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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2014
I just completed a cruise on the Carnival Dream embarking from New Orleans, LA. This was my 37th cruise and 14th on Carnival. I arrived one day pre-cruise and stayed one night in the Astor Crowne Plaza on Canal Street. Hotel was very ... Read More
I just completed a cruise on the Carnival Dream embarking from New Orleans, LA. This was my 37th cruise and 14th on Carnival. I arrived one day pre-cruise and stayed one night in the Astor Crowne Plaza on Canal Street. Hotel was very crowded with football fans with tickets to the Saints/Packers game at the Superdome. Let me just say I was part of a group of cruise junkies sailing on the ship during the Halloween week. With my VIP "Platinum" level, embarkation was a breeze. I was directed to a private office type facility where I completed my health certification and then on to another room with leather couches awaiting the Carnival rep to call my name and issue my key/cruise expense card. After this process was completed, I was directed to wait in the Platinum section of the terminal where we were allowed to board first. Carnival did a great job embarking me and I was aboard the Dream within 15 minutes of port arrival and inside my interior cabin #8418, which was ready for occupancy. Since I was cruising solo (but with a large group), I decided to book an interior cabin, which suited me fine. The cabin was always clean, quiet and neat. My cabin steward did a great job with my room, although I did not have a robe in the closet, he did obtain one for me right away and apologized for it not being supplied upon embarkation. This ship called on three ports, First was Montego Bay, Jamaica, where I utilized an all inclusive resort. Second was Grand Cayman and third was Cozumel, Mexico. Did an island tour on the Caymans which was very nice and went into town in Cozumel. The Carnival Dream was the cleanest ship I ever sailed on. It was spotless...the crew was constantly polishing, sweeping and cleaning. These folks always had a friendly smile and hello as you passed them doing their chores. My usual cruise gripe was with all the second hand smoke emitting from the port side of the ship where smoking was allowed and drifting over to the starboard side. In the casino. the smoke was terrible...everyone smoked where they wanted to. Deck five, where the casino was located, was smoke filled and caused all kinds of problems for my second hand smoke allergy. I could not utilize the casino during the trip other than a slot pull that our group organized pre cruise. I though that the food was good on the Dream. Service in the dining room was so-so with table mates getting other people's dinner orders. I can understand the servers dilemma because I thought there were less waiters and bus boys on this ship vs. other ships I have been on. I have to give the guys an A for effort for trying to get the orders straight, Personally, I do not like salty foods and I thought the soups were a bit salty. Also, do not order meat loaf at dinner...it was just terrible and I asked the waiter for something different. I thought it was dry and tasteless. Bar drinks were very pricy...$8.58 for a Pina Colata or a Miami Vice. Also, if you have your drinks served to you at the many bars aboard the Dream, don't expect munchies to be available. Looks like Carnival eliminated them as a cost cutting measure. Disembarkation was a snap when we returned to New Orleans. I found my luggage within 30 seconds after entering the luggage area. I had #1 disembarkation level, so I was off the ship real fast . Customs was easy and no questions asked. The officer just looked at my passport and my customs card and welcomed me back into the USA. All in all the cruise was fun, especially Halloween night where passengers wore some wild costumes. Yeah, I'll do Carnival again someday, but my next cruise scheduled is back to my fav...RCCL where the difference between Carnival and RCCL can be seen. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
We were on the Dream for the big annual poker cruise. We like Carnival for the value – it’s a midrange cruising company that provides a good cruising experience at a good price. The pros and cons of our cruise follow. Pros – The ... Read More
We were on the Dream for the big annual poker cruise. We like Carnival for the value – it’s a midrange cruising company that provides a good cruising experience at a good price. The pros and cons of our cruise follow. Pros – The food was good. At dinner, the every-day steak option was good. Other dishes that were good were the lobster, chateau briand, prime rib, and escargot. So we did not try the specialty restaurants, felt no need to. At breakfast, they had made-to-order egg stations that were excellent. At lunch, they had the usual suspects (hamburger, pizza, hot dogs, etc.), along with a Mongolian Wok (BBQ) and tandoori station (Indian) that were very good. Other choices as well which others liked (e.g., the made to order pasta station) that we did not try. The service was good. Our cabin steward was excellent, as always. Our evening wait staff was also very good. Lots of smiles and greetings from the staff on the dream, not like our previous cruise experience (with MSC, see separate review of that). Our shore excursion (Belize City tour and Altun Hun ruins) was OK. Otherwise, we did private excursions, which, when well researched, are generally better than ship excursions. Serenity -- the adult area up on top of the ship at the front -- was nice. A little bar with plenty of seats even on sea days. Also, excellent access to the big water slides, heh heh. The Dream had an interesting drink special. If you bought a classic drink, you could redeem the receipt for a $5 match-play coupon in the casino. On the last day, we redeemed 23 of these coupons and made a nice sum of cash playing blackjack! Hope they continue that promotion on our next cruise! Unlike many cruise lines, Carnival ships all have self- serve laundry facilities, which my wife likes. The Dream, however also had an ongoing laundry special: wash-and-fold everything you could stuff in one laundry bag for only $15. We had seen this type of special before on other ships but never this cheap! This made my wife very happy, ha ha. For entertainment, we mostly played poker. But we did take in two shows: a big dance number that was excellent, and a comedy routine that was pretty good. We also played several trivia contests, and we liked those, but they are pretty much the same on all cruise lines. Cons – Not too many of these. Embarkation was slow, and we were disappointed by that, as Carnival asked everyone not to arrive before their assigned time blocks, and we waited until well within our time block, and it still took us 90 minutes to get on the ship. Debarkation, however, was quick. Also, I don’t think the layout of the ship is the best. Despite it being a large ship, there are no large public spaces other than the theatre up in the front of the ship. Also, we do like the bar with the panoramic view on RCL ships, and the Dream had nothing like that. Overall, though, this Dream cruise merits four or five stars.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
This was our 10th cruise with Carnival. My wife and I took this cruise because I’m a poker player and this was the Texas Holdem tournament cruise. We had visited the ports of call several times. Once the pride of the Carnival fleet, the ... Read More
This was our 10th cruise with Carnival. My wife and I took this cruise because I’m a poker player and this was the Texas Holdem tournament cruise. We had visited the ports of call several times. Once the pride of the Carnival fleet, the Dream is beginning to show some age. Things like frayed carpet, damaged seats and rust on the balcony. FOOD: To many people, one of the most important parts of cruising is the food. If you’re dreaming of incredible food then you’d be better off booking a cruise on Holland America. We ate all of our dinner meals in the dining room where the food is adequate but not great or in one of the specialist restaurants where the food is MUCH better. The menu has remained basically the same for a year or so now in the dining room. During the “sea days” we ate brunch in the dining room because the buffet was always crowded and the food the same. They are still rationing out the bacon on the buffet. On sea days they have a “BBQ on deck 5. That’s kind of a joke. You wait in line to get cold hot dogs, hamburgers, and soft tacos. There are better places on-board to get the same food. So don’t waste your time standing in that line. ENTERTAINMENT: My wife and I really enjoy the comedy shows – this cruise was no different. BUT the shows in the main loupe were a disappointment. Once upon a time, many years ago, Carnival had great entertainment every night – but no more. Anything to cut costs I guess. SERVICE: As usual the service on-board was excellent – except for Guess Services, there’s some room for improvement there. Our cabin steward, Rino, was excellent. He took very good care of us. Our dining room wait staff, led by Federico, were also excellent. EMBARKATION: Years ago getting on-board a cruise ship in New Orleans was a long and stressful event – but that has changed. We flew into MSY early the day of the cruise. There was a smiling and friendly Carnival representative there to greet us. We always use the Carnival transportation from/to the airport. Soon we were loaded on-board the bus and on our way to the port. Once we arrived at the port we arrange to have our luggage handled (without touching our luggage again). Since it was fairly early we were able to check-in within 20-minutes. Rather than sit in the terminal area on little plastic seats we walked to the trolley and rode the short distance to the French Quarter. We spent the afternoon enjoying ourselves in the French Quarter. When we returned to the port we were able to bypass everything but security and were on the ship within 10-minutes. PORTS OF CALL: Roatan – Carnival has built their own port, with their Carnival controlled (and over-priced) shops. Years ago they docked where the other ships dock, in the “real” Roatan area. My wife decided that we would take an excursion that included a zip line and a monkey wildlife stop. Belize – In Belize you are tendered from the ship to the dock – a 35 minute boat ride – I do not like ports-of-call that require tendering. It is a slow and crowded process. Cozumel – We have visited Cozumel many times but had never visited the “Rio Secreto” (Secret River). So after a long ferry ride to the mainland we were on our way. I recommend that everyone that is physically able to walk, wade and swim take this excursion. DEBARKATION: We always enjoy a final breakfast in the dining room then return to our room until the “force” us to leave. From the time we left our room to go to the waiting area on Deck 3 until we were on the bus heading to the airport was about 40-minutes. That’s not too bad. CONCLUSION: This cruise, like the 9 Carnival cruise we’ve taken before was ‘adequate’ and a great value for the money we paid. No, it doesn’t reach the standards of Holland America, Royal Caribbean, or even Princess but it was just fine for us. While on-board my wife booked an April 2015 cruise on the Liberty out of San Juan, PR so we obviously were satisfied. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
