92 Port Canaveral (Orlando) Holiday Cruise Reviews

Cruising with the family for the first time and it was great! Getting on the boat was fast and so easy. We boarded early and went up top to have a quick bite to eat. The food was good but, the lines were long so your food was a little cool ... Read More
Cruising with the family for the first time and it was great! Getting on the boat was fast and so easy. We boarded early and went up top to have a quick bite to eat. The food was good but, the lines were long so your food was a little cool by the time you got to eat. The dinning room food was fabulous!! We dinned in the Scarlet dinning room each evening. Agus and Kedek were the best, they called us each by name from the first night and treated us like old friends. We had a balcony room as well as a inside room. I will never sail without a balcony again! We had plenty of room to sit and enjoy a relaxing drink in the evening. Our grown "kids" enjoyed just hanging out on the balcony as well. Nassau was beautiful, weather was perfect for swimming and sight seeing. I was disappointed in the Grand Turks... not so "Grand" in my opinion. There are only a few shops and the beach. The beach was beautiful but Nassau offered so much more to do with a family. The entertainment was super! The shows were just great, the Christmas show that included the children from the various Carnival Clubs was such a special night.The children were all so thrilled to be part of the show. The comedians were a blast!!! Adults only but,a blast! Thanks for a great time and wonderful memories with my family!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
We flew into Orlando the day before the cruise. Rented a car from Budget then drove out to Cape Canaveral. Stayed at LQ in Cocoa Beach (which was right on the beach) just a few miles from the cruise terminal. Cruise day-we took all of our ... Read More
We flew into Orlando the day before the cruise. Rented a car from Budget then drove out to Cape Canaveral. Stayed at LQ in Cocoa Beach (which was right on the beach) just a few miles from the cruise terminal. Cruise day-we took all of our luggage to the cruise terminal around 11 am and dropped it off then took the car to Budget to drop off and took their shuttle to the cruise terminal. Was on the ship by 12:15 pm. The embarkation went very fast and smooth. We were very impressed that we were able to drop our bags early then come back, made things much easier. No problem getting a table for lunch in "The Gathering" (main lido buffet) there were a lot of people but lines were going quickly. We had the your time dining in the Crimson deck 4, where we could dine anytime from 5:45 pm - 9:30 pm. Every night we dined at or around 5:45, never had any trouble getting our table with our wonderful headwaiter, her name is Nazan and team waiter, his name was Sudarma. Impressed with the food quality, never tried the steakhouse. Never really wanted to, as we were happy with the food quality in the Crimson. Had the warm chocolate melting cake almost every night. We did try the deli at the back of the Gathering and it was very good, lines never really long either. Never tried pizza and burger in the pool area, lines were usually long. I have to add that the omelet stations in the Gathering went quite fast since there were 2 guys making three omelets each. Our ports were Nassau, Bahamas and Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands. Bahamas was great, weather was a little windy but the temperature was around 75. We went to the Sheraton at Cable beach and bought the day pass. It was $25 for adults and $12.50 for children. You could also get a day room but we didn't see the need, as we only wanted to use the pools and beach. We decided on this hotel, as the pool was heated, not very hot but just warm enough to get in and swim. We walked over to the Wyndham also so my daughter could use the slide; it looked a little run down over there so we went back to the Sheraton. We enjoyed about 4-5 hours there then took a cab back (cabs were $20 each way, you can take the bus but we were more comfortable with a cab) walked around the shops then headed back to the ship. Grand Turk, not much here other than the cruise terminal shopping area and the pool at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. We rented a cabana, it was nice as we were able to lock our things up and go over to the beach, shopping, etc. We ordered our food from the cabana and ate there. It was really crowded at the pool area, was glad to have had the cabana. By 11 am there were no chairs left available around the pool. The beach was very shelly. My daughter was getting in the water and the water came up with tiny shells in it and cut her legs up so she could not get back in. We then decided to venture into town and took a cab. Not much to see. This is definitely a port where it is better to do an excursion or stay in the cruise terminal area. Overall, we were happy with the cabana and cruise area. It was about 78 degrees, nice weather. Pool was absolutely freezing though, did not stay in it long. It was fun watching people try the flow rider. My daughter started out going to the Circle C area activities the first night but then stopped. The Circle C was for 12-14. She did go to the Spa Teen Party in the salon where she was pampered with a pedicure and had ice cream. She was the only one signed up but she said it was still fun. She also enjoyed the waterworks area with the water slides and the mini-golf. We only went to one show in the Encore and one PG-13 comedy show in Burgundy. The show in the encore was very entertaining but the comedy show was not very impressive. With the size of this ship, I was surprised it didn't feel crowded. The elevators never took too long, had to take stairs occasionally though. We were on deck 8 aft and never smelled any type of sewer smell I have read other cruisers comment about. Our balcony cabin was nice and roomy, looked very similar to balcony cabin on the Conquest. The vanity area looks a little elongated which was nice, more counter space. There were three compartments in the closet, which was nice especially since there were 3 of us in this cabin. Overall, this was our 10th cruise and we really enjoyed it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
There was a group of 6 of us (ages 67-15) to celebrate my 40th on New Years Day. The day before the cruise we arrived in Cape Canaveral and stayed at the Best Western Oceanside (great deal) and Thursday morning took the shuttle to ... Read More
There was a group of 6 of us (ages 67-15) to celebrate my 40th on New Years Day. The day before the cruise we arrived in Cape Canaveral and stayed at the Best Western Oceanside (great deal) and Thursday morning took the shuttle to the pier. Customs/registration was a breeze and we were on board within 30 minutes of arrival. A quick lunch and our rooms were ready at 1:30. We splurged and had a balcony, which was great. The room was nice & clean-smaller than our balcony room on the Legend, but still roomy. The ship is very 80's and even though its clean,clean,clean, she is a little worn in some places.But that didn't bother me any! What did bother me was how crowded the Lido deck got when everyone was waiting to dock in Nassau-yikes! But once we docked, it was great. We went on shore and did a little shopping and headed over to Fish Fry area to try some Conch Salad at Goldy's. Yum! We actually were in Nassau for New Years so we grabbed a spot on deck for the Countdown. It was awesome! At midnight there were fireworks from a couple places on island and they could all be seen from deck. Alter, part of our group went ashore to see the Junkanoo parade-a kind of Mardi Gras/Carnivale celebration. It was awesome. The food was good, with some really yummy dishes here and there. I do wish there was a 'snack' time at like 4:30-5:30 when chips (and veggies/pretzels), dips & cheese/crackers were out for snacking....i ate far too much cheese pizza to fill that role! Overall it was a really fun couple of days...plotting our next cruise in 2012! Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
We left on Dec 18th for a special five day cruise on the Dream. This was our first cruise together so we were real excited to this getaway. I am unable to comment on the embarkation process due to the fact that we had an unforeseen ... Read More
We left on Dec 18th for a special five day cruise on the Dream. This was our first cruise together so we were real excited to this getaway. I am unable to comment on the embarkation process due to the fact that we had an unforeseen airport delay before arriving to Orlando. We had purchased the pre and post cruise transfers, which I would highly recommend. We were lucky enough that a Carnival transporter were there looking for platinum guests so arrived to Port Canaveral with only minutes left. Since we left without our luggage, our next stop was at Guest Services. I can't express enough gratitude for the service they provided us. They eased us and enjoyed the start of our cruise. Our luggage was sent the next day to Bahamas and in our cabin by 5:00 before dinner. The ship was absolutely beautiful and very clean. Staff at any hour was cleaning handrails, elevator buttons, bathrooms, and tons of public areas. We were very impressed with our interior cabin. It was very spacious and had plenty of clothing storage areas. We had late seating in Crimson. The service was good and professional. The food from the dining was very good and had a variety of choices. However, one evening we dine at The Chef's Art Steakhouse. We felt it was worth the money and had a very nice time. The gathering at breakfast was pretty much the same everyday but was good for buffet style food. We did try omelette bar one morning. Good but the line was longer then buffet. No complaints about the food, but I am not a food snob or a picky eater, though. The entertainment was decent. The Burgundy Lounge had good comedy shows we actually stayed for two adult only shows. The piano bar was fun but since we are non smokers we couldn't stay too long but there is open area to sit. Although we did not take the kids this time. I think they would enjoy the activities geared to their ages 9 and 12. We will definitively take them next time. Disembarkation was very simple and moved quickly. Our luggage was easy to find and post transfers were very convenient. Excited to plan our next vacation. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
It has come to a recent tradition in our family to go on a cruise over Christmas. This was the third of the last four years to do so. We probably were a little spoiled with last year's last minute deal on the Costa Atlantica, getting ... Read More
It has come to a recent tradition in our family to go on a cruise over Christmas. This was the third of the last four years to do so. We probably were a little spoiled with last year's last minute deal on the Costa Atlantica, getting a Wellness Suite for next to nothing. This year, we booked far enough in advance, and the best option was the Norwegian Sun, a repeat of a ship we did four years ago. Of our 14 cruises, this is only the second time we've repeated a vessel (Disney Magic being the other). We had four rooms in our group. A balcony for my in-laws, an oceanview for 3 for my family of five, an inside for my sister-in-law's group of four, and another inside which got our other two stowe aways in the ocean view on the ship. We used it for storage. The balcony cabin was what you would expect. Nice size, well appointed, lots of storage. The oceanview was teeny. We pushed the queen against the wall and the two adults and the two year old slept there. The third bed, which wasn't made to full length accommodated the 7 and 4 year olds. There was very little storage and even less room to walk. The two inside cabins were huge. Lots of storage and lots of space. Last year, our embarkation was a breeze. Five minutes within arriving at the terminal, we were aboard. On Costa, you do most of the stuff onboard outside of verifying your eligibility to be on the ship. Amazed. This time, not so great. Everyone on land was grumpy. We got yelled at more than a few times. Maybe it was the fact they were working on Christmas. We arrived and were waiting for my in-laws who were inexplicably later than us. As we waited, we were told we should just board. We wanted to all board together. The lady didn't listen, got impatient with us and started to be snappy. While we were waiting for them, another person told us just to board. We said we were waiting for the rest of our party, and he snapped back, "well where are they?" Saying I didn't know, he snapped back, "you should. Just go onboard and wait." When we saw them arrive at the terminal and get through security, we started to get in line and the same woman who told us to board with out them, snapped at us again that we couldn't line up unless everyone in our party was ready. ARGH! Then we start to board, and the land crew tells us different directions to board, starts to get into a short argument and finally lets us on. Once we got on the ship, things got better. However, there was one thing that put a black mark on this voyage and that was the weather. We know that's out of NCL's control, but we had very little sun on this trip. All but two days were completely cloudy. Our first day at sea was rough. Barf bags were put out all over this ship. One of our party suffered through it. Every time she went to deck 11, she vomited. After day 1, we had smooth seas and no more sea sickness. Dining was fantastic. All our food was very well done. Main dining rooms were a little slow, however. Last April, we were on the Norwegian Star, and our four-course dinners took just over an hour. This trip, we typically had two hour dinners. Granted we had more people this time. After the second night, they remembered our preferred dining time and the number of seats we needed and held a table for us. That was very accommodating. Of the 11 of us, 5 were age appropriate for the kids club. My 7-year-old has been on 11 cruises and this was the first time she was willing to go to kids club. The 4-year old and 2-year old were begging to go. The 2-year old even cried the last night we had to take him out and tried to run back in, despite being there for three hours. Whatever went on in there, the kids loved. Entertainment was good. We saw three shows. Two were music based and were entertaining. Not great, but enjoyable. The juggler, Romano Frediani, was awful. We couldn't decide if he was just a bad juggler or a bad juggler on purpose in order to get laughs. His show was a train wreck and only got good after the audience started heckling. The casino staff was very knowledgeable and very friendly. In fact, all of the on-board staff was fantastic. A complete 180 of the ground staff. The only thing that was annoying outside of the weather was presenting to customs first thing in the morning in Key West, our last day. The line was 45 minutes long and not real fun. Disembarkation was a breeze. No wait at customs and our luggage was waiting for us. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
