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Aquar02's Photo Review of the Carnival Dream 3/29-4/5... My first review!


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Hello all! I just got back from a fantastic cruise on the Carnival Dream. I have wanted to do a review on here for a really long time now. I even typed one out for my Valor cruise in 2013, but school got in the way and it ended up being like a year after the cruise before I got around to finishing it. This time I’m being a little more diligent about getting it done. :p


I’ll start with a little introduction. My name is Ashley. I’m 26 and a registered nurse. This was my 6th cruise, and all of them have been on carnival. My mom was my roommate for this trip, and is my usual cruising partner. This was her 6th cruise as well, but only 5 of them were with Carnival; her first one was with NCL. We also had 10 other people in our group, which makes this by far the largest group I have ever traveled with. Bear with me as I struggle through my first review. Hopefully, I can help someone as much as so many other reviews on here have helped me.



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I'm going to spend a little time discussing the planning process of this cruise. It might be a bit boring for some, but I'm a big planner, so this was a big part of my trip.


I spent a lot of time planning this cruise, as well as some others. When my family and I started talking about taking a cruise this year, we were discussing the option of taking an Alaskan cruise. My mom and I took a cruise to Alaska a couple of years back, and we loved it! We’ve been talking about going back ever since. I had only just started the planning process for this trip when we decided that this year wasn’t a good year for Alaska.


We wanted to do something a little less expensive. We started to look at something more tropical for my brother, my mom, and me to go on. My brother has never been on a cruise before, so we were looking for something nice to introduce him to cruising. My mom just requested a cruise that didn’t go to Cozumel (the two of us have each been twice). We found a perfect cruise on the Victory. I started on the itinerary for that and almost had all of our days planned out. During my research, I kept coming across reviews for the Breeze. This reminded me of how much I had wanted to try out the Breeze.


I mentioned this to my brother and my mom, and they agreed that a cruise on the Breeze would be awesome. We picked out a nice 8-night itinerary. I started planning this cruise, and I had more or less figured out what we were going to do in each port. My mom came in for a visit right after Christmas, and we talked about the cruise. We went up to visit my aunt and uncle, and I guess somehow the topic of the cruise came up. They mentioned that they were planning a cruise on the Dream around my little cousin’s spring break. They invited us to come along too. I really had my heart set on the Breeze though. After some deliberating, I decided that a trip with family would be more fun than being on one specific ship.


This is how I began planning our trip on the Dream. The ship would leave New Orleans on March 29 for a 7-night trip, visiting Montego Bay, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and, ironically enough, Cozumel. One of the things that excited me most about this cruise was that it had 3 sea days. As much as love experiencing new places, I really love just being on the ship as well. On our previous cruise on the Valor, it was so jammed packed with ports that I never even had a chance to learn the ship. As I researched, we began to get worried that the cruise would fill up. It was a lot of people’s spring break.

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We decided to go ahead and book the cruise just after the first of the year. We just needed to get commitments from everyone. My brother, disappointingly, decided not to go. :( This didn’t really surprise me. I have always been the traveler in the family, and he has always been just as happy staying at home. He said he just couldn’t see spending all of that money for something that would be over in a week. So he was out, but my grandmother had a change of heart and decided she was in. :) We have invited her on several cruises before, but we were never able to convince her to go. I guess the opportunity to be with so much family changed her mind. She had been on one cruise before, probably 30 years ago, and had a blast. It was so long ago though that the cruise line she used isn’t even in existence anymore.


We were ready to book. We would have 8 people in our group altogether. My mom and I were in a cabin together. My aunt and uncle (they sailed for the first time on Carnival the previous year at the same time; also on the Dream), their 2 daughters who are in their early to mid twenties (this would be their first cruise), and their son (11; who went on the previous Dream cruise with my aunt and uncle) and my grandmother. This was by far the biggest group I had ever sailed with. For booking, I usually go directly through Carnival, using their website. Every time I start looking at cruises I start getting phone calls from a PVP, like all of you I’m sure. I decided to use them once a couple of cruises ago, since they claim that they may be able to get you better deals then what you see online. This may be true for people who aren’t very comfortable with computers, but he didn’t get me a better deal or cabin. However, this time we decided to use one again, since we had a somewhat difficult booking. We wanted to pay using a couple of credit cards, since different people were paying for their own trip. The original plan was to just let my uncle book his people and my mom book us. However, my uncle and my mom were splitting the cost of my grandmother going, and we wanted to make sure we were all sitting together at dinner. My mom called the PVP on her phone, while I had my uncle on mine. Once we had all of the plans set, my mom paid for our half, and then the PVP called my uncle for his half. All and all it was pretty painless.


