Sail Date: December 2009
We booked the Dream's "Inaugural" Caribbean Cruise well in advance, and in all fairness to Carnival, we received an excellent upgrade, ending up on Deck 9. The stateroom was in a most convenient location with easy access to ... Read More
We booked the Dream's "Inaugural" Caribbean Cruise well in advance, and in all fairness to Carnival, we received an excellent upgrade, ending up on Deck 9. The stateroom was in a most convenient location with easy access to the Lido (Gathering) restaurant. The Cruise Director and staff totally succeeded in making the touted Inaugural Cruise a non-event. A great opportunity was lost here. It should be understood anyone who reads this review that my mate and I are veteran cruisers, having cruised on HAL, MSC, RCI and others. Also the reader should know that this was our 18th cruise on Carnival ships out of a total of 42 cruises. We were told when we arrived at the Canaveral guest waiting area that there were over 600 "Platinum" guests to board. Boarding the ship went smoothly and was surprisingly early, considering the ship's capacity. As usual, we found no fault with the staff and the service was up to par with one exception, a deck hand who was permanently in a snit and encountering something like this is extremely rare. The berths were comfortable as would be expected on a new ship. Okay, that's the good part . . . now we'll proceed to "tell it like it was." As the ship was built on a Conquest Class platform, most inner spaces, theater, shops, bars, etc were about the same as the Carnival Glory. However the weather decks were another story, with many innovative features which we had not seen on other ships. Some of these were good, and some were abominations. Lets take the Serenity deck . . . a very big disappointment for us, as the seats, lounges etc. appeared to be designed by the Marquis de Sade, not very subtle instruments of torture for those who were seeking quiet and comfort. The on deck experience. The fluorescent rail deck lighting was arranged as to blind anyone who came on deck, destroying any possibility of any viewing of a night sky or other ships around. These lights could have been adjusted (three set screws) so they shone on the deck and not up into guests eyes. The jogging track was plain linoleum deck covering with no cushioning, and the "teak" decking was printed on the deck covering as well as the jogging trck. Traditional teak decking was very rare. The deck lounges were generally comfortable. There was a power failure and there were people trapped in elevators, air conditioning was down, and this seemed to last just short of an hour. Fortunately we were taking a siesta in our stateroom, and were only inconvenienced by "Todd's" many announcements (piped directly into thestateroom speakers) reassuring those trapped in elevators that they would be out soon. Of course, the biggest fiasco was the cancellation of the San Juan port of call. The Captain decided that the ship could not be docked without damaging the lifeboats, and the ship just held position a couple of hundred yards off the piers while final decisions were made. Note that the ship's design is very "hippy" with the lifeboats and Deck Five extending out from the sides of the ship. Pretty dumb design if you ask me. I did look at San Juan on Google Earth and noted that in the image that a Carnival Conquest-class ship was docked in a space that was unoccupied while we waiting around. This was an inexcusable fiasco. The food was so-so, most of it was supplied by Syco's, and monotinous. The deserts were not unlike plastic food, and getting hot food was just about impossible except for the Pasta Bar as we did get one hot meal there. The Welcome Aboard and Repeaters parties were a total failure. Offing a dollar off on drinks is a total insult. The changes instituted in these two events are totally negative, it's getting to the point there either event is not worth the time it takes to attend. Summing up, we would never cruise on the Dream again, and we'll be cruising on HAL and RCI for a while. Carnival ain't what it once was! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
I think the other reviewers hit the biggest issues that plagued this cruise so I won't continue to drive those nails into the Dream coffin. And I realize that some of the issues are quite subjective such as the average patron age ... Read More
I think the other reviewers hit the biggest issues that plagued this cruise so I won't continue to drive those nails into the Dream coffin. And I realize that some of the issues are quite subjective such as the average patron age (70+) and the extreme rudeness of a significant portion of them. However, on a technical/objective front, the Dream staff really must have had their work cut out for them since there was mass confusion right from embarkation (everybody stood around the Atrium clogging the way to the elevators and no signs or staff telling people where to go/what to do) Later we found out there were a couple of young staff with 'help' shirts on but I didn't see them and if I did, would I have known why there were there? The design of the Lido buffet restaurant was atrocious. We already heard how patrons got their hot and cold drinks but what wasn't mentioned is that their placement is such that it caused huge choke points in the main aisle ways and around the dinner lines. To further add congestion and confustion were the millieu of staff with push carts trying to navigate these choke points at peak times, and being very frustrated with people in their way. The designer should get a D- minus for not only the layout of this desk but all the public areas. We're in our early 40s so the entertainment was so so. Sure the R rated sessions were a little raunchy but if you were offended, why didn't you just go to the PG rated shows? And FunDude?! You were an odd curiousity the first time with your squeakyness, but seriously, stay off the stage. The singing was fine but the dancing was hohum. Several dancers not completing their movements and most of the time were out of sync. I've seen better at our local country theatres. The food was alright, but the restaurant food was less than the stellar meals we were lead to belive they'd be. And the portions were puny! At first we were kind of shocked that people were ordering several appetizers and entrees but now we know why! And the fresh fruit? Sour oranges (from a Florida port no less) no bananas halfway through the cruise, seemed like the end of the cruise was filled with fruit puree at the buffet. The dinner rolls served on the last 3 days were definitely several days old but the cinnamon and croisant rolls at breakfast were fresh daily. Debarkation was like being a guest on a hideaway bed and the owner shook and tilted the bed, telling us to get out. It was THAT FAST! Felt the love, not. And, don't even get me started on San Juan. One would think that in today's age, those pier artifacts could've/should've been added to the port simulator for docking trials. Here's an objective situation for you. We signed up for the Kennedy Space Center debarkation tour with airport transfer on the 2nd day at sea. We looked up what it would cost to do such a tour and a shuttle separately and felt that the onboard price was very very compelling so we asked once by phone then once again at the shore excursion desk if the price was correct? Yes it is we were told both times so we signed up. 2 days later we got a call saying our tickets were being refunded because the price was wrong in their published guide and on the TV and that there's nothing anyone can do, not even give a discount for our inconvenience, nothing. 2 days later we still want to go so we sign up and the morning of the debarkation we were informed that they would honour a 50% discount to everyone who signed up. (which brings us back to the original purchased price) So several days of frustration with the same end result.... Overall, unless you were a Gators fan (pre-empted the big screen movies) or just wanted everyone to leave you alone and sun out on the deck and didn't care for the subtle pamperings that 99% of our friends told us we'd experience on a Carnival cruise, you'd rate most likely had a good time. We did not. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
KEEP ON DREAMING... Nice to cruise on a fairly new ship, the largest in Carnival's fleet. Liked some of the innovations such as a Promenade deck that you can actually walk around, miniature golf, a toned down and somewhat ... Read More
KEEP ON DREAMING... Nice to cruise on a fairly new ship, the largest in Carnival's fleet. Liked some of the innovations such as a Promenade deck that you can actually walk around, miniature golf, a toned down and somewhat pleasant color scheme in the atrium and around the ship. There are a few gripes however, and they include: · The atrium has the most slippery and uncomfortable bar stools I've ever had the displeasure to sit on. · Four whirlpools are placed on the Promenade deck of all places. It was interesting seeing all the folks in their robes and swimsuits and towels taking the elevator to the fifth deck then walking thru the shopping area and casino in order to get to the whirlpools. · Look up when sitting in the whirlpool and you will most likely see folks on their balconies on the 6th, 7th,8th, and 9th decks looking down on you. Smile and wave. · The least expensive balcony cabins on this ship are located on the deck below the lifeboats that overhang the side of the ship. These balconies have a cave-like appearance. Innovative design...perhaps, good design...I think not. · There are two swimming pools on the Lido deck, one mid-ship and one aft. Both are postage stamp size. Was the formula the Dream ship designers used "more passengers = smaller pools"? · The Lido deck dinner buffet was very minimal and had such a small variety of food and dessert, it made a KFC restaurant buffet back home look good. · Lunch on the Lido deck, however, was a much different experience. Passengers hurrying everywhere, and then waiting in the food line, drink line, or for a vacant table. Service personnel bumping into to you while trying to negotiate the passengers and obstacles in an ill-designed area. · The Lido breakfast was ok, but in no way exceptional. Note to food manager: why do you insist on having someone dishing out the bacon? Bacon is NOT gold. It would speed up the line if people could serve themselves bacon as they do on other items. · Speaking of obstacles...the positioning of the drink stations on the Lido deck is terrible. Their positions cause horrendous passenger bottlenecks that could be avoidable if their location was better designed. Additionally, at these drink stations, why place the coffee mugs in between the ice machine and the cold drink machine? Passengers are very frustrated having to endure multiple lines at these stations just to get something to drink. Surely the ship's food management officers have observed this crazy situation but what has been done to remedy it? Duh... · Room service is 24 hours but consists of a very limited menu. When we did place an order, the service was prompt but often there was something missing...such as condiments. · Supper Club was definitely a disappointment. The service was BAD. They did not refill the water or ice tea. Although only about 50% of the tables were occupied, there was not enough wait staff for proper service. The food presentation was good but the quality and taste were not. Save your money, don't eat here. · Note to Todd Wittmer, Cruise Director: Don't quit your day job. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
Having sailed with Carnival on the Glory twice previously, i was excited to book a vacation on the new 'Dream'. I thought I would love an even bigger ship. Whilst we both enjoyed getting away from the English winter into the ... Read More
Having sailed with Carnival on the Glory twice previously, i was excited to book a vacation on the new 'Dream'. I thought I would love an even bigger ship. Whilst we both enjoyed getting away from the English winter into the Caribbean for its warmth, lovely beaches and glorious seas, we were both disappointed at a couple of aspects of the 'large' ship. The first one being the saving of seats in the theatre. We felt very uncomfortable, at seeing very elderly people climbing to the top of the theatre, to be told by people that the seats were reserved. We noticed this most nights, some people even saving a whole row of seats. This should not be allowed. It should be monitored. All party members should enter the theatre together and take their seats together. There was even a stand up fight one night and security had to be informed. Not a good sight, particularly whilst on vacation. Our second problem, we felt the food in the main dining rooms were not hot enough. Was this because the kitchen was too far away - I lost my appetite, and we went to the Lido a couple of nights. The plus was the Chef's dining room, well worth the extra $30 - what a treat to have hot food, served exactly as it should be. Loved the serenity deck. Will we go on the Dream again - not sure, think we preferred the GLORY. All in all, excellent inside cabin. We had an inside cabin on the 9th deck. We chose not to choose a cabin prior to sailing, but chose to go for a guaranteed inside. We found ourselves on the 9th deck. Next one up was the Lido deck. The cabin was, as per the Glory, spacious, the king size bed extremely comfortable, the bedding, wish I could have brought it home with me -it was lovely. The bathroom was as per all bathrooms I have been on on cruise ships, adequate. Spotlessly clean - thanks to our cabin steward. Plenty of space for clothes, excellent lighting, television placed so you could see it easily from the bed or dressing table. We did not find the hallway noisy. However, the early morning announcements could hardly be heard clearly when cabin door was closed. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
We booked the cabin knowing nothing about a Cove type and in talking to Carnival HQ no one there knew anything either. It was not a major shock, then, when we opened the door and studied our week-long home. The cabin itself was pretty ... Read More
