If you have the choice, do not go on the Carnival Dream. We just got home from a 7-night Western Caribbean cruise (Dec 12 - Dec 19) and the experience was terrible. Nobody likes long story-like reviews so I will summarize all the knocks against this ship as briefly as I can:
- The ship cannot handle the number of guests. Everywhere we went felt like Macy's the day before Christmas. We were ~400 guests below capacity and yet the over-crowding was terrible.
- Long lines for everything! If you wanted to see a comedy show you better had lined up 30 minutes before to get in the room. Also, It was impossible to get food without waiting in a 20 minute line. That is completely unacceptable.
- Woefully understaffed. ONE cook making omelets on a ship of this size is ridiculous. Our waiter each night looked like he was going to have a heart attack trying to serve all the tables he was assigned. No matter the time, food stations were either closed down or had lines stretching for as far as the eyes could see.
- Room service often never arrived. Other times they quoted wait times of over 1 hour. We were often conflicted whether to go to the Lido deck and wait in a 30 minute line for the buffet or sit in our room for an hour for room service that may never arrive
- Our hallway smelled like a toilet. How is this possible on a new ship?
- When approaching ports our room vibrated like we were in a San Francisco earthquake. This always occurred very early in the morning so we were never able to get a good night's sleep.
- We had multiple billing issues. Someone else's drink order somehow appeared on our card one day. Then in two other instances the bartender rung us up for high-priced cocktails when we had ordered much less-expensive beers. I'm willing to let an error or two slide, but three over-billing errors on one trip is unacceptable. I chalk these human errors up to a symptom of an understaffed ship.
- Want a glass of water on this ship? Good luck finding one.
- Never did an employee offer us water, coffee, etc. while dining on the Lido deck.
- Want a sure fire way to find ship staff? Look no further than the gym and the Caliente night club. The gym was constantly packed with employees (ogling my fiancE no less) and the nightclub always had a good contingent of employees getting drunk in the evenings. I have no problem with employees enjoying the ship's facilities, but the optics of this are terrible on a ship that suffered so much due to under-staffing. Was anyone actually in charge of this ship?
While this was by far the worst cruise I have taken, I will nonetheless try to end my review on good notes:
- All three billing errors were rectified within 24 hours.
- Our waiter and assistant were extremely nice. We felt pity for them since they worked so hard at a job that desperately needed additional manpower.
- Our room attendant (Mohamed - 2nd floor deck) was awesome. He always had a smile on his face, greeted us by first names, knew our schedule after only one day, and cleaned our room flawlessly.
In summary, we will never cruise with Carnival again. Two very disappointed thumbs down.