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mpcaruth

Carnial Dream picture review

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I know there have been so many reviews written for the Dream, but I thought I would add one more and give another point of view to help others select their next cruise vacation.

 

We are a family of 4: me 39, DH 40, DS 11 (celebrated birthday on the ship), and DD 9. We have been cruising since 2006 and became hooked, so we cruise every year. We typically cruise in January to get away from the cold winter. I usually select our family cruise based primarily on price, itinerary, and convenience of an east coast departure port. This cruise, I selected the cruise based on the ship, the Dream. I thought it would really “wow” the kids. With that said, the kids really did not have any more fun on this ship than the others we have sailed. I believe I have been so spoiled by having amazing cruises in the past, that when I chalk up the Dream as “very good”, it felt disappointing. We had a good time, but it just did not qualify as amazing.

 

 

Pre-cruise:

We drove to Savannah GA and spent the night there on Thursday night. We spent a couple of hours touring the Riverfront on Friday morning, but it was usually cold. We then drove to Daytona where we surprised my son with infield passes at the Daytona International Speedway. They were holding Fan Fest and driver practice. This was my husband’s birthday gift for my son. Friday evening we headed to Cape Canaveral and stayed at the Residence Inn. As I had signed up for a Marriott Rewards credit card, I had points for 5 free hotel nights. The hotel was nice and breakfast was included. We left the hotel utilizing their transfer service at 10:00. Boarding went smoothly and we were on the ship heading to the Lido deck by 11:30.

 

Savannah:

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Daytona:

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The Ship:

I won’t go into detailed day-by-day events of the ship, as there are so many other reviews out there. I will just touch on the highlights.

The weather the first 3 days of the cruise was extremely windy and daytime highs of low 70s. To me, it was too cold for swimming and the playing on the waterslides. In fact, the kids hardly used the slide, even when the weather got better by the end of the week. My daughter said the slides hurt her back, and my son just said they were merely okay.

 

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To be continued...

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Fun and Entertainment:

 

My daughter loved Camp Carnival, as always. She spent most of her time during sea days at the Camp. She attended the late night party one night, and the counselors brought her back to the cabin at 3:00 AM. I think the fees for the 5-hour party was around $32 (including tip). To hear her excitement talking about it the following morning, it was worth every penny. They danced, played games, had snacks, and played tag in the Aft Lounge after the comedy shows let out. She brought back lots of Carnival souvenirs from the party too. There were 13 kids at the late night party on the January cruise. My DD made many friends at camp.

 

My son, 11, went to Camp once and determined that he had outgrown it. He was more interested in the pools, arcade, min-golf and the basketball court. The whole family played laser tag one afternoon in the Main Lounge. We all had an awesome time, and my DH won again, but he only beat me by 1 shot this year. I highly recommend this activity for families. It is so much fun, and you are exhausted when it’s over.

 

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To be continued...

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More Fun:

 

My son really enjoyed the basketball court and I played with him numerous times, though the 40 knot winds made it almost impossible to make a basket at times.

 

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There was also a lot of time spent in the arcade. They did have deals where you coud receive free tokens when you bought larger amounts of tokens upfront.

 

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Cabin:

 

Our Cabin was on the Lido deck all the way forward. Though it was nice to be on the Lido deck, I will probably never book a cabin this high up and forward. Since the weather was very windy, the ocean was very rough, and the room was rocking! I questioned as to whether the excessive motion was due to the design of the Dream, but we later talked in port to others from the Oasis who said their ship had a lot of motion too.

 

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This is the window outside of our cabin:

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To be continued...

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One of my favorite activities onboard the ship is the Punchliners Comedy Club. I think I went to 6 shows during the cruise. I went to a few of the shows in the main theater. I always enjoy the action comedy, but some of the musicals tend to bore me and my family, so we don’t attend. We did go to the show with the Fun Force, Dancing in the Streets. It was good. The Main Theater is NOT large enough to accommodate the number of guests. We got to the show 25 minutes early and could not find seating for the 4 of us together. People were saving seats everywhere – it was very frustrating.

