I'm writing this review because I appreciated being able to read everyone else's reviews prior to this sailing. I'd never been on a cruise ship before and I needed lots of information so I could feel prepared.
Embarkation was easy!
The first few steps on the ship were amazing! I could never have imagined all the things the Dream could hold!
Our stateroom on the spa deck was terrific and the spa was worth anything extra that we paid for it. We were there twice a day, on average. And of course because we had some windy days, we took turns just chilling out on the heated loungers. Lovely.
We took advantage of just about everything: the library for homework time, the comedy club (the PG shows were great family fun), the shows in the encore, some of the poolside activities, our son went to the kid's club a few times but the crowd wasn't really his type but that was okay because we all like to hang out together anyway, minigolf, and the massive chess game. It's a floating resort, really, with adventure stops along the way.
We loved the wonderful dining experienced (Chef's table is not to be missed if you're a foodie. Absolutely worth your time!) The steakhouse was also terrific. We were never disappointed with the dinner or the dinner service either. We're not really into buffets but we loved the Indian buffet at the Tandoor and the pizza place was very good.
One disappointment: the coffee is just awful. We brought a kettle that turns itself off so we could boil water and Starbucks Via coffee and two coffee mugs. We were set. We used the bottled water in the room even though we had to pay for it because good coffee starts with good water.
Disappointment: the hot tubs were definitely not hot. Some were COLD but most were lukewarm. On a less-than-ideal-weather sailing, this is not great. Imagine if you could have been in a warm hot tub even when it was windy and cool- you'll have to imagine it and so will I!
Some things we didn't take advantage of: not too much drinking though we had margaritas once and we bought the five bottles of wine for $110. (We didn't bring any on because we flew in and we didn't want to travel with it.) We didn't gamble. We didn't do too much of the hokey games but we were entertained watching other people do them. The Game of Love was particularly entertaining. I'd like to see more parent-child and/or family types of events... We didn't shop on board or in the ports. We didn't go to the art auction; we like to support artists we know in our community. We tried karaoke once but it was a bit sad. We didn't do any line dancing either. But the fact that all of that was available made the whole trip even better for us- that meant that fewer people were doing what we wanted to do!
One thing I wasn't prepared for is the competition and saving of deck chairs on the full sea days. It definitely marred my first day at sea experience as I watched chairs sit empty for an hour or more as I cruised the deck, having given up on lounging. The second time we encountered this a few days later, we had to argue with a couple who were attempting to save 8 chairs total for them and their friends. I ended up saying that we were each here, we wanted to sit in two chairs and that's what we were going to do. They ended up seeing our point, but not after being a bit put-off.
We met many friendly people and a great lead-in question is "So...Are you having fun?"
This was a family friendly cruise and it was also a place were younger people got a cheap room in the bottom of the boat and drank far too much day after day. Thankfully the big drinkers pass out, sleep in and head into port for cheap drinks so the amount of time we could be subjected to their antics was not bad at all. And sometimes the entertainment value was high!
We missed seeing Roatan and Costa Maya because of the wind, and the boat was really rocking the last couple of days prior to arrival back at Port Canavaral. If you don't know that ginger is the number one best way of dealing with seasickness/nauseau, you do now. Take ginger tablets from the healthfood store or Ginger Gravol from the pharmacy or candied ginger or ginger candies from the asian grocery store and you won't have any problems. I was concerned about this because I can be sensitive to these sorts of things, but I was never sick.
I guess that's it. The Dream will be a ship I revisit.