The Carnival Dream had a lot of ups and downs. We did the 7 day, western caribbean cruise. Overall, it was a good experience, but not exactly what we were expecting. The ship was very nice, and the crew kept the ship as clean as it could've been. I will say that if you are prone to sea sickness, this is not the ship for you. I've never been on a ship of this size that rocked so much. This was our 3rd cruise, first with Carnival. Anyhow, here is a good rundown of the +'s and -'s of the ship and cruise.
Embarkation: Overall, this was a quick and easy process. Everything was pretty organized, and the crew was there to help you find everything you needed.
Public Rooms: Most of the public rooms were clean and nice, with the exception of a couple. The casino was extremely smoky and crowded 90% of the time. The non-smoking blackjack and poker tables were right next to the smoking tables, so it didn't help much. The slot machines didn't give out much money at all. The dining rooms weren't as nice as we thought they would've been. We sat at table 632, and although it was a nice table, we could not see anything that was going on down below at the 1st level. The overall layout of the ship was very awkward.
Cabin: Our cabin was amazing. We had a balcony on the 10th floor, and this was the first time we had done the balcony stateroom. It was very clean, and very spacious.
Fitness and Rec: The gym was very small for a ship this big. It also lacks a tennis court, and the pools are way to small for the amount of people. The 2 main pools are extremely cramped for space, and after about 9am, it's impossible to find a deck chair or even get in the pool without bumping into people.
Dining: The dining room service was really great. The food, however, was not. Almost every single night, the same food was served both in the dining room and the buffet, not allowing for much choice. The overall food quality was mediocre, even sometimes flat out bad. We stuck to mostly the pizza bar and the burrito bar.
Entertainment: This is where the ship really excelled. The shows were absolutely amazing, and very professional. I enjoyed every show, and was really impressed with how nice they were. I would highly suggest all the Encore Theatre shows.
Service: The service in general was very mediocre. For our picture, our portrait was shot at an angle, and then the crew in the photo shop forgot to give us our wallet and 5x7 size pictures! The service in the gift shops was really rude at times, and not very professional in the jewelry shop. Our dining room staff, however, was exceptional. His name was Horatio, and he was very professional.
Shore excursions: We did 2 of them, the power snorkel in Costa Maya and the Pirate, Birds and Monkeys one in Roatan. Both were a lot of fun, and great value for the money. I really loved the power snorkel, as it was great for beginners and pros alike. We saw stingrays, crabs, puffer fish and lion fish.
Overall, it was a fun experience, but Carnival will not be our first choice for a cruise. Royal Caribbean and Norwegian are far better in terms of service, value and their overall ships. The Dream is nice, but came across as very outdated and way to small for the amount of people. The fellow passengers were really obnoxious, with many people drunk by 3pm. The drinks were terrible. I'm not sure if they weren't sure how to mix them or what, but they were not the best. The crew seemed to struggle with crowd control at certain events on the ship, and that made for some interesting moments.
Basically, if you like to drink, don't care about service all that much, and eat a TON, this is the ship for you. If your looking for more of a relaxing cruise, with higher quality food and service, avoid the Dream and go with something like the Liberty of the Seas with Royal Caribbean.