Yes I know many of you will say leave the work at home. But my husband and I own a business that does consulting to small businesses and we have a staff of 10 people. We are on call 24/7 but we work hard and play hard. You will find us at trivia games, ping-pong, volleyball, mini-golf, the casino, the shows, the gym, the walking track, etc. but we also get 4-5 hours of work in a day.
Anyway, the Dream looked like a nice opportunity to rest for a week. We’ve been to all these ports so it was just a get-away.
Embarkation. With Carnival pushing the faster to the fun, we arrived about 1pm and felt like we were the “last to arrive”. We had rented a car from Hertz at MCO and returned it near the port. They took us to the boat. WE are Platinum but it didn’t matter at 1pm there were no lines.
We went to our room and then up to get some lunch and join our informal cruise critic meet and greet – one of the best among my last few cruises.
While this is currently Carnival’s biggest ship class, we had no problem with lines. It was similar to the Triumph Class in layout with just an extra floor (or two?). Our favorite place was deck 5 where you can walk around 2 ½ times per mile and on seadays there was an outdoor barbecue. The regular walking track was 7 laps to the mile (not bad) and the mini-golf was a fantastic 18 hole course!!! This is the first cruise (out of 12) that I remember them offering volleyball. I think my husband played twice.
This itinerary had two full and two half days at sea so there were lots of on-board activities. The entertainment staff was very good. While we’ve always seen the housekeeping staff learn our names, this trip we didn’t see them too much, but the wait staff addressed us by name at dinner time which was nice.
I believe the morning at St Martaan, there was a mini invasion of towel animals but it wasn’t as intense or complete as last summer on the Sunshine. On that ship they covered the Lido deck including swans in the water and monkeys hanging at the bars and the crew was done and out of site before 6am. Here they didn’t do near as many and they were still working on them at 630
The biggest problem we had AND FOR US THIS IS BIG was that they had the internet set so that pretty much you could just “surf the internet”. I know the connection is slow so to compensate I usually RDP into my server and do my work there so that if I get cut off I don’t lose anything. Well – they blocked RDP (remote desktop/also known as terminal services) and VPN (virtual private networking, used to make a secure connection back to my servers) and I think due to bandwidth I couldn’t use Logmein either. This crippled us in some things we wanted to do but luckily St Thomas has full AT&T cell service so we were able to use our “hot spot” with no extra charges that day. We found out that the ship changed internet companies and even the entertainment staff was frustrated.
The guy at the piano bar was pretty good and drew a crowd. If you take this ship just stand at the doorway to listen…… the comics seemed to draw less than on other ships, the casino was busy.. The shows are using the newer technology and were very well done. There was even some neon dancing like that on Americas Got Talent.
The perks of being platinum -- the “gift” was a nice beachbag. The chocolate strawberries had Italian macaroons and truffles as well (the macaroons were a little stale but ok) and we took advantage of two of the three bags of free laundry. The past guest reception was typical – we didn’t particularly like the a’dourves but that was our taste.
We had no problems getting off at the ports – we saw a colleague in Nassau, walked around and went to the synagogue in St Thomas and took a carnival excursion on St Marteen.
We did self assist debarkation after eating breakfast in the dining room (watch on seadays they do “brunch” not breakfast – slightly different menu). We had no problems but we waited about ½ hour for Hertz – we saw two vans go by on the road above us and we couldn’t reach them by phone, so we had not prepaid so we paid $78 to the Carnival rep by the airport buses. Of course then we saw two Hertz vans stop but the price was the same so it didn’t matter car or bus.