Dream Cruise at Cloud 9 Spa
The Carnival Dream is enormous and for that reason it has it's many good points and a few challenges. Let's get the "challenges" out of the way~because of the capacity of people it carries buffet lines are often long and a quite the wait. Dinner time is slower as well (or maybe they just needed more staff because I saw our waitress/server still working in another area after midnight and we were 6p.m. early diners and I know she didn't just get there). Anyway, room service as well was always late except two times, once on Wednesday morning it was on time and the last day of the cruise they came extra early waking us up. In fact we very rushed out the last day and the line at the help desk for check-out was over an hour long wait. The majority of the staff was cheerful, wonderful, helpful but there were several that were not in fact I literally asked one young woman at the help desk "you look like you hate your job?" She replied, "no mam, I am just very tired and have not had my More
coffee." I do believe these employees are overworked. With that being said, the rest of the cruise was amazing! The Cloud 9 Spa was the best part of the cruise (for me). We were in a Spa Balcony and it was worth every penny being able to get up in the morning and walk out my door right around the corner to the spa! You can look up the Spa online to see all of the amenities but one honorable mention is the room where there are tiled heated stone lounge chairs, they do not sound comfortable but many people fall asleep on them by the soft music under the atrium sunlight as you will realize by some of the snores lol! Another is the "Bamboo Massage", omgosh! It was incredible! Know in advance the Spa offers everything (and then some) that any upscale Spa Resort on land would offer so bring $$$ you can literally get something similar to Botox, Acupuncture, various types of massage, hair, nails, exercise, and so much more.
The excursions were Cozumel, Belize, Isle Roatan & Costa Maya and we believe more time (a full 8 hours) should be spent at Costa Maya, just as the day is getting good it was time to back to the ship:( The Chocolate Melting Cake is so very delicious! As is most all meals on the ship! Carnival has done an exceptional job of catering to all global taste buds:) The shows were good, not exceptional but very good. Our rooms were kept immaculate as was the ship as a whole. There were so many FUN things and activities to do and the kids clubs are phenomenal! The Adults Only Serenity deck is simply amazing! Loved the jacuzzi over looking the ocean! Can't wait until our next trip!!!! Less
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Cabin review: Carnival Dream Balcony Spa 12202
We had a balcony cabin on the Spa Deck. The room was perfect, ample closet and drawer space, you couldn't see over the balcony if sitting in the chairs, you had to stand up. It was a non-smoking deck but we still smelled smoke from elsewhere. The amenities in the bathroom were wonderful, the beds are comfortable as are the pillows. The trash can was in an inconvenient place so we would move it daily, other than that it was perfect.
Port and Shore Excursions
Okay this is kind of strange to rate as a 5 because Belize is a poverty stricken country and it shows, there is a lot of litter and we even witnessed a bit of crime. Nonetheless we took a shore excursion to The Lamanai Ruins~ we did not book the excursion with Carnival (it was not offered) we booked with Island Marking LTD and they were a phenomenal group! The price was only $75 per person and we drove through Belize about an hour and then we took a river boat about an hour and a half up the "New River" seeing black orchids and crocodile and plenty of jungle vegetation from the safety of our boat. Then we arrived at the Mayan Ruins had a local lunch before taking the fascinating tour which included wild holler monkeys (these are the real thing and they are VERY loud), the kids were ecstatic! The ruins were amazing! I want to go back to Belize because it also has the 2nd largest barrier reef in the world to snorkel and so much more to offer the traveler. I loved Belize, the ups and downs and interestingly enough the Mennonites (progressive Mennonites) grow all the food for the locals.
This was the greatest experience! First of all we were bummed because we only had 6 hours in port rather than 8 and we WANT a full 8! Again we booked an excursion through Island Marketing LTD but next time we will just get off the ship and take a cab to the "Fishing Village" (approx. $7). We were at the restaurant/resort at the very end of the row (farthest away if coming from the ship). I'm disappointed because I can not look up the name of the place but it is "Nocho...something" and the owner is named Jimey (pronounced Hi-mean). The staff was incredible but more importantly the food was phenomenal!!!!! We cannot give this food a better rating! It is the freshest seafood ever, and the way it was cooked was the BEST we had ever had! The place was friendly and comfortable, you walk up and down the beach on a cement walkway and there are other restaurants and resorts and local venders selling their wares for great prices. I got a massage on the beach for one hour for only $15! It wasn't the best massage I ever had but it was worth the $15. Where were dining had a massage therapist (who came later) and was certified and I learned she was really good. The lounge chairs on the beaches under thatch umbrellas were relaxing and the service was impeccable.
I felt ripped off in Cozumel. Our excursion (bottom glass boat/snorkel) was canceled due to choppy waters but that wasn't the problem. I bought a leather purse, I paid $120.00 (they wanted $180) and it tore and unraveled along the seems the first week. Carnival recommended we at "Poncho's" inside their port, the food was good but small portions and way over priced. I could have had much better tasting, larger portions for half the price back home at Casa Ramos. We did hear the margaritas were very potent, cheap and big so that is what they are known for. I suppose the great deals there are if you are buying diamonds and gems, otherwise the place took advantage of vacationers and was morbidly overpriced. For example we stopped at one restaurant that had lobster (something that is a local food) and they wanted $70 for one!
Another poor country, the place was beautiful (minus the obvious poverty) and a child begged us for money which we gladly gave but it was sad. We visited a resort that was very nice, again we booked through Island Marketing LTD as they average $25 cheaper per person per excursion so with a family of four we literally saved approx. $400.00 and they were very professional! The hard part about booking other than Carnival you have to walk a long way off site in order to find out guides as they are not allowed on "cruise line properties." I was told a sad story and do not know if it is true or not, but was told the islanders voted on whether or not the cruise ships should dock there, this would require breaking up the reef, and the islanders were supposed to be able to work on-site offering excursions. Long story short, once the port was built the islanders were kicked out and if they are allowed to rent a building within the cruise lines walls/port they are charged $5,000-$6,000 a month rent. Again, I do not know if that is all true, but it is a LONG walk up and down hill outside the compound. We went on the Islander Resort Adventure Package, this was under new management and there was some confusion but it is a beautiful resort with monkeys that will crawl up your arm, peacocks, deer and other wildlife. The snorkeling is fabulous as well.