These boisterous ships woo party animals, as well as fun-loving families and singles, with constant entertainment (think poolside hairy chest contests, after-hours comedians, buckets of beer, plenty of activities for kids) and increasingly impressive food, including burgers by Food Network star Guy Fieri. Carnival has begun to host onboard concerts by big-name performers — including Jennifer Hudson, Chicago, Jewel, and Leann Rimes — on regular sailings and has partnered with Dr. Seuss Enterprises for themed story hours and kid-friendly "Cat in the Hat" brunches.
The Carnival Dream is an excellent choice! We went with a family group of 15 and while we would meet up for certain activities, lunch or dinner, there were so many things all of us could do at our own pace. The ages of our group ranged from 2yrs old to 73 years old and all of us were occupied whenever we chose to be. This was the perfect vacation because some would need to nap in the afternoons, while some were enjoying the activities. Some had to retire early to bed, and some stayed up to wee hours of the morning. There is no comparison to the service we received aboard this ship!! We had a small issue at the beginning with arrangements of our rooms and was accomodated to our satisfaction without any problems!! Our seating arrangements for Dinner was a little mixed up, but upon our arrival to Dinner the 1st evening, we were accomodated to our satisfaction. I can say that the CREW on Carnival Dream is ALWAYS there to meet the needs of the passengers! Already planning to schedule next year!!!
this was my first cruise...and all i have to say is wow!!!!!....it was sooooo wonderful....the staff was absolutley almost perfect....always smiling and courteous and the best part about them is everywhere i went they knew my name...no kidding...we picked the cove balcony for our cruise which was perfect for us because the view was breathtaking...our stewart had to be the best on the cruise of all the stewarts...always accommodating our needs..plus he made us super cool towel animals everyday...he knew i loved ice and always made sure that my ice bucket was full...i never had to ask for anything it was like he could read my mind...the activities, the food, the hospitality, the fun...i cant put a price tag on this because it exceeded my desires of what a vacation is all about...i loved our ports of call..turks, aruba...ect...perfect...thank you carnival and all your staff..for the most spectacular, wonderful, exciting adventure of my life...p.s...hats off to rojoleo...our lido deck server..we called him roger....make sure you look him up on lido deck he is the best server of all of them...i would highly recommend carnival breeze to anyone...:)
Prior to this cruise, my husband and I were ready to forever write off Carnival as an option for us. The past two cruises were sub-par; terrible food, overworked and unhappy staff, classless guests (someone actually gang-tagged the hallways) and safety concerns. (Re: Safety Concerns- There was a major fire in the room across from ours and the staff, in an effort to keep things hush-hush, didn't notify us or any of the other cabins. Instead, they closed us in with the fire containment doors and when I approached Guest Services, they claimed they knew nothing. The Officer I spoke with told me it was no big deal, yet I saw the flames coming out of the room and witnessed them discretely stripping the room down to the bare walls.)
We booked the Sunshine with significant reservations (no pun intended) but it was a great deal for a great itenerary- a balcony room for an eight-night Southern Caribbean cruise for $700 a person- so we decided we would give Carnival one more chance. We thoroughly loved it and would go again right now, if we could.
The new, understated decor is much needed and much appreciated. Good riddance to that garish, purple, yellow, teal and orange palette and the decor that looked like it had been dreamed up by Liberace on acid.
The food was the best we've had on any cruise ship or cruise line. Guy's Burgers were wonderful, as were the buffets and main dining selections. I never had one thing I didn't like, and I am picky, picky, picky when it comes to good food! The only negative was the wait time for anytime dining. Waits were usually 30-40 minutes, however they gave us beepers and had us wait in the lounge by the tasting bar, so it really wasn't all that bad.
Many people commented on the ship being "chopped up", but we loved the smaller, more intimate spaces. It gave people more options as to where and how they spent their time. Unlike the older ship layouts, with those giant lounges that were only used once or twice for art auctions, or Friends of Bill W., guests were USING the spaces. Scratch that- they were ENJOYING the spaces! All the little bars and pubs and smaller lounges were always nearly full! People seemed to be having a lot more fun on this ship.
As for the entertainment, at any given time there were plenty of options for guests of all ages and preferences. Karaoke, a comedy show, a family game show, the musical performances, trivia, and more. Karaoke was packed, with no shortage of singers- many of whom were quite good- but everyone was enjoying themselves. The two comedians I saw were both very funny and I regret that I didn't get the chance to see the heavy-set lady from SC again. The family gameshow was cute and all ages seemed to really enjoy it- we did! This ship seems to focus on guests being the show or a big part of the show, instead of the passive, Broadway musical-type performances. Be aware that the singing/dancing shows are decidedly smaller and simpler. There was only five or six performers, and they are second-rate talent. High schoolers could do a better job, but bless their hearts, they tried.
