Independent Spirits: A Story of Two Whisky Rock Stars

Class is in session!

Class is now in session!

It’s 1980 and summer is coming to an end. College starts in a few weeks and I need a job. $93 per semester at Cal State Long Beach is a fortune. Ninety-three freaking dollars…for one semester! Were they ripping off the Future of America back then or what? And books weren’t included! I needed some scratch. The local big box record store was hiring so I took their last and final offer of minimum wage and joined the working class. And there was nothing like working in a record store. Nothing.

I was immersed in the “industry” almost immediately designing 6′ wall displays of current albums that we’d build ourselves. They were sort of like the window displays of department stores but without mannequins or Santa Claus. Record company reps would come in, drop off posters, “flats” of the album cover, goofy promo display stuff and would let us have at it. We were cheap labor. Knock yourself out, kid. Sometimes concert tickets fell our way too though I was low on the hierarchy of such riches (my ears are still ringing from free 14th row floor seats at Long Beach Arena for Iron Maiden and UFO). Our wall displays were works of art in our Vinyl Louvre. REO Speedwagon’s Hi Infidelity was my first work of wall art (I was in my “throw up period”). The Wall, Zenyatta Mondatta, Back in Black, Moving Pictures, Dirty Deeds. They all had their few weeks on the wall and then they got ripped down for new ones to go up. Queen, Pink Floyd, The Police, Ozzy. Rock Stars, pure and simple.

But there was this other little place in the store that didn’t have the glitz and marketing of the rock stars. We had two small record bins that I found myself gravitating to often: Imports and Punk. Now, Imports was a fairly obvious category but very limited in supply. The big bosses weren’t going to stock hundreds of copies of the third Peter Gabriel album sung entirely in German (though that version of “Games Without Frontiers” is haunting). The Punk bin was a little less defined. There were copies of The Cars mixed in with the Sex Pistols alongside X and Siousxie, The Circle Jerks and Bauhaus. It was an undervalued, underdeveloped, catch all of music that didn’t fit anywhere else. And I loved it. The bin never had more than two or three dozen records but they were, well, they were different. The Imported ones looked…foreign. They felt different in your hand, they had plastic sleeves ON THE OUTSIDE, the vinyl sometimes wasn’t black, the liner notes read differently. These bands, faces, songs and art weren’t getting on our big wall displays. The Punk records could’ve been from Mars; songs as short as a few seconds, with rage, anger and spit being the three chords. These records were for a different demographic. We just didn’t know who that demo was at the time. In fact, we didn’t know what demographic meant.

I liked the offbeat, DIY, indie attitudes in that music, although Indie wasn’t even a term back then. As much as I loved Ozzy or Freddie Mercury or Roger Waters, listening to Motörhead, Black Flag or The Ramones was a whole new experience with completely new sensibilities. “Let’s do what we want to do because we have a really cool idea and see where it goes,” was the attitude. And now, many years later, I find myself gravitating to those same types in the whisky world. Free spirits and thinkers daring to challenge the status quo with their creativity. Two of those indie whisky Rock Stars are Rob Gard and Allison Patel.

Distilling Rob and Brenne

Rob Gard is a writer and former journalist who was one of the early bloggers on the subject of whisky. His fascinating spins are from the perspective of storytelling and the relationship between whisky and people. It’s the thinking man’s game instead of the drinking man’s game for Rob. Maybe he’s the post-Genesis Peter Gabriel. Words mean something to Rob and whisky binding people together is his fascination. When he sought out to write his recent book, Distilling Rob, he was looking to delve into the metaphor of the process of distillation equating in some ways to the process of men maturing – from seed to growing to something down the road – maybe better, maybe not, but certainly different from the beginning. But as many a good storyteller will tell you, the road to one place inevitably leads to another and to another and to another.

Distilling Rob is about a journey. Rob goes from journalist in Los Angeles to distillery worker on Islay, an island off the west coast of Scotland, in order to interview employees at Bruichladdich for his book research. But the road to his book idea changes as he listens to stories from his newfound co-workers and starts to look inward. As he learns the art and science of distillation in his somewhat nomadic life on that tiny, cold island, he learns much more about himself. Making whisky is hard. Making oneself whole is harder.