My first cruise and I was tentative. Reading some of the reviews I wasn't sure whether it would be for me.  However I have to say I loved it. The food was outstanding, sure there were a few short queues at the buffet, but nothing ... Read More
My first cruise and I was tentative. Reading some of the reviews I wasn't sure whether it would be for me.  However I have to say I loved it. The food was outstanding, sure there were a few short queues at the buffet, but nothing silly, the food was lovely, hot, nutritious (if you wished) and plentiful. In the main restaurant it was delicious and the service was outstanding. We had lobster, oysters, fillet steak, king prawns, everything. Crew were fantastic, always smiling and attentive. Empty tables were cleared in seconds and nothing was too much trouble. My special thanks to Augustus our main salon waiter, who was friendly but attentive. The ship was in a splendid condition, with no frayed edges, all gleaming steel, varnished mahogany and spotless. I cannot praise this holiday or the Carnival product enough. I'm looking forward to my next. My fellow passengers were "real people", neither stuck up or trashy, just down to earth, happy polite and welcoming. I did opt for faster to the fun and it was worth it just for the embarkation experience alone. Terminal door to cocktail sipping in less than half an hour. Shows were good, occasionally outstanding and I especially liked the comedy. I saw four different top-notch shows in a week Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2014
This was my 9th cruise and was by far the best. I gathered with friends from the cruise critic roll call and my old pals from previous cruises and we joined together on FB to coordinate efforts to get this one booked together. We had a ... Read More
This was my 9th cruise and was by far the best. I gathered with friends from the cruise critic roll call and my old pals from previous cruises and we joined together on FB to coordinate efforts to get this one booked together. We had a group of about 40-50 people. We planned events for each day (1 day took a break) but boy it was so much fun! I was never into the boat activities... leave that stuff to the old farts. We had the typical meet and greet, followed by a martini hour, Cards against Humanity (have to buy this!!!), dressed up as pirates one night, had our own mardi gras parade (brought the beads and dressed up), and oh.... can't forget, this was a Halloween cruise. After dressing up, we had a cabin crawl and danced the night away. I always recommend meeting other friends on the cruises. They truly become your friends for life. Now on to the ship, wonderful!!! Embarking was the typical, long lines, waiting to hit the gang way. But I've learned, you just take deep breaths until you got that sea card in your hands. Then the party is ready to begin. People who complain about this process are wasting their time when they could just wait patiently and enjoy the moment when it comes. I was in cabin 10269. My first time on the Lido, with balcony. Didn't get out on the balcony as much as in the past. I think being on the Lido mutes the point. My room faced the atrium which at times was a little noisy but not bad at all. Little privacy if you like leaving your door open. But I am not so private, so this did not bother me. Being so close to the bars and lido pool is sooooo worth it! So much time saved from being on those elevators, waiting for others to get on and off just so you can get to your cabin. No way!!! I only got off on deck 5 and 10. Didn't need to see the others. lol. Food, entertainment, etc., I have no complaints. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
So normally I'm a huge researcher when it comes to vacations as I don't have much to spend on them and I want the most bang for my buck. Everyone told my boyfriend and I it would be a good idea to go on a cruise and seeing as we ... Read More
So normally I'm a huge researcher when it comes to vacations as I don't have much to spend on them and I want the most bang for my buck. Everyone told my boyfriend and I it would be a good idea to go on a cruise and seeing as we had never been we decided to go. I booked a 5 day cruise that stopped at Yucatan and Cozmel. I had been all over the carnival website looking at what things they had to do on the ship and it seemed like a lot. However, this was not the case! First off the website did a really bad job at letting you know what is on the actual ship you will be boarding. I have notice that the issue with that has been solved by carnival! Secondly, during the day other then a few pool side contest or some trivia there is really nothing to do! My fiance and I aren't big pool people and the trivia was a little out dated and boring, so it left us with no choice but to spend money in the casino or spend all day eating. It would have been nice to have more to do, like maybe a movie theater or something like that. We went on the cruise with my father in law and his wife and they said the same thing. They both have been on at least 30 cruises but never on this boat and they do not recommend it now either. They were really upset that it was a boring as it was specially being it was our first cruise ever and they were the ones to convince us to go. I will say though I will not be going on the elation ever again, I did enjoy many aspects of cruising and plan to cruise again just on a different boat. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
I had never been on a cruise before so I was a bit skeptical about the whole thing. But, I'm happy to say that it turned out to be a very pleasant experience. First, I have to commend the crew members. They were what really made the ... Read More
I had never been on a cruise before so I was a bit skeptical about the whole thing. But, I'm happy to say that it turned out to be a very pleasant experience. First, I have to commend the crew members. They were what really made the cruise great. So friendly and pleasant, they took care of everything for us. From the Cruise Director (Robin) down to the room attendant (Asep). I don't know how much they get paid, but it is not enough. They were simply wonderful. The entire trip was extremely enjoyable. There was something for everyone to do and we loved it all. The comedy shows were especially good, I laughed my head off. Mutzie was hilarious!!! The Spa/Gym was great and I enjoyed the jacuzzi on the Serenity Deck. The food quality could be a little better but overall it was pretty good. There were lots of different food choices and places to eat. Food was available pretty much any time you were ready to eat. The shore excursions we went on were enjoyable and not pricey. The only complaint I had was that we couldn't stay in the ports longer. I think 2 days in each port would be more relaxing and enjoyable. The only part of the cruise I didn't enjoy was disembarking. It took quite a long time and we had to drag our luggage around too much. I think they should have the luggage ready for us to pick up after we get off the ship. Overall, it was a great cruise and I will be booking another in the near future. Carnival is Fantastic!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
This was my first "real" cruise on any ship; while the Elation is a bit older & smaller thank most ships my wife and I had a wonderful time…..was the food 5 star quality, no, was the entertainment 5 star, no….the food was ... Read More
This was my first "real" cruise on any ship; while the Elation is a bit older & smaller thank most ships my wife and I had a wonderful time…..was the food 5 star quality, no, was the entertainment 5 star, no….the food was good nothing fancy but good (almost cracker barrel quality)….I bright some seasoning (tony's/slap ya mama) to add to it…….the wait staff we had (Darlene, Abdul, Tata) worked their tails off to make sure that we had everything that we wanted & were beyond friendly…..these people often work 20 hour shifts & they always had a smile on their faces and a greeting for us BY NAME. The servers in the Gatsby Bar Elena & Jada (hope i spelled it correctly one was from the Ukraine and the other from India) remembered us by name as well as what we were drinking. The rooms were an ample size (we stayed on the main deck room 207) Komang (our room stewart) was there at our beckon call……they weren't huge but we weren't going to hang in the room all day anyway. I suggest you bring a power strip, some clorox wipes, & fabreeze……the rooms can get musty but i'd give them a 4 out of 5…..I don't understand how someone can't enjoy themselves when they have all the pizza & ice cream you can eat….24 -7…..in the end the cruise wasn't about how good the food was or how big the rooms were it was about the people we were with and we were determined to have a good time & DID…….one thing for sure, bring patience as areas can get crowded…..the lines move pretty quickly. The loading procedure was a little slow but it did seem that everyone arrived at the same time but the lines moved quickly& orderly…the debarkation was quick and painless….we opted to have our luggage brought down for us which takes a little longer but not tedious…we docked at approx 5:30/6, ate breakfast and were off the boat with our luggage by 9:30…again just be patient & just enjoy yourselves…..   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
We sailed from New Orleans and stayed at the Prytania Parks Hotel. This was a great place to stay and we enjoyed riding the Streetcar and not having to park downtown. As always, embarkation was very smooth, Arrived at port earlier than ... Read More
