This was our 5th cruise and we were excited about going on a new ship. I read all the reviews about the Dream before embarkation, and we were a little worried about the ship to begin with. I will try to post all I can remember at this time. Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived a day early, and got to the port at around 11 am, we were on board in less than 30 minutes. Rooms were not ready until 1:30, so we wondered around and ate lunch.
Our room was nice, but nothing spectacular, like all other balcony rooms. Our room reeked of cigarette smoke, and we requested it be deodorized. Apparently, Carnival (and others) do not have the guts or the wisdom to tell guests "smoke outside or else". Our cabin steward informed us that smoking IS allowed in staterooms. Our room was deodorized and by the second day the smell was not too bad. There has been an inordinate amount of plastic type covering used on the walls and ceilings, and this makes for a squeaky and irritating ride at night. (I will discuss this later in the ship motion paragraph)
Obviously, Carnival has no security or rules on board about children running the halls all hours of the night, because on deck 10, they did it every day and night!! This is the parents fault also, but someone from Carnival should have stepped in and said enough. Our friends were down the hall in an interior room, and next door were ALL children by themselves with no adult supervision. Their parents were in a balcony room down the hall and were oblivious to their actions. Ridiculous.
The dining room food was good, but not great (except the chocolate melting cake). The dining room staff was very friendly and helpful and service was good except for the fist night, which seemed to take forever. I heard from another guest that it took them 1 hour and 20 minutes to get their food the first night, and they never returned to the dining room.
This is BY FAR the loudest and most unstable ship we have ever sailed on! The first night, our friend was made sick by the constant rocking of the ship. Even in mostly smooth seas, this ship rocks and is very noisy. We had the displeasure of being at the dining room entrance one morning when coming into port, and I have never experienced any type of shaking and shuttering like this before on any ship. The floor was vibrating and shaking everything in sight. This occurs anytime the thrusters are on. It also would shake and vibrate our cabin on Deck 10! At night our room was constantly squeaking and creaking and making lots of noise. Periodically, the ship would hit a wave just right, and it was like a small explosion occurred, very unnerving, and hard to sleep.
The Gathering buffet is probably the worst design of any ship to date, as no matter what you want, you are required to stand in a line forever to get it. Mongolian Wok line is always 30 minutes to an hour to get food!! Sometimes if you timed it right or got lucky, the wait would not be very long to get food, but not very often.
If you like to use the pool, don't bother with this ship, it has two pools that are much smaller than most home pools, and with 4000 guests, and 700-900 children, it is almost impossible to use the pools. The waterworks slides are nice but when all the pools are full, everybody else is in line for them, and the wait can be 30 minutes or more.
The shows were good especially Dancing in the Streets.
To end this review, Carnival pretty much made the ship larger by adding cabins, not public spaces, which adds money to their pockets, and does nothing to make the cruise more enjoyable for the guests. Todd, the cruise director, even stated in his debarkation talk that they had increased the number of guests but had not increased the number of crew, and therefore they had to work harder. They did not impress me in the least. We will stick with RC in the future and hopefully someone at Carnival will read these reviews and take them to heart before its too late.