First, we are a married couple in our late 50's traveling with friends and our 22 year old son. We love to cruise and have sailed on Carnival many times before as well as Royal Carri bean, Princess, Celebrity and Holland.
Quick and easy embark and debark. Very polite people at the pier. We used Omega Transportation from Orlando Airport to the ship. They were right on time and the driver Mino was very professional. We traveled with a party of six and the van was comfortable. Mino was a very safe driver.
Our cabin was a Spa Cloud 9 Balcony on Deck 11 with private access to the spa. The spa area was very nice and the spa staff was very polite and friendly. My son and I used the nice showers in the spa area everyday to give my wife some space in the cabin so she could get ready. Steam/sauna and heated chair rooms were very relaxing and worth the money.
The entertainment nightly shows were very good.
Food- was pretty good at first and then slowly went downhill as the cruise progressed.The Chocolate Melting Cake was very good. Lobster was good as well as the sweet and sour shrimp. The Pasta Bar was good, The sandwich deli and hamburger grill also were very good. The Omelet maker named Anthony (from India) was very polite, happy and very good at making omelets. Carnival needs more employees like Anthony.
The ship layout- what a choppy design. because the ships galley is in the middle, you must go up and back down a deck to get to where you are going.
Ship Smells! OMG! It smells like rotten eggs and sulphur in the halls and stairways. Walking into the Gathering ( The Buffet) it smells like urine or a nursing home. This was everyday. I think the cleaning staff uses old dirty water when mopping the floors.
Small Pools. There are two small pools for 3,000 plus passengers. Very un-inviting to say the least. It looked like the scene in the movie Titanic, with all the people in the water!
Nothing to Do: I guess once you have been on RCCL Freedom Class ships it is very hard to step back. There just wasn't enough to do except drink, gamble and look at disgusting passengers.
Very Rude Staff: This was the thing that really ruined our cruise vacation.
The staff was very unhappy and rude. Even officers in the white uniforms were rude and unwilling to answer simple questions. Most of the staff had no information when you would ask for help or ask a simple question.
Dining Room Staff was overwelmed: The poor waiter had no back-up help at dinner. The food was sometimes cold because he could not get it to our table fast enough. he would forget what we ordered. Get a bread basket was near impossible so we resorted to getting up and finding the basket ourselves.
Fellow Passengers: OMG! If you like the WalMart crowd then this is the ship for you. We are not snobs in any way but this crowd ( for the most part) was your basic "trash". The scent of very bad body odors was everywhere.
Very Over Crowded- Everywhere! Carnival has built the Dream at 110,000 Tons to accomodate more people. That's it. Very hard to find a quite place and when you did it was very hot because of the lack of shade. For some reason, the way they designed this ship it lacks shade.
Ports of Call: Belize and Costa Maya are a waste of time. Cozumel and Roaten are nice. I highly recommend the Money Bar & Beach ( Cozumel) for good drinks and food close to the ship. Tabayana Beach ( Roaten) is awesome!
Final Thoughts: You get what you pay for. Carnival has lowered the bar for cruising with this ship. It is a shame. If you are new to cruising then you will probably enjoy it since you have nothing to compare it to. If you have cruised on the other cruise lines, do not like bad odors, rude staff and overly crowded situations, then you may want to re-consider.
Feel free to email me if you have any questions. Thanks.