We just returned from our 10th cruise. We prefer Royal Caribbean, but Carnival had a good price on the Dream to the Western Caribbean.
I expected much more from the ship. The only thing different about the Dream than any other Carnival ship is more staterooms. You could put any name (Fascination, Sensation, etc) and you have the same ship. Nothing more than a big water slide, and a huge movie screen on the pool deck.
The Gathering (buffet) food was pitiful. Every night was the same. Some sticky pasta, some type of fish and some type of meat. They no longer serve the chocolate warming cake on the buffet. You can only get it in the dining room.
The biggest disappointment was the Spa. My husband and I bought new bathing suits to use the mineral pool, only to find out there was a charge of $250.00 for the week to use it. We didn't see any value in spending $250 for a mineral pool, which was our only interest.
The casino was smaller than any other ship we have sailed on. They have divided it into smoking and non-smoking areas. The slot machines were the worst we have ever played. There were only 2 winners the entire week. It was a major waste of time because NOTHING paid off.
The only redeeming quality of the ship was the crew. Tatiana from Ukraine was the best server in the Gathering, our cabin steward Putu was fabulous, and John the cruise director, made us laugh till our sides hurt.
This was the first cruise I have ever taken that I couldn't wait to get off of the ship. Needless to say, we are through with Carnival. Royal Caribbean will be getting our business for the rest of our cruising days.