I sailed on the Carnival Dream out of Port Canaveral on August 6. We were three adults and 2 children (13 & 9). We arrived at Port Canaveral at about 10:30 am. The check in process took less than 10 minutes. Much more efficient than at the Port of Miami. I sailed out of there in October and the check in was a nightmare. It took over one hour. Once we boarded the ship we were directed to the buffet until the cabins were ready at about 1:30. The lines were long but nothing outrageous.
Waterworks - Slides are great. If you lie completely flat on your back on the twister it is a bit rough on your back. The drainpipe is extremely fast. You shoot out into the bowl really fast. I did hit the back my head a couple of times. The only problems i see are that the deck is extremly HOT. You cannot walk on the floor barefoot.
Pool Area - The main pool is EXTREMELY small. Not big enough to accomodate so many people. The deck is even hotter than at the waterworks. Not a joke. You will burn your feet. As with all ships you will find the chair hogs, those people that set out their stuff on chairs but never seem to use them. I was under the impression that any chair left unattended for more than 30 minutes would have the towel removed to allow another guest to use it. I saw many many chairs sit unused for hours with towels on them and nothing was done. There was one couple sitting next to me who had two sets of chairs. One in the shade and one in the sun.
On about the third day I set my towel and book on a table by the pool and went into the buffet to get my lunch. I was gone no more than 10 minutes. When I came out i was surprised to find a heavy set hairy guy sitting at my table picking at his navel. He had to have seen my stuff b/c it was inches from his arm. On the last day i again had a table by the pool. My book and towel were on it. I got up to go to the bar for a drink. Just about all the tables were occupied at this point. As i was walking back i saw a man clearing dirty dishes from a table that had become vacant. He put them on my table and sat down at the now clean table. I did not say anything b/c he was with two small children. I did not want to make a scene. That was just plain RUDE.
Unsupervised Children - This would probably be my biggest complaint. I do not dislike or have anything against kids. I want to make that clear. However, I was amazed at just how many kids were running free all around the ship. Where were the parents? At all hours they ran up and down the halls screaming, yelling, pulling the do not disturb signs off the doors.
As i mentioned earlier, the pool is very small. It is also very shallow, only 3 1/2 feet. There is a sign on the pool wall that reads NO DIVING. Kids (and parents) ignored this. Over and over, kids jumped, dove, flipped and cannon balled into the water. I even saw one father sit his child on his shoulders and dive into the water.
On three separate occasions, I stepped into the elevator and found that all the buttons had been pressed.
On the deck above the main pool was a ping pong table. It is squeezed into a corner right next to some deck chairs. There were several kids, no more than 6 years old playing at it. Alone of course. They must not understand how to play the game because they were using the paddle as if it were a bat. The object of their game was to see how hard and far you could hit. The ball was flying on tables, chairs, you name it. Thankfully, after about 10 minutes, the ball flew over the side of the ship and that was the end of the game.
Leave your kids at home if you are not going to watch them.
Food - Overall the food was great. The buffet lines are kind of long but that is to be expected when so many people are trying to eat at the same time. The burrito and pasta bar were fantastic. The hamburgers out by the pool are a "10". The dining room has an excellent menu as well. The hot molten chocolate cake is divine. If you are not a breakfast person, room service is an option. The menu is limited but you can get cereal, yogurt and assorted pastries. Coffee, milk and juices are also available. It is free.
Staff - They are courteous and helpful. Sometimes they have a hard time understanding you but not a big deal.
Staterooms - I had an inside cabin, and it was on the small side. If you can afford it, get a balcony. The cabins are more roomy.
Beverages - Carnival allows each person to bring on board 12 bottles or cans of soda, water. This can add up to a savings considering that the unlimted soda package is $ 50.00 for adults and around $ 40.00 for kids.
Disembarkation - No problems. Extremely fast and orderly. It was less than 30 minutes from the time we left our cabin until we arrived at our car. Bags and all.
Parking - ouch..... parking is $ 15.00 per day. If you can park off site for less or have someone drop you off, do it. We ended up paying $ 105.00.
All in all this was a great experience. I would definitely recommend this ship to anyone.