Carnival Dream Review
My husband and I traveled on the Carnival Dream on February 25th to March 3rd and had a fabulous time!! This is our 5th cruise with Carnival. My overall impression of the ship was that it was in good condition and the decor had a lot of bling, which I like anyway. I found that the Dream class ship layout was similar to the Conquest layout, and this is what I prefer. So I enjoyed the layout of this ship.
We flew down from Minneapolis to Orlando the day before and stayed at the Double Tree Inn on Cocoa Beach. We had our shuttle from the airport to the hotel arranged with a company through our travel agency. This transfer was not through Carnival as we were coming down a day earlier. We rode in a small van by ourselves and paid $71.00 for the both of us. When we landed in Orlando, our driver contacted us right away and met us at the airport. The only problem we had with this was that our travel agent said we had paid for the transfer and when we arrived at our hotel, the driver said that we owed money. We called our travel agency back home and she said to pay him and she would reimburse us when we got back from our vacation and figure out what went wrong. Not sure what all got mixed up, but not a fan of the transfer from Orlando to the Port Canaveral area.
We arrived at our hotel about 4:30 pm. We got all checked in and learned that there was going to be a rocket launching at 5:30 pm that night from NASA. So we headed out to the beach and as we were walking out, we saw the rocket in the air. It had launched a few minutes early, but it was a cool thing to see. We spent some time on the beach right there and then walked to a grocery store across the street. We purchased two 12 packs of pop (one 12 pack for each of us) and carried this on the ship the next day. We had no problems doing this as long as you did not have it packed in the carry on. They want you to just carry it on so that they can see it and scan it. You are allowed one 12 pack of pop or water per person. We then ate supper and relaxed before going to bed. This hotel was very nice and in a great location right on the water. It was a little expensive, but was real nice.
The next day, we were supposed to be down at the lobby at 11:15 to meet our shuttle to take us to the pier. We had to pay $5.00 per person I think. The shuttle guy was late and did not come until about 12:00 pm. Other people were getting nervous and wondering what was going on. The driver blamed it on the Norwegen Sun people getting off late and he had to take care of those people first. I was not too happy about that as I wanted to get on the ship earlier than we did. Oh well. It was a short 15 minute drive to the port. When we got to the port, the lines were moving rather quickly and we were on board by around 1:00 pm or so. So we decided to wait by the door to get into our cabin to put our stuff away and then went up for lunch. It was not so crowded then as people were going down to go to their rooms and we were going up for lunch.
At 1:30 pm is when you can put your carryon into your room etc. We were on the Verandah Deck (deck 8) room 8305. Our room steward, Daniel, was very nice and took care of our needs. He kept the room clean and entertained us with the towel animals and he always had our bucket filled with ice for us at our request. Needless to say, we tipped him well.
After we did the muster drill (no need to bring the life jackets anymore), we went on the top deck to watch us sail away. It did not take too long to get out of this port and then we were in the Atlantic!
We had late seating, which was at 8:15pm. We prefer this, as then we do not feel rushed after a port to get ready for dinner. We ate in the dining room every night. Our waiter was Aneil and his assistant was Rayzan. They were ok. We have had better waiters on other ships. They tended to all of our needs, but really didn't talk or interact with us too much. That was kind of disappointing, but I did not let it ruin my experience in the dining room. The food was very good, especially the prime rib. It is always neat to try different things that you would normally not try at home. Some of the things I did not care for, but that is why you try a little of everything! During the day, we would eat at the buffets, Deli, Grill etc. They were good. We liked the Deli and the Pasta Bar. Make sure you find the pasta bar as it is hidden right above the gathering room. There is a set of stairs right behind the dessert table towards the aft of the boat. These stairs lead you to the pasta bar. Overall, the food was good and we never went hungry! We did not try the Chef Steakhouse, but heard it was good as well.
There are many activities on board to keep you busy. We did not participate in any of the daytime activities by the pool, so I can't comment on those. We did a lot of relaxing on deck 5 (lanai deck) and tried to get to the adults only deck (Serenity) as much as possible. A few of our days on the boat, it was closed due to high winds. It is a nice area and pretty quiet and free of kids if that is what you are looking for. It is hard to find chairs, but if you walk around enough, you will eventually find one. Especially on deck 5 if that side is in the shade ? . Also, people took some deck chairs from deck 5 and brought them to the very front of the ship or the very back of the ship on deck 5. There was hardly anyone there ever. It was nice and quiet. They also have benches in these areas if you just want to sit for a while and enjoy the scenery. We did not try the slides, but heard that they were fun. The kids seem to be enjoying them too.
We tried to make it to most of the shows at night. We went to some of the late night comedians, the Get Ready show, Dancin' in the streets, 8 more seconds, and the Legends Show (karaoke show starring the audience). We thought most of these were good. You can tell they put a lot of work and effort into all of these shows and all of the costume changes and props etc. entertaining. One of our shows was cancelled due to the boat rocking too much. It was a balancing act, so they had to cancel it for safety reasons. This is totally understandable and nothing could be done. So instead, they had one of the main singers just stand up there and sing. We did not stay for this as it was quite boring. A lot of other people felt the same way, but they had to have something I guess.
There are bars and clubs around the ship to keep you busy ranging from country, new aged music and oldies music. Those seemed to be hopping most nights. They also had live music in the casino, atrium, by the ocean plaza and other places around the ship.
