Review - Carnival Dream Eastern Caribbean 7/13/13 - 7/20/13 - With Faster to the Fun

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#1
1,664 Posts
Joined May 2006
My wife and I were on the Carnival Dream for an Eastern Caribbean cruise, July 13-20, 2013. We also purchased Faster to the Fun (FTTF). We had a wonderful time! This is our 5th cruise, and our 3rd Carnival cruise. We were on the Carnival Liberty in 2011 and the Carnival Magic in 2012, so much of the review will be comparing these 3 ships. I also hightly recommend Faster to the Fun (FTTF), and will describe it in this review. Due to time constraints, I will split this review between several posts, and I won't be able to post all of it tonight.

Friday, July 12, 2013 - Pre-Stay in Orlando

We live on Long Island, New York, and we flew from Islip MacArthur Airport (ISP) to Orlando (MCO). ISP is much more convenient to us than either JFK or Laguardia, so that makes Port Canaveral a very convenient port for us to sail out of. Our past two Carnival cruises were both from ports that you cannot fly to directly from ISP.

We always very strongly recommend a pre-stay before any cruise involving a flight, which we have done before all of our cruises. Our flight landed ontime, but due to thunderstorms, we had to wait on the tarmac for an hour before a gate was available, since the aiprort was closed to outgoing flights. This is why a pre-stay is so important.

For our pre-stay, we stayed at the Hyatt Orlando Airport. This hotel is connected to the airport, which is really convenient, since it avoids the need for ground transportation to the hotel. This is another reason why Port Canaveral is such a convenient port for us. Another convenient feature of this hotel is that, in addition to the two restaurants within the hotel, you have access to all of the pre-security restaurants and shops in the airport. The hotel was very nice. We had a room with an outside view, and had no noise problems at all. There is an outdoor pool on the 6th floor, which we used that night. Using the hotel pool during the night of our pre-stay is a tradition that we've done on all of our cruises. I highly recommend this hotel for cruises from Port Canaveral.

Saturday, July 13, 2013 - Start of the cruise (and detailed info about the ship)

We booked Carnival's transfers from the airport to the port. This is another reason why staying at this hotel was so convenient. We first went to the baggage claim, and a Carnival representative told us where to go to get the bus. We waited a few minutes and boarded the bus, and were very excited about our cruise!!

Since we purchased Faster to the Fun (FTTF), we were able to use the express check in line, and did not have to wait in line at all to board the ship! This alone was a great benefit, since we were on the ship in just a few minutes after arriving at the port!

One of the most exciting momemts of the cruise is when we step onto the ship into the lobby! The lobby on the Carnival Dream was beautiful! We especially liked the color changing lights. We liked the decor better than the eyeballs on the Magic. Aesthatically, the Liberty is still the nicest of the 3 Carnival ships that we've been on. But the Dream has Waterworks and the Liberty does not, so the Dream may have been our favorite ship overall (but it is hard to say, since we enjoyed all 3 ships so much).

The main reason why we booked FTTF was so that our room would be ready immediately, so that we could drop off our carryon luggage, and not be encumbered by it. This allowed us to enjoy our first afternoon even more. We were in room 8332, a Category 8D balcony stateroom, on Deck 8 midship. This was our first regular balcony, and we really enjoyed it! Last year, on the Magic, we had a cove balcony. My wife is short, so last year, her view from the cove balcony was blocked (when sitting), so she preferred this regular balcony. The location of this room was excellent, since it was centrally located, and was very close to the midship elevators, but was far enough away that there were no noise issues. This was our first regular balcony, and we really enjoyed it! The view from Deck 8 has a completely unobstructed view of the ocean when sitting; it is not in any way blocked by the Deck 5 lanai. When standing, you can see the Deck 5 lanai. A major subject of debate on this board has been, on Dream class ships, what deck do you have to be on to have an unobstructed view of the ocean from your balcony. I can assure you that Deck 8 midship has a great view. Based on observations from the Deck 5 lanai, I would not recommend Deck 6. I don't know about Deck 7; someone who has stayed on that deck will have to give more info.

Next, we went up to Deck 10, the Lido deck, for lunch. We ate at the burrito station at the Gathering lido buffet. The burrito station was one of our favorite lunch options on our past two cruises, and we enjoyed it again here! It usually has a long line, so today was a good opportunity to eat there. The Gathering lido buffet had basically the same layout as on the Magic and Liberty.

