My DH and I took this cruise as our honeymoon, and my sister, Bro-n-law, and 15 yr old niece also went. We arrived in Port Canaveral two days prior, to start our vaca early and to meet some great people we met on our rollcall and FB, staying at the Radisson. The hotel was extremely crowded, and I was really not impressed with the accomadation with the price we paid. I will say the shuttle service was great though.
The day prior we recieved notice that embarkation was delayed until 3pm due to and emergency stop and late arrival of the ship, emergencies happen, while we were dissappointed, it was understood. We still ended up at the port at 12 for lack of anything else to do. We had purchased F2F and quickly processed in, but had to wait for passengers to disembark. We were the first group on once boarding started at around 2, went straight to our rooms and our luggage was there. Dropped off carryons, and hit the food area and explored the ship. As with other reviews I was not impressed with the layout.
A real negative was while we were able to get to the port and on board earlier, Many people we spoke with later were not able to get their shuttles until after 3, which they reached the peak arrival time. (Due to the late embarkation, the ship was not set to sail until 6pm) There were ALOT of people we noticed in line for food as soon as they arrived on board, but were made to leave the lines to attend the mandantory muster, only to return after muster to find the buffets had closed and had missed early dining seating. We thought that was just wrong of Carnival and the ship management.
The ship was extremely crowded for the size and you had to constantly wait in line for any and everything (food, drinks, elevators, store purchases).
We chose anytime dining, and usually love it, and have never had to wait. Not true on the Dream. The cruise elegeant/formal night was absolutely ridiculous! We waited for and hour in line to get a pager, which we then had to wait another 45 minutes. My Brother inlaw suffers from major back issues and had a hard time finding anywhere to sit and wait due to the huge crowd. While we arrived and got in line at 7, we did not get seated and get our food until 10pm we were all truely miserable about this. (They did somehow know it was our honeymoon, and sang us a song and gave us a slice of cake. We were not expecting that.) The other nights were not so bad, with the longest wait maybe 25 minutes. This has never happened on any other ship we have been on. When we arrived back at our room we had chocolate strawberries, champagne, and a Dream medal waiting for us with a letter from our cruise director Jamie congratulating us on the wedding! That was really nice since neither of us were expecting that!
Cruise director Jamie, was great. Extremely energetic and always seemed to be happy and loving her job, as well as her assistant Gumbie. Who was funny and energetic also.
We had a meet and greet that was set up by one of our CC/FB friends that we met on our rollcall which we had around 45 people attend. Carnival provided us with a trivia game and SOS awards to the winners. It seemed everyone had a great time meeting new people and putting faces to the names that we talk to online for months prior.(I think the bartender and wait staff was glad to see us leave when it was over!)
Our room stewart was great and we had no problems she kept us in ice and clean towels, and was friendly and greeted us by name and a big smile.
Wait staff on the lido and else where, were friendly enough and pretty quick with our orders considering how crowded the ship was.
Our ports of call were Cozumel, Belize, Roatan, and Costa Maya. Getting on and off the ship was pretty easy at the ports for the most part. My brother inlaw had some issues due to his back he is unable to walk far without stopping and resting for a minute, but he carried a backpack chair and was able to sit for a few minutes when he needed to. Belize we had a tender, and apparently the Carnival staff was not very communicative with each other. I was told by three different employees at three different times at the excusion desk that even with the F2F, we had to be at the meeting place at 7am to catch the first tender. We arrived at 7:10, skipping breakfast, and ended up waiting over an hour and a half, and I then found out that with the F2F we did not have to wait there, but arrive just before the tenders started.
The Carnival staff was exceptional in one aspect, after leaving our last port of call, and with a full sea day ahead of us, we recieved and emergency call in which my mother had and accident, and was in ICU back home. They allowed us several curtesy calls back home to find out what was going on, and Jamie and Gumbie assisted us in being the first off the ship when we arrived back at Port Canaveral. We had also called the shuttle service at the Radisson and explained our situation, and they had a shuttle waiting for our party of 5 at the port. (mother is fine now)
All being said we had a great cruise and met some wonderful people. It was great to have a group of people that conversed prior to and since we have been back and it was always nice to see familiar people on board and on our different excursions. We all agreed that we have never had a group that chatted so much on the social websites, and made EVERYONE look so forward to the cruise!
I believe the time of year with school being out for summer added to the over crowded conditions of the ship. If it weren't for that I may have liked the Dream more. It didn't ruin my cruise or make me never to want to cruise on carnival again, I just think it would have been better if they had not crammed so many people into such a small area, or had a better lay out to accomidate the numbers.