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179 Carnival Rome (Civitavecchia) Cruise Reviews

We wanted to sail on a brand new ship and Carnival Vista had the best available itineraries that suited us. We loved the atmosphere on the ship and it was more luxurious that we had expected, having never sailed with Carnival before. ... Read More
We wanted to sail on a brand new ship and Carnival Vista had the best available itineraries that suited us. We loved the atmosphere on the ship and it was more luxurious that we had expected, having never sailed with Carnival before. Our cabin was spacious and modern, lots of light and it was nice to be able to sit on the seating area inside the cabin and out on our balcony. The bathroom wasn’t the best I have seen on a newer ship, but it was fine. On a longer sailing I’m sure we would have definitely tried the skyride, our friends did and they said it was great. We loved the adult only retreat area at the back of the ship, lots of room in the hot tubs and comfortable hammocks and beds to relax. We expected to have to get up first thing to try and get a spot here but wandered up after lunch on the sea day and found a few beds free. There is loads to do on board in terms of activities, we preferred to relax when we weren’t on excursions but there was a lot of options. We don’t do a lot of shopping on board but couldn’t resist a few purchases from the sweet shop, it was fabulous. We dined in the speciality Asian restaurant and the steak restaurant, which we did prefer to the MDR, but we didn’t have any bad experiences on board when it came to dining. The food options around the lido deck were also great! Also spent one night trying out different cocktails on board, Alchemist bar was our favourite. Now that the ship has gone over to the Caribbean am not sure we would sail on it again but we would definitely try other Carnival ships on sailings in Europe. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
After a hectic four days in Rome, we get to the port. Now, as far as my experience with embarkation goes, this was absolutely the best ever. We were done in five minutes from arriving at the port to getting on the ship and all that ... Read More
After a hectic four days in Rome, we get to the port. Now, as far as my experience with embarkation goes, this was absolutely the best ever. We were done in five minutes from arriving at the port to getting on the ship and all that entails. Our "little group" met up at the Sunset Bar for sail-away and that is where I met Octavius. This little guy was like my personal waiter for the entire cruise. He took great care of us and new what we drank and was on the spot for our drinks. Maria, the bartender, also did a great job. The deli: What can I say? Every day I had two or three awesome deli sandwiches. All three cooks took great care of us. My wife enjoyed the Tandori Bar several times on the cruise and the food was well presented and very tasty. Our bags arrived at a reasonable time and the "muster" went easier than any I've ever seen. All of the public areas were spotless and everything was clean as could be and people were cleaning all over the ship every day. Now, this is a suggestion: They need someone in each eating area to tell people to use the hand sanitizer. Every other ship I've ever been on this is customary. Without someone to ride herd on people, they don't use the sanitizers. Now, you may think this is petty. However, hundreds of people on the cruise got sick. I'm not talking Noro Virus. I'm talking about colds and flu. A lot of it could have been prevented with the use of the sanitizers. I used them religiously. Now, let's talk restaurants: First would be the buffet on the Lido deck. Okay. I always expect cafeteria level food on a ship. Why? Because they are feeding five thousand people a day three or more meals a day. Hard to have gourmet food at every meal. So now you know the base. Back to the Lido Buffet, the food was well presented and appetizing. The brownies were awesome. The omelette bar was my favorite and the omelette cooks were a pleasure to watch in action. There was a good variety of well presented fresh food at the Lido Buffet. Since I chose anytime dining we were assigned to the Crimson Restaurant. The team, for lack of a better word, made a good effort, but the cohesiveness just wasn't there. I think this is an area that needs some help and I think in time, it will be fine. The food was "no great shakes". It wasn't bad. It was cooked as ordered, but it wasn't anything special. I found this to be somewhat true in the other dining room as well. There is nothing major wrong, just the little things that come in time. Example: People would arrive at one table and ten minutes later a second table comes in. The bad part comes when the people at the second table finish their meal and the first table hasn't received the main portion of their meal yet. It is just a lack of cohesion and a lack of order. The food good have been better, but it was not bad. Pizza Parlor: For a quick slice of pizza comparable to say Domino's, the pizza parlor did it's job. Only downside was the Caesar Salad had been sitting around too long a dressing used way too much anchovy. And I like anchovy. Hamburger and hot dog joint: Hey for a light snack, this was hard to beat. Quick burger, some fries or nachos or chips, it can't be beat. The food is what it is. It was well presented and very efficient. Pasta Bar: Well, it was okay, but that lack of cohesion showed up as people were being served way out of order and the basic concept needs some work. The food was quite good and worth the wait. Chef's Art: Okay. Here's the one where they charge you to eat a fancy meal. The service was as a team. This time, they seemed to work a little better together. The food was cooked to order and was quite good. Was it worth the money? If you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or a survival anniversary, then I would say yes. If you wanted to do it one time to try it, sure. Why not? I enjoyed my fillet mignon, but I would have been just as happy with a Reuban Sandwich. It met my expectations. Next would be the public areas. I thought they did a nice job setting these up. There are activities all over the ship for just about anyone. The ship is clean. It really is a beautiful ship. The shops are what they are. They are just about like every other cruise ship you go on. They have a liquor store and gift shop and jewelry (expensive) and then they have the ten dollar watches. Hey, you're on vacation and need a watch, the ten dollar one works as well and looks as good as the three hundred dollar watch. The have some candy and camera parts etc. The room stewards that I had were Jaime and Hazel. They did a great job on our cabin. They kept it clean and well stocked. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
I embarked on the Carnival dream out of Rome to New York City. I left Oct 26 arrived Nov. 12th. This is my ninth cruise with four previous lines. Carnival was the fifth. For the cost of the cruise, my expectations met the mark. I will ... Read More
I embarked on the Carnival dream out of Rome to New York City. I left Oct 26 arrived Nov. 12th. This is my ninth cruise with four previous lines. Carnival was the fifth. For the cost of the cruise, my expectations met the mark. I will explain the flaws which many posters are 100% correct. As for embarkation, easy download fun pass your on. Let me start with the pools. (1) Very small I mean small. Max capacity,15 in each one.(2) Atrium seemed to be the size of smaller conquest class ships in order to accomadate the large casino. (3) co-ed sauna recieved complaints from females about males in sauna. The steamroom in mens lockeroom although free, witha slippary floor since wall tiles used as flooring in wet areas. The costly thermal suite the so called cash cow took space from the free locker rooms and gym areas. The lido food lines atrocious. Very long lines on sea days. Food quality average. Dining room open seating average. As far as service goes, I found the crew overall polite but after being in NYC dealing with the surly passengers, they probably turned rude after I left. Many employees live in the Euro zone so with American dollars in pay, A disincentive to go the extra mile.(4) Internet service, avoid at all costs. You will hear the mumbo jumbo about why its slow. Who cares.? It can go as high as a dollar a minute with a slow connection. Port stops offer it for under 5 an hour! One poster is right like a super WAl-mart. Carnival did all their traffic flow analyzing. Maximize revenue! Compromise the free things. Charge them to use a decent sauna. Give them bare bones gym steam room. Put men and women ina sauna!.Keep the pool small they will buy more beverages. Make the casino big shrink the atrium, they do not pay for that! We as Carnival charge less give them less! All this ship is compromising the free things,make sure they spend while they are on here. Add more cabins, without increasing the public areas. Cruising has evolved and the Carnival Dream wants to be as close as a land hotel rather than a cruise ship. I sailed the ship with 3500 not with the over 4000 which can happen on peak times. If you are to go on Carnival I recommend the conquest class, Valor, freedom, liberty, glory. This ship is not for me. The good thing self assist helped me get off the ship. One good note the promenade had a good flow. In summary, the public areas too small,Carnival seemed to use data to track people. In other words if its for free you pay the price ina bad way! Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
We just completed the 16 day transatlantic aboard the Carnival Dream, Carnival's newest ship. Overall the cruise was ok but nothing to write rave reviews about. Embarkation was smooth and easy with no difficulties. Our embarkation ... Read More
We just completed the 16 day transatlantic aboard the Carnival Dream, Carnival's newest ship. Overall the cruise was ok but nothing to write rave reviews about. Embarkation was smooth and easy with no difficulties. Our embarkation was in the city of Civitavecchia about two and half hours from the city of Rome. The staterooms are the same as other Carnival ships with the same amenities although they do have small flat screen televisions on this ship. In regards to amenities it is obviously an area that Carnival is saving money in. Very few. Small samplers of toothpaste, aspirin, hotel type soaps, nothing much else. They even took our bathrobes the night before the end of the cruise? I presume that they thought we might steal them. The Lido deck food and environment were for the most part very crowded and the food was often on the luke warm rather than hot side. I found the place to feel like an un cleaned cafeteria with many dirty plates on the tables. Many times it was so crowded that getting a table took as long as it did to go through the buffet line. Food in the main dinning room was good and the service a little slow but there was certainly and effort to make the experience pleasant. Entertainment in the main dinning room was minimal and only met the maitre d' once during the cruise. This area is very busy and the staff work very hard. The entertainment in regards to the shows was good although it was obvious that Carnival gave little thought in adjusting daily events for the folks who were on this cruise. By this I mean that this cruise was for an older generation as they are generally the only ones that have the time for a 16 day cruise in November. Without question Carnival lacked foresight in this area utilizing the typical Caribbean games and contests. Outdoor movie theater was very nice depending upon the weather. Really how many hairy chest competitions can you stand!! Seems there is a standard script for all Carnival cruises. Dance shows were very good. Comedy club is a great idea but Carnival despite having noticed a packed house on the first night with many people standing or sitting railings or what ever they could find, did nothing to bring in more seats. Other clubs were very good with the usual musical offerings. The library, well I was amazed to see it had so little to offer. Seriously I have more books in my personal library then Carnival had in its library. Most of the books in the library were reference materials. The Assistant Cruise Director was 24 but acted like a teenager. He might be more suited and would be qualified to work in the Camp Carnival section of the ship. Such a disappointment, the immaturity was appalling and it was very surprising that Carnival would place an individual of this capacity in a position of such responsibility, especially when the audience is a much more mature group of individuals. The ship did have a very good gym with modern equipment. One of the high points of the ship. Shore excursions were very high priced and crowded. We actually did not take them but hired a taxi next to the ship, paid half the price and saw alot more than the folks we talked to who did take the shore excursions. The cruise director seemed more worried about his parents vacation then serving as a cruise director. It was just really so nice to hear about Mom and Dads adventures and tours and even have them on the morning show. Speaking of the morning show, lacking in its content or lack of content and I would have been comfortable letting my children watch it is a cartoon substitute on Saturday morning. Probably what you might expect from a group of High School students although I would give them more credit. Scheduling changes caused us to transient the straights of Gibraltar at night and the arrival in New York which was scheduled for 0700 was moved to 0230 since the next day Carnival had its grand celebration for all of the tour companies and VIP's. So it was a big push to get everyone off the ship as soon as possible. Overall I felt that many of the Carnival staff worked very hard especially in the main dinning area. On a 16 day cruise they most certainly were overworked and it showed despite their best efforts. Cruise Director on the Dream was a not what I experienced on other ships and cruise lines. Really cannot say that I would ever cruise this line again. This cruise line offers probably the cheapest fairs, and the old saying you get what you pay for is exactly correct. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
We decided to try the new Dream as it was to be the "Pride of the Carnival Fleet" and because it was a trans Atlantic we thought it would have a seasoned, mature passenger group. On the point of the passengers, we were correct. ... Read More
We decided to try the new Dream as it was to be the "Pride of the Carnival Fleet" and because it was a trans Atlantic we thought it would have a seasoned, mature passenger group. On the point of the passengers, we were correct. Many were die-hard Carnival followers but a large group were multi line cruisers and all that we met personally were very nice, interesting and well traveled people. They are what made our cruise enjoyable. What was disappointing was the staffing, activities, and the overall engineering of the ship. Staffing: In order to cut cost Carnival has eliminated the "head/section waiter" in the dining room. This results is overworked, confused and less productive wait staff. There is no guidance and lack of training shows. Not once did I see a pepper mill or the table cleared in the proper manner after dinner and before dessert. Many nights orders for drinks were either never taken or when they were the drinks were not served until the meal was about over or not at all. On the Lido this really causes problems. Tables are left uncleared as waiters stand about talking with each other, in some cases for 30 minutes or more. The "guest services" personnel were easily confused unless asked a very simple question. They apparently were programed to answer only certain questions and if your question was not on their training list they were at a loss. Some tried, but most did not. Our steward did the minimal as did his first assistant. His second (a lovely young lady) however was excellent. When she joined him about day three, suddenly our throw pillows resurfaced and the ashtray on the balcony was cleaned. Until then I had been cleaning this myself. By day 10 there was a shortage of facial tissue for our room yet our table mates had half a dozen boxes each. We did have a large supply of bath tissue so we had a tissue swap. We found the CD Todd and his assistant Jamie to be the worse we have ever had on a cruise. They were much too busy socializing with family and friends to be bother with passengers and activities for them. If we (hundreds of us) had not been self starters we would have jumped ship out of boredom while crossing the Atlantic. And to on a 16 night cruise with only two production shows is unacceptable. They certainly under utilize their entertainment staff, but the staff does take full advantage of all the ship's venues. The ship has many engineering problems among which are the venting and lack of venting in one case. The Piano lounge which showed a designated smoking section in the rear of the lounge turned into an all smoking lounge by night 8 or so. But trust me that even as a smoker this was not enjoyable and I felt very badly for non-smokers. It was so bad I even stopped going in some nights because of the clouds of smoke that hung in the air. There is no venting system in the lounge and in this day of electronic marvels there is no reason for this "oversight". Many ships and airports (in Europe) have fantastic air systems that make it near impossible to see or smell the smoke. The other venting problem is the exhaust from the ship's funnel being sucked back into the cabins (deck 6 port) and the poor air conditioning system which leaves areas of rooms either very cold or hot, no even temperature,. Even the control in our cabin was a challenge. Many have complained about the lack of lounge space for the comedy shows. True, there was a problem, but it could have been easily solved by moving them to the show room and putting the passenger shows in the Burgundy. There was also very little use of the Disco and this was more than likely due to the floor which would be dangerous to dance on because of its slick surface and the DJ who preferred to stick to his programing and not take request from those who did venture into "his" room. We found the dinning room food better than expected but some meals were inconsistent from person to person. Desserts were lacking in imagination and taste; soups when good were very good but when not were cold and tasteless. They did try to pass off watered down tomato juice as they "were running out" -so we were told. Why not just take if off the menu? The poached eggs are made in oil, thus answering the question as to why they were like rubber. The Lido was not worth the battle as the set-up is not for large crowds. The Tandoor food was good but the staff was not customer service trained. Thank goodness for the Deli and its great staff, never a disappointment. I did meet up a few times with the engineers that were trying to fix the venting and hot tub problems and they said the ship was not ready to sail. Makes one wonder why it did. If Carnival plans to make more of this class ship, I strongly suggest they get the bugs in this one ironed out first...and there are bugs whether Carnival wants to admit it to themselves or not. This is not the ship it could be and as it floats today, not one to be proud of. One odd little item. Deck 4 Port side men's room opens the wrong way. Any gentleman standing there is in full view of a passerby when the door is opened. Smile! Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
