It's an exciting ride, and one of the main draws for tweens and teens on board, so expect lines all day long. 

Remy Restaurant: The ship’s adults-only “Ratatouille”-themed restaurant, which serves modern French fare in a sophisticated setting, feels like the perfect parents' date night out at sea. Look for fine French cheese and wine pairings, and plan to take your time and relax while the children are entertained in the kids clubs. (Chances are they won't want to leave when you pick them up anyway.)

Who It's Best For

Families with Kids: This is a great ship for those with school-age and younger children, but we can’t imagine choosing it without kids. Don’t be surprised, for example, if the pre-dinner band entertains more tots than adults, and those gorgeous ottomans in the lobby lounge are used as impromptu trampolines rather than cocktail tables.

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

It's a Pricey Vacation: The perfect cruise for the whole family comes with some sticker shock, but some kid-friendly extras — including self-serve soft drinks by the pool — are unlimited and included. 

Packed Pools Are the Norm: On sea days in sunny areas, such as the Bahamas, you can expect the main pool to be too crowded for more than standing room only. The splash park, designed for little kids, quickly gets a lot of the spill-over crowding, but there's a small more out-of-the-way pool that was added in a recent dry dock that's worth seeking out. 

Sherri Eisenberg
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger