7 Port Canaveral (Orlando) Spa Cruise Reviews

We sailed Disney Magic a few years ago and had the best couples spa experience of any cruise line we've tried. When my sister's fam/2 kids decided to take their first cruise, we knew Disney was the way to go. They chose Disney ... Read More
We sailed Disney Magic a few years ago and had the best couples spa experience of any cruise line we've tried. When my sister's fam/2 kids decided to take their first cruise, we knew Disney was the way to go. They chose Disney Dream. The kids, even the shy one, was soon hooked on kids club, so parents got lots of relaxing time. The fee dining room, Remy, they said was the nicest dining experience they'd ever had. Husband's a Dr. in Jacksonville, FL. The chef who makes menu just got another Michelin Star at his Paris restaurant, so he's now a Top Chef in World. The 3 hour dining experience was a seamless tasting feast for our eyes and pallets. Time flew by. My husb and I have dined at Victoria and Albert's in Orlando. Remy is Right there with that experience, but WAY cheaper. We returned for brunch the next day, but wished we'd of done the Italian place brunch. Remy has a set tasting menu. It was good, but brunch is just more fun when you have LOTS of stuff to try. One thing I noticed and LOVED on Dream were the see thru mesh chairs on our balcony! I'm always stacking and moving chairs out of our view on other cruises. We loved our balcony room. Not a single complaint. But this was our First cruise ever we never knew our room attendants name or was called by our name. Maybe the only 4-night thing. He did a great job though, so oh well. Dining was awesome, Every night. So were breakfast and lunch. Delish. The shows were not good compared to Magic. Magic had me teary eyed at the show with the stuffed animals on shelf! THAT show had that "Disney Magic" where adults got in touch with their young self/family memories. Dream shows were either too informational/heavy, or too sarcastic and crazy. One night I was soo bored I nodded off during the crescendo singing act! We all had a good laugh about that. Shops were good/we bought stuff. Only got off ship on private island. Words of warning, SEA LICE! My sister took her kids to the new jungle gym in the water and noticed everyone scratching. Moments later her kids were scratching, then crying! And just like that, Castaway Cay, the talked up best part of the cruise was a bad memory. The family left island and kids played on waterslide and empty ship the rest of the afternoon. On the way back to ship they saw a small sign that mentioned Sea Lice. None of us had ever heard of this! For whatever reason, guess the tides had the lice in the jungle gym cove but not the family beach cove. We tried the famous konch kooler. It's a regular frozen drink. The island DJ was awesome this visit, so we hung out near him for some time. About the couple's spa... This was our FAVE part of our last cruise, and like I said, our best spa exp on Any cruise, so we were Really looking forward to it. We went while at Castaway Cay. It was one lame moment after another!!! The shower room had no hair ties or shower caps like other spas. The shower pump soap was up high and you had to pump it 100 times to get Any kind of bathed feeling. It didn't lather and I felt like I still had sunscreen all over me. NO joke, I had pumped SOO many times my neck kinda kinked! Then we were led to a room with the questionnaire, & I knew from other reviews to write we had No Issues so they wouldn't try to sell us products. It worked!!! The problem was we knew we had a certain amount of time at the spa, and they never told us when they'd come to get us. So, we were a nervous wreck thinking they'd forgotten us. TOTALLY unrelaxing! FINALLY they led us to the spa room balcony for our foot/leg scrub. I told my attendant I had sensitive skin, so not to scrub my legs. So she washed off the stuff and did NOTHING! Would have loved my feet done! Then they left us to use the Jacuzzi for like 20 minutes. But, they never showed us how to turn it on. We figured it out, BUT THE WATER WAS COLD!!! There was a sign that said due to health regs the temp was set at 101 degrees I believe. That's Barely above body temp. I was shivering after 10 mins and just got out. We did enjoy the choco fruit though. Then we had our massage. My attendant was NOT doing deep tissue as we paid for. I said something 3 times then gave up. After this, more cold Jacuzzi time. After massage you fill out the tab/receipt and my husb even tipped them the extra so they'd get the requisite %20. Why, I don't know. Then they came to escort us out/forgot to do our tea service! That was the LAST straw. My husband said we'd be staying for tea, and they nervously hopped to it. We told our family to cancel their spa treatments before the time deadline. It's like kids were running the joint. And just like that, we're done with Disney. We don't have kids and now that spa personnel is lame/Disney let that luxury fall, forget it. Too many new NCL ships to try, booked two already! Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
The Good: -Extremely fast embarkation/debarkation. It took only 15 minutes to embark and 5 minutes to debark. -Delicious food. Food was fresh, still hot, and of high quality. -Ship decor. Some Carnival ship's are gaudy and strange. ... Read More
The Good: -Extremely fast embarkation/debarkation. It took only 15 minutes to embark and 5 minutes to debark. -Delicious food. Food was fresh, still hot, and of high quality. -Ship decor. Some Carnival ship's are gaudy and strange. Not this one; It is just fun. It is themed fun bright colors, Cute Caribbean decor, (Example: Starfish all over the carpet in the room hallways, pictures of fun colored fish throughout the buffet. -CLEANLINESS! This ship is so very well maintained! The crew were constantly cleaning every square inch of it. So impressed. -Staff. Friendly, hardworking staff doing all they can to make your cruise enjoyable. -GORGEOUS spa area. Clean, beautiful, and elegant. -Great stateroom steward that greeted us by name each day and maintained our room very well. -The stateroom balconies were miraculous. They made the cruise for us. Worth every penny! Get a balcony room on the main deck (The lowest deck offering balconies). It is so neat to be that low to the ocean! -Great comedy. Loved laughing the night away. -The sports deck is gorgeous. We loved how it was never crowded. In fact, there were rarely more than 6-8 people up there. The sports deck includes the running track, mini golf course, and just nice areas to sit around by the mini golf course. -The Waterside in the back was super fun. BUT, it will only go fast for you if you give your self a good push and lie on your back! People who just sat down and started going hated it because they hardly moved. It is all dependent on the initial push you give your self going down it. The Bad: -Certain areas of the ship are always crowded, such as the main pool area and buffet. The buffet always had several minute long lines, especially the popular attractions like the Mongolian Grill, and American Grill. -The DJ music is so annoying. What happened to live bands on the lido deck giving you a relaxing resort like feel? Now it's just loud pop music blasted as high as it can go creating a heavy party atmosphere. There was no live music on the lido deck, only that annoying DJ. -The spa is wonderful, but they cheated us the last night of the cruise by closing an hour early. Very unprofessional. I guess that thought the cruise was close enough to done. -Neon lights in the dining room. I actually don't mind Carnival's neon lights throughout the ship. But in the elegant dining room, they need to go. -The wait time for room service is absurd. I first waited on the phone for 5-7 minutes just to be connected to someone to take my order, then you wait an additional 45 minutes for it to show up. -The hot tubs are not even close to hot enough. The swimming pools are freezing and they are all SALT WATER (obviously from the ocean). Step it up Carnival and give us fresh water in the pools. -Carnival doesn't do ice in the rooms any more? This was a disappointment to have to drink room temperature water. They didn't do it on my last cruise or this one. Strange. -This cruise had ALOT of alcohol and drunk people. Didn't really care for that kind of atmosphere. - The safety briefing was too long and disorganized. -The hairy chest men's contest was NOT family friendly. The things they had them do and what the girls did to them made it very suggestive and dirty. One guy got so out of line the director had to completely stop him. To Sum It Up: All in all a great cruise. What I love about Carnival, despite my complaints, is how much of a "bang for your buck" you get. For $200 dollars, this 4 night cruise couldn't have exceeded my expectation more. When you match the money with what you were delivered this cruise gets 5+ stars in a heartbeat. I highly recommend a 4 night cruise (NOT 3! - BOOZE CRUISE - TOO SHORT) on the Carnival Ecstasy.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Background: My husband and I are both 30. We were looking for an inexpensive week in the Caribbean over the summer of 2013. Only a few cruise lines stick around in the summer and run Caribbean cruises. We booked only 6 weeks in advance. ... Read More
Background: My husband and I are both 30. We were looking for an inexpensive week in the Caribbean over the summer of 2013. Only a few cruise lines stick around in the summer and run Caribbean cruises. We booked only 6 weeks in advance. and Carnival had the ports we were most interested at a price we could easily afford. We also live 30 minutes from Port Canaveral, so the Carnival Dream was the perfect fit for a last minute cruise choice. Our first cruise in 2006 was with Carnival. We have also done NCL in 2010 and Disney in 2012 and 2013. We did not purchase faster to the fun and we chose Your Time Dining. Embarkation: The Dream was late getting into PC the day we were set to leave,. We weren't able to enter the terminal until around 1pm vs the 'normal' 11am. Despite the delays, we happily arrived at 1:30pm, checked in VERY quickly and they started the boarding process around 1:50 pm with the special groups and faster to the fun. They started general group boarding around 2pm, we had group 14 and we were called to board at 2:15. Anytime I arrive at the terminal and start "walking on the ship" within 1 hour, is a great experience. Dining: Meh. This is where I really feel we got what we paid for. Main dining room food was mediocre and its not that we go out for fancy dinners all the time, we eat out at Moe's, Chipotle, Panera, Chilis, Carrabbas, etc. Sometimes it was underseasoned, or over sauced. One night my tiramisu was frozen in the middle! Which led me to wonder how old anything was that we were eating, if it was frozen. I would rate dining lower except the Deli, Mongolian Wok, and Tandoor were EXCELLENT! We didn't get a chance to try the pasta bar, because we were out in port during lunch on most days. In fact, that was our biggest complaint. The deli is open most of the day, so it's always a good option, but the rest of the GOOD stuff is only open a few hours at lunch time. Public Areas: This is a big ship and our sailing was sold out. So we and our new 4500 friends got to share all the public spaces. The ship was very nice and the layout was pretty decent. Most of what you do is on decks 5, in the main theater, or on the pool/outdoor decks up top. I was worried that such a large ship would take a few days to figure out, but we had a good handle on the orientation by day 2. The only times we found 'crowds' were during the nightly entertainment and during some meals (on lobster night everyone goes to the dining room). The buffet specialty areas got backed up a few times too. Other than that the number of people wasn't very noticeable. The ship is decorated nicely. I thought it had a very modern yet glitzy feel to it. On our first Carnival cruise, I felt like we were stuck in old school neon Las Vegas at sea. This ship is a definite improvement over our first experience. The only time the layout got us was when we tried to use the middle bank of elevators, unless your stateroom is near that elevator bank and you need to get to the promenade deck, or pool/buffet area, don't use them! One other complaint are all those poles in the main theater and main lounge!! They create