Before I review the wonderful cruise on the Carnival dream, I want to be sure that our readers know that during the summer months and spring break weeks in March; The Carnival cruise ships are almost 50% children under the age of 17 and younger. Be warned adults, you will have the children running around at all hours of the day & late night, jumping into pools and hot tubs, cutting in food lines, causing elevator delays, leaving a mess everywhere, along with dropping ice cream cone from one deck to another; Enough said!
We loved the Carnival Dream, with our 2 boys, 10 & 8 years old... my kids really didn't drop ice cream, but we laughed very time we saw a ice cream mess on the deck, at last count,15!
We drove to New Orleans, and stayed overnight at the Marriott Hotel in the French Quarter/Canal Street. Super nice hotel, clean, good pool for kids, and the staff was superb; especially Ms. Jewel in the Restaurant. Valet parking is a bit overcrowded, and long lines form quickly; luckily we were out of there by 11:30 am. This gave is plenty of time for last minute shopping/eating before we load the DREAM. Paid the $112.00 for terminal parking, and drove up to the SeaCaps ready to unload your luggage. These guys were super friendly and so helpful. Our SeaCap gave me info where to go after parking, and even opened a closed section of the parking lot to "give us an easy-out" on our return. Went through the terminal with carry-on luggage, and began the task of getting into the proper lines for "FTTF", which took 20 minutes from parking to stepping onto the ship.The Carnival Dream is a beautiful ship, well maintained by the crew who seem to always be working, cleaning, polishing, and replacing whatever needs to be done. The atrium, similar to those of other big ships ex: Magic, looked awesome with their continual glass elevators moving up and down the floors above. I personally think the Dream is much prettier than the Magic, although the shapes and layout are the same. Our stateroom was on the 11th floor and was spacious enough for a family of 4. It included a sofa bed and a upper bunk for the little one, and an awesome balcony. Although by the 2nd day, the ladder to the upper bunk was just "in the way", and stored in the shower stall daily. Our cabin steward "Iputu" was fantastic, welcoming us, and always making the kids laugh, greeting us daily by name, and making sure our stay was comfortable. After unpacking and muster drill, off to the lido deck for food.
Food: There is so much variety that we knew what to expect and what we wanted. Our favorites were:
sandwiches and turkey rolls from the deli, Tandoor had great buttered chicken and cumin rice, the pasta bar on the upper deck of the rear lido deck serves great Italian dishes, salad bar on the 5th floor, and evening dinner had a variety, but my favorite was the southern fried chicken. Hot dogs were kids favorite. We avoided the long lines at: the Mongolian wok, omelette station, pizza and burrito bar; it wasn't worth the wait which most people waited over 15 minutes in line. Formal dinners were awesome with our wait staff Ashwin, Jaka & Junidelai, always bringing kids meal first and dancing with them during "showtime" The food during formal dining was different at time, still to this day frog legs, snails and lobster are not by type of cuisine.
POOLS: The kids loved the water park and slides. They could have stayed all day, which we did most of the time. Easy slides are monitored by staff, and kept unruly grown-ups from acting to silly. Serenity deck at the back of the water park is a quiet zone for adults, sometimes you feel your the only one there. Mostly deserted on port days. LIDO DECK & POOL: Some of the most horrendous music you will hear played by the DJ'S contracted by Carnival. You know it's not music when every other word is "bleeped" out during the song. It was just a loud Ruckus! Live music in the center Atrium and Lounges were much better to listen to. We would sit nightly to hear the wonderful variety they played, which some we danced. On the big screen outside had concerts by the Beach Boys, and a series of rock concerts from who knows where. At night, movies for kids was first, them a more type of PG movie was shown ex: Noah, Thor, Diana??? really!
Encore Theater shows are average at best. The theme shows have dancing and singing and great set designs that are always changing, Although Very "high schoolish", the show is centered around 2 main vocals, 1 female singer and 1 male singer, while the rest of the cast dance and pantomime the recorded background track playing in the background. The exceptional part of some productions are the acrobats with their super strength who jump, tumble and climb poles like I never seen before, that was amazing. But the pantomiming needs to stop, it's so noticeable. The live band joins in on some numbers, but some recorded track are often played.
Disembarkation: Started at 8:00 am for those with special needs and flights, with "FTTF" self-assist we were off the ship by 8:45 and on the road home by 9:00 a.m. Next Day: First day of school!
It was a wonderful cruise, relaxing, drinking, eating, and watching the kids in the water. We did not do any shore excursions because there was not anything of value that we would have enjoyed. Just going to the ports and walking through the terminal markets was a better bargain then a shore excursion. Next cruise, 2016 Carnival Freedom
Went onto the street and walking around shopped, and enjoyed the culture. Stopped at a little Mexican restaurant to eat. Delicious tacos and guacamole salad and baby corona's for a $1.00... Had a great time..
Shopper's paradise. We got super better prices than Macy's or Saks. It was great quality items we purchased. The locals do speak spanish too! I think we were on the last tender back to the ship that afternoon.
Small port terminal, did not venture further that that, bought small trinkets and return to ship's water park!
HOUNDING-VENDOR ZONE FREE! the only plus!