South Bay Whisky Tribe Event

Rob related much of his experience at a Bruichladdich charity tasting recently hosted by the South Bay Whisky Tribe of which this former record store worker is a founding member. He dazzled all in attendance with stories of Islay, the distillery and whisky. Rock Stars, even the indie types, can dazzle a crowd. Each whisky we tried, be it Rocks or PC10 or Laddie 16 came with a story with soul and appreciation for the experience behind it. As we planned the event, one night, Rob spoke with Lee Zaro and I via Skype to nail down the details, I could feel the passion Rob had for putting a crowd together to share in stories and in whisky. Whether the topic was food pairing or music or anything else, you could sense that this is a special part of Rob’s life. The evening was spectacular as Rob led us in learning, tasting and laughing. But as the Rock Stars do best, he connected us. He connected us to the soul of where whisky comes from, the rain that becomes the water in the rivers, to the wood from trees thousands of miles away that becomes barrels, to the hands of people that labor to create the luscious spirit.

Allison and Rob #2

Rob is and always will be storyteller. A few weeks later Rob again donned the storyteller’s hat at Tom Bergin’s, a wonderful Irish pub in West Los Angeles. Reading from his book with a dram close by, in front of a glowing fireplace, he captured the Bruichladdich experience again with humor and enthusiasm. Tom Bergin’s we learned was the the site of Rob’s first blind date when he first came to L.A. We also learned that saying “Yes” emphatically on a blind date might get you your very own stigmata markings. Call Rob for details. The essence of the storyteller leaves the listener or reader learning and questioning and entertained. Rob has the unique ability to accomplish all with a three-run homer that pleases the senses and sensibilities of all. In his book he says that the wood for the barrels in whisky making is very powerful and masculine, but whisky itself is quite feminine as the water comes from “babbling brooks, soft streams”. Whisky as a metaphor for nature, for sexuality, for life. Maybe it is more than just a alcoholic beverage. Maybe Rob has found something that connects us to this “water of life” more than fancy labels and glasses. This is what Rob does.

From ballerina to whisky entrepreneur...

From ballerina to whisky entrepreneur…

Rock stars as we all know come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Their talent and creativity shine through their music or in Allison Patel’s case, her whisky. Finding herself a “retired” ballet dancer at the ripe old age of 23 left Allison searching for a next chapter in her life. A bit early for Social Security checks and a life of wine and cheese, she started importing whisky as all retired ballerinas do. And somewhere in there she met up with a French cognac maker in France, no less, who by chance also made whisky as a side gig for friends and family. When life pours you French whisky, you drink it, or in Allison’s case, you bottle it and sell it. Now, how someone pirouettes from dancing to distilling is a great mystery but this is how rock stars are born. Sometimes they find the music and sometimes the music finds them. For Allison, she found the music. And she named it Brenne.

Allison recently made her way to Los Angeles on the Brenne West Coast tour touting the beauty of her French oak cask single malt that’s finished richly in cognac barrels. Read that last part back and it sounds a bit crazy but so is Ms. Patel. Rock stars are risk takers. They leap where no one has leapt. They roar where no one has roared. They find their voice when they didn’t know they had one. Brenne is Allison’s voice. It’s her baby, her labor of love, her first album. Countless hours were spent with the French cognac makers to bring out Allison’s vision of what a French whisky should taste like. Creating a brand is no easy task. Creating a brand out of nothing but a 120 year French cognac distillery that has never made commercial ready whisky is just nuts. It was her idea to take this “seed to spirit” whisky and finish it in cognac barrels for two years after five years in French oak. More wackiness. But rock stars are visionaries too. They see things, opportunities, life, excitement where others don’t. Allison also sees the human connection that whisky has. For her, that is reason enough to give this thing a go, bringing more people together.

Brenne – The First Album – is fascinating. Floral, butterscotch, and vanilla notes with apricot and lemon bouncing off the tongue. It’s a sit back and enjoy with friends whisky. She very much is a believer in the “slow eating movement” which could be right out of Portlandia but in reality is all about sipping and enjoying more, and consuming less. Much has gone on to create Brenne and it’s not hard to think of the all the elements to its story. Allison’s hands and arms flail away as she tells her story at Tom Bergin’s in front of the fireplace. Rob is standing a few feet away and one wonders if he’s a bit worried that he might get bludgeoned in the noggin by that beautiful bottle of Brenne that Allison is waving around. I’m in fear and I’m 15′ away. She’s dancing again but this time the art is whisky instead of ballet. She tells the crowd various first album stories that are funny now but were more than likely stressful and upsetting at the time for her. From defining the hypnotic blue color in the labeling to errors in dates on the label, Allison laughs but as any new businessperson can attest, these “little” things can add up and make you question what the hell were you thinking when you woke up one day and said I’m going to invent a French single malt whisky and sell it all over the U. S. of A.