We are young cruisers (in our 20s) and went on this cruise for a quick getaway during the holidays. Our cruise was from December 23, 2010 to January 1, 2011, which was nice as it encompassed both Christmas and New Years onboard. Generally ... Read More
We are young cruisers (in our 20s) and went on this cruise for a quick getaway during the holidays. Our cruise was from December 23, 2010 to January 1, 2011, which was nice as it encompassed both Christmas and New Years onboard. Generally there are some aspects of the ship we really enjoyed, but a recurring complaint throughout our cruise was the subpar level of service we received from the staff as well as the incredible crowding of the ship - perhaps the crowding caused the poor service? EMBARKATION: Long lines but they moved fairly quickly. CABIN: We were in a cove balcony (2403). We really enjoyed it - it was spacious and the balcony was really great, close to the waterline. We did not experience the dreaded sewage smell in our cabin but we did smell it closer to the bow of the ship on Deck 2 on occasion (our cabin was towards the aft). I'm amazed that after months of complaints regarding this issue that it is still has not been resolved - perhaps emblematic of Carnival's lack of concern regarding issues of the Dream. Our cabin attendant was friendly and kept our cabin clean but was not especially outgoing. He never really took the time to chat with us or try to develop any kind of rapport, which was a disappointment because we had gone on a 3 day cruise on Majesty of the Seas (RCI) in November and by the end we felt our cabin attendant was practically family. We did like the towel animals but I'm pretty sure these are customary - we never really felt that our cabin attendant went above or beyond in anyway. He just never really stood out one way or another. DINING: We'll talk about The Gathering (buffet on the Lido deck). We found the food to generally be good, with plenty of good options - Mongolian, Indian, Grill, Pizza, Pasta, Grand Buffet, Burrito Bar etc. We were especially fond of the Mongolian Bar and Pasta Bar (the lasagna is amazing). However, the lines were simply HORRENDOUS. Getting any food at pretty much anytime required a 10+ minute wait. The design for the buffet is simply atrocious, because it requires everyone to stand in the same line, e.g. you can't really simply cut in to what you want, so you have to wait behind those who want to try every single salad and other item even if the only thing you wanted was a slice of prime rib. This makes no sense, especially for such a recent ship! In general, we found the crowd control to be extremely poor throughout the ship. We were seated in the Scarlet Dining Room with late seating at 8:15 PM. Our waiter for the first two days was simply terrible, one of the worst we have ever had on either land or sea. He never said hello, he never smiled, he simply asked what we wanted, and came back an hour later (!!!!) with our (then cold) food which he plopped down without saying a word. He never asked us how our meal was, etc. After two days of progressively worse service, we asked to switch tables. The headwaitress at the lobby we spoke to was friendly but not apologetic. If anything, I felt that I had to defend my request. We were switched tables though, and our new waiter was much friendlier, although not once in seven days did he come by to ask us how our meal was going. Again, compared to our short, cheap cruise on Royal Caribbean, the dining room service was simply not up to par. Our previous waiter frequently came by the chat with us, to check on us, etc. Our head waiter would also come by and check to see if we were enjoying our meal. On this cruise, not once in the nine days did a head waiter come by. I'm not sure if this is the standard on Carnival, but the comparison is definitely striking. The food itself in the MDR was hit or miss - terrible on the first night but better on other nights. One disappointment was that there was no "special" meal on Christmas or New Years - it was basically the same menu even though we were expecting something a little extra. After all, the cruise was twice as expensive as a regular (non-holiday) cruise. By the way, NOT ONCE in nine days in the MDR was I asked if we wanted anything "special" to drink, e.g. wines, sodas, etc. On the two occasions where I ordered sodas, I had to flag down the one beverage person who was apparently working the entire dining room, and then wait upwards of twenty minutes for my can of diet coke to be delivered. Just another example of the poor service on the Carnival Dream. The other alternative food option was the Wasabi bar, which generally offered either three pieces of sushi or tapas. The sushi and tapas were not very good but were just "extra," so we were fine with it. We did try the Steakhouse once. The food and service were excellent (I recommend the prime rib, cheesecake and cheese plate). Nevertheless, the cost per person is fairly steep - $30 per person. I believe this is more expensive than comparable specialty restaurants on other cruise lines. Also, surprisingly, you are limited to one entrEe and one dessert, which still allows for plenty of food but surprising given the steep cover charge. PUBLIC AREAS The public areas of the ship were definitely nice, but again we had some complaints. First, the wait for all the elevators was horrendous, so we generally took the stairs - which was actually good for our waistline, but aggravating for the elderly passengers. The lounges were nice, but we simply cannot understand why the one piano bar on the ship would be designated as a smoking area. As a result, we completely avoided the piano bar even though this was one of our favorite areas on Royal Caribbean (the Schooner lounge). We had high hopes for Caliente, the nightclub, but it was consistently empty, even past midnight. We were very disappointed with the pools on the Dream, which are tiny and only three!!! feet deep. The pools on the Majesty, which is about half the size of the Dream and carries half as many passengers, were probably twice as big and certainly twice as deep. Again, this design makes no sense, especially given the size of the ship. As a result, I think we only ever saw young kids using either of the two pools. (There is one additional spa pool, but it is very small and very costly - $35 per person for a day pass). The Jacuzzis were very nice, especially the four on the promenade deck as they are cantilevered over the side of the ship. We generally found there were plenty of Jacuzzis available, 2 in the serenity area, 2 at the aft of the lido deck, 2 on deck 11, and 4 on the promenade, but they did tend to fill up so they were certainly not very "private," except maybe late at night. The Dream does also offer mini-golf, which is a fun diversion; waterworks - the slides are fun for about five minutes, and the rivets are not aligned so I would definitely agree with others that a t-shirt is necessary to avoid significant pain; and two giant outdoor life-sized chess boards on the promenade deck - a nice hidden feature. ENTERTAINMENT This was another low point of the cruise. Given that the Dream is Carnival's flagship, it simply does not even come close to what we've heard about the entertainment on either NCL's (Epic) or RCI's (Allure or Oasis) flagship entertainment. The male lead singer, Desmond Dansby, is good, but the female lead singer, Simone Catallano, is terrible. The dancers were OK but nothing great, except for the "Fun Force" hip hop team which was very good. The Fun Force starred in "Dancing in the Streets" which was by far the best show. The other entertainers included average comics, a not very exciting EDGE juggling show, a decent ventriloquist, and a decent hypnotist. By the way, "Jeff the fun dude," who hosts the comedy shows in the Burgundy Lounge, is NOT funny. We didn't really love the cruise director, Butch, or his assistant, George Roberts AKA Baby Butch. There was just something "off." Most of the passengers seemed to like him though, and he was very peppy. Our opinion might actually be colored by our debarkation, during which he was present but kind of gave us a weird look and did not shake our hands. We thought this was very odd for a cruise director who has a reputation for being upbeat and personable. FUNVILLE@SEA The ship has a wireless intranet known as Funville@Sea, with message boards for passengers to interact. This is an interesting concept but poorly executed as hardly anyone used it. It could be fun if a critical mass of passengers got involved with it, though. OVERALL The Dream is an OK ship - we think it seriously lags behind its competitors' flagships. The service on our cruise, from the dining staff to the entertainment staff to the stateroom staff, was mediocre but perhaps explained by the passenger load. Although the ship might be designed to carry a maximum of 4,500 or so passengers, the public areas and staffing of the ship simply do not support this type of passenger load. I think our experience suffered as a result. GLBT ISSUES We had heard Carnival was generally GLBT friendly. We are both gay, and so we were looking forward to the FOD meetings. Although the meetings appeared on the schedule every day, we only were able to meet one other couple on the third or fourth day. We didn't like them very much and simply stopped bothering to show up. On the first three days, no other GLBT people showed up for the meeting - pretty disappointing given that the ship was carrying around 4,500 passengers. So beware GLBT folks, don't expect to find people at FOD. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Family of 6 traveling together - 2 adults, 1 teen boy, 3 girls (7yo 5yo, 2yo). We had 2 balcony cabins on Deck 9, 9346 and 9232. Booked 1 adult and 2 kids in each. We booked in mid-November 2010, about 6 weeks before the cruise. We ... Read More
Family of 6 traveling together - 2 adults, 1 teen boy, 3 girls (7yo 5yo, 2yo). We had 2 balcony cabins on Deck 9, 9346 and 9232. Booked 1 adult and 2 kids in each. We booked in mid-November 2010, about 6 weeks before the cruise. We flew in to MCO, uneventfully, and transferred to the Embassy Suites - Airport for a quick overnight, then used Ace Luxury Transportation to get us to Port Canaveral. Hotel - facilities were adequate, service was exceptional! Transfer to the pier - adequate. Transfer back from the pier - pathetic; ended up being sent a subcontracted taxi after waiting nearly an hour for our "pre-arranged" transportation. Embarkation process was a bit slow, and the lines crawled out the door for a good 400 yards. It was a bit breezy, and we were offered the chance to jump out of line, as we had a crew of kids, one of which was in a stroller. Observed some very rude treatment of other guests, by Carnival port staff (male), but it wasn't directed at my family - so it was quickly ignored. The Carnival Port staff (lady) who offered us the jump out of line, guided us to the elevator (we had a stroller), which easily moved us up 45 minutes in the boarding process. We were grateful, as the kids were getting itchy. The showing passports, swiping credit cards, and getting our Sign&Sail cards went smoothly. After which were photographed for the Sign&Sail cards, then the line proceeded to a group of ship's photographers who wanted to scan our cards and take individual pictures in front of a green screen?!?! I am used to getting the 'family' photo upon debarkation in front of the airbrushed backdrop, but having done the 'official' Sign&Sail photo (for security & on board charges); I was rather dubious about the green screen photo, and we declined. We boarded the ship just as rooms were ready for guests. Not being familiar with the ship's layout, we followed the path of least resistance to the nearest elevator bank - and waited an eternity for a car to take us to Deck 9. Had we been more familiar with the ship's layout, we may have had better luck walking forward or aft to other elevators. The rooms were clean, prepped and ready, bright and spacious - very much like advertised. Our cabin stewards promptly introduced themselves and quickly satisfied my request for an ashtray (for the balcony). Luggage was delivered to our rooms by 5pm, and all pieces arrived as expected. The cabins were quite nice, except there was only ONE 110V outlet in the room. Bring a 20+ foot extension cord/power-strip if you use a bedside CPAP machine, or need to charge more than one electronic device at a time. There was another 110V outlet in the bathroom. While the layout and the cleanliness of the room were very nice, the location of cabin 9346 WAS TERRIBLE!! DO NOT BOOK THIS CABIN. The cabin sat directly beneath the Lido Deck's table & chair area, directly in front of the 24 hour pizza station. Between 11pm-3am all you hear is thundering cacophony the staff moving/stacking deck chairs to clean the deck, then hoards of drunken fools migrating from Caliente Disco to the only place that serves food at bar close. Dinner in the dining room was adequate, at best. We had late seating, Crimson lower.... with 3 youngsters - that's tough on their schedules, but we booked late - really can't whine. Our family was segregated into the "kids dining area", a little room of about 6 tables (50 people?) off of the main dining room. If I were traveling without kids, I'd be relieved to see that my dining experience wouldn't be interrupted by tired, crying kids. But it really felt far removed from the much more lavishly decorated "adult" dining room. Again, the food and service were adequate, not stellar (especially compared to other cruise lines, and considering this was a premium priced "Holiday" journey). The flexible dining options (buffets and specialty 'stations') were again, adequate. I agree with most other reviews, the lines are long, the layout is poor, and the customized dining choices (omelets, stir-fry, pasta, deli) were woefully understaffed. They really need to extend/expand dining times. Entertainment - the comedians were 'cruise ship caliber', past their prime and definitely not ever going to tour clubs and theaters again. Same with the piano man-Tom, the guitar guy in the casino, the "tropical" band playing by the pool. While they were all friendly, their acts were stale and play lists weren't very deep. It's rather "low end" to use a DAT or Minidisc as a rhythm section, it shows your performance is going to be scripted and lack any vibrancy or improv ability. I'd rather listen to a CD, my iPod, or Musak. Almost all of the music acts on board could be replaced by a jukebox (with better results), except perhaps the "orchestra" and the 4 piece rock band that played near the bar, mid-ship on Deck 5. I guess cruise ships are where washed up entertainers go to die. "Feature Entertainment" - also lacking. 