It was interesting being aboard the Disney Dream and getting a chance to experience some different restaurants than the have on the Magic and Wonder. The menus in Enchanted Garden and Royal Palace are somewhat different than what we've had before. It was also the first time we've done such a short cruise, so we didn't get some of the ship-wide menus that we've seen before, such as Captain's Gala, Golden Mickeys, and 'Til We Meet Again - the only ship-wide menu we had was on Pirate Night.
We had a really good serving team - our server was Tiziana from Italy, and our assistant server was Nue from Thailand. They were very efficient and really kept our meals moving, so we were finished in an hour and a half most of the time. It was nice NOT being among the last guests to leave the dining room for a change. On a shorter cruise like this one we wondered if the serving team would be able to learn our names and drink choices, etc. as well as they do on the longer cruises, but we were not disappointed, and they were terrific. As I have been doing on our last few cruises I took pictures of them in their costumes each night, so I'll show those as we go along.
One area where I was disappointed in the quality of service was when we dined in one of the table service restaurants for breakfast or lunch where we did NOT have our usual dining team. We had great service for lunch at Royal Palace one day, but otherwise our servers were not very good - it took a little too long after we sat down until we were approached with menus and for drink orders, we weren't offered drink refills, or pastries for breakfast, and they didn't come back in a timely fashion to ask if we needed anything else.
We had excellent service in Cabanas, though, including one server who went out of his way to track down real cream for Lee's coffee instead of the Coffeemate they serve there.
But on to the food!
It was almost 2:30 by the time we boarded the ship. Once we dropped our bags in our stateroom we went straight to Cabanas for their buffet. They had the typical embarkation day type of buffet - selections of hot and cold foods, peel-and-eat shrimp, bread, fruit, dessert. I didn't take any photos of my plate, but I enjoyed the potato leek soup and the shrimp.
I was very intrigued by these sand castle sculptures on the walls - they depict the castles from all five Disney "Magic Kingdom" parks - Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disneyland, and Hong Kong Disneyland.
One thing that's very different about Cabanas on the Dream as opposed to Topsiders and Beach Blanket Buffet on the Magic and Wonder is that at the back of the restaurant, instead of more serving stations, there is a bar all the way across.
Dinner the first night was in the new Enchanted Garden restaurant. The theme is the gardens of Versailles, and during dinner the light changes from evening to sunset to night.
I started with the Heirloom Tomato Soup, with sour cream, crouton, and basil. It was very good, and it was nice and hot - sometimes by the time I've been served my soup on board the ships it's been only barely warm.
Lee had the North Atlantic Lobster Ravioli. He really enjoyed this.
We both had the Spinach and Raspberry Salad. It had fresh raspberries, pine nuts, and gorgonzola, and was a very good salad.
For our entree we both went with Tiziana's recommendation and had the Pan Seared Sea Bass with fava beans and pea risotto with a chili glaze. It was excellent - the fish was moist and flavorful and the risotto was very good.
My dessert was the Sweet Temptations, with Esterhazy Cake (almond meringue and layered pastry cream), Strawberry Cheesecake and Silky Dark Chocolate Mousse. The latter two are No Sugar Added desserts. The mousse was ok, but none of it was remarkable.
Lee had the Banana Foster Sundae. Which was mostly a fancy name for a banana split, I think. But he likes bananas, so he thought it was good.
Here are Tiziana and Nue, along with another server who decided he wanted to be in the picture, too. :-) Tiziana reminds me of ice skater Katarina Witt - she said no one had told her that before. (But she didn't know who Katarina Witt was...I guess that's not surprising since she was probably not even born when Katarina was competing!)
On Monday morning we had breakfast at Royal Palace. This is such a beautiful restaurant! I love all of the marble, and wood, and velvet and brocade.
And there's all the paintings of the different princesses on the walls.
Lee had the Traditional Eggs Benedict - he'd never had Eggs Benedict before, and he thought it was ok - he doesn't really like cooked egg white, though.
I wasn't that hungry so just had the Fresh Fruit and Yogurt. It was good, but I get really tired of melon and pineapple on cruises - berries with this would have been a lot better. This was one of the meals where we had service that was not really at the level that we expect.
We were back in Royal Palace for dinner that night. it was optional dress-up night, and since Royal Palace is the most formal of the three restaurants, it was nice that our dining rotation worked out that way. Here are Tiziana and Nue - unfortunately I think these costumes make the servers look like military school cadets and are not very flattering to the women. :-(
My first course was Belle's French Onion Soup. This was excellent - it was hot and cheesy and really good.
Lee had the Double Baked Spinach Souffle. This was more like a cheese souffle with a little spinach. :-) He enjoyed it - practically licked the plate clean.
For the second course we both had the Royal Market Green Salad - it came with slices of peppered goat cheese which was a little different, but we both love goat cheese. I think this may have been my favorite salad of the week.
My main course was the Roasted Wild Boar Tenderloin. This was served on a carrot and onion potato cake. I make a carrot and onion patty that is similar, and this was very good with the potato added. I can't say that the "wild boar" tasted any different to me than regular pork.
Lee had the Royal Palace Aged Angus Grilled Beef Tenderloin and Lobster Medallions, served on snow peas and potatoes.
My dessert was the Sweet Temptations, which included peanut butter mousse, creme brulee, and mango cheesecake. The creme brulee was the best of the three - the mango cheesecake really didn't have much mango flavor.
Lee, not surprisingly, had the Tahitian Vanilla Creme Brulee. (He really likes creme brulee.) It's a very good creme brulee.
One of the prettiest desserts was the Strawberry Short Cake Sundae that one of our tablemates ordered.
Tuesday night was Pirate Night and we were in Animator's Palate. Because they have all the video screens in that restaurant they can theme it to Pirate Night, and they display concept art from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and attraction, Peter Pan and Pirates Lair on Tom Sawyer Island.
