I'm going to try to be as thorough as possible so I apologize for the length.
As EVERYONE has said, embarkation was really easy. In fact, the regular line was moving faster than the VIP line. Super quick and the staff was really friendly.
The ship is pretty impressive in comparison to the other ships in port. It is obviously bigger but for me... I didn't feel as if it was that much bigger when I got on board. Any ship is big to me. That's not designed to be a complaint-- just an observation.
I think the decor is great. I thought it was really pretty inside. The atrium is really impressive I think-- it looks similar to the other CCL ship I've been on but I was still impressed.
Yes, there is an occasional sewage smell. It doesn't take your breath away or anything like that. It's just an occasional smell. I noticed it in different places and they would come and go. Nothing awful-- just something you notice.
Yes, the ship rocks. The other CCL ship I was on rocked just one day... this ship rocked every day. I am prone to motion sickness and did not experience any sickness. But, it definitely rocks. Especially in the rear of the ship.
We were seated in the Crimson dining room. Our staff members were incredible. Heshbon, Bancha and Allan were the best! We were finished eating before tables around us had even been served their main course. The food was great. I didn't have anything I didn't like! Of course, the warm chocolate melting cake is a staple. You must try it, if you're a first-time cruiser.
The entertainment was great. I really enjoyed the country show, Extreme Country. Dancing in the Streets is phenomenal--- there's really no other words to describe it. It's a must. The group Fun Force is amazing. Their dancing was a highlight. Also, the comedy club is a new feature. The club featured 4 comedians during the cruise: Happy Cole, Kim Harrison, John Wesley Austin and Marvin Bell. They each did a PG show and an R rated show. I saw all 4 comics' R- rated shows and 2 PG shows. All comics are pretty good. I really enjoyed them all. Jeff the Fun Dude opens for them..... and I have to say... He's really cheesy. Since we went to all four shows, we knew his act. He didn't really change his jokes up. "I'm Jeff the Fun Dude and who's ready to have some fun, dude?".....
Todd the CD and James the asst CD were pretty good. I saw reviews saying they were really snobby. I didn't see that at all. They were both great. Both of them are getting ready to go on vacation for a while so cruises coming up soon won't have them as their CD and ASST CD.
Speaking of.... the rumor going around the cruise on the last day was that in one of our ports-- 160 or so staff members left the ship for the day and only 15 returned. The team works like crazy. One staff member said that he worked 15-17 hours a day. We heard from one staff member that because of a lot of the reviews out here, CCL realized some changes needed to be made. They took some of most experienced staff members from other ships and brought them to the Dream.
Our room was nice. It's a typical cruise ship room. I liked the flat screen tv. They don't have a lot of channels-- CNN, Headline news, ABC, Telemundo or something, a kids channel and several cruise channels. They show the same thing over and over and over and over and over. But, we didn't spend that much time in the room anyway.
We enjoyed the spa. The staff in the spa are great. They were very friendly and accomodating for us. I enjoyed the services we purchased there too. Take advantage of some of their specials. Don't book any services early b/c they are all cheaper when you get there! We were going to do a couples' massage-- changed our mind prior to leaving. We got there and were able to do that for half the price.
Another great addition is the Serenity deck. That is great! i really enjoyed the wicker lounge chair with the cover over it. That was my secret nap location for several days.
Lido... The Gathering needs some serious help in traffic flow. A lot of long lines to stand in for the food. The seating doesn't accomodate the amount of people that is on the ship. The best tip is to go during non-peak hours. We did that and had little problems. Oh another tip-- don't let your kids take plates out of the plate rack. The rack is VERY hot and kids may burn themselves.
Another space issue is in the Encore theater. You TRULY must get to the show at least 30-45 minutes before to get a seat. Oh, and for the night of Dancing in the streets-- get there an hour before. They really promote that show so everyone goes. We went an hour before and got ok seats. People ended up sitting on the steps, in the aisles, everywhere.
I had a great trip. I will travel with carnival again. I will probably try a different ship. there are a LOT of people on the dream and a lot of the areas really don't accomodate those numbers. But, that is not a trip-ruining thing. I had a great time. I think if you go looking for negatives-- you'll find them. I think if you go trying to find things that are fun-- you'll find them.
Try the water slide! Try the pasta bar! (Great stuff!) Try all of the things they offer on the dream!