Just some background....we are seasoned travelers.
This was my 33rd Carnival cruise (hubby's 42nd) and our 18 year old's 33rd Carnival cruise.
Embarkation was wonderful. (which surprised me a little because we had 600+ Platinum members...so I expected VIP check in to be delayed) Port Canaveral prepared for this unusual amount of VIPs and they did it well.
We had a Spa Interior Cabin. (which I joked about being my Spa Closet on the Roll Calls...because I wanted a balcony and hubby said no) But there was plenty of room for the 3 of us. We were on Deck 11. We had a Spa Balcony on the Splendor (free upgrade) last year and I love the Thalassotherapy pool, saunas and relaxation rooms. I am NOT a Spa person at all...but I love this addition to the Carnival bigger ships.
One note: there is a possible noise issue in the Spa Interior cabins on Deck 11. IF the ship is going 20+ knots and IF the waves hit it just right...there is an echo "gong" sound. It only lasted 18 hours out of a 9 day cruise...and some additional insulation will probably fit the problem.
I emailed a VP at Carnival Corp Sunday afternoon when we got home about this and had a reply in about 2 hours. Not worthy of any compensation...I just wanted them to know they had a possible issue that they needed to deal with.
The ship is beautiful. Still a little Farcus but not as over the top as some of his ships are.
The flow on Promenade Deck 5 can get bottlenecked at the coffee bar on formal night with pictures being taken. Just use Lower Dream Street (Deck 4) to go forward to aft .....no traffic at all down there.
The Ocean Plaza concept is neat. Lots of dancing when the band is set up there.
And the whirlpools over the side are great.
I really like the fact that karaoke and the piano bar are so close!!! LOVE the Adult Serenity area. Hammocks...whirlpools... and covered cove seating were fabulous. I didn't want to leave.
Food: It was fine on Lido and in the Main Dining Room. Consistant with all the other Carnival ships we have been on. I loved the Pasta bar. I was expecting LONG lines reading earlier reviews...but we never experienced that at all. The longest line we stood in was at the mongolian wok on the last sea day and that is because each meal is individually prepared for you. We did not eat in the Steak House.
Staff: Marvelous. Friendly and helpful. This was a Blogger's Cruise...so there was a lot going on. (extra work for the staff and crew) And they all handled it with ease.
Our cabin steward and wait staff were wonderful.
Mouna (karaoke host) is THE BEST EVER!!!!
There were some issues on the ship.
The Spa elevator tripped the circuit breakers (which dominoed down the ship) and it took 15 minutes to get everyone out of the elevators who were stuck. It took 1 1/2 hours to fix the problem, since there are over 400 circuits to check.
To clear up A LOT of misinformation about San Juan... yes, we missed that port.
All ship captains (cruise, freight etc) use the
Star Cruises simulator to practice docking at ports that these new ships have never been to before....so that they are proficient when they finally arrive. (just like airline pilots use simulators to practice landing at different air fields)
In San Juan, RCCL had paid to add a huge piece of artwork that was not programmed into the Star Cruise simulator. It was added after this program was written and San Juan never bothered to contact Star Cruise to update the addition.
This huge piece of artwork would have pierced the lifeboats had Captain Carlos not caught the error in time. This would have meant the end of our cruise and everyone flying home from San Juan.
The second option of docking at another dock was not possible because the Dream required a deeper draft.
The option of tendering was not possible because San Juan does not have any tenders and the lifeboats (which some cruise lines use as tenders) would not match up to the docks. The docks were to tall.
Now this piece of artwork is being removed because the Oasis of the Seas can't dock there either and with only about 6 ports to work with...RCCL certainly does not want to lose one.
This was one disappointment that even the Senior Cruise Director John Heald understood...since he had been planning a big Blogger's Party with Nani (who lives in Puerto Rico) for over a year. She was going to come onboard and we had tons of school supplies for her school children. She and John (and the Blogger's Family) are all very close and we were all disappointed....but as travelers we understand that "ship happens".
Carnival is making sure all the school supplies get to Nani this week.
It was also a disappointment for the staff and crew because this was to be their "money stop" (where they wire money home to their family).
This is where my "patience" for BUS RIDERS wore a little thin. If someone HAS to be at a specific port for a special event....FLY THERE.
This is a cruise ship....not a bus.
But they don't fly there...because to fly there, pay for the hotel and meals and taxis etc...would COST MORE than the 9 day cruise they were on...and they get the cruise as a bonus.
Again, the amount of stupid information sadden me. If someone doesn't know what they are talking about...they should keep their mouth shut! Some idiot made the sad mistake of saying to me that Carnival had cancelled that port on purpose to make the gambling and alcohol revenue. I quickly corrected them and let them know that the shore excursion revenue lost by Carnival at that one stop far exceeded any alcohol or gambling that was spent that day.
But what can you do.....as Ron White says "You can't fix stupid."
The Dream staff had a new Caper out before we could even get down to the Atrium to see what was going on....with a whole host of activities.
We loved the ports. This was our first time to Antigua and Tortola. We just walked around the shops at the port. We were just at St Thomas in May for the upteenth thousandth time....so our big excursion was a trip to KMart!!! (and then on to the Shipwreck Tavern to have lunch with friends)
Overall....we had a blast. Of the 3,804 guests on board....3,100+ were past guests...which broke a record. And of course the 600+ Platinum members broke a record.
I was Brittney Spears in the Legend Show...and had a blast. We actually got to do two shows instead of just one. (we did the 8:30 and 10:30) The 10:30 was definately better...a lot of the nerves are gone by then. Although, I wish I had asked Frank for more monitor. I am monitor dependent (hearing myself) to keep on key. But it was fun.
Frank Sinatra stole the show. He was 82 years old!!!
Some questions I had heard ask was about the FREE sauna and steam room. They do have BOTH.
One is co-ed and the other has a men's and ladies.
Of course they have the full gym etc....
Lots of music on the Promenade.... a cover band, Kevin playing an acoustic guitar, two duos in the Atrium, piano bar, Latin band and C. band.
If anyone has any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.