This was our 7th Carnival cruise, 2nd on the Dream. This was a springbreak cruise with a teenage 17 year old son and 7 year old daughter.
We drove from Ontario and arrived Friday afternoon. Stay at Hampton Inn Cocoa Beach and parked at the port.
Embarkation was smooth and efficient at 12:30. Rooms were not ready until 1:30 which is not bad but we have been on Carnival cruises (Glory) where rooms were ready at embarkation.
There wasn't anything too memorable about this cruise. Those who cruise frequently with Carnival know what to expect.
The food at The Gathering (Lido deck) had lots of variety. Line ups were frequent but it wasn't too hard finding a table. We had the early seating for dinner in the Scarlet dining room. This was the most lacklustre group of wait staff we have ever had on any cruise. Very little enthusiasm from their singing and dancing (is this a reflection of the Maitre D? or were this group just tired being near the end of their 6 month contracts). Service was unbelievably slow (over 45 min from ordering to getting entre) to just plain poor (forgetting tea, never offered more bread, hard to find a drink waiter).
I must complain that the signs clearly state that you must wear shoes and cover up your bathing suit to enter the buffet area but there is absolutely no enforcement of the rules. Also, there were several nights where there was running and screaming down the hallways which woke us up from sleep. And these were't just kids. Some were teens/ young adults but also adults talking loud enough at 2 in the morning that I could hear their entire conversation. Have some consideration for others.
Entertainment was medicore. The main singers were weak. I could not understand a word the female lead was singing although she could belt it out loud. One comedian gave the same family oriented show the 2nd night as the first which is lame, lame, lame. The juggling show was entertaining though.
Unfortunately, my 7 year old daughter refused to go to Camp Carnival after the 1st day cause she was bored. She'd done it all before. (I don't expect a lot though, Carnival's business plan is standardization so you get the same accross the fleet, that's how they keep the cost's down). One poor design point is that one of the smoking decks is on 11 and the wind was blowing cigarette smoke into the entrance to Camp Carnival for the young kids.
Once again, I could smell cigarette smoke from my balony. Some chain smoker was nearby. Once again, I would ask Carnival to ban smoking on all balconies. (Like Royal Caribbean and Disney have done) It detracts from the enjoyment of others on their own balconies and it is a fire hazard. For that reason alone, I am inclined to book my next cruise with Royal Caribbean.
There were only 3 ports of call for a 7 day cruise. Felt like there should have been another especially 2 sea days at the end seemed a little long.
Disembarkation was quick. We did self assist and was off the ship by 7:30 am. However, I did note that Carnival said only those with carry on size luggage were supposesd to self assist debark, which I think is new. I don't think anyone paid attention to that rule as there were lot's of people debarking with huge suitcases.
Overall, any day cruising is better than any day working. This particular cruise was less than memorable but that won't deter us from cruising again