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Carnival Dream Review 10/22/11 (Pics)


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*Just a note. I wrote this review in pieces for the last month since the cruise. I have not checked for spelling, grammar or anything else for that matter. It may be a jumbled mess for all I know. But its all I got.*




Does this world really need another Dream Review, probably not, but I will do it anyway b/c I’m feeling rebellious.




This is was my second round on the Dream and I was looking forward to it. I was also taking a friend with me who would be losing her cruising V card. I’m no epic writer like some of the reviewers here, so I doubt I will be that entertaining for you, but I will def. give my account.



So, this cruise I took a different approach with pictures………….it was all about ME! The last time I went with a friend who didn’t like pictures, so not a lot of them were taken. A lot more “ship” pictures. So, just so I feel like I’m giving a good review, I will mix in some pictures from my January cruise on the Dream. Trust me, nothing much has changed.



So the here are the deets: This was my birthday cruise and a reunion cruise for me and my friend who hadn’t seen each other for 7 years, since high school. I was turning 28 and she is 27.



We booked room 11245, balcony spa room and I will give more details on that later.



Dates were: Oct. 22nd-29th

Islands were: Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Maarten.

So, since I cruised on the Dream before there WILL be some comparisons of my first trip vs. this trip. I can’t help it. I had a different person with me, a different room, different islands and a different entertainment staff.

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Here is where the story begins…

I got back from my January cruise and obviously was already jonesing for a new cruise. So what do I do? Head to good old Facebook in search of a partner in crime. I posted the cruise I wanted to go on and waited for my first bite. I think it took about 1 min. before I saw my friends reply that she wanted to go. She had never cruised before and really wanted to go and frankly was willing to go where ever and whenever I wanted, lol. We were booked by the end of February. Ironically, it was her choice to do the spa cabin. After I had described to her the spa pass areas that I had purchased with my friend on the previous Dream cruise, she had to have the room. Just in case you are wondering the prices:



$1,050pp (w/ taxes, fees, and tips) and we got a $20pp price drop about 2 months before we sailed.




So, when I checked flight prices, they were outrageous, $400 flights to Orlando. The discount airline in my area only flew on Thursdays and Mondays, so the cost in hotel rooms would have made up the difference. We decided to hoof it down to Orlando by car from good ‘ol VA and share the gas cost. It was around $130 a piece when we totaled it. Still cheaper than a flight.



We decided to leave on Thursday night. I would meet up with her at her brother’s house in Bristol, VA and head down from there. We left her brothers around 10:30 pm. Of course I couldn’t sleep b/c I was too excited, even though it would be my turn to drive in just a few hours. Our car ride escapades were fun and will not be repeated, sorry. I will say that about 4am, when I had been napping and woke up to all the windows down, Glee blasting on the ipod and spittle from water being poured on my friends head, we pulled over at the next rest stop and both took about a 1.5 nap.

After many more escapades we finally made it to our hotel, Four Points Shearton, in Cocoa Beach. It was really easy to get to and though the parking garage is a bit confusing (the front desk will clear up where to park in the garage for you) it was a really nice hotel. We had a bit of problem with our keys not working at first, but a housekeeper and manager were right there on the hall and let us in and even offered to go exchange our keys for us. Our room was nice and well-kept except for a closet door that came out of the track.




Here are pics of the room. I don't know why they are coming out sideways, they are right on the website I'm using. Just turn your head.















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Again with the sideways pictures that aren't really sideways. sorry.


We paid a park n cruise rate which included: $120, plus tax.

Shuttle to the port

Shuttle back to the hotel

Room-free internet, bottled water, had a microwave, coffee maker, and mini fridge



A place to park your car for the week (though it was on the top floor with no cover for your car (if you are concerned about this)


The hotel has a restaurant, and huge surf shop, a pool is attached to the garage and you are like 1200ft from the actual beach. We spent very little time on the beach……..it is kinda chilly in late October. We did hop in the pool and hot tube for a bit, and then went back to the room to change and go down and eat at the restaurant. The restaurant was never that crowded and we always got a table. We went there for lunch earlier and then had dinner later. We were a little ways down from most restaurants and didn’t want to walk, but we didn’t want to really get in another car for at least another week, lol. It was good food and service. Although, my friend gave the waitress a $20 for her meal at dinner and she took off with it, then came back and asked my friend if she had given her a $20. She was flying back and forth around us and we heard her tell ppl to look out for the $20. She had misplaced it. No one questioned us about it, but I felt bad for her if she didn’t find it. I saw my friend give her the $20 and saw her take it. Nothing we could do. Other than that……..great stay.




















