We started our cruise by flying into Orlando and staying at Disney's Port Orleans hotel. We arrived at 8:00 p.m. so with the kids being tired, we didn't feel much like exploring the place. The next day, we spent the day at Magic Kingdom so we could get our "Disney Fix" before heading off on a 7 day cruise. As for the hotel, I have no idea why people upgrade to Disney's moderate resorts, when the value ones are just as nice. We had to upgrade because my MIL went with us and it was the only place that slept 5. But I found no significant difference between our room in the moderate resort compared to the value ones. We've previously stayed at Pop Centry and All Star Movies. Only difference that I saw was there are 2 sinks in the room instead of 1 and the pool had a small waterslide. From now on, we'll save the extra money and stay at the value resorts.
On Saturday Morning, we drove from Disney to Cape Canaveral. It took about an hour to get there. We had rented a car from Avis so we had to drop the car off and take their shuttle to the ship. The shuttle bus pulled right up and the luggage porters took our luggage straight off the bus and into their bins. We didn't have to touch the luggage at all. Good thing we already had our baggage tags on the bags. I had laminated the tags that I printed from the computer. This made me feel better that they wouldn't rip off.
We arrived about 11:30 into the terminal. The line was out the door and I thought we'd be there forever. I was suprised, we were on the ship within 30 minutes. We headed up to Lido deck for lunch. As earlier mentioned, we have cruised RCCL six times (once with the kids) so we were used to going to the Windjammer Cafe. There are a couple different buffet lines and it's very easy to find everything you want to eat. The Dream was VERY different. Depending on what kind of food you wanted, depended on which buffet line you wanted to get in. There was the Mongonlian Wok, Burger Bar, Sandwich Bar, Pasta Bar and various others but they were so spread out. Some were on the front of the ship, some were mid ship, and others were on the back. You had to walk soooo far to get what you wanted. And if you had kids, and one wanted pizza and the other wanted a sandwich, you had to go to opposite ends of the ship to get them. Same deck, but very confusing in the beginning. Finding a table that first day was practically impossible too. After we got our food we changed into our swimsuits and spent the day in the pool. At 1:30, our staterooms were ready so we headed down to check them out.
This was our first time we had ever had a balcony room and boy was it worth the money. Our philosophy had always been that you spend so little time in your room, why spend the extra money for a balcony. Now we're hooked. I loved sitting out there early in the morning while the rest of the family slept in. The room was much bigger than any RCCL ship we had been on (Magesty, Monarch, Explorer, & Liberty). It had a nice size couch, big bed and the pull down bunk came out over the couch. My boys loved the bunk bed. We slept 3 in our room and my MIL had our other son in her room. Both boys used the bunk every night.
As for the ship. It was a nice ship. I couldn't see much difference between the Dream than any other RCCL ship, but to both my DH and I, we think that RCCL ships have a little more "Wow factor" to them. Don't get me wrong, this was a very nice, beautiful ship, but it lacked that "Wow, this is amazing". But for the price (about a thousand bucks cheaper than RCL for the same week) we will definately do another Carnival cruise.
The first day at sea we took my yougest son up to Camp Carnival. He couldn't wait to go there. On their first cruise (on the Liberty of the Seas) he loved the kids program, so he could not wait to get to camp carnival. My 11 year old was a different story. He didn't like RCL's program very much so he kept saying "You're not making me go there are you", and I figured he'd spend the entire week hanging out with us. I talked him into going to Camp Carnival for one hour on the first day, just to give it a shot. I told him that if he didn't like it, he didn't have to go back. So we dropped him off assuming that we'd be seeing him again in an hour. Well....to my suprise, when we went to pick him, he didn't want to leave. He asked to stay longer. We were tickled to death. So we gave him another hour and he still didn't want to leave. To make a long story short, both my kids begged to say in camp carnival. To the point that they didn't even want to get off the ship to do excursions. The day in Cozumel, we were swimming with dolphins and they wanted to stay on the ship in Camp Carnival instead. We had to make them leave the place. So....Camp Carnival made their vacation the best one ever!!!!! I have to comment on the sewage smell that I had read so much about before going on the cruise. I did smell it a couple times, once on the top stairs waiting to go down the slides, and once near the laundry facility on deck 7. It was very faint and would never have though twice about it had I not read all the comments about it before. If you were walking down the hall, as soon as you noticed it, it was gone. No big deal what so ever. We will definately do Carnival again. It all depends on the price. RCCL definately has the more beautiful ship, but this ship was very pretty too. I was scared that I'd be comparing everything to RCCL, but we didn't. Everything, and I mean everything was very comparible. Food, entertainment, everything.