My Husband and I are Diamond members on RCCL, and since we did 2 RCCL cruises within the past year, we decided to try the Carnival Dream last minute, booking 2 weeks before sail and because of Port Canaveral's proximity to Atlanta. We've done this itinerary 3 times before. This was my 13th cruise my Husband's 15th or so, in our early 40's. We've been on Inspiration, right after it's inauguration and the Glory, wasn't thrilled with the Glory...at all. Inspiration, I only was on Costa Allegra, had nothing to compare back in the day. That's different now with all the new ships, so our expectations were low going in. We are not fussy people, I don't expect much, cleanliness and service would be it, vacation is what you make it. The ship is VERY clean and with exception of dining room, service is great, everyone says "hi." No complaints, people cleaning 24/7.
Arrived at port at 2pm, no one in line, we were last ones to register, got right on. The ship layout is typical Carnival, we knew it wasn't the promenade on the RCCL ships, so that was fine. Still don't get why Carnival makes there ships so choppy, up one, down one level to get somewhere. Anyway,2 pools one in middle one in back, LOTS of deck space. This I give kudos to Carnival as they have so much deck space on 5, 9,10 it's crazy and nice. The Serenity spa deck is nice, with hammocks and plush lounge chairs,adults only, so it's nice. The water slides, tons of fun, must do.
The room, we had inside cabin, fine with us, lots of room, bigger than RCCL. What is nice is Carnival let's each adult bring 1 bottle of wine and 12 ea. bottles of whatever non alcoholic drink you want, we brought a case of water. FYI...They will check for alcohol.
The shows...terrible, I think a high school cheerleading squad could do better or glee squad, I don't know we walked out. The movie theater at night by the pool is nice, didn't stay to watch but was nice for kids/families plus popcorn.
The casino, I play tons of blackjack and the 8 deck automatic shuffler...let's just say the odds are more against you, Fun 21 blackjack let me win my money back.
The comedy club, must do, see...best entertainment on the ship besides people watching.
The food...our dining room service....terrible, worst we've ever had. Another passenger at our table had been on 9 Carnival ships and complained and said worse service as well. Not sure what was going on. We booked with any time dining, Maitre d did nothing to oblige us in that dining room, as there are 2. RCCL would have. The Maitre d came by our table every night to see how our food was, cold and late, waited 45 min for an appetizer, worst service ever, after that, still the food came uncooked??? really? Our whole table was complaining...we were "that table!" LOL!!Best food was at Mongolian Station, Pasta Bar, which both have long waits and the Lanai BBQ on deck 5 has best sliders etc...best food on ship. The Gathering...adequate not much variety. Pizza is also good from the piece I had. Indian food in the back of the Gathering was good and the Panini I had in the deli was good. Sushi, adequate.
Also used to waiters knowing everyone's name, he didn't know anyone's name. Either did our room attendant introduce himself to us, we are used this kind of service.
Gym, not sure why Carnival insists on angled/sloping windows in the gym in front of the treadmills etc...??? why, so we have to look down to see the water while running? really? Gym was very small, Didn't use the spa services.
We had 7 days of perfect weather, and port calls. I can't complain. We had a medical emergency on the way home and diverted to Puerto Rico where a US Coast Guard helicopter came out in the middle of the ocean, dropped a Coast Guard guy on board and a basket to haul them off, it was so cool, it was like a movie. That made us coming in late to the port about 12pm. The crew was great and everyone just wanted the person airlifted to be ok. Feel sorry for people that had to change flights. Just doesn't seem to be Carnival's year.
Only other complaint is how people dress when coming in to the Gathering in swimsuits while people are getting food and in the evenings, I guess "Formal" means to some people button down and khakis.All in all it was a really great cruise, if they can get the dining room together, it would have been better.