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Embark Day.

We got up that morning with plenty of time to get dressed and packed back up (organized). We had an 11:30 shuttle scheduled as part of our deal with the hotel. BTW, as soon as you book, you can call for a shuttle time. Had I known that I would have called when I booked and not three months later. My friend was excited and I had never gotten to port early before, so we asked the front desk for a taxi service that night. We scheduled a ride that night for a pick up at 10:30am. It was about $18 + tip for the two of us. The taxi lady was super nice, but she had a lot of trouble with directions from the drop off people. They were kind of rude to her when it was there fault for not being clear about where she needed to pull up. But all that matter was that we were that much closer to the ship!






The porters were super nice and didn’t bother me for a tip, though I made sure to tip nicely (I love my clothes too much for them to get a bath or spend the week on the dock, lol). The line was almost none when we got there. My friend got wanded by security, don’t know why. She kept beeping in the metal detector and the only thing we figured was her bathing suit top under her cover-up had a metal clasp. Only took a few mins.




Btw, our wine was packed in carry ons and no questions were asked. We also had 12 cans of pepsi loose in our bags, nothing.




Up the escalator we went. I was still under the impression we had to fill out those health forms, NOPE. I even asked the guy……..no. That is so much better, but not something I had read on CC recently. So FYI if you didn’t know. Got in to line easy peezy, stood in the roped area for less than 1 min.




BTW, got there a little before 11am….say about 10:45 (to drop off luggage, not the line).




We did have a problem at the desk. She was a new girl, but she was doing great with checking us in, though you could see she was nervous. I just kept smiling to help her feel more at ease. She got us all checked in and then went to get our cards………….ooooopppps…………there weren’t there.



She got a supervisor and they were gone for about……..5-7 mins. She came back with our cards and we were good to go.




Btw, if you have a spa room you have to sign your ticket and they need that signed part to keep as a contract that you won’t smoke in your room. Our girl didn’t know that, but I had been listening to the people beside us who had a spa room too and I made sure I handed ours too her, so she wouldn’t get in trouble.




We had gotten Zone 8 card and were sitting off to the side. It was about 11:30 when they called our zone.

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Btw, Let me say sorry again to the people in that line. My friend, though she has never cruised before, somehow kept getting put in front of me and I was trying to keep up with her to make sure she had what she needed and didn’t get lost (not that you could). I was coming around the corner of the roped pole thing to follow her and these kids came running up from the side, so I just kinda slide in real quick so I could stay with my friend. I realized that with my rolling suitcase that it might not have been as smooth as I thought. So, I turned around to the kids and said, “Sorry guys, didn’t mean to pop in like that, just trying to keep up with my friend.” The kids could have cared less, but the mom looked at me weird and was like, “Its fine.” But one of those “Its fine.” That tells you it really isn’t “That fine.” Eh, chalk it up to “things happen” and move on. I did the polite thing and said sorry.


We got through the photo for your card part, then I needed to re-adjust my luggage a bit on my shoulder, so I stopped a min. before the next escalators to re-shift the weight and prepare to take my roll on up and the dude was like………..Keep Moving………..No Stopping. Trust me dude………I want to get on that ship, but just in one piece and not tripping over my luggage.



Btw, don’t stop near the escalators, lol. Also, something about croc shoes aren’t allowed on those things…………I had croc flip flops on………..I survived.

We then took the facial recognition photo and off we went, where my friend promptly stopped in front of me and said, “You can go first now, I don’t know where I’m at.” HA! Now you want to follow……….and she did, the rest of the cruise.

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So, I was super excited about going to the Dining Room for lunch instead of the Lido. I swear I read it was open on embark day and it was the one in the atrium. But there was no one there. I think I had it wrong, probably the aft dining room that was open. No harm, no foul. We needed to do some account stuff anyway. I had bought a FCC on last cruise and applied it. As you may or may not know, the OBC will be divided between the two people if you do separate accounts. So, my friend agreed to give me $50 back and I would just put it on my account.




Btw, The guest services computers apparently don’t work until noon.

After that it was easy to say, let’s just go eat. My choice was the pasta bar. As a CC reader and previous Dream cruiser I knew that the space would not be crowded. I kept leading my friend. She stopped several times through the buffet thinking we were there, lol. It’s a bit of a haul back there, but not having to worry about your carry ons and such is so worth it.




