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Carnival Cruise Lines: Carnival Dream

  • Carnival Cruise Lines
  • Carnival Cruise Lines
  • Carnival Cruise Lines
  • Carnival Cruise Lines
  • Carnival Cruise Lines
  • Carnival Cruise Lines
  • Carnival Cruise Lines
  • Carnival Cruise Lines

Carnival Dream Review

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 on-board 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 originated the Fun Ship concept in 1972 with the relaunch of an aging ocean liner, which got stuck on a sandbar during its maiden voyage. In true entrepreneurial spirit, founder Ted Arison shrugged off an inauspicious beginning to introduce superliners a decade later. Sporting red-white-and-blue flared funnels, which are easily recognized from afar, new ships are continuously added to the fleet and rarely deviate from a successful pattern. If you find something you like on one vessel, you're likely to find something similar on another.

Each vessel features themed public rooms, ranging from ancient Egypt to futuristic motifs, although many of those elements are being replaced with a more tropical decor as older ships are upgraded. Carnival is also introducing features either branded by the line itself, such as the poolside Blue Iguana Tequila Bar with an adjacent burrito cantina and the Red Frog Rum Bar that also serves Carnival’s own brand of Thirsty Frog Red beer, or in partnership with well known brands, such as EA SPORTS to create EA SPORTS Bars at sea and Guy’s Burger Joint, in partnership with Food Network star Guy Fieri. Implementation of the new features is scheduled for completion in 2015.

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.

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  • 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...

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  • 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

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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