Ranked #2 Carnival fleet
Ranked #13 among all ships
First of the largest "Dream-class". Highlights: Ocean Plaza, RedFrog Rum Bar, Waterslides, Serenity retreat, Punchliners Comedy Club ...Read the CruiseMates report
Ranked #2 Carnival fleet
Ranked #13 among all ships
First of the largest "Dream-class". Highlights: Ocean Plaza, RedFrog Rum Bar, Waterslides, Serenity retreat, Punchliners Comedy Club ...Read the CruiseMates report
Beautiful new ship & ship design:Deck 5 has 4 'bay'whirlpools. Decks 5,11 & casino have designated smoking areas.Passengers allowed to smoke on private balconies; this should be banned. Food mostly very good; but,2 times in dinning room my hot food order was barely warm. Pizza is the best out of 45 ships I've been on (Princess,RC and Carnival). Staff polite and efficient.
I recommend this ship.
Upon arrival on 7/7/12, as Ernest and I entered our room i met a gentlemen by the name of Daniel who introduced himself as our section house keeper. Ernest and I introduced ourselves as well. he seemed to be very nice, very enthusiastic, and had a big smile on his face but I felt something mysterious about him and I mentioned it to Ernest immediately. as the day went on I would notice as we both cross paths with Daniel approximately four to five times, he would say "hello brittany" with a creepy smile but would not greet Ernest.
(Day 2) 7/8/12. The same exact incident occurred with daniel every time we passed him, he would only greet Brittany with the same creepy smile but now there is waving involved. Later on that evening at 7pm, we were leaving our room to meet our ten family members for dinner. There was a very nice couple leaving their room directly across the hall in room 8353 at the same exact time. As Ernest and I were leaving the room Daniel appeared out of nowhere, meeting us at the door as if hewas trying to barge into our room. We were a bit startled. Daniel stated he had to clean our room and Ernest and I stated the room was fine the way it was and it was previously cleaned that morning and we did not need room service. Daniel refused to accept our denial of his services and told us it was mandatory that we allow him to clean our room, he would not take no for an answer. Daniel even slammed his hand on the door and would not allow us to close the door. This situation took about three minutes until Daniel got his way. As we left I realized i left my purse in the room on the dresser. At that time we were to dinner because family was waiting and i figured I could leave my purse in the room because I did not feel like I needed it for dinner anyway.
Since Daniel forced himself into our room he did not use his keycard for entry. The couple room 8353 said that they seen him enter our room and closed the door but we noticed other house keepers keep the door open as they clean, even leaving multiple room doors open at a time. After dinner we continued our entertainment until 1 pm. As we entered our room I noticed immediately that something was not right. I looked on the dresser and it appeared that my purse had been tampered with. When I looked into my wallet, I noticed that my one thousand dollars was gone. I was left ten dollars in ones and one five dollar bill, which was not a part of my one thousand dollars missing. Ernest and I immediately went to guest services and filed a report for this incident with the lady at the front desk. It was like no one knew what to say or do. We had to go through multiple supervisors and they still could not help us in any way. Finally the three security guards, Matilda Vikrant, Mewada Petar, and Kresimar Biskup came to escort us from the front desk to our room so they can perform a room search. They made us empty all our belongings and found nothing.
(Day 3) 7/9/12. We spoke with Donato Beece, the hotel director and he stated that this could happen to anyone, he stated we could be lying, as he laughed and chuckled at us the entire time we sat in his office. I did not expect this low level level of professionalism from someone of his caliber. He also defended his staff member Daniel and said he has been working for 25 years and a incident like this never occurred. I did not feel like Denato Beece put the customer first, it made me feel completely defeated. we requested to speak to the captain and Denato Beece said it would be impossible to speak to the captain and he would never speak to us.
(Day 4) 7/10/12. We were escorted from our room to Donato Beece's office by security. As we arrived, Captain Massimo Milano was there to greet us. Even though he was a lot more sympathetic to the situation compared to the rest of crew, he still said there was nothing that could be done and anyone could have stolen the money from our room.
(Day 5) 7/11/12. As Ernest and I walked back from breakfast at 8:30 am, we saw Daniel. We did not get the routine greeting or any eye contact at all, he looked down as we walked passed him. this was very unusual behavior compared to the previous days when he would go out of his way to greet us. As we approached him and asked him "is there something on your mind"? His first response was "I did not take anything from your room"!
Ernest and I never asked him about the incident but his guilt made him respond the suspicious way that he did.
We are not trying to blame any particular person for stealing from us but we want to target Carnival's negligence, their cleaning policy, there should be a more thorough screening of the immigrants they hire from these poor countries. Before our incident the house keepers all around the ship cleaned multiple rooms at one time while leaving the doors open. After our incident we notice the house keepers only cleaned one room at a time. They changed the policy to prevent further occurrences but did not compensate Ernest and I at all in any way. Ernest and I endured much pain and suffering from Carnival and this was our first luxury cruise experience. Ernest is a U.S. NAVY veteran who spent the past four years on a warship complete opposite of a luxury cruise and he still had to experience HELL. Our family planned this cruise based on Ernest's departure from the NAVY and his birthday happened to be on July 11th, so this cruise was supposed an unforgettable experience of paradise, but instead this cruise was the total opposite. Please feel our pain Carnival customer service and Carnival corporate said there is nothing they can do and I should have used a safe. I feel like if I refuse room service that should be it, the house keeper should not be allowed to force their way into anyone's room. I just want the world to be aware of my situation so this does not happen to anyone else. This was not a vacation, we had no money to enjoy our cruise itinerary. From this experience, we will never go on a cruise again.
