We sailed the E. Caribbean Route on the Dream from May 8 - May 15, , and loved every minute of it. We had read the poor reviews and were worried as many have said they were too. So, quickly, I will report what we experienced. And thanks to those who did write reviews for Cruise Critics.. I poured over them for months.
EMBARKTATION....Easy. People living close to the Port, and driving in were apparently called by Carnival, and told to arrive early. We did. We were told to be there by 10:30 and we were. We waited a few moments after doing our registration, then we were boarded. We were sitting on the Lido Deck, eating pizza by a little after 11:00 am. I kid you not.
CABIN....The Cabins were open by 1:30pm. We had a balcony on the Panorama Deck. Everything worked. The Cabin was cleaned a little late each day, but the young woman who cleaned it was working across the hall, and when she did see to the cabin, ..it was spotless. We had occasion to request two small services, and she immediately saw that they were done. We tipped her extra as we thought she did a fine job. The only problem we had was navigating from the Panorama Deck to the Dining Areas on the Lido Deck and on Deck Three. We would go down to Deck Five..walk across and then take the Elevator down to three. I am sure there is an easier way, but we did not discover it. Other than that, the Cabin was about as nice as it gets.
SHIP SAFETY DRILL....We met in the Theater. We did not bring life jackets. We saw a demonstration of how to use the jacket, then saw a film on the correct use, how to board a tender and such. EXCELLENT. MUCH BETTER THAN THE OLD WAY.
DINING—We had fixed seating, Early dining on Deck Three, Scarlet Restaurant. Our Table was 505. We sat with a lovely couple from Missouri, and we enjoyed catching up with them each night and hearing of their adventures. The Wait Staff was pleasant, competent...We tipped them extra too, for their above and beyond the call of duty excellent service. The Food was from OK..to good..to very good. The Biggest Surprise was the Grilled Porkchop EntrEe. . It was huge, cooked to perfection and delicious. We thought the food portions were larger than in the past. We liked that. We did not order any double entrees ( except DH on Lobster night), I left full each evening, we did not do any late night snacks and controlled our weight pretty well, while eating what we wanted too at mealtimes. I thought the Cappuccino Pie was delicious. The Pork Ribs are very good. No One seemed unhappy with their meals and I cannot remember a night when my entrEe turned out to be a stinker. The Rolls were good. I missed the dried tomato rolls they had on The Freedom, but I still managed to knock back a roll or two at dinner. We also ate breakfast in the same MDR. The grits were done to perfection,. not too thick, not too runny. My DH had three eggs fried each day. The coffee was great. I wish I had that to wake up to every morning. I HIGHLY recommend the MDR for breakfast. LIDO. THE GATHERING, THE PASTA BAR, THE LANAI BBQ. -The BBQ on deck Five was bad. We thought the food was bad, the sliders tasted like they had mystery meat in them, the chips had dips that I never heard of., and .I may be a yokel but some salsa,.some bean dip, would have been better than runny green chili sauces or thick orange ones. There was no desert there and I did not see any salads. NEEDS FIXING, . The Pasta Bar. Again, I did not like the food, except for the Garlic Bread. I could make a meal on that heavenly bread. The Gathering was pretty good. I usually had Pizza for me(.Rustica which is divine)..and DH had a hamburger and hotdog from the grill., We both loved them. I had the fried chicken from the Buffet on day for lunch and it was very good. I also did the Salad bar several times and the selection of veggies and fruits was good. The Blue Cheese Dressing was very good. The Chocolate Chip Cookes on the dessert bar in the Gathering melted in our mouths. YOU HAVE TO TRY ONE.. We went up every day..and ate them, and the ice cream. The Ice Cream Machine is inside, an attendant monitors it for cleanness, and I saw a lot more adults walking around with cones. We certainly indulged. for the first time ever on a Carnival Ship. I think most reasonable people would be very satisfied with the Food on the Dream.
SHOW PRODUCTIONS...We saw all three musical numbers. "Get ReadY' was the MoTown Show and we thought it good. "Dancing in the Streets" has some acrobatic dancers that truly give that show a new dimension. It was very good. Our Favorite was the country music show. The :"Fiddler" who did some special numbers in the Country Show was very good. I thought the Dance and Singing Troupes did a very good job. The crowds were good each night. I did not see any of the conflicts reported on getting a seat. For the Country and Western Show, My DH and I went to the second row where we saw some seats. When we asked if they were "saved", the answer was NO. So we had a great seat. We arrived about 20 minutes early for each Show. We always sat in a good seat on Deck 3. I always saw some empty seats up on the Upper Decks, even to when the Shows opened. I saw great crowds.,.but no mass mobbing,..nothing like that. We did not see any of the comedy acts nor did we visit the Comedy Club. But passengers we talked too raved about the Comedy Club. It was very popular.
SHIP ACTIVITIES: ..There were so many activities, it would be impossible to do them all. Miniature Golf, a basketball court, two pools, an Adults only area, pool games and trvia, pingpong tournament, cooking demonstrations, art auctions, shopping, the casino, etc. The Casino is big, modern and the slots are very tight. Very tight. We played a lot of Trivia with Mark, James and Megan. A lot of other people showed up to play too..and the turnout made it more competitive and fun. Some of the Trivia was ordinary stuff, but Super Trivia, which was played on Sea Days was different. It involved tough questions, a huge dice ball thing and it drew such big crowds that we had trouble finding a seat. MARK--..JAMES---..MEGAN.—A.SHOUT OUT TO YOU FOR MAKING OUR CRUISE SO MUCH FUN,..AND FOR THE NICE PEOPLE WE MET AT YOUR ACTIVITIES. They just were superb. We will cruise with them again...
POOL AND CHAIR HOGS...We did not use the pool. We live in Florida and avoid the direct sun. But, I noted that the chairs around the main pool were popular, but there could always be seen empty chairs. The areas on the Panaroma Deck had a lot of empty loungers. My DH checked out Serenity and he said it was full. The Weather was perfect the days we were in Port, and I think the people who visited Beaches in the Bahamas, St. Martin, St. Thomas or St. Johns had an excellent time. A lot of sunburned folks were running around that night. Take Sun Screen.
BIG SCREEN MOVIE...Avatar was shown one night. It was also shown in the rooms and I did see some of it. The Selection of movies seemed good to me. They had the GI Joe Movie on for the kids one night. I liked the balance they in Movies., .some for the family, other a little more mature.
PROBLEMS... I did smell the "smell", which is a sewer smell, but not any more than on any other ship. It was not often, it was fleeting, and it just was not a problem. Elevators were a problem. Give yourself extra time at dinner time, show time and excursion time to get an elevator. They were crowded at peak times. If you can walk the stairs, do that. It will control your weight too. Everything else seemed better than expectations. We had a wonderful time. We really did.
DISEMBARKTATION....We were given zones the night before. We were told the night before where to go and wait after breakfast. We got up, ate on the Lido Deck, went to the 3rd. Floor to the Theater, which was our assigned place, and within fifteen minutes we were called. We were off the ship, driving home by 8:30am. I kid you not. Carnival has this down pat.