Trip log, day one. Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy.
8-Night Silver Anniversary at Sea Greek Isles Cruise from Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy – Disney Dream
June 12, 2023
Guests Onboard: 3:45 pm
Personal Navigator – Day 1
Our captain for this cruise aboard the Disney Dream was Damir Vukonic. As for our onboard entertainment, Lee Hawkins was our Cruise Director. During this 8-night Greek Isles cruise we will be visiting the ports of Naples, Italy; Mykonos, Greece; Piraeus (Athens), Greece; Santorini, Greece; and Chania, Greece.
Embarkation day started at Hotel Traghetto after a much needed night of sleep. We made our way down to the lobby area for a complimentary breakfast & coffees.
It was still early, and we still needed to pick up some provisions before check-out. We walked towards the historic port area (in orange on the map below) in an attempt to take pictures of the Disney Dream. Technically, the attempt was successful, but not one to print and hang on the wall.
Below is a map of the port area courtesy of the Port of Civitavecchia. If you couldn’t tell from the pictures of the Disney Dream from the Historic Port, the actual cruise dock is a bit of a drive and a significant walk from our hotel. However, as I mentioned yesterday, the hotel is directly across the street from the Cruise Shuttle bus (green line).
The primary morning mission was for provisions at the other grocery store, Todis, which was closed by the time we arrived on Sunday. The overall selection was much better at Todis than PAM Panorama. We somewhat randomly selected our carry on allotment of wine and headed back to our hotel. Turns out €20 yielded 4 solid bottles of wine which saved us room and weight in our checked luggge. If are headed out on a European cruise, I highly recommend shopping for wine near your embarkation port versus brining wine with you from home in your checked luggage.
During our stay at the Hotel Traghetto, the elevator was out of service. However, the staff was beyond helpful magically appearing on the stairway to assist as we were bringing down our luggage. They also helped carry the luggage up to our second floor room when we arrived the previous afternoon. I cannot say enough nice things about the staff during our stay.
It was still early, but we figured there would be a wait at the shuttle area based on the crowds we saw the previous day. To our surprise, less than 5 minutes after checking out, we were in the queue for the next cruise shuttle bus. There were designated lines for each ship in port. During our last visit to Civitavecchia, we were here on a port of call stop during a 7-night Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona. On that particular day in 2018, we were picked up for our excursion to Rome on the road on the Roma Cruise Terminal side of the port a short walk from where the ship was docked. That being said, this was our first experience exploring Civitavecchia, and first experience using the cruise shuttle bus which turned out to be effortless.
Our time on the shuttle was about 10 minutes, and were were dropped off right at the Roma Cruise Terminal (12 on the port map).
We technically arrived 30 minutes before our assigned port arrival time of 11:30 which was boarding group 7. Now knowing how efficient the shuttle bus services run, we’d have waited a little be longer to head over to the cruise terminal. At the far end of the terminal, there were two queue lines set up based on the PAT. Both lines had the current PAT posted in our case it was showing 11:15 and the other 11:30. Once inside, we dropped our checked luggage and proceed to the security screening area and up the escalators to the check in area.
There is a concierge waiting area set up in one corner of the terminal waiting area were concierge hosts were serving prosecco to guests. Signage for the various check-in lines was prominent, and the check-in process was efficient and was completed in just a few minutes. On the other end of the terminal, opposite the entry escalators near the pathway to board the ship there is a café where awaiting passengers can purchase a sandwich, snacks, beverages, adult beverages, and even full bottles of wine.
I figured, when in Civitavecchia, make the most of the opportunity, set forth on an art and wine stroll around the terminal open air patio.
Here is the “art” portion of the art & wine stroll, I called it…
Back inside the terminal, there were a couple 25th Anniversary photo ops along with the tradition welcome aboard photo-op. We stoped to take this picture for the first time in forever since the digital photo package is now an included Castaway Club perk.
Overall, the waiting are is a massive space with seating running nearly the length of the facility.
Boarding began with groups 1-5 being called in a quick cadence with very few passengers boarding.