A little background to get started: We are a family of three (29, 24, and 2) who had been living in Italy for the past 2 1/2 years (my wife is Italian and our daughter - who just turned two for the cruise - was born there) and had ... Read More
A little background to get started: We are a family of three (29, 24, and 2) who had been living in Italy for the past 2 1/2 years (my wife is Italian and our daughter - who just turned two for the cruise - was born there) and had gradually become disenchanted with living there. Italy is a great place to visit and spend a few weeks but actually living there is another story and allows you to appreciate even more being able to live in the USA. Anyway... after going through all of the bureaucratic hula-hoops to get my wife's residency visa, we decided that it would be nice to take a cruise to the US instead of flying - we needed a vacation - and hence settled on the Carnival Dream out of Civitavecchia. The ports of call seemed interesting, it was a new ship, we thought our daughter would be best suited on a Carnival cruise, and Civitavecchia was not that far for us, given that we were coming from Sicily. After renting a car and driving up to Rome the day before, we got up in the morning and headed to Roma Fiumicino as we had to ship some stuff off to the US, and then took a taxi (actually a huge Mercedes van that could have fit 10 people) to Civitavecchia, which is approximately an hour from Rome via car. We were driven right up to the ship and boarding was incredibly simple. It literally took us 10-12 minutes from the time we entered the terminal until the time we were on the ship. We were onboard by 3:30 and took a little time to relax in the stateroom and then head out and meet some CCers at the Sunset bar and grab a bite to eat before getting back to our room (where our luggage had already been delivered), cleaning up, and then it was time for departure. Overall, most of the aspects of the cruise met my expectations, several exceeded, and unfortunately a couple fell short, and now I'll delve into detail about all of that. THE SHIP: The Carnival Dream is obviously a new ship; this was the fourth sailing following three Mediterranean journeys, and is definitely grandiose. On a side note, in Barcelona - the first port - it was docked next to the old Royal Caribbean Sovereign of the Seas, which had once been the largest cruise ship in the world and was actually the ship on which I did my first cruise when I was 11, and just towered over it). The decor was not overwhelming but added an elegant touch, which was nice, given that many people had complained about the last new Carnival ship (Splendor). The exception to that was the Lido buffet area, which didn't really jive well with me. I thought that the ship was designed quite well but there definitely did seem to be a problem with space in several areas, especially outside when the weather was nice and basically all days for breakfast and lunch in the Lido. With this push to continually build larger ships, someone needs to realize that regardless of how many decks you add, your outside space remains extremely limited, and architects can only increase that slightly by adding to the length and width of the ship. Therefore on a ship with 2000 or 3500 or 5500 passengers (i.e. the new Oasis of the Seas), the outside space still remains more or less equivalent to one deck. Many of the guests who had previously sailed with Carnival as well as much of the staff lamented on this very issue. One other consideration is that this was a Transatlantic sailing that generally played to an older crowd... I'm sure the space issues would be compounded in a Caribbean setting with a younger crowd. Overall I was pleased with the ship itself but people need to be wary of that fact that at times they will definitely note the 3600 passengers. STATEROOM: We were in a balcony stateroom (8F) on the Panorama deck and had no complaints whatsoever. The room was spacious enough for the three of us with a large bed, a sofa, sitting area, etc., and it was well designed. No space issues, no storage issues, and I thought the location of the room was perfect for us as it was very close the gym, easy to get outside and head to the Lido deck when we wanted to go enjoy the sunshine or go eat at the buffet, and close to the central elevators to get around the ship. No noise issues either. GYM/SPA: I'm into working out, natural bodybuilding, and personal training, and hence I did head to the gym basically everyday. The equipment that is there is new and definitely high quality, but the gym itself is limited by the space available and again, I feel that it could definitely be an issue with a younger crowd that is more physically active. The first few days it was packed, mostly with people who had no clue what they were doing and several who failed to practice proper gym etiquette (sitting on machines and talking, improper technique, improper gym attire). Furthermore, they need to invest in heavier dumbells and a free weight area would not be a bad idea. I understand that it's a moving ship but as long the heavier weights are utilized by guests who know how to workout, it's not a problem. I never used the spa services but from what I saw, it seemed nice but the products/services are overpriced. SERVICE: For the most part, the best part of our cruise. Maybe we were just fortunate, but I found the service on the Carnival Dream to be wonderful, especially for our 2 year old daughter who was treated so well by the vast majority of the staff and really assisted us in making it a pleasant cruise for us. Our stateroom steward and his staff were always available, took care of every request, and kept our room in immaculate condition, which can be difficult when a certain 2 year old is free inside! The dining staff did a fantastic job as well; we were in the Crimson dining room with "Your Time" dining (hence on the 4th floor) and always had fantastic service, starting with the hostesses and continued by the waiters/waitresses, their assistants, etc. One of the bar waitresses, Usanee, basically babysat our daughter after she was finished eating so that we could enjoy our dinner. Our comment cards were filled with praise for the dining staff. PORTS OF CALL: I will be brief here, as these are ports that will not be visited by the Dream again in the foreseeable future. Basically the ports that we thought were going to be the worst turned out the best and vice versa (with the exception of Bermuda, which we were expecting to be nice and was). Barcelona was okay but it's more of a city to visit for two or three days at a leisurely pace instead of just 10 hours or whatever. Palma de Mallorca was wonderful; very clean and lots to do and not too touristy (it probably is worse in the summer, but great for us). We did not like Malaga (Sunday/holiday and hence nothing was open) or Las Palmas in the Canary Islands (the city seems dirty and the beach was nothing great), and as previously mentioned, enjoyed Bermuda. CAMP CARNIVAL: In one word: AWFUL. The biggest disappointment of the cruise, without a doubt. I was expecting my daughter to have a wonderful time but she absolutely hated it. Yes, she is 2 years old and likes to have her mommy and daddy nearby, but the camp counselors were no good at all and did very little to interact with the younger children and get them involved. Kids who are 5 or 8 or whatever are able to independently play and organize themselves a little bit, but two year olds?!? The room itself seemed wonderful but they basically just sat the kids there and watched TV or had them do whatever, and often didn't follow the planned schedule that was given to us. Perhaps the counselors were so pathetic and lethargic because they were always out during the night getting plastered?!? This includes the Youth Director who I saw out one night and was so inebriated that she couldn't put a sentence together. Disgraceful. Needless to say, we stopped even attempting to bring our daughter to Camp Carnival after a week or so. POOLS/OUTSIDE AREAS/WATER PARK: Never used the pools or hot tubs (again, crowded) but did enjoy the water slides with my daughter, who after discovering them wanted to go basically everyday) but could only do the little ones because... well... she's 2. When my wife was there with us, I had a little liberty to enjoy the twister slides. NIGHTLIFE/SOCIAL AREAS/ENTERTAINMENT: Average, but that's kind of what I expected, given the older crowd on the cruise. I only stayed out after 11 PM or so on three occasions and just for a couple of hours (as my wife went to bed with our daughter), but it seemed that us "youth" always ended up at the Piano Bar. The Caliente disco was nothing great and the music sucked... never really spent much time in the Ocean Plaza. I'm not one for shows and entertainment - I tend to keep myself entertained pretty well - but I did see the hypnotist and then one of the main shows ("Dancing on the Streets", I believe). The hypnotist was amusing; the main show was average for my tastes but others enjoyed it. FOOD: I hope this is the last thing that comes to mind because I'm getting a little tired of typing, but here it goes... Overall, the food met my expectations and I get a little tired of reading complaints from people who are under the impression that every meal on a Carnival cruise should be like a restaurant with 3 Michelin stars or whatever. People need to realize that there are 3600 guests and obviously some of the ingredients are not going to be completely fresh as they have to keep them stored. With that said, the breakfast was fine at the beginning but they could have used a little variation; the only variation that I noted was that one day they had pancakes and then the next french toast. The Lido buffet lunch was not so great; often food was cold and undercooked. Towards the end of the cruise, we avoided it all together and would always go for the pasta bar, the burrito bar, or the grill. The pasta bar was good - yes, it's not Italy, but I thought it was fine for a cruise. The burritos were wonderful; at least for me, the best part of lunch. Room service was fine; nothing special on the menu, but always got there reasonably quick. I was happy with the dinner in the MDR (we went to the buffet the first night but then the MDR every night afterwards with the exception of one night in the Steakhouse). Some people complained about the lack of variation of the menu but it seemed okay to me. There were a couple of nights that dinner was not so great (but still edible); however most of the meals were tasteful, well presented, and of a quality that I was expecting. Overall, it was an enjoyable experience. I'm sure that there are several minor details that I could have covered but I hope that I've hit most of the major points here. It wasn't a perfect cruise but it was definitely good and was certainly a great way to move back to the USA. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
My husband and I took the Transatlantic cruise on the Carnival Dream. This was 16 days/15 nights, leaving Rome, stopping in Barcelona, Malaga, Mallorca, the Canary Islands, 5 days across the Atlantic, then 2 days in Bermuda and ended up ... Read More
My husband and I took the Transatlantic cruise on the Carnival Dream. This was 16 days/15 nights, leaving Rome, stopping in Barcelona, Malaga, Mallorca, the Canary Islands, 5 days across the Atlantic, then 2 days in Bermuda and ended up in New York City. We had already planned on a trip to Greece in October and this one-way passage back to the USA ended up being such a good deal we couldn't pass it up. We booked the trip in May thru Carnival on the Early Saver program for the October 2009 cruise. We embarked from Rome at 7:00 PM. We used the very easy train from the Rome Termini train station, which cost about 14 E., I think. Give yourself time though; it's quite a walk in the station from the central station to the gate. Walked a little at the end in Civitavecchia and got the free shuttle to the ship. Virtually no wait to embark. Luggage showed up in about 2 hours. Cabin: I liked our cabin #9470, an inside stateroom. It's aft on the port side- one short walk to the steps up one flight to the Lido deck for breakfast and lunch, out the back door to the sunset deck for the adult pool and hot-tubs. No negatives about the cabin- liked the fluffy robes, shower is bigger than other ships I've sailed on, loved the temperature setting on the shower (you set the temperature on the right and it keeps that for the trip-I want one!), plenty of storage space, really comfortable mattresses. A different towel animal every night. Room was quiet. People who had balconies seemed happy, but we always go with the cheapest cabin. Dining: We choose late dining at 8:15. I go back and forth on this. I hate having to wait till 8:15, but 6:00 is simply too early. The one or two times I opted out and we went to the buffet line, it's just too hectic; my husband likes the table service. One night in Bermuda everyone ate at the anytime dining and that also seems too hectic. Had nice tablemates in the dining room (both main dining rooms look the same) but 15 dinners was too long a time to sit with the same people. They should have a shake-up mid-way thru a long cruise and reassign everyone. Probably 90% of people would welcome a chance to sit with new people and no one's feelings would get hurt. Food: The food in the DR was very good, if not great. Seafood, chicken etc was better than steaks, which were not A+++. Desserts were good and so were appetizers. A really good crab cake, soups very nice. Breads not great; the same rolls and breads every night. The Lido buffet- Like most buffets, it's a bit of a zoo, especially on "port" days when everyone wants off the boat at the same time. Staff tries to keep up with the tables and does a good job. Coffee machines often out. And they put cups and glasses together so the flow around the beverage area is a little congested (grab cup, walk around people getting juice only, get back in to get coffee, etc.) Breakfast at Lido- everything you could ask for. An omelette section where you could also get fried eggs. Really good Danish and nice little cinnamon rolls. Bacon, potatoes, scrambled eggs, cold cuts, ham, lots of fruit, waffles, pancakes, French toast. Lunch on Lido. Lots of hot and cold choices in the buffet lines. In addition, there are 5 separate places to order from on the Lido deck. Pasta bar is inside above the buffet lines, and seating is upstairs. In addition, there are four separate food stations outside next to the pools. There is a 1) Mongolian Wok in the buffet area. 2) Pasta bar (usually about 20 minute wait after you put in your order, but were very good. Seating area there also. Loved the 3) Tandoori Bar outside on the Sunset adult pool area. They actually have a real tandoori oven and make the chicken and breads right on deck. Great tandoori chicken every day, along with another stew-like meat dish, vegetables, chutney, and great breads. A great opportunity to try Indian food. 4) Deli with good Ruebens, corned beef, etc and the 5) Grill with burgers and hot dogs. I really wish they had an option for a smaller burger. There's a lot of waste, because people get the burger and only eat a few bites. They could do a mini-burger or slider option. Dinner on the Lido: Almost always looks good and often served the same entrEe for dinner as in the dining rooms. A good salad selection, good desserts, always a carving station. There is also a little area on 5 deck called the Wasabi. Every afternoon from 5-7 or so it served some finger foods- mostly sushi but sometimes Italian (olives, cheeses, breadsticks), Greek,( feta, tzaziki, olives, etc). Most people never notice it. The Dream The ship was planned well, I think. The "traffic" seemed to flow pretty well, but this cruise was mostly older people, so there was lots of reading, afternoon naps, etc. The atrium are has nice sofas, and I didn't think the decor was too tacky. It's bright, but not gaudy. I do think the main pool will not be big enough with a full ship, including lots of kids. There is no pool for children, no kiddy pool, etc. The water slides were great; 2 tall ones, 2 medium and 2 kiddy size. Maybe the plane is for small kids to putter around in the water slide area. However, with 500 kids on board- Pandemonium! Liked the hot tubs; nice and warm. Nice outdoor screen for movies. They'll give you a blanket but you have to pay for popcorn. That's a little cheap. Never saw the Camp Carnival area, but the few teenagers did seem to enjoying the two areas for teens. Saw them doing a scavenger hunt and one day I peeked in and saw a young teen boy getting his hair braided by three girls-he looked pretty happy! Spa- I did go up to the spa for a massage and facial. This is a very nice area. The treatment rooms run along the outside , so you are on the massage table with a great view of the ocean. The "thermo" pool looked nice, but it's not very big. I assume the "spa"rooms are nice. Loved the mostly smoke-free ship. Sometimes smoky on the covered area just outside the Ocean Plaza in the middle of the ship on 5th deck. Casino- We don't gamble so can't comment. Entertainment; The dancers and singers did the three shows that will be performed on the week long cruises. The final show is great, with break dancers, acrobats, etc. The other two shows were also good, but I kind of miss the old "show tune" format geared to older folks. For our 15 night crossing, Carnival brought in other entertainers who were mostly good; a violinist, not great magician, good juggler, etc. Also some comics and singers. Didn't take any shore excursions. All in all, we thought Carnival was as up-scale as Princess and Royal Caribbean and surpasses the Norwegian cruise we took a year or so ago. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