We sailed from New Orleans and stayed at the Prytania Parks Hotel. This was a great place to stay and we enjoyed riding the Streetcar and not having to park downtown. As always, embarkation was very smooth, Arrived at port earlier than normal and had Zone 4 boarding. Once on ship we went to Lido for lunch. It started to rain but never put a damper on our trip. Food on this trip was just ok at the buffet. Seemed like same things every day and just not much of an assortment. We really enjoyed our meals in the main dining room and the staff was excellent. We were in a Cove balcony mid ship and really enjoyed it. No odors.....Up the elevator and we were right at the Lido for fun, drinks and Ice Cream. Our Wonderful Room Stewards were the best, Johny & His team were always there if we needed anything. Our first sea day back from Nassau, we sat on the balcony and watched several pods of dolphins for over an hour. This was probably the highlight of the trip. Well maybe the Fun Force dancers would also rate up there. These guys are fabulous and they would be considered a MUST see while on board. Ports of call were nice and never felt hassled by vendors to purchase their goods except in Nassau. Casino was a little better than normal but nothing to get over excited about. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
This was my second time on the Carnival Dream we really love this ship you don't even notice how many people are on board there is so much variety of things to do. And the food choices no one will go hungry for sure. Never had a ... Read More
This was my second time on the Carnival Dream we really love this ship you don't even notice how many people are on board there is so much variety of things to do. And the food choices no one will go hungry for sure. Never had a problem finding a lounge chair or room in the hot tubs people were courteous and accommodating. We watched GODZILLA on the big screen one night that was awesome the cool breeze of the ocean was amazing. Movie nights you can get pizza and popcorn and more if its late night they set up a buffet for late eaters. We did cruise excursions the first time around in Belize it was cave tubing and zip lining. and just shopped in Cozumel and Rotan. This time we did the behind the scenes city tour of Cozumel and Gardens in Rotan. I would not say they were worth the money spent and leave it at that. and we shopped in Belize which was fun and we visited the Chocolate factory. The Encore theatre had awesome shows for night entertainment. The first time on the Dream we had a Balcony room on 8 we enjoyed the balcony at night. This time we choose a Cove Balcony these are on the second floor these balconies are real close to the water and do not have glass as your barrier but the hull outline of the ship. We love it awesome to be next to the water and the shade from the lifeboats above were great giving us the barrier from the sunshine. We were out there all the time enjoying the breeze and scenery. and this floor was just as clean as the upper floors and as quiet as the upper floor also. Happy Cruising! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
My boyfriend and I went on a cruise 2 weeks ago. We vacationed with another couple although we did not share a cabin. This was their first cruise and they choose an interior cabin. This was our third cruise and we splurged for a balcony ... Read More
My boyfriend and I went on a cruise 2 weeks ago. We vacationed with another couple although we did not share a cabin. This was their first cruise and they choose an interior cabin. This was our third cruise and we splurged for a balcony cabin. Everyone always wants to know exactly how much a cruise cost- no one is trying to be evasive- its just a hard number to pen because you can add extras or you can cruise without spending more. Our cruise cost with taxes was about 1200.00. That's a 7 night Caribbean cruise in a balcony room- leaving out of New Orleans with three port stops- Cozumel, Belize and Roatan. Then there are gratuity charges. This is a one time pay and the money is divided up among all the crew that takes such good care of you. It is right at 11.00 a day per person. You can pay when you book or they will add to your onboard charges or you can even dispute the amount and change it or all together refuse to pay it. Frankly, I think they earn it! For the next 7 days the only time we tipped additionally was to the parking tower luggage carriers (1.00 a bag) and to room service (2.00 each time). The "extras" that made our bill rise...We steak house dined one night (this is a steak house that is above and beyond the nice dining- big beautiful steaks, very personal service and delicious food. I ate crab cakes, filet mignon and lobster! The cost of this is 35.00 a person plus we tipped here too- sorry I forgot about this tip) Also we purchased pictures. Every night photographers are set up in several locations- you can pose for as many as you like and only buy what you want. They are 20.00 for an 8 x10 and 15.00 for a 5 x 7. We only bought 2 pics! Then there are excursions... we find carnival excursions to be costly and crowded and not specific to our wants and needs. So we researched (trip advisor!) and found reliable companies that offered excursions in each port. Cozumel we went snorkeling- there were 8 of us, they took us to 3 awesome locations that were very secluded. We saw amazing coral formations and fish. They feed us fresh fruit, made fresh guacamole and chow chow served with chips and had beverages alcoholic and not- this was a 4.5 hour excursion that cost 50.00 a person. Well worth it. In Belize we took a horse and carriage drawn tour through the city- the tour lasted about 3 hours. Our guide was awesome and very informative, friendly, humerous...The tour was just for the 4 of us and cost was 25.00 a person. Lastly, in our last port Roatan we hired a guide they toured us around Roatan in an air conditioned van- the cost of that was 35.00 a person. That tour lasted a couple of hours and also was awesome. On the ship we bought a few souvenirs- 27.00 worth. On the Roatan and Belize excursions- the guides took us all around and to any places in particular we wanted to go. We went to a park that lets you hold and take pics with monkeys- the entrance fee in there was 10.00 a person with an awesome guide through the park (we tipped him 5.00). Also we ate lunch both those days and that expense was on us- not cheap- about 15.00 a person! (but the food was yummy!!!) We tipped our guides for each excursion day 20.00 each. Lastly (for cruise cost) my boyfriend bought a soda card. He loves sodas and they aren't free on the cruise ship. For 49.00 they put a sticker on your sign and sail card and you can get unlimited sodas and juices throughout your cruise. I am not a soda drinker and was satisfied with all the free coffee, hot cocoa, tea and water. We did purchase a few alcoholic beverages- the pina colada was awesome. They cost about 8.00 a piece. There is a specialty coffee shop on the ship that makes awesome frozen coffees- we had coffees and shared a 6-layer slice of yummy carrot cake-that set us back about 12.00. And finally we lost about 125.00 in the casino. NOW- THATS ALL THE MONEY WE SPENT! The Carnival Dream ship is beautiful and huge! The crew and staff are as polite and helpful as you could imagine. They clean your room twice a day. Room service has a limited menu but is free 24/7 (we ate the heck out of some late night BLT's!) The putt-putt course is large and lots of fun. The comic shows (we went once) was good- we laughed but didn't laugh until we cried. We lost a little money in the casino. The views from our balcony were awesome- we were balcony Vista floor. Only thing I did not like about balcony is people are allowed to smoke on their balconies. So a few times we got cigarette smoke mixed in with sea air- yuck! And the people next door had a kid that we never really heard unless he was on the balcony. The pools were always jammed with people- swimming would have been out of the question. All the pool crowds could do was stand in the pool- not our thing. The Jacuzzis were nice but those were full most of the time- or had kids in them. PEOPLE please keep your kids out of the Jacuzzi's! Anyway- found one empty one but soon found out why- water was cooking temp! The food on the cruise was abundant. I found the taste to be okay- not bad not great (except for elegant night when we got lobster and steak house night when I got crab cakes, filet mignon and lobster!). In conclusion, overall our cruise was a lot of fun. We did not have one single unpleasant experience or day of bad weather. We never got bored or hungry and we came back having spent more money than we originally planned! Will we cruise again? Heck yes! Will we cruise carnival again- we say we are going to try a different line but when we start looking at the prices we always come back to Carnival. I heard someone call it the K-mart of the cruise lines...LOL maybe so, but that's what our budget allowed and we never felt like we were part of a blue light special! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
Overall this was a great cruise. We drove to New Orleans the night before the cruise. We stayed at the New Orleans Marriott Metairie at Lakeway. Got a great price from Expedia on the room, and parking was free. We drove to the port and ... Read More
