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I purchased a 5 days cruise for my wife and me to celebrate her retirement as a school teacher. We left May 27th for Costa Maya and Cozumel and returned on June 1st. So here is the breakdown of our cruise. 1) Embarkation - we had Fastest To The Fun so it was an absolute snap. We were through the Galveston terminal and on to the ship in 5 minutes. If you can afford this service, I highly recommend you purchase it. Our bags were delivered late, however; With FTTF, they should have been delivered immediately. Carnival realized this and comped me with a free strawberry plate, which I do appreciate. 2) Entertainment - the best show on board was in the comedy club. You should go at least once. There are R rated shows and PG shows, so be sure to choose the version that is to your liking and sensibilities. We went to see one show in the Encore lounge - the Flick show, with singers and musicians. I personally didn't care for it, but other folks found it enjoyable. I also went to see the raffles, bingos, and trivia shows - and generally, they were well run. I even won a free Wifi package, which I used liberally. I thought that cruise director Gary did a fine job in running the cruise and representing Carnival to the passengers. 3) Food - The best meal by far on the cruise was at the steakhouse, which was tremendous. It was one of the best steak meals that I have had in a long time. The service was also exceptional. The only drawback to that meal is that the restaurant itself is on the 14th flood, which does tend to vibrate when at sea - it took some getting used to. The food in the main dining room was also very good - and the service by the crew there was impeccable. Elizabeth was our waiter and you can tell that she really cared a great deal about her guests. We also ate once at the seafood shack - the shrimp there was really good. At the lido buffet, the food there was at least passable; I would instead recommend dining in the MDR when possible. The pizza restaurant was also passable - honestly, I have heard a lot of complaints about it, but it an OK slice of pizza. Carnival could improve the quality of that food, in my opinion. 4) Physical plant - Our cabin was well cared for and comfortable. There was one issue with our stateroom - the safe did not work when we checked in. The stateroom steward did a good job of calling the technician to get it swapped out. Everything else worked properly. Armando was our steward, and he really kept the place clean. The AC kept the room cool, and there was no smell or odors. Some of the elevators were not working - I saw those complaints in other reviews, and yes, Carnival should fix that. It did cause some problems on day embarkation day. 5) Shore excursions - In Costa Maya, we used the Port Pass excursion, which you have to purchase on the dock itself. Apparently, you cannot get this via Carnival. This allowed us to see the bird exhibit there, which was the highlight of the trip for us. We also toured the chocolate factory, which was also enjoyable. Be forewarned - there are issues with sargasso this year in Costa Maya, so you may want to hold off on booking any beach excursion that could be impacted by these plants. In Cozumel, we went to Chakannab, which was also a great deal of fun - although very crowded. The day were were there, 5 ships had docked in Cozumel, and the place was packed. If crowds are not your thing, then you may want to skip this place. But the staff was friendly and the beach was fine, so I would go back there (on a less crowded day.) 6) Spa - my wife had three spa treatments: the seaweed wrap, the acupuncture, and the teeth whitening. She had positive experiences all three times - the acupuncture was particularly helpful with her arm pain. The spa offers a 10-20-30 plan, with increasing discounts for each service you purchase. So this is a good way to save on multiple spa services. On the first day, there is a spa tour, at which point the staff will demo the various services they offer - you should honestly see those demos before deciding on what you want, or paying for anything. 7) Disembarkation - it was a bit slower than we expected. We chose to self-disembark, and with Fastest to the Fun, it was certainly faster. But it still took 2 hours to get off the ship, clear customs, and get to our car. We used the Galveston Terminal parking in lot A, so leaving from there was a quick. All in all, we really enjoyed ourselves, and I am sure that we will be back with Carnival at some point in the future. I would recommend this cruise, and cruise line, to my friends.

My Dream came true!

Carnival Dream Cruise Review by timothywgray

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
I purchased a 5 days cruise for my wife and me to celebrate her retirement as a school teacher. We left May 27th for Costa Maya and Cozumel and returned on June 1st. So here is the breakdown of our cruise.

1) Embarkation - we had Fastest To The Fun so it was an absolute snap. We were through the Galveston terminal and on to the ship in 5 minutes. If you can afford this service, I highly recommend you purchase it. Our bags were delivered late, however; With FTTF, they should have been delivered immediately. Carnival realized this and comped me with a free strawberry plate, which I do appreciate.

2) Entertainment - the best show on board was in the comedy club. You should go at least once. There are R rated shows and PG shows, so be sure to choose the version that is to your liking and sensibilities. We went to see one show in the Encore lounge - the Flick show, with singers and musicians. I personally didn't care for it, but other folks found it enjoyable. I also went to see the raffles, bingos, and trivia shows - and generally, they were well run. I even won a free Wifi package, which I used liberally. I thought that cruise director Gary did a fine job in running the cruise and representing Carnival to the passengers.

