Author Archives: Wilson Travel Blog

Disney Dream Cruise Ship Stateroom

Disney Dream Cruise Ship Stateroom

Disney Dream Cruise Ship Stateroom

Concierge Family Oceanview Room with Verandah

When planning a cruise it can sometimes be difficult to know just which room to choose so we wanted to show you what our Disney Dream Cruise Ship Stateroom was like. We chose a Concierge Family Oceanview room with Verandah which is 306 sq.ft in size. These rooms are only located on decks 11 and 12 of the Disney Dream.

Not only are the concierge rooms slightly larger than a standard stateroom, you also have exclusive access to the concierge lounge and its dedicated staff (will go more in depth on the concierge services provided in our next post).

A Concierge Family Oceanview can sleep up to 5 people. Bedding included is one queen bed, a double sleeper sofa and a single pull down bunk bed.

There are two separate bathrooms in the stateroom. One main bathroom which has a shower and round tub as well as a sink and vanity unit. The bathroom amenities are from the Elemis spa range.

The other bathroom has a toilet with its own sink and vanity unit.

Amenities

On arrival to your stateroom you’ll find a welcome amenity which on our last cruise was a fruit basket. As repeat Disney cruisers we were given a Disney backpack which was left on our bed as a welcome gift.

You will also find welcome aboard information which includes an itinerary for your cruise party. There is a daily voyage navigator which you get each night in your stateroom.

In every stateroom on board the Disney Dream you will find wave phones which are very handy. These are rechargeable phones and there are two per stateroom. Parents can take them around the ship in case they need to be contacted by one of the kids clubs. If you trust your kids enough to carry one (there is a $250 charge if one is lost or damaged) then they can contact you on the wave phone at any time. We decided to carry one with us and leave one in the stateroom. If the kids wanted to find out where we were, they just needed to go to our stateroom and call us.

Concierge staterooms also come with a mini refrigerator stocked with soft drinks and bottled water (complimentary). You can then grab soft drink cans and bottled water from the concierge lounge at any time to re-stock the refrigerator.

It was always nice to come back to the stateroom to find little treats or gifts from the concierge staff. Especially on the last night when each family receives a limited edition lithograph which comes complete with certificate of authenticity.

Towel Art

We loved the towel art that we found every night in our Disney Dream Cruise Ship Stateroom. Each night was a different animal and came with chocolates for each guest in the room.

Verandah

We have had two different verandah types on our Disney Dream cruises – one standard size in stateroom 12528 as well as an oversized verandah in stateroom 11004.

Personally we love having a verandah when cruising and would find it pretty difficult to go on a cruise without one. If a stateroom with verandah is in your family budget, we would highly recommend it.

You can see our YouTube video of our Disney Dream Cruise Ship Stateroom here.

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Review of the Hilton Cocoa Beach Hotel in Florida, USA

Hilton Cocoa Beach Hotel Review

Review of the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront Hotel, Florida, USA

We have now stayed twice at the Hilton Cocoa Beach and have found it a great place to unwind before heading off on a cruise. Located right on the beachfront, you can either hang at the beach or let the kids swim in the pool while the adults relax by Longboards or the Beach bar.

Pool & Fitness Center

While it’s not a huge pool area, it is enough to cool down and keep the kids entertained.

The fitness center has a few cardio machines and some weights for those that like to work out while on holidays.

Longboards Tiki Beach Grille

If you’re looking for an outdoor bar with a great atmosphere to sit back, relax and have a few drinks with a bite to eat then Longboards Tiki Beach Grille is the place for you. They have a real good happy hour menu from 4.00pm to 7.00pm (daily except Saturdays). The staff service is excellent and the meals were pretty big. The bar has big screens which always have sport playing and at night there is live entertainment.

Next to Longboards is a sun deck with plenty of deck chairs and at night there are a couple of fire pits for the cooler nights.

You can watch our YouTube Video of Longboards and the Pool Deck area here.

Note: the video was taken before the Castaways Beach Bar was built.

Castaways Beach Bar

The latest addition to the Hilton Cocoa Beach is Castaways Beach Bar. Opened in July 2017 this bar is situated along the walkway from the hotel to the beach. Great if you are hanging out and the beach and fancy a quick drink.

Salt Restaurant

The main dining area inside the hotel is Salt Restaurant. We only ate here for breakfast but it is open for dinner from 5.00pm to 10.00pm featuring modern American cuisine. Breakfast is served between 6.00am to 11.00am and you have the choice of the buffet breakfast or you can dine a la carte. We chose the buffet as the selection was quite good. It had an egg station, bacon, sausages, potatoes, scrambled eggs and waffles. There was also plenty of pastries, bagels, cereals, fresh fruit and yoghurt.

Cool Beans Coffee Shop

If it is a quick bite to eat you prefer or you may just want a Starbucks coffee on the go, head to Cool Beans which is open 24 hours. Cool Beans serves a variety of foods including sandwiches & wraps, cookies, sweets and other convenient snacks.

Our Room

Both times we have stayed at the Hilton Cocoa Beach we have stayed in a two queen room with coastline views. The rooms are good-sized and features included a desk, coffee-making facilities and empty bar fridge. The bathroom is on the small side with all in one bath & shower and has the usual Peter Thomas Roth amenities.

You can watch our YouTube Room Tour video here.

Cocoa Beach

Just a few steps from the pool area is the very nice Cocoa Beach. Through the hotel you can rent beach chairs, umbrellas, surfboards, bodyboards, kayaks, wetsuits and even a volleyball. You can book in for private surfing lessons as well.