Please contact Brittany Southall if you can help: firstname.lastname@example.org
After cruising on the "Dream" and being very disappointed I took a cruise on the RCL Enchantment of the sea, There is no comparison the dream(nightmare) was so bad I would not recommend this cruise to any body whose expectations of a cruise is to be entertained or served at least in the dining room. I have had better service from the staff at Mcdonalds then I had on the dream(nightmare)
myself and my hubby worked all year for this cruise, excited to go on the biggest ship... mistake,,, will not happen again, ship was beatiful, service excellent, people friendly, food ,,,aweful. not any meal was nearly WARM,, shame they ruined the ship with the cold food. going back next year, will be my 10th on carnival and princess, but a lot smaller ship also not under the dining room had no sleep on the dream from 2;30 to 5;00 aweful again... get the problem with the food fixed..... thanks bb
Just got back from the Dream.The ship still has the "Carnival" look,but with a few changes. More tile and chrome and less Vegas style carpet. Overall it is a nice ship.Even though we had over 4000 people aboard, it was easy to find quit areas to relax. The buffet was just so-so, while the deli,pasta,burger and burrito bar was good but only open for lunch? the desserts looked nice but had no taste to them. Could have done better on the food I think. Our biggest complaint is with the sewage smell that showed up several times a day and then went away. Once during the art auction we had to leave the room due to the smell. We even had this happen in our cabin several times. Our room steward said this has been a problem since the ship was brand new. He said it has to do with the sewage vent lines and weather conditions. we had a cloud 9 spa room and really enjoyed it and the access to all the thermo rooms and pool. Just wish the would expand the hours so they would openearlier. I tried the steam room in the commen area of the gym ladies locker room and found it very small (6-7 people) and it smelled like it was not cleaned very often.What amazed me was the amount of people walking around in these areas and restrooms all around the ship barefoot! We found the room balcony to be a little smaller than other Carnival ships.Maybe 40" deep and 7' long. With two deck chairs and small table it filled it up.The shows were alright but not great. Plus they seemed to lack entertainment all around the ship. Alot of stupid trivia games that drew maybe 20 people to them. The checkin and departure was fast and easy as usual with exception of the few people who slowed the line down by trying to bring aboard a ice chest with several cases of water and soda in them. This resulted in a loud shouting match with security. Guess who won? So overall we had a good time but won't go out of our way to book the Dream again. We bounce between Carnival and Princess, and overall Princess is leading in our book. E-mail email@example.com if anybody has any questions
This was my first cruise with my family and it will be my last. I was promised everything before booking and everything I was told was a lie. I had specific soda requests before cruise and they don't carry those products. I was promised the Carribean Cruise and got Bahamas instead. We had free style dining and then was assigned a time. The food was horrifing. The was only one buffet and it was open for breakfast and lunch then closed at 2pm. There was nothing on the ship we could even eat except the hamnburgers. The pizza and pasta were nasty. The only meat they offered on the buffet was pork and no vegetables only salsas for side items. The evening dining room was even worse with nothing on the menu to order I requested seafood or steak and was told by the staff I eat what was on the menu or not at all. After 2pm there was no other choices of food except evening dining room. No buffets, no sandwich shops no desserts or fruits anywhere on the ship. There was two small pools and if youwanted to swim you had to wait until night when everyone went to shows in order to get in pool. The activities were only short hours of operation such as waterpark, ball courts, golf was only open from 10-6 and there was three thousand people more than should have been on the ship. You couldn't even move. The staff could barely speak english and was absolutely useless with any type of help. I complained to customer service and everyone else I could find without success. This cruise with airline, hotel and rental car included cost me over $6000.00 dollars and you couldn't pay me to ever go on another one. This was by far the worst experience of my life. Carnival Cruise Lines has to be the worst vacation specialist ever!!!
Minnesota family of four cruising the first time with Carnival. Hubby and I have sailed previously with Royal Caribbean once and Princess twice. Our party included me (37), husband (45), and our two girls (5 & 2). We chose this line because the Carnival Camp kids program grouped kids from 2-5 and it would let our girls stay together. Plus, Carnival will actually change kid's diapers!
We flew in the night before and rented a mini-van from Budget to get to Cape Canaveral. We didn't bring our own car seats but were able to rent a couple from Budget ($13/each). Much nicer than lugging your own! They don't put them in the car for you so you need to make sure to ask where to find them and then be prepared to put them in yourself. Trip to Cape Canaveral was uneventful and we stayed at the Country Inn & Suites right near Port Canaveral. They upgraded us from a standard to a one bedroom suite! The room was nice, clean, and quiet. For dinner we went to The Pig and Whistle which is an English pub style bar andrestaurant that had that comfortable and well-used look. I had the fish and chips and hubby had the hand-dipped deep fried shrimp. Both were very good!
The next morning we had the complimentary breakfast offered at the hotel, which had the usual suspects of scrambled eggs, sausage links, potatoes, waffles, cereal, yogurt, bagels, muffins and toast. It was a very decent breakfast.
We drove our rental car to Budget and turned the car in. A shuttle was waiting for us when we arrived and within 10 minutes we were on our way to the port. We arrived at the port around 10:40am, embarkation took about 30 minutes and was fairly painless although not sure what was up with the two security photos back to back? We took our carryon bags and hung out at the Waves pool under an umbrella and relaxed while waiting for our cabin to open at 1:30pm. We dropped off our bags in the room, met our room steward, then went off to explore the ship until the muster drill. Their Long Island Iced Tea's were pretty strong, so after a couple of those I was ready to nap with the kids back in the room.
Online we had been wait-listed for Your Time Dining but at embarkation, we were assigned the 6pm dining time. Hubby went to talk with the Maitre d' when he was available at 12:30 to request moving us to Your Time Dining. He was told that they would be able to let us know by 2pm the next day if they could accommodate us, so that evening we ate at the Gathering (buffet) with the kids. We were notified the next day that we had been changed to Your Time Dining - Yay!
