My husband and I have been planning this vacation since Jan 2012. He is applying for dental school and spent the winter months furiously preparing for the Dental Admission Test. We planned to take our vacation after he completed the exam because we knew we would need some time to relax and reconnect. I'd sailed Carnival three times before and was confident we would have a great time. Boy, was I completely wrong.
Since we were leaving out of Florida, we decided to spend to spend a couple of days in Orlando and go to Disney World. It was much more humid than I am used being from the Southwestern part of the country, but I enjoyed the parks! Can't wait to take our kiddos there someday.
We hired Orlando Limo to take us to our hotel and then to the cruise. The van was full, but we arrived on time and the driver was very friendly. It was much cheaper than Carnival's option.
Embarkation--Getting on the boat took a long time standing in line in the heat and humidity. Finally we got on the boat after waiting for about an hour and a half.
The Ship--The first thing I noticed were incredibly long lines waiting for the elevators. I mean we literally waited for a half hour to get one. When we finally did, the AC did not work inside the elevator. And then we stopped at every. single. floor. This problem continued throughout the cruise. Elevator wait times were ridiculous, so we took the stairs when possible.
Though the ship holds more passengers than other Carnival ships, the common areas, like the Lido deck and Sun deck are not large enough to accommodate the number of guests. Buffet lines were long during peak times and moved very slowly. At breakfast, items were not promptly restocked and guests would wait for 5-10 minutes for someone to come replenish the item they were waiting for.
The Stateroom--Though I wanted to spend a little more for a better room, my husband insisted that we would not be in our room at all and it was not worth the money. Wrong!! Our interior cabin was so small and cramped! Also, our room was as far aft as you could possibly be. Aaaallllll the way in the back and around the corner. We were on the bottom floor and could smell odd smells from time to time. I think our room steward forgot about us because our room was not refreshed a few times after we left in the morning. Probably due to our location- out of sight, out of mind.
NOW FOR THE WORST PART!!!! The water in our room was too hot to use for five days out of our 7 day cruise. We reported the issue on the second day when it first started. It was not fully resolved until the 6th day. We could use the water for about three minutes before it would become scalding hot. I mean my poor skin was red and blotchy!! We could barely wash ourselves in the allotted time, let alone shave or wash hair.
When we reviewed our problem with customer service on the last day, at first all they said, "sorry about that." It wasn't until I forced the issue that they finally gave us an $80 credit. They did not care at all. For this reason I will not cruise Carnival again.
Food-- The food was mediocre. Temperature was the biggest issue in the main dining room. Food came out cold that should have been hot. Salad came out lukewarm. And the ice cream with our desserts was melted, every night, even after we mentioned it to our waiter.
The steak house, however, was exceptional. It is $30 extra per person, but well worth the money in my opinion. The service was delightful, and the food was perfectly prepared and presented beautifully. Even my husband who does not want to spend extra money on ANYTHING agreed it was worth it.
Miscellaneous- Our cruise diverted the course for an injured passenger to be transferred to the hospital. I hope that poor person is ok and healing. Our ship got back four hours late, and many people were completely screwed. Carnival did very little to help, unless you booked travel through them. Something to note if you plan to sail with Carnival.
Overall, I would not recommend Carnival and will not be cruising with them in the future.