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Carnival Dream Review

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating
1920 reviews
7 Awards
Carnival Dream
Carnival Dream Dining
Carnival Dream Cabins
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Editor Rating
Very Good
Gina Kramer
Cruise Critic Contributor

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.


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 : 468

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.

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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.


Included with your cruise fare:

  • All meals in the main dining room, buffet and select room service items
  • All theatre production shows and Punchliner Comedy Club shows
  • Use of the water park and sports deck
  • Daily activities unless noted below or in the FunTimes daily program
  • Use of the fitness center, excluding organized classes or training sessions
  • Use of the Carnival kids club (children aged 2 to 17) until 10 p.m.

Not included with your cruise fare:

  • Gratuities ($13.99 per person, per day for standard staterooms; $15.99 per person, per day for suites)
  • Automatic gratuities of 18 percent for beverages and spa treatments
  • All drinks except water, tea, coffee and juices served in the buffet
  • Meals in the steakhouse specialty restaurant
  • Treatments in the Spa and salon; personal training or group fitness classes
  • Entry to the Thermal Suite, including Thalassotherapy Pool, at the Cloud 9 Spa
  • All shore excursions
  • Wi-Fi internet access
  • Select activities like bingo, alcohol tasting events and Build-a-Bear workshops
  • Photos and artwork for sale
  • Late-night (10 p.m. to 1 a.m.) events in the Kids Club

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.

Find a Carnival Dream Cruise from $189

More about Carnival Dream

Where does Carnival Dream sail from?

Carnival Dream departs from Galveston

How much does it cost to go on Carnival Dream?

Cruises on Carnival Dream start from $189 per person.

Is Carnival Dream a good ship to cruise on?

Carnival Dream won 7 awards over the years, including Best for Fitness & Recreation, Best for Shore Excursions, and Best for First Timers in 2019.
Carnival Dream Cruiser Reviews


If you want to enjoy a fun, active vacation, for an amazing price considering what you get, do a Carnival cruise. The Dream is awesome.Read More
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10+ Cruises

Age 50s

Tale of two cruises, most was fantastically wonderful, some was fantastically disappointing.

Bad job Carnival Dream. Now that I've spanked them, let me tell you where the Dream got it right. The excursions were fantastic. We did three of them.Read More
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2-5 Cruises

Age 50s

Johnamay wows us with her performance!

The cruise was really nice except for the rain (which I can't blame on Carnival) and we were always able to find seating for shows and a chaise by the pool, probably because it was 60% full!Read More
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2-5 Cruises

Age 60s

Covid Protocols did not hurt cruising!

I splurged and ordered the $70 covid test kit Carnival mentions on their site. It was very easy and we had our official results in 15min. Embarkation was smooth, but I didn't see the usual VIP line.Read More
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10+ Cruises

Age 60s

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