Sail Date: March 2011
This is the first time that I have felt it necessary to write a review. This is not a ship that I will sail on again anytime soon ... To be fair...the good things. The slide (when open) is awesome. Older kids will love it! Younger ... Read More
This is the first time that I have felt it necessary to write a review. This is not a ship that I will sail on again anytime soon ... To be fair...the good things. The slide (when open) is awesome. Older kids will love it! Younger kids will love the kiddie slides and water play area. We had a Spa room and I would highly recommend it. You get private access to a relaxation pool and two different steam rooms. This was a great upgrade! I love that Carnival lets you bring on a few bottles of wine to enjoy in your stateroom - nice! There is always seating available in the Lido Deck area. The entertainment, including an amazing fresh dance show that appeals to a younger audience, the comedian and magician and new comedy club are the best I've seen. All that said...I just would not recommend this ship or travel on it again. Let's face it...you don't want to go hungry on a cruise ship and the breakfast/lunch set up is ridiculous. Rather than having the food stations...all the food is in one cafeteria style line. If you want a yoghurt, cereal, milk or cold fruit, or even a bowl of oatmeal, you have to line up with everyone else waiting for a server to dish out the hot foot choices such as eggs or two pieces of bacon. These same servers then leave to replenish food....and the line just stalls. Try to imagine a ship this size - all lined up to get food....and having to stand in the line if you want to get even a yoghurt or bowl of cereal. My young son even commented how silly it was that you needed to put the syrup, brown sugar etc on your plate before you even got the hot food - to see if you wanted to choose these items. There were not other stations to go to get syrup - you might have to line up again! The staff on this ship are prepaid their tips and so it is really difficult to get anyone's attention or get good service. The people looked exhausted, lethargic and I think they all realized how silly the set up was....I tried ordering room service one day instead and after 2 hours of waiting gave up....not a dream ship - but could be with some small renovations! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
As others stated, the embarkation and debarkation processes are pretty smooth. We were on the ship by 11:30am and most were off the ship before 9:30am after we returned. The decor was not as loud as some ships, but we had to laugh that ... Read More
As others stated, the embarkation and debarkation processes are pretty smooth. We were on the ship by 11:30am and most were off the ship before 9:30am after we returned. The decor was not as loud as some ships, but we had to laugh that they decided to glue circles onto lights, glass windows and glass walls....many are now missing and it looked a bit shabby. The balcony room we had was roomy and fit the 4 of us just fine. We had plenty of room for our stuff and storage for the luggage (7 pieces!) The "lip" at the bottom of the shower is too short so there was a flood in the floor every time we took showers. We tried everything from turning the water pressure down, facing the shower head to the inside of the shower, and getting a longer shower curtain. Nothing worked so keep things off the bathroom floor. Our room steward, Gedi (pronounced GeeDee), was very good and knew each of our names from day one. The hair dryer is not very good so if your hair is long and takes a while to dry as ours do, bring one from home. The breakfast food is as one would expect, yet the cold "gravy" to put over biscuits had me gagging. The lines in the buffet were long as others state, however after waiting to get to the food, the choices were slim. Lunch was not very good each day and led to many afternoons spent at the Pizza counter instead. We did have the Mongolian grill one day and they cooked everything just fine, but the sauce choices didn't include the normal teriyaki, Mongolian, or soy sauce so my niece only had black bean sauce as a non-spicy option. We did not try the pasta bar or burrito bar since the lines were longer and that could be because others found that as their only edible option besides pizza for lunch. There is a BBQ place on deck 5 that is only open a few times during the week....good stuff. Dinner in the dining rooms had a few items that were tasty, but honestly it was pretty disappointing. I know they are cooking for massive amounts of people, but we honestly were unable to eat some of the food. The steakhouse was booked solid early in the cruise so we did not get to try their food. Service in the buffet area was hit or miss. We were asked if we wanted juice or coffee one morning and other times, some of the people would look away when they passed a table full of dishes. We had been to Cozumel 6 times before so we did not do an excursion, however for the first time ever, we were chased down and pulled aside from different men over and over stating they were working for the "city" trying to get us to go to a hotel (seemed like a time share, but we did not listen long enough to find out for sure). We have been to Belize before and had planned to not get off in Belize with all of the warnings and issues they had recently, but those who got off and did excursions through the ship seemed to have enjoyed their time. We loved Carnival's Mahogany Bay Beach in Isla Roatan, Honduras. It is basically a beach, however you were able to go on pedal boats, kayaks, and surfboard like things with ores (didn't try those). When laying out, it was nice to have Fat Tuesday servers coming around to get drinks or food for you. They had shady spots, sunny spots, and "clam shell" beach chair covers...something for everyone. We took the beach chair lift over to the beach just because the kids wanted to, but it wasn't worth the $31 for the 3 of us unless we would have rode it a few times just for the fun of it. :) Costa Maya was new to us so we did not know what to really expect there, however when you got off and walked into the port area, there was a pool there with a swim up bar, beach chairs, etc. that seemed to be a big hit. We did not happen to have our suits with us, but it looked inviting! We enjoyed the comedians and took the kids with us to the family friendly shows at 7:30. We also liked the showtime shows through out the week. There was one singer in the lobby area that we found to be pretty bad. Our kids were in the Circle C and O2 age groups. These groups are older and can come and go as they please. They did have certain scheduled activities for the kids, but this was normally from 9pm to 1am. Many of the younger kids were upset when having to leave their kid groups so that seemed to be a good sign as well. On sea days, the beach chairs on the deck 5 lanai are excellent if you get the ones on the side facing the sun. This is where the hot tubs are as well. We found this to be a nice quiet place to get some sun, read a book, etc. NOTE: While I am not a smoker, you can smoke in some outside areas on the PORT side of the ship. We heard many people complaining that people were smoking, but if they had realized that it was always on the Port side, they would probably have had a more pleasant experience. I am not sure if I would be willing to book another Carnival cruise...after 3, we have the same so-so feeling when it's time to get off. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
this was our 32 cruise, and since we had not been on carnival since they moved the glory, we decided to do the dream, and do a back to back.the price was right, and for the first time we used the carnival rep. i must say they were ... Read More
this was our 32 cruise, and since we had not been on carnival since they moved the glory, we decided to do the dream, and do a back to back.the price was right, and for the first time we used the carnival rep. i must say they were terrific, we are stockholders, and did all the paperwork ourselves, and carnival was very prompt, and our onboard credits were placed right away.we could not get the same room for the two weeks, because the second cruise was booked at a different time it was a pack and go, which we grabbed right away.we always pre-cruise stay at the radisson at the port, and have been doing so for the past 10 years. as always the room was clean, the service great and the shuttle terrific. can't say enough about the hotel, we love the park and cruise package as it let us leave our car for the 14 days we were gone.embarcation went fast as we are platinum. and were one of the first ones onboard at around 11 a.m. we in and found the ship to be really beautiful. we thought the layout was very similar to their other ships, with the 5th floor going thru from front to back. the first week we were on the 7th floor, and never heard a sound or any movement. this ship is solid, and we have been on some that you felt for the entire cruise rock and roll. this ship really moves, and one night we saw that she was going 23 knots, we never went that fast before. we went to lunch which i must say was pretty blaa i had the stir fry, and the noodles were tough, go figure., but we just thought "well it's first day" there are two pools on this ship that holds 3,500 passengers, the first week 1100 kids under 18, the second 1800 under 18.the pool at my house is 20x40, i don't think these pools are 25x25. it 's a real joke. first of all on either week the kids had no PARENTS if they did they were no where to be seen or heard. i think the crew were afraid to say anything to anyone. chairs were used by TOWELS, pools were used by KIDS. the crew did not enforce any of the rules that any cruise line puts in place. i'm not a old grouch, and i was not bothered, i like to sit in the sun and read, so a regular chair is fine for me, and i always found one in the back area,but i saw a few people ask the crew to remove things from chairs that were left unattended. the same held true in the encore theater. the seat thing is a big issue on this ship, more so than any we've been on. the food was terrible, so bad that one night i ordered from the kids menu and had a burger, and even that was dry overcooked, the bun cold.we tried the buffet one night pretty sad. yes we missed roatan just like the rest of the cruises before and after us. seems to me carnival would just drop the stop if they miss it 4 out of every 5 times.oh we got the platinum gift. the same thing for both weeks, we now have 4 pads and pen sets huh.... the second week we had a room on the second floor. every time the captain used the thrusters the whole floor rumbled, our room was great and we had plenty of everything we needed, and the cabin stewards made the change so easy for us. i give them cudos.the slots are so tight we won more money in st maartin, in one hour that we did in two weeks. the plus is the area is practically smoke free. you must be playing a machine to smoke, and there are special machines where you can smoke.Yea for carnival. now if they can have a curfew for kids like royal Caribbean i'd give it two thumbs us.i can blame anything on the size of the ship, as i've been on bigger. i think security could have done a better joB, sure we want kids to have fun, but when they hog ever hot tub, and pool space, it just gives adults no options. i love carnival, but it will be a very long time before i go on the dream again, i might try the legend out of tampa, i hear they go to roatan every time.hA Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
I took my second cruise with Carnival in March of 2011, visiting four ports total. The Carnival Dream is very similar to the rest of Carnival's fleet, but it doesn't seem to carry its size very well at all. I'd read prior ... Read More
I took my second cruise with Carnival in March of 2011, visiting four ports total. The Carnival Dream is very similar to the rest of Carnival's fleet, but it doesn't seem to carry its size very well at all. I'd read prior reviews about the ship rocking a lot, and at first I just assumed the reviewers were prone to motion sickness. Well, they were right. It wasn't terrible, but I would not recommend this ship for someone who gets seasick easily. The ship was also very, very crowded. In comparison to the last Carnival ship I cruised on (Carnival Triumph), the facilities were similar in size and capacity, so it seems the extra size of the ship was used for more staterooms. Increasing passenger capacity without an accompanying increase in facilities doesn't seem like a recipe for success.The food was pretty good, which I expected, but the entertainment was lacking. The dancing and singing in the Encore Theater was on par with a community college production, and most of the comedians they had were downright terrible. The ship also had a slight sewage smell from time to time, which was very unfortunate. This is the last time I'm going to take a cruise during Spring Break season. I can't blame this on Carnival, but their were way too many kids on board, most of which were disrespectful and undisciplined. Next time I book a cruise it will be when school is in session or with another line that doesn't cater to the under 18 crowd. 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: March 2011
Let me start off by saying that we are frequent cruisers, in that we cruise at least once a year, sometimes twice if I'm lucky. Over the years we have sailed, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Norwegian, Carnival, Holland ... Read More
Let me start off by saying that we are frequent cruisers, in that we cruise at least once a year, sometimes twice if I'm lucky. Over the years we have sailed, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Norwegian, Carnival, Holland America...basically all of the big lines. Princess and Royal Caribbean are our favorites, but we decided to try the Carnival Dream for two reasons: 1)It was sailing out of Port Canaveral which would make an easy drive for us here in NC (an my dad who lives nearby could drop us off and pick us up saving having to park at port and pay an extra $105! 2)Because we like the larger ships, we chose this out of the other ships that sail out of that port. It being a newer ship was also a selling point for us. My husband had also expected to receive a $200 obc from a bad sailing previously done on Holland America (long story, the ship broke down for 2 days, they offered every passenger $200 credit toward another Holland cruise or carnival since they are owned by the same company). When we contacted Carnival about receiving this OBC for this cruise, they flat out refused to honor the credit. Unfortunately, we started the cruise out with a bad feeling toward Carnival for not standing up to their agreement!Now, let me warn you, this will be a long review, but I want to point out several things that I remembered wanting to read up about before I sailed this ship. I, like you, read all the reviews of the Dream so that I could be prepared or learn something that I might not have already known about, so...if you are seriously considering this ship, please read on for our breakdown.EMBARKATION:(one of the few good things)As others have mentioned, I agree that this was one of the smoothest embarkations I have seen. From the time we were dropped off and left our bags to be checked in (roughly 1pm), we were on the ship by 1:15pm. So within 15 minutes, I KID YOU NOT, we were walking onto the ship! They tell you that staterooms are not ready until 1:30, so we made our way around decks 3, 4, and 5 since these are the main hub with the dining rooms, the shops, the theater, the casino, etc. The rooms were quickly available at 1:30 so we went to check out the room...STATEROOM: (we just went with an inside, deck 7)This cruise we decided to just do an inside guarantee cabin because I felt that with so much to do on board (supposedly), we would only be in the cabin to shower, change and sleep. I was wrong about that, but I'll get into that later. I was afraid I would be disappointed with our choice of going with an inside (this was the first time doing this) and yet I pleased with our room. The bathroom was about average to any other boat I have been on, the room was clean with lots of storage under the bed for our luggage and plenty of closet space and drawers for all of our cloths, since I always tend to over pack for these trips. One good thing about the inside cabin is that when all the lights are off, you loose all sense of time and can get some great rest. My husband actually slept in every day of our cruise, much longer than he has slept in a very long time! Trust me, a week away from work and being able to sleep in was just what my husband needed!Our luggage, all of it, was at our door by 2pm. We were still in the room checking it out when I heard the sound at the door that something had been dropped off. I have NEVER been unpacked before the muster/life boat drill and sail away. I was just very pleased with the prompt luggage arrival.MUSTER DRILL/LIFE BOATS:I was surprised to see that we didn't need to take our life jackets down to our muster station for the drill. However, I was disappointed with a few things here. They say that it starts at 3:00 or 3:30 (I can't remember). And sail-away is scheduled for 4pm. I can tell you that the drill did not start until about 3:45 and they didn't get us out of the dining room (this was our station) until after 4pm. I had to climb from the Scarlet dining room on deck 3 all the way to deck 10/11 to get out and be on deck for sail-away. We were rushing (everyone was) to get out as we were pushing away from the pier.SERENITY: (adults only)This was a nice area, with nice little cabanas and lounge chairs and a couple of double hammocks. It was a pleasant surprise to see that they didn't charge you to be there, but unless you got there very early you would be out of luck at finding a seat/lounge chair to be in. I almost would have rather paid for some time knowing that I could go up there at a certain time and be assured to have a place to relax. There was no problem with children in this area of the ship, BUT, from time to time we would over hear some drunk group of young adults or even middle aged couples that were a little loud and annoying...but it was a spring break week for many. We decided to try the serenity out when it was in port at Nassau since we had been there before and hadn't planned on getting off the ship. So, our first evening and the next day we had some nice snoozing and cuddling time up in a cabana while most were either checking out the ship (first night on board) or in port in the Bahamas.FOOD:When we checked in and got our sign/sail card, we noticed that we were assigned to the late seating when we had requested the "anytime dining" option. The afternoon we boarded, we went to the Matre'D as instructed to have our dining changed to early dining if there was no chance for "anytime dining". There were several people trying to do this, but I was disappointed at the attitude of the Matre'D who basically started off by saying that there was nothing he could do and that everything was completely full. He also slipped out that there were 4500 passengers on board. Hmm, that's funny since the boat is only suppose to hold 3600! Anyway, after my husband kindly informed him that late seating just wouldn't be acceptable, he told us that if there was any change, that we would get a card letting us know by 3pm the next day, but for the 1st night we would have to eat the buffet on the lido deck.LIDO DINING-The main buffet was "ok" I suppose, especially if you have never cruised before, but the food was never hot. We never did dinner at the buffet, no did we do lunch, but I overheard a lot of complaints. Breakfast was not too bad at this buffet. You could get eggs to your order or omelets to your liking as well as a good selection of fresh fruits. The hot stuff for breakfast was never hot!PASTA BAR-Let me say that this is your best