Having been on board the Disney Cruise Line's first two ships for nine cruises over the past seven years, our family's first concern for cruising aboard the new major Disney Dream was that it would feel crowded and lose the intimate sense of the smaller ships. We had cruised the Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Sea, which often felt too big. It was easy to feel overwhelmed by the crowds in large cavernous spaces. The biggest shopping area at Mariner is very nice, but when over a thousand people gather, it was too much. In addition, there were the long lines for food, it sometimes made it a try.
The Disney dream, however, was designed differently, and the rooms never felt crowded. It was even easy to find seats in the restaurants and amazing we never saw a line of more than a few people in Cabanas. After being on board for two days, I realized what Disney engineers had done to create this feeling.
The architects of the dream used three functions to keep the sense of intimacy in the larger ship; curves, divisions of rooms and shorter straight lines. By carefully manipulating the room, the only time we saw a large crowd of people at the Pirates in the Caribbean party when it was expected.
Curves can be seen most clearly in Cabanas and District, the area that grows only after 9.00 and includes a couple of adults only lounges all day long.
In Cabanas there is a large dining area, arranged in a semi-circular layout similar to the Beach Blanket on Wonder and Topsiders on the Magic. Sight lines are broken so you can not see more than one hundred guests at a time at their meals.
The best illustration of these curves is seen in the district. Located on the deck 4 acres, this area can be accessed from the outdoor promenade or from the indoor mid ship past the art gallery. There is a single passage connecting all six salons that swing from the harbor side diagonally to starboard side and back to the harbor. This passage has very few straight lines and trains dramatically curved walls and round spaces to reduce sight lines and noise. With an option for seven different areas of district crowds, there are actually less than the same crowds in the three (or four) available seats on the smaller ships.
These curves also give the ship a more organic feel through the ship without provoking the anticipated sewage feeling that I had expected.
Room departments keep the little atmosphere in the larger Cabanas restaurant on deck 11 aft. This is the place that serves food all day but smaller seating and stations in a cafeteria style floor plan make it easy to navigate.
Unlike the corresponding restaurants at Wonder and Magic, the seating area of Cabanas is divided into six areas; Five indoor rooms and an outdoor room. Not only is there enough space, you never have a complete line of sight that allows the guest to see much of the crowd. This cuts back on both sound and unconscious feeling of being in a large crowd although there is plenty of room for everyone.
Secondly, the restaurant's dining area is not organized as a long food line on either side of a single single buffet with plates on start and beverages at the end. It works well on the smaller ship's capacity of 2600, but with a capacity of 4000 guests, lines and waiting times are automatically eliminated. Plates and cutlery are available for every 20 feet or so. Beverages are served, not from & # 39; end of line & # 39; but from four separate stations throughout the restaurant that is never crowded. Foods are broken down by nationality and enter smaller walk-up sections where individuals spend only a few moments looking and receiving portions of their desired dishes. Finally, there is plenty of room to bypass the occasional line that can occur in one place or another that keeps traffic flow at all times.
On a cruise ship there are a couple of times that passengers expect long straight lines. At both Disney Magic and Wonder, the long corridors used to access cabins can almost be staggering to walk from one end of the ship to the other. At the dream there are no corridors that are half as long as those on the smaller ships, a real surprise if you are used to cruising.
To make shorter straight lines, there are as many as four dog legs on a single deck that keep the sections short and manageable. Also several tires built a walk-around to get from one side of the ship to the other in as many as nine places along the deck. With all oscillations and crossings, the ship is less than the smaller ships. At the same time, it is harder to get lost than the smaller ships, as there are fewer dead doors.
It seems that Disney Dream was designed with more intelligent design than any of the eight cruise ships I've been on. Once again, the company, known to set high standards in the entertainment industry, has raised the line for all cruise ships in the design of such large ships. Disney Cruise Lines once again prove that the guest is the most important property of their property, not an accounting formula that tries to get the most dollars out of every cubic meter of space. Thanks, Disney. We are happy to book cruises on all ships you drive!