We sailed on the August 3 sailing of the Carnival Dream to the Western Caribbean. We parked at an off site parking at Port Canaveral and the process went smoothly. It was Park, Cruise and I would recommend them. They were cheap and efficient.
WE got to the port and entered quickly and had very little waiting in line to get on the ship.
I really don't know what has happened to Carnival. We (my partner and I) went on many of the Carnival ships in the early 2000's and loved them. Over the years we have seen a steady decline of service, food quality and lack of activities on the ship.
I read many, many of the reviews of this ship prior to sailing and was even a bit hesitant of taking the cruise, but we already had it booked and were traveling with my in-laws so we just decided to go for it.
I did not find the ship "beautiful" as some of the reviews said. I found it to be typical Carnival with lots of over the top glitz and mirrors. The dining rooms (The Crimson and Scarlett) were just about as ugly as they could get. Not the least bit elegant or welcoming.
The food was mostly hit and miss, mostly miss in the dining rooms. Some stuff was very good. And a lot was not. As bad as some of the food was in the dining room, it was even WORSE in the buffets on the Lido Deck. The food has just gone down the tubes all around. (WE sailed on the Paradise last year and found the food quality to be really bad then as well) I will say that our servers were just superb. WE had so much fun with them, and they worked very hard to make sure we had an enjoyable dining experience, regardless of the quality of the food. These people work their tails off and deserve every penny in tips they get...and more.
WE loved our balcony cabin. We spent a great deal of time on it and really enjoyed watching the ocean as we cut through the waves. Our cabin stewardess was just wonderful. In fact we found most of the staff we ran into to be quiet friendly and helpful regardless of some of the reviews we have read.
Now let's talk entertainment. I am IN the industry and feel I have a very good eye for good entertainment. The shows onboard the Dream were just dreadful. The choice of songs for each show was an epic failure. There were two singers both with decent voices if the girl would not have belted every note and the sound engineer would not have had the sound so high it was actually painful to listen to. Just a shame that a company that has presented some really good quality shows in the past has let this part of the cruise slide. Whatever company Carnival contracts with to provide their shows, needs a second look from the higher ups at the cruise line.
As for ship board activities. Again this is something they have dropped the ball on. Their used to be napkin folding classes, and ice sculpturing displays, and FREE tours of the kitchen and of the back stage of the theater just to name a few. Now all the cruise line wants u to do is play trivia, which really gets lame after about the 10th time. If one does not spend the day on the Lido deck or in the cabin, there is very little to do onboard.
The ports were the same as we have seen the 5 other times we have gone to them. One can only have so many Mexican trinkets.
The disembarkation was swift and easy. Carnival has managed to make getting on and off the ship seamless and easy.
Overall the cruise was a bit of a disappointment. We just felt that Carnival doesn't try as hard any more and the experience for the guest is not as important. This will probably be our last cruise on Carnival Cruise Lines. We will spend the extra money and go on a line that gives much more quality.