option for lunch! We did this 2 times during the week and it was yummy and hot and served to you at your table. Their set up is a little awkward, especially when you have inconsiderate people around (there was a lot of them on this ship). They are only open from 12-2:30 and I suggest you get there by 11:45. You get a slip and a number and go to a table. You fill out your options for pasta, sauce, and toppings and if you would like bread and/or salad. You then take your slip up to someone and within 15 minutes you have your hot pasta served to you at your table! Like I said, one of the best options but get there early!MONGOLIAN-This was also another good option. We did this 2 times for lunch as well. You choose your options and put them in your bowl and then choose what meat and sauce you would like and they cook it there in front of you. This line gets a little busy too, so we were always there right at 12 when they open.GRILL-Normal hot dogs, hamburgers and grilled chicken (if you ask directly for it; you will have it in 15 minutes or so). They serve cold fries here as well. The hot dogs are big and good, the hamburgers here were cooked well in advance and are over cooked for me. I don't like a crispy hamburger!DELI-We knew this boat had one, but didn't find it until the last few days of the cruise. It is on the lido deck but at the very back outside, by the aft pool area. The deli was good and they put a lot of meat on the sandwiches. They will make it anyway you like too! On the opposite side is the Tandoor, which is kabobs and indian style food I believe. Nothing looked too appetizing there for me.ICE CREAM-Unlike Princess cruise lines, this is a self serve ice cream (like you would find at Golden Corral/Ryans buffet restaurants). Problem here is that the kids go crazy with this. We even saw one kid who had taken one of the buckets that they put beer in and filled it full of ice cream knowing that he couldn't at it all!DINING ROOM-We had breakfast in the dining room a few times, which I highly recommend because it is hot and served to you!The next day our dinner was changed to the early seating, and we enjoyed watching the dancing they do in the dining room (the servers all dance together each night before you get your desserts). We enjoyed the folks that sat with us but the food was never hot, it took forever to be served and our drink glasses would always end up sitting empty for a long time before I would have to ask for more water! Two nights I ordered prime rib which was mostly fat, and it took almost 15 minutes to get the extra butter we asked for and the au jus for the steak. The baked potatoes were never done, and the lobster tails were over done!BBQ on the Lanai-This was a huge disappointment to us. We were expecting a BBQ, but instead it was nothing that you would expect for a BBQ. I can't even remember some of the stuff they had listed that they were serving, but trust me, it was not what you would consider a BBQ!SUSHI-This always had a long line. We don't eat sushi, so I can't elaborate if it was good or not, but I will tell you that if you want it, be prepared to stand in a line because there was ALWAYS a line!PIZZA-Princess cruisers, you know how good the pizza on their ships are. You know, the big New York style slices..well, this is not like that! This is more like what you would get out of the freezer section of the grocery store and pop in the oven. It was not very good, and they never had any ready, so you had to wait in a line for them to cook them. We think this was on purpose, because remember...the ship was over capacity by almost 1,000 passengers!STEAKHOUSE-This was a HUGE disappointment to us as well. If you have eaten at a steakhouse on another cruise line, be prepared to know that this is NOTHING like that, and definitely not worth the additional $30 per person which is more than any other cruise line charges for their steakhouse! I made reservations for this before we ever set sail because past experience on other cruises have taught me that these book up fast. Ha...you don't have to worry on this boat, because there was hardly anyone there the night we went. Oh, and they don't advertise this, but in small print on the menu that you get says that any additional entree will cost the $30 charge. So..if you want steak and lobster, but don't want their version of Surf & Turf which includes a small fillet and want to have a different cut of steak, they will charge you for it! As for your side dishes, I guess they are afraid to give you more than a small spoon full. It was really a waste, and had I of known before about this, I would not have wasted the $60 for us to eat there.ROOM SERVICE-We had to get room service a few times because there was no other choice. For example, when we were in port and didn't need to be back on the ship until 7:30 and if you miss your dining time of 6pm, you're reduced to the lido buffet, BUT, they would shut down all the buffet lines but ONE...for hundreds of passengers. So, you can imagine the lines were ridiculously long. Again, I think this was on purpose to try to conserve food because of the excess passengers. You can order your room service right from your TV, but like all other ships, it is basically just sandwiches, chips, etc. I will warn you that it takes FOREVER for your food to get to you...upwards to 45 minutes or longer, which is ridiculous since there is nothing they are cooking!ENTERTAINMENT:All in all we were disappointed in the entertainment on board. I mean come on, you are suppose to be the FUN SHIP! There was not much going on when you were at sea which is when you would expect to have a lot of different things going on that will keep the passengers busy, but other than the frequent bingo games, there wasn't much going on during the day of any interest. This always had us back in our rooms in the afternoon taking naps or watching TV on the few channels they had. Remember me mentioning that I didn't think we would be in our cabins that much...ha! There was not much going on in the evenings either, especially up on deck. One night they had what they called a "party" on deck and they try to get the different color teams of the ship to dress up in their color and had a few laser shows (not impressive at all). We went out on deck for that "party" and I use that term loosely for about 45 minutes and saw that it was kind of a joke and then went back to our cabin (because this so called deck party didn't start until 11pm or so).STAGE PRODUCTIONS-I can honestly say that I have seen better productions at high school plays/musicals. The dancers were rarely together with their choreography, the singers were not so good and the shows themselves was badly directed and had no flow to them. But, if you do go to a show, please be there about 45 minutes early to get a good seat, otherwise you will not get good seats. Bar service is limited to just the bottom level on deck 3, so remember to have your drinks before hand if you want a cocktail or soda during your show.COMEDIANS-All of the comedians were good. We never went to the family shows, just the adult only shows. These shows are in the burgundy lounge on deck 5 aft. They fill up quickly so if you are not there early, you might be out of luck. They even start lining up for the next show quite early too. I was bothered by the fact that there were children under 18 in there for the adult shows. I know that parents just let their kids run wild on the ships (it was VERY evident on this cruise), but maybe the cruise line should enforce this a little more. If those kids weren't in there, it would open up more seats for adults who wanted to be in there. I suggest that they put a mark on the sign/sail cards that would indicate if the person was over 21 or under because there was a lot of drinks being served to those that were under 21~LIVE BANDS/SINGERS-There is one band on board, called Blackjack and they play in Ocean Plaza in the evenings. They are the best entertainment on board by far for music! We found ourselves here almost every night dancing and singing along with them. I really enjoyed them the most.The entertainment in the atrium was pitiful. There is one oriental woman who sings in there that doesn't even stand when she sings. She stays seated the whole time, and her voice is pretty much irritating to me.Now, there is one girl who sang in there with just her and her guitar, and also sang with the show band out on deck when they had their sad little deck party, and she had a very good voice. She also sang with the show band during the farewell party they had in the burgundy lounge the last night on board.KARAOKE-If you do karaoke, you will be extremely disappointed with the karaoke on this ship. I couldn't believe the sad little song selection list that they had for this big ship. There was not much of a selection, and the girl they have hosting karaoke is pitiful too. She doesn't hardly say anything other than to call the person up on to sing. We actually walked out of the karaoke because it was a snooze fest.CRUISE DIRECTOR (BUTCH)/STAFFI was looking forward to this cruise director from all that I had heard about him from reviews and forums, but I've got to say that other than the fact that he speaks clear English and is easy to understand, I was disappointed. Maybe he's just been on the ship too long and is in need of a vacation or something, but he just wasn't anything like I had hoped. I NEVER saw him around the ship interacting with passengers, and the morning show that he did on sea days (which again, surprised me because they should do this EVERY morning)was quite boring and not funny at all.SHOPPING ON BOARD:I did do a little shopping on board, but I was disappointed at the size of the shops and what they had to offer. The prices were consistent with other ships, but for a ship that size, I was just expecting more shopping options and more blow out sales like a lot of other lines do.CASINO:You might have read other reviews about the slots being tight and not winning, and I would have to agree. There were some winners, but they put A LOT of money in to come out with a little win. I didn't play a lot because I was aware of the reviews. Don't waste a lot of money or time in this area of the ship. They will make more money off of you!POOLS/WATERWORKS:There is simply not enough pools for the amount of passengers that this boat carries. There is only 2 pools on deck 10 at mid ship and aft. They are tiny little pools are are over run with kids! We never tried the slides because they were always filled with kids and long lines. As for hot tubs, there is a good amount of these on the ship, but I suggest just going down to deck 10 on the lanai and getting in one of those. There are two on each side and normally not busy at all. We used those hot tubs several times throughout the cruise. It would have been nice if they would have put a pool in where the adults area (Serenity) was. There was a couple hot tubs up there, but they were small and always full.BAR SERVICE:No matter where you are on the ship, out on deck, in the theater or in one of the lounges. If someone comes to get your drink order be prepared to wait a good while before they return with your drink. Many cases it's quicker to go to the bar yourself and get your drinks so you don't have to wait or wonder if they forgot about your or where you were. BUT, if you like your drinks strong, order them in the burgundy lounge (where the karaoke/comedy is). These drinks will knock you on your bum! My husband got a margarita a few times in there and I could smell it from my seat.SPA/GYM:The spa was nice, although I only walked through it a few times, I didn't use any of the services. They did have a nice Thalassotherapy Pool but we didn't use that either. Our dinner mates purchased the spa package and raved about the pool and the spa in general. The gym did have state of the art equipment and lots of it. BUT, we were on vacation and refused to step foot on a treadmill or any exercise equipment for that matter!IN GENERAL:It's really sad that this is the best that Carnival has to offer. The ship is big, but all they did was increase the cabins. The common areas are not much bigger, if at all, than many of the other ships they have. The staff on board were not very helpful or friendly either. During our Muster drill, an older man at the table with us asked one of the employees, "is this where I can come and get breakfast", the employee told him, "this is a dining room", the older man said, "I understand that, but I can also come here for breakfast too, correct", the employee "I don't know, check your paper in your cabin"! WHAT? really? That's your comment to someone on the first day on board the ship?There were a few good things, like the photo option they have where you can go with a photographer for 1 hour while on the ship or in port to have photos taken of your group. There is no sitting fee, no fee at all unless you purchase a photo(s) or the package. One disappointment is that unless you purchase the package you won't receive the digital files. My husband and I did this on the first Elegant Night and had sunset photos done on the back of the ship. All the photos were amazing, but we didn't have any need for 20 8x10s. We chose two photos and would have payed extra for the digital files, but they wouldn't sell them to us unless we bought all 20 8x10s!! Who needs 20 photos of themselves in that size? Again, I think Carnival should make an option where you can get the digital file of those photos for a cost. But, all in all it was a disappointment to both of us. We understand that it is a budget/economy line, and with what was on board and the service we received and witnessed, I see how much of an economy line it is. I can assure you that we will never be sailing Carnival again, especially with all of the other options that are out there. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
Before we went on this cruise, we tried to find information about cruising with young children and came up short, so this is for anyone who is thinking about traveling with little ones and a couple of older folks. BTW, we are past cruisers ... Read More
Before we went on this cruise, we tried to find information about cruising with young children and came up short, so this is for anyone who is thinking about traveling with little ones and a couple of older folks. BTW, we are past cruisers (4x Disney Magic, 1x Royal Caribbean Liberty) but this was our first Carnival cruise. Overall, we had a nice time, but then getting out of 18" of snow and sub zero temps at home to 80* temps in the Caribbean, how could we have not had a nice time? :) The ports of call were fine - our itinerary was for Cozumel, Belize, Roatan Honduras and Costa Maya. Due to high winds the ship was unable to dock in Roatan (which was a big disappointment, as the stop in Roatan was the primary reason we booked this ship and this sailing). But you can't fault the captain for bad weather and we had another day at sea, cruising slowly toward the next day's stop, Costa Maya. Finding things to do with little ones and older folks proved a challenge, but we were able to find nice beaches in both Cozumel and Costa Maya. The best parts of the cruise (other than the weather) were the quality and quantity of the food (though that's not really a big thing for us, the food was really good -- compared to our beloved Disney Magic, on which the food is only so-so, the food on the Carnival Dream was great!). The girls enjoyed their Camp Carnival experiences, though compared to Disney, the activities were lacking. Still, they had fun and came back to us with faces painted and temporary tattoos on a couple of occasions! The pools were a big hit, though small, but our daughters simply loved the hot tubs best. The entertainment was okay, but not nearly as family friendly as the Disney ship, though a couple of the family-friendly comedians were great. The "big" shows were much too loud to really enjoy, and one of them (the one deemed "Not To Miss" was entertaining -- singing, dancing and acrobatics -- but inappropriate, in parts, for the youngest cruisers. I was very uncomfortable with my 4 & 5 year olds listening to songs about prostitutes and the seedy New York nightlife (some of the costumes were way too sexy for little eyes!) and left before the show was over, but was dismayed to see the 6-11 year old Camp Carnival kids in the audience as a group activity. Unfortunately, though, our room was directly over the Encore Lounge and we heard every show (twice) each night. The worst part of the cruise was the incessant smoking by other passengers. Smoking is apparently permitted just about everywhere on the ship except in the restaurants and staterooms (though the 6th floor forward always smelled smokey in the hallways). Smoking is also allowed on the verandas and every time we went out on our balcony our neighbors decided they needed a smoke break on theirs. Very unpleasant. Also, the designated smoking areas (on decks and in bars) did not have great ventilation systems, so walking through them, or near them, was awful for people who cannot stand the smell. Is there such a thing as a smoke free cruise ship? If so, I'd book our next cruise in a heartbeat! Our stateroom was great - lots of storage space for a family of four. Plenty of closet space for hanging things an ample cupboards and drawers for folded items. In fact, we found as we were packing to go home, two HUGE storage drawers under the couch/bed in our room! Never knew they were there. I wish that there had been a curtain between our bed and the bunked beds, as our daughters had to go to bed much earlier than we wanted to, and since our neighbors were usually smoking on their balcony, we were trapped in our room with little girls who didn't want to sleep as long as a light was on! The bathroom was adequately sized, but had a shower only (no tub). The lip to the shower area was only 1 1/2 inches high and was not effective in containing the water that splashed over it. Fortunately, the entire floor was made of the same material as the shower and there was a floor drain so it the water was easy to mop up. Unlike the Disney ship, you are assigned a table and wait staff in the same restaurant each night. If you arrive early, you stand a good chance of getting your food in a timely manner. If not, you might be sitting there for a good long while (which is difficult with little kids who get bored easily). We ended up eating up on the 10th floor Gathering Restaurant several nights just to expedite the process and found the "alternative dining" menu varied and delicious. If we were to book again, I think we'd have dinner at The Gathering every night and skip the formal restaurants. One more thing, the ship automatically deducts a gratuity for your dining room servers/stateroom stewards and miscellaneous other folks ($70 per passenger). This was irritating to us as we were not aware that they would automatically add it to our bill and effectively removed our option of awarding gratuities according to level of service. Recommended amounts were $5.50 per person per day for dining room servers, $3.50 per person per day for room stewards, and $1.00 per person per day for "other"). Guest services removed these automatic charges and allowed us to specify the gratuities we wanted to give to these people. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2011
well first the good . the ship is nice the steak house is worth the 30.00 dollar charge . the pasta bar yummy . The crew was very nice and pleasant OK the bad first with any kinda seas more than a couple of feet the ship rocks bad ... Read More