After lunch, we always like to explore the ship. This year, we were able to enjoy that more, since we didn't have to carry around our carryon luggage, since we had FTTF! Deck 10, the lido deck, is always the focal point of a warm weather cruise. The layout of the lido deck was very similar to the Magic. The main lido area is midship, and centered on the Waves pool, with 2 higher decks with seating (Decks 11 and 12) encircling the pool area. The two bars in this area were the Red Frog Rum Bar, and the Blue Iguana Tequilla Bar. Both bars seemed to serve most of the same drinks, but I guess one specialized in rum drinks, the other in tequilla drinks. Other than the decor, I'm not sure how they really differed from the pre-2.0 lido bars on the Magic, but maybe someone who knows more about drinks can elaborate more. To the aft of the main pool area was the Gathering lido restaurant, which I already described. Further aft is the secondary, usually quieter pool area, the Sunset Pool. As I mentioned in my past reviews of the Liberty and Magic, if you want to switch between pool areas with a wet swimsuit, it is best to use Deck 11 to bypass the buffet area.

I have read past reviews saying that people preferred the lido area on the Magic rather than the Dream. I honestly did not notice much difference, certainly not a difference that would affect our overall cruise experience. What was it about the lido deck on the Magic that some people prefer?
One of our favorite areas on the ship was Carnival Waterworks, on Deck 12 Forward! Waterworks on the Dream includes the two large slides: Twister and Drainpipe, two smaller racer slides, and 2 kiddie slides. The Magic did not have the racer slides, but instead had a splash zone with a dump bucket, primarily for kids. Which waterworks area one would prefer would depend on whether you prefer the splash zone or the racer slides. My wife said that the twister slide hurt her back, but when she wore a shirt, she was fine. I did not have that problem. I don't know if it was my imagination or not, but the drainpipe slide on the Dream seemed slightly more intense than the one on the Magic, and I seemed to be able to go around the bowl more, whereas on the Magic, I mostly stopped once I hit the bowl.

The uppermost areas of the ship on the Dream were different than on the Magic. On Decks 14 and 15 forward, the Dream had a 2-level Serenity area for adults, while the Magic had only a single-level serenity area; I think the reason is because the Magic had more spa staterooms. The Dream has a larger and nicer mini-golf course on Deck 12, but did not
have the ropes course or some of the other facilities in the Sports Square. To be honest, that was not a loss for me, since I didn't really enjoy the ropes course last year (too scary for me), and I literally never saw anyone last year on the Magic using the ourdoor exercise equipment in the Sports Square (too hot).

The other major difference to the upper part of the ship is that while the Magic had the basketball court on Deck 12 aft, the Dream had the steakhouse in that location, and moved the basketball court up to Deck 14 aft (which doesn't even exist on the Magic). Does anyone know why they eliminated that area on the Magic? There was also an additional
seating area on the Dream, Deck 14 midship, which I don't even think appears on deck plans. I do not remember that area existing on the Magic, but I could be wrong. Another difference was that the Dream has 2 hot tubs on Deck 11, which the Magic didn't seem to have. Does anyone know why they removed those hot tubs from the Magic, or if the Magic had other hot tub locations that the Dream lacks? It wasn't a big deal either way, since we didn't use the hot tubs much on a warm weather cruise.

Deck 3 mostly had a similar layout as the Magic. By now, most of us know that you must use the forward elevator to get to the lobby, forward restaurant (Crimson), and the Encore Theater, and must use the aft elevator to get to the aft restaurant (Scarlet). A minor point, but on the Dream, the Crimson restaurant seemed to have 2 annexes, which didn't exist on the Magic, and were probably part of the restaurant on the Magic. I'm not sure what those annexes were used for, I never saw anyone in them. I will talk more about the restaurant later when describing dinner.

Deck 4 we hardly used at all. It had the upper level of both restaurants, the photo shop, the library, the Chambers conference room, Circle C, Club O2, and the Warehouse video arcade. Near the Crimson restaurant, it also had the Rendezvous club Lounge, which was not open when we were exploring the ship. I'm honestly not sure what that space is for, since I do not recall ever seeing any events scheduled for it. I'm guessing maybe just a quiet space? The Magic had a similar space, but I don't remember its name.

Deck 5 was the center of the ship's nightlife! As I mentioned in past reviews of the Liberty and Magic, I like how all of the nighttime venues are clustered together on Deck 5. It makes it easy to hop from one venue to another, which we frequently did. We'll describe these spaces more when discussing the nighttime parts of the review.