If you like walking you can wander up to the Cocoa Beach Pier which takes about 30 minutes if walking along the beach.

Conclusion

The Hilton Cocoa Beach is a really nice hotel, not fancy but great for relaxing on the beachfront. It has really good features including an on-site laundry so you can do a load of washing if needed for those that are travelling on an extended vacation.

We also took advantage of a shuttle service provided to the nearby Port Canaveral cruise terminal which is only $5 per person. We would definitely stay at the Hilton Cocoa Beach again before leaving on a cruise out of Port Canaveral.

For more information on the Hilton Cocoa Beach go to: www.hilton.com

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DoubleTree Orlando Airport Hotel Review

DoubleTree Orlando Airport Hotel Review

Review of the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Orlando Airport 

Staying at the DoubleTree Orlando Airport was very convenient for us after travelling for over 24 hours to get from Melbourne, Australia to Orlando, Florida, USA. The DoubleTree Orlando Airport provides a free shuttle service to and from Orlando International Airport which is very handy.

We had emailed the hotel before leaving Australia to find out where we needed to catch the shuttle from so we knew where to head once we had our luggage.  Although you are actually supposed to ring the hotel so they can send the shuttle we were lucky enough that a shuttle arrived as we were about to call so we just jumped in. Fifteen minutes later we were at the hotel and checking in.

Check-In & Lobby Area

As we were checking in around 10.00pm it was pretty quiet so it was nice and quick and we received our famous DoubleTree cookies (although only 2 for 4 people!) and 2 bottles of complimentary waters for being Diamond HHonors members. Next to the check in desk is a little gift shop selling snacks and drinks. There is also a couple of computers in the lobby for those that need to print off any tickets or surf the net.

King Junior Suite with Sofabed 

Even though it’s the best room at the DoubleTree Orlando Airport, the King Junior Suite it really cheap to book. It had plenty of room for the four of us and comes complete with kitchenette. Included in the kitchenette is a sink, microwave, empty bar fridge and coffee machine

While the living area is a good size, the bathroom however is on the small side with an all-in-one bath and shower. On the positive side though, there was a nice mixture of Crabtree & Evelyn and Aroma Actives bathroom amenities.

You can watch our YouTube room tour video of the King Junior Suite here.

Dining

Apart from the in-room dining service, the only other on-site dining options are Landings Bistro or Landings Lounge. The bistro is open daily from 6.00am – 10.00pm and the lounge is open from 12.30pm – 12.00am.

We arrived just after the bistro had closed so we grabbed a late dinner and some cocktails from Landings Lounge.

As a Diamond HHonors member we were given complimentary buffet breakfasts for the whole family (four of us). Hot food options included scrambled eggs, crispy bacon seasoned breakfast potatoes, sausages and french toast. There was also a waffle machine, breads, pastries, cereals, hard-boiled eggs, yoghurt and fruits.

Pool Area & Fitness Center

As we received a late check out of 1.00pm the kids were happy to spend a bit of time at the pool area before leaving the hotel. The pool area has quite a few cabanas (no cost when we were there) and a fire pit as well.

The fitness center is not huge but it has enough to do a little bit of cardio and some weight work.

Doubletree Orlando Airport Conclusion

Because of its close proximity to Orlando International Airport, we would have no hesitation in staying at the DoubleTree Orlando Airport for one night again if we had an early flight departure or late arrival. With the free shuttle service leaving the hotel every 15 minutes after 4.30am, it makes for easy hassle free travel.

For more information on the DoubleTree Orlando Airport go to www.doubletree3.hilton.com

We have also previously stayed at the following hotels in Orlando;

Cathay Pacific Flight CX105 Hong Kong to Melbourne

Cathay Pacific Flight CX105 Business Class

Trip Report – Cathay Pacific Flight CX105 Hong Kong to Melbourne travelling in Business Class on an Airbus A350-900

We were really looking forward to our CX105 flight from Hong Kong to Melbourne to try out the new Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-900 Business Class seats.

After checking in our bags we headed off to one of the Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounges. Our lounge of choice was The Bridge, located in Terminal 1 near gate 35 which made it a short walk down to gate 50 where our flight was departing from.

We enjoyed dinner and a few drinks in the lounge then headed down to our gate to wait for boarding to begin.

Once on board we were greeted by our cabin crew and served a glass of champagne. It was then time to get comfortable in our business class seats.

Compared to the older A330-300 seats we travelled to Hong Kong in, these seats were much sleeker and better designed. It has more storage compartments and we really liked that the headphone compartment comes complete with mirror and pocket for storing valuables.

Flight staff then brought around menus and amenity kits. The amenity kits feature Jurlique Skin Care Products – a Rosewater Balancing Mist, Herbal Recovery Advanced Serum and Lip Balm Care. Also inside the kit were a pair of socks, an eyeshade, earplugs, mouthwash and a dental kit.

As our flight departure was around midnight, it didn’t take too long for the flight crew to serve the supper meals.

The meals were quite tasty and a good size to eat just before heading off to sleep. After supper the lights were dimmed so we could get some of that much-needed sleep in our fully lay flat beds.

Breakfast is served before landing – a nice mix of hot and cold items.

After breakfast we turned on the plane tail camera to watch our smooth landing unfold.

In conclusion we really enjoyed our CX105 flight, with the much quieter A350-900 providing a smooth, comfortable journey back home to Melbourne.

For more information on Cathay Pacific go to www.cathaypacific.com