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First off, ignore most of the bad reviews. If you can't have a great time on vacation, then something is wrong. For 7 days you don't have to cook, clean, make a bed, figure out what to do or where to eat, go to work etc etc. The Carnival Dream is a great ship and an excellent value. If you go in thinking that you are going to have 5-star meals every night and white glove service everywhere you go, then you picked the wrong line. Carnival finds ways to keep its prices down while still providing an excellent vacation.Second, a little background. This is my wife and I's (we are in our mid 20s) second Carnival cruise. This is my 18th cruise and her 3rd. I have been on nearly every major line and believe that this was the best value ship I have been on. I will write a longer review that will be available on the forums.The GREAT:Marriott Courtyard --We did the snooze and cruise package through the Courtyard which provided us with a room and all our transfers (airport-hotel, hotel-ship, ship-airport). Everything went very smoothly and the hotel was very nice and right on the beach.Embarkation/Disembarkation --We arrived at the port early (~1015) and quickly went through check-in. They started boarding around 1045 and we were at the pool by 11. Getting off the ship we did self-assist. If you don't have any huge bags, this is the way to go! We were able to get off the boat in the first group at 645, through customs and on our way to the airport at 7. We were worried because we had a 1030am flight, but ended up being the first people at the gate at 8am! Best process of any line. Well done Carnival.Spa --We were not in a spa room, but because we were on the 11th deck, we thought it might be nice to sign up for the VIP spa package ($150 for 1, $250 for couple). This was a GREAT idea. The spa is wonderful, especially the heavy steam room and the thalassotherapy pool. My wife and I loved spending quality time in the spa after a day on deck or at port. I highly recommend signing up. Only around 60 passengers not in spa cabins can register, so do it early! This was the first thing we did when we got on board.Gym --The gym is very large for a ship. Because the Dream is new, the equipment is all brand-new and top of the line. There is plenty of cardio equipment and all the weight equipment you have at a gym.Comedy Club --This is a great addition. Usually comedians are 1-2 nights at the main show. The Dream however has a separate club with 5 shows on 4 nights. The first two shows are family friendly (we didn't go to these) and the 945, 11, and 12 shows are for adults. The 945 show is very crowded (early seating people go right from their main show) so get there early. We ended up going to both the 945 and the 11 shows.Cleanliness --The ship was extremely clean. Glasses/food/etc were always quickly removed from public areas and the bathrooms were always spotless. Our cabin was always very clean. We did notice "the smell" while we were docked in Nassau while sitting by the pool. I have to admit, it was awful, but I don't know if it was the Dream or the other ships that were docked there (Oasis/Monarch). Once the ship got moving, we didn't smell it for the rest of the trip.Entertainment Staff --Having experienced many cruise directors, I thought that the Dream's CD, Butch, was the best. He was funny, energetic, quirky, and very involved without being too much. The Morning Show on sea days is really funny. His staff was great and ran some fun activities. My wife was Brendan's (a.k.a. Buttercup) BFF for the week and he went out of his way to make sure we had a great time.The GOOD:Food -- I never expect cruise food to be the best I have ever had, but I still have decent expectations. I am not a breakfast person, but I thought it was alright. The eggs were very watery, but the pastries were quite good, as was the sausage. Lunch was my favorite meal of the day. I actually never ate at the traditional buffet because I didn't think the food looked that great. Both my wife and I LOVED the grill. The burgers were always right off the grill with tons of fix-ins and the nachos/cheese fries were great. The grill also had the longest hours (12-6), was located right next to the lido pool, and never had a line. The pasta bar was very good, the deli was pretty good. The burrito bar took forever and wasn't worth the wait. My wife really liked the tandori station that had Indian and Greek food. Though the pizza wasn't the greatest, 24 hours is awesome! Nothing better than pizza 2am! Dinners were hit or miss. Some meals were very other good, others were terrible. I am a meat person, and thought that the meats were generally really bad. They were very chewy, and not tender at all. We did not eat at the Chef's Art Steakhouse.Cabin --We were in a 1A cabin, 11275. We never spend time in the room, so we book the cheapest room and spend our money on other things. Because it was a handicap room, the bathroom was enormous. We also had a great location, right outside of the lido pool. Unfortunately, we had bunk-beds (something we didn't know when we booked). Though this was an inconvenience, it made our room feel much bigger.Pool --The pool area was great and had a lot of chairs. I agree that the pools could be bigger, but only a couple of times were they crowded. The water slides were a lot of fun, but I think I would have preferred a bigger pool area. Didn't use the hot-tubs because we had the spa. The seaside theater is a nice plus, but I wish it showed more movies/TV in the afternoon.Serenity --Serenity is a very nice touch. We spent our first sea day there in one of the big chairs (had to get there before 730am to get one). They should probably make this area bigger as it was a big hit and all the chairs were gone