well first the good . the ship is nice the steak house is worth the 30.00 dollar charge . the pasta bar yummy . The crew was very nice and pleasant OK the bad first with any kinda seas more than a couple of feet the ship rocks bad .Friday we had 10 to 15 ft seas and the ship was horrible many people were sick and even some of the crew .EVEN other days smaller seas the ship was bad .The dinning room food was just OK i have made better food at home .The pool decks are way to small need more room to move around .I won't comment on the ports i feel they have been well covered . All in all we made a good vacation but will not be sailing with carnival again I just feel they have cut way to many corners to make more money and raised other price to high . I know there be na Sayers out there but if u can handle a rocky boat crowded decks go for it if not i recommend a different ship or line thank u happy cruising Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
The Carnival Dream was our introduction to the Spa Deck concept, where you have easy access to the Spa Deck, located directly above the staterooms, which includes the gym, the Thalasso Spa and an adults-only Serenity Deck. As ... Read More
The Carnival Dream was our introduction to the Spa Deck concept, where you have easy access to the Spa Deck, located directly above the staterooms, which includes the gym, the Thalasso Spa and an adults-only Serenity Deck. As before, on our first Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Victory out of Puerto Rico, the embarkation process was smooth and surprisingly quick for the number of people they had to process through. The ship itself is physically very well maintained, if a bit garishly decorated. Here are my main points: Food: rarely rose above mediocre, with the beef dishes being the worst (tough, flavorless, with the sole exception of the short ribs which were good). With the best options available at lunch at the lunch-only Tandoori Oven or the Pasta Bar (upstairs from the main buffet). The Mongolian station was way too slow for me to try; you can easily spend 15 minutes in line just waiting to get to the spot to serve yourself. Even their Chocolate bar was a disappointment with flavorless churros and doughnuts to coat with chocolate. If food quality on your cruise is important, you can skip the Dream. Service: Food was alternately slow in the Scarlet Room (or quick if you asked for it to catch a show) but again the food continually disappointed us, with even the desserts being occasionally just good. Room steward service was punctual and quick although the room food service (the one and only time we tried it for breakfast) was about 1 hour later than we were promised. Entertainment: Excellent virtually across the board. Butch (and Baby Butch) are enjoyable hosts and offered excellent, very professionally-produced, shows. Comedy shows and the main dance event (Red, Blue, and White Teams all competing and dancing as a group) were lots of fun. The only misses were the vaguely unfunny Punchliner "Fun Guy" and the misguided Country/"USA" themed show. On a ship largely populated by a crew that was largely not American, and at least part of the passengers not American, it was embarrassing to see the Toby Keith song "God Bless the USA" so carelessly presented--as if there were no other nations on-board. However, if entertainment is a priority, the Dream had some of the best I've enjoyed. Itinerary: While only three ports and 3 sea days, the stunningly beautiful island of St John was worth the short ferry ride from St Thomas, I could have skipped the sad shortest-day port of Nassau and done either two days in St Martin/Sint Maarten or at least an extra day in St Thomas/St John. I don't know what they've done in the Bahamas, but the structures are crumbling, the streets are in poor repair, and the overall appearance is shabby. Even the famous Queen's staircase which had a pretty waterfall running down beside it, is in disrepair (for at least a year) while the government does nothing to restore it. Accommodations: We paid a premium for our port-side Cloud-9 Spa; to have access to the Spa right above was a convenient, but we could have enjoyed the benefits of the spa package without being directly underneath the treadmills of the gym directly above. These were the source of frequent, steady, daily pounding that woke me up (if there was an early runner above) and felt like a throbbing headache in your ears, unmask-able with earplugs. So the starboard side (or an inside) room would have avoided this poor placement of the gym over the staterooms. But next time I will check the placement of the gym over what rooms below. And while we had a private balcony on a non-smoking deck, this did not stop anyone below from the smoke reaching us as we relaxed outside. And, if you enjoy a dark room to sleep in, a balcony room is not dark at night without the blinds fully drawn; this is another reason I'd choose an inside Spa room. The room itself was comfortable but the shuddering of the ship during the night kept us from resting deeply, and with the rooms being so high up, the ships movements were more pronounced than rooms located decks down below. The simple Viewsonic TV needed tweaking to make the sound less tinny but was fine otherwise. Spa/Gym: nicely appointed gym with views of the water. The spa could loosen up with their prize treatment "giveaways" which are mostly 10-30% off discounts rather than actual prizes. The Dead Sea Salt-enhanced Thalasso Spa was itself very soothing (we used it nearly each day) but the wave action of ship affected how relaxing the pool was as you shifted to and fro across the submerged "lounge chair" bars, holding on tightly to them while trying to relax and breath the slightly chlorinated air. I suspect this was a much better experience while in port rather than at sea. Conclusion: I'm unsure if this is typical of the Carnival Dream, but we enjoyed both the food and the larger Eastern Caribbean itinerary of the Victory for the same 7 days. And for me food and service (especially during sea days) are what makes a cruise comforting and relaxing. So, on balance, I'm left with very little desire to return to the Dream and would either opt for the Victory or even the NCL Spirit Western Caribbean cruise over this ship. Don't misunderstand: we had some very good moments on the Dream, but not enough to make the entire cruise worth repeating. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
Found a Canadian Residents rate for the OS. However, it's not worth it for the extra $. The whirlpool bath is very narrow & only for 1 person. The tub enclosure is too high & almost fell getting out of the shower. ... Read More
Found a Canadian Residents rate for the OS. However, it's not worth it for the extra $. The whirlpool bath is very narrow & only for 1 person. The tub enclosure is too high & almost fell getting out of the shower. There is no hand rail to hold getting im or out of shower. The Encore theater is also flawed. There is a huge space above the bench seats. People walking behind could easily trip & fall into that space. There are some raised lips & narrow spaces for people to squeeze through to the seats. The Gathering on deck 10. Tables are much too high. I'm 5'7" & was uncomfortable. Crew ( Team ) members talk amongst themselves in their own language. Some barely utter a greeting. Food was ok. There are a lot of trivia games, one after another. Entertainment: 4 comedians, 1 juggler, 1 magician, 3 production shows. Our stateroom steward never introduced himself to us, so I never knew who he was. Walls are paper thin. Kids running in hallway. People being inconsiderate late at night, not whispering when returning to staterooms. This was our 2nd Carnival cruise but even DH doesn't want to cruise with them again unless it's an interesting destination. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
Well I apologize because this review may be long, but I think its important to tell the entire story of what experiences I had. I should start from the beginning. The drive from Detroit was as good as could be expected. The weather ... Read More
Well I apologize because this review may be long, but I think its important to tell the entire story of what experiences I had. I should start from the beginning. The drive from Detroit was as good as could be expected. The weather for January was great the whole drive. The drive back was also great. My prayers were answered for sure with that. The Radisson resort at the port was horrible. We had stayed there in February 2010, and it was decent, but this time it was brutal. We checked in and had a problem immediately. When we booked the hotel I immediately booked the shuttle to the ship. The funny thing was we booked the 1030 slot for 12 people. The 10 was already filled. I called about 2 weeks before the cruise and requested a roll away bed for my daughter and when I did I verifed the shuttle time. At first the employee couldnt find my party than said oh yes there you are for 2 people. I said oh no its 12. He assured me he found it and there was no problem. Well when we got there it was wrong. No party of 12. The hotel staff kept telling us there is nothing we can do we will try to get you there but you are only on standby. I was not happy. They ended up getting us there after we called a cab, and the fact three parties didnt show. The hotel was disgusting though. The floor was dirty and stained. We stopped counting the stains on the floor. The hallways hadnt been vacummed in what looked like a month. I would not recommend this hotel and the problem is there isnt many options on port canaveral. Embarkation was smooth until I found out how bad Carnival screwed up our rooms. The personal vacation planner that booked the rooms recommended we book a certain way to make sure all 4 rooms we booked had a past guest in it for the discount. We did, and what a mistake that was. The guy booked one room as a 2 person room only. This room was supposed to have 3 people in it. They said there was nothing they could do, and didnt care either. The finally offered them a three person room on deck one all the way forward, and my sister and her husband refused. To go from deck 10 to deck 1 was stupid. Cant say I blame them. Day 1 at sea, nice calm seas. Good weather. Used the water park on the ship. Really had fun. Day 2 Cozumel, nice warm weather. Smooth seas again. Went to Nacchi Cocum. DO NOT RECOMMEND IT. The place stunk. Really small. The ocean looks nothing like the pictures. Cant see the sand on the bottom. Very murky water. The pool was freezing cold, and hot tub was barely warmer. The food and drinks included for 49.00 but the food sucked and drinks were bad to. Paradise beach was much better. Do not waste your money and go the Nacchi Cocum, seriously. Day 3 Belize. Little cloudy and rainy. Generally smooth seas. Just sayed in port, and shopped. went utside the walls, for about 10 minutes to shop. Oh man I wouldnt do it again. It was not very safe feeling. went right back in. Day 4 Roatan-or not. Got there as scheduled through generally smooth seas. Little windy. For some reason we culdnt dock. They said it was to windy. It was crap. 2 other ships docked. One bigger than us and one smaller than us. They said they couldnt get to the smaller birth behind the larger RCI ship. So we slowly sailed to Costa Maya in very rough windy seas. Than all of a sudden we started sailing full speed ahead 20 knots. I was a little confused as to why. Sure enough about one hour later they come on and say we are not going to Costa Maya becaue there is a storm. Well instead they sail us through the same windy rough seas back to Cozumel for a second time. That was horrible. 100 kmh winds, almost hurricane strength to go back to Cozumel. We found out after the fact they tried t get us into Key west, or Nassau and couldnt supposedly. Lots of unhappy people. Day 5 Cozumel-take 2. Cruddy day. Windy and rainy. The ship was docked and still rocked. It was crazy. Went into town and shopped. Rained most of the day. Not worth the bad night before, and not sleeping all night. Day 6 at sea. Cruddy day again. Packed most of the day. Tried to to get sick. Saw barf bags all over the ship from the weather being so bad, Day 7 back to Port Canaveral. Never really wanted a cruise to end. This one i was happy to have it end, Overall-The ship was one of the nicest I have ever seen on Carnival. i heard it rocked a lot, and thats true. The design must be flawed. It rocked every day and night, and the seas were relatively calm the first three days. The famous smell was there. smelled it a lot, and we were on deck 11. Bad smell. The food was good as always. Not sure why people ever comlain about the food. The wok was awesome, but plan on waiting a long time in lines. Pasta bar was nearly impossible to get. You better be there at 12 noon to eat or plan on waiting 1 hour plus. Shore excursions were very nice and helpful, but a relative disaster considering we missed half the ports. Too many bad experiences. Not very helpful people. We also had to wait 3 hours for our crib because the room steward pulled down the bunk for my infant instead of putting our crib in there. My son could even take a nap because of this. Not a good experience. I felt like Carnival should have done more like offered on board credits of some sort. I understand no one can control weather, but they new the forecast, and could have changed things up instead of waiting as long as they did. Offering the 20% discount for a future cruise is nice, but not good enough. They know most people will never take advantage of that. I f I can answer any specific questions please feel free to mail me direct. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
Our trip began with staying at the Country Inn & Suites right near Port Canaveral. The hotel seems fairly new and I had no complaints with this nice hotel. Would highly recommend staying here again. We also rented a car from Hertz at ... Read More
Our trip began with staying at the Country Inn & Suites right near Port Canaveral. The hotel seems fairly new and I had no complaints with this nice hotel. Would highly recommend staying here again. We also rented a car from Hertz at Orlando Airport the day prior to sailing and returned it to the Hertz rental car office right at the end of the driveway of the Country Inn & Suites. Very convenient. Embarkation Day: We received a free shuttle ride from our hotel to the Ship, where we dropped off our luggage and headed to check in. We arrived around 11am and there was no large crowds yet. Since we booked a Suite, we were able to board thru the VIP lines, which also gets you in Zone 1 for boarding the boat. Checking in and getting our sign and sail cards was a breeze. Around 11:30 they began letting passengers aboard the ship. Once onboard, we weren't allowed to our cabins until around 1:30pm, so that means everyone is heading to the buffet areas to eat. First Impressions of the ship: Everything was very clean and typical decor of Carnival Ships. I'm not sure if I'm a big fan of the staircase in the main atrium lobby. If I had my choice, I would of placed two wrap around stairs similar to Princess atrium lobby. Thou the 2nd floor wrap around seating is nice to sit and people watch and listen to the entertainment. Up on top at the pool areas, I was sorta disappointed in the layout, especially for sun days when everyone is laying out. Perhaps a more stadium style seating to view the shows and laying out near the big screen would be better. Carnival Spa: After sailing on Princess many times, I became of fan of the Lotus Spa that Princess has on their fleet. So it was nice to see some influence Princess had with designing the Spa on Carnival Dream. If your looking for getting the most for your money on a cruise, for $150 for the week, you can enjoy the private Spa areas which include a private mineral bath/hot tub, aroma steam room, and much more. I highly recommend heading for a tour when you get onboard the first day and enjoy this Spa all week. State Room: We were booked in 7279 on the Empress Deck. The layout of the room was very nice and included plenty of storage areas for all three of us. But here comes my biggest complaint. I recall from past cruises, our cabin steward introducing themselves upon getting into our cabin. I don't think it was till day 2 that we actually got to meet who was cleaning our cabin. I also recall in years past you would find in your cabin the name of your steward and a way to page them if you needed their assistance. Perhaps we are loosing the personalization of cruising in the past. I always felt some type of connection with your room steward in the past and it was completely lost on this cruise. Food: Its been probably 7 years since I've sailed on Carnival, and have been on both Princess and Royal Caribbean in the past years. I'll first start with the Breakfast buffet areas. I was generally disappointed in the quality and choices we had on the Carnival Dream. The choice of potatoes every morning wasn't that good and I just felt both Princess and RC offer better breakfast choices. Lunch time much improved over breakfast. So many choices, I loved the burrito bar option, pasta bar, and if you didn't like what was served in the main buffet, you always have a good burger or pizza to drop back on. Evening Buffet was still pretty good. Actually the night we skipped our Main dinning room, the roast beef was some of the best I've had. Almost made me want to just stop going to our main sit down dinner. Which leads me to the Main Dinning room. We were in the Crimson Dinning area for the 6pm seating. Even though our server was friendly and nice all the time, the service was hit and miss. At times our food would come fast and timely, yet other times it seemed we were the last table eating. Same with the food. I think the regular flat iron steak offered is better then the prime rib they served. All week I was waiting for crab cake for a starter option and on the last night it was offered it was all a disappointment. It was just luke warm by the time it was served. What a let down. So overall I just felt the food was just ok. It wasn't the best and it definitely wasn't the worst I've had. I still believe in my theory that when you build these larger ships, the more food the kitchen is kicking out, the quality of that being served is also going down. We never did go to the extra charge Chefs Art steak dinning area. Thou a few in our group did and I was told it was very good. Entertainment: I went to all 3 major production numbers and enjoyed them all. The favorite being "Dancing on the Streets". Comparing them to Princess and RC, I would say RC wins hands down at putting out great stage show productions. The singers in the other parts of ship were also very good. I had no complaint here. Cozumel: Have been here numerous times. So we opted to just do some shopping and have a cocktail on the strip and then headed back to the ship to relax and take in the spa. Belize: I was worried we'd miss this stop because of the tender dispute, but all worked out. No excursion booked here either, but we did take the tender boat in for some shopping and more cocktails. Roatan: Probably my favorite port this trip. I booked a tour prior to the cruise thru Bodden Tours. We were a group of 5 and had our very own private tour of the island and also stopped at Victors Monkey House. This was the best time I had. The interaction with the monkeys was a great time. Highly Recommend this stop! Costa Maya: First time back since it was hit by the hurricane. Nice to see it all rebuilt and looking nice. Thou with three carnival ships here this day, the port and shopping areas was extremely crowded. We did one quick walk thru and headed back to the ship. Alvin and the Chipmunks: As to the surprise to everyone on the ship, we were lucky to witness the filming of the new upcoming Alvin and the Chipmunks new Movie titled Chip-wrecked. Many lucky passengers got to volunteer to be used as backgrounds in many scenes. Both Jason Lee and David Cross were onboard and at times were just floating around in the crowds onboard the ship. The crew was always very friendly to everyone and was fun to chat and hang out with at many of the bars. I am looking forward to seeing this movie and how they puzzle it all together. Summary: Would I sail Carnival again? Thats the big question. My first time cruising was aboard Carnival on the Destiny, Victory, and Triumph. Since then I have voyaged onto the Grand, Emerald, Ruby, and Crown Princess, as well as the Independence of the Seas from Royal Caribbean. Each cruise line seems to bring in a different demographic of people onboard and at times that can really influence a person on how well they enjoy the cruise. With that being said, I'm not sure Carnival is my favorite choice in future sailings. I hope you enjoyed my review and feel free to ask me any questions. If you would like to view some of my photos from the Carnival Dream here is the link to my flickr page. http://www.flickr.com/photos/81898625@N00/sets/72157625946447752/ Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
