Carnival Dream Review. Our experiencce and memories of our family cruise vacation on Carnival Dream

Carnival Dream Cruise Ship Review

We sailed on the Carnival Dream November/December 2017 to the Western Caribbean out of New Orleans. Here is our review of the Carnival Dream.

A review of our family cruise on the Carnival Dream cruise ship to the Western Caribbean.

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We have previously sailed on Carnival, Princess, Royal Caribbean, NCL and Celebrity. I say this only to point out that we have something to compare to.

When we sailed I hadn’t planned to write a review or document our experience fully. I hadn’t considered a cruise related travel website. Now that I have, I still thought I’d share what I remember about the ship and our cruise.

I know that when I’m planning a cruise I like to read as much as I can about the ship and people’s experience. It is part of the planning fun for me.

Hopefully this can help out someone like me. My next review will be far more detailed I promise.

At the time the kids were 12 and 14. We chose Carnival because they were the only cruise line that woud have them both in the same kids club.

Cruising with Kids – Picking the right ship

Carnival Dream (Ultimate Guide)

Carnival Circle C Program (ages 12-14)


Carnival had staggered check-in in New Orleans. Several months before the cruise I logged onto Carnival’s website and selected the 10:30-11:00 check in slot. We arrived just after 10:30 by taxi.

This was the fastest and smoothest embarkation we have ever experienced. No lines to check-in and not long of a wait at all to board the cruise ship.

I had debated buying Faster to the Fun mostly to board the ship earlier, I’m glad I didn’t as we wouldn’t have gained even 15 minutes.

Once onboard, knowing the elevators would be very busy we took the stairs to the lido deck to get a nice cold beverage, have lunch and claim our spot by the pool.

Lunch and a drink poolside is aways the first thing we do when we board a cruise ship.

Guy's Burger Joint was our favorite restaurant on Carnival Dream.  Find out what else we liked in our Carnival Dream review.
Guy’s burger from Guy’s Burger Joint on Carnival Cruises – a must try! Photo by Carnival Cruise Lines

Carnival Dream Atmosphere

Carnival always has a fun atmosphere, and this cruise was made especially fun thanks to our cruise director Chris Williams, The Flying Scotsman. Here is his Instagram. Keep in mind that the cruise directors change ships from time to time and that Chris likely won’t be the cruise director on the Dream in the future.

After more than a dozen cruises, this was the first time I realized how much of a difference an amazing cruise director can make.

The Carnival Dream didn’t have live music poolside but they did play music poolside over a sound system.

We boarded November 26 and I was thrilled to see the Dream beautifully decorated for Christmas.

There were a few holiday events such as a tree lighting ceremony, carols in the atrium, Christmas trivia and an evening Christmas show. We enjoyed them all.

A review of our cruise with our young teens on Carnival Dream to the Caribbean.

Carnival Dream Review Cabin (Stateroom)

We went with two interior connecting cabins (#6372 & #6374) on the Carnival Dream which were located on deck 6. They were accessed from an interior hallway, therefore they were minimal people walking by. The location was nice and quiet.

We chose two connecting cabins rather than one larger cabin because this way it gave us two bathrooms. The cabins were quite spacious.

The first day our cabin steward brought us a door stop which allowed us to keep the connecting doors propped open.

If we were ever sailing on Carnival Dream again I wouldn’t hesitate to book these cabins again. We don’t mind having an interior room, we sleep great and the savings allows us to cruise more often.

Inside cabin on Carnival Dream, read the full Dream ship review here
Inside cabin on Carnival Dream

Carnival Dream Review Food

We thought the food was great. We aren’t foodies by any means but we found nothing to complain about. We really enjoyed the quality and variety of the free good food options on Carnival Dream. We actually didn’t eat at any of the specialty restaurant on this cruise vacation and didn’t feel like we were missing out.

Main Dining Room

We had “Your Time Dining” for the main dining room. We could choose to eat in the Crimson dining room any time from 5:45-9:30 p.m. We ate in the main dining room four out of the seven nights. We lucked out getting the greatest wait staff on our first night there, they were just so funny. Luckily and surprisingly we were able to get the same table and staff each night we ate there.

In the formal dining rooms, trying the chocolate melting cake off the Carnival cruise dessert menu is a must.

