Sail Date: November 2013
Cruised as part of a group of 101 guys. Not new to cruising, Carnival, or the ports visited. Overall a great time, but no major accolades for the ship or Carnival here. Stayed at the DoubleTree SeaWorld in Orlando for pre and post nights. ... Read More
Cruised as part of a group of 101 guys. Not new to cruising, Carnival, or the ports visited. Overall a great time, but no major accolades for the ship or Carnival here. Stayed at the DoubleTree SeaWorld in Orlando for pre and post nights. A nice value, clean rooms, decent restaurant, well-maintained grounds, convenient location, 40 mins to the port by charter bus the morning of the cruise. Embarkation was the fast and organized. If it took 20 minutes, I'd be surprised. Arrived at 1:30ish, no line at all. (The photo people insisted that the green-screen photo that they use for their facial recognition software to buy photos onboard was mandatory... I'm curious if that's really the case.) Cabins were ready when we boarded. Cabin steward (Michael) was great. Attentive and courteous. Towel animals every-night has become kind of routine, but still strangely brings a smile to the face of these two grown men. We were never without ice. Nice touches: he arranged our books and CPAP machine hoses on our pillows each night. Aww. Overall, service was excellent. That said, the constant barrage of sales pitches and gimmicks that Carnival employs have finally soured us from taking a cruise with them again soon. Finding information in the patters is impossible without sifting through worthless ads and 'sales-that-aren't-really-sales'. Cruise Director Announcements weren't *that* intrusive (2 long ones and 1 or 2 short ones each day), but added no value to our cruise experience. We felt like we spent a lot of time saying "no, thank you" to salespeople and dodging photographers. We got to the point where we preferred to avoid contact with crew entirely so as to not have to turn down a sales pitch. (Note: Carnival corporate's failure here, not the eager-to-please crew.) The ship's public areas were the standard flashy/gaudy decorations found on Carnival... no surprises there, but I find myself wondering who loves mirrors, glass, and flashing lights everywhere they look. The creepy masks in the Burgundy Lounge were odd at the very least. The layout of public areas just didn't seem right somehow: lots of empty/underutilized spaces and many overcrowded ones. Food: merely 'ok'; noticeably poorer in quality than our last Carnival cruise (Carnival Pride 2009). Brunch in the dining room was not good. The buffet overall was underwhelming in quality with the exception of the Tandoor and Deli sections outdoors Aft; those two were serving up fresh, hot, tasty food. Afternoon Tea on sea days was great. Clarence in the Crimson dining room during tea was fantastic: chatty but not intrusive, courteous but playful. Tea was a nice relaxing alternate activity from the hustle-and-bustle of the rest of the ship. We went to the main dining room most nights, and things were better there, but nothing to write home about. The fish dishes tended to be the most flavorful and imaginative (though strangely, not the fish dish listed on the menu as a contest-winner). A duck and orange appetizer was memorable. The chateaubriand exceeded our expectations (we were amused and braced for the worst though). The nightly Indian veggies were also consistently well-prepared. The melting chocolate cake was always the best dessert on the menu (and our table/group tried them all...)... but that's a bit disappointing if you're looking for quality AND variety. The bar service was slow to bring our first glass of wine in the main dining room at dinner each night; then after receiving 1 glass of wine, the bar server was a bit of a pest offering more wine 3 times nightly, then offering shots (?!) each night at dessert time. The thing is... we know they can do better. They have in the past. Table-mates RAVED about the Chef's table experience. They clearly have people on board who are passionate about food but are being stifled somehow--I would guess by budget restraints and cost-cutting. It's a shame. Last dining note: I can't believe Carnival still believes in humiliating their dining room servers making them sing and dance several nights during the cruise. Flashing the lights and blaring music destroys the somewhat classy ambiance the serving staff manages to create each night. This embarrassing practice is a RELIC in the cruise industry at the very best. If Carnival wants to entertain their guests at dinner, they should employ legitimate artists to do so. Medical Center: first time I've needed to visit one on a ship. Thank goodness it's there. Thank goodness they were well-stocked with fast-acting antibiotics. $220 and one day later, and I was back to my vacation. Also grateful for the free movies on the in-room TV during recovery and a room-service menu I ate my way through in bed. And tissues. Steward Michael kept me well stocked in tissues while my sinuses drained. (ewww) Great crew down there. May you never need them. Entertainment: we stuck to the aft-pool during the afternoons; the midship pool was crazy loud with contests and the jumbo-tron screen, etc. In the evenings, Karaoke was fun and busy--sadly relegated some nights to a lounge too small for the enthusiastic crowd. We didn't attend any of the shows in the Encore theatre... they're just not for us. But I did see they're still running the same tired "Carnival Legends" show on the last night of the cruise. The night club, "Caliente", was fun in the late night, though *extremely* smokey with very little ventilation. One of the DJ's was great and really knew his crowd. The other DJ was awful and had an empty dance-floor until the other DJ came to rescue him. Most nights, our group stayed out drinking and dancing until the club shut down before running up to the lido deck to have the best pizza I've ever tasted. Now that I think about it... maybe the pizza just SEEMED amazing because it was 3am, under the stars, somewhere in the middle of the caribbean, with 100 friends drunk on the rushing warm air and a whole-lotta rum. And that's the thing, isn't it... the rest of the "meh" stuff about any cruise fades away and the memories forged with friends dancing "the wobble" and frolicking in hot tubs during torrential downpours become indelible. So really... the ship is fine. It'll do. Go eat pizza at 3am with your friends and have a great time. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
We're a couple of senior citizens that love to cruise. This was our 8th cruise and our 3rd time on the Carnival Dream in 3 years. She looks worn and in need of a makeover. This 2008 beauty has lost her sparkle. The plastic covered ... Read More
We're a couple of senior citizens that love to cruise. This was our 8th cruise and our 3rd time on the Carnival Dream in 3 years. She looks worn and in need of a makeover. This 2008 beauty has lost her sparkle. The plastic covered furniture in the main lobby on deck 3 is embarrassing and uncomfortable. Carnival says that they "refurbish” each ship every 3 years, but Dream is way overdo. Our Balcony: We were on the 9th deck, midship and couldn’t enjoy our balcony because of our neighbors smoking. Formal Night: is more casual  not really formal. The Food: I found the food to be very, very good. We usually ate in the dining room. The prepared salads were excellent especially the Greek Farmer Salad. The flat iron steak was always a good choice as was the salmon. We enjoyed the fresh, thin pizza at lunch. Breakfast or Brunch (on sea days) was good, especially the Eggs Benedict with extra sauce. We did not order any room service. I called for a cheese and cracker plate and they only had sandwiches. We did buy the wine package and that worked well. The attention provided by our Steward Utama and our Any-time-dining waiter Rufino were much appreciated. We only went ashore at St. Thomas to do a little shopping at Al Cohens. The weather was very hot and humid and we preferred the air conditioning on the ship. We only saw one show and it was the same one we saw last year. No update there either. We attended the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet which was a huge success. Thank you Brian! We parked our car at Park and Cruise in Port Canaveral. Getting to the ship was just fine getting back was horrible. They have no system to board the shuttle for the return to their parking lot. It was a mad dash every man for himself crush. I don’t think we’ll use them again. Do your feet and ankles only swell when on a cruise? I have found that not drinking the ship’s water is the answer. This includes water served at meals, tap water, ice cubes, coffee, orange juice (or anything reconstituted) including soda. Anything that comes in a can or bottle is ok. In total, this cruise was a great bargain.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
Background; 6 guests ranging from 62-29 yrs of age. 3 guests were VIP status with Carnival with over 12 cruises on that line. Average for the group was 10 cruise trips. Embarkation: We arrived via Orlando and rented a car to transfer to ... Read More
Background; 6 guests ranging from 62-29 yrs of age. 3 guests were VIP status with Carnival with over 12 cruises on that line. Average for the group was 10 cruise trips. Embarkation: We arrived via Orlando and rented a car to transfer to Cocoa Beach. My son lives there so he arranged for overnight housing. You are not charged a drop off fee at the port for cars rented at the Orlando airport. So, if more than two people are traveling, it is more economical to rent a vehicle. The morning of the cruise we dropped bags at the terminal then picked up all six members of the party. We dropped the vehicle at the Budget location at the port and took the Budget transfer to the cruise terminal. Total cost of the car was $105. Check in is very smooth at Port Canaveral and takes less than 15 minutes. Room: Two rooms were inside cabins deck level 7, with one outside (window) on deck 2. Rooms were adequate for adult passengers. The outside cabin was somewhat unusual in that it had 2 bathrooms. The room would be excellent if traveling with children. On-board activities: Highly recommend the 7 day spa package. It gives VIP access to a private locker room, whirlpool and sauna area. Well worth the $150 per person. Casino: Worst casino I have seen to date. The area is cramped and has very poor ventilation. Staff were great but the layout left much to be desired. Bars: Wide assortment, did not like the sports bar since it is collocated with the casino. Entertainment: Music/shows were the norm. Hey its not Broadway or Vegas. The highlight is the comedy club. Four comics over the week with both family and adult shows. Food: Lido deck was average, I don't use this facility much but it was as expected. Main dining was good, a little cramped but wait staff were excellent. Overall food was good, best steak and lobster dinner to date. Best part was our waiter (Jeorge). On the last night he arranged for a traditional dinner from his home country that was outstanding. The people at the adjoining tables were envious. We did not use the speciality dining areas but understood they were average. Shore activities: We love to snorkel and scuba dive. So the stops are all good for this activity. Cozumel: Booked scuba through carnival. Good trip but not the best reef quality, shopping in downtown.Best find was a Kosher restaurant called Jerusulam, traditional food and high quality. Belieze: Booked the Seargants Cay snorkel and beach trip. Very good snorkeling with about 2 hours of beach at their private location. Food/drink was available ($10) average. Roatan: Best port of all. Booked a snorkel/scuba trip with Subway Watersports via my travel agent. The service picked us up at the terminal and transported to their private beach/resort area. Resort is the Turquoise Bay resort. The staff was outstanding, and since it was a private part only our family was on this trip. They arranged for all equipment/storage of our belongings and just anything we needed. 2 dive masters and a captain took us to the best locations we have ever seen. Following the diving we had lunch at the resort ($10) with excellent local foods. HIGHLY recommend this trip. Costa Maya: Scuba was average, booked through the ship. Shopping area is limited to the traditional shops located at cruise ports. Traveling into town is highly discouraged by ship security. Should have stayed on ship and spent the day at the spa. Disembarkation: We arranged for baggage transfer to our airline at orlando through the ships baggage service. It is $20 per person for two bags each. We were flying Southwest so there were no additional fees. Highly recommend this service, takes a lot of the hassle out of disembarkation. Two of our part exited at 0900 with the self asset crowd and caught the shuttle to the Budget office. Picked up the van and returned to the port (about 30 minutes total) and picked up the remaining members of the party. Since we had checked bags on board we had plenty of room in the mini van. Cost of the van was $125 no drop off fee at Orlando airport. When you compare this to the $35 per person charge for shuttle service to Orlando there is no comparison. It would have cost us $150 for the shuttle! Plus we were able to make the drive in 45 minutes and have a nice lunch near the airport. Drop off of the van takes less than 15 minutes, Budget is located in the garage at terminal 2. Overall impression: The ship is large, over 3500 guests. Compared to smaller ships I do not see the upside to cruising on a big ship. Therefore, we will be avoiding this size ship and looking for smaller (Holland or Princess) line ships in the future Seas were pretty rough for the last two days. This is a large ship and you can still feel the movement throughout the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
Dinner at the Steakhouse (Chef's Art) was incredible and well worth the money! We had two birthdays while on board and they went above and beyond. We dined in the Crimson dining room a few nights and everything was great. We found ... Read More