We are young cruisers (in our 20s) and went on this cruise for a quick getaway during the holidays. Our cruise was from December 23, 2010 to January 1, 2011, which was nice as it encompassed both Christmas and New Years onboard. Generally ... Read More
We are young cruisers (in our 20s) and went on this cruise for a quick getaway during the holidays. Our cruise was from December 23, 2010 to January 1, 2011, which was nice as it encompassed both Christmas and New Years onboard. Generally there are some aspects of the ship we really enjoyed, but a recurring complaint throughout our cruise was the subpar level of service we received from the staff as well as the incredible crowding of the ship - perhaps the crowding caused the poor service? EMBARKATION: Long lines but they moved fairly quickly. CABIN: We were in a cove balcony (2403). We really enjoyed it - it was spacious and the balcony was really great, close to the waterline. We did not experience the dreaded sewage smell in our cabin but we did smell it closer to the bow of the ship on Deck 2 on occasion (our cabin was towards the aft). I'm amazed that after months of complaints regarding this issue that it is still has not been resolved - perhaps emblematic of Carnival's lack of concern regarding issues of the Dream. Our cabin attendant was friendly and kept our cabin clean but was not especially outgoing. He never really took the time to chat with us or try to develop any kind of rapport, which was a disappointment because we had gone on a 3 day cruise on Majesty of the Seas (RCI) in November and by the end we felt our cabin attendant was practically family. We did like the towel animals but I'm pretty sure these are customary - we never really felt that our cabin attendant went above or beyond in anyway. He just never really stood out one way or another. DINING: We'll talk about The Gathering (buffet on the Lido deck). We found the food to generally be good, with plenty of good options - Mongolian, Indian, Grill, Pizza, Pasta, Grand Buffet, Burrito Bar etc. We were especially fond of the Mongolian Bar and Pasta Bar (the lasagna is amazing). However, the lines were simply HORRENDOUS. Getting any food at pretty much anytime required a 10+ minute wait. The design for the buffet is simply atrocious, because it requires everyone to stand in the same line, e.g. you can't really simply cut in to what you want, so you have to wait behind those who want to try every single salad and other item even if the only thing you wanted was a slice of prime rib. This makes no sense, especially for such a recent ship! In general, we found the crowd control to be extremely poor throughout the ship. We were seated in the Scarlet Dining Room with late seating at 8:15 PM. Our waiter for the first two days was simply terrible, one of the worst we have ever had on either land or sea. He never said hello, he never smiled, he simply asked what we wanted, and came back an hour later (!!!!) with our (then cold) food which he plopped down without saying a word. He never asked us how our meal was, etc. After two days of progressively worse service, we asked to switch tables. The headwaitress at the lobby we spoke to was friendly but not apologetic. If anything, I felt that I had to defend my request. We were switched tables though, and our new waiter was much friendlier, although not once in seven days did he come by to ask us how our meal was going. Again, compared to our short, cheap cruise on Royal Caribbean, the dining room service was simply not up to par. Our previous waiter frequently came by the chat with us, to check on us, etc. Our head waiter would also come by and check to see if we were enjoying our meal. On this cruise, not once in the nine days did a head waiter come by. I'm not sure if this is the standard on Carnival, but the comparison is definitely striking. The food itself in the MDR was hit or miss - terrible on the first night but better on other nights. One disappointment was that there was no "special" meal on Christmas or New Years - it was basically the same menu even though we were expecting something a little extra. After all, the cruise was twice as expensive as a regular (non-holiday) cruise. By the way, NOT ONCE in nine days in the MDR was I asked if we wanted anything "special" to drink, e.g. wines, sodas, etc. On the two occasions where I ordered sodas, I had to flag down the one beverage person who was apparently working the entire dining room, and then wait upwards of twenty minutes for my can of diet coke to be delivered. Just another example of the poor service on the Carnival Dream. The other alternative food option was the Wasabi bar, which generally offered either three pieces of sushi or tapas. The sushi and tapas were not very good but were just "extra," so we were fine with it. We did try the Steakhouse once. The food and service were excellent (I recommend the prime rib, cheesecake and cheese plate). Nevertheless, the cost per person is fairly steep - $30 per person. I believe this is more expensive than comparable specialty restaurants on other cruise lines. Also, surprisingly, you are limited to one entrEe and one dessert, which still allows for plenty of food but surprising given the steep cover charge. PUBLIC AREAS The public areas of the ship were definitely nice, but again we had some complaints. First, the wait for all the elevators was horrendous, so we generally took the stairs - which was actually good for our waistline, but aggravating for the elderly passengers. The lounges were nice, but we simply cannot understand why the one piano bar on the ship would be designated as a smoking area. As a result, we completely avoided the piano bar even though this was one of our favorite areas on Royal Caribbean (the Schooner lounge). We had high hopes for Caliente, the nightclub, but it was consistently empty, even past midnight. We were very disappointed with the pools on the Dream, which are tiny and only three!!! feet deep. The pools on the Majesty, which is about half the size of the Dream and carries half as many passengers, were probably twice as big and certainly twice as deep. Again, this design makes no sense, especially given the size of the ship. As a result, I think we only ever saw young kids using either of the two pools. (There is one additional spa pool, but it is very small and very costly - $35 per person for a day pass). The Jacuzzis were very nice, especially the four on the promenade deck as they are cantilevered over the side of the ship. We generally found there were plenty of Jacuzzis available, 2 in the serenity area, 2 at the aft of the lido deck, 2 on deck 11, and 4 on the promenade, but they did tend to fill up so they were certainly not very "private," except maybe late at night. The Dream does also offer mini-golf, which is a fun diversion; waterworks - the slides are fun for about five minutes, and the rivets are not aligned so I would definitely agree with others that a t-shirt is necessary to avoid significant pain; and two giant outdoor life-sized chess boards on the promenade deck - a nice hidden feature. ENTERTAINMENT This was another low point of the cruise. Given that the Dream is Carnival's flagship, it simply does not even come close to what we've heard about the entertainment on either NCL's (Epic) or RCI's (Allure or Oasis) flagship entertainment. The male lead singer, Desmond Dansby, is good, but the female lead singer, Simone Catallano, is terrible. The dancers were OK but nothing great, except for the "Fun Force" hip hop team which was very good. The Fun Force starred in "Dancing in the Streets" which was by far the best show. The other entertainers included average comics, a not very exciting EDGE juggling show, a decent ventriloquist, and a decent hypnotist. By the way, "Jeff the fun dude," who hosts the comedy shows in the Burgundy Lounge, is NOT funny. We didn't really love the cruise director, Butch, or his assistant, George Roberts AKA Baby Butch. There was just something "off." Most of the passengers seemed to like him though, and he was very peppy. Our opinion might actually be colored by our debarkation, during which he was present but kind of gave us a weird look and did not shake our hands. We thought this was very odd for a cruise director who has a reputation for being upbeat and personable. FUNVILLE@SEA The ship has a wireless intranet known as Funville@Sea, with message boards for passengers to interact. This is an interesting concept but poorly executed as hardly anyone used it. It could be fun if a critical mass of passengers got involved with it, though. OVERALL The Dream is an OK ship - we think it seriously lags behind its competitors' flagships. The service on our cruise, from the dining staff to the entertainment staff to the stateroom staff, was mediocre but perhaps explained by the passenger load. Although the ship might be designed to carry a maximum of 4,500 or so passengers, the public areas and staffing of the ship simply do not support this type of passenger load. I think our experience suffered as a result. GLBT ISSUES We had heard Carnival was generally GLBT friendly. We are both gay, and so we were looking forward to the FOD meetings. Although the meetings appeared on the schedule every day, we only were able to meet one other couple on the third or fourth day. We didn't like them very much and simply stopped bothering to show up. On the first three days, no other GLBT people showed up for the meeting - pretty disappointing given that the ship was carrying around 4,500 passengers. So beware GLBT folks, don't expect to find people at FOD. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
Family of 6 traveling together - 2 adults, 1 teen boy, 3 girls (7yo 5yo, 2yo). We had 2 balcony cabins on Deck 9, 9346 and 9232. Booked 1 adult and 2 kids in each. We booked in mid-November 2010, about 6 weeks before the cruise. We ... Read More
Family of 6 traveling together - 2 adults, 1 teen boy, 3 girls (7yo 5yo, 2yo). We had 2 balcony cabins on Deck 9, 9346 and 9232. Booked 1 adult and 2 kids in each. We booked in mid-November 2010, about 6 weeks before the cruise. We flew in to MCO, uneventfully, and transferred to the Embassy Suites - Airport for a quick overnight, then used Ace Luxury Transportation to get us to Port Canaveral. Hotel - facilities were adequate, service was exceptional! Transfer to the pier - adequate. Transfer back from the pier - pathetic; ended up being sent a subcontracted taxi after waiting nearly an hour for our "pre-arranged" transportation. Embarkation process was a bit slow, and the lines crawled out the door for a good 400 yards. It was a bit breezy, and we were offered the chance to jump out of line, as we had a crew of kids, one of which was in a stroller. Observed some very rude treatment of other guests, by Carnival port staff (male), but it wasn't directed at my family - so it was quickly ignored. The Carnival Port staff (lady) who offered us the jump out of line, guided us to the elevator (we had a stroller), which easily moved us up 45 minutes in the boarding process. We were grateful, as the kids were getting itchy. The showing passports, swiping credit cards, and getting our Sign&Sail cards went smoothly. After which were photographed for the Sign&Sail cards, then the line proceeded to a group of ship's photographers who wanted to scan our cards and take individual pictures in front of a green screen?!?! I am used to getting the 'family' photo upon debarkation in front of the airbrushed backdrop, but having done the 'official' Sign&Sail photo (for security & on board charges); I was rather dubious about the green screen photo, and we declined. We boarded the ship just as rooms were ready for guests. Not being familiar with the ship's layout, we followed the path of least resistance to the nearest elevator bank - and waited an eternity for a car to take us to Deck 9. Had we been more familiar with the ship's layout, we may have had better luck walking forward or aft to other elevators. The rooms were clean, prepped and ready, bright and spacious - very much like advertised. Our cabin stewards promptly introduced themselves and quickly satisfied my request for an ashtray (for the balcony). Luggage was delivered to our rooms by 5pm, and all pieces arrived as expected. The cabins were quite nice, except there was only ONE 110V outlet in the room. Bring a 20+ foot extension cord/power-strip if you use a bedside CPAP machine, or need to charge more than one electronic device at a time. There was another 110V outlet in the bathroom. While the layout and the cleanliness of the room were very nice, the location of cabin 9346 WAS TERRIBLE!! DO NOT BOOK THIS CABIN. The cabin sat directly beneath the Lido Deck's table & chair area, directly in front of the 24 hour pizza station. Between 11pm-3am all you hear is thundering cacophony the staff moving/stacking deck chairs to clean the deck, then hoards of drunken fools migrating from Caliente Disco to the only place that serves food at bar close. Dinner in the dining room was adequate, at best. We had late seating, Crimson lower.... with 3 youngsters - that's tough on their schedules, but we booked late - really can't whine. Our family was segregated into the "kids dining area", a little room of about 6 tables (50 people?) off of the main dining room. If I were traveling without kids, I'd be relieved to see that my dining experience wouldn't be interrupted by tired, crying kids. But it really felt far removed from the much more lavishly decorated "adult" dining room. Again, the food and service were adequate, not stellar (especially compared to other cruise lines, and considering this was a premium priced "Holiday" journey). The flexible dining options (buffets and specialty 'stations') were again, adequate. I agree with most other reviews, the lines are long, the layout is poor, and the customized dining choices (omelets, stir-fry, pasta, deli) were woefully understaffed. They really need to extend/expand dining times. Entertainment - the comedians were 'cruise ship caliber', past their prime and definitely not ever going to tour clubs and theaters again. Same with the piano man-Tom, the guitar guy in the casino, the "tropical" band playing by the pool. While they were all friendly, their acts were stale and play lists weren't very deep. It's rather "low end" to use a DAT or Minidisc as a rhythm section, it shows your performance is going to be scripted and lack any vibrancy or improv ability. I'd rather listen to a CD, my iPod, or Musak. Almost all of the music acts on board could be replaced by a jukebox (with better results), except perhaps the "orchestra" and the 4 piece rock band that played near the bar, mid-ship on Deck 5. I guess cruise ships are where washed up entertainers go to die. "Feature Entertainment" - also lacking. 12 average dancers in skimpy clothing with 2 average singers do not constitute high quality "Feature Entertainment" (the male singer looked as if he hated being on board and was simply "going through the motions" to finish the show). The cruise director boasted about the "million dollar" facility, well that's wonderful, if you have someone who knows how to use the production equipment. I would equate the performers and production caliber to something I might see at a high school or community college presentation. Less than impressed. The "Fun Force" (hip-hop dance troop??) - I am not sure how break-dancers exuding thuggish bravado adds to my vacation experience, but it may serve as a resume booster for this "crew", allowing them to skip the fry station and move right up to working the drive-thru; in their future career endeavors. Children's programs - it looked like the kids' programs, by schedule alone, were going to be incredible. After having cruised on other cruise lines and raved about their kids programs, we were sorely saddened to find out our kids hated going to "the kids jail" - their term, not ours. Other cruise lines have staff with backgrounds/degrees in early childhood development, elementary education - and all of them spoke English as a first language. NOT THE CASE ON THE DREAM. An economics major from Eastern Europe or a former daycare employee from the Philippines are not even close to the caliber/quality of care provided on other cruise lines. Having our easy-going kids crying/protesting at drop-off; told us enough. A staff of 14 to care for an estimated 1400 children?!?! Not impressed. Perhaps a more engaging youth program would not lead to 100s of unsupervised tweens, teens, and young adults (18-20), roaming the ship at all hours with nothing to do. Ports: Cruise sponsored excursions - the ultimate rip-off. Book your excursions independently, your activity and destination are the same, except the cruise line doesn't mark-up the price 100-200%. The only benefit of booking through the cruise line, is they will not strand you in port if one of "their" excursions experiences a delay returning to the ship. Example: 2 adults & 4 kids booking a simple "beach break" would run nearly $400 via Carnival. The same experience in Cozumel can be had for a $19 cab ride. Port reviews: *Nassau - a true armpit of a port. Paradise Island/Atlantis Casino & waterpark is nice, but not when there are 6 ships and 20,000 tourists in port. There is a grocery store within walking distance of the pier, where you can grab the much needed extension cord, some cheap bottled water (compared to the 1.5L bottle available in your cabin for $4 + 15%), and munchies - for when you don't want to wait in line for 20 minutes to get a grilled cheese sandwich onboard. *Cozumel - "safer" for tourists than mainland Mexico (especially the Pacific side). Plenty of shopping and recreation opportunities. Lots of independent excursion opportunities. *Roatan - wonderful beach within walking distance of the pier, no need to book an excursion here. *Belize - stay on the "tourist" path and you'll be fine. Don't stray in search of excitement. Find a bar/restaurant near the tender's pier, enjoy some relative cheap eats. Aside from that, be prepared to spend too much on an excursion (cave tubing or zip lining) - or stay onboard that day and relax poolside. Costa Maya - if you have a hankering to see Mayan ruins, in person, book the excursion. You'll learn as much or more at your local library, and won't have to drive 90 minutes to get there - but if you have to SEE it, it's your money. Otherwise there is nothing to do in this port except shop. You have your choice of Diamonds International, Diamonds International #2 (both terrible places to buy garbage stones), T-Shirt shop #1, T-shirt shop #2, Gabby's hair braiding, or the 2 restaurants/cantinas that straddle the small pool. This is the purest definition of a tourist trap. Make sure you stop by the most depressing thing you can see on your vacation - the poorly cared for dolphins, "handled" by unqualified "trainers", in a pathetically small pool. This port is nothing but an itinerary fluffer for the cruise lines. PARENTS - take note! #1 - teach your kids that when an elevator door opens, let people off before charging into the elevator car. Elderly folks with walkers get to board before the throng of teens/tweens playing tag throughout the halls. I do not and will not hesitate to bulldoze your child out of my way to get off an elevator. #2 - don't take your 17-20 year olds on a cruise. There is NOTHING for them to do after 9pm except gamble (and pester every person over 21 they encounter to get drinks for them.) If you do bring them, don't let the cruise be their drinking lesson. Make sure they know how to hold their buzz and their booze, and lock them away somewhere that they are not starting fights, acting like fools, or putting themselves in danger. Nothing is more pathetic than a drunken/coked-up 25 year old groping a unsupervised teenage girl that has had drinks poured down her throat all night. CARNIVAL - take note! #1 - Delivering all of the liquor purchased in port to passenger cabins, at 9pm, on New Years Eve - absolutely brilliant!!! What a perfect way to keep booze out of the hands of unsupervised, underage passengers (not to mention minimizing your primary revenue stream from legitimate drinkers on a big drinking night). This was probably the last time we cruise Carnival as a family. I could envision doing a 3 or 4 day 'adult getaway" on Carnival, but nothing longer than 7 days again, and never paying a premium price to sail over Christmas/NYE again. The value is simply not there. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