We are two retired Canadians ages 68years, This was our 8th Carnival Cruise. We flew into Rome from Toronto direct flight two days prior to embarkation and this flight set the beginning of a wonderful cruise. Stayed near to the Airport ... Read More
We are two retired Canadians ages 68years, This was our 8th Carnival Cruise. We flew into Rome from Toronto direct flight two days prior to embarkation and this flight set the beginning of a wonderful cruise. Stayed near to the Airport probably not the best idea but worked for us. Took a Cab to the Hotel. Slept and went for something to eat. Next day up early and got a limo to Rome where we had another great experience. One of the ladies from our CCroll call had organized a tour with Romecabs and it was brilliant. Thanks again Sharon. At this point I would like to thank the whole roll call from CC for their friendship, and fun. It made the cruise amazing. On embarkation day we caught a limo to the Airport and picked up our first of many "super" excursions with Carnival. Although hectic at the Airport everyone was in a great humour.and we boarded our bus for a tour to the Popes summer residence and a restaurant in the countryside. This way we got to meet people before we even got on the ship. We arrived at the ship at 5.30p.m. Straight on and in our cabin by 6p.m. Sail away was 7p.m. so it was a little hurried. Our cabin was surreal. Never been in one like it. Huge balcony. We spent many hours on it when crossing the Atlantic which was like a mill pond. We thoroughly enjoyed our dining experiences in the Scarlett Dining Room late seating. Food was good and a different menu the whole of the sixteen days. Our talented Maitre d' Ken sang every night and sang once to us as we were on our 47th Wedding Anniversary. The waiters and waitresses sang and danced every night and we love the "Fun for All" and "All for Fun" We spent one night in The Steakhouse but much preferred the Supper Club on the Pride. However the food was excellent and well presented. Missed the dancing and music of the Supper Club. We ate in the MDR for breakfast. We like the ambience and meeting different people at breakfast but prefer just the two of us at dinner. All of the Port Excursions were booked through Carnival as too was the transfer from the Port of New York. We booked ahead and had paid before the cruise which helps with the Sail and Sign account. Each and everyone of the excursions were excellent. The buses in Europe are good and comfortable. The Carnival Dream is a "Dream" We loved the ship. Pristeen, easy to manage. The promenade Deck 5 is ideal for walking the ship outside and Deck 4 is a great addition and quiet.We never found the ship crowded, having said that we were not on the Lido for breakfast or lunch. Never won in the Casino or at Bingo but enjoyed playing both. There is plenty of activities and you can get involved in all or nothing whatever. Halloween was amazing on this ship. Got to thinking that some people had got half their luggage allowances in costumes. This was a great night and one of many. Cruise Director Todd and ASD James were visable for most of the cruise. The shows in the Encore lounge were all good. Carnivals entertainment is going up market. A beautiful soprano,violinist and tenor. Plus the shows. The comedy shows in the Burgundy lounge were well received. Our final thrill was to have John Heald on board from Bermuda to New York. He is certainly a wonderful ambassador for Carnival. We had tea time with him on our last sea day and he appears very genuine. The docking and transfers in New York were easy. This was a wonderful cruise and we cannot wait for the Carnival Magic hopefully to do it all over again.Bring it on. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
We flew from Spain to Rome, the train from Rome Termini Station to Civitacchia was efficient and cheap, costing about 5 euros each. Just remember to have your ticket punched at one of the machines on the platform before you get on the ... Read More
We flew from Spain to Rome, the train from Rome Termini Station to Civitacchia was efficient and cheap, costing about 5 euros each. Just remember to have your ticket punched at one of the machines on the platform before you get on the train. We then shared a cab with another group to the Port, OK it was more expensive than walking and cost 5 euros per person, but to me it was worth it. Embarkation was one of the quickest and most efficient we have experienced, well done to Carnival. Cabins as usual were perfect, we had a balcony on Upper Deck midship, this was a smart move as we did not experience any ship movement and it was quiet. A couple of people we met were complaining about the noise from decks below them from the theatre and discotheques, so be careful when you choose your cabin location. Now, on to the main event,I have never seen so many clinically obese and wheelchairbound people who moved around at snail pace in all my life, the average age of the passengers must have been about 70. So...why oh why, were we all subjected to 'Jeff the Fun Dude' who was the warm up comedian / compere in the comedy club and was anything but fun. He may have been fun at one of my children's birthday parties where the average age was under double figures but I felt here on The Dream he was my Nightmare, his jokes were the same every night, he was embarrassing to watch and insulted my intelligence by forcing me to listen to such drivel. However, the nightmare was worth it as the main comedians were exceptionally good as were the shows in the theatre. Food on the whole was very good, not exceptional though and not up to the standard we have previously enjoyed on the Liberty. Other than the steak and lamb, everything else was mediocre. My favourite dessert has always been the chocolate melting cake, one night I ordered it and it looked like slop, completely runny, when I mentioned this to the waitress I was simply told 'thats what chocolate melting cake is!' Wrong answer! One tip though for the dining room, if you like butter on your rolls, bring some of the packs from the Lido Buffet. The butter they serve in the main dining rooms has been whipped, my husband accurately described it as being 'like axle grease but with less flavour'. The morning show with Todd and James was dire, aimed at those with low IQ, in fact I would say that the whole entertainment crew was below standard. I went to the Murder Mystery shows which were obviously not rehearsed and very amateurish, a complete non event. The trivia quizes were fine as long as you were American and spent your days watching TV soaps and Football, if you are European like me then you didn't stand a chance! Ports of call were just OK but then I didn't expect much from them anyway, my husband and I live in Spain and had been to most of them before. One tip I would give is to do the Soller Train in Majorca on your own. As you get off the ship there is a bus stop outside, take Bus no 1 to the Placa Espanya cost 1.25 euros (the ship charges you 5 euros to take the shuttle) the Soller train is just off the main square and costs 10 euros to Soller. Fantastic train ride through the mountains and orange groves. From there you can take the tram down to the Port of Soller, this costs 4 euros each. The bus back to Palma costs 2.75 euros and goes from Carre De L'Esglasias just off the Harbour. Do everything early in the day as nothing happens in Siesta time, they all nod off for a few hours after about 2pm!! All in all The Carnival Dream was a bit of a disappointment, a lot more work needs to be done to get this ship right. I expected a much more professional approach, it just didn't happen. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
We had the pleasure of sailing on the Dream for it's transatlantic voyage October 2009-November 2009. The new ship was nicely appointed and the staff, for the most part, were very warm and energetic. There was a sense of excitement ... Read More
We had the pleasure of sailing on the Dream for it's transatlantic voyage October 2009-November 2009. The new ship was nicely appointed and the staff, for the most part, were very warm and energetic. There was a sense of excitement throughout the ship's crew, which is to be expected. I'll be brief and sum it up: Food: Regular cruise fare; for great food you must visit the steakhouse,well worth the $30 pp Service: Lots of missed/wrong orders in the dining room, almost like they had not figured out how to get it right just yet. The last night was a very rocky one on the Atlantic so the last night's meal in the dining room lacked a bit. Room service was within 30 minutes most times and the room steward was attentive. Space: Nice decoration throughout the ship, but space was at a premium at the buffet and poolside. It was very difficult to find a table on Lido deck at any given time, a huge drawback from the lager ship models. This theme has repeated for us on every ship over 100,000 gross tons.... Also, I'm sure the pool will be standing room only on the Caribbean voyages. Spa: Shall I say wow?! The spa was very nice with new amenities not on most of CCL's ships. These amenities came at a price, you must buy "membership" to the spa to enjoy it's full potential or stay in a "Spa Room". The spa also had a "Mud Lounge" which was a private experience with a sauna, rain shower, and all the body care needs you could stand, $135 an hour I think. Camp Carnival: There were only a few kids on the ship so they had the run of the place, not sure how it would work at full capacity. Cabin: We were in a suite, nicely appointed, similar to other suites on other CCL ships. Three problems: the sliding closet doors derail easily, the LCD TV was too high, thus you could not see clearly in bed (poor angle), and the whirlpool doors would slide and bang loudly in rough seas. Otherwise, pleasant room. Upon arrival in NY, we were quickly debarked so the party could begin, wish we could have been included in some way, oh well. Overall, this was a great experience and the length afforded us the ability to make life-long friends! We're already booked for the Magic TA! Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
My wife and I have cruised 12 times before,from Norwegian,Princess,Royal Caribbean,P.O and Carnival twice before.Embarkation was a breeze,on the ship in half an hour,the best ever,debarkation was the same,hats off to Carnival.The first ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised 12 times before,from Norwegian,Princess,Royal Caribbean,P.O and Carnival twice before.Embarkation was a breeze,on the ship in half an hour,the best ever,debarkation was the same,hats off to Carnival.The first thing we noticed was the atrium,it was the smallest and least impressive of any ship we have been on,very dissapointing.Our cabin was fine,larger than expected and spotless,as was the ship.One of the problems with cruising before is that you cant help but compare with other ships you have been on and Carnival fell short in several areas.On the down side was the food,the buffet was very poor,you could not get a hot meal for love nor money except for food cooked to order,ie omelletes or something from the wok.The service was also poor,there was roast beef on one night and it was rare,we asked for a piece off the joint which was well done and the server shrugged her shoulders and said it was all rare.We then asked to see a supervisor and she blanked us and gestured for us to move to move down the line,it was only when several other people complained that a fresh joint was brought in.The dining room was equally poor,the food was warm at best,often cold and the service was dreadful,it was not uncommon to wait 25 minutes to be served.I dont know the reasons for this,perhaps understaffing as the staff seemed to be under alot of pressure.As regards the public lounges and bars they were definitely smaller and less of them than any other ship we had been on,there was no cigar lounge,sports bar or jazz lounge.I got the impression alot of space had been sacrificed to pack more cabins in.With regard to the entertainment,some of it was spectacular,such as the main shows,several of the comedians were also very good.The lounge entertainers,in our opinion,ranged from good to dreadful,apart from Damien the pianist/singer who should be thrown overboard and Papa T who should be renamed Crapper T.One final point on the food should you think Im exagerrating---I was served undercooked cold turkey one night in the dining room,the Maitre D agreed and when I pointed out to her that uncooked poultry was dangerous she said that should I feel ill I would get free medical care-----FACT.All in all a mixed bag,fantastic itinerary,some great entertainment,some very good meals(in the steak house) and lots of nice staff,mainly of oriental background(thais,fillipinos etc). Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
I should preface this review by saying that the draw for me to take this cruise were the ports and the ports only. I am not one of those who takes tons of cruises - I wanted to take this cruise for the chance to get to see several ports ... Read More
I should preface this review by saying that the draw for me to take this cruise were the ports and the ports only. I am not one of those who takes tons of cruises - I wanted to take this cruise for the chance to get to see several ports in Italy and the chance to have that experience is what made the vacation a great one for me. As long as the ship experiences were not completely disastrous, they didn't really factor in for me. But I have tried to write this review from the point of view of what someone who is more interested in the ship experiences themselves would want to know. I hope I have been successful in that regard... I flew in a day early so as to acclimate to the jet lag and stayed in a wonderful little hotel in Rome just steps from the Spanish Steps :) I took the express train from the airport to Termini station in Rome, then the Metro subway from there to the Spanish Steps and then a short walk to the hotel. It was very easy and do-able (although transferring at Termini took a while to figure out) but definitely a struggle to do so with 1 large bag, 1 carryon and a backpack and thus was happy to have other private transfers arranged for rest of trip. Embarkation: A private transfer the next day (with some fellow CC members) took us from Rome to Civitavecchia smoothly. I was very impressed with embarkation - it took maybe 15 mins, if that! No lines! Again, I am not a veteran cruiser, but my other cruise experiences in the US had me expecting the worse for this part and I was bowled over by how smoothly it went. Disemarkation was also smooth in my experience - I did the "take your own bags off" option with no hassle. The new muster drill routine was a huge improvement over having to stand around in a life jacket! Entertainment: Mixed bag here. I saw 1.5 of the big Encore shows - missed the first one, saw the Dancing one and walked out halfway through the Country one. Dancing show was pretty par for the course as far as ship entertainment goes, I believe - E for effort. The Country one was boring and oddly US-centric, for a ship traveling in Europe with many non-USians aboard. Obviously done for the Caribbean audience in mind. However, I loved the comedy shows and think they are a much needed addition for those who are not the right demographic for the big theater shows. Disappointed that the piano bar allowed smoking - from what I heard passing by, it might have been a good option but the smoke rolling out of there always stopped me from getting near. I did not see the other entertainment in the lounges or karaoke, laser shows, outdoor movies, etc. Did not take part in the other activities arranged by entertainment staff. Ship spaces/amenities: The Serenity adults-only area seemed very nice and I bet will be a huge hit in the Caribbean. Given this was a European cruise in the fall, there were few kids on this sailing and little need for it. Fun hub computer spots: the attendants there were always very helpful - unfortunately, one often needed their help. Service was very slow and often would leave you hanging, etc. The various "sales" offered in capers on computer time were nice and definitely worth taking advantage of. Other: Ship shops had some nice specials on fragrances, jewelry. But no options in shop for toiletries, other small things forgotten. For being a new boat (this was only the 2nd sailing), it was disappointing to see stains on the cabin carpet already and other signs of wear. Think the extra public outdoor space on level 5 was a nice addition. Did not visit spa on this trip. Dining: "Sushi" bar: Disappointed that they rarely served sushi, but have to say I enjoyed all the various nibbles they did serve. Coffee bar: Did not use myself, roommates did and said they were almost always swamped and unable to keep up with demand. Lido deck: Just okay, I don't have a lot of expectations for a buffet. Tandoori/Deli/Pizza: Delicious (and better, in my opinion) options to the Lido buffet; seemed like the pizza was always "5 mins to be done" when I stopped in, tho. Pasta/burrito/mongolian bar: Didn't try them. High tea on sea days: Very nice change of pace - big plus. Dining room: We were in late seating in the aft dining room and our tables were literally at the aft windows. While both our waiters were nice, I have to say that the service really was poor, with the exception of the assistant waiter, who seemed to be the workhorse and knocked herself out nightly. We had very long waits for food that was sometimes not very hot. We were told that our tables were the fartherest from the kitchen and I can cut some slack for that, but it doesn't explain the poor service once the dishes were at the table. The head waiter was often confused and disorganized - he frequently served wrong dishes to the wrong person or served incomplete dishes. I once ordered a glass of wine when I sat down at the table that did not arrive until my entree was in front of me. The waiter never bothered to learn our names, which is neither here nor there to me except that the exceptional waiters on cruises do that, right? The maitre'd was a smooth operator who sang each night but, honestly, his time should have been better spent on training his staff or otherwise working out the kinks in service. Cabin service: Despite having told our steward at the beginning of the cruise that we needed ice service day and night (due to trying to keep meds cool), he missed a couple services towards the end of the trip. Additionally, we were interrupted as we were in the midst of getting ready for dinner a few times by the steward wanting to do the turn-down service. They should know that we were on the late seating and time their service accordingly, right? Not related to service at all: Loved the bed - not overly soft and pillow-top-y as seems to be the trend lately. Our neighboring cabinmates must have been chain smokers in both the room and on balcony as we were constantly smelling smoke in both places - yuck. We were on 9th floor and were not bothered by any undue chair-scraping noise from the lido deck above us, but this was a port-intensive cruise...who knows if it will be an issue in the Caribbean? Have to second what the previous reviewer said about the shuddering while docking - we felt it on the 9th deck! Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
