This was my 10th cruise, and my first going solo. I chose this port and date as it coincided with my office closing for the holidays. I have cruised on Princess, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Carnival, and have had a great time on them all. My previous cruises were out of either Miami, Puerto Rico or Galveston. Embarking from New Orleans made for quite a difference in the type of passengers on this cruise - almost everyone I met were locals who had driven to the port. Football was on TV's in the bars everyday, with lots of enthusiastic and vocal viewers who also brought their "go" cups advertising their home teams.
Embarkation took only 55 minutes from when I arrived at port from the Carnival airport transfer. Long lines but they moved quickly. My first stop was the Dream Lobby Bar, conveniently located on the same level you board the ship - Chocolatini!
The Dream is easy to navigate, and had a similar layout to the Glory which I was on last year for this same itinerary (but out of Miami).
I had set dining in the Scarlett dining room at 6:00 p.m. Most nights they let us in by 5:50, which was a good way to avoid the crowds. Service was VERY slow, every night our table of 10 was the last or second to last to leave, always around 8:00 p.m. Food quality varied, sometimes cooked to order correctly (I like my meat cooked Medium), but most often overdone and always arrived lukewarm, not hot. Desserts were always good - I had the fruit plate and sugar-free offering each night.
Entertainment: The comedians were all very good, both at the PG rated shows and the R18+ shows. There were 4 different comedians on this ship, so try to catch them all if you can. The "variety" type shows with singers and dancers in the Encore theatre were not good - I walked out of two of them and went back to my favourite place - the Piano Bar, where you sing along to the songs you request and drink drink drink!
Cabin - For the first time, I had an interior stateroom, and it was perfect for a solo cruiser. Lots of storage space - a cupboard for hanging clothes, a cupboard with shelves, a desk and stool with hairdryer, a mini fridge and safe, decent sized shower and sink area, with lots of shelves in bathroom over sink. Best part of having an interior cabin - it's always dark, so no being woke up by that pesky sunrise! My cabin on the 9th deck mid-ship was ideal, just walk up one flight of stairs to the Lido deck where the buffet and pools are - very convenient. The first day my cabin steward offered me a "menu" for me to sign off on which time I wanted my cabin serviced - morning, evening or both. I chose evening, but after two days changed it to "both" which was not a problem.
Having been on this itinerary several times before, I did not do any excursions. I disembarked at Costa Maya to walk around the shop areas, and did the same in Cozumel. I did not get off the ship in Belize, as I did not want to waste an hour to take a tender to shore to walk around some more shops, and enjoyed being on the ship when it was so empty and I could finally get in the pools. At Mahogany Bay, I walked down to the beach and sat in the lounger reading for a couple of hours, but it was overcast and I returned to the ship for lunch and again to enjoy the lack of passengers for awhile.
Hint: on sea days, everyone stakes out a lounge chair at 7:00 a.m. - so be warned, if you don't do so you'll be walking the whole ship in the afternoon looking for somewhere to enjoy the sun.
Overall, I quite enjoyed my cruise on the Dream, and especially the friendly southern charm of the local passengers, and would certainly go again.
Interior cabin perfect for solo cruiser, with plenty of storage space, good shower size and lots of bathroom shelves. Nice and dark for sleeping - if you want to see what it's like out, turn on TV to ship's front cam view. Deck 9 is very handy - just walk up one flight of stairs to Lido deck for buffet and pools. Walls are very thin - bring earplugs!
Did not do any excursions pre or post cruise.
No excursion in port, walked around shops area, vendors VERY pushy.
Walked down to Mahogany Bay beach area, lots of chairs, no privacy.
This is a tender port, did not disembark ship.