Sept 14th Dream Cruise Photo Review!

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#1
Mackinaw, Illinois
201 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Ok, I've finally accepted the fact that I don't get to get back on the boat, that I DO have to work, and that the waiter isn't just sick for a couple of days...

BUT, that means its time for a Cruise Review!!! I've sorted photos, I've gathered thoughts, but that doesn't mean this will all happen at one time, so stick with me! I'll be doing something similar on my blog, but out of respect for the rules, I won't post that here. PM me if you want to see it.

First, the details:
Date: September 14th - 21st
Route: Western Carribbean
Ports: Cozumel, Belize, Roatan, Costa Maya
Who: Wife, Son, Myself, and 2 good friends
Ship: Carnival Dream
Stateroom: 10-259
Fun Level: ULTIMATE

So, lets get started!!

Our trip began at the airport on the Thursday before the cruise. The wife and I got EVERYTHING packed a couple of days ahead of time, and got it all in the van. We work about 30 minutes from home, and the airport is in the same town we work in, so we were ready to head to the airport as soon as we got off work.

As soon as we could, we both ditched out, changed clothes, picked up our 2.5 year old son from the sitter and headed to the airport.
Here's my wife and our son at the airport:

We flew on Allegiant Air, and won't make that mistake again. 40lb luggage limits and PAID carryons made the whole situation difficult!
But, we eventually got on the plane and headed tword florida. We are from Central Illinois, so we saw the sun set quite quickly as we were flying east. It was a pretty sunset! (sorry, its a little blurry):

Our Son, Bryan, was VERY excited to get in the airplane and go "up in the sky". He really enjoyed the flights!

There was another couple sitting right in front of us headed to Disney, and their daughter who wasn't much older was quite a lot of fun, and kept reaching back and tickling Bryan's feet, and they would both giggle. We even ended up in the same seats on the same flight back, and she remembered him!

Our flight to Sanford/Orlando airport was uneventfull otherwise, and one of our 2 friends was on the same flight. We grabbed our car and headed to Orlando International Airport to pick up our other friend. This got us to our hotel in Cocoa Beach (Cocoa Beach Courtyard by Marriott) quite late, but we were glad to be in Florida!
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Cya on Board!!
-Adam

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#2
Mackinaw, Illinois
201 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Now, since our cruise didn't leave until Saturday, we had all day Friday in Florida to have some fun. We managed to source a good deal on tickets to the Kennedy Space Center, so off we went.

We got there just as they opened for the day (about 9am) and immediately I was in heaven! I am a HUGE Geek and this was an amazing experiance:



We skipped most everything at first and headed to the newly (june) opened Atlantis shuttle exhibit, and we were NOT dissapointed!



After entering the building, you are shown a short movie, and let me tell you, its VERY well produced and has you feeling like quite a proud american. And be prepared, the ending left me with goosebumps... but I won't ruin it for you!

Apon leaving the movie this is what you are greated with:


I know its a bit blurry, I didn't have my good camera that day. Hopefully I'll get some good pics from the friends that came with. We had a GREAT day at Kennedy, but I won't bore you with that, since this is a CRUISE review.

BUT!! If your ever in Orlando before or after a cruise, this is an AMAZING experiance and well worth the cost of admission. Just be prepared to spend ALL DAY there!
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Cya on Board!!
-Adam

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#3
Mackinaw, Illinois
201 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
One more post for the day... I figure its not fair to start a cruise review with out at least getting to the point where we are ON the ship!

Saturday morning we got packed back into our rental van and headed to the AVIS office in Cocoa beach to drop it off and catch their shuttle.

My take on this is arrange your OWN transportation if you want to get on early. AVIS shuttles were not being allowed to drop off passengers until debarkation was done. I KNOW there were others that got there MUCH earlier than we did (to the port). And we waited in the shuttle in line to get off the bus for at least an hour as the port officials showed complete inability to do their jobs.

I was EXTREEMLY dissapointed in the situation... 10 years ago when we cruised out of Orlando it was much better!!

Here was our first glimpse of the boat:


Once we finally got into the terminal, the wife and kid needed the bathroom, so I stood and waited a bit. We had purchased FTTF, so I located the special check in area for us. There was both a priority line for security, and a priority checkin line for us. Had we not waited in line to get off the bus, and waited to use the potty, we would have been on the ship in a matter of minutes!
Here is a blurry (sorry again) pic of the priority/fttf line. Regular check in was to the right and was a very long line:


After check in, we take the LONG walk past all the photos and windows, we had to stop and grab a couple of pictures:



The Candy that Bryan has was from a VERY nice security agent who wanted the little guy to smile at her!

