We just sailed on the Carnival Dream on 15 Dec 2012 for a 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise. there were 6 of us in two cabins on the Lido deck, 10232 and 10234. We must say, we had a pretty incredible time on the Dream, she is a beautiful ship with plenty of things to do at all hours. My kids would spend the entire day in the pool and on the water slides. When they were not doing this, they would either go to camp carnival or do mini golf or the arcade. They always had something to do. The wife and I always had stuff to do as well. Often tho' things we wanted to do would clash...so we would have to miss out on one or the other...not a problem but always tough decisions to make.
Talking with a crew member, she stated that ship had 4500+ passengers, 900 which were kids...we were just shy of the coast guard max of 4600 for this ship. I never felt the ship to be crowded. I never waited in a food line for more than 10 minutes and always found a table for my family of 6. Dining room was excellent, food was warm to hot, which was fine with us. Serving crew were very cool and fun.
We never smelt the bad smell mentioned in some posts. Our rooms were extremely quiet at night, no problems there. We always found tables or seats at the comedy club or the shows...but we would arrive at a minimum a half hour early. It amazes me that people would show up 5 minutes before showtime and complain loudly they can't find a seat, a pretty unrealistic and ridiculous expectation if you ask me.
Faster to the Fun (FTTF): I have to say it was totally worth the $50. The fact we were able to board the boat at 1030am and go straight to our room and have our luggage waiting for us there was most awesome! The ability to use the priority line at guest services was most awesome as well. There were times the line wrapped around by the elevators and nobody in the priority line. Debarkation was cool as well, with FTTF we were zone 2, would have been zone 9 otherwise. We got off the ship right after the self assist passengers...almost no crowd when getting our luggage and going thru customs....very quick process and right to a waiting cab. We had early seating dining so didn't have to use FTTF for priority seating. There was no need to use for the steakhouse either as we received the reservation we asked for and it wasn't crowded. We did not tender at any port so no need to use it there either. I would most definately buy FTTF again if available on a future cruise.
We had absolutely zero issues on the Dream. We only watched one show, Dancing in the streets, and that was amazing. We played some Bingo for fun, we played in the Casino and had a blast. Went to two comedy shows and they were hilarious, they even flew in two new comedians when we were in St Martin's. So new shows and jokes for the last two sea days! We also got the couple's spa pass ($250) for the week and really enjoyed using the spa rooms. All in all a great time on a great ship!
As they say, a cruise is as good as you want to make it. I saw some lady go off and have a fit because they had set out Caribbean food in the buffet that day. She didn't like Caribbean food and was complaining loudly, stating how awful the service was..etc. All this because she didn't like this style of food. Nevermind the fact, she could've taken a pass on the buffet and eaten at the Wok, the Tandoori, the burger/hot dog grill, the pizza bar, the burrito bar, the Pasta Bar or the Deli during that time. Some people just want to sit there and complain apparently.
I would absolutely take my family on the dream again. If you are thinking about sailing on the Dream, I hope you do and I hope you have as much fun on her as me and my family did :)