Just returned home from the April 7-14 Eastern Caribbean cruise and what a great time we had. How anyone can sail on the Dream and not have a wonderful time is beyond me. We booked a year in advance and kept track of reviews to get an idea of what to expect. Some reviewers had me wondering if we'd picked the wrong ship, but boy were they ever wrong. It must have been jaded veteran cruisers or overly picky people because we were very pleased with our cruise on the Dream.
Embarkation was smooth and quick. We live in Jacksonville, so we left home at 9 am and were having lunch on board at 1 pm. Port Canaveral has it down to a science, very well run. We paid $120.00 to park in the terminal garage for 7 days.
We had a cove balcony cabin, #2353, deck 2 and mid-ship. Quiet and secluded, a very nice hideout from the hustle and bustle on the upper decks. With a queen bed, sleeper sofa, and pull down bunk, it was perfect for my family of four. There was plenty of room and storage too. We were under the Crimson Dining Room, which is only open for dinner so it was silent while you slept. Bring a bungee cord to hold the balcony door open and enjoy the sound of the ship pushing through the swells. I highly recommend this category of cabin.
Our room steward, Jean from Haiti, was very good. We all enjoyed the towel animals he made for us. After a day or two, he got used to our schedule and came and went while we were out and about. We gave him some extra cash the last night.
We went to all four family comedy shows, and most of the production shows. I think we missed one. The comedians were all pretty good and Dancing in the Streets is not to be missed. The Fun Force break dancers are the best entertainers on board, catch as many of their shows as possible, they are that good. Cruise Director Steve was a hoot and a nice guy to talk to. Assistant Director Corey is a Drew Carey look-alike, and a very funny guy too. Don't miss their performances in the Carnival Legends show the last night at sea. Great stuff!
We layed in the sun and sat in the hot tubs. The boys swam in the pools and used the slides. Played mini-golf a few times. Lost a little in the casino. There are lots of activities to choose from, or you can find a secluded spot and just chill with a book.
We found the food to be pretty good and the many options and times fit our schedule well. We enjoyed breakfast in the Scarlet Dining room the most. If you aren't in a hurry, it's the way to go. Our favorite lunch venue was the pasta bar. Made to order pasta dishes brought to your table. It was only crowded once in 7 days. The Indian Tandoor food was spicy and flavorful. I really enjoyed it. The Lanai grill is another great lunch option with burger sliders and grilled quesadillas. With all these options, I only went through the breakfast and lunch buffets maybe 3 times all week, but even these were fine, with the lines moving along quickly. There is also 24 hour ice cream and pizza, which was always good. For dinner, we would sometimes eat in the dining room as a family, or just my wife and me. The sushi was a big hit, and also the deli. We might eat sushi at 7:00, then some pizza between shows and then room service at midnight. We like the anytime dining option obviously. We never made it to the steakhouse, even though we wanted to. Maybe next time. I just don't understand all the criticism about the food. Was everything perfect? Of course not, but unless you are some kind of foodie snob, you should be pleased with the options and quality available.
In Nassau, it was such a short stop and since we had been there before, we just stayed on the ship. Five other ships in port that day which was Easter Sunday and most shops were closed. Used Fury Charters in St. Thomas. They picked us up at the cruise dock, no need for a taxi ride. We sailed to Buck Island and snorkeled with sea turtles. Very well run excursion. In St. Maarten we used Soualiga Destinations. This was the best excursion I have ever been on in my life. We left from a marina very close to the cruise dock, a 15 minute walk. We were in a small group (18), and actually cruised around the entire island. First we paused briefly to watch the planes land at the airport, and then visited 2 awesome snorkeling spots on the French side. After snorkeling at Creole Rock, we stopped, waded ashore and had lunch at a funky little beachside bbq joint on Pinel Island, very cool. Then we snorkeled some more at Tintamarre Island. Lots of turtles there feeding on the grassy bottom. Finally we cruised the rest of the way back to the cruise ship docks. This all took about 6 hours. What an incredible day. You can look up Fury Charters in St. Thomas and Soualiga Destinations in St. Maarten on Tripadvisor.com. Good companies if you want to get out on the water and enjoy these beautiful islands.
I know this is a long review, but we had such a good time, I don't want to leave anything out. My advice is to do everything, see everything and eat everything on the Dream, try it all. Relax, you're vacationing on an incredible ship visiting beautiful places. Don't worry, be happy!