This was our first Back to back cruise experience. The week of January 23 was Western Caribbean and the week of January 30 was Eastern Caribbean.
We do not fly. Since it was January and we live in the Snow Belt we left Ohio on Wednesday and headed south. The trip is very familiar to us and after researching hotels at the beach, we chose to spend 2 nights at Disney. On the morning of the cruise we drove from Disney to the port.
Port Canaveral has the embarkation process down to a tee. We stopped to drop off luggage and my husband parked the car in the garage. (You do not pay for parking until you disembark, so be sure to put your ticket on your dash) We were in the terminal, checked in and on the ship in less than 30 minutes, about 11:30. (The online check in really does speed up the process.) The lido was open for lunch and as usual the cabins were not available until 1:30. The lido was already extremely crowded, but we found a table, ate lunch, and explored the ship, until we could get in our cabin.
We had a spa cabin on deck 12. The cabin was the same size as other balcony cabins on all Carnival ships, the colors were more pleasing than the usual (dark reds and tans). We were the second cabin forward on the port side. It was a very convenient location to the spa and the elevators. We did encounter noise on the days the slides were open, lots of running above us. The amenities of the cabin included access to thalssotheraphy pool, the thermal suite, tea room, a private locker room and 2 free fitness classes.
The Spa was wonderful. We used the thalssotheraphy pool at least once a day. My husband usually went twice a day. The water was very warm, sometimes too warm to my liking. The thermal suite includes 2 steam rooms, 2 relaxation rooms with heated tile loungers, 2 rain showers and the tea room. One of the steam rooms has eucalyptus steam and the other aroma I not sure of. The tile loungers are the greatest relaxer I have encountered in a long time. The tea room had fresh fruit, ice waters (lemon and cucumber), and several tea choices. The entire area was very quiet and relaxing. We never encountered any crowding in any of the areas. We usually went in the mornings around 9 and early evenings. I enjoyed the showers in the locker room, instead of the cabin's tight quarters.
Dining- We had anytime dining. Most nights there was no wait. We always asked for a table for 2. One evening we had to wait for 40 minutes for a table. We were aware that we had "timed" it that several diners were just being seated and we relaxed in the library. The wait was no longer or unpleasant than being at Olive Garden or many other land restaurants. Later that evening room service arrived at our cabin with a plate of sweets with a card from the maitre'd and hostesses apologizing for our long wait.
The meals were all good. We had filet mignon, prime rib, lobster, the chatebriand, pork, and all were very good. I tried several of the soups and appetizers, and love the chilled fruit soups. My husband is not into any "fancy" dishes, and it was no problem for him to get a plain salad every evening and any other "special" requests.
The lido buffet at breakfast and lunch had many choices, not so much at dinner time. The pasta bar is great, and don't forget the grill, pizza and deli areas. We used room service several times and it was always quick and warm.
Shows - The main theater is too small in my humble opinion. Some show nights there were no seats left 20 minutes before the show started. Seat saving caused some problems. The shows were good and you don't want to miss the "Dancing in the Streets" show.
The comedy shows were OK. The shows were pretty much the same old routines. We didn't go to the other lounges. The Ocean plaza area is very nice and doesn't seem to be used as much as I would have thought it would.
Ports - We've been to all the ports before, so we tended to take advantage of the empty ship on port days. I got off at Isla Roatan to check out the new cruise center. Mahogany Bay and the beach area are beautiful. We couldn't dock at Costa Maya because of high winds and rough seas. In St. Thomas we did the Paradise Point Skyway. The views were pretty but as usually the price was a little too high.
All in all we think the Dream is a winner and would book it again.