Jump to content
  • Deals
  • Find a Cruise
  • Reviews
  • News
  • Cruise Tips

Review of our Spring Break cruise on Carnival Dream


Recommended Posts

Cruisers were myself, DW Karen, DS15 Bryson, DS13 Spencer, and DS9 Britt. We've cruised as a family on all but two classes of Carnival ships; Splendor and Fantasy. We won't likely sail Spendor for a few years, but we're planning to sail Fantasy class later this year. We cruise each year over our boys' school Spring Break.


Now that you know who we are, I will describe first how we came to sail on Dream, and then I will get into how we actually got to the ship, and then on with the cruise and our return to West Virginia.


Three years ago I read on Cruise Critic that Port Canaveral was the likely home port of Carnival Dream. I had viewed the 'Dream Video' that was circulating on YouTube and had downloaded it, saved it, sent it to friends and even posted it a time or two on some websites. I knew that the final product was likely to be quite different from the concept video, but I also knew that I had to be on that ship. I knew, also from reading on Cruise Critic, that when a ship is replaced by a new ship, the bookings on the former ship are often automatically transferred to the new ship so I called Carnival and booked a deck 6 aft wrap for 2010 even though the sailing was over three years away, I knew when our boys Spring Break would be, and I knew we'd be cruising somewhere so I took a chance and the chance paid off; our booking was automatically transferred from Glory 6483 to Carnival Dream 6479.


Then the construction pictures began coming in and most of the bells and whistles from the concept video had been deleted; the Lanai remained, and the waterslides were larger and more abundant, but nothing like the slides on the concept video. Gone also were the climbing mountain, monorail around the top of the ship, and the aft was sloped, but not divided by slides with a pool at the bottom. Even though she was being built quite a bit less flashy, I was still dreaming of our cruise on Carnival Dream.


Eventually she was launched for sea trials and pics of her completed started coming in and she appeared to be a fine ship; not really similar to the concept, but nice nonetheless. After the sea trials she was launched on her maiden voyage and almost immediately reports started coming in that the aft wraps were not wraps at all! The aft wraps had been relegated to nothing more than corner rooms with odd shaped balconies. It was a scarey thought to be an aft wrap lover and be booked on a ship with aft wraps that were nothing more than pricey cabins that only slept two. Sleeping only two was also an issue because the aft wraps on Conquest Class ships sleep three. Since we are a family of five, we need two cabins that area adjacent and sleep two in one and three in the other, and Dream didn't have anything on any deck that included an aft wrap and an adjacent balcony.


I was left with a bit of a problem; The cabin I had booked did not have the balcony I wanted and didn't sleep the number of people I needed it to sleep nor did any balcony adjacent or nearby. Luckily, reports came in via John Heald's blog and Cruise Critic members that Carnival was planning to fix the aft wrap fiasco by moving the balcony partitions. Further good news came in that the deck 6 aft wrap was still an aft wrap and was not a wannabe like had been feared. I was hoping they would fix the only two passenger issue, but they did not so we had to book three of us in a balcony down the hall that slept three.


Over the course of the three year wait, we were granted Future Cruise credit since our price had not changed, then Early Saver was established and we were allowed to switch to that program without any hassles. ES proved to be futile for the aft wrap, but by the time we sailed we had $550 OBC from price adjustments on the down the hall balcony cabin. Gotta luv ES! We also recieved Stockholders credit for owning Carnival Corp stock. All OBC combined totalled $950. I would like to say that covered our S&S bill, but I would be telling a lie and I will get to that point on the eve of our debarkation.


Cruise Critic members that were on board her for her first few sailings and the transatlantic really helped soothe concerns we had with our room; ZydecoCruiser posted thousands of pictures and pictures of our exact room and balcony which were and still are really beneficial to Carnival Dream future cruisers.


So we were finally all five booked and ready to go and then the reviews started coming in mentioning bad smells, bad crew members, and bad over crowding with endless lines. Many of the reviews were transparent activities of forum trolls, but some were irrefutable from reputable and trusted members of Cruise Critic. I have to confess that I had three other cruises picked out and thought about jumping ship before final payment, but we all know that a cruise is what you make of it and I believed we could make ourselves happy even if all reports proved accurate.


Luckily, as the time of our cruise drew closer, reports of problems started becoming less frequent. We have cruised several ships over Spring Break that were also in their first year and all of them had questionable reviews so we were finally able to relax and let time pass without worrying that we'd made a mistake.


