Carnival Dream - Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Carnival Dream

★★★ +

Berlitz’s Ratings

Ship: 379 out of 500

Accommodation: 144 out of 200

Food: 218 out of 400

Service: 260 out of 400

Entertainment: 77 out of 100

Cruise: 261 out of 400

Overall Score: 1339 out of 2000

Carnival Dream Statistics

Size: Large Resort Ship

Tonnage: 128,251

Lifestyle: Standard

Cruise Line: Carnival Cruise Lines

Former Names: none

IMO Number: 9378474

Builder: Fincantieri (Italy)

Original Cost: $740 million

Entered Service: Sep 2009

Registry: Panama

Length (ft/m): 1,004.0/306.0

Beam (ft/m): 158.0/48.0

Draft (ft/m): 26.2/8.0

Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (75,600kW)/2

Passenger Decks: 13

Total Crew: 1,367

Passengers (lower beds): 3,646

Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 35.1

Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.6

Cabins (total): 1,823

Size Range (sq ft/m): 185.0-430.5/17.1-40.0

Cabins (for one person): 0

Cabins (with private balcony): 887

Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 35

Wheelchair accessibility: Good

Cabin Current: 110 volts

Elevators: 20

Casino (gaming tables): Yes

Slot Machines: Yes

Swimming Pools: 2

Hot Tubs (on deck): 7

Self-Service Launderette: Yes

Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No

Library: Yes

Onboard currency: US$


Fun for a first cruise, with a splash-tastic water-slide

Overview. Carnival Dream, whose sister ships are Carnival Breeze and Carnival Magic, operates year-round Caribbean cruises from Florida. There are ample facilities for children, who should particularly enjoy the outdoor waterpark and pool facilities. There’s also a Serenity adults-only, extra-charge retreat as well as a sports activity area on deck.

The Ship. Although the ship’s bows are short, the ship’s profile is nicely balanced, with a rakish front and more rounded stern than most of the other ships in the Carnival fleet.

WaterWorks - on the pool deck - has lots of water and sports amusements, not to mention a really long orange multi-deck ‘Twister Water Slide’ and popular ‘Power Drencher.’ However, the general open deck space is really not enough for the number of passengers carried, so the sunbed loungers are packed in tightly.

There is a full walk-around open promenade deck, lined with deck chairs, though it can be difficult to navigate your way through them. Along the outdoor promenade, four ‘scenic whirlpools’ are cantilevered over the water and provide fine sea views. Higher up, Lido Deck 10 offers the best open-deck area of any Carnival ship with a tropical, resort-style main pool complete with a giant Seaside Theater LED screen for outdoor movies. Carnival Dream was the first Carnival ship to have a laser light show outdoors.

The interior decor is bright (take sunglasses), but well executed. Most public rooms, lounges, and bars are on Dream Street or Upper Dream Street. The stunning Dream Lobby is the connection point for ship functions and people. Take the glass-walled elevators for a neat view. It’s good to note that there are three main elevator towers: forward, amidships, and aft.

Many lounges, bars, and nightspots - including a dance club with a twist, offering indoor/outdoor access - are accessible via an 11-deck-high atrium whose ground level has a neatly cantilevered bandstand atop a large dance floor. The Page Turner (great name) is the library, while Jackpot is - you guessed it - the colorful, large, and lively casino. Other rooms include The Song (Jazz Bar), and Ocean Plaza, a sort of quiet area during the day, but lively at night with live entertainment. Three dozen Internet terminals are scattered around the ship, although most have no privacy. There’s a 232-capacity conference room, The Chambers.

The indoor/outdoor Ocean Plaza, with around 190 seats, is a comfortable spot for people-watching by day and becomes a trendy entertainment venue by night, with its own dance floor and bandstand.

Although passenger flow is generally sound, the ship’s layout is rather disjointed. Just before the second seating, there is much congestion on Upper and Lower Dream Streets, both located on the starboard side. Congestion also appears around the photo gallery in the atrium lobby. Passenger niggles highlight the barely warm food in the two main dining rooms, lines for self-serve food items, and congestion in the public areas just before the second seating for dinner. Gratuities are automatically charged to your onboard account.

Families. Youngsters have their own play areas, with children’s programs divided into five age-specific groups under Camp Ocean (ages 2−11 - with children ages 2−5 called ‘Penguins’; 6−8-year-olds called ‘Sting Rays’; 9−11-year-olds called ‘Sharks’). Tweens have ‘Circle C’, while teenagers have their own ‘Club O2’ - a chill-out (no adults allowed) room/disco. Also, soft-drinks packages can be purchased for children (and adults).

