2 families - Parents + kids aged 14, 10, 7 AND Parents + kids aged 16 and 12
Travel To Port of Embarkation - Rented 2 Cars at MCO through Aeroplan because felt shuttle prices unreasonable for group of 9. Ended up with AVIS. Paperwork for insurance, etc took long time even though booked online. We got into MCO at 12:30 and drove immediately to Cocoa Beach Best Western (also aeroplan). Nice location on beach but room was not great - wouldn't stay again. Return car - location near hotel - easy return and quick shuttle to port.
A - Embarkation - Line seemed long at first but moved quickly. Best organized of 3 cruises we've been on and luggage got to room quickly.
C - 1st impression: Lido deck - VERY loud music and no lounge chairs available anywhere. Endless soda stickers on room keys ridiculous prices- 50$ ADULTS and 35$? for kids and you can only get one soda at a time and they will not give you can. Next time will bring one box of pop with us on board (saw a guy carrying box of 12 at embarkation)
A- space to relax after embarkation day - the music got to a mostly reasonable level on LIDO and the passengers must have spread out because it was fairly easy to find a lounge chair on decks 10 +. Lots of quiet places inside with couches or chairs. We loved our balcony.
A+ - Rooms- 3 balcony cabins - 2 of which side by side. We all loved the location - mid-ship 9th floor Vista deck - one deck below LIDO so easy access to buffet food and pool. Also, even numbered cabins always seemed to be on best side for views at sea and in port. Clean, nice decor,lots of space, comfortable beds. Had balcony separator removed by staff = great space which we used a lot.
A - Ship layout - loved that main pool was mid-ship. Would have liked that dining room and main entertainment room closer together - hard to make show on time after dinner.
C =Late dining - We always liked this on other cruises but there were many activities going on at this time that we missed. For this cruise, early dining better.
B+ - Food - Unlike other cruisers, I thought there was a good variety and the food was very good. I would prefer to have fruit, vegetables, cheese and crackers available at all times on Lido rather than burgers, fries, pizza and ice cream - although my kids thought this was fabulous! I feel that there should be one complimentary large bottle of water per room per day. The fact that there is nothing to indicate you will be charged $4.54 per bottle is maddening.
A+ ? Children's Clubs - all our kids were registered but chose not to participate - not sure why, seemed to be tons of cool activities and some late into the night. There are clubs for each of several age groups so activities are age appropriate. Older kids even have their own nightclubs and some shore excursions. There is a daily schedule for all activities that is can be picked up on first day.
A - Entertainment - lots of choices. Whether you like the main show or not, it is clear that a lot of time and effort goes into it. The props were amazing. Different people in our group of 9 enjoyed the singers, the dancers, the acrobats, the magician, some of the comedians, the towel folder, the outdoor movies, the mini-golf, the whirlpools on deck 5.
A Service: Hardworking staff, friendly. Stateroom staff more reserved than on other ships - some passengers prefer this, some not.
Security on ship: On the last night of the cruise, one of our wallets was stolen within a minute of leaving a table at one of the lounges. The wallet was found (minus the cash) thanks to the persistence of a fellow traveler. We will reserve judgement on the company's overall handling of the situation while we await word from upper management. Unfortunately, that last incident is keeping us from giving a fully positive review of the Carnival Dream at this time.