We booked the cabin knowing nothing about a Cove type and in talking to Carnival HQ no one there knew anything either. It was not a major shock, then, when we opened the door and studied our week-long home. The cabin itself was pretty basic, similar to most balcony cabins, but the balcony is considerably smaller and a bit frightening. It has steel walls that double as doors and cabin separators, but the seaside also was kind of a steel wall with the opening fair sized, but my impression was a little claustrophobic. There is barely enough room for two people to sit side by side and then the view is limited. The cabins are on deck 2 so really low on the ship which is a two edged feature. First, the balcony was almost always wet, but being low the cabin had little motion and rode nicely. Our last day was really rough but we felt little motion through the night. It was rough enough that the Disney ship stayed on its private island an extra day rather than head into the rough seas. Winds were gusting up to 50 knots. The cruise was fine - food ok, service good and a really beautiful ship. I ventured into an art auction (first time ever) and bought some good stuff. On other cruises I had sneered at the auctions, but the young couple conducting the sales were entertaining and very educating. We are Platinum so our embarcation and disembarcation were great, no hassle. That seemed to be the only benefit to Platinum but that in itself was enough. Our real complaint was similar to many of the newer big ships - too many passengers for the public areas. They seem to add plenty of new cabins, but keep the same public area decks with the ratios seeming to shrink with each new ship. We took a transatlantic on the Emerald Princess last fall and found the same, almost universal complaint. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
Heard good reviews about the new, large Dream so took a chance with Carnival. Ship has too many folks for the size of the ship. For example, swimming pools are smallest I have ever seen. Dining rooms were poorly designed with very cheap ... Read More
Heard good reviews about the new, large Dream so took a chance with Carnival. Ship has too many folks for the size of the ship. For example, swimming pools are smallest I have ever seen. Dining rooms were poorly designed with very cheap materials. Layout of Scarlet was very bad in that it was full of nooks and crannies like a mid-level restaurant. Bench seat was too low with very bumpy padding. Got apology from restaurant supervisor saying he was no way responsible for the poor design. Most ship's main restaurants have wide-open views, this large restaurant had very limited views. Our table looked at a stairway! Had an inside cabin on second deck that was small, only seat was a small stool. Never had a cabin before with no chairs or love seat. TV was a nice flat screen. Room steward did a fine job. Main theatre was a poor design with a lot of poles and bad seats. Thought entertainment was good with great dancing and comedy shows. PG comedy shows were great, but R shows were really raunchy. Didn't stay for the entire R show. Casino was very nice and we played quite a bit. Good part of the ship was the food and service. Dining room food was surprisingly good as was food in the buffet restaurants. Service was very good in the formal restaurant but mediocre in the buffet areas. Happened to be a lot of rotten, drunk spring breakers on this ship occupying the hallways past midnight on occasion. Had to call security about some foul-mouthed 18 year old. This ship has very limited things like lectures, classes, etc. like other ships I have been on. Ports of call were OK, except Belize City, which is a real "hole." Started to walk downtown, but turned around when I saw all the poverty and folks looking at me! Very easy time getting on and off the ship. Did notice sewer gas smell on our cabin deck a few times. Maintenance man said ship was to go back to the shipyard in the future to have the problem fixed. After cruising on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Princess, the Dream is a considerable step down because of the compact cabin and large number of people in limited public space. Carnival is generating a lot of profit by packing in a very large crowd in limited space, making passenger density very high and at same time using materials inferior to most ships, especially in the main dining rooms. Elevator wait was also quite long because of the large crowds. So, overall I was disappointed with the ship, but we did enjoy the shows and the food as well as many friendly fellow travelers. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
We were on the Carnival Dream May 22-29 to the Eastern Car. This was our 13th cruise and definately not the "Fun" Ship/trip/experience that we have grown to love. Where has the "fun" gone? The Dream was beautiful, but ... Read More
We were on the Carnival Dream May 22-29 to the Eastern Car. This was our 13th cruise and definately not the "Fun" Ship/trip/experience that we have grown to love. Where has the "fun" gone? The Dream was beautiful, but it seems the Carnival Marketing people have forgotten about the age of the people who are paying for the trips. The laid back, steel drums, Jimmy Buffett, Bob Marley mood is GONE. It has been replaced by flashing lazer lights and extremely loud, rap influenced music. Maybe that is why we had to stop two times to have "sick" people evacuated from the ship (we thought about jumping into the rescue boat ourselves!). Also, a passenger was missing for a period of time which was a little un-nerving. Thinking what we would have a table for two, we tried the "Your time" dining. It is very uncomfortable because you are taken to a table of 4, 6 or 8 who are at all different stages of their meals. Some may be ordering appetizers while others are having desserts. People are constantly coming and going and the wait staff seems to be very preoccupied and not very customer friendly.(This wasn't their fault and they were doing their best to do their jobs). During the week we talked to several couples in our age bracket who were also experienced cruisers who shared our feelings that the changes in music had drastically affected the "Mood" of the trip. We have already booked our next cruise, but it will be on Norweign. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
A SWEET DREAM... We sailed the E. Caribbean Route on the Dream from May 8 - May 15, , and loved every minute of it. We had read the poor reviews and were worried as many have said they were too. So, quickly, I will report what we ... Read More
A SWEET DREAM... We sailed the E. Caribbean Route on the Dream from May 8 - May 15, , and loved every minute of it. We had read the poor reviews and were worried as many have said they were too. So, quickly, I will report what we experienced. And thanks to those who did write reviews for Cruise Critics.. I poured over them for months. EMBARKTATION....Easy. People living close to the Port, and driving in were apparently called by Carnival, and told to arrive early. We did. We were told to be there by 10:30 and we were. We waited a few moments after doing our registration, then we were boarded. We were sitting on the Lido Deck, eating pizza by a little after 11:00 am. I kid you not. CABIN....The Cabins were open by 1:30pm. We had a balcony on the Panorama Deck. Everything worked. The Cabin was cleaned a little late each day, but the young woman who cleaned it was working across the hall, and when she did see to the cabin, was spotless. We had occasion to request two small services, and she immediately saw that they were done. We tipped her extra as we thought she did a fine job. The only problem we had was navigating from the Panorama Deck to the Dining Areas on the Lido Deck and on Deck Three. We would go down to Deck Five..walk across and then take the Elevator down to three. I am sure there is an easier way, but we did not discover it. Other than that, the Cabin was about as nice as it gets. SHIP SAFETY DRILL....We met in the Theater. We did not bring life jackets. We saw a demonstration of how to use the jacket, then saw a film on the correct use, how to board a tender and such. EXCELLENT. MUCH BETTER THAN THE OLD WAY. DINING—We had fixed seating, Early dining on Deck Three, Scarlet Restaurant. Our Table was 505. We sat with a lovely couple from Missouri, and we enjoyed catching up with them each night and hearing of their adventures. The Wait Staff was pleasant, competent...We tipped them extra too, for their above and beyond the call of duty excellent service. The Food was from very good. The Biggest Surprise was the Grilled Porkchop EntrEe. . It was huge, cooked to perfection and delicious. We thought the food portions were larger than in the past. We liked that. We did not order any double entrees ( except DH on Lobster night), I left full each evening, we did not do any late night snacks and controlled our weight pretty well, while eating what we wanted too at mealtimes. I thought the Cappuccino Pie was delicious. The Pork Ribs are very good. No One seemed unhappy with their meals and I cannot remember a night when my entrEe turned out to be a stinker. The Rolls were good. I missed the dried tomato rolls they had on The Freedom, but I still managed to knock back a roll or two at dinner. We also ate breakfast in the same MDR. The grits were done to perfection,. not too thick, not too runny. My DH had three eggs fried each day. The coffee was great. I wish I had that to wake up to every morning. I HIGHLY recommend the MDR for breakfast. LIDO. THE GATHERING, THE PASTA BAR, THE LANAI BBQ. -The BBQ on deck Five was bad. We thought the food was bad, the sliders tasted like they had mystery meat in them, the chips had dips that I never heard of., and .I may be a yokel but some salsa,.some bean dip, would have been better than runny green chili sauces or thick orange ones. There was no desert there and I did not see any salads. NEEDS FIXING, . The Pasta Bar. Again, I did not like the food, except for the Garlic Bread. I could make a meal on that heavenly bread. The Gathering was pretty good. I usually had Pizza for me(.Rustica which is divine)..and DH had a hamburger and hotdog from the grill., We both loved them. I had the fried chicken from the Buffet on day for lunch and it was very good. I also did the Salad bar several times and the selection of veggies and fruits was good. The Blue Cheese Dressing was very good. The Chocolate Chip Cookes on the dessert bar in the Gathering melted in our mouths. YOU HAVE TO TRY ONE.. We went up every day..and ate them, and the ice cream. The Ice Cream Machine is inside, an attendant monitors it for cleanness, and I saw a lot more adults walking around with cones. We certainly indulged. for the first time ever on a Carnival Ship. I think most reasonable people would be very satisfied with the Food on the Dream. SHOW PRODUCTIONS...We saw all three musical numbers. "Get ReadY' was the MoTown Show and we thought it good. "Dancing in the Streets" has some acrobatic dancers that truly give that show a new dimension. It was very good. Our Favorite was the country music show. The :"Fiddler" who did some special numbers in the Country Show was very good. I thought the Dance and Singing Troupes did a very good job. The crowds were good each night. I did not see any of the conflicts reported on getting a seat. For the Country and Western Show, My DH and I went to the second row where we saw some seats. When we asked if they were "saved", the answer was NO. So we had a great seat. We arrived about 20 minutes early for each Show. We always sat in a good seat on Deck 3. I always saw some empty seats up on the Upper Decks, even to when the Shows opened. I saw great crowds.,.but no mass mobbing,..nothing like that. We did not see any of the comedy acts nor did we visit the Comedy Club. But passengers we talked too raved about the Comedy Club. It was very popular. SHIP ACTIVITIES: ..There were so many activities, it would be impossible to do them all. Miniature Golf, a basketball court, two pools, an Adults only area, pool games and trvia, pingpong tournament, cooking demonstrations, art auctions, shopping, the casino, etc. The Casino is big, modern and the slots are very tight. Very tight. We played a lot of Trivia with Mark, James and Megan. A lot of other people showed up to play too..and the turnout made it more competitive and fun. Some of the Trivia was ordinary stuff, but Super Trivia, which was played on Sea Days was different. It involved tough questions, a huge dice ball thing and it drew such big crowds that we had trouble finding a seat. MARK--..JAMES---..MEGAN.—A.SHOUT OUT TO YOU FOR MAKING OUR CRUISE SO MUCH FUN,..AND FOR THE NICE PEOPLE WE MET AT YOUR ACTIVITIES. They just were superb. We will cruise with them again... POOL AND CHAIR HOGS...We did not use the pool. We live in Florida and avoid the direct sun. But, I noted that the chairs around the main pool were popular, but there could always be seen empty chairs. The areas on the Panaroma Deck had a lot of empty loungers. My DH checked out Serenity and he said it was full. The Weather was perfect the days we were in Port, and I think the people who visited Beaches in the Bahamas, St. Martin, St. Thomas or St. Johns had an excellent time. A lot of sunburned folks were running around that night. Take Sun Screen. BIG SCREEN MOVIE...Avatar was shown one night. It was also shown in the rooms and I did see some of it. The Selection of movies seemed good to me. They had the GI Joe Movie on for the kids one night. I liked the balance they in Movies., .some for the family, other a little more mature. PROBLEMS... I did smell the "smell", which is a sewer smell, but not any more than on any other ship. It was not often, it was fleeting, and it just was not a problem. Elevators were a problem. Give yourself extra time at dinner time, show time and excursion time to get an elevator. They were crowded at peak times. If you can walk the stairs, do that. It will control your weight too. Everything else seemed better than expectations. We had a wonderful time. We really did. DISEMBARKTATION....We were given zones the night before. We were told the night before where to go and wait after breakfast. We got up, ate on the Lido Deck, went to the 3rd. Floor to the Theater, which was our assigned place, and within fifteen minutes we were called. We were off the ship, driving home by 8:30am. I kid you not. Carnival has this down pat. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
After reading so many negative comments about the Dream, I want to say we throughly enjoyed the experience. There was only "the smell" at Port Canaveral as we were disembarking. There were PLENTY of chairs anytime night or day - ... Read More