There’s a hyperkinetic passion in Allison that fills a room. You can feel that Brenne is more than just her first whisky. It’s her new dance that she’s thrown her whole life into making it a reality and successful one. Allison’s West Coast tour by all accounts was quite successful as Brenne is now on the shelves at our best Los Angeles area wine and spirits shops and some big box ones too. When I wanted to buy it back in 2012, I searched high and low near home. It was like looking for that import version of the “Anarchy In The UK”. I finally bought a bottle online and it lived up to what I read. For all I knew (or believed), it was the only bottle west of the Mississippi. There’s no better excitement of having something from a far off land that no one else has and something so good that all you want to do is share it. It’s Nirvana’s first album, “Bleach”, only heard by a handful of kids on a college radio station late at night. It’s that Peter Gabriel album sung in German. It’s uniquely yours but you need to let others listen and hear what you hear, or in this case, taste what you taste. I brought that bottle of Brenne to dinner parties, tastings, wherever I could. And, lo and behold, a few days before Allison made it to Los Angeles to start her tour, I saw Brenne on the shelf in a store, ten minutes from home. Sigh. But also smiles, because this whisky deserves a larger audience than small jazz clubs. Rocks stars need their music heard in concert halls and Allison needs Brenne in the glasses of many. It’s that good.

When one writes or makes whisky or makes anything else, it can be easy to keep it for yourself. It’s yours and that imparts an ownership to it so close that sharing it with others can be a bit difficult and scary. Rock stars take full ownership of their art but know full well that what they are creating is for more than themselves. It’s not a lesson in selfishness. It’s an effort in sharing their vision by jumping off that cliff, or Marshall stack, and crowd surfing on unknown hands because they’ve created something more; they’ve taken their songs and created a bond, a trust with the listener.

Rob Gard does the same with his words going on journeys that allow him to open up his life and thoughts usually through whisky but not always to a reader who wants to take their own leaps. Allison Patel is crowd surfing in her own way with Brenne. Her graceful yet exuberant style is inherent in Brenne. You can taste the legacy of a quiet French family’s cognac roots and Allison’s frenetic adventurousness. She wants that that dram to enliven its drinker; it’s her spirit that’s in that spirit.

These two are Indie types I would have found in those Import/Punk bins years ago. Cut from a different cloth, Rob and Allison, are about the unconventional, the unique, all to connect us in their own way.


A very special thank you to Editor Sarah (and her red pen) for the extraordinary help on this story without which, you’d be reading this story into next week. 

Event Review – 2014 Philly Farm and Food Fest


2014 Philly Farm and Food Fest

This past Sunday, Mrs. G-LO and I dropped the kids off with their grandparents and headed in to Philly for a couple hours of grazing at the Philly Farm & Food Fest (the organizers were kind enough to give us a couple of media passes). For those of you that are not familiar with this annual event, here is a bit more information taken directly from their website:

In 2011 Fair Food Philly and PASA (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture) teamed up to create a new annual marketplace for farmers and local food producers. Our shared goal was to assist small businesses in growing their bottom line by providing a low-cost venue accessible to a diverse audience of potential customers.

Fest is also a fundraising event for Fair Food and PASA, with proceeds going to support our non-profit educational and technical assistance programs for food producers.

The first Fest was held in 2012 and drew nearly twice as many visitors as expected. Since then Fest had grown exponentially each year. 2014 marks a doubling in size from our first show, and will feature:

      • Over 150 exhibitors
      • Libations Lounge guided tasting of local spirits, beers, wines
      • Shellfish Salon guided tasting of local oysters and clams
      • A distinguished speaker and panelists
      • Cooking demonstrations
      • A Marketplace of select restaurants supporting local farms
      • Health & beauty products, sustainable service providers, and much more

The event was held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center Annex on North Broad Street and was spread out across three different areas on the ground floor. It was essentially a huge Farmer’s Market with an incredibly diverse selection of food and drink made in and around the Philadelphia area. Cookies, bread, ice cream, popcorn, popsicles, coffee, tea, soups, pickles, cheese, jerky, jam, candy, and so much more was available to sample. If you’re the type of person that likes to sample a wide variety of food, then this is definitely the event for you.