In the weeks leading up to our cruise, our favorite college team was making a run for the national championship and the Final Four was to take place during our cruise. Duirng our last week before we sailed we learned we would be watching the WVU Mountaineers play in the Final Four semi final game on the Lido big screen! Other than Indianapolis, there could be no better place to watch your favorite team play than the Lido deck of a ship cruising the Caribbean! The excitment was building for something totally unrelated to cruising that was going to make our cruise experience unforgettable.


Now for the particulars on how we got there. My last day of work was eight days before our scheduled flight on March 31 from Charleston WV to Melbourn Florida. Basically I had eight days off to prepare for vacation! I would like to say I had everything ready, but pictures would tell on me so I will say that I did have our FunPasses printed, the boys passports renewed, the flights booked, the pre cruise hotel and pre cruise rental vehicle booked, and ideas of what to do for our three days in Florida before our cruise.


With Karen having packed out bags and everything else ready to go, we had to print out luggage tags. I know they say not to cut them, but we cut them to size and laminate them;




You can't really tell by this pic, but they are all laminated with heavy clear plastic;




A quick hole created by the hole punch that I carry in my laptop bag for our S&S cards and then they're ready to be securely attached to our bags with wire zip ties;




On March 31 we had five bags to check, plus two carry on bags and Britt managed to carry them all out and load them by himself;




Thirty minutes later we were unloading our bags at Charleston's Yeager Airport;





I had preprinted our boarding passes and prepaid the $23 per bag ransom so all we had to do was checkin and give them our luggage. The checkin kiosk is realy handy especially since they have three airline reps on hand to assist with the self assist kiosks....




Because of recent reports of delays at airport checkins due to new security procedures, we arrived at the recommended two hour time frame before our flight.....and we checked our bags, went through security and still had two hours to wait.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

hey paul & family - welcome back! though that always sounds weird... i'm sure you would have prefered to STAY ONBOARD! :D


anyhow, i'm really looking forward to this, and your assessment of the carnival dream...! :cool:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our flight to Charlotte was amusing. Prior to take off, our skeletal flight attendant advised the front seat passengers that one of them would have to relocate to balance out the load on the plane. When none budged, she added that if none volunteered, they would all have to move. Two volunteers then moved to the rear. The amusing part was while we were waiting to board our connecting flight in Charlotte on the same plane model, a ginormous human was wheel on to the plane by multiple airline employees. I have no clue what all they had to grease near the entry door and the narrow hallway by the lavotory, but they had to lube some areas heavily to get her on the plane. She was not obese; she was so far beyond obese that it was scarey. If I owned US Air, I would have paid freight charges to have her shipped via ground to Melbourn instead of jeopardizing my plane and crew in such a manner.


I apologize if my words offend anyone, but obese is not the word for her. When people get so large that they must be moved by wheel chair, their loved ones that really love them should stop bringing food to them. If they at least have to get up to get food, they will not continue to grow.


I have no clue how they extricated her from the plane in Melbourn. I heard airline employees talking and the folks tha man the jetway refused to deploy it because it was not designed for that much weight. I also heard many of them state that they would not be helping and injure themselves just to remove her.


There was a thread on Cruise Critic a few weeks ago about a large passenger and how they are not allowed to fly without buying an extra seat if they dont fit with the armrests down. I walked by that woman to get to my seat and I'm honestly not sure they didn't remove the seats; They were not visible under her. There was no in flight service because the stewardess' cart would not fit by her.


We did arrive safely in Melbourn and the plane flew just fine. If there were with balance issues on the previous flight, I'm sure they had a ton in the rear cargo area to balance out the weight on the flight to Melbourn




After a quick stop by Hertz, we headed out to our rental vehicle;




A Ford Escape is not an SUV that seats five adults and five pieces of luggage. Two adults, three kids, and two carry on bags fills it up beyond capacity;




You can tell the boys weren't happy with the Ford Escape, but they were pleased with our hotel room at Country Inn & Suites. It had fifteen foot high ceilings, multple rooms and plenty of room to stretch;




A king sized bed is always welcome at the end of a cramped day of traveling;




12 foot high windows allowing warm sunshiine in were a welcome sight the next morning;




Our room was called a Captain's Quarters. I've looked all over Country Inn and Suites website for a description, but can't find one. I guess it's what you get when you specify you need to sleep five, but I'm not sure of that. Our room was directly behind the front desk on the ground floor. Every hotel amenity was right outside our door; pool, hot tubs, fitness room, breakfast area etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Silly question ... how did you laminate the tags?



