I just read a glowing review of another passenger on the Dream for the same date I was there - but - I wasn't near as impressed as they were. Matter of fact, I probably won't sail Carnival again.
Embarkation - was relatively painless, and we were off to a great start. We arrived at the port around 11, and we were on the ship by 11:45, and our rooms were ready around 1:30, however, our luggage didn't appear til about 5:30. We ate lunch at the Mongolian Wok station, and the wait was about 45 minutes, and with only 3 sauces available, none of which I cared for, so I had reduced sodium soy sauce instead, but by the time he used 1/2 of the bottle, it was way too salty and no longer reduced sodium! So I just had some fruit and drank a lemonade, as the tea is horrendous on the ship. We took the spa tour, but found that all of the treatments and the spa membership were way out of our budget, so we could not participate in any of the spa activities. We had early dining in the Scarlett Dining Room, and it was terribly slow. We never got out until 8 each night. The dining room was almost empty each night before we ever got out? The food was okay at best - Formal night 1 was best (Lobster), but, Formal night 2 (Chateaubriand) was horrible. I sent back 3 meals that night. Ended up going up to the lido deck and eating pizza in my lace dress!! The servers in the dining room at dinner were very nice, they did remember our names, and tried to do a good job, but I'm guessing the kitchen was backed up which was why everything was so slow? We did complain to the Maitre D on the 4th day, but, it really didn't help honestly. We did tip our server's extra on the last night, as we were happy with their service, and did not feel it was their fault that the food came out so slow. Breakfast however, in the Crimson Dining Room was even slower. I waited 45 minutes one morning for a bowl of oatmeal? Yes, 45 minutes. Every morning the breakfast service was slow. And the servers at breakfast didn't have much personality either. We ate the buffet for breakfast 1 day - tried to eat it a 2nd day when we slept in, as the "fun times" indicated that there was a breakfast buffet from 10:30 - 12:00 for "Late Risers", however, the buffets all close at 10:30. So don't sleep late!! At lunch we stuck to the deli at the back of the ship, the pizza line by the pool, and the pasta bar upstairs in the buffet. All of these were good. I only had two drinks on the ship - a Pina Colada that tasted like plastic, and a Mango Daiquiri, that was entirely too sweet to finish. At least I saved money on alcohol. The shows went from one extreme to the other. The first night, the show was good. But one night, the show had a country theme, and we walked out. It was horrible. The male singer for the "Dream Singers & Dancers" is terrible. The female singer, Joanne was really good. But the guy...ugh! The Break Dancing group is really good. The comedians are really good, but, be prepared to stand up, because the line backs up to the casino, and you can't get in there in time to get a seat. The need to put the comedians in the large show room rather than the really small Burgundy Lounge. I mean the comedians are performing to "standing room only" crowds for 5 shows a night for 4 nights? Come on already! On the three Sea Days, I attempted to lay out by the pools. But you simply CAN NOT find a chair at all. People save them, and Carnival does not take up towels after 40 minutes like they claim that they do. I went out the first day at 9:30 and all the chairs were taken. I went out the second day at 9:00 am and all the chairs were taken. The third day, I did find one chair at 9:00, but it was so cold and windy, I could only sit out there about an hour before I had to go inside. But even with the bad weather, the chairs were all saved. None available. I would be willing to pay for a chair by the pool in the future. You could not get in a hot tub either. The were always full, with kids. No matter what time of day, there were always at least 4-6 kids in each hot tub. Always. Now our room steward, he made up for all of the bad things that happened each day. He always greeted us by name and with a smile, and we never wanted for anything, and we were happy to give him additional cash at the end of the trip for his efforts. Another employee that went above and beyond to help was a young lady who was in the band in the shows at night, she played bass, I didn't catch her name, but on embarkation day, she was a huge help in the Guest Services line, and had the best personality of anyone I encountered on the ship! But as a whole, I feel like the ship is understaffed - and the staff that is there is overworked, and they aren't very friendly or very happy compared to employees on the Norwegian Cruise Line, who all appear to genuinely love their job, and their happiness is contagious! Debarkation was a complete nightmare. Not so much on the ship, but once we got off, they wouldn't let us get our luggage? Why would they let our zone off the ship, if they weren't going to let us get our luggage for another 45 minutes? Then, if you are in a regular line, and not in the Porter line or the Handicapped line, be prepared to wait, because the Porters and the Handicapped get to go thru Customs first, so if their line has somebody ready to go thru, the common folk have to wait. and wait. and wait some more. I have been on three other Carnival cruises, and had a great time on each of them. I had 2 20 year olds in my party that have only been on 2 other cruises before that noted that this cruise's service level was way lower than the other two they had been on. But I did have 4 in the group who had never cruised, and were just happy to be there. I don't feel like I am normally a "complainer", but, this time, I just wasn't happy. I had planned and looked forward to this trip for 8 months, and was just really disappointed.