My husband and I sailed on the Dream the week of July 14-21, heading to the Eastern Caribbean from Port Canaveral. I will try and do my best to be HONEST and FAIR in my review, and let people know of things I was curious about before cruising on the Dream.
Embarkation: Easy! Efficient! Port Canaveral really knows what they are doing! We didn't have to wait in ANY lines, and were on the boat and eating lunch in under 30 minutes. Tip: The night before we got a room from The Country Inn & Suites right across from the port. In their fee, they included breakfast on embarkation day AND a free shuttle back and forth from the port. We never had to wait more than 10 minutes for the shuttle to get us from the port.
The food: Okay, I am going to be HONEST on this one. We ate at the Lido ONE time (embarkation day). The selection wasn't the best. I guess being used to RCI's Windjammer where EVERYTHING and ANYTHING is offered, I was shocked to learn that there is a limited selection of items, and these items are offered at every buffet line. We did not use the Mongolian Wok, and were unaware of the Pasta Bar until the last day when we stumbled upon it accidentally. For the rest of the cruise, we ate in the dining rooms for all three meals of the day, and the food was exceptional. The lunch menu was great, as well as the breakfast menu. Also, my husband took full advantage of the Pizza Bar, and the Burger Bar. I ate a ton of fries on this cruise, and had my share of free ice cream :) also, I don't eat Sushi but my husband had at least four plates of it. He loved it. But beware! The sushi bar is only open at dinner hours (5-8:15) or so. We ordered room service three times, and I was disappointed because the last day I wanted cereal and they brought me spoiled milk :( it came out chunky and weird and there was no way I could eat that. So, I didn't get a proper breakfast on disembarkation day until miles down the road at a Dunkin Donuts. Overall, the food was good and we NEVER went hungry :)
Entertainment: Cruise director Cory was a really good guy! He doesn't look like what you would think a CD would resemble, but he knows this and is always poking fun at himself. He is pretty funny, and I think he does a great job. The Assistant CD Brittany is also very personable and nice! We both enjoyed them. Okay...now to the singers and dancers. Sometimes it felt like the dancers didn't want to be on stage, and only gave little effort to their performances. The singers were good---sometimes screechy, but not all the time. Some dancers seemed to not know the routines at times, and would obviously get lost, but would jump right in. Our favorite entertainment was the Punchliner Comedy Club. We thoroughly enjoyed the family friendly shows before dinner---QUITE hilarious!!! We didn't attend the adult shows, one because they start at midnight and two I just didn't want to hear a lot of cursing and such so we just stuck to the family shows but they were hilarious none the less. There was a magician one night in the main theater and THAT was hilarious as well. And for a fun side note, we got called up onto the stage for a trick and it was extremely embarrassing but a lot of fun! The deck party was fun---doing the cupid shuffle and the wobble doesn't get old! :)
Nassau: Glad we only had from 8:00-1:30 here. Not much to do... We caught a taxi to Atlantis, walked around a bit, then caught one back to the ship. The straw market sells stuff from India---not locally made items. The port stores are just a high end mall and souvenir shops---not what we came for :(
St.Thomas: Book an excursion to find something to do! We didn't, but we did catch a taxi downtown to the outdoor market (where again people were selling stuff from India and China). So, we walked to lunch at a place called coconuts (very tasty and safe), and then went back to ride the lift up the mountain. Scariest ride of my life! My hubby just laughed and laughed at me crying, but I guess he needed the entertainment for the day! haha! It had a super pretty view, but not worth the $21 a piece :( We liked St.Thomas and I would probably go back :)
St.Maarten: Our favorite! We rented a car, and drove around the island to Orient Bay (yes THE Orient Bay...) It was the MOST BEAUTIFUL beach I have EVER seen. It was AMAZING. And we also bought REAL handmade items from St.Maarten!! We also ate at the Barefoot Restaurant and it was exceptionally good and safe as well :) This was our favorite port, and I HAVE to go back sometime!! :)
Stateroom: We had an interior room, that was also a handicapped room. (We didn't require one...we just got a really good deal on the room). it was bigger than a normal interior room, but we did have bunk beds!! Ha Ha!! My husband slept on the bottom and I slept on the top. The beds were comfy and I have no complaints on any of it :)
Pools: Get there early to get a seat!! EVERYTHING will be gone on sea days!! This goes for the aft pool AND the main pool!! Usually we stayed away from the pool during peak times because there was no where to seat, so we just walked around and found things to do on sea days. We played putt putt (FUN!) and would walk around the ship just lounging around. We also played bingo a couple of times and only attended the shopping seminar because of the free gifts (we didn't win anything). The seminar lasted WAY too long---just get to the raffles already! HAHA ;) We did enjoy the pools on port days though--there was always ample seating and never crowded.
This boat is SUPER hard to navigate!! The layout doesn't really make a lot of sense. Going up a floor to get back down to where you want to go was very annoying. FINALLY on the 6th day we got it :/ The elevator wait was also extremely annoying so we usually took the stairs down and rode the elevator up.
Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our seven days on the Dream! The value for the money was amazing, and we would definitely cruise with Carnival again!! :)