Back To Line

Carnival Cruise Lines: Carnival Dream

Carnival Dream Cruise Review

Insider Take


First of the largest "Dream-class". Highlights: Ocean Plaza, RedFrog Rum Bar, Waterslides, Serenity retreat, Punchliners Comedy Club.

Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer

An elegant, quiet and relaxing cruise; private areas away from the public, especially children.


One of the best aspects about Carnival Dream is less focus on the Farcusian decor. Compared to other Carnival ships, Dream is one of the least garish ships in the fleet. There isn't any neon (the days replaced by the more efficient LED) tubing along the railings. The look is glass with chrome railings and wood finishings. There are a lot of pin lights of different colors, but you won't be over-stimulated as you might be on other Carnival ships.

Public Rooms

Carnival Dream has a unique indoor/outdoor cafe and entertainment venue called Ocean Plaza in the mid-ships Promenade Deck. This is a first at sea, a public room with outdoor seating so close to the water line. Nearby the lanai seating are cantilevered hot tubs. The centerpiece of Ocean Plaza will be Plaza Cafe, a patisserie serving lattes, cappuccinos, espresso and other specialty coffees, along with sweets such as baked-on-board cakes, pies, cookies - even freshly made milkshakes. Full bar service, specializing in martinis, mojitos and other popular cocktails, will be offered, as well.

Dream's public rooms are breathtaking, with its imposing atrium covering ten decks and glass elevators to the Pool deck. The "Promenade" on Deck 5 includes benches along its boulevard for those wishing to rest between stops at the nearby wine bar, casino and the adult disco "Caliente Dance Club." The ship's nightclubs, primarily at the stern, include The Burgundy Lounge which becomes a comedy club four nights per week. The Song Jazz Lounge features one or two musicians playing classics of the 70's, 80's on the stage near its small dance floor. Sam's Piano Bar, a sing-along piano bar, is close to the Caliente Dance Club.

On the opposite end of Dream is the three-deck high Encore Main Lounge; aim for the lower balcony seats, a little off-center for the best view. Walking aft you next enter the Dream Atrium with the shopping area Fun Ships. The Jackpot Casino is the largest in the Carnival Fleet. Nearby the is the FunHub station just off the aforementioned Ocean Plaza. Hidden on Deck 4 (Atlantic Deck) are the extensive children's facilities including the Warehouse video-arcade and the two teen's discos, Circle C and Club 02. There are extensive conference facilities onboard on deck four.

Other diversions include a small library open for several hours each day and various boutiques selling a wide range of duty-free jewelry, perfume, and alcohol along with the usual cruise items.

Outside on the stern is a two-level Serenity adults-only retreat - the largest in the Carnival Fleet. The extensive water park along with a 23,750-square-foot health spa are both Carnival's largest to date.


One of the new entertainment attractions on Dream include a new comedy club, to be held in the 425-seat Burgundy Lounge. It offers six shows per night, alternating between two comedians. The last two shows of the evening will be the adults only shows, one offered by each comedian. Making it even better, half-way through the cruise Carnival will bring in two different comedians for two fresh shows. This means that all together there will be eight different comedy shows for each passenger to see, a "family" and an "R-rated" show from each of four different comedians.

Carnival has a laser light show that goes off every night with a different theme. The laser-works are choreographed to songs by different well-known rock bands like Styx and Van Halen, Rush and Pink Floyd. Smoke machines enhance the laser effects.

The ship has three different major production shows in the main theater, "Encore," each week-long cruise. Sam’s is a sing-a-long piano bar. Caliente is the disco dance club with a high-tech sound and lighting system. Ocean Plaza is the new indoor/outdoor cafe/entertainment venue on the Promenade deck that will showcase various styles of music as well as art, photo and spa seminars, scrapbooking classes, magicians, jugglers, trivia contests and more. An acrobatic troupe called Fun Force will entertain guests in Ocean Plaza and at various venues around the ship.

