Embarkation - got to the pier at around 10:30 and was on the ship by 11:15ish and in our cabin - 10286 on the Lido deck by 12:30. Although were had VIP status, the process seemed to be smooth and effortless for all passengers. I didn't notice any long lines or disgruntled passengers. One thing was a little different on this sailing... they actually took 2 pix in addition to the customary embarkation picture. Not really sure why but my guess is it had something to do with the fact that we were all greeted by name in the MDR. It was so weird initially and we were trying to figure out how the waiters knew exactly who was who when asking to take our food orders. It definitely added a really nice personal touch...kudos to CCL for this one.
Staff - as usual the wait staff, casino staff, bar staff (go Nancy), and of course our cabin steward - Manual were all excellent.
Pools on Lido deck were always full so I never used them but did find the hot tubs on deck 5 to always be empty or with only a few folks in them so we enjoyed the hot tubs on a few days
We did check out the Spa deck but never used it. During our exploration of the ship we found most of the Spa features to be locked and allowed access to only those who paid for this priviledge. That was fine, as we weren't really interested in using the facilities although it would have been nice if it were open for a quick peek at least until we sailed.
Food - MDR was better than usual on this ship. The pasta bar really was excellent! Lanai Bar-B-Que was great...good food but bring your own drink from the Lido deck unless you want to buy a soft drink or cocktail. We were pleasantly surprised that the food in the MDR was tastier and hotter than any sailing we've experienced thus far. We did dinner 5 nights and lunch once in the MDR and really enjoyed the food moreso than ever before with the exception of the Steakhouse. It was good, but in the past I considered it great...like I wanted to do it more than once...not on the Dream. Just didn't think the Steakhouse on the Dream was worth the $35 plus tip. I am not a big dessert fan but if it's really rich, I will eat a little. That said...I didn't really enjoy the desserts on board at all.
A few comments from what I learned in the 'All Things Dream' thread on this board.
> The Farewell party on the last night in the Burgundy Lounge was discontinued 2 months ago according to the staff in the lonuge.
> Dancing In The Streets show was very good! The break dancers on board were energetic entertaining all week long throughout the ship. The line dancing on the Lido deck was great fun but the Mardi Gras "party" was just 15 - 20 minutes of bead throwing in the Atrium and that was it. Not sure why they called it a party...unless they took the 'party' somewhere else after the bead throwing.
> Comedy show....Mr. Wiley was really funny and the MC was great as was the cruise director. The only thing I didn't like was that the house was cleared after the first act and we were not allowed to stay for the second act. We had to actually leave and the line was so long to get into the next show that we would have never gotten in. On the other hand... there was no clearing the house after bingo to let folks in for the shows in the main theatre so the folks playing bingo took up all the seats and those coming for the show had very few seats to choose from.
> Water slides -first let me say that I am 52 years old and had the time of my life on all the roller coasters at Disney, pre cruise but the DRAIN PIPE on the Dream was as much fun as the Tower of Terror, Space Mountain, and the Rockin' Roller Coaster. It was the one 'ride' I didn't need to go on again. It is a 'must try' experience!!!! I went first in our party and I got to laugh hysterically at everyone's reaction as they whipped through the drain.
Cozumel - Paradise Beach - Pool was lovely but the beach was borderline murky so we stayed in the pool for the most part. It was $2 to get in and ask you as soon as you walk in, before you even see the beach, if you want to pay another $12 to use the water toys. Thank goodness my husband suggested we let them know later if we want to use the water toys because that water was not enticing at all so it would have been a complete waste if we had paid the $12 up front. One issue that would make me choose another beach the next time we go to Cozumel - they charged us a 25% tip for a party of 5 without even itemizing it on the bill. I just checked the total and it just wasn't adding up so i asked and was told the extra charges was the tip! I don't like that it was kinda underhanded, and sneaky and with all the beaches on Coz, I will definitely not go back to Paradise beach. Further, the food was not warm and rather dry. We typically go to Mr. Sanchos on Coz but wanted to try something new. I heard from another passenger that the beach at Mr. Sanchos was closed??? Not sure what that was about but I certainly will not do Paradise Beach again.
Isla Roatan - my favorite port in this itinerary - We decided to go to the Mayan Princess Resort and it was beautiful. The pool was lovely, beach was very nice and the drinks were tasty. We avoided the food this time but had a great time here for a $10 cover charge.
We decided to just take a taxi to the resort and negotiated a price of $100 for 7 of us - round trip. What was great was that we were assigned a guide (LAURA, daughter named Julia) and she was fabulous. We ended up tipping her well for her excellent service and she hung out with us all day as part of her job as a guide! I apologize that I didn't get more info...such as the name of the zip lining place that was $45 for 45 minutes (18 lines). We negotiated 10 lines for $25 per person and it was a nice time for the 17 year olds but it was a bit much for me and my DF's husband. We had to make a nice little hike even after the truck ride up to line 9 and the fun of zipping was more on the uneventful side for me, after the first 3 lines. I can cross this off my bucket list.
Belize - We just hung out at the flea market area for a short time and then tendered back to the Dream for an afternoon of fun on the ship. Maybe we're missing something but we never liked stopping in Belize.
Costa Maya - We stayed at the pool area and ordered some pricey but good drinks from Sr. Frogs. It was a fun time and we danced in the pool and enjoyed the party atmosphere.
All in all this was an excellent cruise! I never felt any more crowded than on any of my previous cruises. I will say that I personally would not have liked a balcony on decks 6, 7, or even 8. They just seemed too close to deck 5's Lanai where the deck sticks out beyond the balcony railing and you are not truly over looking the water. I also heard someone talking about the strong wind forces in the cove balconies when the cabin door and balcony doors were opened at the same time. I have experienced the 'wind tunnel' on a regular balcony but someone talked about how it was down right scary in a cove balcony.