Our amazing Dream cruise--photo and trivia review!

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#1
Georgia
988 Posts
Joined Feb 2011



This is a photo review of our Western itinerary Carnival Dream cruise: June 11-18, 2011. At first I thought about writing a short review with a few key points, but then I thought about how helpful all the reviews were that I’ve read over the past several months, so I decided to take the time to write a more detailed review in hopes of helping some people who might be just starting their planning for an upcoming cruise on the Dream. I remember, however, that I didn’t always have the time to read lengthy reviews, so I’m going to use red on any key points or suggestions that might be new or different. That way you can scroll through the review and just look for key points if you don’t want to read the entire review. One of the helpful things I did while planning our cruise was to create a Word document on my computer just for cruise ideas and suggestions. Once I came across something new or helpful on CC, I copied and pasted the posts to my document so I could review the entire list closer to the trip.

PREPARATION: We started thinking about a cruise back in October, but didn’t book our trip on the Dream until Christmas Eve. From that point on, the countdown to June 11 was on! A few days after booking I joined Cruise Critic, and that was probably the single best thing I did to guarantee a great trip. I learned so much from reading people’s reviews and suggestions. Our trip plans kept getting better and better thanks to the suggestions of others. Just a few facts about us—this was our 4th cruise, and our 2nd cruise on Carnival. We really thought we had become fans of Princess after two great cruises on the Caribbean Princess and Crown, but after this cruise, we have switched our allegiance back to Carnival! Our cruise was in celebration of my wife completing her doctorate degree. While she was busy doing her research, I was busy doing mine---planning special surprises for this trip that I discovered on CC. She was too busy to be involved in any of the planning, so other than the trip itself and the cabin selection, she was totally unaware of the trip’s details. We decided to leave it that way, so each day of the cruise brought new surprises. Made the trip even more fun for both of us!

Since it will take me a few days to post this entire review, I thought I’d trying something new to keep things interesting to see how many people really know the Western Caribbean itinerary. I’ll post a “trivia photo” at the end of each section, and we’ll see who can correctly identify the location. Might be lame, but also could be fun. I’ll start with an easy one! Where are we here?

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Carnival Inspiration July '05
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Carnival Dream June '11

Carnival Legend June '12
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Celebrity Reflection December '14--Christmas Cruise!
Celebrity Reflection Thanksgiving '15--Third time's a charm!
MSC Divina July '16---4th of July Getaway!
#2
Georgia
988 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
GETTING THERE: My wife had to work a half-day on Friday, so I picked her up in downtown Atlanta at 12:30 PM on the 10th and we headed directly to Florida. Our biggest mistake of the trip was opting to take I-75 to the FL Turnpike instead of I-10 to Jacksonville. The FL Turnpike was fine—about $3.50 between Ocala and Orlando. The problem was FL route 528 which you take from the turnpike to Cocoa Beach. I wasn’t aware that this road was a toll road too, and we racked up about $6 in tolls over a very short distance. When we were having to stop for the third time in less than 5 miles to pay yet another $2.25 (there was no rhyme or reason to the amounts!), I asked the attendant, “How many more of these tolls are there between here and I-95.” His response of, “I have no idea” did not go over well with me. Needless to say, we took I-95 to I-10 on the way home!

We arrived at the La Quinta Inn and Suites on Cocoa Beach about 9:30 PM. I had reserved the room back in April through Hotwire for $65, so we were pleasantly surprised when we had a nice room overlooking the pool. (The room also included a hot breakfast.) We hadn’t been out of the car since Valdosta, so it was nice to breath the ocean air when we got out of the car! We quickly checked in and moved only our essential luggage to the room before walking two blocks back to A-1A to grab something to eat at Beef O’Brady’s in the Publix shopping center. (Not our first choice, but one of the few places within walking distance still open at 10 PM).




We were going to park our car at the hotel for an additional $30, but the La Quinta doesn’t have a shuttle. I called about two weeks prior to the trip and found out that the average cost of transportation to the port would be about $20 for up to 4 people. Add another $20 to get back after the trip and the cost of parking/transportation was going to cost more than the hotel room. Luckily, I had read on Cruise Critic about the new Park ‘N Cruise on Sea Ray Drive just a few minutes from the port. I made a quick reservation online (which qualifies you for a 10% discount), and our parking arrangements were all set.