Dinner at the Steakhouse (Chef's Art) was incredible and well worth the money! We had two birthdays while on board and they went above and beyond. We dined in the Crimson dining room a few nights and everything was great. We found that the dress code was not really adhered too - not a huge thing but I really don't want to see people in bikinis and bathing suits in the inside dining areas. Our room steward, Ozzy, was extremely friendly and always greeted us by name. He went above and beyond, especially little extra touches for our 5 year old. (See separate review regarding our original cabin, 11218). We utilized the spa, as we were in the spa class. Julieta (the assistant spa manager, I believe) was so nice and informative about the products we used during a couple's mud treatment (highly recommended). The spa overall was awesome and never too crowded. Ports of call included Nassau, San Juan, St. Thomas and Grand Turk. Wish we could have been in port longer and felt a bit rushed to do excursions, shopping, etc. San Juan was delayed by several hours as we had to turn around and take a passenger back to Nassau due to a medical emergency. Saw another passenger taken off the ship in Grand Turk...and on our last night saw the medical team rushing to a cabin for another medical emergency. They did a great job in this respect in handling things. While we have been extremely pleased with the above mentioned items, we and our friend who sailed with us were extremely, extremely disappointed with Camp Carnival. We have a 5 year old and she has an 11 year old. This is the main reason that we chose to go with Carnival despite being past cruisers on NCL. We were so perplexed because Carnival touts what a fantastic program they have for kids. In our experience, the supervisors are interfering with the staff's ability to take care of the children, thwarting any success at drop off for children who may be timid due to a new environment. Samantha from Canada was our daughter's camp 'counselor' and was superb and did an excellent job in making our daughter feel comfortable. Finally by Day 4 we gave up, it wasn't worth the aggravation. Instead of being warm and welcoming, some of the counselors came across as rude and rigid. The night we had reservations at the steakhouse, my husband had to bring back our daughter back to the cabin who was so upset...20 minutes before our dinner reservation. We ended up getting her back and she had a good time, but the point of the matter is, we had to have a huge meltdown when we are supposedly on vacation. We have sailed a few times with Carnival however, after this trip we will never sail with them again - nor will the other two parties with us. Having activities for our child is important and while Carnival exceled in other areas, this area is a big one for us. Every day there was a snafu with Camp Carnival, including them getting snippy when they claimed to have called us for an hour, yet the phone they issued us never rang or showed a call (nor did they ring our room). If you don't have kids, it's probably great. Sad to say, we're glad to be home. We gave them a chance in light of the problems they've had. Lesson learned. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
The ship itself was beautiful. The decor was unusual but not unattractive. I think it was supposed to be strange as in "Dream." They didn't quite drive the point home, instead leaving us scratching our heads and wondering ... Read More
The ship itself was beautiful. The decor was unusual but not unattractive. I think it was supposed to be strange as in "Dream." They didn't quite drive the point home, instead leaving us scratching our heads and wondering why there was artwork of polar bears dancing in a ballroom, or mice riding flying books, or sea turtles throwing a beach ball. Our balcony room was very comfortable, although the bed was not a king as stated. Although the ship was considered "full," it didn't seem so at all. There were plenty of deck chairs available, and many niches where one could find peace and quiet or have some privacy for a conversation or to read a book, etc. That's all the good I have to say about our time spent on the ship. There is no "fun" on this "fun ship." The "Fun Times" were full of things like Spa tour, Guess the price of the painting, Free footprint analysis, Medispa physician consultations, How to look 10 years younger, and one type of Trivia after another. Their attempts at throwing deck parties or dance parties were cheesy and didn't last long (perhaps an hour). They simply made no attempts at getting people mingling. Even the layout of the ship didn't encourage people to gravitate to "common areas" where they might make friends or get caught up in the "fun." I personally don't find the huge tv on the Lido deck over the pool to be "fun," either. What's fun about laying on a lounge chair and watching sitcom reruns day after day? The food was downright disgusting except for the pizza, the Taste Bar, and Chef's Table. We didn't eat in the dining room, so I can't comment on that. The Tandoor Station had very dry Indian food that all tasted pretty much the same (same flavor profile). The chicken was dry and there wasn't much variety. The Grill had huge hot dogs that were WAY too big for their buns, and burgers that were over-cooked (gray center). The Deli didn't offer much variety and the ham and turkey were very sweet, which is off-putting, and they only offered American cheese. The pizza was good, but was not available 24-hours as promised. I tried to get pizza at noon one day, the whole station was broken down and covered up and no one was there. Another day I tried around 5pm, same thing. Other times, there were people there, but it didn't matter what you asked for, there was a wait and you had to come back later to get it. They performed "routine balcony maintenance" one of the days we were at sea starting at 9am, so we were told to "ensure your window curtains are closed." Another day they had to repair the main water line, so no hot water was available from 10am until 130-2pm. Elevators were out of order, restrooms in public areas randomly had "out of order" signs on the doors, and that smell everyone talks about was definitely present. The majority of the staff was friendly and pleasant, but there were a few who made no eye contact, didn't speak, didn't smile, and didn't reply while clearing your plate or walking by, even when we greeted them. Twice while waiting in line to get orange juice, which was supposed to be available for another 10-15 minutes, a crew member would sidestep in front of me, open the machine, and remove the juice and replace it with lemonade without speaking. Twice! At Guest Services we had a crew member get sarcastic as soon as we asked a question. This was our first, and probably our last Carnival cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
We drove down the night before and stayed at Country Inn and Suites. It was a great one night stay and the customer service was phenomenal. We parked the car at a cost of $40 for the week and did the round trip free shuttle. We were on the ... Read More
We drove down the night before and stayed at Country Inn and Suites. It was a great one night stay and the customer service was phenomenal. We parked the car at a cost of $40 for the week and did the round trip free shuttle. We were on the first shuttle and left about 10:15. We zipped thru the Platinum check-in and were ready to board. They finally cleared the ship and boarding began after 11:30. We were greeted with smiling faces and any type of food you could wish for. No lines yet so I headed for the Mongolian Wok. It was delicious. The design of the food and drink stations was very poor. When there were more than 12 people in line for the wok, they extended into the beverage station and then out into the walkway. It was always congested on that side of the lido. Our rooms were ready and we were really excited to have a Spa Balcony Cabin. It was a cabin for 4 with a pull down bed and a sofa bed. My daughter of course chose the pull down bed. The steak house was our first dinner. It did not disappoint. Our only complaint is that we couldn't eat it all. The baked onion soup, filet mignon and the cheesecake were the best of the best. Our first night we spent exploring. We were exhausted so we skipped the show. We wanted to hang out on our balcony and enjoy the ocean. Did I mention that we were in a Spa Balcony. We booked this to enjoy the spa but also to be away from smoking. There is no smoking in these rooms or on the balconies, or so we thought. Our neighbor to the left was puffing sway. We promptly reported this to our room steward. He did nothing but report to her that we were complaining. She apologized and stated that she was not aware of this when she booked the cabin. It didn't stop her at all. When we walked out there was always that smell and she would quickly go inside when she heard our door open. We then noticed our neighbor to the right smoking as well. There is a privacy wall but you can see the reflection of the adjoining balconies and I witnessed both sides smoking. So much for our smoke free balcony experience.... We turned in and were rocked to sleep by the ocean waves. Yes, there was movement being all the way forward and so high up. It never bothered us. The next morning at 6:10am we were up. Not by choice. The noise was awful. There are treadmills, free weights and weight machines directly above the room. The person on the treadmill must have been in great shape because he pounded on that thing for at least an hour. The people using the weight machine would let it drop and it was a loud clang that vibrated the ceiling. We went up and looked at the gym area. There are many treadmills and sure enough, the one toward the end over our room was the only one in use. There wasn't an attendant around so we visited Guest Services. We reported the noise and the smoking. They apologized and said that they would contact the gym manager to take the machines right over our room out of service until after 8am. That sounded reasonable to us. The smoking complaint was a joke. She said that we would have to call security and they would have to catch them in the act. Since when do I have to police the rules in which Carnival has set. A letter to each cabin stating that there would be a $250 fine with the next complaint would have stopped that behavior. We spent most of our lounging time at the aft pool area because there was no smoking there. A few umbrellas around was a nice touch. We went to brunch on the first sea day and found stickers with a time on our towels. This was the only time this happened and they never moved anyone's things. The line to brunch was extremely long on both sea days. The food was very good. The first day I ordered a bloody mary from the bar server. The second brunch day, I had them to make it at the little stand outside the dining room. It was so much better and you could add all the spice you wanted. We really enjoyed the shows on this ship. Fun force break dance team was always entertaining. Food was good but not great. Most fish entrees were either dry or tasted fishy. We did notice that our waiter had 36 people to serve. There were several large groups, the three of us and another table of two. It always took about 20 minutes to get served bread but after that, they seemed to move smoothly. There was never time to establish a rapport with the servers. They were pleasant, but stretched to their limit. There were many tables with only half the seats filled in other sections. Not in our section, everyone every night that we visited. Now to the spa. We couldn't wait to soak in the Thasslo pool. We went to the front of the ship to use the small elevator, not because we are lazy, just because it looked neat. Out of order! Oh well, the stairs it was. We turned our card into the desk and took the spa key cards. There was no one in the thasslo room. I couldn't wait to relax. I stuck my foot in and wow. It was really hot. We eased in and were only able to stay for about a minute. It was that hot. I went back to the desk to inquire about the temperature and then the attendant told us that they were having difficulty regulating it. She said that the last temp recorded was 45 degrees Celsius. That is 113F. At that temperature, you would think there would be some type of warning. No mention when we checked in or any signage. Another lady came in and dipped her foot in, she immediately left. We did enjoy the other rooms. I actually fell asleep on the heated lounger. Guess I was tired from my early wake up. Each morning it was the same wake up. Bang, bang, thud. We went up to the gym and were there any machines taken out of order? Absolutely NOT. I took a few photos and headed to guest services. The supervisor would not be in until after 8am. At least someone got to sleep in, right. They called and left a message while we were in port. We visited for a face to face late that afternoon. The supervisor was very apologetic but acted like that guest services had no control over what was done in the gym. She stated that they had requested this and she thought it had been done. I asked if she wanted to see my photos and of course she didn't. They did extend us a small onboard credit but I would have much rather had what I paid for. A relaxing room and a smoke free balcony. Debarkation was a breeze. We did the self assist option and had to be in the Crimson lounge at 6:40am. We were off the ship by 7am, shuttle pick up was waiting on us and we were in the car and on the road by 7:30am. A vacation is what you make it and we had a great time in spite of the challenges of smoke and noise. We simply won't choose a Spa cabin, a balcony cabin or any cabin near high noise levels.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
Cruise to the Western Caribbean the first week of September 2013. Dream is a big ship but sorely lacking in some important areas. For the most part, the food in the dining rooms was good, not great but OK for a cruise. On the Dream there ... Read More
