This is our fourth cruise with Carnival and we were super excited to be on the Dream. My husband and I shared a room with our 13y/o & our two 19 y/o's had there own room. The room layouts that we had were the same as the other ships except now they have flat screens YAY! However, we did tend to hear the neighbors TV alot and am not sure if they just had it up loud or if because it is mounted on the wall, the walls may be thin?? Not a big problem though because at least they turned it off when we were sleeping.
We originally booked a window room with two bathrooms (2 bathrooms are exclusive for the Dream I think), but then we upgraded to a balcony one week before we left for only $20. Keep an eye on the prices, because if they go down, call them and maybe you will be upgraded too! Our daughters had a room on the first floor forward with a port hole and heard alot of ship motor, rotor, whatever sounds. They would have preferred an interior a few floors up. My mother and father-in-laws went and were upgraded from a window to a room with a window and the two bathrooms! One bathroom has a Jr. bathtub with a shower and a sink, and the other is a regular bathroom with a shower, sink, and toilet just like the other ships. We liked the room choices we all made except for the 19 y/o girls, next time they will go into an interior (they don't care about the window)!
Embarkation and Debarkation: Both of these were a breeze! I read some of the reviews where the waits were long and there were no places to sit for the embarkations...I think they worked those kinks out because we arrived via shuttle from our wonderful hotel "Country Inns & Suites" at 10:30am and was on the ship by 11:00am. VERY, VERY smooth! We explored, then went to the Lido on the tenth floor to eat..yummy! Our rooms were ready by one and all of our luggage except my bag was there by 3pm. Mine was delayed because I packed "contraban"...an iron! Woops! I totally forgot you couldn't have one of these. I got my bag around 5 with a nice note telling me that they found "prohibitted" items in my bag and they would return them to me the night before we debarked...only they didn't take it. As for Debarkation, we always take our own luggage off the ship with us because my husband want to get going as quickly as possible and so we did. We ported around 6am and could start debarking at 6:30am. (WE were not ready yet)! It took about 15 minutes in all to leave our room with our luggage and be off the ship! We were back to our car at the hotel and on the road by 7:10! Wow!!!
Ports of Call: First of all, we never do excursions, so if you do skip this part because it won't help you at all! One of the first things I have to say was that it was HOT! Hotter than it had ever been before. The ship staff was saying it hadn't been that hot in a few years. It was pushing 100 degrees in the daytime! I like hot, but whew..this was almost too hot, unless I had been in the ocean the whole time!
About the Ship: I will admit after reading some of the reviews, I was not as excited as I usually am about going on a cruise. I was concerned about the long lines I heard about and the smell, and the not so friendly staff. Thank-God for for the others that posted opinions contrary to the negative ones. I do know, that we all do not enjoy the same things. With that said, I will tell you my family is very easy going and realize we are on vacation and just don't get our frustrated very easy unless there is some major issue. There were no major issues (well except the fighting we heard in the cabin next door which security promptly took care of..kudos to them! ) on our cruise.
We really enjoyed it and after writing this, I will start researching our next Carnival Cruise. I must say that our vacation planner who works for Carnival "Carolyn Triplett" is great too. We have used a travel agent before, but they always have to call carnival and check to see what's available. She does not, because she works for Carnival, so we never have to wait for her to call us back. We are always asking her if she can give us some sort of On Board Credit and she just laughs and tell us she can't do that. BUT, the ship did. We ended up getting onboard credits of $12/person for being past guests. This has never happened before and I don't know if it will happen again, but we liked it. Not a huge amount of money, but still...it some $$$$$$!
Bad First then the good! First of all, there was a sewer like smell in certain parts of the ship, but it was not overwhelming. Certainly not enough to ruin a cruise. Mid ship around the upper decks of the pool was where I noticed it most, but not even enough to bother me. The Serenity Only adult section was nice, but very very, very HOT! There is no pool up there. It would have been perfect had they added a pool. There are several shady spots to sit it you are not a sun lover that may not have been as hot. I thought I would spend alot of time up there laying in the sun...no way! I had to be as close to a body of water as I could get to tolerate being out there! Midship pool was busy, as most of them usually are and somewhat small considering the amount of people of the ship. The pools and chairs were not a problem at all except for the two fun days at sea...on those days get up early 8ish to find you a chair. If you like busy lay at the midship,if you like quieter, so to the back of the ship's pool. Kids don't bother me, but if they bother you you may prefer the back of the ship more..there were not as many out back. I didn't think the water works area was as busy as what I anticipated??? Hmmm, maybe it was just me. My daughter says on the fun days at sea the lines were too long.
Now for the Good: Never did I experience what I consider to be a long line for food. Five to Seven minutes tops. Most of the time less than that. We did follow another cruise critics advice and ate toward the back of the ship most of the time because she said the lines were not as long here. The pasta bar is amazing!!!! It's upstairs toward the back of the ship! The burrito bar was great..especially the green salsa if you like guacamole! The Mongolian Wok was good too. No complaints about the Lido deck food except maybe the desserts were not as good this year. But don't worry, they made up for it at dinner which was amazing every night!
You can e-mail me at email@example.com if you have any questions for me!