The main theater presents outstanding production shows featuring beautiful costumes and Vegas-quality light shows, but even the smaller venues have great acts and music, particularly the sing-along piano bar. There is a Caribbean band on the pool deck. More interactive activities include numerous bingo games, art auctions, ballroom dancing, karaoke, and "game show mania".

Best For People Who Want

Exciting and ritzy nightlife; numerous singles; alternative dining venues; the largest ship in the Carnival fleet; spacious cabins for three and four passengers; cabins with balconies; excellent fitness and spa facilities; high-energy atmosphere with varied daytime activities, including abundant children's programs.

Onboard Experience

The 130,000-ton, 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream is the largest Carnival cruise ship to date, although it is still merely about 60% the size of the newest Royal Caribbean ships. Carnival has chosen not to go as large as some of it competitors. In fact, Dream is not a radically different Carnival ship even if it is the first all new design carnival has made in a decade. The biggest changes are a slightly subdued decor compared to other recent Carnival ships, and a new entertainment venue called the "Ocean Bar" with outdoor seating on the promenade deck with cantilevered hot tubs close by.

Another innovation on Carnival Dream is the "Fun Hub." These computer stations around the ship are not only internet connected but are also onboard networks for "social networking" with other cruisers. You can leave messages for people in your group or you can post messages for the whole ship to see. For example, if you brought your didgeridoo and you want to have an Aussie jam session, you can suggest that all fellow aboriginals meet you on the pool deck at 2:00.

Not to poke fun, we actually think this is one of the better ideas any cruise ship has had for a long time. We at CruiseMates have always said that what ships need is better ways for like-minded individuals to meet on ships. You could have people from your high school just down the hall and not even realize it. It is a small world, and as far as we are concerned, Carnival is just helping to make it a friendlier place - not to mention the practical aspects of such a system.


Dream offers attractive breakfast and lunch buffets, including an excellent salad bar and made-to-order dishes. For those with a sophisticated palate, the new menus feature chateaubriand, rack of lamb, and lobster, along with chocolate desserts. Delightful specialties can be found on the second tier of the Cezanne Restaurant and include the Sur Mer seafood station and an Asian food station that regularly rotates its dishes. There's a complimentary sushi bar on the Promenade Deck in the evenings, and vegetarian and low-salt items on every menu and at all stations.


The two main dining rooms onboard are The Crimson Restaurant, midships, and the Scarlet Restaurant in the stern. Both are two decks tall with their main entrances somewhat buried on deck three. Guests have their choice of six different appetizers and soups, two salads and six entrees each night. Also, Carnival Classics selections, including char-broiled steak made with the line's signature rub, grilled chicken and pasta dishes, along with a decadent dessert menu offering six different selections, including the cruise industry's most popular dessert - the Warm Chocolate Melting Cake - are offered nightly.

Carnival's Total Choice Dining provides for four seating times for a table in the Crimson Dining rooms at 5:45 or 6:15 p.m. and 8 or 8:30 p.m.. For those who prefer to dine when the mood strikes them can eat in the Scarlet Restaurant or at the poolside Lido restaurant which is offers buffet dinners between 6:00 and 9:00 p.m., no reservations required.

For those seeking more health-conscious cuisine, dining room menus feature Spa Carnival Fare selections, delicious, guilt-free items that are lower in calories, cholesterol, sodium and fat content. Vegetarian choices and children's menus are available, as well.

There is a two-level casual eatery called The Gathering, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. Culinary choices include Italian and Tex-Mex to tandoori and Asian specialties. A pasta bar will offer guests their choice of pasta, sauce and ingredients to create a custom-made dish of traditional Italian favorites such as Portobello ravioli or pasta carbonara. The Gathering will also house Carnival's popular 24-hour pizzeria with seven kinds of pies and calzone, Caesar salad and garlic bread.

