My wife and i were a little apprehensive about booking our cruise on the Carnival Dream after reading a few of the reviews on this site, but the dates and destinations worked well for us, so we booked it anyway.....and are very happy we did.
We arrived at Port Canaveral at approx 11am on Dec 31st and check-in was fast and efficient. Yes there was a bit of a line, but it moved quickly and within less than 30 minutes, we were up on the lido deck. The ship looked to be in very nice condition, it was very clean and friendly staff greeted us aboard.
I will itemize a few things to make it easier to read this.
Food: Overall, quite good.
Breakfast is good, lots to choose from. I had omelets each day from the omelet station...with the exception of one...when i decided to have scrambled eggs from the buffet which tasted like powdered eggs and i didnt like them. Other than that, the variety was good, there was all the typical breakfast food, plus fruits, cereals, yogurt etc. We usually ate on the lido deck at mid ships, but towards the end of the cruise, we really liked the aft area of the lido deck for breakfast. We also tried the Scarlet dining room for breakfast on one cloudy morning, which was very nice.
Lunch included many options, i really liked the Indian Tandoor grill (aft on the lido deck), there were some really good items there and never more than 4 or 5 people in line. There were also good sandwiches available at the Deli. The lunch buffet lines at The Gathering can be long, but moved quickly. Burgers from the burger bar were also good. I didnt try the pizza, but my son liked it. The buffet items at The Gathering were as expected....good...and some were very good, but occasionally some items were not that great. No big deal.
Dinner for us was in the Crimson dining room. Damir was our waiter....a good guy. We had heard many complaints of cold food and we only experienced this once with an appetizer. Overall the food was hot. Quality was good, with the exception of the Chateaubriand, which was tough and chewy. We asked our waiter to get us another different portion, which he did...but it was equally tough. The being said...one bad meal out of 7 isnt that bad especially when i could have chosen something else from the menu besides Chateaubriand.
ENTERTAINMENT: We really liked the shows we saw. I was surprised to read some others comment about how they didnt like the shows onboard, but i thought that they did an excellent job. Trying to entertain an audience ranging from kids to the elderly isnt easy, but they did it with great music, good choreography and fun themes. If you want to see Phantom of the Opera, go to New York. If you are onboard for fun...check out the shows.
The comedy club always seemed to be packed and people did say the comedians were funny, but i didnt watch any of the shows, so i have no comment.
THE SHIP: One thing i was concerned about was the "slamming" of balcony doors that others had posted on the forum. Lucky for us, this wasnt an issue. The doors closed quietly and i dont think i heard a balcony door slam all week. Someone suggested we bring a bungee cord to keep the balcony door open, which we did and slept with it open at night. The sound of the ocean and the breeze was wonderful.
Others had mentioned the Dream rocks alot compared to other boats. I have only been on 3 cruises, so i dont have a lot of experience with this, but i didnt think it was a big deal and yes...the boat rocked on the night we had 50mph winds and 20 foot seas. Besides that, it was smooth sailing.
The pool area at midships is busy and loud. Try to get a spot in the aft section for a more relaxing time....or in the adult serenity area.
Our cabin steward was wonderful. These guys work really hard. We had cabin 10229 (Lido deck, starboard side). The room was spotless. There was plenty of space to put our stuff away and hide our suitcases.
Overall, we has a terrific time and i glad we booked the trip. The Dream class boats are big and maybe it took Carnival a little time to get the kinks worked out, but i think they deliver wonderful value and a really fun time.