EMBARKATION DAY: After a short walk on the beach, we left the hotel about 10 AM on Saturday morning ready to start our trip! We drove right past the Dream on our way to the Park ‘N Cruise lot (which you’ll see on your left about 5 minutes before you get to the port if you are coming in from I-95). When we drove into their lot, a man greeted us and directed us into a hanger type building. As soon as we pulled inside, they were there ready to unload our luggage. As it turned out, we never touched our luggage again until we were in our cabin. While I paid the $53 dollars for the parking space, my wife boarded the shuttle bus while the attendant loaded our luggage. I then parked our car in the gravel lot right next to the exit. I liked that we could park our own car because I could leave plenty of space between our car and the van next to it. One other couple was going through the same process behind us, so the driver asked us if we wanted to wait for them to board the bus, or did we want to leave right away. Since it was only 10:30, we were happy to wait for the other couple. As we started to the port, I heard the other man talking to the driver. He said, “I’ve read lots of positive reviews about your business on Cruise Critic. I was even online talking to someone who was going to leave his car at his hotel for the week, but changed his mind when he realized it would be cheaper to park here.” I couldn’t believe it—he was talking about me. With 4000 passengers heading to the ship, we were riding the shuttle with the one Cruise Critic member who had helped me the most over the past 6 months—Crewsweeper! (Otherwise known as Stephen). I quickly introduced myself and we all had a good laugh at the odds of such a meeting.

Once off the shuttle, our bags were unloaded by the driver and handed directly to the porters. We walked a short distance to the terminal, showed our passports and boarding passes at the door, and headed inside to immediately go through the security check point. FYI--I had one water bottle in my bag—with water in it—and they ran my bag through twice just to make sure it wasn’t alcohol. A quick ride up the escalator and we were handed the usual health form to complete before entering the line for check-in. Less than 10 minutes in line and we were at the counter. By the time we sat down they were just 3 zones away from calling our number (lucky 13). We were on board around 11:30—amazingly fast. One of the best changes was that there were not the REQUIRED family photo shoots (just the individual ones for S&S card and the green screen face recognition photo). Photographers were set up in the lobby on deck #3, but you could easily walk around them without having to put your luggage down again.

We decided some time ago that this cruise was going to be about relaxation and not about food, so we ignored all the suggestions to go right to Lido deck and decided instead to head for the Serenity deck. What a great decision! We were the only ones there. We tried out a few clamshells until we settled on one near the bar on the breezy side of the ship (facing the Canaveral launch site).




It was then that we met Alena, the nicest young waitress from Bulgaria. We hit it off immediately, and she took good care of us throughout the week. The Long Island Iced Teas are quite good! Although the entire “Dream Team” is incredibly friendly, Alena was our favorite of all. She always called us by name, and even sought us out at the returning guest reception and made sure our glasses were never empty.

While my wife enjoyed relaxing in the clamshell, I headed back to deck 3 to the excursion deck about 12:30 because I wanted to book the Behind the Fun tour. The line was still short, so I was done in a matter of minutes. The tour costs $95 per person. We were the 3rd and 4th people added to the list, but I was told to come back tomorrow while the boat was at sea to actually pay for the tour. Otherwise, they would have to charge tax. My next stop was the dining room to request a table for 2. Although our assignment was in Scarlett, I was sent to Crimson to make the request. The maître-D greeted me, took my request, and told me that there would be no changes made until after the first night. If they could grant my request, I would receive a note in my cabin during the first day at sea. My final stop was at the Chef’s Art Steakhouse on deck 12 aft to confirm our reservations for the Chef’s Table and for the steakhouse itself. I had made both reservations back in January, but had been instructed to confirm both reservations once onboard. With all of my “chores” taken care of, I made a quick stop at the Indian buffet near the aft pool on deck 10 (another good suggestion from Crewsweeper), grabbed an assortment of very tasty items (no line at all), and it was back to the clamshell for a 2nd Long Island Iced Tea before checking out our cabin.

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Carnival Inspiration July '05
Caribbean Princess July'06
Crown Princess November '08
Carnival Dream June '11

Carnival Legend June '12
Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas July '13
Celebrity Reflection November '13
Carnival Breeze June '14
Celebrity Reflection December '14--Christmas Cruise!
Celebrity Reflection Thanksgiving '15--Third time's a charm!
MSC Divina July '16---4th of July Getaway!
#3
NH
865 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
I like it!

