1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2017
This was our third cruise with Carnival and by far the most disappointing. I do not say not to cruise Carnival but I wouldn't cruise this ship again. For those who have cruised before normally the ship is constantly being cleaned ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Carnival and by far the most disappointing. I do not say not to cruise Carnival but I wouldn't cruise this ship again. For those who have cruised before normally the ship is constantly being cleaned either by the hand rails being wiped down, elevator buttons being cleaned or the floors being vacuumed. I rarely seen this happening durning the time we were on the ship. One day in particular a person dropped a prescription pill on the floor in the walk way on the panarama deck sometioin the morning and it was still there into the evening. The comedians were enjoyable as well as most of the entertainment. However, it did seem there were fewer trivia like games during the day. The only other negative review issue was lounge chairs were very limited and yet there would be stacks of them not set out on for use. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
I didn't enjoy this cruise quite as much as my last one on the Carnival Freedom that I took with my mother. Part of it may have been the company since I went on this one with my husband who is kind of standoffish (this was his first ... Read More
I didn't enjoy this cruise quite as much as my last one on the Carnival Freedom that I took with my mother. Part of it may have been the company since I went on this one with my husband who is kind of standoffish (this was his first cruise) and he insisted on spending most of the time in the cabin on sea days. The wait staff in the Scarlet dining room were very attentive but obviously overworked. Our wait team (Emilio, Nemesio, Milan) seemed to be covering 10-15 tables. Most nights the food in the main dining room was pretty good but not excellent. The wait staff seems to only have time to pour water (sometimes sans ice) and didn't have time to offer tea. We would occasionally ask for coffee and they would bring some. One night we didn't even get bread. Our waiters were among the friendliest faces on the ship and were trying hard to keep up so we didn't really mind. Our steward Devon was pleasant but we didn't see him often. He did keep up with the room well. We had a problem with the shower in the room which we failed to report- it would flood through the overflow vent before the shower bottom was full. I meant to mention it so it would be fixed for the next guests but forgot. We bought 7 day passes to the spa and used their showers which are much nicer. The spa passes are well worth it if you want to get away from the crowds. The food and service at the steakhouse was awesome. Made it hard to go back to the main dining room after eating there. The lido breakfast buffet was not very good so we took to eating breakfast or brunch in the main dining room. Pig and Anchor restaurant and Guys burgers were good lunch spots. Bonsai sushi was good as well. Went to a couple of PG comedy shows, one was pretty good (with Kim Harrison) but the one with Manny Oliviera was a waste of time. It seemed like he didn't have any PG material so he just walked a kid through the audience and had her guess people's ages and occupations. Casino was tight but they certainly were generous with the drinks. The spa staff was very friendly and helpful. One thing that surprised me was that we were treated rather poorly at the tasting bar. We only stopped by once and the girl serving walked away so we waited on another server who gave us tortilla soup and pork with a toothpick as the only eating utensil. He never said a word. It was strange. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
This cruise was selected because the port of embarkation (New Orleans). Carnival is the cruise line currently embarking from NO. The positives: Guy Fieri's Pig N Anchor Guy Feiri's Burger Joint Blue Iguana Cantina ... Read More
This cruise was selected because the port of embarkation (New Orleans). Carnival is the cruise line currently embarking from NO. The positives: Guy Fieri's Pig N Anchor Guy Feiri's Burger Joint Blue Iguana Cantina Pizzeria del Capitano Seaday Brunch Comedy Club shows The negatives: Embarkation staff not trained properly to add credit card to account Chat function on Carnival HUB did not work for first 24 hours No emphasis on using Purcell before entering the MDR or Lido Buffett Stateroom attendant required multiple request for exchange of pool towels Singing quality of evening production show entertainers Professional photographs (informal poses) Dress code in MDR for dinner permitted flip flops, shorts, tank tops, ball caps Dinner guests were vaping (ecigarettes) in MDR MDR dinner service included a waiter that offered alcoholic shots from table to table Everyone may not necessarily agree with my assessment, but theses are my pros & cons. The crew was very friendly and happy. However, the quality of MDR food and evening entertainment needs improvement. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Embarking in New Orleans was a bit slow but certainly organized. We had to sit for almost an hour before boarding started. I was in the Platinum group so I checked in around 10 am and was not on board until noon. The ship could use a ... Read More
Embarking in New Orleans was a bit slow but certainly organized. We had to sit for almost an hour before boarding started. I was in the Platinum group so I checked in around 10 am and was not on board until noon. The ship could use a major facelift. It was old. My balcony was rusty and unkepted. I was in an Ocean Suite. Dining was good. My servers Paul, Roberto and Jose were very attentive. The food was also good. No complaints. The service I received from my cabin steward Tina, was also very good. She took care of my cabin 2x a day and I always had the next day's itinerary early enough to do the appropriate planning. As far as the ports, I loved Key West. It has been many years since I have visited Key West. I am not sure why Carnival is stopping in Freeport. Freeport hasn't rebound from the hurricane in 2016 and it shows. Everything was closed down. Don't waste your time going to Port Lucaya. Nassau definitely lived up to our expectations. We stayed at the Atlantis for the day and it was beautiful and a lot of fun. AquaAdventure was so much fun. My favorite folks that worked on Carnival Dream were: Cabin Steward: Tina Bartender: Ufuk (that was his name) Casino Dealer(s): Jonathan and Antanas Waiters: Paul, Roberto, Jose Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Choose this cruise because it was in driving distance for all passengers. The food in the Scarlett dining room was very good and the service was excellent. Felt like royalty. The condition of the cabin was deplorable. Dirty, and many ... Read More
Choose this cruise because it was in driving distance for all passengers. The food in the Scarlett dining room was very good and the service was excellent. Felt like royalty. The condition of the cabin was deplorable. Dirty, and many shopworn items or broken items. Also lack of activities. Either drink and eat or do nothing. Service in the Lido buffet was lacking. Asked for a soft drink with lunch and was told that there was a bar on the back deck. " Go get it yourself" I later asked that I be served a soft drink and after an exasperated look, the server did bring one. No bar service in the Encore show room except the last night and then the server worked all during the show, repeatedly walking in front of us. The comedy shows were the best of the entertainment. Guest services went above and beyond-I had a new phone and the charger was not interchangeable with the one for my tablet. They loaned me one and let me use it the entire cruise. Praise Liza(not sure of the spelling). Do not think I will cruise Carnival again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
I loved the ship, the customer service is very lacking, in all the Carnival Cruises I have been on this one was the least to be desired on the service end. Our cabin was clean; we never saw our cabin steward the first day until 10 p.m. ... Read More
I loved the ship, the customer service is very lacking, in all the Carnival Cruises I have been on this one was the least to be desired on the service end. Our cabin was clean; we never saw our cabin steward the first day until 10 p.m. when she ruding awakened us to bring us a life vest for my 9 year old granddaughter that was sailing with me. I am still confused as to why she had to wait until we were sleeping to bring it. She then asked me if I wanted the room cleaned once or twice daily, sleepily I said, "once is good". The next afternoon; after swimming we went back to the room to get ready for dinner, we had the early 6 p.m. dinning,(which we wanted) and to my surprise the room had not been cleaned and we had no clean towels. This was at 5 p.m. I had to call for towels so we could shower for dinner and was told by the person on the phone why didn't I get them in the morning? What??? are you kidding me??? At that time I told her we needed cleaning 2 times daily so we could have towels for our evening shower. The waiters at our dinning table were overworked with so many tables to take care of, we were never offered anything to drink other than water, until we were well into our dinner and asked ourselves for something other than water. Our glasses were always empty. The wait staff was so busy running between tables they were barley able to utter a word to us which was very disappointing. However they were made to sing and dance on at least 3 nights during our dinner, which only backed up the service more. We felt rushed and forgotten about most of the time while we were at dinner. The Staff that was serving drinks at the pool seem very busy as well and when I asked for a drink "kiss on the lips", I was told they were out of mango juice. How can that happen? I walked to a different bar and was able to get my own "kiss on the lips" drink. Why couldn't they just send someone to another bar area and get the mango juice? It just seems that they either do not have enough staff or the staff isn't trained to be professional like they are on the Carnival Elation and Inspiration that I have been on numerous times before. The cruise director the "Flying Scottsman is a joke" he is so full of himself and if you aren't part of the young crowd you will be ignored, I went to two of his shows, trying to give him the benefit of the doubt but it was still the same. I put my granddaughter in Camp Ocean, which I was impressed with until the second day when she told me how mean two of the other kids were and that the ladies working there didn't do anything to stop it, so I took her out and she never went back. All in All this is a beautiful Ship but the customer service is very POOR. I would much rather stay on the smaller ships and have great service, which is why we go on vacation isn't it? Read Less