Carnival Dream's burrito bar is also sure to be a popular spot where guests can create an overstuffed wrap featuring their choice of chicken, beef, shrimp, salsa and other accompaniments.

Also available within The Gathering will be a Mongolian wok offering custom-made stir-fries with guests' choice of meat and vegetables and finished with one of Carnival's signature sauces; Taste of the Nations, featuring a different international cuisine each day; a New York-style deli; a tandoori oven offering Indian-style chicken, fish and meatballs, along with traditional bread, chutneys and relishes; and a grille serving hot dogs, hamburgers and grilled chicken sandwiches.

The Gathering will also offer an extensive 35-item salad bar, 24-hour frozen yogurt, low-calorie dressings and sugar-free desserts for guests seeking healthier alternatives.

An expanded 24-hour room service menu will include new choices such as Medium Rare Roast Beef and Brie on French Baguette and Grilled Fresh Mozzarella and Portobello Mushroom on Focaccia. Room service orders are delivered to guests' staterooms any time of the day or night at no charge.

Located along Promenade Deck will be Wasabi, a sushi bar serving complimentary sushi, as well as sake.

For those seeking a more intimate dining experience, The Chef's Art, Carnival Dream's steakhouse-style restaurant, will offer delectable cuisine in memorable surroundings. Located on Spa Deck 12, this 139-seat venue offers a sumptuous menu of prime dry-aged U.S.D.A. beef - selections include a nine-ounce filet, 14-ounce strip loin, 18-ounce grilled prime rib chop and 24-ounce porterhouse - along with lobster tail, lamb chops, Chilean sea bass, Maine Lobster ravioli and more. Creamed spinach, Wasabi mashed potatoes, sauteed mushrooms and traditional sauces complete the steakhouse experience.

The delicious choices, combined with attentive service and an extensive wine list, make a meal at The Chef's Art truly unforgettable. Reservations are recommended and there is a charge of $30 per person.

Previously exclusive to Carnival Magic but now added to Dream and also to be included on Carnival Breeze is the new Ocean Plaza, a spectacular indoor/outdoor café and entertainment venue designed for guests to relax and people watch. In addition to a dance floor and a stage featuring live entertainment, Ocean Plaza will offer full Wi-Fi access, along with 12 stand-alone kiosks where guests can access the FunHub, Carnival Dream's comprehensive portal and exclusive on-board social network.


The staff on the Dream is prompt, well-organized, and prone to showing off, as when balancing trays on their heads while serving dessert. The maitre'd makes a point of learning the names of all couples celebrating an anniversary.


All Carnival cruises have a $10.00 per person per day (excluding children under two years of age) gratuity comprising $5.50 for the Dining Room service, $3.60 for the stateroom steward, and $.90 for the alternative dining rooms. This charge can be either automatically added to the Sail & Sign card or it can be prepaid (prepayment is mandatory on the Cruises-to-Nowhere). The purser's desk can decrease or increase this amount throughout the cruise. Tip room service, the maitre d', casino, spa, or other staff as you deem fit. The bar and beverage tabs all include a 15 percent gratuity to the bill.


Several new accommodation categories, including five-berth, two-bathroom staterooms especially for families, will be offered. There is also a new style of balcony cabin called the Cove Balcony located on surprisingly lower decks, below the promenade decks. These balconies are shadier than the higher ones as they are built into the hull of the ship.

The suites and ocean view staterooms come with complimentary bathrobes and a mini bar. The cabins located on the outside are 220 sq. feet and include a coffee table and plush leather sofa. The inside cabins are 195 sq. feet in area and are great for families or large groups of singles due to their pull-down berths that provide extra sleeping space. Families might prefer the 230 sq. feet cabins located next to the children's center. All the large bathrooms include a shower (the suites are the only cabins with tubs), basket of toiletries, and hair dryer. The cabins come standard with a color TV that includes ESPN, CNN, and movies. There is plentiful storage space, with three closets and several drawers. Cabins for those of special needs are available.


