This review will give a few hints on how to do a Universal layover:
Rented a car for 2 days which is significantly cheaper than taxi or shuttle from airport to Universal, then to Port Canaveral. Pick up car at airport and drop off at Port location, then free shuttle to ship. Even with resort self park of $15 a day, it was only $150 or so compared with an estimated $75 one way to Universal and $200 to Port.
We stayed at the Royal Pacific Resort for 2 nights, which is a Universal property hotel, on a bed/breakfast deal with my wife and my 15 year old. Got 2 adult buffets free each morning. Got 1 hour early admission and your room key is a "fast pass" worth $87 each and definitely worth it. We got on popular rides in 5 or 10 minutes as opposed to 45 minutes. On a Friday! We did the Adventure Island only and is easily covered in 1 day (15 hours). Night before checkin and day of Universal, we used car to go to main fast food strip for dinner to save money. Used early admission to get into park at 7 and then came back to resort at 10 for breakfast.
Boarding was a breeze. Luggage delivered quickly.
Very few lines at meals due to extra places to eat scattered throughout the ship. BBQ on deck 5 outside each day for lunch (w/ sliders!) and even the sushi bar was open a decent amount of time. Even the pizza line was short!
We did no excursions, but did leave the ship to shop a bit. No problems there.
Hurricane Emily led to a cancellation of Virgin Island stops. Carnival substituted Grand Turk and a 2nd Bahama stop (Freeport). This was handled smoothly considering. Last day was really a trip to nowhere just to kill time.
Debarkation was quickest ever. We used self assist and was off the ship in 20 minutes. No real lines, even at elevators!
The Dream is definitely an upgrade to the other Carnival ships we have used.
Other random hints: Bring regular extension cord as there is only 1 outlet in cabin. Internet is pricey and pushed throughout the ship, cheaper probably to expand your phone/data coverage to International for the week. Google research Park West Galleries before you sail if you might attempt to buy something at a sea auction. Get future sail certificate credit for $100 to get an extra $100 shipboard credit on your next cruise. Even if you don't use it, you can get your money back. I have used them for 4 trips. Works even with travel agents if you tell them before you pay.