Carnival Dream Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern

Deck Hand

4-6 cruises


Helpful Votes

4 out of 5

Great for families

Sail Date: May 08, 2010

Reviewed: 6 years ago

Traveled As: Family w/young children

Room Type: Oceanview

I have not sailed on Carnival since high school (too long ago to mention). Now, sailing with my wife and two young children (4 & 2), I was a bit aprehensive - which was completely unfounded. The accomodations were fine (although small - which is normal for a lower deck ocean-view room). The kids both had plenty of room as did we - the only time we fell all over ourselves was rushing out the door to go have fun!

The ship has plenty to do for both young and old. My kids enjoyed the pools and water slides tremendously. More importantly, the "Camp Carnival" facility was a welcome treat for two parents needing a small break from the kids - even if just for a few hours. The best part is that kids over the age of 2 can go to Camp Carnival (the competition requires kids to be 3 or older). This was a huge factor in our choosing this line and ship.

The only real negative (and it isn't huge) about the cruise was the buffets. While there is plenty of food, only a few locations with limited choices were open during "off" hours. The burger & hot dog station cut-off at six (I can't tell you how many times kids want hot dogs for dinner - no matter what else is available). The organization of the buffet lines was "off" too. Only the main buffet had trays, the rest were "grab a plate and hope you can carry this and everything else too". Also, many of the condements or "add-ons" such as salsa (for chips) were at the front of the line, not at the end. This seemed to be a recurring theme on all buffets.

The only thing that could have been better would have been more activities for families. Also, the "entertainment" or "contests" at the main pool were adult only (Hairy Chest Competition for example) and probably should be held at the "adult" pool instead of where all the kids were. If nothing else, it disrupted some of the swimming time and young kids don't quite understand why they can't swim but the adults can.

Pros: The family-friendly atmosphere

Cons: The organization & choices for the various buffets

Recommends Carnival Dream? Yes!

Food and Dining
The food was medocre - good for mass consumption, but not of superior quality or presentation. The portions in the main dining room were small (and you could get the same thing in the buffet without having to get all cleaned-up). There wasn't any real distinguishing benefit to the seated dining room versus the buffet. Also, see my comments above regarding the buffet layout and schedules.
There were limited options for families - the few shows we saw promoted were more "adult" oriented. However, the big TV over the main pool was a lot of fun (movie night was a blast when they showed a kid-friendly movie). The waterslides were terrific and kept everyone entertained - especially the 4 year old.
Children's Programs
Cano Carnival was great. The kids really enjoyed the activities and it gave mom and dad a break. There needs to be more kid-friendly or family-friendly shows and "games". Overall though, it was exactly as expected. The fact that 2 year olds can go to Camp Carnival (as opposed to other lines minimum of 3 years of age) made a big difference and was a major factor in our selecting this ship.
Ship Quality
The ship is good size (it's a new ship) and the layout, after a while, makes some sense. Still, it took days to figure out which end was bow and stern in relation to the pools, etc. The decor seemed a bit "cheesey" - all the signs are in a pseudo-neon dot-matrix looking style (hard to describe), yet the art seemed more art-deco. I couldn't quite tell what the decorator was trying to convey (classic sailing or ultra modern). Also, although this is a big ship - we were always right next to or behind Royal Carribbean's "Oasis of the Seas" which dwarfed this new Carnival ship.

The ship was always clean and the crew were extremely friendly - especially to the kids.
Cabin / Stateroom
We were very pleased with our stateroom - it even had two separate showers and sinks which came in handy for four people getting ready. Size was adequate (for an ocean view) - we were on deck 1 - our kids (ok, all of us) loved watching out the window at the waves and the people getting on or off the boat in port.
Service and Staff
Everyone was terrific and very family friendly.
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
I would have enjoyed much more time here - this was a terrific stop (my first time to the Virgin Islands). Very clean and at no time did we feel any "pressure" from the locals (it is an American territory).
Don't Miss: Paradise Point Sky Tram - Great view and nice to relax in the breeze
Philipsburg, St. Maarten
Disappointed when compared to St. Thomas. The whole area seemed to be very depressed (even compared to the housing and "local" shops of Nassau. We did learn that much of the locals actually live in the hills (nice houses), and a lot of the less attractive areas were more-or-less not really representative of the island as a whole (too bad we didn't get that impression).
Don't Miss: The See and Sea excusion was great for the family - the kids loved being in a "submarine"
Nassau, Bahamas
Nassau, unfortunatley, is like Atlanta (Denver, Dallas...insert your favorite airline hub here). Seems like you can't go anywhere without hitting Nassau. We did enjoy our excursion tour of the forts and Pirate museum though.
Don't Miss: You have to hit the straw market right off the port.

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