Carnival Dream Review

The Carnival Dream attracts a mostly younger crowd, many of whom enjoy the fun and food. It sails from New Orleans, a potentially convenient alternative to Florida.

Carnival Cruise Line's Dream claims to have something for everyone, from a comedy club to a dance club, a pedicure spa for teens to flat-screen TVs in all cabins. But Carnival Dream reviews are something of a mixed bag.

Passengers generally are impressed with the selection of activities on board although some suggest that the capacity of 3,646 vacationers strains the vessel's facilities and services. An expert report by Cruise Critic, which assigns the ship 4 stars, notes that public spaces feel crowded and that dining venues often are overwhelmed. The food satisfies a wide swath of passengers, but some reviews snap about slow service and indifferent fare. And while the Dream vibe is upbeat, with many repeat customers and a mostly under-50 crowd, some reviewers at write that the staff, which numbers 1,367, often seems glum. Assessments of the ship's physical condition skew positive -- cabins and facilities up to snuff, décor gaudy but not over-the-top -- even as a small minority point to off-putting smells and maintenance shortfalls.

Amenities aboard the Dream include more than a dozen dining spots, a retreat for adults only, a spa, a giant poolside movie screen, a water park, Dr. Seuss-themed characters and activities, a comedy club, and tequila and rum bars.

New Orleans is the Carnival Dream's home port, and the Caribbean its usual destination, with nightly rates starting at $53 a person. An occasional one-way cruise originates in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for just $46 a night, and finishes in New Orleans.

Carnival earned the title of best cruise line for value from Cruise Critic in 2015. Each of the 24 ships in the fleet is slightly different and garners more or less favorable reviews. Industry experts recommend researching the particular ship before choosing a cruise. That said, most earn high marks for value and cleanliness and an overall pleasant experience. Two smaller ships that stand out for budget cruising include the Liberty (mostly out of Galveston, Texas) and Splendor (out of Miami).

Carnival is the largest cruise line in the world, and one of the more accessible value options.

Emily Lugg

Emily Lugg is a freelance writer and writing tutor in the Writing Center at Ohio Wesleyan University. Always looking for the best investment for her family at the cheapest price, Emily uses research and consumer reviews as her sharpest tools for the savviest shopping.

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