Just returned from our Carnival Dream Eastern Caribbean family cruise, May 5th-12th. This was the worst vacation we have ever had. I normally don't do reviews, but I don't want anyone else to go through what happened to us.
My DH and 2 year old and 7 year old sons were with me on this trip, booked in cabin 2396, a cove balcony room. DO NOT BOOK THIS ROOM. The entire week they were doing maintenance above our room from the hours of 11 PM-5 AM. It sounded like sledgehammers hitting our ceiling. We called Guest Services every night since we got no sleep all week. They basically told us "Sorry". They told us they knew there was maintenance going on and it would continue all week. We asked to be moved because our children were up all night. They told us there were no other rooms, sorry. So we got NO SLEEP all week. The cove balconies are very nice, but if you book a room make sure you are nowhere under the galley.
We booked Carnival Cruise Line because they would accept 2 year olds in Camp Carnival, and Royal Caribbean won't take them until they are 3 and potty trained. BIG MISTAKE. We would drop off our sons, and within 10 minutes they called us and told us to come get our two year old. We tried several times throughout the cruise, just so we could get a little bit of a break since we got no sleep, but the counselors at camp didn't want to deal with a 2 year old. They were wonderful with the older kids but they did not want the toddlers.
The worst part of the trip was while boarding the boat in Nassau I was holding my 2 year old in my arms, and while walking up the gangway I fell on the walkway. I cut my leg about 4-5" long, from my ankle to my calf and they could have cared less. Someone finally called my room 24 hours after I fell and told us to call if we needed something. Thank god my 2 year old didn't get hurt in the fall.
I repeatedly went to the Guest Services Desk and called them and they just told us sorry, we can't do anything. This boat either had a full week of maintenance scheduled or something because everywhere we went the maintenance crew was fixing lights, painting, fixing broken fixtures, etc. Our room steward was very nice, and our waiter was nice, but the rest of the servers/assistants on the boat did not want to be bothered and acted like they hated their jobs and didn't want to to be there. The sewer smell is very extensive on the lower floors of the boat, so prepare yourself. The food was edible, not great. I think having been on Royal Caribbean ruined us because the two cruise lines don't compare. The best comparison I can give you is test driving a Mercedes for a week, then test driving a 1985 Dodge Caravan that has 300,000 miles on it and needs fixing and smells funny. So when we finally returned home after the week of no sleep, a cut leg, and servers who don't want to be there, I called Carnival's Corporate Office. Again, they did nothing. They told me sorry, but please cruise with us again. I have cruised on Royal Caribbean and they blow Carnival out of the water with their service, food, entertainment, and memories. Several of the cruisers I talked to were very upset with the service and quality of the food on this boat. Pay the few extra dollars and go on Royal Caribbean. We saved for a year to have the vacation of the lifetime. We had the worst vacation ever, and Carnival could have cared less. Royal Caribbean at least cares about their passengers. On Carnival you are just a number.
I can give you honest reviews on the Ports. At Nassau we did the Blue Lagoon Shore Excursion because I had been there years ago and knew there were no waves in the lagoon so my children could play in the water with no worries. Again, gorgeous trip, hardly anyone there, we had full run of the beach and could walk over and stand right above the dolphins and see everything. Well worth the money.
At St. Thomas we did the Beach/Shopping Tour and it was ok. Very Busy. Magen's Bay was packed. You couldn't walk without stepping on someone. Our kids started building a sandcastle and the lifeguards told us they had to fill in the holes so no one would fall. Not fun. Then they took us shopping on the main drag. Shopping was ok. Next time I will go to Saphire Beach. Magen's Bay is pretty in pictures from afar, don't go. Way too busy and they don't rake the beach so it seems dirty.
St. Maarten we just took the water taxi, $6 round trip per person. Awesome day. It takes you right to the main shopping area. We spent a couple hours shopping, then got two beach chairs/umbrella for $5 for the rest of the day. Wonderful day. But definitely go to Maho Beach to watch the airplanes land and take off if you don't have little kids.
Hope this review helps someone. Just imagine you take your family on the trip of a lifetime and due to the cruise line you get NO SLEEP ALL WEEK. How would you feel when you get off the boat? Cruises should be the most relaxing trip of your life.