This was our third Carnival Cruise in six years and probably our most disappointing.
Embarkation seemed so disorganized and long. We arrived at 11:30am and although the line seemed to be moving, security shut down twice due to back ups and other info not shared. A line through security. A line to get boarding cards. Then, this is a first, a line on the actual deck of the ship. We finally made it on board at around 2pm. Tired, hungry, and unprepared for the wait.
Room steward introduced himself as John. Usually I can work through language barriers but his was the thickest one yet. He welcomed us on our first Carnival Cruise. I told him it was our third. Then asked if it was just the two of us even though my husband was on the balcony with our two children. When I corrected him, he looked puzzled and asked if I was sure there were four of us instead of two. Yes! So he checked his list and confirmed it was indeed four passengers. I asked for two child life jackets. He said he would bring them back but he never did. Not for the entire cruise. Each day, I had to ask for our beach towels as he would take them and not replace them. I had to ask for ice after making up the room each day. We were often left with an ice bucket full of melted ice. One day, he took the sheets off our bed in the morning and I had to call at 3pm to ask for them to be replaced. He said he didn't make up the beds until after dinner. Huh? The night before disembarking, we returned after our usual two-hour dinner to find that our room still was not serviced. As the cart was heading down the hall to be put away, I asked if our room could be serviced so I can begin packing. I was told by the assistant that the room was not made up because we were in there. I said we were gone for two hours. So they came in to clean. They didn't notice I was on the balcony. The first thing John did was walk into our room and pick up our camera case that had our camera in it. Why? He didn't clean around it. It wasn't in his way. Was he considering taking the one thing we "forgot" to lock up? Sorry, John, I was there. John was the worse steward ever. Ever!!! So much so, that despite the meager tip they get, my husband reduced it before disembarking. We could not see paying for a service when it was more work for me. John even saw fit to charge us for a water bottle on the last night of the cruise that wasn't there from the beginning. See when you do a terrible job, you can't keep track of what you forgot to put in the room and when? I saw his checklist. He only had eight rooms to clean. I've always tipped extra because the past stewards knew our names and the kids' names. But he never bothered.
We sat in the Silver dining room, second floor. We missed a lot of the dancing, which I usually enjoy. The food selection was not as varied as in the past. They have an everyday menu and then specials. I couldn't finish my filet because it was so bad. The dessert selection was mostly disappointing. I usually stuck with cheese plate. Kids enjoyed the desserts but quickly switched to bowls of plain ice cream the rest of the cruise. That should tell you something. The jumbo fried shrimp was frozen small-med shrimp at best. Not the same quality we were used to. I found something to eat each night but I would be hard pressed to pick out a stand-out dish because there really wasn't one.
Buffet wasn't much better at dinner time. Tired selections. Best meals were lunch and dinner. Fish and Chips place was always our go-to. Burritos for lunch and breakfast were easy. Omelet Station was the best for me. Only had one guy burger. Deli was just okay. Mongolian BBQ was okay but long line is so not worth it. Did not do pizza this trip.
Traveling with a 4 yo and 8 yo, they needed to be separated. Mostly, the 4 yo had a lot to do at the camp. Unfortunately, not so much for the 8 yo. He doesn't want to do the talent show and that took up some camp time. They did a group hunt for Funship Freddie but they were told they (including counselors) took too long so he left. What? Did he have to go back to work cleaning rooms? So he didn't get to meet him. They took the kids to the dance club a lot for little parties. The music was deafening and when I picked up 8 yo (Aspergers kid), I found him curled up in a ball in a corner trying to drown out the music. Although I filled out his special needs paperwork citing he doesn't like loud noises (with a sticker on his name tag) and was given a cell phone so they could call me, they chose not to. No reason given for not calling me. Now, had they met Freddie, he would not have been subjected to that because I picked him up at the start of the "party" to avoid it. My son said he had been there for about 10-15 minutes and wondered what took me so long. After that, he spent a lot of time with mom and dad.
The 4yo did okay. He loved going. Sometimes they closed for long periods to do the fee-based bear building. That was the only downside.
We didn't do too much thanks to 8yo Camp Carnival problem. One night they played kids movies on the seaside movie screen. Blankets and popcorn were provided and the kids loved it even though they had seen the movies over and over again elsewhere. I wished they had done that one more kid night because that was the only time I saw so many people watching the movies on that screen.
Easy. Get a porter and you will breeze through. I think it took us a total of 15 minutes from the time our number was called until we hit the outside curb waiting for our shuttle.
All in all, I'll probably try them one more time. Next time without kids. Maybe with some of my girlfriends. Why? Don't ask me.