On April 28th we set sail on my 7th cruise, Nan's 10th. We were sailing to the Caribbean on the Carnival Dream. It took two years for me to get the price I needed in order to take this cruise.
We usually cruise on Carnival Lines and try to leave from Port Canaveral since it's only minutes from our home. We also have a very good deal getting to the port. The Econologe on US 1 in Cocoa has a very special deal, you can park your car for free and take the shuttle bus for $10 round trip to your ship at the Port. Truly, a deal you can't beat.
Usually, embarking is a breeze on a Carnival ship, but this time when we arrived about 12:30 p.m., there were a few thousand people waiting on very long lines to board the ship. I usually order a wheelchair for my sister when we travel, but this time I simply forgot and there we were waiting on the longest line i ever saw. I left Nan standing on line and went up front to see if I could get a wheelchair. The red shirt woman I spoke with said that I would have to wait on the line, go thru the security check and when i got upstairs I could get a wheelchair and then come back down for Nancy. If I did all that, once I got upstairs, why would I want to come back down again. I wandered around until i saw a blue shirt man and he was certainly more friendly. it took him a few minutes, but he got a wheelchair and we got Nan into it and he took us immediately through the waiting people and right through security , then he brought us upstairs to get our cabin keys. a very lovely man who went out of his way to be helpful.
Again, he had passed the crowds and took us directly up to the sign in desk. the gentlemen there also went out of his way. He got our paperwork done, got our keys and actually took us directly onto the ship.
This was positively the largest ship we had ever been on and it was beautiful. We always take an inside cabin for several reasons: one the cost is usually so low that we can afford to take 2 or 3 cruises a year, the food served us in the dining room is the same as the higher priced cabins, the shows the same, the room service the same, the cabin service the same. and the cabins are the same size as most of the potholed cabins.
This ship holds 4,300 people and on this cruise it was full, but because of the size of the ship you really didn't notice that many people. he Dream is absolutely my idea of what a ship should look like, Art Deco style.
Our cabin was certainly large enough, with two single beds, two closets, a desk, and a small refrigerator. The bathroom was just fine. There was plenty of room to get around comfortably. Frankly, we do not spend that much time in the cabin anyway.
This sailing was a little different for me. as soon as we stepped on the ship, i felt it swaying. Nancy thought I was nuts, as she said we were in port not on the ocean so how could it be rocking, but never the less it was and I felt it. By 6 p.m. that same evening I was so dizzy from the rocking that I could barely walk. I went down the corridors holding on to the walls and looking like a drunken sailor. the dizziness got worse when we were out at sea. I could barely do anything. Finally, I couldn't stand it anymore and decided to call the nurse. I thought she'd think I was nuts, but the way I felt was ruining my trip, so called. I mentioned that I could feel the ship rocking and it was making me very, very dizzy. She told me that I had a form of seasickness. There were two types of seasickness, one made you nauseous and sick to your stomach and the other manifested itself in dizziness. She suggested that I call room service and ask for the pills. They cost about $4 for 6 pills. I called, they delivered, I took and soon felt much better. I did meet a few other people with the same problem, they too could feel this ship's movement. I have never had this on any of my other cruises.
We usually do not get off at the ports because we've been to most of them several times before, but this time we not only got off, but took a tour in Belize. It was advertised as: City and Althune Ha Ruins Tour. We were very disappointed. The "City" part of the tour consisted of driving through some streets on the way to the ruins and pointing out some houses. No shopping, no stopping, no nothing. When we got to the ruins we could not actually get to them because of the distance from the bus to the pyramids over rough ground, so Nancy and I and one other woman sat on a bench while the others did the climbing. So for a grand total of $70 each we got a bottle of warm water. I do not recommend this tour for anyone up in age, or with walking problems or heat problems, even though it's listed as moderate.
The other item I did not like was the change in the food service. The portions were smaller which was perfectly okay since you can order as much of anything as you desire, anyway. There were also several things I usually look forward to that were sorely missing from the menu. On the formal dress evenings there has always been escargot and duck, both were blatantly missing from the menu. Instead of the escargot they offered stuffed mushrooms not a worthy substitute as far as iI was concerned. And now on the left hand side of the menu they listed "Comfort Food" that being meatloaf and fried chicken. I don't know about you but I DO NOT cruise to eat meatloaf and fried chicken. Also the soup selection was a big disappointment. There use to be several different soups available, from cold to fruit. Now there were two and they were nothing special. One night they did offer a Thai soup that was delicious and upon asking if they still had any left the second night, they did not. Obviously, with the economy the way it is, the food service is where they have chosen to cut corners and for people who are not frequent cruises on this line, I'm sure they were delighted with what was offered, but for those of us who do this frequently, it was a disappointment, big time.
The service is exceptional, the waiters, head waiters, maitre d, people who clean your room and leave little towel animals and chocolates on your bed, those at the information desk, tour desk and just everywhere at great. They are pleasant and go out of their way to be helpful.
The ship is absolutely spotlessly clean and they are at cleaning it day and night.
we didn't get to many of the shows because i really didn't feel well enough during this cruise. But usually the shows are good and worth seeing.
There was one little kind of funny thing, we couldn't seem to get the lay of the ship. it seemed that where ever we thought we were going, we wound up the entire length of the ship from where we wanted to be. Usually within a day or two we have the ships layout under control, this ship is so big we just couldn't get it together.
All in all we had an excellent cruise, as I mentioned I just loved the decor, this is by far my favorite ship as far as looks go, and the service was great.
We were called to disembark about 10am. We had breakfast in the dining room and called for a wheelchair. it arrived and we moved swiftly off the ship and through customs without a hitch.
We did find out while we were on an elevator, when we arrived, with some men from Coast Guard that the reason there was such a hold up with getting people on board timely was a problem the Coast Guard had and they wouldn't let anybody board until it was settled. Really we had never had this kind of problem before, usually embarking goes very smoothly and within a short time your on the ship and in your cabin.
Would I take another cruise on this ship, you bet your bippy I would. First of all I do not believe in making a final decision on something unless I try it at least twice. Good or bad, the first time you try something could just be a fluke. Besides, on these cruises they always offer the purchase of a certificate for a future cruise. The cost is $100, that $100 is used towards the price of the next cruise and a $100 credit is also given to be used on your Sign and Sale card. We use it toward the gratuities, so we will be returning.