The gym's 15,000 sq.. feet is full of treadmills, stationary bikes, stairmasters, rowing and hydraulic weight machines, and of course free weights. The strategically placed equipment allows you to enjoy the lovely panoramic views offered by the floor-to-ceiling windows. For runners, a lap on the jogging deck, which surrounds the smokestack, is equivalent to 1/11 of a mile.


The attire on cruises became decidedly less formal at the end of the 2000's, and now even formal nights are merely suggestions. Most men wear dark jackets and ties are optional. While jeans aren't technically allowed in the dining room no one is going to stop you from entering. Daytime wear is strictly casual.

Ship Overview

The first of Carnival’s Dream-class vessels, Carnival Dream was launched in 2008. Only a few years old, Carnival Dream received a refurbishment in 2012 when the sushi bar was removed and it received some of Carnival’s “Fun Ship 2.0" upgrades with new poolside bars and more entertainment options. Carnival Dream sails seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from her home port of Port Canaveral, which is conveniently within driving distance of Florida’s Orlando airport and theme parks. With the alternating weekly itineraries, it’s possible to book cruises back-to-back and not repeat a port of call.

Carnival’s Dream-class, the largest and longest ever constructed for their fleet, ushers in an exciting design concept for the line with a new layout, sleek hull, and distinctive profile. The line has made maximum use of the vessels' added size by creating some truly spectacular onboard facilities and amenities. Unique is the Ocean Plaza, an indoor–outdoor café and live music venue with a large, circular dance floor. A massive floor-to-ceiling curved-glass wall separates the room, creating comfortable seating areas with ocean views and, in a first for Carnival, a half-mile, open-air promenade encircling the ship.

Four “scenic” whirlpools located on the promenade cantilever out over the sea and offer maximum views while you're soaking. Higher up, the Lido deck is the most elaborate open-deck area of any Carnival ship, with a tropical, resort-style main pool complete with a Seaside Theatre LED screen; a two-level adults-only retreat (called Serenity) with comfortable seating, full bar service, and hot tubs; and a huge Carnival WaterWorks aqua park featuring one of the longest waterslides at sea. Dream-class family-friendly amenities include separate, purpose-built facilities for the line’s three distinct children’s programs, along with a full schedule of activities catering to each age group.

The world's largest cruise line—and one of the most widely recognized—originated its "Fun Ship" concept in 1972 and has been launching party-packed superliners with signature red funnels ever since. The line's ever-growing fleet features entertainment and activities designed for passengers of all ages, from game shows and lip sync competitions to twisting waterslides and mini golf. These ships are a reliable choice for families as well as young singles and couples who want a vacation that won’t break the bank.

Nearly all onboard dining options are included in the fare, as are comedy and production shows, children’s programs, and use of state-of-the-art fitness centers. With some of the most comfortable accommodations at sea, large new ships are continuously added to the fleet and rarely deviate from a successful pattern, while older vessels are updated with popular features, such as the poolside BlueIguana Tequila Bar with an adjacent burrito cantina, the Red Frog Rum Bar that also serves Carnival’s own brand of Thirsty Frog Red beer, and Guy’s Burger Joint, created with Food Network star Guy Fieri.

What You Should Know


  • Spa staterooms and suites have exclusive amenities and spa privileges
  • 2-bathroom staterooms are a boon for families
  • The lowest atrium level has a cantilevered bandstand atop a massive dance floor


  • Lines can be a problem everywhere, especially in the buffet at popular dining times
  • If the weather is bad outside, interior spaces can seem overwhelmed
  • Although the decor is considerably toned down from past Carnival ships, there’s still some glitz
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 1,367
  • Entered Service 2008
  • Gross Tons 130,000
  • Length 1,823 feet
  • Number of Cabins 544
  • Passenger Capacity 3,646 (4,631 max)
  • Width 122 feet
  • New