We were all booked! My mom and I decided to splurge a little bit for a spa interior room. :D We weren’t interested in bunk bed rooms, and we didn’t want to be at the bottom of the ship. Once you figured in all of those upgrades, it was only going to cost about $50 more per person to get a spa room, so we went for it. Everybody else wanted to go the cheaper route, so they were all booked in interior rooms with bunk beds. My aunt and uncle got a nice surprise when they looked up their room. The website showed that their room came with two portholes and a couch! They were so excited.


Later that night, I checked into Faster to the Fun (FTTF). It was already sold out. I was disappointed. I had purchased it for my mom and I for our Valor cruise in 2013, and we loved it! Not having to carry around our carry on bags was worth the $50 alone. I wasn’t sure at first if we were going to get it for this cruise, since we had such a large party, and I figured a lot of them wouldn’t want to spend the extra money. My mom said that she wanted it, even if we were the only ones who got it. So when I saw it was already sold out, it was a little bit of a let down. However, I knew that they open some up closer to the sail date, so we just needed to watch. The next morning my mom decided to check, and there was one available! She booked it. She was disappointed there weren’t two though, because she had decided that it would be nice to get it for my grandmother too. I told her we would just need to keep checking.


She talked to my uncle later that day, and to our surprise, he seemed really excited about it. He said that he wanted it for his group too, so now we were looking for 3 openings. We checked everyday for about a week with no luck. My mom decided she wanted to call and see if they could do anything for her. I didn’t think it would do any good, but she figured that it never hurts to ask. They gave her an email address that she could try, since my grandmother is almost 80. She heard back from them a couple of days later, letting her know they were about to open up some spots. They ended up opening up several, so our whole group was able to get FTTF! We were so happy!


The next step was to organize getting to New Orleans and booking a pre-cruise hotel. We were all coming in from different areas of the country. My uncle was paying for his two daughters to fly in from their respective areas of the country, so he wanted to save some money and drive in. They live about an hour north of my grandmother, so they offered to let her ride with them. Therefore, it was my aunt, my uncle, my grandmother, and my little cousin driving in. I could have made the drive too. It would be about 7 or 8 hours for me, but I hate a long road trip and prefer to fly. I had some LUV vouchers from Southwest, so I was able to find a flight out of Atlanta for only $28. :D


As we were looking at hotels, we noticed we were coming at a very expensive time of the year. All of the hotels in the French Quarter were way too expensive. We decided on the Holiday Inn in Metairie. They offered a park and cruise package that would be perfect for my aunt and uncle. For $169, they got a nights stay, 2 welcome drinks, breakfast for two, transportation to and from the port for two, and were able to park their car for up to 10 days. The hotel also included a free shuttle from the airport, which was really convenient for the four people who would be flying in. We booked one room at the park and cruise rate and the other room for about $126. The only issue was that the shuttle to the port would be $20 per person for the six of us not included in the park and cruise. After looking up taxi rates, we decided that this would still be the most convenient way to go. We had all of the big stuff taken care of, and I was able to spend the next 80 days hammering out the smaller details and researching what to do in each port.


As time went on, we added 4 more people to our group. My aunt’s cousin and her husband decided to join us, and another aunt of mine and her friend also booked.


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Looking forward to your review! We are on the Dream in November. Like you, this particular cruise we have changed 3 times and finally decided on the Dream. And like you I am a serious planner! We are alot alike. (I'm also in school to be an RN lol)


Can't wait to hear more!