12 average dancers in skimpy clothing with 2 average singers do not constitute high quality "Feature Entertainment" (the male singer looked as if he hated being on board and was simply "going through the motions" to finish the show). The cruise director boasted about the "million dollar" facility, well that's wonderful, if you have someone who knows how to use the production equipment. I would equate the performers and production caliber to something I might see at a high school or community college presentation. Less than impressed. The "Fun Force" (hip-hop dance troop??) - I am not sure how break-dancers exuding thuggish bravado adds to my vacation experience, but it may serve as a resume booster for this "crew", allowing them to skip the fry station and move right up to working the drive-thru; in their future career endeavors. Children's programs - it looked like the kids' programs, by schedule alone, were going to be incredible. After having cruised on other cruise lines and raved about their kids programs, we were sorely saddened to find out our kids hated going to "the kids jail" - their term, not ours. Other cruise lines have staff with backgrounds/degrees in early childhood development, elementary education - and all of them spoke English as a first language. NOT THE CASE ON THE DREAM. An economics major from Eastern Europe or a former daycare employee from the Philippines are not even close to the caliber/quality of care provided on other cruise lines. Having our easy-going kids crying/protesting at drop-off; told us enough. A staff of 14 to care for an estimated 1400 children?!?! Not impressed. Perhaps a more engaging youth program would not lead to 100s of unsupervised tweens, teens, and young adults (18-20), roaming the ship at all hours with nothing to do. Ports: Cruise sponsored excursions - the ultimate rip-off. Book your excursions independently, your activity and destination are the same, except the cruise line doesn't mark-up the price 100-200%. The only benefit of booking through the cruise line, is they will not strand you in port if one of "their" excursions experiences a delay returning to the ship. Example: 2 adults & 4 kids booking a simple "beach break" would run nearly $400 via Carnival. The same experience in Cozumel can be had for a $19 cab ride. Port reviews: *Nassau - a true armpit of a port. Paradise Island/Atlantis Casino & waterpark is nice, but not when there are 6 ships and 20,000 tourists in port. There is a grocery store within walking distance of the pier, where you can grab the much needed extension cord, some cheap bottled water (compared to the 1.5L bottle available in your cabin for $4 + 15%), and munchies - for when you don't want to wait in line for 20 minutes to get a grilled cheese sandwich onboard. *Cozumel - "safer" for tourists than mainland Mexico (especially the Pacific side). Plenty of shopping and recreation opportunities. Lots of independent excursion opportunities. *Roatan - wonderful beach within walking distance of the pier, no need to book an excursion here. *Belize - stay on the "tourist" path and you'll be fine. Don't stray in search of excitement. Find a bar/restaurant near the tender's pier, enjoy some relative cheap eats. Aside from that, be prepared to spend too much on an excursion (cave tubing or zip lining) - or stay onboard that day and relax poolside. Costa Maya - if you have a hankering to see Mayan ruins, in person, book the excursion. You'll learn as much or more at your local library, and won't have to drive 90 minutes to get there - but if you have to SEE it, it's your money. Otherwise there is nothing to do in this port except shop. You have your choice of Diamonds International, Diamonds International #2 (both terrible places to buy garbage stones), T-Shirt shop #1, T-shirt shop #2, Gabby's hair braiding, or the 2 restaurants/cantinas that straddle the small pool. This is the purest definition of a tourist trap. Make sure you stop by the most depressing thing you can see on your vacation - the poorly cared for dolphins, "handled" by unqualified "trainers", in a pathetically small pool. This port is nothing but an itinerary fluffer for the cruise lines. PARENTS - take note! #1 - teach your kids that when an elevator door opens, let people off before charging into the elevator car. Elderly folks with walkers get to board before the throng of teens/tweens playing tag throughout the halls. I do not and will not hesitate to bulldoze your child out of my way to get off an elevator. #2 - don't take your 17-20 year olds on a cruise. There is NOTHING for them to do after 9pm except gamble (and pester every person over 21 they encounter to get drinks for them.) If you do bring them, don't let the cruise be their drinking lesson. Make sure they know how to hold their buzz and their booze, and lock them away somewhere that they are not starting fights, acting like fools, or putting themselves in danger. Nothing is more pathetic than a drunken/coked-up 25 year old groping a unsupervised teenage girl that has had drinks poured down her throat all night. CARNIVAL - take note! #1 - Delivering all of the liquor purchased in port to passenger cabins, at 9pm, on New Years Eve - absolutely brilliant!!! What a perfect way to keep booze out of the hands of unsupervised, underage passengers (not to mention minimizing your primary revenue stream from legitimate drinkers on a big drinking night). This was probably the last time we cruise Carnival as a family. I could envision doing a 3 or 4 day 'adult getaway" on Carnival, but nothing longer than 7 days again, and never paying a premium price to sail over Christmas/NYE again. The value is simply not there. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Embarkation - Carnival had left us a voice message the day before our cruise date saying we should arrive at the Port Canaveral terminal at 1:30pm. We actually arrived at the terminal at 10:30am; there was virtually no line...we were all ... Read More
Embarkation - Carnival had left us a voice message the day before our cruise date saying we should arrive at the Port Canaveral terminal at 1:30pm. We actually arrived at the terminal at 10:30am; there was virtually no line...we were all checked in by 11am, and on the ship by 11:30am (having lunch on the Lido deck). We were not allowed to go to our cabins until 1:30pm; after they were cleaned and prepared for us. Public Rooms - The Carnival Dream was very attractive and clean. We had been on the Carnival Valor a couple years prior, and the ship layout was very similar (I think the Dream has one more deck of cabins). Other interesting spaces on the ship included the hot tubs on deck 5 (on the Lanai), and also the mini-golf on the Lido deck. The waterslide seemed to be a bit hit for the younger kids (up to ~ 10 yrs old) - our older teens went on it several times, but were not hooked on it. The waterslide closed during one day at sea due to high winds. The Serenity Deck was a nice break...there is not a lot of seating, relatively speaking, but if you time it right you could find a seat. Cabins - We had two cabins on the Empress Deck (7320 and 7344) - both located mid-ship on the port side. 7320 was a standard balcony cabin, and we felt it was a good size. The balcony was worth the extra cost because of the ability to have a private view and sitting area (great for waiting for the significant other to get ready...and for our kids to hang out with us when siblings were still getting ready). We had a couple very windy nights while At Sea and the balcony got very salty from the sea spray...in port half-way through our itinerary the crew did a full exterior wash of all balconies. One day, I chose to clean the window/door glass, railing, and chairs/table myself. 7344 was an interior cabin for our 3 kids (15, 16, 20 yrs old)...it had two twin beds with a bunk bed over one of the regular beds. 7344 was located next to the elevators...no problem, our kids never complained about any loud noise, etc. Dining - Our dining experience was very good overall in the Scarlet Dining Room (Salmon / Tilapia was excellent; Prime Rib was very good; Lamb was good; other steaks were ok). I had lunch in the dining room twice during the At Sea days, and loved the New England clam chowder and Norwegian Salmon - The Banana Cream Pie was delicious! The general buffets were good with a good selection for breakfast and lunch. The Pasta Bar was excellent (great bolognaise sauce and clam sauce!). The Mongolian Wok gets mixed reviews from our family (others liked it, but I just thought it was ok...would have liked egg/spring rolls, rather than just make-your-own stir fry). The Pizza on the Lido deck was awesome, especially as a mid afternoon or late night snack. Also, the 24/7 softserve ice cream was a family treat. Wine Package - This is a good deal if you enjoy drinking wine. The ship offers wine packages (at three different price levels), which include 5 bottles each for a discounted price as compared to the standard onboard wine list prices. We purchased two packages during the cruise - a total of 10 bottles. During the later days of the cruise, the dining room was not able to find the wine choices we wanted in our package...but we were able to do a little searching on our own, and got what we wanted. In the last couple days we got my wine from the Lobby Bar and brought the bottle to dinner (no corking fee because we bought the wine onboard). Entertainment - This category gets mixed reviews in our experience. The live bands (on the Lido deck, in the bar areas, and the pit band) were all great…true professionals. The comedians were also very good; I think we had approx 4 different comedians onboard. We also enjoyed a juggler performer - nice tricks and a good personality and good sense of humor. The hypnotist show was pretty entertaining as well. The on-stage performers (dancers and break-dancers) lowered the cruise experience to a cheesy level [note: my family says I'm too harsh with this comment; they say this is what is expected with cruise entertainment…hmmm]. The performances were 'just ok', but not nearly as good as they (the performers) appeared to think. The cruise director (Butch) asked / instructed the guests to applaud and smile for the performers (even before the performers started). The break-dancers were pathetic with their hand/finger gestures looking for praise after each little act…and then appearing angry when the audience didn't respond. Sorry Butch/dancers, but it is your job to entertain us (your guests) and to earn our gratitude. If the audience didn't respond it was either because you didn't earn it or because we didn't appreciate being coached on how to react to your performance (one more factor might be that we might just be very tired from a long day). I will give credit to the Dancing in the Streets show - it was the best of their performances, and the sets were very impressive (did I mention that it was a multi-million dollar production - no worries, Butch will tell you a few times during the cruise)… In spite of these comments, it was clear the performers all worked hard to pull together the shows. Service - Service from the ship's staff was very good. Everyone was pleasant and courteous. Our cabin steward, Jenny, was friendly and did a good job keeping our cabin tidy at least 2 times a day. Our dining room servers, Percy and Komang, were both very friendly and attentive. The staff always remembered our names and said hello when we saw them, and they celebrated my son's birthday with a card in his cabin and the staff singing Happy Birthday in the dining room. Shore Excursions Nassau Bahamas – Catamaran / Snorkel; this was a nice catamaran ride along the blue water and white sand beaches. The snorkeling was only so-so due to a cloudy day and cool water temp. Cozumel Mexico – Twister / Isla Pasion; another nice ride along blue waters. Pepe and Ricky on the boat were fun guides, and Aidah (sp?) on Isla Pasion was a great hostess. The buffet and open bar hit the spot. My wife got a very good back massage from Hugo for $35 (1/2 hr)… Isla Roatan, Honduras – Relax on the Beach (Magic Chairs / chair lift); truly relaxing with a great beach-side bar and restaurant. In retrospect, we didn’t need to pay for this in advance. There were plenty of seats available on the beach if we wanted to pay there. The magic chair wrist-band could be purchased once walking off the ship (just before getting onto the magic chair) without purchasing in advance from Carnival. Snorkel equipment and paddle boats were also available for rent if you wanted without reserving in advance. Belize – Cave Tubing (www.cavetubing.com); lots of fun and great lunch! Our guide, Junior and the driver “7” were terrific!! We booked this on our own, and saved a lot of money – this is the way to go…they do a great job. They explained everything and made everyone feel very comfortable – we felt safe with our guides. Belize may be a country of poverty, but our guides showed us that they are rich with kindness. For our next cruise we will want to explore more of the direct excursions – www.cavetubing.com was great! Costa Maya, Mexico – Dune Buggy and Beach Break; Excellent!!! It was a blast driving the dune buggy for 2+ hrs along the roads in Costa Maya and along sand roads aside the ocean through beautiful small villages. We spent about 1 hr relaxing on a white-sand beach. Costa Maya, Mexico – Jungle Beach Break provided a comfortable bus ride to a beautiful white-sand beach with lots of chairs. There was an open bar, and lunch for sale (good deal / good service). Watercraft and snorkel equipment was also available for rent. Debarkation – Overall, the debarkation process was smooth. Our holiday cruise arrived back at Port Canaveral on Jan 1, 2011 at 6:30am… The night before was New Year’s Eve, so most people were up late celebrating. We packed our suit cases and left them in the hallway on New Year’s Eve around 9:30pm. On debarkation day, everyone needed to be out of their cabins by 8:30am, and everyone needed to be off the ship by 10:30am. We were given debarkation numbers of 6 and 7 (for our two cabins), and were scheduled to leave the ship approx 7:40-8:00am; but we decided to take a little more time to pack our final carry-on gabs, and went to the breakfast buffet…we actually left the ship later (around 9:30am) and we only had to wait in line approx 15 minutes. The cruise director kept making announcements over the PA for people to keep people moving off the ship according to their debarkation numbers, saying that US Customs ‘required’ them to hurry the process, but in my opinion I think it was just Carnival wanting to move the people to keep their own schedule for transitioning to the next cruise passengers. Overall – We had a great vacation on this Carnival cruise. With our family of five, we were all able to be involved in what we enjoyed most, and were always able to find places on the ship to ‘get away’ when we wanted some solitude now and then. The overall cruise experience was very organized and clean, and we never felt crowded onboard. We did feel that there were too many areas on the ship where people were smoking – would like to see that change in the future… Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Background: We traveled the day after Christmas as a family: parents, myself and two brothers (26, 22, 20), my sister (28) and her husband. We had two balcony cabins and one inside cabin. We have all cruised before on a variety of lines ... Read More
