First the good news: the food and service were spectacular. If you can't find something you love, especially at lunch time in the Gathering, you have a problem. We ate all our dinners in the Crimson dining room and the food was delicious. We had 2 rooms and our steward did a great job - always had ice, plenty of clean towels and wonderful towel animals. The staff, in general, seemed quite friendly and helpful. We had a great time at Cozumel where we went to Nachi Cocum (sp?) on our own - the food and drinks were awesome! We booked a shore excursion through Carnival at Roatan to Maya Key and that was really fun, we especially enjoyed the animals and the beach. My daughters and I booked a snorkel trip at Belize and saw some really cool fish and coral but it rained most of the time which kind of put a damper on things. The most disappointing stop was Costa Maya - if you want any culture at all you need to get away from the port - it's just a commercial fake town.
Now the bad news: The Dream just has way too many people on it. It might be a bigger ship but if you increase the number of rooms you'd better increase the amount of public space. We couldn't believe how little space there was in the fitness room - people were stepping on each other trying to work out! There was no way to get a seat at a show unless you went an hour early, but that was okay because we're not really show people. Sometimes the sewer smell was really overwhelming, especially out on deck by the slides and water play area. The worst was when it was in our hall and sometimes even in our room. This was our 6th cruise and we always book a balcony because we like looking out over the ocean at night and feeling like we're kind of out there by ourselves - so it was pretty disappointing to discover the promenade deck (5th floor) went right under our balcony. Instead of looking down at water, we got to watch people playing chess. And it did get noisy sometimes with people being outside the front door and outside the back door!
But, we'd have to say that the good certainly outweighed the bad. We had a great time and would definitely choose Carnival again, but probably not the Dream. In our book, bigger is definitely not better!