We arrived at Port Canaveral at 11:30 a.m. and were on the ship by 12:00 or so. We left our car at the pier, just a couple of rows from the baggage collection areas. We dropped off our bags and were directed inside through security. After filling out a health questionaire, we stood in line for no more than 15 minutes for check-in. We received a card with a zone number on it, and once that number was called we were able to board the ship.
The rooms were not ready, so all were directed to the Lido Deck 10 to enjoy lunch. It was a madhouse of people with their carry-ons trying to find a buffet. There are several buffet areas, and one that I thought would move quickly was a Mongolian BBQ where they cook your entree after you select the ingredients. I walked around and found that the Tandori buffet at the aft had no line at all. After a rather spicy but delicious lunch, we headed to our cabin.
Muster Drill: The "Pumpkin Drill" is a thing of the past, at least on the Carnival Dream. Passengers no longer have to find their staterooms, retrieve their life vests and then head to the muster station cramming into a tight space for the safety review. Your muster station will be printed on your Sail & Sign Card and will be one of the lounges or restaurants onboard. Our's was the Scarlett Dining Room. Once we found a table, the crew demonstrated the proper way to wear a life vest and a few other safety precautions. The whole drill was about 30 minutes, and much less of a hassle that ever before.
Dining: My mother & I ate in the Scarlett Dining Room most nights. The food was very good but the service seemed to be lacking. It was efficient, but rather slow.
On the first Fun Day at Sea there was a cooking demonstration in the Chef's Art Steakhouse hosted by the ship's comedian "Jeff the Fun Dude." As each dish was introduced, servers brought out samples. I joined some friends one evening at the Steakhouse and would have to say that although the steak was good (NY Strip), the service was again mediocre. It reminded me more of a regular dining room on a premium cruiseline than the extravagant steakhouse that they try to promote. For example, afer our steaks were served it was a good 5 - 10 minutes before our side dishes were brought out.
The Gathering buffets on the Lido deck were very good with plentiful food. They offered different breakfast dishes which was a welcome relief from the usual breakfast buffet such as quiche one morning and an Italian sausage dish on another. On Friday, one entire buffet had the Chocolate Extravaganza which had every imaginable chocolate dessert and more! It was offered during the lunch serving time.
Shows: The musical performances were very good. They tried a new format of a show called Dancing in the Streets that was quite interesting. There were also the usual magicians and hypnotists. They also have a Comedy Club every night were there are several shows both PG and R rated.
Disembarkation: We decided to have our luggage taken out, so we packed everything and set it out the night before. We were off the ship and driving home by 9:30 a.m. Remember parking just a few rows from the baggage drop off area? It came in very handy when the porter brought out luggage to the car. Now that's service!
Any questions, please feel free to e-mail!