After reading so many negative comments about the Dream, I want to say we throughly enjoyed the experience. There was only "the smell" at Port Canaveral as we were disembarking. There were PLENTY of chairs anytime night or day - the first few rows by the pool were occupied, but many were open all over the ship. The food lines were not a problem with so many choices - main dining room, Lido buffet, outside BBQ, Tandori Grill, Pasta Bar, Deli, the salad bar in in Ocean Plaza, sushi bar, Mongolian Wok, plus all the poolside hamburgers, chicken and hotdogs. These were all open for lunch. If it was crowded, just go somewhere else. The longest wait was at the Pasta bar, but they take your order and you sit at your table until they deliver it to you. The captain kept great communication with the passengers - especially both times they had to come to a stop in the middle of the ocean to let a passenger off for medical reasons. We were made aware of the situation and assured of no disturbance of port times as soon as the situation was under control. I had my Carnival hair dryer to spark and pop in my stateroom - within 5 minutes, maintenance was there to correct it. I was impressed. We enjoyed the balcony. I was concerned that the Lanai would be annoying and loud below us, but we had no problems at all. We actually enjoyed watching the chess games 2 stories down from our balcony. The spa tubs were closed at 8PM, so that was not a problem. The Lanai was wonderful for wheelchair bound passengers as they could completely encompass the ship and had much freedom to do so. We had Caesar and Emillio serve us in the main dining room. They were excellent, bringing us new dishes to "try" every meal. There was even a situation at the table next to us where a couple was fighting and throwing silverware - Caesar handled the situation quickly and efficiently before anyone was hurt. He seemed to actually enjoy serving us each night. We did not attend most of the shows, since we prefer music instead of breakdancing and singers screaming out notes. We did see Julie and Julia on the big screen. There was plenty of room, and the volume was such that all could hear, but not overwhelming. Port Canaveral is by far the most efficient port in handling so many passengers in a short amount of time. We did certainly enjoy our cruise to celebrate our 40th Wedding Anniversary! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
Review of the Carnival Dream sailing on 5-1-10 (It is a long review and we specifically addressed previous negatives in the section at the end.) We are a couple in our 50's and 60's who cruise 3-4 times a year, always on ... Read More
Review of the Carnival Dream sailing on 5-1-10 (It is a long review and we specifically addressed previous negatives in the section at the end.) We are a couple in our 50's and 60's who cruise 3-4 times a year, always on Carnival. This was our 12th cruise with Carnival. We picked the Dream because we like the big ships and this was the biggest and newest so we booked it. We were a little discouraged after reading the bad reviews, but overall the negative comments seemed petty so we were sure we would have a great cruise. We cruise to be together, rarely go to games or shows, preferring instead to just spend time together for the most part. We do not lie out in the sun so chair hogs are not a problem for us. This was the Western itinerary going to Cozumel, Isla Roatan, Costa Maya and Belize. We had previously been to all the ports except Isla Roatan. We started our trip on Wednesday driving down to Syracuse NY to stay overnight for our early morning flight on DELTA. Flight was uneventful and we landed in Orlando on schedule with all our luggage. We rented a car from Thrifty to drive to Canaveral, use until cruise day and drop off and catch their shuttle to the port. ($118.00 for 2 days unlimited mileage - booked direct on their website, we had a Dodge Grand Caravan) We arrived in Canaveral (about 35 minute drive) and went to our hotel Radisson at the port. Great hotel, we booked a 2 room Jacuzzi suite for the two nights ($143.00/night for two nights booked directly with the hotel) Great location, close to all the rental car places, stores and liquor stores nearby for last minute purchases. Plenty of places to eat as well.. Thursday night we ate at Fishlips, a sports bar/resturant/outdoor eatery. We got the fish fry which was $12.50 each and huge portions. The other menu items (fish) were all in the $25-$35 price range with nothing in between. On Friday we went to the Kennedy Space center but didn't go in - they wanted $100 for both of us to get in and included, rides and special tours we didn't want. We just wanted a museum. We were told, it was all or nothing - pay the price and spend the entire day there or don't go. (The Space center is outsourced to a tour company we were told) We ended up at the Astronaut Hall of Fame which was great, just what we were looking for.; ($18.00/person) Friday evening we met our Cruise critic group at the Radisson for a meet and greet (we had several things planned with the roll call members) SAT - EMBARKATION DAY - Dropped our rental car off and they took us to the port free. Radisson has a shuttle but they don't run it until 11:30am and that is too late for us. We ignored the call we got from Carnival telling us to get there between 1:30pm-3:00pm - done that before, it's a nightmare, we like early. Incidentally, everyone got the call to be there at that time like it was a special time for them, wrong. Luckily we went between 10:45am and 11:00am. We have priority boarding as we are Platinum, and that went fine. The ship is big and beautiful. Very clean, no smells that we noticed. We had an aft balcony 7467. Very nice with a nice size balcony. The aft cabins seem bigger on the Dream than previous ships we have had aft cabins on.. Our ship stewards were Jose & Koko and they introduced themselves that first day, learned our routine and everything was to perfection in our cabin all week. Had lunch on the Lido - hubby went to the Deli and had a sandwich (no wait at 12:30pm) I had the buffet and waited on no real line either. It was a little close with everyone walking around carrying luggage, but this improved after the rooms were ready. We are not Spa people per se, but we decided to try the spa package to use the steam rooms and thallo pool at $249.00/couple for the week. While the facilities were very nice, there was so much else going on throughout the ship that we managed to get up to the Spa once in the 7 days. (Certainly not very cost effective for us --$124 each for one visit- therefore we would not buy into the spa again, although if you use it a lot, it would be very nice.) Safety drill was painless - no more dragging and donning germ infested life jackets and standing like sardines in the hot muster stations. Went to the dining room where an employee demonstrated the life jackets and told us where to go. The only down side was the fact that even though we cruised 12 times, this is the first time we left the drill, not really sure where to go and since we didn't actually go to the station itself, we didn't really know where it was. We had early dining 6pm and we requested a table for two that we had. Our waiter were Punta and Julie at table 461 in the Lower Scarlett Dining room. All the food we had in the dining room for the entire cruise was great. (for that matter everything we ate on the ship was great) SUN - SEA DAY This was our first full day on board and a sea day. We arose early and had ordered room service for breakfast as is our tradition to eat on our balcony. Arrived when we asked for it and everything was in order. We spent the morning exploring the large beautiful ship. Everything is new and nice. We found it easy to navigate as it is laid out like the other large carnival ships with the 5th deck Lanai being the key to getting from the front to the back. You can also walk the outside Lanai deck all the way around the ship as well as use the promenade inside to get from front to back. You can also do this on any of the cabin decks, just not the public decks with the dining room blocking the middle) The gym is in the front and is separate from the "Spa package/cabin" areas and free. It seemed smaller than other ships and every time I was up there the machines were all in use. I never had to wait but it does seem a little small for the amount of guests on the ship because much of the room is taken up by the "pay for" spa area. Waterslides were opened most of the day, everyday (until 6pm) and were a lot of fun. We did go down them and the twister slide is very nice. The big drainpipe slide is a little harder on an out of shape person in their 50's as the landing in the drainpipe itself is unpredictable and you do end up being tossed around in the drainpipe area. It is also difficult to get your footing to get out of the drainpipe once you come to a stop. The twister slide is great for all but I would not advise anyone with neck or back problems to try the drainpipe slide. We specifically observed the buffet areas to check for the lines everyone complained of in previous reviews. Our observation is we never saw any lines in the aft part of the Gatherings buffet dining room. We had an aft cabin so we mostly went down the elevator and ended up in the back part of the buffet dining area where there were never any lines. We were there eating breakfast between 8am and 9am several days on the cruise and we walked up to empty omelet stations with no lines and no lines at all for the buffet. (I do believe everyone crowds in the part of the buffet dining area closest to the middle of the ship (and mid pool) and they never realize that the other half is empty) Therefore all week we waited on not one line. We even were up there at 12 noon and waited on no line. (I do a picture review on Smug Mug and I took several pictures of this in our cruise journal This was the day that our cruise critic roll call group had planned a private party with Carnival with an open bar from 1pm to 3pm in the Song Lounge. We never really knew you could do this or what it would cost so here is the info. One of our group on the roll call was in charge of this. She contacted carnival and made all the arrangement ahead of time. It cost $33.00 a couple and was open bar. We figured they would give us one bartender and it would be hard to get any specialty drinks. That was not the case. There were about 5 bartenders and there was no wait for drinks - you could order any drinks and they made it for you. It was a great deal, we thought. It was a great time and we drank so much we ended up sleeping through our 6pm dining time in the dining room. We hate dressing up on vacation and tonight was "elegant night" so we didn't feel like we missed anything. We went to the buffet instead this evening. We did miss the first Slot tournament that we usually go to because it was the same time as this party. MON - COZUMEL We always go to Nachi Cocam beach club in Cozumel - it is not offered through Carnival so we took a taxi there. $49.00/person through Island Marketing and it is open bar (drinks are not strong at all here) and food to order is included. Manuel was our waiter for the day as he was in previous trips here. He remembered us and we had a great time. They have a pool as well as nice beach and you could buy "extras in the way of massages, snorkeling trips, rent jet skies, and parasailing) We did not do anything extra, just relaxed. We ate in the dining room tonight and food as always was good. We have heard bad things about the dining room but our experience was great. Food was served promptly and was hot when it should be and cold if it was supposed to be. The waiters did seem to have a lot of tables to wait on and were often "running around" but everything was great for us. One thing we noticed was no singing waiters every night. This is a good thing as far as we were concerned. We always thought that singing waiters EVERY night were a bit much and distracted from the dining experience so we never liked it and on previous cruises fled the dining room as soon as they "flashed the lights" to signal the start of the singing. One night is OK but not every night. We were glad they changed this. One thing we did notice is that the table are so close together, it is difficult to walk in the dining room when everyone is seated. There is no room to walk and you had to disturb people to move their chairs or stand so you could pass by. For this reason, we were often bumped when waiters passed and with the closeness, entire filled trays were passed over your head frequently. Drinks orders are taken by the waiters and better coordinated and drink orders were filled promptly (a problem on previous ships we were on) We went to the casino tonight for the first time. The casino is huge, takes up both sides of the ship and is noticeably larger than on even the other large carnival ships. Gambled here playing video poker and won some and lost some - never felt cheated and did have fun. They use the cashless system for gambling now completely so no more barrels of dirty quarters. A woman did win $10,000 on one of the slot machines during the cruise. Also since most of the casino is smoke free, it was very nice for non smokers (us). The did have a small smoking section and no smoking was enforced well throughout the rest of the casino. TUESDAY - Isla Raotan - We had no excursions here and had planned to get off the ship just to go to the beach at Mahogany Bay. Not sure what the problem was here, but we were unable to dock at Mahoney Bay. The captain made an announcement but it is difficult to hear announcements in the aft cabins and we heard only part of the announcement when we opened our door to hear it. It didn't seem that windy so it might have been currents that were the problem. They did cancel and refund people who had carnival excursions related to Mahogany Bay (cabanas) but all other excursions from Carnival went from the Town Center where we did dock. People with private tours had some problems because we were now docked somewhere else but it is a small island and word spread quickly. I do believe that the private tour groups did get word and came to the new location. Because of the change the Captain stayed in port 1 extra hour so everyone could have more time here. We got off the boat just to go to the small shopping area and got back on - not much to see here and no beach. Tonight we went to the Dancing in the Streets show that everyone raved about in previous reviews. We are not show people and this was the first time we went to a show (we have never been to one in our previous 12 cruises) We got there early (45 minutes) as there were issues with getting seats we were told. We went right from the dining room (6pm dinner) to our room and then went to the theater. Got seats easily on the second level (Our preference - it seemed like you would not see as much on the main level) They did dance in the main level in the audience so we were glad to be on the second level. Not sure if carnival was policing this, but we did not see people blocking and saving rows of seats that have been previously reported. The show was very good and there is certainly a lot of talent there with all the performers. WEDNESDAY - BELIZE - Woke up today and the cabin seemed very hot in the morning. Later we found out that the air conditioner went down on the ship at 4:30am. It was up and running by 7:30am and we all received letters about what happened in our cabins later in the morning.. We have been to Belize before and we were not impressed. We made no plans to get off here and had planned to use it as a sea day. This is a tender port and a short time here so there