Overall this was a great cruise. We drove to New Orleans the night before the cruise. We stayed at the New Orleans Marriott Metairie at Lakeway. Got a great price from Expedia on the room, and parking was free. We drove to the port and parked in the garage. It was probably a ten to fifteen minute drive from the hotel to the Port. Seems like we spent more time in line waiting to get into the garage, than it did to get to the Port. We arrived at the Port around 10:45 and there was a line. Probably took us about twenty five minutes or so, to get through the line, get our luggage unloaded and head into the waiting area. I was surprised at how many people were all ready there! It probably took another thirty to forty-five minutes or so to get through the line and onto the ship. Our cabin was a cove balcony room. I thought the room was a little small, but it has been a few years since my last cruise, so my perspective is probably different than those who cruise all the time. The cabin has lots of storage space for your clothes. The cabin had a bunk that was in the ceiling. We didn't use it so not sure how it works or how much space it would take up. There were only two of us in the room, and I think it would be a little cramped with four persons. The service was very good. All the staff and crew members were polite. The entertainment was very good. Hennie the cruise director was very friendly and did a good job. I have seen several complaints about the quality of the food on these boards over the last few months. The food was good, maybe not up to "chef" standards, but considering the amount of food they serve at one time, good. We had anytime dinning. Our first night on the ship we ate late, probably around 8:00 p.m. Service was very slow that night. I'm not sure if service was slow because it was so late, or the first night or what, but we did not eat late again during the entire cruise. The rest of the cruise we were in line when they opened the dinning room. Generally, we were able to finish our meal and get to the Encore lounge by the 7:00 p.m. show. Ports - Key West it was very hot the day we were there. We took the Conch Train Tour. This is not the tour I intended to take, but it was very good and very informative. I can't remember the name of our tour guide, but he was very good. We learned a lot about Key West during the tour. We walked around a little after the tour, but by that time it was almost 12:00 and the heat was almost unbearable, so we headed back to the ship. Freeport - we could not decide on an excursion and by the time we did the ones we wanted to take were full. So be sure to figure out what you want to do early and book it to ensure you get what you want. We ended up getting off the boat and walking around the port. It was much cooler in Freeport than it had been in Key West. There was a nice breeze so we hung out at the port for a while listening to the music. Eventually we returned to the ship and went to the pool. Nassau - Beautiful water and scenery. It seemed to be warmer in Nassau than it was in Freeport. The first excursion we booked, was cancelled, so we had to book our second choice, luckily there was space. We did the Segway Nassau Tour. It was wonderful. We had a great time. The guys Andrew, C.L., and Amine were funny and friendly. Love, love, love the Segway! Unfortunately, you don't get to see a lot of the island. Next time I will book the Segway tour which is about two hours, and will also do one of the historical tours of the island. The port was very busy that day as there were four ships in Port. Disembarkation took a little while. We were out of our cabin around 7:30 or so, and went to the Scarlett Dinning Room for breakfast. Based on our zone number we expected to be off the ship by around 9:15, however there was some kind of problem and it was closer to 10:45 or so, before we disembarked. Going through customs took a while. The part where you get your luggage then get back in line to go through customs, needs a little work. Some people needed porters to get all their luggage, others didn't and it was chaos, trying to get around those waiting on porters, and then trying to see where you needed to go. It was a little crazy. However, once you got your luggage, going through customs didn't take very long. Overall, great cruise. Negatives? The upcharge in the dinning room for certain foods, constant sales tactics that come with spa services, as well as other areas of the ship, and the pool(s) are small! Positives? Crew, Staff, Cruise director, entertainers, meeting new people.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
This was our first cruise on Carnival and our first time out of New Orleans. Our other cruises have been on Princess and Norwegian out of Florida. Embarkation check-in was slow. The cruise ship was good and our room #11225 was excellent ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Carnival and our first time out of New Orleans. Our other cruises have been on Princess and Norwegian out of Florida. Embarkation check-in was slow. The cruise ship was good and our room #11225 was excellent with the best steward ever, Jacinto. We had access to the spa and we used it almost everyday. The spa had good water that had lemon or oranges in it. I filled my water jug 2-3 times a day there. The spa rooms were used to relax the muscles and get some nice quiet time. Not sure I can do another cruise without it. Food was the worst of all cruises I have been on. Buffet selection was poor and quality was not that good. To get good food, you had to wait in the Mongolian Wok line for 30 to 45 minutes to get something fresh. We mostly ate dinner in the Crimson restaurant on the "your time" dining. Service was real good in the Crimson, always calling us by first name. Menu selection was okay and I was able to meet my strict diet needs. We did have breakfast brunch in the Scarlet. There the service was not as good and the food was below par especially those premixed scramble eggs that were horrible. We also went to the steakhouse, my wife did not like her food and said it was not worth it. My food was real good but the service was slow...it turned to be a 2.5 hour dinner for the six of us. As far as ports, the times are shorter than we like since we are active cruises and not shoppers. We Scuba dived with Dive Paradise in Cozumel and they were the best. They took care of our newer divers and treated us great. In Grand Cayman, we did the Scuba excursion with Carnival Dream and they took us to Don Foster's. The diving and locations were good but there was 18 people on the boat which takes away from the personal touch. In Jamaica, we opted to book our own tour when we got to the port. We did not want crowds or long drives so we ended up doing the river tubing and they took us to the Rio Bueno. This was a great trip. We only had a group of four (us and our good friends) and our guide would sing and took real good care of us. Overall the cruise was good with poor food. From my experience in planning events, if the food is good then the event is good. Sorry, this makes us question using Carnival in the future.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
This was our fourth cruise with Carnival and it won't be our last! We sailed out of New Orleans where we stayed at the Hyatt Place which is located right across the street from the Convention Center. The hotel was nice and with free ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise with Carnival and it won't be our last! We sailed out of New Orleans where we stayed at the Hyatt Place which is located right across the street from the Convention Center. The hotel was nice and with free hot breakfast, I would recommend this stay. Debarment went very smooth! We chose to park at the port because we like the convenience of walking to our car. On this trip there are three of us. Me (46), hubby and my mom (74). Mom needs a loaner wheelchair to board the ship and to my surprise, the staff made the process very hassle free and we were on the boa Lido having lunch by noon. Our luggage and our room wasn't ready until about 3 pm though. No biggie, we want to explore the ship anyway. We stayed on the Lido deck, room 10242. Very big and very clean. Oh and very quiet :) the beds and pillows were very cumfy. The bathroom was larger then the bathrooms are the Fantasy class ships and complete with lots of shelves for all of our hygiene products. 3 closets. I did not overpack this time! But I did pack a 3 way plug in thingy and I'm glad I did because there is not many outlets. The food: was just okay. The whole lobster that I paid extra for was delicious! But the food in general, including the steakhouse, was not worth noting. The line for the Mongolian wok was always long so unfortunately, I only ate wok once. The shows: the Street Dancing show was fantastic! The hairy chest contest was great! The game show was lacking and I never went to see the comedy show because I was either playing the slots or shooting craps. The casino: I am not a big gambler but I average 14000 points. The slots were up and down of course. They kept me playing all week though and that's really all I want. I did witness 3 large $3000+ jackpots won! The casino host and manager was terrific always on time with contests and the waitstaff was very Attentive, The pools were clean, not crowded and plenty of hot tubs placed all over the ship. It rained often but the cruise director made sure the crowds were always entertained! The trip really was wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
Okay, I will try a go at this trip report or review. Call it like you see it. It's probably more of a review.... I recently took my mother (72) and my dear husband (55) on a 7 day cruise to the Cayman Islands, Cozumel, and Jamaica on ... Read More
Okay, I will try a go at this trip report or review. Call it like you see it. It's probably more of a review.... I recently took my mother (72) and my dear husband (55) on a 7 day cruise to the Cayman Islands, Cozumel, and Jamaica on the Carnival Dream Sept 21st 2014. This is my DH and myself 4th cruise but this is my mom's first cruise. I am so excited that I could take her on such a wonderful adventure! We stayed on the LIDO deck in room 10242, port side, interior. This is our first time staying in an interior room and I must say that I liked it. However, I wish I would have brought an alarm clock because I am an early riser and the room stays so dark that I missed most every sunrise. O Well. The beds were cozy, the pillows were just right ( I always miss my pillow from home) and the room was big enough for all three of us. The bathroom is a lot bigger that on the Fantasy class ships! So is the closet space. Our room was always clean and the temperature was cool too. < I had read on here somewhere that someone had said the Dream was hot> Well, I am here to tell you that I have night sweats and was very worried that I would be uncomfortable on this cruise but to my relief I was just right. I was also a little worried about LIDO deck noise and such but we slept like babies every night. Embarking was your average deal. not too fast and not too slow. The port loaned my mom a wheelchair just to board the gangway because she can't walk or stand for long periods. And the cruise line took her name and room number so that when we come back to debark they would again assist her. I tipped the attendant that pushed mom's chair $5 each time. I don't think they were used to getting tips because he looked surprised when I handed it to him. We were all on board about noon and we ate in the LIDO restaurant and of course had the "drink of the day". The luggage wasn't in our room until just before the muster drill at 4. no biggie. That night we had dinner reservations at the steak