Before I give my review you should understand who is giving it.
1. Male, 37, 1st cruise
2. worked in hospitality for 13 years 8 in management
3. went with 2 other couples
Here we go.
1: It is a large ship. It carries many people! At times some events/disembarks and such will be busy. Most of the time if I wanted to be in an area during busy times it was not an issue. Though if you are going to a popular event plan on going early and have a cocktail. Most of the time it was never so busy it was unbearable. More to come on this below.
2: Events on ship. We went to some of the events, most of which are well attended. Most of which were worth going to. I wont comment on specific attractions that would take to long. But I was never disappointed. ok, well the length of the comedy show was a bit short, alas I'm over it.
3: Gambling. Did not play any slots, no comment. table games, mostly for fun, kick around some money to find a winning streak. Dont expect to win too much due to table limits. Texas hold'em is no limit at a computerized table. It plays well and makes it easy for a novice player to sit. but it is easy to keep putting cash on your account (if you were losing).
4: Drinks. I purchased 2 liters of a favorite alcholic beverage from Bon Voyage (so did another couple we traveled with) in advance of our trip. This helped keep costs low(er). But the "girly" drinks were $7.50 on up. Some were ok, some were good, and a few were just bad. To each their own on this one. They carried plenty of different beers/spirits to accomodate most palates.
5. Embark/boarding. Wow, pretty quick, mostly painless. I think the whole process took us 45 minutes. Thats arrival from bus to done with the photos and ready to buy a beer :) I thought that was spectacular! I expected longer, what a pleasant suprise.
6. Disembark/leaving the ship. For our final disembark, WOW again! We kept our luggage in our room, and when we were ready for leaving the ship we were off in 25 minutes. Super quick, we were disappointed we didnt stay for breakfast on the Dream. We could have made a flight at MCO for 10:30AM. Not recommended, but we didnt leave our room until 7:45AM. Do the math, it was quick!
6a. For ports of call. Most of the time it was busy and the hallways were crowded up the stairs to the 2nd level at least. However once the line started to move it was 10-15 minutes to get off the ship. IMO not too bad. 1 piece of advice. For Belize where you take tenders (little boats) to shore, book a Carnival sponsored excursion as it appears you get preferental treatment off the ship. That was nice! others in our group did not book an excursion on this port and said it took "some time" to get off.
7. Rooms. Not large, but large enough. We had a balcony, loved it. I'm guessing any large person on any ship would say the rooms are small, but being 5'8" 190, I was fine. Shower again for me was fine, but larger persons will complain of size. Shower had excellent power and heat at all times.
8. Staff. AMAZING!! No kidding, our rooms were always in great shape. We had a few servers that we always found or waited for, well worth it. Mario in the sunset bar & grille (AFT 10) was our favorite. We more often than not would show up with a drink from another area, but he still made sure to stop by and ensure we were taken care of. He was fantastic, but we were never let down by anyone.
9. Dining. Again I have worked in hospitality for sometime. The buffet was less than I expected. I think there is room for improvement. Overall it was okay. Dining ( Crimson) was good. I was surprised here. I guess I recommend eating here when available. The Tandori was well received AFT 10. The other simple dining areas were good enough, room to improve, sure, of course, but not too bad. The Steakhouse was solid, nothing to complain about here, its worth a $30p/p to dine nice at least once.
lastly I'm sure I have missed many review points, but these were a few I found worth commenting on. NO spellcheck was done, sorry. Hope this helps in making your decision. IMO I would do this ship again without reservation.