Trek WITH Kids (2017): Cruising on the Disney Dream to the Bahamas

Disney Dream Cruise to the Bahamas; 4 days, 3 nights {sailed in March}

Proverbs 22:6: Start children off on the way they should go,
    and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

When researching where to take our Trek WITH Kids (2017), I felt truly limited as Griffin would be just turning two and Landon only four. While traveling with Landon is getting a bit easier, Griffin is still in a crib,
doesn’t sleep great out of his normal routine and requires a very early bedtime of before 8:00pm.

We crossed off any ideas for our first trek that included a time zone different because the thought of sitting around with a wide awake baby at 3:00am somewhere spooked me.

We knew that people swear by cruises. I personally felt like I would feel trapped for an ungodly length of time and I woke up semi-regularly while planning this trip with nightmares that our crazy two-year-old would jump off the side of the railing if we cruised.

Logan wasn’t sure what to expect either since he had never been on a cruise. Now a lesson learned, we mentioned to Landon the idea of going on a Disney Cruise (in addition to a few other ideas) and he spent months begging that we choose that trip.

And so, Landon fished his wish!

Here is our review on our first ever Trek WITH Kids (2017):

Accessibility

Living outside of Jacksonville, FL, we realize that we are super fortunate to live near a major port for cruise travel. Port Canaveral is just under a two hour drive for us and was super easy to access. Parking there was expensive, but budgeted for, and from the moment you check-in, you can just feel the Disney magic.

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Food

Food is included in your cruise package – and it is DELICIOUS {and surprisingly healthy if you want it to be}! A major con for us, though, was the length of dinner as each night is a  sit-down meal and you are assigned to a specific restaurant. Without having our Wi-fi devices to use during a screaming emergency, Logan and I would have to rotate letting Griffin run wild in the hallways of each restaurant. It is manageable (yawn!) but was the worst part of our experience.

Childcare

 Holy cow, y’all. We regret not using this service more! On the final night, IMG_3930 (1)Logan and I had had enough of chasing around Griff at dinner. So we chose to upgrade to an adults only restaurant (can I get an amen?), Palo, and put the kids in childcare. We felt guilty using this option as this was our WITH kids trek, but all of us ended up enjoying this decision best. For kids aged 3+, they have an amazingly cool club called the Oceaneer Youth Club. With lots of security and sanitary measures in place, we felt extra great about leaving Landon there {and it is free!!!). Griffin’s nursery stay cost us about $10/hour but about $1 million in sanity. Use.the.childcare. When we picked up Griffin that evening, Peter Pan was in there reading the kiddos a bedtime story and it was beyond adorable.

Character Experiences

If your kids love characters, they are everywhere. Literally! There would be characters just walking around, signing autographs and giving hugs with no lines. {At one point, Landon saw Goofy being golf carted back onto the ship at one of our ports of call and chased him down for a hug!)

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Accommodations

 We chose to stay in a Verandah stateroom vs. a Standard Inside Stateroom as I was scared that I would feel claustrophobic. After seeing the enclosed rooms in person, though, I think I would have been fine in one. It’s certainly a nice perk with amazing views if a Verandah is an option for you! Be sure to order some door magnets to decorate your stateroom door to add extra fun to your stay.

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Activities Onboard

This topic could be a novel, really. There are endless opportunities available on the ship all hours through the day. One rough thing for our crew was that many of the shows onboard began at 8:00pm and our kiddos were in bed. The first night, though, had a great live performance that even Griff could hang for –  Pirate Night! Be sure to pack your own pirate gear as the markup for most Disney pirate apparel on the ship compared to the Target $1 bins is astronomical.

Ports of Call

 Nassau is just, no. Perhaps it is because we live in tropical Florida year round but as our first stop in the Bahamas, we knew there wasn’t much to see there. We got off the boat for a bit just to stretch our legs and do some window shopping, but DSC_0056 (1)many Disney Cruisers stay onboard to take advantage of the ship’s activities with less people.

Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay was beyond beautiful and worth the trip if not even just for this one day! The water in the Abacos, Bahamas is crystal clear and the Disney did everything right on that island. The food was delicious, the cast members on the island were super helpful and literally, it was heaven.


