My DH and I started cruising in 1999 - he did not want to go and bought a laptop computer to do lesson plans - needless to say he did not do lesson plans and three months later we took 3 of our grown kids and spouses on a Christmas cruise. We enjoy the time together and on one cruise renewed our wedding vows. Cruises are totally relaxing and we even did a cameo appearance on Carnival's VIFP video.
We live in Augusta, Georgia and the trip to Port Canaveral is about 7 hours long. We usually stop in St. Augustine for a short break (me shopping and my husband eats and takes a nap) and continue on our journey to Port Canaveral. We stay at the Radisson in Port Canaveral (cruise and park). They have a Tiki Bar and we usually eat at Fish Lips, on the pier (you can see the ships) and reasonable priced. In the morning we get ready for our cruise - it is a short drive to the boat and the hotel has a free shuttle service. We sign up for the first shuttle and arrive about 10:45. We are Diamond so we have no problems getting to the VIP room and shortly after we check in we are allowed to go on the boat after the wedding party. I do wish they would board us after the handicap but we follow directions. Port Canaveral has their "ducks in a row" - other ports could learn from them.
The Dream holds 4500 passengers and about 3000 crew members. A large ship but easy to get around. Elevators are crowed at certain times (after a show, embarkation and luggage) but we learn to adjust. Sometimes it is better to get on one that is going down and then go up. You learn the tricks. One ding means up - two dings means down. Serenity deck is awesome - it gets crowded but we do not hear loud music or kids. Nice area to nap, read a book or talk. The Steakhouse was great - don't eat lunch - the cheesecake was 3.5" tall and melted in your mouth. The food was just great. The MDR food was OK - but we did not go hungry. We have seen a decline in the quality of food since our first cruise - but the food is OK. The CD (Jamie) arranged for a cocktail party for the Diamond members with the Captain - that was great. A total of 17 Diamond members and we sat and talked to the chief staff members of the cruise. A great touch.
This ship went to Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Maarten. Nassau we got off and walked to the beach. We were there about two hours and left and went back to the boat and sat on Serenity deck. In St. Thomas we took a can to Saphaire Beach and enjoyed that area for about 4 hours. Did a little shopping and went back to the boat. In St. Maarten we went on an island tour - great tour - we went to the Igawana farm, Orient Beach, Maho (sp) Beach (airport beach) and back to the shopping area. Great tour - lasted 5 hours and was $40.00 per person. Found this tour on the internet.
Our stateroom was large - we were on Riveria Deck (2) and had a tub, 4 closets, window and for our first time a couch. Nice room - we thought we might not like a room that far down but we were surprised and satisfied.
Entertainment was so - so. We enjoyed the shows but the bands lack some entertainment. The CD and Assistant were great - she did an English version of the Captain's message when he did the morning message concerning speed, location and weather. It was great. The casino staff did an excellent job and were very professional.
Debarkation was quick and easy. We placed our luggage outside our stateroom the night before and was off the ship by 8:15 with no problems at all. Found our luggage and went through customs quickly. We were on the road by 9:00 am.
In summary our cruise was what a cruise was supposed to be - enjoyable, relaxing, entertaining and good food. We are cruising again in September, October, January and April.