Our Holiday Cruise was a Dream: Carnival Dream Cruise Review by C2gatorfans

Carnival Dream 5
Member Since 2010

Overall Member Rating

Our Holiday Cruise was a Dream

Sail Date: December 2010
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
This was our first cruise. We cruised with our family of 4 (Mom, Dad, 18yr old daughter, 16yr old son). First our room was so much more than I expected. I had heard horror stories of how small the cruise rooms were so we went ahead and booked 2 rooms (a balcony and an inside cabin). The cabin was huge (relatively speaking). It had a sofa, king bed and a balcony with a good size bath. The inside cabin was fine place to sleep with 2 twin beds—perfect for the kids even though it was against the rules to have children in the room alone. It worked out well - they even gave us extra keys.

We booked our cruise about 6 weeks before hand and got a great deal. I read the critic results and am glad we waited--we were flexible for the times and got a great bargain. Also we did not have to wait a year to go on vacation. I think I would do that again instead of paying the prime rates.

If this was a 3 or 4 day cruise, we probably would not be cruising again as our first few days More at sea were bumpy at best. We had "patches", but the side effects from the patch were almost as bad as the sea sickness would be like (so I think). By day 4 we finally got our sea legs and did not require the patch. My son who gets car sick easily and even he went without the patch with no ill effects. Grant it we were now stopping once a day and got lots of land time, but the cruise home was just as bumpy and we did fine. I even enjoyed the bumpiness at night as it rocked me to sleep.

This was a holiday cruise so we spent Christmas and New Year's Eve on the ship. It snowed on Christmas eve in the Atrium, what a great time we had singing Christmas carols while the white stuff fell. The one thing about the Holiday cruise—there are kids, lots and lots of kids. So if you don't like kids, I don't recommend this cruise. They are what the holidays are all about, so we enjoyed them. There is the Serenity area that does not allow children, but you have to walk through the children's water park to get there, but once there it is quiet. It was quite cool and windy during our cruise, so we didn't get out on the pool decks too much. New Year's eve saw a great party on the Lido deck with a laser show, the bad part about this is that we had to get off the ship by 8 am the next morning. Another day would have been nice so you could recover. We had a 2 day drive home and that was a loooong drive.

There were plenty of activities to do on the cruise. We played all of the trivia games and Win Lose and Draw games—they split the ship into 3 different teams (red, white and blue) and you complete all week to win points and small trophies they call "24 carat plastic ship on a stick". My daughter won one for winning Twister. Our team came in second—White team.

Since this was our first cruise I relied on other folks to tell me what to do and not to do. One thing I did do that I am glad is we planned our trips on our own. We only went on one Carnival sponsored shore excursion. Cozumel Amazing Race which was a blast—more about that later—check the excursions. I got info from cruise critic and they provided great advice.

I know a lot of people go on cruises for the food, but we were not really that impressed with the food. We ordered the continental breakfast in our cabin from room service and this worked fine for us. We usually would check the menu for dinner and only go if to dinner if they had something good like lobster or steak. The lobster meals were very good and we ordered seconds both times. My husband liked the lamb meals as well. These are meals we don't usually eat at home. Other times we visited the buffet. I think they should have the pasta bar open for dinner too. The kids loved the 24 hour ice cream and French fries. I still managed to gain 5 lbs—even with a couple of trips to the gym—which was a bit small and crowded.

I don't recommend playing the BINGO. The price of the cards ($20 for a 3 card)and the prizes they gave away were pathetic. On the last night there were I would guess over 200 people playing bingo—they had to go get more cards cause they ran out and the prizes were only $100-175 and of course there were more than one winner each game and they had to split the prize. So my advice: pay attention to the prizes. They did give away a $750 and a $1500 prize earlier in the week.

The comedians were very funny and we enjoyed all of them. There was a juggling comedian who was excellent—had a way with the kids!! He highlighted the many unaccompanied children (i.e. the children at the show while the parents were at the Casino or elsewhere--this should not have been allowed). The children were young too not much older than 10 or so.