Trek Difficulty Level: (0): The scale is only 1-3, but this required absolutely no effort; Disney makes it very easy to do absolutely nothing on your own

Trek Budget: $2700; for the best deal, be sure to book either through a travel agent as we did {Kerry Traveria – An Affiliate of Academy Travel} or Costco; through an agent, you can receive a $150 onboard credit use and Costco Travel offers cash back options.

3 Trek Must-Dos: 

  • BYOB! Be sure to check the current rules, but we were able to bring on one 6-pack of beer or two bottles of wine each (major money saver!)
  • A few months before your trip, look for a Fish Extenders Facebook group that has been formed with your Disney Cruise travel dates; Fish Extenders is a program where you are given the names, ages and stateroom number of a handful of other families onboard; throughout the cruise, you will receive and give gifts to spread the Disney cheer {it’s also much cheaper tDSC_0063 (1).jpghan buying gifts from the gift shop!}
  • Tour the teen club on the ship, Vibe, whether you have a teen or not! It’s a seriously cool video-game room lit in neon colors {so the Disney Cruise is definitely not just for young kids!}

Landon’s Trek Tip: “Get ice cream throughout the ship”; there are free soft-serve ice cream locations setup throughout the ship so that you can grab a treat whenever you’d like!

16 Thoughts

  1. Awesome! Curious if you’ve been on any other cruise lines? We just took our family on the Carnival in May, had a great time, and going on Royal Caribbean in January. I’ve heard Disney spoils you, so that’s the plan for 2019 🙂 We are in the same boat (no pun intended) with how stress-free a cruise vacation can be with young children; we’re a cruising family, for now!

    I’ll be following your blog! So excited to see God working in your lives!

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    1. Thank you, Kristin! We have never cruised before ever! We were super nervous as we weren’t super of the idea compared to flying somewhere {for no reason – we just felt some hesitations to cruise}. The Disney Cruise was insanely awesome but I don’t have another cruise to compare it to. The cruise was certainly hands-off family fun with not much planning needed so we will likely cruise again. Can’t wait to follow your adventures, too!

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  2. Way more affordable than I thought! I was thinking that we had to budget $5k for a Disney cruise. Thanks for the tips!

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  3. For the night that you got child care during dinner, did you have to arrange a special meal for the kids ahead of time or does Disney offer kid appropriate meal with their child care services?

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    1. They feed them in the nursery and Kids Club!! It’s at a specific time though so verify the times first to know if you need to feed your kiddos beforehand or not.

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  4. There are other dining options. If the main dining rooms are too structured for ur family needs, there is Cabanas (buffet), Flo’s diner (counter service pizza, sandwich, wraps & burgers) and ofc room service (FREE)…

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  5. So this might seem like an odd question, but how did it work when it was bedtime? I mean once the kids go down for he night, your kinda tied to your room right? Or

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    1. Such a good question and so the worst part! I am a super scheduled momma and I was a little more relaxed on the cruise. We had a verandah room so once our baby was asleep we could sit on the deck and enjoy a glass of wine and the ocean. But yes, my husband and I would just alternate leaving and exploring.

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  6. I loved your picture of Mickey with your two boys. So cute! I think cruising with an under 3 would definitely be challenging. On our first Disney Cruise, our youngest were 5, so as soon as they were done eating, one of us would run them up to the club, and then we’d all finish the meal in peace. It wouldn’t be as easy (or cheap) to schedule time in the nursery for that. I’m also curious if you felt safe with your little ones on the verandah. I’ve never been on one.

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    1. Thank you! Yes so true. I had some hesitations bringing a kid 3 and under but the bumpiest issue was dining time. He cannot sit that long and we also didn’t have access to technology to keep him on his seat 🤣. The nursery was very inexpensive and we only used it twice. One of my biggest concerns going into the cruise was about having a verandah, actually. In my head, I could envision our crazy, active 2-year old finding a way to jump off. I will tell you —- it is latched really high and was a non-issue for us. We always stayed really close to him when standing out there and it did provide absolutely stunning views.

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