Monday, June 6, 2016

Traveler Review: Carnival Dream Southern Caribbean Cruise

I am so excited to share with you Tracy's review of her Southern Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Dream from earlier this year. I love all the detail and helpful tips she provides.

If you have any questions or want to see if this cruise would be right for you, email me or set up  time to chat.

Review of The Carnival Dream Cruise to Grand Turk, San Juan Puerto Rico, St. Kitts, and Saint Maarten (Dates: March 26-April 3, 2016)

Fort Lauderdale
If you have any extra time while you're in Fort Lauderdale, we recommend stopping at Funky Buddha brewery (not lounge). It has a fun atmosphere and lots of eclectic beers to try.

Our Stateroom
We stayed in room 2208. It is considered in the upper/lower category but it does not have an upper lower bed situation. It has a bed and a sofa bed. Each are placed flush against adjacent walls leaving the center of the room spacious and open. It is also larger than a regular inside room. The room itself was located on a very low deck in the forward of the ship. Going south and only going south, there were very loud noises, which we suspect were waves crashing against the side of the ship. After a while we did get used to it and there were no noise issues on the return trip heading north. After the first night, the noise was only a minor distraction. We loved the extra space in the room.

The Ship
This Carnival ship was very similar to others in the fleet. With their recent change in menus, we noticed the same standard of quality, however we felt like it was a different variety that we did not care for as much.

Grand Turk
We have not explored the island very much during our two visits there. The activities we enjoy are shopping at the cruise port, relaxing by the Margaritaville pool also at the cruise port, and relaxing on the beach. The beach is literally at the end of the pier from the cruise ship.
Beach at the end of the pier

If you walk about a quarter of a mile down the beach, you will stumble upon a restaurant called jacks shack. There is enjoyable food, cold beer, and a much better quality beach located there. As long as you make a purchase at Jack's Shack, you're free to use the beach chairs and umbrellas. This is one of the easiest and most enjoyable ports.

San Juan, Puerto Rico
When in San Juan, you should definitely check out the two forts. At El Morro, there is a huge lawn where many people relax, have picnics, and enjoy flying kites. We highly recommend picking up a couple of kites from the dollar store at home prior to taking a trip to San Juan. There is a nominal fee to enter the forts, but it is less than $10. Once you pay entrance to one fort, you can use your receipts to gain free entrance at the other fort. In addition, there is a free trolley that will take you around the city and between the forts. The San Cristobal fort is different than the El Moro fort and it is definitely worth checking out. You should expect to spend about an hour at each fort. Also, something good to know, is that there is a CVS to the left of the cruise ship terminal and you can pick up a lot of items that you might have run out of or have forgotten. The prices are about comparable to that of the mainland US.

St. Kitts
We have only explored the eastern part of the island. During this trip, we took a taxi to Cockleshell Bay, which was about a 30 to 45 minute ride and about $10 per person each way. The scenery along the way is beautiful and very mountainous. Your cab will take you up and down the mountains and you will get a chance to see some beautiful sites on the island. Cockleshell Bay (also called Reggae Beach) is a peaceful beach, where you need to rent beach chairs and shade. We paid about five dollars for our chairs and the shade came free :-). It was about three dollars per beer for local beer. While enjoying this beach, you will have a good view of the sister Island, Nevis.

Saint Maarten
Captain Tim Roos led us on a boat tour of the island. It was an all day excursion from about 930 till 330 and included lunch. It was $110 per person and well worth it. Keep in mind, that often times due to rough weather, these boats are unable to travel to some of off shore islands they plan to visit. When presented with a question on whether or not we wanted to continue with our tour or be refunded our money, we and the rest of our tour group chose to continue a variation of our boat tour. This ended up being a fantastic choice and we thoroughly enjoyed our day with Captain Tim. We stopped at many beach areas to snorkel and to swim, including creole rock. This snorkel location was one of our favorites. You do need to be comfortable in the water to take this excursion. We did have to walk through the water to get to our lunch location. Additionally, we were riding on a high-powered speed boat and it was a fast and exhilarating ride for much of the time. We loved it! One of the stops on our tour was Maho Beach, where the planes fly over very closely. We did not stop to swim at that beach, only to view the excitement of a plane flying over. We were out on the open water and applied sunscreen numerous times throughout the day, nonetheless we still got sunburned. Make sure you have plenty of sunscreen for this stop.  There are many similar boat tours, but we enjoyed Captain Tim's "Saint Maarten Run". Here is his website for more information:

No comments:

Post a Comment