were a lot of announcements in regard to the tendering off the ship. Did not hear any complaints about the process around the ship. We used today to go the "spa for our steam room and thallo pool" since we paid for it. Like I said, it was nice but this was the only time we went. The ship itself has a lot of whirlpools that were always pretty empty so we used them instead of going to the spa. As we said the extra fee was wasted on us. We also went in the pools today in the afternoon. It did seem like a lot of people did not go into Belize today (probably because of the tendering and short time here) THURSDAY - COSTA MAYA - Again, been here before (before it was rebuilt after the hurricane) and did not plan any excursions here. We docked here and just got off to look around. A very nice port area with 2 pools and beach area. We find the beaches in Costa Maya to be not as nice as other beaches in the Caribbean especially in the way of clean water and sandy bottom. Costa Maya tends to have weedy bottoms and a lot of coral on the beaches. We did not go in their pools as we returned to the ship and went in the ship pools. Tonight was the past guest party in the theater . Early seating guests were at 3:45pm and late seating was 8:15pm. Usual free drinks and finger foods. We did receive ship pins as we were Platinum, but the regular past guests did not receive them. We did see bigger, different pins for sale in the gift shop. Since we ate and drank at the party, we really weren't hungry so we skipped the dining room tonight (not a sacrifice as it was dress up night again.) We ate at the buffet at 8pm and again, no lines at all in the aft buffet area. FRIDAY - SEA DAY - This was the second slot tournament (we missed the first because of our private party) and we used it to relax. We made a point to eat at the Lanai barbecue today for lunch. It was good, but not our favorite. There was also a chocolate extravaganza at lunch on the buffet that was not advertised at all. It seems to be a secret and by the time we found out it existed, we had already eaten. Look for it across from the Mongolian wok on the last sea day. There was a farewell party at 5pm today with free drinks for an hour SATURDAY - Debarktation - Painless, we had zone one because of Platinum status and we were off the boat by 7:30pm. Everyone else seemed to be getting off quickly as well. There was a curious thing with this Port. We travel a lot and go through customs a lot. Always, including previous cruises, we had to have all our luggage in our possession when we went through customs and handed them our form. They then could open and go through the luggage if they wanted to. If there was a problem, possession of the bag implied you were aware of everything in in. On the Dream we went through customs with only our carry on luggage and then went to get our luggage. When we had our luggage, we were done, we never brought it through customs. I do know they scan luggage with drug sniffing dogs etc but it was strange to go through customs without you luggage although it made the line go much faster. As for the specialty places to eat: Mongolian Wok - this is the mid buffet area where we rarely were and we didn't try it because there were plenty of other places to eat - we saw some short lines when we walked through at this area. On the last sea day of the cruise, we saw the most lines and there were about 15 people in line for this area during peak lunch time. Pizza - We are used to this being in the aft area on other ships but on the Dream it is around the mid pool where we never got a chance to try it - did not really see lines when we passed. Deli - This was in the aft area and we never saw too many people on line. Had sandwiches here and they were delicious. Tandoor Grille - this Indian food place was in the aft pool area and rarely looked crowded. We have never had Indian food and it smelled a bit spicy so we didn't try it. We didn't hear anyone complain about the food here. Hamburger grille - right by the mid pools and we saw very short lines here. Hamburgers/fries/hot dogs/etc. We ate here once and it was very good. (12 noon on the Belize day and there was no one there for a line so I walked up and got my food) On the last sea day at peak lunch time there were about 15-20 people waiting for this area but the line moved fast. Burrito station - Good, lines not to bad - Mexican food is not our favorite so we didn't eat here but others reported good food here. Lanai barbecue - Ate here once as it is only opened on sea days and we made a point to eat here on the last sea day. It was good. The down side was it was so windy that day we couldn't sit outside and just like the incredible annoying wind on the side balconies, the side Lanai was no different. Inside seating was full so we took our food up to the regular buffet area and sat there. Although not very bad, the sea days had more noticeable crowds but nothing worse than other ships we have been on. Pasta station - hands down this is the BEST eating on the ship. Order when you arrive and hand your paper to the cook and sit down. Within 5 minutes, delicious pasta made to order. We did lunch here, 3 out of the 7 days and had to force ourselves to try different eatery places because this would be the only place we would eat in - good every time. NOTE: They have drinks up in the pasta area but no desserts - they are down the stairs at the buffet area. This means when you are finished with eating your pasta, if you want dessert, you have to go downstairs to get it and bring it up or find a table downstairs to sit at. After the first day we solved this by getting dessert and bringing it upstairs to the pasta bar to eat when we got done. Buffet itself - like we noted we ate here breakfast a couple of time - lunch once or twice (when we weren't at the pasta bar) and dinner twice. Standard carnival buffet - plenty of different selections, everything was good. We missed the Chocolate extravaganza that was not advertised and in the mid part of the buffet area on the last sea day. It is across from the Mongolian wok station and easily missed. We had already eaten but we did look at it. They had a lot of chocolate and chocolate related things. General observations and addressing previous complaints: Gym- Because of the room needed for the "pay for Spa" the free gym area with the machines is very small, in fact it is much smaller than any previous Carnival ship we have been on. With more people on the ship, if you get a group that uses the gym a lot, you will seriously have big waits for machine. Luckily, there was not a lot of "gym" people on our cruise. Spa package for non spa cabins - Bought the spa couples package for the week at $249./couple. Would not do this again. While the Spa, thallo pool, and saunas were wonderful, there was so much to do we only made it up to the Spa once. This makes our one visit cost $124 / each.. There are plenty of whirlpool all around the ship, many times they are empty. We just never got a chance to go up there. If you are a spa/sauna person you will love it, we just didn't use it enough to offset the expense. Internet - The packages actually got cheaper than they have been on previous cruises. We usually buy 240 minutes to use with our laptop. It was $89.00 this time (previously it was $100). That used to be the most you could buy. They did add a 480 minute package for $159.00. Internet wireless was available throughout the ship and they had FunHubs in several prominent places instead of a internet cafe hidden away and hard to find. The wireless worked great in our aft cabin and several carnival sites were free to use without using your minutes. The speed is actually faster than our DSL at home (which is terrible), but if you are used to roadrunner, you will think it is slow. I did upload many pictures and it is much faster than the past. Smells - We did not small anything problematic during the week. We have been on 12 cruises and there is always a fleeting smell if the wind is blowing just right. For us the worst ship we were on for this was the Victory. The Dream was free of bad smells and I was looking for them because it was so covered in the reviews. Once I think I got a vague whiff of something as I was climbing the staircase to the slides when we were docked in Belize. Personally, it is a ship and I really think people do not stop to think that Carnival has to treat the sewage onboard and there is probably smells from time to time that are generated. As we said, we smelled them at various times on all ships Crowds and lines - Did not find a problem here at all. Maybe we are just on a different schedule that other people but this was not a issue for us. Like I said, I actually took pictures to illustrate this. We found plenty of seats in the buffet areas in the aft part of the buffet dining room. Walked up and got omelets even at 9am in the aft buffet and there was no one on line. There were plenty of workers in the buffet area and tables were cleaned promptly. The last sea day there were more people and we saw some light line ups at lunchtime but no worse than other ships we have been on. Sometimes there was congestion by the elevators like going down to deck zero to get off and on the ship or times when the dining rooms were just opened or a show got out. We used the stairs or just walked to a different bank of elevators. Size of the ship - We loved the big ship and found it was good for "incidental exercise" as you walked the length of the ship. It is noticeably larger than even the size class of ship right below this one. I do think this would not be your ship if you had mobility problems as it is larger and there is more a hike to get places. They have also crowded a lot of tables in the dining room and buffet areas making it tricky to navigate if you were in a wheelchair or scooter. There were a few scooter and wheelchair people on board that we saw but not a lot. We were also lucky in that it is not a time that a lot of kids were out of school so there were only a few kids on board and they were well behaved. We did see unsupervised kids in various places that were behaving but were putting themselves in some danger. Several times we saw kids in the Lanai whirlpools either alone or with just another kid (both looked about 9 or 10) using the whirlpools alone. While well behaved, it is still risky for children as they were diving under the water. There seemed to be no employees in the area of the Lanai whirlpools when they were open which is probably risky. Luggage - We locked our checked luggage and it arrived unopened without any tampering. We did not smuggle anything on board but we had on suitcase with a lot of liquid mouthwash, shampoo, etc and no one called us down to open it. We had a battery operated fan in our carry on luggage that was not looked at or questioned. We brought 2 - 12 packs of soda and 2 bottles of wine in our carry on (the allowable amounts) and they were neither looked at or questioned. We also had a outlet converter with extra plugs that was not questioned. Some people in our cruise critic roll call did have beer confiscated from their checked luggage. It was my understanding that they had cases of it in their checked luggage. We did also hear of people having liquor in their checked luggage in liquor bottles confiscated. They had zip ties on their luggage that were cut and a note was left in their luggage. Like I said, we had TSA locks that were not touched. Drink coupons - We bought the drink coupons from Bon Voyage that we always buy for cruises. They have always been worth $5. 95 and in the past a pina colada or special drink cost us nothing extra. This has always been inconsistent with some people who said they were charged the difference. I had 8 coupons I bought and 50% of the time, my coupon was charged nothing extra for a pina colada. 25% of the time I was charged $1.95 extra and 25% of the time I was charge $3.95 extra. This was all for the same drink in the same glass. The pool area charged the most. All and all, this was a wonderful cruise. We would love to cruise on the Dream again as it was a wonderful ship. I really had to think hard to come up with any negatives for this cruise, it was a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
SIZE does matter, this ship is big. Dream designed for 3600 passengers had 4700 as most cabins come with extra beds and it was family cruise time. How did it affect us, elevators were a constant wait, each venture out of cabin required ... Read More
SIZE does matter, this ship is big. Dream designed for 3600 passengers had 4700 as most cabins come with extra beds and it was family cruise time. How did it affect us, elevators were a constant wait, each venture out of cabin required elevator travel. Not just a wait for slow elevator but having to ride wrong direction because too many of the opening doors revealed they were full, computer on elevator obliged to stop for our call but didn't have sense to know it was full. Only thing worse than a slow elevator is no elevator when power went off, 14 decks of stairs was possible for those not in wheel chairs as every landing we passed had one waiting. Dream had a power failure and 30 minutes later someone assures the people stuck in elevators that they were working on the problem, it did come back on in less than a hour, but must have seemed longer since no a/c. Deck levels needed: 3 for dining restaurant, 10 for cafeteria, 5 for sushi bar 4 for library,5 for casino, clubs,11 for spa 15 for Serenity, adult only deck but that needed a transfer as only elevator to it was within the spa on 11. Not being young and fit, walking the 1,000 ft corridor forward to aft was a chore. The two formal restaurants with waiters were on deck 3,4 but one was central while the other was aft, the after dinner entertainment theatre was all the way forward. the lounges with late night comedy shows were aft. 1000+1000+1000+1000 and back to the room 1,000 or about a mile on moving decks either with carpet or tile. We noticed lost people every day, even on debarking a lady asked, "are we walking right way to forward area". Only place to know where you are is a floor and deck plan located by elevator banks for each deck, very easy to get confused without fore and aft or port and starboard indicators. Carnival cutting back on paper decided not to have deck layout plans readily available they did give small deck level drawing, but customer relations desk had to hunt up a floor plan for the missing info. We enjoyed the ship most while in port, even tried to watch a movie on giant screen, worked until returning passengers filled the tiny pool and noise competed with sound system. Lots of hot tubs on board but they didn't need to heat them here in the tropics. Reason for time of cruise was to celebrate G-son's graduation, from now on we will go back to cruises while schools are still in session. We couldn't hear general announcements due to good sound proofing of door, but I know the in room speaker worked as we did hear a couple of messages looking for individuals. Had to prop door open with dead bolt to be able to hear debarkation announcements. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
