We booked the Carnival Dream after watching a few of the ads on YouTube. It was inexpensive, looked nice and we said "why not". Many people comment they would not go on a Carnival Cruise but since we were going on a Disney Cruise the week after at the same port, we decided to make it a back-back vacation.
The ship was clean, our stateroom on the Lido deck, had one of the best locations on the ship... close to everything, quiet, large and clean and stocked with a lot of toiletries including complimentary bathrobes for the duration of the cruise.
The food choices, selections were excellent and were always hot and delicious! The cruise staff had a lot of Canadians working for them and they were both friendly and informative. We tried to find reasons to not like the ship, but honestly, only a couple of areas were a little disappointing but you have that on every cruise line. This was our 21st cruise in the last 10 years so I think it's fair to say, we are seasoned cruisers. No ship is excellent in every area, whether it be the Allure of the Sea (last year's cruise)or even Disney.
The only thing that was not to our liking was the fact that there was no pool designated for adults only (or children only, as some passengers complained). The pool located midship was salt-water, a little cold and crowded. The pool at the back of the boat was also salt-water, warmer but not as crowded. We had no problem getting chairs at either location. I prefer fresh-water pools, so I did not spend much time swimming.
The entertainment was plenty, and it definetly was a fun ship experience. The Fun Shops had reasonably priced items on sale each evening, a good selection and the clerks were very helpful and informative.
The staff and crew were friendly when you addressed them first but they never went out of their way to greet you first (like they do on Disney or Royal Caribbean). I thought their uniforms were a little too relaxed and informal(T-shirts with Carnival slogans and baseball hats with their logo).
We purchased a coke card for me at the beginning of the cruise and I was disappointed in the refill service at most of their outdoor locations, with the exception of the theatre. I had to actually go to a bar to get a coke myself if I was eating in the Gatherings, as the bar servers who walked around, did not come back with a drink for me.
These are minor issues and certainly would not deter me from booking a Carnival Cruise again, if the price were right. I feel Carnival has gotten a bad wrap in the past but honestly, we had a great, safe, fun time.
Judge for yourself and don't be afraid of negative comments, on any ship.