3) Food - The best meal by far on the cruise was at the steakhouse, which was tremendous. It was one of the best steak meals that I have had in a long time. The service was also exceptional. The only drawback to that meal is that the restaurant itself is on the 14th flood, which does tend to vibrate when at sea - it took some getting used to. The food in the main dining room was also very good - and the service by the crew there was impeccable. Elizabeth was our waiter and you can tell that she really cared a great deal about her guests. We also ate once at the seafood shack - the shrimp there was really good. At the lido buffet, the food there was at least passable; I would instead recommend dining in the MDR when possible. The pizza restaurant was also passable - honestly, I have heard a lot of complaints about it, but it an OK slice of pizza. Carnival could improve the quality of that food, in my opinion.

4) Physical plant - Our cabin was well cared for and comfortable. There was one issue with our stateroom - the safe did not work when we checked in. The stateroom steward did a good job of calling the technician to get it swapped out. Everything else worked properly. Armando was our steward, and he really kept the place clean. The AC kept the room cool, and there was no smell or odors. Some of the elevators were not working - I saw those complaints in other reviews, and yes, Carnival should fix that. It did cause some problems on day embarkation day.

5) Shore excursions - In Costa Maya, we used the Port Pass excursion, which you have to purchase on the dock itself. Apparently, you cannot get this via Carnival. This allowed us to see the bird exhibit there, which was the highlight of the trip for us. We also toured the chocolate factory, which was also enjoyable. Be forewarned - there are issues with sargasso this year in Costa Maya, so you may want to hold off on booking any beach excursion that could be impacted by these plants. In Cozumel, we went to Chakannab, which was also a great deal of fun - although very crowded. The day were were there, 5 ships had docked in Cozumel, and the place was packed. If crowds are not your thing, then you may want to skip this place. But the staff was friendly and the beach was fine, so I would go back there (on a less crowded day.)

6) Spa - my wife had three spa treatments: the seaweed wrap, the acupuncture, and the teeth whitening. She had positive experiences all three times - the acupuncture was particularly helpful with her arm pain. The spa offers a 10-20-30 plan, with increasing discounts for each service you purchase. So this is a good way to save on multiple spa services. On the first day, there is a spa tour, at which point the staff will demo the various services they offer - you should honestly see those demos before deciding on what you want, or paying for anything.

7) Disembarkation - it was a bit slower than we expected. We chose to self-disembark, and with Fastest to the Fun, it was certainly faster. But it still took 2 hours to get off the ship, clear customs, and get to our car. We used the Galveston Terminal parking in lot A, so leaving from there was a quick.

All in all, we really enjoyed ourselves, and I am sure that we will be back with Carnival at some point in the future. I would recommend this cruise, and cruise line, to my friends.
timothywgray’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin 8E 8428
It was both comfortable and functional. It was a balcony cabin, which was great for us, because we both like to look at the ocean. It was generally very quiet and properly cooled. Everything worked from scratch, except for a minor issue with the safe. The technician fixed that issue in no time - and Carnival comped me with a strawberry plate. Nice touch.
Lido Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Wildlife Tour
    Visiting those birds on the Port Pass tour was great! We got to feed the birds by hand. It was so much fun, and so special for my wife - she loves birds. The chocolate factory tour was a bit corny - but we did learn a lot about how the chocolate is made there. You also get 3 free drinks with that pass, so it is a good value. Try one of the blue margaritas there at the pool area.
    View All 4 Wildlife Tour Reviews
  • Private Resort Day Pass
    We went to the Chankanaab for the all inclusive beach pass, that we booked through Carnival. We thought it was a good value. We got to do swimming and snorkeling, and the beach was great. We also got to see the sea lion show, and my wife had a fish spa treatment (I had no idea that such a thing existed.) The food was Ok - nothing to write home about. It was your typical buffet food. The line to get drinks was slow - because the place was incredibly crowded. Cozumel was packed that day with 5 cruise ships in port. Maybe the operators of this resort should consider expanding or adding more staff, for days that the port will be crowded like this? Maybe?
    View All 178 Private Resort Day Pass Reviews
  • Galveston
    We had FTTF, to boarding and offboarding was fast. Finding a parking spot on arrival day was difficult, again, because the place was packed. We used the Galvestor port parking. However, on departure day, we did find our car and leave quickly.
    View All 658 Galveston Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Galveston Cruise Port Review