Group 7 was the first group that resulted groups boarding. Basically, I cannot figure out the PAT and boarding groups. I checked in at midnight when the Pearl window opened, earliest time available was 11:30a which resulted in a boarding group of 7. Whatever the case may be, don’t fret if you don’t get an early time or low boarding group number, as the ship will not leave without you. Well, unless you are really late.
Our last cruise on the Dream was October 2019, and our first time back on a regular Disney Cruise ship after multiple sailings on the Wish, and one on the Carnival Mardi Gras. You can find links to those cruise trip reports here. Navigating the ship was a breeze and a refreshing palate cleanser of sorts after the Wish.
First order of business was embarkation lunch up at Cabanas featuring dessert with a chocolate 25th Anniversary chocolate.
It is odd to see the Future Cruise booking desk unused, it was alway fun to walk by and grab an itinerary booklet and page through while enjoying a coffee from the nearby Vista Café or while waiting for an event to start in the atrium. Also, this sign was a sign of things to come in a few days when the Fall 2024 intermarries were announced.
We still had time before the staterooms were available to drop off our remaining carry-on luggage which meant one thing. Go relax on deck 4… However, we forgot the deck chairs are stowed away until after the muster drill. Thankfully, the shuffle board equipment was available to enjoy one of the best sport at sea. We are still in the practice phase of shuffleboard. I am not sure if either of us have plans to take our game to the next level and start keeping score. We did learn the puck must be fully inside the scoring zone to count. If it touches a line, it does not count.
As part of the Silver Anniversary at Sea decor, 25th Anniversary graphics have been added to the portholes creating dynamic photo ops.
One of the first things we spotted in our stateroom was a rare piece of paper. It was an informational sheet on the Value Added Tax (VAT). Since the voyage will travel only to countries in the European Union (EU), Disney Cruise Line is required by law to charge an Italian Value Added Tax (VAT) of 22% on most onboard merchandise purchases and some services. Included in the letter is detailed information on how non-European guests may apply for a VAT refund if eligible.
Over on the bed, was a bag with our Pearl level Castaway Club stateroom gifts.
We also called room service to request our choice of the Platinum/Pearl gift. This turned out to be the perfect time to call and request the prosecco. It was shortly after the stateroom was available and it was delivered within 10 minutes.
For this portion of the afternoon, we are celebrating the magic of the golden era of Disney Cruising with the guest favorite, in-person muster drill. Another reminder to cherish the good things in life when you have it. Once the muster drill crowd disappeared heading up to the 4:30pm Sailing Away deck party, we took advantage of this time to walk around the ship.
You may have noticed some changes on the website with regard to the way menus are presented and archived. Prior to the cruise, I finished updating almost every single menu from the Disney Dream that was offered during the Transatlantic sailing. However, I was missing the beverage menus from the bars and lounges around the ship. I used the time to walk around, to capture some of the menus as well as gathering some photos such as the sample of the snacks and beverages available at the Buena Vista Theatre to add as a new “menu” in the collection.
Over in The District area on Deck 4 aft, we checked out the latest menus starting with the District Lounge. Bubbles from Pink are spilling out into the lounge as they recently received a Flavour Blaster which may lead to some new and revised cocktails.
Over in Pub 687 they were promoting the 25th Anniversary beer mug even though they were out of most of the draft beer normally available on the Pub 687 menu.
Pink was just transitioning over from an embarkation day beverage tasting so the menus were not out yet, but the guestbook was out on the bar making for a nice photo. We eventually returned later to look at the Pink: Wine and Champagne Bar menu.
Rounding out our almost complete trip around The District, was a stop in Skyline which has a specialty cocktail menu as well as a bourbon cart where you can choose a whiskey to enjoy as an infusion. Any guess on what city is no longer featured as part of the themed city cocktail groupings in Skyline?
Evolution will have to have to wait for another time as this was our venue for the muster drill and the menus were still behind the bar. This shouldn’t be an issue, we noticed Silent DJ on the schedule multiple times for this cruise and it was not super late!
It was up one deck to deck 5 to take a walk down memory lane with a tour through the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab. These spaces could use a dry dock refresh, specifically the Disney Infinity space in the Club. Sure, it is cool that the Disney Infinity area is an exclusive space for the sunset franchise, but the Disney Dream is missing a dedicated Marvel space in the youth area.
