ALL THINGS CLOUD 9 SPA - A Detailed Photo/Video Review Of Carnival Dream Spa

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#1
1,287 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
I had a lot of trouble finding a comprehensive review of the Cloud 9 Spa package on the Dream. For that reason, I'm going to take the time to post a VERY comprehensive review for those of you who might be interested. My review will include LOTS of photos, links to four videos which provide a guided tour of the entire spa area, and a photo tour of my Oceanview Spa Cabin (#11202). I forgot to take video of my cabin and I wish I had, because it was quite impressive! Hopefully the photos will suffice. I also have some photos of Cabin #11204. This cabin is also a Spa Oceanview, but it has a very different layout than the one I was in.

Please be patient with me in terms of getting this review posted. Like a good cruise review, it's going to take MANY posts and I'll likely have to take some breaks in between.

Let's start off with my personal story of how I ended up in a Spa cabin. I initially booked our cruise (9-29-12 Dream) back in April. I booked a Deluxe Oceanview Cabin for my family of 5. In June, my parents decided to join us on this cruise. The Early Saver option was no longer available for them and they are not past guests of Carnival, so I moved my daughter into their cabin so that they could qualify for the past guest rate (I'm a TA, so Carnival waived the $50 fee for changing my daughter's reservation). My daughter would still be sleeping in the cabin with my family...her "move" was simply a "paper" move so that my parents could get the better rate.

Three weeks before sail date, somebody cancelled a reservation for two Oceanview Spa Cabins (#11202 and #11204) and they were placed back into inventory at an AMAZING rate. Cabin #11204 only accommodates 3 passengers, but #11202 is a quad. Since my daughter was no longer listed on the same reservation with the rest of my family, we were able to upgrade to quad cabin #11202. The upgrade cost me a grand total of $3.60 more than the original cost for our Deluxe Oceanview on the Riviera Deck. The grand total for this cruise for my entire family of 5, including taxes and fees (but before tips), was $2,300. The net cost was right around $2,000 after my TA commission and a statement credit from my Carnival Mastercard.

The only "complication" would be that we'd have to bring a small airbed from home for the 5th person. It seemed like a great trade-off, considering we'd be getting an oversized spa cabin on the Panorama Deck, with a semi-private balcony. It ended up being MORE than a great trade-off. Details to follow:

COMING UP NEXT - Photos and review of the Spa Oceanview cabin!
#3
1,287 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Ok, so let's start out with a diagram of the Panorama Deck, so you can see exactly how enormous the four Spa Oceanview cabins are. If you look at the diagram below, the standard-size spa cabins (inside and balcony) are shaded in dark blue and green. The larger teal-blue cabins (e.g. #11206) are the Spa Suites. The four largest cabins, shaded in light blue, are the Oceanview cabins. My CC Roll Call had a GREAT cabin crawl, which included two Spa OV cabins, one Ocean Suite, and one Grand Suite. Although the OS and GS were "fancier" looking cabins, the Spa Oceanviews were the two LARGEST cabins.

Also note in the diagram below that the red-colored cabins are NOT spa cabins.




So now let's explain how these cabins look once you're on the ship. Assume you are getting off of one of the elevators in the diagram. It looks like there might be "space" where you can walk in between the green (inside) cabins. You can't. You need to choose one of the narrow hallways (even cabins or odd cabins).

So let's assume that you choose to walk up the hallway with the even cabins. You reach the end of that hallway, so 11206 is on your left and 11208 is on your right. This is your view:





Notice how you can either turn right or you can "sort of" continue straight ahead. If you continue straight ahead, you will pass cabin 11204 on your left and the hall will dead-end into a door which leads outside to the semi-private walkway balcony. Here's a view of that hallway:




If you had made a 90-degree right turn from the first photo, you would be in a different hallway, with cabin 11202 on your left, cabin 11208 on your right, and an access door to the Cloud 9 Spa straight ahead. Here's a view of that hallway:





You might have originally thought from looking at the deck plan that all four of the Spa OV cabins are in the same hallway. They are, but only sort of. You have to walk through two sets of doors separating out the Cloud 9 staircase in order to get from the even cabins to the odd ones.


And one last photo...a close-up of the door to my cabin:





NEXT UP: TOUR OF THE INSIDE OF CABIN 11202
#4
1,287 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
So when we walked through the door of Cabin 11202 for the first time, the sofa was already made up into a bed, but the upper bunk was not pulled down yet. On the main bed, we had a pair of Cloud 9 Spa Slippers and a "storage pouch" for them. Two large, heavyweight robes were hung in the closet. The beach towels in our cabin were the yellow Serenity towels, instead of the standard blue Carnival towels. The Elemis items are a big nothing...they are normal hotel-sized sample products. Nothing special and the steward didn't refill them at all during the trip. The bathroom was extremely large, since this is a handicap accessible cabin.

It should be noted that there is always a slight risk of getting "bumped" when booking one of these cabins, since it is a handicapped room. The good news is that you have to be "bumped" to an equivalent or better cabin, which means you would still have spa access and you'd likely be "bumped" to a balcony or suite. Personally, I like this cabin better than any balcony on the ship, but it's not like it would be horrible to get bumped to a balcony instead.

Here are a lot of pics of the cabin taken from different angles, at different times during the trip. Some have the upper bunk down, so you can see how the cabin looks with all four beds made up. I can't show you any photos of how the cabin looked with the sofa, because there was never a time during the entire week that the sofa was made up like a sofa. The steward kept it as a bed all the time.












#7
1,287 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
So next, let's talk about the "obstructed oceanview with semi-private walkway balcony." Let's just say, I'd take this setup over a typical balcony every day! Sure, it would be nice to have a private balcony, but they're so small that I'd likely never really use it much. There's barely enough room to sit on them. This arrangement, on the other hand, was SPECTACULAR. On embarkation day, a handful of people walked out onto the Panorama deck, presumably because they were touring/inspecting the entire ship. After the first day, we probably only saw somebody out on that deck once or twice a day. Nobody really used it at all. It was so nice and spacious...within just a few short steps, you had your choice of a front view, port view, or starboard view. There are a couple of wooden benches on the deck...not exactly comfortable lounge chairs, but they were ok. I spent a lot of time out on this deck. I used it every morning before most people on the ship were awake (5am). I also used it to watch for pier runners at each port. And it was so convenient to get great shots of every port from right outside my cabin. Ok, enough chatting about the deck...here are some photos:

First, this is the obstructed view if you look directly outside the cabin window:




Now, to access the "secret" deck. All I needed to do was exit my cabin, turn to the right, then immediately turn to the right again. The door to the deck was right at the end of that short hallway. It was literally about 15 steps to get from inside my cabin to the outside deck.

Beware of wind when you exit the door to this deck. Most of the time, there was no problem at all. However, one morning when I went outside it was rainy and windy. The wind is more powerful on this deck than anyplace else I experienced on the ship.

The next photo is kind of important. It's an example of the view from the outside deck into my cabin window. Carnival will try to tell you that the windows with walkway views are tinted. They are. However, they aren't tinted enough to give you privacy. This didn't bother my family at all. We just made sure we pulled the shades closed when we were getting dressed.




This next photo is the access door to the outside Panorama deck. The window right next to the access door is the window to my cabin. That should give you an idea of how conveniently located this cabin was.







#8
1,287 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
I know you're all ready for me to start talking about the Cloud 9 Spa itself, but first I need to give you a sneak peek at another Spa cabin. This time it's 11204. Some ladies from my roll call were in this cabin next door to me, so I snapped a few quick photos. For some reason, cabin 11204 only accommodates 3 passengers, but it's even bigger than the one I had! This cabin was truly amazing! Here are a few photos:




#10
1,287 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
SUMMARY OF SPA OCEANVIEW CABINS:
I give them a 10/10. I'm convinced that these are among the best cabins on the entire ship.

If I were traveling with only 2-3 passengers, my first choice cabin would be 11204 (since this side of the ship has a better view when docked at most ports), followed closely by 11203, which I didn't see, but I'm presuming is a mirror-image of 11204. My next choices would be 11202 and then 11201. But pleeeeeeeeeease don't think that because I listed my cabin as third choice that I wasn't happy with it. It was an AMAZING room and truly spoiled me!

Oh yeah...I just thought of something else, so I'll just add it here. Be careful of the little red strings on both sides of the bed in these cabins. If you pull them, Guest Services will call you immediately to see what the problem is. My husband and I figured this out right away. However, my 16-year old daughter tugged on it thinking it was a light switch. At least I know the service is VERY fast if we needed help lol. And the string in the bathroom is even more confusing, because I think people could easily confuse it with the string that you pull to hang your wet clothing over.


NEXT UP: Video walkthrough of the Cloud 9 Spa area!
#12
1,287 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Ok, so it looks like my husband and I are all dressed up in our spa attire and ready to show you the Cloud 9 Spa area!




On the last sea day, I brought my camera up to the Cloud 9 Spa area as soon as it opened at 8am. I wanted to videotape the entire floor before people started using the area. My videos are FAR from perfect, but I think the videos will give you a better perpective of how the area is set up than just looking at photos alone. I did forget to say or do a lot of things in the videos, however, so I'll make a point to comment on these items once I get to the photo walkthrough.

I split the video up into four short clips of about 5 minutes or less each. I'd recommend viewing them in order, but it's not necessary.

A few notes about these videos:

(1) The Spa area is not loud. Some of the videos have a lot of background noise or the background music seems obnoxiously loud. I'm not sure why it recorded that way. The sounds in the Cloud 9 Spa area were always soft and soothing. You can even manually adjust the volume of the music (or level of heat/steam) in each room.

(2) The "beeping" sound that you hear in the locker room is ALWAYS there and it is VERY annoying. For some reason, the safes beep nonstop.

(3) I forgot to turn on the "open" showers in the spa area for this video (not the ones in the locker room). They are NOT TO BE MISSED! The controls are amazing. You can add water jets from the side, misting jets, etc. You can even add mood lighting. These are the best showers I've ever used IN MY LIFE. Well worth showering in a bathing suit to be able to experience these showers!


VIDEO #1 http://youtu.be/_dJjFmu0DWU
This video leads you from my cabin on the 11th deck (Panorama) up the private staircase to Spa Deck 12. I also explain the process for getting access to the spa areas.


VIDEO #2 http://youtu.be/DdTnZJQM1lg
This video tours the Thalassotherapy Pool and the first steam room.


VIDEO #3 http://youtu.be/zBjPO4L9UI4
This video tours the other three steam rooms/saunas, as well as the relaxation lounge.


VIDEO #4 http://youtu.be/vq7MLIYO32s
This video tours the Cloud 9 Spa private locker room.



NEXT UP: Photo tour of the Cloud 9 Spa area
#13
1,287 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Originally posted by jesron1269
What is the purpose of the red strings then? Odd. Thanks for the review!
I wasn't clear...they are for emergencies. They are there because these are modified staterooms and they want a handicapped person to have the ability to quickly reach Guest Services without having to walk to a phone.
#14
Brookings, SD
185 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
Originally posted by rockbock
I wasn't clear...they are for emergencies. They are there because these are modified staterooms and they want a handicapped person to have the ability to quickly reach Guest Services without having to walk to a phone.
Ohhhh well that makes sense. You did mention that earlier in the thread and I had already forgot about it.
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#15
Chicagoland
6,919 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
Thank you for your review. Your videos have just about sold me on purchasing a spa pass for the week. Does anyone know what the price is, and can they be purchased for a day or only for the week?
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#16
1,287 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Let's walk from my cabin to the Cloud 9 Spa. If you recall, I posted this photo earlier, which showed my cabin door, along with the Spa access door next to it:





When you walk through that door, the photo below will be your next view. The door on the left is crew access only. The door straight ahead leads to the odd-numbered spa cabins. The open area on the right leads to the Private staircase and elevator leading up to the spa deck.






If you turn right and enter the spa access area, this is your view of the glass elevator and spiral staircase. You need to walk around to the other side to enter the elevator or stairs.






After walking to the other side, here are views of the front of the both the elevator and the staircase:






#17
1,287 Posts
Joined Jun 2011



And this is the view looking straight ahead, once you reach the top of the staircase to the 12th floor.






This is the view if you turn to your right (Thalasso Pool)






And this is the view if you turn to your left:


(hmmmmm...I seem to have lost my photo of that view, sorry).
#18
1,287 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Originally posted by jules815
Thank you for your review. Your videos have just about sold me on purchasing a spa pass for the week. Does anyone know what the price is, and can they be purchased for a day or only for the week?
You can pay $249/week for a couple, $149/week for an individual, or $35 per day, per person. The daily rate is only available if they don't "sell out" all of their weekly passes. If there are passes available to sell for daily access, it is first-come, first served. Only a limited number of passes are sold to people who don't have spa cabins, because part of the benefit of this area is that it is quiet and never crowded.
#19
1,287 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
The next thing I'll explain is the process for getting access to the spa area. The first time you walk up to the spa, you will approach the spa desk (straight ahead and on your right in the last photo posted above). You give them your Sign & Sail card and they will verify that you have a spa cabin. Once they verify that you have a spa cabin, they will give you a white wristband/bracelet to wear for the week, which will be your "quick" verification of having spa access for the rest of the week. If you aren't wearing that band, they will check your S&S card again to verify.

Each time you access the spa, you will show them your wrist band and they will take (and hold) your S&S card. You will be given a white VIP card instead. This VIP card will unlock the doors to all of the areas marked "Private." Any area marked "private" is meant for use by Cloud 9 Spa guests only. You can hold this VIP card as long as you want for the day, but your S&S card won't be returned until you give them back the VIP card. The VIP card will NOT open your cabin door.

If you plan to be with your "spa partner" all day, you can kind of hold the key for long periods of time without having to keep exchanging cards. At your option, a "pair" of Cloud 9 Spa guests with white wristbands can share one VIP card for the day (meaning that they can hold onto one of their S&S cards). This makes it a bit easier to leave the spa and return later. However, it only works if you can get by with sharing a single S&S card all day.

The process is a little different for weekly or daily Cloud 9 Spa passes. These guests will be given a new paper wristband each day with the "color of the day." They pretty much need to wear this wristband all day long, since it isn't reusable like the white bands given to guests in spa cabins. I believe the process of exchanging the S&S card for the VIP key is the same for these guests, except that two guests can't share one VIP key.

#20
1,287 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Ok folks, I need a break. I might post some more in a little while if I feel up to it, but if you don't see any new posts from me within the next two hours, then it's going to be later tonight before I get to it. I won't be home from 2:30pm until 6:00pm.