I like to do a start to finish on our recent trip Dec 12th to the 19th to the western Caribbean (7 days). Before we cruised, I did a lot of research to find the best spots and selected our cabin on this ship and watched via Internet how they built this ship over the past months. I am impressed overall the construction and size, and watched closely the ships track to the US and the cruises prior to ours. I read the reviews on Cruise Critic and wanted to see how things were going as well with passengers. I did find some mixed reviews, and some off the issues that the cruisers had were Very True as we found out on our cruise. Going into the cruise, I understood the fact that its a new ship and its Carnival's first contending big ship to finally rival RCC's Ships, so there were adjustments needed to fix the issues. (growing Pains) so hopefully they will be resolved soon so it wont hurt CCL in the future reputation with its Guests. December 12, 2009 Our big day, the day we waited for! Our first vacation since our last cruise on the Fantasy! Embarkation: 12pm Saturday :We got to Port Canaveral, it was crowded, but we were able to find the lines to check in first with security. They were long. We noticed (but weren't sure) people in the VIP entrance were getting right on board.. .. We waited over 40 minutes to get past the first security check in.... finally we get past all that and we get to the Carnival check in. We got to the lady who was checking us in and she asked for our credentials (which I thoroughly checked with our Carnival cruise agent over and over about our Birth Certs and drivers license) The lady looked at mine, and told me to our faces that she would NOT let us board because my Birth Cert was not valid! WHAT!!!? My wife and I darn near fainted when she said that!!! I spent alot of money and we got this far not to sail? I told the lady (Handling us at CCL's checkin counter at the port) I have sailed before on closed loop tours and THIS has never been an issue! So...after 10 minutes of getting with her manager, she finally came back and gave me a speech over getting a passport and said she "didn't have to let me on", but they are going to do us a favor and process us anyway! Bah...My wife and I were Pissed and freaked out. This ruined us! I should have gotten her name but my wife and I were blown away that we almost lost that much money on something we set our hopes on! Next, She (CCL assistant) then finally looks at our itinerary, and says, we are in the wrong line! I said what do you mean? She said you guys are VIP!!! So.... we waited all this time to check in and to find the line we should have been in was over at the other side of the building were other VIPs were drinking coffee and having snacks before checkin??! Well we waited Another 15 minutes and finally after all the mess,.... we get our sail and sign cards. Geesh! 1:10 Pm We boarded the Carnival Dream. We entered The Atrium, it was beautiful! (Smaller than normal but Beautiful) First thing we did (or tried to) was go to our room using the elevators. "Good Luck" getting there!!, everyone had the same idea of using the elevators. they were jambed and crowded almost the whole cruise!! We didn't have a chance, so we took our four heavy bags and climbed all the stairs from the atrium floor level. Yes...Our Cabin was at the top deck twelfth floor! So we climbed all the stairs with full bags in both our hands stopping intermittently to catch our breath, finally getting to the twelfth deck to port side room 12206, the spa deck! We got to the Spa deck and we were wore out from climbing stairs! Our Spa room 12206: The room was beautiful, and the ship and the port was amazing to see from our view point from our balcony. The bathroom was a little small, but the shower water was always hot, and that's good enough for us! The interactive flat screen TV in the room was a great addition, and you can see live time the lido deck and the ships position and course. That we liked the movies that they shown as well. very good room and a relaxing feeling. The room safe and fridge were nice to have too! Our cabin Steward was tops!! Simply the best, she attended our every need and left us towel animals with candy every night! Our room was kept very clean!! Now the drawbacks, found a couple issues with the cabin we were in. ---The bathroom door wouldn't latch, (not a big deal, But the balcony door didn't either!! so when we sailed on the seas the wind whistled loud from the door that wouldn't seal up! I ended up putting a straw from my drink into the sliding lock to take up the slack so it wouldn't whistle so bad. I called maintenance about the issue, they showed up while we were still there, but never returned afterwards. If you held the door