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Carnival Dream Review

2019 Best for Fitness & Recreation
2019 Best for Shore Excursions
2019 Best for First Timers
View More

Find a Carnival Dream Cruise from A$2,546

Carnival Dream
4.5 / 5.0
1934 reviews

Pros
Cons
Bottom Line
A ship with a happy vibe, where passengers have fun and crew is friendly

About

Passengers
3,646

Crew
1,367

Passenger to Crew
2.67:1

Launched
2009

Shore Excursions
429
Sails To
Western Caribbean, Eastern Caribbean, Panama Canal & Central America
Sails From
Carnival Cruise Deals
Gina Kramer
Cruise Critic Contributor

Carnival Dream Overview

Even before its January 2017 makeover -- which welcomed Carnival favorites like Guy's Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina, the Alchemy Bar and Bonsai Sushi -- Carnival Dream had a lot to love. The ship is one of the biggest in Carnival's fleet (second to the line's Vista class), which means dining options abound, and you'll never be bored with activities ranging from themed trivia and charades to comedy shows and top-deck dance parties.

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To balance this out, Carnival Dream offers something that can be hard to find on other ships of its size: a place to escape all the action. The Lanai Promenade, a wraparound exterior walkway on Deck 5, has ample seating (including a handful of deck chairs) and four cantilevered hot tubs, yet never seems to get crowded, even on sea days.

Carnival Dream is also full of "hidden" decks -- two of which offer some of the best views onboard. You'll find them all the way at the front of the ship, on Decks 6 and 7, through doors at the end of the cabin corridors. Elsewhere throughout the ship, you'll find slivers of deck space and seating nooks to accommodate the larger number of passengers onboard. On the flip side, be warned: The ship does have a few tight spaces that can make it difficult to navigate -- including the internal walkway on Deck 5, next to Ocean Plaza, and Deck 4, near the kids' clubs.

What truly sets Carnival Dream apart from other ships, however, is its service. The crew members seem genuinely happy and interested in making sure passengers have the best vacation possible. In addition, they go above and beyond -- whether that's having your go-to glass of lemonade waiting for you at the main dining room, or guiding you to one of the secret decks so you don't get lost. With this level of attentiveness, it's no surprise Carnival Dream has won the line's internal flagship award for best service, multiple years.

Between the friendly service and everything there is to do (and eat) onboard, Carnival Dream is one big happy ship -- and we have a feeling you'll quickly forget about any minor gripes.


Inclusions

Included with your cruise fare:

  • All meals in the main dining room, buffet and select room service items
  • All theatre production shows and Punchliner Comedy Club shows
  • Use of the water park and sports deck
  • Daily activities unless noted below or in the FunTimes daily program
  • Use of the fitness center, excluding organized classes or training sessions
  • Use of the Carnival kids club (children aged 2 to 17) until 10 p.m.

Not included with your cruise fare:

  • Gratuities ($13.99 per person, per day for standard staterooms; $15.99 per person, per day for suites)
  • Automatic gratuities of 18 percent for beverages and spa treatments
  • All drinks except water, tea, coffee and juices served in the buffet
  • Meals in the steakhouse specialty restaurant
  • Treatments in the Spa and salon; personal training or group fitness classes
  • Entry to the Thermal Suite, including Thalassotherapy Pool, at the Cloud 9 Spa
  • All shore excursions
  • Wi-Fi internet access
  • Select activities like bingo, alcohol tasting events and Build-a-Bear workshops
  • Photos and artwork for sale
  • Late-night (10 p.m. to 1 a.m.) events in the Kids Club

Top Carnival Dream Itineraries

View All Carnival Dream Itineraries (11)

Fellow Passengers

A huge chunk of the passengers on Carnival Dream drive to their cruise from states all over the southern United States. Ages run the gamut from kids (lots of 'em in the summer!) to folks in their 60s and 70s, though the average age is usually somewhere in the mid-30s to mid-40s. The ship is popular with groups, including family reunions and wedding parties.


Carnival Dream Dress Code

Daytime: Casual is the name of the game on any Carnival ship. On most days, you'll see men in shorts and T-shirts and women in shorts and tees, capris, sundresses or bathing suits with cover-ups.

Evening:Most nights people remain casual for dinner but on Cruise Elegant nights, you'll see women in gowns, sundresses and pants and blouse combos, while men don anything from tuxes to full suits to trousers with button-up shirts (with or without a jacket and/or tie). You'll also see plenty of people who choose not to dress up at all.

Not permitted: On all nights, cutoff jeans, men's sleeveless shirts, basketball shorts, T-shirts, sportswear, baseball hats, flip-flops and bathing suits are not allowed in the main dining rooms, though we saw lots of women in flip-flops and men in T-shirts and baseball caps.

For more information, visit Cruise Line Dress Codes: Carnival Cruise Line.


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Carnival Dream Ratings

CategoryEditorMember
Cabins3.54.2
Dining4.53.9
Entertainment3.53.9
Public Rooms4.04.2
Fitness Recreation4.03.9
Family4.03.9
Enrichment3.53.6
Service5.04.2
Value For Money5.04

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Get to know who you'll be sailing with

More about Carnival Dream

Where does Carnival Dream sail from?

Carnival Dream departs from Galveston

How much does it cost to go on Carnival Dream?

Cruises on Carnival Dream start from A$2,546 per person.

Is Carnival Dream a good ship to cruise on?

Carnival Dream won 7 awards over the years, including Best for Fitness & Recreation, Best for Shore Excursions and Best for First Timers in 2019.