too much obstructed viewing. Entertainment: As far as the headlining acts go, we only went to ONE show in the main theater. It was dubbed the best in the fleet, "Dancing in the Streets". It was pretty decent and the break dancing team made the show for us. The singers were way too loud and the sound engineers didn't exist to fix the levels... I don't think i ever saw someone sitting in the booth!! Two of the nights were dedicated to country music, not our thing, and that's OK. Like I mentioned, the break dance team "Fun Force" was really good and we tried to attend each of their events going on after we realized they existed. I had seen "Fun Force Dancers" listed in the fun times earlier in the week, but had no clue what it referred to. They do a show in the Atrium that is GREAT. The comedians that we got to see where pretty good! But, the lounge they perform in is way too small and its the second largest venue after the main theater. This makes us think Carnival needs to switch this up. Some nights the comedians were the 'only thing' going on, so why not have them in the main theater instead? That way a lot more people can see EVERY set. When one set would finish, you had to exit the lounge and either get back in line and try to get a seat, or just leave like we did and try to find something else to do that probably isn't as good. There were too many occasions on this cruise where we had to arrive way to early to get good seats and were stuck sitting around staring at the walls for 30 minutes before EVERY show/comedian. Service: The service people on this ship were fantastic!! Our room steward was so nice and very attentive. We saw her every day but the first. She was always smiling and asking us how we were doing and what we did during the day. All the servers were quick, very nice, and had a happy demeanor. Dinner service is slow at times, but that is expected on a cruise with this many people on it. Everyone we encountered spoke good English. Activities/Enrichment: Every day there were large blocks of time that didn't have anything going on that we wanted to take part in. But, there was plenty going on during some parts of the day that it balanced out well enough. We took part in a lot of trivia! We also liked attending the 'game shows'. We did one that was "18+", I say that in quotes because children were in fact present. It was a battle of the sexes trivia war. Men vs Women and the questions were things the opposite sex would know. It was interactive and fun. We attended another game show, twice, that was music trivia related.... lots of music trivia on this ship! We tried something new on this cruise... the champagne art auctions. This is my new favorite thing to do on a cruise! It is incredibly fun to experience a real auction and I got to learn about newer artists. I wish we had attended one of these sooner in the cruise! We got to experience the final 2 on the ship. Each time we went you got an art print to take home. We watched a couple games of Bingo and they were horribly boring! Disney's bingo on board is amazingly fun and exciting... Carnival needs to take some lessons on how to spruce up a mindless game like Bingo. Other activities involved deck parties and hairy chests... no thanks! We aren't in college any more. Fitness/Recreation: We had access to the spa facilities on this cruise and it was a lot of fun. We had never been to a sauna or steam room before. We also did a spa tour, in which I learned that I really want a full body hot stone massage, just not at their prices! I also visited the gym and the equipment was very nice and there was plenty to go around and had a nice view of the ocean. Out on deck we didn't take part in the pools. We did visit 1 hot tub in the Serenity deck (adults only). It was quite hot. Not sure if that was because not many people were using or because the sun was shining openly on the tub. The serenity area was a nice, quiet area to escape to outdoors. I wish we had more time to sit outside and enjoy it. We did 3 or 4 games of mini golf on this cruise. They have a full 18 holes and it was a lot of fun. Only a few wear and tear issues in some areas. Otherwise it was one of the better kept courses we've visited lately! Prices/Rates: We booked late, so we didn't get to take part in the early saver rate that would have earned us quite a bit of OBC. No ones fault, just bad timing. Other wise Carnival is the lowest prices around, even last minute on a cruise ship that is about to sell out. Cabin: We had cabin 11-207, a handicap assessable interior Cloud 9 Spa cabin. We were able to book this cabin because it was the last one in this category. The room was spacious but it was lacking in storage space. Other cruises we have been on, there is always a place to stick all of our things. This category came with a 'free' week long spa pass for the two of us. Booking this cabin got us a $50 discount off buying a week pass and got us a cabin all the way up on deck 11. I was worried about the cabin being all the way forward on a high deck, but the movement was not bad at all! The placement of the cabin is right next to the door that leads to the back entrance of the gym/spa. The location was extremely convenient for the spa, not to far to the Atrium elevators, and a brisk walk across the ship from the buffet areas. One inconvenience we had was on port days. Most mornings we lugged our daily excursion bag with us to breakfast, so we could go straight down to get off the ship and not backtrack to the cabin (we had early days & tenders). Otherwise, I felt like the location was good enough for getting around day to day. Value: I would rate the value of this cruise as good. It is what it is, a cheap vacation that includes all you can eat food, transportation, and entertainment. We picked this cruise because of the ports we visited and because we were limited in who was sailing during the summer. In the future, if we have a choice between Carnival and spending a little more, we will spend a little more. Other Observances: The 'rules' on this ship were a mere suggestion in most cases. Children attending 18+ activities, and I don't mean high school kids that are probably OK with the content, I'm saying it was middle school and younger. Weird! Dress code really didn't mean a thing in the main dining rooms. We saw a guy in t-shirt and shorts on lobster night. It didn't ruin my experience, but why create a dress code if you aren't going to enforce it. I feel like Carnival is 'copying' NCL freestyle cruising without outright changing the 'code' and admitting it. It's not bad, just misleading?   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Although it was a bit more of an adventure than we were expecting, it was truly a wonderful experience! I went in with fairly low expectations as my last cruise was on Oasis of the Seas and I knew that a cruise half the price could not ... Read More
