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Carnival Dream Review

Carnival Dream
Carnival Dream
2019 Best for Fitness & Recreation
2019 Best for Shore Excursions
2019 Best for First Timers

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Carnival Dream
4.5 / 5.0 Cruise Critic Editor Rating
to book


All entertainment and most dining is included in the cruise fare


No dedicated sports bar; games are streamed at the casino bar

Bottom Line

A ship with a happy vibe, where passengers have fun and crew is friendly


Passengers 3,646
Crew 1,367
Passenger to Crew 2.67:1
Launched 2009
Shore Excursions 90

Gina Kramer
Cruise Critic Contributor

Carnival Dream Overview

Even before its January 2017 makeover -- which welcomed Carnival favorites like Guy's Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina, the Alchemy Bar and Bonsai Sushi -- Carnival Dream had a lot to love. The ship is one of the biggest in Carnival's fleet (second to the line's Vista class), which means dining options abound, and you'll never be bored with activities ranging from themed trivia and charades to comedy shows and top-deck dance parties.

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To balance this out, Carnival Dream offers something that can be hard to find on other ships of its size: a place to escape all the action. The Lanai Promenade, a wraparound exterior walkway on Deck 5, has ample seating (including a handful of deck chairs) and four cantilevered hot tubs, yet never seems to get crowded, even on sea days.

Carnival Dream is also full of "hidden" decks -- two of which offer some of the best views onboard. You'll find them all the way at the front of the ship, on Decks 6 and 7, through doors at the end of the cabin corridors. Elsewhere throughout the ship, you'll find slivers of deck space and seating nooks to accommodate the larger number of passengers onboard. On the flip side, be warned: The ship does have a few tight spaces that can make it difficult to navigate -- including the internal walkway on Deck 5, next to Ocean Plaza, and Deck 4, near the kids' clubs.

What truly sets Carnival Dream apart from other ships, however, is its service. The crew members seem genuinely happy and interested in making sure passengers have the best vacation possible. In addition, they go above and beyond -- whether that's having your go-to glass of lemonade waiting for you at the main dining room, or guiding you to one of the secret decks so you don't get lost. With this level of attentiveness, it's no surprise Carnival Dream has won the line's internal flagship award for best service, multiple years.

Between the friendly service and everything there is to do (and eat) onboard, Carnival Dream is one big happy ship -- and we have a feeling you'll quickly forget about any minor gripes.

Fellow Passengers

A huge chunk of the passengers on Carnival Dream drive to their cruise from states all over the southern United States. Ages run the gamut from kids (lots of 'em in the summer!) to folks in their 60s and 70s, though the average age is usually somewhere in the mid-30s to mid-40s. The ship is popular with groups, including family reunions and wedding parties.

Carnival Dream Dress Code

Daytime: Casual is the name of the game on any Carnival ship. On most days, you'll see men in shorts and T-shirts and women in shorts and tees, capris, sundresses or bathing suits with cover-ups.

Evening:Most nights people remain casual for dinner but on Cruise Elegant nights, you'll see women in gowns, sundresses and pants and blouse combos, while men don anything from tuxes to full suits to trousers with button-up shirts (with or without a jacket and/or tie). You'll also see plenty of people who choose not to dress up at all.

Not permitted: On all nights, cutoff jeans, men's sleeveless shirts, basketball shorts, T-shirts, sportswear, baseball hats, flip-flops and bathing suits are not allowed in the main dining rooms, though we saw lots of women in flip-flops and men in T-shirts and baseball caps.

For more information, visit Cruise Line Dress Codes: Carnival Cruise Line.

Carnival Dream Gratuity

Carnival recommends $13.99 per person, per day, for gratuities ($15.99 per person, per day, for those in suites). The guidelines allocate a portion to dining room services, cabin services and alternative services, which include kitchen, entertainment, guest services and other hotel services. The amount is automatically added to your shipboard account, but it can be adjusted in either direction at the guest services desk. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to bar bills and spa treatments. Tipping a couple dollars for room service at delivery is appreciated by the service staff.

Carnival Dream Awards

Cruisers’ Choice Awards

2019 Best for Fitness & Recreation
2019 Best for Shore Excursions
2019 Best for First Timers
2017 Best for Shore Excursions
2015 Best for Service
2014 Best for Shore Excursions
2013 Best for Embarkation

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Riviera Deck
Main Deck
Lobby Deck
Atlantic Deck
Promenade Deck
Upper Deck
Empress Deck
Verandah Deck
Vista Deck
Lido Deck
Panorama Deck
Spa Deck
Sun Deck
Sky Deck

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Carnival Dream Member Reviews

Carnival Dream
Sail Date: May 2019
My sister and I wanted to spend some time together. We sailed on the Carnival Dream she was a lovely ship. We had cove balcony on deck 2. we had the best room steward Erwin. He was very helpful and our...Read More
Carnival Dream
Sail Date: Feb 2019
recently had a caribean cruise on carnival dream,which was absolutely excellent,so much so they we have already looked into booking our 2nd one!! we embarked at new orleans,which was very smooth,we had...Read More
Carnival Dream
Sail Date: Jul 2019
Carnival Dream is a gigantic ship with an awesome crew. Do the rooms need a freshen up? Yes! However the rest of the ship was clean, stylishly decorated for a cheesy cruise ship. The food overall was pretty...Read More
Carnival Dream
Sail Date: Dec 2018
the ports we stopped at. The cruise atmosphere was definitely fun, but not overwhelming. The Carnival Dream was truly a dream trip come true!...Read More

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