Cruise to the Western Caribbean the first week of September 2013. Dream is a big ship but sorely lacking in some important areas. For the most part, the food in the dining rooms was good, not great but OK for a cruise. On the Dream there is no place to get a quick snack in the late afternoon. The only option is to go to the Gathering buffet and they do not have any chips, salsa, nacho's or anything simple. They do have 24 hour pizza but that is about it. The food in the Gathering buffet was ok but at lunch time you could not get near the Asian Wok where they stir fried without waiting in line for a long time and I tried several different times. There were just too many people for the limited dining options. If you wanted just the buffet, then you were ok but if you wanted the Wok, Burrito bar, or any of the other dining options you really had to wait. The Taste bar which they advertized as a quick option was never open and the offerings were just awful, how can you advertize "Taste of NY" and then give the customer a barbecued piece of pork fried in breadcrumbs. PLEASE! The pool area was not suited for anyone older than 12, very crowded with screaming kids. The Serenity Deck is a nice option for those like us who wanted a little peace and quiet to sunbathe but they had no pool. The adult shows started at 9:45 and there was no way that you could attend if you have an 8:15 dinner reservation so I would either go with a flexible time or you will have to wait until 11:00 for a show. The ship was lacking in venues to handle the crowds and if you did not get to a show 30 minutes before you would not get a seat. The shows close the door at the start time and you can't get in. On a positive note, the Crew on the Dream was exceptional. Our cabin attendant Usa and our waiter Pituck were just fantastic. We did attend the Chefs Dinner which was also exceptional and I would recommend this option for anyone who likes fine dining. Simple additions like a Pub Bar and an adult swim pool would be great. Overall the cruise was good but I would be a little leery of going on another Carnival cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
I frequently write reviews on TripAdviser and have found that by simply stating the facts in a Pros, Cons, and Summary format is fairly effective. The point afterall is to try to help others to make a well informed decision when it comes ... Read More
I frequently write reviews on TripAdviser and have found that by simply stating the facts in a Pros, Cons, and Summary format is fairly effective. The point afterall is to try to help others to make a well informed decision when it comes time for them to shop for a vacation. Pros: The Dream is a beautiful ship; large and well laid out. Once you get past the parking lot fiasco embarkation is fairly smooth. The Cove Balcony was amazing. The sounds and smells of the ocean made it worthwhile however, as you will read, a definite "con" is the fact that people are constantly smoking on their balconies and the smells ruin the clean ocean smells one would hope for. The food is plentiful and delish. It is fairly easy to find your way around the ship. Just learn the right passages and you can quite literally get anywhere. Room service was free and was amazing; if you don't take advantage of it shame on you! The comedy on board is second to none. "Jeff The Fun Dude" is truly funny himself and the headliners are top of the mark. This, for us, was a trip highlight.Cons: When we sailed on the Dream in 2010 we were on board in about 20 minutes. We were stuck in the parking lot alone for 45 minutes and then had to still go through security and final embarkation. The total time was almost two hours most of which was because of how the taxis have to drop you off now. The muster drill was a total waste; first the video failed to work but we had audio. Then they got the video working but the audio went out. We only saw the last 20 seconds or so with both working. Given that this is a critical aspect of the cruise required by law shouldn't they have taken it more seriously? The A/C in our cabin did not work. I phoned to report it and was assured it would be addressed. It never was. It never got below 75 in our cabin even with the curtains closed all day. For some I am certain that this is nice and cool but in my book when it is cooler in the hallway than it is in your cabin there is a problem. Other guest we asked said "our room is freezing" and one cabin I visited was indeed nice and cool. It was an isolated issue with our cabin and they never addressed it. It seems like Carnival is cutting cost where and when they can and our time in each port was extremely limited. Barely enough to do one excursion and then we had to be right back on board. Since the time in port is directly related to how much the cruise line pays to dock there, it occurred to me that perhaps they are cutting cost by limiting the time docked. This assumption is further backed by the fact that we were going SO slow between ports; the distance between San Juan to St. Thomas is only about 80 miles. But we left San Juan around 5 pm and did not arrive until 11 am the next morning. From St. Thomas to Grand Turk is about 500 NM and we made it there in the same amount of time. Because the Dream is so big it is hard to "get away" from the crowds. Waiting for elevators, waiting in line for food, waiting in line for various services, and waiting in line to debark are the standard. And some of the passengers are frankly rude; never mind that there is a line already in place, just skip it and go to the front. On more than one occasion I witnessed this is twice it almost caused altercations. In the "old days" dressing up for dinner meant something. I can remember people being turned away for not wearing proper attire. On the Dream literally anything was allowed. I actually saw people on the formal night wearing shorts and flip flops who were allowed to sit and dine. Certain announcements should be piped into the cabins. We had a speaker in our room so clearly this is a possibility. But we had to open the door if we wanted to hear what was being announced. Smokers are more than welcome to smoke on their balconies. There was a lot of them upwind from us and our balcony constantly had their smoke drifting into it. Why not make the only Cove balconies where smoking is allowed towards the stern where no one else would suffer second hand inhalation? The only way to avoid this would be to get booked into the very front balcony. Debarkation was long and seemed confused. Once we got out to customs it became obvious why. The customs agent played 20 questions with us; something I haven't ever been through before. Usually they make you feel welcome but in this case he was clearly suspicious of something. Why not just ask, or search, or whatever you are inclined to do and move things along?Summary: The big question that should be asked is whether or not we would ever sail on the Dream again? This was our second time and the first experience was much more memorable. But it was pre-Costa event and I could not help but be left with the impression that Carnival is a company that is cutting cost where and when it can and things had definitely changed since our first voyage. Between the confusion of embarkation in the parking lot, the lack of A/C in our cabin, and the enormous crowds I believe this will be our last time on this mega cruiser. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
We drove to the pier, about a 2 hour drive. In the priority area by 10:30 and on ship by 11am. Went straight to our room, dropped off luggage and decorate our door. Went to lido deck for lunch and photo taking.. The dream is large, but the ... Read More
We drove to the pier, about a 2 hour drive. In the priority area by 10:30 and on ship by 11am. Went straight to our room, dropped off luggage and decorate our door. Went to lido deck for lunch and photo taking.. The dream is large, but the food area is congested. Noticed all the choices, but decided to wait it out. Nice serenity area, 2 pools, jumbotron tv. Cruise director is James. He's okay, not as involved as others have been. His assistant Gumby is a little better. Went to a wedding to take photos for a friend.. a staff woman there said we couldn't stay. Tried to tell her we weren't eating, just a few photos. She got irate. When she found out we were invited, she huffed off. Not a good impression so far. First seating dinner.. 2 hour for dinner, okay, first night, I'll let it go. DINNERS Food was always slow.. 2 hours every night. Had to always ask for more tea and water. food served, but is was always 15=20 minutes before you got sauces or sour cream. Food tepid at best, and not very flavorful.By the 2rd night I was ordering the mac and cheese and banana splits off of the kids menu. Felt bad for waiter, he had 5 twelve top tables. SHOWS typical.. when did the girls start wearing thongs and had bare butts for the family shows. Welcome aboard show, Get Ready, Fun force, hypnotist, dancing in the street, 8 more seconds (a better show), and carnival ledgends. PARTIES Blue Iguana one night and Red Frog the other. If you want beads, be near the bar or you will be mobbed trying to get them. 2 formal nights, lots of partying in the Punchliner (best place on the ship) ROOM We had an inside, but never met our room steward till day 4, and still don't know his name. Laundry service is awesome.. went home with clean clothes, but they do have laundry places on the ship. CAPTAINS CELEBRATION along ocean deck promenade.. no free drinks. welcome back party.. free appitizers and drinks. free tervis tumblers for platinum and above. PORTS Nassau.. we did the John Watling distillery (on our own), FREE (7am to 1:30pm) SAN JUAN.. we did they free trolley and went to the cemetery and El Moro ($3.00 a person), and then senor Frogs.(11 am to 5pm)BRING BUG SPRAY. DENGUE FEVER IS BAD THERE. THEY DON'T TELL YOU. A friends 4 year old in hospital due to mosuquito bite. ST. THOMAS.. we just walked around near the ship. There is a Senor Frogs right at the ship, with a free pool (7am to 2:30) Not to self.. NOTHING opens till 10am. GRAND TURK .. just had a wonderful beach day, collected sea glass, walked around margarittaville, and back to ship.11am to 6:30. I found the staff to be rude, understaffed, and really didn't care. I will probably go back to royal.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
This review is only what I saw or what happen to me, and no one should take it as what is the norm on the Dream. We have cruised 13 times prior to this cruise and have been on Carnival twice before, but never on the Dream. This was a last ... Read More
This review is only what I saw or what happen to me, and no one should take it as what is the norm on the Dream. We have cruised 13 times prior to this cruise and have been on Carnival twice before, but never on the Dream. This was a last minute cruise. We received a call from Carnival 21 days prior to the cruise and offered a very good price for the Sept. 28th 7 days cruises on the Carnival Dream out of Port Canaveral. We parked our car at Park n Cruise and were shuttled to the terminal the cost is more than half of what parking cost at the terminal. From parking to shuttle to port and boarding the ship was about 30 minutes. Dinning 3 We did manage to get our dinning changed for your time dinning to early seating and was assigned to a table for four in the Scarlet Dining room table 504 which was adequate but not great. Service was just OK, I complained to the head waiter on the second night about slow service and cold food and from that point on everything was just OK. The Pasta Bar, Tandoor Station, Burrito Bar were all excellent, The Mongolian wok always had a 40 minute line at it so it had to be good also. Buffet was just adequate and close at 9:30 each night leaving only Pizza and the grill open, but the food was plentiful and hot. Seating at the buffet was always available. Cabin 1 Cabin 1226 is an Ocean View on deck one portside forward, in or 14 cruises this was the largest cabin we have been in and the only one with a bath tube. Very small TV for the size of the room but the cabin had all the expected amenities. The problem with the cabin is it is an adjoining room with the door at the foot of the bed. You could hear all the talking laughing and TV from the adjoining room. Our neighbors partied till I called guest services to ask them to be quite which happen nightly. This room is also just above the gangway and on early port morning an on tender mornings it very noisy when then start getting ready for passenger, this started around 6:30. Entertainment 3 Shows in the Encore were very good but very loud. The best part of the entertainment was the Punchliner Comedy Club in the Burgundy lounge which was excellent; you had to get their early for a good seat. The Break dancers were very good also. We were given a disembarkation baggage tag number twenty for 9:30 to 9:45 we asked guest services if we could get off earlier and were given tag number four for 7:45. The big hold up was at Custom which seem very slow. Carnival although the largest cruises line it is also the Kmart of the cruise industry. The cruise was OK and you get what you pay for. I will cruise on Carnival again just as I will still shop at Kmart if the price is right. But I will never take an adjoining room again or a cabin on deck one again..   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