Going from vendor to vendor and sampling their wares was great fun, but what intrigued me most about the event was the Shellfish Salon and Libations Lounge…

The Shellfish Salon was an opportunity to sample oysters and clams from South Jersey and the Chesapeake Bay via a tasting seminar hosted by Sam Mink of The Oyster House. During the tasting, we were able to try several different oyster and clam varieties while we listened to representatives discuss the many different aspects of oyster and clam farming. Topics ranged from the health benefits of shellfish to the environmental impact of what they do. It was a very well run tasting and as an added bonus, we were able to sample some truly delicious shellfish.

The Libations Lounge took place on the other side of the room and was essentially four different tastings led by representatives from various Philadelphia area based “adult beverage” producers. Our 3PM session featured Dad’s Hat Rye Whiskey, Frecon Farms Cider, Sly Fox Brewing Company, Stonekeep Meadery, and Weyerbacher Brewing Company. Each representative was given around 10 minutes to talk us through what we were tasting and to tell us a bit about their company.

While the Sly Fox and Weyerbacher beers were tasty, the most interesting parts of the session involved the cider, mead, and rye whiskey, mostly because they all offered something that was very new to both me and my better half. Dad’s Hat brought a barrel aged Manhattan, Frecon brought two different sour ciders, and Stonekeep brought two different types of mead. All were really interesting and we definitely enjoyed the opportunity to expand our “adult beverage” horizons. My only quibble (love this word!) would be with the format of the Libations Lounge. While I truly enjoyed listening to all of the presenters and sampling their products, I thought that it was a bit too formal. I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word lounge, I think comfy seating, dim lights, and a big bar, not banquet tables and upright chairs. Here’s hoping that they tweak the format a bit for next year so that fussy, spoiled, and overindulged people such as myself will have one less thing to whine about.

Overall, Mrs. G-LO and I enjoyed our time at the Philly Farm and Food Fest. It definitely gave us a greater appreciation for all of the hard working and imaginative people that are helping to cement Philadelphia’s reputation as a destination for superb food and drink. We are definitely looking forward to attending it again next year!


 Many thanks to the good people at Fair Food for providing us with media passes. Cheers to all of you!

Beer Review – Evil Twin Brewing Bikini Beer

Eviltwin Brewing Bikini Beer

Here’s what Evil Twin Brewing of Denmark has to say about their Bikini Beer

Named after atom bomb test grounds, designed by a French car engineer – the bikini was to many a disturbing and degrading creation but fortunately for others a symbol of emancipation. This is attractively light bodied, seductively well balanced and very drinkable Bikini Beer is anything but a sissy beer.

And here’s my take…

I’ve heard of Evil Twin Brewing, but I can’t say that I’ve ever tried any of their beers. Much like Mikkeller, Evil Twin is based in Denmark. Also, much like Mikkeller, Evil Twin is a “gypsy brewer”, i.e. they don’t have their own brewery and essentially use various facilities around the world to brew their beers. Interesting concept, but is their beer any good? That’s what we’re here to find out!

When I picked up this can of Bikini Beer, I had no clue what I was buying. I liked the graphics and the fact that it was in a can, plus it was from a brewer whose beers I had never tried before, so this was essentially a must buy.

When I grabbed the can from the fridge for a Friday night beertography session, I finally read the back of the can to find out a bit more about this beer. When I discovered that this beer had an ABV of just 2.7%, I immediately mentioned this to Mrs. G-LO. Here’s what she said:

2.7%??? What the hell is that gonna taste like?

I gotta admit, that first sniff piqued my curiosity! The nose is very grapefruit pithy with a definite bitterness coming through, but there’s also some lightly sweet biscuity malts in there to lend some balance. As far as the actual taste, I was expecting thin and watery, but was pleasantly surprised that a beer this low in alcohol can have such a substantial mouthfeel (just so you know, Miller 64 has an ABV of around 2.8%, and let me tell you, that beer tastes like flat, beer flavored seltzer. Actually, comparing it to seltzer is an insult to seltzer). Starts off bitter as any IPA should, then sweetens just a touch at the middle. Ends on a slightly bitter and mildly astringent note.

