Carnival Dream Cruise Review by 4-time cruiser
- Sail Date: July 2017
- Destination: Western Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Ocean Suite
In addition to the land excursions, we also did the 'Behind the Fun' ship tour, which was a guided tour through the engine control room, massive kitchen areas, show stage and dressing room, recyclables processing area, and the bridge (which was the most fascinating part getting to talk to the captain and seeing all the navigation computers/controls.) This tour costs $95 a pop, but I highly recommend it if you want to splurge, as it is 3 hours long and worth the investment. Note: Cameras and phones are not allowed on this 'Behind the Fun' for security reasons, which is understandable, but unfortunate. (There is a security guard who accompanies the tour and monitors any use of recording devices.)
We went to a couple of the nightly shows (80's music and movie themes) which were quite entertaining, and much better than we expected. A small cast of 8 people, but amazing special effects, lasers, fog, and pyro accompanied all the great singing, music and dancing.
Excursions... I highly recommend using Carnival's excursions (versus using independent excursion companies.) I made the mistake of using Shore Excursions Ltd, and it was very difficult reaching their customer service remotely from the ship, and we had to walk a long distance in the hot sun on one particular excursion in Cozumel to reach our transportation. Carnival has a very helpful excursion desk on the ship and reachable by phone if you need to make changes or ask questions. Carnival workers are right there when you get off the ship to guide you to your transportation. All the excursions we did were primarily beach-related, which is what we enjoy. Grand Cayman and Cozumel always have the clearest waters for snorkeling.
The embarkation was super smooth. We had a suite, which gave us priority status in getting on the ship quicker ahead of the crowds, and our luggage arrived quicker. I recommend getting the fast access embarkation if you can, and make your boarding time as early as possible to avoid larger crowds and start enjoying the ship a little sooner.
There were lots of activities always going on, so there is never a dull moment. Funny contests, Bingo, you name it. Ship has a full-size basketball court, and miniature golf, which was fun. There is an adults-only area at the front of the ship which has big comfy chairs with awnings and is very quiet. It has a large jacuzzi too. Just wish this area had a pool (which I think it originally did at one time).
Cons with Carnival:
This was our first cruise with Carnival. I knew that it probably wouldn't compare in quality to our experiences on Royal Caribbean or Princess, but the itinerary included Grand Cayman which we really like, the New Orleans port was easier for us to reach by car, and comparatively this cruise was a little cheaper in cost from others.. Our kids had never been on a cruise, so they absolutely loved this cruise (not having been on different ships before.) The food was good both in the dining room and on the buffet in the Lido deck. There is also a delicious hamburger stand, pizza stand, and a Mexican food stand at no extra charge. The waiter service at dinner time in the dining room was so-so, as the food sometimes took a while to arrive. The food was good, but not out of this world. We did not try the steak restaurant or the Italian restaurant (extra fee), but I hear the food is quite delicious in those places.
My main complaint is that Carnival allows smoking on their ships, which I knew when I booked the cruise. Though smoking is only allowed on certain areas of the ship, there are times when you are walking around the ship that you smell it. The casino smells the worst, which is unfortunate. None of us tolerate the smell of cigarette smoke well, so we just avoided those areas in general. Our suite was mid-ship on deck 7, and we never smelled smoke there, thankfully. My hope is that Carnival will completely ban smoking in the near future.
A minor concern... Many of the blue lounge chairs near the pools have some black residue on them which gets on your clothes, so always lay on a towel and not directly on the chairs.
Overall we had a great time, and highly recommend the Carnival Dream if you are looking for an enjoyable cruise ship with a lot of nice amenities and a friendly staff!
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
BeachBook your excursion through Carnival only, as we had to walk a good distance in the hot sun to our transportation since we used an independent excursion company. But the beach resort we went to was awesome! Clearest water of all 3 destinations. Area had a water park and inflatable slides in the ocean. Snorkeled and saw lots of cool fish. Rather good Mexican buffet and good adult beverages!View All 576 Beach Reviews
BeachNice place on Seven-Mile beach. The water wasn't as clear as we expected at this particular location, but very pleasant. We snorkeled far from the beach, which had clearer deeper water and saw many fish and even a stingray.View All 174 Beach Reviews
HellNeat place where you can send a postcard from Hell!View All 95 Hell Reviews
Island TourVery informative tour of Grand Cayman Island and its history.View All 183 Island Tour Reviews
BeachTook a while for our bus to first arrive. The city tour and resort beach stay were great!View All 41 Beach Reviews