My DH and I returned from our Dream cruise last Saturday from Port Canaveral. We are in our 60's, this was our third Carnival cruise also w/Legend & Glory, once with Holland and twice with Royal Caribbean.
We flew Airtran from Indianapolis on Wed. prior to the cruise for an extended stay in Cocoa Beach and rented a car from Budget. Thanks to a review from another cruise critic member who posted a promo code we were able to rent our car at a great savings. (Y937800).
We made our hotel reservation thru Priceline (no bidding) at a discounted rate at the Best Western Ocean Beach. It is an established complex and have been doing extensive remodeling. The front desk was extremely friendly and kind enough to let us check in early. She gave us a great upgrade from the courtyard room we originally booked to a two room suite with balcony with an ocean view. We were both thrilled. We had never been upgraded anywhere before. Everyone was very friendly including the breakfast room staff.
The continental breakfast was A+. In addition to the traditional offerings they included scrambled eggs, sausages, potatoes, plus mini quiche one day and (biscuits and gravy one morning. There was fresh baked and sliced HOME MADE banana bread that was delicious.
The grounds are maintained beautifully and they have 24 hr. security. There were two very nice heated pools and one ocean view building with a short path next to it that leads to the beach.
There are many restaurants nearby and a Publix across the street. We would stay here again.
I was really skeptical about booking this ship from many negative reviews it has gotten in the past. We were pleasantly surprised and very satisfied.
Port Canaveral is a great embarkation port. Carnivals new terminal is excellent with very fast service and pleasant employees. Checking in was fast and no waiting (11:00 am) The only improvement would be at the drive up luggage drop off which was slow and disorganized. We were driven to the port by a Budget van and had to wait at least 20 min. to get out and unload our suitcases. Seemed like they were only doing one vehicle at a time while there were many areas to unload. Take an umbrella as the short walk to the terminal is in the open and you will get wet if its raining.
Sat. we returned our car to Budget and were driven to the port around 11:00 am.
Check in was fast and easy and not crowded at all. We were able to walk right on to the ship. BEAUTIFUL! It was bright and cheerful not dark like their other ships. The ship is big but it's mainly in the width which make everything more accessible.
We were eating lunch at the Gathering by 11:30. Since our cabin was on deck 11 we found some loungers and waited until our room was ready. (1:30)
The cabin was on the starboard side down from the forward elevators, panorama deck and most convenient. The cabin was typical of Carnival, spacious and very clean. The refrigerator was not cold only cool. The AC worked perfectly and were able to adjust it for our comfort. The bed was a bit too firm (and I like firm beds), the balcony was also typical of Carnival with two chairs and a small table. We never saw our cabin steward (once) "Noel" but he was excellent.
Muster drill for our location was held in the Encore theater. We did sail away on an outside deck forward on deck 7. It was pretty windy but with only a few other people. Our luggage had been delivered so unpacked.
Before dinner we visited the Taste Bar. Not impressed! We had about 1 tablespoon of some kind of pulled pork, (ate with our fingers) and a TINY offering of soup. Tasted ok but a waste of time. Never went back again.
We ate in the Crimson DR (My Time Dining) about 6:30pm and shared the table with very nice people. Were seated immediately. Our waiter Joseph was friendly, efficient and quick which is sometimes a problem the first night. My food review will come later.
Sunday was beautiful and warm with light seas. Had breakfast in the Gathering as we were too early for the brunch and the Scarlet DR was not open.
Visited the Fun Shops and purchased two t-shirts and a watch.
Lunch was at the BBQ on deck 5. An outside BBQ. It was busy with a long line. We sat in loungers, ate and enjoyed the beautiful view. We then walked up to the serenity area but it was crowded and the only seating available had no view. Returned to deck 5 as it was peaceful and you could nap or read.
Tonight was elegant night. Had a table for 8, no waiting. Most people were dressed at least in the Sunday best.
8:30pm at the Encore theater: The theme was Get Ready. I thought the two lead singers were fantastic and the dancers were very professional . Very energetic! It lasted a full hour.
Mon. was mostly sunny. Breakfast in the Crimson DR. Food was good and service excellent.
Cozumel: Trolley transportation was available for the long pier. We grabbed a cab ($16) and stayed at Mr. Sanchos all inclusive resort. $45@ online with shaded seating and table oceanfront and great service with food (coconut shrimp our favorite) a full menu and a buffet set up in our area. The drinks were delicious. The pool water was chilly.
On our return to the ship we were too full to eat in the dining room and frankly the menu wasn't interesting. WE went up to the Gathering for a sandwich and to check out the buffet. The food was ok but not a big selection.
It was raining in Belize. We had been there before but unless you do snorkeling or tours to the ruins there is little to do there except the typical shopping; No beaches without a tour.
so we relaxed on the ship. Had breakfast in the DR and lunch on the LIdo. (Great chocolate chip cookies.)
Had dinner in the Crimson DR at a table for 6, great people, no waiting and again great service.
8:30pm Encore Theater, Dancing in the streets, another very enjoyable show, very well done. Why can't the other Carnival ships be this good?
