I recently took a Eastern Caribbean cruise aboard the Carnival Dream. I traveled with my girlfriend and we are both 22 and have both been on 1 cruise prior (me on Carnival and her on Royal Caribbean). The embarkation process was fairly easy and smooth and the staff was very friendly and helpful. I was already pretty familiar with the layout and the design of the ship prior to boarding so no surprises once I stepped aboard. The atrium is beautiful but also small compared to the atrium on my last cruise (carnival glory).
We were pleasantly surprised upon entering our room as it was bigger than expected and our room was right in the front of the ship so we had a great view looking out the window. Our room steward was excellent, very friendly and very helpful. For the most part the entire staff on the ship was friendly and helpful although I eventually started to get annoyed with somebody always stopping us to take our picture, no big deal though.
The layout of the ship is well laid out, everything was easy to find for the most part. There were many times when you felt overwhelmed by the amount of people on board especially when trying to find a lounge chair on the deck or going back to the buffet for seconds and having to wait in another long line. But I expected those things and did not let it ruin my cruise like others do. Activities were fun such as mini golf, water slides, comedy club, different games and various shows. I felt the pools were way to small and to only have 2 is kind of ridiculous in my opinion. There were also times when me and my girlfriend were bored, we got tired of the same ol' stuff everyday. Not enough things to do around the ship in my opinion.
Overall we enjoyed our experience but were disappointed at some things. I think our next cruise will be on the Oasis of the Seas or possibly Norwegian Epic this coming summer.