We enjoyed this beautiful ship, the Carnival Dream. The people were friendly and the service generally pretty good. We were regular cruisers a decade ago and considering starting again since our family has grown. The one thing that we noticed that was significantly different from previous cruises was the dining experience. It's not as good as it used to be on several levels. The service staff were fine but fewer servers so the service was not as good or prompt. The food was not at the same level either. Entertainment was lacking a little and even though it's not expected at dinner time, definitely not as entertaining years ago. We understand cost concerns on the cruise ship's part so maybe that's just the sign of the times. I would still recommend cruising for the fun atmosphere, vacation convenience, and variety of activities, etc.
This was my third cruise, second with Carnival so I had an understanding of what to expect going in. The Port of NOLA is easy to navigate as it is right on the Mississippi River and is attached to the mall/shopping area. If you are not a diamond or platinum member is suggest purchasing "faster to the fun". It allows you to board ahead of general boarding and your cabin is ready once you get on the boat. Staff was friendly but didn't have that "over the top" service you expect on a cruise. They were not bad by any means, but those who have cruised before will understand what I mean. Lot of families on this trip with younger children which I expected with Carnival. Other cruise lines like Royal Carribean have a more mature customer base and the shows are based on that as well. Most of the entertainment on the Dream was family oriented which for families is great but not so much for a couple without kids in there 40s. Another big difference in cruise lines is the quality of food. I feel that Royal Carribean has much better food and availability of food when you want it. Carnival closes there buffet and will not open it early, not even minutes when there is already a line waiting. Ports were nice, Mahogany Bay was beautiful, no excursion needed just enjoy the beach. Belize was interesting and long. I took up the Myan ruins tour with lunch. The excursion starts off with a 2 hours bus ride on primitave roads so when you finally reach the ruins it feels like you have gone rounds with an MMA fighter. Then you walk uphill for about a half mile to finally reach your destination. The tour guides were Myan descendants which made for a really insightful tour. Lunch was very tasty and served at a stop on their way back to the boat. Another 2 hour ride and we made it back to the Dream. If you want to see and learn all about Belize, this is a good trip for you. You are literally 2 miles from Guatamala border and see many towns. Last port was Cozumel and my excursion was the private beach with chef and waitstaff at my neck and call. This was amazing. That's all I can say about it. The staff, food, location was all unbelievable and it made you feel like you were on another planet. After 5 hours of being pampered we returned to the boat and had one final day at sea. I can tell you by the 6th day everyone onboard was pretty much done being there. The constant bombardment of other people always in your bubble wears on everyone. Debarking the boat was a joke too. Again, faster to the fun allowed us to get off the boat before the gen pop but with people not paying attention, not following instructions, and flat out being rude, leaving the boat was a major drill. Overall I would say if you have a family and this vacation is within your means to take it. If you are a couple and want a more mature vacation I would go with another cruise line.
I love Carnival, but this boat was not up to the Carnival standard that we are accustomed too. First off, we got a suite, which should come with priority. Well, it took me finding our stateroom service guy and asking him where our luggage was for us to finally get luggage 4 hours after boarding. Our room was supposed to be done when we boarded, and was not. It also was not cleaned well. The closet doors had hand prints among other grime and dirt on them. It did not feel clean. Our stateroom service guy asked us to choose morning or evening for a turn down. We used to get both. With the price of a suite we should get both. Maintenance was in our room 3 times without notifying us. We had to exchange out our beach towels at the pool. The stateroom guy only did it once after he overheard us complaining on the way to exchange them at the pool. The water at dinner at the tea smelled like fish. It was gross. Did not feel like the food or cleanliness of the dishes was up to Carnival standards. Overall, very disappointing. The boat was full of rust spots and places where the floor was giving way (like on the sports court) . The excursions were great! The waitstaff in the dinning room especially Juliana were great. Otherwise, not up to what we are used to on Carnival.
It took two days before we saw our room steward. The fridge took a day and a half to get cool (which I did not understand since the last people left only hours prior). AC in the room did not work properly and was not fixed until the 5th day. I tipped room steward to keep ice in the room. he said he could only bring it when he cleaned either 8-10in am or 6-9 in evening. which did we want. Hard to get service except for the casino bar staff. They were amazing. I will NEVER go on a Carnival ship again. bathroom door had a loud creaking noise we reported the second day. finally we sprayed suntan lotion on it. solved problem. they came to fix it the last day. LOL what a joke. We had fun anyway..can not stop us.
The cruise ship was great! The banquet dining is the best we've been on (including other carnival cruises and even better than NCL), but the buffet left much to be desired (NCL's buffet was 5X better).
The ship has a great layout with plenty of commons areas. If you get a balcony, avoid deck 6 if you want privacy, as the rest of the passengers common deck is deck 5 and they can see right into your balcony. It didn't bother us, but I just want to give you a heads up.
As for the ports, if I do it again I would do an excursion in Hondurus. The Island is beautiful, but hard to see from the port on foot (there is a free beach with no waves, if that's your thing). I'd also do an excursion in Mexico. I think Belize has plenty to do right off the port, and all within walking distance. I wish the port days weren't three in a row. By the third day, we were ready to be back on the ship.
There were two adults and two children in our group. The ship had activities for everyone. The ship is not terribly large so it was easy to find your way around quickly. The staff was very friendly and especially the dining room staff were excellent. Not always fast but always went out of their way to accommodate the kids special dining requests. Our stateroom comfortably handled all four of us. The steward was not terribly good,just a bit below what I have expected based on previous cruises. Dive In movies were great.
My favorite part of the cruise was the relaxation, however, the cleanliness of the vessel was far below my expectations. The room service menu was an absolute joke and from all accounts some of their policies changed for the worse. They allowed kids in the adult pool with no consequences. I had a much nicer time on royal Caribbean. Let me clarify since folks had a question: yes it was the serenity area whirpools.....LOL....I'm still tripping some of you got mad...the world me live in ...smh
This was our second cruise on the dream, we didn't like the changes that carnival has made with the cabin being cleaned or turn down service. We didn't see the cabin Steward until the last two days. The cabin was dirty when we checked into the room. We called but nothing was done. On the third day we had a chemical smell that filled the room and we called and they came to verify that there was a smell, later the brought fans to clear the smell out of the room. The food was good and the entertainment but the changes in the cabin service was not good,
We booked and planned this cruise for our children and their spouses ages 20-26, we booked 4 balcony rooms, we have always cruised royal caribe an but chose carnival because we were told it was geared towards the 20 something crowd, boy was that not true. We had our 2 yo grandchild with us as well, and on the first day were told she could not use the small slide even with her parents holding her, so everytime she was outside she wanted to slide and couldnt. The nightclub was closed most nights, the shows were too packed no seats, the smoke filled casino was awful and the food made at least 1 if not 2 of us sick everynight, this was the most disappointing trip I have ever been on and really makes me sad I spent so much time and money trying to plan this for over a year for my family of 9. We will not be cruising with carnival again.
Eat dinner around 6pm so you can go to the show after and then go straight to the comedy club after the show. They really have the timing right on when shows start so you don't have to miss anything. Relax and let people do stuff for you.
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