Each year for the past few years we have cruised on Carnival's newest ship. This included the Freedom and Splendor which we enjoyed, but the Dream is the best. Earlier this year we decided to try Royal Caribbean on the Navigator of ... Read More
Each year for the past few years we have cruised on Carnival's newest ship. This included the Freedom and Splendor which we enjoyed, but the Dream is the best. Earlier this year we decided to try Royal Caribbean on the Navigator of the Seas which is a size comparable to the Carnival Dream. So, I will draw some comparisons in our experience of the RC and Carnival ships. Embarkation and debarkation are very fast and easy, especially if you use the self-assist and carry your luggage aboard and off the ship. We arrived at the port at 10:45 am and were on the Dream by 11:15 am. They announce that cabins will not be available until 1:30 pm but the Lido Deck is open for lunch. So everyone is trying to get lunch at the same time while dragging luggage around the dining area. The congestion is unbelievable. The cabin -- outside ocean view -- on Carnival was far superior to the same category cabin we had on RC Navigator. Also, Carnival provides nice bathrobes; RC provides none. As for food, in the main dining room the food was excellent on both the Dream and RC Navigator. In the specialty steakhouse the food was ok on the RC Navigator but beyond excellent on the Dream. The buffet restaurant -- on the Dream's lido deck -- is far, far better with many more choices than that of RC Navigator where the food was awful every day. As for entertainment, on the Carnival Dream it was lackluster. The cruise director reminded me of a televangelist trying to work up a crowd before taking the offering. With the exception of an excellent country/western group the rest was somewhere between pathetic and mediocre. It seemed to me that RC Navigator had more to offer. I loved their ice skating show. One more thing; many earlier reviews talked about the offensive odor of sewage that they encountered on the Dream. I walked the full length of the ship many times on various decks and never experienced any such odors. We will probably try RC and others again, but have always been more than satisfied with our experience on Carnival, which again was very good. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
We sailed Dec. 11-18 it was my first time on Carnival and I was well pleased. The ship is beautiful and well planned we had no trouble getting around at all. The shows were great and the Cruise director Butch and baby Butch were ... Read More
We sailed Dec. 11-18 it was my first time on Carnival and I was well pleased. The ship is beautiful and well planned we had no trouble getting around at all. The shows were great and the Cruise director Butch and baby Butch were wonderful. We participated in the team contest and won a trophy for decorating our door and since we don't live together he was great about getting us another one so we could both have one. The food was very good and our service was great I enjoyed dancing with our waiter Alvin. The last cruise I was on was to the eastern caribbean and I believe I enjoyd those pors ov call better than these. At Cozumel the winds were too rough for the helmet dive we had scheduled but we were about to book the dolphin experience instead and it was a Dream come true. Other than the weather with the wind being so strong and the tems lower than I would have liked it was enjoyable. Belize was really interesting we did the Myan ruins and the river wallace and it was neat. Roatan was different we went to the west end and that was quit an experience the roads are terrable but it was interesting to see.We then went to the beach and hungout for a while. At Costa Maya we just shoped and it was fun to bargin with the people. Got some good deals. As for the if I would take this cruise again probably not really like the Eastern better but if I would go on the Dream again Yes it was lots of fun. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
Our group consisted of Granny, Poppy, three kids and ten count them ten grandchildren ranging in age from little over a year to seventeen. We saild on the Jan 8th Western Carib cruise. Because one can't be sure of Md. weather, ... Read More
Our group consisted of Granny, Poppy, three kids and ten count them ten grandchildren ranging in age from little over a year to seventeen. We saild on the Jan 8th Western Carib cruise. Because one can't be sure of Md. weather, we left a day early and did an overnight at Cocoa Beach. Highly recommend this no matter where you live as it enables you to board earlier and enjoy your first meal on the ship. Considering all in our group and changes in cabins, embarkation was easy. By 12 noon on the 8th we all were on the Lido deck having a good buffet lunch. Now about the cruise. I did not get too critical about things because one has to remember Carnival is not a premier cruise line. One can't compare Sachs 5th Ave to Wal Mart or Target. The Dream is a big ship - a very big ship. It now appears that all the cruise lines are trying to out do each other by trying to put monstrous floating hotels on the water. For this trip a very bad thing more later. Our balcony cabins were a good size and well appointed. You can get bigger but will pay more. Personally I will not cruise again without booking a balcony. They just add a bit of get away comfort. Food on board was for the most part good. There was only one dinner that we passed on for the buffet because nothing appealed. Pass on the New England crab cakes - not even close to what you can get in Balmore! Because of the number of people on board the buffet lines tended to get long. Not a real biggie. Maybe to some not to me. Entertainment was par for this level cruise. Shipboard singers and dancers good but not Broadway or Vegas, Very funny magician and expert juggler. The comedy club shows were good and there are two levels family and r rated. both funny and recommended. Don't take kids (in fact they will be asked to leave) to the r rated shows. For younger kids camp Carnival is a good experience. All my younger grand kids liked it. Now for those lost teens 17, 18 and 19 the club for them seemed to be lacking. My 17 year old grandson was lost and i did feel sorry for him This group of people are too young to night club so they wonder about the ship looking for stuff to do. Hey Carnival get with it and put together a young adult club. Butch the cruise director form your own opinion if you sail. He tried to make the fact that two ports were cancelled a great fun thing no Butch it was a sad thing. On the Titanic it would have been Hey everybody we're going down but come on out to the fantail and hear the band play Nearer My God to Be or something like that NOW THE BAD AND UGLY EXCURSION EXPERIENCE OR LACK OF IT. As i said the Dream is a very big ship and Mother Ocean made the seas rough making it impossible (OR SO THE CAPTAIN SAID. Rumor has it that a port scheduling problem kept us at sea and not the weather) to dock at Isle Roatan and Costa Maya. Many many people lost what could have been a once in a life time adventure. Carnival bless their heart is giving all a 20% discount on a future cruise. Generous aren't they? But for families that this was a once in a lifetime vacation there will be no other cruises so a 20% refund is what is deserving. We gained an extra day at sea whoopee. more booze sales for Carnival. We did two excursions both excellent, Swimming with manatees in Cozumel and the Belize zoo tour which is really a reserve for endangered animals Hey got kissed by a jaguar! Cant say enough about the crew. Our housekeeping person Marco and waiter Hari were fantastic. Hari especially with having to put up with all our kids. Guest services people were fantastic especially with having to put up with guests not too happy about the port cancellations. Enough said. Except do the express baggage thing. All your big pieces of baggage are piked up outside your cabin and you don't see them (if all goes well and it did for us) at your airport. However not all airlines participate. any thoughts or questions feel free foxfire. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
To our misfortune we picked up a virus from a very rude traveler who coughed all over us during the first show we attended and it really limited our activity, however, that is not the ships fault. For the record, this was our ... Read More
To our misfortune we picked up a virus from a very rude traveler who coughed all over us during the first show we attended and it really limited our activity, however, that is not the ships fault. For the record, this was our fourteenth cruise and our third Carnival cruise. Our favorite cruise line is Holland America, second favorite is Royal Caribbean. NCL and Carnival are not at the top of our list. We are retirees who cruise to get away from boredom and relax. First the ups. Cabin was excellent with the exception of the mattresses which are more like saggy hammocks. Nice fluffy duvets cover up the sag when the bed is made, but wait til you climb in. Was on Carnival's Glory a couple of years ago and found the same bed situation there. Nice long sofa, nice decor, excellent bed linens, nice bathroom, lots of storage. One of the balcony chairs reclines in the event you'd like to do some private sunning. It seems that each time we cruise Carnival, we find they have hired more and more Indonesian staff. That is one of the reasons we are so fond of HAL. Most of their staff are Indonesian and they are the warmest, friendliest people. They certainly make us feel as though they are dedicated to providing excellent service and the service on this trip was superb. We were not prepared for the fact that our March 5th sailing was the beginning of spring break - we thought it was later. Carnival bent over backwards to see that the students had lots and lots of late night activities and I must admit that the student conduct was excellent and the young folks were a pleasure to be around. In the past we've had bad experiences with breakers going wild on cruises and really being disruptive. The Dream was one of the cleanest ships I've ever been on. It was immaculate. There were alot of small children on our cruise but here again, Camp Carnival kept the little ones very busy, away from the general population, so they weren't under foot. Casino action was good. Adequate gaming tables and pleasant dealers. And the downs. Weird bath amenities included things like tape strips to open your nostrils and pepcid. Did they anticipate the food would upset your stomach???? Shampoo and shower gel dispenser in shower, but no lotions or shower caps. Carnival needs to understand that travelers, particularly females, enjoy the little sample packs of amenities that spoil us. It seemed that we were being used as guinea pigs for manufacturer's free samples of products they are promoting. I generally get one massage and one facial in the spa as part of my vacation spoil, but not wanting to spread germs avoided close contacts. Also, each year that we go, the prices for spa services just skyrocket, so be prepared. I'm a foodie, so that was where my biggest disappointment lay. Carnivals signature warm chocolate melting cake is always a treat and their creme brulee was excellent. The breakfast danish pastries are the very flakiest and excellent. Muffins had a hard crusty top like a hockey puck. The flat iron steak was definitely not as good as other reviewers mentioned. It had livery overtones - don't know what cut of beef they get theirs from. One night the menu featured "Chateaubriand with Bernaise Sauce", which got me excited until I read the fine print on the listing. Said it was cut from beef shoulder. PLEASE. Everyone knows that chateaubriand is the center cut of the tenderloin -AS IN LOIN, NOT SHOULDER. This is grossly misleading and a misrepresentation of a gourmet item. I guess you have to pay extra and go to the upscale steak house to get good meat. We did not try it on the Dream but we did on the Glory and it was worth every penny. Will say the vegetables were all tasty and well prepared. Particularly the fried eggplant. It was exceptional. Also, the ship serves butter from France and it is the best butter I've ever tasted, so skip the Land o Lakes margarine which is also offered. The buffet on the Lido was very disappointing and had very limited selections. The hot dogs at the grill are excellent and huge. The hamburgers at the same venue are sometimes cooked on the grill and sometimes on a conveyor being run through the pizza oven. Go figure. The Dream offers continental breakfast, sandwich and dessert items from room service. These are available 24 hrs a day, but selection is limited. HAL has the policy of allowing you to order anything from the regular dining room menu for breakfast, lunch or dinner, as long as you order during the regular dining times. This is a wonderful practice and provides the guest with so many options from bacon and eggs in your room in the morning, to a strip steak for dinner, when you're interested in privacy. We thought almost all of the entertainment was poor. Comedy club was not good. Even the family show was so gutteral. If you enjoy unsophisticated humor about farting and other bathroom habits, you'll love it. In the main show lounge performances, the male dancers were excellent, the female were very lackluster. The male singer was okay, the female to loud and abrasive. The only good show was one that some other reviewers have mentioned called Dancing in the Street and that is because of additions to the cast which I won't describe, in the event you are booked on the Dream - best to let you be surprised. Carnival has relaxed it's dress policy and now calls what used to be "formal nights", "elegant nights" but jackets and ties are no longer "required". Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
Embarkcation process went smoothly as everyone stated. The family came in 1 day early and stayed at Country Inn and Suites in Cape Canaveral and the stay was very pleasant.OK now our dream beginsWhen boarding the ship there was no one ... Read More