We did a short 5 day cruise before the holidays to Nassau and Grand Turk. Overall the ship looked better than our previous 3 Carnival cruises. We had an inside and balcony cabin on deck 9. The balcony room was quite larger than the inside ... Read More
We did a short 5 day cruise before the holidays to Nassau and Grand Turk. Overall the ship looked better than our previous 3 Carnival cruises. We had an inside and balcony cabin on deck 9. The balcony room was quite larger than the inside cabin and had a seating area with a couch. The balcony was small but could easily hold 4 people. Cabin Closets lack hangers, so we always bring extras. Inside cabins had very little sitting areas, there was a small chair (no back) and the bed. Balconies were pretty small. Only could find 2 real electrical plug-ins. Beds were very comfortable and closets were fairly big. We loved the door stops they left in the rooms, since we had 2 cabins across from each other. A little noisy because it was deck 9 in the middle before the pool (9323/9325) The food and restaurants on the Dream were very similar to other Carnival cruise ships including the menu. The best thing about the Dream is the public areas. It had 2 nice pool areas and a bunch of whirlpool tubs. The water slides were awesome and Jumbo TV helped entertain in the main pool area. During lunch you had a wide variety of items, but lines could get long (especially Mongolian, BBQ and Grill). Entertainment was hit and miss. My kids really liked the Hip Hop Dancers and Comedians, but some of the nightly entertainment was not very good and the movies on the Jumbo Screen and in-room TVs were so-so. The do have a little problem with seating at the Encore Theater and Comedy Club, but overall this is the best Carnival Cruise Ship I have been on and I would cruise this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
Two couples travelling together, one on deck 10 and we were on 2 with a Cove Balcony. Loved the room! Lots of closet space, nice private balcony. Don't waste your time going to the Spa for the $500 give away. It was mostly ... Read More
Two couples travelling together, one on deck 10 and we were on 2 with a Cove Balcony. Loved the room! Lots of closet space, nice private balcony. Don't waste your time going to the Spa for the $500 give away. It was mostly coupons for 30% off specific services. The services they did give away were nothing you would book and pay for individually, such as a scalp massage, a foot massage, etc. Nassau - The crew was doing a safety drill and they were announcing and ringing bells all morning. The guys tried to sleep in but they didn't get any rest. The ladies went shopping. We sailed at 2 so not much time. We had a couples massage, if you book it while still in Port Canaveral for a port day (before sailing) you get the bathing ritual for free. That's a private jacuzzi bubble bath for two for 30 minutes prior to the massage. Very nice. Followed up with a very nice pedicure that I'm still enjoying. I went back at the end of the week for an Oxygen Facial that was quite nice, although the sales pitch in the end was a little too high pressure. We enjoyed the Chef's Table on the first day at sea but they were not able to have a second one due to lack of interest. On Princess the Chef's Table concludes in the main dining room and everyone asks what you're doing and wants to join in. The Dream has a talented Chef, very clean kitchen, top of the line equipment and professional galley staff. St Thomas - One of my favorite islands, very beautiful and pretty friendly. We went up the gondola to the restaurant and took a taxi back. The taxi was too expensive, $10 per person, and we made the mistake of not negotiating in advance. The gondola was higher than it looks from the ground and quite frightening to people like me who are afraid of heights. The Bushwackers are DELICIOUS liquid courage. St Maarten - We took a local taxi for a long island tour. They started at $40 per person but we found a driver with a nice, newer minivan who took us around the entire island for $20 each plus tip. Ask for Big Willie towards the back of the shops after the water taxi. Unfortunately, we had two bad experiences onboard and will not cruise with Carnival again. The first involved an intoxicated couple enjoying a sexual encounter by the aft pool at the bar. This was pretty early in the evening, about 7-8ish. The staff refused to step in, in fact I asked a waitress to send security and she stopped by later and said they would have yelled at her if she intervened. Eventually their respective spouses caught them and it was quite a Jerry Springer moment. I understand that it can happen anywhere, but there were children on board and the deli counter was a few feet away. The lack of response from the bartenders and staff is the issue. The final straw and the deal breaker is the quality of the food. Everything looked beautiful, but they mostly presented public school quality food made to look good with talented hands. The cheesecakes all tasted like a powdered mix, the cakes were dry. Breakfast potatos at the buffet were always cold and hard. I don't understand why the Tandori Grill or the Pasta Bar aren't open for dinner, even on alternating nights. Both are inexpensive to produce and very good. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
Let me start by saying we had a great vacation. I personally believe that fun can be had anywhere. We loved the Dream's western route it included all of our favorite ports and we had a blast at every stop. This was our first cruise ... Read More
Let me start by saying we had a great vacation. I personally believe that fun can be had anywhere. We loved the Dream's western route it included all of our favorite ports and we had a blast at every stop. This was our first cruise WITHOUT our kids and we planned on staying out and dancing until the bars closed down every night. On every carnival cruise I have been on there was normally an active nightlife, I guess we picked the wrong cruise. It was pretty much dead after 11-12pm, we were the only people at caliente several nights after 1am. As for the ship, we did not like it as much as the valor or legend. It just left us feeling like we expected more and Carnival did not deliver it with the Dreams layout. After this experience, we decided it was time to check out Royal Caribbean and see what they have to offer. Happy Cruising! Ports: Cozumel: This was our 6th time to Cozumel. Booked the Bar-hopping tour at www.cozumelbarhop.com and had a blast. Spent the day checking out several local bars and made some new friends along the way! Belize: Cave tubing with cavetubing.com. Loved Yhony and his crew. Caves were wonderful and lunch was great. You cant go wrong spending the day with these guys, great service from start to finish. Roatan: Hired a driver from ronystours.com went zip-lining and snorkeling could not of had a better day. This is the second time we have used rony and would highly recommend his company. Costa Maya: Grabbed a cab and went into town. Enjoyed the beach and just relaxed. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
We sailed on the Carnival Dream on October 2, 2010 out of Port Canaveral, FL. Altogether, the experience was good, but we were disappointed in a few situations that we feel the staff could have either avoided or have rectified. This ... Read More
We sailed on the Carnival Dream on October 2, 2010 out of Port Canaveral, FL. Altogether, the experience was good, but we were disappointed in a few situations that we feel the staff could have either avoided or have rectified. This was our 7th cruise, the 3rd with Carnival, with the others being with Royal Caribbean and Norwegian. As with most of our other cruises, we brought along our two young daughters, one 7 years-old and the other 13. As with all our other cruises and vacations, we chose this one based on several factors...price, itinerary, amenities, and activities for both us and our children. When we arrived at the port (being shuttled from our hotel), we found it to be very simple to maneuver around and find our way to where we needed to be to register. (TIP: Register online as much as you can! It saves lots of time!) The people at the registration counter were perhaps the friendliest people we experienced during our entire trip! They were extremely efficient, but mostly, GENUINELY willing to help us begin a smooth and relaxing vacation. Granted, we began to feel like "herded cattle" at the port, but it wasn't unexpected and wasn't as bad as we have experienced in the past. From the point of driving into the port at around 11:00, we were on the ship within 45 minutes, as the lines seemed to go rather quickly. Rooms weren't ready until 1:30, so, like all 2500+ guests, we were directed to the Lido deck trying to find a table so that we could sit with our bags and hopefully find something to eat. Alongside the other "new" guests, we found it very difficult to maneuver around the unfamiliar space, determine where the back of the line was, and hope that we were in the line that had the food that we wanted. Lucky for 2 of us, we were in the right line, yet for the other 2, they waited over 30 minutes to learn that they weren't! By the time we got our food (carrying our bags with us the entire time and spilling most of it along the way) we were faced with the task of finding a table. After about 20 minutes making circles around this ENORMOUS Lido deck, we found a small table for two and let the kids sit on our laps while we ate. Many guests already on the ship had been onboard since 9am, sitting at tables playing cards, chatting, etc, and taking up much needed space for those who needed a table to eat. As one can imagine, this wasn't the "ideal" first impression of the ship. Eventually, we were able to gain access to our cabin right on time, and found it to be the BEST cabin we have ever had on a ship! It was a COVE BALCONY room...less expensive than a regular balcony cabin, with MUCH more privacy and a SPECTACULAR view being close to the waterline! During the trip, we enjoyed sitting on the balcony watching jellyfish, dolphin, and many other sea creatures, and at times, even getting sea spray on us when the ship plowed through giant waves! As others have mentioned, these rooms are probably not recommended for those who easily get motion sickness or need ultimate quiet. Many nights, we even propped the door open to enjoy the sound of the crashing waves and the cool breezes to help us sleep, however whenever the neighbors' balcony doors began slamming early in the mornings, the resulting noise is only amplified by the metal enclosures, jarring us out of our sleep and ruining the idea of sleeping in late. Not only was the ship immaculately clean, the cabin was as well. The room layout was perfect, and the bathroom was the nicest we have had on any ship. Our favorite part of our cabin, (other than the balcony) was the bed! I must say, these beds were PERFECT! The combination of the pillows, linens, and mattresses were superb, and led us to researching ways of purchasing them for our home! The ship was laid out well, and we found it very easy to find our way around after a couple of days. The voyage was smooth, quiet, with only a couple of times being reminded that we were on a ship as it rocked and dipped...nothing major, just gentle rolls in the evening, usually around dinnertime. The decor was typical of Carnival...mirrors, bright colors, and instead of all the neon on prior ships, this ship had lots of LED lighting, many changing colors. For example, the glass elevator you boarded on the 2nd floor was lit in blue, but by the time you reached the 11th deck, it had changed to yellow, orange, and red. One of our favorite features of the ship were the "1930's/40's style" graphics in the hallways outside the cabins, and the artwork in the stairwells! (TIP: Check out the dancing polar bears and the flying cat!) Signage, lighting, carpeting, furniture...everything...was well done and beautiful. The most beautiful spaces, in our opinion, were the Serenity deck areas and the Spa elevator tower. SPECTACULAR! The Promenade deck was wonderful, and at night, make sure you walk up front (in the dark) and enjoy the wind and the stars (and the peace). The waterslides were nice, but make sure that you wear a snug-fitting suit or else you may give an unwanted show to those other guests walking around at the bottom of the slides! We never had to wait in lines for these, and the water was warm and chlorinated! (TIP: Wear a shirt or a suit that covers your back. The seams on the slides don't meet smoothly, and it is painful on your back as you slide over them.) Food...well...when one is cooking for over 3000 people, one can't expect it to be fantastic. It wasn't. Mediocre food...but still good. By far, the best meal was the night where Filet Mignon was served. It was a tiny piece of meat, but was tasty! (Good thing that our server noticed how much I enjoyed it, and brought me another!) Room service was quick and efficient, however had a very limited menu. On other trips, we were able to order what was being served in the dining room upstairs to our room through Room Service, but we were not able to do this on this ship. I was disappointed in this, and inquired about it, only to be told by the lady on the other end of the line that "we don't use that kitchen". Hmmm. Couldn't someone walk over to that kitchen? Dining room service was excellent, and as usual, we were able to develop a relationship with our server...the only "constant" person we met on staff who knew us by name and remembered our likes and dislikes. Our children were pampered by these staff so well that they now expect us to cut their food for them and spoon it in their mouths! Cruising, in our minds and in many others, is something where we can feel pampered, and special for just a few days, while floating around the oceans of the world. Many times on this ship, we were faced with "I'm sorry. We don't do that", or "We do it THIS way on our ship". It isn't as if we were asking for any special treatment, but when asked if my rare prime rib sandwich could be cooked a bit longer, or the toast on my Room Service BLT could be buttered, or the sauce be left off on the entree being served in the Dining Room, I was given the same response..."Sorry sir. They are already made up that way. We can't help you." This was surprising to hear, and gave us the feeling as though we were just another customer. Always being fascinated with the idea of working on a ship, I looked forward to being able to speak with several crew members to get their take on what it is like living and working at sea. After speaking informally with several crew members during the 7 days, I was given lots of valuable information, with many referring me to speak with their supervisors and management. Leaving several messages with Guest Services including my name and cabin number, I was disappointed that no supervisor or manager followed up with me during the entire trip, only being told that I could pay extra for a "behind the scenes tour". I understand that these people have important jobs to do during the day, but when they are seen lounging in the bars in the afternoons, I can't help but think again that we were "just another customer". Granted, this is a big ship with lots of passengers and crew, but we got the feeling that the staff and crew have certain policies and procedures that they must follow to keep everything efficient. After making a couple of requests, we learned early on that special requests aren't as welcome as on other cruises and vacations we have experienced. The Cruise Director and the entertainment staff were very energetic, and although it was very obvious that they do and say the same thing over and over each week, they still were convincing that they enjoyed their jobs. The shows were good, but we were disappointed in the large amount of recorded music and the lack of live musicians and vocalists. Those "live" musicians that they had were mostly accompanying recorded or electronically programed music. It was good, but not what I would consider "live" music. Kids programs were good. My 7-year-old had a good time in Camp Carnival, which was set up and operated beautifully! Security was their prime concern, with the kids joy following close behind. The Circle C program for my 13-year-old was also good, but their space was disappointing compared to the space allotted for the older teens. Nonetheless, both programs were excellent and are one of Carnival's strong assets. Debarkation was like embarkation, very smooth. We were surprised, however, to already be back in port by 5am with many guests already off the ship by 6am. Once a ship "wakes up" in the morning, there is no sleeping in, and even though we were able to be in our rooms until 8:30, don't expect to be able to sleep past 5am as the announcements seemed to begin shortly afterwards. Finally, I would caution families with younger children to be prepared to see lots of intoxicated and obnoxious people throwing all inhibitions to the wind. Perhaps it was because there were more "adults" on this trip as most children are back in school, but I was unprepared to have my children exposed to drunk men physically and verbally abusing their wives/girlfriends, the intoxicated ladies having catfights in the elevator lobby, or the group of young men who had apparently been drinking all morning to sit beside us at the afternoon reception barely able to hold themselves up in their chairs while cursing like sailors, and demanding that they be served additional alcohol by any bartender that walked by. Additional security and/or training for those who serve the alcohol would have been welcome. Definitely a "Fun Ship Cruise" for those who enjoy getting "wasted", but not for those wanting a relaxing, "family-friendly" vacation in my opinion. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
My new wife and I, and 2 other coupples traveled on the western Caribbean cruise from October 16 to 23rd. This was our 6th cruise, 4th on Carnival, first on the Dream. For this cruise we moved up to a balcony on the 6th or 8th deck, ... Read More