We decided to forego leaving the ship during port days, so our days roughly followed this schedule -
7 - 8am Wake up and get ready 8 - 9am Eat breakfast in The Gathering 9 - 10am Take kids to Camp Carnival 10 - 11:45am Workout at the gym, shop the onboard stores, walk around, relax 11:45am - 1pm Pickup the kids from Camp Carnival. Spent time with them swimming, playing mini-golf, walk around, etc. 1 - 3pm Drop the kids off at Camp Carnival. Walked around, relaxed, etc 3 - 4pm Pick the kids up and have a light lunch 4 - 7pm Kids take a nap, usually the adults did too (or hung out on the balcony reading, listening to music, watching the waves) 7 - 8pm Get the kids up and get ready for dinner 8 - 10pm Take the kids with us to the Crimson Dining Room. We had their meals come out with our adult appetizers and then hubby would take them to Camp Carnival before we got our entrees. 10pm - 12am Depending on the night, went to see a show, watch a band, visit the Casino 12 - 12:30am Pick the kids up and hit the hay
Embarkation: It was fairly painless and went fairly quickly. I like how you were handed a zone number that they called to board the ship, which prevented others from sneaking on earlier.
Room: We were on the Verandah Deck (Deck 8) cabin 8349. I loved the location because it was a very short walk to the stairs and elevators which brought us directly to the entrance to The Gathering on Deck 10 and Camp Carnival on Deck 11. The balcony was narrow but good enough for our needs. We were high enough that the extended Promenade Deck 5 didn't hinder our view of the waves when sitting down. The room was neat and clean and was kept that way by the Room Steward every day.
Food: The Gathering had decent food and had a fair number of choices. I did like the different food stations that offered pasta, burritos, Indian, Pizza, hamburgers and hotdogs, and paninis.
The soft serve ice cream machines were also very popular with the kids!
In the evening we dined in the Crimson Dining Room on Deck 4. For the most part I thought the food was very good as were the desserts. It is true that the Warm Chocolate Melting Cake was very good and I'm not a big fan of chocolate.
Bar: We usually ordered either Tanqueray and tonics or Long Island Iced Teas and both were quite good. I did think that the bartenders for the most part weren't a very friendly group. They were efficient but didn't seem to smile much. The bar wait staff were much friendlier, however.
Entertainment: It seemed that there weren't enough of a variety of activities to fill the days and nights compared to Royal Caribbean, but we went with what was there. The Cruise Director staff was good and I liked Butch the Cruise Director - he had a ton of energy.
Don‘t miss the Love Game Show!
People: It was a younger, slightly rowdier crowd than other cruise lines but it also created a fun atmosphere.
Debarkation: Because our flight didn't depart until 3:30pm, we were one of the last to get off the ship which was called around 9:40am. We had to leave our cabin by 8:30 and made our way to the Encore theatre on Deck 3. The lines were a bit long to get off the ship and go through customs but it was waiting for the Budget shuttle that took the longest. There were two ships arriving that day so with all of the people being moved in both directions it could explain the delay, but it did seem lengthy. Something to consider if you're in a hurry to catch a flight.
Amy & Dave
My wife, Ginny, and I cruised on the Carnival Dream from Port Canaveral, Florida to the Eastern Caribbean ports of Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Maarten, embarking on Saturday, October 9th and disembarking on Saturday, October 16th. We live only 40 minutes from the port so we drive and park at the port terminal garage which costs $15 per day. We booked the Dream because it was Carnival’s newest and largest ship. We enjoy large ships
SUMMARY The Dream is a beautiful ship, filled with familiar Carnival venues and complemented by some new features. Previous Carnival guests will feel comfortable with the layout and be surprised by a couple of the additions. There were a lot of dining choices, good food and excellent service.
We did feel, however, that Carnival seemed to come up a little short in managing the larger numbers of people in its venues, especially the deck 10 buffet, called the Gathering. There were always delays, not necessarily long lines, but delays
The line also attracts families with children and could do a better job of controlling the noise and activities in the cabin hallways. Each evening there was celebrating,discussions and unsupervised children in the hallways long after bedtime.
EMBARKATION Guests were encouraged to check in as early as 10:30 AM. We received a telephone call confirming that fact. Boarding began at 11:15 AM. Rooms were available at 1:30 PM. The embarkation process was smooth. We arrived at the port at about !0: 45 AM, parked our car, checked through security, checked in, had our ID photos taken, and were on board shortly after 11:15 AM
OUR ARRANGEMENTS We booked cabin 7355 located near midship on deck 7, conveniently located near the action on both the upper deck restaurants and the decks 4 and 5 activities. We selected “Your Time Dining” with dinner assigned in the Crimson restaurant. We were pleased with both selections.
THE SHIP The Dream is Carnival’s largest ship. The design of the public rooms, including colors and use of lighting and glass, was excellent. The atrium area is especially colorful with a lot of photo possibilities. The Lanai, a promenade on deck 5, is a new feature. It includes several whirlpools, a deck circling the ship, outside dining tables and chairs and hundreds of deck chairs.
Dining and entertainment venues were centered on decks 3, 4 and 5 along with decks 10 and higher. We spent a lot of time on deck 5 during the day and there were plenty of options for things to do. We don’t use the pools but they were central features for many, many people. There were plenty of deck chairs scattered across decks 10 and higher.
DINING AND FOOD The Dream had numerous options for dining including the main Scarlet and Crimson restaurants. “Your time” dining was hosted in the Crimson restaurant and deck 4 while scheduled dining for the early and late seatings were in the two decks of the Scarlet and the lower deck of the Crimson restaurants.
We tried the buffet for breakfast, the pasta bar, the deli, the Mongolian Wok. The food was fine. We missed several options including a barbecue on sea days on the lanai.
