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Carnival Dream Picture Review, December 10th-17th, 2011


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Hello everyone! I have gone back and forth on whether or not to do this review (mostly because of time constraints) but have decided to do so anyway. I will most likely only be able to review one day of the cruise at a time and there may be days between posts so please be patient with me, subscribe to this thread so you'll be notified of new posts and enjoy the ride! :D


I'm Alicia, 30, and live in Tampa, FL. My partner in life, Latanya, 32 and I sailed on the Dream together on 12/10/11 through 12/17/11. This sailing made my 14th or 15th sailing between CCL and RCL. Can you tell I love cruising? :-) I actually have a goal that I hope to reach which is 500 days at sea before I am no longer living. Hopefully I'll make it to see that 500th sea day! Latanya went on her first cruise with me when we first got together and the Dream made her 4th cruise. She's not as crazy about cruising as I am but she still quite enjoys them.


For me, cruising is a little about the ship, a little about the ports of call and a little of getting to know new people and discover new things. Together, all parts make the perfect recipe. I am a self proclaimed nitpicky individual and I tend to analyze everything and everyone despite my best efforts not to do so. But with that, you get honesty from me all the time and I don't really mince words. If I love something, I am vocal about it.. If I don't.. count on me to do the same. With that said, I am also very fair and point out the good with the bad and vice versa. I see things as a whole, not just as one facet.


Okay, next post will be Day 1 of our cruise. I am going to grab some lunch real quick while day 1's photos are uploading and will post shortly!

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All packed up in our car and on our way to Cape Canaveral at around 9am on December 10th. We live about 2 hours away from the port. We had a smooth drive into Cape Canaveral. I wasn't nearly as excited this time around leading up to departure day as normal. However when we rounded the corner and I saw the Dream sitting there, my heart did a little flutter. It's funny how the expectations I have about how I should feel in the days leading up to the cruise are similar to the expectations a bride to be has that she'll cry when she tries on the perfect wedding gown. :p


I love the way the port is set up for dropping off your checked luggage. You wait in your car in a line and then when you get into the parking garage structure, you pull into a space where a porter meets you and takes your luggage. This set up allows 30-40 cars in at a time where everyone can take their own time getting their luggage out of their cars. We had all of our stuff ready and total from drive in to drive out took less than 10 minutes. Our big luggage was checked and we were off.


We drove 5 minutes away to the nearest Park N Cruise facility, where we had pre-arranged to leave our car for the week. Their rates are a little less than 1/2 of parking at the port and they have a free shuttle that takes you back to the ship. A lot of people went straight to Park N Cruise with all of their luggage and then had to carry them onto the shuttle and check them in at the port. I didn't want to have to lug them around in the inbetween steps. We still had a couple of small carry on bags plus my camera bags.


I should mention now that I didn't take photos during this first part of the day. I own 2 photography companies and all I do is take photos. So, there are lots of things I didn't take photos of since I needed a vacation away from work. However, as the week went on, I brought the camera out more and more. Guess the inner geek in me couldn't stay away! :p


Back on track - the wait at Park N Cruise was about 20 minutes but well worth it for the savings. We were on the shuttle and headed back to the ship and the excitement truly started to kick in as we were now surrounded by other people in the shuttle that were oboard our ship. Conversations began immediately and the excitement of others fed into my excitement even more!


We got off the shuttle at about 11:45am and the line for check in was wrapped outside the terminal. It took us until 1pm to get onboard the ship. An hour and 15 minutes is by far the longest time I have ever spent in line to get on a ship. With that said, I normally board around 2pm and perhaps the time had more to do with it than anything. Everything seemed to be moving smoothly, there were just a lot of people that were boarding all at once. They did have cold water containers that were available while waiting in line and that was nice. :-)


1pm - we're finally walking the gangway and into the Atrium on Deck 3 of the Dream. First impressions - the ship is very clean and the welcoming staff, very friendly. The Dream Atrium is pretty, not my personal taste but nothing bad about it either. I overheard a lot of people commenting how gorgeous they thought it was throughout the week so again, personal taste.


1:15pm - We're up on Deck 10, (Lido deck) and quickly got a table outside next to the main pool. Latanya stays with our carry on bags at the table and I go in search of my first meal. I smelled something amazing and followed my nose to the Mongolian Grill. The line was quite long and it took about 2-3 minutes per person because they cook the food to order and can only cook 3 dishes at once. But the food was absolutely amazing and worth the wait in the line. It was the best meal I've ever had for lunch on a ship and made me a believer in waiting in the lines for the freshly cooked food.