The kids had a blast. The teen club according to my son was AWESOME. I was so nervous as my daughter was 18, but she is still in high school. We thought they would not include her in the teen club since the advertised age was 15-17, but much to her excitement, she was allowed to go. They asked for a school ID, but she was allowed in even though we did not have her ID with her. The only time I saw my son was in the morning at breakfast and dinner. My daughter spent time with us as well as at the club. They can't wait until the next cruise and are still keeping in touch with the friends they met.

We had a long wait to get on the ship. Lesson learned here. We read online that you could arrive anytime and get right on, but had we arrived when we were told to (1:30-3:30) there was a much shorter line.

All in all we had a great time and definitely recommend the Carnival Dream for a cruise. We are already planning our next cruise.

Hope this has helped. Enjoy your cruise!! Less

Published 01/05/11

Cabin review: 8A Balcony

Our cabin was very spacious. We were located one floor up from the Casino and I thought we would hear sounds from there, but is sure did not bother us at all. The balcony looked down over the lanai deck and we could see if the jacuzzis were full. The bathrooms were also nice--not a closet like I have heard.

Read All Balcony (8A) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

We booked a cave tubing and ziplining tour through Major Tom. It was much cheaper than the cruise ship. Major Tom's crew were very entertaining. Because there were only 6 of us that went both tubing and ziplining, the bus had to wait for us to get finished both. We felt rushed through the cave tubing which we did after ziplining. Zip lining line was about an hour wait, but well worth it. We did ziplining in Australia, but this ziplining was much faster and a bit less controlled. An exciting experience--don't get me wrong it was a great experience. But as we made our way to the cave, we felt a bit rushed by our tour guide. She was walking way ahead of us as we hiked to the cave--so we missed the tour of the plant life that we should have gotten. The lunch was nothing to write home about, but was eaten cause we were starving. Lesson learned: don't forget the water shoes, the ones you can rent are a bit grungy, but better than getting my sneakers wet. My camera did not take good pictures in the cave--it was a cheap digital that we purchased just for the trip.

Another of our favorite ports. We took a bus trip to the Mayan ruins (through the tours on the outside of the compound) and on the way back we got dropped off at the beach. This was the true Mexican experience as far as shopping and haggling goes. You could get very good deals for Mexican fare. I also got a massage on the beach it was divine for $20. Our weather was not the best, but it was sunny and beautiful here. Great time.

Read 1761 Costa Maya Reviews

Highly recommend the Cozumel AMAZING Race. We are Amazing Race fanatics and were very excited to be able to get a small taste of that experience. This is the only tour we booked through the Cruise line. It was worth it. We explored the back streets or the Red Zone as they called it of Cozumel. We had to solve puzzles and find sites. We were lucky to come in first place!! And they gave us a "gold" medal. The staff were excellent and had lots of energy. After we were able to sample authentic Mexican food.

Read 5469 Cozumel Reviews

Probably our most disappointing port. We took a taxi ride, but they shoved 15 people into a van and took us around the island. We stopped at a liquor store and got to sample the different flavors of rum, but it was 930 am and that did not go well with me. The local beer was okay, but just a bit too early for me. They then took us to Atlantis, but that was a crock as you can't get too far before they want to charge you money. We were only in port for a few hours so we did not think it was worth the money to go to the water park even though the kids were begging. They didn't even let you walk through the water park. We were able to go to the Casino, but we did not give them any of our money. Lesson learned: go for a regular taxi and make sure you get your price ahead of time. This was our first port, we got better as we went along.

Read 5018 Nassau Reviews

We booked a tour through Victor Bodden. We had our very own tour guide who gave a great tour of the island. Sam took us all around the island. The highlight of our tour was the Monkey Farm. The monkeys jumped all over us and I have some great action photos where the monkey went down my daughter's shirt. Also the macaws had a fight on my head--the kids had a great time. The iguana farm was good too, but it was a cooler day so they were not as active. Recommend Victor Bodden. It was $25/person plus the entrance to the stops. Well worth it.

Read 2443 Roatan Reviews

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