Btw,Remember there are elevators that will go up to that level instead of that tiny staircase.




It wasn’t busy as usual and the food is fresh too.

Btw, if you haven’t done the pasta bar before. When you enter there is a little stand there with a person who has table numbers, pencils and the paper you need to fill out for your pasta. Take all that with you to a table and make your choices, then take it up to the chef. It took about 10 mins. to get our food.













At some point I didn’t want to worry about going down and doing the money thing. I figured we’d do it on the port day b/c everyone would be off the ship and the line wouldn’t be long.



Btw, if you wait until a port day, a little after everyone can get off the ship, there is a smaller line for guest services, however, it seems people with the biggest problems are there…………

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At one point I went and found a Fun Times (the café has them, if you are wondering) and we noticed the spa tours were going on soon. So we headed that way. Of course, I’d done this before, but my friend hadn’t, so I had to do it again (had nothing to do with the raffle or the sample massages given).

Btw, They give out like a few mins. sample of some of the massages outside of the spa near the elevators. If you get there right on time, the lines are short.

We were going to take the tour, but the little spa guy was concerned b/c there were steps and we had rolling luggage, so we opted to wait a few mins. for a sample massage and hopefully our rooms would be ready. We were right, by the time we both got our sample, it was 1:30. The announcement hadn’t been made yet, but I knew from the past that the CD doesn’t always get around to that right away. So, we went down to the Spa elevator to go down to our secret spa entrance hallway, lol.

Btw, The spa elevators are slow. I don’t mean like, waiting for them………I mean like………..they move like molasses coming out of a jar. Actually, I think molasses could have beat the elevator down.


We found our secret spa entrance door to our hallway and went through (though at the time we didn’t really know where we were at)






We found ourseleves on our hallway and only a few feet from our room. Our door was open and it looked ready. However, the steward in the hallway was still vacuuming a few rooms and we didn’t know if he had finished ours or not. He came out and politely told us he was still finished vacuuming. We said that was fine. Apparently, he didn’t realize that we were waiting for that particular room and when he came out again he said, “Is that your room? I’ll vaccum next.” He began to move towards our room and bypass another. He only had that room before ours. I stopped him and insisted he not change anything for us, that we had all the time in the world. He finished the other room, and then ours and we were free to go in.

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The spa rooms have darker earth tones to seem more relaxing. You get Elemis mini bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and lotion in the bathroom along with the normal freebies. You get slippers and the spa version of the robe. Of course you are also supposed to be smoke free rooms and balconies.












Btw, I have nothing against the rights of smokers, though I don’t like smoke. But as a warning to those who book these rooms be aware that people can smoke below you and if you are on the end of the spa sections, they can smoke beside you. We had an end room, but the wind would have carried cig. Smoke from the balcony beside us downwind. However, the same is not true for smokers below you. We had one below us and we did have a bit of blast of smell from him. Not going off about this. It’s just an FYI people.

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My friend waited until we were on the road to tell me she had a fear of heights…………11th floor………HELLO! Lol. She did good though, no freak outs. We decided to go back up to the spa for a tour after dropping things off. Like I said, I’d been there, but she hadn’t so I wanted her to get the tour. I had brought my camera to take pictures, my nice one………but I didn’t use it b/c it just felt weird with the other people on the tour around, plus the steam rooms would have been too much. I have some pics from my first time so I’ll post those.

















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We put our names in for the spa drawing and had planned on getting back, but you know when they schedule the Muster around 3pm, don’t start to 3:45pm and then you have to make your way back around through the crowds……….plus we wanted to see sailaway from our balcony. I had set my mom up to a link to the port cam so she could see us sail away. Well, not the most technology savy person, she couldn’t get the cam up in time. It probably didn’t help she was watching my brother’s kids at the time though. Oh well. We sipped our first drinks of the cruise and sailed off. While we were out on the balcony apparently someone sneaky came in the room and left something. I had COMPLETELY forgotten I’d ordered my friend chocolate covered strawberries and a Welcome Aboard your first cruise gift. She had mentioned that she loved them. It was surprise to both of us at that point, then I read the note………..tehe.


After that, we heard some thuds outside the door and I knew the familiar noise of suitcases being dropped off. It was my friend’s suitcases. Mine didn’t show up until later. That always makes me nervous, lol. We decided to go try the spa out at this point. This is where the love affair between my friend and the T-pool came to be. She was in that pool whenever she could be. It is very relaxing and I have to say, that it cleaned my pores out and helped with my blister already forming from not wearing flips flops for a while.


