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Recently in Disney Dream cruise ship Category

Teenage fantasy

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One reader asked if teens will have fun on board.

Teens are notoriously tough to please on family vacations. Throw Disney in the mix, and it can be even tougher. Teens don't think it's exactly cool to be hugging Donald Duck. But Disney has created two separate lounge areas, one for tweens and one for teens. The teen one, called Vibe, is ridiculously cool. It's "hidden" in an unmarked passageway -- a la New York City clubs -- and teens have their own key card they swipe to get in. Very VIP. Inside is amazing. There's an outdoor deck with pingpong and foosball and sun loungers. Inside there's a huge screen with Wii and other games. They can watch movies, plug their iPods into their own private circular pods and play computer games. They can form a band and play rock star. They can have non-alcoholic drinks and snacks. Don't be surprised if your teen swipes his/her card, goes behind the door and doesn't emerge until disembarkation.


Another reader wanted to know if her 9-year-old developmentally delayed daughter would be OK in the ship's Oceaneer Club, a child-friendly oasis supervised by youth counselors and open to children between the ages of 3-10.

I can virtually guarantee your child will have a blast here. The counselors I talked to said they've had a child with no verbal skills and confined to a wheelchair partake in the activities, making cupcakes, etc. They've had children with autism in the club, too. While they can't promise one-on-one attention, the counselors (many of whom have training with special needs kids) clearly target their attention to the kids who look like they need it most. The Oceaneer Club and adjoining Lab have a bunch of different rooms and activities, so kids end up gravitating to what they like most. I had a hard time getting my niece to leave.

The reader mentioned she's bringing her child's Certified Nursing Assistant with her, and wondered if the CNA would be allowed to stay with the child in the club. The answer: yes.

She's going to love it. I can almost guarantee it.

No one likes being stuck with the inside stateroom on a cruise ship. The only thing that's right about it is the price. But there's a reason you pay less for those cabins. No view.

Disney has tried to remedy that on the Dream by building "virtual portholes" in interior cabins. These porthole structures above the bed give realtime video of what's happening outside the ship, so it's like having a "virtual" window. But this is Disney, so there's a touch of added magic in the form of animated characters dropping by the porthole every now and then to say hi.

A reader in Texas wanted to know the skinny on wave phones and whether they should bring walkie talkies, which a lot of cruise vets rely on to communicate with family members while on board.

Here's the answer:

Don't waste luggage space on walkier talkies. Disney assigns two wave phones per stateroom, and they're free to use while you're on the cruise. (Extra wave phones can be rented for $3.50 a day.) These gadgets work like cell phones, enabling you to text and call your cruise companions, which makes it easy to keep tabs on your teens or communicate your whereabouts with family members and friends. Even if you're traveling with a large group in several different cabins, you can communicate with one another using the wave phones. And the youth counselors can use them to call you if Jimmy's had enough play time and wants to go back to the room. In a nutshell, they're convenient and easy to use and no doubt give parents a lot of peace of mind. I wouldn't be surprised if every ship comes with these in the near future. But be warned: If you lose a wave phone, you're going to get hit with a $250 fine.

Riding the Aqua Duck

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One reader asked if there's an age/height/weight requirement to ride the Aqua Duck, the Disney Dream's "water coaster" that takes you on a one- or two-person raft through a series of enclosed tunnels -- some in transparent tubes -- like a roller coaster.

There are no age or weight requirements, but riders must be at least 48 inches tall. They measure kids at the start.

My six year old niece, who was a little wigged out on Space Mountain, thought the Aqua Duck was a blast. It's actually pretty tame, so don't worry about freaking out your kids. They'll want to ride it again and again.DSC_1345.JPG


Internet aboard is....slow

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I'm taking advantage of this window of connectivity to post as much as possible on my blog. As is often the case while cruising, the internet connections can be slow to non-existent. Think seriously before shelling out the extra cash for a wifi connection. I spent an hour last night trying to post on the blog to no avail.

Hint: the best connectivity is on Deck 11 by the Cove coffee shop.

Whoopi Goldberg: "Wow"

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Whoopi boarded the ship yesterday. I happened to be standing on the balcony and saw her walk through the gangway. She looked around, looked up at the massive chandelier, scanned the balconies and quietly said, "Wow."

I'm sure she'll be talking about it on "The View."DSC_1284.JPG

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