This was our second Carnival cruise (sailed the Liberty in 2008) and much about the Dream was familiar (cabins, ship layout) and pleasing. Our cabin (mid-ship) was plenty roomy for the four of us (two adults and two teenage boys), although we are neat by nature! Two closets for hanging and one with shelves, plus drawers in the dressing area and under one bed. We stored our suitcases under the large bed. I'm perfectly satisfied with the shower gel and shampoo provided by Carnival, so that saves space in the shower. The robes are comfy!
For whatever reason, we did not feel crowded. Maybe living in the DC Metro area desensitizes us to crowds! We mostly used the stairs, but elevators were always available. The Mongolian Wok and Pasta Bar require a wait because the meals are made-to-order. Strike up a chat with the cruiser in front or behind of you . . . smile! Avoid crowds by taking advantage of the brunch on sea days -- it is fabulous and relaxing -- don't miss it! Go to the Lido early or late during meal times and walk right up to the buffet lines. We found the tables to be cleared immediately and never had to wait to sit. We were able to find seats in the theater by arriving 20 minutes before a performance (we usually went to the later show -- might make a difference). We went to the first R-rated comedy shows for easier seating.
Any-time seating: We waited awhile the first night, but never after that (party of nine on most nights) and we were able to get our first choice wait-team (headed by Kenroy) three times. I'm not enamored of the wait-staff floor show, so I actually liked not having to watch! Different strokes! I'm glad Carnival offers this option.
The adult deck space, Serenity, is niiiiice! We were happy to give up going ashore in Belize to enjoy the time on deck. I smelled a bit of icky smell a couple of times, out on deck, but can't remember exactly where and it didn't bother me. Walking all the way around Deck 5 (the Lanai) is wonderful!! The hot tubs on this level appeared to be uncrowded most of the time.
The staff is working HARD to iron out the new-ship wrinkles. Upcoming cruisers should reap the benefits. But do remember that you are cruising with 4399 other people; there are lots of smaller ships if that is too densely populated for you!