We just completed the 16 day transatlantic aboard the Carnival Dream, Carnival's newest ship. Overall the cruise was ok but nothing to write rave reviews about.
Embarkation was smooth and easy with no difficulties. Our embarkation was in the city of Civitavecchia about two and half hours from the city of Rome.
The staterooms are the same as other Carnival ships with the same amenities although they do have small flat screen televisions on this ship. In regards to amenities it is obviously an area that Carnival is saving money in. Very few. Small samplers of toothpaste, aspirin, hotel type soaps, nothing much else. They even took our bathrobes the night before the end of the cruise? I presume that they thought we might steal them.
The Lido deck food and environment were for the most part very crowded and the food was often on the luke warm rather than hot side. I found the place to feel like an un cleaned cafeteria with many dirty plates on the tables. Many times it was so crowded that getting a table took as long as it did to go through the buffet line. Food in the main dinning room was good and the service a little slow but there was certainly and effort to make the experience pleasant. Entertainment in the main dinning room was minimal and only met the maitre d' once during the cruise. This area is very busy and the staff work very hard.
The entertainment in regards to the shows was good although it was obvious that Carnival gave little thought in adjusting daily events for the folks who were on this cruise. By this I mean that this cruise was for an older generation as they are generally the only ones that have the time for a 16 day cruise in November. Without question Carnival lacked foresight in this area utilizing the typical Caribbean games and contests. Outdoor movie theater was very nice depending upon the weather. Really how many hairy chest competitions can you stand!! Seems there is a standard script for all Carnival cruises. Dance shows were very good. Comedy club is a great idea but Carnival despite having noticed a packed house on the first night with many people standing or sitting railings or what ever they could find, did nothing to bring in more seats. Other clubs were very good with the usual musical offerings.
The library, well I was amazed to see it had so little to offer. Seriously I have more books in my personal library then Carnival had in its library. Most of the books in the library were reference materials.
The Assistant Cruise Director was 24 but acted like a teenager. He might be more suited and would be qualified to work in the Camp Carnival section of the ship. Such a disappointment, the immaturity was appalling and it was very surprising that Carnival would place an individual of this capacity in a position of such responsibility, especially when the audience is a much more mature group of individuals.
The ship did have a very good gym with modern equipment. One of the high points of the ship.
Shore excursions were very high priced and crowded. We actually did not take them but hired a taxi next to the ship, paid half the price and saw alot more than the folks we talked to who did take the shore excursions.
The cruise director seemed more worried about his parents vacation then serving as a cruise director. It was just really so nice to hear about Mom and Dads adventures and tours and even have them on the morning show. Speaking of the morning show, lacking in its content or lack of content and I would have been comfortable letting my children watch it is a cartoon substitute on Saturday morning. Probably what you might expect from a group of High School students although I would give them more credit.
Scheduling changes caused us to transient the straights of Gibraltar at night and the arrival in New York which was scheduled for 0700 was moved to 0230 since the next day Carnival had its grand celebration for all of the tour companies and VIP's. So it was a big push to get everyone off the ship as soon as possible.
Overall I felt that many of the Carnival staff worked very hard especially in the main dinning area. On a 16 day cruise they most certainly were overworked and it showed despite their best efforts. Cruise Director on the Dream was a not what I experienced on other ships and cruise lines.
Really cannot say that I would ever cruise this line again. This cruise line offers probably the cheapest fairs, and the old saying you get what you pay for is exactly correct.