Embarkcation process went smoothly as everyone stated. The family came in 1 day early and stayed at Country Inn and Suites in Cape Canaveral and the stay was very pleasant.OK now our dream beginsWhen boarding the ship there was no one greeting the guests, you were left to figure out where to go next, I feel that would be tough on first time cruisers, which we had 4 with our group.We headed to Deck 10 (Lido deck)to the Gathering for lunch that was overwhelming, long lines, DH had to sit at empty table while we were in line for food, food was OK nothing to brag about.Room was ready by 1:30 received luggage in a reasonable about of time. Never meet the room steward but he did an excellent job on keeping our room clean and staffed with clean towels.After changing into our swimwear we headed off to the pool, another challenge no seats and small pool for a ship of 4,000 people. Oh. now the sail away party what a BIG disappointment, possibly the worse one ever.We ate in the main dining room 6 out or 7 nights, we had 14 people at our table now Anthony was our headwaiter and did a fine job, but his assistant sucked, the head matrid never once came to our table, until I asked for him to complain about the amount of time it took to serve us. A minimum of 2 hours for dinner, food was only warm and getting a drink was almost impossible, we were on the upper level of the Scarlet Dining Room and the kitchen is on the 3rd level and the food had to be bought up from the 3rd level on the escalator along with anything you wanted to drink, it took forever, We enjoyed the shows and the comedy shows we had no complaints, the only problem is the saving of seats, at the pool and at the Encore theater, the activities need some help, the fun days at sea where not fun, very little to dounless you like playing Bingo all the time at $20 a game. Oh yeah the serenity deck I think you needed to be there in the middle of the night to get a clam shell or a hammock because there NEVER was one available, also there is no pool for the adults, which there should be.Disembarking was done by zones and it was very very slow took us until 10:30amto get off the ship.Overall not a great cruise, too many people, to large of a ship. For the sizeof the ship they don't have alot to offer, but we had a great time with ourfamily, we will never cruise the Carnival Dream as a couple, Forgot one thing the Lani Deck (deck 5) was very nice had 4 hot tubs and plenty of tables and chairs in the shade and plenty of chaise lounges in the sun and a complete walk around deck 2.5 times is 1 mile, that's where they hadthe BBQ on sea days and it was pretty good. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2011
I have been on 3 other Carnival ships but this one far surpasses the others. I am going to compare it to the Norwegian Epic which I sailed on last July. The stateroom on the Dream was much more roomier and the design of the room was better ... Read More
I have been on 3 other Carnival ships but this one far surpasses the others. I am going to compare it to the Norwegian Epic which I sailed on last July. The stateroom on the Dream was much more roomier and the design of the room was better planned than on the Epic. We even got bathrobes.The beds were larger and much more comfortable. The total cost was a lot less than the Epic and the stateroom door actually closed shut when you went out. The Epic did have a coffee maker in the cabin which would have been nice to have rather than ordering it by room service each morning. Our room steward, Asep, was the greatest.The ports of call were why we chose this cruise as we hadn't been to Roatan, Belize or Costa Maya. Loved Mahogany Bay...the beach was lovely...wish I did the sky ride to it...and the shopping was reasonable without the high pressure sales people of Cozumel. Belize was a big disappointment but enjoyed going on the Altun Ha tour. It was very educational however, don't forget bug spray. Costa Maya was a tourist trap and everything was over priced. We had late seating in the main dining room. The menu selection was great and the food was superb.Our waiter, Eko, was friendly and kept us laughing, I do prefer the freestyle dining of NCL but Carnival's food is much better. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
DH and I wanted to do something special for our Anniversary as well as trying a Cove Balcony so we chose this cruise. We are experienced cruisers but for our style cruising we made a few mistakes. Mistake number one - We got the ... Read More
DH and I wanted to do something special for our Anniversary as well as trying a Cove Balcony so we chose this cruise. We are experienced cruisers but for our style cruising we made a few mistakes. Mistake number one - We got the last Cove Balcony and it was under the galley. The noise was incredible all day and most of the night. The Cove Balconies themselves are an echo chamber conducting sound down the whole side of the ship. We liked the position of the Cove Balcony close to the water but don't plan on getting any sleep unless you have ear plugs. The galley above us was so noisy we couldn't tell if some noise came from next door cabins. We could hear the screaming kid across the hall for a week as well as kids wandering the hall at all hours. Mistake number two - Was taking a cruise when the kids were still out of school. We were told there were over 1500 kids on board and over 1000 of them were under age 14. During the safety briefing, the ship announced curfews for kids and the need for parental supervision. I never saw anything enforced. For a week we dodged running kids wielding ice cream cones. We watched kids get food on the buffet and put it back. We watched boxes of cereal fall to the floor and be put back for use by crew as well as passengers. Big hint, if you eat boxed cereal on board any ship don't carry it to your table in your cereal bowl! One evening at 10:45 pm I decided to go to the Lido for a snack. When the elevator came down three children age 6 and under were on the elevator alone. Two of the boys were trying to pull the third one off the elevator while he was having a tantrum. No parents in sight. As I arrived on the Lido, young children were roaming all over. Unsupervised children were in the aft pool. I saw one boy with this mouth on the cream machine feeding himself directly sans bowl or cone! Gangs of teenagers were everywhere. DH and I were horrified to see a teenaged boy licking a pudding dessert out of the bowl, who needs a spoon! DH and I were exhausted after a week of hiding in our stateroom from screaming and unruly kids! Mistake Number 3 - We were wait listed for anytime dining but got stuck with Late Fixed seating. For health reasons we can't eat a heavy meal that late at night so all our dinners except for one were on the Lido. For the most part the food was as good as you would get in most hospitals! We had sandwiches and pizza a couple of nights. During lunch the Pasta Bar was good, the Burrito Bar was OK, the BBQ on the Lanai was OK, the Wok was OK, and the grill was OK. Pizza and sandwiches were good. Chef Art's ($30 up charge) was excellent. Breakfast was awful. We ate cold cereal and noticed many people doing likewise. Reminder, don't put the boxes of cereal or cartons of milk inside your bowl to carry them to the table. We reported seeing the dining room staff replacing milk and cereal that had been on tables or the floor to the supervisor and he said they should know better and would remind them not to do it but days later they still were doing it. The shows were good. We went to two song and dance shows and one comedy show and enjoyed all of them. Overall, we found that Carnival Dream was too big with too many people and way too many kids for our taste. We did not see one case where Carnival enforced any of their own rules. There were some responsible parents and some well mannered children but overall it was a chaotic cruise with parents turning their little monsters loose on everyone else. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
After looking forward to our 9/24/11 cruise on the Dream to celebrate my mom's 90th (NOT a typo) birthday with my husband, 2 sisters and 1 brother-in-law, I started reading reviews and wondered if we had made a big mistake in booking ... Read More
After looking forward to our 9/24/11 cruise on the Dream to celebrate my mom's 90th (NOT a typo) birthday with my husband, 2 sisters and 1 brother-in-law, I started reading reviews and wondered if we had made a big mistake in booking on the Dream. This is an account of our experience. We found a $4.99 per day special on off-site parking that was ideal (Just look for the yellow submarine floating in the air near the terminal(sorry I can't remember the name of the lot. We had to reserve our spot before the cruise to get that deal. Went through embarkation in mere easy! Then to the Lido deck for lunch. Big crowd,but short waits in lines. Food was good. then on to our cabins. Very clean as usual, and our steward, Kahil, was perfect!! He produced a needle & thread when we lost a button just before dinner, took down the dividers between the 3 balconies, so we had one long balcony. One deck below us on deck 5, there was a nice hot tub, which was almost never used, with lots of empty chairs around to enjoy the sun or shade. Our balconies overlooked the hot tub, so we could be in it and talk to my mom, who LOVES the balcony!! Tropical storm Ophelia was nearby, but didn't pose much of a problem. I did notice the boat moving a lot the first 2 days, then as we went further south toward St. Thomas, the sea was calmer. We saw a water spout that got a lot of attention (my first), and the most beautiful rainbow ever over the ocean. The food in the Scarlett dining room was very good. Lobster night was a big hit, and was cooked to perfection..Our 2 waiters, Sonny & I.Gusti, were absolutely awesome!! We didn't just leave waiters behind, we left friends. As for the rest of the employees, none of us EVER saw or heard anything but kind remarks, helpful directions, etc.Everyone spoke if they passed you in the hallways or anywhere else on the ship. I honestly can say that the Carnival staff was about the best I have encountered. This was the 6th cruise for my husband and I, and we hope to go again soon, on Carnival, because we can count on good food, great service, and super good times. If you go on the Dream and you don't have a good time, it isn't because of anything they do or fail to do. It is because you are looking for something to gripe about. Maybe that makes you a 'savvy traveler'. Oh,and every passenger I saw was sober, nicely mannered and having a great time. The entertainment was good. I have seen better, but again, no real complaints. The machines in the casino were tight,and I never did see anyone winning anything. The ironing rooms were very nicely equipped, as were the public restrooms we used. The pool area got crowded, but we used the hot tub more. The 'returning guests' party was very nice, with free drinks galore. Children weren't a problem (I think most were back in school), & parents seemed to have a handle on discipline, except for one boy who threw food on his mother's head out near the pool. Debarkation was simple and over in a matter of minutes. How did a whole week fly by so fast? Wait on us Carnival......we're coming back. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2011
This was our 2nd cruise aboard the Carnival Dream. We boarded her out of Port Canaveral which is very convenient for us living here in Central Florida. Our first cruise was December, 2009, when Carnival had a one-time 9-day itinerary and ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise aboard the Carnival Dream. We boarded her out of Port Canaveral which is very convenient for us living here in Central Florida. Our first cruise was December, 2009, when Carnival had a one-time 9-day itinerary and this cruise was a 7-day with a few of the ports. The only complaint back in 2009 and in September, 2011, is that the ship's food court on the Lido Deck is not large enough to accommodate a ship with so many passengers. The staff can't (or don't) get the tables cleared fast enough to eliminate the confusion of passengers standing around waiting for tables. We are Milestone Rewards Carnival cruises so we get VIP service. This was the first time we tried the "Your Time Dining" and it was wonderful. Our first night we gave the dining room hostess our stateroom number, requesting a 2T (table for two) and we were taken to a lovely little alcove where there were four tables for two - it overlooked the first floor of the formal dining room. Our servers were excellent. The food? Well, we have trouble ordering food we can't pronounce but we did find the 'comfort' food selection was very good for the nights we didn't want to order from the menu of the night. We did not make it to Nassau as the hurricane was too close so the captain took us further south toward Cuba and we went on to St. Thomas. In 2009 we stayed in a suite which was nice. This time we booked a regular balcony which was more than adequate. My husband is a smoker and never smokes in the stateroom so the balcony is perfect for him. Most all the cruiselines are prohibiting smoking in staterooms without the passengers having to pay upwards of $250 cleaning fee. The cleaning fee in most cases would be cheaper than upgrading to a balcony but we do prefer the luxury of sitting outside as we cruise - particularly at night. We would recommend this ship to families and it would be great for reunions, as well. I don't know that we will board her again any time soon even though the port is so convenient and, we have been on so many cruises, east/west doesn't matter...we are beginning to take longer cruises to far away places. We'll see how that pans out. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
this was and will be our only cruise with this company firstly let me start by saying the crew and staff were fantastic very helpful and polite the room stewardess was very good and the rooms very always clean the bar staff were ... Read More