Although it was a bit more of an adventure than we were expecting, it was truly a wonderful experience! I went in with fairly low expectations as my last cruise was on Oasis of the Seas and I knew that a cruise half the price could not compare. However, I was pleasantly surprised with how wonderful the Dream really was. (No, its no Oasis, but it was great for what it was!) Embarkation was super easy--we had Faster to the Fun and definitely loved it. Not sure it helped us get on the ship any faster...we got there at 11 and people were already boarding. But it was so nice to be able to drop our bags off in the room and change into our bathing suits as we pleased. We went and explored and when we got back about an hour or 2 later, our luggage was already at our room. Definitely will do FTTF again if I can on our next cruise! Also the special line for guest services definitely saved us hours with the situation on this cruise and guest services lines always being ridiculously long! We had a spa inside cabin because a couple weeks before the cruise I was looking and was able to upgrade for only $20 from a lido inside! It was awesome!! The room was nothing special but the spa was amazing. The thalaso pool was wonderful after a long day in the sun and the thermal suite was great (although we mostly went in one room there). The tile chairs that look like they would definitely not be comfortable made my back feel unbelievably great. I highly recommend the spa on the dream. We went to the steak house the first night because we wanted to do it and on the first night you get a free bottle of wine. It was quite possibly the best meal I have ever eaten. Truly worth the $35. We knew we wanted to do the Cheers program but opted to start it on the second day since we brought on 2 bottles of wine and had the free wine with dinner. Of course we had some funship specials but less than the $50 a person so it was worth it to wait until day 2. Overall, Cheers was great. It was really nice to be able to try drinks and not feel guilty if we didn't want to finish them. We created a spreadsheet to see how much we saved overall and we saved over $200 and that's with us not drinking as much once the issues started on thursday. Carnival actually ended up refunding us $150 of Cheers in the end also so we truly saved even more but we didn't include that since that isn't normal but was definitely a nice surprise! Seas were really rocky the first couple days--the worst that I'd experience on any of my 6 cruises! But we didn't get sea sickness or anything so it didn't affect us! Other pros: -CREW: the crew was amazing. Our cabin stewards, the spa workers, a few specific bartenders, guest services...just amazing. For a couple days our cabin steward told us he only had 2 hours of sleep but was still working his butt off and trying to make us happy. When the elevators werent working he told us he was having to climb 12 floors of stairs to bring us beach towels!! We obviously told him we didnt need new ones until the elevators started working again. He really went above and beyond and I felt bad for him because he was worried about losing out on tips for the canceled cruise so we left him some of our money that we were going to get refunded because he definitely needed it more than i did! -Comedy club: We saw 3 of the comedians and we laughed the entire time! We did have issues getting drinks while there and once a waiter completely forgot about us so we didn't get a drink the entire show which was a little annoying but nothing to get super upset about. Just wish i had ordered from someone else if I had known our waiter was going to forget about us. -Serentiy area: We chose to hang out in the serenity area because the furniture was more comfortable there and it was easy to get to from our cabin. We got to know the bartenders and servers there and had an awesome time. Didn't get to go in the hammock because it was full but never had a hard time finding a clam shell or loungers--even always got one in the shade and one in the sun which is what we needed! -Comedy Brunch: only had it once because of the issues but the food was DELICIOUS and I enjoyed the short comedy pieces. Was sad we didn't have the other two sea days to have the brunch again! -Pizza was delicious...had it every day. Had some issues with the guy serving it but after the 3rd issue with him, we went to guest services and explained (while also praising the wonderful service we were getting from everyone else) and next time we went back he was making the pizzas not serving them so the rest of the week, the pizza place was awesome. -Deli and Mongolian were great although long lines at both...didn't stop us though! -Pasta place was awesome. Went twice and definitely enjoyed both. It was never crowded like I expected either! -Steakhouse: like I said, awesome. Definitely worth it. -St. Thomas--we went to the Best Western at Emerald Beach which was perfect. Kind of a long taxi ride bc they dropped people off at other stops on the way but totally worth it. Beautiful beach, not crowded even though there were 5 ships in port! Just wonderful!! -4 days in St Maarten--uh yeah don't need to say anything more about how beautiful our view was from where we were stuck in st maarten. It was amazing and it was the best place ever to be stuck Cons: -Buffet: especially at breakfast it was really bad. Ate there twice and never went back for breakfast. Usually I dont love the breakfast buffet but I dont hate it. This I absolutely hated. Bacon was undercooked and eggs were cold even after they brought out a brand