shut, it was fine, but again it wouldn't latched closed. The balcony was nice, but there was a lot of standing water, I saw the drain in the next cabin down but it wasn't made lower to drain for some reason, so we had standing water on our balcony almost all the time. ----- The serenity deck overlooked ours, and the other spa cabins... so there was NO privacy from people above us and god forbid they spilled a drink on us while we were on our balcony below! I didn't like that! Maybe they can extend the over hang on the spa cabins for some privacy? It would be a big help! ---Next was the big issue that's been "prevalent on this ship" since it was made. The ventilation system needs careful review so they don't make this mistake on the new ship the Magic! On other reviews of the Dream, there was a sewage smell on the ship! I found from our cabin the ventilation fans were mounted forward of the Spa Cabins so you could smell second hand smoke and a sewage smell from them almost constantly. Thankfully for my wife and I, the wind was in our favor for "some parts" of the trip so we could sit together on our balcony, otherwise we wouldn't have been able to enjoy it at all! I have asthma, so it was important I picked a room that was Non-smoking. When we went down to deck five (using the stairs most of the cruise from the crowded elevators) the second hand smoke was very bad down there, and wreaked terribly. ---- Last 2 of the room issues, and these were the same exact as other cruisers reviews... In our room during the day, you can hear the kids running up and down for the water slides above. It was very noticeable and Everyone in the Spa Cabins heard this on port side, and I really felt bad for the cruisers at the end of the hall, they had to deal with the door to the 12 deck out side slamming all the time as well. Thank god they shut off the slides at 6 PM, it would been a disaster to relax! Last, the walls on this ship seem thinner than the others, you can hear other cruisers in the cabin next door and all the Balcony doors slam too hard on the poor ship! We closed ours carefully, hoping the glass would not break! --- The Good - The lido deck , We Loved the laser show and the music!!! Even though mother nature pounded this poor ship on our cruise with the winds and waves, it didn't stop the fun, the huge TV screen was awesome and the movies were great! We were spoiled!! -----The bad---The crowded 20 plus minute food lines were terrible and the seating in the eating areas was not much better. We were able to eat, just needed a little more patience and it was bearable. The food was excellent, what I would expect, and the service was excellent. (My thoughts of the ship at this point, there's approx 500 too many guests "on the ratio" the ship can handle for ease of its crew and passengers. I feel they sacrificed the Atrium space for more cabins, and other people felt the cramping as well on the lido. There's no easy fix for this and the only fix is dry dock to remove some guest cabins for shopping, because shopping was too small on this ship compared to other cruise ships in the fleet!) --- The Spa. Awesome! Spoiled us rotten, We paid extra for it because of our room and never will forget it. The spa whirlpool was very nice, warm and relaxing. On our cruise it was never crowded, and the workout rooms were plentiful! Upstairs from the spa the salon was great and very professional! We got our hair cut as well and well worth it. The whole Spa experience to us was everything. This is the one thing that's going to be hard to top for our next cruise. ---- The Chefs Art Steakhouse, Deck 12 aft. One word... Phenomenal! The food was the best we had on any cruise, and service was very good. They worked us in on a reschedule from our original online reservations. I recommend it highly to anyone to take part. 30 bucks a person, heck I can spend that easily at Carrabbas and not get a good enough portion that we got at the Chefs art steakhouse. Excellent! ----The Shows. Very good and Professional. Good talented hardworking people! Good choice to go see them on your cruise. -----The Sushi bar. I didn't understand why other cruisers gave it bad reviews, it was very good, and the portions for sample or snack were just right! Very good on our part! -----Cappuccino Bar. Very good! the sweets and the specialty teas, and coffees were excellent. Simply enjoyable, even though we had to swipe our card, heck it was worth it! -----Late dining experience. Very Memorable. Excellent service and food. What I expected! We had VIP status, so we were in private dinning in the Crimson Room late 8:15pm, and loved it!!! We could take our time and the portions were just right for us. the Major D was funny and the servers were like family! The