The Carnival Dream was a Zoo!: Carnival Dream Cruise Review by TacMed12

Carnival Dream 3
Member Since 2010

Overall Member Rating

The Carnival Dream was a Zoo!

Sail Date: April 2010
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
Folks, I want to start off by saying that I'm not an expert cruiser, this is just a recount of our recent cruise experience. This was our 3rd cruise, 2nd with Carnival. I'm not one who normally complains. You could say that I'm the guy who'll make lemonade when dealt lemons, but I have to tell you of the adventure my wife and I had on the new Carnival Dream.

We booked our cruise back in Feb '10 through Carnival and waited with much anticipation for the day we were to set sail. We wanted early seating for dinner but were told that only late dining or the new "Your Time Dining" was available. We chose the "Your time" dining and our booking agent with Carnival, who was great, put us on the list for early dining. Several weeks later we received an e-mail confirmation for early dining. Everything appeared to be going to plan!

The morning of embarkation started off smoothly. We arrived at the port around 10:00 a.m., checked our bags with the porter, and went upstairs to More check in. We received our Sail and Sign cards and, low and behold, we were scheduled for late dining. Fortunately, later in the day, the head Maitre D' had us scheduled again for early dining! We were told that someone had accidently over-booked early dining by 300 people. Whoops! We came on board around 10:40 and my olfactory senses were on the hunt for the legendary "smell", as mentioned in several previous critiques of this ship. What we found was an unusual odor that was present all around the ship and could be smelled occationally throughout the cruise. I believe the Dream crew was using deodorant in an effort to mask the "odor", but I could not for the life of me define the smell. It was not raw sewage though, that smell came later in our voyage. We made our way up to the Lido deck, found a seat at the starboard Waves bar and decided to get our soda cards before the mad rush. The bartender gladly helped us, rung up our order, and handed me the bill to sign. $101.64!!!! I almost fell off the bar stool. I was expecting $25-$30 a piece, but $50? Are you kidding me? It turns out that Carnival charges $6 a day per adult and $4.50 a day per child, plus an automatic 15% gratuity for the soda card. The lemonade's free.

Around 1:30, the wife and I went up to check on our room, we were excited and couldn't wait! We met our room steward Totok, a great steward by the way, and went to our cabin. It was everything we expected and more, clean and comfortable. We made ourselves at home, unpacked our bags, and went out onto the balcony to survey our surroundings where we were hit in the face with the unmistakable smell of pot! It was coming up from the room below where I believe the cast and members of the show Jersey Shores were staying. These people were already drunk/high and were screaming and yelling from their balcony for amgood portion of the day. We decided to go roam the ship to see what we could see and everything went well the rest of the day and into the evening until it was time to go to bed. All that could be heard were children running up and down the halls, screaming, yelling, laughing, and 900 kids banging around the ship. Oh yeah, you could also hear some of our neighbors in the surrounding cabins slamming the doors to their balconies all night long. The remainder of the trip we had to put the cushions from the couch against the door at night to help keep the noise down. Eventually I drifted off to sleep pretending that horses and elephants were roaming the halls.

The next morning I woke for our first day at sea! I went out onto the balcony to take in views and breathe in the crisp, clean sea air. Instead I got a nose full of pot courtesy of our neighbors below. I eventually cured this little problem myself. Using my outside voice, I yelled to my wife, "Honey, call security, someone out here is smoking marijuana!" We never smelled pot again! The wife and I got cleaned up and ready for our "Fun Day at Sea". We went to the Lido Buffet, grabbed some breakfast. The food in the buffet is rather institutional and bland, but it filled the void and with enough salt, pepper and ketchup it wasn't half bad. The Lido dessert bar was not very good. The cakes were dry and bland, we only went once.

We headed out to explore more of the ship not realizing that the other 4,000 passengers with their 900+ kids all had the same idea. After our attempted scouting mission had failed, we decided to go to "Serenity" on decks 14 and 15 fwd. This is how Carnival describes it on their web site: "Serenity is a tranquil space in a wonderful ocean-going oasis of relaxation and comfort. This adults-only area is available to guests 21 years of age and older and features everything necessary to create the perfect "me-time" moments. Take advantage of the complete bar service provided by attentive waiters as you recline in the sun or under colorful, over sized umbrellas. Feel at ease in the separate shaded area. Or, enjoy a lovely dip in one of the beautiful whirlpools. All this, while listening to a variety of soothing music. So cater to your need to relax and take in the ocean view, while enjoying the comforts of this kid-free haven." Yeah right! I don't know what part of the ship they're talking about, but you couldn't squeeze a piece of paper between all the people crammed onto the decks up there. There were soaking wet kids running around trying to find parents or get to the water slides, the thumping music from the Lido Pool drowned out all noise, I never heard soothing music playing, and the bartender looked as if he were one step away from throwing himself overboard to escape "Serenity"! Eventually the wife and I joined the Cloud 9 Spa for $240 just so we could get away from it all. It's a member's only section of the Spa with locked doors between you and the thundering herd.