They also had a laser show on the night of St. Maarten. They also had a Mexican buffet on the pool deck after the laser show. We went up and watched. The laser show was pretty good. The smoke that was needed to make the lasers show up better were blowing around so it was harder to see the lasers. But it did start sprinkling during the show and the rain going through the lasers was kind of sparkly and pretty.
Ports of Call
We decided that we were not going to get off the ship on this port. We were here once with our kids on a Disney cruise. We did not care for this port as the people can be kind of aggressive. Not sure if it was still that way this time, but we just relaxed out on the deck and enjoyed the serenity deck. It is amazing how many people actually stayed on the ship at this port. We were only there from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm. Not really a long time to explore or do something fun.
I have never been to this port and really thought it was beautiful! We were very lucky on this port as my husband had a friend back at home that knew someone that was going to be in St. Thomas when we were going to be there. They have a house down there and were vacationing too. They were gracious enough to pick us up at the pier and take us on a private tour around the island. They took us to Magen's Bay first. This beach was BEAUTIFUL! It was not too crowded there, but we were there right away off the ship. They have a cute little bar there, so we had some drinks and enjoyed walking around in the water and down the beach. They also have a little gift store here that you can shop at.
We then went on all of the winding roads and ended up at Red Hook. We stopped at a fun bar called Duffy's love shack. It is a bar in a parking lot! But it was fun and had great drinks in a fun glass that you could take home. (I had a monkey glass). We then walked around the marina at Red Hook and saw a lot of yachts and boats. We could see St. Johns across the bay. We then traveled to a bar on the beach called Aggie's. This place was like heaven. So beautiful and the bar was neat. We relaxed here for a while and had a few drinks and enjoyed the water here too. Of course along the way, our friends explained neat things about the island that they have learned while visiting there many times.
We then went to their home that they have there on the island. So nice! We relaxed there for a while and enjoyed all of the views with a cold beverage! We ended up down by the ships and ate at a bar called shipwreck. My husband and I split a hamburger as they were HUGE. We then had our friends drive us up to Paradise point so we could view the whole bay and ships in port. I wanted to take the tram, but our friends offered to drive us up there for nothing. So that was $40.00 saved! When we were up there, it had started to rain, so I did not get very good pictures. Oh well. It was still worth the drive up there and the views were awesome! Then our friends dropped us off by the pier where the shopping was by the ship. The prices were not that bad. We did not do any shopping downtown, so I don't know what that was like. By this time it was dark and still misting out, so we decided to go to the ship. I think it was about 6:00 pm when we got back on. It was a great day!
Here we decided to take a tour through the ship as we have never been here before. We booked the Golden Eagle Catamaran. We booked this online prior to our cruise. They have two times you can pick from. One was 8:15 am and the other was 12:15 pm. We ended up with the morning one because the other one was already full when we booked. I felt it worked out better anyway as we did the tour in the morning and did the shopping in the afternoon. I would recommend this tour in a heartbeat! I am not much for going on small boats in the ocean, but I enjoyed this one. When we got off the ship, which was easy, we found our tour right away. They told us up front before we even went on the tour that the snorkeling part of the tour was cancelled due to murky waters from weather. You would not be able to see anything anyway. So you had the choice of a full refund or you could sign your ticket saying that you agree to the snorkeling being cancelled and just go on the boat ride. We wanted to go anyway, and glad that we did! The crew was fun and so nice. We boarded the boat and sat in the front by the nets. The water was very wavy, so the boat ride was a little rough at first (well, for me anyway). Normally they give you the rum punch after you snorkel, but this time we had it throughout the whole trip. We sailed to a beach not too far from the airport and docked in the water. If you wanted to go to the beach, you had to swim to the shore. The waves were pretty bad, so I decided to stay on the boat. I was kind of disappointed because if you wanted to go on the beach and not swim there, they were supposed to give you a ride in a dingy boat that they had. They did not offer this at all. I probably should have asked, but I never did. I just relaxed on the boat with 2 other ladies that did not want to swim to shore. They did offer life jackets (which no one wore) or a noodle that you could float on. I kind of wished that I swam to shore, but my husband said it was harder to swim back to the boat as you were swimming against the waves and I am not a strong swimmer anyway. Then we sailed back to the ship slowly and had more rum punch and sandwiches. The people running it were very kind and fun to chat with. You also listen to music on your way there and back. Very relaxing for the most part. We got back from this tour around 12:00 pm. Then we decided to take the water taxi $6.00 round trip to the shopping. They give you an arm band that is good for unlimited rides back and forth to town. This place was like a zoo and the beach there was packed. They had tons of shopping and tons of jewelry stores. We did a little shopping and I got what I wanted and then we grabbed a bite to eat. We just split a hamburger to tie us over until we got back to the ship. We screwed up and should have gone back to the ship after our tour and dropped our towels etc. off. But the walk back to the ship from our tour was a long ways. They do also have shopping right by the ship, but I never shopped in these because by the time I got back from town, I was sick of shopping. We went on board around 4:30 pm as we were leaving by 6:00 p.m. This is a gorgeous island and I would come back here to explore more!
Our sea days were spent relaxing in the sun or shopping in the shops on the ship. I thought a few of the days sailing down were kind of rough and the ship seemed to move a lot. I think the strong winds had a lot to do with the movement of the ship. But we are sailing in the Atlantic, so anything can happen.
Overall, we had a great cruise and a wonderful time. We picked this itinerary because we have never been on the eastern side (except Nassau) and I liked the 2 sea days at the end of the ports.
We will sail Carnival again!!!