Carnival Dream Cruise Review by Mark2
Our initial thoughts on our Inaugural cruise on Carnival Dream - this was our 12th cruise with Carnival and 22nd overall. We had a great time on our trip. Pre-cruise. We stayed in Rome for 2 nights prior. We took the Airport shuttle train into the city. Our hotel was close to the Rome Termini train station. It was OK for a 3-star hotel, but the location made it easy to get to on arrival and when left for the ship. We did a Rome tour by night - thanks Lisa. We took the train to Civitavecchia on the morning of embarkation. We took an Intercity train, which was shorter - only 1 stop in Rome before going direct to Civitavecchia - the train continued north after that. For an extra 3 Euros each we went first class and had assigned seats. It is about a 10 minute walk from the train station to the port entrance. Easy enough if you have wheels on your luggage, but you can take a taxi if you wish. From the port entrance there is a free shuttle bus to each of the different ships. The embarkation process was very easy and we were aboard the ship by 11am. Positives: Spa facilities - similar to Splendor with some added treatment rooms. If you wish to pay for 12 day access to the Spa facilities - Steam and Sauna rooms, Thalossotherapy pool etc you can purchase them onboard. We forget what the daily rate is, but at the start of the cruise you can purchase a pass for the entire cruise for $329 - which will admit two people. This rate is cheaper on Caribbean cruises. Massages and treatments are extra. Bear in mind that you may be challenged to get the full enjoyment of the spa each day if you are off the ship visiting all the ports in Europe, but that is an individual choice. For those that don't get the spa passes, they still have excellent steam rooms in the regular Men's and Women's change rooms, and a co-ed sauna with a window on the side for a view. Slides. With few children aboard, many adults tried out the slides. They have two long tube/covered slides. One is a typical twisting slide, and the other is called the Drainpipe - it is a shorter slide but has a steep bit to launch you out into a round bowl where you slide around until you come to a stop and then get out at the bottom centre. They were both a lot of fun. You get a great view of the ship - and sea or port - from the top of the slides. Adult-only areas. The Serenity deck area is on Deck 14 at the front, and the pool at the aft of the ship on Deck 10 is adult only. (more on this later). We didn't use the Serenity areas on Deck 14 but they looked very relaxing and are probably very popular on warm sea days. Ship Layout. The Deck 5 Lanai (exterior deck area) is a noticeable change from Splendor and earlier Carnival ships. This was a popular area to walk around the ship, however this could change when the ship gets to the Caribbean as we understand Deck 5 is going to be full of deck chairs to provide additional places for passengers to lie out and relax. The jogging track is on Deck 12 at the aft of the ship although there weren't many joggers out, and most of the walkers were on Deck 5. The Spa staff suggested it was 4 laps of the jogging track for 1 mile, but it is more like 6 laps. For those who were looking for a quieter method to move from bow to aft or vice versa - try Deck 4 rather than Deck 5. Deck 5 has more activities and therefore more passengers, but Deck 4 is usually much less crowded. Food. We enjoyed the food. Many of the popular items from past Carnival menus were included on the dinner menus. We understand food is a very subjective topic, but we found the food to be just as good as recent Carnival and RCI cruises. We ate all of our meals in assigned dining - 1st sitting Crimson Dining Room and didn't go to the Supper Club. Welcome Aboard party. There are separate activities for 1st and 2nd sitting. With so many passengers, the reception was split across all the lounges at the back of Deck 5 and the Welcome Aboard by the Captain was done later that night at the Production Show. We found the bar service to be very prompt and they provided a good selection of bar drinks. Everyone was well dressed on both formal nights. Dancing in the Street Production Show. Terrific. Lots of different entertainment included in this show that had something for everyone. Just about everyone we spoke to said this was one of the best (if not the best) show on a ship they had seen in a long time. Try to sit somewhere in the centre of the theatre (upper or lower) to see everything that is presented. Fun Hubs. The ship has around 34 computer stations. Most people go to the main facility in the middle of Deck 5, so it is a bit more crowded there, so find some of the other ones scattered across the ship and you can use those without a line. Those who bring their own laptops can log in from anywhere on the ship. You can get an account for free to access basic news, ship layout, and