Me (54 y.o. psychologist), sons Jordan(17) and Brian (12) took this week long cruise together. We have taken many cruises together but this is the first on the Carnival Dream.
We parked at the Park-N-Ride lot located a few blocks away from the port on Hwy 528. They charged $6.99 per day which is 50% less than the port. They took us over to the ship on a nice shuttle bus and picked us up right outside the debarkation area at the end of the cruise. I highly recommend them.
We had a nice balcony room on the 9th floor. We were just below the lido (pool) deck so we heard some noise from time to time, but it wasn't that bad. This floor is convenient to get to the buffet, movie theater, pools, etc. I would probably choose the 7th or 8th floor next time though.
The ship was clean and it looked new. I saw very little signs of wear. The staff were efficient but not overly friendly. We ate dinner at 6pm in the main dining room with a few other people which was nice since they had a couple of kids as well. I suggest the 6pm dinner time because you are first dinner guests of the night and you get your food faster and you can then start your evening much earlier. You can order more than one starter or entree but you usually have to wait for the second one. They had lobster on the first formal night and it was good. My kids each ate three of them. On the third night we ate in the Chefs Art restaurant. It was very nice and the quality of the food was definitely an upgrade. Again, my kids ate lobster and filet mignon. My older son wanted and extra lobster so they charged an additional $20.00 for it but it was a nice size lobster. It's a nice treat to eat in the specialty restaurant but the extra $110.00 was a bit too much to pay, in my opinion. We ate breakfast and lunch at either the buffet or pasta bar. I recommend the pasta bar since it's not very busy and they cook your food to order. They also have a deli stand and a sushi stand but they are open odd hours.
We played putt putt golf several times. It's a nice 18 hole course but it's usually busy and you have to get the clubs/balls on deck 10 and walk up to deck 12 to play. The entertainment on this ship is a vast improvement over previous carnival cruises. The had a top-notch female singer impressionist from Canada named Karen Grainger who could easily play in Las Vegas if she wanted to! They also had several good comedians on board that performed both family and adult shows. We booked an independent excursion in St. Maarten with Captain Alan (www.captainalan.com). It was the snorkel, beach, mud bath trip. The seas were extremely rough going out and a couple people got sick on the boat. Once we got past the high seas it settled down and we were able to snorkel and two different locations, do the mud bath which was very nice and spend some time at Yellow Beach. We then had to brave those rough seas on the way back. We were so tired from that trip that we came back at 3pm, eat and then went to sleep until the next morning. The trip staff were very nice and friendly but maybe they should have cancelled the trip due to the rough seas.
My pet peeves with Carnival are the typical "over-sell" techniques they use. They are constantly trying to get you to buy "something" on the ship whether it's drinks, photos, bingo cards, raffles, jewelry, watches, clothing, water to take off the ship, art work, future cruises, internet time, deserts, casino events, etc, etc, etc. Overall, I thought the ship was nice and I'd book it again.