Started our trip driving from Atlanta to Port Canaveral a day early and stayed at the Radisson at the Port. The hotel was clean and quiet, even though there were a lot of us there. The port was extremely close and the shuttle pretty painless. We would definitely stay there again, our room with free parking and shuttle was less expensive than the parking at the pier.
EMBARKATION was fairly smooth, even with 600 Platinum passengers, the line was very quick and the staff friendly and helpful. Probably about 30 minutes from line to ship, not too bad. Our cabins were ready, so we left our things and headed to lunch on the Lido deck.
I'll go ahead and get the FOOD out of the way. We ate the Mongolian Wok a few times and found it very tasty. Lines averaged 15-25 minutes during the cruise, not too bad and worth the wait. The pasta bar was also good and I liked the way it's organized. I know lots of people are complaining about the wait for your food, but to me 25 minutes to be seated, order and get your food cooked to order isn't very long. The only things I really ate at the buffets were the salads and desserts which were always good. The dining room (early seating, Crimson) was great! The first night was a little rough as always, trying to get everyone where they belong usually gets things started a little late, but the remaining nights were much better. Waiters (Nataniel and Robbie) were so attentive and tried their hardest to make sure we were happy. We will definitely remember them, some of the best waiters we've ever had. The food was what we expected and was very good. The Steakhouse was good, but I agree with others that the service seemed a little less personal than in the past. The food was excellent, though.
PORTS OF CALL Antigua - hired a taxi for a private tour to Shirley Heights, Devil's Bridge, Nelson's Dockyard and just took it easy. It was a beautiful tour and a very fair price. The beaches are beautiful and plentiful.
Tortola - We walked to the ferry and went to Virgin Gorda for the day to visit the baths. This was the highlight of our trip. We went through almost all of the caves and stopped right before the last beach. We stayed on the rocks there with 2 other couples for a few hours, it was so beautiful and calm. I could see my husband's feet in the water when sitting on the rocks, the water was so clear. But, be careful...he got so sunburned and we couldn't tell until later that night (oops).
St. Thomas - Did some shopping!!! Best port for alcohol purchases on our itinerary and plenty other nice shops to keep you busy. Had to skip the beach due to the sunburn, but we had a very nice day.
San Juan - cancelled due to problem with docking at the port. I was a little disappointed, but I truly believe the Captain tried his best to get us there and it just wasn't going to happen. I enjoyed the extra sea day, the ship is beautiful and they added activities to try to keep people busy. Spent some time in the "members only" area in the spa - LOVED THIS SPA. We had a spa cabin and it was definitely worth the extra money.
Grand Turk - Just chilled on the beach. Ordered food from Margaritaville which was pretty good. Watched people riding the flowrider and some other "contests" at Margaritaville which were very entertaining (not really appropriate for young children in my opinion, although there were a few there).
ENTERTAINMENT I agree the theatre was crowded and you had to get there early to get a seat, but the ones we saw were worth the wait. The first Motown show and the Country show were both good. The Motown show with Marcus Anthony was great (he's so friendly and interacts with the guest very well). Dancing In the Streets was by far the best show we've ever seen on a cruise, EXCELLENT. I would have waited for a seat to see it again! The Fun Force is unbelievable. We only went to one comedy show, due to the lines. Hopefully, they will come up with a better system for the Comedy Club. Todd is a great CD, he had a lot to contend with and did it all with a very good attitude. Love the non-smoking casino, and the policies were enforced while we were there.
CABIN SERVICE was excellent. Krastofan, Putu, and Putruwan kept everything clean and were always available without being in the way. We received anything we asked for promptly.
As a side note, this was also a Blogger's Cruise with John Heald, Senior Cruise Director for CCL. This added a lot of fun for us and some opportunities for a smaller group of people. The Captain was by far the most approachable of any I've met and he had a great sense of humor. John and his staff did a great job and were around the ship most of the time.
The things others have posted have SOME truth in them, but definitely not enough to ruin my cruise. A brief power outage (my husband was one of those stuck in an elevator) but not a big deal, a missed port of call (an additional fun day at sea) and long lines for some shows. I have to tell you the worst part of my entire vacation was listening to people complain about the "small stuff" and expecting to be compensated for ridiculous reasons.
Would I sail the Dream again - absolutely. I still believe a vacation is what you make it. When some people get lemons, they make lemonade while others just make ugly faces.