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Review of the Disney Dream
Disney Cruise Line
Cruise Date: February 2012
Booking: Cruise Line
Embarkation: Port Canaveral
Destination: The Bahamas
Cabin number: 12512
Cabin category: Cat. T Concierge
Disney Dream - Concierge
This review particularly pertains to our Concierge experience on the Disney Dream.
THE GOOD -- The obvious: The Dream is beautiful and newer than the classic ships so not showing much wear yet. Our Requested Server: It took major effort from everyone involved, but we DID end up with our wonderful Szilard, who is always beyond excellent. He even went out of his way to serve us breakfast at Royal Palace when he was supposed to only be working as a (non-serving) Head Server that morning. The Concierge Lounge: Perfect place to get a snack, beverages, relax and chat or talk with the Concierge staff. The Concierge Sun Deck: Wonderful place! Very nice seating area, and no, other guests can not stare in at you so it is not like a fish bowl. Our Concierge, Rodrigo: Best possible! He was friendly, GENUINE, personable, great attention to detail and went out of his way to try to please us. Thank you, Rodrigo! The Concierge Gates: Perhaps going against popular opinion, I LOVE the Concierge gates. Excellent decision to have them, and I hope they keep them!
Cat. T: Very nice suite. Not as fancy as on the classic ships, but very nice. Lots of interesting features, although it takes awhile to figure out how things work (even the NUMEROUS light switches). Could use an instruction sheet. And yes, I happen to think there IS adequate storage space - - for TWO people! MDR Food: The food in the main dining rooms was truly excellent. I'd say better than Magic & Wonder, but that would of course depend on selections. The Golden Mickeys: A talented cast in my most favorite show. The Captain: Captain Henry was wonderful as usual - even managing to dock the ship at CC despite difficult conditions. Our Room Hosts: Our room host Riyanto and his assistant were totally awesome. I am still trying to figure out how Riyanto, while working on Deck 12, managed to see me jogging on Deck 4 as he said he did. I am wondering about those RFID chips in the key cards, as the Concierge staff and crew seemed to always know where I was.
THE BAD AND THE SO-SO - - Concierge Check-In at the Terminal: We happened to end up with a woman at the Concierge check-in who had NO IDEA what she was doing. A couple of brief power outages in the terminal caused her mind to blank out. When our Concierge gold cards printed out, she suddenly said it was a mistake and we needed gray cards (Platinum). No - I am Platinum AND Concierge. She even argued with me about it until she finally found her brain, but had the lead (me) and my friend's names mixed up on paperwork. She had to go to a manager (twice) to try to resolve that. Some 20 minutes later and just before boarding, the manager insisted it was corrected. That turned out to NOT be the case. This is an issue in our case because we are unrelated, not family. The reservation was mine and I added her not long before sailing. This was my 15th DCL cruise and her 2nd. At the initial meet with Concierge upon boarding, their paperwork still had her as the lead and nearly everything was addressed to her. It basically took them until the final night of the cruise to "fix" this. Although many would deem it insignificant, it was totally incorrect, and whatever happened to "the Disney difference" and great attention to detail?
In spite of our server request (5 months prior) being noted on the Concierge paperwork, our key cards had the wrong rotation and on the first night we showed up to discover we had a different server. Upon complaining, we were then hurriedly sent to another restaurant (with Holly and her cane trying to keep up with me as dining time had begun) where we were told that they called to let us know, but we never received a message.
We had requested and were told we would have our own table, but we were taken to where they could "find a spot" for us - a table with one man and three young children. About a minute later we were moved to a table of our own, but it was such a distance from the other tables our server was attending that it made a lot more work for him.
The Forward Elevators: This is really the ONLY way for Concierge to get to their rooms. It was very disconcerting to often be trying to make our way to our Deck 12 only to have huge mobs of non-Concierge guests packing in and squashing us and going up to 12 just so they could go back down to some other deck. I wish that, due to the number of Concierge rooms on the new ships, they would designate at least ONE forward elevator for Concierge guests only, activated by their gold key card.
You Can't Get There From Here: I had heard and read about this, and it is certainly true, especially from Deck 12 forward! While I can manage, my friend who walks with a cane had a more difficult time. The Dream is beautiful, but there are several functional design flaws. Concierge Doorbells: They are nice, but lack of proper parenting (supervision) enables and encourages children to roam the corridors ringing doorbells then running, at all hours. I'm sure the parents would not have appreciated being on the receiving end. The Crowds: Port day in Nassau, you would think more than a few guests MIGHT get off the ship. It didn't seem like it. Walking the length of Deck 11 I could only wish for the return of the Magic & Wonder. The lack of good "normal" coffee in the Concierge lounge. That says it all.
Palo Dinner: I have never had a bad meal at Palo, until this night. Beautiful restaurant, excellent service, awful food! I prefer the "old" Palo menu and a different chef from the one on our cruise. My sea bass was nearly inedible. I barely touched it but did not want to complain or order anything else except to wait for the Chocolate Souffle. My server said the chef would come speak with me. I requested that he not do that, but he did anyway. He literally argued with me about his cooking, even though I said I probably just made a bad choice and to please leave it at that. He wouldn't. He kept pushing. There was also a bitter taste to the veggies. He said it was burnt garlic. My friend and I know and like the taste of burnt garlic. That was not what we tasted, but he insisted it was. He wouldn't go away until I came right out and said, "I'd really just like you to let it go and we'll wait for our souffles and that will solve everything." He finally left. Due only to his being argumentative, although I rated Palo service as Excellent on the comment card, for the first time ever I rated the Palo food as Poor (except the souffle). Even my friend?s chicken was dry and sub-par.
The Cold Hot Breakfast: Szilard gave us our special breakfast service, our Eggs Benedict was fresh and hot and delicious. The next morning we went to the same restaurant for Eggs Benedict again, but with a different server. Although it looked the same, it arrived COLD, but I never send food back so ate it that way. The little details make a big difference. The Bed in the Cat. T Bedroom: Initially I thought it felt wonderful, but it turned out to be MUCH too soft for my comfort. I awoke with a lower backache each morning. On our April sailing, my friend will get the bed and I'll sleep on the sofabed. We're going to see if there is any way they can put something on the bed to make it firmer for her. Kids (and adults) getting up and down and running around in the front row of the Walt Disney Theatre DURING the shows. Enough said. Disney's Believe: Although about the last half of it was very entertaining to me (great cast and talent), the first twenty minutes or so nearly put me to sleep. Just my opinion, but I think this one could use some serious tweaking.
THE VERDICT -- A lot is lost in the translation between Shoreside Concierge and Shipboard Concierge. Never take anything for granted! I did this cruise mainly just to see the Dream and be able to say I've sailed on all DCL ships, since I have a couple coming up on the Fantasy also. So it was a "look-see" and served its purpose. However, I have absolutely no desire to ever, ever go on a 3-night cruise again! The demographics and general atmosphere are entirely different from the 7-night and longer sailings. While I could easily go non-Concierge on the Magic or Wonder, I have serious doubts that I could ever do so on the Dream or Fantasy. For me there is a world of difference in the ambiance of the Dream class vs. Magic class ships. Had it not been for our Concierge Rodrigo, our MDR server Szilard, and our awesome room host Riyanto and his assistant, this would not have been a good cruise. But they were all it took for me to say it was worth doing. Looking forward to the Fantasy on April 28th!
Location: Spruce Creek Fly-In FL
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