Feb 28, 2017

Western Caribbean

Our overall experience did not disappoint. We had a great experience and enjoyed the things that suited our tastes while avoiding the things that we do not particularly care for, all without inconvenience. The food was wonderful. The breakfast bar had everything you could want for breakfast. There were omelettes being served, however I chose not to stand in line for those. There is the option for a brunch which is served until 1pm! There

would be no waiting in line if you wanted an omelette there. But this trip we chose not to do the brunch simply because we wanted to eat a little earlier in the morning. We ate Guy's burgers for lunch on a few occasions. We have not tasted any burger equal to that deliciousness. There were other delicious options for lunch as well, we used them all and it was difficult to decide some days. We chose to eat supper at 6pm. Our dinner companions were delightful, the servers were as well and the menus had much to choose from. We were not disappointed with anything we chose to eat. The only down side was eating too much! So good, all of it! Our first stateroom was situated above a piano bar and the noise kept us awake the first two nights. If you like to party until 2am that is good for you. However we are the bed by 10 up at 5 types so this did bother us a bit. The third morning we went to the customer service desk to request earplugs. They gave us those, asked some questions and were very apologetic and so polite! When we got back to the room a short time later there was a message to call the service desk. We were given another stateroom! We were not expecting that as we believed the cruise ship was completely booked. We were also given a gift card to use at the spa, and a discount on the nights we were inconvenienced by the noise! WOW! We are so impressed and will definitely sail Carnival again! This is our 2nd Carnival cruise, but the first with the Dream On board activities include something for everyone. As I mentioned in my general statement we found plenty to do within our taste, and simply avoided those things that were not. We have mild taste and are more inclined to clean entertainment. So we stuck to the family friendly things. The dive-in movie is a favorite of ours and the music shows are also something we look forward to. We greatly appreciate the Military appreciation event that every ship does, and the St. Jude event. Both of those are close to our hearts and they endear us to Carnival even more. There is so much about this cruise line that it would take too long to say it all. We have never been disappointed with an excursion except if the weather was bad, which is not often, and is usually short lived. No one can control the weather, but when that has happened every effort to switch things up and make things right is made. We truly have enjoyed all our experiences. We also have not booked excursions and simply done shopping at the pier and returned early to the ship in order to enjoy the pool without the crowd. Our trip was fabulous made more so by the staff of the Dream who made every effort to please. We did a couples massage which was so relaxing. The only downside to us was that the seating around both pools was limited and if you did not find a place early or while everyone was on an excursion, then you were out of luck. Also most of the time there were only a few whirlpools operating there are at least 6 whirlpools that have a capacity for 8 people each and only about 3 at a time were open and were filled mostly with kids. But that to us was a very minimal issue. We truly enjoyed our whole vacation and will be going again next year. We took advantage of early booking on the ship.

Read More
  • New

Sep 20, 2016

New Orleans

This is my 2nd cruise and I really enjoyed it...however I think it is really stupid that both parties have to by the alcohol package... my husband drinks and I don't. .. so he had to buy his drinks which is very expensive to buy a 7+ dollar bottle of bud light lime...i mean there is a daily limit anyways . Decks by the pool were very slippery, several people were seriously hurt. My husband even slipped and busted open his knee. The buffet was

ok... But the 3 team waiters at our 6pm dinner were just amazing..i would like to personally thank them for being so attentive ((Niluh ))the asst. Team waitress was so kind and sweet and always called me by my name.. she worked up in the buffet area and would always come up to us with the biggest smile just to say hi .. our waiter ((Shailesh)) was was just Perfect...i would not have wanted a different waiter.. he just always had the biggest smile when he'd see us coming, he did a great job helping me decide on what to eat because i could never make my mind up... and team waiter(( I Nengah)) was just as great always pulled my chair out for me when I got to the table.... So Thank the 3 of you again for making dinner so enjoyable.. My room was great.. The activities were all very fun..all tho it was hard to participate in some because there was so many people there was really no room to fit everyone All shows are great It was a great time...