house (free bottle of wine if you book a dinner on the first night). My mom and I went because my DH didn't pack any long pants. I see now what he intends to do on his vacation. :)) That is something I really like about cruise ship vacations, each one of us can "do our own thing" to personalize our own vacation yet still enjoy family time. The meal at the steak house was good but I did not feel that it was great. Service was exceptional though as well as the ambience. We went to bed early. I have fun in the casino the next day and earn enough points to get free drinks for the rest of the week. I play the slots and shoot craps some too. the machines were treating me right that day and paid me enough $$ to keep me playing all week. I did witness several people win jackpots too. One lady won $3500 right behind me and another won 6K! I am drawn like a bug to light (heehee). In Cozumel we took a taxi for $10 to the Money Bar and had lunch. I had the fish tacos and the portion size was large and delicious. Mom had a burger and DH had a ham n cheese. the biggest ham n cheese I have ever seen! We cabbed it back to the port and did some shopping. Back on the Dream. That night mom and I went to the Broadway show, Street Dancers (I think it's called) and really enjoyed it! The act was very talented and we left entertained and impressed. Grand Cayman.: 1st timers) DH and I have a snorkeling excursion planned and Mom wanted to stay on the ship. We booked through Carnival and chose the 2 reef snorkel tour. The bus ride was about 15 minutes until we arrived at a residential neighborhood where a large pontoon type boat awaited us. There must have been about 30 people on our boat. The driver took us to a beautiful reef where the water was kind of rough and if you were not experienced it was difficult. Several people climbed back on the boat shortly after giving it a try. I stayed in the water with my underwater camera and snapped lots of pictures. Beautiful colors in both plant life and fish. Stingray, sponges and so much more. My DH couldn't hang and got back on the boat.;) I do not know why we never went to the 2nd snorkel stop are that day, maybe because the water was too rough. Water was provided on this excursion but that was it. No rum, no snacks ($5 for a small bag of ruffles) and I couldn't understand anything the driver said over the intercom system because of feed back and static. He would've done better to just turn around a speak if he needed to say something. That night we watched a movie, poolside baby! Oh Yeah! Free popcorn, under the stars and very nice! Montego Bay, Jamaica: 1st timers) DH wants to stay on the boat and chill by the pool today so Mom and I go on a Carnival Excursion together. I can't wait to experience Jamaica with my mom. We took the 4x4 Chukka island tour. Our driver Richard was fantastic! He was very funny and told us many stories about their history. We stopped at an old church and we stopped at the fountain of youth in the jungle. It was a lot of fun! Richard even took us shopping at a little mall. (not the straw market) where I tried the world famous Blue Mountain coffee with a coconut creamy rum. Delicious! I purchased some of that as well as t-shirts and such. That night we ate in the main dining room where for an additional $20 I ordered a whole lobster, cooked to perfection and devoured it! uhoh! 2 sea days! You know where I will be! Casino! But I did manage to pull away from the slots long enough to enjoy the hairy chest contest and watch a couple of game shows in the theatre. I never saw mom laugh so hard as she did when watching those bare chested men dance. So much fun! We lounged on the serenity deck, got a bamboo massage, ate all the ice cream and chocolate one could muster for the next 2 days. pure heaven! and we are blessed!   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
We just returned from our Cruise. I was a bit worried because there have been so bad reviews of the ship. I found out that only 1 thing was bothersome. There can be a slight sewer odor at times not all the time as Many have reported also ... Read More
We just returned from our Cruise. I was a bit worried because there have been so bad reviews of the ship. I found out that only 1 thing was bothersome. There can be a slight sewer odor at times not all the time as Many have reported also unfair to the ship is many reviews about the Dream start out by prefacing the review by saying I normally sail with RCI or Holland. This is not RCI or Holland so you have to stop comparing this ship to those other lines its unfair. We found the Food Great, Dining Room Team fantastic as expected, Service awesome and this ship spectacular and I have cruised 7 times 3 on Carnival and 4 on RCI and have booked on Carnival in 2015 for an Exotic Caribbean Cruise and have 4 cabins so far to date. Show's were good and I did find the line at Mongolian Bar on the Lido deck to be long so I took many peoples advice and ate there on embarkation day. Lines were not bad for 4k people on board. We had a Cove Balcony mid-ship. No splash back or mist , not noisy and a great perspective being so close to the water. Only one thing was debarkation it took almost 4 hours, but as we all know that's not the Cruise Lines, but that falls upon the Port Authority and Customs. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
I have cruised on RCL before and have always heard that Carnival is the Walmart of cruises. We just wanted a quick trip out of our home port of New Orleans and RCL does not do less than 7 days so we figured we would try it out. We took a 4 ... Read More
I have cruised on RCL before and have always heard that Carnival is the Walmart of cruises. We just wanted a quick trip out of our home port of New Orleans and RCL does not do less than 7 days so we figured we would try it out. We took a 4 day cruise to Cozumel. I hate to say that everyone was right. The ship is very dated ( scheduled to be drydocked for referbishments OCT 2014) and it shows everywhere. Or cabin was E147 and ocean view on deck 7, we went Ocean view because Balcony rooms are not available on this ship. The room was interesting. The bed constantly seperated at night which can be quite a pain in the butt. There was ample storage in the vanity and closet for everything we had, and I tend to pack more than I need. Wish the bathroom had more counter space, but we made it work. We had no problems with noise at any time. We had a couple of small issues and maintenance was very quick. We had "Faster 2 Fun" so getting on the ship was a breeze. We loved being on the boat before 11 am and having or luggage already in our room. Getting of the ship in NOLA was another story all together. We chose to carry our own luggage off with an early departure time and still spent over 2 hours in line to get off of the ship. The food was good, but not the best cruise food we have ever had. We chose "my time dining" for this one and never had a problem getting a table for 8 when we wanted. Our service was always wonderful. Only one issue in main dining room when we were sat next to a table with two very intoxicated rude young men. Buffet was average, nothing to write home about. We paid for the Cheers package and I love paying one set price for alcohol and not having to worry about that. The 15 drink max was not a problem for me, and I think it is definitely worth it if you are even a moderate drinker. Bars were fine, never took too long to get a drink. We spent most of or time at the pool bar. The pool itself is very small and constantly full of kids which is fine, but no space for adults to sit in the water or near it without being run over. We expected this since it is a small ship and does not have an adults only pool. We still had a good time with our friends, but would not take this ship again. We are giving Carnival another chance on a larger ship since this seemed to be our biggest issue. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
If a humid rooms, sewer smelling hallways, drunks and bland food is your game then this ship has it in spades! This is only my second cruise ever. Compared to the Carnival Sensation the Carnival Elation was not nearly as well pressed a ... Read More
If a humid rooms, sewer smelling hallways, drunks and bland food is your game then this ship has it in spades! This is only my second cruise ever. Compared to the Carnival Sensation the Carnival Elation was not nearly as well pressed a ship. Some of the staff were borderline arrogant. The Camp Carnival was borning for my kids and the staff kept pushing them back on me the first two days. The food was atrocious but a necessary daily ritual you had to do to survive. The atrium elevators were broken only leaving two elevators that can reach deck 12 where my kids were at. Unfortunently the main elevators were possessed. Frequently if you were lucky enough to have one stop on you level you would jump on regardless of the direction. Very often it would skip your deck! Thankfully the port of calls were great. Both the Cozumel Jeep Excursion and the Progresso Resort were terrific and worth the trip! Also I got decent food during the excursions. It is with the excusions only that made this trip memorable and not a nightmare. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
First off - a cruise is exactly what you make of it. This is our third time sailing on the Elation and her sister ship, the Ecstasy (8/4/14 - 8/9/14). Yes they are dated, and yes, they are some of the smaller cruise ships in the fleet. You ... Read More
