Our group consisted of Granny, Poppy, three kids and ten count them ten grandchildren ranging in age from little over a year to seventeen. We saild on the Jan 8th Western Carib cruise.
Because one can't be sure of Md. weather, we left a day early and did an overnight at Cocoa Beach. Highly recommend this no matter where you live as it enables you to board earlier and enjoy your first meal on the ship. Considering all in our group and changes in cabins, embarkation was easy. By 12 noon on the 8th we all were on the Lido deck having a good buffet lunch.
Now about the cruise. I did not get too critical about things because one has to remember Carnival is not a premier cruise line. One can't compare Sachs 5th Ave to Wal Mart or Target.
The Dream is a big ship - a very big ship. It now appears that all the cruise lines are trying to out do each other by trying to put monstrous floating hotels on the water. For this trip a very bad thing more later. Our balcony cabins were a good size and well appointed. You can get bigger but will pay more. Personally I will not cruise again without booking a balcony. They just add a bit of get away comfort.
Food on board was for the most part good. There was only one dinner that we passed on for the buffet because nothing appealed. Pass on the New England crab cakes - not even close to what you can get in Balmore! Because of the number of people on board the buffet lines tended to get long. Not a real biggie. Maybe to some not to me.
Entertainment was par for this level cruise. Shipboard singers and dancers good but not Broadway or Vegas, Very funny magician and expert juggler. The comedy club shows were good and there are two levels family and r rated. both funny and recommended. Don't take kids (in fact they will be asked to leave) to the r rated shows. For younger kids camp Carnival is a good experience. All my younger grand kids liked it. Now for those lost teens 17, 18 and 19 the club for them seemed to be lacking. My 17 year old grandson was lost and i did feel sorry for him This group of people are too young to night club so they wonder about the ship looking for stuff to do. Hey Carnival get with it and put together a young adult club. Butch the cruise director form your own opinion if you sail. He tried to make the fact that two ports were cancelled a great fun thing no Butch it was a sad thing. On the Titanic it would have been Hey everybody we're going down but come on out to the fantail and hear the band play Nearer My God to Be or something like that
NOW THE BAD AND UGLY EXCURSION EXPERIENCE OR LACK OF IT. As i said the Dream is a very big ship and Mother Ocean made the seas rough making it impossible (OR SO THE CAPTAIN SAID. Rumor has it that a port scheduling problem kept us at sea and not the weather) to dock at Isle Roatan and Costa Maya. Many many people lost what could have been a once in a life time adventure. Carnival bless their heart is giving all a 20% discount on a future cruise. Generous aren't they? But for families that this was a once in a lifetime vacation there will be no other cruises so a 20% refund is what is deserving. We gained an extra day at sea whoopee. more booze sales for Carnival. We did two excursions both excellent, Swimming with manatees in Cozumel and the Belize zoo tour which is really a reserve for endangered animals Hey got kissed by a jaguar!
Cant say enough about the crew. Our housekeeping person Marco and waiter Hari were fantastic. Hari especially with having to put up with all our kids. Guest services people were fantastic especially with having to put up with guests not too happy about the port cancellations.
Enough said. Except do the express baggage thing. All your big pieces of baggage are piked up outside your cabin and you don't see them (if all goes well and it did for us) at your airport. However not all airlines participate.
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