Background: We traveled the day after Christmas as a family: parents, myself and two brothers (26, 22, 20), my sister (28) and her husband. We had two balcony cabins and one inside cabin. We have all cruised before on a variety of lines (Carnival, NCL), but this was all of our first time on RCL. Embarkation: Very quick and easy. We never encountered the lines that other people have complained of, which make me think it's hit or miss. We basically walked onto the ship and I would say the whole check in process took about 20 minutes. DEcor: The ship is gorgeous and by far the nicest ship that any of us had been on. No gaudy dEcor (or at least it was quite minimal). The pool decks were nice, and we spent the majority of our poolside time in the adult's only area. There were no problems with kids being there and the hot tubs were fantastic! Quite large and the overhanging feature was pretty cool and made for a nice view. Plenty of seats, which seemed to eliminate the feeling of being over-crowded on sea days. Only problem with the pool decks was that there were no water stations except for in the Windjammer, which closed from about 4 to 6pm. So if you were sitting at the pool during those times and felt like a drink you either needed to buy something at the bar or go to the 5th floor, which was a little annoying. Staterooms: Much more spacious than what I've had on other cruises (and we had three people inside our cabin!). The room had a sofa, coffee table, desk/dresser, two twin beds and a bunk bed (which was put away during the daytime). Bathroom was the usual, but no lotion/conditioner etc was provided. So remember to bring your own! One complaint was that this is the only ship any of us had ever been on that did not have a laundry room for guests to use. This posed a problem for some dresses and shirts had become wrinkled while being packed. On every other ship we would just make a quick stop at the laundry room and iron; however we had to pay for these services here. To get three dress shirts pressed cost $10, which was irritating. To their credit, the service was very quick and done well. As you can't bring your own iron onboard, I guess this is just a cost you might get stuck with. Beds were comfortable, the rooms had individual temperature controls and our room steward was very good. Other common areas: The theaters were large enough so that we never had any problems finding seats, however there are some obstructed views in the top level. The Promenade was fantastic! It was hard to believe we were on a cruise ship while there. Good duty free shops in the promenade (the cosmetics and alcohol were particularly good deals). The sports deck was great! I tried the rock climbing and had a good time, all of my siblings tried the flowrider (prepare for some bruises and ladies, hold onto your bathing suits!), and we also tried the mini putt and went ice skating. The gym was large and well equipped and most of us made it there most days. The first day at sea the gym was packed and I had to wait for a treadmill, however it seemed as though many people just wanted to "try it out" and were off within minutes so the wait was quick. All cardio equipment at the gym had their own TVs, however towels ran out quickly. The internet cafe had lots of computers that were temperamental at best and it would definitely have been nice to have an RCL employee there to help out and answer any questions. Food: The food in the dining room ranged from good to excellent, with plenty of options. I'll agree that the desserts may not have been the best I've ever had on a cruise, but many of the main courses were so it evens out. Plenty of choices were available, including lobster on one night, surf and turf, steaks and vegetarian dishes. Our waiter and assistant waiter were excellent but we had a few problems with the head waiter. There was a little confusion as there had clearly been a mistake and too many people were seated at our table starting mid-way through the cruise. We're a family of seven and had requested a table for 8 and that we preferred to be alone (family time, didn't really want an extra individual). On the Wednesday, for whatever reason, a couple was seated at our table. Although they were very nice, the table designed for 8 people now had nine and it was a little uncomfortable due to the lack of space and due to the fact that my family dominated the table. We spoke to the head waiter about the issue after dinner and although he said that he'd seat the couple elsewhere, the next evening he hadn't done that. Eventually it was all sorted out, but his lack of service was disappointing. We ate in the dining room each morning for breakfast and didn't miss the hustle of the buffet. The Windjammer was okay, nothing special. We missed having a deli (a real one - they have an area called "deli" but it's just a bunch of unlabeled cold cuts on a plate), but aside from that the food was acceptable. We never went hungry and could always find things to eat (I'm a rather picky eater and was fine). Sorrento's pizza was okay, nothing amazing and we rarely ate at the coffee shop/sandwich shop due to lack of selection. We never ate at any of the specialty restaurants - Ben and Jerry's (although it smelled great!), Chops, Johnny Rockets etc. We also never ordered room service. Entertainment: This is really where the ship sets itself apart from others that we had been on. The nightly shows ranged from average to great - the opening night show was the usual song and dance, we missed the Once Upon a Time show because it started so late (10:45!) and the Broadway Medley had amazing costumes and was quite fun to watch. There were a few comedians that were okay, and some aerialists which were fun because it's not something we'd seen on a cruise ship before. We went to the circus parade which was pretty strange (just the cruise workers in costumes walking back and forth down the promenade). The ice show was amazing! We had pretty low expectations for the ice show (none of us are particularly big figure skating fans) but we were all just blown away! I would recommend. We all enjoyed the piano player Kory Simon - again, we had pretty low expectations for a cruise ship pianist but he was fantastic! Very talented (if you know anything about playing the piano I would recommend getting a seat close to where you can watch his hands. I sat right next to him and was just blown away) and very charismatic (I'm pretty sure every woman in the room had a little crush on the man!). He's interactive and a lot of fun to watch. He was standing room only every night though, so get there at least a little bit early. We also all went to trivia a few times and had a blast - obviously this would be cruise specific but we had a really good crowd that we would see at trivia each time. It was a lot of fun, even if we weren't the ultimate winners. Dress code: On past cruises there has been a mix of casual, semi-formal and formal nights. This ship had two formal nights and the rest were all casual. Lots of jeans and polos in the dining room, which was unexpected. Formal nights saw a range of dress, from tuxedos to suits and ties to khakis, cocktail dresses and ball gowns. Overall, it was a pretty casual ship. Disembarkation: We went for breakfast in the dining room that morning to enjoy one last cruise meal and then walked off the ship. Our luggage was waiting and our cruise was (sadly) over! Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
We wanted to be cruising the Caribbean over Christmas and New Year so they recommended the NCL Sun bAck to back Eastern and Western. Our flights over to the US were great. We couldn't fault BA at all and even with a 10 and 11 ... Read More
We wanted to be cruising the Caribbean over Christmas and New Year so they recommended the NCL Sun bAck to back Eastern and Western. Our flights over to the US were great. We couldn't fault BA at all and even with a 10 and 11 year old the time flew by. Our overnight stay was at the Hyatt which is right in Orlando International Airport. Our room was really nice - two large double beds and there was a swmming pool out on the roof which was great for the kids to dip into after the long journey. The only thing I would fault with NCL here is that there was no one there to meet us, which was a bit confusing as our paperwork had said someone would be there to tell us what time the coach etc would be picking us up the next morning. However the check in desk at the hotel did have a letter for us to explain the details. The next morning was a bit chaotic, only because the hotel reception are was being refurbished so all the NCL passengers were waiting in a tiny space in the lifts foyer. Anyway, the weather on our way to ship was awful, raining heavy not a great start. There was quite a big queue at embarkation, but asd soon as we boarded all the stress melted away. The restaurants were open for lunch, but unfortunately due to the rain the sail off BBQ was cancelled. We got into our cabin fairly quickly and our luggage was waiting for us to unpack. We had a superior inside II cabin and it was reaaly roomy. Lots of storage space and plenty of space under the beds to store the suitcases. Our cabin stewards Jonathan and Ferdinand were brilliant, goodness knows how they manage to remember all the passengers names, children included, but they do. We always had our evening meals in either the Seven Seas or Four Seasons restaurant. We never had any complaints on the food, the children who can be a bit picky always finished their plates. Breakfast was nice at the Garden Cafe or out on the back to take in the fresh air. Lunch varied, either one of the restaurants, Garden Cafe or BBQ. We also liked Las Ramblas which served lovely tapas or the Sports Bar did things like chicken wings. Also, just rememberd there is another restaurant which I can't remember the name that specialised in pizza and pasta etc. All in all food was fabulous. I have to say I was quite disappointed with some of the passengers dress atire during evening meals. I have to say it did seem to be the majority of poorly dressed people were American. Although not everyone wants to get dressed up formally every night, to turn up to a restaurant in shorts and a t shirt which had clearly been worn all day long was a bit off putting. Wine waiters were very knowledgable and we took advantage of the wine offer for both weeks of the cruise which is you pre order a certain number of bottles and the price is reduced 20%. We had already pre paid for the childrens soft drinks package, but you can easily do this once on board as well. The weather throughout the 2 weeks was not great. Myself and our two children were all sea sick once during the 1st week and then again the 2nd. Not a pleasant experience, but I suppose to be expected after all we were on a cruise! My main complaint is about one of the ports of call - Guatemala, what on earth possesses the cruise line to stop here? It is nothing bur a freight terminal. It is not safe to walk into the town on your own. We booked an NCL excursion to the waterfalls and it was a total rip off. The trip was supposed to be 3 hours long but it was over and done with in half that time and the waterfalls are pretty poor. They say they are taking you to the rain forest, but I have seen better at the Eden Project in Cornwall. Christmas Day was spoilt unfortunately as this was the day we were back at Port Canaveral and we had to go and see the US Customs people at 6.30 am in the morning, the children were very disappointed that they had to get dressed at that time in the morning when they had their presents etc to unwrap. This was very poorly organised. We also had the same thing to go through again the 2nd week when we reached Key West. All in all we had a really good time, the NCL Sun although slightly older than others in the fleet is a nice ship - the pool areas could do with an overhaul, but nothing to really complain about. We would travel with NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
This was my first experience on a Carnival ship and it will be my last. The cruise was booked with an inside cabin which would be assigned later,and initially we were to be on deck 2. My companion, a veteran cruiser, decided to check ... Read More
This was my first experience on a Carnival ship and it will be my last. The cruise was booked with an inside cabin which would be assigned later,and initially we were to be on deck 2. My companion, a veteran cruiser, decided to check options for an upgrade since she had never been that low on any ship previously with more than 30 past cruises. She paid to upgrade us to deck 6. Little did we know that cabin 6404 was to be the "cabin from hell".Because of its location above the nightclub,we were subjected to constant loud music and could actually feel the walls vibrate till the entertainment ended at 12:30am .We were slightly aft of the center of the ship and many cabins on Deck 6 aft have this problem. All the music venues(casino,nightclub, Caliente disco,Latin Club,comedy club/karaoke, and piano bar) are on deck 5 and due to poor ship design/lack of insulation the comfort and privacy of many cabins are sacrificed .This cabin was to be my home for 9 nights where I would spend the Christmas holiday and New Years Eve, so I complained just after midnight on the 1st night,but ultimately there was nothing that could be done to change our cabin. In fairness, Carnival did issue a 20% credit ,but our cruise experience was ruined never-the-less.I also think that the design of the theater is flawed in that nearly all the seating on the main level is flat so it's difficult to see the show over the sea of heads in front of you.It's a shame that there are plans to build 2 more ships with this same flawed design. Clearly public space is sacrificed in favor of more cabins and with 4,500 passengers you really feel the crunch on the Lido deck and the pool deck. It was also among the more difficult ships to walk around on. We chose Carnival's version of anytime dining,and overall there were some very good meals served although we had no choice of dining rooms . We managed to find a superb waiter after experiencing a few weak servers and asked to be seated in his section for each meal which worked out well. I felt that the food in the buffet was average with the best choices being the Tandoori and Sandwich shop in the back of the ship. The meals in the optional steakhouse were excellent as was the service there,so we visited it twice. Another excellent feature on this ship were the major production shows which were among the best that I've seen. The comedy club was very good too, and I saw 4 comedians who each had a pg show and r-rated show and I saw them all. There is also an adults only outdoor space which had some comfortable seating with 2 hot tubs as well which was a welcome relief from the 1500 passengers under the age of 18. There was also a movie screen on the pool deck which was the setting for three laser light shows which were worth experiencing. Another noisy intrusion that I have not seen on other cruise lines were announcements that were made on the PA system throughout the ship asking for passengers to call people in their party, some after 10 pm. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Normally we would spend Christmas at home with mountains of snow but for 2010 we decided to do something different. I have been on 2 previous Disney cruises before this Holiday cruise and they have both been superb! This cruise was a ... Read More
