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Carnival Dream Review

4.5 / 5.0
1,949 reviews
See all photos
Editor Rating
Very Good
Gina Kramer

Even before its January 2017 makeover -- which welcomed Carnival favorites like Guy's Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina, the Alchemy Bar and Bonsai Sushi -- Carnival Dream had a lot to love. The ship is one of the biggest in Carnival's fleet (second to the line's Vista class), which means dining options abound, and you'll never be bored with activities ranging from themed trivia and charades to comedy shows and top-deck dance parties.

To balance this out, Carnival Dream offers something that can be hard to find on other ships of its size: a place to escape all the action. The Lanai Promenade, a wraparound exterior walkway on Deck 5, has ample seating (including a handful of deck chairs) and four cantilevered hot tubs, yet never seems to get crowded, even on sea days.

Carnival Dream is also full of "hidden" decks -- two of which offer some of the best views onboard. You'll find them all the way at the front of the ship, on Decks 6 and 7, through doors at the end of the cabin corridors. Elsewhere throughout the ship, you'll find slivers of deck space and seating nooks to accommodate the larger number of passengers onboard. On the flip side, be warned: The ship does have a few tight spaces that can make it difficult to navigate -- including the internal walkway on Deck 5, next to Ocean Plaza, and Deck 4, near the kids' clubs.

What truly sets Carnival Dream apart from other ships, however, is its service. The crew members seem genuinely happy and interested in making sure passengers have the best vacation possible. In addition, they go above and beyond -- whether that's having your go-to glass of lemonade waiting for you at the main dining room, or guiding you to one of the secret decks so you don't get lost. With this level of attentiveness, it's no surprise Carnival Dream has won the line's internal flagship award for best service, multiple years.

Between the friendly service and everything there is to do (and eat) onboard, Carnival Dream is one big happy ship -- and we have a feeling you'll quickly forget about any minor gripes.


All entertainment and most dining is included in the cruise fare


No dedicated sports bar; games are streamed at the casino bar

Bottom Line

A ship with a happy vibe, where passengers have fun and crew is friendly


Passengers: 3646
Crew: 1367
Passenger to Crew: 2.67:1
Launched: 2009
Shore Excursions: 349


Included with your cruise fare:

  • All meals in the main dining room, buffet and select room service items

  • All theatre production shows and Punchliner Comedy Club shows

  • Use of the water park and sports deck

  • Daily activities unless noted below or in the FunTimes daily program

  • Use of the fitness center, excluding organized classes or training sessions

  • Use of the Carnival kids club (children aged 2 to 17) until 10 p.m.

Not included with your cruise fare:

  • Gratuities ($13.99 per person, per day for standard staterooms; $15.99 per person, per day for suites)

  • Automatic gratuities of 18 percent for beverages and spa treatments

  • All drinks except water, tea, coffee and juices served in the buffet

  • Meals in the steakhouse specialty restaurant

  • Treatments in the Spa and salon; personal training or group fitness classes

  • Entry to the Thermal Suite, including Thalassotherapy Pool, at the Cloud 9 Spa

  • All shore excursions

  • Wi-Fi internet access

  • Select activities like bingo, alcohol tasting events and Build-a-Bear workshops

  • Photos and artwork for sale

  • Late-night (10 p.m. to 1 a.m.) events in the Kids Club

Fellow Passengers

A huge chunk of the passengers on Carnival Dream drive to their cruise from states all over the southern United States. Ages run the gamut from kids (lots of 'em in the summer!) to folks in their 60s and 70s, though the average age is usually somewhere in the mid-30s to mid-40s. The ship is popular with groups, including family reunions and wedding parties.

Carnival Dream Dress Code

Daytime: Casual is the name of the game on any Carnival ship. On most days, you'll see men in shorts and T-shirts and women in shorts and tees, capris, sundresses or bathing suits with cover-ups.

Evening: Most nights people remain casual for dinner but on Cruise Elegant nights, you'll see women in gowns, sundresses and pants and blouse combos, while men don anything from tuxes to full suits to trousers with button-up shirts (with or without a jacket and/or tie). You'll also see plenty of people who choose not to dress up at all.

Not permitted: On all nights, cutoff jeans, men's sleeveless shirts, basketball shorts, T-shirts, sportswear, baseball hats, flip-flops and bathing suits are not allowed in the main dining rooms, though we saw lots of women in flip-flops and men in T-shirts and baseball caps.

For more information, visit Cruise Line Dress Codes: Carnival Cruise Line.

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More about Carnival Dream

Where does Carnival Dream sail from?

Carnival Dream departs from Galveston

How much does it cost to go on Carnival Dream?

Cruises on Carnival Dream start from $439 per person.

Is Carnival Dream a good ship to cruise on?

Carnival Dream won 7 awards over the years.
Carnival Dream Cruiser Reviews

A cruise is what you make of it. The Dream is a dream.

We have signed up for three more Carnival cruises as a result of this experience. All on the Dream as well.Read More
Island Inspired

2-5 Cruises

Age 60s

Wow - Food quality bad!

Well Carnival has definitely been saving money on the food offerings on the Dream. The steak restaurant was so disappointing!Read More

6-10 Cruises

Age 60s

Standards Have Slipped

This is my 7th cruise on Carnival. All of them from Galveston as we live just north of Houston. I actually think this is my last Carnival Cruise.Read More
Horatio Hornblower

10+ Cruises

Age 60s

Fun cruise, wonderful staff and crew, nice ship

Here in Carnival Dream—all the people with shore excursions for Belize, were asked to come by 8:15 am—so the main theater/hall was so full of people and children.Read More

2-5 Cruises

Age 60s

Carnival Cruise Line Fleet
Carnival Ecstasy
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