Overall, we had fun despite the kids, but we were very, very disappointed. What we wanted from this cruise was to be able to relax and get away from the hustle and bustle, but we found chaos and insanity instead. Nearly every couple that we became friends with, ate with, or went on excursions with said the same thing, "Too many people with too many unsupervised kids". We saw kids throwing ice cream cones from the 10th deck to the 5th deck trying to hit the jacuzzi's. We saw kids spitting from the 11th deck to the 3rd deck in the atrium. We found large groups of kids sitting on the stairs in the stair wells not willing to budge or hanging around the computers in large numbers in the "Fun Zone" looking at their Facebook accounts and not letting anyone pass them. I saw one kid with a bullwhip, cracking it from the balcony of his parents cabin. On coutless occasions we found that the elevators either had all the floors selected by the kind groups of kids exiting or kids just lying on the floor of the glass elevators riding them up and down for hours. It was very stressful for us and the crewmembers. I truely feel sorry for them.

I would like to end my review on a good note because all was not gloom and doom. The ship itself was beautiful and magnificent and was bigger than all the other ships we came across. We found the food in the dining room and steak house to be very good and the wait staff would bend over backwards to help you. Our room steward and his staff were fantastic, helpful, and friendly as was a majority of the crew. The members of Cloud 9 spa saved our lives on this cruise and helped us to relax despite all the clatter. We enjoyed the steam rooms, dry saunas, and the Spa's Thalassol pool. The comedians were hilarious and I believe I pulled something in my stomach from laughing so hard. We were able to find a few quiet places on the ship from time to time, usually when everyone was off on an excursion or shopping spree. We also had the opportunity to enjoy the Sunset salt water pool on the aft Lido deck during our stay in Roatan. Will we cruise on this ship again? Never. Will we ever cruise with Carnival? Doubt it. Can I get my wife back on a cruise ship again after this last weeks adventure? I don't know, I hope so. Time will tell. Sometimes bigger isn't always better. Less

Published 04/26/10

Cabin review: 8G11248 Balcony

The room was your typical smallish ships cabin, but it worked well for us. We were able to fit everything that the two of us brought and we never felt cramped. The room was kept very clean by our very attentive cabin crew. The room was rather noisey but I don't know if it was from the herd of roaming children or the vnetilation grating on the bottom of every door. We had to put the couch cushions against the door every night to keep the noise to a minimum. Everything worked well with no hitches.

Read All Balcony (8G) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

We chose the Goff's Caye Snorkeling excursion. The ship never docked, everything was by tender, so we never made it into Belize City but heard it was dirty with not much to do. The Goff's Caye excursion on an island about the size of a football field. It's park of the local park system and we found a group of people on the island when we arrived who were camping there. The restrooms were locked and not available and the island was made up of mostly bottle caps, beer bottles, trash, and sand. Our guide was very good and we enjoyed the snorkeling very much. Note: Bring your own mask and snorkel for all the snorkeling excursions. They provide fins and floatation.

We took the Catamaran Snorkeling excursion here. We also enjoyed this excursion immensely. The tour guide, Mario, and his staff did a wonderful job with the group. This portion of the reef was in very good shape and had an abundance of life. We saw an eagle ray, barracuda, drum, parrot fish, and many, many other types and kinds of fish and crustaceans. Unfortunately the town there was hit by a hurricane several years ago and is trying to rebuild and they're still struggling. Again, at the end of the pier is the requisite set of shops selling the exact same things you find in all the other ports, but this port has a pool with a swim up bar and shops with some local tidbits. Note: Again, I suggest that you bring your own mask and snorkel for the snorkeling excursions. They provide fins and floatation.

Read 1761 Costa Maya Reviews

We chose the Mayan Ruins of Tulum for our shore excursion. It was a 7 hour excursion that starts shortly after docking and gets you back to the boat with approximately 30-40 minutes to spare. The boat ride to and from Playa del Carmen was good with no troubles. Our tour guide with Sun N Fun tours was Angel and he was absolutely fantastic. He met us on the dock in Playa del Carmen as we came off the water ferry. He has studied Mayan culture and is knowledgeable about the ruins, the people, and his country. He told us that he is Mayan and speaks Spanish, Mayan, and English fluently. The tour and guide I would give a 5+. The buses stop at a parking lot at the entrance to the ruins. While walking through the parking lot you're accosted by locals hocking their wares, mostly cigars, tequila, and hats. You can also purchase NFL poncho's and sombrero's here. Back in Cozumel, they had the same shops that you'll find at all the ports, we purchased a bottle of a fantastic local tequila for a reasonable price.

Read 5470 Cozumel Reviews

Can't give to much help here. We came off the ship and went straight into the local, same as all the other docks shopping center, and turned around and got back on the ship. The Mahogany Bay Beach resort, which was just off the ship, was packed full with a majority of our passengers and most of the Princess' passengers. Several guests told us a story of a local woman who drowned in front of them on a beach somewhere on the island. Some of the locals picked up her limp body, threw it on a lounge chair, put her in the back of a pick up truck, and sped away. No CPR or mouth to mouth. Wow.

Read 2443 Roatan Reviews

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