Carnival Dream Cruise Review by JandA LaFollette
- Sail Date: February 2019
- Destination: Western Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Spa Balcony
Our cruise was to celebrate our anniversary, we traveled without our children but with another couple who were on the lido deck. We originally booked a lower level balcony cabin but were offered an upgrade to a Spa balcony room. At first my wife was a little worried being that high up and so close to the bow of the ship. We were pleasantly surprised with this choice in cabins, my wife was not affected by any motion sickness, and the convenience of the Spa and Serenity deck was a definite plus.
We purchased faster to the fun, not knowing what to expect at the port and because the couple we were traveling with had as well. In my opinion I don’t know if the value is there, other than the priority boarding, I think that’s where the value ended. Our bags did not arrive in our rooms any earlier and there is really no other FTF lines on the boat or perk worthy of the fee. The bonus we had for FTF was we were able to get on ship when they opened the doors per say, we had our fill of New Orleans the night before so getting on the ship earlier than our scheduled embarkation was nice.
I will start with the Cheers package, we pondered that for some time and ultimately purchased it. We are social drinkers so 15 alcoholic drinks were probably do-able on sea days for me, not so much my wife…but on port days we felt it would be a little more of a stretch.
Here is how it actually panned out. I got my moneys worth, I met the 15-drink maximum on one occasion. It was a sea day with some pool, casino and comedy club time involved, so a long day of living it up. The rest of the days I am positive it was worth the money for me. My wife on the other hand, she had the 5 break even drinks on most days and on the days she didn’t, my drinks made up where hers missed. The drinks I had were $9 dollars on average all trip (maybe more if I actually do the math), so the total cost for both her and I including the other non-alcoholic drinks and additional waters etc. was worth it in our opinion, so much so that we plan on purchasing the Cheers package again on our next trip, even with our children going. I will say aside from the occasional bartender with a heavy hand, the drinks were pretty tame, so maintaining a “good” buzz will almost guarantee you having to have the 5 drink minimum to break even.
I am from Nevada, home of the buffet line so I do not expect 5-star meals to be doled out one scoop at a time, but I didn’t have anything from the buffet that made me cringe. That’s the greatest thing about a buffet, if you have something you don’t like, you can go get something else, something you love, go get more. The American dream, right?
We tried a little something from just about every specialty food Guys burgers, Pig and Anchor the tacos, pasta bar Mongolian Wok…all good, nothing bad to report other than wait times because of the limited hours of operations for those areas. Nothing truly vacation ruining.
Bonzi Sushi and the Seafood Shack were great as well we had lunch at both and would spend the extra money again
Scarlet Dining Room
Our experience was wonderful bordering excellent (see exclaimer). Our wait staff was great the head waiter Christian worked his tail off! He was very good at what he does, he took the time to get to know our table. Treated us as if we were his only table, I can say that he was excellent! I hope our paths cross again someday.
The food, we had 4 of our 7 dinners in the SDR, all were great. The selections, the appetizers and deserts were all paired very well. Christian was very knowledgeable and attentive to all of out likes and dislikes and made great suggestions when we were not sure and even made a point to order both dishes if we were on the fence and doubled our order when he knew we would love something.
We were cruising to celebrate out anniversary and on our last cruise we didn’t get the chance to try the Steakhouse, so why not right. Well frankly it left a lot to be desired, again not vacation ruining, but our SDR dinning experience was just better. The additional money spent was just not worth it in our opinion.
The ambiance was much quieter yes, the presentation was wonderful and our waitstaff was good. BUT at time we felt like we were being squeezed for that extra $80 bucks by Carnival. I don’t think I’m a snob by any means, and the $80 was not a game changer but we have had better steakhouse experiences. Again, I want to be realistic with my review, I just can’t say that our experience was worth the added expense.
Our over all experience was very good, there was not enough mediocre or bad to rate the experience any lower, so it was a great time and I would not hesitate to take this cruise again. I could write about all of the little things that were bad but looking back on it, not many of them were Carnivals fault, sure certain things could have been more enjoyable. But I was able to make my trip the best by enjoying my beautiful wife and good friends and just go with the flow…just relax you’re on vacation. Hope this helps :)
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We would book this deck again; the room was conveniently located to the lido deck mid ship pool and all of the action there. Very convenient to the Serenity Deck which was nice, we tried to take as much advantage of that area as we could. If I had one improvement to that it would be the ability to reserve a space in the Serenity Deck area, it seemed as if a lot of people would toss their things on a clam shell and be gone for hours. I know enforcing the”30 minute” rule is probably impossible, but if I was the gran poohbah, that would be something I would consider.
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