Normally we would spend Christmas at home with mountains of snow but for 2010 we decided to do something different. I have been on 2 previous Disney cruises before this Holiday cruise and they have both been superb! This cruise was a little bit different, longer cruise more people than ever before and it stop at at least 2 brand new ports to DCL. I purchased a miniature Christmas tree to make the room more festive for the season! There were some ups and downs with the service but in all a great vacation. All tours and excursions listed were booked direct with DCL. Pre Night: Hyatt Regency at the Orlando Airport(MCO). Great hotel they were going through renovations so the morning of the cruise was a little different but still very efficient. Embarkation: Was Painfully Slow because we could not do our check in and the airport because we were considered International guests we had to wait in some very long lines. Once they started boarding everything became rushed and was difficult. Once on board we went to top siders buffet and enjoyed our lunch and waited for the sweet tunes When you wish upon a star... Dinner Service: Our head server was not up to par, we rarely saw him and was not as efficient we could see the table be seated after us and still receive there meals before us. He was not bad just I have had better. Our drink waiter was never a bore he was always waiting to fill our glass or create new mind puzzle for us to solve! Overall good service but it did need improvement. Food: Delicious...need I say more? Entertainment: I went to all of the performances the Broadway styles plays were FANTASTIC! The hypnotist was hilarious and as was the balancing act.. the only one I did not enjoy and sad to say I nearly fell asleep was the Jimmy Buffet tribute band. I stayed for the entire performance but I could have skipped on it. Ports of Call: Great completely different then what I've ever done! Movie Theater: Tron, Tangled and Secretariat were the first run movies being played. Characters: There were always plenty to go around we didn't wait in line for them if we saw one open we would go otherwise we walked by with smiles. Christmas: Christmas on the ship was good they had a midnight mass, and Santa Clause brought all the Children a present it was nice to see. All the characters had Christmas Clothing on and they created a special menu for the occasion. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
We flew into Orlando on Friday rented a car from Thrifty and spent the day at the beach in Cape Canaveral. Saturday dropped the car off and headed to the port via Thrifty's shuttle, was at the port in minutes and on board the ship ... Read More
We flew into Orlando on Friday rented a car from Thrifty and spent the day at the beach in Cape Canaveral. Saturday dropped the car off and headed to the port via Thrifty's shuttle, was at the port in minutes and on board the ship within 20 maybe 30 minutes. We booked two cabins with me and hubby in an oceanview suite 9260 and kids across the hall in 9262 in the forward of the ship. We've sailed before on the Miracle years ago and don't remember it being so shaky. The ship rocked and rolled the entire cruise but we stilled loved every minute of our vacation. We went to Bahamas, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten. We did not book any excursions through the ship. Bahamas and St Thomas was booked on line and in St Maarten we just did things at the beach at way less then Carnival's prices. Bahamas - only there a few hours we booked a beach excursion at the British Colonial Hilton as we thought it was too short of time to do Atlantis and not feel rushed. It was just OK. The website listed all kinds of beach activities but there were none - just the beach and a swimming pool. We paid $50 for each person when arrived we got $130 in food and drink credits. St Thomas - did Godfry's island tour. it was great! we shopped, toured the island with Godfrey as out tour guide, and spend hours at Magen's Bay Beach all for $30 per person. if you are scared of heights dont do this tour. We went way up in teh mountains on narrow winding roads but the views were breath taking although i was terrified. St Maarten - we took a water taxi to the beach but you can walk. we rented beach chairs a beach bed and got drinks for $20. the kids rented a jet ski for $50 for 1/2 hour and went para sailing for $50 i went out on the boat with them for $25. We were so exhausted after the to days in St. thomas and St. Maarten that we slept the who next day! We did the dining room every day with the 8:15 meal time. it worked out great for the comedy shows and shows in the encore theatre- which were just ok. We had the buffet breakfast every morning which was great, too - they had the same food each day but switched up on the type of egg dish and you also could get omletes made to order. Dinner was great in the Crimson dining room and the staff was excellent in the dining room and each time we left our room it was spotless when we came back once we started putting the "need service" sign on the door. The kids did the slides one day i did too and skinned my arm -- oouch. Overall we had a great time, but on the "Sea Days' we all were bored. the kids did do the camps for their age one day and never went back. Although we enjoyed cruising with Carnival next time we plan to try another line. also, we will never book a cruise that have multiple Sea Days back to back. We liked getting off the ship and having fun on the islands. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
My daughter and her two teen sons and I had a WONDERFUL, wonderful time aboard the NCL SUN during Thanksgiving week! Some things stand out, needing attention, but these things never did cloud the good times that we were having. ... Read More
My daughter and her two teen sons and I had a WONDERFUL, wonderful time aboard the NCL SUN during Thanksgiving week! Some things stand out, needing attention, but these things never did cloud the good times that we were having. For the first three days, every railing and every elevator button, inside and out of the elevator was STICKY! They were constantly cleaning aboard this ship and yet, these items were sticky to the touch for days. It was as though the one person responsible for this was unavailable, but surely not just the passengers could feel the sticky? The food was inconsistent, both in the dining rooms and in the cafeteria. One night, my daughter had the sirloin steak from the alternative menu and it was great; two nights later, I had the same thing, and while it was pink inside which means that it was not over-cooked, I couldn't cut it with a steak knife. I could have thrown my lobster and it would have bounced off the wall because it was so rubbery. Subsequently, I spoke with a lady who had eaten in the same dining room as I, and at the same time, and she told me that her lobster was so good; it was melting in her mouth. Deserts upstairs were never very interesting. It's REALLY nice to have REAL ice cream available, but the other items were not great at all. The entertainment was terrific! The specialty acts were great and the onboard singers and dancers were perhaps the best group of such talent that I have ever seen at sea. HOWEVER, in the all-girl revue, just about every costume had something wrong with it. They were ill-fitting; the hemlines went on an angle, one dress came unzipped during the performance. The last big song/dance revue entitled "ENCORE" was wonderful and the costumes were better. However, even those costumes had sparkly threads torn away and hanging. This group sorely needs a wardrobe mistress! ...and with all of these things "off" so much that I would bother to mention them, how is it that we had such a bang-up time? My daughter and I were talking about that and we decided that when we are on an NCL ship, every crew member we meet seems to be a genuinely nice person and happy to be there with us. We don't feel that they smile because someone told them to do it; we get the feeling that they are just fun people. Whenever I would travel on an NCL ship in the past, if I was asked to comment at the end of the trip, I would always say, "Please come to Port Canaveral!" (I suppose that you can guess that we live very near this Port!) And, so at last they did and I am really glad. I am delighted that the Norwegian Sun is at "our port". I will take every opportunity that I can to sail on her, again and again! Already, I have the same cruise booked for April 12th and then, of course, I'll want to go on another cruise to see the SUN after her dry-dock experience! Thank you to the crew of the SUN for a fun, fun time! Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
OK, We are big fans of RCCL, but have enjoyed Carnival as well. So we figured we'd try out the new ship on the water from Carnival. Embarkation was fast and reasonably efficient. No complaints there, as we were among ... Read More
OK, We are big fans of RCCL, but have enjoyed Carnival as well. So we figured we'd try out the new ship on the water from Carnival. Embarkation was fast and reasonably efficient. No complaints there, as we were among 4200 others trying to get on, they did a good job-keeping people moving. Food: we have found that Carnival ranks right up there in quality of food, the only draw back was that breakfast buffet in the Gathering was repetitious, same thing every day. However dinner in the Scarlet dining room (late seating) was very good. Shows: This is where I think RCCL does a better job, the shows on the Dream where just ok, with the exception of the hypnotist Doug MacDraw he was great, if you have a chance to see him perform and are curious about being hypnotize, you should volunteer, he was awesome. The GOOD: With the recent press about bed bugs everywhere, when we arrived in our cabin 9254, we conducted a very thorough exam of everything in the room, and found it to be clean and free of any signs of bed bugs, we give the Dream 100% clean rating, no worries, but you should educate yourselves on the issues of bed bugs, how to look for them and what to expect. www.bedbugregistry.com is a good resource. The BAD: Not thinking, we booked for the week of Thanksgiving, never again ... 4200 people on board, 1600 were kids ... kids let loose to run a muck uncontrolled. Camp Carnival was way under staffed for what they were about to experience. You can imagine what that was like, kids can be rude when running in packs, don't get me wrong I love kids, but when left to their own devices or challenges of peer pressure kids can be pretty nasty with no manners. Also, I had read about the terrible smell on lower decks of Dream, and that is why we selected deck 9, but I had a chance to wander down the halls of deck 2 after being at sea for 1 1/2 days and P-U ... it was rank with methane stink, I don't know why it smelled so bad but it was awful. If you book on Dream get above deck 4 or you will experience some stink. This being a new ship it is already showing signs of wear, hall way corners bashed in a couple of places, carpeting stained, bureau draws that would not close tightly, and there was this constant pounding noise and shutter from the engine room that could be felt in mostly any interior location of the ship. Granted we were in very rough water, 15-foot seas all week. The big question did we enjoy our trip? - Yes very much, did we have a good time? Yes again very much, would we cruise on this ship again? Probably not unless the price was a factor or a new area like Mediterranean cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
I won't go into the ship's features since that has already been done at length. I will just hit our likes and dislikes about this ship. And I want to comment on our cabin, #2456, because prior to departure, I could find no info ... Read More
I won't go into the ship's features since that has already been done at length. I will just hit our likes and dislikes about this ship. And I want to comment on our cabin, #2456, because prior to departure, I could find no info on it. We left Port Canaveral on a week-long Thanksgiving cruise to the Caribbean with 38 family members. This was not a ship or an itinerary we would ordinarily have chosen, but we went to be with our family, and it was wonderful in that regard. The Dream is huge, but it did not feel unmanageable, save for the horribly frenetic cafeteria, and the fact that debarking at ports was harried and, particularly at St. Thomas, disorganized. We booked our own air in and out of Orlando, but used Carnival's shuttles to/from port. That was seamless, and well worth the money. I would never bother renting a car. Not worth it. The port was pretty well organized, but not smooth like, say, Baltimore, which is incredible. Much better than the other Florida ports. (Disclosure: I have not used Miami.) Overview: The Dream, basically, is the gigantic Ramada Inn of cruise ships. It is clean and serves its purpose. Everything was tidy and well-maintained. I would not call the ship beautiful or ritzy, but it is functional and not gaudy, which in the cruise industry, says a lot. Except for a horrid Thanksgiving Day meal, where the food was terrible and our entrees and deserts were reportedly "stolen by another waiter," the food in the main dining room was good. Carnival always surprises me with this fact. Service was a shoddy circus, but honestly, the staff was worked within an inch of their lives and spread way, way too thin. Shame on Carnival. The outdoor cookout area was amazing. Best. Ribs. Ever. That was the consensus of every guy in our group. The cafeteria stuff was the usual; not great, not bad. The Indian buffet was decent and pretty authentic, but I never saw any curries or tikka masala. Hamburgers were so-so, hot dogs were synthetic yuck. Pasta bar was a joke. Somewhere, a gang of Italian chefs is rolling on the floor with laughter. Cabins: Our cabin was an OV, far aft, and bland but plenty spacious. Our group had also booked a number of inside cabins nearby, and they were very, very nice, and not claustrophobic in the least. Almost all of us were aft on Deck 2 and it was quiet. We had some mildly rough seas outbound, but felt little motion. By contrast, one family in our group was far forward on Deck 2, and apparently the motion and engine noise was horrific. We usually get balcony cabins because I tend to motion sickness and sit outside a lot. But again, we wanted to be near our group, and we did not suffer in the least in this cabin. When I felt queasy, I just stood at the window awhile, or went above. Bedding was quite good, pillows and mattresses just excellent. We slept like babies. Bathrooms were marvelous, and amazingly well designed. I have had worse bathrooms