With all the hoopla about Oasis of the Seas, poor little Carnival Dream is getting lost in the shuffle. In fact, this newest and neatest, biggest and brightest Carnival ship has a whole bevy of attractive cruises for the remainder of 2009. For about $100/day, these cruises offer a brand new cruise ship without the premium prices. Three cruises in Europe, a transatlantic crossing, a 2-day cruise to nowhere and two 9-day roundtrip cruises from New York fill the bill.
Carnival Dream, at 130,000-tons, is about 15% bigger than any existing Carnival ship. She has 3646 passenger berths but also a surprising maximum passenger capacity of 4631. We told you about many of the innovative features last week; the Lanai patios on Deck 5 with the four cantilevered Jacuzzi tubs. There is the Comedy Club showcasing four different comedians on every cruise, and a brand new pasta bar above the Lido Grill as well as a sushi bar. There is also a fantastic pool area just for the kiddies with great water slides. Check out our CruiseMates Cruise News for funny pictures of John Heald trying it out.
Dream will be begin sailing alternating 7-day Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises out of Port Canaveral, Florida on December 12. The choice of the northeastern Florida home-port city over the usual Miami or Fort Lauderdale is a bold one. Port Canaveral has several advantages including close proximity to Orlando. It is also within driving distance of several major Southeast U.S. cities including Atlanta. There will also be less competition with Oasis of the Seas and Norwegian Epic when they arrive, two new megaships on the horizon set to sail out of Ft Lauderdale and Miami, respectively.
Carnival Dream is already close to ending its first week as a cruise ship. It was handed over by the Venice shipyard to Carnival on Saturday, Sept. 19, and headed to Civitavecchia (port for Rome, Italy) to pick up its first passengers the same day. This first 12-day cruise is visiting Naples, Dubrovnik, Venice, Sicily, Barcelona, Monaco, Livorno and then back to Rome.
This 12-day European itinerary will be repeated on Oct.3 ($1199) and Oct. 15 ($1199).
October 17 Dream will set out for her permamnent home in America, but she will not sail directly to Port Canaveral. She will have a leisurely 16-day transatlantic crossing leaving from Rome on a Tuesday and ending in New York City. You can still book a balcony cabin on this cruise for just $1579 per person.
Dream's crossing looks like this: she will sail from Rome, Oct 27, and spend a day at sea before stopping in Barcelona. The next day she visits Mallorca, one of the liveliest port cities I have seen in decades, from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. Mallorca is great, literally flooded with young adults from all over the world, it has art galleries, cafes, live music, festivals and of course Mallorca pearls. The streets were as crowded as Manhattan so plan to spend the whole day shopping.
After a day at sea Dream visits Malaga, Spain. There is a Picasso museum and one of the most impressive caverns in the world at Mijas. Through the Straits of Gibraltar and into the Atlantic, after another day at sea she lands at the Canary Islands capital Las Palmas due west of the southern Morocco border. After five straight days at sea she finally reaches King's Wharf, Bermuda, to spend 27 hours on one of the most civilized tropical islands in the world. Finally, she arrives in New York on November 12.
You can book a 2-day cruise to nowhere out of New York sailing Friday night, Nov. 13, and starting at just $399. I will be on that cruise so I hope to see you there. This will also be the naming ceremony cruise so I expect to see plenty of luminaries and celebrities.
Two 8-day roundtrip New York cruises follow, the first departs November 15 ($599) and the next on November 23 ($579). Leaving New York she sails for two days at sea before arriving at Port Canaveral, 7:00 to 7:00. The next day she arrives in Nassau and stays until 10:00 PM, the next day she hits Freeport and stays until 5:00 PM. Then it is two days back to New York.
As far as I can tell from the schedule, the ship will then do a rare "dead-head" with no passengers booked on the two-day December 1st sailing from New York to Port Canaveral.
December 3 is a one-time 9-day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean from Port Canaveral. Two days at sea are followed by Antigua, Tortola, St Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk and then a sea day before returning home. This cruise starts at $939.
The regular cruises out of Port Canaveral start on December 12 with a Western Caribbean cruise to Cozumel, Roatan, Belize, Costa Maya and back home. These 7-day cruises start at just $469.
The first Eastern Caribbean cruise sails on December 19, which is the Christmas cruise. That holiday cruise is starting at $799 per person. The regular price for this itinerary will start at $479, however. Ports include Nassau, St Thomas and St Martin.
The lowest prices on Carnival Dream can be secured with the "early Saver" program, which offers a discount up to 25% and guaranteed price protection. This means you pay the lowest price ever offered for your cruise category between the time you book and the day you sail. Considering all the competition out there for brand new ships, this is a Carnival dream come true.