My wife and I went on this cruise because my cousin was getting married. We originally booked a grand suite and two weeks before the cruise they called and offered us an upgrade to the Penthouse Suite. Needless to say we were pretty excited to have an upgrade and after researching the size of the room we knew we were in for a good time. The lady I booked with promised specific amenities and an escort to the room since it is not listed on the deck plans. When we got to the port to embark with the VIP checkin we were promised, they could not find our reservation. They sent us on the ship with guest passes and told us to speak with guest services once aboard. Guest Services was unable to do anything for us because their computers were not uploaded yet. This was not the way I wanted the vacation to start. We ported in Key West the second day and both my wife and I were flagged trying to leave the ship. They told us that we would again have to speak with guest services because our cards were not working (the ones we had just gotten from them the previous day). If the cards weren't working, why would they tell use to leave and deal with it later? This was the classic game of pass the buck we had experienced since we had gotten on the ship. The same thing happened when we attempted to return to the ship with the cards again not working. It was at this point I called Carnival directly since working with guest services was getting me nowhere. From that point on we did not have any problems with the cards, but due to the many we had up to that point, my wife did not enjoy the rest of the cruise.
The food on this cruise was also the worst I have ever had and the service in the dining room was terrible. The servers were hard to find and seemed to not care about the experience of the cruisers. They are automatically tipped on the sail and sign account and you can tell they are not trying. One thing that irked my wife was the fact that her water glass was continuously empty (I didn't really get why that was so annoying, but she's a woman and I wasn't going to argue). Room service was helpful but slow. Orders would take up to an hour to reach our room and the food would be cold. Also whenever we called guest services for anything they were rude and acted put-upon that we needed something. The promised pool on the Serenity deck was a joke! Two hot tubs...combined those wouldn't even equal one pool. The only dancing club on the boat did not cater to everyone and was surrounded by security each night (we didn't go in). My wife had been talking about the shows she had seen on previous cruises and I was looking forward to seeing them. We went to one and did not go back. It was terrible! We fell asleep! The male singer couldn't sing and they kept yelping. I can go to karaoke to do that. The main entertainment for us came from counting everyone who left the show.
The good points:
Our room was always cleaned in a timely fashion. Our room steward was like a ninja. The bartenders in the Xanadu lounge were friendly and helpful and we enjoyed the piano bar. The room we were in was amazing but the problems that came with it made my wife wish we had stayed in our original cabin.
My wife had cruised with Carnival before and stated at that point she would not go on another cruise with them but because of the wedding we decided to go for it. Big mistake. If you are looking for something with a little more class and something focused on customer service, do not cruise with Carnival. Never again!