The Carnival Dream is a large cruise ship with lots of fun spaces, entertainment, good dining options, and plenty of onboard activities for all ages.
The Carnival Dream was launched in fall 2009, and I had the opportunity to attend the naming ceremony and to take a two-day "cruise to nowhere" on the ship.
My first impressions of the Carnival ship are excellent. The ship is beautiful, and its exciting new features, cabin categories, and dining options are sure to be a hit with those who love large ships and a fun-packed holiday.
Carnival Cruise Line's goal is to sell fun vacations and create memorable experiences at a great value. The company has certainly exceeded its own expectations with the Carnival Dream.
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Carnival Dream - Facts and Figures
Here's some fun facts and figures for the Carnival Dream.
Carnival Dream Size:
- Gross Registered Tonnage - 130,000
- Length - 1,004 feet
- Beam - 122 feet
- Beam at Pool Decks - 158 feet
- Maximum Draft - 27 feet
- Number of Guest Decks - 13
- Passenger Space Ratio - 36
Capacity (2 persons per cabin) - 3,646
Capacity (including upper berths) - 4,631
Staff - 1,367
Speed - 22.5 knots
Carnival Dream Accommodations:
- Penthouse Suites - 12
- Suites - 58
- Ocean View with Balcony - 817
- Ocean View Family Cabins (no balcony) - 193
- Other Ocean View Cabins (no balcony) - 65
- Interior Cabins - 678
Each year on the Carnival Dream, guests are served 242,000 chocolate melting cakes, 346,000 pizzas, 145,300 cappuccinos, and 2 million pieces of pillow chocolates.
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Carnival Dream - Interior Common Areas
Many of us with the press group agreed that the Carnival Dream is a beautiful cruise ship. Most other Joe Farcus-designed cruise ships revolve around a specific theme, but the Carnival Dream does not.
The ship has many lovely, special public rooms. Filled with reds and golds, the Carnival Dream features expensive Murano glass, wood veneers, and custom made tiles. The estimated cost of the ship was $860 million, and it looks it.
The ship's soaring atrium is Carnival's largest, and anyone who comes onto the ship for the first time will be impressed by the exciting atmosphere it creates.
I think many Carnival Dream guests will love the new Ocean Plaza, a hub with day and night entertainment, coffee bar, and full bar.
03 of 13Carnival prides itself on its "fun ships", and the Carnival Dream has several lounges, all featuring live or musical entertainment sure to keep everyone laughing and having fun.
Burgundy is a 425-seat comedy club that features a wide variety of comedians, offering both family-friendly and adults-only performances each night. Each 7-day cruise will have 24 comedy performances.
For those who love to be in on the action, the Caliente Dance Club has a large dance floor and modern decor. Or, music lovers will enjoy The Song for karaoke or Sam's Piano Bar for their favorite tunes.
The largest lounge on board is Encore!. Each week, guests will be treated to three spectacular reviews, with singers, dancers, and the Fun Force acrobats.
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Carnival Dream - Exterior Common Areas
Carnival cruisers love outdoor deck areas, and the Carnival Dream was designed with lots of public space outside for both kids and adults. I love the half-mile promenade that laps the ship on deck 5. It's a great place to walk, sit, or enjoy the whirlpools that extend over the sea. All adults will enjoy Serenity, the adults-only retreat forward on decks 14 and 15. It has its own bar, a tranquil atmosphere, and very comfortable seating.
Kids (and some adults) will want to spend all their time at WaterWorks, which features some spine-tingling water slides and wet fun for everyone. Other outdoor activities include an 18-hole miniature golf course and basketball and volleyball courts.
Carnival Dream has two outdoor pools and several whirlpools.Continue to 5 of 13 below.
05 of 13Camp Carnival on deck 11 is divided into three sections, each for a different age group. The first area (ages 2-5) features an arts and crafts center and a variety of age appropriate toys and games. The second area, aimed for ages 6-8, offers video game consoles such as PlayStation 2 and Wii. The third (ages 9-11) includes a karaoke machine, air hockey and foosball tables, and PlayStation 2 and Wii video game consoles. A reception desk provides parents with a convenient venue to check their kids into and out of the program. There's also a guard who keeps an eye on the entrance when the facility is open.
The activities planned for the kids looked fun, but also include an educational element related to the ship's Caribbean itineraries.
