I have allowed a week to go by to try and think things through but The Carnival Dream fell short of my expectations.
We have traveled on Carnival during the first 2 weeks of Advent several times in the past and really enjoyed the beautiful Christmas decorations. The Dream had not a single decoration anywhere on the ship. Well, that isn't exactly correct-the nurses in the infirmary bought their own decorations and put them up! When I asked an officer(Canadian) why the ship was not decorated he stated," it WILL be decorated for Christmas, when you get off the ship!
We really loved our cove balcony on deck 2, and luckily we were forward. The smell of sewage was an intermittent, but daily experience on deck 2, but always the worst in the aft.
It is very apparent, as soon as you board the ship, that the The Dream does indeed have more cabins and passengers but also a smaller atrium, theatre, pool areas, casino etc. We stayed away from the Lido because just walking through, almost anytime, presented you with chaos of lines and no place to sit.
The mention of San Juan only brings one memory to my mind with regards to The Dream. It was the one port that most everyone wanted to enjoy(we've been there three previous times) and we also eagerly were looking to a day there. After the captains announcement that we were sailing on I will never forget the family of 5 standing behind us all crying into their cell phone and talking to their loved ones in San Juan who they were to spend the day with. We understand one staff member had even had her husband fly to San Juan so they could spend the day together. Carnival, you really blew it, and you had your largest ship filled with 95% of the passengers as past quests and some 600 as Platinum card holders!
The toned down decor was very pleasant, dinning room food very good but slow service apparently due to a galley that couldn't keep up. The general crew members, room stewards, dinning room waiters and even maintenance workers were the most friendly were have ever met on Carnival. The officers we met, however, we not friendly. On the elevators the officers only spoke if we spoke first-hardly good for PR.
The shows were fairly good, especially Dancin In The Streets. However the lead female singer screams every song she sings and the volume control staff seemed to think it was their job to bust out our eardrums.We saw people leave every show with their hands over their ears!
We'll stick with Carnival, but have no desire to board The Dream again and certainly hope The Magic isn't just a carbon copy of The Dream.