My adult daughter and I took this cruise for some relaxing time together. Embarkation was a bit slower than I'm used to but ok. I think it took us almost an hour to get from curb to ship. Our cabin was ready about 1:30 and our luggage arrived quickly.
I've been on the Dream twice before and enjoyed both times. We had a balcony cabin on Deck 9 and it was great - no noise from above, cabin steward was great (except she didn't leave ice as often as I wished, even though I asked). All the staff was friendly, smiled and greeted us by name. The entertainment staff was energetic and fun, and we enjoyed a couple of the shows as well as Trivia. This trip we didn't play Bingo or use the Casino so I can't comment on those.
The problem with this cruise was with the Crimson dining room. We chose "Your Time Dining" so we could go to dinner when we wanted to, no deadline pressure. Of the 7 nights of dining, 6 nights had a line that went around the Atrium and our wait was more than 45 minutes. Only one night did we get seated within 5 minutes. Twice we were given a beeper to let us know when to come back. We tried going earlier in the evening and later but it didn't seem to make a difference. The weirdest thing was that when we finally were seated, about half the dining room was always empty. Two nights we had an "We're Sorry" plate of goodies in our cabin when we got back because of the wait. I think I'll go back to assigned seating next time. I believe the service is better also when you have the same waiter every night. Our service was sketchy at most.
I don't know what happened to the coffee on the first morning - I ordered a pot to be delivered by room service and it never came. So I went up to the Gathering and had to go to 4 different coffee stations to find a machine that worked. It was funny though, everyone walking around in a morning daze just trying to find a cup of coffee. It was fine the rest of the week so they must have fixed that problem.
As for the food, it wasn't as good as I remember it from my previous two cruises on the Dream. The first night I ordered some sort of beef and couldn't cut it with my knife so I sent it back and got fish, which was good. The second night I ordered lobster and it was so mushy I sent that back too. The second try was better. I'm pretty easy going about food and don't expect top quality on a cruise and I have never sent anything back before but this was really bad. All week I found the food to be much worse than before. Except for the chocolate melting cake! Yummm.
The Gathering is just a mess. I think Carnival should re-design this area with stations. The lines are ridiculous.
We didn't do anything exciting at the ports of call because we've been there before. We just shopped at the straw market in Nassau, went to Sunset Beach in St. Maarten and Sapphire Beach in St. Thomas. We didn't do a ship excursion, just took cabs.
Debarkation was pretty easy but one thing they need is more direction for the lines waiting to debark. There was a line waiting for the Customer Service Desk mixed in with the line to debark so some people stood in the wrong line for 30 minutes before finding out they needed to be in the other line. There was no staff providing guidance.
Overall, the Dream is a beautiful ship and I'd go on it again. Hopefully they'll tweak something in the kitchen to improve the quality of the food and do something about the traffic flow up in The Gathering. Great cruise!