This is my review of our cruise on the Carnival Dream. It's mostly good. We flew into orlando and stayed at the Embassy Suites in Orlando near the airport - good. easy to get in and out of the next day. We had Executive VIP Limo Service pick us up based on a recommendation and Marlene was our driver both there and back and she was great. She even stopped by starbucks for me on the way. The charge to take a limo was cheaper than to use the carnival transportation. It was $135 total for 5 people from embassy suites to cruise and then another $135 total from cruise ship to airport. That does not include tip. (I think carnival wanted $75 per person for a bus!).
Check in was easy and we had two rooms, room 7287 for me, my husband and my 8 year old son and 7289 for my daughter, age 12 and her best friend, also 12, which was right across the hall. Room 7287 was large, it was a really nice room with a large sitting area, bathroom, etc. I was impressed but for the amount we spent, it should be big. The girls room was small but we expected that. Got on boat and went to eat lunch since room's were not ready till about 1:30. Food area was already packed and we walked all over and couldn't find a seat for about 15 minutes - bad. Went to rooms and like I mentioned, were impressed with size of our suite. Paul, our room attendant was nice too - Good.
First day at sea was good, basically walked around figuring out the ship. Next day we were in Naussau. We did the Blue Lagoon shore excursion and based on a review on cruise critic we did not get the lunch included but we should have because it looked fine when we saw it and the place was beautiful. Water was a bit chilly but beach was awesome. We basically just swam, kayaked and got snorkeling gear. It does get crowded really quickly but it's awesome. There are hammocks to lay on and a store and a bar. Looks like heaven, we enjoyed our time but we didn't have enough time. It's basically just a few hours by the time you get over there. We could have used about 4 more hours! Good island, bad for timing but glad we went.
The next day was day at sea. Boat was really moving and shaking for the first two days and we had to take dramamine. Kids and I were nauseated but medicine helped. did not like that you cannot get a chair by the pool. It's so crowded on sea days that unless you go out early to get a seat, your not getting one. I don't like to wake up early on vacation, I like to sleep in. We found three chairs up on the second deck totally away from the pool so that was a bummer. Ship was very crowded. Bad.
The next day was st. Thomas. We went to Magen's Bay and it was gorgeous. We took a taxi, no shore excursion. It was $6 per person and ride takes about 30 minutes to get there. Taxis are packed with people so you have to wait about 20 minutes to get a taxi but beach is beautiful. Packed full of people though so get there early. Need to rent lawn chairs and carry them down the beach. You cannot jet ski here, only rent kayaks or bikes or SUP. Make sure you bring your own food, if not, line for food is a good 45 minutes and it's not good Greasy pizza, terrible fries, etc. But the beach and awesome water make up for all that. It was a great day!
Next day was st. maarten. Fabulous. We took taxi, $8 per person each way, to Orient Beach and it was breathtaking. Absolutely gorgeous and many places to sit. Chairs are already there but you pay $7 a chair and $4 an umbrella, worth it for sure. Water is warm, you can jet ski but be careful because we rented two jet skis and my husband and son were on one just sitting in water and some goofball ran right into my husband and son. He had a girl on the back and he was turned around talking to her and not watching and smacked right into them. Could have been very bad. Thank God they were okay and just a bit shaken up. After that, we decided to get off jet skis but it was fun while we did it. Did I mention that i could come back and just stay on this beach for an entire week?? Well I could. I loved it. We ate lunch at a little open air restaurant and it was great. Not cheap, $100 for lunch for 2 adults and 3 kids but we're on vacation so we didn't expect it to be cheap. Perfect beach!!! The only bad part was driving there because it's not very scenic, it's a poor area that you drive through to get to beach and that always bums me out to see poverty like that. There is a nude section of beach. We did not go there. We did see two women walking with no tops but my kids would not have noticed it at all. Then back on boat. That night was Open Seating night at dining room which I did not realize and i don't like it at all. You basically don't get your regular table, you wait in line and they seat wherever they want. I'm not sure why they are doing this but a lot of people were confused and didn't like it. Bad.
The next two days were sea days and while it was nice, it would have been nice to have a sea day broken up by a port day but whatever. I don't like sea days because it was so crowded at pool and ship was crowded. I've come to realize that I'm just not a cruiser so for someone that loves cruising, you would love this cruise but I would rather sit on a beach and do nothing. The comedy was funny, we saw tommy drake and he was hilarious! The dining room was good but it seemed like they were a bit understaffed because we ordered a drink and then never saw the drink person again for an hour. THe show dancing in the streets was awesome. the break dancing and popping guys, the fun force, were phenomenal. I could have watched them every night they were so entertaining. My kids saw the country show and didn't really like it. But I think once you see the fun force guys, anything else seems a bit boring.
Our total cost for this cruise was around $10,000 with airfare from southern california for 5, one night at hotel before cruise, transportation to and from boat, two rooms, shore excursions, steak house (phenomenal), drinks, etc. I guess for that kind of money, I expect less of a crowd but we did have a good time. I almost forgot. I got two treatments at spa - the ionthermie cellulite reduction which is electrodes attached to your legs and stomach and it feels like contractions. It actually feels good. It's supposed to make you lose inches but I don't actually believe anything can make you lose inches. I just wanted to try it. It started off with a 20 minute science lesson which immediately made me think they were going to try to sell me something. Then I did the treatment which was rather enjoyable and it lasted about 40 minutes. then of course my girl told me that I lost 4 inches and tried to sell me $1600 worth of creams!!! I was a bit annoyed. I don't have $1600 to buy creams that are not going to do anything and no I don't want another science lesson about how cellulite is formed and how it can be magically taken away with a cream. Ha, ha, ha!!! Had she just done the treatment, it would have been great but leave out the science lesson. I also had a massage and it was awesome. I did a deep tissue massage for 75 minutes and I was in heaven, it was great and she only tried to sell me some lotion to which I said no. I hope this helps someone.