We just returned from our first cruise which we took aboard the Dream. The family that we went with had cruised a couple of times before with Carnival and we all agreed that this ship was just beautiful. Yes it was somewhat crowded but I never felt like I was on a boat with over 4000 other passengers. I also tried to take into account the fact that it is a new ship and the middle of summer which is a high travel time for people with kids.
The food was excellent and our waitstaff was both attentive and knowledgeable. One night we had to sail through a tropical storm. The seas were quite rough and a few of us were not feelig the greatest. Our headwaiter, Marjan told us exactly what to eat to help prevent any sickness and he was absolutely correct. None of us ended up getting sick. He and the rest of the team were wonderful and by the end of the trip it felt like you were leaving family behind when we had to say goodbye to them.
The food at the Gathering and the different specialty bars was excellent as well. The pasta bar was absolutely delicious. It is all made to order with the ingredients that you choose so you do have to wait a few minutes for it but they give you a number and bring it to your table so you don't have to stand in line. I would also recommend the sandwich bar on the Lido deck as their sandwiches are very yummy.
The entertainment was really good (especially the comedians and they had four different ones) as were the shows with the Fun Force dance group, which is a group of break dancers who were amazingly talented. Kids and adults alike really seemed to enjoy their shows. The Dancing in the Streets show was great and I would highly recommend it if you like 80's music and lots of good dancing. They also had a Thriller dance class which was fun to watch and had a really high attendance and they also had a Michael Jackson tribute in Club Caliente one night which was lots of fun as was the 70's and 80's tribute night. You do need to arrive early to the shows if you want a good seat but that is the case with any show whether you are on a ship or not.
I had read on here that the boat felt very rough and I was very worried about that as this was my first cruise but I must say that other than when we were traveling through the storm where there were high seas and winds up to 60-70 mph it felt very smooth to me. As far as the smell people keep talking about yes it is definitely there especially on the lower decks toward the back but it is not super strong nor is it constant. More like something that you occasionally notice in passing. All of the staff that we came into contact with were very nice and our room steward was just great.
If you like a quiet place to relax and read or just unwind while on board then the Serenity Deck area is great! No children are allowed and they have very comfortable seating as well as a few hammocks to lie in. There are several areas to this and we found it quite a peaceful and relaxing place to unwind. One day it was quite hot and they handed out ice soaked towels which really helped to keep you cool. The family that was with us also did the putt putt and the slides which they really enjoyed but we stayed on the Serenity deck most of the time. If you want to get in the pool be prepared to be crowded but from what we have been told that is the case on all cruises so we were prepared for that.
Since I am a first time cruiser my expectations may not be as high as others and I tend to be fairly laid back but overall I was very pleased with this cruise and would definitely cruise this ship again. We actually all wished we could get off and then get right back on when we disembarked. It was a lovely first experience for myself and my husband and we can't wait to go again! Embarkation and debarkation were both very smooth. The group that we went with who had cruised before were very pleased with the process and said that they had worked out a lot of the issues that they had noticed in past cruises.