First of all I booked a Guaranteed Stateroom for the cruise. I have always picked my own cabin and location with the exception of last year when Princess was doing a promotional less than 30 days to sailing and they picked my cabin. Since we were prior Princess guests they took that into consideration and upgraded us 6 categories. I was given the impression when I booked with Carnival that since this was my 5th Carnival cruise that I would be likely upgraded. Unfortunately that was not the case and I got exactly what I paid for, a cabin on the lowest deck and in the back of the ship. We did not even receive our cabin assignment until less than 48 hours to sailing. Luckily someone from Carnival called and offered us an upgrade at a fee. $50 for an inside stateroom upgrade the entire week. $100 if you wanted an ocean view stateroom and $300 for a balcony stateroom. We chose to upgrade to an inside cabin because it was the best location available. We were on the 8th deck mid ship which was centrally located.
Boarding the ship ran smoothly but I do recommend you leave your bags curbside and allow them to be delivered to your stateroom. Rooms were not available until 1:30 PM and this was strictly enforced so hauling bags around until your room was ready would be a nuisance.
I will say the food in the dining rooms was some of the best food I have had on a cruise. The lobster tail with grilled shrimp was delicious as well as the Panko crusted shrimp. Carnival's signature desert is the Chocolate Melting Cake and it is to die for. The food in the regular buffet was good at best but there were many other choices like the pasta bar, Tandori bar, the burrito bar, Mongolian bar, the deli and grill which were very good.
Our service in the dining room was outstanding but our stateroom steward was okay. The room was always clean but we kept asking for some wine glasses which he only delivered once. One day we had no glasses of any kind in our room and no beach towels. We made due and just got towels up on the Lido deck and glasses from the lobby bar.
There are lots and lots of things to do on the Carnival Dream especially in the evening hours. I do think the entertainment is kind of geared to the 20-35 year old range. They have a wonderful big screen on the Lido deck but most of the time during the day they are playing concerts on it and at night doing Laser light shows to the music of Pink Floyd and Rush. I thought it would have been nice to watch an occasional movie on the big screen. The comedians were great as well as the big production shows. I will warn you during one of the shows, I believe it was called Dancing in the Streets, some of the dances were inappropriate for small children. Which seemed kind of ironic since that was the show they brought a bunch of kids from Camp Carnival to. The female dancers were dressed in skimpy costumes doing pole dancing and paying a male dancer dressed as a pimp all to the tune of Donna Summer's Bad Girls. I enjoyed the show but not sure I would say it was totally family friendly.
During our cruise we were supposed to visit the ports of Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel and Roatan. We went to Cozumel which was great. We rented a scooter across the street from the port. We easily drove all around the island and stopped at various beaches. In Belize we booked our own excursions through a private company. We did zip lines and ATVs. Unfortunately when we got to Roatan due to high winds and narrow channel to the port we were not able to dock. The ship made several attempts but could not dock so we had another "Fun Day at Sea". We learned that the bigger the ship isn't always better because some of the smaller cruise ships were able to navigate in to the port. Later in the day we learned that the port to Costa Maya had been completely shut down because of the strong winds and the only viable port was to go back to Cozumel instead of another "Fun Day at Sea". Thankfully we did go back to Cozumel or we would have had 3 straight days at sea. The weather did not cooperate on the second trip to Cozumel because it was cool and rainy. Several establishments offered 50% off food and drinks to Carnival Dream guests so many of us spent the afternoon at Fat Tuesdays in Cozumel dancing and having a good time. We learned that you cannot control the weather so just make the best of the situation and that is what many Carnival Dream guests did in Cozumel. Carnival has offered a 20% off discount on a future booking due to the cancelling of ports and changes to the itinerary and I appreciate Carnival's efforts. I was disappointed we missed both Roatan and Costa Maya since we had never been to either of these ports but overall we did have a great time.