After reading many reviews on the Dream I honestly had no idea what to expect. Our family of 4 had never cruised before, so yes, we had nothing to compare it to. I will say it went over and beyond all of our expectations.
I have read that the ship was overcrowded. Yes, it was crowded, but we were always able to do everything we wanted to do. I had heard the buffets were over crowded. They were crowded but no different than going to a Sunday Buffet at church.
Embarkation was so smooth. We did not have passports, which made me nervous. We took certified birth certificates and photo id for each person. This worked out well. No problems. After getting onto the ship we ate lunch at the Mongolian grill. Very good. We were able to get into our rooms by 1:30 and had all of our luggage by 2:30pm.
Yes, Carnival does have chair hogs. But then, I have heard so does every other cruise line. I did see Carnival workers moving things from the chairs. (All you have to do is ask and they will move it for you.) The pools are over crowded. Of course, we were cruising during spring break week. So..... what do you expect?? I will say, we had around 1500 kids on the trip. It was amazing. They were typical kids.. but overall, very well behaved.
My kids are ages 13 and 15. They did not participate in any of the kids programs. So I cannot comment on that.
I was so nervous about what to expect during the evening dining. We did late dining. Worked out well for us. Yes, dinner is long. We arrived about 8:15 and was there until around 10:00 at the latest. I must say I enjoyed every minute of it. We are a very busy family so it was wonderful having a normal conversation with my husband and children.And our waiter Andrew..... AMAZING PERSON!!! No phones, no texting, no computers. Every mothers dream. Do not get stressed about what to wear. I saw several women wear the same formal dress for both nights. I will do the same thing the next time. Less to pack.:) My husband and son wore dress pants with a shirt and tie. No jacket and yes, that was okay too.
Every evening we went to the family comedy around 7:30. It was hilarious. My kids loved it. It was not child humor. Just good clean fun. After that we went to dinner then to the late show. We would get to bed around midnight or later.
Food was great. You can always find something you like to eat. Don't miss out on the Pasta bar. My son would walk around with a piece of pizza in one hand and an icecream in the other. lol
I will say everyone on the ship worked so hard. It was cleaner than some of the 5 star hotels I have stayed in. Our dinning room waiter was up early and worked on the Lido deck them also worked dinner.
On any vacation, sometimes things do not go as planned. Work around it and enjoy your day. I spoke with many people about cruises in general. Many had done several different cruise lines. They felt that one cruise might be a little better on one thing while another cruise would be better at something else. Find the one you get the best deal on and enjoy. Another thing...... I have decided if you do not have a good time cruising and all you do is complain you must be a miserable person. How can anyone go on a cruise, look out at the beauty God has made and have a terrible time? It was Amazing!!!!
Saw another post about drunk teens..... I saw nothing like that. Yes, it was crowded if you wanted to lay by the pool. I actually like finding a chair where it wasn't as crowded and a little quieter. Usually deck five or on the top of the ship.
I did much research on cruise critic before my trip. So thankful that I did. I really felt prepared. Plus, get info from your friends that have cruised.
I was disappointed with the cost of the pictures. Way over priced. I purchased only one. 5x7 port shots are $10. All other were $20. and the price does not drop. They were good but not that good. I think Carnival could sell many more photos if they would drop their price.
Again, I would recommend this cruise to anyone. It was heaven getting to spend quality time with my family.
We did not have much time in Nassau. We slept in and our ship was only in port for 5 hours. We wanted to do the Atalntis, but too expensive for a short time. We ended up going to Junkanoo Beach. Within walking distance to the ship. You can rent chairs. We did not. Took our towels and set them in the sand. We did have several people come up and ask us to buy things but they were very polite when we said no. You can see the ships from this beach. Probably not a favorite, but, it met our needs for the short time we had. Beach was clean, water was clean..... extremely cold.
St Martin was a beautiful port. we wanted to go to the Orient Beach but it did not work out for us that day. We slept in. After that we took the water taxi to the island. I think it was around $6pp both ways. We went to the beach that was on the left. The sand and water was beautiful. We rented 2 chairs and an umbrella and a float for $20.00. That also included a bucket of beer. We traded out the beer for cokes and bottled water. I will say locals drove me crazy wanting to sell things. They were not rude just so many of them. We did eat a little lunch there. Around $40.00. The beach and water was clean. Not my favorite.
We had a tough decision when deciding which beach to go to. We choose Sapphire Beach. No disappointment here. Absolutely amazing. We did not take the open air taxi, which cost $10.pp one way. We took the Safari Bus (which looks the same) but it is considered the local bus. It cost $2.pp one way. We felt very safe. I found info on cruise critic about how to catch the bus. Ask where the local Kmart, McDonalds, and hospital are. It is around that location where you catch the city bus. It is within walking distance.
At Sapphire it was amazing. We rented chairs ($7. ea) You can walk up and down the beach to decide who you want to rent from. I can't remember the name of the company we choose but they rented Kayaks. We paid $20. hour for a two person. We had a blast. My husband and kids also went snorkeling. You can rent the equipment there. Less than $10.00 We took good pool goggles. Worked fine. Did not see amazing fish, but saw some. Was able to take pics with an underwater camera. Kids were pleased. The water was a beautiful blue.
At lunch there. If you walk down the beach a little ways they are grilling burgers, hotdogs and Maui Maui sandwiches. My husband said it was the best ever. It did cost about $45.00 for the 4 of us. Sandwiches are huge. My advise, split them. Eat enough to hold you over until you get back to the ship.
We did take a taxi back to port. Didn't want to take any chances. My son left his back pack on the taxi. Of course, we were in a panic. 15 minutes later..... here comes the driver with his bag and everything in it.