Sail Date: April 2017
Seemed like a nice time to take a cruise, boy was I clueless. Too too many kids taking up pools, hot tubs, running into people, screaming and running down hallways until 3am nightly. Party mommas do you know where in the hell your kids are ... Read More
Seemed like a nice time to take a cruise, boy was I clueless. Too too many kids taking up pools, hot tubs, running into people, screaming and running down hallways until 3am nightly. Party mommas do you know where in the hell your kids are at 12-3am. Several very rude kids, all but run u down. Had to ask for ice everyday. These people working on the ship worked non stop. They were so worn out, they didn't even greet cruise guest, The cruise director is definitely awesome and the glue to keep this ship going. Food was not very appetizing in MDR. We did dine in steakhouse last cruise night, it was the best food I had all week. Not enough activities for adults. The adult aft pool had more kids then adults most days. Belize was ok, enjoyed cavetubing, Mahogany Bay was ok. I would not care to return to these ports anytime soon, I do not plan to cruise with Carnival @ New Year, Mardi Gras, Easter, June July, August, Sept. Thanksgiving week or Christmas week. I can not deal with unsupervised children runnning wild all day & night until 3am. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Overall good trip, mostly in line with what we've experienced before on Carnival. We generally feel Carnival is the best value for the money and have been loyally working toward Platinum status for awhile now. Their staffing cuts have ... Read More
Overall good trip, mostly in line with what we've experienced before on Carnival. We generally feel Carnival is the best value for the money and have been loyally working toward Platinum status for awhile now. Their staffing cuts have us concerned about the direction the line is heading to, however. Cuts were very noticeable on this cruise. Our room steward was lovely, always with a smile on her face, but gone are the days when the steward had time to visit and personalize your visit. Our steward had THIRTY rooms to do a day! Many of them twice a day. She had an assistant for a couple of hours a day, but it appeared he mostly was vacuuming the halls and working on the more general assignments. Our room was beautifully kept--I don't know how she did it. She remembered our names for the entire cruise--in our cabin or out and about. But she was BUSY, in constant motion. The bars were the next area we noticed staffing cuts. There were very long lines for drinks on Sea Days, and not nearly enough bar staff out and about taking orders. One night during the Your Time dining hours there was ONE bartender for the bar outside the dining room. Seriously? The fun ship should not be the ship where you can't get a drink on the Lido Deck or for dinner. We've never experienced it on Carnival before, but this is precisely why we no longer sail Norwegian. I'd like to suggest an "express" line for those drinking just wine or beer. Or make sure you've got three bartenders at bars on sea days. The lines were ridiculous. The dining room....oh, the dining room. We were sailing with family and have always made it a point to meet for dinner nightly. We love "Your Time" dining because of the flexibility. The wait staff was wonderful, as always, but way too few of them, even with many open tables from diners who learned early not to bother unless they had two-three hours to spare. Service was SLOW, SLOW, SLOW. Seriously, two to three hours to dine. Staff was hustling the whole time. I've never seen so many empty tables at the 7:00 p.m. dining time. It was annoying to our group to miss out on shows because of the slow service. We enjoyed the ports except for Montego Bay. I would either stay on the ship next time or make sure I had a booked excursion. Unlike most ports where you have many vendors and taxis outside the ship, this port holds you captive and your only chance of escape (outside of excursion) is to be herded into group vans and hustled for your last dollar. Regardless of where you thought you were going, they try to push you into doing an island tour with them, or recommend places (with very low ratings if you've pre-checked them) where they get a kickback. The "tour guide" we had was incredibly rude. I can't imagine spending a day with her. Do NOT book the "round trip" if you get dropped off. There are plenty of taxis and private drivers and you can select someone you like vs someone hostile, and you can return when you want (which we were very glad to do early in the day, spending a wonderful afternoon with no lines at the bar and slides). We did the Cayman Island Stingray/snorkeling tour on our own (this is a lovely port with many great vendors to choose from). The tour was awesome. Beware though when they tell you what time you'll get back to port. They told us 1:30 return and it was more like 2:30. Plenty of time to get on the ship, but I'd have enjoyed shopping. Cozumel is a great port. At the port they have numerous shops so if you just wanted to shop and are nervous about Mexico (don't be, it's wonderful), you'd still have plenty to do. There are many taxis outside the shopping area. We went to "Centro" which is fun, just to walk around and have a drink or two. Next time I'll probably check ahead of time and get a massage at a recommended place. One thing I'll say about Cozumel--stay ON YOUR TOES regarding money. Check prices (add up your check, if dining) and check your change. Know the exchange rate. We've had several "rip-off" experiences here, including being given a ridiculous exchange rate (tried to charge us 500 pesos ($26) for a $16 USD taxi rate, being charged "sales tax" for items that shouldn't have it, and having a 20% gratuity hidden in a dining check (not as a line item; but as an addition "mistake.") On that one, the manager had the audacity to literally chase our group to our tour van and demand that we come back to the restaurant and leave a tip. He denied that they'd tried to cheat us, but I got the feeling that the 20% "add-in" is part of the kick-back the very average restaurant pays our very average tour guide for the privilege of gaining his customers. So...yeah...we love Cozumel, but they know you're a cruise ship passenger in just for the day and they'll try to get your money any way they can. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
A group of friends traveled on the Carnival Dream March 5-12. It was a varied group of past cruisers and newbies. This was my second cruise, the previous was 5 years ago. Please let me preface this by saying that I'm not a big fan of ... Read More
A group of friends traveled on the Carnival Dream March 5-12. It was a varied group of past cruisers and newbies. This was my second cruise, the previous was 5 years ago. Please let me preface this by saying that I'm not a big fan of cruises, I have nothing against them, just not my style of vacation, but went along with the group. Embarkation - A bit of a train wreck. The gangway at the Port of New Orleans was broken. This caused a slow down in getting the people off the ship and delayed us, about 3 1/2 hours of standing in line. Not a great start, but it wasn't Carnivals fault, it just happens. Room - Balcony, 11th deck - nice size, clean, a bit dated but overall quite functional. Room Steward - I'm not sure what this person does exactly, but his card was in the room upon our arrival. We never saw or met him. There were two nice ladies that cleaned our room. We didn't require anything extra during our trip so don't know anything about room service. Overall Ship impression - The ship had recently been in dry-dock for updating, well, I'm not totally sure what they updated. The general appearance was 1990's Las Vegas casino; lots of dark wood, glass handrails, light bulbs and bright carpet. Not sure if this is the normal, just my opinion. The ship seemed clean and taken care of, just a bit dated. Food - Won't go into detail, but the buffet was what you would expect, pretty much the same. Guy's Burger Joint, Pizza, Scarlett Restaurant were good, Crimson restaurant was good one night(good food and great service) and not so much the next time (terrible service and cold food). You will wait in line during meal times, but if you can work your schedule around a little food is fairly quick to get off hours. The Steakhouse was awesome, well worth the extra money. Not much of a foodie , so probably not the best resource here. Booze - Bars are bars, usually busy, wide variety of cocktails. Bartenders were busy and not very friendly, not rude, just don't expect them to engage in conversation or acknowledge you. Note: We bought the Unlimited Drinks package, not sure I would do it again (personal choice) it seemed like it forces you to drink more then you probably want to so you don't "lose money" . And, as one of our party found out, it is not unlimited, its 15 alcoholic drinks per day, but all other drinks are unlimited. IMHO, if you drink hard liquor its probably a good deal (drinks are $10ea), if you just drink beer, its may be better to just buy them in the buckets. Again, nothing on Carnival, just an observation. Entertainment - Comedy and piano bar were fun. We watch a couple of movies by the pool in the evening. Didn't attend any of the big shows. The Casino was large, a bit smoky and busy. Seem adequate if your into that sort of thing. Pools - The pool mid ship is the party pool, busy during the day, movie at night. Plenty of waiters circulating to service any drink needs. A few games put on