I was a little nervous about booking on the Carnival Dream due to reviews I had read. However, having cruised on the Holiday in 2004 and having really enjoyed it, I thought maybe the critics were being a little harsh so we gave it a whirl.
First, embarktation was easy and quick. However, if you have a mobile phone that has data usage, turn it off before getting in line. I didn't turn off my droid until we reached the room and incurred a $80 charge for data upload.
Dream was a really pretty ship, but crowded is exactly what you can expect. Buffet lines had 10 to 20 minute waits and the wok and pasta bar were practically inaccessible unless you were willing to wait 30 minutes or more. Staff at the buffet lines were not friendly and appeared to be as frustrated with the customers as the customers were with waiting.
At the formal dinners, service was excellent and the food was good but not spectacular.
Port of calls - We were scheduled to go eastern carribian but thanks to hurricane Earl, we were diverted to the western carribian. No notice was given until we were on the ship, some customers were extremely unhappy, but we really didn't care.
When you got o port at Cozumel, Cancoon, Belize, Isla Rataan, well just watch out...Turns out Carnival owns many of the ports and have built little towns for you to shop in.. There cruise director tries to get you to book excursions through Carnival because Carnival owns or gets cut backs fromt he excursions..
My advice, do you homework and get out of the "Carnival" mess. In order to see the real countryside, rent a car, take a taxi and get with the locals. We did and were delighted with the results...We got cheaper cuisine, less populated beaches, excellent service at several clubs and resorts and had a blast.
Also, don't buy the water on the ship before arriving at ports...Bottled water and soda are available at the ports for anywhere from $1 to $1.50 less per bottle and is found abundantly.
Entertainment on the cruise line is good, just make sure you get to your show early so you can save yourself a great seat.
As for rooms, we upgraded to a balcony that was suppose to have an unobstructed view, unfortunately the view was obstructed and chairs on the balcony aren't that great. Save yourself some bucks and get an interior or ocean view room. They are exactly the same just no little balcony.