Read More


  • New

Sep 14, 2016

Western Carib

When embarking from NOLA (boarding time was 1:00PM)our bags had not shown up at our cabin at 5:00PM even though there were bags outside adjacent cabins. I checked with Customer Service who told me to check the pile of bags that were missing tags and it was still early. 6:00 went by and still no bags and I returned to customer service who me it was early and to come back if the bags had not shown up by 8:00pm. This took a little leap of faith since

we have now left the dock. Return to Customer Service at 8:15PM - still no bags. They didn't seem concerned and took a description of the bags to send to housekeeping to investigate (imagine the prospect of a 7 night cruise with only the clothes on you back). At 9:30PM, we heard bags being dropped off outside our room....FINALLY right?? Opened the bags to find that someone had gone through the luggage and removed some of our clothes and personal items!! We had done some shopping in NOLA before the cruise and they took a number of new items as well as used clothes and personal items. Immediately reported this to Customer Service who treated us like idiots and asked if we had forgotten the items at home or in the hotel....a pair of shoes maybe, but over 20 different items? We had to file a report and have OUR CABIN searched and be told there wasn't much they could do and they hoped we had insurance. After expressing our displeasure at the lack of concern by the staff, we provided a detailed description of the items which they said they would distribute to the housekeeping staff....but they can't look in bags or even closets so unless the items were laying around on the floor or furniture.... Very disappointing that no police report was filed and very little effort was made to investigate and locate our items. Word of warning - even though Carnival asks you to check your bags unlocked I wouldn't....horrible experience to start the cruise. Good food on the ship. Average cabin. Average shows and activities. Belize shark and ray excursion was fabulous!! Cozumel was a waste of time Very disappointing start and poor customer service from Guest Services

Read More
  • New

Jan 24, 2016

Eastern Caribbean

Third time cruising with Carnival and it turned out to be quite disappointing. In a nutshell, the one port stop, St Maarten, I was really looking forward to was cancelled because the captain thought the seas were rough even though 4 other ships were able dock safely. All in all, if you're looking for a cruise that won't nickel and dime you and not treat you like a scum bag when you catch them in the act, look to another cruise line. I will not be

sailing Carnival again. The restaurant was decent, with decent food, gourmet-sized dishes. Buffet restaurant's food was nothing spectacular, big lines, cold food, coffee machines were often out of coffee. Desserts' taste was below average. The last couple days of the cruise they had run out of bananas, orange juice. I didn't see grapes or strawberries at all during the entire trip. We paid the Steak house a visit and I must admit the service and food were exceptional and one would expect so for the extra fee you pay. Our cabin experience was poor for the following reasons: 1) 1 110V outlet and 1 220V. My spouse uses a CPAP machine and so the power cord couldn't reach the outlet and had to convince the front desk clerks that we need an extension cord for a CPAP... you see, they only have a limited supply of them. Later on I realised there's one more 110V outlet in the bathroom above the mirror and one more 220V outlet for the nightstand lamp which didn't make a difference at all - CPAP needs a 110V. 2) bed was very uncomfortable and woke up every morning with a sore back. 3) AC vent was right above my bed, there is no setting to turn the AC off so I had to cover the vent in order for it not to blow into my legs and feet, otherwise I'd wake up with muscle aches. Otherwise, our cabin steward was friendly and attentive. Also, we had requested a king-size bed at the time of booking and no such for provided, for the second time in a row. Entertainment program was a joke. Ungifted sing-alongs, karaoke, trivia and other boring activities. I thought I'd give Club Caliente a try - first night I checked it out was dead, second night was top 40s grannies-dancing. I did however enjoy the Academy of Fun lecture on star constellation navigation at sea (sadly I didn't remember the name of our lecturer). The most disappointing part of the trip was the port stop we missed at St Maarten. It was the only reason we booked this cruise because, in my opinion, St Maarten is the only island worth seeing out of all the ones we visited. Captain claimed there were 'swells' and he couldn't safely dock. They had the ship tied to the pier, at the time I was having coffee on deck 11 and didn't feel the vessel rocking at all. I was so excited and was anxiously waiting for the announcement that we can head down to the gangway, only to realize the ship was leaving and heard the announcement. Of course, I took some pictures of the other ships at the port and I can clearly see there were no waves at all so, as you'd imagine, I developed my conspiracy theory. And even if the gangway was rocking as they claimed, they could have just dropped anchor and transport us by boats to the island, like they did in 2012 at Cozumel. Yet our cruise director arranged for a 'fun' day at sea - sand-bag tossing, more karaoke and a port fee refund of $9.57. What a joke! I went to the front desk to ask for some form of compensation for the nasty trick they pulled on us and was rudely advised that I need to call corporate (after we disembark at San Juan). Afterwards I did call corporate, waited for 45 mins to get to speak with a real person and was transferred to a department that wasn't even open. Falling short on luck over the phone, I submitted a formal complaint on Carnival's website and received a response that it's stated in the cruise contract that no compensation is given for weather-related itinerary changes. I guess it's their word against mine.