First off - a cruise is exactly what you make of it. This is our third time sailing on the Elation and her sister ship, the Ecstasy (8/4/14 - 8/9/14). Yes they are dated, and yes, they are some of the smaller cruise ships in the fleet. You will get past the dated decor after the first day so don't let that bother you. But here is a great advantage of the smaller ships - you will meet the most wonderful people on the cruise and you will get to see them all the time! Because of the layout of the ship, you will always run into the same people over and over. On the bigger ships, this will never happen. All four of us (two adults in their late 50s and two adults in their mid 20s) said the smaller ship is the way to go (after sailing on the Carnival Magic two years ago). We loved playing the trivia games as a break from the pool area - plus that's where we saw all our new friends! A shout out to our wonderful cabin steward, Warin - I tipped her up front and told her that both our cabins would need lots of ice and she sure delivered! Filled ice buckets twice a day in each room. Plus anything else we ever needed, she was right there to help. We chose the Anytime Dining and really like the flexibility of that option. We ate anywhere from right when it opened at 5:45 one day to as late as 9:15 another night. Wish we had done the Cheers program in hindsight! If you think you will drink more than 5 fancy drinks or 7 beers a day - that's the only way to go. Double check the details on this program but if you enjoy drinking, this might be a great option. The At Sea Brunch is the best kept secret on the ship - fantastic food (you must try the Huevos Rancheros)! And I bet that 80% of the passengers do not realize that the main dining room is open for breakfast every day with great food choices and a very relaxed dress code. Why would you eat at Tiffany's Buffet when you can sit down to a great breakfast of Eggs Benedict or french toast in a quiet atmosphere every morning? We did the Chef's Table - fantastic! You will see signs announcing this special dinner at the front of each dining room so look for the signup information there. If you are a foodie, this is a great opportunity to have a private dinner in the Library with the head chef (seven courses including champagne and wine). And a tour of the galley while in dinner service where the pastry chef, Paul, gave us a private lesson on making their wonderful Chocolate Melting Cake. Chef Jorg stayed with us the entire evening explaining each of the dishes and the flavors we could expect. Plus the magician on board came and gave us a private show! There was just six of us at this dinner so very private. Think about this as one of your excursions and just do it. So worth it! I did the Behind the Fun tour of the ship - got to see the ship from bottom to top including the galleys, storerooms, laundry room, crews' area, engineering (met the Chief Engineer), the dancers' area and dressing rooms, and the best, the bridge where we got to meet the Captain. A great tour given on last day at sea. It was almost 3 hours long so you can imagine how much we got to see! Some suggestions and notes: *Yes, there is only one plug in your room so bring a power strip with you. This is a must with plugging in everyone's cell phones at night. *Our cabin smelled just fine but bring Febreze if you are sensitive. It is a closed up room so it doesn't get a lot of fresh air. But we had no problem with any smells. *Bring a lanyard to attach your room key (Sail & Sign card) to so you can wear it all the time (Guest services will punch a hole in it for you). *If you drink a lot of sodas or juice, buy the Bottomless Bubbles Program. But you can also bring a 12-pack of sodas or a case of water per person on board. Use a folding luggage cart to haul them if you have a family. *If you don't want all the calories of juice, we brought Dasani and Crystal Light drops with us. But there is lemonade and iced tea available all day in Tiffany's. *Every adult can bring a bottle of wine on board too. Bring a cork screw so you can open it in your room before dinner. I brought the bottle with me to the dining room and poured our wine there (no corkage fee if you open it beforehand). *The air conditioning worked very well in our room (Riviera Deck) - almost chilly but we sure didn't complain about that! There is a vent in the ceiling that you can use to reduce the air flow but not to change the temperature. Bring a small fan if you want. I've seen folks bring box fans with them but we just brought a small folding fan with us (more for "just in case" and white noise". *The mini golf course on the top deck has been completely resurfaced with new turf so all's good there. *If you have to iron clothes for the formal night, do it the first night you get on ship or early the next morning. There are only two laundry rooms on board (four irons) and there was over a 30 minute wait to get to an iron on Formal night. We all waited until the last minute! Do it right when you unpack and you won't have to wait at all. (And if you think you will need to do laundry, pack a few laundry pods with you.) *If you are traveling with a group, bring those locker sized magnetic whiteboards to stick on your metal cabin doors. That way you can let folks know where you are heading to on the ship. Saw a bunch of these and thought it was a great idea. *Look at everything there is to do in the Fun Times bulletin you get every night. There is great music throughout the day, lots of trivia competitions (must do Motown!!!), dance classes, etc. *Talk to people!!! You will meet the most wonderful people on the ship. Have fun, say howdy, act silly, be friendly. Make the most of the cruise!   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2014
Before I left I read these worthless reviews and expected something horrible. My experience couldn't be further than what is written here. What a great time! People it's a vacation, your every dream isn't going to come ... Read More
Before I left I read these worthless reviews and expected something horrible. My experience couldn't be further than what is written here. What a great time! People it's a vacation, your every dream isn't going to come true. People From what I was told Carnival Cruises are party boats. Not true, more like family vacations. What I found was a nice mix of everyday people looking to relax, eat, and see something new. The crew is friendly and helpful. The children are ecstatic and the people are young, old and all in good moods. No one is complaining on the ship, everyone seemed to be having a great time as well. Ship I expected and old beat up ship needing repairs, what I found was a fabulous ship that is well cared for with clean inviting rooms. Progresso Very poor town but an enjoyable visit. I went on the rodeo, ruins and buffet excursion. I had a great time and loved it. It had a little bit of everything. Cozumel Just fantastic. I went on the Passion isle by power catomoran and it's like paradise. The boost was a little bumpy and I got a little sick on the margaritas. Well worth the price and stay away from the overpriced stores on the island. Go have a good time. Your attatuide means everything. If your looking for a good time and set your expectation correctly your going to have the time of your life. Don't let people on this site with an axe to grind sway your opinion. I just booked another Carnival cruise in January and can't wait.   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
We had a wonderful time on the Elation August 9-14. There were good and less-than-good things about it, but as we said before, there's no such thing to us as a "bad" cruise! The Elation is an older ship, which we knew, but ... Read More
We had a wonderful time on the Elation August 9-14. There were good and less-than-good things about it, but as we said before, there's no such thing to us as a "bad" cruise! The Elation is an older ship, which we knew, but the only way you could really tell that was from our cabin...no couch (just a backless stool under the desk/dresser), very old tv set, chips in the paint/porcelain in the bathroom, medicine cabinet doesn't close all the way, but the shower was very big, great hot water (actually can scald yourself if you aren't careful!) and good water pressure, plush robes in the closet that you could use (all VERY large, one-size-fits-all), and the beds are very comfy. Our room steward, Purna, was from Bali, and he was the sweetest, happiest, and most attentive guy! Always went out of his way to call us by name and greet us any time we saw him, even way down the hallway! Enjoyed our towel animals and chocolates on the bed each night. Our cabin, and the whole ship, are kept spotlessly clean, as you would expect. So we were fine with our "cheap" inside cabin.. We used the Fulton Parking garage...that's definitely the way to go if you are driving. $8/day for parking on the top (uncovered) deck of the garage, then they shuttle you to the cruise port, pick you up after the cruise, and drop you at the garage to get your car...we were on the road 20 minutes after debarkation! Embarkation process was very fast...we arrived at the cruise port at 11:15 am and were on the ship eating at 11:30. No lines, no waiting, no hassles...just do your check-in online the night before and print up your boarding passes/luggage tags so everything is in order when you get to the port. Cabin was cleaned and ready for us by 12:30. Luggage was delivered around 1 pm...one bag was later, but not a problem....Purna delivered it to us himself, with a big smile and apologies for being late. Debarkation was delayed a little by slightly later arrival back into New Orleans, so we got to eat a good breakfast and wait in the restaurant until our number was called. We were in no hurry to leave, so that was fine. Waited about 20 minutes in line because they were calling multiple numbers of groups to debark...got off the ship about 10:10 am, shuttled to Fulton Garage and were on the road home by 10:30. Food was good, but not outstanding. Some things weren't very hot on the buffet, and some things were obviously left over or re-used from previous meals. Hamburgers were cooked ahead of time, so were pretty dry. The main dining room was pretty good for our nightly meals...we were put on the late dining, which we didn't really like, but the early dining was already full by the time we booked our cruise, so that is understandable. They also have an option for "anytime dining" but I'm not sure how/when you have to sign up for that - I think you have to do that when you book your cruise, if you want that flexibility. We just felt that the later dining made us miss out on a few of the evening entertainment options...but more about that later. The "elegant" night was the second night of the cruise (first sea day) and they did have lobster & shrimp, and prime rib on the menu...some reviews I saw said they didn't offer lobster, but our cruise did. Hubby got the lobster/shrimp, and said it was just OK...my prime rib was rather tough, and I had a flat iron steak and a "filet mignon" later in the cruise that looked/tasted exactly like that prime rib, just with a different sauce...like I said, I think they re-use things they have left over, so no food is wasted. But our waiters Luis and Luis were both very kind, attentive, helpful, and friendly, and we only had one other couple at our table of 10 each night (2 nights we had one other couple join us). So the food wasn't bad...we tried some things we weren't used to, like Strawberry soup (wonderful), frog legs (hubby ate those, not