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We chose this cruise based on value, itinerary (going to Roatán and to a lesser extent Belize City was important) and port of departure – the most important. My wife and I have been on 14 cruises together, with this being the 4th on Carnival. We departed on Easter Sunday. Embarkation was the best I’ve ever experienced. From parking the car at the Erato Street Cruise Terminal to entry on the ship took less than one hour. The ship, the Carnival Dream, has a layout that is much improved over the Carnival Triumph. The décor is garish, but better than the Triumph, which is arguably ugly. The pool area has much better seating. The bars have a better location. The rear pool has no retractable rook (which for some reason the crew of the Triumph kept closing on sweltering days). The Triumph has a huge portion of the pool area devoted to chaise lounges, which seems like a waste. The Dream’s layout is much smarter. The best difference is that the Dream has a full wrap-around old-school promenade, something I love. I was starting to think actual promenade decks were a thing of the past except for the name. We had a balcony cabin, 6262, which was great, and to me identical to the Triumph. Our cabin steward did an excellent job. They asked me if I wanted cabin service morning, evening or both. Carnival must be getting cheesy in this regard. I never was asked this before. We had main seating in the Scarlet Dining Room, upper level. The upper level is the better one in my opinion, as the lower level is on a deck that does not allow through passage. The Scarlet Dining Room is preferable to the Crimson (to me) as the Scarlet has the beautiful rear windows to which our table was reasonably close. The service was great. The food was outstanding. The food on Carnival is comparable to that of Royal Caribbean and Norwegian. If you are expecting Commander’s Palace, you will be disappointed. But if you are expecting good-quality mainstream cruise dining room food, you will be pleased. I love how every evening they had wonderful jazz playing at tasteful levels, which added to the elegant ambiance. The lido buffet restaurant was pretty good. Nothing to complain about, but nothing to brag about. The breakfasts and lunch there were pleasant and enjoyable. The layout of the lido is exactly like the Triumph, which is not the best. The Guy Fieri Burger Joint was pretty good. We went there one time. I did not care for the Pig and Anchor, though. There was a Chinese style noodle service area on the Lido Deck, which was quite nice. The bar service was very good. I especially liked the Alchemy Bar, which had an elegance of another era, with knowledgeable bartenders. The pool bars were pretty good, with friendly efficient service with a smile. One great thing was the adult only quiet area called Serenity on one of the top decks forward. It had a small bar there, which was a great find on that last at-sea day on the way home. As far as music goes, if you like jazz, it sucks. They did have some of the horn players playing near the Alchemy Bar at departure. I think they played a couple of short sets after that, but never at a convenient time. The piano bar, which is really fun, does not do jazz. The piano player is really good and entertaining. I don’t want to knock him. There was a really good steel drum player on many of the afternoons playing by the pool. There was a group of three violin players in the atrium who played often before dinner. They were great, playing an eclectic mix of classical, country (i.e., fiddle) and pop music. I enjoyed them immensely. There was also a pretty good rock guitar player we saw one night. There was too much country and kid music for my taste. At the ports, Costa Maya was disorganized, which often happens on Carnival, but Belize and Cózumel were done pretty well without complaints from me. We could not dock at Mahogany Bay on Roatán due to dangerous current conditions. I had this happen on the Norwegian Sprit in 2011, and that captain took us to the other port, Coxen Hole, where we disembarked by tender. They never explained why they never did that. I am very disappointed by that, as we were to meet some local folks there whom we know, to have some machuca (coconut and plantain based seafood soup that is to die for) at Punta Gorda on the north coast. We instead made large circles in the water and eventually sailed towards Belize across the Gulf of Honduras at almost walking speed. It was on that day that they opened the Pig and Anchor which was not their usual schedule. The menu item that looked best was unavailable. I got this sausage that was not good at all. So instead of eating machuca with friends, I started to eat bad sausage and Lido Deck buffet food, which was OK, I guess. In any event I did not let it ruin our trip. All in all it was a great vacation.