Finally, after getting on the boat, getting through the atrium, and making a quick stop at the Pursers desk, and the Excursion desk to book "Behind the Fun", we made it to our room.. 10-259!



Thats what your getting for today!! MORE TOMORROW!
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Cya on Board!!
-Adam

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#5
2,989 Posts
Joined Apr 2001
Thanks, MrShake. We're going on the Dream in February with family. It'll be our second cruise on the Dream. We were on her second cruise in the Mediterranean. Does she still have that "new cruise ship" smell?
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************************************************** *****************
Vettebuf is sailing to Cuba on the Carnival Paradise 5-3-2018
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Vettebuf is sailing to Mexico on the Star Princess 11-24-2018
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33 cruises, 228 days at sea - Carnival: 25, Princess: 2, RCCL: 4, 1 NCL
Ships sailed (in order of first time on each): CELEBRATION, HOLIDAY, SENSATION, IMAGINATION, DESTINY, PARADISE, INSPIRATION, TRIUMPH, MAJESTY OF THE SEAS, VOYAGER OF THE SEAS, CROWN PRINCESS, FREEDOM, DREAM, SPLENDOR, SPIRIT, PRIDE, MAGIC, GLORY, VALOR, BREEZE, BREAKAWAY, PRIDE, CONQUEST, VISTA,VICTORY
#6
Kirkland, IL
11,360 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
Keep up the good work on your review....we are from northern Illinois. Were about 15 miles southeast of Rockford. We fly out of Rockford airport on Allegiant Airlines quite often so I can feel your pain on the 40 pound luggage limits. I mean what airline does that that's so dumb.

Did you fly out of Bloomington??
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Past Cruises
Carnival Valor - March 2005
Carnival Destiny - January 2006
Carnival Celebration - March 2007
Carnival Victory - April 2008
Carnival Pride - May 2009
Carnival Elation - March 2011
Carnival Legend - December 2011
Carnival Fantasy - March 2012
Carnival Ecstasy - December 2012
Carnival Sensation - December 2012
Carnival Freedom - March 3, 2013
Carnival Imagination - December 2, 2013
Carnival Sunshine - December 8, 2013
Carnival Dream - April 5, 2014
Carnival Pride - July 27, 2014
Carnival Dream - December 7, 2014
Carnival Breeze - March 8, 2015
Carnival Ecstasy - October 12, 2015
Carnival Elation - December 7, 2015
Carnival Dream - January 31, 2016
Carnival Vista - May 1, 2016
Carnival Elation - September 10, 2016
Carnival Breeze - January 22, 2017


Future Cruises
Carnival Valor - April 17, 2017
Carnival Triumph - December 4, 2017
Carnival Horizon - May 9, 2018


#7
Niagara area, ON CANADA
1,026 Posts
Joined Sep 2010
thanks for your review - looking forward to more... your little boy is adorable !
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SAILED
CARNIVAL FASCINATION 10-21-2010 - OV, U49
CARNIVAL FASCINATION 05-14-2011 - OV, U21
CARNIVAL FASCINATION 05-03-2012 - OV, U22
CARNIVAL DREAM 11-30-2013 - BAL, 8212
CARNIVAL BREEZE 09-21-2014 - LIDO BAL, 10258 (GOLD)
CARNIVAL PRIDE 04-12-2015 - BAL, VERANDAH 7150
CARNIVAL VICTORY 04-10-2016 BAL LIDO 9287
CARNIVAL PRIDE 10-09-2016 - EXT BAL 7184


UPCOMING CRUISES


CARNIVAL PRIDE 05-07-2017


" If I can't wear my flip flops - I'm not going ! "
#9
Northern IL
46 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
Great Start to your Review!

From another Northern Il cruiser who flies out of Rockford Airport.
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_______________________________

Past Cruises:

Carnival Sensation - Eastern -11/1998
Carnival Inspiration - Western
[Got Married on Grand Caymen 11/2] -
11/2000
Disney Fantasy - Western - 10/2012
Carnival Dream - Eastern - 11/02/13
Carnival Glory - Eastern - 11/01/14
#10
Kirkland, IL
11,360 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
Originally posted by Cruise Family 3
Great Start to your Review!