Warning, Pepé’s door reveals how fast they grow.
The new hangout is none other than VIBE.
Our dinner rotation for this 8-night cruise was A-E-R-A-E-R-A-E brining us to Animator’s Palate for dinner with the Let the Magic Begin menu which was also served to guests in Royal Palace (R) and Enchanted Garden (E). We met our excellent serving team of Glenda and John who provided amazing service during the cruise.
There’s something there that wasn’t there before… Possibly, a new Midship Detective Agency case! The case of the missing Animator’s Palate paint brush butter knifes.
The Let the Magic Begin menu is one that is a more common menu served on embarkation day during voyages longer than 7-nights. It was obvious from the start the Disney Dream is still figuring out the new menus for the longer voyages. The food checked the box for visual presentation, but actual preparation and quality fell short on most dishes.
The best thing that hit the table was the baked potato. The halibut and chicken were both overcooked and the salad was nearly absent of dressing. Emily didn’t even bother finishing the halibut and carefully hid the remaining portion with another plate to avoid that conversation with our serving team.
The desserts rebounded a bit will decent offerings.
Earlier in the day, we did a little window shopping around Mickey’s Mainsail and Sea Treasures where we didn’t spot any 25th Anniversary merchandise. We were hoping to find some after dinner. In Sea Treasures, we spotted a bonus buy, a duffle bag for $29.99 with a purchase of $40 or more. Looking closer at the fine print and confirmed with a Cast Member, there is no a la carte price at this time if you just wanted the bag.
We solved the case of the Case of the Missing Animator’s Palate themed butter knifes thanks to the Midship Detective Agency, the AP butter knifes in now just for sale in Mickey’s Mainsail. These have long been for sale in the shops, but it sounds like theft in the MDR has been come an issue so much like the muster drill, we cannot have nice things.
Much of the merchandise around Sea Treasures was familiar or similar to that found around Walt Disney World or online at shopDisney. There were some Disney Cruise Line service ware with a nautical character design. A set of 4 bowls or plate was $45.
The Disney Dream was last stocked with Silver Anniversary at Sea merchandise in Miami. Nearly all of the inventory was sold during the Transatlantic cruise except a few items like these 25th Anniversary Pandora charms, earrings, and bracelet found in White Caps.
Don’t worry, there is a supply of Disney100 merchandise onboard.
Ok, there was another 25th item, the popcorn bucket along with 2 variations of the Disney100 Mickey Ballon popcorn buckets.
There was a collection of Disney Dream logo merchandise for the European season entitled The Dream of Europe. There are a couple of Dooney & Bourke bags included in the gallery below, but are not part of the European collection.
While Tiffany & Co is no longer a shop on the ships, this gold heart pendant was available in WhiteCaps for $1300.
This may be the very first cruise where we did not purchase a thing in any of the shops. I had my eye on the 25th anniversary Nike polo shirt, but it was no where to be found, and none of the other merchandise jumped out to any of us to buy. At least we did not have to bother with the VAT tax refund since we did not spend any money!
Between dinner seating, The Shimmering Seas Soirée was held in the atrium as part of Disney Cruise Line’s Silver Anniversary at Sea events.
Cruise Director Lee was joined by Tony from Spain to introduce the characters dressed in their shimmering outfits. The gang joined guests in the atrium for a dance party while the Captains headed for higher ground.
Complimentary beverages were available during the mix and mingle from servers walking around the Disney Dream’s atrium.
Below is a gallery of photos from the Shimmering Seas Soirée.
Unfortunately, it was not all great news as we returned to the port shortly after departing due to a medical evacuation. Thankfully, we were close and hopefully there was a positive outcome.
Upon returning to our stateroom, we found a lovely towel animal in the shape of a cake and 3 chocolates as part of our turndown service.
There was also the 25th Anniversary commemorative (bent) print in a classy shrink wrap. I guess the framed version in the box was with the missing 25th Anniversary merchandise. Another case for the Midship Detective Agency to solve.
For no particular reason whatsoever, here is a venue guide for the Disney Dream since the image uploaded with the other photos.
We were doing well adjusting to our new time zone, but we had an early meeting time for a tour to Capri the next morning so we opted to call it a night.