Given the thousands of pieces of Lego that are strewn throughout my house, and the very positive things that we’ve said about that other Danish gypsy brewer’s offerings, I would say that the Booze Dancers are very Denmark friendly (are you listening Bang & Olufson?). Evil Twin’s Bikini Beer definitely shatters my preconceived notion that flavorful beer has to have a high ABV. It’s far from spectacular, but it’s still pretty darn good.

“It’s just the booze dancing…” Turns Four!


Dancing booze! Yay!

The above photo, which was created by Jon of the Pastrami Basket blog for our 4th Blogiversary, is what the fourth year of “It’s just the booze dancing…” was all about, i.e. collaboration and making connections. While there were plenty of beer and whisky review posts this year, there were also numerous occasions when we had the opportunity to either meet up with other bloggers or have them help us out with a post.

Here are just a few of the collaborative things that happened over the past twelve months:

As you can see, it’s been an interesting and fun filled year on the “It’s the just booze dancing…” blog. Once again, we’d like to thank all of our friends and loyal readers for keeping us inspired throughout the year. We couldn’t do this without you. Cheers to all of you!

Beer Review Poetry – Great Divide Lasso IPA

Great Divide Lasso IPA

A guy named Lew digs session beer,

So that you can drink it for hours with a bit less fear!

When it comes to IPA, this Booze Dancer likes them bold,

With a firm hop bite that won’t leave you cold.

Founders and Stone have gone the Session IPA route.

I have tried their attempts thinking they might be a hoot!

They’re solid brewers with a gold standard line up,

So if they bring something new to the table, you know that I’ll show up!

All Day IPA was thirst quenching and quite a delight,

But Stone’s Go To lacked their signature arrogant bite.

In comes Great Divide with this Lasso IPA.

A session worthy beer is what they did say.

At 5% ABV, you might have quite a few,

And you might even gain the respect of the aforementioned Lew.

While I love how this beer looks with its clear pale orange color,

The aromas are subdued and make me yearn for some other (beer that is).

There’s a wee bit of pine, and a smattering of citrus,

But for whatever reason, I’m not excited to drink this.

Perhaps it’s my mood which is all kinds of fickle,

Or perhaps it’s just my taste buds that aren’t yet tickled.

When I take that first sip, I am somewhat relieved.

This beer isn’t bad, I am no longer peeved!

There’s a smattering of sweet malt and a subtle hop bite,

I’m enjoying this Lasso, it’s quite a delight!

Now this beer isn’t earth shattering, and it won’t blow your mind,

But I still think you should try it, it might just be your kind!

Listen to Us Talk About Irish Whiskey on this Month’s WhiskyCast Virtual Tastings

Mark Gillespie

The great Mark Gillespie at The Barthenon!

Mark Gillespie is either a glutton for punishment, or perhaps he genuinely likes us, because this past Saturday he invited us to record yet another episode of WhiskyCast Virtual Tastings. Not only did he invite us, he even took his show on the road and recorded the March 2014 episode at the Barthenon, i.e. Limpd’s kitchen where we spend a lot of time conducting our extensive adult beverage research.

For this month’s episode, Mark went with an Irish theme and selected three very different Irish whiskies for us to nose, taste, and discuss. Mark brought two of the whiskies, i.e. the Paddy blended Irish whiskey and Redbreast 15 single pot still Irish whiskey, while Limpd raided his basement whisky bunker and selected a bottle of Tyrconnell 14 year old single malt Irish whiskey.

If you too are a glutton for punishment (or perhaps you actually like us and think we know what we’re talking about), click here to give a listen to the Booze Dancing crew and our good friend Miracle Max talk about the goodness that is Irish whiskey.

If you too would like to take part in a future episode of WhiskyCast Virtual Tastings, be sure to email Mark at (be sure to put “Tasting Panel” in the subject line of your email).


Once again, many thanks to Mark Gillespie for tolerating our booze infused banter. We had a glorious time!

Boozing and Disney Cruising Part Two

Sunset in Nassau

Sunset in Nassau

If you’re a regular reader, then you are well aware of the G-LO family’s last vacation which was a four night cruise aboard the recently “re-imagineered” Disney Magic. For our second Disney Cruise in under six months (this time around, we went on a three night cruise aboard the Disney Dream), Mrs. G-LO and I decided to leave the kids at home with the grandparents.