in large suites on better lines. Someone should get an award for this design. There was space for everything. The cabin, for what we paid, was extremely spacious, even though this was one of the rooms which wraps around a service stairwell. I think there must have been complaints about this, because prior to departure, our TA called and said that Carnival was going to give us $100 back because the cabin had been classified down. The hallway also cuts into the room a little oddly, if you look at the deck plan. But we had no noise at all, and I would not hesitate to rebook this cabin. It was an incredible value. The spa: We paid for a pair of week-long spa passes, and should have just flung the cash overboard instead. The Thermo pool was tepid. There were no spa hot tubs such as you might have on NCL. No showers in the ladies' room that I could find. The heated loungers were crowded. The music was loud. The other patrons were loud, too. Forget closing your eyes and relaxing here. One of the beds was broken, and another broke beneath a lady as she lay down on it. On port days, they had clearly oversold day passes to the detriment of those who had bought weekly passes. Just do not waste your money. Additionally, the serenity deck, like all such decks on all such ships, was packed. Loungers were reserved with towels that lay there all day. None of the hot tubs was above about 100 degrees. I can understand this on the public decks, because people let their kids get in them. But on the serenity deck, they should be cranked. Instead, they were not worth getting wet for. Now, the infamous smell. This really does exist. There is a definite odor of sewage gas at intervals along the corridors of Deck 2, and if I remember correctly, Deck 3. It is unpleasant. If you had a cabin near these spots, you would have a miserable journey indeed. I never attempted to pinpoint these spots, but wish now I had done. Perhaps someone else has? This is a definite design flaw. I hope it is not dangerous. I did not smell sewer gas on any of the public decks. Entertainment & Activities: The gym was quite decent. Our group did not use any of the kids clubs. What entertainment we saw was fine. We are not big on ship entertainment. I will say that the entertainment director was very funny. Jeff the Fun Dude. How he keeps it up, I'll never know. That crowd would wear me down in two weeks. I would give serious thought to promoting Jeff. Maybe put him in charge of service? Which brings me to . . . Service: And here we come to the sticking point. All the staff were kind, but this ship felt seriously understaffed, and the workers are run ragged. They LOOKED tired and worn. They showed significantly less enthusiasm than other crews we'd seen on other lines, and even on other, older Carnival ships. It was sad. Even bar service in clubs and the main restaurant was tepid—and that's the bread and butter of a cruise line. We were practically screaming, "PLEASE, take our money!" Nada. I begin to think the staff on the Dream is being treated like a gang of galley slaves. I would rather pay more, and have a staff adequately paid and rested. Don't get me wrong. Save for six calls to Guest Relations going totally unanswered, our needs were adequately met. Nothing suffered. Except the crew. Summary: If you are on a tight, tight budget, and don't mind roving gangs of loud children, tepid hot tubs, and watching others suffer in your service, this ship might be for you. Despite what I think are lovely cabins and good food, I don't think it is for me. But I have tried to be fair in my ratings and review. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
If you have the choice, do not go on the Carnival Dream. We just got home from a 7-night Western Caribbean cruise (Dec 12 - Dec 19) and the experience was terrible. Nobody likes long story-like reviews so I will summarize all the knocks ... Read More
If you have the choice, do not go on the Carnival Dream. We just got home from a 7-night Western Caribbean cruise (Dec 12 - Dec 19) and the experience was terrible. Nobody likes long story-like reviews so I will summarize all the knocks against this ship as briefly as I can: - The ship cannot handle the number of guests. Everywhere we went felt like Macy's the day before Christmas. We were ~400 guests below capacity and yet the over-crowding was terrible. - Long lines for everything! If you wanted to see a comedy show you better had lined up 30 minutes before to get in the room. Also, It was impossible to get food without waiting in a 20 minute line. That is completely unacceptable. - Woefully understaffed. ONE cook making omelets on a ship of this size is ridiculous. Our waiter each night looked like he was going to have a heart attack trying to serve all the tables he was assigned. No matter the time, food stations were either closed down or had lines stretching for as far as the eyes could see. - Room service often never arrived. Other times they quoted wait times of over 1 hour. We were often conflicted whether to go to the Lido deck and wait in a 30 minute line for the buffet or sit in our room for an hour for room service that may never arrive - Our hallway smelled like a toilet. How is this possible on a new ship? - When approaching ports our room vibrated like we were in a San Francisco earthquake. This always occurred very early in the morning so we were never able to get a good night's sleep. - We had multiple billing issues. Someone else's drink order somehow appeared on our card one day. Then in two other instances the bartender rung us up for high-priced cocktails when we had ordered much less-expensive beers. I'm willing to let an error or two slide, but three over-billing errors on one trip is unacceptable. I chalk these human errors up to a symptom of an understaffed ship. - Want a glass of water on this ship? Good luck finding one. - Never did an employee offer us water, coffee, etc. while dining on the Lido deck. - Want a sure fire way to find ship staff? Look no further than the gym and the Caliente night club. The gym was constantly packed with employees (ogling my fiancE no less) and the nightclub always had a good contingent of employees getting drunk in the evenings. I have no problem with employees enjoying the ship's facilities, but the optics of this are terrible on a ship that suffered so much due to under-staffing. Was anyone actually in charge of this ship? While this was by far the worst cruise I have taken, I will nonetheless try to end my review on good notes: - All three billing errors were rectified within 24 hours. - Our waiter and assistant were extremely nice. We felt pity for them since they worked so hard at a job that desperately needed additional manpower. - Our room attendant (Mohamed - 2nd floor deck) was awesome. He always had a smile on his face, greeted us by first names, knew our schedule after only one day, and cleaned our room flawlessly. In summary, we will never cruise with Carnival again. Two very disappointed thumbs down. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
My wife and I were celebrating our 20th anniversary. We chose Carnival because in all honesty it gave use more for the money. Food it was very good. the lido deck well its a buffet and they did have some tasty dishes up there. Our ... Read More
My wife and I were celebrating our 20th anniversary. We chose Carnival because in all honesty it gave use more for the money. Food it was very good. the lido deck well its a buffet and they did have some tasty dishes up there. Our dinning room was excellent every day from starter to the soups and deserts. And of course the main entree. What really help us was our waiter would recommend most of the food. I sometimes would ask how the steaks were he would reply its very tough Mr. Jay. As I said before the soups were fantastic cream potato was very good. Oh the cream Brulee was to die for. Now going back to the lido deck the burgers were always fresh and tasty. Pizza was ok if you got a freshly bake one. Allot of fruit, I can't get enough of fruit. One thing I must say about the lido deck many people complain about the lines and rudeness of other passengers. I for myself and my wife never seen it except on sea days. Which would be expected. On those days the lines weren't that long maybe five min. There pasta bar was great also. Coffee on Carnival was good. Service was outstanding through our cruise. Our waiter Austin was the best. His recommendation were always right on. He would refer us by our first names which was a first for me nice touch. His side kick was filling our beverages and keeping fresh bread in our grasp. Ken the maitre d was an entertaining gent and a cool voice. Room service was always on time even on the last day at 6 am. Can't forget Noor our cabin steward friendly and kept our cabin very clean. And the towel animals were there every evening. Love those little chocolate mints on our pillow. Going back to the lido deck I found that the employees up there were always friendly and keeping the tables clear for other people. Entertainment was ok I guess, nothing to write home about. The young lady who sang in the production show can really sing.. The fellow lead singer not impressed with him. During the Motown tribute he was just awful I thought. The dancers were ok I guess. Break dancers were very good. Never went to see the piano bar to smokey for us. Todd Whitmire my personal opinion. He just doesn't make himself more visible to us the passengers. He can always hear him through the intercom and see him on TV whoopee. This was supposed to be the Fun Ship. He's not that fun. Kenny Rush is still the best cruise director out there. I know he's with RCC. The laser shows were interesting and good to view. Going back to the production show they had one called dancing in the street. This by what our CD is the best show out on sea. Again not impress to much with any of the singers some of the dancers were good. Though at times off on there timing. The Dream ship is a very beautiful ship but at times the layout a little confusing. After a few days you get the hang of it.Atrium on this ship was beautiful. Christmas decoration and all. Love the retro pics all over the ship very different. I know the ship in only a few months old but I must say the cleanliness was very good. Excursions were very good also. A day in St. Martin was just awesome with our tour guide Slim. Never maade out there in St. Thomas due to one of us not feeling up to a day of sailing. I was really looking forward to that. Maybe next time. Conclusion this was a very good cruise for my wife and I. It met and went above our expectation. You really can't ask for more than that. This was our first Carnival cruise and we will be back some time. BIG THANKS FORM US CARNIVAL. SEE YOU SOON. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
The Carnival Dream is a beautiful ship. The decor was tasteful and surprising subdued by Carnival's usual themes. We really liked the increase in width of the ship as this reduced the congestion and you were able to walk freely. ... Read More
The Carnival Dream is a beautiful ship. The decor was tasteful and surprising subdued by Carnival's usual themes. We really liked the increase in width of the ship as this reduced the congestion and you were able to walk freely. Embarkation: We landed in Orlando airport at noon, and we were on the ship by 10 after 1:00. Very smooth embarkation process. No Problems. Good Job Carnival! Stateroom: We had a aft balcony and this was by far the best room we have ever had. The room was spacious and well laid out. More than enough closet space, two windows and a beautiful long balcony. (No this was not a suite) Room Steward: I can honestly say we have never had a bad room steward in all of the 13 cruises we have had to date. Lito, was one of the best we have had. My husband and I enjoy talking to the stewards and finding out a little about their lives and where they are from. They are always willing to share a little bit of themselves. Food: We did wait a little for our food as the waiters had a distance to travel to the galley. However the food was always, hot, to our specifications and very good. We really did not have any complaints. The delivery of food was delayed at times, but you could see the waiters hustling. Perhaps the galley has some time management issues to work out. I am sure they will. Ken: Maitre'd. By far the best Maitre'd we have ever had. We enjoy his singing, he visited our table on two occasions, he spoke to the patrons. He clearly enjoys his job and he made the dinning experience special for all. This was the third time we have had Ken as our Maitre'd and he is definitely a pleasure. Elevators: Yes, the elevators are congested at times. But only at peak times. The trick is to identify those peak times and tweak your schedule a bit. When you have a crowd of people all determined to get to the same place at the same time you are going to see a lot of bad manners. Unfortunately, this happened quire frequently on this trip. Especially, in the elevators. There were many times when the door would open, and you were bowled over by people barreling into the elevator, never giving those inside a chance to get off. This was very frustrating. Pool areas: Definitely smaller than the other ships, but plenty of seating on deck. I liked that the congestion was minimized in this area. On smaller Carnival ships the main center of activity was near the pool area. And we tend to avoid those areas in the daytime because they are busy,noisy and crowded. On the Dream we found this area to be pleasant. Odor: I noticed the odor when we sat on the deck in the mornings. The odor was coming from the public rest room area. It smelled like sewer. However it was slight and only when the wind blew a particular way. It was NOT constant. We spent a lot of time in this area and only noticed it in the mornings. I don't know why this occurred at this time and not at other times? Shows:We didn't see the shows because the long lines. It was not worth standing in line and you were not guaranteed to get a seat. This was definitely the biggest issue that we saw. Carnival needs to get a handle on crowd control. As this is a larger ship, the food areas, and the shows areas are not large enough to accommodate the increase in passengers. Comedy Shows: we did catch two comedy shows. They were very good but we were unable to go back to the shows for the second half as the lines were horrendous. Again, perhaps taking reservations-perhaps offering the shows more often? I don't know what the answer is. IF CARNIVAL does not take immediate steps to correct this they will have a serious drop in their customer satisfaction. Food Lines: The only way to get around the massive lines were to slightly adjust the times you ate. If you went very early to breakfast you were okay. If you went after 2 for lunch you were okay. Otherwise, you had long lines, people cutting in and very rude behaviors. Getting a table during the peak times was a challenge. Pasta Bar: Best new idea that Carnival has had! You fill out exactly how you want your food prepared, take a seat and 15 minutes later you food is delivered to your table. The food is FANTASTIC! This cruise was unique in that there were over 600 platinum members. The highest in Carnival history. The one thing that stood out was the demanding, know it all behavior of some passengers. My husband and I enjoy talking to people about their experiences. Always eager to get some ideas, tips, knowledge from other people's experiences. And when appropriate, we share our experiences. This is very pleasant for us. On this trip there were a lot of bloggers, know it alls, and snobby passengers. My husband and I are platinum members and it continues amaze me how some people act. John Heald: The senior cruise director of Carnival Cruise Lines. Carnival seriously needs to look at who they have chosen to represent the cruise line. This man is quite irritating, made a few insulting comments regarding the French, (No, I am not French) He also made a few sexual innuendos and was basically painful to watch. Apparently, he has a following of bloggers who like him. A lot of bloggers were on this trip. However personally I don't see the attraction. He was the one carnival employee that I wrote a negative review on. I hope Carnival realizes the liability this employee brings to their reputation. Operational Problems experienced during the cruise: Loss of power: Hey, things happen, things break, they fixed it, they gave the people stuck the elevators a free cruise. San Juan: Ship would not fit in the pier. People were disappointed. We received 20.00 back that was our port fee. This was 100% carnival's fault, as well as the port. Perhaps we should have received more back. But, we were not personally disappointed, and we arrived at Grand Turk earlier than expected. We had more time on this beautiful island and we were quite happy. Debarkation: Fantastic! Smooth! Quick!! Carnival Dream: In April 2010. We are returning to the Dream for their normal Western itinerary. I expect Carnival will have the crowd issued addressed. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
