Starting off, I was in a group of 5 total, between 25 and 30 years old. We are easy-going and don't create problems. I am middle class, but affluent. This will become important later.
Half day at sea
Full day at sea
Full day at sea
The staff aboard our ship was generally very polite and helpful. The bartenders were great servers with how many customers they dealt with. The waitstaff at the dining rooms were excellent. My complaint stems from our server's odor. He was obviously working since the early morning (we saw him at breakfast and lunch at the buffet) but obviously had not taken a shower. Even if he just walked past the table you could smell the BO. As I said before, we don't make problems, so it went untaken care of. How can you tell someone or their boss they smell horrible? The lunch restaurants were greatly understaffed. I waited one hour for 3 tacos. ONE HOUR. I would have gone somewhere else but on day 6 you don't want the buffet again, and their lines were about 30 minutes. Night 1 we decided to get some pizza. The line was not very long, but I again waited 1 hour for my order. I put the order in and then waited the hour. The wait times were very unacceptable. Photographers, you need to just stop. Carnival has limited space. Why then every 30ft is there another employee taking a photo hardly anyone buys? Make a photo night or something, not everyday, everywhere, all the time.
I do gamble, and so did my group. The casino was laid out well, except there was no rhyme or reason to where you could smoke. I smoke occassionally but my group are smokers. I was having a cigarette on one machine and told I could not smoke there. I was directed to the machine directly behind me for a smoking machine. 6ft away. If you do not like smoke, the area in and around the casino will be offlimits to you. The casino staff was alright but would not go out of their way to help or assist with issues. My machine malfunctioned during a not so busy time and I waited for about 30 minutes for assistance.
People on Board:
We booked Carnival because we were told it brings the young crowd. We were half right. The ship was about 15% kids, 20% teens, 30% 21 to 30, 15% middle age, and the remaining 50 plus. This was generally ok, but th kids and teens needed a curfew. 3am on most nights, the kids were running the halls unchecked and the teens were making a racket everywhere. I got into an elevator the group of teens were exiting and every button was pushed. I was young too, but parents, put a stop to this! And Carnival, do something!
Prices and Hidden Costs:
This is my biggest grievance. Carnival is a or the lowest cost cruise line. I don't expect 5 star everything. But when I'm paying 5 star prices on board for the little things I better get it. $60 unlimited soda. I came expecting free juice, water, etc. The only options during the day and night are lemonade, water, and iced tea. The alcohol prices are outrageous. The lowest cost for a beer will be $7. That's a 12oz beer. The price for a single mixer, non-premium liquor, was $12. That was the lowest price. The drink itself is probably a 10oz glass. All the alcohol and drinks purchased also have a 15% to 18% gratutity added. I will tip if my service is good, not by force. As I said before, I'm affluent, but to get a nice couple of drinks you're looking at a bar tab close to $80. How can these prices be justified when a bottle of premium vodka is sold duty free in the gift shop for $10? I can't figure it out.
The rear end of the ship, decks 4-1, smelled like sewage. Our floor, and the 2 beneath it, had an outbreak of bed-bugs. We were fortunate and did not have any. I spoke with some of the unfortunates and Carnival apologized and recleaned the rooms. No offer of compensation or anything. Terrible customer service. The hottubs were closed early at night. This was the only feasible time to go in the hot tub as it was hot during the day and the kids liked to play splash games in them. Also, people enjoy having sex at night on the serenity deck. If you don't believe me or want an eyeful go up to deck 11 and look down at night.
In summary, while on vacation, a few negatives can lead to a ruined trip. Most of the issues I've detailed were experienced during the first 3 days, with some lasting the whole cruise. Carnival ruined my opinion of cruising and I would not use their lines again, if cruise again at all.