Cruising provides excellent opportunities to sample excellent food. Our meals included cold fruit soups which are very tasty. They included strawberry bisque, bing cherry and peach. We tried very good entrees that included lobster tail and tiger shrimp, basa filets, petit filet of beef, pork loin and deserts like cherries jubilee. The pasta bar was nice. The Mongolian Wok was tasty but beware the hot sauce! The deli sandwiches were also good, prepared to each persons taste.
The buffet was a problem. It seemed like there were nearly always slow moving lines. The cause, we concluded, was the selection of foods available in each line and the order of their arrangement. Carnival needs to solve this problem. There was plenty of seating in the buffet area even on embarkation day.
SERVICE Service in all the areas was excellent. The staff were friendly and accommodating. It was highlighted by our lead waitress, Ulla from Latvia, and her assistants Janos and Gibson, in the Crimson dining room. They were well organized, efficient, and friendly, even on nights when they were extremely busy. Waiters and waitresses in each of the venues were very good as were the staff in the guest relations area. They were obviously well trained, experienced and well managed. Our cabin steward, Arnold, and his assistants were also very good.
THINGS A LITTLE DIFFERENT The cruise industry evolves to better serve so there are frequently “new” features on cruises. This was no different although we had experienced some on previous cruises. Facial recognition technology was employed to provide computer access to photos taken throughout the cruise. A master photo was taken at embarkation and matched to your sign and sail card. The system needs work. It was interesting, and humorous, to swipe your card at the computer station and see whose photos appeared. We never did find photos we wanted. Safety drills are now held, and have been held for months, without carrying life jackets to the muster stations. Nice. “Elegant Evening” has replaced formal night. Dress is far less formal with many less coats and ties appearing on “elegant evening” nights. This is probably great for families with children. Gratuity envelopes for wait and room steward staff were not distributed. Gratuities are automatically charged to your shipboard account and the envelope exercise has been eliminated, at least we never received any. Guest survey sheets never appeared and there were no announcements about them. That is a mistake. Carnival will receive neither compliments of its operation and staff nor suggestions. Electronic casino accounts are now mandatory although they are not totally new. Every player needs to establish a PIN, then use it to cash out when leaving a slot machine in the casino. We like the system but it was very confusing for many guests. For gamblers there are a lot of one and two penny slot machines and two electronic poker tables. Room TV channels included no sports or business channels. Sports channels were available on several large screens in the casino bar.
DISEMBARKATION Disembarkation at the end of the cruise was relatively smooth. Those picking up bags in the terminal did have to wait longer than expected, probably because they were allowed off the ship sooner than expected leaving the conveyer belts filled with bags of guests still on the ship. We were off the ship and home by 9:00 AM.
Disembarkation at the ports of call was efficiently handled with minimal lines.
CONCLUSION The Carnival Dream is a very nice ship and I highly recommend it for families, especially those with children. The venues, dining, food, entertainment options and relaxation options are very nice. The staff were very good. Ulla and her team were excellent!
The venues did not appear to be enlarged properly to accommodate the growth in guests. The “Gathering” buffet needs some attention to speed the flow of guests through the lines.
I'm a cruise enthusiast, to me, cruising the open sea on a luxury liner and visiting exotic ports of call is the ideal vacation. I cruise more than the average person; I try to set sail at least once or twice a year. I have been on over twenty cruises with six different Cruise Lines, so I'm fully aware of the standards of practice in the Cruise Industry and changes that have occurred over the past decade.
I'm also an Accredited Travel Agent and I spent several years as a Consumer & Travel Industry Sales Agent for The Walt Disney Company. I'm an extremely detail oriented young man, and I think outside the box. Needless to say, I can spot a burnt out light fixture or a Crew Member chewing gum from the corner of my eye a hundred feet away.
This was my fourth cruise with Carnival, which is about average based on my personal cruise experience. My first and second experiences with Carnival were excellent, John Heald, Carnival Cruise Director, made it a most memorable vacation. John has to be the best Cruise Director I have ever had the pleasureof sailing with, and his "Bedtime Stories" are most entertaining.
My third cruise with Carnival was going well until an incident with the Security Team ruined my vacation. I was traveling with a Thirty-Five Millimeter Camera and using eight hundred speed film, which should never be x-rayed. Even a low level security screening x-ray will ruin that type of film.
While re-boarding the ship at a Port of Call, I explained to a Security Crew Member that I was a Professional Freelance Photographer and that Eight Hundred Speed Film, or "Scientific Film" and it's sometimes referred to, should not be x-rayed. Needless to say I lost the argument and a Security Crew Member took my Camera Bag, which contained the camera and six rolls of used film, and ran it through the x-ray machine without my consent. It was at that point that I decided to never sail with Carnival ever again.
I normally cruise with a group of seven friends, this year we were shopping for a Cruise Vacation and narrowed it down to four choices that were literally the same exact price. Our Choices, listed in order of travel distance from home, were The Disney Magic, The Carnival Dream, The Celebrity Solstice, and the Norwegian Epic. We selected the Carnival Dream based on the distance from home to the ship, the fact that Freestyle Cruise Dining is a hassle for last minute cruisers, and that fifty percent of the Cruise Ship's population would not be screaming children.
Six years and nine cruises later, I decided to give Carnival another opportunity. My friends and I booked a last minute Vacation literally at the ninety-six hour cutoff time. We were to set sail on the Flagship of the world's largest Cruise Line, what could possibly go wrong?
We boarded the beautiful Carnival Dream in sunny Port Canaveral shortly after noon on October 9, 2010. Besides The Oasis of The Seas, The Carnival Dream is one of the most spectacular Cruise Ships I've seen. After being a sea for a few hours I noticed that the vessel was extremely stable in the water, I didn't feel Sea Sick at any time while onboard.
Our Verandah Stateroom on Deck Eight Forward was average in comparison to other Cruise Ships. I prefer to have a verandah door that slides open rather than having to open it outward and jam an object into the hinge to prop it open. Besides finding a Bobby Pin on the floor between the bed and the window, the Stateroom was immaculate.