this was and will be our only cruise with this company firstly let me start by saying the crew and staff were fantastic very helpful and polite the room stewardess was very good and the rooms very always clean the bar staff were also very polite and always seemed to be busy either serving or wiping down bar tops shelves etc we mostly used the Laani bar on deck 5 this cruise was absolutely full and boy did it show whenever you went for a buffet meal it seemed every passenger was wanting to eat at the same time as us (we often changed times to go to the buffet) but the queues were long the only place you could get tea/coffee was deck 10 we were on deck 2 so quite a trek for a drink the breakfast buffet served the same  everyday with little or no variation we had dinner 4 times in the scarlett lower lounge and the menu was limited but was OK the meals were not overly big but you could order another meal if you wanted again wait staff were very good we thought the entertainment was not very good unless you wanted to be drinking and running around like a lunatic we saw 2 shows in the encore theatre Dancing in the street which was very good and a country show which was very mediocre what spoiled the second show was towards the end the act as part of a song told the audience to stand up and be proud to be american while lots of them did lots kept sitting down and felt as if we shouldn't have been there uncomfortable moments (we then left) from there we went straight aft to the Burgundy lounge to see a so called comedian  he started by having a go at the Pakistanis then started on the Brits following up by bawling how great the yanks are again we walked out shore tours we had been to Cozumel in the past we saw a cruise liner moored near Senor Frogs so assumed wrongly this is where the Nightmare would tie up instead it was a taxi ride into town 7 dollars each way on the way off the boat you have to pass through duty free shops and 20 jewellery shops all recommended by Carnival also a bar Isla Rotan we got off the boat went through duty free shops and 20 jewellery shops and a bar recommended by carnival we asked about a taxi ride to the parrot park 10 dollars we said 4 of us 40 dollars we were told then 8 dollars each to enter park then 40 dollars back we went and did an independent tour for 100 dollars plus a tip for the guide you hire them to take you round the island take as long as you want (stand is just across the car park ) we passed the Parrot the monkey and i think it was flora and fauna parks after about 20 minutes these are 3 separate parks and cost 8 dollars each Belize we got off the boat passed 20 jewellery shops a bar and duty free shops all recommended by carnival we went to go outside the compound/jail and some of the locals were reaching in trying to get us through the bars wanting us to go on trips with them, back to the boat costa maya carnival recommended that we went to 20 jewellery shops a bar then through duty free this was the more amazing for the whole tour how they get away with it DOH we the victims are really taken for suckers 10 minutes ashore back to boat space Kennedy we booked this trip for the debarkation day because we didn't want to sit in the airport and remember our lovely holiday this we did as recommended by carnival on day 1 of the cruise as places would fill up very quickly. 1630 on the Friday note posted through cabin door trip cancelled through lack of interest we went to complain at customer service absolutely no interest from them didn't have time to book another trip so spent 8 hours sat in airport (really exciting) overall we think if you were not spending money to line the pockets of carnival they are not interested in you if they paid the staff real wages then you wouldn't have to pay tips Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
On Sept. 3, 2011 our 2nd Annual SBPHC Cruise was aboard the Carnival Dream. There were 20 of us this year, which included family as well as friends. We arrived early at Port Canaveral after parking at the Park-n-Cruise and taking their ... Read More
On Sept. 3, 2011 our 2nd Annual SBPHC Cruise was aboard the Carnival Dream. There were 20 of us this year, which included family as well as friends. We arrived early at Port Canaveral after parking at the Park-n-Cruise and taking their shuttle to the port. Boarding was very easy and fast with no long lines or luggage searches. The ship itself is very impressive with plenty of places to congregate for large and small groups. Most of our group members had Cove Balcony rooms. We usually get balcony rooms but had never had a Cove Balcony. I have to say, that I really loved it there! They are closer to the water and are sheltered by the lifeboats which are a level above. We felt like we were in our own little world. And they are 10sq. feet larger than the regular balcony rooms. We were able to open up the dividers between cabins and have a very large balcony! And of course, our stateroom was very comfortable. It seems the cabins on the Dream have a lot more storage areas than just the closets which was nice. Service and friendliness of staff was very good on the Dream and our cabin steward always kept our ice buckets and small cooler full of ice for us! The biggest kudos I have is for the dining/kitchen staff. I follow a gluten free diet and was concerned about how this would be handled. I contacted our Carnival travel agent Jose Arreaza and let him know of the dietary restrictions and he in turn contacted the appropriate people on the Dream. Each night at dinner my "dinner planner" would come to the table and go over the menu with me for the next evening's meal, pointing out what they could make gluten-free, from appetizers to desert! I even got to enjoy Chocolate Melting Cake! I just can't say enough good things about this feature!! And on the Lido Deck, you can even order gluten-free pizza (takes about 10 min) which was great!! I had no worries the whole week! The entertainment is always good both in the theater and the lounges! The best entertainment was the laser light/music show Thursday night on the Lido Deck. And of course, the giant movie screen is a great addition for watching movies at night and all the on-board activities during the day! We always do self-debarkation as it is so easy and we were off the ship and back to our car at the Park-n-Cruise by 8:00a.m.! We walked right off the ship and sped through customs without a hitch. We loved sailing on the Dream and can't wait to get back aboard!! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
Itinerary We Took the 7-day Exotic Western Caribbean Cruise from Port Canaveral. It included Ports of Call in Cozumel, Mexico, Mohogany Bay, Isla Roatan, Hondoras, Belize, Costa Maya, Mexico plus 2 Sea Days. We booked our cruise last ... Read More
Itinerary We Took the 7-day Exotic Western Caribbean Cruise from Port Canaveral. It included Ports of Call in Cozumel, Mexico, Mohogany Bay, Isla Roatan, Hondoras, Belize, Costa Maya, Mexico plus 2 Sea Days. We booked our cruise last minute so we were waitlisted for our choice, Open "Your Time" Dining. Embarkation We arrived at the terminal later than planned on Saturday, January 7th, 2012. Lines were long by 1PM but I have to admit they moved pretty quickly. Within 20 minutes or so, we cleared Security & took the escalator upstairs for check-in. There we learned that we were assigned the late dining seating - 8:15 pm. Just before we boarded the ship, we were stopped for a mandatory security face only photo. We were curious about it since we had never had that taken before but I'll explain what it was for later in my review. Staterooms weren't ready for occupancy until 2 PM so we headed up for lunch at the Lido Deck Buffet. (Elevators are in short supply on Embarkation day so be prepared to wait or walk up/down the stairs.) Although the lines were long, they moved quickly. I was happy to find trays and large-sized plates. I did miss tall glasses for beverages but I managed with their colorful short glasses. We quickly found several empty tables outside by the pool. Music was very loud that day - it sounded like one big party but most passengers seemed to enjoy it. Inside was much quieter. Soon enough, after a stop for an ice cream cone, our rooms were ready. Luggage arrived right after we located our stateroom. Later we had our safety drill before sailing followed by a huge SailAwayParty with a DJ. Hundreds of passengers joined in the line dancing. Stateroom & Cabin Service We booked cabin 1328 which is a Deluxe Ocean view Cabin on the Riviera Deck #1 Mid Ship. The room was relatively large about 230-square feet with a convertible couch, cocktail table and a king size bed. I appreciated the two end tables & plenty of closet and shelf space for all our belongings. One closet we never even used. Two white bathrobes were available for our use. We had an oversized picture window and best of all two "private facilities." One had a toilet, shower & basin. The other had a tub/shower and basin. It made all the difference in the world to us. The room was very quiet as there were only staterooms above us - not a public area nor directly by an elevator. There we no vibration noises either. We met our steward the first day & just requested extra ice which she provided daily. She was very friendly, efficient and we had no complaints. We loved her daily towel animals & the little chocolates that she provided us at turn down service each night. She timed her cleanings around our comings & goings. Dining Room, Meals & Service The first night we had dinner at 8:15 PM in the Scarlet Dining Room. Our companions were two couples from Melbourne, Fl who lived 40 minutes from our home. The computer must have matched us. We got along very well but we all wanted an earlier dining time. The next day, after we again requested "Your Time Dining," we received a card in our stateroom assigning us that option. Carnival does listen! We were now happy passengers. Our original table was in a corner of the restaurant & we were one of the last diners out of the dining room barely making it to show time in the theater. With the new dining option we had to change restaurants and now ate in the Crimson Dining Room. No matter what time, what table, what waiters, what dining room, we always received polite, efficient service. Every waiter, and we had many, was friendly, personable and tried to please us. They were also helpful providing suggestions for the best dish among the choices. In my personal opinion, the food was great. My favorite selections were: Lobster Tail, Filet Mignon, Prime Rib, Chateaubriand, Escargot, Wild Mushroom Cappuccino Soup, Baked Alaska, Warm Chocolate Melting Cake, (every night) Tiramisu, Crème Brulee & others too numerous to mention. There was always a vegetarian choice and fixed dishes in case you didn't like the daily choices - these included Salmon and Steak. We never resorted to the fixed choices. Passengers who visited the specialty restaurants praised them highly. The Lido Deck Buffets were always busy during morning hours & at lunchtime. Lines moved quickly except at the Mongolian Grill & the Deli which were out of the way. On the last day, we tried the upstairs Pasta Bar & loved it. We are very particular about our pasta sauce but found both the sauces that we tried to be terrific. We'll definitely try this eatery more often if we cruise again on the Dream. You are given a menu, you check off your choices, turn it in & you're given a table number. The staff then brings you your order. For dessert, though, you have to go downstairs to the buffets. Public Rooms There were plenty of bars, cocktail lounges and sitting areas. My one complaint was the Library. It held hardly any books at all. It was ridiculous. The Ecstasy and the Miracle were better supplied. Many of the few books there were in foreign languages although most passengers were American. Carnival please fix this please! It has a book exchange but there were no books there until I left mine on the next to last day. What the ship also lacked was a card room. All around the ship I saw passengers playing cards in the bar/lounge areas and outside on the tables around the Lido Deck. There were more than enough lounge chairs around the pool and around the outside decks in general. I never even went to the several lovely adults-only Serenity Retreats because I found plenty of quiet places to sit in other areas. The pool water was a little cool - it was January, so we only swam there one afternoon. We used several of the Whirlpools which had varying temperatures. We loved the Lanai ones which were oversized and cantilevered from the ship so it seemed like you were part of the sea-really neat! I loved the various conversation groupings of outdoor furniture all over the ship. Nice little touches like this made the ship seem smaller. The Encore! theater was comfortable with upholstered seating and small marble-topped tables just big enough for cocktails and enough room for the waiters to get through serving drinks. The Waterworks area was fun for "kids" of all ages with multiple slides of varying heights and water sprays for the toddlers. For Spa Lovers, The Dream has a very elaborate facility named Cloud 9. The long lines of passengers waiting for appointments on embarkation day attest to its success. Make your appointments early. The Casino was very busy especially in the late afternoon & evening. It was also rather cool - temperature wise. Activities The Dream has three distinct children's programs. There is Camp Carnival for kids 2-11, Circle C for kids 12-14 and Club O2 for teens 15-17. I peeked into the facilities and they were clean, modern and appealing. Kids loved the disco atmosphere. The schedule of activities went from morning until night. Night Owls Program runs until 3AM. Parents were pleased with the activities. The Dream has all the usual on board activities such as bingo, trivia contests, art auction, ice carving demonstration, dance & language classes, Karaoke, crafts, shopping show, wine lecture, Texas Hold'em Challenge, Blackjack Tournament & towel folding but what I enjoyed the most was the Chef's Art Steakhouse cooking class where we all tasted the dishes prepared. There were plenty of parties also like the big Mardi Gras, Electric White Night & the Mega Deck Party. You can even renew your vows. A tour of the ship was also offered.