Mon. was Roatan, Mahogany Bay. Had breakfast near the aft pool. Same food, no crowds. We had gone to the beach here last year and really liked it but wanted something different this time. So we walked to the left in the shopping area to the information/taxi area and got a taxi $2@ to take us up the hill to meet with our Victor Bodden tour. We boarded an AC bus with about 12 people for a tour of the island, a stop at a private beach ($10@) (4 lobster taco's $6 , punch $5, coke $3). Our bus then drove thru Coxen Hole and back to the ships dock. Our tour guide was named Annie and is a native. She was outstanding! We also had a very careful bus driver. This was much appreciated. If you have ever been driven on some these ports of call you know how scary it can be. The tour lasted 4 hrs and only cost $25@ plus tips.
Had dinner in the Crimson DR . We asked to share and they put us in a booth for 4 but no one else came to sit with us. Food good, good service. There was no entertainment in the theater tonight. Enjoyed some music on deck 3.
Thur. was a short day in Costa Maya. We had taken a bus into town on our lst trip and enjoyed bargaining with the locals and relaxing on the beach with a margarita. Since time was short we just stayed at the port and watched people swim with the dolphins, shopped a little (purchased some vanilla) and sat in the sun. We were able to ride the trolley back and forth from the ship which was a blessing as hubbies knees were bothering him.
The Crimson DR was open for lunch (surprise because normally they are closed on port days). Then we relaxed on deck 5 for the afternoon.
Dinner in the Crimson again, no waiting, shared a table, great service and food. No complaints!
The Encore Theater had a Country Western musical show. I don't really like this kind of music but the singing. and dancing were wonderful.
Fri.: last day at sea. Our Cruise Director Steve hosted a question and answer gathering at 11am. that was very interesting for almost 1 1/2 hrs in the main lobby area.
Lunch at the Gathering with the Chocolate Extravaganza was pretty busy.
Toured the Fun shops one last time, went back to our cabin to pack, napped, read on our balcony.
The Crimson dining room was the busiest night of the week, but still no waiting (7pm) Service was a little slow tonight but we were seated with a wonderful couple and didn't really mind waiting. Food again was very good.
Sat. Breakfast on the Lido deck with fewer options than during the week. We waited for our zone #10 to be called in the Encore theater, about a 1 hour wait.. Walked off the ship by 9:30. Luggage area was well marked and customs was a breeze. There is a little bit of a walk to the bus transportation pick up and had to wait about 1/2 hr for our Budget van as they were servicing another ship also. We picked up our return car to Orland MCO, printed off our boarding pass and headed out, trip is less than an hour. Our plane left at 1:30 pm and after we went thru customs had only an hour wait until we boarded.
SUMMERY: The ship is beautiful. service was excellent, we encountered no sewer smell anywhere, the ship didn't rock any more than other ships but you could feel the stabilizers kick in if you paid attention, we had light seas. The pool areas always had loungers available, no chair hogs. The center pool was noisy. The seaside there was a disappointment during the day and in the evening they played a football game first starting a 8 or 8:30 with a movie following, too late for us.
Food....For breakfast there were four buffet areas to choose from, the main buffet, one near the front pool and one near the rear pool. I wasn't impressed with dinner in the Gathering but only did it once. The dining room servers were older and more experienced and service was good. Shrimp was abundant on the menu but several times it was the same shrimp with just a different presentation.
We enjoyed breakfast both in the Dr and on the Lido. It wasn't gourmet but there were lots of choices.
Lunch at the buffet was varied and pretty good, the grill with with hamburgers with grilled mushrooms and onions, cheese, etc., 1/4# hot dogs were very good,
the deli had delicious reuben and ham and cheese sandwiches. The Mongolian grill had a bit of a line and was good except the BBQ wasn't as flavorful as I had hoped. But all in all food was good. The club sandwich in the dining room was one of our favorites.
Dining room dinner: appetizers...salmon was raw, not to my liking, chicken tenders good, chicken noodle soup and potato was not so good, broccoli soup was ok, stuffed mushroom, I liked...DH didn't. (he's picky). Tai chicken very good,crab cake good, spinach salad very good, Greek farmers salad.
Main dishes = same shrimp offered with different presentation. Good. Salmon excellent, fried chicken -dry and overcooked, meatloaf absolutely tasteless, tilapia very good, BBQ ris were very meaty, flavorful but a little tough. Sicilian chicken was tasty but very small thighs, sweet potato,squash & cheese and eggplant Parmesan both excellent. Chateaubriand (sp) excellent.
Desserts all very good, chocolate mint cake, ice cream, banana splits, fun ship special, cream brulee (my favorite), chocolate melting cake (another favorite), chocolate chip cookies (lido) delicious, bitter and blanc, amaretto cake (another favorite. (Can you tell I love chocolate?)
The lanai barbecue was fun eating on deck 5, Hamburgers, hot dogs, tacos, quesadillas, salad.
You could hear music, etc, from the atrium deck 3 all the way up to deck 11 from the open area even with our door shut some evenings.. I could also hear some noise from the pool area only from our balcony near the forward elevators on deck 1l.
I would go on this ship or one of her sisters again.