Our group, myself and DH-49, DS-19, DD-17, we also had my auntie and uncle along, both 49+ and 3rd cruise for us all...
Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed the cruise. As some other reviews pointed out, yes there were lines, it was not a private charter...occasionally we did smell the "odor" and it did smell similar to sewage or other sulfurous odors...but it was very sporadic and it dissipated quickly enough...
Boarding was the smoothest ever...line moved quickly, several of our carry on bags were hand searched as they contained bottles of sugar-free torani syrup and sugar free juices...I'm sure it looked like liquor bottles on the x-ray...the worker searching the bags just looked at the bottles and by the last bag he just asked, "is it the same thing" yep...we take along lots of sugar free products...even the individual powder mixes for water bottles. Check in was super easy and efficient...given zone 4 and waited a bit...then off we went.
All 6 of us headed to various food stations and met to share our first meal of the trip. This was the only day that we noticed the crowding in the buffet area as we were not allowed access to our rooms until 1:30 and did not want to carry our bags around so we tried to condense ourselves and luggage down to as small an area as possible to allow others a place to dine. Yes, it appeared the dining areas were full...but very soon they announced that passengers could place their luggage in the rooms...the area quickly cleared and staff began cleaning the tables for others. The rest of the week we never had a problem finding tables...some days the pasta bar area seemed a bit crowded...but we would just wait for our pasta and go downstairs...easy enough.
I have to be honest and say the main dining room was a bit of a disappointment this cruise...did not ruin the cruise but we were looking forward to having the same waiter all week long...that is why we choose late dining time over anytime dining. Midweek we were reassigned a waiter and told that our previous waiter was leaving the ship. Seriously, why was the waiter not assigned to the anytime dining room for his last 4 days? Oh well, but I think Carnival should rethink this staffing issue...
We always enjoy eating in the dining room and did so 6 of the 7 nights. Our group enjoyed the various cream soups all week long as well as trying a few of the hot soups. All great! The escargot was much better this cruise than last, loved it, a favorite of mine along with the Thai beef and noodles appetizer. I believe 5 of us ordered the ribs the first night, ribs were good but not very warm and the fries cold. Did not ruin the cruise but something seemed off with the late seating, we were lower level in the aft dining room. One night (think it was Monday) by 9:40pm we still had not been served our main course...we were ready to leave when it finally came out, and it was cold, we ate a bite then left, didn't order dessert, just getting too late. My cappuccino arrived after we had finished with dessert on the first two nights...it was all just off. The only truly warm or hot dishes served were the hot soups. The lobster tail was good as was the lamb but both only slightly warm. Finally, on the last night, my husband sent his prime rib back as it was cold as well as the baked potato, and I cannot remember him ever sending any meal back in over 21 years of marriage. The assistant waiter was extremely gracious and apologetic and quickly brought out another meal but it wasn't much better at all. Hubby took a couple of bites...but a cold baked potato is just wrong :-) We never went hungry, there were many great options for late night snacks, but having a great dining experience is part of the thrill for us and it just did not happen this trip, darn it, think we'll have to try again!
Pizza was very good, and I'm a picky pizza eater...I waited a couple of times for the DeChevre, and worth the wait!! Burrito bar was just ok for my tastes, everyone in our group felt the Mongolian wok worth the wait, think I waited about 15-20 minutes both times, DH and I absolutely fell in love with the Tandoori Grill...the grilled chicken kabobs with the tizke sauce and nan bread...oh dear...just awesome and addicting. We all had our favorites that included the pasta bar, Mongolian wok, pizza and Tandoori grill.
DH and kids made it a couple of times to the comedy shows and enjoyed each one. Dancin in the Street did not disappoint and all 6 loved it, the other shows were hit or miss depending on each individual tastes. The only show that we all agreed that was an absolute waste of our time was the magician brought in last minute to replace another act, his name was something like Pok...anyway, didn't hear of anyone that enjoyed his show, not entertaining at all, actually rather boring...sorry.
We enjoyed the ocean plaza area, found it great for playing games or to grab a bite of sushi. I have to say THANK YOU Carnival for the Fun Hub!! It made it easy for my college age son to meet up with others and plan when and where to meet. That group put it to good use throughout the week, (after they finally met each other). Carnival did have a meet and greet for 18-20 year olds listed in the capers but when DS went he did not see any staff and saw only 2 other individuals with alcoholic drinks so he was guessing they were over 21, so Carnival could improve on that a bit...perhaps just have a staff member present with maybe a quick Fun Hub presentation or a simple ice breaker...
We all thought the ship was amazing. Staff were always cleaning, even the glass in the public areas at night, wiping off all of the little finger prints on all that glass...wow what a job...but it always looked clean and sparkly. We loved the look of Serenity, but always found it "full" if not with people then towels saving seats...but there were sufficient areas throughout the ship to find a lounge chair...I'm just not gonna fight the chair hogs...apparently some people still feel "entitled" to saving their spot. DD's favorite spot during the week was deck 4 on one of the sofa's listening to the piano and the young lady singing in the atrium. My favorite area was the casino (penny slots) in the non smoking area! DS and I had some special bonding time together in there on several occasions.
DH caught up on much needed rest and actually slept a little during the day as EACH NIGHT we were awakened between 2 and 4 am by VERY RUDE hall neighbors. We know they woke all 3 of our rooms up each and every night...one night they actually fell and broke room service plates, glasses, etc that were placed in the hallway....I'm sure that was a mess for the staff to clean up...shame on all of you...hope we never cruise near you again.
We loved our room attendants, and it was difficult trying to explain to auntie why she couldn't keep him as her souvenir...all the staff were simply amazing people that worked long hours at jobs most of us in the states consider beneath us, yet they always smiled, said hello and were gracious hosts! Thank you to each and every one of the Dream staff, you were amazing!