Art of the Carnival Dream 8

There are a minimum of ~27 things you’d likely count as highlights of a Carnival cruise before you got to stairwell artwork — if you ever even got to stairwell artwork.

There’s the abundance of food available around the clock — juicy pot roasts, tender chicken, fresh salad bars with buckets of hard boiled eggs (my god I love hard boiled eggs) and ALL. THAT. BACON. Not to mention the decadent ‘chocolate extravaganza’.

There’s floating in the pool or chillaxing in a lounge chair and watching popular new movies under the stars.

There’s the towel animal surprises in your cabin every night.

There’s elaborate musical theatrical productions with more costume changes than a toddler on a lazy weekend morning.

During a cruise my family booked on the Carnival Dream from New Orleans last month, I spent a lot of time with the artwork hanging in the stairwells. There was a good reason for this.

I grew to admire the style and the surrealism of the pieces. On the final day at sea, I made a final pass and snapped photos of some of my favorites. Those full paintings and small pieces of others are presented below.

Most every sane omnivore will tell you that it’s not only impossible to lose weight on a cruise (see: delicious round-the-clock food and the quarter mile spread of chocolate) it’s a fool’s errand to expect even to plateau while vacationing at sea but I defy that logic. I have to. Not to toot my own horn but I have never gained a pound on any of the five Carnival cruises we’ve enjoyed.

On the Dream, in the span of one week while visiting Cozumel, Belize and Honduras, I lost 4-5 pounds. It’s in losing those handful of pounds that I came to love the art of the Dream.

Art of the Carnival Dream 8

During every day of our cruise, whether at sea or in a port, I would spend 45 minutes to an hour on the walking trail atop the highest deck on the back of the ship. Around and around I’d go, with earbuds in, listening to Gordi and The Greeting Committee and soccer podcasts mostly, passing the famed red, white and blue Carnival funnel, walking into the wind and running with it — interval training is too strong a term for my simple routine but it sounds so rad and so I routinely use it.

I traveled a few miles each day, nothing earth shattering I know, but I put in the work up there, out there, on a daily basis. That run/walking though is only half of the story of how I lost weight while surrounded by pizza, soft serve, cookies, french fries, hard boiled eggs, bacon, Bearnaise sauce, and buffets upon buffets of delicious Carnival food.

We decided to book a room on deck 2 this time at sea, in hopes of minimizing my wife’s occasional queasiness. We had heard that the lower and more central your cabin, the less you’d feel the motion of the ocean (er, gulf). It worked, that advice proved true, and she was fine for the duration.

Being down that low on the Carnival Dream was beneficial for me as well.

I’d run the steps up to deck 11’s walking/running track every day and get my heart rate going before I even saw the sun and felt the wind in my face and at my back.

The different stairwells have different art and I loved it all — from the footballing penguins (two of my favorite things) to the pencil sketched upright bass player. The art of the Dream made me smile, think, reflect and sometimes laugh, even as I raced up and down the steps with British men talking or Australian women singing in my ears.

Here’s the best art of the Dream, as experienced cruising Carnival to Cozumel, Belize and Honduras from the brilliant Port of New Orleans.

[forgive the quality of these photos, which I know are below my usual standard but 1) I was sweaty and in motion even when not and 2) the lighting in the stairwells made for a tricky photograph]