Btw, Ladies, I have to say……..it helped with saving my legs later. I think I got the closes best shave EVER and it lasted a lot longer. But note, that in sensitive areas (inner thighs, get you minds out of the gutter), it will cause a few break outs, as it is cleaning out the “impurities”


We needed to get back and get ready for dinner (8:15, beauty takes time). Actually, we wanted to unpack a bit so we went back to do that and my suitcase had arrived, YAY! It felt good to put stuff away. My friend, however, decided to keep a lot of stuff in her suitcase………….newbies.


We got ourselves put together for dinner and we got there just in time. No big crowd to sit in for 5 mins. just walked right in.


Btw, Just be a few mins. late for the seating time. Leave your room at like 8:15 and it will be a breeze.


I was looking forward to meeting some new people…………and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a table for two. REALLY? Ugh, I couldn’t have gotten one if I had wanted it. They did this to me and my mom too. I thought two girls around the same age would have surely been sat with a bigger group. Oh well. We didn’t want to make a fuss and our waiters were nice. I told my friend we could switch, but she just wanted to stay. No big deal, we had plenty to talk about, just would have liked to have met some new people. (I’m doing anytime dining this next time, lol.)


I don’t go into details about dinner like a lot of people and I don’t take pictures of food. I got over it, lol. With all the menus and stuff posted on John H.’s blog I don’t see the point. I will tell you that we did try a few of the didja items and they were good. Alligator tasted like chicken and Shark tasted like tuna. The bacon mac n cheese was super good. I can’t complain about any of the food I had. It was all good to me.












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We went to the Welcome Aboard show after dinner. Of course, my friend had never experienced one or any of the shows, so we went to them all. I didn’t mind seeing them all again. It was a different set of dancers, so it made a difference. This is where we first caught a glimpse of Kirk Benning, our “CD” for the week. I will have to note that I was REALLY disappointed when Butch was moved to the Liberty. This would have been my third cruise with him and I really like his style. But I thought it was cool to have a different CD too, so I was ready to see how Kirk did things…………………

Listen, I think to give the benefit of the doubt to everyone. I want to positive. I was a theatre major; I know the meaning of constructive criticism. I’m just gonna get this part out of the way. I’ve been on 4 Carnival Cruises including this last one (and one for next Nov.). I have been on 2 other cruises on other cruiselines. Had I not found CC I wouldn’t even know what a CD was. But I do. I have two direct comparisons and one indirect for other CDs. I had Todd Wittmar on my first Carnival Cruise and I had Butch Begovitch on the last 2. Of course, I’ve seen videos and read on John H.’s blog about his style, but no actual interaction. Now, strictly based on my past experience with CDs I’m going to give you the breakdown on Kirk (Who I might add apparently just left the Dream for “personal reasons.”).

Knowing that Kirk just got handed the Dream about a week before we boarded I figured there might be a little bit of transitional things going on. To be expected.


Btw, IN NO WAY, SHAPE OR FORM DID THIS “RUIN” MY CRUISE. People ask about CDs all the time, so I’m giving my personal thoughts, which only belong to me.


He introduced himself to us at the Welcome Aboard show where he did a few stick jokes with people, which were funny and he was done. He actually told us to say “Hi Kirk” when we saw him around the ship. This would have been great…………..had we seen him. The benefit of the Doubt (BOTD) will be that we just weren’t where he was and that’s why we hardly show him. Though I didn’t expect to see him at BINGO or Trivia or Karaoke………….We didn’t see him at any of the Dance Parties on the Deck either. Todd and Butch both “lead” these activities.

I know colors wars are controversial here, but I kinda liked them. Just really the big party, points getting part. Ummm, well……….no show Kirk didn’t come to the deck party and our “color wars” big competition was a conga line. The line dances and everything didn’t count.


Btw, with Butch we had a big competition that started at either the Karaoke club, dance club or Ocean Plaza where we would compete various ways for points. Butch led the dance club competition himself and then joined us up on the deck for the party and led the activities there. In fact, at the end, he ended up jumping in the pool. Only comparing what I know.


The Madri Gra Party……………well we didn’t see Kirk though he had just been on stage to do his 5 min. intro for the show. We went to do Karaoke and then heard the “party” coming our way. Jamie, the AD was leading it with about 10 people behind her. All he disappeared once she told them to stay and enjoy the Karaoke. I did, however, see him quite a few times in the Burgundy Lounge during comedy shows hanging out with the Fun Dude and drinking. He did sit down at one show, with a drink, and watched it with no much interest.


