Summary: We had an amazing time on the Dream. Service was wonderful. Food was very good. Loved the Lanai deck and the extra hot tubs.
Port - Port Canaveral is the perfect cruise port. We drove in and arrived at the port about 10:30. We drove to the Pier 6, dropped our bags and parked. We had Faster to the Fun and we were through the check in process and on the ship just past 11:00. I don't know how it gets any better than that. Same for debarkation - We wanted to get on the road early and it couldn't have gone more smoothly. We used a porter for our luggage and that was very helpful. We were in our car leaving the port at 7:30.
Ship - We had sailed on the Freedom previously so many things about the ship were familiar. Our balcony room was very similar. We were on Deck 8, the Verandah deck. It was far enough above the Lanai that we didn't get a lot of noise from the hot tubs but I don't know that I would want to be closer. Our cabin steward was great. We had a little trouble getting to the Scarlet Dining Room for Breakfast and Crimson for dinner. DH joked that if I didn't learn how to find the dining room we'd 'starve to death'. Loved the Red Frog rum bar. Didn't try the Blue Iguana but it looked nice. We didn't find the elevators too busy except at peak times and that would be expected.
Food - We ate most of our meals in the dining room - enjoyed the Sea Day brunch and good breakfasts. Had omelets on the Lido deck - pretty good. We don't expect to like everything on the buffet but always find some things we enjoy. Our dining room dinners were wonderful. Good quality food, served hot and with excellent service. We didn't try the pasta place but did eat at the Steak House the first night and enjoyed our free bottle of wine. Amazing meal and spectacular service. I took a picture of the cheesecake because it was so huge. We had your time dining and even if there were lines (like on cruise elegant night) they moved very quickly.
Entertainment - we only went to part of one show and it was good. Went to 2 comedy shows, one family and one adult. I liked them but DH wasn't impressed. We just are late night people so I really can't comment too much. Did enjoy the live music around the ship. There's always something to do so you can do as much or as little as you like.
Travel dates - we sailed the week of President's Day. I was trying to save a day of vacation but we won't do that again. We expected a full sailing but we were not aware that so many states up north (and we later learned Georgia) have a winter break that week. We weren't inundated with children but we would just pick another week when we would be less likely to have 800 on board. This made for a very crowded Serenity area.
Itinerary - We loved the itinerary. Just a few comments. Getting off the ship in Cozumel was a nightmare - horrible lines. We chose a beach excursion that was highly rated but we were disappointed. The beach - in the water - was just too rocky, food was just ok and drinks were better on the ship. Can't wait to go back to Cozumel and enjoy other venues. We just shopped in Belize but we enjoyed the funky bars in the port area and had a good time. Roatan was absolutely beautiful. Shopping in port area is not good - too expensive - but the beach was great. We did a dolphin excursion that was the highlight of our trip. We just shopped in Costa Maya and got typical Mexican souvenirs.
Overall a wonderful experience. We booked a cruise out of Charleston for October. I know the Fantasy is an older ship but we would like to try this 7 day itinerary and it's a much shorter drive.
Love Carnival and will definitely sail out of Port Canaveral again. Looking at the Sunshine!