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Travel day is finally here! I woke up at 4 am, unable to sleep. I was way too excited to sleep. I had some last minute things to take care of anyways. I finished packing everything up and left the house a little before 9. I stopped by Dunkin Donuts for coffee for the road, and then drove out to my Dad’s to pick him up and drop my dog off.


By 9:30, we were on the road headed to Atlanta. I wanted to leave early so we would have time to stop at my favorite Atlanta restaurant, Grindhouse Killer Burgers. I seriously love this place. They have a really cool atmosphere and a killer veggie burger (hence their name). Traffic was very congested getting to Grindhouse, so I started to get nervous about having enough time to get to the airport. After we left Grindhouse, I realized I worried for nothing, because traffic had somewhat cleared up, and I made it to the airport with way more than enough time to spare. After I made it through security (which had a very short line for Atlanta), I settled in at the gate and read my kindle until time to board.



My flight departed Atlanta at 03:35, and it was a quick and painless flight. I had downloaded the latest episode of Bones on my phone, and by the time it was over, we were already making our final descent.



I arrived in New Orleans around 4, but I still had to wait for my Mom’s flight to arrive. I picked up my luggage, called my dad, and began looking for a nice place to wait and get a cup of coffee. I saw a Dunkin Donuts sign and knew I was set. The New Orleans airport is fairly small, and really poorly laid out in my opinion. Right around the time my mom’s flight got in, I realized I was waiting in the wrong place. Oops! It was all good though, I still found her.


My mom’s flight came in around 5:45. We were originally supposed to wait on my cousin’s flight too, but through a series of bad events, her flight was now not getting in until midnight. That just served as a reminder of why it is always a good idea to fly in at least one day prior to cruising. After my mom got her luggage, we walked to where the hotel shuttles were. We were booked at the Holiday Inn in Metairie, and it came with a complimentary airport shuttle. When we arrived at the hotel, several people in our group had already arrived several hour earlier. They were waiting on us to go to the French Quarter. We got checked-in, threw our bags in our room, and went down to the bar to meet up with everyone. They had already called a shuttle. The shuttle was $6 per person each way, which I thought was really reasonable.

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I was originally planning on just taking it easy this night and saving the French Quarter for the day we returned from the cruise. I’m so glad they convinced me to go out this night! New Orleans is like a whole other world. The driver dropped us off and pointed out a couple of areas of interest. He also explained to us that there is no open container law in New Orleans. Drinks to go? Now that’s my kind of city. The cousin close to my age that had already made it (for simplicity we’ll call her C1) and I were ready to start drinking. We hadn’t been walking long when I spotted Tropical Isle. I remembered seeing this place from a couple of reviews, plus New Orlean’s most powerful drink was on their sign. I drug C1 and my mom on in. The 3 of us got Hand Grenades, while some others in our group got beers. I still have no idea what is in this drink, and I probably don’t want to know. What I do know is that it is strong! It is also good, so it kind of sneaks up on you.




We continued walking and exploring. Everyone else had already eaten, by my mom and I still needed food. We saw a small shop that had cheese pizza. Good enough for us! For future reference, I’m a pescetarian (vegetarian who occasionally eats seafood), and my mom is normally vegan, but decided to just do vegetarian for this trip. Anyways, on with our adventure!


My aunt really wanted to try some beignets first. We found Café Beignet, but they were unfortunately closed. We decided to check out how bad the wait was at Café Du Monde. It was pretty bad, so she decided to just wait until we got back. We did find a CVS and decided to go ahead and pick up our bottles of wine. After walking around for a little bit longer, some of our group, including my mom, decided it was time to head back to the hotel. My mom convinced the bartender at one of the bars to fill up C1’s and my grenade cups with a hurricane. And then it was C1, her dad, and her mom’s cousin and her husband (We’ll call them D&S). We began checking out the various bars with live music. The group seemed to want to keep moving. Every time C1 and I would go into a bar and start dancing, we would get through half a song before getting pulled out.



As we were walking, we spotted a guy holding a sign that said $3 Fireball shots. Sold! We went around to a few bars taking these, before it was decided that it was time to head back to the hotel. My uncle called the shuttle, and they agreed on a place to meet. There was a bar next to the meeting place, so C1 and I decided to check it out while we waited. We opened the door and saw a line of almost naked men dancing on the bar. Where had this place been all night!? We were so shocked that we turned around and walked out. After a minute, we walked back in, but were told you had to have a male sponsor per female they allowed in. Oh well, no more fun for us this night.


