We sailed the Carnival Dream 5/22/10 to the ports of Nassau, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten.
Embarkation - As usual in Port Canaveral (was on the Sensation last year) embarkation was a breeze. We stayed at the nearby Radisson At The Port, and were offered a free shuttle from the hotel to the port. The ride to the port is only about 3 minutes. We arrived at the port at around 12:30 and were on the boat by 12:50. The security and check-in lines seem long at first but they move very very fast. Cabins are said to be open at 1:30 but ours was open even earlier, so we went to the room first to drop off our carry-on luggage and then went to the Lido deck.
Lido Buffet - The food was great. Pasta bar and Burrito bar were two of my personal favorites. Other reviews complain about all these very long lines, there were lines but any line I got into I was done within 3-5 minutes. What do people expect on a ship filled with 4,000 people.
Dining Room - We had the early seating at 6:00 in the Scarlet Dining Room. The dining room was beautiful and the food was great. Puspita was our waitress and she did an outstanding job. Service was also very quick. There was only one night where it seemed like the food was taking a little bit longer than usual, but still wasn't too long.
Cabin - We had an interior cabin and there were 4 of us. The room was more spacious than on the Carnival Sensation and easily fit all 4 of us. There were 2 beds on the ground and 2 that folded down out of the wall. The beds that came out of the wall were surprisingly comfortable. Our room steward did a great job. We would leave our room in a state of total disarray at times and we would return and it would look great. And as always mints on the pillows, and towel animals.
Entertainment - The ship has a main theater and an aft theater that acts as a Comedy Club. I didn't attend any of the production shows in the main theater, but heard from others traveling with me that they were good. I did attend two comedy/magic shows in the main theater and they were both good, but not great. The R rated comedy shows in the aft theater comedy club were much better. Over the course of the week they had four comedians perform. We saw all but one of the comedians and all were very funny in their R rated shows(didnt go to the PG shows). The comedy club on the ship is a great idea.
Casino - I enjoy gambling so for me a casino is a big part of my vacation. This casino was very large, but at peak times tables were very crowded and you had to wait for someone to leave. Also they only had 2 five dollar blackjack tables which were almost always full, while they had 2, 25 dollar blackjack tables which were almost always empty. Poor planning.
The Pool and Water Slides - The new water park was great. The Drainpipe was my favorite and lines weren't too bad either. I loved the hot tubs that hung over the side of the ship. The main pool was small for a ship of that size. There is a second pool in the back of the ship but it is the same size and is also very crowded. The big screen by the pool was very cool, and would show different specials and trivia games during the day, and a laser show and movies at night.
The Spa - The workout facilities were about the same size as other ships I had been on, and all machines were brand new, and had a hookup so you could plug your iPod or other portable devices into the machine. The Sauna and Steam room were also very nice and I used them often.
THE SMELL - We did experience the infamous smell a few times. On the deck of our stateroom there was one area that we always passed through to get to our cabin that had a smell. It was definitely there but was in no way intolerable. In the middle of the cruise the smell went away and that are smelled much better. Then on our last day on the ship when waiting in line in the water-park, the wind was blowing, and the smell was so bad it was intolerable. I had to plug my nose, it was that bad.
Overall - The ship is very big, and very beautiful. Don't be scared off by the negative reviews because this ship had absolutely everything we could have asked for.