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A Dreamy Week 2-20-10


bakechef

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Well, it was another wonderful cruise with Carnival, maybe my best yet.

 

We drove with great friends to Florida on Friday the 19th, and stayed at the Residence Inn by Marriott. This was our second stay there and it was just as nice as the first time. We got the suite with 2 bedrooms and 2 baths, with full kitchen and living room. Breakfast was great and it was warm enough to eat outside, we were officially in Vacation mode.

 

We took the shuttle to the port, we went a little later than last time (10:45), I was a bit worried that there would be a crowd, but it wasn't bad at all. After getting through security we were checked in and on board the ship within 20 minutes. One thing different about this boarding process with Carnival, was your card was scanned and picture taken inside the terminal before boarding the ship, they had 4 machines which seemed to make the whole process faster.

 

Once on board we got the first look at the atrium. Let me tell you now, the Dream is the prettiest Carnival ship that I have been on to date. The decor is very restrained in comparison to the other ships especially the Splendor, with its thousands of pink zebra striped polka dots everywhere! With that said, the ship still had a very "Carnival feel" which I liked very much.

 

We made our way to the lido and then to the second level and plopped down to relax and enjoy our first Funship Specials! After 3 each, and a light lunch we made our way to our cabins.

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The color scheme of the hallways and cabins was more muted than on the other ships. Gone is the copper, weird orange and pink. The copper metal work is a bronze color on this ship and the cabins are done in the bronze, orange and brown. I liked this decor, it gave the cabins a slightly more upscale look.

 

We had cabin 7204 a forward facing cabin just under the bridge. We had a similar location on the Splendor and enjoyed it very much. I remember a post here warning about these rooms and the banging noise all night. Well the first night there was the banging, over and over. About 20 seconds of investigation showed the culprit to be chaise loungers that someone had dragged up from the Lanai, the wind was blowing the hinged backrest against the hull, making a loud sound like a gong. What I don't understand is why someone would go a whole week listening to this banging without investigating it. We folded the backrest forward and jammed it under the hull under the railing, and problem solved!

 

We were looking forward to meeting our cabin steward, but never did. We were not sure which one he actually was. He was like a ghost, we never caught him in the room. He did a fantastic job whoever he was!:D

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I love love love how the Muster drill is done on this ship!!!

 

If you haven't already heard, you no longer have to bring your life jacket. The drills also take place in various lounges. This was a much more comfortable situation!

 

We were done the drill in time to enjoy sail away. As we were leaving the dock we saw a manatee swimming around, that was pretty cool. As we were traveling down the channel there were dolphins and big turtles.

 

We stayed out on deck 7 forward until we were out in the open ocean, then prepared for dinner.

 

Let me say this. I have eaten this same menu four times now and have been satisfied every time, but it seemed to be even better on this ship. Everything that I ordered was very tasty and well prepared, beef always cooked just as requested. It seems like they have upped their game on presentation. Cold soups were served with a pretty ornate garnish in the middle of an empty bowl, and the soup poured around the garnish, this made for a really nice presentation. Every night I kicked myself for not bringing my camera.

 

My standout favorites were the ribs (served the first and last nights) the prime rib (nice and tender, full of flavor), the pork chop, French onion soup, chilled soups, and the Bitter and Blanc.

 

My partner really loves Indian food and was thrilled that it was on this ship, since he enjoyed it on the Splendor. I tried their Butter Chicken (tiki masala) and it was spiced perfectly it was wonderful, except for one day it was too salty.

 

I had the chance to enjoy the pasta bar twice and it too was great, I hope that they add this to more ships.

 

My friends had the mongolian grill, and enjoyed it very much, there was always a line, so it was very popular.

 

The deli was good as it was on other ships as was the pizza, these were the same.

 

The breakfast buffet was very much the same as other ships, nothing really new here, maybe a few different egg dishes. I ate plain yogurt with honey and walnuts and oatmeal, a bit of ham and the occasional pastry, boring I know, but in the morning I am a creature of habit.:D They did have banana bread on the buffet every morning and it was good. One thing about cruise ships, is that sometimes familiar foods like banana bread taste nothing like they are supposed to, so the banana bread was a nice surprise!

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On to the ship itself.

 

She is BIG, noticeably bigger that the conquest and splendor class in some aspects.

 

Carnival has corrected the flow problems found on the conquest and similar class ships, no longer do you have to go up and down to get to the end of the same deck BRAVO!!

 

Here is the new hallway that will get you to the aft dining room without detours.

