I was not pleased with this cruise at all. Even the Carnival passenger terminal is a horror. Unlike the other terminals where you are let off near the entrance, you have to be let out in a parking lot and then carry your luggage through a tunnel and cross a road before you even enter the building. Then the fun begins as you need to do a lot, and I mean A LOT of walking until you are checked in and then board the ship. In comparison, the Royal Caribbean terminal is like rolling out of your vehicle onto the ship!
I had a category 4G inside cabin on Vista Deck (9). My 1A inside on Splendor was a lot more spacious and had a better layout. It only had 1 twin bed instead of 2 but the extra room I gained by not having it was a bonus. Plus that cabin had a better design for the closets. I had hardly any room in my 4G. Not even room for a chair (just a stool underneath the vanity/desk). My last few Royal Caribbean cruises offered up a better layout for an inside.
The dining service and food were awful. More often than not the food arrived cold. Service in the dining room was poor too (it took 45 minutes to get my brunch order right one morning) but I suspect that has to do with overworking the staff. They don't even bother to introduce themselves and there doesn't seem to be time for a friendly word here and there. When the food arrived cold I'd wait 5-10 minutes before the waiter would re-appear and then another 5-10 minutes to get the replacement. The line for My Time dining was ridiculously long. I immediately requested a change to traditional so I knew that I wouldn't be waiting 40 minutes when I arrive to the dining room to be seated. Good thing too as the following evening a line already formed at 5:10 pm when the MyTime dining room doesn't open until 5:45 pm. It seemed more like Boot Camp with the line-ups for grub than a relaxing cruise.
The dining room layouts are ridiculously cramped. The 2nd level of the aft dining room has booths on either side of the aisle and then a series of two-tops running down the middle. The waiters must navigate with trays of food in between and seated at a two-top gets very annoying as this goes on constantly.
Another crowded area is the Promenade where photographers set up backdrops in what should be seating for the guests. To make matters worse, the photographers then block the aisle. But this is all in the name of revenue for Carnival so they most likely prefer this inconvenience to the passengers.
The ship was supposed to be an improvement on the design of the Splendor but it seemed a lot more crowded than the Splendor. There is one less swimming pool than on their Conquest class ships. I'm talking about the one outside the Spa (or perhaps it's one deck below the Spa). Plus, what is an adults only pool in the aft of the Splendor is not on the Dream so you have to deal with kids constantly jumping in as the staff ignores the pool altogether. No Smoking signage does not exist. Apparently Carnival feels placing the no smoking policy in the daily bulletin is enough despite the fact that I'm betting most people don't bother to read it and those who do will probably not commit it to memory or even figure out what is meant by port and starboard side. How hard is it for them to post a "No Smoking" symbol?
Since it does not generate revenue Carnival most likely doesn't care.
My cabin steward was amazing and he's one of the only crew members who exceeded my expectations.
If you're looking for peace and quiet on this ship, rots of ruck! There is the Serenity area but it is adjacent to the midship pool area with its giant video screen which is constantly blasting music. On the day the aft pool was closed down for repair I had not choice but to swim in this area. Good thing I had silicone ear plugs with me so I was able to turn the music down in my head, at least.
On a port day when everyone was off the ship I tried the stir fry and found it very disappointing. No flavor at all. Most days I went to Pasta Bella for lunch. It wasn't crowded until the final sea day. I also found out I could get a Caesar salad with garlic shrimp added. You can do likewise with grilled chicken. But whoever heard of baked lasagna without ricotta cheese?
The live music I heard on the ship was okay but nothing to go wild about. I didn't bother with the shows or the comedy club since I was on the Splendor in December and felt I had my fill of that. I would have to say that Shannon who hosts some of the shows and sings is a lovely young lady and extremely personable. Didn't feel the same way about the cruise director.
In conclusion, if you like waiting in lines, crowds of noisy people and mediocre food served cold then this is the ship for you. As for me, this was my first and last time on this tub. Even with the great deals Carnival is giving single passengers this day, it's not worth the money if you're not going to have a good time.