I just got back from my cruise 10-30-2010 on the CARNIVAL DREAM to the Eastern Caribbean. Nassau, St Thomas, St . Maarten. It was great.I want to try and give as much informative information as I can since I found this board to be really helpful.
We left from New York and flew to Orlando. We arranged for transportation through Carnival to take us to the ship. This was definitely a good idea. There are people all around to point you in the right direction. We waited at least a half hour before the bus finally left. The trip from the Airport to the Ship is @ 45 minutes. Then you get on a long line and go through security and then another long line where they give you your ship sail and fun card.
We were on the 9th level at the front of the ship with a balcony. If you can afford it get a balcony. It was nice to have plus you get to see the people on the other ships and wave etc. It's also nice to just sit out there. The person that helped us book it on EXPEDIA.com was right on point. We didn't hear any noise from people partying or any ship noise except a few. The room was a king size bed which I think was 2 beds put together because I could feel the seam. Very comfortable.
TIP: There are only 2 outlets in the room. Something I recently started doing when going to hotels is I bring a small 6 outlet surge protector. Best thing I ever did. Automatically gives you 6 outlets. You can get cell phone service on the islands but you will be charged international rates which is $2.49 a minute if you have verizon wireless.
There are a couple of pools on the ship I didn't get in any of them.. I did get in the whirlpool which was nice but it wasn't very hot.
Size: the ship is Huge and there is a lot of walking. I was surprised to see so many people in wheelchairs and the ship was very accessible for them.
WAVES: We had one night of rough water that was from Nassau to St Thomas. A few people got seasick. I didn't but I was a bit scared. I started to get my life jacket and put it by the bed. The ship was rocking and the waves were loud. It was bad just the one night.
The food on the ship was very good no complaints. If you can afford it go to the Steakhouse. Its $30 per person and worth every dime. The food was excellent the service superb and the cheesecake was so big we had to take it back to the room.
There is a hidden restaurant on the ship called the pasta bar. I didn't find out about it until the 5th day. Someone told me about it. It's on the 11th floor. But you can't find the entrance on the 11th floor because it's not signed. I saw it because someone came out the side door. You can enter in on the 10th floor lido deck where the burrito bar is.then walk upstairs. You get a menu and pick out your pasta, sauce, and ingredients you would like. You then take it to the bar and a waiter brings you back the food. They really should tell you how this works because I had to watch people to figure it out. EXCELLENT Food.
ENTERTAINMENT: Lots of entertainment. Comedy shows R and PG rated. The R rated ones were hilarious. You need to get there at least ½ hour before show time as it fills up quickly and then there is standing room only.
They have Karaoke a few times during the week. Club Caliente is there dance club very nicely done and everyone had lots of fun partying .
Smoking: There is one piano bar where you can smoke onboard. There is also only one place you can smoke outside. I don't smoke but my husband smokes cigars so he had to find the place.
The also have musical shows, magicians, Bingo,hypnotist plenty of things to do at all times.
TIP: They take a lot of pictures of you on the ship. We didn't take that many but the trick is to take as many as you want and pick out the one you like best and buy it. @ $20.00
Buy some Downy wrinkle release. You spray it on your clothes and it takes the wrinkles out so you don't have to iron. Works very well heard about it on the other boards.
SHOPPING: If you don't book an excursion you will just end up shopping . Nassau I had been there before so we didn't take a excursion. We just walked a few blocks and did some shopping.
St Thomas. We booked a shopping /beach excursion.
$35 each. Hmmm not to great. Just be aware that the ship pushes the store DIAMONDS INTERNATIONAL a lot.! That's all you hear. Once you get there you see there are at least 3 or 4 diamonds international stores. They are always packed with people.
NOW THE IMPORTANT PART. The excursion goes like this. 2 hours shopping, then back to boat for half hour then back on bus and it takes you to Meghan's Bay for 2 hours.
WE WERE THERE IN THE MONTH OF OCTOBER SO KEEP THIS IN MIND. The sun started setting about 5:30 you see it just drop behind this mountain and then it gets cold. We had to get out of the water and we waited another 40 minutes for our bus to pick us up. It was actually dark by the time we got back. So we didn't get that much swim time. It's better to go yourself by cab and get there early. In the summer months you'll have more sunlight.
By the way they said Meghan's Bay was supposed to be one of the 10 best beaches in the world. we didn't like it at all. Would not recommend it to anyone and don't plan on going back. Everyone I talked to on the ship had the same feelings. It's a beach with a little bit of sand and lots of TREES ! I don't want trees at the beach! The bushwacker drink that we had at the beach was terrible. I didn't taste alcohol at all just cinnamon.
St Marteen: we didn't book and excursion so we took a water taxi to town where they had a beautiful beach. Much nicer then St Thomas. I didn't get in the water but it was beautiful. The shopping area was like St Thomas but it wasn't as congested because they didn't have cars going in the streets of the shopping area.
There was a Halloween costume party that a lot of people knew about before they got on the ship because they had costumes. They found out about it online before they sailed.
The cruise director Josh was very enthusiastic. He is one person that I can say really loves his job.
Departing the ship the last day. We had an early flight so we didn't put our baggage out the night before. The next morning you take your baggage down yourself they call you by floor.
P.S. when reading reviews I think it's important to know the age and such. We are in our late 50's and were not traveling with children.
Recap. Loved the trip would do it again. But we needed to do more on the islands then just window shop.