I read a lot of reviews of the Dream before we left on our first cruise and I had my doubts about how it would be after reading cruisers' complaint. However, after riding on the Dream, I thought the complaints were very nit-picky and that the entire experience was wonderful.
A big plus was the first week in May meant there were few school-aged children on board. There were some toddlers, but the ship is so big it was always easy to find some quiet space. The pools are very small, so if there are a lot of kids this could be a problem.
The Lido deck, where the pools are, was usually crowded and very noisy with music, DJs, etc., but once you're away from the pools you really didn't hear the noise any more.
The 5th deck, Lanai, contained numerous deck chairs and seating areas and it was easy to find quiet seats in the sun and shade. One thing I liked about the ship was that the PA announcements were few and far between.
Drinks were high (compared to what I'm used to paying), beers were $6.61 each. I liked the 4-beer bucket option which shaved some money off of the price of each one. We brought a small playmate cooler and the four beers and all the ice that came in the bucket fit nicely into the cooler.
Service was superb. We used the limited room-service menu a few times and never waited more than 15 minutes for delivery. When we needed ice in our room we just called our top-flight steward, Ricardo, and he usually delivered in less than 3 minutes. We used the door card to signal when the room needed service and it was always done when we returned.
My main activity was the Texas hold'em poker games in the casino. They use an electronic table so the game moves fast and there aren't any disputes about pot sizes or whose turn it is. This is a big plus at 2:00 a.m. when a lot of the players are wasted. Cruise poker is very laid back, many players like to limp in and see flops. Some players won't fold no matter what they have so when you get a good hand you usually get paid off. I won a little over $300 during the week, which ended up paying for the bar tab. Also, if you buy some of the advertised drinks at the casino bar ($8.75) the receipts for those are good for a $5 match play coupon at the casino table games.
I didn't have any complaints about the food. The dining room food was excellent, but one night of the three that we dined there it was very slow and took 2 hours to get through dinner. The buffets were pretty much deserted by 8:00 or so and eating there was very relaxing. Don't miss the pasta bar, which is only open for a few hours a day during lunch.
Overall, it was a very enjoyable trip and we had no complaints about the Dream. Getting on and off the ship was easy, both at Port Canaveral and at the ports of call. That said, if we cruise again we will check out some other ships, probably smaller ones, because we didn't really do most of the things the Dream offered -- we didn't shop, see any shows, play bingo or go to dance clubs. But I didn't see anyone who didn't look like they weren't having a good time.