I sailed the Carnival Dream with my husband, two girls (10 and 8), and my parents (both 70). My parents have cruised over 20 times and this is my 7th cruise, on a variety of cruise lines, including Carnival.
We stayed at the Country Inn & Suites the day before we sailed. Shuttles were booked except the 1:00 pm shuttle, so we payed for a taxi to the ship. Really, the hotel should have enough shuttles available to get everyone to the ship in time for lunch! Boo to them.
Embarkation was simple and quite entertaining. The staff was excited, as we were, and had us moving and on the ship within 45 minutes of our arrival at the port. Lunch was grilling and we found a place to sit on deck and enjoyed our first meal.
Cabin~ was great. It was crowded, of course with two kids, but we had plenty of space for everything we over-packed and everything we acquired along the way. Our room steward (Ni) was personable and efficient. She greeted us by name each time we saw her. Our balcony was wonderful, view of Lanai deck on the odd side of ship.
Camp Carnival was phenomenal! Once the ice was broken (maybe day 2??) they spent a lot of time there. They made friends, stayed up late and enjoyed the freedom of self check-in and out that come with the 9-11 age years. They especially enjoyed the scavenger hunts and the Fun Force dancers.
Dining~ our dining room experience would be the only negative to report. We were seated in the Scarlet Dining room, table 606. It was freezing! Our waitress, Natalia, said it was a common complaint at that table because it was directly below the air vent. We were also next to the server's station, which made it "busy" as well as allowed us access to server's conversations and arguments. We were in a corner, upstairs, and all the singing and dancing Carnival is so well known for took place downstairs. The main problem was the temperature. On elegant night, we were clad in hoodies, with blankets under the table for our legs, with house socks. The Scarlet is also on the end of the ship where more movement is felt. We should have been more pro-active and demanded a different table, or to be moved to the Crimson Dining Room.
Food~ was good. Plenty of it and quite good. Phenomenal? No. But good. Ice-cream is a great meal alternative for a picky eater. Breakfast was great with made to order omlettes and we especially enjoyed the pasta bar.
Movement~ this ship definitely moves~ a lot. It wasn't the kind of movement that made me sea sick, but movement, lots of movement. And noise. Eventually we began joking that we were hitting whales.
Entertainment~ shows were very good. The Dancing in the Streets was excellent. There were never enough seats in the encore lounge and the "no saving seats policy" is a joke. Get there early.
Casino staff was great; friendly and personable~ as you make your donation.
Disembarkation~ was seamless. Off the ship by 7:30 claiming air travel, with zone 2.
Back to reality and can't wait for another opportunity to cruise!