 

 

 

The Fun Force showing in the Atrium was wonderful! Well, at least for me, the other three in my family got bored and wanted to leave before it was over. I guess I am a child of the 80s and loved break dancing.

 

We also like the opportunity for taking a break and watching the seaside theater. Oh my... is that Justin Bieber on the screne? Don't worry adults, the kid shows are over by 8:30 or so.

 

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Lido during the late evening (my favorite time to enjoy it: peacefully):

 

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Food:

 

I really enjoyed the food on the ship. My daughter ate at the Pasta Bar for lunch every sea day. My son loved the burrito bar, and I enjoyed the Tandori grill. My husband can eat anything. I believe we went to the dining room every evening on this cruise. We had Anytime dining, and the service was really good, and the food too. We tried the Dija-Ever dish every night, and the escargot and frog legs surprisingly received a huge thumbs up from my son.

 

We typically had breakfast and lunch on the lido, but tried the dining room once for each of these meals. The lunch service was unbelievably SLOW. All the tables around us were complaining. Breakfast was a little better, but it appeared to be the same food from the lido deck. My husband and son loved the omelets from the lido deck.

 

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Watching the wait staff sing:

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To be continued...

Edited by mpcaruth

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Special Birthday:

 

The Assistant Maitre ‘D had a special cake delivered to my son on his birthday, while the wait staff sang to him. It really made him feel special. Our cabin steward also made him a monkey towel for his birthday – his favorite. I decorated our Cabin door to celebrate my son’s birthday, and then took him on the Behind the Fun Tour.

 

As my son is extremely inquisitive, he loved the Behind the Fun Tour. The highlight was being on the Bridge and talking with the Captain. I myself enjoyed the Galley tour and the engine control room.

 

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To be continued...

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enjoying your review! What was yor cabin number?

 

Thanks. We were in Cabin 10201.

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PORTS: Nassau, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten

As I stated earlier, this cruise was not chosen for its itinerary. I prefer adventure, history, and culture to a myriad of beach days. My kids enjoy all of the above. I tried to schedule port activities that would meet all of our desires.

 

Nassau:

We had been here a couple of times. We went to the Atlantis water park one year, and the kids said that was the best water park ever (imagine that). Since the ship was only in port from 8:30 to 2:00, I decided on a beach day to Cable Beach. I had researched it and we were going to take the Jitney to the Sheraton and enjoy the beach and heated pools. Well… we were about an ½ hour late getting off the ship because I could not get everyone moving that morning. Then, we had a hard time finding the Jitney stop. Once we did, the Jitney didn’t show up, but was pulled over by the police a few blocks up (apparently the police were cracking down on un-licensed taxi drivers in Nassau). So, after waiting another ½ hour, we punted and grabbed a taxi. Whoa! The main road to Cable Beach was blocked do to a Marathon event. We literally went up and down every side road in town only to find the road still block. So, when we finally made it to the Sheraton, we determined we would only have about an hour there to allow for time to maneuver the road closing going back. So we punted. No Sheraton and the kids were disappointed. We headed back downtown, and as a tradition, went to the Tortuga Store to get our rum cakes They had free samples of rum cake (omg good). The cakes are much fresher from here than on the ship. The lady at the store said the cakes on the ship are delivered to Carnival typically at 3 months old.

 

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Also a tradition is to get conch fritters at the port shop area. They are wonderful!

 

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Sorry, no cool photos of Nassau this year, as our day was a bust.

 

 

 

St. Thomas:

We decided to take the family to St. John to see the beautiful US National Park of Trunk Bay. I was expecting to be wow’d and to feel like I was in heaven. It was very nice, but not quite heaven. The trip there was cumbersome: taxi to Redhook Ferry, ferry to Cruz Bay on St. John, and then taxi to Trunk Bay. We got to Trunk Bay about an hour before all the cruise tours, which I recommend anyone going there to do. My son and I tried the snorkeling trail, but with all the wind, the water was too murky to see much. The snorkeling on Sapphire Beach on St. Thomas was much better. The beach at trunk bay was very narrow and became extremely crowded. I think if we ever go back, we will head to another less congested beach with better snorkeling. The vista seen from the taxi ride on St. John were amazing. I wish we had had more time on the island...maybe a land vaction someday?