The red print is a very cool idea.

And I love the idea of the photo trivia.

In that first pic, are you in Cozumel ?
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Jennifer & Shane

Carnival Fascination 4/23/12 - 10th Anniversary Cruise!

Carnival Imagination 12/09 - Girl Cruise
Star Princess 11/06 - 5th Anniversary Cruise
Carnival Triumph 04/05 - Family Trip
Carnival Imagination 12/98
Carnival Inspiration 02/97
#5
Atlanta
360 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Thank you, looking forward to your next post
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#6
Tallahassee , FL
13,808 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Originally posted by Since it will take me a few days to post this entire review, I thought I’d trying something new to keep things interesting to see how many people really know the Western Caribbean itinerary. [COLOR=red
I’ll post a “trivia photo” at the end of each section, and we’ll see who can correctly identify the location.[/color] Might be lame, but also could be fun. I’ll start with an easy one! Where are we here?

3 Amigos Puerta Maya.

Nice start Ed....I can't wait to read the rest. I like the way you began the cruise. LIITs Nice.


Stephen
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Costa Maya/Mahahual Malecon Beach Clubs and Maps (posts 26-36)


Carnival Inspiration, January 2006
Carnival Sensation, February 2007
Carnival
Carnival Legend, May 2009
Carnival Dream, January 2010
Carnival Dream, May 2010
Carnival Dream, June 2011
Carnival Liberty April 2012
Carnival Breeze, November 2012
Carnival Valor,January, 2016
Carnival,Vista,January,2017
#7
Georgia
988 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
ALL guesses on photos were correct. I'll have to make these harder! The first one was Costa Maya and the "easy" one was Cozumel (love that photo). Much more to come later.
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Carnival Inspiration July '05
Caribbean Princess July'06
Crown Princess November '08
Carnival Dream June '11

Carnival Legend June '12
Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas July '13
Celebrity Reflection November '13
Carnival Breeze June '14
Celebrity Reflection December '14--Christmas Cruise!
Celebrity Reflection Thanksgiving '15--Third time's a charm!
MSC Divina July '16---4th of July Getaway!
#8
North East Florida
2,445 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
THANK YOU!!! For posting the information on Park 'N Cruise. I printed your entire paragraph about it...for my husband. We were on The Star Princess in March, and it cost us $150 + to park for ten days. That is a lot. We heard about Park 'n Cruise in Fort Lauderdale from someone on this board, and I vowed to use it next time. So.are you familiar with that francise there?

I am hoping you attended some real Trivia Games. The last time we were on the Dream...the Cruise Staff did something called Super Trivia..which meant that even if you answered all of the questions correctly..anyone who rolled a bigger number on a set of dice.......won. It is a game....and fun for many I am sure. It is not Trivia.
We have booked three curises with Princes since then...And cruised two of them..and have one booked for New years. We were pretty happy on Carnival until then.......We had 8 cruises under our belt..with Carnival.

Now....your review.........if Trivia is Trivia again.( my DH loves Trivia..and on Princess.....he is in hog Trivia Heaven) I wonder, sometimes.. why when Trivia is so cheap to put on for the passengers....and it attracts so many folks who cruise a lot...I wonder..why do some cruise lines not do at least two or three different types a day? Thinking NCL..which needs something...I mean. Like Princess does....with Jeopardized Trivia...the Movie and Beatles such Trivia..the ordinary ones..twice a day........and I think their repeat passenger rate is way way high.

we may give The DReam another try...thanks to your great review.
#9
Tampa area
14,330 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
I love the trivia idea! This will be fun.
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#10
Deltona, FL
3,897 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
Awesome start to what I am sure will be a great review!

Sailing on this great ship in September (78 days, but who is counting?)

Looking forward to the next installment. I know this type of review is time consuming, so thanks for taking the time to do it!
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Marylou
W~A~T~P~O~P~W~U~A (We Are The People Our Parents Warned Us About)

NCL: Norway 1991,1993,2001
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#12
Georgia
988 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
Thanks for all the supportive comments! Before I go on with my review, I have to hit you with a harder "trivia" photo to test your knowledge of cabins. One of the main reasons we booked this particular cruise on the particular ship was because of the cabin we selected.

Below are two photos of our amazing cabin. (The second photo is the view looking up). Can you identify the cabin?



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Carnival Legend June '12
Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas July '13
Celebrity Reflection November '13
Carnival Breeze June '14
Celebrity Reflection December '14--Christmas Cruise!
Celebrity Reflection Thanksgiving '15--Third time's a charm!
MSC Divina July '16---4th of July Getaway!
#13
Houston, Texas USA
1,795 Posts
Joined Jun 2002
I will be on her in 8 days! Thanks so much for taking the time to jot all of this down for us - so appreciated.
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next - '14 CCL Sunshine
next, next - '15 CCL Dream
#14
Las Vegas, NV
331 Posts
Joined May 2009
Great Review! Thanks for taking the time to write it. Can't wait until Oct!
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#15
Spring, TX
3,073 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
That's an aft balcony isn't it?
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Past Cruises

Jubilee Western Caribbean 2003
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#17
St. Charles Missouri
6,879 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
nice pics
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#18
Virginia Beach, VA
446 Posts
Joined May 2006
Keep it coming!! I already subscribed to this so I can keep track
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All Aboard!!!!!
#19
Georgia
988 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
Before I continue, I wanted to add an aside about ordering from Carnival's BON VOYAGE dept:

I had pre-ordered several items from Bon Voyage, so I assumed they would all be in the room when we arrived. Most were, but a few things were delivered shortly after we arrived.



The fruit basket with wine, cheese, and crackers was a big hit. The fruit was excellent and plentiful, and we enjoyed the cheese and crackers with pre-dinner cocktails on two separate nights. We ended up taking the wine with us to the Steakhouse on the last night, and they did NOT charge us a corkage fee. The cake was really good, but we left it sitting out all night and we weren't sure if it needed to be refrigerated, so we only ate two pieces. Too bad because it was better than any of the buffet desserts. We also ordered two Carnival visors for $5 a piece. They came in very handy all week.

Not sure if I would spend the money on the bottle of gin again. We enjoyed ordering fun drinks from the bar that we wouldn’t usually have at home, so we didn’t drink much gin. At home we drink a lot of water, and the water of the ship doesn’t taste very good, so next time we would bring less tonic water and pack more water bottles. One of our only frustrations on the ship was the lack of free beverages. Obviously, the iced tea and coffee are made with the same ship water, so they tasted funny to us. There was lemonade (which I drank a lot of), and orange & apple juice. No fruit punch like on our first Carnival cruise. After the first morning of disappointing coffee, we visited the coffee shop on deck 5 every morning for our morning cup. One small coffee and one hot tea cost us $2.88 with included tip each morning—cheaper than our daily visit to Starbucks back home. If you order the fancy coffee drinks, you will pay a lot more. The lady who worked at the coffee shop was very friendly, and quickly learned our order after 2 visits.




(Two more hints in those photos to see if anyone knows this exact cabin. If not, I'll include that info in the next post).
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Carnival Inspiration July '05
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Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas July '13
Celebrity Reflection November '13
Carnival Breeze June '14
Celebrity Reflection December '14--Christmas Cruise!
Celebrity Reflection Thanksgiving '15--Third time's a charm!
MSC Divina July '16---4th of July Getaway!
#20
midwest
905 Posts
Joined Dec 2010
Originally posted by DaisyGirl55
Awesome start to what I am sure will be a great review!

Sailing on this great ship in September (78 days, but who is counting?)

Looking forward to the next installment. I know this type of review is time consuming, so thanks for taking the time to do it!
We'll be on the Dream at thesame time! It can't come fast enough.
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Jeanne

Carnival Holiday-7, Carnival Celebration-7, Carnival Imagination-5, Royal Caribbean Sovereign of the Seas-5, Carnival Glory-7, Carnival Elation-5, Carnival Legend-7, Carnival Ecstasy-5, Carnival Dream-7, Carnival Legend-7, Carnival Conquest-7, Carnival Elation-5, Carnival Conquest-7, Carnival Dream -7, Carnival Inspiration - 3, Carnival Conquest-7, Carnival Elation-5, Carnival Conquest-6, Carnival Sunshine-7, Miracle-16, Dream-7, Sunshine-8

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