In January of '10 my wife and I traveled on the Dream to Nassau, St.Thomas and St.Maartin. The ship was new and well polished, although there did not seem to be any discernible theme to this ship as we had seen on other Carnival ships; unless seas of RED is a theme. We joked that the theme was "Red Light District" as the dining room had thousands of what looked like red drinking glasses as light shades on the ceilings. Nearly all the furnishings on the ship had some shade of red in them. It got old long before the cruise was over.
The cabin was very nice. Large and well appointed in the classic Carnival style, with plenty of storage space for your clothes and bags. My one major complaint about the cabins is having only ONE 110V electrical outlet, and that was on the desk. In the modern age with chargers for cell phones, cameras, laptops and gaming systems, this is a big problem. We ended up buying a power strip and extension cords at the first port of call, to solve the problem of charging all our toys.
The dining staff worked very hard to accommodate our requests and needs. This was a particular struggle for them, as one couple at our table seemed to delight in making ridiculous requests, including asking for two entrees almost every evening. The food was on par for Carnival. Excellent most nights, but only so-so on others. It was obvious that the staff was undermanned. The dinning room was larger than that on the Destiny, the last ship we cruised on, but there was only two staff to wait six tables, rather than four as on the Destiny. And the distance they had to walk to get to the kitchen is far longer than in the smaller ships. Not well thought out.
In the buffet areas, there was often long lines. And it was again obvious that the area was not large enough to handle the number of people who were trying to eat at once. Sometimes requiring you to orbit the dinning areas looking for a table or booth that was free. This lent itself to cold food. There was a continuing problem with people "holding a place" in the line for others, with sometimes a dozen people wanting to cut into the line to join the one who had been in line. This was not well policed by the line staff. Only once when I was lucky enough to catch a senior ships officer passing was I able to make an issue of a particularly large group, over twenty, who were trying to ditch into the line after I had waited 45 minutes to get up to the buffet table. I demanded he do something about the issue, and many others in line joined in to the complaint. This officer ordered the ditchers to go to the end of the line,and told the one person who had been standing there that she could have ONE person join her, or she could go the the back with the others.
Now to the other major problem with ships the size of the Dream. You still have just one gang plank to embark and disembark the ship. But now there are up to three times the number of guests trying to use that portal. This at times was a real problem. The other issue is the shear number of people being dumped onto the dock at one time. At more than one port, guests had problems finding the shore excursion groups, due to the throngs of people on the pier. At St.Martin, the Oasis of the Sea docked just ahead of us, along with three other ships. This sea of humanity overwhelmed the port facilities. No taxis, hundreds waiting to use the water taxi to get over to the town, and shops that were more like sardine cans than anything else. Having five ships dock is such a small port was STUPID.
Overall - we did have a good time, just disappointed at what it could have been. We will not travel on a ship this large in the future. I have doubts that the cruise industry can train and staff ships of this size on the schedule they are trying to keep, with over a dozen ships the size of the Dream being built. This will only make the staffing problems that much worse in the future.