July 2014 - Carnival Dream to Caribbean - Western
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.
Great job Carnival!