My husband and I sailed on the Carnival Dream September 7 to 14, 2013. A celebration for my husband's birthday. The Carnival Personal Vacation Planner Carlos was great to work with. We booked in May 2013, worked through a few quirks ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on the Carnival Dream September 7 to 14, 2013. A celebration for my husband's birthday. The Carnival Personal Vacation Planner Carlos was great to work with. We booked in May 2013, worked through a few quirks with the pricing and opted for the Faster to the Fun option for this cruise - our first time trying this option. September 7th arrives, excitedly we depart from our hotel - who by the way did an awesome job with their Fly Snooze and Cruise package deal pre and post cruise (Comfort Inn Cocoa Beach). Security check in goes smoothly and by 9am we are sitting in the FTTF section of the cruise terminal - just adjacent to the VIP lounge. By 10:30 they begin boarding - only to have a snaffu of calling the FTTF folks ahead of the Plantium folks - here we go walking in our line - only to have a representative frantically tells us - no no no - sit sit sit - - we all have to find seats and 3 minutes doesn't even pass then the same representative says - ok you can go now -geez - get your act together folks! The Carnival Dream - supposedly one of the better ships of Carnival fleet - not in my opinion! While the Carnival Dream has all these lovely decorations and ambiance - having a cabin without appropriate air conditioning makes for a miserable trip of non-rest throughout the night. There was no air flow in our cabin when we walked in - we had to call guest services twice for maintenance to come to our room - before we left the port there was air flow but it wasn't cool - our room stayed at 73.9 degrees the entire trip - it was cooler in the hall and public areas than in our room - and all we were told by guest services - it's within Carnival's standard - no offer to make a finanical adjustment on our rate, or apology. Then this "dream" room has another incident on day 2- it's the shower - it doesn't drain - my husband stands in ankle deep water - granted it's repaired but do you think there is any mention of - we are so sorry - NOPE - only our cabin steward seemed to even be truely concerned. OH but wait - there's more about this cabin - the next day - 3rd sail day the sink plunger stops working and the water faucet literally sprays water everywhere when turned on - another call for maintaince to repair something in our room. One would think after a past guest has 3 separate legitamte complaints/issues with their room that some form of "we're sorry, here's a credit for your inconveniences" would be offered - - even after complaining on the customer survey and an e-mail to guest services - still no finance credit - oh but we did get a - we are so sorry you had such issues e-mail from guest services - gee thanks! This ship is huge, it involves alot of walking from any elevator/step location so you will get lots of exercise. Due to the amount of people on this ship, you will have many long waits for elevators - if you are healthy enough - take the stairs. If you choose the dine at your time option - be prepared to have a pager placed into your hand and told you will have a 30 to 45 minutes wait time - and then when you are seated in the main dining room be prepared for more long waits, be overlooked, have to repeatedly ask your server for your iced tea, cold food, and the list can go on. The bottomless soda program - what a joke - my husband paid $50.00 for this little sticker on his card, only to have the inconvenience of getting back in line at the lido bars, or sit and wait and wait in the dining rooms for refills - you are not allowed to have the can of soda they open to pour into your glass that is completely full of ice - my husband would have been much better off to have brought his soda on board and asked for glassees of ice! Don't bother buying this sticker instead bring on board your own. I really wish I could have given this ship a rave review, for it is a beautiful ship - the design is a little quirky on getting from the 10th deck up to the 14th deck. My husband and I did like the funky rockers, serenity deck sitting area with hammocks - the best time to utilize these is at sunrise when no one is out on the ship. One other issue we did have with the ship was the jacuzzi's on the 5th deck had cold water - the best jacuzzi is in the serenity level 14th deck. One other tip - stay alert to when your ship docks, there isn't always announcements staying your cleared to disembark. As far as the shows and the commedians, they are good if you can work them into your schedule - so many options to choose from.   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2013
My husband and I have an annual, child-free anniversary cruise and it is always with Carnival. When we cruise with the kids, it's always Disney. We are Carnival fans, no matter what the media says! Prior to the Dream, the biggest ... Read More
My husband and I have an annual, child-free anniversary cruise and it is always with Carnival. When we cruise with the kids, it's always Disney. We are Carnival fans, no matter what the media says! Prior to the Dream, the biggest boat we've sailed was the Disney Dream. I am generally afraid of larger boats for personal reasons, but, I let go of my fears and sailed on. Embarktion: The smoothest Carnival process ever!!!! We embarked in Miami in 2012 and it was a HORRID experience. No organization at all! We relayed our glee to the agent processing our keys and she was shocked because they are always being told...BY THE MIAMI PORT...that the Port Canaveral embarktion process was slow and they are doing things wrong. We filled her in on our experience and she asked that we speak to her manager, which we did and she was so happy to hear that "her" port was well praised. Seems Miami is always giving them a bad rap. From parking lot to cabin: 35 minutes Ship: I personally feel that the turnaround time between sailings is not enough to provide a clean ship. From the moment we boarded to well after muster drill, there was always a moldy smell in high traffic food and drink areas. There was definitely a lot of sticky floors (that were eventually cleaned by sailaway party) that attracted many bugs from port. Once we sailed, they were nonexistent as the staff seemed to finally get a handle on turning the ship over for our sailing. The same for our stateroom. The bathroom shower curtain was moldy and very dirty and the carpet was always damp (from the humidity?). It was just so heartbreaking to see the staff throughout the ship rushing and sweating and fully of anxiety to get everything together. It would be great if Carnival could find a way to take the ship out of service for 24-48 hours every 6 weeks for a true cleaning. I know it means lost money, but, it is less than having the reimburse sick passengers or face an outbreak. That being said, by the end of Day 2, everyone was in a groove and these issues disappeared. Kudos to the staff!!! {What I've found consistent between the 3 Carnival ships we've sailed is the stench at the aft elevators on what is usually the deck the has comedy club, piano bar, dance club, and casino (on the 3 ships it was Deck 5). It always smells like a sewer.} Food: We dined at the steakhouse on embarktion day for the complimentary bottle of wine. This was our first steakhouse experience (we usually do the chef's table) and it was AMAZING! Our MDR dining was hit or miss. We dined at the steakhouse 2 times and MDR 3 times. With such a large boat, it is impossible to provide tasty, well cooked meals at an edible temperature. I don't blame the staff, I think it's just the nature of the beast and Carnival should look into a better way to provide a consistent and better MDR experience for all. Each time we had dinner at MDR we ended up with a lot of stomach discomfort. No problems when dined at steakhouse; pizza (which we ate every night in the comedy club!); Mongolian Wok; Tandoor; room service; and other Lido Buffet offerings. We ended up skipping dinner 2 nights because the discomfort lasted throughout the day. We had breakfast each morning in open seating because it was always served hot. Ports: Cozumel, Isla Roatan, Belize, Costa Maya Excursions: Tequila Tasting in Cozumel was the best! As an American, I was SO embarrassed at how we have massacred the joys of Tequila! I left there promising never to do another Tequila shot or drink margaritas for the rest of my life. I also left there a bit tipsy with a full stomach of local soft corn tacos...YUMMY!!!!!! Our Belikin Beer Factory tour was cancelled in Belize due to low participation. We visiting the Maya Ruin and did a city tour in 2012, so we ended up at Fat Tuesday at the Pier having a great time as another passenger and the local DJ created the ultimate party atmosphere! We definitely had enough Belikin to make up for the tour cancellation. Mahoghany Bay, Isla Roatan: This is a favorite port stop because we get to the beach early, shop, then return to the ship to enjoy the emptiness at the pool and slides. This also is where we get a chance to meet many other passengers and exchange stories. Costa Maya: We booked loungers in the town of Mahahual at El Tropicante based on suggestions from other forum posters. ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL TIME WE HAD!!!!! Steve Uhl, the owner, and his staff were most welcoming and appreciative and just all around great, genuine people. We really wish this port had a longer time. We were there 7a-1:30p and that is truly NOT ENOUGH TIME! I recommend going into Mahahual instead of handing out at the pier...too many people in the pool that includes a swim up bar (where NO ONE left their bar stool all day...hhhhhhmmmmmmmmm) while fun for some, was not the local experience we were after. And, the food at El Tropicante went down well and was so tasty! MISC: There were NO CHAIR HOGS! Passengers were cool as a cucumber. Ship was built for stateroom maximizing, not activity enhancement. Kids club location was the best design element on the boat...out of sight giving them the freedom to run in their designated area without disturbing guests (except for the 14 year old that kept doing cannon balls in the small pool. Everyone was annoyed but said nothing. I asked her to please be considerate and minimize the # of cannon balls based on others trying to enjoy the pool. She did.) Food was hit or miss. Every staff member we encountered was helpful and easily engaged in conversation. We had an aft room which offered a lot of quiet, serene time. But, I prefer a port side aft balcony room which gives me best of both worlds...noisy port days (which is fine by me as I love watching pier runners) and quiet nights. Overall, our experience was GREAT! We did not let any of our issues get in the way (except the stomach problems!) of a good time. I wouldn't sail this boat again because of it's size. We sailed the Liberty in 2012 and so far, it's our favorite ship and we will definitely look to sail it again to same ports. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2013
Also just off the Dream W. Caribbean. I'll try (no promises) to post a longer review later, but just some general stream of consciousness comments, in no particular order: 1. FTTF -- well worth it. Embarkation was a breeze. Priority ... Read More
Also just off the Dream W. Caribbean. I'll try (no promises) to post a longer review later, but just some general stream of consciousness comments, in no particular order: 1. FTTF -- well worth it. Embarkation was a breeze. Priority tender into Belize was a godsend. And on the few occasions I went to the service desk it was nice to walk right up. 2. Food -- MDR was eh. The taste was good, but the service and portion size was below par. Lobster on the first elegant night was only slightly larger than a couple of large shrimp. The Lido Deck dining was actually quite good for lunch. Tried the buffet, grill, pizza, tandoor and deli. Pizza was very good, as was Deli. did not try the pasta bar or mongolian grill. Steakhouse food was very good. But they completely overcooked one steak, and it took forever to have a new steak prepared. So as a result everybody else's food got cold. But they were very apologetic (not enough to knock a few bucks off the price, but still very aplogetic about it. ) 3. Room -- We were very happy with our aft balcony on Deck 7. Larger than I expected. Steward was very helpful with ice requests, etc. 4. Entertainment -- Dancing in the Streets was very good. Get Ready was energetic but just never connected with the audience. We enjoyed listening to the Blackjack Band most evenings while having a few drinks. The piano bar guy, and I can't stress this enough, CANNOT SING. I am not kidding. Just walking past him was painful. Every.Single. Night. The comedy was very good, much to my surprise -- I'm kind of a snob about the standup that I like. 5. Cozumel -- Did Mr. Sancho's pay as you go and it was all the kid's favorite day. Adults enjoyed it as well. Nothing spectacular, just a nice beach day. Not crowded, as the Dream was the only ship in port. 6. Roatan -- My son and I did diving at AKR and it was a great dive, even if I had to cut the second dive short for my own reasons. The non-divers just went to Mahogany Beach and were not impressed. 7. Belize -- Cave Tubing and Ziplining was a lot of fun. Independently booked with .com and they did a very professional job. It is a LONG day, with a lot of walking and sweating, so be prepared. 8. Costa Maya -- To everyone in our 8-person group's surprise, we all loved this port. Half of the group went to Mahahual for shopping, meandering. The other half went to the beach and got some great snorkeling in. The village was great, very friendly. The vendors were definitely out in force, but "no thanks" was all it took. Great silversmith shop, bars, etc. But Carnival needs to rethink this port for this itinerary. A shore stop between 7-2 just doesn't make any sense. Especially after the stop in Belize, where many people do some relatively high-energy activities and end up wanting to sleep in a little later the next day. Still, a great stop. 9. Miscellaneous -- FWIW, unlimited internet is available, not limited to a certain amount of minutes per day or per cruise. Also, my 14 year old son, who is 2 months away from turning 15 was able to get into Club O2 with his cousin. Just made a polite request during the registration process. No problem. Both teens really enjoyed the club -- it runs VERY late into the night. There were certainly lines, and the pool deck on sea days was packed, but it was manageable. I was always able to find someplace to sit and read a book out on deck. Hot tubs were lukewarm tubs, and always seemed to be crowded. Overall, it was an enjoyable family cruise, certainly good value for what we paid. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2013