From another Northern Il cruiser who flies out of Rockford Airport.
Where you from in northern Illinois???
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Past Cruises
Carnival Valor - March 2005
Carnival Destiny - January 2006
Carnival Celebration - March 2007
Carnival Victory - April 2008
Carnival Pride - May 2009
Carnival Elation - March 2011
Carnival Legend - December 2011
Carnival Fantasy - March 2012
Carnival Ecstasy - December 2012
Carnival Sensation - December 2012
Carnival Freedom - March 3, 2013
Carnival Imagination - December 2, 2013
Carnival Sunshine - December 8, 2013
Carnival Dream - April 5, 2014
Carnival Pride - July 27, 2014
Carnival Dream - December 7, 2014
Carnival Breeze - March 8, 2015
Carnival Ecstasy - October 12, 2015
Carnival Elation - December 7, 2015
Carnival Dream - January 31, 2016
Carnival Vista - May 1, 2016
Carnival Elation - September 10, 2016
Carnival Breeze - January 22, 2017


Future Cruises
Carnival Valor - April 17, 2017
Carnival Triumph - December 4, 2017
Carnival Horizon - May 9, 2018


#11
Mackinaw, Illinois
201 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Originally posted by Vettebuf
Thanks, MrShake. We're going on the Dream in February with family. It'll be our second cruise on the Dream. We were on her second cruise in the Mediterranean. Does she still have that "new cruise ship" smell?
Hahaha!! New Cruise Ship smell.... thats a good one.... she is almost 5 years old.... I would say NO smell, except for the yummy smells from the Tandoor Grill on the Lanai
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Cya on Board!!
-Adam

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#12
Mackinaw, Illinois
201 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Originally posted by wrigley80
Keep up the good work on your review....we are from northern Illinois. Were about 15 miles southeast of Rockford. We fly out of Rockford airport on Allegiant Airlines quite often so I can feel your pain on the 40 pound luggage limits. I mean what airline does that that's so dumb.

Did you fly out of Bloomington??
Yep, we flew out of Bloomington. That part was mostly fine, except the exceptionally rude Allegiant employees there. The staff at Sanford was awesome, but not so much in BloNo
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Cya on Board!!
-Adam

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#13
Mackinaw, Illinois
201 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Originally posted by Kel040
thanks for your review - looking forward to more... your little boy is adorable !
Awww.. thanks! We think he's pretty cute to.. but we are biased.
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Cya on Board!!
-Adam

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#14
Southern Maryland
4,699 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
Enjoying your review, can't wait for more!
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Carnival Breeze W. Caribbean 1/2017
Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas 10/2016
Disney Fantasy 11/2014
Carnival Dream E. Caribbean 11/2013
Carnival Glory CruisetoNowhere 5/2013
Carnival Paradise W. Caribbean 4/2013
Carnival Breeze Exotic Caribbean 1/2013
Carnival Pride CruisetoNowhere 11/2012
Carnival Spirit Alaska 5/2012
Carnival Pride Bermuda 11/2011
Carnival Triumph Canada 6/2009
HAL Zaandam E. Caribbean 3/2005
Carnival Sensation E. Caribbean 7/1998
Carnival Celebration W. Caribbean 12/1996
SS Lurline Hawaii to LA
#16
Mackinaw, Illinois
201 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Back to the review!

So we have hit our room, we have dropped off our luggage, and now its time to get some GRUB! We headed tword the buffet and whatever other restraunts that were open, and Bryan had to stop and take a sit:


AS you can see, he is also still munching the candy the Security Agent gave him, and loving it!

We headed to the buffet, and it was PACKED! (making me wish again we had gotten to the port sooner). So, having done my research, I knew there was a pasta place up a floor at the back of the buffet, so the Wife, Bryan, and I went up there while our friends braved the lines.

THIS was the right choice! There were... MAYBE... 3 other groups up there with DOZENS of open tables. This place is a custom pasta deal, you actually take a slip of paper and choose your pasta, sauce, meat, veggies, and such and had it to the waiter. It gets prepared fresh and brought to your table. After all the line waiting and trouble getting on the ship, it was nice to SIT and be SERVED!! Not to mention that we had picked up a little liquid happy on the way to the table.....


Our lunch was great, but it was time to get ready for the Roll Call meet-and-greet. We already had our beads on, so we headed back to the Lanai (the back pool) and met a few folks. From there, I could smell the food from the Tandoor Grill, and despite having had lunch, I HAD to run over and get a sample or two. Sorry, didn't get any pictures .

Before heading to our Muster drill, we stopped back to the room and the "surprise" I had arranged was there! This cruise was to celebrate my wife and I's 10th anniversary. We cruised for our honeymoon out of orlando 10 years ago, so this was a fitting way to celebrate. In preperation for that, I had arranged a little decoration:


The surprise was ALMOST ruined when we were dropping off luggage. The steward came to put them up while we were there. Luckily the wife didn't figure it out!

