I am an experienced cruiser, cruising well over 40 different cruises. I have cruised on three separate cruise lines including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Disney. The cruise on the "Dream" was the most disappointing of any. The ship was clean and visually appealing, however, after a short time you realize the ship's public areas are too small to handle all the passengers. I have cruised on ships as small as the "Flavia" and as large as the "Allure of the Seas" and never felt as crowded as being on the "Dream". The pool area is woefully small and finding a spot around the pool is almost impossible unless you are up at daylight. Seats in the theater and the show venues fill up very fast and to be assured a seat you must be in the venue a minimum of 30 to 45 minutes before the show.
One of the biggest disappointments was the food and the food service. I rate the food quality and selection as below average to poor. The "Gathering", better known as the buffet was chaotic. Although the buffet had different stations for different types of food, the quality and service was horrible. Each station would have enormous lines waiting for food, most taking over 45 to 60 minutes to recieve your food. It seemed as if the cruise line has decided to purposely slow food service in order to curtail food cost. If it takes over an hour to receive food at the "Pasta Bar", people will probably not go back for seconds, especially since the stations were open for only 2 hours. Dining room service was no better. Dinner would take forever and the staff seemed very unorganized, messing up orders, never refilling drinks, or checking to see if everything was alright. By the end of the cruise you started seeing vacant tables in the dining room because of the poor service and food quality.
There were a few positives: The "Punchliner Comedy Club" was entertaining. The juggler/comic was also entertaining. Port Canaveral is the best port in Florida to cruise out of.
I am puzzled if Carnival has not figured out how to operate a ship this large with all the passengers or if its actions are calculated to help contain cost. Either way I will not cruise on this ship again. Carnival could learn a few things from Disney and Royal Caribbean on customer service and how to operate a large ship with lots of passengers. Try the "Allure of the Seas", or the "Disney Magic", avoid the "Dream".