A photo of my shrimp and beef meal cooked in just soy sauce.




I made it back to the table about 30 minutes or so later and Latanya went off to find some food of her own. She went to the Italian lunch station (not the Pasta Bar). The first day was the only day they did Italian lunch and she was able to get a plate full of food within 10-15 minutes. She thought her food was quite yummy as well.




Tummy nice and full to tide us over until our first dinner!


Off to our cabin, which should be ready by now to drop our carried on bags!


It's about 2pm now and we're at our cabin and to our surprise, all of our checked luggage is already waiting on us! Yay! We open the door and take our stuff inside.


Stateroom - 7220. Location - Empress Deck, 7 - Forward. I didn't take photos of our stateroom because it's just another stateroom, although it looked really new. More on the location of our stateroom later.


We hurry up and run off to the Crimson dining room to meet the Maitre'D. I should pause now to go into a little back story. We were part of the cruise critic roll call for our sailing on the Dream. I was the one that kept track of the spreadsheets for our official Meet N Greet and over the course of the couple months leading up to the cruise, made some awesome friends. One of those couples and us bonded a bit before cruising and although we were scheduled for late dining, we'd decided to visit the Maitre'D to change to "anytime dining" to be able to eat with them.


Unfortunately, they were overbooked for anytime dining and said they could not accomodate us. I won't lie, I wanted things my way and it really bothered me for a couple of hours and put a sour taste in my mouth. I realized I'd have to get over it and not let it ruin my cruise though so I held my head up and tried to move on.


More to come in a few minutes.....

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Rushing from the Crimson to the Aft Pool Bar on the Lido deck to join everyone for our 2:30 CC M&G. We were about 10 minutes or so late which was horrible since I was the one that kept everything organized for it. Oops! The next hour or so was a bit of a blur to me as everyone came up to me and introduced themselves and said they knew who I was from my photos on CC and thanked me for keeping up with the M&G. I was super excited to meet the couple we'd been keeping in contact with, Steven and Kim from Pennsylvania. Kim would always joke that I was Steven's other wife because we'd stay up all night talking with each other on Facebook. (We're both night owls).


Anyway, finally met them! This is the first people photo with just Steven and I. Kim was being silly and wouldn't get in the photo because she said it was just for his other wife and him. LOL!



Then, we got her to jump into the photo too. Thanks to Latanya for taking these!



Our M&G had about 30-40 people show up out of about 50 people who said they would be there which isn't too shabby. Just a couple of shots..





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Almost forgot.. after I finished eating my lunch, Latanya was still eating since she went to get her food after me. So, I walked up the stairs to Deck 11 real quick and took a couple of photos of the other ships in port and a couple of ship photos.


The main pool deck with a view of the waterslide



Another ship that was in port - not sure which one this one was:



The Norweigan Sun:



One of the hot tubs on Deck 11:



And, a shot I take on every ship...




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One last photo at the Aft Pool Bar area:



Latanya and I headed to the Encore Lounge for our Muster Drill. Everything ran smoothly.. we didn't have to take our life vests and stand outside for the first time which was refreshing for those of us who have done this drill what seems like a million times.


We waited for the majority of the theater to clear out and then we left. The reviews about the wait times of the elevators aboard the Dream would prove to be true. Many more passengers, same amount of elevators and it took a long time (About 30 minutes) to get the elevator up. I am fine to take the stairs 1 flight up and several flights down but I do have knee problems so waiting was a must for me.


I should note that they were still using a couple elevators during this time to get luggage to everyones rooms and the wait time on this day was not the standard for the rest of the cruise, although some wait times did seem long, this would be by far the worst wait of the week.


We made it back up to our room and Latanya wanted to call her family to tell them we were off for the week. No signal in our room so she walked out into the hallway, where she was greeted by our Cabin Steward, Mon. He was a friendly fella but not very talkative which wasn't a big deal to us. He told her the best place to get a signal was literally 5 feet away out a door at the front of the ship on our deck. What a great surpise! Our room was literally 3 rooms away from the front of Deck 7 and I didn't know that we'd have access to a door that would lead out to a small deck out there. I was super excited by this easy access to get to the outside world. Throughout the cruise, there was rarely anyone out there and it was nice to be able to walk a few feet to check the weather, to feel the breeze, etc.




We stayed on our small deck that almost nobody knew about for the sail away and passed the Carnival Ecstacy as we pulled away.







Loved this little fishing pier as we were pulling out.



