We just came back from the Western Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Dream. It was fun, but some things could use a little changing.
First the good things: 1. We had a cove balcony and we loved it!!! I would choose that again, for sure, because it had more privacy than the balconies on the 6th deck and above.
2. My mother in law and my mother both got ill and required medical care. The medical care on board was 1st rate, better even than what my m-i-l gets at home. The doctor from South Africa was amazing!!
3. As usual, the food in the dining room was fabulous! Our waiters were efficient and entertaining. When we ate dinner on the lido deck, you used to be able to get some of the same food and desserts by asking for it. NO MORE!!
4. The decor was much nicer than any previous ship....still tacky, but a bit more understated. Loved the paintings in the stairways.
5. Really liked the lunches, especially the tandoori grill and the deli. Why at the regular grill do you have to ASK for chicken or veggie-burger though? Is it to discourage ordering (takes 7-10 minutes, whereas hot dogs and burgers were immediate).
6. We loved that you could get around the whole ship on deck 5. We also loved how easy it was to get back and forth from serenity to lido.
7. Both embarkation and debarkation was orderly and efficient. Much better than what happens at Longbeach with the Splendor, which is a real mess.
8. We had anytime dining, and we loved it! Although we ended up going early most of the time, we felt like we had great flexibility. We never had to wait for a table.
9. We loved the Port of Roatan. They had a beach you could walk to, and inexpensive beer and food for lunch. Nice shopping without the pressure. Pleasant surprise. Port of Costa Maya was also nice, with a large pool and swim-up bar. Port of Belize - we had a fun ride on the tender, but the shopping was pretty awful. Port of Cozumel was also iffy. However, my sister went on snorkeling excursions at all ports and loved them!!
Here are the downsides:
1. The chairs on the serenity deck were uncomfortable. And there was very little shade. The covered chairs were private, but were way too hot. And as usual, people put their stuff down and then leave, so you fight for a seat. A FEW UMBRELLAS would have been awesome! Also, they close one hot tub for 'hyperchlorination' most of the time. They do the same on the 5th deck where they have 4 hots tubs...lucky to find 2 open at the same time. So you either have to forgo the hot tub or get in with 10 other people. A few more umbrellas on the aft of the lido deck would be nice too. It was way too hot and sunny. In addition, there is NO air circulation in the area with the roof, between the inside and the outside.....very uncomfortable. That's where my m-i-l passed out!
2. We had an interconnecting room (which we didn't know before hand). Our neighbors were so loud, that it seemed almost like there was no separation. They hollered at the top of their lungs until 1 in the morning and they played their tv music loudly even when not there. Very annoying. We did NOT hear anyone on the other side, even though there was a family there too.
3. There was a huge fight one night on our ship, which migrated to our hallway at 3 am and woke us up to sounds of people yelling and threatening each other. People were hurt and property was destroyed! We do know 12 families were ejected from the ship in Costa Maya, escorted by Mexican authorities, but it was quite scary. Does this happen often? Carnival made no mention of it, and I worried about my safety. As a result, I do not recommend this cruise to anyone who does not have teenagers. It is probably okay during the off season, but was a bit wild during the summer. I realize Carnival is family friendly, but the altercation left me feeling like this was NOT family friendly.
4. Things overall seemed less personal or friendly. We didn't even meet our steward until day 4 and he never addressed us by name. That's very un-Carnival. One time at breakfast, I asked the waiter for a cinnamon roll, and he never brought it. Seems like if they don't understand they just smile and move on, but ignore your request.
All that said, I would consider another cruise this ship again probably to the Eastern Caribbean, but most definitely NOT IN THE SUMMER!! We had fun!