We drove to port Canaveral , parked at Park Canaveral at the Radisson Recommend this highly they are very nice ,on time, very careful with your luggage nice buses and paved and secured parking. if you watch there web site you can get great ... Read More
We drove to port Canaveral , parked at Park Canaveral at the Radisson Recommend this highly they are very nice ,on time, very careful with your luggage nice buses and paved and secured parking. if you watch there web site you can get great rate of 5.50 or less per day. We were at the ship in less than 15min. Do you paper work on line. The Dream is extrememly clean I did not go into a public restroom that was not being cleaned (#10 for the cleaning crew in all areas) We had a cabin on the upper deck aft with extended balcony,clean roomy but very noisey from the lounge under you look good at the deck plans. 4000 people way way too many for me .Food in dinning room not the same as the smaller boats , cold bland , the lobster at the formal dinner very small and mushy . Ports of call okay but we have been there before . We really just wanted to try the larger ships (been there done that) will stay with ships in the 2500 person range. Port Canaveral is a great terminal they really have it together!!! spa is over rated want to sell you too much.. Kids were running around without supervision and adults were also some what out of control . Ramon was a great barterder on the aft deck he never seemed flustered so I give bar staff 10. Would suggest to carnival for passagers that are celebrating anniverserys that a small token especially for gold members( 4 chocolate covers strawberries. just something simple would be nice.Purchased the drink plan and that was nice so you did not worry about it during the trip Had a good time but will stay with smaller ships in the future.Seems they are a bit more passage friendly. Just know that bigger is not always better !! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
Prior to the cruise: Radisson at the Port Hotel: Sleep number bed didn't work. Left a wake-up call that we never got. Hired Cocoa Beach Shuttle to pick us up at the Orlando Airport and to take us from the cruise port back to the ... Read More
Prior to the cruise: Radisson at the Port Hotel: Sleep number bed didn't work. Left a wake-up call that we never got. Hired Cocoa Beach Shuttle to pick us up at the Orlando Airport and to take us from the cruise port back to the airport. The first words out of the mouths of the baggage handlers at the cruise terminal were to ask for a tip. We watched from our shuttle as they took their sweet time, sat around and acted like they could care less about the flood of people trying to get on the ship - Not the best advertisement for union labor! Onboard: Instant iced tea in the MDR was the first let down. We bought the unlimited sodas which were disappointing because the bartenders poured warm soda (from a can) into a glass of ice from a distance one foot above the glass which ended up as a glass of flat soda - this happened every time. The mixed drinks tasted great - would have tasted better if I could taste some alcohol but that never happened (if I didn't know better I would have thought they were non-alcoholic, they might have been). They either have watered down booze or are extremely cheap on the amount of booze that they add to the drinks. We used the stairs throughout the cruise because the elevators seemed to be on every floor except ours and the wait for them took longer than the time on the stairs. The shows were nothing special. Our shore excursions were great as was our cabin steward Manuel. We had a very nice vacation, the pros outweighed the cons. Unfortunately we don't think that our next one will be with Carnival. Pros - Manuel our cabin steward was fantastic, the waiters in the Crimson Dining Room (back right corner), we sat elsewhere once and were treated like red-headed stepchildren. Comedians were very funny especially Percy Cruz, why Carnival uses the small lounge for the comedy shows instead of the Encore Lounge is a mystery. Cons - Kids pulling all-nighters on the Lido deck and acting like unsupervised. The loud, smokers in the cabin next to us that made our balcony unusable. Elevators that were always slow arriving. Instant Iced tea in the MDR. Watching that tattooed guy act like a fool during the hairiest chest contest. Chocolate buffet that isn't even worth discussing. Beds on the ship were very hard. The dancing/singing shows were mediocre. The cost of the photos were ridiculous. The number of unclaimed photos should tell Carnival that they're overpriced. If I was told to put my hand in my pocket with my thumb sticking out one more time by a photographer I was going to scream! Ports/Shore Excursions: Cozumel: Paradise Beach - We took a cab to Paradise Beach. Went parasailing, laid out, and had a great time. Roatan: Rony's Tours - Rony took us to his neighborhood, had free rum punch and told us about how they live in Roatan. That was one of the best parts of the excursion. We went zip lining, took a park tour and played with the monkeys!!, and finally ended up on the beach - great tour (tour #10 on his web site)! We spoke with some folks at the zip line area and found out that we did more on our zip lining tour (zip, park tour, monkeys!!, and beach) than those that booked through Carnival - and we paid less. Live and learn. Belize: Cave tubing with Minor Tom - My wife and I went tubing in 2008 with Major Tom and had such a great time that we came back last week (July 2013) with our teenage sons. But - I misread the docking time in Belize and got off the cruise ship two hours later than I should have. Having to tender only added to the time delay. I thought for sure that my oversight was going to turn this shore excursion into a disaster. We hoped for the best and went ashore anyway. Once on land we began looking among the numerous tour guides for a Major Tom sign. It didn't take us long to see one of Major Tom's sons holding up a sign. As we approached (and my heart started to beat again) he greeted me by name and after my multiple apologies said that everything was fine and he'd take us to his older brother Minor Tom who would take us to the river. I later learned that Major/Minor Tom will wait until the last tender has arrived to make sure that nobody misses out on their cave tubing shore excursion (Something that the cruise line would never do). After that it was all smooth sailing (or should I say tubing!). Minor Tom was our private tour guide and did a fantastic job describing Belize and our boys really enjoyed talking with him. Once at the river he had us wait until the mega-tubing groups passed so that we weren't jammed together. He told us all about the cave history and steered us all the way through the lazy twists and turns. Once out of the river we had time to shop. On the way back to the ship we ate and relaxed. Minor Tom even stopped at a stand selling mangos which everyone ate and really enjoyed. We arrived at the dock/tender with plenty of time to spare. What I thought was going to be a complete disaster because of my mistake turned out to be a better shore excursion than we could have hoped for. Thank you Minor Tom for all that you did for us. You really saved us (me!). For you folks contemplating a Belize cave tubing excursion and are unsure if you should go off the beaten path and go with a non-cruise tour take it from me, a repeat customer to Major Tom's cave tubing - not only will you be safe and get to and from on time but you'll have a great time from beginning to end! Costa Maya: Rented a golf cart and stumbled onto a little restaurant in the fishing village that was a slice of heaven. Owner was named Kiki or Kiko, Caesar was our waiter. Had great drinks, food, and seclusion. Other tourists would look and drive by despite our calls for them to stop and enjoy the paradise (their loss). Disembarkation: We carried out our own bags with no problems. Reserved Cocoa Beach Shuttle to take us to the airport. The shuttle driver dropped everyone off at one spot. It wasn't until we were inside the terminal that we realized that we had to walk clear to the opposite side of the airport to get to our airline (I was glad I didn't tip the lazy SOB). All in all we had a nice vacation. Unfortunately I've focused on more of the negative. Probably because we had such high expectations going in and it was easy to see where Carnival missed the mark. Don't think that Carnival will be our next cruise. The best parts were the shore excursions, especially the people that we met on those excursions and the people waiting in line for the tenders. Everyone was relatively patient and good natured about waiting in line or getting soaked on the tender. If I could do it all over again I'd do a lot of it differently, but luckily we left with a lot of great memories.   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
Carnival has really lowered their standards and the Carnival Dream is no exception to that. The cut backs are really noticeable and I really believe it has become all about the money and it's no longer all about the customer. From ... Read More
Carnival has really lowered their standards and the Carnival Dream is no exception to that. The cut backs are really noticeable and I really believe it has become all about the money and it's no longer all about the customer. From start to finish, our cruise seemed out of whack. It was as if the ship and crew were not prepared for our cruise. We left late, ran out of certain foods, suffered through long lines, ate cold food, and had to deal with unfriendly staff. There were over 4,000 passengers on that ship and allegedly 1,100 crew members but it seemed as if they were lacking in all areas. You had to practically bump into a crew member for them to say anything to you and it when they did say something, they lacked the normal happiness I'm accustomed to on Carnival ships. The long lines were another problem. You would think that a ship that can hold 4,000 people would be ready to accommodate 4,000 people, but no. We waited in line for everything! Not to mention having to wait 2 hours, 2 different times to get a seat in the dining room. And once you're in the dining room, their are so many people that trying to place and order and get your waiters attention is almost impossible. And unfortunately eating in the dining room is the best place to get food because the buffet food wasn't very good and a trip to Applebee's would have been better. And if you were not early to the entertainment shows then you were just out of luck as everything was full 15 minutes before any show. Another problem was the lack of quality control. I went through countless utensils and dishes that had all kinds of crap stuck to them. It really made me wonder how they cleaned things. The cruise wasn't completely horrible but too many things went wrong for it to be completely enjoyable, but this was easily the worst cruise I've ever been on and can guarantee that we will not go on the Carnival Dream again. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
My boyfriend and I were told that cruising is the best vacation. We'll be cut off from the rest of the world, that it is relaxing, and the food would be the best we've ever had. So we went on our first cruise ever with a group of ... Read More
My boyfriend and I were told that cruising is the best vacation. We'll be cut off from the rest of the world, that it is relaxing, and the food would be the best we've ever had. So we went on our first cruise ever with a group of friends who have been on MANY other cruises. The food was just a step above a nasty Applebees except for the Steakhouse which was delicious (get the cowboy steak and tune tartar). If the annoying kids weren't getting in your way then it was all the other passengers who would cut in front of me or refuse to move even an inch to let you pass. We are all on vacation so stop thinking that you deserve better treatment than me! The buffet was super BLAH with the same thing for breakfast and only slight changes at lunch and always a long wait in line. We always ate at the dining room every dinner which was good but nothing amazing, the staff was cool and super fast bringing our food out. I was really looking forward to the sushi bar The Dream had but it was NEVER open and if it was open it was only a salad bar. I love sushi so this really pissed me off. The comedians were the BEST entertainment, and we went to a lot of shows in the Encore theatre. If you don't want to stand for the comedians then you better get in line a half an hour early just to get a seat. The spa was nice but so expensive even with the deals they have every day. The 3 stops were okay but everyone kept saying you could bargain with the shops on prices but the only place we were able to do that was in Nassau. For the amount of money spent just to get the trip and the extra spent on EVERYThing on the boat it was not worth it. Yes the food is free but it was very BLAH. You might like the food if you think Applebee's is 5 star dining. Finding a seat on the deck is next to impossible unless you get their at 8am or you want a seat in a corner with no view or in the shade. I couldn't even get into any of the pools b/c they were so packed all the time either with fat couples or a bunch of kids. I personally don't like having someone I don't know right on top of me in a pool but if you do then you'll be fine. I didn't get use to being thrown around the boat because of the rough seas until day 4 so I had 3 days of not being exhausted from the motion sickness pills. Now I get sick just sitting here typing this on because my intense vertigo hasn't worn off. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2013
I have mainly ride with royal Caribbean but my husband insisted we give carnival a chance since we have never tried any other cruise line. I don't know if my standards are just extremely high because of Royal Caribbean but I was ... Read More