Awards and Recognition

Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice

  • 2019 Best for Fitness & Recreation
  • 2019 Best for Shore Excursions
  • 2019 Best for First Timers
  • 2017 Best for Shore Excursions
  • 2015 Best for Service
  • 2014 Best for Shore Excursions
  • 2013 Best for Embarkation
Show More

Carnival Dream Member Reviews

Carnival Dream
lildee99
Sail Date: Jan 2020
My husband and I sailed for the second time on the Carnival Dream, stateroom category 8B, room 6318.... Read More
Carnival Dream
rosiegirl2
Sail Date: Feb 2020
The Dream is about 10 years old.... Read More
Carnival Dream
toober
Sail Date: Aug 2019
Reading other reviews, and previous trip on Vista, it seems this is currently a Carnival norm.... Read More
Carnival Dream
Coffee4Eve
Sail Date: Sep 2019
Carnival Cruise September 2 – 7, 2019 We took the Carnival Dream out of Galveston just as a quick escape. Nothing really planned, just some time to relax.... Read More

Carnival Cruise Line Fleet

Carnival Ecstasy
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

1118 reviews

Fun and friendly with a laid-back vibe; highlights include waterslides, a singalong piano bar, nightly Punchliner Comedy Club and mini-golf; carries some 2,500.

Carnival Ecstasy Cruises to the Bahamas View All Carnival Ecstasy Cruises
Carnival Elation
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Elation is the seventh of Carnival's eight Fantasy-class vessels (debuting in 1998), and went through a significant upgrade in 2009.

Carnival Fantasy
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Carnival Fantasy may be the oldest vessel in the Carnival fleet, but it certainly has style, and a warm and friendly atmosphere.

Carnival Fascination
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

The 2,052-passenger Carnival Fascination debuted in 1994 and went through a significant upgrade to public areas, top-deck spaces and cabins in 2010.

Carnival Imagination
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Fun and friendly with plenty to do from sunup to sundown including high-energy pool deck fun and stage shows, plus waterslides, mini-golf and more.

Carnival Inspiration
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

A smaller ship packed with energetic fun all day long; highlights include nightly comedy, enthusiastic karaoke, waterslides, mini-golf and 10 bars and lounges.

Carnival Paradise
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Smaller ship with a fun and family-friendly atmosphere: highlights include short warm-weather itineraries, a waterslide and mini-golf; carries about 2,500 people.

Carnival Sensation
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Fun, friendly vibe with a packed lineup of daily activities, nightly comedy, energetic stage shows, silly pool deck fun, and a multi-slide waterpark.

Carnival Victory
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Fewer attractions than other Carnival ships but only offers short sailings; highlights are the comedy club, four pools and water slide; about 3,000 passengers.

Carnival Spirit
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Family-friendly, 2,100-passenger ship, based full-time in Sydney, has the Green Thunder water slide, great dining, free poolside food, lively entertainment and fun crew.

Carnival Pride

Lively and fun with a dizzying art-through-the-centuries decor, nightly standup comedy, two waterslides, four pools, and lots of bars and lounges; can carry about 2,500.

Carnival Legend
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


More than 2,600 passengers can enjoy the Green Thunder slide, Serenity Retreat for adults, Playlist Production music shows and excellent kids activities.

Carnival Conquest
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Unpretentious vibe with pool-centric fun and water slide, plus Hairy Chest and Mr. and Mrs. Conquest contests; also 11 bars and 9 eateries; carries about 3,500.

Carnival Glory

Lively entertainment and activities include nightly stand-up comedy, high-energy Playlist Production stage shows, twister water slide, and a nonstop schedule of daily activities.

Carnival Miracle
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Fun, family-friendly ship focused on Carnival signatures like the high-energy Playlist Production shows, nightly comedy, RedFrog Pub and line dancing deck parties.

Carnival Valor
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Silly poolside games, piano bar sing-alongs and PG- and R-rated stand-up comedy give this smallish mega-ship its fun vibe; also features the RedFrog Pub.

Carnival Liberty
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Fun, friendly vibe focusing on Carnival signatures like the Punchliner Comedy Club, gut-busting Guy's Burger Joint and cocktail-focused Alchemy Bar; holds about 3,500.

Carnival Freedom

Fun, laid-back and friendly; highlights include nightly comedy, high-energy stage shows, twister water slide and the popular RedFrog Pub; holds about 3,500.

Carnival Splendor
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Can hold upward of 4,000 passengers; features indoor/outdoor pool with retractable dome, Twister water slide, mini-golf and just one extra-fee restaurant.

Carnival Dream

Fun, friendly vibe; features Guy Fieri's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse, family-friendly and adult stand-up comedy, nightly karaoke, water park and mini-golf.

Carnival Magic
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Holds about 4,000; highlights include water slides, the RedFrog Pub, two-bathroom family cabins that hold up to five, a ropes course and Carnival's signature fun.

Carnival Breeze

Nonstop activities and attractions include top deck water park and ropes course, 4D Thrill Theater and nightly standup comedy; can hold up to 4,700 cruisers.

Carnival Sunshine

Fun and friendly with nightly stand-up comedy and short, energetic stage shows, plus a calorie-packed burger joint from celeb chef Guy Fieri; holds about 3,500.

Carnival Vista

Holds a bit more than 4,000 passengers; offers a waterpark, suspended-in-midair recumbent bike thrill ride, ropes course and the first IMAX cinema at sea.

Carnival Horizon
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Carnival's newest megaship, holding some 4,000 passengers, launches April 2018; highlights include new barbeque/brewery and Teppanyaki restaurants, an IMAX movie theater, waterpark, beer brewery and ropes course.

Carnival Sunrise

A completely reimagined ship, Carnival Sunrise is Carnival Triumph transformed with new venues, entertainment options, and a whole new Fun Ship look.

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