Christmas on the Dream: Carnival Dream Cruise Review by nzdisneymom

Carnival Dream 4
Member Since 2005
909 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

Christmas on the Dream

Sail Date: December 2011
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
This was our family's first time on Carnival, my second time. First time on the Dream.

Embarkation: Port Canaveral is so easy. We shuttled over from a nearby hotel, arrived around 1:00 and were onboard and in our cabin by 1:30. When boarding the ship, the Dream Atrium is loud and busy and a bit chaotic but there were plenty of clearly identified crew members available to direct traffic and help us find where we wanted to go.

Cabin: We had a Cove Balcony, port side, deck 2, located just beneath the Shore Excursions desk. Great location as gangways were Deck 0 forward so it was easy to get on and off the ship in the ports. We also liked proximity to our assigned dining (Crimson, Deck 4 - we had YTD) and Encore Lounge for main shows. We bought the bottomless bubbles and used the Lobby Bar as our main source of beverages, just one flight up from our cabin so easy to access for us. Cabin steward and assistant met our needs after we let them know we wanted the upper More berth folded up each day. I barely saw them - but DH spent a lot of time on our balcony so he was quite friendly with them. All I know is our cabin was clean and we had everything we needed.

Food: We had Your Time Dining so we ate in the Crimson dining room three nights, at the Gathering buffet two nights, and from the Grill the other two nights. The food was good, nothing too "weird" except the meat lasagna they have on the Pasta Bar menu. We ate lunch at the Pasta bar a couple of days, at the Burrito bar once, and the Lanai BBQ one sea day. We found a great variety of food at each meal. Room service was off and on - sometimes quick, sometimes unavailable by phone, and never consistent on the amount of cookies they would send when ordering cookies and milk. None of us gained weight on the cruise but we certainly didn't lose any!

Entertainment: We enjoyed the Punchliner Comedy Club and attended each of the All Ages (family friendly) performances and three of the Adult shows. We saw two shows in the Encore Lounge which were good - I preferred the 8 More Seconds over the Dancing in the Streets, but both were well done. We enjoyed mini-golf, but sea days were hard to get clubs, so it's better to try to play on the first day or port days. The pool area was nearly always busy (both main and Sunset) but we didn't try to sit out or use the pool. The Lanai hottubs were usually occupied, more on the port side than the starboard side. Plenty of seating on the Lanai promenade deck.

Shore Excursions: We did two shore excursions through Carnival and felt that they were well organized, especially on the tendering day at Belize to get us off the ship and to the tour provider.

Youth Activities: Our teenagers participated in the Circle C activities and said that they liked the variety of things to do. We have sailed with Disney most of the time (most recently in summer 2011) and they prefer the youth activities on Disney over Carnival but liked Carnival better than Royal Caribbean. What they didn't like was that there were gaps in the day when nothing was scheduled and there weren't alternative activities if they didn't want to participate in the "after parties" that seemed popular on the activity sheet. The counselors were great - absolutely in charge of the 12-14s.

Debarkation: We put our luggage outside our cabin and had group 16 for disembarking. We had time for a non-rushed breakfast in the Gathering and plenty of time to pack up the morning items we kept out. We left our cabin about 8:15 as we knew they wanted us out by 8:30 and waited in the Encore Lounge (again, just one flight up!) until they called our group. Our luggage was available pretty quickly on the carousel when they called us and we went right through Customs without even a glance at our passports (which we had ready).

Overall, we would sail on the Carnival Dream or her sister ship(s) again. Less

Published 01/12/12

Cabin review: 7C2254 Cove Balcony

Cove Balcony 2254 is perfect location - just below the Shore Excursion desk so no worries about noise from restaurants or galleys. It's behind the elevators and there's an entrance to the hallway on either side of where the cabin is located so you didn't have a lot of traffic even though the cabin is so near the elevators. Easy access for getting on and off the ship, close to Crimson dining room, Encore lounge, Lobby bar, and Fun Shops. For western Caribbean itinerary, port side is best for watching the port activity, and this cabin is located close to the gangway, so perfect for people watching.

Read All Cove Balcony (7C) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

We booked a tour of Xunantunich Mayan Ruins through the cruiseline for this port. It was run by Bak-a-Bush and they met us at the pier after we tendered from the ship. This was a two-hour bus ride to the ruins, some shopping at the booths set up at the ruins and at the lunch place we stopped on the way back. The ruins were amazing and getting to see so much of the country on the way was worth the time. The guides provided a lot of information about Belize and about the ruins. They were in touch with shore-side folks to let them know where we were in our return trip - we made it back 15 minutes before the last tender. We had no time for shopping in the Tourism Village. Tendering was easy.

We didn't venture outside the immediate port area, but went to the shops in the port area. Very similar to what we found in Cozumel except the vendors were "pushier" about trying to get you to check out their stalls. We liked that they have big clocks to show you what time it is - local and ship time. Same types of shops you find in other ports but also a good number of local vendors - most had the same stuff but there were some interesting things.
Read 1766 Costa Maya Reviews

We just shopped in the immediate area where the ship docked, but there was a "local" shop with the types of items we were interested in purchasing in addition to the typical port stores.
Read 5490 Cozumel Reviews

This was our first time in Roatan. We ported at Mahogany Bay which is obviously built for the cruise line. We booked the Maya Key Private Island Retreat with lunch. We arrived at 7 a.m., nearly 3 hours earlier than scheduled, so we had a little time pre-excursion to look about the port area. We met our excursion on the pier - they were easy to find and well-organized. Our excursion was a 10-minute high-speed boat ride to the island which is near the other port (there was another ship ported there). We had access to the beach, snorkeling, a nice pool, a replica of a Mayan ruin, and plenty of time to just relax.
Read 2446 Roatan Reviews

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