Next up, the muster drill. Our muster station was in the Encore Theatre up at the top in the balcony. This is the first time we've cruised where we didn't do this out on the deck by the lifeboats. This is MUCH more comfortable and I think a much better system. We did, however, witness another family completely disregard the important situation. The family in front of us didn't pay attention to announcements, and they were in the wrong spot. They were supposed to be in the O2 club on the OTHER END OF THE SHIP! They flat out refused to leave, despite the crew member telling them they would need to know the information specific to their muster station. Its INSANE that people don't follow these simple instructions. If every one just did it, it would be over quicker and we could get back to having a good time!

I'll also take this time to mention the way kids are handled on board. Every Kid (I think 12 and under) is required to wear wrist band that has their muster station on it for the ENTIRE cruise. We asked to have it put on Bryan's ankle, but they refused, despite seeing other kids with it there. Bryan was NOT happy about this, and even managed to take it off during the muster talk. We got another band later that evening and had it put on tighter. I was REALLY worried he would hate that wristband and it would be a constant fight... after that first bit of reaction to it, he ignored it the rest of the cruise!
Its also worth noting that in case of emergency, crew members (like camp carnival) will bring your child TO YOU at the muster station listed on their wrist band.

Back on track now... it was time for a little guy to take a NAP!!! So the Wife and I headed to our Balcony to relax a bit ourselves:


I did eventually make my way back into the room and snoozed a bit myself. This is something we did quite a bit of on this cruise... napping!! Someone's gotta stay with the toddler right?
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Cya on Board!!
-Adam

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#17
Mackinaw, Illinois
201 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Post nap, and pre-dinner, we headed out to explore the ship, and during that exploration, Bryan discovered the big TV on the Lido deck and the open spot they cleared for the sail away dancing!



This activity (dancing on the lido) became a favorite of his, and we did it every chance we could!! More exploring led us to the back of the ship. The weather wasn't sunny, but it was still a beautiful site to see the LONG wake behind the ship... we were CRUISING!!


We continued to explore, stopping by Camp Carnival, the pools, restraunts, the ping pong table, and even the Put Put course:


I JUST NOW realized we never actually went back and played... how sad!

Before dinner, we had to run to the Encore theater for Camp Carnival registration and orientation. I'll talk more about Camp Carnival later, but this went smoothly, quickly, and Bryan was charming all the staff right away!

Soon it was time for dinner.. we had Early Seating in the Crimson Dining Room. Our Wait Staff, Jose, Katrina, and Marlon introduced themselves and we settled in to some great food. We also noted that the decor in the dining room looked a lot like Solo cups suspended from the ceiling. Though, it really didn't seem tacky.
Here is one of our good friends and I posing for a quick pic:


Bryan (as most kids) LOVES Mac and Cheese, and he got some for dinner:


More soon!
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Cya on Board!!
-Adam

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#18
Mackinaw, Illinois
201 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
I also fully intended to take pictures of all my food... but alas I didn't succede, but I did get some, such as these:
Sweet And Sour Shrimp


Warm Chocolate Melting Cake



After dinner we headed back to our room and we were greated by our first Towel Animal!


Our Room Steward had also taken Bryan's stuffed animals and lined them up, including the "Funship Freddy" we had waiting for Bryan when we got on the ship:

(Left to right would be: Bud, Elmo, Freddy, and SpaceShip. Actual names)

We had reserved a crib for Bryan, and set it up in front of the couch. It stayed there the entire trip. It did take up a bit of space, but all in all, it wasn't bad at all!


Since we were all tired, and the day was winding down, we took a quick trip to Camp Carnival again for the "open house" so Bryan could see the space and what toys he would get to play with. The area is on Deck 11 right behind the big screen and is FULL of toys and space to play. Its VERY well designed. We also picked up our phone for the week. With a kid Bryan's age (2.5), we were given a "Cell Phone" to carry with us so they could get a hold of us if there was a problem.

A Couple of things to note...
#1, its not actually a cell phone. Its a IP Telephone, and requires the ships wifi to work, so no, it won't work in port or off the ship.
#2, you can use it like ANY other phone on the ship. You can call rooms, or have your friends call you on it. This was GREAT and we used it quite a bit. And we only had to charge it once
#3, you HAVE to have it on you when you drop off the kids, they check it and make sure its charged and working.

I'll talk more about camp carnival later.

Thats it for Saturday/Embarkation day!
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Cya on Board!!
-Adam

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#19
South Carolina
55 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
Looks great. We are headed on the same itinerary in a couple of months! Thanks for the input.
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2012 Eastern Caribbean (Celebrity Eclipse)
2011 Bahamas (RCCL Monarch of the Seas)
2010 Bahamas (Carnival Fantasy)
2010 Western Caribbean (RCCL Grandeur of the Seas)
2008 Bahamas (RCCL Sovereign of the Seas)
2007 Western Caribbean (RCCL Mariner of the Seas)
1995 Western Caribbean (Carnival Sensation)