by the staff and DJ music. Typical pool. Aft pool was quieter and less busy. Seemed like people went to which ever one was closest to their room. Staff - Neither friendly, nor rude, engaging or stand offish, just there. This was one thing that puzzled me a bit. Not one person ever asked if I was having a good time, needed anything or if I had a question. Everyone just seemed to do there jobs and nothing more. I am more accustom to island resorts were everyone is friendly and engaging and genuinely interested in whether your enjoying your vacation, it is a hospitality industry after all. Now, like I said, I don't know much about cruises so may this is the norm, but I don't recall one staff members name and none of the staff ever remembered mine. One interaction that I had of note was with the Cruise Director Chris, his function seemed to be informing passengers of important information and selling stuff. I met him around the pool and had a few causal questions which he did answer but it seemed like he really could have cared less about speaking to me. In his defense he may have been very busy with other things or just having a bad day, but he was as close to rude as any of the staff ever got. Ports of call: Jamaica - nothing very exciting, Grand Cayman - beautiful island, Cozumel - fun but very busy Debarkation - seamless - less than an hour from our room to outsider the port. A few last thoughts - Tipping - they force you to tip before you ever receive service. If its not optional than it is just another fee. I don't like being told how much to tip, I'm typically a very generous tipper, excepted when forced to do it. Selling stuff - It seems like everywhere you go on the boat some one is trying to sell you something; jeweler, watch's, t-shirts, massages, photos, spa treatments, etc.... even half the TV channels are some shilling some thing. Last thought - Like I said, cruising is not my first choice for a vacation, but it was interesting and a week of vacation is always better then a week at work. I tried to be objective so fellow travelers could make their own decisions with few facts above. I felt the cruise was more expensive than other land based vacations when you add in all the costs, but that is just a my opinion. I do know more about land based vacations then cruises so that might not be a fair comparison. So, would I do it again, probably not, but if that is were the group wanted to go, who knows. Would I sail on the Carnival Dream again, I don't see why not, they provide exactly what you would expect from a Cruise, no more or less. That's my .02 cents Be a Traveler, not a tourist! Skip Read Less
Sail Date: February 2017
I had fun but not a great saiing experience this time as compared to prior cruises with Carnival. I thought the food was just okay. I did love the desserts they were awesome. The new dining area Pig and Anchor and Guy's burgers ... Read More
I had fun but not a great saiing experience this time as compared to prior cruises with Carnival. I thought the food was just okay. I did love the desserts they were awesome. The new dining area Pig and Anchor and Guy's burgers ....delicious. My dining room staff was not as interactive until the last night and then it seemed like it was more for the tip. I loved our crusie director the Flying Scotsman he was the best. I loved the ports we visited. Boardng the ship could have been better, it was very confusing. We stood in a line for along time before we were told we were in the wrong place. It was not well marked. We were with friends celebrating their first anniversary which made it worth the trip. Overall, I have to say this trip was just okay. We had a blast at Mardi Gras. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
OVERALL - This was our first cruise which just made things that much worse. We were excited but were sooooo ready to get off the ship after the second day. The ship came out of dry dock and what we thought was normal cruising thinking this ... Read More
OVERALL - This was our first cruise which just made things that much worse. We were excited but were sooooo ready to get off the ship after the second day. The ship came out of dry dock and what we thought was normal cruising thinking this sucks, we aren't doing this again, turned out we met a number of long time cruisers who said this cruise was terrible overall and one of the worse cruises they went on (food and entertainment). My daughter's high school has better entertainment. Some mediocre shows but not what you would expect at all. Food was nothing special. Specialty restaurants were good (free only). Boarding the ship was beyond horrible taking 1.5 hours to just get on the ship!!!!! It was very unorganized. I really don't understand why there is overall no guidance or help for first time cruisers (hint: Carnival put out a first time cruisers brochure by customer relations - I don't need my hand held but really this makes no sense to give some basic info). SHIP - nice ship overall, very clean, large, gym was very nice but go early DRINKING PROGRAM - We bought the drinking program and thank goodness since we needed alcohol to deal with the lame entertainment and so so food issues. The program is worth it since drink prices started around $8. You can get specialty coffees and some other special bottle drinks which I liked. We definitely think the program is worth it. I don't drink much & my husband does. I just make sure I had minimum 5 drinks a day (mix of alcohol & coffee and special bottle drinks). You could get away sharing the program with another couple if you aren't big drinkers, are on a busy ship and aren't obvious sitting at a bar the entire time. CABIN - We stayed in room 6317 which is an inside room. Our friends stayed in 6299 which they said they could hear noise from atrium so don't stay in room over atrium. Our room was very quiet until the last night when idiots next to us decided they should make lots of noise in the hall. Plenty of room & didn't feel small, lots places to put clothes, bathroom great size, put luggage under bed. Even though it was an inside room, we were very happy. We also brought our fan which made a difference. Has little fridge - we paid online before leaving to have some cans soda and water delivered to our room - they were slow getting it to us but they were very busy - this is completely worth paying money to do this and not bring it on especially since it took us 1.5 hours to get on the ship DINING - specialty food places are good (free ones); buffet not my thing; main dining - great service from our waiter - he made sure my food was gluten free & let me plan meals for the next night (food was ok but I really liked the service) PORTS - I loved that l needed was my room key to get off & come back on the ship (took my drivers license just in case), showed the card and gave us no issues. That Jamaica - we went there before so we went to VIP beachclub and 100% worth it! I would do that again. Relaxing excursion, beach time, swim, - Awesome beach, amazing food (several food items & lobster/jerk chicken) - best food we had the entire cruise, could have had about 20 alcohol drinks (free + free bottled water) if I wanted, service people everywhere, super clean bathroom, be sure to tip a $1 or 2. Grand Cayman - swim w/ dolphins - stingray city- loved it but next time I'm going to the beach and snorkel Cozumel - our mistake not looking at this more closely thinking you could walk to a beach; nope way wrong (all rock and no way to get to water) so don't do what we did - either book excursion or a day pass at a local resort or travel to one (do it before you go); we were very worried about safety given US/Mexico relations since new president so we didn't want to go far; excursions are the way to go in Cozumel - transportation is included; our friends did the submarine one and loved it Read Less
30 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
If you’re thinking of taking the Carnival Dream for a spin, you’re reading the right review! My wife and I have taken two cruises on the Dream (both before and after it was dry-docked and remodeled), and hopefully we can all glean some ... Read More
If you’re thinking of taking the Carnival Dream for a spin, you’re reading the right review! My wife and I have taken two cruises on the Dream (both before and after it was dry-docked and remodeled), and hopefully we can all glean some insight together and help YOU decide if the Dream is a good fit for you. So, without further adieu, here are “10 Things You Should Know Before Cruising the Carnival Dream”. *WARNING—This review is long and detailed. But in the end, at least you can say you were informed. 1. Embarking Is A Flippin’ Nightmare On both our cruises, my wife and I ported out of New Orleans, LA which was both awesome and not-so-much at the same time. It was great being in New Orleans, but our second time there was right at the beginning of both Mardi Gras and the NBA Playoffs, so you can imagine how much fun the traffic was. For both trips we booked a hotel to stay the night before that offered a shuttle bus to the cruise terminal. This is something you’ll want to do as well. Why? The Carnival Dream holds a little over 3,600 guests at full capacity. So while there are 3,600 of us trying to get on, there are also 3,600 people try to get off at.the.same.time. The line of cars to get to the cruise terminal sat gridlocked for about six or seven blocks, so taking the hotel shuttle let us bypass that and get right up to the terminal entrance. But, that wasn’t just a whole lot better, as now there are some 7,000 people standing in lines, crisscrossing paths while carrying a week’s worth of luggage for each person. If you get the option (even if you have to pay for it) to get express entry into the terminal, for the love of God take it. If not, you’ll be doomed to spend hours in line outside toting fifty pounds of luggage just trying to get through the door. Be sure and have your photo ID, birth certificate (or passport), and printed off cruise pass in your hand at all times (while also toting your carry-on luggage), as you’ll be asked for it about five times just trying to get through all the different checkpoints inside the terminal. Then it’s on to the x-ray machines and bag searches before you’re finally let in to the main room to wait some more. You’ll have to go through yet another checkpoint (where you have to show your paperwork, because apparently the first four employees didn’t check it well enough) and there you’ll get your official Carnival cruise card (room key and onboard money card) and then you’re off to be herded like cattle, sitting and waiting, sometimes for over an hour or longer, before you’re called onto the ship. Once your group is called, you’re rushed like maniacs (with all your carry-on luggage and in our case a toddler who refused to ride in his stroller which I was then dragging behind me) through an inclined corridor about the length of a football field leading into the ship. Once you finally get on the ship, you’re taken aback by its beauty and gargantuan size, but your joy only lasts a moment as you realize that you’re not allowed to go to your cabin for about four hours while the crew finishes up cleaning from the last batch of people who just got off. By this time your back, arms, and legs are killing you from hauling around four overnight bags and that extra duffel of nothing but shoes your wife just had to bring, so you’re relieved to find out they are at least serving lunch. When you finally get to go to your room, you’re absolutely exhausted, cranky, and only keeping a smile on your face because the ship’s starting to move and you know you’re on your way to a week’s worth of sun, palm trees, tiki drinks, and relaxation. 