I have mainly ride with royal Caribbean but my husband insisted we give carnival a chance since we have never tried any other cruise line. I don't know if my standards are just extremely high because of Royal Caribbean but I was incredibly disappointed in every way possible with carnival. We went on one of the bigger ships thinking our experience would be better......we were so wrong. Here are the main things that disappointed me. * Staff was incredibly rude there were maybe one in every ten staff members that were friendly (even saw the manager flip off a customer under the counter at the customer service desk when he was complaining about something, I saw it though from the angle I was at) *Buffet was closed more times than it was open so the little sandwich making shops took 20min to get any sort of food if you were hungry. *They charged gratuity automatically to your account(I have no problem tipping and tipping well if my service is great. It really upset me that they thought they could just take money out of my account. And it was a horrible tip for there staff, hence why everyone there doesn't care about there job). Royal Caribbean gives you a sheet at the end of your cruise with a suggested amount. I usually double that on there tip because the service is that great and they work hard for that tip and they deserve every penny of it *Entertainment was horrible. Even the head director is supposed to be spunky and funny but it all just seemed like it was everyone first rodeo. I skipped most nights because I was very bored with it. *The food in the dining room was the same food in the buffet (when it was open) which it is supposed to be better food for the buffets. *Dinner took about 3 to 4 hours, they were either under staffed or the staff was just very slow. The only thing I would say was half way decent was the comedy club on the ship. There was one guy that was really funny and the rest were just okay. Do not waste your money. Pay a little bit more to go on Royal Caribbean and you will truly be impressed. Very upset that this is prob my last vacation in a long time because I'm pregnant and I wasted my time and money on this BS. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
We have sailed with Carnival many times and a repeat customer on the Dream as we sailed in April 2012 to the Western Caribbean. We loved the Dream last year but this year there was a huge decline in the quality of food and service. We ... Read More
We have sailed with Carnival many times and a repeat customer on the Dream as we sailed in April 2012 to the Western Caribbean. We loved the Dream last year but this year there was a huge decline in the quality of food and service. We stayed at the Raddison at the Port & used the Park & Ride service provided. They did a great job of organizing folks on to shuttles. We were in the cruise terminal less than an hour & then for lunch on the Lido Deck. We were in our rooms by 1:15. Our room 6315, was a balcony over the Lanai which allowed for people watching. The only bad thing is that at night when all should be quiet you could faintly hear the slot machines which would wake me as I am a light sleeper. As I shared before, in comparison to last year and other Carnival cruises the quality of food was greatly diminished. The food in the Gathering buffet was never hot just barely warm or just cold. We ate breakfast in the Crimson most days and the food quality was better but there was always a mistake with the order and once the food was delivered you didn't see a waiter again to correct the issue. The food choices in the dinning room at night were not as expansive as they have been in the past either. We did eat in the Steakhouse & it was well worth the cost. It was one of the best meals we have ever eaten and the service was impeccable! It was impressive to see the safety drills that the staff participated while in ports. They even lowered life boats and did a rescue simulation of a man overboard. The staff/crew seemed to be on auto pilot and just going thru the motions. We saw a lot of standing around, dirty tables as wait staff chatted, cleaning glass on railings but only hitting eye level areas, etc. this again had not been our previous experience. Don't get me wrong we did truly enjoy our vacation but it does seem that Carnival is cutting some corners which are impacting quality and service. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
Just returned home from our cruise on the Dream. It was a 7 day Western Carribean cruise leaving from Port Canaveral and going to Cozumel, Belize, Roatan and Costa Maya. Having sailed on the Disney ships twice in recent years,and ... Read More
Just returned home from our cruise on the Dream. It was a 7 day Western Carribean cruise leaving from Port Canaveral and going to Cozumel, Belize, Roatan and Costa Maya. Having sailed on the Disney ships twice in recent years,and experiencing exceptional service and food my expectations were a little too high for Carnival I guess because our vacation was just ok. Here is a list of my pros and cons for the week. I'll start with the cons so that I can end on a postive note... Embarkation: started out great with good curbside bag service however went down hill when we couldn't get on the ship for a couple of hours. Not sure why, but we all had to sit around for quite a while before we could board. They kept making announcements that it would be a few more moments. We got to the terminal at 11am but didn't get on the ship until 1:30pm. Food: Food was not as good as I was expecting. The lines were extremely long on the lido deck for any of the buffets. I skipped the buffets and ate all breakfast meals in the dining room and ate lunch at the Pasta Bar. Service at dinner was slow to get your food and if you ordered more than one entree they brought them both at the same time leaving you with dishes all over the table. Service: Definitely not like other ships. Maybe it's the fact that your tips are put directly on your account therefore guarenteed to the staff. I think this doesn't give the staff enough incentive to give exceptional service therefore they only give average or below average service. It was spring break and the ship was full to capacity so the service may have been inferior due to the amount of guests on the ship. Cleanliness: I noticed alot of dirty dishes and glasses around the ship that sat for long periods of time. I even saw staff around the pool only picking up glasses and leaving dishes saying that it wasn't their job to pick up dishes! Entertainment: You know when Simon Cowell from American Idol would say that the contestants sound like singers on a cruise ship? That was what the entertainment was like on this ship. The shows were not impressive at all. We kept trying the shows hoping they would improve but they really didn't. They did have a juggler/comedian named Marcus Monroe who came in for a one day show on the ship and he was great! We really enjoyed him. Ports: On this cruise we were excited to go to Belize and to Roatan, Honduras since we've never been to either of those places. We had been to Cozumel and Costa Maya so for those days we stayed on the boat and did enjoy having it to ourselves pretty much. In Belize we went cave tubing which was cool however we didn't book it through Carnival, we did it ourselves through cavetubing.com. It was half the price and the people were wonderful and aimed to please. Since we didn't book it through Carnival we felt like we were punished for not choosing them! We had to go to another room to wait for the tender boats which were delayed. I think the Carnival excursion people got off the boat first. We got to the waiting area at 8:30am to catch our 10:00am excursion however we didn't even leave the boat til after 10 and it is a 30 minute boat ride to get to Belize's port. Fortunately Yhony from cavetubing.com waiting for us and we ended up having a great time. For Honduras, we didn't port there because they said it was too windy. This was a bummer because it was the day of my daughter's 15th birthday and she was looking forward to spending the day at the beach. What should've been a relaxing day turned into chaos on the ship as everyone scrammbled for chairs around the boat since it turned into a "sea day". One guy even stood on a pile of chairs and declared them all his! It was embarassing! Now for the pros: The Spa: The spa is gorgeous! My husband and I had planned on booking a couple of treatments but after we toured the spa we decided to do the VIP experience. I guess it is normally $200 per person but if you booked it on the first day it was $250 for a couple. We booked this and it included daily access to the thermal pool and all of the heated rooms. We could go as often as we liked. We enjoyed the pool and going to the 5 rooms which had heated chairs, steam and aroma steam rooms. The rooms were quiet, usually my husband and I were the only ones in there. That was nice considering the ship was full and had 4,000 passengers. It was a nice get away and the rooms had wonderful views of the ocean. The VIP package was a really relaxing and enjoyable experience. Special dietary needs: My 12 year old son has Celiac Disease and is on a gluten free diet. I was worried that food was going to be a pain. Turns out that they did a wonderful job meeting his needs. Natasa, the hostess in the Scarlet Dining Room was great. She presented him with the menu for the next days meals so he could pick whatever he wanted, even dessert and they would make it for him gluten free! Even the pizza place on the lido deck would make him GF pizza! He was very happy with the food and that was a big relief for us! Pasta bar: This was a hidden secret it seemed like. It was upstairs from the buffets in the gathering. Every day, I went there for lunch and there was hardly anyone there. I sat right down and ordered my made to order pasta lunch. It was delivered to me 5 minutes later, fresh and hot! I don't know why people would go to the buffets when you can be served at the pasta bar or dining rooms and the food is much better. The last day of the cruise was the only day that I had to wait for my food at the pasta bar. My husband really liked the Mongolian Wok in the Gathering. He did have to wait but said the food was really good. In conclusion (finally), we did have a nice vacation. We probably won't go on another Carnival Cruise but I wouldn't rule it out completely. As mentioned above, my complaints were probably caused by the ship being completely full because of spring break. If I take Carnival again, I would try another ship or at another time of year. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2013
We had decided to pay the extra money to upgrade to a balcony for the first time. We thought that a cabin on the 10th deck would be perfect for accessing the most important entertain sites. The first night was certainly a rock and roll ... Read More
We had decided to pay the extra money to upgrade to a balcony for the first time. We thought that a cabin on the 10th deck would be perfect for accessing the most important entertain sites. The first night was certainly a rock and roll affair because of the weather. By morning, the stateroom was quite cold and the touch around the frame of the balcony door and window was bitter cold. We contacted room service without satisfaction although they had promised a response. I ended up after a reasonable wait of several hours, going to Guest Services and making a complaint. We did receive blankets but my bigger complaint was why there was not a better solution for the very cold room. I could be wrong but I believe it was the location of the stateroom with a balcony that was poorly insulated, the room was not properly heated or a combination of both. By noon on Sunday off the Florida Keys it was 55 degrees and wind gusts out of the North at 18mph. Carnival certainly cannot be blamed for the weather but I do fault their inability to keep staterooms for their passengers comfortable. Because of the weather out bound on Saturday and Sunday as well as the return trip on Friday and docking on Saturday, March 9th, the use of the balcony was somewhat restricted. In fact, during the cruise on Wednesday, March 6th, they actually notified passengers that the balconies would be closed for cleaning from 8am to 12:30pm. There was no opt-out option. Do I feel like the extra money paid to upgrade to a Balcony Stateroom was worth it? CERTAINLY NOT! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2013
Arrival We drove in from NC, spent a couple of days in Savannah, GA on the way down, not a bad drive after all. But coming back it was as if everyone had spent their spring break in Fl. I-95 was a parking lot. Parking We opted to park ... Read More
