We set just returned on Jan. 23rd from our 3rd Cruise with Carnival. I read many reviews prior to setting sail and wanted to share my experience with everyone as well.
Embarkation/Debarkation... Went okay. I don't like the hurry up and wait attitude that some of the Carnival employees have. Didn't even check my info as I was entering the terminal at the door because they were too busy pushing us through the line. A little confusing on with posted signs saying that porters are salary and no tipping. However they ask for a donation?
My only complaint on debarkation is they kicked us off way to soon. :(
Meals/Dining... I loved the Mongolian Wok and had it the first 2 days on board. I waited 30 min. or so. My DH thought I was crazy but totally worth the wait. Deli was okay, a sandwich is a sandwich. Pasta bar was good had it 2 times as well. Even when busy they got the food to you quickly. Wish the would set up the Mongolian Wok the same way as the Pasta Bar. They should check into that. I only ate the buffet for breakfast a couple times and I have to say the bacon is aweful. The food is not what I would consider warm. My hubby seemed to always get through the omelet line quickly. Pizza taste just like it does on the other Carnival cruise ships that I have been on.
We had late seating in the Scarlet Dining room. We had Thomas from the Czech Republic. He is awesome. He is the best waiter we have had in the 3 cruises. He will be moving to the Carnival Fantasy this spring so the Carnival Dream is losing an awesome asset. We saw him through out the day and even busy at work always gave us a wave and a smile. The food was good. The lobster was actually not overcooked this time. I was disappointed in the Melting cake. I had it the first night and it just was not right. We were treated well in the dining room and never waited.
Lido deck... We spent plenty of time on the lido deck and it was always crowded. So was the Serenity Deck. This was the first cruise that I saw so many children and disabled people. Believe it or not there were many times I saw children 13 or younger running about the ship unattended by an adult. (I have children in this age group so I would think that other parents would be courteous of other passengers on vacation and wonder where there kids were?)
Shows... These were the best show we have seen on a cruise. Others have said the lead singer is loud and overbearing. She must have been reading the reviews because she wasn't near as bad as the one on the Carnival Conquest in 2007. Dancers were awesome. Adult comedy show with Happy Cole was hilarious. He had us crying with laughter. My 65 year old Great Aunt had a side ache the next day from laughing so hard. Check him out.
Casino... Pretty tight machines I didn't hear many bells and whistles and really didn't hear of anyone winning a great deal. Does have separate section for smokers.
Stateroom staff...I would have to say that they were ok and I say that with a heavy heart because we have in the past always had over the top stateroom service. Sometimes our room was cleaned 2 times a day and sometimes it wasn't. They always wanted to turn down the bed between 6:30-7 when we were getting cleaned up to go eat at late seating. They eventually caught on though.
Guest Services....Went down to guest services 4 times. For issues that were not in my control. (My DH sail and sign card was not set up properly at embarkation, items misplaced in cabin by room steward, general question regarding legend show ) The lady who help with S&S was polite and helpful. The gentlemen who I was lucky to have wait on me the other 3 times was condescending. He would cut me off in mid sentence. Extremely rude and treated me poorly.
Water slide... Young or old. Go down both the Twister and the drain pipe. Just the view up there itself is awesome!! Love the slides and the view.
We had a great trip. Many aspects of this ship were awesome. Ship was georgeous but too big. No problems navigating though. Just too many people for us. We will be sailing a smaller ship next time. Great value for the money.