new serving of them. -Food in the main dining room: Before we got stuck, the food was just alright. It was often just lukewarm and nothing special. I couldnt even eat the lobster on formal night because it smelled disgusting. The steak I had was never cooked correctly and was just bland. HOWEVER, once we got stuck and they were doing everything to make us happy, they got a special menu and clearly got better food and the last two nights dinners were significantly better! Wish it had been that way every night but the food didn't ruin my trip at all. Might just not eat at the dining room every night next time. -Lack of information: They really did not keep us informed at all the first couple days. The toilets/A/C/elevators were only off for about 6 hours total and it was split up a bit. It was annoying at night because Jamie came on the announcements and said elevators would be shut off for 15 minutes (this was around 9-9:30). Well we left the show we were at around 30-40 minutes later to go to the bathroom and there was a sign saying the bathroom was closed. We stopped at guest services and asked and they said some toilets weren't working but it wasn't all of them. So we werent deterred--our cabin was up 6 decks and on the opposite end so we assumed it would be working. None of the elevators were working nor were the toilets. About an hour or so after that they said there wouldn't be anymore updates until the next day. We started to get a bit concerned but just walked around for a bit to see what was going on. Much to our surprise they still had the mexican buffet going on and people were still chowing down even though the toilets weren't working!! We got a good laugh out of that one. We continued to mull around and talk to a few other people since we couldn't sleep. Everyone joked about how we all assumed there was NO way carnival would let anything like this happen after triumph! Oh well. We went to bed around 12:30 and as we were laying in bed we felt the a/c kick back on and my bf checked and the toilet flushed! We went to sleep assuming we'd wake up at sea the next day. Didn't get updated again until about 10 the next day. By this point i had a bunch of missed calls of my family freaking out because CNN was saying things were horrible. They told us we'd be flying out so that eased some of my concerns since I was just anxious about the situation but since toilets and elevators and everything was working, I was okay. They told us we had to turn in our flight info and we'd get our new flight info by that night and we could be leaving as early as 6 the next morning. Well we continued to check and check and never got any. Needless to say we had a pretty rough nights sleep waiting to find out if we were flying out at 6 am the next morning plus the announcements started REALLY early that morning getting people out. Finally around 6:30 on Friday they announced not to be worried if we hadn't received flight info so I felt better. Just wish they had done that the night before. We live in Florida and had a ride to the port so we weren't too concerned about that since we just were going to get a direct flight to Orlando and figured they would be fitting us in when they could. Finally around noon on Friday we went to guest services and they gave us our info that we'd be flying out Saturday night. We then relaxed and enjoyed the next day and a half in st maarten. Overall, Carnival handled everything wonderfully. Yes, we had a day of frustration and anxiety but they refunded us 3 days so we couldn't complain! And we got an extra day of the cruise. Before the issues, we had pretty much decided we wouldn't cruise carnival again for a while since the experience on Royal Caribbean is truly better for not much more money. However, since we are getting pretty much a free cruise with the refund and 50% of discounts and the wonderful way we were treated, we are going to try this again probably. We are looking at re-booking the dream with our refund and 50% off future cruise mainly because of the spa rooms and the wonderful crew! We'll judge that one and decide if we are going to pay full price again but it really was a great experience AND the way Carnival handled it was great. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Pro: The people were terrific, maintaining a previously set standard. The food was also terrific, again like usual. I felt the cruise director, Jamie, was the best I have seen and the photographers (which previously held no value for me) ... Read More
Pro: The people were terrific, maintaining a previously set standard. The food was also terrific, again like usual. I felt the cruise director, Jamie, was the best I have seen and the photographers (which previously held no value for me) were the best I have seen. The 80s showcase and the comedy shows were extremely entertaining. The putt putt area was pretty good and the new waterslide was a lot of fun. We had a limited time window and a limited budget, this cruise felt like the best value we've ever had cruising. The spa services also seemed more affordable compared to previous cruises. Con: I guess this is the smallest ship I have ever been on. The one pool really seemed pretty inadequate. I felt the beverage waiters were a little pushier than usual. The gym/spa felt kind of dinky; there wasn't an indoor hot tub or equivalent amenities. There was an incident with a pipe bursting in the dining room, which was quickly addressed at least. The casino seemed ridiculously smokey. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We recently cruised on the Carnival Dream and had a great time but it wasn't entirely smooth sailing. First of all I booked a Guaranteed Stateroom for the cruise. I have always picked my own cabin and location with the exception ... Read More
