Trip Start Nov 12, 2009
1Trip End Nov 13, 2009
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Carnival Dream - Deck 12
I had the opportunity to travel to New York City to check out Carnival Cruise Line's newest ship, the Carnival Dream. It seemed like a great idea, as I’ve never been on a Carnival ship before, and wanted to see what the Dream had to offer.
After an extremely-early wake up call and ride down to the Boston Express Park and Ride by my favorite chauffer (hubby), my travel mentor Jodie and I we were met by Mr. Cranky Pants, the bus driver. He should have stayed in bed! After an uneventful bus ride to Boston for the next leg of our journey. we took the Amtrak train out of South Station in Boston to New York City. This was our first time taking a train to NYC. The train was fairly comfortable, and had plenty of leg room, plugs for your portable devices, and free WiFi on my Blackberry. Four hours later, we arrived at Pennsylvania Station. What a huge place!! We grabbed our bags and found a tourist booth. We discovered we were 10 blocks from Times Square, so decided to walk there and check it out, as it’s been years since I’ve been. Unfortunately it was raining on our parade…but we didn’t let it dampen our spirits…we were still excited!! We still had a few hours before we were able to board the ship…and plenty of time for lunch and some sightseeing in the Big Apple. I saw Macy’s and people selling umbrellas, religious fanatics trying to save my soul, and business people heading out for lunch. We walked along with our wheeled luggage in tow, zig-zagging our way between people, cross walks and cars. It only took a few minutes before we were in Times Square. My eyes were drawn up to the jumbotron on the building, and the lights. I felt like Dorothy just seeing Emerald City for the first time. I was in awe. Bright lights, big city!!! I got pictures of the 2009 ball that drops on New Years Eve. We saw a huge Toys R Us with a carousel inside the store, and lots and lots of cabs. We needed lunch and to get out of the rain, so we ducked into a delicatessen, oy!! We were in sticker shock at the prices….a sandwich was $18, a meal $27-35, and that’s for lunch!! Both Jodie and I ordered a chicken salad. It felt good to sit down after lugging our suitcases to the second floor of the deli. The salads came a little while later, and we were floored at how LARGE they were…I mean these servings would feed a small village, and we were a bit perturbed they didn’t tell us that the meals were large…but I digress! We enjoyed a leisurely and tasty lunch. We decided to try to walk to the cruise terminal, as it was only 2 blocks to West 49th and then a straight shot down a side street to get to the ship.
Jodie and I were offered free tickets to the David Letterman Show when walking, and were very tempted to go, both being fans of Dave. We had until 7 o’clock to board the ship, and the show starting taping at 4:00. We decided, after finding out who was on Friday’s show, that it wasn’t worth the bother (email me if you want to know who it was). So, we continued on our journey, in the rain, in NYC. After walking about 10 blocks or so, the Carnival Dream came into view at the Manhattan Pier. Yeahhhh baby!!! We were excited. We crossed the street…and enter the cruise terminal to begin the embarkation process. We went in line, and were lucky enough (and I mean that sarcastically) to be checked in by a New York Yankees fan (who we gave a hard time). Boo hiss!!! We waited for a half hour in the terminal, then were able to board the Dream. It was a pretty ship. We found our cabin on deck 12, an inside stateroom. After settling in, we checked out the ship’s staterooms, all the different room categories. We saw Oceanview staterooms, cove balcony staterooms, regular balcony staterooms, family suites and handicapped staterooms. They were all set up nicely, and had flat screen TVs, cozy bathrooms, and all the comforts of home. Some cabins had bathtubs (the quad cabins for families), which was a nice luxury to have.
We found out that the ship would not be leaving the port, as Hurricane Ida was wreaking havoc on the entire eastern seaboard. The seas were too rough to sail…so we stayed right in New York City. It was beautiful to see the city lights at night.
We checked out the buffet dining room, which was serving lunch. There was a great selection of food, from Asian to good old burger and fries, a salad bar, and desserts galore. The food was very tasty and plentiful. The wait staff was attentive and pleasant.
Next we checked out the common areas of the ship, including the spa, the children’s area, the pool area with the cruise industry’s first full-size water park and slide, the top deck, the entertainment area, and everything in between. The kids area was fabulous…with 19,000 SF of games, activities, rooms, and separate areas for 3 age groups, from ages 3 to 17.
We went to the main auditorium for the naming ceremony for the ship. Marcia Gay Harden is the godmother of the Carnival Dream, and got to break a magnum of champagne on the bow (a faux bottle) to name the ship. It was fun and festive…with lots of speeches by the ship’s executives.
We had some free time after that to rest, check out the ship, before dinner. I went back to my stateroom and crashed for a while before dinner. Jodie checked out the ship. Before I knew it, it was time to get up and ready for 7 o’clock dinner. The dress was business casual. We were seated in the main dining room. We sat at a table for 4, hoping to share dinner with new friends. We got lucky and were joined by 2 women from Pennsylvania. We had a great time. The food was delicious. The wait staff entertained us with a Michael Jackson tribute.
After dinner we went to a show in the main theater…called Dancing in the Streets. What talent!! We enjoyed ourselves, and before we knew it, the show was over. From there, we went to a comedy club, the first and only full-time comedy club in the cruise industry, and were joined by our dinner companions. What a great time. Carnival Dream had many, many entertainment options, from piano bars, to dancing, to karaoke, to jazz. It was after Midnight, and having been up since 2:00 AM the day before….it was time to call it a night. Jodie and I slept well that night!!
The next morning we were up at 6:00 AM and out for coffee and breakfast. There was a good selection, although we found the food wasn’t hot. That was the only problem we had on our visit on the Dream….not a bad thing at all!
After a hearty breakfast, we went back to our stateroom and packed. We had some time left before we had to disembark, so we checked out more areas of the ship that we didn’t get a chance to see the day before. We met up with a bunch of media people who were taking pictures of the little girl from New Jersey who won a free cruise. She colored a picture of the Carnival Dream, and won a free trip for her and her family. She had to slide down the water slide in cold and rainy weather…and was a real trooper about it. After that we disembarked the Dream for our long journey home. Back to Penn Station, and our train ride back to Boston.
While we were on the train, the Oasis of the Seas was pulling into Port Canaveral, Florida for the first time. It was a sight to see!! Both Jodie and I were excited to hear about it…as we’d both be going on the Oasis of the Seas in less than a week!!
The Carnival Dream is a great ship. It truly is a "fun ship" …and one I’d recommend to anyone looking for a cruise to the Caribbean. The food, the entertainment, the staff and the ship itself are well worth booking a cruise.
Until next week…when we board the Oasis of the Seas.