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Jaclyn Christiansen

Age: 61

Occupation:Venture capitalist

Number of Cruises: 25

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Dream

Sailing Date: 2013-03-2

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

First, the good. The staff on the Carnival Dream were all terrific. The ship is beautiful and clean. However, this ship does not handle crowds well. The new design of the Dream class added an entire deck of cabins, without a proportional amount of public space. The result is crowds and lines for food and to get into shows (including the show at the main theater, which was not increased in size from the Glory/Valor designs. A Carnival cruise is usually on the low end as far as cost, and so I guess you get what you pay for.

The food was good (not great). I am familiar with the menu for dinner as it has been essentially the same for the past 5-7 years. There is something for everyone here, although I think that adding meat loaf and "gourmet" hamburger to the menu was a WalMart type move. In order to get a good steak, you have to go to one of the specialty restaurants and pay extra. Our waiter was very nice, but perhaps spread a little thin. There was great disparity as to how long it took to get our orders.

We had a balcony on the Lido deck which is conveniently located on the same deck as the pool and the buffet (which we used for breakfast and lunch). The stateroom was clean and our cabin stewart was very pleasant and helpful.

The onboard activities are getting a little old for us (this being our 14th Carnival cruise). The men's hairy chest contest is really old school.

We did the Belize cave tubing. It was a good experience, but it took the entire day (1.5 hours by van to get there and 45 minutes of walking to get to the start of the excursion).

We are experienced Carnival cruisers, but this cruise had our group of 33 talking about using a different cruise line next year; and at least to never use the Dream class of ship again. The lines were terrible (waiting 50 minutes to get a hamburger??). The best part was the crew. They were professional, friendly and helpful.

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