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Carnival Dream - Circle C for Kids 12 to 14Circle C is found on deck 4 and focuses on the tweens - those 12 to 14. This is a fun place, with dance floor, DJ, video jukebox, and Internet workstations. The room is 1,075 square feet, and kids should love the modern design and hip furniture. Circle C has a dedicated director who oversees the tweens' activities, including late-night movies, video game contests, and pool parties.
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Carnival Dream - Club O2 for Teens 15 to 17The Club O2 Teen Club is adjacent to Circle C. It is a 2,740-square-foot club where teens can network and dance to all the latest hits. Designed as a place for teens to "chill", the room includes a dance floor, soda bar, music-listening stations, and a state-of-the-art sound and lighting system. Like Circle C, the Club O2 programs have a dedicated director who oversees the activities.
Next to Club O2 is The Warehouse, an expansive game room featuring the latest video and arcade games. Teens can also enjoy the Carnival Dream's Y-Spa youth spa program, which offers a variety of soothing treatments.
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Carnival Dream - FunHubKids and adults alike will be impressed by the FunHub, a comprehensive shipboard intranet portal that includes an on-board social network, along with access to a wide variety of information on the ship's services, facilities, daily activities, weather, and next port of call.
The FunHub is accessible via 36 computer stations located on decks 3, 4, and 5. These stations provide guests with free and convenient access to the Carnival Dream intranet and social network on a 24/7 basis. Guests who have their own laptops along or who rent a netbook on the ship can access the sites anywhere on the ship.Continue to 9 of 13 below.
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The Carnival Dream offers all the standard type of accommodations, including interior cabins, oceanview cabins, balcony cabins, suites, and penthouse suites. These cabins have plenty of storage space and offer all the standard amenities.
In addition, the Carnival Dream introduces two innovative types of staterooms. The first are the "cove" balcony staterooms on deck 2, much closer to the water than traditional balcony cabins. The open area of the balcony is smaller, and can be closed with a hatch if the weather is very bad. Although the opening is smaller, the balcony is more private and still allows marvelous views. The cove balcony cabin interior is the same layout and size as a standard balcony cabin.
10 of 13The second type of new stateroom is the "family quint", which sleeps five. In addition to twin beds that convert to king, the cabin has two bunk beds and a sofa bed. What's interesting about these 193 oceanview staterooms is the bathroom configuration.
Like the family cabins on the Disney Cruise Line ships, the Carnival Dream family quint cabins have two baths -- one is a full bathroom (sink, toilet, shower), and the second bath has a junior tub, shower, and sink. I think this layout is better than Disney's, which has a sink and toilet in one bath and a tub/shower and sink in the second.
The Carnival Dream also features 65 spa staterooms and suites, which are located near the Cloud 9 Spa and have extra amenities/privileges.
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Although our cruise on the Carnival Dream was very short, I thought the food flavors and variety of cuisines offered at The Gathering were very good to excellent.
However, the wait time at The Gathering was sometimes an issue. For example, the line at the Mongolian wok was 30 minutes for lunch. The layout and flow of diners was also a little problematic, using traditional long buffet lines rather than "stations" like on some ships. Several buffet lines experienced longer lines than expected at breakfast and lunch.
The good news is that the wait was worth it, and I'm hoping this was a result of the short "cruise to nowhere" itinerary and horrible weather that kept everyone indoors eating rather than one of service or not enough staff.
12 of 13The two main dining rooms on the Carnival have a "red" theme and are appropriately named "Crimson" and "Scarlet". They feature two traditional seatings at 6 pm and 8:15 pm as well as "Your Time" dining from 5:45 pm to 9:00 pm.
I was only on the Carnival Dream for three days, but found the selections to be excellent and the dinners to be delicious.
The Scarlet Restaurant was also open for breakfast and lunch with open seating. Unfortunately, the long lines of fellow passengers waiting at the Scarlet Restaurant to be seated for these meals sent me scurrying off to the buffet. Since this is not the experience I expected on Carnival, I'm attributing it to the unusual weather driving everyone inside for leisurely meals.Continue to 13 of 13 below.
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Carnival Dream - Summary
The Carnival Dream is a great addition to the Carnival fleet and a good value for cruise travelers. Family groups, couples, and singles who love big ships with lots of activities, excellent entertainment, and good, diverse cuisine will love the Carnival Dream. After all, it's a "fun" ship!
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary cruise accommodation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.