Earlier this summer, we cruised on the Carnival Breeze. It seemed to us that the Breeze entertainment and cruise staff were focused on gutter humor and raunchiness. The guests lowered themselves to the level of the cruise staff and the Breeze turned into a huge floating trailer park. Worse yet, we were shocked and devastated to learn that some new cost-cutting scheme called Entertainment 2.0 had forced the show band musicians and dancers, the lounge band, and others to walk the plank.
After many years of Carnival loyalty, we almost took our business elsewhere in search of common decency and to flee from Entertainment 2.0. I am so glad I listened to my wife, who had sailed twice on the Dream. She wanted me to experience the Dream before we gave up on Carnival and I am so glad that I did. Now we might stay with Carnival, if we can just find another ship that still has the excellent entertainment we came to expect fleet-wide in the good old days. In fact, on the flight home from Florida, my wife convinced a regular Disney cruiser that his next cruise would be on the Carnival Dream.
The Dream is a dream! Just take a look around: it is obviously, absolutely beautiful! The captain and officers were very cool. The cruise staff and entertainers were friendly and professional. The dining room and housekeeping staff were attentive and cheerful, as always.
My wife has cruised many times and she is always most excited about the theater shows when she boards a ship. We were really scared it was going to be another Entertainment 2.0 letdown, like we had suffered through on the Breeze. WHAT AN AWESOME SURPRISE WAS IN STORE FOR US ON THE DREAM! Although I had never heard of "Dancin' in the Streets," this was my wife's third time seeing it and she says it gets better every time! The Cruise Director advertised this show as the best show on the high seas, and I agree it has to be one of the very best. It is certainly the most entertaining of Carnival's shows. There is so much to watch with multiple things going on simultaneously. Such attention to detail is a delight to experience. I also enjoyed the way the Cruise Director introduced the Show Band before each show, as if to say, "Yes, we still believe in live music." It really makes a difference. The canned music in the Breeze shows was so stale and lifeless, like a giant karaoke machine. But the entertainment was super on the Dream with real dancers and real musicians.
The best musician on the ship was the fiddle player Jimmy Hodge, who joined the show band to be featured on two songs at the climax of the show "8 More Seconds." He also performs nightly with his wife Melanie in the Blackjack band. Apparently this country rock band is another important reason the Dream has more repeat guests than any other ship in the Carnival fleet.
The two production singers Janae Longo and Jason Allen were terrific all week, but they shined the brightest in the show "Get Ready," in which they were forced to carry the show, along with the musicians and dancers. There were no acrobats or break dancers, but Janae and Jason were so good, some people called this their favorite show. At times, the two singers were both singing simultaneous strong lead vocals in harmony and it was magical.
There are not one, but two excellent duo groups on the Dream. Dana and Tony often perform in the Atrium where they provide a wide variety of quality music while managing to make eye contact with guests on three different decks!
Take Two was stuck way off in an out-of-the-way little bar called The Song, which was designed for some jazz group that Carnival axed years ago. It is an intimate setting, because few guests ever find it. Yet, Take Two succeeded in building a following through the week. We also enjoyed both of the soloists, Ron and Scott.
We only had time to see one of the comedians, Smiley Joe Wiley, but he made the whole cruise a lot of fun! We liked him so much, we went back to his show and the same lines were funny again, mixed in with fresh material.
We really appreciated the tastefulness exhibited by all the Dream staff, especially after enduring the opposite on the Breeze. For example, in the middle of the disco dance floor, a couple was basically having sex with their clothes on. We have all seen this before and it is not family entertainment. If I had kids on board, I would not want them standing outside the disco watching this. So the security guard politely interrupted the two and apparently advised them to get a room. I wanted to kiss him! Let the trailer court, frat party crowd take the three day cruises. Please leave the Dream in peace.
Finally, please indulge me for a few more seconds as I mention exceptional crew members. (Carnival only accepts reviews for 10 days -- missed it.) Scarlet Restaurant team headwaiter Dennis, team waitress Alina, bar waiter Sukiyatno: all three exceeded expectations with genuine concern for their customers.