My new wife and I, and 2 other coupples traveled on the western Caribbean cruise from October 16 to 23rd. This was our 6th cruise, 4th on Carnival, first on the Dream. For this cruise we moved up to a balcony on the 6th or 8th deck, positioned right above the shops. First the good. The boat is a beautiful ship and well designed, tastefully decorated. The room was spacious, the balcony a nice change. Great design overall. Getting on and off the boat was the fastest, smoothest, I have ever experienced. I think Carnival has nailed this process that can be a real pain. Food choices with the tandori grill, pasta bar, Mongolian grill, burrito bar, and others was great. There was absolutely no reason to eat the same thing twice over the course of a week. The serenity area for adults only was beautiful, and a welcomed addition. Lots of places to sit and read, comfy chairs, etc. The rest of the boat had great chairs, and even little end tables to place your drink upon between chairs everywhere. There were lots of hot tubs but it seemed not many people in them. Only 1 of the several I tried had hot water, the rest was more luke warm which I didn't understand or experience before. The comedy shows were great, but the lounge filled very quickly and as many people were standing as sitting. The performers were great. I read here that Dancing in the Street was a good show and I agree. Now the bad. We had anytime dining and generally arrived at the dining room between 6:30 and 7:30. 7 pm seemed to be rush hour as we learned. One evening we waited alomost an hour for a table to seat 6 of us, and then were given a table that could seat 10, meaning some of us were too far away from others to talk. Food served in the main dining room was repetitive. After 4 Carnival cruises, I can almost predict what the menu is going to be. I was unpleasantly surprised one night when I ordered "Tom Turkey" that it was actually Turkey roll! Was this made by Swanson? We chose the steakhouse for one evening and the steak was great. The service not so much. It did not seem as though the staff there were sure of what they were doing, and the experience and interaction with the staff was less enjoyable than in the main dining. Was the meal worth $30, bucks, yes. Was it worth $30 more than the meal in the main dining room,, no. I wouldn't go back. On the first evening of the cruise each couple purchased the wine package of 5 bottles of wine. This packaging of wine was a great idea. That wine can be brought to your room as well (full or partial bottle), or enjoyed at any dining room on the boat. However there was a problem with them finding the right bottle of wine during most meals if you left a partial bottle the previous evening. Sometime a bottle of wine wouldn't make it to the table until after appetizers. I would recommend buying the package, just drink the entire bottle over dinner or bring it back to your room (more to follow). The room steward was friendly enough, but again I got a feeling he wasn't sure of what he was doing. Never seen him much, never asked if everything was OK, and basically stayed behind the scenes far more than on other cruises. We brought some wine on board as allowed, and a bottle was given to us by relatives and in our room when we arrived. However there were no wine glasses in the room. I asked the steward for them, they brought a set that we used, then they were taken and not replaced!? If I am allowed to have wine in my room from various sources, including what I purchased in the dining room, why the problem with supplying wine glasses. The fitness center on this boat was the smallest I have ever experienced, and a lot of the equipment wasn't working properly. The doors to the balcony are a poor design and are constantly slamming from all the rooms around you. They need some kind mechanism that prevents them from slamming shut, and I wouldn't recommend a balcony to anyone with kids it is inevitable that kids are going to loose fingers in these doors. I purchased a coke card as I have always done. This ship, like the past several Carnival cruises only offers iced tea and lemonade free, both of which I am not fond of. No problem, I will have soft drinks or juice with my card. But now this seems to be a problem for Carnival as they will give you a miniature portion. A small glass, lots of ice, and maybe a half can of Coke! I asked for larger and was told that was not allowed. So if I go to the buffet for lunch, I have to go elsewhere to get a coke because it is not available within the restaurants, only at bars. For me it is a lose-lose situation. I can forgo the Coke card and drink water and iced tea all week, or buy the Coke card and spend too much time going back and forth to the bar. Really, either charge me more for the card or the cruise so that I can at least get a full can of Coke. I bough the card but it was like they didn't want to give me the coke. The "Past Guests" event was really quite boring, and was representative I think of the entire mood of the ship and the personnel on it. Most everyone was going through the motions, no real excitement, the cruise director excepted who seem to be, along with Gumby, the only ones giving 110% to ensure everyone was having a great time, but was unable to overcome the staff and policies that detracted from everything. For me a cruise is an opportunity to be waited and tended upon, with my satisfaction being paramount, and I pay to be spoiled for a week. The little details that make any experience special were all missing. This cruise seemed like I paid for admittance but got the cheap tickets, nickel and dimed at every opportunity. My port reviews are below. The other port was Isla Roatan but is mis-labelled above. I hated this stop. First, this is a port that carnival created so it is like a high security compound that is meant to keep either you in or someone else out. Either way, I didn't like it. Reading other reviews I understand the rest of this area is beautiful, and excursions are available, but you would have to make arrangements in advance. But I never saw a way out so that we could look at excursions, or visit shops outside the compound. There is a beach there, man made with a steep drop off and sand that ends not far from the water line, and still inside the compound. On our day there, a second carnival ship docked so now you had 6000 to 7000 people in this compound and beach area so it was very crowded. For me, I like to experience the culture and life of the places I visit, and i don't mind leaving money behind to the people that are obviously less fortunate than the typical cruiser. I felt that carnival was doing this place a disservice by trying to keep the passengers captive and confined to their facilities. PS. A a side note, the ship left 2 passengers at this port. I could see them running for the ship from my balcony and the boat was still only a couple feet from the pier. The other ship in port that day left before us and did the exact same thing with a lady. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
Greetings I'm a cruise enthusiast, to me, cruising the open sea on a luxury liner and visiting exotic ports of call is the ideal vacation. I cruise more than the average person; I try to set sail at least once or twice a year. ... Read More
Greetings I'm a cruise enthusiast, to me, cruising the open sea on a luxury liner and visiting exotic ports of call is the ideal vacation. I cruise more than the average person; I try to set sail at least once or twice a year. I have been on over twenty cruises with six different Cruise Lines, so I'm fully aware of the standards of practice in the Cruise Industry and changes that have occurred over the past decade. I'm also an Accredited Travel Agent and I spent several years as a Consumer & Travel Industry Sales Agent for The Walt Disney Company. I'm an extremely detail oriented young man, and I think outside the box. Needless to say, I can spot a burnt out light fixture or a Crew Member chewing gum from the corner of my eye a hundred feet away. This was my fourth cruise with Carnival, which is about average based on my personal cruise experience. My first and second experiences with Carnival were excellent, John Heald, Carnival Cruise Director, made it a most memorable vacation. John has to be the best Cruise Director I have ever had the pleasure of sailing with, and his "Bedtime Stories" are most entertaining. My third cruise with Carnival was going well until an incident with the Security Team ruined my vacation. I was traveling with a Thirty-Five Millimeter Camera and using eight hundred speed film, which should never be x-rayed. Even a low level security screening x-ray will ruin that type of film. While re-boarding the ship at a Port of Call, I explained to a Security Crew Member that I was a Professional Freelance Photographer and that Eight Hundred Speed Film, or "Scientific Film" and it's sometimes referred to, should not be x-rayed. Needless to say I lost the argument and a Security Crew Member took my Camera Bag, which contained the camera and six rolls of used film, and ran it through the x-ray machine without my consent. It was at that point that I decided to never sail with Carnival ever again. I normally cruise with a group of seven friends, this year we were shopping for a Cruise Vacation and narrowed it down to four choices that were literally the same exact price. Our Choices, listed in order of travel distance from home, were The Disney Magic, The Carnival Dream, The Celebrity Solstice, and the Norwegian Epic. We selected the Carnival Dream based on the distance from home to the ship, the fact that Freestyle Cruise Dining is a hassle for last minute cruisers, and that fifty percent of the Cruise Ship's population would not be screaming children. Six years and nine cruises later, I decided to give Carnival another opportunity. My friends and I booked a last minute Vacation literally at the ninety-six hour cutoff time. We were to set sail on the Flagship of the world's largest Cruise Line, what could possibly go wrong? We boarded the beautiful Carnival Dream in sunny Port Canaveral shortly after noon on October 9, 2010. Besides The Oasis of The Seas, The Carnival Dream is one of the most spectacular Cruise Ships I've seen. After being a sea for a few hours I noticed that the vessel was extremely stable in the water, I didn't feel Sea Sick at any time while onboard. Our Verandah Stateroom on Deck Eight Forward was average in comparison to other Cruise Ships. I prefer to have a verandah door that slides open rather than having to open it outward and jam an object into the hinge to prop it open. Besides finding a Bobby Pin on the floor between the bed and the window, the Stateroom was immaculate. The Stateroom Attendant was genuinely friendly and eager to please. He was always very polite and conducted his business in a stealth like manor. He rarely knocked on the door, he mysteriously knew when the room was vacant and cleaned it to perfection when we least expected it. I was however disappointed with the quality of the Hand Soap, Body Wash, and Shampoo products that Carnival provides, not to mention the complete lack of a lotion product, especially on a sunny Cruise Ship traveling in a salty ocean where Guests may experience abnormally dry skin. I know that most Cruise Lines provide premium name brand products; luckily I remembered that Carnival provides substandard generic products, so I packed enough toiletries to sustain us for a week. Just a friendly suggestion that Body Wash and Shampoo products provided by a Cruise Line typically smell like something Marine Derived or Natural Botanicals, not lemon fresh. I was also irritated to discover that we had some type of insect infestation on the first night that seemed to linger on for the duration of the cruise. Something was literally feasting on our flesh while we slept. I believe that the Stateroom may have had an infestation of Bed Bugs or something similar, the fact of the matter is that something with a healthy appetite was in the Stateroom eating us alive all week. I contacted Guest Services and filed an inquiry about the bites that we were experiencing, I actually had to sit on hold for longer than five minutes before I was able to speak with a Guest Services Crew Member. They reported the issue to the Housekeeping Team who supposedly inspected the Stateroom and of course found no infestation of any type. The situation was never fully resolved and I'm angry that Carnival literally swept the issue under the bed. I also want to make a comment about the dark Navy Blue towels that are issued to each person for fun in the sun use. The towels are so much softer and more absorbent that the previous version, however the color is an issue. These new dark Navy Blue towels absorb sunlight and tend to heat up, I felt like I was on fire while lying out in the sun on one of these super heat absorbent towels. One of my favorite things to do on a cruise is eat. If it's not bolted down, I'm eating it. I may be a scrawny one hundred and forty five pound guy, but I can eat. I was extremely dissatisfied with the Dining aboard The Carnival Dream. It probably had to be the worst part of the Cruise, and the worst service I've ever experienced on any Cruise Ship. Imagine the favorite part of your week long vacation becoming the worst aspect of the experience. We spent our evenings dining in the Scarlet Restaurant. On the first night we sat at our assigned table promptly at 8:15pm. At 8:20pm, five minutes after arriving at the restaurant, we were kindly asked by the Maitre d' to move to another table. We decided to go ahead a make the move in order to facilitate the needs of the restaurant. We settled into a new table by 8:25pm, ten minutes after arriving at the restaurant, unfortunately we didn't meet either of the Servers until 8:35pm, twenty minutes after arriving at the restaurant. At 8:45pm, thirty minutes after arriving at the restaurant, we finally received the menus and glasses of "Ship Water," whatever that means. At 9:00pm, forty five minutes after arriving at the restaurant, the Head Server took our order. In the interest of time, we only ordered appetizers and entrees, and skipped the soup and salad courses. At 9:15pm, one hour after arriving at the restaurant, we received the appetizers. The Entrees didn't arrive until 9:45pm, one hour and thirty minutes after arriving at the restaurant. I explained to the Maitre d' that this level of service and the complete lack of attention by the Head Server was not what we expected. The Maitre d' apologized and graciously offered us a bottle of Carnival's Finest Free Champagne to make up for the issue. We rushed through dinner in order to make the 10:15pm Showtime at the Encore! Main Lounge. I want to make it clear that the Head Server was unfriendly and provided extremely slow service. I also want to make it clear that the Assistant Server was doing most of the Head Server's duties and making an honest effort to serve us. After the Show and some other entertainment, we were kind of hungry again, probably because we missed three of the five courses at dinner and we were in a rush to make the 10:15pm Show. Like on any Cruise Ship at midnight we headed up to the Lido Deck for the Midnight Buffet. We arrived at The Gathering Lido Restaurant to discover that the Midnight Buffet no longer exists on any Carnival Cruise Ship. Our choices were the Pizzeria or Room Service. The Pizza offered at the Pizzeria looked like something you would see at a $4.99 Pizza Buffet; needless to say we opted for Room Service. Coincidentally, the only midnight buffet offered on board consisted of my body on a bed being eaten alive by the insect infestation in our Stateroom. When we returned to the Stateroom we took a look at the Room Service menu, which seemed extremely limited. I remember Carnival having a decent size Room Service menu, no cheese and fruit platter, but a decent selection none the less. We eventually discovered that page twenty seven was missing from the Green Stateroom Information Book, which is apparently where most of the Room Service Offerings are listed. After receiving the missing Room Service Menu Page we placed an order for two Hot Pastrami on Rye Sandwiches with Spicy Brown Deli Mustard. Room Service on the Carnival Dream is Fast, Fun, and Friendly! Within fifteen minutes we received two Cold Corned Beef on Rye Sandwiches with Generic Yellow Mustard, which isn't even on the Room Service Menu. On the second evening of the cruise we arrived at The Scarlet Restaurant and were seated at the new table promptly at 8:15pm. The Head Server immediately greeted us and provided us with the Menus and glasses of "Ship Water," yum. We never saw the Head Server again for the rest of the Cruise. At 8:30pm, fifteen minutes after arriving at the restaurant, the Assistant Server took our Appetizer and Soup "or" Salad order. We also asked for some Iced Tea / Lemonade to drink, because the "Ship Water" sounded like it came from Carnival Waterworks. Realistically the "Ships Water" is cleaner than any municipal water source, and we realize that it's used in the ice and concentrated beverage products on board. At 8:45pm, thirty minutes after arriving at the restaurant, the Assistant Server delivered the Appetizers. Keep in mind that the menus were still on the table and we had not yet ordered the Entrees, nor had we received the Iced Tea / Lemonade. At 9:15pm, one hour after arriving at the restaurant, the Assistant Server delivered the soup and took the Entree orders, still no Iced Tea / Lemonade though. At 9:30pm, one hour and fifteen minutes after arriving at the restaurant, the Assistant Server delivered the Iced Tea / Lemonade. At 9:45pm, one hour and thirty minutes after arriving at the restaurant, the Assistant Server delivered the Entrees. After dinner I approached the Maitre d' and simply said "we would like a new Dining Service Team or a third table assignment in another area of the venue." After the Show and some other entertainment we returned to the Stateroom. That evening I checked the balance of my Folio and noticed that there was an unauthorized charge in the amount of $70.00 for Gratuities. I was upset to the point where I was actually trembling. How dare Carnival assumptively attempt to charge any amount of currency to my American Express Card without my knowledge or expressed consent. This is a gross violation of trust as well as extremely poor etiquette. I declined the prepaid Gratuities option during the reservation process and the "Important Notes" area of my Guest Confirmation Email stated nothing about Gratuities. It was at this point that I had the realization that the service level at The Scarlet Restaurant was directly related to the onboard gratuities practice. A service team who is working for Gratuities should not receive said funds on the second night of a Cruise, which is five nights prior to the completion of said services. What's the incentive for Service Team Members to provide an excellent service level if they are not actually working for an incentive. I immediately contacted Guest Services to dispute the issue; once again it was virtually impossible to contact them by phone without sitting on hold for longer than five minutes. I decided to get dressed, walk across the Ship and down five flights of stairs to Guest Services. Which brings be to another subject of concern, there were eighteen public elevators on board and never one available when you needed it. When I arrived at Guest Services, the Crew Member was on the phone. I patiently waited in the queue for almost five minutes. When she got off the phone it rang again, I stepped up and told her not to touch the phone. It upsets me to know that someone who sitting around in their underwear and calling from the comfort of their cozy Stateroom, has priority over someone that got dressed, walked across the Ship, down five flights of stairs, and waited in line for five minutes. Fifteen minutes after the initial unanswered phone call, I was able to voice my concern in person. I explained my issue to the Guest Services Crew Member and asked why the charges were assessed to my Folio without my knowledge or authorization. She simply replied, "That's how it's done." To me, tipping is a very personal thing. I have been on over twenty Cruises with Six different Cruise Lines. Most Cruise Lines provide labeled Gratuity Envelopes, some let you electronically wire discretionary increments from your Folio to the individual Crew Members providing your services, right from the TV in your Stateroom. I have never been charged without knowledge or consent, especially on the second night of a seven night cruise, and after having horrible service in the Scarlet Restaurant two nights in a row. I politely requested that the charges be removed from my Folio. At first the Guest