This was our 10th cruise and 3rd on Carnival so we are kind of veterans.
Embarkation as well as Debarkation have been fine-tuned and when you can be on and then off the ship in under 30 minutes, you know the process has been mastered. We splurged and booked a Spa Suite to celebrate our anniversary and really enjoyed the room location as well as size and style of the cabin. Room stewarts were always available and accommodated all requests as should be expected. Never had the odor problem that has been noted in so many other reviews. Except for embarkation day we never ate at the Lido buffets but did notice the long lines and congested areas when I visited the Holy Ice Cream Shrine. Traffic management should and I'm sure will be addressed as the ship's staff adjusts to the crowds. We were told by a staff member that there were not additional employees added to the crew to handle the additional 1500+ passengers the Dream carries. We were also told 1/3 of the staff were new and were learning on the job. This could explain some of the minor problems noted in other reviews. I had no problems with attentiveness and if nothing else enjoyed not being constantly harassed for another drink. We had late seating in the Scarlet and were blessed with Tanya, the best waiter we have ever had on any cruise. The food was good and with her help, our dining experience was a pleasure and adventure every night.
Based on our past experiences with these ports, the excursions we took were not booked through the cruise line. Roatan-Rent a van and pay a visit to the West End Bay area of the island for quaint shops, eateries and great snorkeling. Cozumel-I'm hooked on a scooter rental and self tour around the island. Don't miss the cheap ice cold Beer at Bob Marley's on the South tip of the island. Belize-the Altun Ha Mayan ruins or snorkeling adventures are tops. All ships must tender in Belize so be patient. Costa Maya-Another great area for Mayan Ruins and there is a quaint small village just a short taxi ride from the port.
Having visited most all ports in the Caribbean, Mexican Riviera and Alaska, we are now targeting new ships and the Carnival Dream met or exceeded all our expectations. It is a pleasure to observe the differences in the Italian versus Scandinavian senior crew members of various cruise lines. The Italians are much more laid back. True there are some details and routines that need to be fine-tuned but the Dream is a great addition to the Carnival Fleet.