I just joined the Cruise Critic today and was surprised at many of the comments made about the "Dream" and some of the ports. My husband and I have both cruised 20 times, 18 of them on Carnival. We took our first trip on the "Dream" earlier this month. It was one of the most relaxing cruises we have been on. We found the staff friendly both in the dining room and casino. (Though we lost most of the time) Our room steward was really terrific. His name was Jbjoey. Should you ever have the opportunity to have him as yours, expect the best because he delivers. Having been on so many cruises we know what to expect in most of the ports and which excursions we like or when we prefer to venture out on our own. My suggestion on the "Dream" would be to book early though because we wanted to purchase a clam shell or cabana on the beach in Mahogany Bay and both were sold out the day before. No worries though, there was plenty of shade trees in the general lounge areas on the beach. The food on the same beach left a little to be desired. I ordered a chicken fajita wrap which was served cold. I sent it back for fear of salmonella poisoning explaining to them that chicken should be heated to a minimum of 160 degrees before serving to prevent foodborne illness at which I got a blank stare. They were happy to replace it with a hot meal but avoided our table from then on.
The lido buffet was more crowded than most ships and the omelet bar did not provide the sides along the buffet I like with my eggs over easy, (bacon and hash browns) and of course if I waited in another line my eggs would be cold. Honestly, I really didn't need the fried eggs so it was a blessing it wasn't convenient.
Getting on and off the ship was a breeze. I couldn't believe how quickly we were all off. We booked a later flight thinking it might be an issue but we were actually at the Orlando airport by 8:30 am. By the way, for you cigar smokers out there, disposable lighters are allowed in your carry on but cigar lighters are not. Leave those in your checked luggage. I thought my husband knew better. If they confiscate it you will not get it back. Our trip was wonderful and that is saying something because when your cruise a lot, it can tend to be monotonous if you don't have outstanding service and food to enjoy. That is why we keep going. We love to be worry free and pampered for a week. That is exact;y what we got. For the naysayers I have read about today, no cruise is 100% perfect and there will be an occasional disappointment, but if you let the little things consume you, you might as well be back at work where you get paid to react that way. Cruising is about going with the flow and taking it easy while everyone else scuttles about to make you comfortable. The staff works really hard and I am sure they occasionally have a bad day. If you engage them in conversation and find something good to say about them it will brighten their day and thus that of your fellow cruisers. If I was dreaming about what a great time I had, I'll gladly continue to dream.