We recently cruised on the Carnival Dream and had a great time but it wasn't entirely smooth sailing. First of all I booked a Guaranteed Stateroom for the cruise. I have always picked my own cabin and location with the exception of last year when Princess was doing a promotional less than 30 days to sailing and they picked my cabin. Since we were prior Princess guests they took that into consideration and upgraded us 6 categories. I was given the impression when I booked with Carnival that since this was my 5th Carnival cruise that I would be likely upgraded. Unfortunately that was not the case and I got exactly what I paid for, a cabin on the lowest deck and in the back of the ship. We did not even receive our cabin assignment until less than 48 hours to sailing. Luckily someone from Carnival called and offered us an upgrade at a fee. $50 for an inside stateroom upgrade the entire week. $100 if you wanted an ocean view stateroom and $300 for a balcony stateroom. We chose to upgrade to an inside cabin because it was the best location available. We were on the 8th deck mid ship which was centrally located. Boarding the ship ran smoothly but I do recommend you leave your bags curbside and allow them to be delivered to your stateroom. Rooms were not available until 1:30 PM and this was strictly enforced so hauling bags around until your room was ready would be a nuisance. I will say the food in the dining rooms was some of the best food I have had on a cruise. The lobster tail with grilled shrimp was delicious as well as the Panko crusted shrimp. Carnival's signature desert is the Chocolate Melting Cake and it is to die for. The food in the regular buffet was good at best but there were many other choices like the pasta bar, Tandori bar, the burrito bar, Mongolian bar, the deli and grill which were very good. Our service in the dining room was outstanding but our stateroom steward was okay. The room was always clean but we kept asking for some wine glasses which he only delivered once. One day we had no glasses of any kind in our room and no beach towels. We made due and just got towels up on the Lido deck and glasses from the lobby bar. There are lots and lots of things to do on the Carnival Dream especially in the evening hours. I do think the entertainment is kind of geared to the 20-35 year old range. They have a wonderful big screen on the Lido deck but most of the time during the day they are playing concerts on it and at night doing Laser light shows to the music of Pink Floyd and Rush. I thought it would have been nice to watch an occasional movie on the big screen. The comedians were great as well as the big production shows. I will warn you during one of the shows, I believe it was called Dancing in the Streets, some of the dances were inappropriate for small children. Which seemed kind of ironic since that was the show they brought a bunch of kids from Camp Carnival to. The female dancers were dressed in skimpy costumes doing pole dancing and paying a male dancer dressed as a pimp all to the tune of Donna Summer's Bad Girls. I enjoyed the show but not sure I would say it was totally family friendly. During our cruise we were supposed to visit the ports of Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel and Roatan. We went to Cozumel which was great. We rented a scooter across the street from the port. We easily drove all around the island and stopped at various beaches. In Belize we booked our own excursions through a private company. We did zip lines and ATVs. Unfortunately when we got to Roatan due to high winds and narrow channel to the port we were not able to dock. The ship made several attempts but could not dock so we had another "Fun Day at Sea". We learned that the bigger the ship isn't always better because some of the smaller cruise ships were able to navigate in to the port. Later in the day we learned that the port to Costa Maya had been completely shut down because of the strong winds and the only viable port was to go back to Cozumel instead of another "Fun Day at Sea". Thankfully we did go back to Cozumel or we would have had 3 straight days at sea. The weather did not cooperate on the second trip to Cozumel because it was cool and rainy. Several establishments offered 50% off food and drinks to Carnival Dream guests so many of us spent the afternoon at Fat Tuesdays in Cozumel dancing and having a good time. We learned that you cannot control the weather so just make the best of the situation and that is what many Carnival Dream guests did in Cozumel. Carnival has offered a 20% off discount on a future booking due to the cancelling of ports and changes to the itinerary and I appreciate Carnival's efforts. I was disappointed we missed both Roatan and Costa Maya since we had never been to either of these ports but overall we did have a great time. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
I like to do a start to finish on our recent trip Dec 12th to the 19th to the western Caribbean (7 days). Before we cruised, I did a lot of research to find the best spots and selected our cabin on this ship and watched via Internet how ... Read More
I like to do a start to finish on our recent trip Dec 12th to the 19th to the western Caribbean (7 days). Before we cruised, I did a lot of research to find the best spots and selected our cabin on this ship and watched via Internet how they built this ship over the past months. I am impressed overall the construction and size, and watched closely the ships track to the US and the cruises prior to ours. I read the reviews on Cruise Critic and wanted to see how things were going as well with passengers. I did find some mixed reviews, and some off the issues that the cruisers had were Very True as we found out on our cruise. Going into the cruise, I understood the fact that its a new ship and its Carnival's first contending big ship to finally rival RCC's Ships, so there were adjustments needed to fix the issues. (growing Pains) so hopefully they will be resolved soon so it wont hurt CCL in the future reputation with its Guests. December 12, 2009 Our big day, the day we waited for! Our first vacation since our last cruise on the Fantasy! Embarkation: 12pm Saturday :We got to Port Canaveral, it was crowded, but we were able to find the lines to check in first with security. They were long. We noticed (but weren't sure) people in the VIP entrance were getting right on board.. .. We waited over 40 minutes to get past the first security check in.... finally we get past all that and we get to the Carnival check in. We got to the lady who was checking us in and she asked for our credentials (which I thoroughly checked with our Carnival cruise