We departed on the DREAM on 15 May. We had a suite (for the first time) and thus had VIP check-in and debarkation privledges, so keep that in mind as you read the below review categories, provided with honest, candid reviews by topic:
Embarkation: From Taxi to on-deck in the Lido was 20 minutes. Just real fast and real smooth. VIP check-in is really great.
First impressions: Very nice ship; nice decor; not overdone.
FOOD: Dining room was truly great. Food quality was very good and food always arrived hot and done exactly like we ordered. We both order steak, as example, medium-rare and it was always perfect. Lobster and shrimp were never over-cooked...a real positive even compared to many restaurants.
FOOD: Lido Deck: Average food, but good selection. The WOK and PASTA BAR are very good additions. The Linguine with Alfredo sauces, with either Chicken or Shrimp added, are both excellent. The Alfredo sauce they make in the PASTA bar is very good, not near as "heavy" as that used in many restaurants. Makes a great lunch or dinner item. Lines: Yes, they have lines. DO NOT let day one on LIDO impact your impression. On Day one, there is nothing for guests to do until their rooms are ready but to go to the LIDO deck. But normal wait is only 10 minutes from time you start to the time your plate is full.
Room: The basic suite we had on deck seven was very very nice. We "splurged" on a suite this trip...we normally sail in standard balcony rooms. The additional space gave us a feeling of "openness". The suite room is about 30 percent or so more space than a balcony room. Biggest pluses in splurging on a suite are the additional room space, additional storage (we put away all four piece's of luggage in the additional closet space in this room plus all our clothing), a jet tub in the bathroom (OK, do not understate or downplay the jet tub...it was really great after a day at the pool or on the beach, this is great!!!! The tub jets were powerful and provided a great relaxing bath), and a double sink in bathroom so both of us could get ready at once (also a biggie before dinner or first thing in the morning.
Pools: A biggie for us...we spend tons of time at the LIDO pools. Keep in mind our itinerary was Western/Southern Caribbean with four stops (Cozumel, Roatan, Belize, and Costa Maya), and thus with more stops there are less days at sea when pools are more crowded. We got to the pool at 10:00 am and never had to wait for a chair. On two days at ports we stayed aboard ship and we were the ONLY people in the pool at 10:00 am. Felt like our own private cruise ship. If you get to the pool after 10:00 am while at sea, it is busy. If you get to the pool at 11:30 am or later while at sea, you wont find chairs for two or more people wanting to sit beside one another.
Chair Saving: Carnival continually shows on the big screen a message that any chair towels left unattended for 40 minutes or more will be collected. Well, they do not do that at all. We saw towels in chairs for over two hours, without any action taken. So, chair saving does happen, but given our habit of being on deck by 10:00 am at the pool, this did not impact us.
Cozumel: Dolphin Swim and Ride: This is the best thing we have ever done on a cruise...off the ship that is. A must do, worth the money. Then, after, take a five dollar taxi ride to downtown shopping and small bars and restaurants. Cozumel is our favorite spot, and we always have a great time shopping there (they will haggle/deal on everything) and going to local (on the main strip) restaurants and bars is always great too.
Belize; Costa Maya; Isla Roatan: Not much here....but pick through excursions to find activities you like, OR just stay aboard the ship because the crowds are all gone on port calls.
SMELL: Yep, you get whiffs of smells of an unpleasant nature. Never smelt this on the pool deck, but did in hallways. It is not consistent and it is not lingering all the time. While it was noticeable, it was not always present. Did not impact our overall great cruise. But I think they need to continue looking at this matter.
Debarkation: Off the ship in 15 to 20 minutes. Got to Budget in Port Canaveral and drove to Orlando for flights, all by 8:30 am. Very impressive.