Our family cruised on the Carnival Dream sailing July 14. We had an amazing time. I was a bit skeptical after reading some of the reviews, but am VERY glad we opted to take this trip. Embarkation was very fast! We arrived at 11 am and were on board by 11:45. Our luggage did not arrive until almost 6:00. The boat is large, and can be difficult to navigate, but Carnival made many improvements when building this ship over others we have sailed. First, there is plenty of room. Even with 3600 guests on board, we never felt claustrophobic. There are lots of seating and gathering areas all over the ship, inside as well as outside. There is so much to do, and I can not say enough good things about the Camp Carnival staff. Both of our children, ages 6 and 9, enjoyed spending time there. Their is a good variety of activities to choose from, and they opted to eat there almost every night.
Now the food - the Pasta bar was amazing. We ate lunch there often. There was never a line until the last day at sea, and they have a nice variety of ingredients to choose from when selecting your dish so that you do not feel like you are eating the same thing all of the time. It was also nice that they bring your food to the table, so you do not have to navigate the aisles with multiple plates of food (when traveling with children). We ate in the dining room the first 2 nights, but unfortunately the service was slow and the food was only average. We opted to eat on the Lido deck for the remaining nights as they had the same food selections as the dining room, plus additional options. There was also rarely a line, so we were able to get in and out quickly to enjoy our vacation. We did splurge for the Steak House one evening. The food and service was excellent! I would highly recommend trying it! We also ate at the Deli and the Pizza Bar, and the ice cream was always a treat. My husband ate from Wasabi each night - the sushi was good and he was able to get Sake on board (a much cheaper alternative to drinking wine or beer...$12 a bottle!)
The kids enjoyed Water Works very much, and the slides are a lot of fun. There were lines on the big slides on sea days, but there was never a line on the Racers which were also a blast. There is also a water slide and some fun things for little ones to do (those under the 42 inches necessary to ride the big slides). There are a couple of big chess sets - never a line to play, plus ping pong tables, and they even showed some concerts on the Seaside Theatre during the day. There were many hot tubs, probably 10 scattered all around the boat, and they were never too crowded to enjoy. We did not see any shows, mostly because we were winning in the casinos and having a blast there! We did attend the deck party on Wednesday night. It was a lot of fun. I would definitely recommend going. Cory the cruise director was fun, but never in your face.
Everyone was very nice, and the service was impeccable. There were servers around frequently, and people clearing your plates constantly. They keep the ship very clean, and do a great job making everything shine. Everyone remembered our names, even the Sushi Bar servers remembered my husband and would greet him each night. No matter what you needed, it was provided, often before you even realized you need it.
We have sailed on 2 other Carnival ships, and this one is by far the best of the 3. We enjoyed our other cruises, but this one was spectacular.