agent over and over about our Birth Certs and drivers license) The lady looked at mine, and told me to our faces that she would NOT let us board because my Birth Cert was not valid! WHAT!!!? My wife and I darn near fainted when she said that!!! I spent alot of money and we got this far not to sail? I told the lady (Handling us at CCL's checkin counter at the port) I have sailed before on closed loop tours and THIS has never been an issue! So...after 10 minutes of getting with her manager, she finally came back and gave me a speech over getting a passport and said she "didn't have to let me on", but they are going to do us a favor and process us anyway! Bah...My wife and I were Pissed and freaked out. This ruined us! I should have gotten her name but my wife and I were blown away that we almost lost that much money on something we set our hopes on! Next, She (CCL assistant) then finally looks at our itinerary, and says, we are in the wrong line! I said what do you mean? She said you guys are VIP!!! So.... we waited all this time to check in and to find the line we should have been in was over at the other side of the building were other VIPs were drinking coffee and having snacks before checkin??! Well we waited Another 15 minutes and finally after all the mess,.... we get our sail and sign cards. Geesh! 1:10 Pm We boarded the Carnival Dream. We entered The Atrium, it was beautiful! (Smaller than normal but Beautiful) First thing we did (or tried to) was go to our room using the elevators. "Good Luck" getting there!!, everyone had the same idea of using the elevators. they were jambed and crowded almost the whole cruise!! We didn't have a chance, so we took our four heavy bags and climbed all the stairs from the atrium floor level. Yes...Our Cabin was at the top deck twelfth floor! So we climbed all the stairs with full bags in both our hands stopping intermittently to catch our breath, finally getting to the twelfth deck to port side room 12206, the spa deck! We got to the Spa deck and we were wore out from climbing stairs! Our Spa room 12206: The room was beautiful, and the ship and the port was amazing to see from our view point from our balcony. The bathroom was a little small, but the shower water was always hot, and that's good enough for us! The interactive flat screen TV in the room was a great addition, and you can see live time the lido deck and the ships position and course. That we liked the movies that they shown as well. very good room and a relaxing feeling. The room safe and fridge were nice to have too! Our cabin Steward was tops!! Simply the best, she attended our every need and left us towel animals with candy every night! Our room was kept very clean!! Now the drawbacks, found a couple issues with the cabin we were in. ---The bathroom door wouldn't latch, (not a big deal, But the balcony door didn't either!! so when we sailed on the seas the wind whistled loud from the door that wouldn't seal up! I ended up putting a straw from my drink into the sliding lock to take up the slack so it wouldn't whistle so bad. I called maintenance about the issue, they showed up while we were still there, but never returned afterwards. If you held the door shut, it was fine, but again it wouldn't latched closed. The balcony was nice, but there was a lot of standing water, I saw the drain in the next cabin down but it wasn't made lower to drain for some reason, so we had standing water on our balcony almost all the time. ----- The serenity deck overlooked ours, and the other spa cabins... so there was NO privacy from people above us and god forbid they spilled a drink on us while we were on our balcony below! I didn't like that! Maybe they can extend the over hang on the spa cabins for some privacy? It would be a big help! ---Next was the big issue that's been "prevalent on this ship" since it was made. The ventilation system needs careful review so they don't make this mistake on the new ship the Magic! On other reviews of the Dream, there was a sewage smell on the ship! I found from our cabin the ventilation fans were mounted forward of the Spa Cabins so you could smell second hand smoke and a sewage smell from them almost constantly. Thankfully for my wife and I, the wind was in our favor for "some parts" of the trip so we could sit together on our balcony, otherwise we wouldn't have been able to enjoy it at all! I have asthma, so it was important I picked a room that was Non-smoking. When we went down to deck five (using the stairs most of the cruise from the crowded elevators) the second hand smoke was very bad down there, and wreaked terribly. ---- Last 2 of the room issues, and these were the same exact as other cruisers reviews... In our room during the day, you can hear the kids running up and down for the water slides above. It was very noticeable and Everyone in the Spa Cabins heard this on port side, and I really felt bad for the cruisers at the end of the hall, they had to deal with the door to the 12 deck out side slamming all the time as well. Thank god they shut off the slides at 6 PM, it would been a disaster to relax! Last, the walls on this ship seem thinner than the others, you can hear other cruisers in the cabin next door and all the Balcony doors slam too hard on the poor ship! We closed ours carefully, hoping the glass would not break! --- The Good - The lido deck , We Loved the laser show and the music!!! Even though mother nature pounded this poor ship on our cruise with the winds and waves, it didn't stop the fun, the huge TV screen was awesome and the movies were great! We were spoiled!! -----The bad---The crowded 20 plus minute food lines were terrible and the seating in the eating areas was not much better. We were able to eat, just needed a little more patience and it was bearable. The food was excellent, what I would expect, and the service was excellent. (My thoughts of the ship at this point, there's approx 500 too many guests "on the ratio" the ship can handle for ease of its crew and passengers. I feel they sacrificed the Atrium space for more cabins, and other people felt the cramping as well on the lido. There's no easy fix for this and the only fix is dry dock to remove some guest cabins for shopping, because shopping was