After waiting enthusiastically for months to take our Carnival Dream cruise, we embarked from Manhattan, New York for what we believed to be 8 glorious days aboard Carnival's newest, largest, most highly anticipated cruise ship, The Dream. The embarkation went smoothly enough. It took about an hour to get onto the ship. Because the cabins were not available, cruise guest were directed to the Lido deck where we could get lunch. We immediately went to the Mongolian station where we waited in line for over an hour to get food. The food at this station was very good. The area inside was crowded so we had to seat outside which was cold. We then went to our cabin which was very nice and clean. As people began to file onto the ship, space began to slowly become an issue. It slowly began to feel crowed with nothing to do. It was clear the planners seemed to overlook the fact that it was cold outside therefore people, some 4,500 plus crew would be wandering around inside, bumping into each other. By the end of the second night, it was obvious that the staff had overlooked the 18-20 yr olders as there was absolutely nothing planned the entire 8 days for this age group. A friend had an 18 yr old who showed up for a meet and great which was supposed to be planned (it was listed in the cruise caper), but noone, including activity crew showed up. Therefore, they just ran lose, drank ed liquor and got in trouble. She tried to talk to the Cruise director, Tood several times leaving written requests, but he never responded. This lack of response seemed to permeate the cruise ship. Crew members were rude, seemingly tired and overworked. While this was a ship twice the size, 130,000 tonage as one of their regular size ships, 80-90,000 tonage, the crew appeared to not reflect the increase in number of cruise guests. Often our cabins were cleaned after we returned from late dinner seating which was after 9:30pm which would include getting ice, clean drinking glasses, etc. Getting ice and drinking water were indeed a nightmare!!! Of course, if you wanted water in your cabin you could buy it for almost $4 or wait 45 minutes to an hour for room service. Often we did not receive a cruise caper, so you would find out that something happened after the fact.
The food was one of the two biggest disappointments of the cruise. Other than the Mongolian station, the food simply did not taste good. The lines were always long no matter where you tried to get food. The pizza was awful. The food in the two restaurants (I ate in the Scarlet restaurants some evenings) was simply not good. As the days past, the number of people eating in the restaurant began to dwindle. One night I asked for a fruit salad (it was on the menu) and simply asked to not have pineapples (as I am allergic) to be removed. This would have left watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe. I was told that this could not be done because the food it "pre-prepared". My last night I tried it again, asking to have some red sauce removed from my shrimp plate and was again told it could not be removed. The sauce completely changed the taste of the shrimp. We ate at Scarlet's 5 of our 8 nights, not one of the night did we get offered tea, juice, even alcoholic beverage until after dinner, during desert. This was only after we asked. Drink order were never taken!!!!! Our table guest just gave up and stopped eating in the restaurant. Between 2:30pm and 6pm, it seemed that hot foods became scarce. However, until 2:30 or 3pm you could get the Mongolian food if you choose to stand in line for over an hour to get it. And, even at that the food station closed down at that time regardless how long you had been in line. I witnessed daily arguments between guest and crew over this fact. Room service had a limited menu, cold and again took nearly an hour to get it. Only continniel breakfast in your room. In short, the food, taste and service was sub par.
The second disappointment was the entertainment. The shows were just not good. I did not go on a cruise to see break dancing, ventriloquist acts. The dancers were slow and just not good. This was not my first cruise, however it was my first carnival cruise. So, I had some sense of what I thought I would experience. Please note, the cruise had two comedians during the first 3 days who were very, very good. At this point, I'm speaking of the Encore theater entertainment. However, the other acts were also sub par. I am sorry, but I just don't have the words to describe it. The buzz around the ship was its level of disappointment. You could always judge by the majority of seats being empty, always more seats empty than occupied. One night there was a big party on the Lido deck. For the first time during the cruise it was really full. It was fun even though the music selection was not good. After about 2 hrs it ended. The planner immediately started this "Laser show" which was consistently not good. The laser show lasted about 25 minutes just long enough to clear out the crowd. This was one of the warmer nights, you would think folks would hang around for the show and listen to the band. The reason is because the laser show and band was awful. It was one of the bahamas port nights and good planner would have kept with the theme, perhaps Bahamian or island music, but no, a bad band playing rock music.