The Serinity decks are fabulous and very popular! Comfy, padded lounges and no screaming kids or hairy chest contests. (In fact I didn't see any of those rediculous, pool-side games on this cruise.) The pool is small, but it had a waterfall and sun-shelf around the perimeter, so you could lay in the water while working on your tan. The capacity for the adult pool is only 17 people, but I counted over 40 at one time, so obviously, they need to make it bigger on future ships.
We loved this cruise. It felt more personal and intimate than any other Carnival cruise we've been on. More importantly, it felt more sophisticated and classy, and Carnival needed to be classed-up a little.
Carnival, you're moving in the right direction. You have redeemed yourselves. Please keep up the great work!
We have cruised several times with several cruise lines including Carnival and have always had a wonderful experience until we boarded the Carnival Dream. Our cabin was HOT when we boarded we complained within an hour and continued to call and go speak to the supervisor , on the second day they came and took the temp and kept ssaying they would send up a tech to fix it. NEVER HAPPENED because they knew our entire hall was broke for several weeks and just kept on cruising week after week. It was so hot i literally had to go sit in the lobby area to put on my makeup, people were physically sick in other cabins. Carnival gave us 500$ credit and 15% off a future cruise and were simply rude when we would still complain. I did not want credit , I wanted some air conditioning on my vacation! We will never cruise Carnival again!
I'll start with the end........not much I can complain about at all. Everything was pretty dang good!
We drove to New Orleans from Dallas (8 hours) on Saturday to save some bucks on flights. That's really the worst part of the trip. The line to get into the parking terminal on Sunday at the Carnival Dock in New Orleans was very long and it took a good half hour or more at noon. We paid the $112 in advance, which is the rule. Unloaded our 8 bags for the 3 of us which included at least two small bags with our minimum allowed beverages ( water, soda, wine). I do recommend you pack for this. It's worth the effort to bring what you can with you (legally)
Finally got through all the check in procedures and boarded the Dream. It was 3 pm before they would allow us down the halls to check into our stateroom. At 3:01 pm we were headed that way, the wife and I and our 14 year old son. Stateroom was on the first deck, had one twin bed for our son, two twins pushed together for wife and I, two bathrooms (one with toilet and shower, one with tub and shower) and a big window. Lots of storage, room was clean, A/C was cool - no complaints.
Set sail at 5 pm as they said and we cruised down the Mississippi River all night and finally into the ocean sometime the next morning. Had the early dinner seating at 6 pm and food/service was very decent. No complaints. They had a every night menu and a special for the night menu. Lots of choices and something for everyone. The chocolate molten lava cake was the weeks "fav", our son had it every night.
Got to Cozumel on Tuesday and did the Mr Sanchos Private All-Inclusive Beach deal. Booked it online (shoreexcusioneer.com) before we left. Cab was $16 bucks, one way, for the three of us which we shared with three others ($32 total). Food was good, service on the beach was good, water was very clear and cool, there was a very cool inflatable playground in the ocean for anyone wanting to go climbing, sliding, jumping and or just playing. You could go to the swimming pool or beach, they had lockers for possessions. Had to be back by 4:30 to sail at 5. On time again
Next day was Belize. We did the CaveTubing which we booked online. We were supposed to disembark at 9ish but was closer to noon because the waves were too heavy to get the tenders safely docked. Made us late for the day getting to our tour guide. Other tours tried to steal us but we eventually found our guide and drove 55 mintues to go cave tubing for an hour and a half. River was cold, cave was cool and all went well. Nothing dangerous though we had been warned to be careful traveling back into Belize. There were several police check points which our driver said was normal. Crime and drugs at an all time high there though so be aware.
Last tendered was scheduled to leave Belize at 4:15 pm which was pretty close to the actual time it left. There were long lines waiting to catch the tenders. We double checked with several people to make sure we were on the right tender to The Dream because there were other ships docked. BTW, the ships anchor a long way away from Belize. The tender takes about 30 minutes to get to the dock. The ocean was pretty rough though the weather was good. They went pretty slow and I don't think anyone got sick.
Honduras was next and we got in very early in the morning. The entire Mahogany Bay area is well landscaped and everything new. Rumor has it that Carnival spent $6 million on that area. Lots of shops, very clean, there's a big chair lift you can take over that part of the beach. We went snorkeling, waves were rougher than I'd like and snorkeling gear was kind of worn out but all in all, very enjoyable. Lots to see but a couple of people got sea sick on the Catamaran. Nice sail back to the ship, bought some souvenirs and set sail at 5.
Two more days at sea and back in New Orleans bright and early. Though leaving the ship was fairly well organized, it still took forever. They disembark by group numbers and we had a high number for some reason.
Carnival Dream was worth it, We'd do it again. Great staff in the restaurants on board, mostly from Indonesia.
These days, cruises are as loved for their onboard activities — from ice skating to ropes courses — as they are for the ports they visit. Fortunately, finding adventure on land has never been easier either.
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