Pride of the Fleet.....we think not!: Carnival Dream Cruise Review by TripleB

Carnival Dream 3
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Pride of the Fleet.....we think not!

Sail Date: October 2009
Destination: Transatlantic
Embarkation: Rome (Civitavecchia)
We decided to try the new Dream as it was to be the "Pride of the Carnival Fleet" and because it was a trans Atlantic we thought it would have a seasoned, mature passenger group. On the point of the passengers, we were correct. Many were die-hard Carnival followers but a large group were multi line cruisers and all that we met personally were very nice, interesting and well traveled people. They are what made our cruise enjoyable. What was disappointing was the staffing, activities, and the overall engineering of the ship.

Staffing: In order to cut cost Carnival has eliminated the "head/section waiter" in the dining room. This results is overworked, confused and less productive wait staff. There is no guidance and lack of training shows. Not once did I see a pepper mill or the table cleared in the proper manner after dinner and before dessert. Many nights orders for drinks were either never taken or when they were the drinks were not served until the meal was about over or More not at all. On the Lido this really causes problems. Tables are left uncleared as waiters stand about talking with each other, in some cases for 30 minutes or more.

The "guest services" personnel were easily confused unless asked a very simple question. They apparently were programed to answer only certain questions and if your question was not on their training list they were at a loss. Some tried, but most did not.

Our steward did the minimal as did his first assistant. His second (a lovely young lady) however was excellent. When she joined him about day three, suddenly our throw pillows resurfaced and the ashtray on the balcony was cleaned. Until then I had been cleaning this myself. By day 10 there was a shortage of facial tissue for our room yet our table mates had half a dozen boxes each. We did have a large supply of bath tissue so we had a tissue swap.

We found the CD Todd and his assistant Jamie to be the worse we have ever had on a cruise. They were much too busy socializing with family and friends to be bother with passengers and activities for them. If we (hundreds of us) had not been self starters we would have jumped ship out of boredom while crossing the Atlantic. And to on a 16 night cruise with only two production shows is unacceptable. They certainly under utilize their entertainment staff, but the staff does take full advantage of all the ship's venues.

The ship has many engineering problems among which are the venting and lack of venting in one case. The Piano lounge which showed a designated smoking section in the rear of the lounge turned into an all smoking lounge by night 8 or so. But trust me that even as a smoker this was not enjoyable and I felt very badly for non-smokers. It was so bad I even stopped going in some nights because of the clouds of smoke that hung in the air. There is no venting system in the lounge and in this day of electronic marvels there is no reason for this "oversight". Many ships and airports (in Europe) have fantastic air systems that make it near impossible to see or smell the smoke. The other venting problem is the exhaust from the ship's funnel being sucked back into the cabins (deck 6 port) and the poor air conditioning system which leaves areas of rooms either very cold or hot, no even temperature,. Even the control in our cabin was a challenge.

Many have complained about the lack of lounge space for the comedy shows. True, there was a problem, but it could have been easily solved by moving them to the show room and putting the passenger shows in the Burgundy. There was also very little use of the Disco and this was more than likely due to the floor which would be dangerous to dance on because of its slick surface and the DJ who preferred to stick to his programing and not take request from those who did venture into "his" room.

We found the dinning room food better than expected but some meals were inconsistent from person to person. Desserts were lacking in imagination and taste; soups when good were very good but when not were cold and tasteless. They did try to pass off watered down tomato juice as they "were running out" -so we were told. Why not just take if off the menu? The poached eggs are made in oil, thus answering the question as to why they were like rubber. The Lido was not worth the battle as the set-up is not for large crowds. The Tandoor food was good but the staff was not customer service trained. Thank goodness for the Deli and its great staff, never a disappointment. I did meet up a few times with the engineers that were trying to fix the venting and hot tub problems and they said the ship was not ready to sail. Makes one wonder why it did. If Carnival plans to make more of this class ship, I strongly suggest they get the bugs in this one ironed out first...and there are bugs whether Carnival wants to admit it to themselves or not. This is not the ship it could be and as it floats today, not one to be proud of. One odd little item. Deck 4 Port side men's room opens the wrong way. Any gentleman standing there is in full view of a passerby when the door is opened. Smile! Less

Published 12/22/09

Cabin review: BD8387

Our cabin was a category BD and comfortable. The only suggestions would be to add a shelf in the closet so that clothes do not have to be piled so high that they fall over. The balcony was much smaller than the equivalent on other lines. The heating/cooling control was a challenge as it took over 24 hours for it to react to any change you made.

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