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The comedy club is aft in the Burgundy lounge. This was an awesome addition to the ships, I liked the smaller room for comedy, because you could easily see the expression on the comedian's face. The decor of this lounge was pur Carnival, ugly chandelier and all!:D

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The first stop was Cozumel, and to my surprise, we were the ONLY ship in port, I don't think that I have ever seen Cozumel with only one ship.

 

We docked at the terminal away from town, which disappointed me since we would have to take a cab, but this port area has been improved greatly since the last time we were there, it is beautiful!

 

We shopped around a bit and caught a cab to town. We did a bit of shopping and I found this shop with framed, hand painted feathers. I usually don't buy much in port, but every so often I will find something hand made that I love and I will buy it, when I found this place, I knew that I had to buy something. The lady running the shop was so sweet, and I feel that I got a fair price from her.

 

From there we went to Carlos and Charlies and had lunch, and then upstairs for drinks, I got pretty drunk, I can't remember the last time I was drunk, but we had a wonderful time!

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The next day was Roatan Honduras. Today didn't look promising, it was very cloudy, but thankfully warm.

 

We docked first followed by the Crown Princess. We had decided to try out Mahogany Beach, but was worried that with two ships that it would be too crowded, but there are tons of chairs, enough room for everybody.

 

We walked to the beach and just relaxed, a couple of us went in the ocean, the rest just slept in deck chairs, it was a very relaxing day with only a few sprinkles.

 

Bravo to Carnival for building Mahogany Bay. The shopping area is very pretty, but it has all of the usual port stores, so it is really nothing special. The beach is wonderful, a little something for everyone. I think that this is a great compromise between the private island experience and the traditional port experience. There is the option of the beach which is free or the option of taking an excursion to explore the port. This is a great source of revenue for Carnival, and an inexpensive option for those who need it. You can spend lots of money on this beach, or nothing at all.

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Belize was our excursion day. One in our group wanted to go see Mayan Ruins so this is where we chose to do it. We took the Belize city and Altun Ha tour. The city tour part was not terribly exciting. But the Ruins were as good or better than we hoped for, they were magnificent.

 

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for taking the time to write a review. Your pictures are wonderful!

 

Which nights were formal nights?

 

Which comedians did you happen to see?

 

Will you be able to post the Fun Times (Carnival Capers)?

 

Thanks again, looking foward to more installments.

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for taking the time to write a review. Your pictures are wonderful!

 

Which nights were formal nights?

 

Which comedians did you happen to see?

 

Will you be able to post the Fun Times (Carnival Capers)?

 

Thanks again, looking foward to more installments.

 

The cruise elegant nights were sunday and thursday.

 

I don't recall the names of the comedians, but they are only on the ship for a short time, the comedians that were on the ship at the beginning were not the same ones at the end of the cruise. I think that they fly them to ports and have them on the ship for a couple nights.

 

Sorry, didn't save the capers.

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Thank you for your review- I have cruise critic A.D.D. and can't focus on anything but our upcoming cruise. Is the Residence Inn near Port Canaveral? Rate for 2 br suite? Do you remember the name or general location of the shop where you bought the framed feather painting? We sail the Dream APril 3rd and hope to cruise again in December.

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Costa Maya.

 

This is a short stop for the dream, so we just strolled off the ship and walked around the port, we gave ourselves the morning to sleep in.

 

This is the perfect place to get last minute souvenirs, there are lots of shops right off the ship. This is a very lively area with bars shops, and a big pool. There are also loungers on the shore, but not really any area to swim in the ocean, you will have to take a cab to get to a beach.

 

We enjoyed a Mexican Coke picked up a few things and made the long walk back to the ship. I hope to get back here some day, and have more time, I would love to go to the beach here.

 

I don't usually buy Vanilla in Mexico, I make my own, but I found what I think is the good stuff here. Just about every vanilla that I looked at had corn syrup, sugar, and caramel color, these are three ingredients that you don't need in vanilla. I found that the two tequila shops carried a good vanilla that contained only vanilla beans, alcohol, and water and it smelled much better than others that I sniffed. I bought a bottle to give it a try.

 

It was quite windy in Costa Maya. It took the NCL Jewel two tries to dock. I have never felt so much motion on a ship that was tied to a dock!:eek: If this had been a tender port we wouldn't have been able to tender.

 

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Thank you for your review- I have cruise critic A.D.D. and can't focus on anything but our upcoming cruise. Is the Residence Inn near Port Canaveral? Rate for 2 br suite? Do you remember the name or general location of the shop where you bought the framed feather painting? We sail the Dream APril 3rd and hope to cruise again in December.