We have just returned from the Grand Med cruise on the Carnival Dream- her 3rd cruise out and last in the Med before the transatlantic crossing... We were pleased with the ship- liked the overall layout, and the new muster drill. Sorry ... Read More
We have just returned from the Grand Med cruise on the Carnival Dream- her 3rd cruise out and last in the Med before the transatlantic crossing... We were pleased with the ship- liked the overall layout, and the new muster drill. Sorry for the length but it was a long cruise... The ship: really easy to get around-but it is a very large ship and I dont believe we saw the "whole ship". embarkation and debarkation was a "dream' 15 minutes or less- for each. The furniture is not comfortable -either the backs were too tall and the seat wasnt or the seat was too wide -just not comfortable. the room: I am not a believer of the phrase 'you'll never be in your room' I believe that the room is half of your experience...we had a balcony on the 10th floor middle- our first balcony room-and loved it-except when the smokers next store were out (all the time) Carnival allows smoking in the rooms which is not only dangerous for fire but they just dont seem to have enough ventilation in the hallways to prevent the hallway being smokey. The mattress was too firm- but our friends did not seem to think so- so I guess its all about personal taste. we did not get the new 'family bath' so it was a little tiny shower and sink area. (they could have made it bigger and got rid of the huge orange leather couch and it would have been great). There is hardly any drawer space since they put the hair dryer in the top drawer. The lighting was ok- would liked to have had the close up mirror connected to this section instead of high above the toliet in the bath room. Part of the closet faced towards you instead of right to left- which was difficult to use the hangers. they only have 1 phone in the room with a really long cord so on the days with wake up calls at 5:30 you had to remember to put the phone by the bed to get it- and the nightstands were crammed with stationary light fixtures wich left no room for a glass- also when in port the room smelled liked sewer but was better when we were at sea. the ship had problems with the sewer-we heard that a shower had backed up in a room. Dining- we did the 'your time dining' option - which was great when we dined at 5:45 pretty much daily but liked the option to eat whenever- otherwise there was a line- but they did have pagers if you wanted to wait we had 3 nights switching between 2 tables and decided that we liked our table staff enough to request them for the rest of the cruise- Waninda, Vergel and Andrei were great! I have never tipped additionally from what the cruise ship took before and we did for them- they really went out of their way to provide the best service. Overall you did not miss the perfomances of the lower dining staff- we just danced with ours on the top floor. the food - I thought the food could be alot better - I swore the menu was the same as the Destiny last year- the desserts were boring even on chocolate buffet day- hot chocolate was the best I had ever had but the machines were always being cleaned and out of use- there were times the food came out cold, but they took it back with no problem you just had to wait another 10 minutes for it..The Tandori(sp)area was a fresh idea- the pizza always had a wait because there wasnt any available- the buffet had the same thing- the salad bar was boring and the dressings were never cold- the burrito bar however was excellent -and it had the shortest line. The ice cream was still the best and the addition of big plastic cups for it was good- but no toppings anywhere.. the shows- Dancing in the Streets was the best out of the 3 maybe because it was new and fresh. the others were pretty boring and the comedians were bland as well. Todd and James (cruise directors) Morning show was the best out of all of it- the entertainment staff was friendly and you saw them everywhere which made it very personable (especially on 12 days). I am not a smoker and found the ship to be full of smoke- 5th floor was a smokers heaven from the Casino though all the bars and dance areas- the Piano bar (the guy was horrible and took himself way tooo seriously- my friend complained to the cruise director Todd but he claimed that he was an entertainer-but really the root word there is entertain not put too sleep) surrounding areas were non smoking but again with the ventilation- this was the Dreams 3rd cruise and when the 5th floor was vacant it smelled like a old casino- the lido deck was split for smoking/ non smoking- outside- but when the doors opened into the buffet inside section it was blown into the inside section- it could be all contained with proper VENTILATION. Carnival is a good buy for the buck-but they definitely nickle and dime you once on board.. 1.50 for popcorn for the movie- they also charged extra for the better desserts and coffee- the pictures are outrageous- 2 8 x10 and 1 smaller for 53.00! Celebrity was cheaper and had specials- Shopping- this was a letdown for the girls in our group who were looking for the good cruise buys in the past- the 10.00 items were boring- too much high priced jewelry space and not enough fun stuff to purchase- the liquor section was way small and never ran specials- and the makeup section was little, the perfume section wasnt spectacular and had poor selections. I was looking for a journal because I forgot to bring one and not one could be found unless I wanted to buy the planet earth line with oatmeal construction paper -for 35.00. all in all we will plan another cruise with Carnival and the Dream was a beauty- Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
We sailed on the Dream October 12-28th. We travelled with three adults and one 19 month old baby. The ship is..nice, but borderline tacky (sorry if I offend some). Very Las Vegas style. Many lights and colours. The common areas ... Read More
We sailed on the Dream October 12-28th. We travelled with three adults and one 19 month old baby. The ship is..nice, but borderline tacky (sorry if I offend some). Very Las Vegas style. Many lights and colours. The common areas are well kept, as some have previously mentioned I saw some of the wear and tear already as well. The Encore theatre is nice, but there are quite a few posts, so if you are not there early before a show starts, you will end up with a seat with an obstructed view of the stage. Rooms: The staterooms were nice, at least the one we had. We were on deck 7 and have no complaints of noise. The room was a decent size, but when you are 4 in the same cabin, it will always be tight! Our room stewards were fantastic. We were well taken care of. We did however hear a lot of complaints from others about floor 9. People heard the chairs being moved around on Lido deck. Also on floor 8 (i think), many smelt food being cooked all day long. Food: The food was decent. Nothing that blew my mind...okay, except the melting cake :)..but the meals in the dining hall were good. We did note that the chefs never use garlic. Food was a little bland at times. On the Lido deck there is the buffet (very average, we also thought there should be more salad bar choices), the burger grill (never went), pizza (pretty good), deli (never went but it looked good), tandoori (the best! we loved the food and ate lunch there every sea day) and the Mongolian grill (pretty good, but always long line ups). Room service was prompt, but we always seemed to be missing something or received way too much of another. We would ask for a pot of coffee for three and some half anf half and would get 6, yes 6, little pots of cream! What a waste. But the service was very efficient and friendly. Service: Room stewards were fantastic (Arnold & Serin). The dining hall seemed, let's say, very chaotic. Service was slow, our waiter was very nice, but always seemed lost. As well, one night our table was missing, it had been removed from the dining hall! We were also put in a side room, off of the main dining hall. This was okay for us as we had a baby, but I can imagine for other couples this could be a let down as you were secluded from all of the action. One family beside us complained (as they had probably the worst table in the house, beside the entrance and telephone!) and nothing was done to move them... Laundry: What a disaster! I expected the waits to be long as it was a 12 day cruise and many people may have stayed in Rome a few days prior to the cruise, but what I couldnt have imagined was that the water pressure was so low that we had to fill the machines with water ourselves! People were taking water bottles and filling the machines or else it would take about an hour to do a wash. Waits were the norm as there were not very many machines on board for 3600 people! Shows: We went to the country show (we stayed through half as baby was ready to leave) it was okay. The dancing in the street show was great! Camp Carnival: I never left the baby, but did go with her to play. Facilities and staff were great. Lots of toys for the kids to play with. Disembarkation: Very confusing. People everywhere and no staff to help direct people to the right place. People were cutting the lines and the wait to get on the free shuttle to the port entry was quite long. All in all we had a great cruise. I think there are some 'kinks' that need to be worked out as service was a little inconsistent at times. The lesson we learned is that these big ships are not for us. Traveling with so many passengers is at times quite trying. The pushing and shoving for coffee each morning and the cutting lines left us feeling like we had to constantly be on guard. Not Carnival;s fault, but a lesson learned for us! Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
My husband and I were on the second sailing of the Carnival Dream in the Mediterranean. We booked one of the new ocean view cabins with two bathrooms and our cabin was located on the Deck 2 (Main). We arrived in Rome the night before ... Read More
My husband and I were on the second sailing of the Carnival Dream in the Mediterranean. We booked one of the new ocean view cabins with two bathrooms and our cabin was located on the Deck 2 (Main). We arrived in Rome the night before the cruise and joined up with another couple for a transfer over to Civitavecchia. The transfer was great and without delay and we arrived at the new embarkation building by 10:45 AM. We were onboard around 11:15 AM as there isn't much process to embarkation at this port. What a time we had! The itinerary was great (Italy, Spain, Croatia) and the new features onboard, while still getting the kinks ironed out, were really special. LASER SHOW - We attended all the laser shows and they were having a lot of difficulty with the smoke staying in place so the lasers would actually appear - the wind kept interfering. At the last show of the cruise (which few attended), we finally had a great show and all the hype Todd (cruise director) had created was dead-on - just make sure you are at the back, centre, facing the screen and you are in for quite a treat. ENCORE THEATRE SHOWS - These were probably the best we've seen on the seas yet (we've only been on three cruises though...) but the 'Dancin' in the Street' show was all that was promised and more - we were so excited after this show - it has something for everyone (the 'glow-in-the-dark' dance segment was spectacular). The 'Extreme Country' show (it's inaugural show during our sailing) was probably great if you like country music. As a non-American cruiser, I have to say that the patriotism was a bit alienating at the end for some of us. COMEDY CLUB - A new feature for Carnival, they had four comedians onboard during our 12-day cruise. Two out of the four were absolutely side-splittingly hilarious with a third being very good as well. The fourth was a disaster (we were not alone in our thoughts on this!) but perhaps his brand of humour just wasn't suited to the crowd. I'm sure these will vary from cruise to cruise. ADULTS-ONLY LOUNGE - This was an extremely popular area on nearly any half-decent-weather day. On sea days, the place was overflowing. They've got some great wicker lounge chairs and its in a great spot up near the spa. We spent quite a bit of time up there but it can be a bit windy if you plan on reading. PUBLIC AREAS - Your typical shops and casino are right in place where they usually are, along with the atrium and kids club areas. The pools were small and not used frequently during this cruise, though it wasn't for lack of heat. FUNHUB - The FunHub computer areas are a great idea but the Funville portal could use a bit of upgrading with user options and the quantity of information shown (it showed the same temperature every day of the cruise, which is not helpful at all when planning what to wear the next day). They usually had the current activities displayed, but these were not always current. FOOD - The food was good - not amazing, but better than how I usually eat at home. We didn't try the supper club and alternated with dining for dinner in the Lido and the restaurant. Our servers in the restaurant were super funny and friendly and I wouldn't have chosen any others. The Lido has the Mongolian grill (which was always swamped with people and had crazy-long lines), Tandoori, Deli, Grill, Pizza, Pasta, and of course, the grand buffet. Sushi is down on the 5th deck - WHY!?!? Also, why do they only serve sushi three or four times during a 12-day cruise? And why only at dinner time? As a sushi-lover, I was disappointed and didn't get to try their sushi even once. Also, as you may already know, the midnight buffets are gone. I was a bit disappointed in this, but I understand if they were just wasting food by running it each day. The "midnight snacks" they advertised everyday was just burgers, fries, cookies, and brownies beside the Seaside Theatre - not the same at all. SPA - After using the spa on my last cruise and getting hideously ripped off by a sales pitch for some Elemis pills, I was very wary on using the spa again. During embarkation day, they offered to give us a tour, which turned into a sales pitch for the thermal suites/thalassotherapy pool/sauna passes they sell (which covers the duration of the cruise - $329 per couple). I was immediately turned off and was yet more so when I saw the price list for the spa and had scribbled out that a single-use pass was $20 - much more reasonable if I wanted to use it only on sea days, but this was no longer an option for some reason. I ended up not going to the spa for fear of a sales pitch, but one of our traveling companions went on the last day of the cruise for $1/minute massage and said it was the best he'd ever had. CABINS - BEWARE IF YOUR CABIN IS ON THE LOWER DECKS! I had never experienced this before on lower decks (that I can remember), but the ship will shudder and bang like it is falling apart when docking in port. Sometimes this hideous awakening will jar you from sleep at 6 AM and will go off and on for about 15-20 minutes. No sleeping in for you if you are in port on a day and you wanted to relax! I liken it to a space shuttle launch. The two bathrooms in our room came in quite handy since my husband and I like to have our own space. They are quite small, but having a bathtub is always nice. Temperature control, TV, etc, were all in great condition and the one time we had maintenance issues, it was resolved very promptly. The Dream is big - 15 decks and 3,600 passengers can leave things a bit frustrating when everyone is in a hurry (like during breakfast in port) or trying to catch an elevator from the bottom to the top when everyone in the middle doesn't want to walk a flight or two up. There were several occasions during the cruise when sarcastic comments were made about people getting into other peoples' way and there was lots of line-cutting at the buffet line (is this common?), but I don't think this is escapable since people will be people no matter where they are. The ship is sadly already showing some wear! There are things like pits in the paneling in the theatre, pen doodles on the walls in the hall, stains on the carpet, etc. It is, however, a lovely ship. We had a great time, loved the boat and the crew and will remember this cruise always. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
This was my wife and I's second cruise. Our first cruise to Europe (as well as being our first time in Europe). Our first cruise was a Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Legend in August of 2007, so that's the only thing we can ... Read More