-good idea since the ship is huge. Plenty of activities daily kept everyone from getting bored. Entertainment - Shows The Multi-Million Dollar Extravaganzas in the Encore! theater were something not to miss. One particular show "Dancing in the Street" was so spectacular that I will never forget it. If you cruise on the Dream, do not skip this one. It included the fabulous Carnival Dancers & Singers plus the amazing male acrobatic dancers - head spinning, body popping, break dancing - Fun Force. They had entertained us in the Atrium on a previous evening so we knew that we were in for a double treat. The small piano bars and lounges also had great live entertainment all evening long. We stopped to enjoy music at several nightly. The eleven deck high Atrium had live entertainment performing nightly above a huge dance floor with comfortable seating upstairs and downstairs. I loved the huge LED Screen on the Lido Deck poolside where news shows and movies were shown with complementary popcorn. I caught The Green Hornet and Cars. Even more innovative was the brand new 2 million dollar laser equipment. I had fun on several nights, dancing the Electric Slide & learning the Cha-Cha Slide with hundreds of my fellow passengers - what fun-all under the stars with live music. The Punchline Comedy Club in the Burgundy Lounge was very popular - standing room only at the ones I attended. Shore Excursions There are so many choices that it is hard to make recommendations. What you choose will depend on your age, activity level, interests and whether you have been to the island previously. One that I particularly enjoyed was in Belize. Since I had already been to Belize, I took the Cave & Land Rover Expedition. It is listed as strenuous & we were the oldest people on the tour. You need to be able to maneuver across a foot suspension bridge that swings as you walk above a river, walk a short distance (½ mile) through a rain forest/jungle on uneven surfaces, climb up to a cave in the mountains, and stoop (at times) through an unlit cave with bats. You are given a small battery operated light. If you are claustrophobic, do not go on this one. Everyone on our tour completed the cave portion. Our drive on the stick shift 4X4 Land Rover took us over mostly muddy dirt roads and jungle trails. You need a valid drivers license & the experience of driving a stick shift. The tour concluded with a high speed open motor boat ride along the jungle covered banks of a river & then out into the sea. It is a very fast, exciting ride. The tour was the most fun that I ever had on an excursion. Try it if you are in Belize and up to the challenge. Other tours on the several islands that we visited included Dolphin Swims, Snorkeling, Mayan Ruins, Jeep tours, Beach trips, Catamaran rides, Scuba Diving, Zip Lining, Horseback Riding, Motorcycling, City Sightseeing & Shopping and various combinations of the above. These are just a small sample. You will find something that you like or just hire one of the many local guides for a custom tour of your choosing. Be aware that in Roatan, the local guides or your pre-booked non Carnival tours guides were a long way from the terminal. The Carnival tours are a bit pricey but if for any reason your tour returns later than sailing time, the ship will wait for you. In conclusion, I loved my cruise. The Dream was everything that I expected and more. I will take it again in a heartbeat. This was my 9th cruise on Carnival and the one that I loved best. Although we did have a couple of minor incidents on shore, they didn't mar our trip. Carnival took care of the incidents to our satisfaction. By the way, it turned out that those "security" face photos have nothing to do with security but provide a very unique service. It is a face recognition software program for finding all the photos that the ship photographers take of you on board. You go to a special machine, slide in your room card & up pops all you photos. You don't have to search through hundreds of photos looking for yours. Why didn't someone think of this earlier? Another plus on Carnival is that you can print out a copy of your statement at a machine without having to stand in line at the Guest Services Desk. Neat! Disembarkation It went very smoothly. Some zones were off the ship before we even awoke. As we ate breakfast more were called. Since we carried our own luggage off the ship, we disembarked whenever we wanted. It was painless. We able to use an elevator. As we disembarked the Carnival Dream, we heard the first disturbing report of a cruise ship disaster off the coast of Italy. Later we learned that it was a Costa Line ship under the parent company of Carnival. We felt an instant distant but deep connection.. We were safe, however, while those on board the Concordia were not. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
A bit of background my DH and I are avid Carnival Cruiser and I am a part time home based travel agent. We are 28 and 33. We traveled with my grandparents (my parents as they raised me) both in the mid 60s. They are also well traveled! ... Read More
A bit of background my DH and I are avid Carnival Cruiser and I am a part time home based travel agent. We are 28 and 33. We traveled with my grandparents (my parents as they raised me) both in the mid 60s. They are also well traveled! Okay lets go.... After searching for an inexpensive winter getaway DH and I were very excited about cruising on the Dream as it was one of the newest and biggest ships in the Carnival fleet. My parents do not really like Carnival as NCL is more of their style of cruise. However it was my hubby and gma's birthday so my parents (at the last minute) decided to join us on the cruise. We were also excited about the Western Caribbean itinerary as we visited numerous new ports. My gma had been to Roatan but everything else was new to her. Everything was new to dh, gdad and I. Okay so we flew Southwest from BWI to MCO the morning before the cruise 1/6/12. I will honestly say I hate Southwest. Their seating system is terrible however the trip was uneventful. We had pre order transportation from Cocoa Beach Shuttle. They were not there when we arrived at MCO and they took about 20 minutes to get there when we called. Then the driver acted like we had not pre arranged transport. It was annoying. But we were finally on our way after a few minutes. We stayed the night at Country Inn & Suites. I loved the hotel. Nothing spectacular but the staff were very friendly. It wasn't warm enough for the pool so we went to lunch at Zachary's Family Restaurant. We had the best clam chowder on earth. The rest of our meal wasn't too appetizing but the soup made up for that. We ended up ordering some to go and eating that for dinner in the hotel. Once back to the hotel we all took naps. The Brian and I got up and played in the arcade, went online and went to the store to get sodas and snacks for the cruise. The next morning we weren't too happy about the long wait for bfast but hey it was free so no biggie. After that they started transporting ppl to the cruise ships Yay. I think we were on the 2nd bus to go out and our driver was very entertaining. The Ship All I can say is we loved, loved, loved it. It was the biggest we've been on. Deck 5 was the best IMO. We spent a lot of time just walking around outside on that deck. It was so peaceful and quiet there. We also enjoyed sailaway on that deck. There were about 4 or 5 ships at Port Canaveral so it was fun riding past all the ships and honking on the way out. Some of the other things we enjoyed on beard were the mini golf and the big movie screen (DH and I would go up and get popcorn and skip the movie most nights though). We went to the wine tasting, awesome experience. We had a chef (cruiser) at our table who actually knew a bit more about the wines than the sommelier so that made the tasting extra informative. The spa was amazing. DH and I went on the tour in the beginning of the cruise and really considered getting the week long pass. But the trip was port intensive so we didn't think it was worth it. But we plan to have a spa cabin on our next cruise on the Breeze! Food Our feelings were pretty neutral about the food on this ship. Overall it was okay. We ate dinner in the MDR all but two nights (all but 3 for my parents) which is much more often than usual for us. This was our first time trying the new menu and really it wasn't that big of deal. We liked it just as much as the old one. DH and Gdad each had the fried chicken 1x and thought it was just okay. My gdad who really enjoys exotic food was really disappointed with the shark and the frog legs. I actually liked the frog legs a lot. I also ordered the chilled fruit soups each time they had them and both my gma and I really loved them, the men not so much. One night DH and I ate dinner on Lido and actually enjoyed it more than dinner in MDR. It was the same menu but we could pick and choose and we were happy with it. We also ate there for the choco buffet. I am not a big choco person but it was delish. We ate most bfasts and lunches on Lido. But we also tend to get addicted to the Cesar salad at the pizza place so that was my regular midnight snack. I loved the Mongolian wok and had omelets there for bfast as well. We only has the Indian food 1x which I was very upset about bc we lovvved it. We never made it to the pasta place but heard really good things from other CC members. We ate at the Steakhouse and weren't really impressed. We usually eat there 2-3x but on 1x on this ship. Service there was subpar and the food wasn't as good as usual. We also loved the Sushi bar. Also I enjoyed the new drinks in the punchliner's comedy club. I met a bar tender at the Casino bar who works in Punchliners also so he was able to make me the drink I loved but I can't remember the name of it. Rooms Okay DH and I were in balcony cabin on the Vista deck, Worst decision ever. We were underneath the outdoor pool deck area on Lido and we could hear every single thing. It was soo bad that we complained on day 2. We received 30% of our cruise cost back on our S&S and 20% off our next cruise. Carnival staff handled the problem so well. However the $$$$ didn't alleviate the noise which really made the trip less relaxing than planned. We had a great room steward. Very personable and we joked with him constantly. His personality made us not notice that he wasn't that good at cleaning the room. Of course we tipped him extra!! He was awesome, kept trying to steal me from my hubby so we could go party together. My parent's room was on Lido and they had no problems but for some reason their room felt smaller than ours. Staff The staff on this ship were exceptional. We dealt with a couple ppl bc of the issue with our room and they were very professional and accommodating. The supervisor checked in on us over the course of the cruise and gave us her direct line in case we had any issues. I was in charge of the CC party so I worked with a staff member for that as well. She was great. Also our dining room team was awesome. Our lead server was so serious and focused. He had been on cruise ships for over 20 years and he was exhausted. He only had 1 cruise after ours and then he was retiring. Also this was the 1st time that we ever saw the Maitre D actually interact with ppl in the dining room, good stuff. I don't even remember the CD and fun staff.... That says it all. We also had a problem with the internet cafe guy never being around. We had a discrepancy with internet usage that the purser's desk couldn't address. They kept giving us the internet guy's schedule but he never showed up for work. There were times that there were groups of ppl waiting for him to no avail. Okay we were excited about these ports, however DH and I were disappointed that we only really spent time with my parents at 1 port. They were more focused on quick shopping in port and hanging out/relaxing on board while everyone was off the ship. So this is pretty much just what DH and I did. Also we never schedule excursions with the cruise line, too pricey. We visited Cozumel, Roatan Honduras, Belize and Costa Maya Mexico. Overall this cruise was awesome. We planned to just relax but found ourselves being very active the entire cruise. This was our first time doing the past guest party which we enjoyed. We like the shows on this ship. Especially the one featuring the hip hop dancer. That was amazing. Dis embarkation was easy peasy no problems there. Cocoa Beach Shuttle was easier to deal with as they were there immediately after we called them. The flight back to BWI was terrible bc we weren't able to check in early enough to get seats together so I was stuck between a couple who didn't talk the entire trip. The read a book and the husband slept. I didn't know they were together until we arrived at BWI and she told him " I'll drive home bc you have the flu and I don't want you getting me sick !!! Of course I instantly became ill and was sick for 2 weeks!!!! What a way to end a marvelous vacay!!!! This was a lovely vacay and I would definitely cruise on the Dream again but would choose a different room. I'm excited about booking the Breeze for 2013! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
A wonderful experience sums it up! Let me say that we are active seniors -- ages 83 and 76 -- and that this was my first cruise and his 2nd. I was doubtful after reading so many negative reviews, but we were very pleased. Boarding at ... Read More
A wonderful experience sums it up! Let me say that we are active seniors -- ages 83 and 76 -- and that this was my first cruise and his 2nd. I was doubtful after reading so many negative reviews, but we were very pleased. Boarding at 10:30am was a breeze- we were eating lunch at 11:15am. (It's that early-bird Senior thing). I signed up for the "wine package" and that worked well after the first night's mix-up which was straightened out by Andre the Maitre'd who sent us a complimentary bottle of wine the next night. A touch of class! Our balcony room was right above the SMOKING section of Deck 5 which we didn't know that on one side of Deck 5 - the outside chairs & tables is smoking - and on the odd numbered cabin side is non-smoking. Be aware if you are on deck 6! Our Balcony room was very comfortable with plenty of closet space, closet shelves, drawers and counter space. We had a convertible couch, a coffee table and a foot rest/stool. There was a mini fridge with stocked mini bar and a small safe. I brought extra wire hangers; a pop-up laundry basket & a 3-way electric plug as suggested in Cruise Critic. The bathroom had good counter space and shelves for our "stuff". The shower had plenty of hot water and a pull-out line for hanging wet clothes/bathing suits. The bedroom & bath were cleaned and restocked twice a day. Two white terry cloth bathrobes and two huge beach towels were provided for our use. Also provided: a hair dryer, Kleenex, shampoo & body wash in the shower. Our King size bed had 4 pillows and a downy comforter that was very cozy! The balcony had 2 chairs and a table. Our Steward was Harry, who made us a different towel animal every evening and made us feel like "family". We tipped him extra. We usually ate in the Scarlett Dining room as we like the formality and service. Our waiter, Kusumajaya (from Indonesia) was the consummate professional. His humor entertained us, he made us feel special and provided excellent service. We tipped him extra. We usually found several delicious items on the dinner menu. We ate on the Lido deck a few times and enjoyed the varied choices and fun atmosphere. We found the food to be very acceptable. Islands -- Nassau -- not much to do but take a taxi to The Atlantis Hotel. The lines to see the aquarium were too long, so we fed the slot machines. St. Thomas - The best souvenir shopping is at Al Cohen (as told in Cruise Critic) and it's located in the shopping area near the dock. Just ask! Nice T-shirts, island dresses & tote bags @ very reasonable prices. Downtown is good if you're into serious jewelry shopping. St. Martin -- our favorite island. We took a private guided tour of the whole island, spending time at Orient Beach and Sunset Beach. We saw the grand hotels and wealthy homes; and the very poor areas where the goats were in the road. This island is truly beautiful! We had 8 -10 ft. swells and a 55 mph wind on the way down, but smooth sailing all the way back. We had a mid-section cabin so all went well. We plan on doing the Western Caribbean cruise next. Read Less
Carnival Dream Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.3
Dining 4.5 3.9
Entertainment 3.5 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.5 3.6
Service 5.0 4.2
Value For Money 5.0 4.0
Rates 3.0 4.1

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