This is the first cruise review that I have written. I felt the need to share some of my experiences on a very nice ship.
I live in Orlando and sailed out of Port Canaveral. My girl friend and I drove to the cruise and park and took a one of their shuttles to the port. The price was $7.99 per day and you paid in advance. Cheaper than parking at the port, but they seemed like they could be a little bit more organized.
We arrived at the port around 12:00 and the embarkation process went smoothly. We were on-board within 30 min of arrival.
We were told the rooms would be ready around 1:30 so we proceeded to go to the Pasta Bar on Deck 11 rear. Food was good and the area was not too crowded.
Hung out near the aft pool for a couple of hours. We had a carry-on bag packed with swimsuits and things we would need to enjoy the day. We were in no hurry to go to the cabin. I was amazed how many people didn't plan ahead and were upset that they didn't have their luggage right away.
When we did get to the cabin it was clean and it seemed to have more storage than some other ships that I have been on. Also, my room attendant did a great job changing towels and making up the bed. I have never really had a problem with this on any cruises that I have taken on Royal or Princess.
I really expected the food to be bad based on things that I have heard about Carnival.
I had breakfast each day at the buffet. We had omelets made to order and they were fine. Some of the food on the buffet was cold during breakfast. Potatoes cold are not that great.
I must say that there were several varieties of things during lunch. Pasta Bar, Deli counter, Pizza, Hamburgers and big ol' Hot Dogs. Most of these are all by the pool areas. I am sure that there are even more dining options inside as well. I personally think the lunch choices are very good.
We had late seating for dinner and sat each night with another couple that we met on the first day. The Maitre D changed our table on the first night so that we all would be at the same table every night. We had a good time and the food was just fine. Some of it was better than others, but I didn't think anything was terrible. I heard some people complaining about the food while on the pool deck, but I honestly think these people are high maintenance and are expecting 5 star quality. Honestly, the food is pretty good, but it is not 5 star and I would not expect it to be.
We ate one night in the Chef Art restaurant for a $30 up-charge per person. Great dinner and a great presentation. Worth $30 per person? Definitely for one night to do something different. Come hungry though or it is a waste of money as the portions are big. The size of the cheese cake was ridiculous it was so big.
Getting around the ship took a little getting used to. Some decks do not go all the way through. Some other decks have a nice walkway but they are only on the starboard side. The deck layout could have been better, but it was not tough to get around once you figured it out.
Spent time seeing the adult comedy shows and I thought that they were very good. The "F" bomb is dropped frequently so I wouldn't bring kids or come if you are offended easily. You need to get to the show early or be prepared to stand in the back.
The casino is nice and I managed to catch some good runs at the craps table. My GF hit a couple small hits on the slot machines. They were a little tight but not as tight as the slots on the Emerald Princess when I sailed that ship.
The pools are a little small, but if you are just looking to cool off people always seem to make room for you. If you hate the crowds by the pool, go early or stay after 5pm.
One bummer is that the beers are fairly expensive on this ship. $5.75 for a Coors light (16 oz) is a bit too much and the blow is lessened only slightly by the $2.00 discount when you buy 4 bottles at time in a bucket.
The disembarking process went smoothly up to the point of going through customs in Port Canaveral. Carnival personnel did a poor job of keeping the lines moving evenly. I am not sure what was going on there but I felt like I watched half the ship go by in the line next to me while I stood idle in my line. Oh well....they can't do everything right I guess
Overall. The Dream is a very nice ship. It is well maintained and very clean and all the staff that I encountered were extremely friendly. I would definitely cruise on the Carnival Dream again.