2. The Food Is “Meh” At Best When my wife and I booked our first cruise, we were so looking forward to the midnight buffets, exotic cuisines, and all the glorious fare we’d been told came with going on a cruise. What we found out once onboard was that there were major ups and downs to what was offered. The breakfast is good—just about anything you could want (except biscuits and gravy, and being from the South this was a letdown for me), but since they serve the exact same things every single morning, we got bored with it quickly. They have different types of foods on different days on the buffet. Some days it’s American, or Jamaican/Caribbean inspired dishes. There are several onboard restaurants like the Guy’s Burger Joint (which is arguably the best food on the boat), there’s the Pig & Anchor barbecue bar, pizzeria, sandwich shop, Italian, and even Indian food (hope you like spicy curry!). The formal dinners in the evenings are okay, but if you aren’t an adventurous eater you might not like most of what they have to offer. Even simple dishes like pork chops or fried chicken are made in such a way that is just, well… different. In fact, most of the food on the ship tastes different. Don’t go to the buffet thinking you’re getting Golden Corral, or you’ll be disappointed. Every dessert we had was nearly inedible, with the exception of the Carnival Melting Cake which is only offered during the formal dinners and the fresh fruit and ice cream. In addition to the food quality, there will be lines to every restaurant and food bar that you will have to endure. And the better eating joints will have the longest lines. Even at the formal dinner there is a lot of waiting. Though you’re being served like a five-star restaurant, most dinners include about four different courses, and there was at least a 15-20 minute wait between each course, meaning the formal dinner usually lasted 75-90 minutes and if you are on the second dinner shift sometimes this will cause you to miss out on certain shows or other night life affairs. A final point about the restaurants that should be mentioned is the closing times. Most of the restaurants, and even the buffet close about 9pm. Which sucks, because if you come out of the midnight comedy show or stumble out of the nightclub looking to counteract the alcohol in your gut with something nice and filling, you’ll be sorely disappointed as the only places that stay open are the sandwich shop and pizzeria. Everything else is locked up tight until breakfast the next morning. Now, onto the drinks. You can order Carnival’s “Bottomless Bubbles” package and get all the canned soft drinks you want. The only problem is that it’s $42 per adult/per day (for a 7-day cruise) and everyone listed in your cabin must all have the Bubbles package for anyone in your party to be eligible. Which means that if you and your partner plus two children are on the cruise, the Bubbles package will end up costing you about $150, just for canned sodas. If you choose to not get the Bubbles package, Carnival offers an “amazing array” of free drinks like water (that takes like it’s being held in a big plastic tank somewhere in the hull of the ship), unsweet tea (which is made from powder and has some kind of nasty fruity aftertaste), and lemonade which will flare up heartburn quicker than you can say, “Mylanta”. As for the alcoholic drinks, they are quite expensive (mixed drinks range from about $10-20 each) and most are so watered down you’d have to order them in bulk to catch a good buzz. The most affordable way to get “feeling right” is to order their beer bucket special, which clocks in at $25.00 for four longnecks in a bucket of ice. Like the soda, Carnival offers a Cheers! drink package for alcohol, but you’d have to drink like a German all week to make it worth it. To get the pass is $54.95 per person, per day plus a 15% gratuity. So if you and your partner decided to get the all-access pass to Drunkville, you’re looking at a pricey $884.80 for the week. (Where’s the free lemonade machine at again??) 3. People, People EVERYWHERE One thing I didn’t expect before we cruised the first time was how overcrowded the ship would be. Mind you, the Dream is absolutely massive. But when you’ve got upwards of 5,000 people on a ship (counting passengers and crew) it gets stuffy very quickly. Everywhere you go is another line—breakfast, lunch, dinner, shows, onboard games and activities, bars, and if you get stuck in the line for guest services, I pity your soul. After dinner is when the ship really livens up with parties, clubs, shows, etc.—which means everybody’s pretty much on the Promenade Deck together at one time since most the entertainment, shopping, and clubs are all on the same deck. Wonderful planning guys. The Dream is over a thousand feet long, and some 16 stories high. Now, I’m no cruise ship designer, but I think even I could probably do better than that. Port days are frustrating because everyone is trying to get off the ship at the same time, and back on that afternoon. And once again there’s checkpoints, x-ray scanners, and more to deal with so it’s kind of like embarkation day all over again, just on a smaller scale. The pools and hot tubs are almost always constantly full, especially if you’re unlucky enough to go during school breaks when the ship is absolutely overrun with kids and teenagers. And don’t get me started on the elevators. One ginormous ship… 5,000 people… 16 elevators. Yeah… it didn’t make sense to me either. It also means that most times you’ll either concede to stand there 10-15 minutes or more waiting for an available elevator, or take your chances hiking up thirteen flights of stairs to one of the main decks in your high heels or bucket of beer in tow. 4. The Entertainment Is Entertaining… Mostly One of the good things about the Carnival Dream both times we’ve gone is that there’s hardly a dull moment. There is always something going on, and there are things for every age and personality type. The Punchliner Comedy show was a hoot every time we went, there is a live music/dancing show, clubs for adults and teens, casino, piano bar, arcade for the kids. Just understand that these aren’t Broadway performers. Don’t get me wrong, they’re pretty good, but don’t go expecting to see award-winning performances, unless you happen to book a cruise with a celebrity music act. The dance clubs are okay, but not very active. The times we went there were only maybe 20-25 people inside, most of them sitting back sipping cocktails and watching the four of five drunks on dance floor. The piano bar was cool, if you like getting hammered and belting out Elton John’s Tiny Dancer at the top of your lungs. There’s an onboard art exhibit where you can buy paintings for upwards of $50,000—$100,000 if you just absolutely have nothing better to spend your money on. And there are a few shops onboard like a jewelry store, candy shop, and souvenirs. My advice? Save your money for port days. My $12 Carnival mug literally fell apart in my hands less than a month after getting it home. 5. The Truth About Porting On our first cruise, we stopped in Honduras, Belize, and Cozumel. After you go through the pandemonium getting off the ship, you’re met in every port with an outdoor shopping area full of cool little local shops, jewelry stores, and theme restaurants in what the cruise line calls “The Safe Zone”. You are allowed out of the Safe Zone, and can venture into the country, but it’s not recommended. Since my wife and I weren’t about to spend $300+ dollars to scuba dive or swim with dolphins and get stung by jellyfish, we decided to take cab and horse and buggy rides through the city. It was a little unnerving being that far away from the boat, since the Cruise Director is quick to tell you that if you are not back by the time the ship is scheduled to leave, they will leave you behind. Well, that and we had the cab stop at a gas station in Honduras so a couple people riding with us could get some lunch, and all of a sudden a crew of police officers with machine guns strapped to their hips (no, I’m not kidding) surrounded the store like something was about to go down. I was offered “ganja” in Belize (which I turned down—a. because my job does random drug tests, and b. there was a Belizean police officer no more than fifty feet away and I didn’t feel like being the next episode of Locked Up Abroad) and during our horse and buggy ride in Cozumel, the driver took us downtown where people stood on the sides of the roads watching us, so when he started slowing down I instinctively put my hand on my wallet. It was a good time though. If you’re looking to go to the beach, the experience will differ depending on which port you’re at. Some will have free accessible beaches—which means they’ll be packed because not only are there people from your ship there, there’s also three or four other cruise companies there and so the whole port, beach, stores, all of it is being overrun by some 15,000—20,000 people. Most ports have beaches where you have to pay to swim, but even those sometimes are overcrowded. Just a side note though… stay away from the hot dog vendors in Belize. Sure they have $2 draft beer… but it’s hardly worth the gastrointestinal showstopper you’ll endure later that night. Take it from someone who knows. 