We headed back to our room and decided that we wanted to check the spa out. We'd heard great things about the Cloud 9 spa from other people in our roll call. Out of 14 ships, I'd never even went to see the spa on any of them. Latanya was interested in seeing the gym too because she likes to work out on the ships to keep the extra pounds off from the food!


The spa was conveniently up on Deck 11, literally above our room. They gave us a tour immediately and showed us through the different rooms. We were immediately sold on the relaxation aspect and decided to purchase VIP Spa Passes for the week. $250 for a couple and allows you unlimited use of the spa facilities (Doesn't include treatments.) I didn't know whether or not I'd feel like this was worth the money but decided to try it. I'll get into this more later and will review the spa itself.


We went back to our room real quick, changed into our swimsuits and robes and went to use the spa for our first time. Again, I'll review this soon - I want to post photos with the review of it and I don't have them ready yet so might as well leave some suspense. :-)

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We went back to the room after using the spa, showered off, got dressed and headed to our first dinner, late seating, since we couldn't change our dining time. We were sat at a table meant for 10 people. Only 2 people were there when we were seated and they both looked seasick and not happy so it was just awkward. 3 more people showed up rather late and they were not talkative. We've been lucky with our dining companions overall in the past but we were just left feeling awkward. I don't remember what we ate. I didn't take photos. I know, I am horrible. I should warn you now that I didn't take many food photos during this cruise, except for one night and that night is definitely worth continuing to tune in to see the photos! :-)


I had fruit for dessert. I'll go ahead and say now that I rarely ate dessert on the ship because in general, I don't care for it. Plus, I wanted to save the calories. I never found any of the food that I ate during the week to be horrible and I am extremely picky and snobby when it comes to food. There were many dishes that I really enjoyed. I never expected amazing food on a ship with 4,800 passengers that all have to be served. More on this later too with some inside information :-)


My fruit plate - yummy!



And another photo I missed from outside our special little Deck 7 forward area. A nice little bench to sit on while sitting out there.. :-)



After dinner, we headed to the Encore Theater Lounge to watch the "Welcome Aboard" show. Just when we thought it was the same show we'd seen over and over again, (and the beginning was), we were introduced to a new addition called Fun Force. Fun Force is a team of guys that do acrobatics, break dancing and a guy that does amazing pop and locking. They did a very brief routine and we were informed they'd make a grander appearance later in the week which we were super excited about and looked forward to for the entire week.


Since photos were allowed during this night, I took some photos of the show.


Meet Gary, our Cruise Director.



And our captain:



The ladies dancing





More coming up (this 6 photo limit per post is interesting...)

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This next shot of the dancers makes me smile because Shane, the guy supporting the girl is an awesome guy from Hawaii who we later got to know and he is very sweet. Shane is an incredibly talented performer and very energetic. In general, the dancers and singers on the Dream seemed to have more energy and were happy people.




A photo of the Fun Force dancers breakdancing (They're motion blurred because I didn't have a flash with me. I do have more photos of them later in the week.)





After the Welcome Aboard show, we headed to the welcome aboard Laser Show. I read incredible things about this on the Dream so I was beyond excited to go to it even though I was very tired. They came over the microphone and talked about how they are the only ship at sea to have a 2 million dollar state of the art laser show and then we all started cheering as they prepared the fog machines (The fog helps you to see the laser beams better). I'd love to say this was amazing. Unfortunately, it was lackluster and boring and we thought maybe it was due to the wind pushing the fog down and not being able to catch the laser beams well so we decided not to be too critical of it.


Steve (from our roll call) found us out there by the pool in our loungers right before the show and watched it with us. Then, he stayed with us after it was over and we chit chatted until around 1:30am. Great conversation so that made it worth being out there. I also grabbed a sausage dog without a bun and some fries from the Lido outside grill and they were both yummy!.


2am - Snore! See you tomorrow!

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Hey Alicia, Great Introduction. I will be on the dream in May. waiting to hear your next installment. I live just across from you in Palm Bay, 40 minutes from the port.


Thanks! I hope you stick around and read it all. I edit all of the photos before I post them so I have to make time for that. I am a very busy photographer and my clients images must come first. So, it'll probably be a couple days before I can add more on here.

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Enjoying your review and love your pictures. Even though most of the pictures posted in other reviews are very good, your pro ones are awesome.


We've been on the Dream twice and love her. I'm a little confused as to which deck you were on. I thought you posted you were on deck 7 -Empress Deck but then said your cabin was on deck 10 just below the spa deck. Did you have to change cabins during the cruise?

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Enjoying your review and love your pictures. Even though most of the pictures posted in other reviews are very good, your pro ones are awesome.


