Are you also skeptical about the Carnival Dream after reading mixed reviews? Then this review may help.
First, I think it is very important to know some background information about a person before reading too much into their comments about a vacation. (Different age groups may choose to see and do very different things when traveling)
I am a 27 year old male who cruised for the 3rd time to the Western Caribbean with my girlfriend (Age 25) from May 1st, 2010- May 8th, 2010. We made 4 ports of call; Cozumel, Belize, Roatan and Costa Maya.
I was very nervous about this ship after reading dozens and dozens of negative reviews. I remember reading about; Sewer Smells, Noisy Ship, Rocky Ride, Over-crowded, Lines for Buffets, and so on. These reviews nearly made me cancel my cruise and switch to the Freedom of the Seas by Royal Caribbean. (obviously swallowing 25% of my deposit was tough to think about)
Are they accurate? Well... Sewer Smells - I did smell foul odors while docked in different ports, but that is VERY common on all cruise ships. The new modern cruise ships dispose of waste in the ocean. Obviously, 4000-5000 peoples waste including dishwater they use to clean and any other water on board may stink a little. It did not bother me and it will not ruin anyones vacation.
Noisy - A myth! I did not find this ship to be noisy at all (again I was on the bottom floor)
Rocky Ship - I did notice this ship swayed much more then any cruise I had been on before. I heard many people talking about this as well. (Maybe too top heavy or they cheeped out on the stabilizers'?)
Over-Crowded - You know what to expect with this big of a boat, A LOT OF PEOPLE. I found that people were doing many different things and it was never too busy. (only the "days at sea" seemed a little crowded. Sometimes hard to find a good chair to lay-out)
Lines at the Buffets - This did not effect me at all 10-15minutes and I was through the line. (I think you would have to be very picky person if that bothers you at a buffet)
A couple of things that I did not read about, but felt bothered me were; the speaker system was very hard to hear announcements in different areas of the boat, The gym was SMALL (you're better off ruining around the track on deck 14), and a confusing layout of the ship.
So now about the GOOD STUFF....
1. The ship was beautiful; Bright, Colorful, CLEAN, and very modern. 2. The meals were above average (not a 5 star) but very tasty and many different selections. 3. The staterooms were bigger then typical staterooms (I would recommend going cheap, because our Ocean View was bigger and just as nice as the balcony rooms) 4. Embarkment & Debarkment was very smooth, especially for that many people. 5. Ports of Call were average. I enjoyed the Eastern much more. (for me, Belize & Cozumel weren't worth the stop) 6. Entertainment was good, but DANCING IN THE STREETS was AMAZING! Don't miss it! 7. Casino was a little small, but never felt over crowded. 8. The bands were very good, but felt they could have used some entertainment inside between 230-430pm 9. Mini-golf and Slides were a lot of fun. A good bonus (Carnival may need to add some on-board activities in the future to keep up with the competitors.) Dream or Nightmare?
Overall, My vacation was a Dream and I have not awaken yet. This trip has left me with memories for a lifetime. Do not let negative reviews and minute things ruin your trip. Life is too short. Well done Carnival! Grade: A
RECOMMENDATIONS: - Carry Alcohol in your luggage (drinks are expensive) - No need to do excursion at Costa Maya, Mexico (there is a nice beach, pool for free) - Be careful in Belize (felt unsafe) - Go cheap on stateroom