6. The Cabins Are Comfy But Cozy So after you’ve had your long, adventurous day at port, getting sunburned and body-cavity searched by the Jamaican Port Authority, you’re ready to get back on the ship, go to your cabin and relax. On our first cruise, my wife and I got the cheap room—an interior stateroom on the next to bottom deck of the ship. They are small, but adequate. Beds are comfortable enough, just don’t expect pillow-top mattresses. The bathrooms are tiny, so if you’re a big guy like me, taking a shower in the casket-sized stall will be a challenge. There’s plenty of storage, a makeup vanity, and a TV that gets about 4 channels (besides the Carnival infomercial programming). I took a small fan with me, because even though the room stayed cool, being in that small of a space made me feel like I was sleeping in a fallout shelter and I needed some noise to keep me from feeling claustrophobic. Don’t judge me. I’m sure you have your quirks too… The second time around, we opted for the porthole room, which was great. It was bigger, and slept more people, and had a nice ocean view right behind the bed. Before our second cruise, I would tell people, “The interior room’s good enough. You won’t spend much time in there anyway”. Which is true, but after I experienced the bigger room with a view, I couldn’t go back to the bomb shelter. 7. Don’t, I Repeat, DON’T Take Small Children Our first time on the Dream, my wife and I went by ourselves. It was the Honeymoon we never had when we got married. We had a blast and were talking about booking the next cruise before we even left New Orleans the following Sunday morning. But somewhere along the way, we thought it would be the grandest idea to take the kids along. And besides the time I bleached my hair blonde in high school because Eminem was cool and I wanted to be “cool” too, this was the biggest mistake of my life. Yes, the Carnival Dream does have lots of activities for all age groups, so during the day it wasn’t a problem. But the Dream is also geared more toward adult fun—bars, parties, clubs, raunchy comedy, etc. at night when everything comes alive. The problem is that you can’t party, relax, or even attend most of these activities due to age restrictions, so you’ve got one of two choices—do something lame like watch Pirates of the Caribbean at the Poolside Theater and eat cheese fries every night, or take your kids to Camp Ocean (Carnival’s babysitting service) for a hefty hourly fee. To make matters worse, we took our then 13 month old son along since my wife refused to leave him with family for a week, and in the end, with the exception of one night (out of six that we were onboard) we sat around doing the same thing we do at home—watching movies and corralling a toddler who’s just learned to walk. Only now I’ve been out close to three grand to do it. Our 11-year-old got bored all the time, because there weren’t enough things with a screen to plug in and play, so she singlehandedly cost me about $150 just in Camp Ocean fees. And our sixteen year old made some new friends so we didn’t see much of her, which wasn’t a problem until we wake up at 3am and she’s not in the room, so now we have to go searching this monstrosity of ship to find her. Yeah… that didn’t end well. After that little experience, my wife and I decided that next time, everybody but us is going to Grandma’s for the week. 8. D-Day (Debarkation Day) Much like embarkation day, debarkation day is pure pandemonium. It’s pretty much the same hellish encounter you experience the first day, only in reverse, and this time you have to go through the hassle of U.S. Customs (ugh…). Here you’ve been pampered, waited on hand and foot, haven’t done laundry, dishes, or even had to make your own bed in a week and now you’re waking up at 5am in the morning, pulling the 72 luggage cases out of the closets and heading down to leave the ship around 7am that morning—oh, and everybody else is doing the exact same thing. After you’ve pulled your 72 luggage cases back down the forever-long corridor, been looked over and checked thoroughly by Customs Agents to make sure you don’t have any wacky weed shoved in any ungodly places, and fought the crowds not only getting off the boat but all the folks now trying to get on for their cruise, you call your hotel shuttle, and wait an eternity for them to show up, all while lugging all your bags, your kids, and all the random crap you bought at port. And the funny thing is that when you get home, you look back on the experience and think, “Man that was an amazing time. We can’t wait to go again!” You forget all about the issues, the problems, the people. But you do remember sitting on the back of the ship looking out into the deep blue nothing with the sea breeze in your hair and that little pink fruity drink in your hand. I guess that’s why we’ve already booked Cruise #3. And just for kicks, we’ll probably take it on the Dream again. Who knows… maybe we’ll see you there. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Chose Carnival Cruise based upon itinerary, ports of call & lower price. Boarding process is a bit chaotic unless you have VIP early entry (which we did). Ship was beautiful; staff was helpful/friendly. Cloud 9 Spa Suite was ... Read More
Chose Carnival Cruise based upon itinerary, ports of call & lower price. Boarding process is a bit chaotic unless you have VIP early entry (which we did). Ship was beautiful; staff was helpful/friendly. Cloud 9 Spa Suite was spacious but not worth premium price. Robes in room were dirty w/rust spots & our feet did not fit into one-size-fits-all slippers. The Spa steam rooms and elevator were out of order (boo, which is why we paid for the spa suite). Spa Suite also included exercise classes but you had to enroll on port days, so I chose to visit Roatan and Tulum over doing yoga and pilates on the ship. Received minor burn injury during an Ionithermie spa therapy session (don't waste your money). Couples massage, ship activities, entertainment & food were great. My favorite onboard activity was purchasing dinner at the Chef's Table. Hands down best food experience ever - 9 course meal in the kitchen with the Head Chef and Staff (fully plated dinner for 12) with a tour of the kitchen and how to make 60 gallons of soup for about 6,000 people The Chef's Table dinner lasted 3 hours with continual food and constant flow of wine and champagne. We also enjoyed the art gallery and purchased some number one oil on canvas paintings of our favorite artists. Activities on sea days were abundant and fun, as we did everything from salsa and line dancing to learning to make towel animals. Theme nights were great - who doesn't love to dress up once in awhile? We did NOT purchase the drink package and saved about $600. We had about 3 drinks per day, not including the champagne and bottle of wine that we were allowed to bring onboard. The drink packages are ridiculously high and endless alcohol consumption is extremely high in calories (not to mention the endless buffet and eating options. Do your wallet a favor and just stick to a few drinks per day - you will still be happy. Please note that the drink packages DO NOT include specialty things like the Martini Flight. We purchased that separately and it was $50 before gratuity. BTW, we loved the Martini Flight (Spicy Pineapple Martini was our fav) and it was worth every cent. We opted to purchase excursions from an outside source, Ecological Tours & Services (not Carnival) & saved tons of money; also avoided crowds. We zip lined the jungle, road horses on the beach and snorkeled in Roatan. Bypassed all of the touristy Diamonds International stuff on Belize and hopped on a 15 minute flight on a private aircraft to Ambergris Caye, San Pedro - La Isla Bonita (are you singing the song yet?) It was a beautiful flight over turquoise water and coral. We rented a golf cart, grabbed a map and headed to the east end of the island. We had the beach and bar to ourselves and a local dude with his charcoal grill, became our private chef for the afternoon (grilled lobster, oysters, rice and beans). Our last excursion was the tour of Tulum on Cozumel. I liked the itinerary and would likely choose another similar exotic cruise. Carnival is economical as long as you don't buy their excursions or give in to the cruise atmosphere of spend all your money here. Just say no, they will still be nice! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
my husband wanted to do New Orleans and I was interested in all the ports. Embarkation was quick for us. On the ship by 12:00. It was two hrs late leaving so bad for the casino goers. We had an inside cabin 8206. Very quiet even though ... Read More
my husband wanted to do New Orleans and I was interested in all the ports. Embarkation was quick for us. On the ship by 12:00. It was two hrs late leaving so bad for the casino goers. We had an inside cabin 8206. Very quiet even though it was next to the crew stairway and at the very end of the hall. They are now only doing your cabin once per day, but still get the towel animals. We opted for late morning. Dining was just okay. We were not able to get our 6:00 dinner seating so had Your time dining. We did like we were told and lined up early so we could request a certain waitress. We ended up a few nights with the same people. It was a major downer the first night as we had asked for a shared table and they stuck us in the corner by ourselves. Not a good first impression. Service was abit slow in the restaurant. Really missed the tableclothes etc, as they only do it formal night now. If your not a seafood lover choices are the same old same old. Steak and eggs on a sea day in the dining was very good. I would do that again if we decide to do another cruise again. The shore excursions were good. My favorite being the Amazing Secret River in Cozumel. Only downside was having to be ready to meet at 6:30. We went to the piano bar most nights and Gilbert was awesome and had a large group going back every night. It was so much fun. Glad there is no smoking there now as has always been on our past cruises. Bar staff were a lot of fun as well. Another downer was that we were so excited that we didn't have an early flight as usual and thought we could relax and get off later. Not to be the case. The announcement came into the room at 5:50 telling everyone to vacant the cabins by 7:30. What a LETDOWN.. Forunately for us our hotel in New Orleans let us check into our rm at 8:30 when we arrived there. (Their must be a God). New Orleans is an amazing city. If you spend time before or after sign up for some FREE TOURS BY FOOT. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
