We chose this cruise because New Orleans is convenient from our home, Memphis, TN. It was about a five hour drive down, and we love New Orleans in general. I went on this cruise with my family(parents, brother, niece, nephew, sons, etc.); there were ten of us. We had four balcony staterooms and they were very comfortable. We enjoy having breakfast or coffee on our balcony and watching the ship sail into port. The staterooms were sufficiently spacious for two average sized adults, and a very tiny five year old. Our stateroom attendant, Michael, was fine. I've had friendlier attendants, but he was quite efficient and our room remained spotless. I miss having the room serviced twice a day, but this is Carnival's policy and has nothing to do with the stateroom attendant. We had room service a couple of times, and the cookies weren't very good. The hot wings were ok, but they only gave me the weird part of the wing, not the wing with the meaty part. The bathroom was small, but not uncomfortably so. I do wish there was counter space in the bathroom. Our closet was a nice size with plenty of hangers. Of course, there was only one outlet, so be sure to bring your approved power strip.
The Dream is a big ship compared to other Carnival ships I've sailed on (Elation, Freedom, and the one that used to sail from Mobile, AL. I sail Triumph in a few weeks). There were some great amenities, but she doesn't have Guy's Burger Joint. The bars were fantastic and the movie showing on the deck was a hit with the teens in my family. We went to the nightclub once or twice and the drinks were good and it actually turned out to be pretty fun late at night. The shows were pretty entertaining, as was the trivia. The Dream didn't have the Playlist shows that are part of the 2.0 upgrades, but the game shows were pretty funny.
We dined in the main dining room almost every night, and our servers, Joseph and Potu, were great. We made sure they knew how much our table of 10 appreciated them. We made reservations for the steakhouse but ended up canceling them after dinner on formal night afforded me more red meat than I should ever consume in one sitting. We enjoyed the selection in the MDR but some of the items were hit or miss. Cruise food is sometimes about quantity over quality, but I go into it expecting this so I'm never unpleasantly surprised. The signature melting cake dessert was amazing! I'm not a huge fan of the Lido deck buffet, but my family really enjoyed the variety. Tandoor was by far my favorite thing for lunch and I was sad it kept such limited hours. If you enjoy Indian food, try this place as it's yummy, doesn't cost extra, and was never too busy.
We had spa treatments. They were expensive, as expected, but not the best massages we've had. I'm thrilled the facial didn't cause a breakout, but then again, it didn't cause any improvement either.
My five-year old loved the kids' club on Freedom, but he only went once on Dream and wouldn't return. I doubt it was anything they did, as the place looked fantastic and the staff seemed friendly and engaging. The teenagers (17 year old, and two 20 year olds) in the family loved the teen clubs and young adult activities, and I feel like I hardly saw them.
Our ports were Key West, Freeport and Nassau, Bahamas. Key West was a disappointment for our family. We're from Memphis, and Key West in July/August seemed unbelievably hot. I thought I'd researched shopping in Key West...boy was I surprised. There was so little shopping that our rental van was a waste. This port is best seen on foot, bicycle, or taxi. If I had to go again, I'd probably just rent jet skis. The one restaurant I wanted to try (Sarabeth's) wasn't open the day we were in port. This restaurant has a Central Park location in New York and it was amazing. Freeport was fun for our family. The beaches weren't the prettiest we've ever seen but the service on the beach from the resort across the street was great. The people were friendly and the water wasn't too cold. Nassau was beautiful; we did a tour with a private driver and we visited Atlantis. We didn't do Aquadventure because my parents are older and disinterested in waterparks. There were two ships diverted to Nassau unexpectedly because of weather, so Atlantis was much busier than we thought it would be. The price for the waterpark is so steep I'll only do this excursion under optimal conditions when I'm sure to get my money's worth.
Embarkation was fast, but I wasn't thrilled with some of the attitudes we perceived from the staff. We all received e-mails and texts advising us our ship was experiencing some mechanical issues and that we should arrive 2.5 hours later than our scheduled check-in. We were scheduled for 2:30 and we arrived at 4:30, only to be greeted with snarky attitudes and rushed along as if we were inconveniencing everyone when we were simply following directions. Debarkation was a breeze. We placed our things out the night before, waited in the dining room and enjoyed our breakfasts until our deck was called. We were out of the terminal about 45 minutes after our decks were called.
I found Dream to be very enjoyable. I don't think you can beat the value with Carnival. I'm considering cruising Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas next year for our family vacation, and looking at the cost reminds me why I frequent Carnival. I'd cruise Dream again in a heartbeat, maybe even for this itinerary.
The best shopping, and our private tour guide was professional and informative.
The beaches weren't pristine but the people and service were outstanding.
This port was not my favorite. It's not a place you want to drive a rental car, so rent a bike, or just walk. There's very little shopping, but there are some cute restaurants and the beaches and water activities looked great.
Beautiful city we frequent often. We visit N.O. every chance we get. No need for an excursion, just walking through the Quarter is enjoyable.