My appetizer was the Pirates Golden Pot Stickers, which is a fried pork dumpling. It was good - about what I would expect.
Lee tried Black Beard's Jumbo Crab Cake, and he enjoyed that - it had lots of crab.
I also ordered The Buccaneer's Sun-Ripened Pineapple, which was a wedge of pineapple with orange glaze and coconut covered banana. It was very sweet but quite tasty.
Lee tried the Jerk Chicken Salad - the description said it was strips of chicken, but instead it was served with one good-sized piece of chicken on top.
My entree was the Treasures of the Seas Grilled Shrimp and Seared Scallops, without the scallops. It was served on a bed of pasta with a really yummy fresh tomato sauce. The pasta and sauce were good but the shrimp was very tough and almost inedible - there were three, and I only ate one of them.
Lee ordered The Dutchmen's Dijon-Crusted Sirloin of Beef . It was very tender.
This is Captain Hook's Macadamia Nut-dusted Mahi Mahi - it also looked pretty good.
And this is Jack Sparrow's Barbecue Marinated Beef Short Ribs.
For dessert I had, what else, the Sweet Temptations. :-) This came with floating island, fruit cobbler, and rum covered chocolate cake. The floating island is meringue with fruit, and it was very good. The cobbler was supposed to be something other than apple, but all mine had it in was apple. I think I had only one bite of the chocolate cake - I didn't really find any tasty chocolate desserts on this cruise.
Lee had the Rum Soaked Chocolate Cake.
Tiziana and Nue had very nice pirate costumes that night!
One of the very best meals that we had was lunch on our at-sea day when we went to Royal Palace. We had excellent service, also.
I ordered the Shrimp Cocktail. The shrimp was very good and the cocktail sauce was tangy.
Lee chose the Tomato and Basil Bruschetta, which we split. The pieces of bread were pretty small, and the bruschetta mix was more chopped onion than tomato, but it still tasted good.
We both had the Mixed Field Greens, though for Lee it was an appetizer and for me it was an entree. It had chunks of feta cheese. It was also served with raspberry vinaigrette dressing - good thing we like that, because just about every salad we had came with that kind of dressing.
I also tried the Chicken Consomme. It was chicken broth with thin strips of carrots and leeks, and it had a chicken dumpling in it. That wasn't quite what I expected, but it was very good, especially that particular day when it was windy and rainy outside.
Lee ordered the Pan Seared Tilapia on a bed of cheese grits. I tried it and it was delicious - we both commented that this whole meal was one that we would have really enjoyed as part of a dinner menu.
I didn't plan to have dessert but ended up trying the Chocolate Cake, and it was pretty good - the best chocolate dessert I had on the cruise. Rich and moist.
Lee had the Viennese Apple Streudel. It was a a rather small piece, served with vanilla ice cream. He enjoyed it.
For dinner we were in Animator's Palate. Thought it has the same name and similar decor, the dining experience is different than on the Magic and the Wonder - it's much more interactive. There are large video screens on the walls, and characters from Finding Nemo swim by during dinner and pay a visit to the diners. Crush is even able to interact with guests and ask them questions.
I think the dining experience depends on how close you are to one of the big video screens. We had one at the end of our table, so that was a good location, though since we didn't have any kids at our table, Crush spent almost no time with us. :-( He did pose for this photo, though. :-)
The Animator's Palate menu has not changed much over the almost three years that I have been traveling on the Disney Cruise line. It has my very favorite appetizer, which both Lee and I had, the Sesame-flavored Rock Shrimp and Caramelized Onion Cheesecake. This looks like dessert, but it's not sweet - it is very rich, though. Sometimes the shrimp is almost undetectable, but this definitely had shrimp in it - small pieces, since they are small shrimp (yeah, I guess "small shrimp" is redundant, isn't it?), but it gave it a nice flavor. It's still my favorite. :-)
We also had the Baked Potato and Cheddar Cheese Soup, which is another favorite. It was also nice and hot, like all the soups we had on this cruise. It's served with a little bit of bacon and chives. Mmm, mmm, good!
I branched out with a different entree on this menu, though - I usually get the Black Bean Chipotle Cakes, but the last time I had them they were waaaay too hot, so I went with Tiziana's recommendation - the Grilled Pacific Black Cod with sauteed morel mushrooms on a yellow split pea puree. This was just delicious! The cod was cooked perfectly and the split pea puree was also tasty (I scraped the mushrooms off :-) ). I would definitely order this again!
Lee ordered the Marinated Angus Beef Tenderloin, with wasabi mashed potatoes and tamarind barbecue sauce reduction. He enjoyed this - but I think he liked my cod even more. :-)
One of our tablemates had the Lemon-Thyme Marinated Organic Chicken Breast with sour cream mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables and grain mustard jus. That looked pretty good and she enjoyed it.
My dessert was the Crunchy Walnut Cake. This is certainly very chocolatey, but it's not my favorite.
Lee had the Chocolate Brownie Cheesecake.
One of our tablemates ordered the Pineapple Financier - almond cake topped with pineapple and whipped cream.
Another one ordered the most fun dessert of the evening - a Mickey Ice Cream Bar!
Here's our delightful serving team in their final night costumes - they don't seem to realize that there's a giant shark looming behind them...
We were back in Animator's Palate for breakfast on the final morning. There were a lot more people in the dining room than I usually see at breakfast, though there were only four of us at our table. I just ordered fruit and yogurt and granola, but Lee had the Route 66, with scrambled eggs, bacon, grilled ham, sausage, and hash browns.
One of our tablemates ordered the Chef's Farewell, which was an open-faced omelet with barbecued chicken, green peppers, onions and melted swiss cheese.