I sailed on my very first Disney Cruise Line cruise in 2011 and from the very first moment when I heard the words “The Disney Dream Welcomes Aboard the Kerr-Taylor Family” I have been hooked! I am always looking for any old excuse to book our next cruising adventure.
When Disney Cruise Line announced that they were going to be sailing to Hawaii in 2015 I was so excited. I had another cruise booked, but quickly changed that booking to the Vancouver to Hawaii cruise for September. My husband, daughters and I were so pumped to go on this cruise until I realized that my daughters would only be 4 days into their new journey of High School. We sat down and asked them what they’d like to do. We left the choice to them, whether they were okay with missing school to go on the trip, or if they’d prefer, we’d plan another trip with them to Walt Disney World Resort for their birthday in June. My husband and I were both quite shocked (and secretly impressed) when they agreed it would be difficult to leave their brand new school so soon after starting and decided to forgo the cruise. We booked a birthday trip to Walt Disney World Resort for the girls’ birthday in June and I again changed our Disney Cruise Line reservation.
I booked a 3-day Bahamian Cruise to use up the deposits that I had already paid towards the Hawaii cruise. Since we were supposed to be celebrating our anniversary on the Disney Wonder in Hawaii, I decided to surprise my husband by splurging on a 1 Bedroom Concierge Suite as a belated anniversary gift. We already love Disney Cruise Line and I couldn’t wait to see what Concierge had to offer!
The first benefit of sailing in Concierge is we were able to book excursions 120 days before our cruise. (Normally it is 75 days for new cruisers, 90 days for Silver Castaway Club members and 105 days for Gold Castaway Club members.) At around the 125 day mark, I received an email from the On-Shore Concierge Team introducing themselves and letting me know that I could make requests at the 120 mark if the cruise was paid in full. Not only could I request any Port Adventures, but also Dining Reservations, and the coveted Cabanas on Castaway Cay. I debated whether or not I should splurge on the Cabana, but decided what the heck! We weren’t going to do any other Port Adventures so I thought it would be a great opportunity to see what all the fuss was about. The Concierge Team was able to secure a Cabana on Serenity Bay and later I added a reservation for Palo for the first night of the cruise.
The big day finally arrived. I was so excited and I managed to keep it all a surprise for my husband. We arrived at the port around noon (another benefit of sailing in Concierge is that you don’t have to pre-book an arrival time on embarkation day!), and my hubby started to get into the line for check-in. I told him to follow me; that I knew a faster way. We headed straight for the Concierge check-in, and after a couple of small computer glitches, we were escorted onto the beautiful Disney Dream. We were introduced to a crew member who then escorted us to the elevators and told us to check in with the Concierge Team when we arrived on Deck 12. There was a member of the Concierge Team waiting as we got off the elevator. We were amazed that our room was ready. We decided to go check it out before we went into the Concierge Lounge.
We were both overwhelmed by the absolute beauty of our suite. It was simply divine. I have always been impressed by our staterooms on Disney Cruise Line, whether an Ocean View or Family Veranda, but this … this trumps them all! Our stateroom was beautifully finished in rich wood and a tranquil aqua and dark brown color scheme. Off the entry was a walk-in closet, two smaller closets, and a bathroom with walk-in shower. The sitting area had a beautiful and oh-so-cozy velour sofa and two comfortable chairs. There was a small writing desk beside the fold-down bed. The credenza with TV also housed a fridge and had plenty of storage space. 1 and 2 Bedroom Suites also have a separate dining table with 4 chairs. The suite also had 2 walk-outs to a veranda.
The bedroom area was open to the dining area, but could be closed off with a sliding pocket door. The bed is queen size with an upgraded mattress. It had another TV and a beautiful vanity area.
The main bathroom was luxury beyond belief! It was hard to imagine that we were on a ship!. It had beautiful marble flooring, a spacious walk-in shower, water closet, huge whirlpool tub and vanity area with 2 vessel sinks. Of course Disney Cruise Line thinks of everything and there was even a TV in the mirror! I think I could have easily lived in the bathroom the entire trip!
We managed to tear ourselves away from our beautiful suite to go to the Concierge Lounge to meet the Concierge Team. The “Dream Team” consisted of Ashley, Tracey and Angeline. Upon arrival there were complimentary beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) being served, and we helped ourselves to some of the snacks that were available. There were snacks available pretty much all the time in the lounge. Items like fresh fruit, salad, sandwiches, sweets were constantly being replenished, as well as sodas, juices and an amazing self-serve coffee machine. Tracey sat with us and we went over our plans for the next few days. She reiterated that we were welcome to drop into the lounge at any time for snacks or drinks. They even had complimentary popcorn for the movies or shows. and complimentary happy hour twice each evening. There would also be an opportunity for a private meet and greet with a Disney character. Tracey also explained that since we had a dining table in our suite, that if we chose we could have dinner from any of the main restaurants delivered. She asked if we were celebrating anything and I told her that we were celebrating a belated Anniversary.