We've been on the Dream twice and love her. I'm a little confused as to which deck you were on. I thought you posted you were on deck 7 -Empress Deck but then said your cabin was on deck 10 just below the spa deck. Did you have to change cabins during the cruise?



Sorry to confuse you, I said the spa was literally above our cabin.. I didn't mean that our cabin was on deck 10. I meant that if a boulder came crashing down from the spa on deck 11 through the floors, it would probably hit our room on deck 7. We were able to take the elevator close to our room up to deck 11 and the spa was right there. It would take a minute or less to get there so it was convenient and added to the relaxation aspect. :-)


Thank you for the compliments on my photos. Really, some of them are just snapshots though. I tried not to spend too much time thinking about compositions, lighting, etc. and to just take photos for fun this time. Knowing how to use photoshop helps :-)

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Nice review. We were on the Dream last Jan. on with the cabins facing out to the "secret doors." Got the same cabin again this coming Jan. Like having your own balcony. lol



Exactly! It did feel almost like we had our own balcony. Only twice were there other people out there and the most was like 8 people. Many times, it was just us which was rather nice.

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I know how time consuming it is to write such a detailed review, especially one that includes so many amazing photos, but you must know how much it is appreciated. We will be on The Dream in March, along with some friends who are new to the whole cruising experience, and I really want this trip to live up to their expectations. I have had so many questions and concerns about this ship, so I was thrilled to find your thread. Thank you so much; I can't wait to read the next installment.



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Sunday, December 11th, 2011 - Day 2 - Sea Day


Latanya and I woke up slowly on this day and I am pretty sure we skipped breakfast entirely. I am kicking myself for not taking notes but oh well! Like Tim Gunn of Project Runway says "Make it work!"


We decided to go to the spa for some rest and relaxation. Latanya brought her work out clothes and her swimsuit with her so that she could work out in the gym first and then shower off and join me in the spa. I just realized I am making myself look very lazy - well, this was a vacation and I was lazy! Haha.


Cloud 9 Spa

The Cloud 9 spa, currently only on the Carnival Dream and Splendor has several rooms that you can enjoy as either a Spa Cabin passenger or a VIP Spa pass holder. If you're interested in using the spa facilities, I suggest you start checking early for a spa cabin and compare the prices to see how much the difference is between a regular cabin and a spa cabin. We didn't have a spa cabin because the price difference was too big but we booked on short notice.


The couples spa pass is $250 for the entire week if you don't have a spa cabin. This allows you to go to the spa from 8am-10pm every day as much as you wish. We figured that if we went 7 times (once a day), that it would wind up being about $18 each per day to use the facilities.


There is a Thalassotherapy Pool room which is a mix between a small swimming pool and a jacuzzi in that it's way bigger than a jacuzzi but hotter than a swimming pool. In fact, it's supposed to be around the same as the average body temperature. I thought it was a smidge hotter than that but found it to be comfortable (not too hot like a lot of jacuzzi's.). There are special minerals that are put into the water that are supposed to make your skin feel softer and combo jets that are supposed to make your joints feel better as well. There is also a long lounger metal bench in the pool that you can kind of lay down on with your legs up.


Since this is only day 2, I don't know if they're doing their job well or not so I won't ruin it for you.. I'll just wait until the final day recap of the spa to tell you whether or not everything was worth the money.


Sorry I don't have a great photo of this room .. there were always some people in it so I didn't want to be annoying taking photos.



Another room which became one of Latanya's favorite rooms was the very wet sauna room. The steam was so thick in this room that you could barely see. There are these mist sprayers that lightly mist you with warm water and the room is super hot. I found this room to be great for the muscle relaxation and for making me sweat. However, it was too intense for my face and for me to breathe well. I am asthmatic. So, while I used it on this Sea Day, I didn't return to it. Latanya used it every day and loved it and so did some of our other friends from our roll call.


Another of our favorite rooms, we called the Bamboo Round Room. It has great views of the water and several hot stone loungers. The lounger feels about like having a heating pad on medium heat except it covers your entire body. This room became an instant favorite of mine.


I have a lot of photos of this room (admittedly these were all taken on the last sea day but I figured I wouldn't make you all wait that long into the review to see them!) So, enjoy!












Photos continuing....

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Many more spa photos coming... I took a ton in this one room. Sorry if some of them are too similar. :-)






One of my favorites of the heated chairs..








Right outside of the Bamboo Round Room were these walk in rain showers which were super roomy. These were to rinse off and cool down.



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