My wife and I chose to take a cruise for Christmas and had looked forward to sailing on a new ship for months. Our two previous cruises were with Royal Caribbean and both were enjoyable but the ships were older and showed aging. We made ... Read More
My wife and I chose to take a cruise for Christmas and had looked forward to sailing on a new ship for months. Our two previous cruises were with Royal Caribbean and both were enjoyable but the ships were older and showed aging. We made the most of our Carnival cruise as we always try to make the most of any situation but there were some issues that will cause us to hesitate in chosing Carnival again. On the positive, our cabin was nice and spacious. We chose an oceanview at the center of the ship and on the 1st deck which mitigated some of the motion and was a very quiet location. The bed and linens were very comfortable and we really liked the two bathrooms and mini-tub. Our stewards were wonderful as well and kept our room tidy and clean. We were pleased with our cabin and spent a great deal of time there but I did encounter one couple at the guest services desk who were located directly under the gym and complained of a constant pounding from the treadmills. Fortunately, the gym hours were only from 6am to midnight. Our first negative experience was in the dining room. We were seated in the Crimson for the late dining and ended up with a very overwhelmed and stressed waiter. He probably had good reason to be since the dining room was understaffed with long waits for service. It took almost a full two hours to complete dinner due to the delays in taking and delivering orders.He rarely approached our table and when he did he was often conversing with guests at another table while clearing our dishes or refilling our water. It was not only annoying but rude. The mai'tre d' never roamed the room during entire cruise and there was a decided lack of leadship and response to the slow service. After three nights we requested another seating but were told that none was available. This did not matter since our "stressed" waiter quit and was never seen again. The new waiter was nice but the service continued to be slow and food was mediocre at best. As another critic noted, we were never approached for bar service and were lucky to get our water refilled. After returning from a long day ashore, we found that the restaurants were just closing and the only choices were three short-order venues: pizza, deli sandwiches and hot dog/hamburgers. Needless to say, the lines were enormously long. My last complaint concerning food service was the room service. We used it often and only once was our order correct. I heard others with the same complaint. Come on! How can you deliver a tray with only two coffee cups, sugar, silverware and NO coffee. Twice this happened to us and we spoke to another couple that experience the same thing. My last complaints concern the smell and the staff. Yes, hard to believe that such a new, modern ship cannot contain the smell of raw sewage. It was present almost continuously and was ripe. Some of the staff were wonderful and this is what we had come to expect from our previous cruises. However, many were rude and seemed disgruntled. Maybe the understaffing affected almost all areas and not just the food services people? A parting shot. As noted in another review, I too found the cruise director's sidekick, James, to be offensive. Come on, you are being televised to the entire ship (3,600 passengers) and cannot control your urges to pick your nose or ears during a 30 minute broadcast... I will be reluctant to book with Carnival again and will likely return to the proven good service of Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Our Christmas Cruise aboard the Carnival Dream was great compared to some of the other recent reviews on the Dream. No, I am not a first time cruiser either. This is my 14th cruise, the 7th Christmas Cruise and the 4th cruise on Carnival. ... Read More
Our Christmas Cruise aboard the Carnival Dream was great compared to some of the other recent reviews on the Dream. No, I am not a first time cruiser either. This is my 14th cruise, the 7th Christmas Cruise and the 4th cruise on Carnival. The ship was beautiful and reminded me of other Carnival ships, most similarly the Glory. The decor was muted for Carnival, which was a sensory respite from the "whimsical" decor on other Carnival ships. Yes, there were long lines; yes there were too many people. Yes, you can figure out ways to avoid the lines and even get a deck chair too! Embarkation at Port Canaveral is usually pain free for our family as we have a wheelchair user and get special assistance from the embarkation staff. Honestly, the special assistance that we receive at Port Canaveral from Carnival is better than any other cruise line we have used. The basic design of the ship forces one to utilize the elevators more than other ships. This can become a problem if you or someone in your party is using a wheelchair. We had two wheelchair users in our family, so we had to be a bit assertive to get the elevator space that we needed. Our cabins were traditional sized outside cabins on deck two aft. One good thing about the cabin location was that they were off of the main path and tended to be fairly quiet. Being on a lower level and in the aft can also bring excessive engine noise and vibration, but we were not surprised by this. I need to comment on the number of passengers traveling aboard the Dream on Christmas week, 4600, which is about 1000 passengers over full capacity. Due to the overflow, we were forced to eat in an overflow dining room off of the Crimson dining room. At first we were put out about this as, it felt like we were eating in the "time out" room. The main complaint about the overflow room was that the lighting was too bright and we could not see the "show" that the dining room staff put on. Other than that the food and service were equivalent to any of the other Carnival cruises we have taken. We did find that the lines in the Lido were long; however they were no longer than the lines in the Lido on the Glory during an overcrowded spring break week. The Dream does offer some options to vary the lunch experience. We enjoyed the pasta bar which was a little less hectic than the main lido. Also, burrito bar turned out to be a shortcut to the long lines in the lido. On deck 5 there was a barbecue for lunch, but we found the hamburgers to be undercooked and there were no drinks other than bar drinks available. For breakfast we enjoyed going to the Scarlet Dining Room for a full service (no line) experience. We were impressed with the quality of the wait staff during breakfast in the Scarlet Dining Room. Our favorite spot on the ship had to be the Spa. We purchased a week's pass to use the spas which included: a refreshment room, a heated tile lounge room, an aromatherapy room, an oriental steam room, a Turkish bath, and a thelassotherapy pool. This was a wonderful way to wind down each day and was definitely worth the extra cost. I mentioned getting a deck chair. If you are not one to go grab chairs at 6:30 in the morning, head to deck 5 where you will find many deck chairs, enough quiet to read a book and several hot tubs to choose from. The entertainment was excellent, particularly the lead singers and the dancers. We especially enjoyed the Tribute to Rhythm and Blues and also Dancing in the Street. A word of warning, get to the Encore Lounge early as seats fill up quickly especially for the early sitting. The quality of comedians and other entertainers varied quite a bit, some were really good and some weren't. We missed the traditional Captain's Welcome Aboard Party as they have become cheap and are now offering $1 or $2 off drinks. We did attend the Past Guest Party where the drinks and appetizers were complimentary. We enjoyed the band and the lead vocalist sang a few songs to entertain us during this party. Overall, I would book another cruise on the Dream. There were some kinks to be worked out, but in time this Dream should shine. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
My family were on the Christmas Cruise from Dec 19-26. This cruise was booked since before this ship was completed. Oh, what a disappointment. The ship was over crowed, 4600 passengers, lines every where, 30-45mins to get a salad, one ... Read More
My family were on the Christmas Cruise from Dec 19-26. This cruise was booked since before this ship was completed. Oh, what a disappointment. The ship was over crowed, 4600 passengers, lines every where, 30-45mins to get a salad, one day we waited 75mins to get a meal from the Mongolian Bar. Bad sewer smells, the ship was rocking like crazy the last two days of the cruise, we thought our balcony was about to fall off-creaking every where. Could not get a chair by the pool, always taken, people would put their towels and bags on the chairs for hours without being there. Had to go at least 45mins before show time to get a decent seat. The service was poor and the guest services staff was rude. The food in the dinning room was a huge disappointment, the pizza bar was better. Every where people were complaining, we wanted to leave at St Marteen it was so bad, now I wish we did, we would have been home for Christmas! I would never go on another Christmas Cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
We are a family of five that traveled on the holiday cruise from December 19-26 and had a great time on the ship. We love to travel- our 2 kids are 20 and 14. Last year was a cruise on the Disney Wonder, this year the Carnival Dream. The ... Read More
We are a family of five that traveled on the holiday cruise from December 19-26 and had a great time on the ship. We love to travel- our 2 kids are 20 and 14. Last year was a cruise on the Disney Wonder, this year the Carnival Dream. The embarkation process was easy and fast, we arrived at 11am and by 11:30am we were on board. The buffet was crowded but not unbearable, the buffet had a variety of food and very tasty. At 1:30pm our room was ready. My husband and I were in a spa balcony room on deck 12- our 2 kids and mother were next door also in a spa balcony cabin. Both cabins on the spa deck were amazing, nice size, well worth the money. The beds were so soft and cozy. With the spa room came a few spa perks, so we spent a lot of time there and our 14 year old son loved the gym. The spa deck has only 20 rooms so the deck was peaceful, the rooms came with robes and slippers that we wore from our room to the spa "very convenient." My husband and I had breakfast, brunch and dinner in the Scarlet dining room the food was delicious and the service was above par. Anything we wanted our server was happy to take care of us, he even brought us many different types' of desserts to taste. Our table sat 10 so we had shared the table with a wonderful family of 5. We looked forward every night to meet up with them at dinner. The kids ordered room service every morning and at night for a snack and their order arrived every time within 30 minutes. We ate at the buffet and the grill a couple times and did find the lines long but the lines went fairly fast. The pizza, hamburger and fries were worth the wait. We liked the entertainment the comedians, ventriloquist and the show Dancing in the Streets were pretty good for a cruise. The lead female singer did seem like she would yell into the mike when she sang- it annoyed me but what do you expect? It's a cruise not Broadway! The ports we visited were beautiful and fun. Booking shore excursions from the ship were expensive. So, before our trip I searched the ports. St. Thomas we took a taxi to Coral World. We swam with sharks and with 300lb green sea turtles "Duncan and Tortuga." The beach water there was crystal clear blue. A little cold but clean and crowd free with many varieties of fish for snorkeling. St. Maarten a local told us to try Coki beach. The beach was at a resort which no cruise ship tourist seems to know about. There were maybe 30 people there. The cost was $5.00 for a chair and umbrella. At the beach they gave us towels we used the showers and (internet $3.00 for 15 minutes,) shopped and ate lunch. The beach was beautiful we snorkeled in the clear blue water. At the resort they have a pet parrot named "Gizmo." This bird talked was very friendly and loved our boy. We did notice a bad smell near the miniature golf area and trying to find and empty lounge chair during the day was impossible. But many chairs were available evenings to watch the laser show or the movie on deck. Overall, this was a great cruise for us. I'm usually hard to please but I loved this cruise- we all loved the Carnival Dream and we will be back next December... Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
We are from Austin, Texas and celebrated Christmas and our 25th Wedding Anniversary while on board. I always enjoy when fellow cruisers give positive and negative info so here you go: EMBARKATION: positives: Port Canaveral had smooth ... Read More