me..I'm not that brave), etc. Each night's menu has one item like that (something you've never tried, but wish you could) like escargot (snails...really?...I'm not that curious!), sushi, alligator, etc. So if you're braver than me, you can try that... Entertainment was probably the biggest "disappointment" we found on the Elation. There is a Welcome Aboard show the first night, a Rock and Roll show, and a Win show at night. We sat in the balcony the first night, and it was so incredibly loud that we were miserable. So if you go to the shows stay on the main floor. Tried a few minutes of the Rock and Roll show and walked out before the first song was done (had hoped it was 50's kind of rock and roll, but way too modern for us!). Tried the Win show (game show format...how can you mess that up?), but again walked out before the end when they went to a Las Vegas-style revue. So we didn't enjoy those nighttime shows. We did a few trivia games in the daytime, and watched a little bit of karaoke, but for the most part we didn't think the entertainment was nearly as good as other ships we've been on. There was one comedian that we liked, his name is Mutzie, and he is a Christian man from New Orleans...he was clean and funny, and had large crowds at his shows, since there were a lot of families on board. He had a lot of interaction with the audience, and tended to base his comedy on talking to the people in the crowd, so everything he did was very impromptu. He liked to tease people from Alabama (putting in his "Bubba" teeth and acting like a redneck)...very funny. There were two comedians on board, and they both did a little bit during the Welcome Aboard show so you could get a taste of their comedy...now they both did a "family-friendly" show early evening, and an "adult" show late...we steered clear of the adult one, even though Mutzie says he never cusses in his shows. There were a couple of "game show" type shows, like a Newlywed game, and a Family Feud game, but they asked some "shady" questions...we just heard a few minutes of the Newlywed game while window-shopping outside the theater...glad we didn't try those. I had heard they had some 40's swing music on the ship somewhere, but they didn't...we checked everywhere, and it was non-existent, so that was disappointing. They had lots of bingo games, and everywhere they were pushing stuff that cost extra, like shore excursions, jewelry, "coupon books," raffles, etc. There was one thing we discovered on the last day...a "piano and tea" party in Dukes lounge on the 8th (?) deck in the middle. It was actually a tea party, with table service, hot tea with a variety of herbal teas, scones, tea cakes, and tiny sandwiches (cucumber, salmon, etc) and a guy playing the piano and singing. It was "older" music, not as old as we like, but still restful and soothing while you drink tea and watch the water out the big windows. We really enjoyed that...I think they do it several times during the cruise, but it's not advertised a lot. Just check on your daily schedule for the Piano and Tea time at Dukes, around 3-4 pm. Ports...we didn't do any shore excursions. We went to Cozumel, but have been there a couple times before, so this time we didn't go into town. Depending on what pier you are docked at (we were at Puerta Maya, the farthest one from town) there are shopping and dining places right there at the pier. Our cruise director told us we were at the newest/best pier, and that it had the most shopping places (he was right...tons of shops, and not bad prices if you want souvenirs). We went to the port/shopping talk on ship the day before (they give you ideas of where to buy the best stuff, and give away some free prizes during the talk), but it really wasn't that worth it (hubby was bored stiff). Only if you are looking for diamonds/silver/gold/jewelry/watches it might help. I only go for the freebies...and they give you a coupon for a free charm bracelet that you pick up at the Diamonds International store in port, then when you go to other stores, they give you another free charm for that bracelet. They're cheapie, but I still like the adventure of going to find all the free stuff I can...even though you have to put up with the salesmen always trying to sell you expensive stuff. So we didn't even go into Cozumel this time, but went around to look in all the shops and get my freebies. I ended up with 7 charms for my bracelet, a free necklace, and 2 pearl pendants to wear on the necklace. We walked outside the pier, past where the taxis into town are parked ($8 one-way for 4 people to take you the 5 miles into downtown Cozumel, where lots of the same shops are). Looked at a lot of junky tourist stuff, then walked back into the port area to those nicer shops some more, then got back on the ship for lunch and sat out by the pool all afternoon until the rest of the passengers came back and it got too crowded again. We really enjoyed being on the ship when most everyone else was off in port...had never done that before. The buffets were very un-crowded, you could find a table by the windows, there was nobody by the pool or in the hot tub, so we could enjoy that a little while, and the music was quiet(er) than usual. So that was a nice day! Progreso was a new port for us...they have the longest pier (4 miles long) so once you get past the touristy shops, they have free air-conditioned buses to shuttle you into the downtown area. Once we got to town, we signed up for a tour of the town on an open-air bus. It was a 45-50 minute tour around Progreso for just $9 per person. There is only one bus, and it was just leaving when we got there, so we had to wait for them to come back for our tour, so we walked around the bus station (little shops all over). (Be sure to go to the bathroom on the ship before you go into town..."Banos" in town cost $ and are...well, less than clean!). Just outside the bus station, there was a double-decker bus, very colorful, that also does tours for only $5, but I think it only stays in the main part of town. Our tour went all around the area, showed us the marinas, naval station, schools/government buildings, even the swamp (somehow our tour guide, Fabian, was very proud of their swamp!) We were very happy that we did this "cheap" tour on our own. Progreso is a very typical Mexican town, dirty, poor, run-down, smelly...walking around the downtown section, I expected to be murdered at any moment. Ha! After the tour, we walked from the bus station down to the beach...it's only about 4-5 blocks and easy to find. Beach is pretty crowded, and tons of places they try to get you to have a massage on the beach for $10...we just put our toes in the warm water and walked around a bit, then headed back to the shuttle bus and back to the ship. Water in Cozumel is that beautiful clear aqua blue, but the water in Progreso is an emerald green color...funny how that works, since they aren't that far apart... The pools on ship are very small and crowded. We enjoyed sitting on the back of the ship on the Serenity section...it's a little hard to find, but you can get to it by going out the doors at the end of Tiffany's (the buffet) by the pizza section. Serenity is for adults only, so no children are out there...there are 2 hot tubs, a towel station, and padded lounge chairs and umbrellas you can use to avoid getting burned. We like watching the wake of the ship from there, and the wind is blocked so you get a nice little breeze, but don't feel like you're going to blow away. We always take canned sodas with us (can you tell we are "cheap" cruisers?), so we'd go thru Tiffany's, grab a glass full of ice for our Cokes (or an ice cream cone), and go out the back door to Serenity to watch the sunset or get a little sun. So nice... So overall, we were pleased with the cruise. We aren't cruise experts, by any means, but from the 3 different cruise lines we've been on, I'd say this was our 3rd choice (Holland America being our favorite, Royal Caribbean our second). Just seemed like this was more of a "party" atmosphere overall, with a little lower standards of food/entertainment/clientele than the other 2 lines. But we had a great time...we relaxed, we ate, we people-watched, we laughed at some of the funny things/people on board, and we were together. It was a fun and restful time...we could sleep late, or stay up late (one night we sat up late on the upper deck behind the basketball court and watched the beautiful, full, "super-moon" shining on the water), play mini-golf, read, or just do nothing. We loved it, so don't be scared by any negative reviews you may read on this forum....also, this ship is going into dry dock for 17 days at the end of the month for a scheduled upgrade. I'm sure you will at least get some nicer features in the cabins...maybe even a new TV set! Enjoy your cruise...wherever you go! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
Let me start off by saying that there were a few memorable and exciting experiences. Like my daughter participating in the Dr. Suess parade and also at story time. She got to break dance on stage, but all of this came from the camp (which ... Read More
Let me start off by saying that there were a few memorable and exciting experiences. Like my daughter participating in the Dr. Suess parade and also at story time. She got to break dance on stage, but all of this came from the camp (which she and her friend that we bought along loved). I really enjoyed the trivia games on deck 5. I played with my parents and it was pretty fun. The shows in the Encore theater were pretty good. We had an ocean suite on the Empress deck. I expected it to be bigger. It was kind of hard not to bump into things while we were in the room. That's if we were not bumping into each other. Our stewardess Nee was nice. The fridge never got cold. She told us it was more like a cooler to keep things at the temperature it was at already. Never heard of that but ok. I expect more of a variety from the buffet. We ended up eating pizza or burgers everyday because there was not much of a option on the regular buffet. The drinks are over priced. You can hardly taste the liquor. The professional picture are always beautiful but way too high to buy them all. We bought what we could, which still ended up being like $300 worth of pictures which could've been money for an excursion. We loved Mahogany Bay. It was beautiful & the magical flying chairs were awesome. We ate at a spot on the beach. The service was good but the food was cold and we were ran off by honey bees. That was aggravating! Considering we spunt $100 for cold food that we had to stop eating and pack up before 1 of the kids got stung. Belize was ok. We took a train tour with Tony. He was awesome. When we went to Cozumel, we caught a ride on a van with a man named Berto that took us to a beach. It was like a 5 minute drive. I was disappointed to be in Mexico on a beach where I could not see the bottom of the beach. The water was dirty and salty. I didn't understand because exciting the ship the water was perfect, clear, blue & breath taking. Which is why we were in a rush to get to the beach. Anyways, it was a nice family experience. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