Great cruise

Carnival Dream Cruise Review by Zipcat

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
We chose this cruise based on value, itinerary (going to Roatán and to a lesser extent Belize City was important) and port of departure – the most important. My wife and I have been on 14 cruises together, with this being the 4th on Carnival. We departed on Easter Sunday. Embarkation was the best I’ve ever experienced. From parking the car at the Erato Street Cruise Terminal to entry on the ship took less than one hour. The ship, the Carnival Dream, has a layout that is much improved over the Carnival Triumph. The décor is garish, but better than the Triumph, which is arguably ugly. The pool area has much better seating. The bars have a better location. The rear pool has no retractable rook (which for some reason the crew of the Triumph kept closing on sweltering days). The Triumph has a huge portion of the pool area devoted to chaise lounges, which seems like a waste. The Dream’s layout is much smarter. The best difference is that the Dream has a full wrap-around old-school promenade, something I love. I was starting to think actual promenade decks were a thing of the past except for the name. We had a balcony cabin, 6262, which was great, and to me identical to the Triumph. Our cabin steward did an excellent job. They asked me if I wanted cabin service morning, evening or both. Carnival must be getting cheesy in this regard. I never was asked this before.

We had main seating in the Scarlet Dining Room, upper level. The upper level is the better one in my opinion, as the lower level is on a deck that does not allow through passage. The Scarlet Dining Room is preferable to the Crimson (to me) as the Scarlet has the beautiful rear windows to which our table was reasonably close. The service was great. The food was outstanding. The food on Carnival is comparable to that of Royal Caribbean and Norwegian. If you are expecting Commander’s Palace, you will be disappointed. But if you are expecting good-quality mainstream cruise dining room food, you will be pleased. I love how every evening they had wonderful jazz playing at tasteful levels, which added to the elegant ambiance. The lido buffet restaurant was pretty good. Nothing to complain about, but nothing to brag about. The breakfasts and lunch there were pleasant and enjoyable. The layout of the lido is exactly like the Triumph, which is not the best. The Guy Fieri Burger Joint was pretty good. We went there one time. I did not care for the Pig and Anchor, though. There was a Chinese style noodle service area on the Lido Deck, which was quite nice.

The bar service was very good. I especially liked the Alchemy Bar, which had an elegance of another era, with knowledgeable bartenders. The pool bars were pretty good, with friendly efficient service with a smile. One great thing was the adult only quiet area called Serenity on one of the top decks forward. It had a small bar there, which was a great find on that last at-sea day on the way home.

As far as music goes, if you like jazz, it sucks. They did have some of the horn players playing near the Alchemy Bar at departure. I think they played a couple of short sets after that, but never at a convenient time. The piano bar, which is really fun, does not do jazz. The piano player is really good and entertaining. I don’t want to knock him. There was a really good steel drum player on many of the afternoons playing by the pool. There was a group of three violin players in the atrium who played often before dinner. They were great, playing an eclectic mix of classical, country (i.e., fiddle) and pop music. I enjoyed them immensely. There was also a pretty good rock guitar player we saw one night. There was too much country and kid music for my taste.

At the ports, Costa Maya was disorganized, which often happens on Carnival, but Belize and Cózumel were done pretty well without complaints from me. We could not dock at Mahogany Bay on Roatán due to dangerous current conditions. I had this happen on the Norwegian Sprit in 2011, and that captain took us to the other port, Coxen Hole, where we disembarked by tender. They never explained why they never did that. I am very disappointed by that, as we were to meet some local folks there whom we know, to have some machuca (coconut and plantain based seafood soup that is to die for) at Punta Gorda on the north coast. We instead made large circles in the water and eventually sailed towards Belize across the Gulf of Honduras at almost walking speed. It was on that day that they opened the Pig and Anchor which was not their usual schedule. The menu item that looked best was unavailable. I got this sausage that was not good at all. So instead of eating machuca with friends, I started to eat bad sausage and Lido Deck buffet food, which was OK, I guess. In any event I did not let it ruin our trip. All in all it was a great vacation.
Zipcat’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Embarkation
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin 8A 6262
Great cabin, spacious for a cruise cabin. Excellent lighting and nice balcony
Upper Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews