Embarkation: We landed in Orlando airport at noon, and we were on the ship by 10 after 1:00. Very smooth embarkation process. No Problems. Good Job Carnival!
Stateroom: We had a aft balcony and this was by far the best room we have ever had. The room was spacious and well laid out. More than enough closet space, two windows and a beautiful long balcony. (No this was not a suite)
Room Steward: I can honestly say we have never had a bad room steward in all of the 13 cruises we have had to date. Lito, was one of the best we have had. My husband and I enjoy talking to the stewards and finding out a little about their lives and where they are from. They are always willing to share a little bit of themselves.
Food: We did wait a little for our food as the waiters had a distance to travel to the galley. However the food was always, hot, to our specifications and very good. We really did not have any complaints. The delivery of food was delayed at times, but you could see the waiters hustling. Perhaps the galley has some time management issues to work out. I am sure they will.
Ken: Maitre'd. By far the best Maitre'd we have ever had. We enjoy his singing, he visited our table on two occasions, he spoke to the patrons. He clearly enjoys his job and he made the dinning experience special for all. This was the third time we have had Ken as our Maitre'd and he is definitely a pleasure.
Elevators: Yes, the elevators are congested at times. But only at peak times. The trick is to identify those peak times and tweak your schedule a bit.
When you have a crowd of people all determined to get to the same place at the same time you are going to see a lot of bad manners. Unfortunately, this happened quire frequently on this trip.
Especially, in the elevators. There were many times when the door would open, and you were bowled over by people barreling into the elevator, never giving those inside a chance to get off. This was very frustrating.
Pool areas: Definitely smaller than the other ships, but plenty of seating on deck. I liked that the congestion was minimized in this area. On smaller Carnival ships the main center of activity was near the pool area. And we tend to avoid those areas in the daytime because they are busy,noisy and crowded. On the Dream we found this area to be pleasant.
Odor: I noticed the odor when we sat on the deck in the mornings. The odor was coming from the public rest room area. It smelled like sewer. However it was slight and only when the wind blew a particular way. It was NOT constant. We spent a lot of time in this area and only noticed it in the mornings. I don't know why this occurred at this time and not at other times?
Shows:We didn't see the shows because the long lines. It was not worth standing in line and you were not guaranteed to get a seat. This was definitely the biggest issue that we saw. Carnival needs to get a handle on crowd control. As this is a larger ship, the food areas, and the shows areas are not large enough to accommodate the increase in passengers.
Comedy Shows: we did catch two comedy shows. They were very good but we were unable to go back to the shows for the second half as the lines were horrendous. Again, perhaps taking reservations-perhaps offering the shows more often? I don't know what the answer is. IF CARNIVAL does not take immediate steps to correct this they will have a serious drop in their customer satisfaction.
Food Lines: The only way to get around the massive lines were to slightly adjust the times you ate. If you went very early to breakfast you were okay. If you went after 2 for lunch you were okay. Otherwise, you had long lines, people cutting in and very rude behaviors. Getting a table during the peak times was a challenge.
Pasta Bar: Best new idea that Carnival has had! You fill out exactly how you want your food prepared, take a seat and 15 minutes later you food is delivered to your table. The food is FANTASTIC!
This cruise was unique in that there were over 600 platinum members. The highest in Carnival history. The one thing that stood out was the demanding, know it all behavior of some passengers. My husband and I enjoy talking to people about their experiences. Always eager to get some ideas, tips, knowledge from other people's experiences. And when appropriate, we share our experiences. This is very pleasant for us. On this trip there were a lot of bloggers, know it alls, and snobby passengers. My husband and I are platinum members and it continues amaze me how some people act.John Heald: The senior cruise director of Carnival Cruise Lines. Carnival seriously needs to look at who they have chosen to represent the cruise line. This man is quite irritating, made a few insulting comments regarding the French, (No, I am not French) He also made a few sexual innuendos and was basically painful to watch. Apparently, he has a following of bloggers who like him. A lot of bloggers were on this trip. However personally I don't see the attraction. He was the one carnival employee that I wrote a negative review on. I hope Carnival realizes the liability this employee brings to their reputation.
Operational Problems experienced during the cruise: Loss of power: Hey, things happen, things break, they fixed it, they gave the people stuck the elevators a free cruise.
San Juan: Ship would not fit in the pier. People were disappointed. We received 20.00 back that was our port fee. This was 100% carnival's fault, as well as the port. Perhaps we should have received more back. But, we were not personally disappointed, and we arrived at Grand Turk earlier than expected. We had more time on this beautiful island and we were quite happy.
Debarkation: Fantastic! Smooth! Quick!!
Carnival Dream: In April 2010. We are returning to the Dream for their normal Western itinerary. I expect Carnival will have the crowd issued addressed.
This island has free roaming, horses and donkeys on the island. It was quite extraordinary.
My husband and I would like to go there again some day soon.