We headed back to our suite to relax and decided that we quite possibly may not leave our room for the rest of the cruise! Our room host was Turino. He was so sweet and could not do enough for us. He asked our beverage preferences and made sure that our bar fridge was stocked with our favorites. Before we knew it, we were done with the Muster Drill and it was time for the Sail Away Party. We checked it out briefly, but decided to just enjoy our quiet balcony. With drinks in hand, we relaxed and watched the sunset as we pulled out of Port Canaveral. Soon we headed to the Walt Disney Theatre for the Golden Mickeys stage show, and then had just enough time to get ready for our dinner reservation at Palo.
We had only had brunch at Palo before and really enjoyed this wonderful and relaxed dinner. In my mind I really expected that without the kids we would be dancing until the wee hours, but after a rich meal and a couple of glasses of wine, we were happy to just go back to the room and watch a movie. We had every Disney movie at our disposal on-demand. We both fell asleep before the movie was finished. So much for partying it up without the kiddos!
Day Two we were in Nassau. We decided to stay on the ship and explore a little. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and eyed up the activities for the day. We took advantage of the Concierge Sun Deck for a few hours. The deck was awesome with a private hot tub and misting area. There was sunscreen available as well as a constant supply of cold non-alcoholic drinks.
Later in the afternoon, we decided to take advantage of having dinner served in our room. We made our choices and dropped it of at the Concierge Lounge along with the time we wanted it delivered. We grabbed some popcorn and headed off to take in a movie. Promptly at the time requested, our dinner arrived. We thought it would be like room service, but the server came in and set the table for us, and then served each course, waiting outside of the room in-between courses. We both found this a little uncomfortable. I would have preferred them to just leave the entire meal, and come back for the dishes later. This is something we wouldn’t do again. The meal was fine, just like in the dining room, we just didn’t like to be “hovered” over.
After dinner, we took a stroll around Deck 4 a couple of times and then headed back to the theatre to see another show. It was Pirate Night and I realized that I had forgotten to pack the shirt and dress that I’d made. We checked out the deck party, but decided to go back and watch the fireworks from our veranda. When we got back to our room, there was a surprise from Turino waiting for us! I sort of missed the festive atmosphere of the party, but could not have had a better view of the Buccaneer Blast Fireworks! It was the perfect end to another awesome day!
Day 3 was Castaway Cay day. We were so excited to enjoy every minute in Cabana 23. We headed for an earlier breakfast, then off we went. Our cabana was on Serenity Bay Beach which is for adults only. We took the tram to Serenity Bay where a Concierge host drove us by golf cart to the Cabana. It was very quaint, with ample comfortable seating, a fruit tray and fridge stocked with soft drinks and cool towels. There was also complimentary sunscreen in a basket outside for us. Another nice feature was a little closet with a supply of towels and a safe for our personal effects. Outside we had our own hammock and fresh-water shower. We also had inner-tubes and floats and could have had complimentary bike and snorkel rentals if we wished. Our host Steven explained that we only had to ring a bell (like a doorbell) if we needed anything and he’d be right over. We settled in and took a dip in the beautiful waters of Serenity Bay; then relaxed until lunch time. When we were ready, we decided to just walk to the main tram area where the washrooms and restaurant were.
We enjoyed a great BBQ lunch, then Steven recognized us and insisted on driving us back to our Cabana. We had some rain showers, but still enjoyed our afternoon and headed back to the ship around 3:30.
The good life really takes it out of you, so we had a nap for an hour back onboard the ship. We enjoyed a drink on the veranda, and I began to organize some of our luggage so that when we returned after dinner it would be ready to leave outside our door for disembarkation.
Our dinner was at Animators Palate, which is our favorite. We enjoyed a great meal. After our dessert, the serving team sang “Happy Anniversary” and presented us with some buttons and another special dessert.
We headed back to our room to be sure we got our luggage out on time for the 10:30 deadline. Another benefit of staying in Concierge is that I was able to stop into the Lounge and settle our account with no line up. Also, I was able to book a placeholder reservation with them. What a time saver! As we were walking to our final breakfast at Animators Palate we noticed a huge line of people at Guest Services settling their accounts. I sure was glad the process had been so simple for us the night before.
Just like that, in what seemed like a blink of an eye, our incredible trip was over. Thankfully we had a few more days of vacation left in Florida.
For a family of 7, chances of us all sailing together in Concierge is highly unlikely. It definitely is pricier. However, given the chance to do it again, I would in a heartbeat. We have always been impressed with the level of service that Disney Cruise Line provides and didn’t know how they would be able to top it, but they sure did. The Concierge Team made sure that our every need was met and every expectation exceeded. If you ever have the opportunity to experience cruising Concierge on Disney Cruise Line, I would highly recommend it. It certainly was a wonderful experience and special treat for us.