This was my wife and I's second cruise. Our first cruise to Europe (as well as being our first time in Europe). Our first cruise was a Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Legend in August of 2007, so that's the only thing we can compare with. We had a fantastic time, and while some things were better than the Legend, other's weren't quite up to par yet. Embarkation: This was an amazing process. I remember waiting in line for hours on the Legend and the embarkation area was just crowded and did not seem efficient. In Civitavecchia it was the exact opposite. We arrived at a little after 10:00am, and embarkation was scheduled to start at 10:30am. It started right away, if not a bit early, and we were on the cruise ship within 30-40 minutes minutes of arrival with absolutely no delays or hassle. It was a fantastic experience. Since we were some of the very first people on the ship, we had time to walk around and fully explore the ship without any crowds. We weren't able to schedule anything or buy anything except for a fountain card, as embarkation had just started and the staff were still getting prepared. Guest Services: My wife was not registered as a past guest due to her having her maiden name registered for the first cruise, and so she didn't receive the Gold card like I did. Originally we didn't think much of it (although my wife was a little jealous of my gold card I think!) until we found out that I was invited to a past cruise function and she wasn't. I went down the guest services, and they immediately found her past guest record and printed her a Gold card and gave her an invitation to the past guest function on the spot. Every single time I had to deal with guest services they were incredibly nice, knowledgeable, and efficient. Most people who complain about them were the people I saw with the ridiculous demands or claims. I always made sure I smiled and thanked them, because they really put up with a lot of crazy people on that big of a ship. Staff/Entertainment: The thing that impressed me most about the staff is that they never said "I don't know". They always had an immediate answer for you no matter if your question was regarding where something was located on the ship, or if it was a question regarding a particular port of call or shore excursion. Our room steward was good, and he was great at chatting with us and making jokes, and even waved and said hi when we saw him off the ship as well. My only complaints were that the ice wasn't filled up very often, and since my wife needed to ice her hip and ankle each night that was kind of annoying. Also, it's incredibly hard to find a bag on this ship to hold ice as no one had anything. You'd think that they would have some zip-lock bags or something. We never ordered room service, so we have no comment on that. We only had to contact our room steward once regarding a problem and he was at our door in less than a minute. Our dining experience wasn't nearly as good as it was on the Legend. Our water was alright, but he seemed distant at times and it was obvious that he had bonded more with the table next to us. He tried very hard to please us, but since his English wasn't that great he often didn't seem to understand some of the things we said or if we were trying to make jokes with him. Because of that no one at our table could really have any conversations with him that weren't very short or primarily about the menu. On the Legend we made sure we were early, and NEVER missed a single dining experience as our waiter was amazing. This cruise we skipped the dining room 4 times. He was nice though, and the waits usually weren't too bad. The drinks waiter rarely ever came to our table. I believe he only came to our table 2 or 3 times throughout the entire cruise. I didn't know who the Maitre'd was until the second to last day of the cruise, nor did I even hear him speak until then. On the Legend we heard from him every night, but here he just seemed very distant. Also, the dances at the last dinners weren't that great and very few people participated. Dining was definitely the one thing that was no where near the experience that we had on the Legend. The entertainment staff was fantastic. I barely noticed any of them on the Legend, as well as the cruise director. James and Todd did such a great job on this cruise. I only saw Todd once just roaming around, but he made it a point to say hello to us, and as busy as he obviously was he even chatted with us for a few. That was nice, and I was even able to joke with some of the entertainment staff during some of the events (one of which promised me she would eat her hat if she lost the ship wide red vs. blue game, and it was a pretty humorous event when i confronted her about this when she lost!) and they were always happy to chat and entertain. The country show was alright, but everyone kind of seemed out of sync and all the dance moves were forced. It wasn't all that fluid, and although I'm American the hardcore pro Americanism of the last song(s) were kind of ridiculous considering the fact that this is a European cruise and there were so many non-americans on board. I understand that this is a Caribbean cruise technically and all the shows are geared for that, but it would have been a nice little touch if they could have at least done a few minor changes or special events to turn this into a Carnival European cruise instead of a Carnival Caribbean cruise in Europe. The Dancin in the Street show, however, was amazing. I can't say enough good things about this show and I encourage anyone who sails on the Dream to see this show. You will be absolutely amazed. It was a lot of fun to watch. We didn't see the third show, and we saw one comedian who was pretty funny. His material wasn't anything original, as I had heard most of it on email forwards throughout the years, but his presentation was superb and really that's one of the most important aspects of comedy. There were many things to do and games to play across the ship, but the unfortunate thing was that a lot of it closes at 5pm. Mini Golf, basketball, water slide, ping pong, etc. We started joking around that at Carnival, "The fun stops at 5", because there was really no reason to close it that early as it was still daylight out for most of the cruise. 6 would have been more appropriate. Mini golf was a lot of fun, and the water slide was everything it's hyped to be...except for the fact that i only saw it open once due to winds, but that's nothing they can control. The giant television was great, hardly any glare, but I noticed a few dead squares on it already. The laser show was pretty good the first time we saw it, but the winds made it a little difficult to really see what it was all about. In Monaco we had no wind and they did the laser show again and it was perfect. I was really amazed by just how much fun that was to watch. They did a handful of Pink Floyd songs, and it was a really good time. The FunHub terminals were nice and well placed throughout the ship They were kept updated with sports scores, the goings-on of the ship, and the weather we were expecting. Plus, you could pay (way too much money of course) to get on the internet if you wanted. At first you had to go through their own very inadequate browser to get on the internet, and it usually crashed, but eventually they made it so you could just use a restricted windows desktop (so you could actually have more than 1 browser window open, which is important when you're paying by the minute!) and that alleviated a lot of problems. Obviously there were a huge amount of people that were furious that the system wasn't perfect, but you have to realize that it is a satellite based system, and if the weather isn't cooperating there isn't anything that IT is going to be able to do. The Spa was great, but the staff were quite obnoxious. It's one thing to tell your staff to suggest the Elemis products, but an another thing entirely to try to cram it down our throats at every moment possible. The tour of the spa at the beginning was nice, but it was more of a salespitch than actually showing what it did. Most of the prices are just not worth what you really get, especially considering you're going to have to spend 5 minutes at the end listening to them tell you how these particular Elemis products will change your life. The access you get via the spa staterooms however, was perfect. The staff never intervened, and it was all very relaxing and well worth it. The mineral jacuzzi was a nice way to unwind and relax after a day of walking around, and all the other rooms you have access to are very nice. The spa rooms are worth the price you pay, plus the robe you get is much nicer and more comfortable than the standard carnival robe. The slippers are a one size fits all type of thing, and if they fit, they're comfortable! Stateroom: We had a spa stateroom, and it was fantastic. The paintings on the wall as well as the overall motif were great, and it was great not to smell any cigarette smoke anywhere. For the first week probably we had virtually no water pressure in our sink (shower was fine), at first I thought it was a problem, but then I just assumed that it was to conserve water. I got to thinking that this was really a great idea as you don't need a lot of water pressure and I'm sure this saved water! I was ready to commend Carnival on this until I came into my room one day and I had full water pressure and apparently it was just a problem that I hadn't been negatively effected by obviously! One evening we came into our stateroom and we could smell cigarette smoke. We called our steward and he came by in less than a minute and smelled it and called his supervisor and the supervisor said they could re-freshen the room for us. I agreed, and they did it that evening. Everything was perfect after that and we never had any issues. They assumed it was from the air conditioning. The bed, and especially the pillows, were outstanding. Very comfortable. The online downside to the room was that since it was an interior room, there was absolutely no light once you turned the lights off. Which, I suppose is obvious, but i think I prefer the natural light from a window or balcony suite. Food: I've heard lots of complaints from the food from previous reviews, but I didn't think it was that bad. Most of it was very good! Some things were worse than others on certain days, but there is such an amazing variety of food that you're always going to find something good. The Pasta bar never seemed to be open when we wanted to go to it, and the Pizza place was actually delicious, if you didn't mind waiting 5-10 minutes for your Pizza to come out of the oven as they rarely ever had any ready to go. I heard the steakhouse was great, but since we were in Europe, if we were going to spend $60 on a meal, we would be eating out in one of the ports of call, so we never went there. There were crowds in the buffets, especially during breakfast time, but that isn't really avoidable on a ship of that size. All in all it was a very enjoyable cruise. I don't think we'll go on a cruise ship of this size again, as the crowds were just ridiculous at some points, and 40 person shore excursion groups that were, at times, combined with more than 1 group were unbearable at times. They did a very good job of getting everyone together in one location for the shore excursions, as on the Legend it was just a leave whenever and catch up to your group type of thing and we ended up missing a shore excursion due to not knowing where to go. On the Dream everyone meets in a central location and everyone leaves together, so that was nice. Debarkation was even smoother than embarkation. We just walked right off the ship without seeing anyone else. No lines or anything. That was pretty astonishing. I'm not sure why the Dream only has 2 small pools, yet 10 or so jacuzzis for a primarily Caribbean cruise destination, as everyone we spoke with thought that this was good for our slightly colder European cruise, but they wouldn't enjoy that in a warmer climate. The Carnival Dream is a fantastic cruise ship, but the size (crowds) is really it's main downfall. However, the amenities and just how overall nice the ship is and the gratefulness of the staff for getting to work on such a beautiful ship makes up for that and it is truly a unique experience to be able to cruise on such a magnificent vessel. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
I have wanted to do a Med cruise for years. Finally, in July 2008 we booked this cruise based on three factors: 1. the itentairy was perfect, 2. the price was afforable, and 3. It was a brand new ship! After the cruise was officially ... Read More
I have wanted to do a Med cruise for years. Finally, in July 2008 we booked this cruise based on three factors: 1. the itentairy was perfect, 2. the price was afforable, and 3. It was a brand new ship! After the cruise was officially booked, the next 14 months was full of reading books and doing research of every port. About 5 months before sailing, I finally discovered cruisecritic. This website was an absolute lifesaver. I recommend it to everyone who is taking a cruise. Finally, it was depature day. Our first flight was cancelled. After staying in a cheap hotel we arrived at the airport the next day to discover our 2nd flight was delayed. Twice. After an exhausting flight, we were at last in the Eternal City! We went to collect our bags. I easily spotted mine. DH never came. We spent the next two hours waiting in line to talk to someone is baggage claim. Uh-oh. Our dream vacation was off to a rocky start. I used my priority club points for our pre-cruise hotel, the Intercontinental on Via Sistina. The location could not be beat;right on top of the Spanish Steps. After checking in, we went to a wonderful dinner and walked around a bit. We were starting to forget the nightmare the airlines put us through even though we still didn't have DH bags. The next day, we used the subway to go to the Coliseum and Trevi Fountain. I was disappointed we didn't have time to see the Vatican. We went back to the hotel and finally DH's bag had arrived. Good thing, it was time to head to the ship. We walked to the subway station and tooked the train to termini and then the train to Civitavecchia. This was very easy and so much cheaper than taking a car serivce. We would rather have that money to spend on ship or in ports. When the train arrived in Civitavecchia, we walked a few blocks and saw free shuttle vans to the ship. Embarktation was quick and easy. A few minutes later we were walking on to the ship. People were still painting the outside. We checked out our room: 8274. It was nice and big. No complaints. Then, we were off to discover the ship. The ship is huge. Everyday we discovered something new. The first night we ate the Grand Buffet. Very good. After that we ate dinner in the dining room everynight. We started off on late dining but swapped to Anytime Dining. The service on the ship was impeccable. The food was outstanding. We didn't go to any shows. I really enjoyed the water slides and the outdoor movie theater. I loved this ship! The only thing that tops the ship was the ports. Europe is intoxicating. A cruise is a great way to explore Europe. No packing and unpacking. You get to see so much without the hassle of transfers. Yes, it is true you have limited time in each port. But you get a feel for what cities you want to revisit and which you do not. I loved this vacation. If only cruise lines ruled the world! Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
We were led to believe that we were booking an inaugural and were very excited about it. I was bent on being on the very first of the European cruises as we had loved all the special things that were done for Carnival Legend on ... Read More
We were led to believe that we were booking an inaugural and were very excited about it. I was bent on being on the very first of the European cruises as we had loved all the special things that were done for Carnival Legend on Carnival's first time in Europe. However, we learned that ours was not the REAL inaugural. That was going to be in NYC. Unfortunately, we were not alone in our disappointment. No bands or entertainers to see us off in Rome, nor at any port but Dubrovnik. No special shows or performers. In fact, the Country show was not ready so we had only 9 show nights and only 2 big shows. We really felt cheated. We thought that Carnival should have given us all some sort of perk - money off on a future cruise at least - for being the ones helping them find all the quirks, etc. DH's night light was inoperative and it took 4 days to get it fixed. Maintenance evidently had no one who spoke English, for one thing. Also, they were busy with more important issues on the ship. Turned out the light was miswired. We actually were the ones who figured out what was wrong. Voice mail for Customer Service did not work. The employees continually put you on hold or hung up on you. So many problems they could not handle them all. It got better toward the end. This was a huge problem for only 3 cabins on board - ours and 1222 and 1221. The Spa Deck's rooms all start with 1220, 1221 or 1222. If you dialed the room number, as you were instructed for every other floor, you got Riviera Decks 1220, 1221 or 1222 as the last digit was dropped. You were supposed to dial 4 first. However, no one knew that, even by the last night. We had calls to our room (1220) at all hours. The last night, when we needed to go to bed early as debarkation was starting at 6 am, we had our last call at midnight. Given the attitude of the maintenance dept, I would say that these are rooms to be avoided. I am betting the phone situation is not fixed. This is a new problem for Carnival as they never had a 12th floor before. But Magic will have the same issue so they need to figure it out. Food was better than NCL or RCI but not as good as Legend or Glory. I liked the tandoori place on Lido and, of course, the melting chocolate cake. I would have liked the mongolian barbecue but did not have the patience to stand in line forever. Sushi could have been at a better time and more often. They did have lobster which some companies are dropping. Also baked Alaska. We had Ken the singing Maitre d' on Legend and enjoyed him again. Our wait staff was terrific. Got me some of that Norrbrod (rye with seeds)from breakfast for my dinner every night. Otherwise, the breads were not exceptional. Tipped the waiters extra. We were not impressed with Todd as cruise director and had hoped for John Heald. Todd did very little for Cruise Critic folk of which there were many. Giving us a black fake leather frame with a picture of the ship did not make up for the lack of inaugural perks. Plus, now that we are home, the adhesive has given out. Made in China, no doubt. We did take the Back of the Ship tour and enjoyed it despite the high price. We had not been in the engine control room nor the wheelhouse ever despite many years of cruising. The computer Fun stations were a disaster on our cruise. They had an awful time making them work and I was truly ticked at having to leave 20 min behind as service stopped the last night prematurely. Europe had very few internet cafes so we were at the mercy of the Fun Hubs. The Street show was certainly unusual and we enjoyed it but perhaps not as much as most. Just not into break dancing. Over all, the shows were a very weak spot for Dream. Our cabin location was perfect and our cabin stewards were great. Room was always clean as a whistle. We were just one deck from the ramp to depart at almost all the ports. I particularly chose Riviera because it is sandwiched between two floors of cabins so is a lot quieter than many other decks - no rolling trash cans or music overhead. We were ones who thought the bed was too hard. I am getting used to the nice deluxe beds at Westin, Sheraton, Marriott, etc so this took some getting used to. That said, we slept like babies. Sadly, some people did draw stuff on the very art deco figures in the hallways so we did not leave the ship as pristine as we found it. It is easily removed by a steward so speak up if you find the graffiti. We did like that part of the decor. The atrium was very tall but not big around so it was strange looking. Legend was all done in brown and gray and was blah. This, at least, was colorful, mostly reds and oranges. We were blessed with perfect weather. I even got down a water slide! Embarkation was a breeze. We were on the 3rd bus to arrive - decided that since we flew in the day of the cruise from California we would not be in a mood to drag luggage in and out of a train station so bought the transfer. We enjoyed exploring the new ship and staff was still unloading boxes! Debarkation was equally well organized and we took a shuttle with some other cruise critic folk and saved half over the ship's cost. Took us right to the Sheraton Roma. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