pretty early in the morning. Biggest negative is that it is a real pain to get to. It is on the top deck all the way in the front of the ship. If you want to get food, you have to walk a ways to get it, and by the time you come back with it, someone has taken your chair. Main Theater Entertainment --We didn't go to all the shows because we wanted to see the comedy show at 9:45 (we were late seating). The welcome aboard show was pretty good, the first main dance show was kinda boring. Dancing in the streets was really good, especially the break-dancing group. After that show, we just stuck to the comedy club.Nightclub --We went to Caliente on a couple of occasions. The first time there was no one dancing so we left. The second time was a lot of fun and had a great time until the late hours of the night. Really nice bartenders there.Not So Good --Smoking --My wife and I are not smokers, and unfortunately could not enjoy some areas of the ship because of the smoking. I will say this, most smokers were very courteous, but the smoking "hang-outs" pretty much were off-limits to non-smokers. Sam's piano bar had a cloud in it, so we were unable to go here though it looked like fun. The aft pool was also another hang-out, so we never went back there except for the deli. The casino was rather smokey, but much better than on other ships. I'm surprised cruise-lines have not introduced non-smoking ships yet.Ports --Nassau is pretty dumpy, and with such a short amount of time there, it is almost a useless stop. St. Thomas is kinda a pain because the ship doesn't dock in the city. The cab situation is a mess, and rather expensive. In St. Maarten we did a tour, so can't really comment on the island. The port is new, but also not really near the town center. They offer water taxis at the pier to take you to a beach and the town. Other than that, there really isn't anything bad I can say. We had a great time.Additional Information:1. Drinks are on the higher end, but not too bad. Buy beer in buckets as you save $2 ($23 for 4-16oz beers). They no longer have free drinks at the Captain's cocktail party. They offer $1 off drinks at select bars from 5-8pm. The return cruiser party is on Thursday and has free drinks for 45 minutes. Also, on the last day, Friday, there is a farewell party that has free drinks. Very few people knew about it, and it was not publicized very well. Don't miss it!2. Book your tours early before you leave. Most tours were already booked before the ship left port. If you want to do Magen's Bay, you are better to do it through a tour. Cabs back and forth, along with admission, is about the same in price as the tour.3. Go in with a positive attitude. If you go into your vacation trying to find the negatives, don't even bother going. Save your money.

Nearly Perfect Dream

Carnival Dream Cruise Review by CruisinSinceIwasBorn

Trip Details
First off, ignore most of the bad reviews. If you can't have a great time on vacation, then something is wrong. For 7 days you don't have to cook, clean, make a bed, figure out what to do or where to eat, go to work etc etc. The Carnival Dream is a great ship and an excellent value. If you go in thinking that you are going to have 5-star meals every night and white glove service everywhere you go, then you picked the wrong line. Carnival finds ways to keep its prices down while still providing an excellent vacation.Second, a little background. This is my wife and I's (we are in our mid 20s) second Carnival cruise. This is my 18th cruise and her 3rd. I have been on nearly every major line and believe that this was the best value ship I have been on. I will write a longer review that will be available on the forums.The GREAT:Marriott Courtyard --We did the snooze and cruise package through the Courtyard which provided us with a room and all our transfers (airport-hotel, hotel-ship, ship-airport). Everything went very smoothly and the hotel was very nice and right on the beach.Embarkation/Disembarkation --We arrived at the port early (~1015) and quickly went through check-in. They started boarding around 1045 and we were at the pool by 11. Getting off the ship we did self-assist. If you don't have any huge bags, this is the way to go! We were able to get off the boat in the first group at 645, through customs and on our way to the airport at 7. We were worried because we had a 1030am flight, but ended up being the first people at the gate at 8am! Best process of any line. Well done Carnival.Spa --We were not in a spa room, but because we were on the 11th deck, we thought it might be nice to sign up for the VIP spa package ($150 for 1, $250 for couple). This was a GREAT idea. The spa is wonderful, especially the heavy steam room and the thalassotherapy pool. My wife and I loved spending quality time in the spa after a day on deck or at port. I highly recommend signing up. Only around 60 passengers not in spa cabins can register, so do it early! This was the first thing we did when we got on board.Gym --The gym is very large for a ship. Because the Dream is new, the equipment is all brand-new and top of the line. There is plenty of cardio equipment and all the weight equipment you have at a gym.Comedy Club --This is a great addition. Usually comedians are 1-2 nights at the main show. The Dream however has a separate club with 5 shows on 4 nights. The first two shows are family friendly (we didn't go to these) and the 945, 11, and 12 shows are for adults. The 945 show is very crowded (early seating people go right from their main show) so get there early. We ended up going to both the 945 and the 11 shows.Cleanliness --The ship was extremely clean. Glasses/food/etc were always quickly removed from public areas and the bathrooms were always spotless. Our cabin was always very clean. We did notice "the smell" while we were docked in Nassau while sitting by the pool. I have to admit, it was awful, but I don't know if it was the Dream or the other ships that were docked there (Oasis/Monarch). Once the ship got moving, we didn't smell it for the rest of the trip.Entertainment Staff --Having experienced many cruise directors, I thought that the Dream's CD, Butch, was the best. He was funny, energetic, quirky, and very involved without being too much. The Morning Show on sea days is really funny. His staff was great and ran some fun activities. My wife was Brendan's (a.k.a. Buttercup) BFF for the week and he went out of his way to make sure we had a great time.The GOOD:Food -- I never expect cruise food to be the best I have ever had, but I still have decent expectations. I am not a breakfast person, but I thought it was alright. The eggs were very watery, but the pastries were quite good, as was the sausage. Lunch was my favorite meal of the day. I actually never ate at the traditional buffet because I didn't think the food looked that great. Both my wife and I LOVED the grill. The burgers were always right off the grill with tons of fix-ins and the nachos/cheese fries were great. The grill also had the longest hours (12-6), was located right next to the lido pool, and never had a line. The pasta bar was very good, the deli was pretty good. The burrito bar took forever and wasn't worth the wait. My wife really liked the tandori station that had Indian and Greek food. Though the pizza wasn't the greatest, 24 hours is awesome! Nothing better than pizza 2am! Dinners were hit or miss. Some meals were very other good, others were terrible. I am a meat person, and thought that the meats were generally really bad. They were very chewy, and not tender at all. We did not eat at the Chef's Art Steakhouse.Cabin --We were in a 1A cabin, 11275. We never spend time in the room, so we book the cheapest room and spend our money on other things. Because it was a handicap room, the bathroom was enormous. We also had a great location, right outside of the lido pool. Unfortunately, we had bunk-beds (something we didn't know when we booked). Though this was an inconvenience, it made our room feel much bigger.Pool --The pool area was great and had a lot of chairs. I agree that the pools could be bigger, but only a couple of times were they crowded. The water slides were a lot of fun, but I think I would have preferred a bigger pool area. Didn't use the hot-tubs because we had the spa. The seaside theater is a nice plus, but I wish it showed more movies/TV in the afternoon.Serenity --Serenity is a very nice touch. We spent our first sea day there in one of the big chairs (had to get there before 730am to get one). They should probably make this area bigger as it was a big hit and all the chairs were gone pretty early in the morning. Biggest negative is that it is a real pain to get to. It is on the top deck all the way in the front of the ship. If you want to get food, you have to walk a ways to get it, and by the time you come back with it, someone has taken your chair. Main Theater Entertainment --We didn't go to all the shows because we wanted to see the comedy show at 9:45 (we were late seating). The welcome aboard show was pretty good, the first main dance show was kinda boring. Dancing in the streets was really good, especially the break-dancing group. After that show, we just stuck to the comedy club.Nightclub --We went to Caliente on a couple of occasions. The first time there was no one dancing so we left. The second time was a lot of fun and had a great time until the late hours of the night. Really nice bartenders there.Not So Good --Smoking --My wife and I are not smokers, and unfortunately could not enjoy some areas of the ship because of the smoking. I will say this, most smokers were very courteous, but the smoking "hang-outs" pretty much were off-limits to non-smokers. Sam's piano bar had a cloud in it, so we were unable to go here though it looked like fun. The aft pool was also another hang-out, so we never went back there except for the deli. The casino was rather smokey, but much better than on other ships. I'm surprised cruise-lines have not introduced non-smoking ships yet.Ports --Nassau is pretty dumpy, and with such a short amount of time there, it is almost a useless stop. St. Thomas is kinda a pain because the ship doesn't dock in the city. The cab situation is a mess, and rather expensive. In St. Maarten we did a tour, so can't really comment on the island. The port is new, but also not really near the town center. They offer water taxis at the pier to take you to a beach and the town. Other than that, there really isn't anything bad I can say. We had a great time.Additional Information:1. Drinks are on the higher end, but not too bad. Buy beer in buckets as you save $2 ($23 for 4-16oz beers). They no longer have free drinks at the Captain's cocktail party. They offer $1 off drinks at select bars from 5-8pm. The return cruiser party is on Thursday and has free drinks for 45 minutes. Also, on the last day, Friday, there is a farewell party that has free drinks. Very few people knew about it, and it was not publicized very well. Don't miss it!2. Book your tours early before you leave. Most tours were already booked before the ship left port. If you want to do Magen's Bay, you are better to do it through a tour. Cabs back and forth, along with admission, is about the same in price as the tour.3. Go in with a positive attitude. If you go into your vacation trying to find the negatives, don't even bother going. Save your money.
CruisinSinceIwasBorn’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 11275
Bunk-beds, Huge bathroom, great location, plenty of closet space.
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