Once we were back on the shuttle, I started talking to all of the other people on the shuttle, and discovered that they too were going to be on the Carnival Dream the next day. Now, as you can probably gather, I had had way too much to drink at this point, but at that point I thought this was the coolest thing in the world. If those people are reading this, I’m sorry, because I am sure that I was super annoying. I got back to hotel, and crashed into bed. My mom, grandmother, and younger cousin (LC) were staying in the same room. They all got a big kick out of the condition I was in. I fell into bed in a fit of giggles, and I think I laughed until I fell asleep. What a fun night!

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Looking forward to the rest of your review!! We leave in a little over 7 days!!




Which Spa inside did you have?? How did you like it? We are booked in 11208.







You'll have a blast! We were in 11228. We really enjoyed it. The spa amenities are great, and you're really close to lido.

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I woke up really early again this day. New Orleans is an hour behind where I live at home, plus I never sleep well when I’ve had a lot to drink. I was really excited anyways, because cruising day was finally here! My grandmother and mom were awake too, so we watched some T.V. while we waited on breakfast. Breakfast started at 6 AM, and that’s pretty much the time we got down there. My grandmother had been kind of sick the past few days, so she just asked us to bring her something back up. Now breakfast is not included normally at this hotel, but several of their packages include it, including the park and cruise package. When we booked the hotel, my mom decided to go ahead and purchase two breakfast tickets (she knows I have to eat in the mornings…I get hangry).


When we got down there, the buffet wasn’t ready. They had menus to order off too. We decided to just do that since the waitress couldn’t tell us when the buffet would be ready. I ordered coffee and an egg and cheese biscuit, and my mom ordered coffee and oatmeal. The food seemed to take a while, and I was starting to feel pretty bad. I decided a sprite might be just what I needed, but the waitress wasn’t coming back. They just stood near the kitchen and talked to each other. My mom finally just got up and went over to them to ask for the sprite. It was just what I needed! Finally, our food came out. It was a lot of food too. Mine came with two egg and cheese biscuits and a large portion of home fries. Perfect hangover food lol. When they brought our food, my mom went ahead and put in the to go order for my grandmother. They didn’t charge us for the extra order even though we only had two food vouchers. That more than made up for the lack of service (not that we were expecting too much from a hotel restaurant). We left our tip and headed back up to the room.


The shuttle was scheduled to pick us at 10 AM. It ended up only being $10 per person, since we only needed it one way. We all took showers, got ready, and repacked our luggage. I started feeling pretty weak again, so my uncle got me a Powerade from his car. We all met downstairs in the lobby. When the shuttle came, a large group jumped in front of us. We were pretty upset at first, but then we learned that next shuttle was just a couple of minutes away.


When we arrived to the port, everything seemed very unorganized. The first thing that I didn’t like was that the welcome aboard pictures are taken before you even go through security. I didn’t like this placement. We ended up not even going over to take a picture. When we got into the room where you check-in and wait, I was even less impressed. Faster to the fun no longer gets to wait in the VIP lounge like we did in San Juan in 2013. I understand that platinum and above feel like they have earned that privilege, and I get that. They have been very loyal customers, but the port was already packed, and a lot of seats had been roped off for wedding parties. There was nowhere to sit. We had to convince them to open up a couple of spots in the roped off area so that we would have a place for my 80-year-old grandmother. They had way too many seats roped off anyways. The final thing I was disappointed in was that I felt like way too many FTTF spots were sold. There were A LOT of us. Every one in our group that had cruised before agreed that it was the most unorganized port we had ever been to.

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Very nice review so far! We'd planned on cruising out of Nola on the Sunshine before they moved her on us. Maybe someday we'll get to see what Nola is like and in the meantime, I'll enjoy reviews like yours. Can't wait for more!

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Sorry you had a bad experience sailing out of NO. We didn't have FTTF but it went fairly smoothly I thought. We are sailing the Dream next March. Now I'm questioning if I should bother attempting to get a FTTF. Outside of seating did it speed things up?

