Returned Saturday, 13 Oct 2012 from an Eastern Carib cruise on Carnival Dream. It was a good cruise and we enjoyed it. What follows is a short review of the cruise:
It was our 2nd cruise on the Dream and the 1st from the new terminal in Port Canaveral. It was a welcome change from the old one. It was raining when we arrived at the pier and they had covered walk ways to the ship. Also for the 1st time we used an off-port parking lot. It was at the Radisson Hotel about 5 minutes from the port. The cost was $5.95 a day and a lot cheaper than what the port charges. They used small busses and the waiting time was minimal.
Arrival at the pier was about 11:00 and we were on board by 11:30. We had received an e-mail from Carnival saying we should board between 1:30 and 3:00 to avoid crowds. However, we ignored it and there were no problems at all. Had lunch in the Gathering, walked around a bit and were in our cabin by 1:30. We splurged a bit and had a Cloud 9 Spa Cabin on the Panorama Deck forward. A bit more on this later. Met our steward (Noel), unpacked and settled in for the cruise. Noel did a great job. We often sleep in late. However he never once complained and always met us with a smile and also called us by our names. A professional to say the least. And yes, we did tip him and his assistant a bit more.
The cruise was non-eventful except for 2 days when we were on the tail end of a tropical depression (Patty). We quickly learned that a cabin high up and far forward is NOT the place to be when rough weather hits. We sail normally on the 5th or 6th deck amidships and will make sure we do for the next cruise.
We have been to Nassau several times and chose to stay aboard and use the spa. In St. Thomas, we went ashore to purchase our normal alcohol buys and then snorkeled at Buck Island. It was fun and we enjoyed it. We also stayed aboard in St. Maarten and used the spa again. Port days are great for the spa as most folks are off the ship.
We returned to Port Canaveral on Sat, debarked at 7:30 and were in a local restaurant (Zachery’s) for breakfast by 8:00. This a tradition with us when we sail from Port Canaveral.
The major complaint we had for this cruise was the total lack of service in the main dining room. Our waiter tried hard to keep up but because he had too many tables to serve it was a disaster. Some items ordered never arrived, others came late and in general we were extremely disappointed. In the 15 cruises that we have had with Carnival this was by far the worst service we have ever had. In fact, even though we are Platinum, we are seriously considering dropping Carnival cruises completely. We will probably give it one more try and hope for the best. The folks who make the decisions to reduce dining room staffing have made a serious mistake this time.
Also, the smell of sewerage still exists on the Dream. It was steady but every now and then as you walked a passageway it was very obvious. I hope that they can get this problem solved as it does spoil the ambiance of the Dream.
The dining room food was good but not as good as it has been in past cruises. Having a menu that offered the same 4 or 5 entrees daily in addition to the regular menu that changes every day was a good idea. That way there was something for everyone to choose from.
So to wrap it up, all in all a good cruise. Dining room service must somehow get back to where it was and the sewerage smell has got to be corrected.
As an aside, we are sailing on RCCL Vision of the Seas with a group of military retirees the 2nd of November. The group is from the community in Florida where we live and RCCL offered a great deal to Military folks. It will be a chance to compare and see what if any differences we find in the dining room service. However we have heard from other folks that the cutbacks in the dining room are fleet wide. We shall see.
I really didn’t mean to be this long winded but just got carried away.