Carnival Dream Spring Break family getaway: Carnival Dream Cruise Review by SethroK

Carnival Dream 5
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Carnival Dream Spring Break family getaway

Sail Date: March 2013
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
The comedian said it best on the first night: "If you don't have kids and are on this cruise, you should really check the calendar next time!" Including our 2 kids (16 & 11), there were 1400+ children/teens/college students on board for this trip - most of whom were (relatively) well-behaved. That said, the cruise was very enjoyable, as were the port visits.

Drove down to the Cape Canaveral Residence Inn the night before, which made going to the ship a piece of cake. After dropping off the big luggage, we drove to cruise parking of Port Canaveral - where they checked our reservation and got us back to the ship within 15 minutes. This parking arrangement saved us about eighty bucks compared to the port parking, and is something I would do again without hesitation.

Our embarkation was a breeze, probably in large part to the previous cruise being canceled (i.e., no disembarking passengers). As an added bonus, all the ship's crew had just had some unplanned down time, More which made things even nicer. Total time, from arrival at the security area to our room, was about 15min.

While our particular room had a noise issue, I felt the amenities (thalasso pool, various steam rooms, spa sitting and locker room areas) included with the spa stateroom were well worth the added expense.

The ship was extremely clean and the crew was friendly and accommodating. In fact I felt they were overly-patient and polite, given some of the shenanigans going on with all the spring-breakers on board.

Food was perfectly adequate or better, and nobody should have gone hungry.

The Carnival Dream's on-board entertainment was mostly good, although at least one of the shows was pretty hokey and not to our liking. One big disappointment was that due to the number of children on board, my near-12 year-old was not allowed to move up from the 9-11 Camp Carnival group to the 12-14 group - resulting in him spending his time with us (not awful for us, mind you - however he did miss out on meeting new friends in the Camp Carnival setting). As the 'Fun Ships' advertise, there was always something going on - whether it be trivia, karaoke, bean-bag tossing, deck-chess, enjoying the water-works, or just chilling out poolside or on the deck away from the pools. I am a non-smoker, and while most of the casino was a smoking area - after a few hours at the poker table I didn't reek of smoke as much as I'd thought I would've.

Disembarking was pain-free, and it took less than 10min from the time our zone (#10) was called to leave the ship, get our 4 pc of luggage, clear security and arrive to the parking shuttle area. Tipping the first porter we saw to help retrieve and bring our bags to the parking shuttle area was worth every penny. After a brief wait for the next shuttle, a driver arrived - loaded the heavy bags on the shuttle van - and took us back to the lot where we were free to leave as we'd paid upon our arrival. Less

Published 03/31/13

Cabin review: 8P11230 Spa Balcony

Loved the spa cabin, its balcony, our location, and the spa amenities & access which were included with the room - but ABSOLUTELY HATED the random but consistent slamming of weights onto the deck directly above our head between the hours of 6:00am and 10:00pm. Serenity? I think NOT.

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Port and Shore Excursions

After not planning any excursions for this trip to Nassau, we wandered the shopping district near the port before deciding to take a horse-drawn carriage ride. The cost for the 4 of us was fifty bucks (probably could have negotiated lower) - the ride lasted about 30min - and it was enjoyable. The kid at the end offered to take our photo then (of course) asked for a tip for doing so. Three large ships were in port that day, which made for a VERY long line re-entering port security (the wait was about 15min).
Read 5021 Nassau Reviews

Island Tour

After wandering the shopping district near the port, we decided to get some history via a horse-drawn carriage ride. Flagging down a driver was no problem - as he approached us first. The cost for the 4 of us was fifty bucks (probably could have negotiated lower) - the ride lasted about 20min - and it was enjoyable. The kid at the end offered to take our photo then (of course) asked for a tip for doing so. Three large ships were in port that day, which made for a VERY long line re-entering port security (the wait was about 15min).

My family of 4 hooked up with 2 other Cruise Critic passengers from the CC roll call, and our group of six enjoyed a private tour with Timo from Bernard's Tours. With 5 large ships in port, Bernard's Tours were very busy - however check-in was flawless and Timo was simply fantastic. Super-friendly and accommodating, Timo's attitude was "Whatever makes you happy makes me happy" - and he worked hard to ensure we had a wonderful and memorable day. Timo even called ahead to book a table for six for a wonderful lunch in a jam-packed restaurant in Marigot, and our table was awaiting our arrival - no waiting! There was a minor money glitch at the end of the tour (in all the excitement of checking in I forgot to ensure my deposit was deducted from the balance), but Bernard was right there and after listening to my story he immediately made things right.

Island Tour

Our misfortune of not finding a rental car for the day turned into great luck, as we found "Benjie" the friendly taxi driver who was more than happy to negotiate a day-long private tour and beach/snorkeling stop for our family of 4. A 28-year veteran of the St Thomas police force and former US Secret Service agent, we felt perfectly safe as he drove us around the island in his 15 passenger air-conditioned van. The experience was highly personal, Benjie was extremely polite, knowledgeable and accommodating, and I was more than happy to give him a nice tip to what I felt was a reasonable price of one hundred forty dollars.


While it wasn't a full-day blowout event, snorkeling at Coki Beach for about an hour was perfect for my family - three of whom had never snorkeled before. The beach was fairly crowded but there was still room for more, and those who snorkeled near the rocks just off the beach were rewarded with lots of fish. We were brought here by our friendly tour guide/taxi driver "Benjie" - who took very good care of us during the course of our Island Tour.

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