Carnival Dream Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western

Deck Hand

7+ cruises


Helpful Votes

3 out of 5

An average experience at best.

Sail Date: January 21, 2012

Reviewed: 4 years ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Oceanview

I found bigger is not better. Cruised the Freedom three years ago, and liked it much better. The huge Dream is just too crowded. There are fewer serving lines on the lido than the Freedom has, and with more guests it is a zoo at lunch especially. The confusing layout of the ship takes days to figure out, and it is almost a scavenger hunt to find the main dining rooms! You cannot go from one end to the other on the port side of the ship. You will encounter frustrating dead ends.

There seems to be lots to do for really young guests and really old guests. Those of us in between just get bored. Almost all onboard activity during the day are designed to extract more dollars from you.

They have a barbeque lunch on deck 5 outside - actually pretty good with tacos and sliders. They do not however, have anything to drink with your meal unless you want to purchase beer or soft drinks. For even water or tea, you must trek to the lido (deck 10) to get your cup of lemonade, coffee, etc.

I found the British cruise director to be patronizing and non-engaging. He never participated in a meaningful way in any activities. He was usually just the voice on the PA system (Hal from movie 1984 a Space Oddessy?) When we found out we were to miss our port in Roatan, he announced this in his chipper voice. Hey, bad news is bad news, and does not need a patronizing spin. There is a time and place for every voice.

Speaking of missing the port in Roatan, this was very disappointing. The captain made a real effort to park the ship in the 30 mph wind, but couldn't. Observing the ship maneuvering compared to others, I believe the side thrusters are not powerful enough for a ship of this size - wind can overpower their efforts with the huge profile area of this massive ship. We noted another cruise ship pulled into the pier about 20 minutes after we had to give up. Our only refund was about $9 per person from the port charges that did not have to be paid. I saw in another review that this same thing happened at this port with this ship within the last couple of months. If you book Dream for western Caribbean, don't count on visiting Roatan unless wind is almost non-existent on your day.

Pros: My state room. Good entertainment, nice decor in ship.

Cons: Bad food, lack of day activity onboard for most. Lines, and more lines.

Recommends Carnival Dream? No.

Food and Dining
Most of the food on this tugboat is pretty mediocre at best. Lido food is passable for lunch, and the deli makes a decent ruben sandwich (not NEAR as good as the deli on Freedom in 2007.) At night we only had steak one night out of 7, and that was an excellent chateaubriand. They had the same prime rib featured as the beef dish twice. It was OK. Otherwise, with the exception of a couple of good soups, everything else was forgettable. They can't even execute a passable creme brule. It had 1/8" thick sugar glaze on top, like a burned window pane, with undercooked, soupy filling underneath. Yuck.
Ship Quality
Too darn big. Decor is very nice, however, and less garish than the Freedom. Everything is kept clean and neat. Very confusing layout makes finding some areas of ship difficult for the first few days. We learned the best way to get to dining room was to go down our residence hall and turn at a specific room number across from a stair well, which would lead to the dining room entrance. There are no markers at these stair entrances from the cabin areas, so this is a learned, trial and error method.
Service and Staff
Our room stewards were awesome. You hear this over and over on not only this ship but most others. They are the unsung heroes of the cruise industry! He called me by name from the first day to the last, and always asked about my day, and CARED if I had a good time or not. Our room was always spotless.

We had to "fire" our dining room servers on day 2. We were getting lousy service, and on the last day had to go to the desk just to get menus. This was the last straw. When the head matre'd came by during that meal to ask about our service experience, we told him it was unacceptable. To make a long story short, he moved us to another table, where an EXCELLENT group of servers from Peru took great care of us for the rest of the cruise. We bonded with them as we had just vacationed in Peru two months ago. They are justifyably proud of their country, and talked a lot with them about our experiences.

Any crew member in a white uniform never bothered to speak to us.
We did enjoy most of the shows. The singers were just OK, but the dancers were top notch. Comedy shows in the clubs were very good. The comedian in the main show room was lousy - we left after 10 minutes.

The show band must be the best on the seven seas. They are truly, truly exceptional.
Cabin / Stateroom
We REALLY liked our stateroom. We had room 1-204, which is one of the front bunk bed rooms. While the least expensive room left when we booked, we liked its layout. Twin beds end to end were very comfortable, and if a family needs, a third bed can drop down from its storage in the ceiling. This results in a wide open room with generous floor space. The room also has two neat port holes. I think only the front two rooms on each side on floors 1 and 2 are set up this way. One tip - opt for "self assist" disembarkation at the end. Do this, and live on floor 1, and you are the very first called to the lobby to disembark. If you can wheel your own luggage, this will get you through MUCH earlier. We were one of the first 20 or so off, and cleared customs and were waiting for our van to the parking lot no more than 10 minutes after leaving our state room. Wow! I was in my car and on my way home just as the sun came up. Drove 615 miles and was home at 4:30 pm.

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