an electronic version of the Carnival Capers. You can do this from any FunHub or personal laptop. If you want to access the internet, you will pay for that. Packages range from 45min $29 (.64/min), 120 min $59 (.49/min), 240 min $89 (.37/min) and 480 min $159 (.33/min). They have a small number of promotions for extra/discounted minutes based on when you log in on certain days. We found the FunHub staff to be very helpful and most times we walked by they were helping someone with questions. Libary. A modest collection of books to start, however they were all hardback and brand new. By the end of the cruise passengers had dropped off a number of paperbacks for future cruisers to read. They have quite a few games in the library as well. We don't know if the Children's activities have a separate section for board games. Cabins. We had a problem with the thermostat in the room, but when we called maintenance, someone showed up within minutes to look at it. Overall the rooms were great, they have flat screen TVs and the beds were very good. The bed frame seemed a bit higher than previous ships, which means that most luggage should be able to fit under the bed. We had a Cat 9A corner cabin with a larger balcony at the aft, however the room layout meant that there was no small sofa in the cabin. There were small armchairs however. Other than the sound from toilets flushing, the sound insulation between rooms was very good - we never heard our neighbours. Seaside Theatre Outside Screen over the Main Pool. Very good visibility. Note that movies, concerts and relaxing spa-like shows are shown. No news is shown on the big screen, apparently as a result of previous passenger comments. Several news channels are available in the cabins including CNN International, BBC World, Euro News, German, Italian, French news, etc., Itinerary. Very good. Many people we spoke with would have been happy to spend extra time in Barcelona, Monaco, etc., however doing so would have meant a longer cruise, or skipping a port. We had been to several of the ports before but took the time to visit Barcelona and Monaco. In Barcelona we visited Las Ramblas, Parc Guell and La Sagrada Familial. Time flew by in Barcelona and many of the people we spoke with at the end of the day while waiting to get the shuttle back to the ship (5 Euros rtn per person) said the same thing. It may be worthwhile trying to do a few things well rather than try to see many things briefly. In Barcelona we used the public bus, taxi and subway in addition to the shuttle downtown. In Monaco we did a private tour with Revelation tours - Frank was our driver - he gave us a great tour and we visited some scenic lookouts larger buses didn`t visit. We visited Monte Carlo / Monaco, Eze, Nice and St Paul de Vence. We stopped to walk around Eze, Nice, St Paul and Monte Carlo. We recommend them highly - www.revelation-tours.com Fellow Cruisers. We met lots of great people from all over the world on this cruise. Everyone had a different experience and it was fun to share stories. It was great touring with others (all our CC friends) and meeting others aboard (Lynette and Ian among others). The CC Meet and Greet started off beside a Trivia contest and we moved to an empty lounge. Disembarkation. In Civitavecchia this starts early. People were leaving by 6am. We left around 7:20am and the ship would have been cleared probably by 8:30am at the latest. It seemed that people were able to get the disembarkation time they wanted, and the process of retrieving luggage in the terminal area was organized and simple enough when we went through. If you wish you can do self-assist and take all of your luggage with you. We took a private shuttle to Rome airport along with some other CC passengers - thanks Joanne! Points to Impove. We'll try to keep this brief (we did have a good time after all...) Entertainment. We found this OK, however there were only 2 production shows on a 12 day cruise. The 1st one was extremely good, however the production of the 2nd show (Get Ready) was just an average production of Motown and R&B song and dance. Apparently there was a 3rd show - Extreme Country - but if so, we missed it. Pools. We were told that the Main Pool was among the smallest in the fleet. There are extra Whirlpools on this ship (Deck 5) however no doubt the pools will be crowded on Sea Days in the Caribbean. Unlike Splendor, the Main Pool does not have a retractable roof, which means that on cool or rainy days, the Main Pool area will not be as useful. Inaugural Cruise. As head office is recognizing the New York cruise for the naming ceremony and inaugural activities there wasn't much additional benefit to being on the first passenger cruise. We did get a gift of a standard black Carnival photo folder (holds two 8 x 10s) and were told repeatedly that we were the first to cruise on Dream, so we would always have that.
Mark2’s Full Rating Summary