Carnival Dream Cruise Review by Branman: Carnival Dream Eastern Aug 11-18th
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Carnival Dream Eastern Aug 11-18th
The trip started out by flying Delta out of Atlanta scheduled for a 9:55 departure. However, an equipment change delayed the flight by a half hour. No big deal as it is a direct flight to Orlando with plenty of time to spare. When the plane landed in Orlando, we booked Carnival's airport transfer service to take us to the port. In Orlando, it is run by Mears Transportation. The service was good and we were transported to Port Canaveral.
We arrived at the port at about 12:30 in the afternoon. Embarkation was awful as there was a 45 minute line outside of the building to check the boarding pass. Once inside we were on the ship within 15 minutes. This was the last Dream departure out of terminal 10, so this might be fixed by moving to the new, larger facility around the corner.
Rooms were ready when we boarded. We stayed in interior room 8418. This was a standard interior room which was in a great location. Two decks up to the aft pool and three decks down to the More promenade. We rarely needed to take an elevator. At night we just kept the TV set to the bow camera to make sure we knew when the sun was up.
Before the cruise, most reviews commented on how the Dream handles crowds. However, we never found an issue with the crowds. On sea days, our usual routine consisted of eating breakfast by the Tandor station. This station also had a breakfast line which no one seamed to use. After breakfast we would participate in some of the organized trivia or puzzle games in the Ocean Plaza. After a few of these, we hit up some of the many places serving lunch. If there was a lido competition going on (mixology or hairy chest), we would watch it from a table on Deck 11 overlooking the main pool area. At around 4:30 or so we'd make our way out to the pool deck after most people started going in for the day. Since we had late seating for dinner, we could spend all afternoon with nearly empty pools and little-to-no lines for the two main water-slides.
While the pools were small, the other amenities of the ship made up for it. The two water-slides were very fun. We went on them several times throughout the cruise. The line the first day was mostly made up of children, but on the last sea day the line consisted of mostly adults. Also, the whirlpools on the Lanai were great. They were rarely crowded and a great place to relax.
Food options were excellent. Upon boarding we went straight to the Pasta Bar. Everyone needs to try that at least once as it was a great place to eat lunch. Additionally, the lido bbq and the tandor station served very good food for lunch. Dinner service was pretty good. With the exception of one night, we had all courses completed by 9:45. Main dining room food was excellent. The best appetizer of the week was the Thai chicken tenders.
The best entertainment on the ship was in the comedy club. Jeff the Fun Dude does a great job at running the comedy club and ensuring that as many people as possible get to see the shows. During our cruise we had 3 headliners (the 4th had a plane problem); however, because we lost the 4th, Jeff the Fun Dude did a headlining act on the last sea day. All of the comedians were excellent, and the comedy club was a highlight of the cruise.
Nassau: We walked to the Queen's staircase and Fort Fincastle. Those were pretty interesting, but the rest of Nassau was not. The straw market and the high end stores were open, but many of the shops that we walked by were closed on a Sunday. Most excursions revolved around going to Atlantis, but since it was a very short port day, we decided it wasn't worth the money.
St. Thomas: Did the Champagne Catamaran Sail-away. This was an amazing tour where you get to snorkel in Honeymoon Bay. The crew was very friendly and I would recommend this excursion to anyone. You might want to book online because it sells out quickly.
St Martin: This was the best day of the cruise. We started off by booking the America's Cup Regatta 8:30 sailing. This was a great activity. The tour company only has three people on the yacht and depends on the passengers to help sail the boat. The skipper asks everyone what their desired level of activity is (low, medium, or high) and assigns them a position on the boat. After you board and learn your positions, you complete a 5 leg match race versus a similar boat. After that excursion was completed, we took a taxi to Maho beach just in time to see all of the aircraft arrive. That is an amazing place and should be on everyone's list of places to see. Less
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