Carnival Dream Cruise Review by kitkatclock: Not Impressed
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The ship itself was beautiful. The decor was unusual but not unattractive. I think it was supposed to be strange as in "Dream." They didn't quite drive the point home, instead leaving us scratching our heads and wondering why there was artwork of polar bears dancing in a ballroom, or mice riding flying books, or sea turtles throwing a beach ball. Our balcony room was very comfortable, although the bed was not a king as stated. Although the ship was considered "full," it didn't seem so at all. There were plenty of deck chairs available, and many niches where one could find peace and quiet or have some privacy for a conversation or to read a book, etc. That's all the good I have to say about our time spent on the ship.
There is no "fun" on this "fun ship." The "Fun Times" were full of things like Spa tour, Guess the price of the painting, Free footprint analysis, Medispa physician consultations, How to look 10 years younger, and one type of Trivia after another. Their attempts More at throwing deck parties or dance parties were cheesy and didn't last long (perhaps an hour). They simply made no attempts at getting people mingling. Even the layout of the ship didn't encourage people to gravitate to "common areas" where they might make friends or get caught up in the "fun." I personally don't find the huge tv on the Lido deck over the pool to be "fun," either. What's fun about laying on a lounge chair and watching sitcom reruns day after day?
The food was downright disgusting except for the pizza, the Taste Bar, and Chef's Table. We didn't eat in the dining room, so I can't comment on that. The Tandoor Station had very dry Indian food that all tasted pretty much the same (same flavor profile). The chicken was dry and there wasn't much variety. The Grill had huge hot dogs that were WAY too big for their buns, and burgers that were over-cooked (gray center). The Deli didn't offer much variety and the ham and turkey were very sweet, which is off-putting, and they only offered American cheese. The pizza was good, but was not available 24-hours as promised. I tried to get pizza at noon one day, the whole station was broken down and covered up and no one was there. Another day I tried around 5pm, same thing. Other times, there were people there, but it didn't matter what you asked for, there was a wait and you had to come back later to get it.
They performed "routine balcony maintenance" one of the days we were at sea starting at 9am, so we were told to "ensure your window curtains are closed." Another day they had to repair the main water line, so no hot water was available from 10am until 130-2pm. Elevators were out of order, restrooms in public areas randomly had "out of order" signs on the doors, and that smell everyone talks about was definitely present.
The majority of the staff was friendly and pleasant, but there were a few who made no eye contact, didn't speak, didn't smile, and didn't reply while clearing your plate or walking by, even when we greeted them. Twice while waiting in line to get orange juice, which was supposed to be available for another 10-15 minutes, a crew member would sidestep in front of me, open the machine, and remove the juice and replace it with lemonade without speaking. Twice! At Guest Services we had a crew member get sarcastic as soon as we asked a question.
This was our first, and probably our last Carnival cruise. Less
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The room was spacious and appeared clean at first. Within a few minutes, I began to suspect it hadn't been vacuumed because I found things like those plastic barbs that attach price tags to clothing on the floor, a part of a candy wrapper, etc on the floor. There was hair on the floor in the bathroom. (Though later on day one, and throughout the rest of the cruise, they kept our room immaculate.) The pillows are very soft, which is great for me as I have a bad neck, but the two decorative pillows propped on the bed were old, flat, and disgusting. I took them off the bed and put them on the couch, but the steward put them back on the bed on his next visit... so I hid them from him for the rest of the cruise. The first closet didn't have much room in it because it had the life vests and two big robes. The second closet is where we had to hang all of our clothes because the third closet, the shelves wouldn't fold back up so we could hang more clothes. The tv is very small. The balcony was nice because it made the room feel very spacious having all that natural light, but it wasn't really practical to sit out there. The smell of people smoking cigarettes and cigars, which they allow on balconies, was very strong and continued non-stop. The big gaps around the doors on each side separating our balcony from our neighbors' made it feel more public than private. The noise from everyone scraping their chairs around was also non-stop. The views were nice enough, though we were on the starboard side, which meant that in port we were facing the ocean instead of the port. We were fine with that, but others might prefer to face the ports.
Port and Shore Excursions
As our tender boat approached the docking area, there was so much garbage floating in the water that everyone began remarking about it and taking pictures. It was truly disgusting. The port is very small and surrounded with iron fencing, which doesn't feel safe. There are locals on the other side of the fences yelling for your attention and trying to get you to take one of their "excursions," although none seemed legitimate. One guy even yelled, "Hey, you in the red shirt. I'd like to give you AND your lady friend a NICE ride!" Everything is run down and dirty. We spent about 15 minutes there before hurrying back to the tender boat to go back to the ship. I don't think Carnival should include this port in its itinerary.
This port was crowded and cramped with multiples of the same souvenirs over and over. People seemed to be enjoying the man-made beach in the middle of everything, though we didn't participate. We didn't spend much time at this port, either. Since we aren't into buying jewelry and the items for sale were way too cheesy/touristy, this wasn't a great port for us.
This port was heavy with cheesy souvenirs that are exactly the same as what you can buy in Cape Canaveral/Cocoa Beach. Also, as with all of the other ports, there were too many jewelry stores, and the people inside them and standing outside them are extremely pushy.
We made a purchase at a little place right on the water so that we could have the free wi-fi while we were in port... but the guy wasn't pleasant to deal with. He seemed broody, so we didn't stay. Instead we walked a few more steps over to Pancho's Backyard. I can't say enough good things about this restaurant. They were very inviting and friendly, gave us a table right on the water facing our ship, and were very attentive. The food was delicious and very fresh. The live music was lovely. When I went inside to use their facilities, I found the entire place to be very clean and inviting. I would have liked to have stayed long enough to go back for dinner! In my opinion, Pancho's Backyard is the best thing going at this port. So glad we went!