The ship was very large but it seemed to handle the number of passengers relatively well. We didn't experience unbearably long lines and there seemed to be room at most of the performances and events. It may have been our dinning times, but the lines actually seemed a little shorter than on some of our previous cruises.
The decor is a little more muted and tasteful than other Carnival ships we have been on. I thought it was a nice improvement.
We had adjoining ocean view cabins. With three small children we do not want a balcony. The major plus of these cabins is that in most of them you get an extra "bathroom" that contains a short tub and a sink. This means that in one cabin you get two sinks (in different rooms), a shower, a tub (with a second shower), and a single toilet. This is a very nice setup when you have a lot of people sharing the cabin. Otherwise the cabins were basically the standard on the newer Carnival ships. They are relatively large and comfortable, if somewhat plain. I don't know if it was our location, but ours was the quietest cabin I have experienced on a cruise ship.
The food was similar but seemed somewhat improved over our last cruise on the Carnival Liberty. Again it was the Carnival standard menu. The food is good but not overly fancy, not what I would call "fine dinning". There were a lot of options (Indian food for example) on the Lido deck buffets.
Our dinning room waiter real made a big difference on our cruise. He was able to get "off menu" food for our somewhat picky children. He also entertained the children with magic tricks and animals made from folded napkins. It was a really great experience for everyone.
The entertainment was also better than on some of our previous cruises. One of the shows main shows was OK and the other much better than expected (Dancing in the Streets).
The ship was child friendly. Our children enjoyed Camp Carnival and the water slides were a big hit. The Dream has fewer pools than other ships (only 2) and they are small. The space has been given over to extra water slides (two large slides, two medium slides, and two "baby" slides). This seems like a reasonable trade if you like water slides.
The only real negative we had on the cruise was a bit of a funky smell in the hallway near our cabin. It was also (lightly) in our cabin the first day. Once the ship got underway, the smell in the cabin disappeared but it recurred occasionally in the hallway. It was not a big deal and didn't really affect our cruise.
As far as the port visits, here is a brief summary:
We did a the "Everybody Loves Rays" excursion in Cozumel. It was OK but nothing really special.
At Roatan we had a beach day with no shore excursion. There is a very nice beach that is an easy walk from the ship. There is a chair lift to take you to the beach but it is actually faster to walk. Only take the chair lift for the fun of it.
We stayed on the ship and did water slides during the Belize stop.
At Costa Maya, we had took a shore excursion through "The Native Choice." This was a really outstanding excursion and I would recommend this outfit. They were very friendly, informative and helpful.