I chose a cruise as a short getaway for my husband and myself. We live in New Orleans so Carnival made sense as it allowed us to be dropped off at the port. As a person with mobility issues (able to walk, use a cane, sometimes use a ... Read More
I chose a cruise as a short getaway for my husband and myself. We live in New Orleans so Carnival made sense as it allowed us to be dropped off at the port. As a person with mobility issues (able to walk, use a cane, sometimes use a walker, not able to stand for long periods), I was quickly directed to a "Special Assistance" line and this did get us on board with relative ease. If you any issues with distance though, you should request a wheelchair. Our bags were delivered to our cabin in a timely manner The stateroom, 6207, was an 8A Balcony, modified for the disabled, so it was a bit different than the typical balcony cabin which I will cover in the cabin review. Of note, I'd read an earlier review that the balcony was a steel bulkhead with no plexiglass and therefore was an obstructed view. This is not the case now so I assume it's been modified since the time of that review. The dining experience was disappointing. The buffet food was just good enough to not be disgusting. Of course we are from New Orleans and that might have something to do with it - we do have amazing food here - but really it was just so gross and I heard several comments to the same from others. The sit-down dining in the evening was fair. The service was excellent, the staff was friendly and fun but again, the food left something to be desired although it was better than the buffet. Room service was better than expected, timely, friendly, and the sandwiches and salads were pretty good. Early morning coffee was nice but other than the boxed cereals, the fruit and pastries were not so great. Of all the buffet places, I enjoyed the Mongolian Wok the most. The Coffee Bar was also really good. A HUGE concern for me was the lack of cleaning in the public areas. Norovirus is a serious matter and on other cruises I've seen staff with gloves and disinfectant cleaning everything from light switches to hand rails to elevator buttons and doors. On this cruise I saw haphazard table wiping and never anyone cleaning a public area where lots of hands will touch. Unacceptable. Costa Maya and Cozumel were our ports of call and both were mediocre. I found the excursions in general to be seriously overpriced and in both ports we basically had to run a gauntlet of people pushing cigarettes, alcohol and diamonds. The shops in Cozumel were fun for souvenirs but again, lots of pushing to buy. We enjoyed a delicious lunch at Three Amigos in Cozumel. The water was gorgeous. I wish I'd had more time to go enjoy the real Cozumel and not the cruiser's experience. The entertainment on the ship was fun, the cruise directors were upbeat and encouraged participation. There were a LOT of kids on board - expected - but they aren't necessarily conducive to those who want relaxation. The Serenity adult area was not well patrolled and under-21 teenagers were frequently in the area. One group was so loud and profane that I had to step up and verbally intervene because both attendants, sweet young ladies tending bar and handing out towels, seemed very reserved and not inclined to do anything. The thalassotherapy 'couples excursion' in the spa was well worth the price. The heated pool was divine and the various steam rooms and saunas were delightful. I found the spa services to be overpriced but that seems to be the norm for most cruises and they did have mid-cruise specials. Disembarkation was not too bad but it was hard to find info about what to do. There was supposed to be a "Disembarkation Info Sheet" in our room the night before but one never showed and no steward had one. We ended up watching a presentation on it on the TV. We'd have gone with the "self-assist" option (you carry out all your own luggage and get off when they call your deck number) if I had the capability of handling luggage and walking but since I don't, we elected to have our luggage brought down the night before and wait for our "zone" to be called after all the self-assist people were done. Overhead calling of decks began at 6:50am. We FINALLY heard our zone called around 10am and got off the ship around 11am and even with "Special Assistance" I still stood in long lines on the walkway to the luggage pick-up and then for Customs. All in all not horrible, but lots of confusion and mayhem. The Gulf of Mexico in winter can be quite nasty. If you're the sort to get sea sick, think twice before booking. Overall the Carnival Dream was okay but it wasn't my cup of tea. My husband feels the same. Perhaps it's better suited to younger people with families who don't mind substandard food, loud pop music everywhere, kids running amok and teenagers sneaking into adult areas to curse and wreak havoc. Despite our nice time in the spa, we won't be repeating the experience. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Embarkation was great, probably the best port to leave and return to in the US. Buffett has gone down since the last cruise, never got a hot meal from the buffett the whole time on-board. Seems the serving line is set up entirely ... Read More
Embarkation was great, probably the best port to leave and return to in the US. Buffett has gone down since the last cruise, never got a hot meal from the buffett the whole time on-board. Seems the serving line is set up entirely wrong, Ex: ( During breakfast, move thru the line until the end, get your bacon, (which the rationed like gold) and toast, then have to back track and cut in front of others because thats where the peanut butter is located). Lemonade drink was so birrer, couldn't drink it. As a warning to on-board shoppers, bought one of their invicta watches, which they said retails for $700.00, on sale for $199.00. Got home and looked it up on google at the invicta store, retail price $195.00, on sale for $125.00, so beware before you buy. Recommend spending the internet time/money and checking out prices before buying. Lack of activities during shore excursions. Wife (68 yo) stayed on-board during port visits and there was NOTHING to do. Couldn't even buy a soft drink because the bar's were all closed. Botton line: Carnival needs to "tighten up" in several areas. People spend a lot on money for a nice cruise and end up with food that is not up to "cruise" expections. They could use another cruise director, seems the one they have in obnoxicous and arragont at times. Next cruise MAY be with another cruise line. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Well this was a very interesting cruise. I have sailed in the past on a Disney ship (can't remember the name), the Norwegian Pearl, and the Celebrity Summit. This was my first trip with Carnival and I was a bit concerned with it being ... Read More
Well this was a very interesting cruise. I have sailed in the past on a Disney ship (can't remember the name), the Norwegian Pearl, and the Celebrity Summit. This was my first trip with Carnival and I was a bit concerned with it being a budget line and a party boat. Needless to say I was surprised at how quiet our forward cove balcony was, how wonderful the crew was, and how nicely the ship was appointed. If I was looking for peace and quiet I could always find it. What I liked I loved the gym and its nice equipment. I was able to do my first 5K on board and that was with the ship rocking. I loved the piano bar. The duo working there were great fun and I went every night to hear them play. The comedy club was always a blast and for once on a cruise they were actually funny. They had plenty of day time activities for those who don't gamble or drink and it was a lot of fun. Lounging on your balcony was also very relaxing and quiet. The food was very good on board and I did not eat anything I did not like. They movies at night on the big screen were great and I enjoyed snuggling with my wife to watch a cartoon or a flick for us adults. We loved the popcorn and pizza while we watched the show. I like the fact the promenade went all the way around and you could stand at the front of the ship. It was very peaceful and nice. Embarkation and Disembarkation went quick. They had water to drink and snacks for sale. What I did not like There are lines for everything and hall ways that are hard to move in due to crowds. We did the anytime dining and always had to wait in line to be seated. The buffet was not much better with only two stations and some really hungry passengers. Being use to ships with 2,000 passengers and going to 3,500 passengers was a big difference. The shops, hallways, and public areas were always packed and it was hard to get around. I assume that is the nature of the beast with the larger ships and having more people per square foot. I am also use to a bit more mature crowd of people and not so many young adults and kids. Drinking sometimes got out of hand; kids were everywhere and having a blast. This cruise is really meant for families and they do a great job of handling that crowd. Thanks to the kid friendly environment I did get to enjoy the water slide and some video games. Though the food did not disappoint the room service menu did disappoint. First off not everything is free on it. Secondly it is a very limited menu. It might have been luck of the draw but embarkation was... interesting. We got there good and early and were on board by 1130/1200pm. Of course we had to wait awhile for our room to be read and we just wanted to collapse. On smaller ships this is not as much of an issue. Also it took us forever to get the bag with the medicine my wife needed, I talked to the crew and they tried to rush it but it took awhile. That was more on us for packing it than them for not trying. They really did try. The cruise terminal in NOLA is misleading. You cannot reach it by cab or walking through the mall which really sucks. You have to take a cab and it cost $20. Our hotel was attached to the mall that turns into the cruise terminal and this irked me, especially since the mall has a connector to the port that is always closed. The cabin was disappointing to say the least. Carpets were worn out and there was only one outlet for the room for and American plug. SO we asked for and got a surge protector. Our shower drain was also a bit slow. As for size it is the cruise line standard. The cove balcony was great but nothing special beyond other balconies I have been in. The price was nice though. All in all It was a good cruise but I prefer something less congested and a different style. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2016
