7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Dream from 1/30/10-2/6/10. This was our 9th cruise, 5th on Carnival. We had a previous issue with Carnival in 2006 and had not sailed with their line since that time. We were intrigued by the new ship and promise of updated activities and menus and ship layout. We decided to give Carnival another try and were very excited as the date of sail approached. Since we have cruised many times before, we did not attend any of the formal nights. We did chose the anytime dining option and for the nights we did eat in the Crimson/Scarlet dining rooms, the food was fine. Nothing really bad to say nor nothing was really awesome either. The staff on the entire ship was AWESOME. Always friendly, happy, helpful! We were fortunate enough to have John Heald as our CD and he was too funny!
1/30/10-Embarkation was a breeze! Kudos to Carnival for getting this down to an art like their sister company, Princess! We arrived to the port approximately 1:00 pm. Total time from drop off by our cab to entry into our cabin was approximately 15 minutes. AWESOME!
CABIN: 6402: AH...here is where the issues begin. I booked this cruise directly through a Carnival agent about 10 months prior to sailing. Hubby and I are not very picky, we just want a non-obstructed balcony cabin, away from smokers and quiet. We prefer mid-ship, but otherwise no preferences. Imagine my surprise upon arriving to our cabin, opening the drapes and finding the walking deck and cantilever hot tub and outside smoking area directly below!! The folks were using the steps on the hot tub to elevate themselves to peer into our cabins! Hubby and I decided, oh well, we aren't going to let it ruin our cruise and went on to explore the rest of the ship. Upon returning to our cabin around 10:30pm, we were greeted with loud, vibrating music, coming through the floor from the lounge below! This continued until 1 am EVERY NIGHT of our cruise! Hubby did speak with someone at the customer service desk, but essentially was told there wasn't anything that could be done. My complaint is that at no time was I informed that our balcony would not have privacy and that we would possibly be subjected to loud music until 1 am! I strongly feel that these cabins should be a reduced rate, and treated like an obstructed view and at the very least, CARNIVAL should disclose these issues at the time of booking.
1/31/10: Nassau: Didn't go into port because we were there only about 6 hours. We used this time to explore the ship. We were really impressed by the Serenity Adults Only area, especially since there was 400+ kids on this cruise. I wonder why Carnival continues to stop at this port if they are only going to allow 6 hours?
2/1/10: Sea day: Activities offered were the usual, trivia, dance classes, etc. Nothing new that I could find. I did find that there were plenty of spaces on the various decks to find a lounge chair, many were not in the sun which is a plus for those of us who can't tolerate direct sun for extended periods. Usual expected lines at prime meal times at the buffets, we just learned to eat at off hours. Not a big deal and should have been expected for such a large ship. Food was, eh.. mediocre, usual buffet food found in any/all of the cruise lines. Again, this should be expected with the MASSES they feed everyday, 3 times a day.
2/2/10: St. Thomas: We have been to this port several times and chose the St. John excursion. It was lovely! Took the skyride up to Paradise Point and got to see the sunset and other ships pulling out of port. This was the highlight of my trip! It was absolutely breath taking!
2/3/10: St. Marteen: Again, had been to this port many, many times. We did the Explorer Island tour and the boat tour around the French/Dutch side was so much fun! Shine was awesome and we enjoyed the music and rum punch. Nice was to spend a beautiful day!
2/4/10 & 2/5/10: 2 sea days. Again, usual activities, another formal night. Seemed to be more kids around these 2 days. I like kids, have 3 of my own and 2 grands but..I guess since this was Carnival..I should have expected it.
2/6/10: We chose to carry off our own luggage and was off the ship and to our hotel in Cocoa Beach by 7:15 am! This is the way to go if you can handle your roll on luggage! Wish we would have been offered this option in the past.
Overall, the cruise was really what we have come to expect from Carnival and I have no complaints. I really was upset about the balcony issue and the fact that it was not disclosed to us at the time of booking, the fact that it was not at all private and we would feel like zoo animals on display by the end of our cruise.