The Stateroom Attendant was genuinely friendly and eager to please. He was always very polite and conducted his business in a stealth like manor. He rarely knocked on the door, he mysteriously knew when the room was vacant and cleaned it to perfection when we least expected it.
I was however disappointed with the quality of the Hand Soap, Body Wash, and Shampoo products that Carnival provides, not to mention the complete lack of a lotion product, especially on a sunny Cruise Ship traveling in a salty ocean where Guests may experience abnormally dry skin. I know that most Cruise Lines provide premium name brand products; luckily I remembered that Carnival provides substandard generic products, so I packed enough toiletries to sustain us for a week. Just a friendly suggestion that Body Wash and Shampoo products provided by a Cruise Line typically smell like something Marine Derived or Natural Botanicals, not lemon fresh.
I was also irritated to discover that we had some type of insect infestation on the first night that seemed to linger on for the duration of the cruise. Something was literally feasting on our flesh while we slept. I believe that the Stateroom may have had an infestation of Bed Bugs or something similar, the fact of the matter is that something with a healthy appetite was in the Stateroom eating us alive all week.
I contacted Guest Services and filed an inquiry about the bites that we were experiencing, I actually had to sit on hold for longer than five minutes before I was able to speak with a Guest Services Crew Member. They reported the issue to the Housekeeping Team who supposedly inspected the Stateroom and of course found no infestation of any type. The situation was never fully resolved and I'm angry that Carnival literally swept the issue under the bed.
I also want to make a comment about the dark Navy Blue towels that are issued to each person for fun in the sun use. The towels are so much softer and more absorbent that the previous version, however the color is an issue. These new dark Navy Blue towels absorb sunlight and tend to heat up, I felt like I was on fire while lying out in the sun on one of these super heat absorbent towels.
One of my favorite things to do on a cruise is eat. If it's not bolted down, I'm eating it. I may be a scrawny one hundred and forty five pound guy, but I can eat.
I was extremely dissatisfied with the Dining aboard The Carnival Dream. It probably had to be the worst part of the Cruise, and the worst service I've ever experienced on any Cruise Ship. Imagine the favorite part of your week long vacation becoming the worst aspect of the experience.
We spent our evenings dining in the Scarlet Restaurant. On the first night we sat at our assigned table promptly at 8:15pm. At 8:20pm, five minutes after arriving at the restaurant, we were kindly asked by the Maître d' to move to another table.
We decided to go ahead a make the move in order to facilitate the needs of the restaurant. We settled into a new table by 8:25pm, ten minutes after arriving at the restaurant, unfortunately we didn't meet either of the Servers until 8:35pm, twenty minutes after arriving at the restaurant. At 8:45pm, thirty minutes after arriving at the restaurant, we finally received the menus and glasses of "Ship Water," whatever that means.
At 9:00pm, forty five minutes after arriving at the restaurant, the Head Server took our order. In the interest of time, we only ordered appetizers and entrees, and skipped the soup and salad courses. At 9:15pm, one hour after arriving at the restaurant, we received the appetizers.
The Entrees didn't arrive until 9:45pm, one hour and thirty minutes after arriving at the restaurant. I explained to the Maître d' that this level of service and the complete lack of attention by the Head Server was not what we expected. The Maître d' apologized and graciously offered us a bottle of Carnival's Finest Free Champagne to make up for the issue.
We rushed through dinner in order to make the 10:15pm Showtime at the Encore! Main Lounge. I want to make it clear that the Head Server was unfriendly and provided extremely slow service. I also want to make it clear that the Assistant Server was doing most of the Head Server's duties and making an honest effort to serve us.
After the Show and some other entertainment, we were kind of hungry again, probably because we missed three of the five courses at dinner and we were in a rush to make the 10:15pm Show. Like on any Cruise Ship at midnight we headed up to the Lido Deck for the Midnight Buffet. We arrived at The Gathering Lido Restaurant to discover that the Midnight Buffet no longer exists on any Carnival Cruise Ship.
Our choices were the Pizzeria or Room Service. The Pizza offered at the Pizzeria looked like something you would see at a $4.99 Pizza Buffet; needless to say we opted for Room Service. Coincidentally, the only midnight buffet offered on board consisted of my body on a bed being eaten alive by the insect infestation in our Stateroom.
When we returned to the Stateroom we took a look at the Room Service menu, which seemed extremely limited. I remember Carnival having a decent size Room Service menu, no cheese and fruit platter, but a decent selection none the less. We eventually discovered that page twenty seven was missing from the Green Stateroom Information Book, which is apparently where most of the Room Service Offerings are listed.
After receiving the missing Room Service Menu Page we placed an order for two Hot Pastrami on Rye Sandwiches with Spicy Brown Deli Mustard. Room Service on the Carnival Dream is Fast, Fun, and Friendly! Within fifteen minutes we received two Cold Corned Beef on Rye Sandwiches with Generic Yellow Mustard, which isn't even on the Room Service Menu.
On the second evening of the cruise we arrived at The Scarlet Restaurant and were seated at the new table promptly at 8:15pm. The Head Server immediately greeted us and provided us with the Menus and glasses of "Ship Water," yum. We never saw the Head Server again for the rest of the Cruise.
At 8:30pm, fifteen minutes after arriving at the restaurant, the Assistant Server took our Appetizer and Soup "or" Salad order. We also asked for some Iced Tea / Lemonade to drink, because the "Ship Water" sounded like it came from Carnival Waterworks. Realistically the "Ships Water" is cleaner than any municipal water source, and we realize that it's used in the ice and concentrated beverage products on board.
