Let me begin by saying, that I am a relatively low key person -- easy to please for the most part. I am also a loyal consumer -- when I find something I like I stick with it!
Our cruise on the Carnival Dream was from May 26 through June 2, 2012. We stopped in Cozumel, Belize, Isla Roatan and Costa Maya.
The trip did not start off on a positive note and I think it was a foreshadowing of what was to come. When we arrived at ground transportation to take the Carnival transfer to the port from the Orlando airport we were told that the ship had not arrived back in Port Canaveral as they had to deviate the course due to a medical emergency. This was not too much of an inconvenience as they did send all the arriving guests to the ballroom at the airport hotel to await the transfers. Carnival did supply beverages and played a movie on a large screen. We were also told that each guest would receive a $15 credit to their sail and sign card to cover the purchase of lunch. We did receive the credit on the account without any issues -- and also a fuel rebate of $8 per person. I had to say, knowing that the ship would change course for a passenger's well-being, actually gave me a great source of comfort! Carnival did call my house, and emailed me, to let me know that there had been a change to the embarkation time, but I had already left the house for the airport long before they called with the message. It is my own fault that I did not use my cell phone number for the contact info on my profile. Something to note.
The Carnival Dream may be one of the largest ships in the fleet, but it is surely not the prettiest. For it being as new as it is, the carpet in many areas is worn and dirty. The team members in charge of cleaning always appeared to be busy and there were a lot of them! My cabin was basically the same as all of the ships that I have sailed on, but one thing I did note was that the lighting in the vanity area was brighter than on other ships. Our cabin steward, Jose, was wonderful! Our cabin was always made up early and the bed turned down after we had left for dinner. I have no complaints whatsoever regarding these accommodations. Also, it was not easy to navigate around the inside of the ship. Lots of dead ends! A few times I felt like a mouse caught in a maze.
My chief complaint was with the food. Last year when we sailed on the Carnival Miracle the food was mediocre at best. On the Dream it was downright awful! The first evening I ordered the Indian vegetarian dish from the everyday menu---it was tasty, though barely warm from a temperature standpoint. The others that I travelled with all said that their food was barely warm. The choices on the menu were minimal and all of us had a difficult time making a dinner choice. The bread was often stale. The only food that I had served that was of the correct temperature was the soup. The last evening on the ship I ordered the prime rib -- it was if someone had taken it right out of the refrigerator and put it on the plate. I typically am not overly concerned with food temperature -- as long as it is warm I don't usually complain. The second to last night I ordered the Indian vegetarian dish again, as I knew that it was sure to be a success! Wrong! Other than the potatoes, not one of the items was the same as the first time I ordered it. The second time it was inedible. We always arrived early to the dining room, but were often the last to leave. On more than one occasion guests that arrived after us, left before us. Our head waiter, Som, was very sweet and he appeared to be distressed when the plates were not coming out quickly though he never expressed this to us. He also never asked if we were happy with our meal, or why most of my meals were picked up untouched. The food quality was not just poor in the dining room, but was often cold in the buffet as well. The choices for fruit were limited -- pretty sick of honey dew and cantaloupe by the end of the week.
We participated in the "Chef's Table" -- a private seven course dinner for 12 that also included a tour of the galley. This was perfect in every way. No complaints at all, though it is a bit pricey at $180 per couple (we gave a $30 tip)
The entertainment was absolutely sophomoric! I've seen high school productions that were better than the shows on the ship. One thing that can be said about the female dancers -- all but two were very tall and long legged -- would have made great Rockettes -- if they had any rhythm at all! I was embarrassed for them!
Something else to note, if you order a wine package -- Carnival tacks on gratuity to that as well. For the $130 package, we paid an additional $30 in gratuity. (In my opinion -- that is just plain wrong!)
As I said at the beginning of this review, I am a loyal consumer, but I am also of the "two strike" mindset. Last year's cruise was fair, this time it was just awful. Sadly, I think I'm through with Carnival.