Our initial thoughts on our Inaugural cruise on Carnival Dream - this was our 12th cruise with Carnival and 22nd overall. We had a great time on our trip. Pre-cruise. We stayed in Rome for 2 nights prior. We took the Airport shuttle ... Read More
Our initial thoughts on our Inaugural cruise on Carnival Dream - this was our 12th cruise with Carnival and 22nd overall. We had a great time on our trip. Pre-cruise. We stayed in Rome for 2 nights prior. We took the Airport shuttle train into the city. Our hotel was close to the Rome Termini train station. It was OK for a 3-star hotel, but the location made it easy to get to on arrival and when left for the ship. We did a Rome tour by night - thanks Lisa. We took the train to Civitavecchia on the morning of embarkation. We took an Intercity train, which was shorter - only 1 stop in Rome before going direct to Civitavecchia - the train continued north after that. For an extra 3 Euros each we went first class and had assigned seats. It is about a 10 minute walk from the train station to the port entrance. Easy enough if you have wheels on your luggage, but you can take a taxi if you wish. From the port entrance there is a free shuttle bus to each of the different ships. The embarkation process was very easy and we were aboard the ship by 11am. Positives: Spa facilities - similar to Splendor with some added treatment rooms. If you wish to pay for 12 day access to the Spa facilities - Steam and Sauna rooms, Thalossotherapy pool etc you can purchase them onboard. We forget what the daily rate is, but at the start of the cruise you can purchase a pass for the entire cruise for $329 - which will admit two people. This rate is cheaper on Caribbean cruises. Massages and treatments are extra. Bear in mind that you may be challenged to get the full enjoyment of the spa each day if you are off the ship visiting all the ports in Europe, but that is an individual choice. For those that don't get the spa passes, they still have excellent steam rooms in the regular Men's and Women's change rooms, and a co-ed sauna with a window on the side for a view. Slides. With few children aboard, many adults tried out the slides. They have two long tube/covered slides. One is a typical twisting slide, and the other is called the Drainpipe - it is a shorter slide but has a steep bit to launch you out into a round bowl where you slide around until you come to a stop and then get out at the bottom centre. They were both a lot of fun. You get a great view of the ship - and sea or port - from the top of the slides. Adult-only areas. The Serenity deck area is on Deck 14 at the front, and the pool at the aft of the ship on Deck 10 is adult only. (more on this later). We didn't use the Serenity areas on Deck 14 but they looked very relaxing and are probably very popular on warm sea days. Ship Layout. The Deck 5 Lanai (exterior deck area) is a noticeable change from Splendor and earlier Carnival ships. This was a popular area to walk around the ship, however this could change when the ship gets to the Caribbean as we understand Deck 5 is going to be full of deck chairs to provide additional places for passengers to lie out and relax. The jogging track is on Deck 12 at the aft of the ship although there weren't many joggers out, and most of the walkers were on Deck 5. The Spa staff suggested it was 4 laps of the jogging track for 1 mile, but it is more like 6 laps. For those who were looking for a quieter method to move from bow to aft or vice versa - try Deck 4 rather than Deck 5. Deck 5 has more activities and therefore more passengers, but Deck 4 is usually much less crowded. Food. We enjoyed the food. Many of the popular items from past Carnival menus were included on the dinner menus. We understand food is a very subjective topic, but we found the food to be just as good as recent Carnival and RCI cruises. We ate all of our meals in assigned dining - 1st sitting Crimson Dining Room and didn't go to the Supper Club. Welcome Aboard party. There are separate activities for 1st and 2nd sitting. With so many passengers, the reception was split across all the lounges at the back of Deck 5 and the Welcome Aboard by the Captain was done later that night at the Production Show. We found the bar service to be very prompt and they provided a good selection of bar drinks. Everyone was well dressed on both formal nights. Dancing in the Street Production Show. Terrific. Lots of different entertainment included in this show that had something for everyone. Just about everyone we spoke to said this was one of the best (if not the best) show on a ship they had seen in a long time. Try to sit somewhere in the centre of the theatre (upper or lower) to see everything that is presented. Fun Hubs. The ship has around 34 computer stations. Most people go to the main facility in the middle of Deck 5, so it is a bit more crowded there, so find some of the other ones scattered across the ship and you can use those without a line. Those who bring their own laptops can log in from anywhere on the ship. You can get an account for free to access basic news, ship layout, and an electronic version of the Carnival Capers. You can do this from any FunHub or personal laptop. If you want to access the internet, you will pay for that. Packages range from 45min $29 (.64/min), 120 min $59 (.49/min), 240 min $89 (.37/min) and 480 min $159 (.33/min). They have a small number of promotions for extra/discounted minutes based on when you log in on certain days. We found the FunHub staff to be very helpful and most times we walked by they were helping someone with questions. Libary. A modest collection of books to start, however they were all hardback and brand new. By the end of the cruise passengers had dropped off a number of paperbacks for future cruisers to read. They have quite a few games in the library as well. We don't know if the Children's activities have a separate section for board games. Cabins. We had a problem with the thermostat in the room, but when we called maintenance, someone showed up within minutes to look at it. Overall the rooms were great, they have flat screen TVs and the beds were very good. The bed frame seemed a bit higher than previous ships, which means that most luggage should be able to fit under the bed. We had a Cat 9A corner cabin with a larger balcony at the aft, however the room layout meant that there was no small sofa in the cabin. There were small armchairs however. Other than the sound from toilets flushing, the sound insulation between rooms was very good - we never heard our neighbours. Seaside Theatre Outside Screen over the Main Pool. Very good visibility. Note that movies, concerts and relaxing spa-like shows are shown. No news is shown on the big screen, apparently as a result of previous passenger comments. Several news channels are available in the cabins including CNN International, BBC World, Euro News, German, Italian, French news, etc., Itinerary. Very good. Many people we spoke with would have been happy to spend extra time in Barcelona, Monaco, etc., however doing so would have meant a longer cruise, or skipping a port. We had been to several of the ports before but took the time to visit Barcelona and Monaco. In Barcelona we visited Las Ramblas, Parc Guell and La Sagrada Familial. Time flew by in Barcelona and many of the people we spoke with at the end of the day while waiting to get the shuttle back to the ship (5 Euros rtn per person) said the same thing. It may be worthwhile trying to do a few things well rather than try to see many things briefly. In Barcelona we used the public bus, taxi and subway in addition to the shuttle downtown. In Monaco we did a private tour with Revelation tours - Frank was our driver - he gave us a great tour and we visited some scenic lookouts larger buses didn`t visit. We visited Monte Carlo / Monaco, Eze, Nice and St Paul de Vence. We stopped to walk around Eze, Nice, St Paul and Monte Carlo. We recommend them highly - www.revelation-tours.com Fellow Cruisers. We met lots of great people from all over the world on this cruise. Everyone had a different experience and it was fun to share stories. It was great touring with others (all our CC friends) and meeting others aboard (Lynette and Ian among others). The CC Meet and Greet started off beside a Trivia contest and we moved to an empty lounge. Disembarkation. In Civitavecchia this starts early. People were leaving by 6am. We left around 7:20am and the ship would have been cleared probably by 8:30am at the latest. It seemed that people were able to get the disembarkation time they wanted, and the process of retrieving luggage in the terminal area was organized and simple enough when we went through. If you wish you can do self-assist and take all of your luggage with you. We took a private shuttle to Rome airport along with some other CC passengers - thanks Joanne! Points to Impove. We'll try to keep this brief (we did have a good time after all...) Entertainment. We found this OK, however there were only 2 production shows on a 12 day cruise. The 1st one was extremely good, however the production of the 2nd show (Get Ready) was just an average production of Motown and R&B song and dance. Apparently there was a 3rd show - Extreme Country - but if so, we missed it. Pools. We were told that the Main Pool was among the smallest in the fleet. There are extra Whirlpools on this ship (Deck 5) however no doubt the pools will be crowded on Sea Days in the Caribbean. Unlike Splendor, the Main Pool does not have a retractable roof, which means that on cool or rainy days, the Main Pool area will not be as useful. Inaugural Cruise. As head office is recognizing the New York cruise for the naming ceremony and inaugural activities there wasn't much additional benefit to being on the first passenger cruise. We did get a gift of a standard black Carnival photo folder (holds two 8 x 10s) and were told repeatedly that we were the first to cruise on Dream, so we would always have that. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
Having sailed with Carnival a number of times in the Caribbean and in 2007 sailing this same itinerary on the Freedom, we were quite relaxed about taking the same cruise again. What we didn't realise until reading threads on Cruise ... Read More
Having sailed with Carnival a number of times in the Caribbean and in 2007 sailing this same itinerary on the Freedom, we were quite relaxed about taking the same cruise again. What we didn't realise until reading threads on Cruise Critic is how much excitement is generated when its an inaugural cruise. We had initially booked on The Liberty before being bumped off when the summer sailings were pulled owing to the financial markets. We had talked our friends into sailing with us, they were cruise virgins, and apart from a change of date, they had no idea that we had changed ships. We stayed overnight in Civitavecchia as we have done previously, I can recommend this to anyone who doesn't particularly want to "do" Rome. Check-in was smooth and we were on the ship by 11.30. Although we were told cabins wouldn't be ready until after 1.00pm we were able to dump our carry onus in the stateroom. This was the first chance we had had to see the Lanai and the new promenade deck on deck 5. We were in a port side balcony on deck 6 Upper and we were desperate to see what our view would be like from the balcony. Fortunately although we couldn't look straight down to the water as the promenade was beneath us we had no hot tubs or sitting areas directly underneath us. Although there was a sitting area 3 cabins along to our left , the nearest hot tub was way down towards the front of the ship. The cabins themselves were pretty much Carnival standard so nothing much to write about there. One thing to note is we were just below the disco so there was some noise but the effects of the G&T's usually got me off to sleep without any problem. Throughout the cruise the cabin steward and his team were always busy working away and typically kept the ice bucket full, (always a good sign). As you would expect on an inaugural cruise the ship was bright and clean, although I would say the lighting was too red for my liking !! We spent the first afternoon exploring the ship and getting our bearings, mind you my DW and my friends DW never did get the hang of it !! The first negative was the new format for the Muster Drill which had everyone gather in various public rooms rather than at the lifeboats. After what seemed an age and announcements in a number of languages I still didn't know how to get to my lifeboat. This caused a problem in that as it over run the dining room wasn't ready for first seating dinner, which also made our late sitting even later. We got into the dining room at 8.30 and it still wasn't ready, the staff were at sixes and sevens and our wait staff weren't ready to take our order until almost 9.00pm. We finally left the dining room some time after 10.30pm. It was complete chaos. We didn't blame the staff and told our apologetic waiters that. I think they didn't expect to see us back after that performance. We did dine every night in the Main Dining Room apart form the two night where we went to the Steak House or Supper Club what ever you want to call it. I was a little disappointed with some of the dishes served up but our waiter spotting my not being impressed always manage to rustle up something else for me. The entertainment on the ship was excellent especially in the lounges, although I was surprised that the piano bar seemed almost empty most nights. The karaoke host had a nightmare trip as most of the song catalogue had not been loaded onto the fancy swanky new computer system which meant she struggled to get people to stay with her. By the end of the trip I think she was shunted into a lounge at the rear of the ship and she seemed to be on her own. The Spa treatment area was huge but some of the prices seemed a little expensive for our tastes. There is still a free sauna off the gym area if you don't want to pay through the nose for some fancy treatment. The Serenity Deck area was where we hung out for most of the time when we were taking in the suns rays and I can recommend it to everyone (well the adults anyway). My wife and I had a problem with our S&S cards as her details were on mine and mine on hers. So when I bought beer she had to sign for it, and when she bought perfume and Spa treatments I had to sign for it. When we got it changed at the Pursers desk they didn't re take the photos , so for the first 3 port days I had trouble getting on and off the ship. The itinerary , as I have said, we had done before, and we were lucky with the weather in every port the sun shone, although Barcelona was cloudy first thing with a spot of rain. All in all another great trip, of course there were problems with it being a brand new ship, one in particular being the Internet connection which was hit and miss all cruise. Also some of the staff seemed a little unsure of themselves. Strange dining times with the Burrito bar and the Indian closing in mid afternoon, but I am sure these will be resolved. I still have a slight concern for some of those staterooms which over look the lanai port side. Not only do they have hot tubs but its also where the smokers hang out. I am sure Carnival will have to put some restrictions on usage when she moves to the Caribbean especially during Spring Break Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
I knew the ship was going to be beautiful from the pictures I had seen on the internet, but I was so surprised to see how much more beautiful it was in person. It had a very luxurious feel to it but it still had the fun atmosphere of a ... Read More