At 8:45pm, thirty minutes after arriving at the restaurant, the Assistant Server delivered the Appetizers. Keep in mind that the menus were still on the table and we had not yet ordered the Entrees, nor had we received the Iced Tea / Lemonade. At 9:15pm, one hour after arriving at the restaurant, the Assistant Server delivered the soup and took the Entree orders, still no Iced Tea / Lemonade though.
At 9:30pm, one hour and fifteen minutes after arriving at the restaurant, the Assistant Server delivered the Iced Tea / Lemonade. At 9:45pm, one hour and thirty minutes after arriving at the restaurant, the Assistant Server delivered the Entrees. After dinner I approached the Maître d' and simply said "we would like a new Dining Service Team or a third table assignment in another area of the venue."
After the Show and some other entertainment we returned to the Stateroom. That evening I checked the balance of my Folio and noticed that there was an unauthorized charge in the amount of $70.00 for Gratuities. I was upset to the point where I was actually trembling.
How dare Carnival assumptively attempt to charge any amount of currency to my American Express Card without my knowledge or expressed consent. This is a gross violation of trust as well as extremely poor etiquette. I declined the prepaid Gratuities option during the reservation process and the "Important Notes" area of my Guest Confirmation Email stated nothing about Gratuities.
It was at this point that I had the realization that the service level at The Scarlet Restaurant was directly related to the onboard gratuities practice. A service team who is working for Gratuities should not receive said funds on the second night of a Cruise, which is five nights prior to the completion of said services. What's the incentive for Service Team Members to provide an excellent service level if they are not actually working for an incentive.
I immediately contacted Guest Services to dispute the issue; once again it was virtually impossible to contact them by phone without sitting on hold for longer than five minutes. I decided to get dressed, walk across the Ship and down five flights of stairs to Guest Services. Which brings be to another subject of concern, there were eighteen public elevators on board and never one available when you needed it.
When I arrived at Guest Services, the Crew Member was on the phone. I patiently waited in the queue for almost five minutes. When she got off the phone it rang again, I stepped up and told her not to touch the phone. It upsets me to know that someone who sitting around in their underwear and calling from the comfort of their cozy Stateroom, has priority over someone that got dressed, walked across the Ship, down five flights of stairs, and waited in line for five minutes.
Fifteen minutes after the initial unanswered phone call, I was able to voice my concern in person. I explained my issue to the Guest Services Crew Member and asked why the charges were assessed to my Folio without my knowledge or authorization. She simply replied, "That's how it's done."
To me, tipping is a very personal thing. I have been on over twenty Cruises with Six different Cruise Lines. Most Cruise Lines provide labeled Gratuity Envelopes, some let you electronically wire discretionary increments from your Folio to the individual Crew Members providing your services, right from the TV in your Stateroom. I have never been charged without knowledge or consent, especially on the second night of a seven night cruise, and after having horrible service in the Scarlet Restaurant two nights in a row.
I politely requested that the charges be removed from my Folio. At first the Guest Services Crew Member was hesitant, she asked for an explanation. I simply took out my iPhone and explained that I would call American Express and dispute the charge, and then file a formal complaint with the Better Business Bureau.
Needless to say, she decided to remove the charges from my Folio. John Heald, Carnival Cruise Director, always said "at Carnival, tipping is a very personal thing." I firmly believe this practice and it actually makes me feel good to give a Service Crew Member an additional fifty or one hundred percent more than the suggested gratuities for providing excellent service.
The third day of our cruise was the first Sea Day, so we took the opportunity relax and enjoy some of the Cruise Ship's Dining Offerings. We quickly discovered that lunch at The Gathering Grand Buffet, Mongolian Wok, Burrito Bar, Pasta Bar, and the Indian Tandoor all close one hour earlier on Sea Days. Why would Carnival close most of the Lunch Venues one hour earlier with a full complement of thirty-six hundred Guests on board and obviously not having lunch in a Port of Call?
The Grand Buffet at The Gathering Lido Restaurant had some great lunch offerings, and while Salami and Bologna are popular Lunch Meats, I was sick and tired of seeing them on the buffet every single day. Perhaps the Salami and Bologna belong at the Deli, thus making room for something more appealing on the Grand Buffet. The Pasta bar was also a nice treat to have on board, even though I marked Farfalle Pasta on my form and received Rigatoni Pasta.
We did like the fact that we could get an Iced Tea or Lemonade at any time; I did want to point out that the beverage station located at The Gathering on the port side midship appears to be configured backwards in comparison to the other three. It's a corner configuration with the cups located in the corner itself, the ice machine is on the far left, and the beverage fountain is on the far right; needless to say it was a constant time consuming traffic jam of ten to twenty thirsty Guests going back and forth all day and night.
We also noticed several other inconsistencies with Dining availability. For example, the twenty four hour Pizzeria would randomly close for an unspecified amount of time in the middle of the day. Breakfast at the Scarlet Restaurant had ended thirty minutes early when we arrived shortly after 9:30am on both Sunday and Wednesday mornings.
We really wanted to experience the flavors at the Indian Tandoor venue, so we saved that for the Sea Days because we had lunch ashore on the days we were in Ports of Call. Unfortunately the Indian Tandoor venue is only open for a very short two and a half hours on Sea Days. In fact the Indian Tandoor venue was only open for approximately twenty hours during the seven days we were on board.
I have to say that I was sick and tired of seeing those Carnival "Dear Guest" signs all over the place. When translated from Carnival Language to English, "Dear Guest" means "Disappointment." That is one memory about my vacation that I can do without.
We eventually made it to the Scarlet Restaurant for lunch on a Sea Day. I felt like I was there for dinner, again with the extremely slow service. We arrived at the Restaurant at 1:30pm and did not receive the menus and "Ship Water" until 1:45pm, fifteen minutes after arriving at the restaurant. Five minutes later the Server returned to take our order and never even made an additional beverage offering.