Carnival WaterWorks, an aqua park offering exhilarating multi-deck tunnel slides and various water spray apparatus, is also a huge hit with the kids.

By the end of 2015, the words and world of Dr. Seuss will have been rolled out as part of Carnival’s children’s program (check before you sail) − from ‘green eggs and ham’ for breakfast, served by waiters in Dr. Seuss-inspired uniforms, and characters such as the Cat in the Hat, Thing One and Thing Two, and Sam attending, to special showings of movies such as The Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (these will be shown outdoors on the poolside Seaside Theater screen on Lido Deck).

Accommodation. There are several cabin price categories, in just six cabin types. The price depends on the accommodation grade and location you choose. Whether you go for high end or low end, all accommodation includes the Carnival Comfort Bed with plush mattresses, good-quality duvets, linens, and pillows. However, the straight accommodation deck hallways create rather a cell-block look - and they are bright, very bright, even at night. There are also lot of interior cabins. The cabins to go for are those at the stern: they are quieter and offer great rearward ocean views on decks 6, 7, 8, and 9.

‘Deluxe’ ocean-view cabins, with two bathrooms, provide comfort and convenience for families. In addition to twin beds that convert to a king, decent closet space, and elegant decor, the two-bathroom configuration includes one full bathroom and a second bathroom containing a small tub with shower and washbasin.

Some cabins can accommodate five persons - useful for families. There is a wide selection of balcony cabins and suites, including ‘Cove Balcony’ cabins that are the closest to the waterline.

Additionally, adjacent to the Serenity Spa are 65 ‘Cloud 9’ spa cabins. They include a number of amenities and privileges. Twenty of these are positioned directly aft of the lower level of the spa, with direct access to it.

Dining. There are two main restaurants: the 1,180-seat Crimson (midships) and the smaller 828-seat Scarlet (aft). Each has two levels: main and balcony (stairways connect both levels), with the galley on the lower level. Forward of Crimson are two small restaurant annexes; these can be reserved by small groups as private dining rooms. Choose either fixed-time dining (6pm or 8.15pm) or flexible dining (any time between 5.45 and 9.30pm). Note that the two main dining rooms are not open for lunch on port days.

The Gathering is the ship’s Lido Deck self-serve buffet facility, with indoor/outdoor seating areas on the lower (main) level, and indoor-only seating on the upper level. A number of designated areas serve different types of ethnic cuisine, although it does become very congested at peak times - especially breakfast - especially around the beverage stands. Go off-peak and it’s much better. The venue includes a Mongolian Wok and Pasta Bar on the upper level, open 6-9pm.

Outside, aft is where the deli and tandoor (Indian food) counters can be found, for snack food items, while forward of the self-serve buffet, and outdoors, is a fast-food grill and pizzeria.

Other dining options. The Chef’s Art Supper Club (and bar) seats 139 and has great views to port and starboard from its aft location high on Spa Deck 12, and an à la carte menu. It has fine table settings, china, and silverware. The specialties are steaks and seafood items. It’s worth paying the cover charge to get a taste of what Carnival can deliver. On Promenade Deck you’ll find Wasabi, the ship’s tribute-to-sushi venue.

Entertainment. The 1,964-seat Encore Showlounge spans three decks at the front of the ship, with seating set in a horseshoe shape around the stage; the sight lines are generally good, except from some of the seats at the back of the lowest level. Large-scale production shows, with lots of feathers and skimpy costumes, are staged, together with snappy cabaret acts, all accompanied by a live showband.

The 425-seat Burgundy Lounge, at the aft end of the ship (opposite to the showlounge, at the front), has a stage, dance floor, and large bar, and is the venue for late-night in-your-face, smutty ‘adult comedy.’ Caliente, the ship’s nightclub, provides loud Latin dance music.

Spa/Fitness. The expansive 23,750-sq-ft (2,206-sq-m) Cloud 9 Spa is Carnival’s largest and most elaborate health and wellness center to date. It is positioned over three decks in the front section of the ship. The uppermost deck includes indoor/outdoor private spa relaxation areas, at extra cost. A spiral staircase connects the two decks.

There are 10 body treatment rooms, including a VIP room, a large massage room for couples, and a Rasul mud treatment room, plus two dry flotation rooms. An extra-charge ‘Thermal Suite’ comes with the typical sensory-enhanced soothing heated chambers: Laconium, Tepidarium, Aroma, and Oriental steam baths.