Sunday, February 23, 2014

Carnival Dream Cruise - Final Thoughts & Wrap Up

I thought I would do a separate post for my final thoughts on the cruise and hopefully answer some questions in the process.  Spoiler alert - I didn't love the cruise.  A lot of the things didn't affect our day to day enjoyment of the cruise, which is why I left it out of my daily recaps, but are certainly worth consideration.

Cabin: B
I loved the location of our cabin and the class of cabin.  The Cove Balcony was really nice. It was tucked away and felt private.  I loved being so close to the water.  Everything was clean and though I never actually saw the Steward, he did an excellent job (to clarify, I had no need to actually see him, we had no special requests.)

The not so great parts about the cabin?  The bed was not comfortable.  You could feel where the beds came together.  And oh the bathroom!  I hated the damn shower curtain.  Trying to shave my legs was a challenge every day.  And it was tiny. It was the exact same bathroom that's on the Legend, but I didn't love it then either!

Food/Dining: C-

The food was really nothing to write home about.  The last Carnival Cruise we did I thought the food was probably closer to a B.  This cruise, I was really not crazy about the food.  We had two meals that I would consider good, and one of those was brunch.  I didn't like that we had a table directly when you walked into the dining room and that we sat by ourselves the entire time.  (Yes, we could have asked to move, but didn't feel the effort was warranted.)  I was amazed at how many empty spots there were at tables around us, and that they didn't combine tables.  The wait staff was fine, but not exceptional. Now, nothing was inedible, and we certainly didn't go home hungry, but I really wasn't crazy about the food on the cruise.

Staff: C+
We had no complaints about the staff.  They did an adequate job.  But I just never got a warm fuzzy feeling from them.  Also, it seemed on the few occasions I did want to buy a drink, I could never find anyone and had to trek to the nearest bar.  There was one time when a trivia was scheduled, but no one ever showed up to host it, it was odd.  And the line for the breakfast buffet was always ridiculously slow because they had someone handing out bacon (which is fine, I get it) but everyone who wanted some had to get her attention first and she could not be bothered to move with any kind of speed.

The Ship: D
I hated the layout of this ship.  It is entirely stupid that on Deck 3, where two of your restaurants are, you could not possibly walk from one end to the other.  The Galley was in the way.  It caused huge crowds and back-ups while waiting to get into the restaurant because there was no where else to go besides on the stairs.  The layout of the buffet on the Lido was extremely awkward.  It didn't make much sense.

I also thought that the ship has far too many rooms to public areas.  It's a big ship with a lot of people.  I knew that going in.  I constantly felt like I was waiting for something.  I'm sure some of this is my preferences, and I learned that I don't like this class of ship.  If I were to cruise Carnival again, it would not be on this ship.

I'm also not a fan of Carnival's decor.  Now, that doesn't affect my enjoyment of a cruise one bit.  But it is worth mentioning.

Ports of Call: B-
To recap, on this cruise we stopped at Nassau, St Thomas, & St Martin.  We had a nice day on Nassau, loved our day at St Thomas, and didn't care for St Martin.  I wasn't crazy about 3 Sea Days, but this itinerary is pretty standard for an Eastern Caribbean cruise.  Because it's so standard, the ports were very busy with a lot of ships each day. If we want to do an Eastern Caribbean out of Port Canaveral, there aren't really a lot of other options.

Time of Year: A
Our cruise was the first week in November.  We got a week with just wonderful weather.  It was warm, but it wasn't overly hot (keep in mind that we are Floridians and our ideas of hot and cold are a little warped.)  You can hit hurricanes in November, but it's a lot less likely than August & September.  I would cruise during this week again.

Price: A+
One of the reasons we did this cruise was because we got a fantastic Florida discount on the cabin.  I think we maybe spent a total of $1500 for both of us between the cruise, the excursions, extras, etc.  For a week.  It's pretty hard to beat that deal.  And also why I can forgive a lot of the things we didn't like about the cruise.

Overall: B+

Really, without the price factoring in, I would have given it a C.  Truth be told, it wasn't my favorite vacation.  However, considering the price, it served its purpose.  We needed to get away and relax.  We did just that and had a nice time doing it. I'm just not all that sure you're going to get me on a Carnival ship in the near future.  If the deal is right, maybe.  But I think we're going to try another line first.

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