To our misfortune we picked up a virus from a very rude traveler who coughed all over us during the first show we attended and it really limited our activity, however, that is not the ships fault.
For the record, this was our fourteenth cruise and our third Carnival cruise. Our favorite cruise line is Holland America, second favorite is Royal Caribbean. NCL and Carnival are not at the top of our list. We are retirees who cruise to get away from boredom and relax.
First the ups.
Cabin was excellent with the exception of the mattresses which are more like saggy hammocks. Nice fluffy duvets cover up the sag when the bed is made, but wait til you climb in. Was on Carnival's Glory a couple of years ago and found the same bed situation there. Nice long sofa, nice decor, excellent bed linens, nice bathroom, lots of storage. One of the balcony chairs reclines in the event you'd like to do some private sunning.
It seems that each time we cruise Carnival, we find they have hired more and more Indonesian staff. That is one of the reasons we are so fond of HAL. Most of their staff are Indonesian and they are the warmest, friendliest people. They certainly make us feel as though they are dedicated to providing excellent service and the service on this trip was superb.
We were not prepared for the fact that our March 5th sailing was the beginning of spring break - we thought it was later. Carnival bent over backwards to see that the students had lots and lots of late night activities and I must admit that the student conduct was excellent and the young folks were a pleasure to be around. In the past we've had bad experiences with breakers going wild on cruises and really being disruptive.
The Dream was one of the cleanest ships I've ever been on. It was immaculate.
There were alot of small children on our cruise but here again, Camp Carnival kept the little ones very busy, away from the general population, so they weren't under foot.
Casino action was good. Adequate gaming tables and pleasant dealers.
And the downs.
Weird bath amenities included things like tape strips to open your nostrils and pepcid. Did they anticipate the food would upset your stomach???? Shampoo and shower gel dispenser in shower, but no lotions or shower caps. Carnival needs to understand that travelers, particularly females, enjoy the little sample packs of amenities that spoil us. It seemed that we were being used as guinea pigs for manufacturer's free samples of products they are promoting.
I generally get one massage and one facial in the spa as part of my vacation spoil, but not wanting to spread germs avoided close contacts. Also, each year that we go, the prices for spa services just skyrocket, so be prepared.
I'm a foodie, so that was where my biggest disappointment lay. Carnivals signature warm chocolate melting cake is always a treat and their creme brulee was excellent. The breakfast danish pastries are the very flakiest and excellent. Muffins had a hard crusty top like a hockey puck. The flat iron steak was definitely not as good as other reviewers mentioned. It had livery overtones - don't know what cut of beef they get theirs from. One night the menu featured "Chateaubriand with Bernaise Sauce", which got me excited until I read the fine print on the listing. Said it was cut from beef shoulder. PLEASE. Everyone knows that chateaubriand is the center cut of the tenderloin -AS IN LOIN, NOT SHOULDER. This is grossly misleading and a misrepresentation of a gourmet item. I guess you have to pay extra and go to the upscale steak house to get good meat. We did not try it on the Dream but we did on the Glory and it was worth every penny.
Will say the vegetables were all tasty and well prepared. Particularly the fried eggplant. It was exceptional. Also, the ship serves butter from France and it is the best butter I've ever tasted, so skip the Land o Lakes margarine which is also offered.
The buffet on the Lido was very disappointing and had very limited selections. The hot dogs at the grill are excellent and huge. The hamburgers at the same venue are sometimes cooked on the grill and sometimes on a conveyor being run through the pizza oven. Go figure.
The Dream offers continental breakfast, sandwich and dessert items from room service. These are available 24 hrs a day, but selection is limited. HAL has the policy of allowing you to order anything from the regular dining room menu for breakfast, lunch or dinner, as long as you order during the regular dining times. This is a wonderful practice and provides the guest with so many options from bacon and eggs in your room in the morning, to a strip steak for dinner, when you're interested in privacy.
We thought almost all of the entertainment was poor. Comedy club was not good. Even the family show was so gutteral. If you enjoy unsophisticated humor about farting and other bathroom habits, you'll love it.
In the main show lounge performances, the male dancers were excellent, the female were very lackluster. The male singer was okay, the female to loud and abrasive. The only good show was one that some other reviewers have mentioned called Dancing in the Street and that is because of additions to the cast which I won't describe, in the event you are booked on the Dream - best to let you be surprised.
Carnival has relaxed it's dress policy and now calls what used to be "formal nights", "elegant nights" but jackets and ties are no longer "required".