Carnival tries to please all of the people all of the time, with surprisingly great success. This cruise with Carnival proved though that it is not possible. Family background: husband, son and I travel extensively, with cruising as our ... Read More
Carnival tries to please all of the people all of the time, with surprisingly great success. This cruise with Carnival proved though that it is not possible. Family background: husband, son and I travel extensively, with cruising as our choice. We have a lot of cruises under our belt, primarily with Holland America and Carnival. I have never considered us to be picky people. We flew into New Orleans a couple of days early to enjoy the nightlife. NOLA is a great city! Our embarkation was smooth, and speedy for a ship of over 4000 passengers. Our cabin was ready and as expected. Dining Room service was swift and friendly, with the food very good if not gourmet. The music venues were plentiful with varied music. Other activities were varied as well. The cruise staff seemed to recognize that the interests and tastes of the passengers were varied on the ship, and appeared to have planned a good variety of activities. This is the area where Carnival failed, and failed miserably. Many of the activities did not happen as planned. For example: people gathered for Sports Trivia only to find that the cruise staff did 1990's name that tune. There seemed to be 1 page of trivia questions that were repeated ad nauseum on the 3 sea days, and 1 cd of music (recent music) that was played for every name that tune for those 3 days. You know it is bad when the Cat In The Hat children's parade is the most interesting thing happening around you. I know that many people find the cruise staff activities are boring, but they are a source of big pleasure to me. And when the cruise staff's response to questioning why the scheduled activities are not done, you get a snarky response (with a "just kidding" after) it kind of adds insult to injury. Ports were fun, rest of staff great- Cruise director and staff dropped the ball.   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
This was our second time to leave out of New Orleans to Roatan, Belize, and Cozumel (Well, #3 to Cozumel but that was from Mobile and only to Cozumel). We cruised on the Dream from Port Canaveral last October to Nassau, Puerto Rico, St. ... Read More
This was our second time to leave out of New Orleans to Roatan, Belize, and Cozumel (Well, #3 to Cozumel but that was from Mobile and only to Cozumel). We cruised on the Dream from Port Canaveral last October to Nassau, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and Grand Turk and loved the ship. Every single cruise before that, the ships were due in dry dock within a month and they showed their age/wear. We stayed at the Ramada Inn in Metarie which provided transport to the terminal and parking for free for the length of our cruise. They are changing names to Country Inns and Suites, so I'm not sure if they'll still be offering that cruise package anymore or not. Getting to the port about 11:30 we whizzed through everything a lot faster than most of our other trips. I guess having the passport card VS BC/License helped on that one. This time wasn't as enjoyable though. There were parts missing of the hand rails in the elevators, and the paint on the rails for the water slides was almost completely worn off. The Sea Side theater also was lacking. Some of the days the screen had black sections that just didn't work. Then one day I noticed the screen components actually fell out. Looking from a distance it looked like they were just out, but getting close and under it you can actually see the wires and that they were in fact on since you could see a few square modules of light pointed straight down. The dining experience was by far the worst we have had before. We were in a group of four people, and even made a point by day 3 or so of waiting at the very front for the doors to open for dinner, and also looking at the menu to know exactly what we wanted. Even with this, people who arrived and ordered after us got their meals before us. We took notice that the wait staff directly next to us was doing an awesome job, but looking around ours were not to be seen for a lot of the time. You would think that if you were the very first people sat down in the dining room, with the wait staff seeing you and there in our section, that we would have our food first since it was just simple orders, and for the most part a single portion. By the end we got smart and ordered dessert either first to eat as an appetizer, or just ordered it with our meals so we wouldn't have to wait for the dessert menu and them to come take our order. When we got our luggage, we find out that one of the wheels on our spinner suitcase had been ripped off as well. It made it a lot harder to get it out of the cruise terminal since it was one of the back wheels and had to be moved at an awkward angle. Even with these bad experiences we are not opposed to sailing on the Dream again since we know there are great wait staff on there, and they'll likely have most of the issues I've seen fixed by the then. On the upside, Room Service was fast, though they did miss part of one of our orders. The room attendants did a great job of cleaning our room and were very friendly. We didn't partake in as many activities on board as we usually do since we were enjoying our first balcony. We did do the photo scavenger hunt, and there weren't nearly as many people playing as there usually was on the previous cruises. We won the ship on the stick out of about 5 groups. I was slightly disappointed that they seem to have locked the HDMI option out of the TVs. I had brought a cable to hook to my phone/tablet and watch TV shows that we had missed preparing for the cruise when there wasn't anything else to do, but it would never change off of the option they had set for the IPTV box. I had also planned on using my tablet as a remote control for the TV, and because I didn't know the model of the box they used, I could only turn the TV on and control the volume. I won't go into detail much on the excursions since we didn't do too much. In Roatan we did the Relax on the Beach package which included the Magical Flying Chairs and Clamshell covered lounge chairs on the beach, as well as a water mat to float on. I'm afraid of heights, but enjoyed the flying chairs; it helped that it took a lot of the walking out of everything. Near the pier on the beach, where the swimming area marker makes the area bigger there were a ton of colorful fish near a group of underwater rocks. Belize was interesting on the tender since the waves really picked up from a storm that was coming up. We basically walked around, but did the Moho Chocolate tour that was $2 with samples of milk shake and chocolate and their history. In Cozumel we did the Playa Mia beach excursion. The last time we went there it was a Carnival offered tour, but wasn't this time. Since then they've added a water park, which was basically two slides, one closed, and a children's water area. It does have a larger pool added, as well as a hot tub. They also had the buffet, open bar, ocean inflatables, kayaks, water bicycles, paddle boats, and even sail boats included in the $60 price; if you don't know how to sail they even had someone there who would go out with you for free (though would appreciate a tip for their time). The taxi was $16 each way, and we'll definitely be going back again when we return to Cozumel. Disembarkation seems to have changed since last year as well. The self disembarkation before was getting off the ship at almost any time. Now they had it set to around 7:15ish to about 8. And for the people staying who were zoned they wanted us out of the cabins by 9 and either on Lido or Encore theater. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
Flew into New Orleans the day before stayed at the Sleep Inn in Kenner near the airport they provided a shuttle to the motel, it was very nice and great breakfast. Took taxi to port expect to pay at least $33 plus your tip, embarkation was ... Read More
Flew into New Orleans the day before stayed at the Sleep Inn in Kenner near the airport they provided a shuttle to the motel, it was very nice and great breakfast. Took taxi to port expect to pay at least $33 plus your tip, embarkation was quick and pain less. We were doing a back to back so settled in for 14 days. Ships staff were very friendly, this was a new ship to us and it was clean and well kept fairly easy to get around once you remembered you can't get there from here on floor 3 &4. We are a sr. couple who have been to all the port before so did not do any ships excursions but did a couple of trips that we arranged on the dock. On the first part of the b2b there were 1300+ kids on board and on the second leg there were 1100+ kids on board out of 4100 total passengers but for the most part they were not a problem, some late nite running and yelling in the halls had the snoozing/cruzing door sign taken a couple of nights and apparently one night someone replaced it with a room service breakfast order for early morning delivery. Meals were generally OK Omelets very good in the AM, soup served nice and hot but main course always only slightly warm, great dining room staff. Music way too loud to the point that some was distorted from the speakers..Entertainment generally was good if you could stand the loudness, had about 4-5 comedy shows nearly every night and part were family friendly and part adult all were very good. Disembarkation was good other than one crew member would not direct folks to the proper line and that created a major bottleneck until he was replaced, still made it to the airport by 9:00AM. Enjoyed the cruise down the river and the sights along that way, overall a very nice cruise. Read Less
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