Our group of 14 people aged 3 to 69 of grandparents, parents, and kids were on the January 4, 2014 sailing of the Carnival Dream. Our family of four have been on many cruises, including two transatlantics, but the rest of the group were new to cruising. We have sailed mainly on Royal Caribbean and Celebrity but chose Carnival to keep the cost low. Unfortunately, we got what we paid for.
The layout of the Dream is not intuitive, and it took most of the group the entire week to figure out how to get anywhere. You have to go up, then across, then down again to get across the ship on decks three and four, and deck five forces you to cross the smoky casino. We missed the grand boulevard of many other ships, a central 'street' that serves as the heart of the ship. The Dream simply has lots of long, dark corridors, and the ceilings are low, giving a very claustrophobic feeling. The weather was horrible on this cruise so having to stay indoors in the dark interiors did not help morale.
The food in the dining room was generally mediocre, as was the buffet. The Tandoori station was good though and never busy. The Mongolian station smelled great but there was an hour wait everyday so we never did get to try it. We dined in the steakhouse one night and that was fabulous, the cowboy steak and cheesecake were exceptional.
The activities on board were okay, but lacked many physical events such as workouts and sports; it was mainly trivia and bingo everyday. The entertainment lacked variety as well, and even though the Fun Force were awesome, the nightly acts were mostly dull. The comedy club was good though, but because two comedians literally missed the boat, we got the same act all week.
Because of poor weather, we did not stop in Belize or Roatan, which was disappointing but not the ship's fault. We were offered a discount on a future sailing on Carnival, which we are willing to try again, but definitely not on the Dream.