Arrival We drove in from NC, spent a couple of days in Savannah, GA on the way down, not a bad drive after all. But coming back it was as if everyone had spent their spring break in Fl. I-95 was a parking lot. Parking We opted to park with Port Canaveral Parking through the Raddison Hotel in Cape Canaveral. It was about 1/3 of the cost of parking at the port and very easy to get to the ship and get picked up after we came back. I highly recommend parking with this company. Embarkation I think the Dream tries to organize everyone in groups from the very beginning. We were sent two emails not to come to port until 1pm. I didn't mind because I like to board the ship late enough to go straight to our room being that we had 3 kids. Not a fan of carrying luggage around the ship. But we arrived and it took at least two hours to get on the ship. I'm pretty sure this was a full ship -- it was spring break/easter break and there were TONS of teenagers on this ship. The embarkation team made sure everyone had plenty of snacks and drinks while we waited to board. All in all, a very organized process but a precursor to the notion of standing in lines with the crowd that was on this ship. Dining We opted for Early dining. I like the idea of an assigned wait staff. We did anytime dining one year and I hated getting put at different tables each night. Service was not as attentive as when you have someone you see every night. Getting to know the dining staff is always a highlight of our trip and makes our experience that much better The Gathering Restaurant always had something you could eat. The sandwich bar at the back of the ship -- I liked the hot sandwiches. The pasta bar above Gathering was always great. Pizza bar was always great if you could stand in line to get it. Ice Cream always refreshing. Cappuchino bar, always need coffee. Spa I always like to indulge in a pedicure and a massage on my cruise. But the upsell at these spas is ludicrous. Advice: When filling out the questionnaire, it is not so they can help you, it's so they can pinpoint what to sell you. My advice, leave any ailments off, and politely decline add ons. I calculated the total of what they tried to sell me and I would have bought over $1,000 in spa products off of just two appointments. With the majority coming from my massage appointment. She wanted to sell me a $400 weight loss supplement program -- ridiculous. Anyway, learned my lesson. Will enjoy the spa and tell them the I am just perfect. No complaints about dry skin or cellulite. Activities Most of the shows I could make were good. We just took it easy and didn't restrain ourselves to a schedule. So I can't comment to much on the activities offered. We went with three kids, we fought hard just to find times to rest. Ports: Always look on TripAdvisor for good tours outside of the ship offerings. When booking tours privately, always take notice of your actual tour start time. The ship will stay on EST time whereas the islands you visit will be in a different time zone. This cruise is purely a Mexican carribbean experience. I wish I would have booked beach day excursions for at least two of these port days. Cozumel: We did the hire a driver for the day and went to the ruins. Then he drove us around the island and took us to a seaside restaurant for lunch called Pescatore. Great seafood and fantastic guacamole and pico de gallo. It was a beautiful beach spot and I wish we had made this our only destination. The ruins were just ruins. I would not do that again. I would go to this restaurant, eat and then lay on the beach. Our driver mentioned if we ever did a hotel excursion, we should do the Iberistar hotel. Advice for next time. BELIZE: You have to port in on a boat at this port. If you have a tour booked, plan on at least trying to get off the ship at least an hour and a half before your meet time. We booked a tour with Belize Exotic Adventures for the Zoo. Natalie was our guide and she was FANTASTIC!! Book with them and ask for Natalie. She took us to lunch afterwards at a local Belize restaurant and then gave us the bonus of taking us to a local ice cream shop where the Amish make the ice cream from scratch. VERY YUM. She was just great and personable. Roatan: High winds kept us from porting here. We were disappointed because this one the only day I booked an all day beach excursion with "Little French Key" Costa Maya: We went with "The Native Choice" Company for a ruins and Mexican cooking experience. Even though the time was short here, the company made sure we got to the Mexican cooking experience before we had to get back. Costa Maya port also has a seaside pool in the shopping area. Camp Carnival We had a 14, 10, and 7 year old. Being that it was a Spring Break week, it was heavily 'kidded'. Needless to say there were bottlenecks when trying to pick up your kids. Some of the CC staff had attitudes, but it wasn't often. And with the number of kids they had to deal with, it was understandable. My kids enjoyed going at night the most and didn't take advantage of the day time activities like on past cruises. Debarkation: With everything Dream team did, they were on top of keeping the groups from bottle necking. We got some of the last numbers for debarkation. We got up, finished packing, left our luggage in the room and went to breakfast, came back got our luggage, sat by the pool and waited until they called our number. We went down about 5 minutes after they called the set before us and it was timed perfectly. Once we got to the deck to get off they were calling our number. Cons Don't understand why Carnival will not allow you to add the Soda plan to your card at check in or online. We had to trudge around the ship to find the ONE bar (casino bar) that would run the transaction to get the soda sticker on our kid's card. Ridiculous. One night there were heavy winds and our door to the balcony 'whistled' the entire night and kept me up. Wasn't sealed properly. The ship bounces instead of rocks. This must be a Carnival thing. Royal Carribbean's big ships don't move. But it seems no matter how big the Carnival ship gets, you're still going to feel something. Thank God we're not prone to sea sickness. Advice If you drive in, fill your gas tank before your park. You don't want to have the interruption when trying to get started on your trip back up. OVERALL We enjoyed the Dream. I expected it to be a step up from the Freedom class of ships, but it was not. It was just a couple of more stateroom floors, more people. In the future we'll go back to Freedom Class. I liked their Lido Deck layout better. And there wasn't much different with anything else on the ship in Dream Class. Plus a smaller number of passengers. Or who knows, we may break the bank and go for a whirl on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas or Oasis. We'll see. Make your vacation the best you can make it and enjoy every possible moment. The only thing that can ruin your vacation is a bad attitude.   Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
We stayed the night before in Cocoa at the America's Best Value Inn (was the Econo Lodge)for their park and cruise package. The hotel wasn't great, but for the price considering you get the hotel room, breakfast, transport to ... Read More
We stayed the night before in Cocoa at the America's Best Value Inn (was the Econo Lodge)for their park and cruise package. The hotel wasn't great, but for the price considering you get the hotel room, breakfast, transport to and from the port and free parking for the week, it was a good deal. We took this cruise last year and stayed at the Comfort Inn in Cocoa Beach for their park and cruise. The hotel was much nicer and the transport to the cruise was more organized, but the rate was considerably more. After we got of the van, the embarkation went very smoothly without any lines. At this port, Carnival is very efficient. Activities- The activities were standard cruise fair. We don't participate in many of the activities around the main pool as we prefer to relax and read therefore, we hang out on the Serenity deck or on the aft pool area. Service- This is the where I felt that Carnival had cut back. Our state room was completely skipped on the first night. The public restrooms where not cleaned throughout the day as they had been last year. We never saw our cabin steward, but they did keep the room clean and changed towels every morning and evening (except the 1st). The service in the Lido dining room and the main dining room were excellent. Food- The food was again very good. We ate breakfast and lunch in the Lido and dinner in the main dining room. We enjoy the different selection of foods they offer in the Lido. My husband loves omelets, so he got one every morning. I wanted to eat lunch in the Crimson dining room on one of the sea days, but they only serve brunch, not a true lunch. Entertainment- This year the entertainment was not as enjoyable. The dancers were great, but the female singer was so loud, that one couldn't understand her and you had to wear earplugs or leave with a headache. This was not only myself, but I heard many people complaining about the volume of the singer. We often went out to the atrium after the show and listened to the singers/keyboard player. One couple (younger from Taiwan?)was very good, but the other was not. State room - We had a inside room on the 8th deck. It was ok, no chair or sofa. We had a porthole room last year and it was much more roomy and I think cheaper. Shore excursions- We took a pre-booked shore excursion with Explore Cruise and Travel for St.Thomas and we thought it was a good experience and worth the cost. However, at all of these ports, one can get a local tour when you get off the ship at the port - no need to pay the high cruise shore excursion prices. Disembarkation - The process was well organized, it just that many came down to the waiting area before they need to and wanted to leave before their group was called. The luggage was well organized and easy to find. Going through customs took a fair amount of time. Summary- We enjoyed the cruise, but would prefer one with more ports. Again, we could tell that Carnival is cutting expenses. We were invited to the cocktail party for past Carnival cruisers last year, but this year, one had to have had at least 25 cruise days with Carnival to get an invitation. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
This was our first cruise. However, our family is well traveled. We have lived and traveled overseas and all around the US. I consider myself to be very frugal but willing to spend money on quality when it seems appropriate. We have never ... Read More
This was our first cruise. However, our family is well traveled. We have lived and traveled overseas and all around the US. I consider myself to be very frugal but willing to spend money on quality when it seems appropriate. We have never been to the Caribbean and knew that we wanted to hit Eastern Islands on our 1st trip. I priced out our options and chose the Dream (as opposed to its competitors on the same or similar routes) based on cost and somewhat favorable reviews. I would describe the last week on the Dream as a mixed bag. The ship, its entire staff, comedians, shows, cruise director etc. definitely met my expectations. Jaime the cruise director was so energetic and authentic. We loved trivia with Mr. B and Ben. The kids loved the Fun Force dancers. All 4 comedians were great. Everything was clean. Room steward was amazing. I am a picky vegetarian and there was an adequate selection of food for all meals. My husband thought the food was a step up from Ponderosa-style buffet food but not impressive. We tried eating in the formal dining room once but it was slow and food was not worth the wait so we used alternative dining options for all other meals. Besides - we dress up for work. The last thing that we want to do is dress up on vacation. It was almost comical watching the outfit combinations that some people come up with on elegant nights. It felt like a bad high school dance with the cheesy photographs and tacky poses to boot. My 7 year old loved Camp Carnival. My 11 year old refused to go as he is in Jr. High and did not want to be with "little kids". I see his point. So we had no alone time all week. The programs for 12 and above have minimal supervision and most of those kids were roaming the ship on their own. They were well behaved. Not a lot of interest in Circle C. Both teen rooms were always empty. Excursions: We booked all of them privately and very glad that we did. Much more affordable and we were happier than people that went on the same (more expensive) Carnival tours. Sharmeka Smith with Sunshine Tours and Transportation in the Bahamas. Godfrey Tours in St. Thomas. Bernard Tours in St. Maarten. All tours were well worth the cost and the guides all did an amazing job of showing us around the islands. Cabin: Interior on deck 8 that sleeps 4. It was minimalistic but met our needs. We did not plan to be there and did feel like an upgrade was worth it. Happy with our choice. Fitness: gym was awesome but $12 fitness classes - no thanks. The things that greatly disappointed our family: 1/3 of the daily activities were presented as educational but were aimed at getting you to buy something. Watches, jewelry, stuff at ports that Carnival gets kickback for (Watches & Jewelry), baaaad art, overpriced spa treatments (by any standard), quackish weight loss treatments, future cruises, $150 acupuncture treatments - you get the point. It felt like once massive slimy sales pitch disguised as something for our benefit. The Fun Shops on board have a minimal selection of stuff that people might need to restock mid vacation (snacks and toiletries) but huge heaps of booze, cigarettes and tacky gifts to bring home. Bulk up those items and they will sell. Our biggest complaint was with the type of people that were on the ship. I hate to sound biased but what we observed that did not make us feel like Carnival is a good match: Note - I was initially fearful of the "drunks". People that I know that are frequent cruisers gave me the expectation that Carnival would be loaded with alcoholics on vacation. I was shocked at the lack of obviously drunk people. A few here and there but WAY fewer than expected. 1) The average cruiser was 65-80 years old. If you fit in this age category - the Dream would be awesome for you. We are under 45 with 2 kids - that is not us. 2) There were far too many mega-obese people (many on scooters) eating 24/7. I have not observed a gathering of so many massively unhealthy people in one place - ever. Gluttons paradise. 3) There were smokers in way too many places. Deck 10 and 11, drifting up from balconies, spilling out of the casino. I will never sail Carnival again because of this above all other factors. In fact, one of the designated smoking areas is right outside of the Camp Carnival entrance. Anytime I took my child there or picked them up, we had to walk by a pack of smokers. Not acceptable. 4) I kept finding myself thinking I was trapped on the People of Walmart boat. People that looked like they were beyond worn out by life - very rough looking. I grew up in rural America. I grew up in a trailer. So it is not like I am making this judgement as some urbanite with her nose in the air. This is what I witnessed for 7 days. And I just got tired of it. It is what it is. We got a few days of warmth from our freezing home state. But would I do it again on the Dream - no.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
We went on the Carnival Dream Dec. 1-8, 2012 The Good: Beautiful ship, friendly staff, seafood great for the most part, good shows, Punchliner brunch very good, good comedians in the Punchliner Burgundy lounge, embarkation and ... Read More
