November 2014 - Carnival Dream to Caribbean - Bahamas
Overall first impressions of the Carnival Dream were not great! As soon as we boarded the ship and collected our bags outside our rooms, we had to meet at our designated Muster station for evacuation training before disembarking.
As this was our first cruise, this was understandable and provided reassurance. However, once the alarm sounded for us to meet at our Muster station, we had a group of idiots that were drunk and felt appropriate to slide down the stair handrails. On two occasions, they fell off the handrails and landed into people walking down the stairs including an elderly lady. Looking around for staff, there appeared to be no one about.
The cruise seemed very loud at the beginning with a lot of drunks and alcohol flowing. To us this immediately seemed concerning as majority of the passengers would not have been able to perform or follow a real evacuation should there have been one.
Throughout the cruise, we, unfortunately, had poor weather and it just happened to be one of those weeks! We sailed from New Orleans to the Bahamas calling at Key West, Nassau and Freeport.
As we had quite poor weather (thunder and lightning, torrential rain and high winds) sections of the open decks were closed down for safety which is understandable. However, this left very little to do onboard. Swimming pools and Jacuzzis were closed and on occasions emptied of water, the outdoor cinema was closed (why it is outdoor makes no sense to me!), and the library was very poor. The only entertainment indoors seemed to be Bingo (boring!).
The cruise entertainment was poor except for a few of the evening shows, and the overall ship interior was tacky and cheap. The casino smelt vile of stale cigarette smoke. For those UK holidaymakers the best way to describe it is like Blackpool on the sea! And for those US holidaymakers, it was like a run-down tacky hotel on the Las Vegas strip without class or quality.
Choice of TV channels in your room was limited, the Carnival channels were rubbish, and on-demand videos were chargeable. WiFi was also expensive and if you’ve done cruises before like my parents have - don’t expect a Starbucks onboard – you will be disappointed! Daily newsletters that were pushed through your cabin door every night lacked information, boring to read and couldn’t be further than ‘Fun Times’.
The gym facilities were not great at all. The touch screen equipment was faulty, and more focus was spent finding a machine that would work rather than exercising. The outdoor running track was a complete joke! Slippery when wet and constantly crowded with people standing, talking and obstructing runners, the running track was a waste of time and didn't even span the full ship.
The overall highlight of the holiday for us was the staff. They were very accommodating, friendly and welcoming from the waiters to guest services and the cleaners. As a vegan, I was initially apprehensive about the food, but the staff onboard went out of their way to ensure I had vegan meals, so this part of the holiday was flawless.
And the final question: will we cruise again with Carnival? No, thanks!