Services Crew Member was hesitant, she asked for an explanation. I simply took out my iPhone and explained that I would call American Express and dispute the charge, and then file a formal complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Needless to say, she decided to remove the charges from my Folio. John Heald, Carnival Cruise Director, always said "at Carnival, tipping is a very personal thing." I firmly believe this practice and it actually makes me feel good to give a Service Crew Member an additional fifty or one hundred percent more than the suggested gratuities for providing excellent service. The third day of our cruise was the first Sea Day, so we took the opportunity relax and enjoy some of the Cruise Ship's Dining Offerings. We quickly discovered that lunch at The Gathering Grand Buffet, Mongolian Wok, Burrito Bar, Pasta Bar, and the Indian Tandoor all close one hour earlier on Sea Days. Why would Carnival close most of the Lunch Venues one hour earlier with a full complement of thirty-six hundred Guests on board and obviously not having lunch in a Port of Call? The Grand Buffet at The Gathering Lido Restaurant had some great lunch offerings, and while Salami and Bologna are popular Lunch Meats, I was sick and tired of seeing them on the buffet every single day. Perhaps the Salami and Bologna belong at the Deli, thus making room for something more appealing on the Grand Buffet. The Pasta bar was also a nice treat to have on board, even though I marked Farfalle Pasta on my form and received Rigatoni Pasta. We did like the fact that we could get an Iced Tea or Lemonade at any time; I did want to point out that the beverage station located at The Gathering on the port side midship appears to be configured backwards in comparison to the other three. It's a corner configuration with the cups located in the corner itself, the ice machine is on the far left, and the beverage fountain is on the far right; needless to say it was a constant time consuming traffic jam of ten to twenty thirsty Guests going back and forth all day and night. We also noticed several other inconsistencies with Dining availability. For example, the twenty four hour Pizzeria would randomly close for an unspecified amount of time in the middle of the day. Breakfast at the Scarlet Restaurant had ended thirty minutes early when we arrived shortly after 9:30am on both Sunday and Wednesday mornings. We really wanted to experience the flavors at the Indian Tandoor venue, so we saved that for the Sea Days because we had lunch ashore on the days we were in Ports of Call. Unfortunately the Indian Tandoor venue is only open for a very short two and a half hours on Sea Days. In fact the Indian Tandoor venue was only open for approximately twenty hours during the seven days we were on board. I have to say that I was sick and tired of seeing those Carnival "Dear Guest" signs all over the place. When translated from Carnival Language to English, "Dear Guest" means "Disappointment." That is one memory about my vacation that I can do without. We eventually made it to the Scarlet Restaurant for lunch on a Sea Day. I felt like I was there for dinner, again with the extremely slow service. We arrived at the Restaurant at 1:30pm and did not receive the menus and "Ship Water" until 1:45pm, fifteen minutes after arriving at the restaurant. Five minutes later the Server returned to take our order and never even made an additional beverage offering. At 2:00pm, thirty minutes after arriving at the restaurant, I got up from the table, walked across the restaurant to a Server Station, picked up a pitcher of Iced Tea, and returned to my table with it. I received a round of applause from other Guests in the restaurant and all of a sudden had four servers sprinting across the restaurant to the table. They attempted to remove the Iced Tea Pitcher from the table and I declined, finally someone said that it wasn't permitted on the table, so I eventually surrendered it with hesitation. I have to say that the Offerings available at the venues on The Lido Deck were more appealing than those at the Scarlet Restaurant for lunch. The Clam Chowder was interesting; it consisted of room temperature Cream of Potato Soup with two, one inch, open faced clams, one of which was meatless. We actually left the venue half way through the entrEe and headed for the Deli up on the Lido Deck. It was 2:30 on a Sea Day when we arrived at the Deli; it was one of two venues that were open for lunch on a Cruise Ship with thirty-six hundred passengers. Needless to say we had to wait in line for fifteen minutes at the Deli. We placed our order for two Hot Pastrami on Rye Sandwiches with Spicy Brown Deli Mustard, we received two Hot Pastrami on White Bread Sandwiches with Yellow Mustard, which wasn't even on the menu. This is the second time and place that we ordered Hot Pastrami on Rye Sandwiches with Spicy Brown Deli Mustard and received something different. First of all, I can tell the difference between Pastrami and Corned Beef, as well as Rye Bread and White Bread. Second, these sandwiches are traditionally served with Spicy Brown Deli Mustard, not Yellow Mustard. If the Deli was out of Rye Bread or Room Service was out of Pastrami, they should have specified that rather than assumptively preparing something different in an effort to deceive us, especially when said replacement isn't even on the menu. Also, it's a Deli, and every Deli is stocked with Spicy Brown Mustard. I eventually got a delicious Hot Pastrami on Rye Sandwich and added my own Spicy Brown Mustard that I picked up in Saint Thomas. I'm a big fan of Sushi; I eat it at least once a week. Having a Sushi Bar on board was a big treat. Unfortunately the Sushi Bar on the Carnival Dream was not at all up to par with its Offerings. The majority of the "Sushi" was actually cooked, and most of the time the Offerings were not served at a safe temperature. In fact, "Sushi" should never smell "fishy" unless it's gone bad. For some reason the Wasabi Sushi Bar was closed on Sunday and had non Sushi Italian style Tapas on Wednesday, both were unsettling encounters when we arrived at the venue. The suspense was building as we got closer to our third evening at the Scarlet Restaurant; it was becoming a TV Drama. Would we have a new Dining Team or a third table assignment, what type of drama would unfold? Find out tonight at 8:15pm on Carnival. Once again we were seated at the new table promptly at 8:15pm. At 8:16pm, one minute after arriving at the restaurant, the new Service Team introduced themselves and took a few minutes to get to know us as well. The Dinner Service was absolutely flawless from that point forward. The new Dining Team knew our names and our taste preferences. They were extremely friendly and genuine. The service was so seamless that we didn't even notice it; they were meticulously catering to our every need before we even had a thought. The offerings were average in comparison to other Cruise Lines. The quality was good and a Lobster Tail EntrEe is not something that you will find on every Cruise Line. My evaluation of The Scarlet Restaurant experience was average. Towards the end of the cruise I was expecting to see the infamous Chocolate Buffet that I have seen on every Cruise Ship. I was extremely upset to learn that Carnival Cruise Lines has done away with the Chocolate Buffet. Seriously? Josh Waitzman was an above average Cruise Director, not Excellent though. John Heald on the other hand is an excellent Cruise Director; he sets the standard for all Cruise Directors in the Industry. John's appeal is that he relates to Guests and has the unique ability to visualize and create the ideal Guest Experience. Josh is a great Cruise Director and he has the potential to be Excellent. My first impression of Josh is that he's insincere as well as inconsistent. He comes across more like a used car salesman rather than a cherished friend. Despite the drama at The Scarlet Restaurant we were able to make it to the Encore! Main Lounge for Showtime every night. I was very impressed to see a live band for the Production Shows, that's a rear treat on a Cruise Ship. Eddie C. & The Dream Show band gave an excellent performance. The Carnival Dream Dancers were also excellent, especially in comparison to all the productions I've seen while working for The Walt Disney Company. Desmond Dansby is an excellent singer, perhaps one of the best I have seen on any Cruise Ship. Bert Rodriguez is probably the best singer I've seen; he performs seasonally for another Cruise Line and is the lead Singer in Finding Nemo The Musical at Walt Disney World. Simone Catalano on the other hand did not give a good performance at any time during the Cruise; in fact some of the karaoke sinkers gave a better performance. She was off pitch and could not hit certain notes. I almost jumped ship when I heard her sing "I Will Always Love You." I was excited to see the Lido Laser Show on the first night of the Cruise. Wow . . . that pretty much sums it up. What a complete waste of time. Other Cruise Ships that are half the size are able to have elaborate fireworks presentations. I wasn't quite sure what I was watching, and judging from the facial expressions and body language from Cruise Director Josh, who happened to be standing next to me, he wasn't impressed either. You couldn't really see the lasers because smoke machines in an open air Lido Deck, on a moving Cruise Ship, in a windy ocean, are virtually ineffective. On formal night we attended the Captain's Celebration, which traditionally has complimentary Cocktail Hour on every Cruise Ship I've ever been on, unfortunately Carnival no longer partakes in this cruise industry tradition either. First the Midnight Buffet, then the Chocolate Buffet, and now Cocktail Hour at the Captain's Celebration. I suppose that Carnival received an overwhelming amount of feedback from Guests that wanted these offerings discontinued, right? The Uncensored Comedy Shows at the Punchliner Comedy Club in the Burgundy Aft Lounge were a cruise highlight! Michael Macey, Comedian, definitely needs to be promoted to Captain. I have seen Michael on other Cruise Ships and he's one of the best in the industry. I enjoyed the concept of the Punchliner Comedy Club; however I feel that the Burgundy Aft Lounge was at an uncomfortable capacity. Some guest could not see the comedians and others had to stand during the show. It may have been more comfortable in the Encore! Main Lounge, which is where this type of show would normally take place on other Cruise Ships. One of the most interesting aspects of The Carnival Dream was the Carnival Waterworks; I've never seen six waterslides on a Cruise Ship. I do however want to point out a safety concern with the two larger slides. The joints where each segment of the tubes are connected are very sharp and scrape the rider's backs as they slide over each segment of the slide. My back was in slight pain and visually red after riding, in fact everyone who got off the slides had red backs. I was also impressed with the number of Spas, or Hot Tubs; I've never seen eight Spas on a Cruise Ship. It should however be noted that thirty-six hundred Guests sharing two pools was a bit unsettling at times. Also The Hot Tubs on The Lanai Promenade were inconsistent, the two that were Forward exceeded one hundred and five degrees and the two that were Midship were actually cold all week. The Stateroom Attendant for the week and the Third Dining Team for the last five evenings exceeded our expectations. We ended up giving the Stateroom attendant a fifty percent bonus and we gave the Head Server a one hundred percent bonus above the recommended gratuities. Tipping is a personal thing and no one should ever be forced into a prepaid situation, it's unethical. I made an honest attempt to submit my personal feedback on five different occasions. First, I was expecting a comment card in my Stateroom on the last night of the Cruise. Most Cruise Lines leave a comment card in the Stateroom so that guests can sit down and collectively provide constructive feedback. The Comment Card never appeared in the Stateroom. Two, I went to Guest Services, after calling them and sitting on hold for over five minutes again, and requested a Comment Card. The Guest Services Crew Member stated that the person who booked the cruise would receive a Comment Card via email on the day of their return home. The Electronic Comment Card never appeared in my Email. Three, I sent an email to Carnival Guest Care on Monday, October 18 and inquired about the Electronic Comment Card. I received an email response three days later with other feedback methods. The Electronic Comment Card was not an option. Four, I called Carnival Guest Care on Wednesday, October 20 and inquired about the Electronic Comment Card. I was told that we did not receive it as yet because we still had an "open file" by the ship, I can only imagine what the file said after the Dining Service, Gratuities, and Insect Infestation issues. The Carnival Guest Care Representative verified my email address and stated that I would receive the Comment Card since I was listed as the Guest who booked the Cruise. My Stateroom roommate received the Electronic Comment Card and submitted it without consulting me; he assumed that each individual Guest would receive one, which is not the case. I emailed Carnival Guest Care again and explained the situation. Guest Care explained that the comment cards are only sent to individuals that are listed as head of household and that in my case, the head of household on my Past Guest Profile is my younger brother, and since my Stateroom Roommate is listed as head of household on his profile, the system automatically sent the survey to him, even though I booked the cruise. This makes absolutely no sense at all from a Guest perspective. I formally request that I am made the Primary Guest in my Guest Profile since I am the one who booked both this cruise and the cruise that I took my younger brother on. So now this letter represents my fifth attempt to provide feedback about my cruise experience and I'm not even sure if it was worth my time and effort. Based on my personal experience aboard The Carnival Dream in comparison to the twenty other Cruise Ships I have sailed on, this overall experience was below average and did not meet my expectations. Based on my Travel Industry background I cannot in good conscious recommend this cruise to anyone that trusts my judgment. I may not completely write off Carnival; however it may be another six years before I trust the Cruise Line with my precious Vacation Time. Every Cruse has its pros and cons. I don't have extremely high expectations and I'm not difficult to please. I want a fun and relaxing experience at a fair price. I hope this review finds you well and that you take it into consideration when planning your Cruise Vacation. Carnival is a good company and the biggest Cruise Line in the World. Now they need to focus on becoming the best. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2010
I was a little nervous about booking on the Carnival Dream due to reviews I had read. However, having cruised on the Holiday in 2004 and having really enjoyed it, I thought maybe the critics were being a little harsh so we gave it a ... Read More
I was a little nervous about booking on the Carnival Dream due to reviews I had read. However, having cruised on the Holiday in 2004 and having really enjoyed it, I thought maybe the critics were being a little harsh so we gave it a whirl. First, embarktation was easy and quick. However, if you have a mobile phone that has data usage, turn it off before getting in line. I didn't turn off my droid until we reached the room and incurred a $80 charge for data upload. Dream was a really pretty ship, but crowded is exactly what you can expect. Buffet lines had 10 to 20 minute waits and the wok and pasta bar were practically inaccessible unless you were willing to wait 30 minutes or more. Staff at the buffet lines were not friendly and appeared to be as frustrated with the customers as the customers were with waiting. At the formal dinners, service was excellent and the food was good but not spectacular. Port of calls - We were scheduled to go eastern carribian but thanks to hurricane Earl, we were diverted to the western carribian. No notice was given until we were on the ship, some customers were extremely unhappy, but we really didn't care. When you got o port at Cozumel, Cancoon, Belize, Isla Rataan, well just watch out...Turns out Carnival owns many of the ports and have built little towns for you to shop in.. There cruise director tries to get you to book excursions through Carnival because Carnival owns or gets cut backs fromt he excursions.. My advice, do you homework and get out of the "Carnival" mess. In order to see the real countryside, rent a car, take a taxi and get with the locals. We did and were delighted with the results...We got cheaper cuisine, less populated beaches, excellent service at several clubs and resorts and had a blast. Also, don't buy the water on the ship before arriving at ports...Bottled water and soda are available at the ports for anywhere from $1 to $1.50 less per bottle and is found abundantly. Entertainment on the cruise line is good, just make sure you get to your show early so you can save yourself a great seat. As for rooms, we upgraded to a balcony that was suppose to have an unobstructed view, unfortunately the view was obstructed and chairs on the balcony aren't that great. Save yourself some bucks and get an interior or ocean view room. They are exactly the same just no little balcony. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2010
My hubby and I have cruised with Carnival over a dozen times, and found this most recent sailing to be surprising, and not in a good way. We realize that booking in the middle of hurricane season is always a risk. We are native ... Read More
My hubby and I have cruised with Carnival over a dozen times, and found this most recent sailing to be surprising, and not in a good way. We realize that booking in the middle of hurricane season is always a risk. We are native Floridians and know how the Caribbean can be 'busy' this time of year. However, we did expect Carnival to keep their customers more in-the-know than waiting to surprise us at the check-in desk. I phoned them late the night before sailing, and then again the morning of sailing before we drove to the Port, with the Carnival customer service persons saying that the itinerary had not changed... Once we were over the initial disappointment of the itinerary change (from Nassau, St. Thomas, and St. Maartin port stops to Cozumel, Belize, Isla Roatan, and Costa Maya) we quickly boarded the ship. I really do appreciate the way that Carnival at Port Canaveral has simplified the checking in and boarding process. I hope that implement this at the other Florida ports. Had I not known that this was a new ship for Carnival, I would have assumed that I was on one of the older ships. No "WoW" factor anywhere! Rooms were just okay, atrium and dining rooms just okay. No luxury or thoughtful touches anywhere. I guess this confirms that Carnival is becoming the 'Walmart' of cruises. We chose an inside room since we spend little time there...but, we do expect our Cabin Steward to clean our room and keep us informed. A stray room steward in our hallway upon our first visit to our cabin let us know that our regular cabin steward was on vacation and someone else would fill in. Not a good sign. As the cruise progressed, our cabin steward (whoever he/she was) made our bed and left clean towels, but neglected to give us timely information (such as notification of the free cocktail happy hour, or the past-passenger invitation). What a disappointment. Our meals in the Lido's Gathering, as well as in the dining room, were good. Just good, nothing more nothing less. We did make the decision to eat in the Steakhouse twice---worth every penny of the $30 per person. The filet mignon I had both times literally melted in my mouth! And, if you really love cheesecake, it is worth every penny spent for dinner. Something happened with water pipes mid-way through our cruise, and we had no hot water anywhere on the ship for almost two days. Other cruisers received a written notification from the captain about the situation...not us. Again, our cabin steward failed us. When the pipes were repaired, the captain sent out a written notice of a happy hour of free cocktails for everyone. It sure would have been nice if we received our letter letting us know this instead of us stumbling upon it after dinner. But, there were many happy cruisers seeing just how many free drinks they could consume in one hour! We met many nice people on board, as we usually do when we cruise with Carnival. We all agreed that we were having a good time, but felt that our expectations fell short of this being a new ship. Entertainment was good, but the show lounge does not have good capacity or thoughtful layout of seating. If you are stuck on the sidelines, be prepared to miss some of the shows simply because the stage extends past where you can view. This ship brought on a group on young men who were break-dancer performers. They were FANTASTIC! Carnival should have them on every ship! And, the best part of the cruise was the Comedy Club and performers. Again, something that Carnival needs to put on every ship now. It was a great ending to our evenings. We are already planning on organizing a group to cruise in early summer 2011, and may seriously consider trying another cruise line. Too bad that Carnival is becoming run-of-the-mill, with no special touches for repeat cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2010