I knew the ship was going to be beautiful from the pictures I had seen on the internet, but I was so surprised to see how much more beautiful it was in person. It had a very luxurious feel to it but it still had the fun atmosphere of a Carnival ship. I will keep my review very short but I could write on forever about this gorgeous ship. This was my 11th cruise with Carnival and quite possibly the best. I (age 33) was traveling with my mother (age 60). We had a balcony room. Embarkation: Civitavecchia remains one of the most efficient cruise ports I have ever been to. Did not have to wait long to board the ship. Food: The food was excellent. The menu consisted of several of my favorite dishes that I had on other Carnival cruises and many new ones. The dining room staff was outstanding and it was nice to see Ken the Maitre 'd again and to hear his singing. The lido food and service were also excellent and I really enjoyed the new pasta bar on this ship. I just wish it operated during dinner and not just lunch. We ordered room service just about every morning and some days for lunch. and it arrived promptly and what was supposed to be hot would be hot and what was cold was cold. Ship & Public Areas: The ship was spotlessly clean and all throughout the cruise you would see many people painting and scrubbing something although it was a new ship. I really liked the fact that you could walk around the whole ship outside on the Deck 5 Lanai. There was lots of space around the ship to sit and have a quiet drink or to socialize with other passengers. Plenty of places to check email or to use the Fun Hub too on Deck 5 and even a "hidden away" area on Deck 4 with computers. Crew: The crew was simply amazing. You could tell that everyone from the officers to the crew really enjoyed their job and were proud of their new ship. Especially the captain. Room Stewards: The room stewards always kept our room neat and clean. There was never a shortage of clean towels, personal items or ice in the room. I would encourage everyone to sail on this great ship! We are actually booked on it again for a Caribbean cruise in early 2010 and are curious to see the difference in the feel of the ship in the Caribbean than in Europe. I hope Carnival returns to Europe regularly soon. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
INTRO. My wife and I read dozens of Cruise Critic Reviews before choosing our cruise line for our first cruise. Then, frankly, we chose Carnival because we decided we'd rather cruise home than fly home after spending two weeks in ... Read More
INTRO. My wife and I read dozens of Cruise Critic Reviews before choosing our cruise line for our first cruise. Then, frankly, we chose Carnival because we decided we'd rather cruise home than fly home after spending two weeks in Egypt—and the timing was perfect. It was a real learning experience, and certainly more fun and relaxing than flying. As recent retirees, we were not looking for a hot time—just a nice relaxing cruise, with some entertainment, good food, a nice quiet spot for a good martini, and the opportunity to meet some new folks. EMBARKATION. We spent a few days in Rome (this was our 3rd visit) with my sister before catching the cruise line scheduled bus from Rome to the port. This was clearly an expensive choice, but we wanted to make our first boarding as simple as possible. Everything worked out fine. We followed simple instructions to board the bus and the ship. The whole process from our Rome hotel to boarding Carnival Freedom was as easy as pie. Our luggage arrived piecemeal in our room just a few hours after we did. OUR CABIN. We had a balcony stateroom aft of midships on the 7th deck, and it was excellent. Once we discovered we could store our luggage under the bed, we had more than enough room. The dEcor was simple and pleasant. The bathroom was appropriately small, but very satisfactory; the shower was excellent. The room had a couch and chair, mirrors, a TV, and a small table. While there was not a lot of room on the balcony, there were two chairs and incredible views. It was worth the extra price to us to have the balcony. THE SHIP. Funny ship. The dEcor in the public areas, was, frankly, over-the-top. It wasn't ugly, and I guess it was supposed to be in keeping with Carnival's image of a fun ship. Patterns clashed everywhere and they were saved only by their muted colors. Lights changed colors or blinked on and off, themes were confusing, etc. Anyway, it made for conversation if not appreciation. The only real ugly thing was the 15-foot high plastic blue Statue of Liberty in the Freedom Restaurant, the ship's cafeteria. That and the dozens of disembodied plastic blue Statue of Liberty heads which provided light and decoration (?) throughout the restaurant. The ship was designed for smokers, which we did not like. Throughout most of the western nations, roughly only 1 person in 4 now smokes, yet five of the seven bars were smoking bars. Furthermore, when strolling through the promenade on deck 5, the only non-stateroom deck where one can transverse fore to aft, you had to pass by the smoke filled casino and inhale the smoke that drifted out of it. Also, on deck 4, in order to reach certain places, you had to pass through the Cuban Cigar Bar. Again, inhaling the smoke that was there. This was an irritant. They had a library, but it was very small. We went down on the second day to check it out and 95% of the books had already been checked out. They had only a few reference books on where we would be traveling and only one Atlas (used all time) which we would have liked to use to look up our route, etc. The fitness center was fine, and we used it nearly every day. There is a small 9-hole miniature golf course on deck 11, which we used almost every day at sea. I also used the basketball court a few times. And, I took a golf lesson. I've played a lot of golf and taken a lot of lessons, and I thought the pro was pretty good. DINING. This was the biggest disappointment for my wife and myself. On a 16 day trip, food takes on a greater significance. It is not that there were not plenty of options. It's just that we found all the options to be pretty mediocre, even accounting for the difficulty of preparing food for 3000 people. None of the restaurants would stay in business even 3 months in Albuquerque. There are 4 main restaurants. The Sun King is the $30 per person "fine dining" restaurant. My wife rated her lobster tail (a specialty) as B minus. My Sole Meuniere was over-done and way too buttery. The French Onion soup was good, desert was okay, and the service was excellent. We did not go back. We ate most of our dinners in one of the two "regular" restaurants, which are pretentiously named "Posh" and "Chic." That should have been our clue. The food was very inconsistent. The steak tended to be tasty, but tough and sometimes gristly. It was described by one person at our table as "strictly second tier." Some of the fish preparations, especially the salmon, and the tilapia on the first night, were very good, but most of the time they were dry, and twice, for me, really inedible. The pasta dishes, all cream based, were uninspiring. They had an option of steamed vegetables as a "side" every night, and all the folks at our table chose that as our main dish on several occasions. The menu showed little creativity. It was repetitive, pretentious and the chef apparently was unable to execute it. The deserts, especially the chocolate warming cake, were pretty good. One nice thing is that the stateroom TV's have a channel which provides the menu in the Posh and Chic each day. This was a big help to us. The Freedom Restaurant is a cafeteria. We generally ate there for breakfast and lunch. We found very few items that we liked in Freedom, other than the make-your-own salads. Breakfast was especially disappointing for my wife who found the omelets inedible for her (they tasted suspiciously like powdered eggs). The sausage was pretty good, but the ham tasted like shoe leather, the oatmeal was watery, potatoes tasted stale, and the skim milk was powdered. There were plenty of pastries, however, and fresh fruit—though it was not always ripe. We ate most of our lunches on deck 10, one deck above the buffet itself, as it was less crowded. There are lots of other options. There is a hamburger and hot dog grill. It was okay, but the hamburger meat was, again, second tier. Onion rings were usually very good; French fries were not. The pizza from the 24-hour pizzeria was sometimes good, sometimes, not. They were very skimpy with the marinara. The fish and chips were fried in a heavy batter, not our preferred preparation. It was pretty good if you got a good-sized chunk of fish, otherwise you might have batter only. The good thing is that you could go back and get more fish until you found some you liked. We live in the southwest, and we found the Mexican food to be quite lacking. Sandwiches from the deli were inconsistent; sometimes good, usually not so good. They also have two soft ice cream machines. These were great. Toppings were provided and they were available around the clock. Our assessment is that the kitchen staff, or deli staff, or whomever, did not know what much of the food was supposed to taste like. For example, the Reuben sandwich was often prepared with only a thin slice or two of corned beef, a big scoop of sauerkraut, and no discernible dressing at all. It is likely that the staff has never eaten a good Reuben sandwich. I have never seen one in Europe or Asia. Someone should have trained them, however. The Reuben is my example. We feel we could say the same thing about much of the food on board. SERVICE. This was great. Our stateroom attendant was from Romania, and she was very helpful and did an excellent job. The entire ship was kept clean throughout. Our waiter in Posh was fine. All the staff was helpful and friendly, most all the time. Carnival did an excellent job in this area. We rewarded them appropriately at the end of the trip, too. Another plus, the ship has a suggestion/comment box, and my wife and I placed a couple of items in the box. They were responded to each time. For example, I asked for a tour of the bridge as I had been a deck officer on many ships in the navy. We were accommodated almost immediately. My wife asked that the music be more relaxing in the Freedom Restaurant—and within a couple of days, it was. ENTERTAINMENT. We tended to go to bed before most of the late night entertainment, so we can't be of much help here. The one show we saw was fine. The interior was too light for the movie in the theater, however, and the actors were all misshapen due to the fact that the projection was a 16:9 ratio for a 4:3 movie (or vice versa, I forget). This was unconscionable. We did like some of the daytime entertainment, though; especially the chamber music trio. The bartenders everywhere made very good drinks, and they did not skimp on the alcohol. And, though we found a nice smoke-free spot for before dinner cocktails, we were unable to find a quiet, intimate, smoke-free location for a romantic interlude after dinner. The swimming pools are small, but nice. My wife got several good early morning workouts until others entered the pool. It is too small for more than three active people. The hot tubs were not hot enough for us. Finally, there are the hairy chest contests, bean bag tosses, trivia contests, etc., which go on all day long, and karaoke each night. SHORE EXCURSIONS. We went on the Carnival excursions. Mostly we did the 3 hour "City Tour" morning tours so that we could explore on our own in the afternoon. The excursions were generally okay, and the pattern fit our needs quite well. The only disappointing tour was the wrongly advertised "Charming Villages of Gran Canaria." This was mostly a bus ride. DISEMBARKATION. Was a snap. OTHER COMMENTS. We got tired of Carnival trying to sell us stuff all the time. Being prone to motion sickness, I was concerned about getting seasick, but I needn't have been. On the transatlantic crossing we had several days with 6 - 8 foot seas. While I could feel some movement, this ship was very steady. It is large, and it has stabilizers. There are laundry rooms on each deck. They are handy, but heavily used, and require lots of quarters. Even though our entire vacation was four weeks, because we could do laundry, we each made do very comfortably with a medium sized suitcase. This is a big ship and it is easy to get confused from time-to-time. Many folks were never sure when getting out of the elevators, whether they were going fore or aft. It is worth spending a couple of hours on the first day acquainting yourself with the ship as best as you can. A deck plan can be picked up on the 3rd deck near the atrium. I recommend bringing binoculars, as well as a camera. We used the binoculars quite often. They were great for checking out other ships at sea, for looking at coastlines, and to use coming into and leaving port. SUMMARY. Carnival tells you what is important to them. Carnival Capers (the daily plan-of-the-day) is "Your guide to fun." "Let the Fun begin." They will provide the fun for you and keep you entertained. The ship design tells you what the Carnival focus is, also. The library is tiny. Ergo, education and learning, "looking things up" is unimportant. The majority of the public rooms (other than the restaurants) are bars and the casino. And these are mostly smoking areas, at that. Their seminars tell you the Carnival focus. If shopping in foreign ports is your thing, well, Carnival provides seminars, materials, and lots of help. But if you are interested in learning more about the culture and history of the places you visit, you'd better bring along your own material. Carnival provides zero help in that regard. Enrichment is non-existent. And while there was lots of food, the quality of ingredients and preparation both have a lot of room for improvement. I understand that this is all about tastes. Carnival was simply not to our tastes. While I rate the Carnival Freedom experience a "3" overall, my wife would rate it a "2." We will be cruising again, but it is unlikely that it will be on a Carnival ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
We are a 56 year old married couple who decided to try Carnival after twenty years. We mostly cruise with RCCL and Celebrity. We went with low expectations thinking that this would be so port intensive, that the ship would not be much of a ... Read More
We are a 56 year old married couple who decided to try Carnival after twenty years. We mostly cruise with RCCL and Celebrity. We went with low expectations thinking that this would be so port intensive, that the ship would not be much of a factor. We worried about cigarette smoke as well, as Carnival has a more liberal smoking policy than what we are used to as ardent non-smokers. Well, the ship was wonderful! People always make fun of the decor on CCL, and we kind of liked it, though it was a bit dark. Lots of color which gave the ship a modern feel. Better than those blah beige tones. Service was on par with the other lines and better than our past two experiences on RCCL. The room steward, Anak, was fine for the most part. His contract was ending and he was eager to go home. We found the sink not cleaned one day, but he did a good job the rest of the cruise. Our waiters, Costinel and Emilio were WONDERFUL. The food just kept coming and to our surprise, the BEST quality of food we have had on a cruise ship in YEARS! Prime Rib several times, lobster, filet mignon, various steaks, lamb, duck, etc. ALL EXCELLENT! Kudos to Carnival!!!!! We were originally in a different dining room at a large table, but we were able to change to a table for four. No problem there and Omur, the Maitre D' was very nice about changing us. Our room was a balcony cabin on Lido deck. We LOVED the location. Just walked across to the Lido buffet. There was also a great vantage viewing spot in the very front of Deck 9. A hidden gem. One of the highlights was sailing past the active Stromboli volcano and watching the smoke plumes. We were told that at night, one can actually see the lava flow. There is actually a small town at the base of the island as the lava flow seems to come down one side away from the town. We watched from that vantage point. One bad thing was that every time my husband went out to enjoy the balcony, the people next door were out there smoking away and he would just turn around and come back inside. They were out there quite a lot. That was the biggest negative about this cruise. We did mainly shore excursions through Carnival. Some were very good, some not so good. In Naples, we did the Sorrento and Pompeii tour. We enjoyed this one and loved Sorrento, while Pompeii was amazing even though it was VERY crowded and the weather was quite warm. No excursion in Marmaris, Turkey. We just walked through the pretty town, looked at all of the stray cats, and did some shopping. We enjoyed our day there. In Izmir, Turkey, we did the Ephesus and the Terrace Houses tour. This was the best and the tour guide was fantastic. The Terrace Houses are not to be missed! Istanbul was ok. No bargains at the Grand Bazaar. We did the Blue Mosque and Palace of the Sultans tour. The tour guide was soft spoken and we missed most of what she said. She also walked too fast and we would frequently lose her. We could not wait to get back to the ship. Athens was WONDERFUL. We did a private taxi tour and saw and did as much as we wanted. We even had a nice lunch with our driver at a local family restaurant, a trip highlight. The Parthenon was incredible! The driver who took us, though, represented himself as the one we contracted with months in advance saying that he was sent because the other one was overbooked. However, when we got back to the ship, we had a email from the man we contracted with asking what had happened to us. We emailed him back the info (we had our driver's card) and eventually got it straightened out. We felt badly, but had a wonderful day with the driver who took us around. Katakolon was the next port, and we just walked around and shopped. For Livorno, we had a wonderful day in the pouring rain. We did Pisa and the Winery tour and LOVED it. Great guide and a fun day. Possibly my favorite of all of the tours, even though we were pretty soaked. We did the Explore Rome tour on our last day and I think we were toured out by that time. We did not enjoy it all that much and did not like the guide. Precruise, we stayed at the Traiano Hotel in Civitavecchia and post cruise, at Hotel Golden in Rome. Both are adequate although we would not stay at Hotel Golden again. They are both owned by very nice families. The last Carnival cruise prior to this one twenty years ago was on the Celebration. On our last day in Rome, docked across from us was the Celebration, now called the Grand Celebration owned by a spanish subsidiary of CCL. A fitting end to a surprisingly wonderful cruise experience. We are just sad that CCL is pulling its ships out of Europe as we would certainly have book with them again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
