Just returned from our 7th cruise, on the Carnival Dream, the largest in the Carnival fleet, sailing out of New York. Don't expect the Dream to return to New York anytime soon, as it appears it's doing most of its sailing out of Port Canaveral.
Embarkation went very well. The wife & I arrived at the docks around 2pm, and within half an hour we were on the ship, which was a pleasant surprise. The Dream is huge !! Over 1000 feet long !! Everything was nice and clean, as it should be, as its less than a month old at this point. We made our way to our inside cabin, which is fine for two, but no more. Three large closets, but only two electrical outlets. Our room steward Elio was nowhere to be found, but the room was perfect, so we didn't really need him. We went off to explore the ship...
Most of the action takes place on Deck 10, Lido deck, including the main dining hall. It's big, but not as big as I thought it was going to be; it doesn't appear that they could seat everyone on board if they wanted to.
The weather for the first couple of days was bad, but the Dream seemed to take it in stride. We're not big gamblers, so we didn't care for the casino, which again was not as big as I expected it to be. I lost my $20 allowance pretty quickly, so I didn't really spend too much time there. The shops are good, but nothing special, just standard Carnival fare. Plenty of Bingo, if that's your thing, but we didn't care for it.
We arrived @ Port Canaveral on Thanksgiving Day, and all went well. The wife & I stayed on-board, since we didn't care to go to Orlando or the beach at this point. They offered Disney for about $180 per person, including the bus trip, which seemed steep to me. Can you imagine going with the wife and kids ?? Bring your wallet !!
The second day brought Nassau in the Bahamas, which is interesting, but... we've been there so many times, and it's NOT getting better with age. A lot of the local shops have closed down, probably due to the economy, so there are more vacant shops than occupied ones. We did get a good deal on Bacardi rum at only $5 per bottle !! The Paradise is located here, but we've already been. Beyond that, I've read some articles about the recent crimes that have taken place here, so we never ventured too far. We always felt safe, the police are everywhere, and the locals seemed friendly, so do as you will.
Our last port was Freeport in the Bahamas, which again is interesting, but... The port is located in a shipyard, so you have to take a taxi or shuttle to see anything. We didn't care for any of the excursions being offered, especially at the prices, so we just wandered on our own for a while before returning to the ship.
Back to the Dream... The food ? Good, but not great, as is typical with Carnival. I enjoyed the Mongolian Grill (45 minute wait...) Pasta Bar (30 minute wait...) Indian Grill (No wait !!) and more. We were always able to find a seat, but sometimes you have to look for it. We didn't try the extra-cost Steakhouse, especially since we heard from others that it's nothing special.
The shows ? Dancin' In The Streets was excellent, Get Ready was good, but then there was Hee Haw night.... The performers were fine for the most part, but not as good as some others we've seen, especially on the Miracle or Valor.
Other shows were fine, but nothing we haven't seen before. Literally. I think we saw the same Juggler and Ventriloquist, with the same acts, years ago. The comedians were very good, too, as long as you don't mind the colorful language, which we don't.
Some other things that come to mind... Where did all the children come from ? Aren't they supposed to be in school in November ? Also, while we met some nice people, we also met some not so nice people. Do you really need to leave your dirty dishes in the elevator ? Do you really need to slam the door to your cabin ? Can you wait in the food lines like the rest of us ? And finally, one of the best things Carnival has ever come up with is Serenity, the "adults only" area. No kids, better seats, and finally, some peace and quiet. If Carnival is listening, I would love to have an entire "Adults Only" cruise ! Perhaps once a year, couldn't each ship in the Carnival fleet have such a cruise ?
Overall, we enjoyed ourselves, and would love to sail on the Dream again. Carnival met our expectations as usual, and we look forward to our next cruise.