First let me start by saying that there were 7 of us that went and 1 of those was a first time cruiser. We had 4 cabins total, all on the Lido deck (deck 10) with the exception of 1 which was on deck 1 (this was by choice). My husband and I had sailed 6 other times before (1 on Princess to Alaska, 1 on RC and the other 4 was with Carnival). I have to be honest and tell you that Liberty of the Seas on Royal Caribbean has been my favorite ship and nothing can compare to an Alaskan cruise. My favorite ship on Carnival has been the Valor but that is not saying we wouldn't sail on the Dream again because we probably will, we just liked the decor on the Valor better. Now let me give you a little back ground of the 7 of us that went. It was my husband and I, my ex-sister-in-law (first time cruiser) and the others were just friends. We range in age from 50 - 65. One of the friends is very over-weight and a very picky eater (by the way he likes the food on Carnival better than RC). However, we are a group that we can always make the best of a vacation and of a bad situation so with that being said it will be hard for me to find much to complain about but trust me there were alot of people on this cruise that did find alot to complain about and some of it had nothing to do with the cruise ship or the employees.
Embarktation was a breeze. We arrived at Port Canaveral around 11:30 and less than an hour we were on board. My sister-in-law flew down so once the 6 of us got on board we went straight to the shore excursion desk to book the "Behind the Scenes" excursion for three of the guys. More about that later. Since my sister-in-law wasn't far behind us, I chose to wait on her and the others headed up stairs to get something to eat. I am a people watcher and I was amazed at how many people already had a sour look on their face. Anyway, when my sister-in-law got there we joined the others upstairs. A couple of people tried the Italian restaurant upstairs (which they said wasn't all that great) the rest of us just had hamburger, hot dogs and fries (which was good).
Then we walked to our cabins and it looks like most of the other cabins we have been in, so nothing really special there. I loved being on Deck 10 but if you don't like the noise, then Deck 10 is not for you. We all hooked back up and starting tour the ship and then we went out and set out on the deck while we were sailing away in the sunset.
We had your time dining and we ate in the Crimson dining roome. I like the your time dining ok but when we take our next cruise we might go back to early dining because we ate early anyway. We were fortunate and got to set with WII (or WE) every night and he was the best waiter ever. He is so funny.
Food is ok, I mean we can always find something to eat and we all order different things so we can try them. Warm chocolate melting cake is to die for if you like chocolate and I do. I highly recommend the potato soup and the navy bean soup on the nights they offer these as a starter. These were my 2 favorite. Entrees were a little different but believe it or not the BBQ ribs were probably my favorite even over steak which is not the case back home.
Let me suggest that you eat your breakfast in the dining room instead of the buffet. It's cooked to order and is very good and fast. There is nothing wrong with the buffet and the lines might be long but they move fast, it's just that you are waited on in the dining room.
Like I said earlier we always find stuff to do so we were never bored. We go to as many as the activities that we can fit in and all of the shows and comedy acts. So we stay busy. We play Bingo every time it's offered and we play in the Casino a little bit. However, if we have any down time we get out the Phase 10 cards and go find a table to play. Let me say this, RC has a better and roomier place to play cards, do puzzle, play board games, etc.
There were a couple of things that I had read in reviews before we went that kind of made me nervous to go on this cruise but none of them were the case for us. I had read about a sewer smell, but none of us smelled it. I had read that the staff wasn't friendly, every single one of them that we encountered smiled and greeted us. Some people complained about kids (and even on this trip we heard those complaints too) but they don't bother me. I have no children my self, but kids are kids. Those who complain about kids, they need to stay at home or in there cabin. So I can't complain about those things at all. Below are my only complaints.
I prebooked a hot stone massage a couple of months in advance for the last day at sea. The cost was $195 which they immediately charged to my credit card. On the last day of the cruise it was $56 cheaper and they would not credit my sail and sign card with the difference. So, DO NOT PREBOOK YOUR SPA APPOINTMENT! Carnival said it was up to the Spa to make any adjustments and the Spa said that they weren't going to because they are independent of Carnival. I was very disappointed with that aspect but not with the hot stone massage.
Another complaint that I have is that I won a $500 raffle but it was only for a bar tab. So, because I didn't have a bar tab, I didn't get anything. They said it was posted all over the casino but in fact it was not and because we are not drinkers I got nothing but if I had a bar tab of $500 then they would have cleared it. If I had a bar tab of $200 they would have cleared it. There is nothing right about it. I still had a $900 sail and sign account that they could have taken $500 off.
My last complaint is for poor Hi. He was the only one working the special offer desk and he was overwhelmed. They had a special where you could put a $100 down on another cruise and have 2 years in which to book it and it doesn't have to be on the Dream. Plus when you book it they will give you a $100 on your on board account. What made this a really good deal for us is they also gave us an additional 20% off because we missed 2 of our ports due to rough seas. We were suppose to get our certificates at 10:00 pm the last night of the cruise and we didn't, then they were suppose to be in our mail boxes the morning of debarktation and they weren't, so I had to call Guest Services to find out when would get them. They will be mailed to our home address because they had such a good response. So it wasn't Hi's fault but that was Carnival's fault for not having enough staff to help him.
Ok, here is what happened on our cruise. The first port was Cozumel and because we had been there before we didn't book a shore excursion. We wallked around a little bit and then went back to the ship.
Belize, we went cave tubing and had a blast. It was perfect. The weather was hot and the water was cool. The bus ride to and from the excursion is long but interesting. I highly recommend this excursion.
Next we were suppose to go to Roatan but after we left Belize the seas got really rough so we missed Roatan and Costa Maya. They took us back to Cozumel on the day we were suppose to go to Costa Maya. Cozumel the second time around was cold and rainy but we got a taxi and went downtown to go shopping. Like I said we always make the best of a bad situation. I was disappointed about not getting to go to Roatan but it was not Carnivals fault.
Ok, one other excursion you have got to book takes place on the ship and they only take 16 people. Fortunately, on our ship they took 2 separate groups of 16 but usually it's only the first 16 people. It is done on the last day at sea and it last about 4 hours. According to the 3 guys that did it from our group it was the highlight of the cruise. It is called "Behind the Fun" and it shows you how they make this ship run, from food preparatiion, to laundry, to the Captain driving the ship. Not only did they get to go where nobody else does they got all kinds of things for free, like a little back pack, 2 8x10 pictures, hand carved soap, tuxedo strawberrys, etc.
One other thing I would like to mention, we love Butch (the cruise director) and his staff. They are so fun and funny. We laughed so hard at them.
So our trip was good and we hated to see it end and would definitely do it again even on the Dream.