too small on this ship compared to other cruise ships in the fleet!) --- The Spa. Awesome! Spoiled us rotten, We paid extra for it because of our room and never will forget it. The spa whirlpool was very nice, warm and relaxing. On our cruise it was never crowded, and the workout rooms were plentiful! Upstairs from the spa the salon was great and very professional! We got our hair cut as well and well worth it. The whole Spa experience to us was everything. This is the one thing that's going to be hard to top for our next cruise. ---- The Chefs Art Steakhouse, Deck 12 aft. One word... Phenomenal! The food was the best we had on any cruise, and service was very good. They worked us in on a reschedule from our original online reservations. I recommend it highly to anyone to take part. 30 bucks a person, heck I can spend that easily at Carrabbas and not get a good enough portion that we got at the Chefs art steakhouse. Excellent! ----The Shows. Very good and Professional. Good talented hardworking people! Good choice to go see them on your cruise. -----The Sushi bar. I didn't understand why other cruisers gave it bad reviews, it was very good, and the portions for sample or snack were just right! Very good on our part! -----Cappuccino Bar. Very good! the sweets and the specialty teas, and coffees were excellent. Simply enjoyable, even though we had to swipe our card, heck it was worth it! -----Late dining experience. Very Memorable. Excellent service and food. What I expected! We had VIP status, so we were in private dinning in the Crimson Room late 8:15pm, and loved it!!! We could take our time and the portions were just right for us. the Major D was funny and the servers were like family! The other guests in our dining room were funny and adorable to be around, just a great time! -----Other places on the ship. we explored a lot of places and it was a lot of fun and the food was never ending, the pizza and the ice cream were very good and free flowing all night. The specialty drinks of the day we loved as well, just a good time. -----Serenity deck. Peaceful and enjoyable. We had no problems with other guests, very quiet and private place to relax. We loved it! great views of the sea and land from this point as well! ----- The ports of call and on shore excursions. We selected Only the ones by Carnival. They were very well picked and they were enjoyable. The tour guides watched the time very close! so be ready to be on your mark on these tours, they are held responsible for your safety and being back on time! Being prompt off the ship to get to your tour was nerve racking for us, we prepaid for them and didn't want to miss them, it was worth it though. Carnival Picked very good tours and the guides were very good at giving you all the info to all the sites. -------Behind the Scenes tour. I have to say this: Do it! spend the 90 bucks and get a reservation early. There's only 32 guests per cruise that get the chance, and I recommend it highly. You will learn very quickly what it takes to satisfy 4000 plus guests on a ship for a consist ant 8 months on their contracts. These people work their tales off and don't get much of a chance to even get off the ship to ports of call. The "coined phrase" on the Dream by staff - The "I-95 corridor" (below the water line above zero was busting) the and gangways are spotless and always on the go. We saw the engine room and the bridge, as well as places you never see when your on a cruise. The living quarters of the crew, their cafeteria and offices. The Galley was spotless and the chefs were amazing! You can get fat real fast working down there, the smells of the cooking food was divine, and we were able to sample a portion. Very clean and CCL has a good reputation for it. There are hand sanitizers every where good ship practices! The recycling are made me understand why they don't have waste baskets on the ship to throw food out! I never knew they sorted the leftovers from unused portions from guests and recycled everything from aluminum cans to glass bottles down to your razor blades your throw out in your cabin. They are very strict now where everything has its place. They incinerate the stuff like cardboard and other things, and they chum the leftovers of food for sea life. Works very well and efficient! Everyone eats. ------The Question to ask-----The whole cruise with 700 plus kids and 3600 plus adults from every walk of life on the Dream, would I sail again on her? Yes,.... but ....I will not sail in peak times with higher booking rates, and next time I will book starboard side forward on the Spa, just to get away from the kids running above or cabin room on the slides and the other passengers looking out above us with no privacy. I like my privacy and quiet time, its important for a good get away. and I wish for some Parents to watch or reprimand their kids closer on the ship. I saw many running up and down the halls and actually saw one child was spit over the side of the ship from our balcony view. Carnival did do a great job with taking care of the kids throughout the cruise minding them, we actually didn't have any direct issue at all, just the pitter patter of running feet on the deck above our cabin. I was happy to see them enjoying themselves, thats what its all about! ----Debarkation. some reviews were great about this. Ours was not so great! We felt we were rushed off the ship an hour early... and we were! We wanted to spend one last time on the Dream and have breakfast, it didn't happen. It felt like mad house on debarkation and again the elevators were jambed and people were riding them up and down full. Todd the Cruise director was calling the debarkation process too quick, and there was No chance to get the elevators, so we took our bags all the way down the stairs again. To the crowded Atrium and out the door we went. Bye bye Dream =( My wife and I Really Love this ship!... Even with the growing pains, and the same reviews other people are giving her... I hope Carnival can get time and dry dock the Dream and get them fixed. She is a Grand Ship, and she has us hooked! We did have a great time for the money spent. Thank you! Read Less
Sail Date December 2009

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