Before you start saying things like “You went on a Disney Cruise without your kids? I’ve never heard of such a thing!”, let me begin by telling you that this was a triple celebration, i.e. my better half’s (the legendary Mrs. G-LO!) 10th anniversary of her 30th birthday, my 47th birthday, and our 15th wedding anniversary. Fine dining and drinking were on our agenda, so leaving the kids at home was ABSOLUTELY mandatory!

Your next question is probably, “But can you do any of that on a Disney Cruise? Isn’t it all Mickey Mouse, chicken fingers, and juice boxes?”. And my answer is: Yes, Virginia! You can wine and dine to your heart’s content, and no, it isn’t all Mickey Mouse, chicken fingers, and juice boxes.

Here are just a few of the highlights from our short, but extremely enjoyable vacation delivered to you via a few photos. Since Disney Cruise Line allows you to bring your own alcoholic beverages aboard, I decided to pack a couple whisky samples that I received from Limpd and Aaron. That being said, I will also include some rum and whisky tasting notes.

A Visit to John Watling’s Distillery

John Watling’s Buena Vista Rum

  • Age: 5 years old
  • Barrel: Virgin American Oak
  • Color: Deep amber. I might even call it bronze.
  • Aroma: Caramelized pineapple and banana. Dark brown sugar. Vanilla. Nutmeg.
  • Taste: Very smooth with just enough alcohol burn to remind you that it’s 40% ABV. Silky mouthfeel with a bit of spice mixed with those sweet and fruity notes that I picked up on in the nose. The flavors are consistent from start to finish. Very subtle and easy drinking. I’m far from a rum expert, but I definitely enjoyed my generous pour of John Watling’s Buena Vista Rum. It would be a great after dinner drink to have along with dessert.


Castaway Cay, Disney’s Private Island in The Bahamas



Whisky Tasting

As you can see in one of the above photos, there wasn’t anything particularly unique or exotic on offer during the 90 minute whisky tasting that I signed up for, but it was still a very relaxing and enjoyable time. The woman that led the tasting did a really nice job of keeping us informed and entertained, and I tried my best to not act like a douchey know it all, i.e. I tried not to comment every time she asked a question.

While the tasting didn’t give me the opportunity to try anything new, packing a few whiskies for sampling in our stateroom more than made up for it. Here are tasting notes for two of the whiskies that I sampled…

Longrow Red Cabernet Cask Peated

  • Appearance: Pale copper color.
  • Aroma: Peaty fruit or fruity peat? I’m not really sure which way to go. Definitely a different whisky. I picked up dried figs, strawberry jam, light brown sugar, vanilla, a hint of pipe tobacco, and licorice.
  • Taste: Light bodied. Starts off with a healthy dose of licorice and peat smoke. At mid palate there’s an odd mix of sweet fruit and light spice. The Cabernet cask influence shows up at the end with a red wine tannin-like astringency. Medium finish with a lingering combination of smoke/licorice/red wine tannins.
  • ABV: 52%

Definitely one of the more unusual whiskies I’ve ever had. I like the potency and how it starts off, but the finish puts me on the fence. Love the smoke and fruit, yet confused by the wineyness. I will say this, I can never call this whisky dull.


Scapa 16

  • Appearance: Pale amber color.
  • Aroma: Lightly spiced fruit scents. I’m thinking baked apples made with cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, and vanilla.
  • Taste: Definitely has some weight to it thanks to a lightly oily mouthfeel. Flavors are concentrated on the front 2/3 of my tongue. A bit of brown sugar and honey sweetness at the onset immediately followed with a soothing baking spice type heat. Levels off as you approach the finish. Ends on a lightly spiced and fruity note.
  • ABV: 40%

A smooth and flavorful whisky with a lovely balance of sweet and spicy flavors. As is usually the case, I would love to try this at a higher octane. FYI, this went really well with the smoked gouda that we ordered from room service as a pre-dinner snack.


A Few More Photos…

While it would have been great to get away for more than just a 4 day weekend, I have absolutely no complaints about our time spent aboard the Disney Dream. Maximum fun with minimum effort. It doesn’t get much better than that!