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Carnival Dream Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,934 Reviews

First Time Cruise on the Dream

Carnival Dream Cruise Review by cakeprincess

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jan 2011
  • Destination: the Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Spa Interior

I'm writing this review because I appreciated being able to read everyone else's reviews prior to this sailing. I'd never been on a cruise ship before and I needed lots of information so I could feel prepared.

Embarkation was easy!

The first few steps on the ship were amazing! I could never have imagined all the things the Dream could hold!

Our stateroom on the spa deck was terrific and the spa was worth anything extra that we paid for it. We were there twice a day, on average. And of course because we had some windy days, we took turns just chilling out on the heated loungers. Lovely.

We took advantage of just about everything: the library for homework time, the comedy club (the PG shows were great family fun), the shows in the encore, some of the poolside activities, our son went to the kid's club a few times but the crowd wasn't really his type but that was okay because we all like to hang out together anyway, minigolf, and the massive chess game. It's a floating resort, really, with adventure stops along the way.

We loved the wonderful dining experienced (Chef's table is not to be missed if you're a foodie. Absolutely worth your time!) The steakhouse was also terrific. We were never disappointed with the dinner or the dinner service either. We're not really into buffets but we loved the Indian buffet at the Tandoor and the pizza place was very good.

One disappointment: the coffee is just awful. We brought a kettle that turns itself off so we could boil water and Starbucks Via coffee and two coffee mugs. We were set. We used the bottled water in the room even though we had to pay for it because good coffee starts with good water.

Disappointment: the hot tubs were definitely not hot. Some were COLD but most were lukewarm. On a less-than-ideal-weather sailing, this is not great. Imagine if you could have been in a warm hot tub even when it was windy and cool- you'll have to imagine it and so will I!

Some things we didn't take advantage of: not too much drinking though we had margaritas once and we bought the five bottles of wine for $110. (We didn't bring any on because we flew in and we didn't want to travel with it.) We didn't gamble. We didn't do too much of the hokey games but we were entertained watching other people do them. The Game of Love was particularly entertaining. I'd like to see more parent-child and/or family types of events... We didn't shop on board or in the ports. We didn't go to the art auction; we like to support artists we know in our community. We tried karaoke once but it was a bit sad. We didn't do any line dancing either. But the fact that all of that was available made the whole trip even better for us- that meant that fewer people were doing what we wanted to do!

One thing I wasn't prepared for is the competition and saving of deck chairs on the full sea days. It definitely marred my first day at sea experience as I watched chairs sit empty for an hour or more as I cruised the deck, having given up on lounging. The second time we encountered this a few days later, we had to argue with a couple who were attempting to save 8 chairs total for them and their friends. I ended up saying that we were each here, we wanted to sit in two chairs and that's what we were going to do. They ended up seeing our point, but not after being a bit put-off.

We met many friendly people and a great lead-in question is "So...Are you having fun?"

This was a family friendly cruise and it was also a place were younger people got a cheap room in the bottom of the boat and drank far too much day after day. Thankfully the big drinkers pass out, sleep in and head into port for cheap drinks so the amount of time we could be subjected to their antics was not bad at all. And sometimes the entertainment value was high!

We missed seeing Roatan and Costa Maya because of the wind, and the boat was really rocking the last couple of days prior to arrival back at Port Canavaral. If you don't know that ginger is the number one best way of dealing with seasickness/nauseau, you do now. Take ginger tablets from the healthfood store or Ginger Gravol from the pharmacy or candied ginger or ginger candies from the asian grocery store and you won't have any problems. I was concerned about this because I can be sensitive to these sorts of things, but I was never sick.

I guess that's it. The Dream will be a ship I revisit.

cakeprincess's Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Spa Interior

Great balcony, quiet room even in very rough water conditions, lots of room for whatever you need.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews


We ended up here twice on our cruise due to high winds and not being able to dock in Roatan or Costa Maya. I would likely have given this port a 5 if the weather had been more pleasant. We competed (and won!) The Amazing Race in Cozumel but even if we hadn't have won, we'd have loved this adventure. It's a great family/friends activity with just enough brain work and the excitement of a race! I'd really recommend this activity to anyone who loves reality shows like survivor or the amazing race. The organizers make it fun and keep it from being frustrating. Definitely one of the best days of the cruise. Also, we went on the Dolphin Swim adventure on our second time around at this port. I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy- mostly we did it because our son wanted to- but it was a wonderful experience. There is a significant difference between the encounter and the swim adventure. With the swim adventure, you are up close to the dolphins and swimming in the water with them almost the entire time. With the encounter, you stand on a ledge and the dolphins come to you. For the extra $20, it's worth it to swim with them (and you also end up with lunch in the deal.)

Belize City

Beautiful place. The Cave Tubing is a float trip on tubes and it is worth a one-time only adventure. The walk through the forest is beautiful, the tubing is relaxing. The water is NOT cold- even in January. The Drawbacks. Tons of people take this- we had 150 people the day we went, and that's only counting the ones who took our tour. There are private tours that took out dozens of cruisers, too. As far as I could tell from the private tours, many used black inner tubes, were not required to wear lifejackets and/or helmets and some looked like they may have had a better time than we did. Only because they were not required to hook up together in a mini-flotilla of 8 tubes and they could sort of make their way on their own. Clearly not as safe, but the water is SLOW and the dangers at this time of year of being trapped in rising water are so LOW. Would I book independently? Probably not. I like the idea that the cruise stands behind the program I'm with just in case anything goes wrong... I've traveled in many developing countries and I've experienced how things can go wrong in terms of transportation or communication. Another drawback: you're tendered to Belize and then you've got a LONG bus ride. (an hour is long to me) and while there is food available after the tubing, there isn't much time to get it and the number of change rooms is inadequate to get all those people moving through the system so that everyone has time to enjoy a drink and a snack. Not that you'll die without it- it's just that I wanted to have that part of the experience, too. It's an entire day devoted to this activity. However, as I've said, I thought it was worth it- at least once. If I went to Belize again, I'd do the beach/snorkel, but the day we were there the weather wasn't great anyway.

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