As I prepare for my Disney cruise this weekend, I’m busily planning my itinerary and working in plenty of relaxation. Cruise ships are packed with opportunities to kick back and relax, but they’re also geared toward a high energy vacation if that’s what you prefer. I’ve sailed both ways on the Dream, so here are my suggestions, depending on what you’re looking for when you book your own weekend getaway:
- Book a room with a verandah. Three days goes by fact, but if you plan to have a low-key cruise, you’ll have some time to relax on your verandah with a drink and a good book or some music. If you book a room with a porthole or an inside room, you can still head down to deck four or one of the upper decks and hang out in the chairs there. With Disney Cruise Line’s great kid and teen programs, it’s easy to get some peace and quiet when you’re on board with your family.
- Book a spa appointment. Pampering yourself at sea is a great way to step up the relaxation. Massages and wraps are lovely, but if you don’t want to worry about an appointment time, get a day or weekend pass to the Rainforest. Pop in whenever you like to enjoy the saunas, stream rooms, scented showers, and hot tubs.
- Book a romantic meal. Another benefit of having great kids clubs is that it gives you an opportunity to book one of the extra-cost fine dining experiences while the youngsters eat with their club group. Both Palo and Remy offer leisurely meals, but Remy in particular is a long, laid-back multi course experience akin to Victoria & Albert’s at the Grand Floridian.
- Disembark early to stake out a good spot on Castaway Cay. There’s nothing more relaxing than swinging in a hammock or spreading out on a lounge chair on the beach and gazing out at the ocean while you listen to your iPod or read a good book. Grab a quick breakfast, then get off the ship early to get a chair in a good location or maybe even one of the handful of coveted hammocks. The early rush will payoff in relaxation for the rest of the day.
- Hit all the entertainment. There’s a main stage show each night of your cruise and various performances in the clubs. Check out your Personal Navigator to make sure you don’t miss any of the entertainment options.
- Party into the wee hours. The District is the adult nightclub hotspot, with everything from Pink, a sophisticated wine and champagne bar, to sports bar 687 to the Skyline Lounge with its amazing “view” to Evolution, the dance club/show place. The bars are open as late as 2 a.m. if you’re a night owl.
- Book shore excursions. Disney Cruise Line offers a variety of shore excursions at both Nassau and Castaway Cay. While you can easily explore Nassau yourself, it’s nice to have a plan and entrust Disney to take care of the details. You can certainly enjoy Castaway Cay on your own, too, but if you’re up for excitement, you can do things like parasailing, fishing, snorkeling, biking, and swimming with stingrays. The Dream docks at the island all day, so you’ll have enough time to slip in a bit of relaxation too.
- Collect character photos and autographs. Just as you’d expect, the Disney Dream is teeming with Disney characters, from pirates to princesses to Mickey and the gang. Check your Personal Navigator for days, ticket pick-up times, and other details of where and how to meet them , and be sure to bring your phone/camera and autograph book. They’re not just on the ship; look for plenty of character greetings on Castaway Cay, too.
This is just a sampling of the on board activities, and that doesn’t even include things like hanging out at the pools or riding the Aquaduck. Whether you want to have the most possible experiences or indulge in a weekend of pure relaxation, you’ll find what you’re looking for on the Disney Dream.