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Thanks everyone for all of the nice comments!


We were on board by 11:30, and all of my disappointments were forgotten. The Dream really is a beautiful ship! Our rooms were ready, so we helped my grandmother to her room first. She was exhausted. There really is a lot of walking involved to get on the ship. We should have gotten her a wheelchair, but we would have had to wait because they were all still being used for debarkation. She was in room 1341 with LC, which is 1A room I believe.






When we got to the room his luggage was there, but hers was not. We got her settled, and she asked if we could just bring her something down to eat.


We went up to our room, 11228.





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One of my suitcases had arrived at this point, but that was it. I really wanted to try the pasta bar out first, so we headed up that way. The pasta bar is up the stairs that are at the very back of the ship. When you go up the stairs, there is like a hostess stand. You get your menus from her. You give her your cabin number as well. She told us it was to help keep track of who was utilizing the pasta bar.




I ordered linguini with pomodoro and alfredo, zucchini, spinach, and mushrooms, and then a side of bread and a Caesar salad. I think my mom ordered something similar but no alfredo and no Caesar salad. You take your orders up to where they cook the food, and then they give you numbers to put on your table.






The food was really good! I loved my combination. I meant to go back to the pasta bar at some point on our trip, but sadly, I never got around to it.


We ordered pasta to go for my grandmother, and then headed on our way. I stopped at the Red Frog Rum Bar on our way back down. I knew I wanted to get a drink in a Tervis cup, and I heard that they tend to sell out over the cruise. My normal first drink of the cruise (and second, and third, etc….) is a Miami Vice, but I’ve been trying to branch out a little more the last couple of cruises. I tried a Caribbean Colada. It was really good! It’s a twist on the classic pina colada.




We then went back down to my grandmother’s room to take her her food. Then, we were off to explore the ship a little.


We ran into my uncle, C1, and C2 in the lobby, and found out that aunt #2 and her friend had arrived. They had flown in the day of the cruise, which really worried me. I have done that once, and I was stressed out until we got to the terminal. We had suggested to aunt #2 that she fly in the day before, but she said she got the insurance, so they would refund her money. I would be more concerned about missing the trip! We went up to lido and found her. We visited with her for a little bit, and then we decided to go to the spa to take a tour.


The tour was very interesting, and I highly recommend you take it the first day if you have a spa room. They started off the tour by giving us a sample of the various massages they offer. I wish every tour started that way! They also had us enter our names into a raffle. Sadly, we didn’t win. They then took us around to different rooms and explained different services that they offered. We ended the tour with the suites available if you have a spa pass or the spa rooms. We went ahead and picked up our spa bracelets while we were there. You need those to access the VIP rooms of the spa.

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Sorry you had a bad experience sailing out of NO. We didn't have FTTF but it went fairly smoothly I thought. We are sailing the Dream next March. Now I'm questioning if I should bother attempting to get a FTTF. Outside of seating did it speed things up?


Our lines were a lot shorter with FTTF. I think having your room ready right when you get on makes it worth it. I love being able to drop off my bags and enjoy the ship without without carrying around my bags.

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We went back to the room to unpack. All of my luggage was there, but my mom was still missing one piece of luggage. She went back up to lido while I finished unpacking. I met up with her when we were done to go to muster. We were in a different station than my grandmother, so we took her to her spot first. Then we headed to the theater where our place was. This was so much nicer than standing on the hot decks outside.


After muster, we headed back up to the room briefly. My mom’s bag still wasn’t there, so we were really starting to get worried. We decided to enjoy sail away and not let it bother us. We had a fairly active roll call on a certain social media site, and the group was supposed to have a meet and greet on the aft at sail away. We made our way to the aft bar. I ordered a Twilight Zone and my mom got a Funship Special. We walked around for a little while, but never saw anyone.














We decided to head back to the main area for some dancing. After we had participated in all of the line dances, we went to the table my grandmother was sitting at. She had a seat with a view and was enjoying watching the sail away. My mom decided to watch it with her, but I still wanted to explore and walk around for a little bit.





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