I was ready and willing to just let everything that happened (well, didn’t happen) during the entire cruise go b/c I knew the Legends Show was the last show and I KNEW what would happen. Or so I thought. The moment came and……………………………………Gumbi (Entertainment Staff, great guy though, we have the same bday) came out as Dolly. Come on folks……….even JH dresses up at these shows.


Here is the final deal. He wasn’t annoying, so if you like a CD (if he ever comes back) that doesn’t do much and kinda stays out of your way, Kirk is your guy. If you want someone with a little more flare and a CD will make or break your cruise, I would steer clear of Mr. Benning.


BOTD, I hope that maybe he was having an off time, maybe his transfer to the Dream and now his “personal time” is why he didn’t do so well. I hope that things work out for him.


I think after the show we walked around a bit and I told my friend where stuff was happening. When had a long day, so we just decided to go back to the room and settle in for Nassau.

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Okay, this would be the third time I’ve been to Nassau. Its not that I don’t like it, I just find it boring. But after trip 3, I might have to change that tune. I read on the boards that the horse carriage rides were nice and in-expensive. So, my friend and I decided to try that out. First, they charged us an extra $5 more than the person had said, even when I questioned them. Then when get to the “carriage”…okay.

BTW, Did I mention above that my friend and I are…………….well……………we have more deck space on our afts.

The carriage has a backseat and front. The back has like a little (I mean pretty small) foot pedal to step up on. The front, does NOT. I went and stepped up on the back and got in. The guy looked at me and said, “Why don’t you let your friend ride in back.” Well, not that I didn’t like my friend, but why couldn’t she ride in the back with me? I mean, we would be……..squished, but it would have been fine. I guess proportion is key. So, I had to get out and back down and let her get in the back.

Btw, did I mention I was wearing white capris?

I looked at the front and quickly realized there was no foot pedal. Ummm?????? “Put your foot up on wheel.” Seriously? Okay, Up I go and promptly lose my balance and tumble into the floor of the carriage where all the nasty dirt of those riding got all over my capris. YAY! Then I had to move over so the driver could squeeze in next to me (did I mention the front seat was smaller?). Not only did he promise us a 25 min. ride and not do 25 mins. but he solicited me and my friend for…………..mmm……….use your imaginations. At the end, I didn’t care about the money, I just wanted off and back on the boat. Great, now I have to get off the thing. So, promptly put my foot over the big wheel on the side and slide down, where more black marks got on my pants.

Pic of me probably a little scared of giving this guy my really expensive camera.





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Okay, so its one experience. It doesn’t mean the whole island is bad. But I haven’t had any “WOW!” times on the island and after three times, I officially know that I probably will just stay on the ship. Yes, I might pick an Itin. That goes there again, but if ports mattered to me, then it would be a big deal.

We went back to the room, threw my pants in a laundry bag for cleaning and got our bathing suits on. We went to the aft pool and found plenty of chairs. We spent some time in the sun, in the pool, and grabbed some lunch and a drink.

















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My friend, being in love with the T-pool had to go make a visit, so off we went to drop our stuff by the room and up our secret staircase to the spa. Tonight was the first elegant night, so we knew we needed a little more time to get dressed. My friend had really wanted a pedi and I needed to fix a chip in my pre-cruise pedi. So, we asked if they had space and they had one around 7, I think. We thought that was cutting it close to dinner, but we came up with the plan to go back to the room and get showers, do our hair and make-up. With that done, all we had to do was throw on our dresses. Brilliant.



We got the fire and ice pedi. You get a menthol like rub put on your legs and then wrapped in a hot towel. They do the scrubbing and so forth first, then the menthol wrap, then a hot stone massage on the legs and finally they complete it with polish. I got a French (btw, still holding up really good) and my friend got color. The French wasn’t extra. The girl wasn’t very talkative, but she was nice and really paid attention to her work. I mean, that’s all you can really ask right? She was a bit nicer when she saw my tip.





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Umm, those of you who hate loading pictures are going to hate me for this one:


Our planned worked and we made it to dinner on time. Again, no food pics, sorry. After dinner we had some time to kill before that nights performance, so we headed up to deck 11 around the pool. We were all dressed up and pictures were needed. (I had a couple shots done downstairs) So, we used the wind on the deck and captured some fun shots. Don’t judge.

















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