Deck 5 had a few differences from the Magic. Instead of the Red Frog Pub, the Dream had an art gallery instead. Didn't really use the art gallery, but also didn't use the Red Frog Pub much (although it was cute), so that wasn't a big deal either way. Since the Dream has the steakhouse on Deck 12, rather than Deck 5, the Dream had an extra lounge on Deck 5, the Song Lounge. That was used for karaoke some nights, but seemed to be an under-utilized space. This is in the same space as the under-utilized jazz lounge on the Liberty. The Aft lounge, the Burgundy Lounge, which was usually used for comedy shows and sometimes karaoke, is larger on the Dream than it was on the Magic, since the steakhouse doesn't cut into it. I really wonder why, on the Magic, they eliminated Deck 14 aft, moved the basketball court to Deck 12 aft, and moved the steakhouse to Deck 5, eliminating the Song lounge and shrinking the aft lounge. Seems to me like the Dream's layout makes more sense, unless I am missing something. The lanai surrounding Deck 5 was
mostly the same as on the Maagic, except that the Dream obviously lacked the seating for the Red Frog Pub. The lanai had a barbecue for lunch, which smelled really good, and others said it was really good, but we never ate there (too many other options for lunch).

Don't have any real comments on the muster drill, it was mostly the same as on the Magic, where we went to one of the dining rooms. After that was the Sailaway party, which is always a lot of fun!! The cruise director was Jaime Deitch (aka Jaime Dee) and her assistant was "Gumby". Jaime was our assistant cruise director on the Liberty, and we really enjoyed her, and were happy to see her promoted to cruise director! She and Gumby were a great team! Jaime has so much energy, and is a lot of fun, and is a great fit for this ship, and her deck parties are always fun! As usual, the drink of the day was the Funship special, and I beleive that both bars were selling it. Unfortunately, they no longer seem to have the drink of the day souvenier glasses.

After the deck party, we used the pools and waterworks. Since the temperature this day was cooler than most and it was windy, we also used one of the serenity hot tubs.

When we were taking our showers, the drain in the shower seemed to be backed up, and drained slowly. We called housekeeping, and they fixed the problem later that night, and we had no further problems.

We opted for anytime dining on this cruise, as we did for our past two Carnival cruises. Anytime dining used the lower level (Deck 3) of the Crimson (forward) dining room. The first night, we had a short wait and had to get a pager, although the wait time became progressively shorter throughout the week. The wait time seemed slightly longer than it
was last year on the Magic, perhaps because the Dream lacks the extra Italian restaurant. The wait times on the Dream was comparable to or even shorter than on the Liberty.

Just like our past cruises, the food was excellent every night!! The menu was similar to past cruises. There may have been a few minor changes, such as items moved to different nights. Interestingly, there were no longer items marked as "didja" or "spa Carnival", but those items were still on the menu. Also, the items that were available every night are now marked as "Carnival classics", but I don't think it was explicitly mentioned that they were available every night. For dessert, in order to start our cruise off right, we both had the warm chocolate melting cake, which is always a favorite!! The decor in the dining room was very nice, and continued the red theme from much of the ship.

After dinner, we went to the Welcome Aboard show. The Encore theater is very nice, but, just like the Liberty and Magic, you want to get there early to get a good seat. This welcome abord show was a lot of fun, and they introduced Jaime and Gumby, who, as I said before, I enjoyed very much. This welcome abord show was very similar to the one on the Liberty in 2011, which we enjoyed. It was much better than the somewhat lame Welcome Aboard show that they had on the Magic in 2012. Was this a fleet-wide change, or is the show unique to each ship?
Since we had an early morning excursion tomorrow in Nassau, we went to bed early, so we didn't do any club-hopping tonight, but we did sit on our balcony for a short while to watch the ocean.

Some reviews claim that the Dream is more crowded than the Magic. I did not find that to be the case at all. I'm not sure why there would be much of a difference anyway, since, if anything, the Dream has slightly more public space and slightly fewer staterooms. On both ships, people complain about it being hard to find lounge chairs. We never had a problem on either ship, especially if you are willing to move up to Deck 11 or 12. I'm curious as to why some people seem to find the Dream to be more crowded.

I will continue this review later this week and start talking about the ports and the sea days. Since I have now described the ship in great detail, the rest of the review will be more concise.
#4
Sunny Georgia
1,464 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Sounds like you had a great time!! We love the Dream as well
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#6
little rock, arkansas
16 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
I have a quick question after reading your review. If u dont get the FTTF package, how long generally would I be looking at when boarding? And with getting my luggage and getting to the room?
#7
cleburne,texas u.s.a.
2,059 Posts
Joined Jun 2004
Glad to hear you liked the FTTF. We purchased it for our August cruise. Great review!
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#9
Michigan
15 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
Bigshaun, I just cruised the Dream this past week. We got to Port Canaveral about 10:40 am and were on the ship about 11:20 am. We were able to go to our rooms at 1:30 pm. My luggage arrived first of the 4 of us traveling but everyone had theirs by 5. Happy cruising!

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#10
18 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
Great review so far. I love reading all I can about the ship im about to sail. Just over two weeks to go!!!

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#11
New York
336 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Hi,

I am also from LI and thinking of taking this same cruise. I love the way you planned your pre cruise stay at the hotel at the airport. How early were you able to board the Carnival transport to the cruise port? Do you know how often they leave? What time did you board the ship? I am looking forward to reading the rest of your review!

Caro

Originally posted by mitsguy2001
My wife and I were on the Carnival Dream for an Eastern Caribbean cruise, July 13-20, 2013. We also purchased Faster to the Fun (FTTF). We had a wonderful time! This is our 5th cruise, and our 3rd Carnival cruise. We were on the Carnival Liberty in 2011 and the Carnival Magic in 2012, so much of the review will be comparing these 3 ships. I also hightly recommend Faster to the Fun (FTTF), and will describe it in this review. Due to time constraints, I will split this review between several posts, and I won't be able to post all of it tonight.

Friday, July 12, 2013 - Pre-Stay in Orlando

We live on Long Island, New York, and we flew from Islip MacArthur Airport (ISP) to Orlando (MCO). ISP is much more convenient to us than either JFK or Laguardia, so that makes Port Canaveral a very convenient port for us to sail out of. Our past two Carnival cruises were both from ports that you cannot fly to directly from ISP.

We always very strongly recommend a pre-stay before any cruise involving a flight, which we have done before all of our cruises. Our flight landed ontime, but due to thunderstorms, we had to wait on the tarmac for an hour before a gate was available, since the aiprort was closed to outgoing flights. This is why a pre-stay is so important.

For our pre-stay, we stayed at the Hyatt Orlando Airport. This hotel is connected to the airport, which is really convenient, since it avoids the need for ground transportation to the hotel. This is another reason why Port Canaveral is such a convenient port for us. Another convenient feature of this hotel is that, in addition to the two restaurants within the hotel, you have access to all of the pre-security restaurants and shops in the airport. The hotel was very nice. We had a room with an outside view, and had no noise problems at all. There is an outdoor pool on the 6th floor, which we used that night. Using the hotel pool during the night of our pre-stay is a tradition that we've done on all of our cruises. I highly recommend this hotel for cruises from Port Canaveral.

Saturday, July 13, 2013 - Start of the cruise (and detailed info about the ship)

We booked Carnival's transfers from the airport to the port. This is another reason why staying at this hotel was so convenient. We first went to the baggage claim, and a Carnival representative told us where to go to get the bus. We waited a few minutes and boarded the bus, and were very excited about our cruise!!

Since we purchased Faster to the Fun (FTTF), we were able to use the express check in line, and did not have to wait in line at all to board the ship! This alone was a great benefit, since we were on the ship in just a few minutes after arriving at the port!
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#12
1,664 Posts
Joined May 2006
Originally posted by bigshaun
I have a quick question after reading your review. If u dont get the FTTF package, how long generally would I be looking at when boarding? And with getting my luggage and getting to the room?
Don't have an answer as to how long you'll wait before boarding (it would depend on when you arrive). Your luggage should arrive in the late afternoon or early evening.
#13
1,664 Posts
Joined May 2006
Originally posted by caro1998
Hi,

I am also from LI and thinking of taking this same cruise. I love the way you planned your pre cruise stay at the hotel at the airport. How early were you able to board the Carnival transport to the cruise port? Do you know how often they leave? What time did you board the ship? I am looking forward to reading the rest of your review!

Caro
I beleive the earliest transfer left at 10:00 AM. The one I was on left a little before 11:00 AM, and I was onboard before noon (but that was with FTTF). I thought we would be boarding the first transfer, but the driver mentioned that it was the 3rd transfer of the day, so I'm guessing they leave every half hour or so.
#14
Missouri (417 area), and a regular in Cape Canaveral, Fl
2,816 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Great review so far... You obviously did not go to the cooking demonstration or in the steakhouse during the day . The reason for the bball court move is the constant bouncing of the ball on the Dream makes it sound like the ceiling of the steakhouse is going to crash down. It means the basketball court (a big seller for us!!) closes around 5 pm every night and can't be used once dinner starts.


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#15
1,664 Posts
Joined May 2006
Sunday, July 14, 2013 - Nassau, Bahamas

We booked the Blue Lagoon Beach Day excursion at this port, through Carnival. We booked this excursion since we enjoy the private island experience, even though this cruise did not have a private island port.

We had to get up early, and had breakfast at the Gathering Lido buffet, which we went to most mornings. The selection of items was basically the same as it was on the Liberty and Magic, and was a typical breakfast buffet, which we enjoyed. We noticed that the lines were always shorter if you went to the aft side of the buffet (both sides had the same food). Unlike the Magic last year, hot items like pancakes and French toast were available at the main buffet lines. Last year, on the Magic, you had to go to the grill outside the buffet to get those items (which I didn't figure out until near the end of that cruise).

Unlike past Carnival cruises that we've been on, you were able to embark and debark the ship from either the Deck 0 Forward or Deck 0 Midship gangway. On both the Liberty in 2011 and the Magic in 2012, you could only use the Deck 0 Forward gangway at non-tender ports. Is this specific to the Dream, or a fleetwide change, or a function of the ports that we docked at?

Unfortunately, the crew themselves did not seem to understand which gangways you could use. Since our room was closer to the midship gangway, and we figured the forward gangway would be crowded, we waited at the midship gangway. As our excursion meeting time neared, we asked a crew member when we'd be allowed off the ship. He said that we must use the forward gangway! So we went to the forward gangway, which, as expected, was crowded. We barely got off in time for our excursion! Ironcially, when we did get off the ship, we saw others debarking from the midship gangway. So I guess we could have just waited, and the crew member gave us wrong info.

After that one minor inconvenience, the rest of our day was wonderful! We took a catamaran to Blue Lagoon Island. Blue Lagoon Island was beautiful!! This was a really nice beach day, and felt comparable to the cruise line private islands that we've been to (although the day was shorter). The beach was really beautiful, and had a lot of palm trees!

For lunch, there was a barbecue that was included with our excursion cost. You could either purchase this excursion with or without lunch. Our lunch tickets allowed us to get a burger, barbecue chicken, and fries. All of it tasted really good, and was somewhat better than what you would typically get at a beach concession stand.

At the end of the day, we took the catamaran back to the port, and got back on the ship. We were tired, so we relaxed in our room for a while. I also briefly used Waterworks, since the line was very short.

As a side note, many people on the ship claimed that Nassau is "boring", and many people stayed on the ship. I honestly don't quite understand where they are coming from. I can understand Nassau being boring if all you do is walk around the town. But are people not aware of excursions such as Blue Lagoon, and other excursions, such as snorkeling? I wonder if perhaps on cruises that go to this port, if Carnival would be better off marketing the port as "Bahamas" rather than as "Nassau", and if people would be less likely to label it as "boring", knowing that all of the activities that one would associate with the Bahamas are available, and you don't have to stay in the town of Nassau.

Tonight was the first elegant night of the cruise. It was strange having it on a port day, but I guess in this case makes sense, since we left this port early. I wore my suit and my wife wore a formal dress. As is typical on cruises, there is a wide range of attire that people wear on formal night, ranging from very formal to very casual.

Since we had an early breakfast and an early lunch, and wanted some time for club hopping tonight, we ate an early dinner. That is why I like anytime dining so much. I think my wife may finally be sold on anytime dining!

Before dinner, we had planned to meet the captain. According to the Fun Times (or at least my interpretation of it), it sounded like we could meet him any time between 5:00 PM and 8:00 PM. We went to the Ocean Plaza during that time, and did not see the captain. We were told that he only made 2 appearances: at 5:00 PM and at 7:15 PM. It was past 5:00 and we didn't want to wait until 7:15, so we just went to dinner. Last year, on the Magic, we also failed to meet the captain, although we did meet the captain on the Liberty in 2011. Too bad Carnival makes it so difficult.

We had a short wait for dinner, but nothing major. We didn't get any professional photos on this cruise (other than the embarkation photo) since we have so many photos from cruises. Usually, when waiting in the lobby for dinner, you could listen to Take Two, the duo who performs on the perch above the lobby bar. Tonight, however, was their night off. Somewhat surprised that formal night was their night off.

For dinner, I had the traditional formal night lobster, which I enjoyed, as always! For dessert, both my wife and I had the urge for the cheese platter, which we both really enjoyed. I have a feeling that is an underrated dessert option.

Tonight was one of the 3 main production shows, "Get Ready". This was a musical about the history of various occupations. One of my major complaints about the scheduling of nighttime activities (which I also mentioned in my Liberty and Magic reviews) is that the late show time (usually 10:30 PM) always overlaps with the theme nights at the nightclub (usually 10:00 - 11:00 PM). As I mentioned in my reviews of the Liberty and Magic, that is always a schedule conflict for us, since we enjoy the shows (but usually eat too late to go to the early show), and we enjoy the music at the theme nights far more than the garbage that they start playing at the club after 11:00 PM (and that seems to be the consensus on this forum). The Magic did a slightly better of job scheduling shows, but the Dream seemed to mostly be back to their old schedule.

However, as I mentioned, tonight, we had an earlier dinner, which allowed us to go to the 8:30 PM show. We really enjoyed this show! As others have mentioned, the Dream has some of the better production shows.

After the show, we went club hopping! As I mentioned before (and also in my review of the Liberty and Magic), I enjoy how most of the nighttime entertainment is clustered together on Deck 5, which makes it easy to hop from one venue to another. We went to the 70s night at the Caliente Club from 10:00 - 11:00. The Caliente club had a very fun atmosphere! The layout was similar to the Liberty, where the dance floor was a step down from the rest of the club. On the Magic, the dance floor was at the same level. I don't have a real preference either way.

We also spent some time at Sam's piano bar. The piano man on the Dream was Rick, and we enjoyed him a lot! He was very talented and a lot of fun, and there was usually a good crowd in that bar. That tended to be our preferred nighttime entertainment spot.

We also went to karaoke. Most nights, including tonight, karaoke was in the Song Lounge (a room that doesn't even exist on the Magic). This was an otherwise underutilized space. The karaoke DJ on the Dream was Rod. He was very nice, and we didn't have to wait long at all to get a turn to sing. Karaoke is always fun!

We went to the midnight adult commedy show, with Allyn Ball. This was in the Burgundy Lounge, which is a very nice looking room. Unfortunately, the show was probably the low point of our night. Although he had some funny jokes, many of them crossed the line as far as sexual content, even for an adult show. This was not just our opinion; other random people we talked to on the ship who were at his adult shows had the same feeling. The audience even booed at least one of his jokes. The other comedians might have been better based on what others said, but we didn't get a chance to see their shows. Interstingly, he said that his 11 PM show on Monday would be even more explicit than this one! That detail was not mentioned in the Fun Times. We did enjoy one adult comedy show last year on the Magic, but did not enjoy this one, or either of the other two that we've been to (one on the Liberty, and one on the Magic).

After the comedy show we were tired from our long (but really fun!) day, so we went back to our room, sat on our balcony to watch the ocean, and went to bed. Tomorrow is a sea day, so we were able to finally sleep late!!

(To be continued)
#16
1,664 Posts
Joined May 2006
Originally posted by arpie05
Great review so far... You obviously did not go to the cooking demonstration or in the steakhouse during the day . The reason for the bball court move is the constant bouncing of the ball on the Dream makes it sound like the ceiling of the steakhouse is going to crash down. It means the basketball court (a big seller for us!!) closes around 5 pm every night and can't be used once dinner starts.
That is interesting. Is the basketball court open later on the Magic? I wonder why on the Magic they eliminated that space completely, rather than just putting something else there. As I mentioned, the effects of moving the steakhouse are that the Magic has a smaller steakhouse, does not have the Song lounge, and has a smaller aft lounge. Maybe adding the Italian restaurant on the Magic reduced the demand for the steakhouse, and maybe the Red Frog Pub reduced the need for the Song lounge, but reducing the size of the aft lounge was a mistake, in my humble opinion.

Another thing I wonder about is, how can the Dream and Magic have the same gross tonnage, if the Dream has an extra deck at its aft end? Shouldn't the Dream have at least a slightly higher gross tonnage? Or does the Magic have some other space that the Dream lacks that makes up that gross tonnage?
#17
1,664 Posts
Joined May 2006
A few other very minor points and curiosities that I haven't mentioned yet:

In the Gathering lido buffet on the Dream, the stairs going up to the pasta bar were blocked, and you could only legally enter the pasta bar from Deck 11. We never did eat at the pasta bar on either the Magic or the Dream, since there were too many other options for lunch, and we often had pasta dishes at dinner. I could be wrong, but I seem to remember on the Magic, you could use the stairs from the buffet to access the Italian restaurant. The Liberty had fish and chips in that location, and could definitely be accessed from the stairs in the lido buffet.

The Ocean Plaza on Deck 5 had the Taste Bar, which we never used. However, further aft, there was the former sushi bar, which seemed to just be an empty counter. I'm surprised they would leave a prime space on the ship unoccupied and not generating any revenue. Do they have plans for that space in the very near future, or will it remain unoccupied until the next dry dock?

As I mentioned in my review of the Magic, the Dream also has a mostly useless stairway connecting the Deck 4 and 5 promenades. I literally never saw anyone use those stairs on either ship. I'm guessing that was a vestige from the Conquest class, where it served a useful purpose, connecting the former cigar bar and internet cafe to the rest of the venues on Deck 5 (and that itself is a vestige from the Destiny, where the nightclub was originally planned to span 2 decks).

A likely reason why the dance floor in the nightclub on the Magic is at the same level as the rest of the club is to facilitate access for the disabled. But the Dream does have a ramp for disabled people to access the dance floor. I do not remember if the Liberty had such a ramp or not.

I hate smoking, and I was glad to see very little smoking on this ship. The only indoor space that allows smoking is the Caliente club. But even there, they didn't seem to allow smoking on the dance floor, and the club was big enough that you could very easily get away from someone who is smoking if you want to. On the Liberty, the space equivalent to the Song lounge allowed cigar and pipe smoking, but the Dream did not allow smoking of any kind in that room. I'm guessing the Conquest class ships were semi-grandfathered, whereas the Dream probably never allowed indoor cigar smoking. Also, they like to have karaoke in non-smoking venues, and they often had karaoke in the Song lounge on the Dream. On the Liberty, that space was never used for karaoke, since the former cigar lounge (which no longer allows cigars) was usually used for karaoke. An equivalent space does not exist on the Dream (or Magic). Didn't have any problems with smokers on balconies.

As I mentiond before, there were gangways on Deck 0 Forward and Midship. The Aft elevators also had a button for Deck 0, which they also did on the Liberty and Magic. Has anyone ever tried pushing the 0 button in the aft elevator to see where it goes? I didn't.

The locations of the Fun Hubs were not the same as on the Magic. I don't remember exactly where they were on either ship, but I distinctly remember a Fun Hub on the Magic in the Deck 10 Forward elevator lobby. There was no such Fun Hub on the Dream. I think all of the Fun Hubs on the Dream were on Decks 3, 4, and 5, but I could be wrong (not even 100% sure if Deck 4 had any, as I was almost never on that deck).

On the Dream, Deck 4 is the Atlantic Deck, but on the Magic, Deck 4 was renamed the Mezzanine Deck.

My complaint about the Forward elevators on the Liberty and Magic (the fact that the glass elevators and the regular elevators are called seperately) also applies to the Dream. From what I've read on this forum, it was made even worse on the Breeze.

The Forward and Aft elevators serve Decks 0 through 12 (but the Forward glass elevators only Decks 2 through 12), but the Midship elevators only serve Decks 0 through 11, although there is a stairway up to Deck 12 nearby. On the Magic, the aft elevators only served Decks 0 through 11, if I remember right. I think there was also another elevator even more forward that served the spa, but I didn't use it. I'm thinking it serves Decks 11 through 15, but I really don't know.

When you look up when in the glass elevators, going toward Deck 12, you see some weird stairway or ladder above the atrium that seems to connect to nothing. Anyone know what that is?

Does anyone know why the Deck 11 hot tubs do not exist on the Magic? Were they not used much on the Dream, or was there some reason why the Magic couldn't have them?

I will continue my review later this week (hopefully tomorrow).
#18
Georgia
54 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
I'm loving this review! We will be sailing on the Dream in Sept and I love hearing about the ship from people who have been on it. Thank you for the effort!
#19
1,664 Posts
Joined May 2006
Monday, July 15, 2013 - Fun Day at Sea

Sea days are always nice, since they are relaxing, and give an opportunity to sleep late. We got up late, and decided to try to Comedy Brunch, in the Scarlet dining room. One of the main reasons why we wanted to try this was so that we could see the other dining room, which we didn't get to eat at. The Scarlet dining room seemed to have mostly the same decor as the Crimson dining room. Its slight advantage was that it had windows on 3 sides and were not blocked by lifeboats. The menu seemed to have a mix of breakfast and lunch items. We mostly had breakfast items, since we wanted to enjoy lunch at the buffet later. There wasn't a lot of comedy at the brunch. They did ask who was at the commedy club last night, and who is going tonight. Far fewer people clapped to say they were going tonight. So I guess we weren't alone in not liking Allyn Ball's show last night.

After breakfast, we went to the Fun Shops to buy some souveniers and postcards. Neither my wife nor I are shoppers, and the only shopping we do on vacation is to buy a few souveniers and postcards. We didn't go to the expensive shop with the jewlery, nor did we go to the Cherry on Top candy store; we just went to the regular gift shop. It was basically the same as the gift shop on the Magic and Liberty; not much to say about it either way.

For lunch today, the international station had Caribbean food! That fits perfectly with the theme of the cruise, and is one of my favorite international lunches on the cruise. After lunch, we spent most of the day on the lido deck. As I mentioned earlier (and also in my reviews of the Magic and Liberty), we really like how on all 3 of the Carnival ships we've been on, there is both the main midship pool area with activities, music, and the seaside theater, and the secondary, quieter aft pool area. We tend to use both pool areas for a while on our pool days. We did not find the pool area to be excessivly crowded (yes, they are small, but no different or in any way worse than any other ship), we had a lot of fun in them, and we also had no problem finding lounge chairs (again, for the midship pool, you may have to go up to Deck 11 or 12, but the chairs are there).

For some reason, for much of today, the two main waterslides (Twister and Drainpipe) were closed due to "high winds", even though it did not seem very windy at all (they were open on Saturday, which seemed windier). I remember the one waterslide on the Liberty (and, to a lesser extent, the two main slides on the Magic) closing at strange times due to "high winds" (including one day on the Liberty in 2011 when we were in port and there was almost literally no wind). Not a big deal (there were other things to do), but still strange, but not in any way unique to this ship. We did, however, use the racing slides (which the Magic doesn't have). Those slides were small, but they were fun and refreshing, but probably of more interest to children (ones who are too old for the kiddie slides but too young for twister and drainpipe).

We also both had a drink at the Red Frog Rum bar (our drinks of the day on Saturday, we got from the Blue Iguana Tequila Bar). Again, I'm not sure exactly what the difference is between the two bars, since they seemed to have mostly the same drinks. We wanted the Red Frog souvenier glasses, but they didn't have any (though we were able to get them later in the cruise; maybe Carnival stores them somewhere in St. Thomas or St. Maarten).

We didn't go to the variety show today. We enjoyed our dinner, and had a shorter wait than in the past today (as I said before, the wait got progressively shorter throughout the week, which was also the case on the Magic and Liberty, though I'm not sure why). I don't remember exactly which night had which dinner, but I beleive tonight we both had penne mariscos, which was one of our favorite meals of the cruise! I hadn't read much about that dish on this board. This dish had penne pasta with various types of seafood; almost like a paella but with pasta rather than rice. It had a light creamy tomato sauce. I'm surprised that I hadn't read much about that dish before.

The main event of the night was the Red Frog Caribbean deck party! Deck parties are always fun, and Jaime always does a good deck party. Since it was one of the entertainment staff members last week and another one's first week, they were both thrown into the pool, fully clothed, at the end of the deck party! Eventually, all of the entertainment staff was thrown into the pool fully clothed, including Jaime and Gumby!

Again, the timing of nighttime activities was somewhat difficult. The deck party had music starting at 9:30, and the party proper started at 10:15. However, the 80s night at the club (we grew up in the 80s, and that is our favorite decade of music) was (as expected) from 10:00 - 11:00, and the piano bar had a tribute to Elton John at 10:15, so all of these major events overlapped. Since the deck party is the most unique of those activities, we chose the deck party.

After the deck party, we went club hopping (mostly to Sam's Piano Bar, and the Caliente Nightclub), and later sat on our balcony. We were glad to see that at the piano bar, Rick unofficially repeated his tribute to Elton John, for people like us who weren't able to attend at 10:15. We did not go to the comedy club tonight, since we preferred the piano bar and nightclub.