First time Carnival Cruiser. We selected the DREAM because it was a newer ship, and fit our dates and itinerary. Overall it was fine, but we'd not rush back to sail with the line or this ship.
Overall: Clean, Courteous crew, nicely out-fitted ship. Crowded in the public spaces and pools are way too small for a ship this size with this many passengers. Food is average, about like that on a college campus. On and off the ship is done easily and efficiently.
Many of the reviews on this site are spot-on accurate.
Pros: Excellent staff all around. Steakhouse is primo - if you go on this ship, book one night there for sure and pay the $ 30 extra per person, its worth it. Casino is great, especially the two electronic Texas Hold "Em tables that hold 12 players per game. Expensive furniture and fittings used throughout the ship. Rooms are good, and you can actually fit in the showers. Extended balconies on the fantail of the ship are the place to be (Decks 6/7/8). Great clubs for 17 and under set.
Cons: Low ceilings make you a bit claustrophobic. I'm sure they wanted one more deck of rooms and decided to do that. Carnival always has their hand in your pocket - more so than other lines. Expect to spend about $2K on board ship for a family of 4. The buffet in Lido deck is horribly crowded and no place to sit - you must go before or after peak hours. Pools are way too small - a joke actually. Sports Deck an afterthought. Very small glasses in the main buffet and poor quality ice. You have to take three or four glasses of your beverage for a serving size. Ice Tea is lousy - no fresh brewed on board even if you want to pay for it (only in the Steakhouse).
Marginal: Shows are just so-so. 'Dancing In the Street' by far the best. Too much Karaoke for my taste. Food is typical, the hot is cold, the cold is hot. For a new ship (in service just 8 months) I was surprised at how much weathering has already occurred on many outside components. Fabric on the seating in THE GATHERING is already heavily stained, they should have used leather or vinyl. No place for 18 to 21 years olds to hang out. Public spaces you want to be in are overcrowded.
Overall: We like Royal Caribbean better. Navigator of the Seas (similar ship size) is much better in our opinion . Disney Cruise lines has the best shows and food (by far) but no casino and too much Mickey Mouse. I'll just give the DREAM and average overall rating.