 

 

 

 

View of Trunk Bay from the taxi:

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Trank Bay BEFORE the crowds arrived:

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To be continued...

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St. Thomas/St John cont.:

 

A few more pictures:

 

Trunk Bay:

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ST. Thomas:

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Here comes the Oasis:

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To be continued...

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St. Maarten:

This was my favorite port of the cruise. Since we were to have a long day there, I planned to go to the nearby beach in the AM, each lunch and change clothes on the ship, and do an ATV tour in the afternoon.

 

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I had read and researched about the water quality issue at Great Bay (the beach near the cruise pier). Based on the information I found and using my environmental engineering judgment, I decided the Bay’s water quality did not appear to be a public health issue and took my family. We purchase water taxi passes and headed over to the beach. We got a really good deal for $20: 5 drinks, two lounge chairs with umbrella, and water noodles for the kids to play with. The water was crystal clear and not rough. We even saw numerous fish, including two small blue marlins (the fish with long swords).

 

 

 

Water Taxi to Great Bay Beach:

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To be continued...

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Did you find a long waiting line to play MiniGolf?

 

Definitely crowded and waiting around 1:00- 4:00 in the afternoon on sea days. Any other time was fine. I think I played 4-5 times and we only made the mistake of going during the peak time once.

Edited by mpcaruth

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I will add another quick post before I take a break for the day. The Oasis of the Seas seemed to be following us wherever we went. That ship made my kids drool. They must have asked 50 times if we could cruise on that ship. I would love too try it, but at double the cost for this family, we will most likely not cruise her.

 

When I took this picture, I asked the kids which ship they wanted to be on. See the fingers? It's hard to believe how small the Dream seems in comparison:

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Great review so far! We are doing the exact cruise in April with our kids so it's nice to hear your thoughts on the different ports. :)

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Cabin:

 

Our Cabin was on the Lido deck all the way forward. Though it was nice to be on the Lido deck, I will probably never book a cabin this high up and forward. Since the weather was very windy, the ocean was very rough, and the room was rocking! I questioned as to whether the excessive motion was due to the design of the Dream, but we later talked in port to others from the Oasis who said their ship had a lot of motion too.

 

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This is the window outside of our cabin:

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To be continued...

 

What cabin # did you have...I am on the Dream in September and also have a 4j on the lido deck, but I was told it was only a 2 person room.

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Your pics are terrific - thanks for the review!

 

If you ever do consider a longer visit to the USVI, I strongly suggest a charter out of STT -- I have several friends in the business down there and recommend a USVI/BVI route for some FANTASTIC fun and snorkeling - you will want to go back over and over. We charter and sail ourselves there every year.

 

We still like to jump on a cruise ship but we really preferred the laid-back pace of being able to stay as long as we like in a port - and take our own dinghy back and forth to shore/dock.

 

If you're ever interested, shoot me a PM and I'll give you some references. St. John's quieter spots Waterlemon (yes, lemon, not melon :D) Cay comes to mind - great snorkeling to be had there - as well as Mahoe Bay. And depending upon how hearty you are ;) - the Mahoe Bay tent campgrounds are an awesome land-based vacation - there are also plenty of fantastic villas in the USVI and the BVI.

 

Just food for thought -- it's one of my favorite places on earth to be.

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I am loving your review and I love your pictures! Your kids looked like they were having a good time too!

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Enjoying your picture review. We were on Dream in January of 2010. Seeing it docked next to Oasis makes it look pretty small. We liked the Dream , but agree there was no WOW factor. Looking forward to more of your pictures.

Edited by mrpayroll

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Great review so far...easy to follow. You get to the important points and your pictures are outrageous. :)

 

My kids would point to the Oasis also, what kid wouldn't, LOL. They wanted to try it this year. We instead we are giving the Carnival Liberty a try this year. It was half the price of Oasis/Allure, $3500 verses $7200, an easy decision was made. The good thing about the Carnival Liberty is the ports. :)

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The beach you went to in St. Marten. Did they have jet skis for rent? My son wants to do that and so far the only beach I can see is Orient Beach. Thanks

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The beach you went to in St. Marten. Did they have jet skis for rent? My son wants to do that and so far the only beach I can see is Orient Beach. Thanks

 

Yes, there were jetskis available at Great Bay Beach. See picture in next post.

