Hello Everyone, My DH and I recently returned from a romantic get-a-way (no children) on the Dream CTN. Overall we had a great time and will definitely return with the rest of the family when it homeport's in Florida.
Embarkation: The Manhattan Terminal has vastly improved since the last time we sailed from there. It now has a fresh, modern, open look and feel to it. We arrived at about 10am, check-in procedures started by 11am but actual boarding of the ship was closer to noon. There were vending machines and complimentary coffee in the waiting area. For those who complain about the amount of time it takes to board please remember that earlier passengers have to disembark and the ship has to "ready" itself for you.
Cabins: We had a balcony cabin on Deck 6. Please note cabin#6208 is an accessible cabin even though not designated as such. the Pursers desk was not aware of this as this was the first full sailing. Fortunately after sail-a-way we were moved to a cabin 4 doors down.
Our balcony cabin was similar to other cabins in the Carnival fleet including layout and color scheme. There were 2 large, plush bathrobes for our use and many sample products in the bathroom. The bathroom had ample counter and shelve space. There was also a lot of closet space and counter space and lighting in the bedroom area.
The Cove balcony area was not as closed in as you would think. It had more reinforced steel at the seams than the regular balcony. As a parent it felt a lot safer than the other balconies.
The forward O/V cabins seemed a bit small.
The deluxe O/V cabins with the double bathrooms are perfect if travelling non-solo. I wish I had one. If you have been on Disney, this concept takes it to a different level. The second bathroom has a sink and a half bath with shower.
The spa cabins are heavenly. The layout is the same, however the decor gives it an upscale, modern and calming feel and this effect is carried out through to the hallways.
There was a Suite on the 12th floor, all the way forward on the port side. Not sure what category or what the cabin# was, it is not shown on the deck plans. My DH disagrees with me, but I felt our Cat 12 on the Triumph was larger and was a better design.
Muster Drill: We did not have to wear or carry our life jackets. You meet in a designated lounge area and receive a safety briefing with demonstration, not unlike the Airlines. Quite painless.
Food: The welcoming buffet was not crowded at noon, so we were able to wander around for the best selections. Food choices were plenty and varied and tasted like typical buffet food, "adequate" my DH would say. Lemonade, fruit-punch and a selection of teas and coffee were available and my DH's favorite a 24hr ice-cream dispenser.
The outside grills serving pizza and hamburgers etc always seemed to have long lines, however everything was being made and served fresh and the lines moved fairly quickly especially if you strike up a conversation with others in line with you.
The Steakhouse was excellent. Food was plentiful and of good quality. Like any great steakhouse the raw meats were displayed to you. The restaurant has an open kitchen which unfortunately is not visible from all angles of the room. There is also a dance floor in the center which had tables set up on it during our dining time. Pictures do not do this room justice. It was well worth the expense.
My DH had breakfast in the buffet area on Saturday morning, he reported a very dismal experience.
Lunch in the Main dining room was a more than pleasant affair. My DH was a little apprehensive about dining with a large table, but soon had a change of heart. Our table mates included a female movie and commercial star and a popular Online Travel Magazine Writer from Nebraska. Conversation was active and jovial. The food except for the burger was good, better than the buffet.
Tea Time was also served in one of the Main Dining rooms. It was no QM2, but it was pleasant and a nice change of pace.
We had Pre Dinner at the buffet. There were not many people when we went. The Food was ok.
We then had "As you Wish" dining at about 8:45pm. We were able to get a table for 2 without waiting. Some of the same food items from the buffet were being served. It was a lot better in the dining room. The chocolate cake was hot and delicious.
Debarkation morning we had breakfast in the main dining room. My DH was again apprehensive, but this time he was worried we would not finish in time to get our shuttle home ( We live in Upstate NY) Again we had great tablemates including Carnival Sales Personnel (not PVP's). Food came out fast and hot. The serving sizes were rather small, however I think that is in response to our need to order more than one entree. On our table at least 7 persons ordered at least 2 entrees or an additional fruit dish or other side item. You can always ask for extra of something.
Entertainment: Carnival never disappoints in this area. Two days is not nearly enough time to sample it all. We were able to make it to the main shows on both nights. The Motown evening was fantastic, I am still amazed that he was able to get that many people up on the stage especially with the boat rocking like crazy.
The new show started to grow on me as it progressed, but I still miss the "Vegas Style" girls in the skimpy outfits. Although I did notice a change in the main shows on the Liberty a year and a half ago. The shows were a lot less "RisquE" the too.
The late night comedians were good. I had seen Mr. Cruise before albeit the family friendly version, but some of the jokes had not changed!!. There were a lot of smaller venues scattered about the ship and they all seemed to be well received. The Piano and Caliente clubs were hopping whenever we passed by.
The atrium had a Piano player and or other entertainment.There was plenty of seating and viewing areas that appeared to be the perfect place to sit and listen, or to watch passengers frantically search for their pictures in the photo gallery.
The Casino: The Casino did not appear smoky. There was a guitarist entertaining and someone walking around handing out "beef patties". It took a good 20 minutes to lose $20 at the slot machines.
There are many comfy chairs along deck 4 and 5 corridors along the windows although they are facing inwards and along the restaurant windows facing out.
Internet and Fun Hub: There were quite a few laptops to be found. We did not use the fun hubs but I heard Carnival is hoping to take this concept fleet-wide.
Unfortunately because of the weather (which we were quite prepared for) we were unable to partake in the outdoor activities. We would have loved to have seen the laser show although the main show did have some. We did hear rumors that some brave souls were seen in the suspended hot tubs. My DH was hoping it would stop raining long enough to see Star Trek on the Giant Screen, but oh well he has already seen it a half dozen times. Complimentary first run movies were also shown on the cabin TV's.
Attire: Before I forget let me mention that casual attire on the second evening was the minority on this sailing. Most ladies had cocktail dresses or pants suits on, and quite a number of men including my DH wore jackets.
Spa: We did not take a tour of the facility, but we did have the "Couples Mud Lounge" treatment. Of all the spa treatment we have had this was not only the best but also the best value. The name is misleading. This treatment is given in a private "Couples" lounge. There are five areas. There is the foyer type area when you enter, which has a warm bench, a cabinet with towels and a rolling table filled with different products for your body and face. Surrounding this area is a room with a regular shower, and another room with a rain shower. There is a steam room with "3" heated chairs with a waterfall shower over each one, controlled by the touch of a button on the arm rest. And yet another room where you apply treatments. A spa technician explains the different products and rooms, sets the timer by the door for an hour, locks it and leaves you to your own devices. All this for the special price of $95 unbelievable!!.
The Carnival Dream felt familiar, not much different from the Liberty. It had some very nice extra touches. Or it could because like most of you I had researched the ship to death, read the blogs and seen all the pictures, that by the time we finally make it on the ship we really have seen it all. My DH said it was if the ship was designed and decorated by the "JOkEr". I told him it was (smile!!)
Nonetheless, Carnival promises a fun ship with good food and great entertainment at an affordable cost, and again it did not disappoint. So people lighten up, loosen up, relax and have some fun. BTW We passed Mr. John Heald on the stairs when we were disembarking, he invited us to stay for the next sailing (in the lifeboat) Ha Ha Ha !!