other guests in our dining room were funny and adorable to be around, just a great time! -----Other places on the ship. we explored a lot of places and it was a lot of fun and the food was never ending, the pizza and the ice cream were very good and free flowing all night. The specialty drinks of the day we loved as well, just a good time. -----Serenity deck. Peaceful and enjoyable. We had no problems with other guests, very quiet and private place to relax. We loved it! great views of the sea and land from this point as well! ----- The ports of call and on shore excursions. We selected Only the ones by Carnival. They were very well picked and they were enjoyable. The tour guides watched the time very close! so be ready to be on your mark on these tours, they are held responsible for your safety and being back on time! Being prompt off the ship to get to your tour was nerve racking for us, we prepaid for them and didn't want to miss them, it was worth it though. Carnival Picked very good tours and the guides were very good at giving you all the info to all the sites. -------Behind the Scenes tour. I have to say this: Do it! spend the 90 bucks and get a reservation early. There's only 32 guests per cruise that get the chance, and I recommend it highly. You will learn very quickly what it takes to satisfy 4000 plus guests on a ship for a consist ant 8 months on their contracts. These people work their tales off and don't get much of a chance to even get off the ship to ports of call. The "coined phrase" on the Dream by staff - The "I-95 corridor" (below the water line above zero was busting) the and gangways are spotless and always on the go. We saw the engine room and the bridge, as well as places you never see when your on a cruise. The living quarters of the crew, their cafeteria and offices. The Galley was spotless and the chefs were amazing! You can get fat real fast working down there, the smells of the cooking food was divine, and we were able to sample a portion. Very clean and CCL has a good reputation for it. There are hand sanitizers every where good ship practices! The recycling are made me understand why they don't have waste baskets on the ship to throw food out! I never knew they sorted the leftovers from unused portions from guests and recycled everything from aluminum cans to glass bottles down to your razor blades your throw out in your cabin. They are very strict now where everything has its place. They incinerate the stuff like cardboard and other things, and they chum the leftovers of food for sea life. Works very well and efficient! Everyone eats. ------The Question to ask-----The whole cruise with 700 plus kids and 3600 plus adults from every walk of life on the Dream, would I sail again on her? Yes,.... but ....I will not sail in peak times with higher booking rates, and next time I will book starboard side forward on the Spa, just to get away from the kids running above or cabin room on the slides and the other passengers looking out above us with no privacy. I like my privacy and quiet time, its important for a good get away. and I wish for some Parents to watch or reprimand their kids closer on the ship. I saw many running up and down the halls and actually saw one child was spit over the side of the ship from our balcony view. Carnival did do a great job with taking care of the kids throughout the cruise minding them, we actually didn't have any direct issue at all, just the pitter patter of running feet on the deck above our cabin. I was happy to see them enjoying themselves, thats what its all about! ----Debarkation. some reviews were great about this. Ours was not so great! We felt we were rushed off the ship an hour early... and we were! We wanted to spend one last time on the Dream and have breakfast, it didn't happen. It felt like mad house on debarkation and again the elevators were jambed and people were riding them up and down full. Todd the Cruise director was calling the debarkation process too quick, and there was No chance to get the elevators, so we took our bags all the way down the stairs again. To the crowded Atrium and out the door we went. Bye bye Dream =( My wife and I Really Love this ship!... Even with the growing pains, and the same reviews other people are giving her... I hope Carnival can get time and dry dock the Dream and get them fixed. She is a Grand Ship, and she has us hooked! We did have a great time for the money spent. Thank you!
cabin 12206 spa Cabin, Beautiful room, very comfortable beds. excellent interactive TV. More private than the main parts of the ship. easy asscess to anything on top of the ship! Privaleges to Spa are a huge PLUS! Would book again! Port Side Drawback was the sounds of feet above going to the water slides.