Edited by mpcaruth

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St. Maarten Cont.

 

We really enjoyed Great Bay Beach. See the Dream in the background? The Beach was really close to the docks.

 

 

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Edited by mpcaruth

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Great pictures! I had almost this itinerary on RCCL's Freedom last summer.

 

Next time in St. Marten, try Maho Beach. Your son would LOVE it I am sure! Planes almost landing on your head and a great beach and beach bar/restaurant right there! I loved it and spent half the day. Also Orient Bay is great but is semi and fully nude. Just a heads up.

 

Maho Bay Beach planes landing extremely low:

 

Edited by SpeedsterX

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St. Maarten Cont.

 

We booked an ATV tour online through Stmaartencruiseexcursions dot com. It started raining ½ hour before our ATV tour was to begin. We seriously thought about canceling our excursion, but when we saw the group before us arrive back, they convinced us otherwise. They were soaking wet, but said they had a blast and encourage us to do it. We did. Since it was just the 4 of us, we got a private ATV tour. I cannot express how much fun we had!!!!!! The tour guide stopped and got us trash bags to use as ponchos. The hilarious look just added to the fun. We road the ATVs through town and towards Orient Beach. We had stops along the way and went through a sandy, muddy, off-road area.

 

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St. Maarten again...

 

 

The final stop on the ATV excursion was the famous Orient Beach!

By the time we got to Orient Beach, the rain had stopped, and the kids enjoyed swimming and playing. Since it had previously rained, the beach had cleared out, and we were the only ones on the beach. Well, except for old-naked-guy further up the beach on the nude side. The kids never noticed, but I caught him in the background of one of the photos of the kids. Orient Beach was not an exceptional beach by Caribbean standards, I guess it must just be famous for the nudity?!?

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On the other side of the rocks in this photo is the nude side:

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The ride back to the ship was pleasant and the sun was peaking back out. I highly recommend this tour!!!! What a crazy, fun, wet, muddy blast!

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Edited by mpcaruth

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were you on the 28th of Jan???? I thought I saw your kids in the pool, also we went to Orient Beach I remember the nud guy, and it wasn't a pretty site

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Summary:

The Dream is a beautiful ship, but could feel crowded often; especially when getting an elevator, using the pools, or attending a show in the main theater. We didn’t feel that all the added fun stuff to the Dream class ship made the experience much better. The food was excellent and the options were plentiful. The Behind the Fun tour is a nice one-time experience. I loved the nightly comedy shows.

 

For those interested, here is a link to our Carnival Freedom cruise to Panama, which is my favorite cruise to date. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1347741

In fact, we are considering doing the Freedom’s southern itinerary next year.

 

I hope some of the information I have provided you will be beneficial to you in planning your next cruise. Enjoy!

Gotta love making my family dress up on formal night. My son's face sums it up pretty well for how he fills about ties. He he he.

 

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Great review and pictures! We'll be in the same room and doing the same itenirary on April 21st.

 

We'll be with you on the 21st!!!:)

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LOL! This might be my favorite picture!

 

Summary:

The Dream is a beautiful ship, but could feel crowded often; especially when getting an elevator, using the pools, or attending a show in the main theater. We didn’t feel that all the added fun stuff to the Dream class ship made the experience much better. The food was excellent and the options were plentiful. The Behind the Fun tour is a nice one-time experience. I loved the nightly comedy shows.

 

For those interested, here is a link to our Carnival Freedom cruise to Panama, which is my favorite cruise to date. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1347741

In fact, we are considering doing the Freedom’s southern itinerary next year.

 

I hope some of the information I have provided you will be beneficial to you in planning your next cruise. Enjoy!

Gotta love making my family dress up on formal night. My son's face sums it up pretty well for how he fills about ties. He he he.

 

IMG_0005.jpg

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Thanks for the compliments everyone. I tried to keep the review simple and easy to read for other folks like me with short attention spans (less words and more photos).

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