First time Carnival Cruiser. We selected the DREAM because it was a newer ship, and fit our dates and itinerary. Overall it was fine, but we'd not rush back to sail with the line or this ship. Overall: Clean, Courteous crew, nicely ... Read More
First time Carnival Cruiser. We selected the DREAM because it was a newer ship, and fit our dates and itinerary. Overall it was fine, but we'd not rush back to sail with the line or this ship. Overall: Clean, Courteous crew, nicely out-fitted ship. Crowded in the public spaces and pools are way too small for a ship this size with this many passengers. Food is average, about like that on a college campus. On and off the ship is done easily and efficiently. Many of the reviews on this site are spot-on accurate. Pros: Excellent staff all around. Steakhouse is primo - if you go on this ship, book one night there for sure and pay the $ 30 extra per person, its worth it. Casino is great, especially the two electronic Texas Hold "Em tables that hold 12 players per game. Expensive furniture and fittings used throughout the ship. Rooms are good, and you can actually fit in the showers. Extended balconies on the fantail of the ship are the place to be (Decks 6/7/8). Great clubs for 17 and under set. Cons: Low ceilings make you a bit claustrophobic. I'm sure they wanted one more deck of rooms and decided to do that. Carnival always has their hand in your pocket - more so than other lines. Expect to spend about $2K on board ship for a family of 4. The buffet in Lido deck is horribly crowded and no place to sit - you must go before or after peak hours. Pools are way too small - a joke actually. Sports Deck an afterthought. Very small glasses in the main buffet and poor quality ice. You have to take three or four glasses of your beverage for a serving size. Ice Tea is lousy - no fresh brewed on board even if you want to pay for it (only in the Steakhouse). Marginal: Shows are just so-so. 'Dancing In the Street' by far the best. Too much Karaoke for my taste. Food is typical, the hot is cold, the cold is hot. For a new ship (in service just 8 months) I was surprised at how much weathering has already occurred on many outside components. Fabric on the seating in THE GATHERING is already heavily stained, they should have used leather or vinyl. No place for 18 to 21 years olds to hang out. Public spaces you want to be in are overcrowded. Overall: We like Royal Caribbean better. Navigator of the Seas (similar ship size) is much better in our opinion . Disney Cruise lines has the best shows and food (by far) but no casino and too much Mickey Mouse. I'll just give the DREAM and average overall rating. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2010
I wanted to post on this site, since it was one of the most comprehensive tools when I was looking to book a cruise this summer. The Carnival Dream was selected by me and my family for several reasons. First, it sailed from Port Canaveral ... Read More
I wanted to post on this site, since it was one of the most comprehensive tools when I was looking to book a cruise this summer. The Carnival Dream was selected by me and my family for several reasons. First, it sailed from Port Canaveral - which is very close to our home city. Second - the sail dates were just what we needed based on family commitments and work schedules. Third - the price was pretty low, compared to RCCC and Disney. Finally, its Carnival's newest ship, so we figured it would be clean and very modern. Embarkation was easy - the large parking garage was nice (until we got the $106 bill when it was time to leave)! We got on the boat, were able to get into our balcony stateroom right away (minus the luggage that didn't arrive until close to 5pm). The room was nice, with a comfy bed and flat screen tv. The balcony was decent sized -with two little chairs and a table. The bathroom was tiny, as they usually are. Warning to those with long hair - the pathetic excuse for a hairdryer was very aggravating. I would have had better luck standing out on the balcony and letting the wind dry my hair! Bring your own! Also, there is only one plug, so that too is a challenge. The closet space was decent, which was a plus. The walls are paper thin, and we could hear every sneeze and toilet flush in the cabin next to us. Food: the food was fair, at best. The feeding trough - AKA the Gathering (buffet) was always way too crowded and we avoided it as much as possible. Instead, we liked the pasta bar, and the tandoori buffet at the rear of the ship. The sushi bar was okay - but they only had three selections at any given time, so if you didn't like what they were serving that day you had no other options. For some reason, the design of the main buffet area was all wrong. There was only one juice/tea station in each main room (which looked like it could hold 1000 people) and it was placed right next to the walk way. There was always a line for drinks, and the people basically blocked the entire path. Otherwise, you had to meander through the chairs. We were traveling in a group of 7 people (4 adults, three kids - ages 15, 10 and 7). We chose the flexible dining option, which I would definitely recommend. There were several nights that we had gone out on excursions, and needed some rest before jumping right into a sit-down dinner. The dining room was pretty, and clean. The wait staff was very nice. But, be prepared to spend AT LEAST 90 minutes each night if you eat in the dining rooms. It was painfully slow - which is a challenge for adults, not to mention a 7 year old. There were lots of choices on the menu each night - but the food was average at best. Nothing that would make me want to order more - or usually even finish. Spa: My husband and I took advantage of the spa by joining the VIP package on the first day. They told us it was limited to the first 40 people who signed up. We really enjoyed being able to go at our leisure each day to the mineral spa, two steam rooms, and two saunas. This was a great idea and I would definitely do it again. Also, for an additional $50 you can opt for the Mud Bath - which was also great! Gym: The gym was really nice - lots of treadmills, ellipticals and bikes. All very new and modern. The weights were pretty sparse, but hey - its a cruise ship. Surprisingly, the gym was busy every time we went by. Pools: one word: SMALL. Why the engineers built two teeny pools on a ship of this size is beyond me, On the sea days there were so many people in them it was ridiculous. We didn't swim at all. Plus, I was really hoping that Carnival would have taken some tips from Disney Cruise Line and made the pools fresh water, rather than salt. The big water slide was nice - but usually way too crowded - and make sure you wear a shirt when you go down - since both kids said it pulled their hair on their neck. Entertainment: Terrible. The main shows in the Encore theater were so cheesy it was almost funny. The first one we saw was a western-theme. It was just awful. The featured singers were so melodramatic it was painful to watch. The other show we saw was "Dancin in the Streets". Again, other than the little bit of break dancing from the 4 guys - it was terrible. Also, a warning - both shows had at least one part that was very inappropriate for the "family" theme. In the western show, there was one scene where a girl on a saddle with a pole performed a sexy romp with a cowboy -not good for the little ones. In the Dancin show - there was a part where the female dancers were "street walkers" dancing to Donna Summer's song "Bad Girls"...really? I almost got up and left. In the casino, they had some old guy with his guitar that ruined every song he could get his hands on. Even the dealers agreed that he was awful. Casino: this was one of the areas that they got right. Plenty of tables for everyone who wanted to play. They also have two electronic Texas Hold 'Em tables that were really state-of-the-art. Very impressed. The only negative about the casino is the bar service. It was very hard to get a cocktail waitress and unlike Vegas - the drinks aren't free when you are gambling. Ports of Call. We travelled to Cozumel, Belize, Isla Roatan and Costa Maya. Cozumel is just like Nassau in the Bahamas. A cheap straw market and your typical shops. We booked an excursion through the cruise line (the only one we did this way) and it was pretty good. We went to a small private island beach that served free beer, watered down drinks and "authentic" Mexican food (to include lots of flys). The beach was beautiful, though and the service staff was very nice. Belize was interesting. We had to take a tender to the pier, and the shopping was terrible. The country is very poor, and the people seem desperate. We booked an excursion through the internet - along with about 75 others from our ship and took a tour bus out to the rain forest (a 1 hour ride through the poorest countryside). We went on a 30 minute ATV ride through the jungle that was a blast -then back on the bus for another 10 minutes to a park where we got our tubes for the cave tubing part of the trip. We walked through the beautiful (very humid and hot) park for about 30 minutes where we rafted down the river (spring fed and lovely) through caves and the forest for about 45 minutes. It was really a great experience for the kids and the adults. Oh, and as a side note - in Belize, if you didn't book an excursion though Carnival then you had to wait until all of those that DID got off the boat. I overheard one lady ask what the wait time was going to be - as she and her group waited at the back of the ship - that it would be an hour to an hour and a half before they got on a tender. This was after being told that in order to even GET a sticker to get off the boat - you and your ENTIRE party had to be present. Isla Roatan, Honduras is a port that was built by Carnival Cruise Line. It was very clean, and the beach was nice. Otherwise, there isn't much to do here. Costa May a was my favorite port. We took a cab to the lighthouse ($3) and walked along the boardwalk until we found a quaint little place with free beach chairs, cheap beer, free Kayaks and $30 rentals of jet skis (oh, and $20 massages for 30 minutes!). This port is definitely gong to be up and coming- since it has great potential. The people were friendly, and although they all want to sell you something, they weren't pushy or pathetic like Belize. Overall, the trip was good - but it could have been great. The main gathering areas were too small, and the entertainment was cheesy. The pools were ridiculous for the number of people on this boat. The food was decent but not great. The staff was nice and accommodating. The ports of call were good -but the Eastern Caribbean is much better. My next cruise will definitely not be on Carnival - although I still like cruises for a family vacation. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2010
We just returned from our Carnival Dream vacation. Here's my review: Embarkation: This was relatively quick. We got in line at the terminal at about 11:45 and were onboard by 12:30. We immediately went to the Crimson dining room for ... Read More
We just returned from our Carnival Dream vacation. Here's my review: Embarkation: This was relatively quick. We got in line at the terminal at about 11:45 and were onboard by 12:30. We immediately went to the Crimson dining room for lunch. Muster Drill: We met at our muster station and listened to the safety briefing. We did not do the usual lineup at the actual lifeboats. I've never had this be the case and am guessing that this may have had to do with the heavy rain that had just passed over us before the drill started? Luckily the rain had pretty much stopped before sailaway. Cabin: We had connecting Cove balconies, 2314 and 2318. We LOOOOOVED these rooms. During the aforementioned storm, we were sitting comfortable and completely dry on our balcony. They feel much roomier than a regular balcony. I really liked not having the plexiglass front - the spacing on the rails was set so that we could sit comfortably in the chairs, looking though the binoculars. These rooms in particular are under the Crimson and we never heard any noise from above us. If I ever sail another ship with a Cove offering, it's a cabin type I will definitely repeat. There is a ton of storage in the room - in fact, we had complete shelves in the room and bathroom that sat empty the whole week. Was the first time I cruised without an over the door shoe rack and I did not miss it a bit. We found the beds to be terrible - which is a sentiment we shared with the rest of our group. I kept meaning to request a topper, but never got around to it. There was an extra comforter stored in the closet, so we just threw that on the bed and it made it a little better. Our steward was Jose and he did a great job taking care of us. Cloud 9: My mother and I split the weekly pass. With 4 ports it was difficult to really get daily use of it, but we did manage to make it 4 days total. The Thelasso pool was nice - it was hot three of the four days, but almost chilly on one day. Perhaps they had just filled it? It really is nothing more than a large hot tub. We really enjoyed the dry room with the hot tile reclined loungers. I nodded off each time I used it - it was nice! Also, the showers in the Cloud 9 area are huge and awesome! I checked out the "public" locker room and it wasn't nearly as spacious. Gym: The gym is well equipped with the latest in fitness equipment, unfortunatly its too small and the gym was PACKED every day. I often had to wait for a treadmill or elliptical to open up. It was an awkward space too with the way it wraps around the Thelasso pool. Strange design. Chefs Art: This was our second supper club experience and I wasn't as impressed as I was with The Point on the Conquest. On the Conquest, it was an event, from the moment we walked in the door. Here it just seemed like a snooty version of the dining room. The food was as good as I remember from the Conquest, but the experience was far less personal and interesting. Waterworks: DD hates the saltwater pools (and they were WAY too crowded anyway) so we're thrilled to have the Waterworks options. We enjoyed this area on several occasions. We actually skipped Costa Maya and spent most of our day at the WaterWorks area. Lots of fun for all ages! Pools / Hot Tubs: These areas were way too crowded and small for a ship this size. Camp Carnival: I usually RAVE about CC, and this is usually DD's (7) favorite part of cruising. Not this time. She went for maybe an hour and a half each night. When I asked her why she didn't go much this trip, she said the counselors were mean. I noticed during drop off and pick up that they seemed more stressed and abrasive than those on other ships we've sailed. I asked DD if they were mean to her and she said no, but that one in particular kept asking the other kids "you got a problem with listening, huh?" It obviously made her uncomfortable. Smell: Yes, I smelled that smell. It was certainly not a constant and I pretty much forgot about it until those few moments that it assaulted my nose. The first time I smelled it was the evening of our first full day at sea. After that it was once, maybe twice, throughout the day... and quickly forgotten once it passed. Cozumel: We were the only ship in port. We'd planned this to be a beach day, but didn't know where. We wanted to try one of the beach clubs we've never tried before, so we ended up at Mr. Sanchos. The facilities were very nice and exactly what we were looking for. We spent several relaxing hours there, swimming in the ocean, in the small pool, and playing on the beach toys. The food was good. The drinks were pricey but weak - if I were there with partying in mind, I'd stick with bottled type beverages. Just saying. Roatan: We were one of two ships in port - we shared Roatan with the Norwegian Epic. BIG BOAT. ? DD, Mom, and I did a Shore Trips zip lining tour at South Shores. DD (7) had to go down with a guide, which I was okay with. She had fun despite this. Mom (65) did well on this one - she seemed to enjoy herself and it wasn't overly strenuous for her. I've done zip lining a few times, so I think I had the most fun. Zip lining is more fun when you can relax a little and take in the scenery as you fly above / around it. ? It was a good day. DD was fascinated with the monkeys at South Shore. One of the guides let her hold one while I took a picture. Shopping tip at Mohogany Bay - visit the carts in the middle of the shopping area - they seemed to be mostly ignored and were more "flexible" on their prices. DH did the Black Pearl Golf Course. Be aware that the course is still under construction. Only 9 holes were playable, so they did them twice. Club rentals were $35. I think there should have been a little more disclosure on the 9 hole information, given the hefty price of $190 for this tour. Judging by the photos it was a very nice course with terrific ocean views. Belize: We were the only ship in port. DH and I did the Raiders of the Lost Mayan Cave. Great tour! Elvis was our guide and we enjoyed his style of presentation very much. The caves and "elements" were cool. As far as the "mayan" part of this tour, I think it was bogus, but it made for a good story. We bought the photo CD for $20. We saw that some people paid as much as $45. Don't be that guy. ;) Costa Maya: We were the only ship in port. We'd originally planned this to be a beach day, but we were tired from our previous days activities and ended up waking up late. We had breakfast at about 10:30, so we ended up just spending most of the day in the WaterWorks area. It was perfect - short wait times and plenty of room to play and enjoy. DH and I left DD at Camp Carnival for about an hour and half and ventured in for a little shopping, but that was the extent of our Costa Maya day. Summary: While we had a great cruise though I will not be likely to sail the Dream or anything comparable in size in the future. (Which means I'll probably not have another Cove...wah!) 4000 people was just too many people and I think ovewhelms the system in enough small ways that it does affect your experience. I think I'd rather go back to something in the Fantasy class size. Those seem to be just right for me. 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

Find a Carnival Dream Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise