My wife and I have taken over 15 cruises and tried many different cruise lines. This was our first cruise on a Carnival Dream Class ship. I would rank this cruise and the Carnival Breeze as average to slightly above average. On a scale of 1 to 5, I would rate it about 3.5.
Pro's and Con's of the ship:
The overall size of the ship was about perfect. The Ovation Theater is very nice. The new electronic back drops that they use for the shows were amazing. The Sports and Spa level is also great. There were two areas which felt a little small. The venue used for comedy shows was too small and the "shops" area of the ship was very small.
Many activities were provided on a daily basis. It seemed that there was always something going on and something to do.
The service provided on the ship was great. Our cabins steward was great. We also received great service in the dining room.
Port & Shore Excursions:
I would recommend three of the four ports. I would enjoy returning to Aruba, Curacao and Grand Turk. I would not go out of my way to return to the D.R. If I did go back there, I would not take a Seavis tour.
The embarkation process was very smooth.
I have provided a cabin overview in the Cabin section. For this section I will say: The cabin size was good. The bathroom and shower areas were really nice. The balcony was small. The location we choose was horrible.
We ate in five different areas of the ship. The Blush Dining Room, The Lido Market Place (buffet), Guy's Burger Joint, the Blue Iguana Cantina and the Cucina del Capitano.
The Blush Dining Room - Dinners were good but not great. No meal stood out as awesome. The service at dinner was awesome. Brunch was good; but again no meal stood out as being great. The service at brunch varied. One day it was good. The last day it was horrible.
The Lido Market Place (buffet) - Had the same food every day. On my previous cruises, the buffet would switch things up daily. The Lido Market Place seemed to have the same stuff every and it was just average.
Guy's Burger Joint - Did not live up to my expectations. The burgers were hand patted... not pressed. This meant they were better than the average burger I expect to receive from the buffet bar. However, they were not as good as the burgers you would expect to get at a place like Red Robin or Ruby Tuesdays.
Blue Iguana Cantina - Was average. Their breakfast burritos were good. But I would not go out of my way to get their food. I never had to stand in a long line for the Blue Iguana. This is an indication of their food.
Cucina del Capitano - We ate here at lunch time when the meals were free. I wasn't impressed. You could choose your pasta, sauce and ingredients. The food was ok but did not warrant me going back a second time.
Entertainment - We took advantage of three different entertainment opportunities: Shows, the Hasbro game show and the comedians. I would give the overall entertainment a 4. However; there is room for improvement.
Shows: The shows in the Ovation theater were entertaining. I enjoyed the shows, the entertainers and the new lighted background. I would rate the shows a 5.
The Hasbro game show was a dud in my opinion. It seemed to be nothing more than a life size commercial for Hasbro games. The time I wasted watching the show is wasted vacation time that I will never get back.
Comedians. I enjoyed the comedians. However, I did not enjoy the hassle of trying to see the comedy shows. The Limelight lounge is/was WAY TOO SMALL for the number of people wanting to see the shows. The line of people waiting to get into the shows would wrap way down the ship halls. People would ride the elevator down and try to cut line by coming off the elevator and breaking into lines. I would suggest moving the comedians to the main ovation theater when it is not in use. If the late "adult" comedy show was moved tot he Ovation theater, it would help alleviate the congestion and frustration that people felt trying to see the comedy shows.
Disembarkation - Was very organized and smooth.
Overall, I greatly enjoyed my vacation. I would rate the cruise as a 3.5. With a few modifications I think the cruise could easily go from 3.5 to 4.75 or possibly 5.