I was asked to accompany my sister on this cruise to split the cost of a balcony stateroom with her. We were also traveling with six other people, who have all cruised with Carnival previously. I had not and was a bit concerned because The Dream is such a large ship carrying so many people. My concerns proved valid.
Embarkation: Carnival made this quite easy and since my sister is a Platinum card holder with Carnival, it was even easier than I had expected. But as we preceded to board ship we were accosted by at least six different photographers on each side of us wanting to take our photos, which we fended off politely until the very last one who told us "it's mandatory". I said to her "oh really? Mandatory, eh? I don't want a photo, now go away". Finally, we managed to make it through the arsenal of photographers onto the actual ship (yay!) and what's there to greet us?....grr another picture taker with a man in a costume to pose with us. That one nearly got a push from me.
Cabin: We finally got to our cabin and our bags were there already. Good job crew! There was only one electrical outlet on the dresser area, that was alright, my sister was prepared with an adapter to plug in with 3 receptacles. The balcony was my salvation. I was able to rest and put my feet up from walking what seemed like a kabillion miles to my sore knees on that humungo ship. It gave me sanctuary at times from the throngs of people crowding every corridor, elevator, lounge, deck and dining area. The ship had a constant lurch from side to side that I've read others remark on. For suck a large ship, I didn't expect such instability. I lay in bed on my side at night and the lurching kept turning me on my back. Our cabin Steward took great care in cleaning our room and making sure that the squeak the bathroom door developed was repaired with WD40 even though we had not reported it to him. We ordered coffee and pastries every morning very early by 6:30 usually and it always arrived precisely on time. Kudos to the room service people for that. The decor was pretty bland to my eyes, except for the nerve rattling orange and red picture on the all. Oh I guess this is where I should mention the aroma of raw sewage that seemed to be evident each day during the early evening hours. That has also been reported by other passengers in other reviews of The Dream. We had sent out several pair of slacks each for wash and fold service. We left them in the morning on Wed. about 9 a.m. It said on our form that laundry would be returned by 6 p.m. that same day. Two days later and several calls to housekeeping, we finally got them back.
Ship and decks: Decor, 80's Disco. Reds, Oranges, Giraffe prints in the theater. Sort of Elton John meets Abba sort of thing going on there. The lido deck was wall to wall chairs, very little room to navigate around them all. The area to get hamburgs and hot dogs out there on the Lido deck usually had a line so long that we never bothered to wait. The buffet was average with throngs of people standing idle in line holding their plates. The Pasta Bar was very good. The main dining room was the best thing about this cruise. The service was superior thanks to Darwin our head waiter, and to the food there which was excellent. The casino was average with a small area for smokers, which I am one. Staff there were not especially helpful even though I'd lost $93 by inserting my Sign and Sail card in to cash out in order to join a poker table and pulled out the card too fast. Some lucky (and dishonest) woman who sat at that machine was fortunate that I was careless. "Oh yes, I thought there was a little more money in it when I sat, but I don't remember" Of course, the boss of the casino could only offer sorrowful condolences at my loss. Oh well...
Elevators: Oh this deserves some mention particularly since you waste a lot of time waiting for one on this ship. Trying to get down to the dining room was like taking a wild safari expedition in darkest Africa. Throngs waiting to see a light for an elevator, then the doors slide open and we see a bunch of sardine people wide-eyed and grateful to have snagged one staring back at you (ha-ha-ha we are in, you aren't) After finally squeezing into one, we find about 100 people waiting outside the elevator for the dining room to open. Note: the elevators are free and easy to get on if you are either an early morning person (6:00 a.m) or a night owl (midnight)
Shore Excursiona: St.Thomas, Catamaran Sail and Snorkel. Thumbs up on that one. St. Maarten, Power rafting with snorkel and swim. That was okay, not worth the $95 though.
Food: Overall it was average except for the main dining room in the evening, that was always good. The buffet lines long, the food average, not hot enough, table seating was inadequate for all the people there.
Shows: We went to three in the theater. Dancing in the Streets, which was energetic and good for me but my sister didn't appreciate the style of music, not her cup of tea so to speak. The comic was alright. The 3rd show was dancing and music and that was good but I was so tired from walking the bazillion miles that I put my head back and almost fell asleep.
Children: I found a lot of children left unattended and free to run around like maniacs and push all the elevator buttons (so cute,right?) I found them having a blast in the Jacuzzi splashing and playing (so what's wrong with the pool and slide?)
Disembarkation: Carnival made this task very very easy for everyone and we all disembarked without any fuss or trouble. Our luggage was easy to find on the carousel.
Overall Impression of The Dream: Too big, too crowded, food average, lots of miles walking, too expensive *charge for any liquid you ingest including water. Would I take another Carnival cruise? uh...no