in may we took two cruises. this is not unusual for us since we enjoy cruising as our favorite way to vacation. we had just come back from our eighth cruise on the Carnival line. this time we were on the Dream and were a little disappointed on the cruise. obviously, the Carnival organization has made cuts and one of the biggest ones was in the food area. the dining room menus were not up to the standards they use to be. several of our favorites were missing from the daily menus, like shrimp cocktail, and even on the formal nights some of our "look forward toos" were missing or changed. for instance, duck and escargot were missing and the lobster tails were now about 3", instead of full sized. we did however, like the ship a lot, although it is very large and difficult to get around.
so, when the next week came and we were scheduled to go on the Bahamas Celebration we were a little less than enthusiast. this was our fourth sailing on the Celebration, so we knew what to expect. we went. the boarding process, was as usual, done in a very orderly manner and every thing was done quickly and efficiently. in no time we had made our dinner reservation and were on the ship. i use the word 'ship' loosely, it's actually a big 'boat'. we always get a cabin that is less expensive, since size usually means nothing since we spend very little time there anyway and the lower cost allows us to travel that much more.
the Celebration is a lovely, little ship, the Dream held 4,300 people, this ship, 1,200, the crew on the Dream was 1,400 and the crew here about 350, but don't in anyway allow that to sway your decision to take this cruise. the service on this ship is exceptional.
our room did not come as a surprise as it did the first time we took this cruise. the room is no more than a small walk-in closet, that is mostly bed. it does have a nice little bathroom, enough room to hang some cloths and very little space to even turn around it. but, as i say, we don't spend that much time in a cabin. so we entered and laughed as we have when we entered our cabins on previous cruises. our luggage went under the bed and we were ready to cruise.
this ship is just the right size, it's not difficult to get around and you never get lost. it's decorated very attractively and everything is convenient. we especially like the pool and pool area, although this time it was to cold for us to enjoy that area.
i have to talk about the restaurants. there are three, the crystal, the rio and the specialty restaurant that has an additional cost. the decor of the two restaurants we dine is is lovely and very inviting. service is terrific and the food unbelievable. as i mentioned we just came back from a Carnival cruise where the food was disappointing (i do not take a cruise to be served meatloaf and fried chicken, which showed up nightly on the Dream menu). Nancy, my sister had the best piece of salmon that she has ever eaten, she said, i had duck (which i sorely missed on the Dream). The food was prepared and served beautifully. the entire dinner was exceptional. we did have to pay for the espresso after dinner at bar prices, which we do not on the Carnival, but after a really good dinner like that it was worth the price.
breakfast in the Rio, is a semi-buffet style. some things like drinks, breads and if you ask anything else you would like brought to you. the buffet has a very good choice of items available, all cooked deliciously.
this time we had included a stay on the island for three days. although we didn't expect it we were at the Island Seas a timeshare right on the ocean. the rooms were lovely and except for the fact that the food was very expensive our stay was wonderful. the people exceptional and we hated to leave.
our cruise home was just as great as our cruise to the Bahamas. we had the same room and ate in the Crystal room again. another excellent meal. Kumor, the maitre d, came to our table and treated us like queens.
after dinner we went to see the duo, SHEPHERD & GREEN in the Club 451 (they are reason we take this cruise over and over). this duo gives a performance that is so fantastic that you just can't leave when they're performing. Linda shepherd an Jeff green are a married couple, performing for 31 years. standing ovations not uncommon. Carnival should scoop them up, they are better than any performers we have ever seen on any of our Carnival cruises.
disembarking and going thru customs, - a piece of cake. the ship has this procedure down pat and you just move along smoothly.
okay, bottom line, cons: the elevators are very small (hold maybe 4 people without luggage), the cabins, at least in the lower prices, very small, and the TV selections suck, BUT THE PROS ARE: THE SHIP IS A GOOD SIZE, EASY TO GET AROUND, THE SERVICE IS TERRIFIC, THE AMBIANCE IS LOVELY, AMENITIES, BETTER THAN GOOD, THE FOOD, UNBELIEVABLE, AND THE ENTERTAINMENT, SUPURB!!
getting to the port of west palm beach is easy, especially with a GPS and parking is valet-style, and it's $15 a day, collected before you leave your car. when you arrive and return getting your car is done swiftly and efficiently.
all in all a great little cruise and a gem that we keep in mind to take when we need a little break at a very reasonable price.