Our family of three chose the Dream this time because we had not sailed the Eastern Caribbean before and because the Dream offered a newer ship with a good itinerary. We're glad we made that choice. While others have written somewhat critical remarks about this cruise, let me just say that often your experience is what you make it. Contrary to other's remarks, we found this cruise fulfilled our expectations very well. Our previous cruise was on RCCL and this time we wanted more time to relax and enjoy ourselves.
Cabins: We chose one of the new Cove Cabins. We found this to be comparatively large and really enjoyed being so close to the water. Our room steward was friendly and attentive. The couch folded out to a bed, which wasn't all that comfortable, but we improvised using the comforter and solved that. The king bed was fine. Plenty of closets! The only drawback was an occasional banging noise coming from the deck above, but that was only a minor irritation.
Food: We found the Galley food was good, not great, but easy to access, with a good variety. Especially liked the omelet station in the mornings and the pizza, sandwich and ice cream stations were always good. Always was able to find adequate seating. The evening dining was very good. I thought the food was better than what we had on RCCL and our staff was very pleasant and attentive, especially our assistant, Putro. The shows performed by the dining staff were entertaining. The didn't always get our order 100% correct, but was easily corrected.Really enjoyed our tablemates. I did see that the staff was stretched pretty thin, but they were right there for you.
Entertainment: Our family really enjoy the trivia games and Charlotte did a really good job of running the games and keeping everyone happy. The production shows were mostly good. Dancin' in the Streets is really good and so are the Fun Force dancers. Enjoyed Tony and Dana's variety music. Comedy club was good, except for the host Jeff the Fun Guy, who was not funny at all. I did not like the fact that Carnival has raised their price to play Bingo to $20. Too high! Also, they now have the pull tabs instead of the scratch and win cards for $1 which were always fun to play.
Excursions: We did our own exploring of Nassau since we had been there before. For St. Thomas,we booked Carnival's two island snorkeling adventure, which was o.k., but did not like packing 101 people onto a catamaran. The crew was good as was the rum punch, but still you got that herding cattle feeling. For St. Martin we went online and booked Capt. Bob's excursion. Can't say enough good things about this. He is terrific and his six-hour tour is top-notch and really a bargain.
The only real negative about the trip involved the course deviation to sail closer to Puerto Rico to allow the Coast Guard to fly out and evacuate a passenger who needed medical attention. That provided a good story to tell back home. Carnival handled it in a very efficient, professional manner. The problem arose because it caused a delay arriving back in port late (about 12 noon). This prompted most passengers to call their airlines to re-arrange their flights. Thank goodness I had purchased the trip insurance. To Carnival's credit they did open up the phone lines onboard for free calls; however, I felt they could have done more in terms of some type of reimbursement to the passengers. Upon arriving in port late, the crew seemed to be somewhat disorganized as to what to do with everyone for four hours. Although we were able to disembark in a prompt manner, we were the exception. To Carnival's credit, our shuttle was waiting to swiftly transport us to the airport. Carnival's embarkation process is the best we have encountered.
Overall, we really enjoyed our cruise and Carnival's staff were quite pleasant and attentive. The ship was clean and nearly always easy to find a seat. We will definitely sail with Carnival again!