My wife and I traveled with the Carnival Dream on June 9-16 (Western Caribbean). The first day at sea was not too bad, with few exceptions. Several people were very drunk and acting like fools. Several children were intoxicated as well. (I blame this on parents and staff.) I observed kids drinking discarded drinks from empty tables.
I found the majority of the staff very lazy (in fact, one employee from Poland stated to us that he hated to work for the company and spent most of his time aft, watching the NBA finals, while holding an empty tray.
In Cozumel, I was unfortunately disqualified from the Sea Treking excursion, due to past medical history (not Carnival's fault). The excursion on the Carnival website, however, printed, "If you can walk and breath, this is for you.) Once disqualified, I requested to see the excursion officer for a refund. She was from Italy and very rude to me. I simply asked why they could not print the medical disqualification on the excursion description. She said, "You can't expect us to do that. It takes too much time." She collected my tickets and our money was refunded. My wife and I went back to the ship to retrieve our snorkel gear, with the thought that we would take a cab to a nearby beach. We returned to the port entry point; You can't get into Cozumel without going through "Carnival's Mall". A Mexican Police Officer stopped many of us, prior to entry, and informed us that we could not proceed. I spoke to him in Spanish and he told me that there was a bomb threat in the mall. A couple of hundred people were locked inside and could not leave. Several minutes later, the same officer ordered that we all return to the ship, "Cozumel is closed", he said. So, my wife and I never saw Cozumel.
That same evening, several 15-17 year old "children" were right outside my state room and 2:30am. They were talking loudly, banging on the walls, and their conversation was filled with expletives while discussing the topic of having sex with the only girl of the group. I opened the door and asked them to go elsewhere and was met with much backtalk (as expected from the youth of today.) I became verbally firm with them and they finally made the proper decision to leave. There was absolutely no child/teenager curfew. If there was, it was not enforced by the parents OR staff! I observed some children abusing the ship's property. Spitting on the glass walls, jumping on vacant deck chairs. One evening around 11pm, I observed two boys between 8 and 9, desperately trying to throw seat cushions into the sea. The glass safety wall was too high and prevented them from succeeding. They finally gave up, but as one would expect, left the cushions scattered about the deck.
The food on board was less than average. I have tasted much better when I was in the Navy.
"The Gathering Place" sanitation enforcement was very poor and not at all enforced. Adults as well as kids, returning from the pool were seen wiping their wet faces, noses and combing their hair with their hands, while standing in line; then were seen picking up the tongs and serving themselves. There was absolutely no dress code enforcement in "The Gathering Place". I ate there once and discovered the food bland, lacking in taste and not at all hot, but the preprocessed deserts were warm.
Room Service trays were seen left in the hallways, on the floor, with discarded food on them. That's fine, however, these trays were left in the hallways in excess of twelve hours, sometimes more.
Entertainment on board the cruise was poor. The cruise director tried to be funny, but came up short in every endeavor. The shows were boring and lacked creativity.
The best port was Mahogany Bay, by far. We took one of the private island excursions; I took plenty of pictures. We snorkeled most of the day and again, took some very nice underwater photos. The highlight of the cruise... I was afforded the opportunity to swim with sharks. It's funny how I was found physically fit to swim underwater with several sharks exceeding 10 feet or more.
During our last day at sea, my wife and I enjoyed a very nice dinner at the Chef's Art restaurant. Our server, Silvia (sp) from the Ukraine, was most delightful, professional, and was very eager to please us. The food was outstanding. The drawback, in order to eat a good meal with peace and quiet cost us #35.00 a person. But, I would have to say it was well worth it.
We used the spa quite often and those employees were eager to please us as well.
In closing, I will never take another Carnival cruise, nor will I recommend it to anyone who just wants to relax and simply go on vacation. If you want to party, or watch people act like fools and spend time on a ship where kids run around like a herd of recently freed monkeys at all hours of the night, then by all means, enjoy yourselves.
My wife and I were on the cruise to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.