Scotch brand laminating pouches. They are for laminating up to 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper. I fit four tags per pouch then trim them to the proper size. I've had handles pulled off our luggage, but never lost a tag yet. We picked them up at Walmart prior to a cruise a while back.





The hotel has a nice seating area near the front desk. I got a better pic of Karen, but I like the way she was blinded by the sun. We had a hard, cold, snowy winter in WV and went for four months without seeing the sun so it was understandable that she wasn't used to it;




More pics of the seating area;




There's also a nice pool area in the horseshoe of the hotel;





The resident gator also came out of the pond to greet us. Here's Britt trying to sneak up to get a close shot with his camera;




Isn't he pretty? You should see him grow ten feet long real quick when stands up and charges! Britt first commented that he wasn't scared of it because I wasn't scared. I advised him I wasn't scared because I knew I could outrun him and thus didn't have to outrun the gator. After that bit of advice, Britt kept his distance;





For those who want to see the resident gator, walk behind the hotel and stand where you can see this view of the hotel;




If your ankle hurts, you are too far from the hotel. If your ankle doesn't hurt, turn around 180 degrees and look at the gator sunning by the edge of the pond.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Country Inn & Suites shuttle buses were busy transporting passengers to Carnival and Disney ships departing April 1;





The gator was still sunning himself before we went for a drive;




We drove over to the port area for some ship pics;




The Disney Wonder which sails short cruises is to be replaced by their new larger ship Disney Dream. Disney folks I talked with stated they knew the new ship would bring lots of passengers to the short cruises which didn't sell as well as the seven day cruises. They plan to use their older smaller ships on the longer cruises because they know they can sell them and sail full no matter what while their new ship with extra bells and whistles will sell well and sail full on short cruises at higher prices. Odd logic, but I am sure they are right.


It was fun watching Britt try and get close up pics;




Early Thursday morning Karen and I went to Ron Jon's surf shop to buy her a bathing suit. The sales guy enticed us to try a time share presentation so we arranged for one later that day at Ron Jon's Resort. It's a nice place and we enjoyed our tour, but we didn't end up buying anything. Wating area was nice there too;




Once our tour began, each room was fully tested;



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Balcony rooms overlooking the water park area were very inviting;




The Ron Jon Resorts 'four story water slide' looked remarkably like Carnival's Conquest Class water slides;




Our tour guide did a great job showing all the six and ten person condos;




She was also very patient as each room was tested again and again;




Lots of questions were handled very professionally;




The Ron Jon arcade was a big hit as well;



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice start...I enjoyed reading your rationale for booking the Dream. And I think that gator tried to bite one of our tires in January :D Noticed some weird scratches on the front wheel cover when we got home...we left it parked near that area. Bring it on.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't started reading yet, but I wanted to let you know that I literally started clapping and chanting "Yeah, yeah, yeah!" when I saw you had a review up today. Your reviews are my absolute favorites, a great blend of a detailed written review with lots of photos to illustrate.


I do believe you set the golden standard a few years back as one of your earlier reviews was the first I'd seen in this format with so many pictures included. Lots of reviewers since then have adopted this format, which I love.


Thanks for taking the time to post this and for making my morning :D.

Link to comment
Share on other sites




Three years ago I read on Cruise Critic that Port Canaveral was the likely home port of Carnival Dream. I had viewed the 'Dream Video' that was circulating on YouTube and had downloaded it, saved it, sent it to friends and even posted it a time or two on some websites. I knew that the final product was likely to be quite different from the concept video, but I also knew that I had to be on that ship.


Eventually she was launched for sea trials and pics of her completed started coming in and she appeared to be a fine ship; not really similar to the concept, but nice nonetheless.



Just a small thing. I believe that what you are calling the Dream concept video had nothing to do with Carnival. It was a shipyard concept ship that happened to be shown in Carnival colors.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Welcome to Cruise Critic
      • ANNOUNCEMENT: Explore 5 Unique Destinations With All-inclusive Pricing
      • Holiday Exchange - Jingle and Mingle 2023
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Cruise Critic News & Features
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
  • Create New...