My husband & I have cruised previously but have not been on Carnival since a Med cruise on the Magic- 10/13. I was a little apprehensive prior to the cruise. There has been a lot posted on Cruise Critic regarding recent changes on Carnival ships.
EMBARKATION: We purchased Faster to the Fun & for us, it was a good value. Embarkation was slightly delayed on this cruise. I was told that it was due the the Dream having to change terminals at Port Canaveral. I don't know if that was true. Faster to the Fun worked as promised. We we were able to bypass the longer check in lines and drop off our carry on luggage in our cabin Our additional luggage arrived a couple of hours before nearby cabins received theirs.
SHIP: The Dream was clean & well maintained. I personally did not care for the Ship's layout & size. I wish the Crimson Dining Room was located elswhere & not midship. My husband & I also found ourselves trying to avoid crowds & lines throughout the cruise.
CABIN: We have always booked an aft wrap/suite. We enjoy spending a lot of time on the balcony & the aft is normally quiet. This is the first cruise we had soot on the balcony, but it was minimal. We also experiended cigarette smoke from nearby & noise in the hallways for the first time. Fortunately, the balcony is large enough that you can move away from the smoke. Just a note for anyone that books this cabin (7459) is that one corner of the bed is very near the closet. It could be an issue for some people.
DINING: I definitely noticed a difference since our last cruise. There seemed to be less choices and the food quality was not as good. This was especially noticeable in the buffet, but we also felt the change in the Steakhouse. We choose anytime dining in the dining room. The waitstaff seemed overworked.
SERVICE: This crew was the most diverse we have seen & the youngest. There was a language barrier with some, although most crew members were friendly if we initiated conversation. Our room steward was efficient & did everything we requested, but was not not particularly friendly. The only negative service we received was from a young man from FL at the Shore Excursions desk. He totally blew us off when we had questions regarding a Carnival Shore Excursion. Fortunately, the staff at guest services were very helpful and answered our concerns. Also, we thought the cruise director was annoying. There were too many announcements about activities.
Entertainment: There was plenty of live entertainment & activities throughout the ship. This is another area where the quality was not as good as previous cruises.
DISEMBARKATION: Getting off the ship was no problem, but there were not enough taxis.
SUMMARY: There was no experience that had the WOW factor that we have had on previouse cruises. I used to think that Carnival offered a good value for price. Now I am not so sure. I probably will still consider a Carnival cruise if the itinerary is right, but it most likely will not be my first choice..