Read More
  • New

Mar 23, 2014

Western Carribean

This cruise reminded us of two things. 1) We love the ease and bonuses included with cruising. We forget this as most vacations have us using the many hotel program points I earn as a business traveler. 2) Carnival may not have as many on-ship amenities as Royal but the fun and activity list along with the overall fun atmosphere cannot be topped anywhere else. We will be back on a ship soon….and it will be a Carnival. Dining could not

have been better. We were in the late seating in the Crimson dining room, table 308. Francis and his 2 teammates were flawless. My wife is allergic to garlic and we quickly became close with Marketa. She secured menus for her to select food for separate preparation and even learned of my Biryani love and had some made for me the last night. Marketa is worth 10x whatever they pay her. She is sweet, friendly, hard-working and a diamond in the Carnival team. The food was always timely, tasty and hot for us. Buffets were as expected – and never without good options. The pizza was the best ever on the cruise. The kids ate their fare in ice cream with the 24 hour availability (which we greatly missed on Royal). The burger place was great for post excursion munchies. The sea-day Lanai BBQ was fantastic!! They hide a fantastic salad bar on deck 5 near mid-ship…don’t miss that for healthy options. Tandoor was delicious although I wish it had longer hours. The deli was perfect for my Rueben loving son. The Mongolian had lines that moved slow as others have mentioned. Our kids had it once. They either need to increase to 4 cooks or drop it entirely. The Pasta Bar up on 11 is hidden. Get it early because their lines increase as the word spreads of the goodness to be found up there. We indulged in a chocolate extravaganza one day in the buffet while at sea. So many delectable options to taste! We had 2 balconies on deck 9 aft. We did not get connecting but only had one in between. The ironic part was the family with the room between also had the room on the other side of our room. Both families inquired on swapping one on the embarkation day but were told we could not. Being able to open the door between balconies would have been awesome. We had rooms 9456 and 9464. Rooms were great with one exception. The aft balconies on 9 are right below the Lido deck bar and outdoor areas. People are sliding chairs around early and you hear it all in your room. At first I thought it was my neighbor doing it on the balcony but then figured it out. Just a few staterooms towards mid-ship would alleviate this. One small room drawback is having just one power outlet. If you want to charge multiple devices, pack a power strip! There is shower gel and shampoo provided. Had we known of that, we would not have packed our own. Our Steward was Yudi, a 13 year veteran and it showed. He was awesome. Everything was 5 star service in our room. Onboard activities were great. So many trivia options, music, games, deck parties, movies, meet and greets with Hennie (Cruise Director) and Sr. Officers. For lounge/public area musicians, we had Troy the guitar player whose voice showed signs of fatigue but was pretty good. Sarah and Phoenix were amazing. If you are onboard while they are there, you must go see them. They also perform in The Song Lounge for original song night. These two have a bright future. They are also very warm and friendly to talk to! The band (Celebration) that plays in Ocean Plaza is pretty good but the one guy singer is rarely on pitch. The woman in that band is really good and their instrumentation is right on. The only thing I would do differently if I was carnival would be to dump the other duo, Dana and Tony off at the next port. They are horrid. They ruined more songs and favorite artists of mine than I can count! We are not alone….we even heard