Great experience for first time cruiser: Carnival Dream Cruise Review by isupilot

Carnival Dream 5
Member Since 2013

Overall Member Rating

Great experience for first time cruiser

Sail Date: February 2013
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
My wife and I flew into Orlando the night before the cruise and stayed at a hotel near the airport. We had decided to rent a car to drive to Port Canaveral the next day. We were able to find a car for $40 through Budget. Even after gas and tolls, it was cheaper than the $35 per person shuttle service offered by the cruise line. Plus it gave us the flexibility to stop along the way at a grocery store to get our allotment of wine (1 bottle each) and soda/water (12 bottles each).

The day of the cruise we drove to Port Canaveral, dropped off the rental car, and took their shuttle to the cruise terminal. We arrived at the cruise terminal at 1:30. Embarkation was quick and simple -- we were on the ship by 2:00.

We spent the first several hours exploring the ship, getting acquainted with how to get from place to place. We had an interior state room on level six. It was rather small, but to be expected on a cruise ship. Biggest complaint on the room was that the fridge More didn't get very cold, which made it difficult to keep the drinks we brought on-board cool.

We used the stairs as much as possible as the elevators were always busy hauling the fat and lazy folks up and down. This also was part of our exercise plan!

We went to several of the nightly theater and attended all the adult comedy clubs. They were really funny, definitely recommend going to those.

Our cruise director was really good -- kept the cruise entertaining and fun. We found plenty to do even on the days at sea. There were lots of music options and miscellaneous entertainment. We even got a free bottle of champagne by writing a letter to the cruise director about what we were celebrating.

Only a few complaints:
1) The decks got rather crowded on nice days. It was difficult to find places to lay out. People would reserve chairs even though they weren't supposed to.
2) Smoking was allowed on certain decks and in the casino. It was very unpleasant to have to deal with smoke while trying to have a relaxing vacation.
3) This isn't a complaint against the cruise line, but about some of the other guests on the cruise. There were several guests who insisted on wearing bath robes or pajamas around all day. And then there were the obese folks... I'm talking 300 lbs plus. I realize a cruise ship caters to this, with unlimited food, but we found it a little revolting to see this each day. It took away from the glamour of being on a romantic cruise.

We arrived back in Port Canaveral around 6:30am. We chose to do the self-assist option which means you take all your luggage off on your own. The made the announcement we could disembark around 6:45. It was not crowed at all, we were able to walk right off, go through customs, and were picked up by the rental car shuttle by 7:00. By 7:15 we had rented our car and were on our way back to the airport. Make sure you have a rental car reservation ahead of time -- there was another couple that didn't have a reservation and was unable to find a car.

Overall the food was really good. We went to the main dining room almost every night. We did early seating and were able to get in and out within 45 minutes most nights. The longest dinner took was one hour. The food at dinner was a step above the buffet and other smaller restaurants on board. We found that eating a light breakfast and lunch and then eating more at dinner was more enjoyable. Make sure to try the Burrito Bar, Pasta Bar, and Pizza -- all we really good. Also, the steak house is a must. It's an extra $35 per person, but well worth it. The steaks are of excellent quality and the experience is wonderful.

We signed up to the Behind the Fun tour to get a glimpse at what goes on behind the scenes. It was well worth the money. We got to meet the head chef, tour the kitchen, the crew lounge, laundry room, engine room, backstage, and the best -- the bridge. The captain even came up and gave us a personal overview of the ships controls. Recommend you sign up early since they only provide two tours on the last day of the cruise, 16 people per tour. Less

Published 02/20/13

Cabin review: 4E6300 Interior

Room was really narrow, almost felt claustrophobic without a window. The fridge did not get very cold. We were able to store the suitcase under the bed and utilize the closets for our clothes. The closet with the life vests smelled like sea weed, so we didn't put any of our clothes in that one. The beds were comfortable enough - we were always tired by the time we got back to the room.

Read All Interior (4E) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

We didn't sign up for a shore excursion because the one's we would have wanted to go on were water-based, but the temperature was only in the 70's that day. So we wound up just walking around the shops and over the bridge to Paradise Island. We were not impressed with Nassau. The streets were really run down, we felt like we were in a slum.
Read 5013 Nassau Reviews

The main reason we choose this cruise was because of the stop at St Maarten. I have always wanted to go to Maho Beach and watch approaching airplanes up close and personal. This is not one of the offered shore excursions, but for $8 per person, we were able to take a van taxi from the cruise terminal to the beach near the airport. It took about 45 minutes due to all the traffic. We spent the day on the beach taking pictures of the airplanes and watching people get blown away by the jet blasts. The beach itself is nice for lying out and the large waves make for a lot of fun.

St. John Snorkel/Sail

We took the St. John Champagne Catamaran Sailaway excursion. Due to the winds and sea conditions that day, we had to go to an alternative sight -- which was Christmas Cove near Great St James island. We took a 20 minute bus ride to the other side of the island and launched out on the catamaran. We had an American crew led by young captain Eddy. The crew was great -- very informative and lots of fun. The snorkeling itself wasn't that great as we didn't see much marine life. After snorkeling, the rum punch and champagne began flowing. They take a longer route back to the dock and give you plenty of time to drink -- all while dancing and partying to music. Let's just say we drank a little too much, as we don't remember the drive back to the cruise terminal or getting back on the ship!

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Member Since 2013
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