At 2:00pm, thirty minutes after arriving at the restaurant, I got up from the table, walked across the restaurant to a Server Station, picked up a pitcher of Iced Tea, and returned to my table with it. I received a round of applause from other Guests in the restaurant and all of a sudden had four servers sprinting across the restaurant to the table. They attempted to remove the Iced Tea Pitcher from the table and I declined, finally someone said that it wasn't permitted on the table, so I eventually surrendered it with hesitation.
I have to say that the Offerings available at the venues on The Lido Deck were more appealing than those at the Scarlet Restaurant for lunch. The Clam Chowder was interesting; it consisted of room temperature Cream of Potato Soup with two, one inch, open faced clams, one of which was meatless. We actually left the venue half way through the entrée and headed for the Deli up on the Lido Deck.
It was 2:30 on a Sea Day when we arrived at the Deli; it was one of two venues that were open for lunch on a Cruise Ship with thirty-six hundred passengers. Needless to say we had to wait in line for fifteen minutes at the Deli. We placed our order for two Hot Pastrami on Rye Sandwiches with Spicy Brown Deli Mustard, we received two Hot Pastrami on White Bread Sandwiches with Yellow Mustard, which wasn't even on the menu.
This is the second time and place that we ordered Hot Pastrami on Rye Sandwiches with Spicy Brown Deli Mustard and received something different. First of all, I can tell the difference between Pastrami and Corned Beef, as well as Rye Bread and White Bread. Second, these sandwiches are traditionally served with Spicy Brown Deli Mustard, not Yellow Mustard.
If the Deli was out of Rye Bread or Room Service was out of Pastrami, they should have specified that rather than assumptively preparing something different in an effort to deceive us, especially when said replacement isn't even on the menu. Also, it's a Deli, and every Deli is stocked with Spicy Brown Mustard. I eventually got a delicious Hot Pastrami on Rye Sandwich and added my own Spicy Brown Mustard that I picked up in Saint Thomas.
I'm a big fan of Sushi; I eat it at least once a week. Having a Sushi Bar on board was a big treat. Unfortunately the Sushi Bar on the Carnival Dream was not at all up to par with its Offerings.
The majority of the "Sushi" was actually cooked, and most of the time the Offerings were not served at a safe temperature. In fact, "Sushi" should never smell "fishy" unless it's gone bad. For some reason the Wasabi Sushi Bar was closed on Sunday and had non Sushi Italian style Tapas on Wednesday, both were unsettling encounters when we arrived at the venue.
The suspense was building as we got closer to our third evening at the Scarlet Restaurant; it was becoming a TV Drama. Would we have a new Dining Team or a third table assignment, what type of drama would unfold? Find out tonight at 8:15pm on Carnival.
Once again we were seated at the new table promptly at 8:15pm. At 8:16pm, one minute after arriving at the restaurant, the new Service Team introduced themselves and took a few minutes to get to know us as well. The Dinner Service was absolutely flawless from that point forward.
The new Dining Team knew our names and our taste preferences. They were extremely friendly and genuine. The service was so seamless that we didn't even notice it; they were meticulously catering to our every need before we even had a thought.
The offerings were average in comparison to other Cruise Lines. The quality was good and a Lobster Tail Entrée is not something that you will find on every Cruise Line. My evaluation of The Scarlet Restaurant experience was average.
Towards the end of the cruise I was expecting to see the infamous Chocolate Buffet that I have seen on every Cruise Ship. I was extremely upset to learn that Carnival Cruise Lines has done away with the Chocolate Buffet. Seriously?
Josh Waitzman was an above average Cruise Director, not Excellent though. John Heald on the other hand is an excellent Cruise Director; he sets the standard for all Cruise Directors in the Industry. John's appeal is that he relates to Guests and has the unique ability to visualize and create the ideal Guest Experience.
Josh is a great Cruise Director and he has the potential to be Excellent. My first impression of Josh is that he's insincere as well as inconsistent. He comes across more like a used car salesman rather than a cherished friend.
Despite the drama at The Scarlet Restaurant we were able to make it to the Encore! Main Lounge for Showtime every night. I was very impressed to see a live band for the Production Shows, that's a rear treat on a Cruise Ship. Eddie C. & The Dream Show band gave an excellent performance.
The Carnival Dream Dancers were also excellent, especially in comparison to all the productions I've seen while working for The Walt Disney Company. Desmond Dansby is an excellent singer, perhaps one of the best I have seen on any Cruise Ship. Bert Rodriguez is probably the best singer I've seen; he performs seasonally for another Cruise Line and is the lead Singer in Finding Nemo The Musical at Walt Disney World.
Simone Catalano on the other hand did not give a good performance at any time during the Cruise; in fact some of the karaoke sinkers gave a better performance. She was off pitch and could not hit certain notes. I almost jumped ship when I heard her sing "I Will Always Love You."
I was excited to see the Lido Laser Show on the first night of the Cruise. Wow . . . that pretty much sums it up. What a complete waste of time.
Other Cruise Ships that are half the size are able to have elaborate fireworks presentations. I wasn't quite sure what I was watching, and judging from the facial expressions and body language from Cruise Director Josh, who happened to be standing next to me, he wasn't impressed either. You couldn't really see the lasers because smoke machines in an open air Lido Deck, on a moving Cruise Ship, in a windy ocean, are virtually ineffective.
On formal night we attended the Captain's Celebration, which traditionally has complimentary Cocktail Hour on every Cruise Ship I've ever been on, unfortunately Carnival no longer partakes in this cruise industry tradition either. First the Midnight Buffet, then the Chocolate Buffet, and now Cocktail Hour at the Captain's Celebration. I suppose that Carnival received an overwhelming amount of feedback from Guests that wanted these offerings discontinued, right?