With 4500 people on board, it was too much.... slow dining room, slow bar service (multiple times) and extremely slow buffet. The first night the bar staff seemed to find humor in the amount of lines and people who were unhappy with the ... Read More
With 4500 people on board, it was too much.... slow dining room, slow bar service (multiple times) and extremely slow buffet. The first night the bar staff seemed to find humor in the amount of lines and people who were unhappy with the slow service, we waited 20 minute after yelling to complain multiple times as the bartender went to random spots on the bar to help people.. Breakfast was just frustrating. the line for omelets was a constant 5-7 people x 2 lines. Maybe carnival should limit how many omelets/eggs people can order. More than once I had someone in front of me order 3 omelets, and each cook had 3 pans going so that really slowed the line down. The food on all 3 meal buffets is lacking in quality, second time on the Dream and this one was definitely not as good as the first go around. Lines for just about everything from the Guest services to ironing to Bars were long and slow. I know it was due to a holiday week cruise, but Carnival should anticipate and adjust properly. Embarking was positive and went fairly quick, debarking was mostly ok, we had a slight delay but were off the ship at 8:15am. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
This cruise was an add on to our holiday in New Orleans. There was an issue with my not having my ESTA at hand on embarkation, I felt that I would not be allowed to board the ship without proof that I actually possessed one. Although I ... Read More
This cruise was an add on to our holiday in New Orleans. There was an issue with my not having my ESTA at hand on embarkation, I felt that I would not be allowed to board the ship without proof that I actually possessed one. Although I would not have got passed immigration at the airport without it. Once on board thing improved somewhat. The cabin was clean and comfortable, our cabin maid Rhamei was friendly always smiling and kept the cabin spotless. The entertainment is as every cruise, good all round entertainment, take your pick of what suits you, there is a letter put in the cabin every night with details for the next day so you have no excuse if you miss out on something. I have to commend Jace the cruise director, boundless energy, approachable, funny, exhausting just to watch. We dined in the formal dining room some nights,the food is nothing especially special, the table settings, flat wear etc are nice and without our server Romar it would have been just ok, she was sparkly, took time to converse and listen to us. Also our wine waitress( sorry didn't get your name) served in the piano bar as well, remembered our preference in drink. The cafeteria is named The Gathering. The food was edible that's about all I can say about it. One thing I don't under stand, there are places other than the Gathering That serve Indian, Italian, Chinese(Tibetan Wok)food but these are only open for lunch!!!! Ports and excursions, There is something for everyone, most of the ports have private contractors doing the same trips that you can purchase from the cruise line for much the same price. If you want 100% guarantee though stick with the cruise excursions. Ask at the customer service desk if you are unsure or have any concerns about anything, our favourite go to was Oana, Knowledgeable or if she doesn't know the answer will go out of her way to find out. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
I took this cruise with a group of four friends. I have been on other cruise lines before and I was not sure what to expect of a Carnival cruise. The rooms were clean. The staff was friendly and helpful. I ate so much good food I put ... Read More
I took this cruise with a group of four friends. I have been on other cruise lines before and I was not sure what to expect of a Carnival cruise. The rooms were clean. The staff was friendly and helpful. I ate so much good food I put on 20lbs. Even though the ship is starting to show its age, they were always cleaning and painting the ship. Don't waste your money on the steak house on board the ship, the dinning rooms serve wonderful meals and they are all you can eat. On formal night there is steak and lobster tail for free. It is the same thing you pay for in the steak house. As for things to do I never got to all of it. The ship is a never ending play ground for young and old. I have stayed at 5 star resorts in the past and for $500.00 a person you can't beat this ship. P.S. if they offer an upgrade on your room take it, I did and had a fantastic room with a view. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
I decided to take the family on our first big trip together on the Carnival Dream. I have four kids (14, 14, 12, 11) and also my wife and in-laws. I reserved two adjoining balcony rooms. Upon arrival to the port, you are immediately ... Read More
I decided to take the family on our first big trip together on the Carnival Dream. I have four kids (14, 14, 12, 11) and also my wife and in-laws. I reserved two adjoining balcony rooms. Upon arrival to the port, you are immediately greeted with lines. Unfortunately, the lines never ended. Lines to get on and off the ship, lines for buffet....literally lines for everything. When we arrived in our stateroom, it was old and dirty. The phone did not work nor the mini fridge. The door that separates the two balconies was broke and our steward said it could not be opened. This posed a problem because my kids could not freely enter both rooms via balcony. The staff seemed unconcerned. The ship in general is old and in desperate need of renovation. The kids club was pathetic. Every time my kids try to get involved with an activity in Circle C, it was "cancelled or closed" or the activity just wasn't entertaining enough for my kids to participate. My kids had trouble keeping entertained on the ship during sail days. All that is really available is putt putt, two slides, two small pools, small basketball court. The basketball court closes at 5?! The "hot tubs" were always cold. The food was below average. The only thing we did enjoy was the pizza and 24 hour ice cream. However, all staff was very friendly and respectful. With all that being said, the excursions were AMAZING! We had the best time of our lives in Cozumel, Belize, and Roatan. I highly recommend the Sharks and Rays Island Getaway in Belize and took a private tour with Victor Bodden Tours in Roatan. Both were amazing and unforgettable. Even with all my disappointments with the ship, it was worth going just for the excursions. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
First, we drove to New Orleans and very much enjoyed our visit. We stayed at Embasey Suites which was an excellent hotel. We chose this cruise as the port of embarkation was half-way between both families. It also had Grand Cayman. ... Read More
First, we drove to New Orleans and very much enjoyed our visit. We stayed at Embasey Suites which was an excellent hotel. We chose this cruise as the port of embarkation was half-way between both families. It also had Grand Cayman. We were given times to embark, but we had a mishap and were late SO we did have about a 30 minute wait to get on board. My husband and I had an inside room which was larger than most inside rooms. There was plenty of drawers and closet space. Because the LIDO deck was so crowded, we ate almost all meals in the main dining room. While not always warm, they did wait on you. Service was slow. While none of the meals were remarkable, they were certainly okay. The Dream is laid out in a crazy way. Elevators were extremely slow. I did not like this ship. Only two very small pools and no pool in the Adults only area. There was never swimming room, mostly just standing room in both pools and nowhere for kids to swim and have fun. My Grandkids really enjoyed the Kid's Club. They could not wait to get there every day. Service in the bars---what service?? One night, my husband and I went to four different bars and were never asked if we would like a drink. You actually had to go to the bar yourself and order any drink you received. Others in our family purchased the soda package and they had to go to a bar every time they wanted a drink. While our cabin steward was good, they only come once a day. We had towel animals every night, but no chocolate. While we greatly enjoyed the time with family, we would not choose this ship again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We took this cruise as a replacement vacation when other plans weren't working out. We basically took to the internet, found out what could be available the week we were free, and booked this cruise through Costco. It helped that ... Read More
