The front desk and customer service staff were very helpful and nice. We made one recommendation to add a chef to the deli during peak hours to help reduce long lines. They not only added a chef to the deli, but we received a call to follow-up with us and they notified the maite’d. A+ customer service. Security was very visible throughout our voyage. This definitely makes us feel comfortable knowing they are always out and keeping the ship safe. The ocean plaza is a GREAT addition, and it is a perfect area to enjoy the sushi, listen to the great band Voo Doo, enjoy a drink, etc. There were 2700 past guests onboard. One night before dinner, the back of the ship (Piano Bar, back lounge…) was open for past guests, and the drinks and appetizers were plentiful. The show band played and many people were dancing. Great job in making this hour very enjoyable. A+ for the past guest party. Also, A+ for New Years Eve. This was our first New Years onboard, and being at sea bringing in the new year with several thousand guests and crew was an amazing experience. Voo Doo played on the lido, and it was fantastic how the big screen switched between the Lido deck and Times Square. Champagne and New Years hats were plentiful, and everyone seemed to be out and having a great night. What a way to start off the new year. Thank you for making this one of the best New Years ever.
*Carnival should definitely fix their tipping system. On other cruise lines with automatic tipping, we hand our cabin steward, waiter, and assistant waiter an envelope with a slip that says we prepaid our gratuity for them. We hand it to them so we know it goes directly to them. Also this method ensures that more people tip (just knowing that you have something to hand the crew members who have helped you). Also, Carnival should announce the importance of tipping and the importance of filling out the surveys and acknowledging crewmembers who have gone out of their way for you and should be recognized. I did not hear it once; while it may have been announced at the debarkation talk, it should be announced and/or typed in a place where everyone can see and/or hear it (at one of the main shows and/or in one or two of the capers).
The Positive Things:
-The small things like having a magician walk around the ship (at dinner and through the promenade) to perform tricks.
-The sushi. Having really good sushi (first time we had good sushi on a ship) as a pre-dinner snack was really good for a change. Great addition, good sushi and choices each night, and excellent sushi chef.
-The bands – Cool Breeze, Voo Doo, and Vince in the Piano Bar stood all stood out as exceptional. Cool Breeze was a perfect band to have at night in the atrium or in the Ocean Plaza and are very talented. We could listen to and dance to Voo Doo all day and night whether it be in the Ocean Plaza or on the lido. Vince had the piano bar packed and singing all night long. The show band is also a great group of talented musicians.
-Dancing in the Street (and some of the other entertainment) – This is a fantastic show that is not to be missed. The variety entertainment, especially the ventriloquist, was also very good.
-The food – the new additions such as the burrito bar, pasta bar, tandori, and lanai bbq are very good… in addition to the deli, pizza, sushi, and dining room food (try the lobster and cold soups, they’re great!).
-The comedy club – having four comedians perform both family and adult comedy is a good addition. They all did a good job, especially Al Ernst. This is a cool venue and a great addition to Carnival’s entertainment.
-The water park provides fun for anyone, any age.
-The staff (every single staff member) – We LOVED our waiter Mario and Assistant Anselmo (Scarlett, Late, table 517). Octavious was a great bar tender who remembered our names after ordering one drink. The man at the pizza bar should be recognized for working alone and so hard. Our room steward Ian kept the room spotless, and I wish I could acknowledge every staff member from the deck attendants to the front desk staff.
-Past guest party with all the drinks, music, and appetizers.
Room For improvement:
-Piano bar – the piano bar was VERY smoky at times. Although it was always packed, maybe Carnival could have and enforce non-smoking hours on a couple of days or a non-smoking piano bar night.
-Sea day – there was no entertainment on the lido deck for the entire last day at sea. The calypso duo played in the Ocean Plaza for some reason, and there weren’t any pool games or lido entertainment for the entire day at sea. We should have a few new types of lido games (other than the hairy chest contest)… maybe games and competitions in the pool. *In addition to bringing back the full calypso bands, it might be interesting to on occasion see some of the other bands and duos perform on the lido deck. The seaside theater had football on the entire sea day afternoon. This is unacceptable. If used at all during the day, this should only be used (other than the morning show) on mute (and for occasional concerts).
-Seaside theater – OVERUSED! It is used properly at night with the laser shows and movies under the stars. During the day, it should ONLY be used for the morning show or if muted (or occasional concerts)… not for movies during the day (with exceptions where it should be used for major events such as the super bowl). We do not want to be entertained by a tv during the day while on vacation. We can watch movies at night or at home. Please limit the use of this during the day. Varied concerts (Dave Matthews, Billy Joel, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen) would be good to have ON OCCASION during the day. Other than the occasional concerts (without repeating them), please do not use the tv during the day and bring back the full calypso band to play throughout the days and the fun varied lido games.
-Band – PLEASE BRING BACK THE REGULAR CALYPSO BANDS. This is a favorite aspect of cruising for many people, and the calypso duos just don’t do it. The hours were ok (minus the last sea day where they played in the ocean plaza instead of on the lido deck… not their fault), but they were not entertaining or engaging and did not play much recognizable music. Much of it was pre-recorded and synchronized. Please bring back the full (4 person) calypso bands. Having real live calypso music is what cruising is about. There’s nothing like having a drink, laying out, while listening to the live band. It also helps when the band is engaging. This sets the tone for the cruise, and it could also help bring back a Caribbean night and a fun deck party.
-Sailaway – the duo played a little, but no one from the entertainment staff was out getting the passengers going. What happened to the calypso band playing “feeling hot hot hot,” with some of the entertainment staff doing the line dances, and getting the crowd going? There should be a sail away party like we experienced in the past to get the cruise started with a strong, positive vibe.
-More chefs at peak hours – To reduce lines during peak hours and to make it easier on the chefs who work so hard, please have more chefs at the deli and pizzeria during peak hours (either lunch on sea days or during sailaway on port days).
-Bingo – More games should be played when possible for the $10 or $20, and more importantly, bingo should be fun. Cruising bingo jokes (both regular jokes and for the different numbers) that we have seen on other lines make bingo a fun cruising event.
-Pictures – By now, we would have thought Carnival would have gotten this right. First, so many pictures go to waste. There should be a digital system where cards are swiped before photos are taken. Then we can digitally view what we choose to and print only what we buy. This would not only get rid of the waste problem, but it would also allow us to save time by being able to easily locate our pictures. This would also drastically reduce costs. Pictures cost WAY too much money. We would buy more if they were cheaper. Picture packages and just cheaper pictures would result in many guests spending more while being able to buy more pictures and take home more memories from their cruise.
*Overall, we would definitely sail the Dream and sail Carnival again. Job well done with the Carnival Dream. Thank you to the entire Carnival Dream staff. Everyone works so hard and is very talented and dedicated. We had a great New Years, and a great week on vacation. We hope to see some of our suggestions taken into consideration and implemented.