The Uncensored Comedy Shows at the Punchliner Comedy Club in the Burgundy Aft Lounge were a cruise highlight! Michael Macey, Comedian, definitely needs to be promoted to Captain. I have seen Michael on other Cruise Ships and he's one of the best in the industry.
I enjoyed the concept of the Punchliner Comedy Club; however I feel that the Burgundy Aft Lounge was at an uncomfortable capacity. Some guest could not see the comedians and others had to stand during the show. It may have been more comfortable in the Encore! Main Lounge, which is where this type of show would normally take place on other Cruise Ships.
One of the most interesting aspects of The Carnival Dream was the Carnival Waterworks; I've never seen six waterslides on a Cruise Ship. I do however want to point out a safety concern with the two larger slides. The joints where each segment of the tubes are connected are very sharp and scrape the rider's backs as they slide over each segment of the slide. My back was in slight pain and visually red after riding, in fact everyone who got off the slides had red backs.
I was also impressed with the number of Spas, or Hot Tubs; I've never seen eight Spas on a Cruise Ship. It should however be noted that thirty-six hundred Guests sharing two pools was a bit unsettling at times. Also The Hot Tubs on The Lanai Promenade were inconsistent, the two that were Forward exceeded one hundred and five degrees and the two that were Midship were actually cold all week.
The Stateroom Attendant for the week and the Third Dining Team for the last five evenings exceeded our expectations. We ended up giving the Stateroom attendant a fifty percent bonus and we gave the Head Server a one hundred percent bonus above the recommended gratuities. Tipping is a personal thing and no one should ever be forced into a prepaid situation, it's unethical.
I made an honest attempt to submit my personal feedback on five different occasions.
First, I was expecting a comment card in my Stateroom on the last night of the Cruise. Most Cruise Lines leave a comment card in the Stateroom so that guests can sit down and collectively provide constructive feedback. The Comment Card never appeared in the Stateroom.
Two, I went to Guest Services, after calling them and sitting on hold for over five minutes again, and requested a Comment Card. The Guest Services Crew Member stated that the person who booked the cruise would receive a Comment Card via email on the day of their return home. The Electronic Comment Card never appeared in my Email.
Three, I sent an email to Carnival Guest Care on Monday, October 18 and inquired about the Electronic Comment Card. I received an email response three days later with other feedback methods. The Electronic Comment Card was not an option.
Four, I called Carnival Guest Care on Wednesday, October 20 and inquired about the Electronic Comment Card. I was told that we did not receive it as yet because we still had an "open file" by the ship, I can only imagine what the file said after the Dining Service, Gratuities, and Insect Infestation issues. The Carnival Guest Care Representative verified my email address and stated that I would receive the Comment Card since I was listed as the Guest who booked the Cruise.
My Stateroom roommate received the Electronic Comment Card and submitted it without consulting me; he assumed that each individual Guest would receive one, which is not the case. I emailed Carnival Guest Care again and explained the situation. Guest Care explained that the comment cards are only sent to individuals that are listed as head of household and that in my case, the head of household on my Past Guest Profile is my younger brother, and since my Stateroom Roommate is listed as head of household on his profile, the system automatically sent the survey to him, even though I booked the cruise.
This makes absolutely no sense at all from a Guest perspective. I formally request that I am made the Primary Guest in my Guest Profile since I am the one who booked both this cruise and the cruise that I took my younger brother on. So now this letter represents my fifth attempt to provide feedback about my cruise experience and I'm not even sure if it was worth my time and effort.
Based on my personal experience aboard The Carnival Dream in comparison to the twenty other Cruise Ships I have sailed on, this overall experience was below average and did not meet my expectations. Based on my Travel Industry background I cannot in good conscious recommend this cruise to anyone that trusts my judgment. I may not completely write off Carnival; however it may be another six years before I trust the Cruise Line with my precious Vacation Time.
Every Cruse has its pros and cons. I don't have extremely high expectations and I'm not difficult to please. I want a fun and relaxing experience at a fair price.
I hope this review finds you well and that you take it into consideration when planning your Cruise Vacation. Carnival is a good company and the biggest Cruise Line in the World. Now they need to focus on becoming the best.
Ah, another Carnival cruise! It was my husband's and I's 13 cruise, with 6 on Carnival. This was our kids (14 and 16) 4th, 2nd on Carnival.
Before the Cruise: Stayed at the Cocoa Beach Hampton Inn, used the cruise parking and shuttle service offered. It was easy and efficient.
Embarkation Day: The Dream was the only ship in port that day. Check in was quick, we were on board by 12:15. Rooms are available at 1:30. We had room 7345, an outside balcony in a great location, right next to the middle elevators. Also, it was easy to walk down two floors to the Lanai, or up three floors to the buffet, without your legs complaining.
Food was good. Ate breakfast in the Scarlet Dining Room most mornings due to long lines at the Gathering buffet. We asked to switch tables for dinner. Our first assigned table was in the back corner in a little hallway. We switched to a large table right in front, next to the maitre'd's. If you get table 416, MOVE! as soon as possible. Pasta bar, upstairs in the Gathering, was a nice touch.
The shows were allexcellent, as to be expected. The comedians had PG and R shows, all were very good. The piano player (Ronnie) at Sam's was wonderful.
The Art auctions were great, even though we didn't buy the great deal they had, 50 Thomas Kinkades for $5,000.
Serenity deck was nice for the adults. The pools were too small for the number of people on the ship. We loved the cantilevered hot tubs on deck 5.
In St. Thomas and St. Maartin, the Oasis was the only other ship in port, which was nice. St. Thomas, we took a taxi to Sapphire Beach. It was nice, $10 per person each way, with good rum punch. St. Maartin, used water taxi, $6 round trip unlimited, to Philipsburg and public beach.
It was some of the calmest, smoothest sailing I've had.There weren't a whole lot of kids onboard. Zone debarkation went smoothly, sadly off the ship by 8:15.