We took this cruise as a replacement vacation when other plans weren't working out. We basically took to the internet, found out what could be available the week we were free, and booked this cruise through Costco. It helped that the port city was New Orleans, where my lovely daughter lives. We stayed at the Queen Anne Hotel the night before embarkation - it was well-located, convenient, and serviceable. We made our own reservations through Travelocity. We were told that hotels rooms were in high demand because it was the weekend of the Southern Decadence Festival. Embarkation was very easy. The port is close to downtown New Orleans, and was easy to be dropped off at. While the line was very long, we moved more or less without stopping, and with minimal bureaucracy. Annoyingly, there was a heavy rainstorm during the embarkation, and while we were high and dry, our bags (and some of our clothes in the bags) were drenched. We started the cruise with clothes draped everywhere in our room, to dry out. We found the ship fairly well laid out. Of course, Carnival is somewhat high on the “glitzy” level – there is nothing understated. The biggest complaint is that it was difficult to walk through the ship without having to confront smoking areas – the casino stretches entirely across Deck 5. Smoking seems to be allowed on Deck 11, and of course in the outside sitting areas on deck 5 as well. I have to say that Cruise Director Chris Williams was a lot of fun. I am usually not a big fan of the music events, but the countdown of best 80’s song had me dancing and shouting out key lines to the songs (although two floors above – I certainly didn’t want to be called as a contestant!). We also enjoyed his efforts at the Love and Marriage show, and the Carnival Legends show. He is certainly hardworking – I saw him while we were leaving on excursions, and I saw him leading parties at 11! Chris also met us at the Meet & Mingle, which I have to say, was disappointing. From my point of view, it was disappointing because it was scheduled on the last day – while I am new to this, I would have thought the Meet & Mingle was to meet people who you were about to spend a week with. However, from Carnival’s view, the Meet & Mingle was to get feedback on how the cruise was going. This is an obvious clash of reasoning. And only about 8 people showed up, although there were 27 people from Cruise Critic registered. But Chris and Alex (the entertainment director) were fabulous to meet with. In my evaluation of future cruises, I would give a cruise added weight if either of these two guys were working on it. As a general matter, while I would say that while service was rarely outstanding, it was usually competent. Exceptions? Two come to mind • Cloud 9 spa scheduling was atrocious – consistently late and with problems. However, the massages were good. • The pizza making guys really do not have a good system. The pizza menu is simply a dream. I give high marks to the excursion staff, who made the reservations process very easy, and were very helpful – they knew their stuff. I have to say though, that there was a serious problem with the change of time zones that they didn’t address well. Yes, we heard the reminder that ship’s time would stay on one time, but someone could have noted that our phones were going to change time zones, which would affect the time we should show up for the excursion. But it is a minor complaint – they got us on virtually the same excursion for a great day. We went zip lining in Cozumel, cave tubing in Belize, and hit the beach in Roatan. All the excursions were pretty well run. My one complaint would be that an excursion should be one price for everything – I felt like I was being nickeled and dime for tips (drivers, guides, zipline “monkeys”, tube guides, servers, etc), lockers, drinks, lunch add-ons. I would appreciate a single price covering everything (like the cruise does), even if more expensive. Our room was clean and neat, although dated. We were in a veranda room – 9274. Problematically, the room was above the Lanai area – there was constantly cigarette, cigar and pipe smoke wafting across our veranda. Our room steward was competent. The room was clean, we had fresh towels every day. He delivered anything we asked for, but did not try to anticipate any needs. I don’t know why he put up with the slow drain in the sink. As for the size of the shower, I have to be honest here – I am a larger person, and I really didn’t use the shower – I used the showers in the spa on a daily basis. We had dinner at the MDR (Crimson) and enjoyed the menu. Our servers were attentive, generous, and fun, although there were many errors along the way. I found the Lido deck restaurant difficult to deal with. We ate most breakfasts and lunches there. Although I have heard good things about the various offerings, the lines were simply too much for me. I just took what I could get without waiting in a long line. They need to update this area and manage the lines better. This is probably my biggest complaint on the cruise. One night, we had dinner at the Chef’s Table – it was, simply, THE BEST DINNER EVER. Unqualified. Unbelievable. Unequaled. We didn’t use the children’s clubs. We enjoyed entertainment in the Encore theater - we thought the dancers and singers were good, and the songs fun. The band was great. The juggler was interesting. We missed any ball room dancing opportunities – the bands really were not playing the right kind of music, and venues were limited. But Frankly, the comedy venues were too crowded to enjoy. While I had hoped to enjoy a comic on the second night, once the guy next to me spilled his drink on me, and didn’t really notice, I left. Disembarkation went very smoothly. The only hiccup was when the line stalled, for no known reason, in an un air-conditioned walkway coming off the ship. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We chose this particular cruise because it was a "Free" cruise, compliments of the Carnival Player's Club "Casino". For the most part, this cruise was about what we expected it to be. Even though we had things to ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise because it was a "Free" cruise, compliments of the Carnival Player's Club "Casino". For the most part, this cruise was about what we expected it to be. Even though we had things to complain about, we still had a pretty good time. The good parts were what we've grown accustomed to since this was cruise number 27 "on Carnival". We've been on 4 other cruises (2 Norwegian, 1 Holland, and 1 Princess). Of these 31 total cruises, probably the most elegant was our very first cruise, on the Norwegian "Norway" which is no longer around. It reminded us of the Titanic, except for the iceberg thingy... Okay, here are some things that need to be reported to the cruise community. 1. This may seem trivial, but, I pre ordered, on the Carnival.com website, FLIP FLOPS to be in our room when we boarded (for the hot tubs, steam room, sauna, spa etc.). Well, guess what? They were "out of stock" and Carnival made no attempts to offer a substitute. 2. This next complaint kinda negates the "no FLIP FLOP" situation. The steam room (one of my favorite things to do), was out of order. I was told that they have another steam room for the people that want to pay "extra". When I asked if, since our room was out of order, could I use the other steam room? A big fat NO WAY unless I shelled out an extra $14 a day. 3. The Dream has a Pasta restaurant, where you can order pasta dishes including Lasagna. The three of us decided to eat lunch there on our last sea day. For anyone that has not eaten at a Carnival Pasta Restaurant, the way it works is, you go to the hostess desk, she gives you a menu and a table number. You find a table, sit down, and check what you want. A waiter picks your menu up, and enters the order. They said there would be about a 30 minute wait. My wife and I got our order in about 30 minutes. My sister (the other person in our group) had not received her dish after waiting over 45 minutes. I went to the hostess to complain, and was directed to the manager. The manager was not nice at all, in fact down right RUDE. I didn't get her name, but she was from some European country. If I did get her name, I wouldn't post it here. Oh, and the Lasagna was like no other Lasagna I've ever seen or tasted. It was terrible and in addition to being terrible, it was cold. I could go on with more stuff, but this is enough for now,,, I will be complaining to Carnival later. ? Is it just me,,,, or,, has anybody else noticed the gradual, but very definite decline in Carnival's quality??? I have to say, before ending this review,,, the room steward and wait staff were first class, and should be highly commended. Bob Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We were in cabin 2242 which was an extended ocean view room with "2 bathrooms" 1 is the standard cruise ship bathroom with small shower. The second has a 3/4 size tub with shower and sink. Standing room in there is enough to ... Read More
We were in cabin 2242 which was an extended ocean view room with "2 bathrooms" 1 is the standard cruise ship bathroom with small shower. The second has a 3/4 size tub with shower and sink. Standing room in there is enough to turn around only but the tub room shower is more spacious than the standard one. Our family only used the tub room to shower due to the increased room in the shower area. The attendant Jono was amazing best attendant I have had in the 7 cruises I have taken. Very nice and accommodating. Ship was better than any other Carnival ship I have been on for appearance. ( Holiday, Liberty and Sunshine) The people on the ship were so helpful and friendly. Entertainment and activities were hit and miss when you have 2 teenagers because a lot of the activities say 18+ so there were times we were in the cabin watching a pay per view movie. There is a lanai on the 5th floor on both sides of the ship that is a hidden gem with loungers that are always 50-70% empty with a direct view of the water and you can read or just relax very peaceful from the 10th pool deck. The food is simply horrible and I am not a food type. The selection at the buffet is very limited with a lot of salad like food and limited main course options. The dining room has the standard Carnival regular stuff with a few other options. Honestly my first cruise in 1997 on the Holiday was so far beyond the Dream for food and dining choices and options and quality. I saw people beside us at the Scarlet dining room ordering multiple entrees and picking through everything to come up with their meal.. NO JOKE. I would be embarrassed myself but this is what it has come to I guess. 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