Carnival Dream/ Cloud 9 Spa and Hurricane Sandy: Carnival Dream Cruise Review by Laurnat

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Carnival Dream/ Cloud 9 Spa and Hurricane Sandy

Sail Date: October 2012
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
My review of the Carnival Dream Oct 20-28th cruise. My sister and I booked the cruise 2 months prior to sailing. This was going to be our second cruise, with the first being on a Princess ship back in December.

We flew in the day before, rented a car from Budget and stayed in Orlando for the night. In hindsight, I will probably stay in Cocoa Beach the night before if I was to ever sail out of PC again.

Dropped off our luggage, and then drove the car to Budget where we got the complimentary shuttle back to the port.

Embarkation was a smooth process and we were on the Lido deck lying on the lounge chairs by 12:30 pm. Our rooms were not ready so I decided to explore the ship and get take some pictures. I ended up having lunch at the Tandoori buffet it was delicious. I was really happy when I saw buttered chicken on the buffet. My sister opted to head for the pasta bar on deck 11. Our rooms were ready at 1:30pm

We originally booked an interior cabin on More deck 9, at the Canadian residents' rate. We had a balcony cabin last cruise so we decided to try the interior. We upgraded to a spa cabin for $23.00 more (or 11.50 each). It was so well worth the upgrade.

The spa cabin was 11233, forward. It was big enough for the 2 of us and being slightly claustrophobic, I was concerned about being in a room with no direct sunlight. The room was fine. We received our Cloud 9 robes, which were different from the other robes. These were not the waffle cotton ones like the other guests. They were also embossed with the Cloud 9 logo.

Our slippers were not in the room when we checked in. I received my pair a day later when I inquired about them. My sister on the other hand did not receive hers at all.

We took advantage of the spa tour that was going on while we were still in port, this gave us a better 'lay of the land' to where all rooms were located. The weeklong spa packaged was being offered to non- spa guests for $149 per person for a week. I think we made the wise choice of upgrading our cabin.

Explored the ship for the rest of the day, had dinner at The Gathering the first night. We noticed on the Funtimes that there was a Singles Mingle in Club Caliente later that evening. We decided to go and check it out. I was so disappointed that the club was a smoking facility. Being non- smokers, we only lasted 20 minutes before we left. Our clothing and hair stunk of smoke.

The following day, went to Atlantis public beach, water was very rough and lost my prescription sunglasses in the water. :-(

We had dinner in the MDR that evening, we chose the anytime dining option, and we never had to wait long for a table. We were seated at a 4 top, and the other couple were fellow cruise critic members from Alabama. Had a great dinner, opted for lobster and tiger shrimp. Our server brought over a second entree for me without even asking, not sure why, perhaps it was standard as the portion sizes were not as big as the other entrees that were being served that night. We ended up having the warm chocolate cake for dessert.

Our server was fantastic, the speed of service was good and the timing between courses was great. Having been in the restaurant industry for over 25 years, I am very aware for timing and restaurant flow. There was never a lull in between courses, we were not rushed nor were we ignored at any point during the meal.

Our second day was a sea day, took advantage of the spa for the first time the thalassotherapy pool was incredible. It is a mineral water pool the was just heaven to soak in. Ended up moving on to the relaxation rooms. The aroma therapy room was a steam room with either citrus or eucalyptus. I developed a cough on the first night, and that really helped. The loungers in the other relation rooms were just incredible; they were heated tile loungers that were designed to fit the contours of your body. The view was deck 12 forward, so you were able to look out and watch the sea. The music was relaxing very soothing, the rooms were very quiet and when people spoke they whispered. It was so easy to fall asleep in the loungers.

We had dinner again in the MDR, this time we sat at a 8 top, with first time cruisers. Dinner was once again good, I had the French onion soup and opted for the southern fried chicken. The chicken was ok, tasted a lot like KFC, would not recommend that entree to anyone. Once again the dining flow was good, received our appetizers quickly, some people at our table ordered 2 apps, so that delayed our entree timing. Dessert was once again the warm chocolate cake.

Entertainment was great throughout the entire week, and spent most nights in Punchliners. The comedians were fantastic.

Arrived in St Thomas and paid for a city/beach tour. Having never been to St Thomas before and wanting to visit Megan's Bay we purchased that excursion. I would not recommend anyone paying for that excursion in the future. There were many taxi's outside of the port, the cost per person to go to Megan's Bay was $8.00 each way ($16.00 roundtrip). We paid $39.99 per person booking through Carnival.

St Maarten was the following day, opted to walk into town and hang at the beach for the day. That was the day all the reports of Hurricane Sandy started to emerge.

We had dinner in The Gathering those 2 nights, the food was ok, not overly crazy about the choices.

Thursday was kind of choppy and rainy spent the day up on deck 15 or in the spa. Was glad the waterslide was opened in the afternoon, was able to go down a few times.

Had dinner in the MDR, this time sat at a 6 top, once again service was great, as we were the first to be seated at our table and already ordered our meals before our other tablemates arrived, we asked our server to slow down our meals and time it with the rest of the table. We all had our appetizers and entrees delivered at the same time. I chose the Chateaubriand as my main entree and Baked Alaska for dessert.

Friday was overcast and grey for most of the day. As a precaution, decks 5, 12-15 were closed off due to the high winds. Ended up lying out on deck 10 Aft.

Went in to start packing around 4:30 pm while watching the news, we never had a local news blackout in our stateroom, so I was watching Sandy very closely. Just before 5:00 pm,
The Captain came on the loud speaker and announced that due to the weather conditions we are staying out at sea for another day. A list of all airline #s were available at the front
Desk and all calls to the airlines were free. The phone lines were jammed and was not able to get an outside line, was able to get one but was disconnected on Deltas end. I ended up
using my cell phone (can't wait to see my bill) and calling my dad up in Canada to change our flight and car reservations for us. That was done in about an hour, decided to have dinner in
The Gathering once again.

The next day was low key, the ship was really rocking by that time. Ended up back at 11 Aft for most the day. Went up to the spa in the afternoon, it was really cool to see the front of the ship going up and down.

My sister skipped dinner as she was really feeling the effects of the storm, I was fine, had no issue at all with the rockiness. Had dinner in The Gathering once again, and proceed to Punchliners. Jeff The Fun Dude and the comedians did a great job keeping up entertained.
Sunday morning we were ready to get off the ship. Got up to watch the ship pull into port. Disembarkation was disorganized with only 1 gangway to get off the ship. People were rushing to get off before their zone was called. We were zone 10, and according to the disembarkation notice we were not scheduled to disembark until 10am. We got off the ship just after 10 and that was a very smooth process.

Our car was ready at Budget and we were at the airport by 12 pm. LaGuardia announced that the airport was shutting down at 7:00pm so we had a delay boarding until the Captain got clearance to land in LaGuardia. Our flight was supposed to leave at 3:00pm, and our connector was scheduled to leave at 7:05 pm from LaGuardia. We boarding by 3:30 pm and landed at 5:41pm in New York. The flight was good, and we caught our connector and were in the air by 6:45 pm heading to Buffalo.

Over all the cruise was great, I would recommend the spa upgrade to anyone. Less

Published 11/01/12

Cabin review: 4S11233 Spa Interior

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