 

Yes the residence inn is very close to the port, one of the closest, you can see the ship from there! Our rate including taxes was $230 for the night, the room will easily sleep 6, two in each bedroom (king beds) and two on the fold out sofa in the living room.

 

I got the paintings from a place in the Vista Del Mar Plaza. It is near where you will likely be dropped off by the taxi, pretty close to the other cruise terminal. The shop was at the end of the alley on the left, you can't miss it.

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We had cabin 7204 a forward facing cabin just under the bridge. We had a similar location on the Splendor and enjoyed it very much. I remember a post here warning about these rooms and the banging noise all night. Well the first night there was the banging, over and over. About 20 seconds of investigation showed the culprit to be chaise loungers that someone had dragged up from the Lanai, the wind was blowing the hinged backrest against the hull, making a loud sound like a gong. What I don't understand is why someone would go a whole week listening to this banging without investigating it. We folded the backrest forward and jammed it under the hull under the railing, and problem solved!

 

We were looking forward to meeting our cabin steward, but never did. We were not sure which one he actually was. He was like a ghost, we never caught him in the room. He did a fantastic job whoever he was!:D

 

Bakechef: Thank you so much for your review and you put my mind at ease about room 7204 as this will be our room in about a month! I do remember the post that you are referring to about the noise that can be heard from these rooms...I wondered the same thing - why didn't they investigate or at the very least, call Guest Services and have them look into it. So, if we hear the same noise, we will start looking for a rogue lounge chair.

 

Do you have any photos of the room that you can post?

 

Thanks again...you're info is very helpful!

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Some final thoughts about this cruise.

 

We had a great time.

 

I actually used the casino a bit on this cruise. I thought that the rule that only those who are actually playing get to smoke, this kept the air much cleaner, and showed me that many would just use the casino as a smoking pit. The non smoking side of the casino was very pleasant, and even the smoking side was bearable. I think that this was a good compromise.

 

The Lanai was an awesome addition to the ship. This deck wraps completely around the ship, and has those cool hot tubs hanging over the ocean. They used this deck for a barbecue. Just remember that one side of this deck is smoking, and if you walk out an get hit with smoke, turn around and go to the other side, it will be non-smoking.

 

The ocean plaza area was a nice addition as well. One thing that I found disappointing was this was the area where they held the friends of dorothy meetings on more than one occasion, problem is, there was also karaoke happening at the same time. Who is going to want to go and meet others while 7 year old girls and really bad adult singers are screeching away on stage? You really couldn't hold a conversation during this. This was a big fail on the part of whoever planned it.

 

This ship doesn't seem to have the problem with tables being too close together like the conquest class ships do, the dining rooms seemed to be plenty big to handle the passenger load.

 

The Gathering buffet on the lido is not the place to be during peak times, but with that said, even at its busiest it never took me more than 10 minutes to get through the line. We also never had trouble finding a table for 4 even during peak times.

 

The comedy club is great, they need this on more ships!

 

The Serenity deck was awesome!! It is huge and on two levels. The water park with the slides was great as well, when it was open, the kids flocked to it.

 

I enjoyed the big screen for movies. I don't spend any time during the day on the lido, it is too loud and busy for me, there are so many other places to chill out on a deck chair.

 

We had a great wait team in the dining room, great sense of humor.

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I still think that the spirit class is my favorite size of ship. As much as I liked the dream, for me it was too big with too many people. Would I cruise this ship again? YES in a heartbeat!

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What an awesome review! We will be Livin the Dream in May!

 

Thanks for the tip on the vanilla. I have never bought vanilla in mexico, but with your recommendation, i think I will be coming home with vanilla this year! Was it very expensive?

 

Thanks again for an awesome review!

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Bakechef: Thank you so much for your review and you put my mind at ease about room 7204 as this will be our room in about a month! I do remember the post that you are referring to about the noise that can be heard from these rooms...I wondered the same thing - why didn't they investigate or at the very least, call Guest Services and have them look into it. So, if we hear the same noise, we will start looking for a rogue lounge chair.

 

Do you have any photos of the room that you can post?

 

Thanks again...you're info is very helpful!

 

Sorry, I did a bad job at remembering to take pictures, no pictures of the room and no food pictures.:o

 

The room looks very much like a regular OV room. There is no sofa in this room. The bathroom was exactly like other regular bathrooms that I have had. There is a two door closet. My friends had 6204 right below, their room was slightly deeper and had a three door closet. We were very comfortable in 7204.

 

Yeah I don't think that the lounge chairs are supposed to be there, but if you hear the banging it is an easy fix. I had thought about asking someone to take the chairs back to the Lanai, but they didn't continue to be a problem, so we didn't.

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