I'll start out by saying that we had a great holiday, don't regret taking the cruise for a moment and would happily do it again. Just a short note for any other shift workers out there, be sure to double check everything if you ... Read More
I'll start out by saying that we had a great holiday, don't regret taking the cruise for a moment and would happily do it again. Just a short note for any other shift workers out there, be sure to double check everything if you are finishing a long shift in the morning and flying half way around the world that afternoon! We managed to turn up at the airport minus passports and tickets (left in another bag) and then left our camera on the first aircraft (never to be seen again). A $215 taxi trip and a new camera bought on board set things right but next time we'll do it without the benefit of sleep deprivation before hand. Now to the cruise. Embarkation was a doddle. Bags were dropped off, ten minutes spent in a queue and before you could say "haul in the anchors" we were on board and heading straight to the lido deck for a bite to eat as it was still to early to go to the cabin and there's no point heading off on a great adventure on an empty stomach. Our cabin, or stateroom if you prefer, was perfectly adequate. Being an inside cabin it of course looked and felt small but as all we were after was somewhere to sleep, get changed and have showers it was all that we expected, clean, tidy and functional and well cared for by our steward. Our only complaint was that we must have been somewhere around or below part of the galley as in the few hours before dawn there was a racket from above which was most likely caused by the preparations for breakfast. Otherwise silence ruled and sleeping was very restful. Perhaps one other point of note was that the 'artwork' in the cabin was done in psychedelic colors and would no doubt frighten people of nervous disposition and small children. This brings me to the rest of the ship itself and in particular to something commented on by many previous reviewers......the dEcor! Let me say that I think that it is commendable that Carnival have tried to be different in their approach to decorating a ship but call me old fashioned but I like a ship to look a little more nautical. To my eyes at least most areas were decorated in a style that at best could be described as a cross between gaudy and tacky. Very reminiscent of the tastelessness of a Las Vegas casino or for those other Aussies here, any of our large sporing or RSL clubs. It was a real mish mash of colors and textures that more often didn't sit easy with one another and had a look of bits and pieces from a textile warehouse left overs bin. Fortunately the main dining rooms were rather elegant and the outdoor areas were spared this treatment and looked like any other ship. If decor was your sole criteria for choosing a ship then Carnival would be your last choice but at the end of the day it's a talking point and you soon learn to live with it. Sorry Joe Farcus. The food overall was very good with a good choice and dining each evening as we did in the Chic Dining Room was a wonderful experience. The service from our table staff was great with happy faces and smiles all round. We had originally requested a late sitting but found that we had been given an early one which was happily changed for us on request from the second night onward and we had the delightful company of two Dutch ladies as our dinner companions. I'm not sure if this is policy or not but on the first night we were put at a table with only other Australian passengers. While nothing against these fellow Aussies as our dining companions when we travel overseas we like to experience the benefits of other cultures and think it a good idea if people are just mixed up, providing of course that they all speak a common language. Why not when you book and indicate your dining preference you also tick off whatever languages you are fluent in and have the tables organized on that basis. Just our thoughts anyway. One more point on food. We had breakfast in the Lido buffet as we went to the gym first up most mornings or else were eager to get ashore early and found that the choices were identical every day. This was mostly fine except that the cereals on offer were either coated in sugar, full of saturated fats or both. A few more healthy choices wouldn't go astray as the only way to get an adequate fibre intake each morning without packing on the kg's was to eat a lot of fresh fruit of which there was a fairly limited choice. This is a big ship so it was always easy to get away from the crowds. Quiet time out was not so easy to find though above deck. The main pool area amidships had no shortage of deck chairs facing every possible direction but at all hours of the day you had to contend with the sound blaring from the big screen. If only they could have turned this either off or down for at least part of the day. This wouldn't be so bad if you could find a quiet spot elsewhere but almost every other outdoor area with deck chairs was located near a noisy ventilation system. Tip…..if you come on this ship and want to lay out in the sun in peace and quiet, bring some ear plugs! The design of this ship doesn't allow for any pool or bar areas with direct views of the sea. We have found memories of being on a cruise last year and soaking in either a pool or a spa and blissfully staring out at the ships wake as the days slipped by. Not being a naval architect though I'm sure that there will always be design compromises when building such a complex machine that aren't always obvious. The layout of the ship was otherwise relatively easy to master for such a large vessel although it took us some time to find things on the appropriate deck sometimes. I'm sure that they kept moving things around! The gym facilities were good with quaint touches such as all the weights being in pounds to remind us of a bygone era…..for most of the world anyway. Apart from one occasion we used the stairs where ever possible and being on deck 2 this meant several flights of stairs several times a day which is a good way to maintain some level of fitness when on holidays. We left the lifts for the lazy people (elderly and those with disabilities excepted of course). There was plenty of entertainment throughout the ship and of the shows we went to two which were quite good. As most days were port days which for us meant long days on our feet we were often too weary to stay up all hours so didn't get to see a lot of the performers but from the snippets of music we did hear made us wish that sleeping wasn't always necessary. I wont go into detail on the ports visited as they have been covered very well by others. If you do get the opportunity to do private tours as we did in two of the ports (Naples and Messina) then do so. They are great value and as a small group much more personalized and less time wasted herding people on and off large buses. Many thanks to the couples that organized both of these great days. ( Jane & Gilbert and Marlon & Andrew). All the ports were excellent with the majority perfect for exploring on foot on your own. The one thing that did happen to our cruise however was missing out on Monaco due to adverse weather preventing docking. As an alternative we spent the day in Genoa, which I might say having been to Monaco in the past was a much better choice anyway. So much more to see and far more historically important unless you'd rather look into the windows of over priced shops and ogle at an endless parade of uber luxury cars. Perhaps some talks or lectures on the historical background of the ports and countries visited wouldn't be a bad idea for those that are interested which would be good to fill in some of those hours at sea. On the topic of talks, don't bother going to the shopping talks as all they do is tell you about a small number of Carnival recommended shops which obviously have some sort of financial arrangement with the company. Not a word about any of the many markets to be found or other such things. Disembarkation was also very straight forward and even quicker than getting on. A marvel of efficiency and coordination. We followed up with a few days in Rome followed by a few days in Singapore then it was home to good old Oz. So in summary we may have come across as being a little negative about things but believe me none of these issues are deal breakers and we did have a marvelous time. The attention from all the staff and crew was first class. The ship clean, spacious and comfortable and overall good value for the money. As I always say, a bad day on holiday is better than a good day at work! Would we travel on Carnival again? Well we chose this cruise on it's itinerary, sailing date and price which is how we would cruise again. If it was on a Carnival ship then so be it, if not then there are others that do things just as well or better( for a price of course). If you are booked on an upcoming cruise on this ship then you are in for a great holiday. If you've just been on it as we have then I'm sure that like us you have come away with some great memories. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
We had a truly amazing experience onboard the Carnival Freedom last month when my wife & I did a 12 day cruise around Italy & the western Med. We still haven't decided which we loved better, the cruise itself or the wonderful ... Read More
We had a truly amazing experience onboard the Carnival Freedom last month when my wife & I did a 12 day cruise around Italy & the western Med. We still haven't decided which we loved better, the cruise itself or the wonderful places we visited, it was all great. We are in our early 30's, from Australia & had only cruised once before, 9 years ago. We decided a few months ago that we wanted to see a little of Europe & to finally do another cruise. The Carnival Freedom ticked all the boxes. It was a very new ship with all the mod cons & was leaving on a departure date that suited our work schedules, etc. Through the internet I did a lot of research on various ships & cruising in Europe & when we were ready I had my local agent source me the best deal they could get me on the Freedom. We opted for an inside cabin on level 9 - Lido deck. We knew we would not spend a lot of time in our room & thus the inside cabin was a great saving & being on Lido deck was fantastic. We had the pools, decks & Buffet on our deck & we were near the glass elevators of the atrium which meant we never had to wait long for a lift. The cabin was also down a private little passage so it was very quiet. Furthermore in regards to the ship, we really did love everything about it, the look & decor, the food, the service, & especially the theatre & it's shows. Food: Great choices & variety & it was always in abundance. We really enjoyed our meal & excellent service at the supper club & was well worth the $30.00 U.S. +++++ We had the early sitting for Dinner even though we requested the later sitting. We did enjoy it, however some nights we did not get back to the ship in time to make the early dinner & we were just as happy to pick & choose at the buffet & a late night pizza was always a favorite. Cabin: as discussed was in a great position & would stay in it again. It was large enough & had a big bathroom & very comfy bed & a very friendly cabin steward. Entertainment: Fantastic, we loved the quality of the shows & always managed to get a great seat. We were also big fans of the late night piano show & shared a lot of laughs with the other regulars. Day 1. Civitavecchia: We stayed in this port town of Rome the night before the cruise. It is a very pretty little town & lots to explore. We stayed at the very nice & fancy Hotel Da Ville where our room had a window overlooking the sea. The Hotel was only a 2 minute walk from the Civitavecchia train station & about a 5 minute walk from the entrance to the port where you pick up the shuttle bus to take you to your ship. Catching the train the day before from Rome Airport was easy & very inexpensive compared to other transfers. Embarkation at the port was very quick & easy. We were on the ship within minutes & received our luggage within the hour. Day 2 : Naples, we had heard a lot about how dirty Naples could be & the huge level of crime there. We were in fact very surprised that we did not see any of this & would love to travel there again. We left the ship early & thanks to some prior research on the internet we headed off on our own for the day. Outside the port we caught a bus to the Circumsuviana (Porta Nolana) train station about 10 mins away & we then got a train to Sorrento about 50 mins away. Sorrento was very pretty & we did a quick tour bus ride there. We then jumped back on a train & headed back in the Naples direction & got off at Pompeii (pompeii scavi). After a few hours we made it back to Naples & walked back to the ship exploring a little of the city along the way. Day 3: At Sea, We loved our 'at sea days' & wish there was more of them. Day 4: Dubrovnik. This town was a real little hidden wonder. Within the greater township there is a little medieval city surrounded by large gothic walls & village inside. All the main streets are made of marble. Would recommend a walk along the walls for the amazing views & do lunch down by the little marina. Day 5 : Venice overnight. You really have to see Venice to believe it. We set off on foot from the wharf & walked about 15 mins to where you actually get into city itself. Be prepared for a lot of walking & a lot of going up & down steps. A very exciting city but also extremely touristy & expensive. We walked back to the ship along the narrow pathways late at night but still felt very safe. Day 6 : Venice, We booked a shore excursion through the ship to the town of Verona about an hour away. Another great medieval city & of course famous for the balcony of romeo & Juliet. It was not a very expensive excursion & we really enjoyed it. It was one of our favorite town's. Leaving Venice later that day we were on the small forward deck near our cabin & it was great sailing past all the landmarks & looking at them from a great height. The ship had a Venetian masked party later that night, it was fun but it didn't really have an Italian flavor about it, maybe the crew could have tried a little harder here. Day 7: At sea. Another great day to relax those sore feet. Day 8: Messina, Sicily. We were the first ones off the ship & went straight to the ferry terminal nearby. I have relatives that live across the small straight from Sicily in Reggio Calabria & we took a 20 minute ferry ride to there. We spent a few hours there with the relo's & found the city of Reggio very pretty & much nicer than Messina. Later that day we headed back to Messina & explored a bit of the city. It has a beautiful church & the best canoli's in Italy can be found in the many cafe's here. It was a little disappointing however that many grand old buildings in this city have been ruined by graffiti. Day 9: last sea day, need more sea days! Day 10: Barcelona. It was a very cold & wet day unfortunately; however we still made the most of it. We jumped on a hop on hop off bus & explored the city this way. It is a very easy & inexpensive way to see the sights. It is a very pretty city with wide boulevards & large trees & grand old buildings. Saw Gaudi's large church & although it was very unique felt the 10euro entrance fee was a bit over the top, especially as most of it was hidden under scaffolding. Up until the night we left Barcelona, the ship had travelled over very smooth & calm waters, but on this night the ship headed into a major storm & it did get very rough for a few hours. Some of the crew told me that this was the roughest seas they had seen since being on this ship. Day 11: Monaco cancelled due to the continued bad weather. Sailed onto Genoa, Italy instead. Although we were initially disappointed that we did not get to go to Monaco, Genoa ended up being a real surprise. It was a very scenic city surrounded by large hills. We did another hop on- hop off bus which showed us all the main sights. We then took a taxi up to one of the old castles high in the hills. This castle was very old & gothic & in great condition & had great views of the city. We later walked back into town & explored the many old grand buildings & did some of the cheapest shopping we came across on our trip. Day 12: Livorno, Italy. Once again due to some prior internet research we headed off on our own again. Livorno is a working port town & a lot of the better sights seem to be out of town. We took the cruise shuttle bus & a local bus to the train station, then took a train to the very old Tuscan town of Lucca. This place was another favorite. It was also very medieval with surrounding city walls. Lots of little old laneway's & old shops, etc. From here we took another train to Pisa & explored the sights there before catching another train back to Livorno. This was a busy day & involved a lot of public transport but it was an inexpensive way to see what we wanted to see. This night on the ship was unfortunately very quiet as many people had to be up early to catch planes home the next day. Day 13: Got off the ship about 9am without any dramas whatsoever, walked back to Civitavecchia train station & took a train to Rome & stayed there one night before flying back to Oz. All in all it was an amazing adventure & was made a whole lot easier by the fabulous comfort, services, crew & amenities of the Carnival Freedom. Only small downside about the cruise is that it would have been nice to have had a few more people closer to our age group. Would not hesitate to sail on Carnival or the Freedom again. +++++++++++++++++++++++ Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
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