some staff talking about it! They joked of taking up a collection to give them money so they would leave the ship! Pretty funny! The Encore theater shows were all very good. The variety by the house group was all very nicely done. The break dancing group was fun and the short-term act, Mike Tison – juggler was a terrific show. Comedy was also very good on the ship. Piano Bar Bob was just OK. I liked his variety and large options for songs but he relies on the “Look who’s here” schtick way too much. Hennie the cruise director is a floater (covers other CDs vacations). He annoyed me at first but really grew on me as the trip went on. His meet and greet was a great time. Some members of our group went dancing in Caliente one night and really enjoyed it, specifically the Latin hour. Lastly, the adult shows such as The Quest and Battle of Sexes were an absolute riot! We love snorkeling and bring our own gear. For our ports, we did Chankanaab on our own. You can find a $2 off per person coupon online bringing the admission to $19 each. Snorkeling was nice but not a ton of fish. A locker was $5 for all of our stuff. Besides the snorkeling, the Sea Lion show was really fun and there were many other things to do on the grounds. Definitely do this on your own to save money. Cab was $16 each way for 5 people and is $11 for 4 people. Costa Maya is a very short port day so we just went ‘downtown’ and looked around. The $3 per person cab to downtown brings you to a very nice beach area. The port area is nice if you are looking for expensive drinks, food and a pool to swim in. Don’t expect to barter with people there since they have 8,000 people in port between the Dream, NCL Epic and NCL Dawn in port. For Belize we felt trapped. The city is not safe and with the ship being offshore and tendering required, we felt like we had to book an excursion with the ship. We spent $89 pp for a snorkel and beach break. First, the reef was good but the group “Chukka” was not my favorite. 45 minutes in the water and then rushed to their private beach for expensive food and drinks. I have been on many snorkel trips for half the cost that provide beer, rum punch and food post snorkeling. This offered nothing. We felt like we were completely ripped off. Isla Roatan was another story. We got off the ship in the beautiful Mahogany Bay. The private beach looked nice but clearly offered no snorkeling. We saw a Carnival manned ‘last minute’ booth at the ‘Y’ in the path and they said for $19 pp, we could go to West Bay but only for an hour. 20 feet to the left was a ‘Roatan Express’ booth. Same price and even took our sign and sail cards to pay but offered any return time up to 4:00 PM. They had a guy at West Bay that would take care of us. DONE DEAL! Once we got there, Gustavo was our ‘beach concierge’ guy. He arranged for the 5 of us to take a snorkel trip on a boat with Captain Andy (small boat). He took us around the corner to the best snorkeling I have ever had in my life. Do the math, $35 all in per person and a perfect experience. Food was moderately priced on West Bay but beer was $2. I am personally ready to go to Roatan for a week. Don’t miss this place. Definitely venture out beyond the private beach and lines (we heard about) at Mahogany Bay. This was a fantastic vacation! We eagerly anticipate our next Carnival cruise.

Read More

Cruise Forums

Have a cruising question? Ask our Fodorite community.

Cruise News

Read our latest news about cruises.


Shop our travel guides on European, Caribbean, and Alaskan cruises.

Back To Top
Subscribe to Newsletter
Sign up for Travel Tips & News
I want emails from Fodor's Travel with travel information and promotions. I can unsubscribe any time using the unsubscribe link at the end of all emails.

Thank you for your interest!

Look out for our newsletters with travel tips and special offers.