We are from Austin, Texas and celebrated Christmas and our 25th Wedding Anniversary while on board. I always enjoy when fellow cruisers give positive and negative info so here you go: EMBARKATION: positives: Port Canaveral had smooth running lines and was very organized considering there were 4000 passengers. The whole process only took about 45 from start to finish. They passed out numbered boarding cards and announce the groups about every 10 minutes. The port is very nice, large with lots of seating. negatives: No one told us to have our photo IDs in hand BEFORE even entering the building and they required to see them at the door. This caused a major and immediate cluster slow down right off the bat which made for cranky people. CABINS: We had Cat 4J insides that are really ocean view obstructed (7201, 7202 and 7204) positives: these inside cabins are priced very well and you get a window. They are 200 sq feet vs the normal 185 sq feet of other inside cabins. Although the view is obstructed by the deck outside, we could easily see the ocean and ports from inside our cabin. We loved it for docking as the deck is never crowded as most people don't know its there. The cabins are very quiet as the bridge is just above and other cabins are right below. negatives: These cabins really don't have a negative but are all the way so we had to do a little more walking and of course, we noticed the rocking a bit more. This really wasn't a negative for us but could be considered to be by others. People on the deck out front CAN SEE INTO the cabins (even though it says differently on the Internet) so we just had to make sure drapes were closed when changing. SHIP: positives: The Dream is similar in style and layout to other Carnivals we've been on so finding our way around was rather easy. Its brand new with lots of elevators, colored glass and tile. The casino never seemed crowded and they restrict smokers to their own area. Lots of hot tubs, little nooks and crannies for chilling out and we enjoyed the new Piazza on deck 5, mid ship. There were lots of photographers but none were pushy. There are several clubs of different types for entertainment at night and lots of quiet areas for relaxing with a book. The adults Serenity area is pretty and we enjoyed a two person hammock one day while docked at St. Maarten. There are small little laundry rooms available here and there which come in handy on seven day trips. negatives: Lido deck buffet is often times NO FUN at all. As others have mentioned, its not laid out very well and we had to wait in long, slow lines to get our food. There are only 2 pools for 4000 people and on sea days, it was very hard to find an open deck chair. This ship seemed to rock, pitch and roll MUCH more than others we have been on and did so for two days straight. As mentioned, there are laundry rooms available BUT its $6 to wash/dry and the machines only take quarters. There are no change machines in the laundry rooms so you must walk to the casino or pursers desk if you need change. It would be nice if you could just use your sail and sign cards like you do for every other purchase. FOOD: positives: Lido deck buffet food is pretty good and they even had a wonderful chocolate buffet one of our sea days. You don't eat as much because the lines just aren't worth going back for more so you don't gain weight. The coffee was very good and always hot. Tandori's all the way aft had very good indian food and we seriously enjoyed the special dining Steakhouse for $30 a head. I would compare the food quality and service to that of Ruth Chris or McCormick and Schmicks. negatives: Lido Buffet was normally WAY too crowded. Dining at night was never consistent. We felt the servers were very overworked and it usually took 90 minutes for dinner every night. A few times our food was cold and once the chocolate melting cake was undercooked and runny vs melting. Several nights we sat for a full 1/2 hour before they even gave us our menu's. We're seasoned cruisers, easy to please and happy just to be there so it takes a lot to make us unhappy...we generally were when it came to eating. Either the Lido Buffet was too crowded or the dining rooms were slow and inconsistent. We enjoyed Wasabi's sushi (when it was open...only at night for three hours) but the lines were terrible. Not only that but you don't get to pick out what you want to eat, they just hand you one small plate of three pieces of sushi. This was different on the Ecstasy as there you could pick and choose, ask for more and the lines were much shorter. Crew: positives: Our cabin stewards were wonderful and very attentive. They went out of their way to do whatever we needed and always greeted us with smiles. Several times they asked what we had done that day or if we enjoyed the islands. We even got hugs on Christmas day...wow! negatives: Our dining servers were never really engaging or friendly but we believe it was due to their heavy work load. They seemed to have many more tables than we observed on other ships. Overall, the crew WAS busy rushing, doing and working. They even sometimes seemed bothered by the crowds as well and it was rare to hear a "good morning", "hello" or to see a smile. ENTERTAINMENT: positives: We enjoyed most of the shows, the little areas where singers were playing and all the different styles of entertainment. The Dream seemed to have something for everyone. Each night we went the big show in the Encore Theater and for the most part thought they were terrific. The big production shows with singing and dancing were consistent and very entertaining. We REALLY enjoyed Dancing in the Streets and the Extreme Country! negatives: One night they headlined a ventriloquist who actually made us uncomfortable with some of his comedy. My 17 year old daughter called him a "creeper" because he made some inappropriate comments during a family show. He just wasn't very good and came off rather odd at times. DEBARKATION: positives: We opted for carrying our bags off vs leaving them outside our cabin the night before so we got off the ship first. We breezed through customs and the whole process took only about 15 minutes. negatives: They begin calling self debarkation at 6 am...ugh FINAL THOUGHTS: We had a memorable time but looking back, probably would have had just as good a time if not better, on a smaller ship. We traveled by plane and rental car to get to the brand new Dream but found it often too crowded and frustrating. Honestly, it didn't feel any more special than any other Carnival cruise except that its newer and bigger. Overall, I would say it wasn't worth the extra travel time and expense as we could have gone out of Galveston three hours away, been on the Conquest and enjoyed ourselves just as much without the extra crowds. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
First let me apologize for the length of this review, but you, the consumer, deserve my detailed experience and formulate an opinion. A formal letter will be sent to the office of CCL as I hope that CCL will want to make some significant ... Read More
First let me apologize for the length of this review, but you, the consumer, deserve my detailed experience and formulate an opinion. A formal letter will be sent to the office of CCL as I hope that CCL will want to make some significant improvements. I booked the CCL Dream Christmas cruise several months in advance to take advantage of the "new" ship look and smell as well as specific stateroom for the Spa cabin. My husband and I have been very loyal to CCL - this was our 7th cruise and I must say there are by far more negative comments than positive comments regarding our experience on the Dream. One significant lesson I learned in booking future cruises- avoid holidays and spring break. There were entirely too many kids on this cruise. Information from the staff indicated there were over 1000 kids on the 12/19 from Port Canaveral - Virgin Islands cruise.Embarkation- Overall went smoothly - we didn't encounter any major problems. I did like to boat drill; however, the staff continues fails to enforce being quite during the drill. If Management would step up and enforce the quests being quite, taking the drinks away, stop cell phone usage people may take this seriously.Elevators- The best we have used on any ship. Fast - reliable. Kids frequently interfered with the elevators. Debarkation- Organized, efficient and fast. Finally a method to keep from people jumping ahead of their slotted time to exit the ship. Again, the best process (usage of zones & you have a time slot in which you should be getting off the ship) in which we have encountered. We were zone 10 (out of 35)slotted from 8:00 to 8:20, we driving away from the port by 8 am. Luggage retrieval excellent.This is about were the positive stops and the negatives pick up:Didn't really get a whiff of "new" ship smell did get a frequent smells of sewage. Returning to the ship after Nassau was a nightmare. Due to the short stay in port, everyone returned to the ship all at one time- hungry and thirsty. CCL Dream had a MAJOR problem with crowd control. I had never seen it so bad. Long lines, couldn't get a drink, and service went downhill from here.Staff- Looked tired and at times inattentive to the guests needs/desires. The food service personnel had just too many people to service. Approx 4500 guests cared by approx 1200 staff over 3 shifts. There was one table that didn't get cleaned for a very long time. In fact, I stood in line and sat down to eat, finished my meal before any dining room personnel gave this table any attention. Usually this is very uncharacteristic service except on this cruise. Again, not enough people working. There were times I couldn't get a waiter to purchase a drink. In the design of the inside Lido dining area, did anyone actually sit down and consider the booth seat height to the table height? The seats were too low or the tables were too high. If you get Table 172 Crimson Dining Room ask for a change. It is a table for 2 which in itself is ok; however, it next to the doors to the galley. Nothing but constant motion and I looked at the back wall and swinging doors during dinner. At least turn the table 90 degrees so we both can look out across the dining room. Food was nothing to write home about and service was fair. The salt shakers never worked. Good note: there was no staff serenading.Food- I could not understand why the lunch lines wouldn't open until 12. If we ate breakfast at 6 - opening at 1200 really became an issue. The Mongolian Line (wok) and Pasta Bar were my favorites. The only way to get the Mongolian meal was to stand in line 20-30 min before it opened then wait another 20-30 min to get my food. There were two lines, 2 cooks each cooking in 3 woks and there were still people who would wait 60-90 minutes for the freshly cooked food.Another ridiculously long line and a great mystery why in the world would a 4500 guest ship with over 1000 kids only have ONE hamburger/french fry and only ONE pizza line. Are you kidding me? Another ship favorite is the French fries I never had any because the line was toooooooooooo long. I couldn't figure why at the back deck of Lido was serving Indian food and not hamburgers/FFs. It was pool side - go figure. Nachos were available; however, the melted cheese was cold. I inquired why the cheese was cold, and their answer was they had no way to keep a constant heat underneath again more design brilliance.Stateroom- First, I want to commend our two room stewards. They were great, always aimed to make us happy and by the 2nd day, knew what we needed in the minibar. Good job. We were in 12206 - Spa Cabin -pricey, spa, quite, private Are you kidding me. Do Not Book this Room; in fact, I would stay away from this floor at least the even numbers. Here's why. First, there were no peaceful afternoon naps or any quite time because of the constant RUNNING by the kids to the slide. OMG - would it ever be quite? The balcony was uninviting because there was always water on the floor as it wouldn't drain. When I ask about this- their answer to the problem was that the drain was higher than the floor; therefore, unable to drain.People could hang on the railing above us and look down on to our balcony... so no privacy/spit or drop something. Clear glass instead of the blue would have enabled us to enjoy the scenery and the ocean without have to stand up along the railing on the balcony. Sound proofing tended to be a problem throughout the entire ship. In our room, at 10:40 pm , the Lido music was too loud as we had to endure Pink Floyd.Stateroom TV- I fully understand CCL's goal is to have everyone somewhere on the ship spending money. Profit Margin - Got It. But we spent money in the room with the mini bar every day, tried to get away from some of the chaos and ESPN is only streamed into the room occasionally. There wasn't enough room in the sports lounge to enjoy the games, couldn't get into the Encore, 1-2 hours to get food. I certainly didn't want to constantly watch the shopping specialist. At times, FUN, that I paid for, was in the room. I'll give CCL credit for television programming improvement. There was a time nothing except ship related viewing was available. Cloud 9 Spa - We booked and paid the price for the exclusiveness to the Cloud 9 Spa area. After the first day, for $149 or $249, anyone could purchase day pass for the spa area. I have no problem with providing opportunity for guests to purchase a day pass; however, there should be a limit!!!!!!!!!!! With these day passes, I couldn't get to enjoy spa feature as day pass people would come in and stay for hours. The adult only serenity area needed better supervision. Keep the kids out.Entertainment- Average at best. We couldn't get in to see the shows. The lines were too long, not enough space and most of the entertainment was duplication from other ships. It's time for new or additional entertainment. Capers- The Monday, December 21st Capers noted a "Quite Bar = 5 pm - 12 am - Next to Crimson, Deck 4 Fwd". We never found the "Quite Bar" and the Bartenders on Deck 4 had no idea about such a bar. We were not the only guests looking for a quite place to visit, drink and meet other people. Has CCL not figured out that FUN is not always about NOISE? How about somewhere during the afternoon since I couldn't have any down time in my stateroom? The Piano Room sounds inviting for soft quite easy to carry on a conversation type place. The piano player in this room was terrible!!!!!!!!!!!!Casino- What happen to the seating along the sides in the casino? So, if I want to be with my husband in the Casino I had to stand behind him. Again lack of places to sit to relax and enjoy. It would be nice to sit along the side and watch the ocean. Nice feature on the other ships.I won't say that I'm done with CCL as they may be able to accommodate our needs for a quick short get-away trip. I will be looking to other cruise lines for lengthier trips in order to enjoy our time at sea. The money we spent on this particular cruise did not provide the memorable Christmas vacation we wanted. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009

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