Carnival Dream Review
Sail Date: First week of March 2010
We have been on 11 cruises on various lines in the past 20 years. We have sailed in the past with Carnival, Royal Caribbean, NCL, and Disney. Our previous Carnival experience many years ago was not good. We decided to try Carnival again since most reviews were coming back positive for the Carnival Glory and the Dream.
I will just list the pros, cons and follow up with helpful suggestions and an overall impression of our Carnival Dream cruise experience.
New experiences for us
•Scooters for the disabled were everywhere. I have not seen scooters onboard a ship before. If you will be bringing a scooter onboard, you will need to plan and time your movements around the ship with great detail. I suggested to Carnival that they have a dedicated key card access elevator for disabled, since the elevators proved difficult for the non-handicapped. (see note below on elevators)
•Laser light show. Very interesting, but due to the cold weather and the wind, the fogging machines could not create the proper setting for the lasers to reflect. The show should be moved into the main auditorium on cold or windy days.
•Cruise director daily morning TV show. We really enjoyed the morning shows with John Heald. John even has daily blog you can read at www.johnhealdsblog.com
•Big, big ship. We were surprised that the ship had a lot of movement for such a large vessel. The ocean wasn’t rough at all, but the ship always had a side to side movement. If you are prone to sea sickness, book a room as low and to the middle of the ship as possible.
•Absolutely the best food of any cruise ship or line we have ever sailed.
•The best staff of any cruise we have taken.
•The Dream was the cleanest ship we have ever sailed on.
•The cruise director (John Heald) was a lot of fun.
•Excellent choices in dining -We did not go the pay restaurant, but heard from many that it was great. -Do not miss the Pasta Bar on the second level of the Gathering. Very good food and seemed to be less crowded. -Do not mis the Wok. -The deli at the rear of the ship, the pool-side burger grill, and the burrito bar were all good. -Main dining room food and service were excellent
•The entertainment was good. We especially liked the break dancers and the show “dancing in the streets”.
•The life boat drill was painless. Carnival did not require us to wear life jackets at the drill. The muster was in the lounges and not out on the decks. The drill was short and easy. Suggestion: go early to the drill so you can have a seat. Otherwise you will be standing for about 25 minutes. •Ship was beautiful and clean. The Dream was nicely decorated and very classy.
Cons (with suggestions)
•Do not book a category 1A cabin that has only bunk beds unless it is to be used for teenagers. We purchased the cabin thinking we could easily get upgraded. We were wrong and were stuck with the terrible sleeping condition the entire cruise. Bunk beds were not made for couples that are in their late forties. The cabin consisted of one small bed (cot) and one overhead bunk. There were no chairs or couches to sit. The ship brought us two comfortable chairs upon request. (Only after they brought two hard banquet chairs the first time) suggestion: pay the extra money for a real room.
•Lines, lines and more lines. Too many people on board. Be prepared to wait in lines for everything. Suggestion: Timing is everything. If you are going to eat in the Gathering, go early or late. If you are going to go ashore, wait until the first rush leaves and get back to the ship early.
•Not enough elevators. All elevators were packed full and are difficult to catch. Each time the elevator opened, it was too full to get on. Many people resorted to riding the elevator up to ensure they have a ride down. As stated above, I don’t know how the handicapped with scooters were able to get on the elevators. Suggestion: We found that again, timing is everything. Use the middle or forward elevators during the two dining rushes. Use the middle or rear elevators for show time rushes. What this means is, you will have to walk to the opposite side of the ship to catch an elevator instead of catching the closest elevator. When the ship is a port, they exit forward at deck 0. When you get back on board, walk up one flight of stairs and use the middle or back of the ship elevators.
•Ships layout. The term “cant get there from here” applies. You cannot go from the front the ship to the rear of the ship on every floor. In some cases you need to go up or one level and back down to the get somewhere. Deck 3 is a good example. You cannot get to deck three Scarlet Dining Rooms level 3 by walking straight back deck 3. You have to go up or down and then come back to 3.
•Smokers are to stay on the port side outdoors, but many smokers don’t know this and smoke in the non-smoking areas. Non-smoking areas are not well defined and are unmarked.
•Seating in the main auditorium is impossible for the shows. Get there early 30 to 45 minutes early, or try the late show. The late show seemed to have better availability.
•Occasional bad sewage odor. The odor was not confined to one area, but could be sensed at different times on all decks. Even on the outdoor decks. Don’t have a suggestion except hold you nose or move to an area up wind.
•Paid internet services were terrible. The fun hubs were expensive, slow and unreliable. I paid for over two hours of internet time, but was only able to actually be on the internet a total of 40 minutes with at most 10 minutes at a time before the system locked up. Suggestion: use your cell phone texting when you can. I did it a few times, but am not sure what the cost will be. I would think it would be less than the cost fun hub internet
•Rooms do not have clocks in them. Bring your own of have a watch.
It sounds like a bad cruise from all the cons above. Once you learn how to work around the issues, the cruise was actually a lot of fun. It is a big ship and a lot of people. Carnival has stepped up the game and we will no longer classify them as the “Wal-Mart of cruises” The food and services were the best we have ever seen.
Have fun, fun fun!
John and Corrine