Some of the other places we ate were:

Guy’s Burger Joint

Delicious!! This is our favorite Carnival Dream restaurant. Two of us are vegetarians and even we loved Guy’s Burger Joint. It wasn’t posted on the menu, however, we could order veggie burgers! They take a little longer to cook, but definitely worth the wait. These were the best veggie burgers I’ve had to date. We ate there several times. They were open from 12 noon until 6 p.m.

Update – sadly on our last Carnival cruise (Vista) Guy’s Burgers no longer served veggie burgers. However, veggie burgers were available in the Lido Marketplace.

Blue Iguana Cantina

Blueiguana Cantina was another of our favorites. It is conveniently located poolside by Guy’s Burger Joint and was open 7:00am-10:30am and then again for lunch 12:00pm-3:30pm. They have one line for tacos and one line for burritos.

We ate here for both breakfast and for lunch. Both were yummy.

The Blue Iguana Cantina on Carnival Cruise Line.  Read our review of Carnival Dream
Blue Iguana Cantina on Carnival Cruise Lines. Photo by Carnival Cruise Lines

Pizzeria del Capitano

They serve up pizza 24 hours a day. You will never go hungry on the Carnival Dream. We enjoyed this as well, often as a late night snack. It is a cruise after all 🙂

Mongolian Wok

Only my daughter ate here, she thought it as just okay. Keep in mind however, that that is just the opinion of a 12 year old. I’ll definitely give it a try next time we are cruising on Carnival.

Lido Restaurant

The Lido Marketplace is the buffet restaurant on the Carnival Dream. We ate here for several breakfasts, lunches, as well as dinners with no complaints. We thought both the quality as well as the selection was good.

Carnival Dream review

Carnival Dream Review – Entertainment

The evening shows were more singing and dancing than big theatre production type shows, however, we went to all of them as a family and enjoyed them all.

We think one of the best things to do on a cruise is to attend the evening deck parties. On our 7 night Carnival Dream cruise there were two deck parties (in addition to the sail away party). There was an “80s Rock-n-Glow Party” as well as a “Mega Deck Party”. These didn’t disappoint, our cruise director made them such a blast.

Deck parties are both a free thing to on a Carnival cruise as well as one of the best things to do on a Carnival cruise.
Carnival Deck Party. Photo by Carnival Cruise Lines

Watching Cars 3 as a family at the Dive In Movie was a memorable experience. Free popcorn and the use of blankets is a nice touch.

We didn’t spend too much time in the casino (one evening for not much more than an hour) because the cigarette smoke was so bad. I had read before sailing that the smell of smoke was bad in the casino, but I thought to myself it can’t be that bad. But let me tell you, it really is that bad.

We would normally go to the casino often during a cruise. While at first it was disappointing, it actually turned out to be a good thing. Not spending hours in the ship’s casino allowed us to watch and partake in other shows and activities that we may have not otherwise done.

Carnival Circle C Kids Club

Carnival Circle C is a program just for tweens/teens aged 12-14. For detailed information on this free program check out this post.

Carnival Circle C kids club, see our review of the Carnival Dream
Carnival Dream Circle C kids club area. Photo by Carnival Cruise Lines

If you are cruising with younger kids, all ships in the Carnival fleet offer kids clubs for them as well.  There are different kids’ clubs for different age groups.  Your children are sure to have a good time.


On our sailing the Carnival Dream we had two sea days in addition to stops in Montego Bay Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel Mexico.

Sea Days are actually my favorite. There are so many fun activities and amenities onboard not to mention amazing food and ice cold drinks.

We really enjoyed the hot tubs on deck 5. They often weren’t too busy.

37 Free Things to do on a Carnival Cruise

If you are looking for shore excursions ideas. You can read what we did in Montego Bay Jamaica here

Is your cruise stopping in Jamaica?  Check out this shore excursion.

Read about our Grand Cayman shore excursion here.

Cruise stopping in Grand Cayman? Then check this out.

In Cozumel we decided to stay on the ship, it turned out to be a great day. We had the water slides to ourselves.

Our review of Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Dream with our kids to the Caribbean.

In summary we loved this family cruise vacation and had a great time. We loved the ship and loved cruising on this Carnival ship. I hope this Carnival Dream review helps you get excited about your next cruise vacation.