We went on the Carnival Dream Dec. 1-8, 2012 The Good: Beautiful ship, friendly staff, seafood great for the most part, good shows, Punchliner brunch very good, good comedians in the Punchliner Burgundy lounge, embarkation and debarkation easy if you are Platinum or Diamond level, nice size cabin for verandahs. Nice Tervis Tumbler for Platinum/Diamond level guests. The Bad: Very rough seas for 2 days (50+ mph winds--certainly not Carnival's fault), Captain's party a joke ( you get $1 off drinks instead of free drinks), past guest party also a joke(got very sweet rum punch and only a couple of snacks). Carnival has eliminated the last night "farewell party" where they used to give you free drinks and snacks. Had a really creaky cabin when the ship rocked--had to put in earplugs a couple of nights. Stupid life boat drill--you do not even go to your life boat--rather meet in a lounge for instructions. Way too loud noise/TV on the monster TV by the pool--you needed earplugs; who wants to hear ESPN blasted at you at 9 am? Serenity area not quiet because of the screaming kids getting on the water slide a few yards away. Carnival no longer publishes the daily news flyer like they did in the past--guess it saves them money. The Ugly: Carnival lets people smoke on their verandahs--we could not use the verandah many times because of the heavy smokers upwind from us next door. Carnival should learn a lesson from Celebrity and ban smoking on all verandahs, not just for spa cabins. Until Carnival changes this policy or we can get a spa cabin, we will not be going on Carnival again. Now for specifics: Since we live in Tampa, we drove to Cocoa Beach on Nov. 30th and stayed at LaQuinta Inn. We were able to leave our car there for 7 days, and they took us to the port on Dec. 1st, and picked us up on Dec. 8th. We got to the pier about 9:45 am, and there was very little waiting to go through security. Since we have Platinum level VIP status, we went to the VIP area, and were checked in very quickly. We did have to wait about 20 minutes or so to board since there was a rather large wedding party that got to board before we did. Carnival has started something new--if you are Platinum or Diamond level, your cabin is ready as soon as you board--a really nice feature in our opinion. We put our carry on baggage in the cabin and went to the Lido deck for the buffet lunch. Lots of variety and not crowded when we boarded, but it got to be a real zoo later. Carnival eliminated trays a few years back, so it is a pain to make several trips, but other cruise lines have done the same thing. After lunch we toured the ship to find our way around. The layout is similar to the Freedom that we went on last year. The lifeboat drill was absurd in our opinion. You no longer have to get your life jacket and go to your lifeboat. Instead you go to a lounge where the crew shows you how to put on a life jacket, and they tell you where your life boat is. Then the tell you that in case of an emergency you are supposed to go to your lounge muster station. How stupid can you be? If there is an emergency, I am not going to a lounge--I am going to where the life boat. Carnival is not the only cruise line that does this, and it is hard to believe that the Coast Guard will allow this. We selected anytime dining for dinner, as we have for the past several cruises. Carnival now dedicates the lower level of the Crimson dining room for anytime dining. It is a very popular option because people start lining up at least 30 minutes in advance. On the first night they only had one line and the wait was a real pain. By the 3rd night, Carnival got a little smarter and opened one line on the right and one on the left and things went much quicker. After dinner there was a liquor tasting at the shops--what a zoo--they only had a single line, and you had to wait for at least 30-45 minutes; we declined. Sunday--we arrived at Nassau about 8:30 am and had to be back on board by 2:30 pm. We have been to Nassau many times before and just chose to walk around downtown and go to the straw market. The straw market was destroyed by fire some time ago, but has been rebuilt. Most vendors had the same stuff--a lot of which was made in China. We had lunch at the Lido--best tilapia I have ever had. They have a pasta bar upstairs on deck 11; it was ok but not great. We attended the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet function which was arranged by Len (a passenger); he did a fantastic job, and Carnival furnished one bottle of champagne for 30 people--good luck on getting any! On previous cruises the cruise line furnished tea, coffee, and snacks--not here. It was nice to get to meet fellow passengers. The Captain's party was a major joke like it was on the Freedom last year. You get $1 off drinks--big deal; we declined to go. Sunday was the first formal night--very few ties on guys and no tux. Much more informal than it used to be. Dinner was great--lobster, but no surf and turf like on previous cruises. The show was good, but you have to like country music. The sea was very rough with 40-50 mph winds, and the Captain never warned us about this. Fortunately we do not have a problem with being sea sick, but a lot of others did. The wind was so bad we could not use our verandah for a couple of days. Carnival lets passengers smoke on their verandah (except on spa cabins, as we later learned). Unfortunately the couple next door smoked a lot and the wind blew the smoke on our verandah. This will be the last cruise we ever take on Carnival unless they change this policy or we can book a spa cabin. Wake up Carnival--smoking is bad for your health. Carnival used to have a non-smoking ship, the Paradise, but it is now smoking. Monday: We were at sea and had 50+ mph winds--very rough Breakfast at Lido was a disaster--they ran out of coffee cups. We had a hard time finding the bacon--they serve it to you instead of serving it yourself like the other food. Should have passed on the bacon because it was under cooked and very greasy--ugh. The food never varied at breakfast. The made-to-order omelets were good, and the fresh fruit was good. We had lunch in the Crimson dining room at the Punchliner brunch. They have this on sea days with the same menu each day. A comedian talks for about 5 minutes, and you order from a menu. The salmon was good but the beef was overcooked. There were very few people there, which was a nice change from the zoo at the Lido buffet. After lunch we went to the art auction held by Park West. Overpriced art work--you can do much better online. They have a minimum bid, plus they add 15% to the price, and you have to pay $35 to have it shipped unframed. I bit on this several years ago, but never again. They advertise free champagne, but this auctioneer was very tight and you were lucky if you got one glass. The auction was supposed to start and 1 pm but it had not started at 2 pm, so we left. Tuesday: Docked in St Thomas about 11 am. We had breakfast in the dining room; it was good but took about an hour, which was ok because we did not dock until late. We docked at the pier at Havensight Mall and did a little shopping. The prices, especially liquor, were much higher than they were last year. We could buy most booze cheaper in Tampa than in St Thomas or on the ship. We got back on board about 1 pm and had lunch at Lido; had great fish. We wanted to sit by the pool but the monster TV was so loud--about the same decibel level as a jet plane. We then went up to the serenity area for adults only to get away from the noise by the pool--that lasted about 2 minutes--all we heard was screaming kids getting on the water slide, which is adjacent to the serenity area. We then moved to the front of the ship where we could not hear the screaming kids. There are only a few seats there, but it was no problem on a port day--good luck getting a chair on a sea day. Dinner at the Crimson dining room--the filet was good but the red snapper was way overcooked. This was unusual because most of the time the fish is great and the beef is tough and overcooked. We went to the show, which was good, but it was very loud and crowded. Wednesday: We arrived in St Maarten about 7 am and docked at the new dock (at least for us). Had a great view of the harbor from our port side verandah. We took the water taxi to town ($ 7 round trip). You have to be sure you get on the right one because we thought all of them took you to the middle of town; ours took us to the right edge of town (looking from the ship to town), so we had quite a walk. We did a little shopping and went to a couple of casinos. Last year we played the nickel slots and got free drinks--not so this year. Took the water taxi back to the ship and had lunch at Lido--great fish again. The Indian Tandoor station was good but very hot. Dinner at Crimson was great for the seafood newburg, but horrible for the beef stroganoff--they should have called it beef gristle and noodles; I could not even cut it with a steak knife. Thursday: Had breakfast at Lido--same as always. Lunch at Punchliner brunch in Crimson--very good--lots of choices, but the menu does not vary. If you want the steak, order it medium rare, not medium (which comes well done). At 4:45 pm, we went to the past guest function--what a joke--instead of having a choice of red or white wine, or champagne, or a whiskey sour, like they used to do, they served you a very sweet rum punch, which was horrible. We did find out later that you could request a beer or wine, but you had to tell the waiter you wanted it and then wait 15 minutes to get it. We got 2 small pastry type something--a total disaster compared to previous cruises. Carnival needs to take a lesson from Celebrity or Holland America--they do a much better job. At dinner the basa, tiger shrimp, and steak were all good. We went to the show--high energy, very good dancers, but very loud. Friday: A rather lazy day--very cloudy in the am, but cleared off in the pm. We played putt-putt on the 18 hole course on deck 12--very nice. The seas were much calmer on Friday than they had been all week. At 4:30 we went to the "holiday show", which was very good. Dinner was ok. Although we had anytime dining, we went when the dining room first opened and most of the time we were able to get table 149--excellent waiter and helpers; this is a table for 2, and we always got good service. One night this table was not available and we had to sit on the right side of the room among a bunch of kids--ugh. We went to the Punchliner comedian show at 7:30--was fantastic. Don't know why we did not go before, but had conflicting things going on. Saturday: Time to get off the ship and go home. We had very heavy fog Sat. morning and the ship could not dock on time; not Carnival's fault, but they could have given us a better warning. When we looked out our deck about 5 am, we could see nothing but fog. We wanted some breakfast so we went to the Lido about 5:45 and had a little fruit and coffee. Since we are Platinum level, we could get off the ship first. We were told to be at the lounge level of Crimson dining room about 6:30. We got there about 6:15 and lots of people were lined up. About 7am or so, there was an annoucement that because of the fog, we would be delayed. Carnival should have told us that an hour earlier and we could have had a nice breakfast rather than being rushed. Carnival made no annoucement that we could get off the ship; we noticed the crew opened the door and we rushed over to get off. This was supposed to be for Platinum and Diamond level members only, but there were a lot of people who were not at that level that got off in front of us. You were supposed to put a #1 blue luggage tag on your take off luggage, but a lot of people did not have one, and Carnival made no effort to enforce this. Overall summary: The Dream is a nice ship, but we liked the Freedom better. On the positive side, the crew was extremely friendly, from the cabin steward to the dining staff. They always greeted you with a smile and a friendly hello. We were on deck 8, port side, mid ship; nice cabin--lots of storage--put your luggage under the bed. Typical mini frig which does not keep things real cold, but it is ok. We never buy their overpriced drinks, so we took the drinks out and put our wine in it. The linens were great, towels were plush, and the bed was very comfortable. The verandah was nice with 2 chairs and a little table. Unfortunately, Carnival lets people smoke on their balcony, and the people next door smoked; Carnival needs to change this policy. Also on deck 5, there are two hot tubs on both sides of the ship, and you could hear the loud talking from the people in the hot tubs. Unless you had a cabin below deck 5, or a spa cabin, you would have to put up with this noise, which was very annoying. The toilet tissue and the Kleenex imitation tissue paper were horrible. Surely Carnival can do better. We were amazed at the number of children on board considering it is between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Although we did not count them, our best guess is that there were at least 200 kids on board. Last year we went on a cruise about the same time and there were about 25 kids. I have been on over 20 Carnival cruises (starting with the Mardi Gras in 1975) and Carnival has gone downhill in our opinion. The past guest party was a joke, and their smoking policy needs changing. When we went on the Freedom last year, on the last night of the cruise there was a party where they gave you free drinks and great appetizers--not so this cruise. I know Carnival is trying to save money, but with the price you pay for a cruise, they should not be so cheap. Although we are at Platinum VIP level, unless Carnival changes their smoking policy on verandahs, we will never sail on Carnival again. Read Less
Carnival Dream Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.3
Dining 4.5 3.9
Entertainment 3.5 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.5 3.6
Service 5.0 4.2
Value For Money 5.0 4.0
Rates 3.0 4.1

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