I promised I would write a review so here it is, as real as I can make it from a very seasoned cruiser....Overall impression of cruise, ship, entertainment and service = 5/10.
Embarkation/debarkation - very efficient and speedy. well done CCL for that! The ship is nice looking, decor is average but tasteful.
Cabin - nothing different, reasonable storage for 2 passengers, usual small shower, flat screen tv that only had approx 10 stations, 4 or 5 of which were ship related...small balcony and no privacy at all. I had an aft cabin and the balcony space was much smaller than an aft on Legend/Miracle..... Yes, the ship sure rocks and shudders when pulling into/out of port, one night it started at 4am for over an hour.....I usually have an aft on many other cruises and this was extreme room shaking, shuddering! I was lax in checking below me when I booked as room choice was minimal for New Years, so found I was directly over the Burgundy lounge...lots of loud music many nights until very late...my fault there.
Food - actually majority of meals in Dining room were pretty good, an improvement on RCCL, which claims superior food, NOT. Carnival did well and had a good selection of choices. Lido food was average, nothing special...BUT they really need to change the layout of the salad/main bar areas. If you only wanted the main meal, you still have to join the line and wait for everyone to go thru the salad bar to get to the main meal area...def need to make the salad bar area seperate...very crowded and disorganized. Desserts nothing special there either, pretty tasteless and bland. The Tandoori/Indian bar was ok, Naan bread good, but same items every day. No hot curries....Deli, good, same as every other ship, and very long lines too!
Entertainment - The shows were fairly good and enjoyable, tho the lead female singer had such a powerful voice, it was so loud as if she were shouting....needs to tone it down a bit, but still pretty good. Never had a problem getting a good seat at any time. The CD - Todd, was cute, and easy on the eyes but I did not observe much of a personality, tho I enjoyed watching him, he had a good speaking voice. His assistants were uninspiring and dull, very amateurish. They have a new concept with the aft lounge, Burgundy lounge, to make this a comedy club instead of the usual great filipino bands you get there on other ships or in a location on the promenade deck....not my thing. Missed having a filipino band as they would always play such a great variety of music and usually very talented. They had a Caliente (latin music) club and another area on the promenade deck with a female singer and 2 country looking guys....very average. No refined ballroom dancing music for the older folks to enjoy and dance to...my Mother was very disappointed. The Piano bar looked like a lot of fun but the smoke hit you almost 200yds away, so being a non-smoker and allergic,l I could never go there, looked like folks were having so much fun there too. The nightclub was also very smoky! ugh! So evening entertainment was limited for us unfortunately.
Sunloungers - oh my, such chair hogging...amazing. At 7.30a you would find rows and rows of loungers already with towels and personal belongings on them to reserve,they would stay empty for 2-3 hrs I witnessed on 2 occasions and no deck patrol/security to monitor this. Pools - a much larger ship, more passengers but the pools were tiny!ridiculous, and no seperate pool for adults, so forget a little swim...3 strokes and you did a length! but then you would also have to avoid kids doing cannon balls....wonderful!
It was very obvious to see that CCL are economizing and cutting back on things, drink prices had increased, no more punch cards for the daily drinks and coffee,staff were stressed and didn't appear too happy, tho service was good. Room service very prompt.
Perks....being a Platinum/VIP guest really was of no benefit, unlike RCCL, Carnival really do not recognize this well. a plate of icky appetizers twice and a repetitive photo frame...that was it. forget the priority tendering ...doesn't happen.Not even a free bottle of water in the cabin!
Overall it was a fairly relaxing cruise, but not one I would do again...The Dream was built to increase capacity with extra passengers/cabins, but public areas were small and some deficits with planning in the dining areas...
Forgot to mention this was a New Years Cruise! the New Year was brought in by DJ music, I think there was a live band for a short while...so crowded so no room to dance etc, atmosphere was very bland, tho champagne seemed plentiful, but again, very low key....we enjoyed ourselves of course, but have had more energetic New Years on other cruises...
I may cruise with CCL again but probably on Legend/Miracle/Glory.....