It has been a shame to read some of the negative reviews on what we thought was a most fabulous holiday. When we got back to Barcelona airport for our return flight, we were behind three families from the US, who I could only describe as professional moaners! I don't think that they even bothered to find anything out about Europe before they came here, but managed to find fault with everything.
This was our first cruise and we have two children 14 and 13. We were apprehensive, as we didn't know what to expect. We landed and met Carnival Reps, who took our luggage and said it would be in our room the next time we saw it. Fantastic. We then went through embarkation. Yes, there was a queue, but Carnival had a lot of people on desks and we were through in around 30 mins. Not bad! We got onto the ship and were blown away by its beauty and elegance.
The kids had an absolute ball. My son made some friends and on most days was playing table tennis, football(soccer) or enjoying the brilliant Waterworks park. My daughter loved the daily quizzes and the karaoke in the evenings. Big shout out to Alex 'Minnesota' who was amazing, as was Taylor during the day!
My wife and I were able to relax and enjoy the weather and especially the ports of call. Woke up first morning in Monaco(stunning), also Venice (amazing) and Dubrovnik (absolutely beautiful). We made our way around ourselves most of the time with no problems, although the Naples traffic is frightening!
During the port days the boat was empty and chairs were not a problem. On the first two sea days, it was a real problem getting chairs due to seat saving. Carnival then implemented a 40 minute rule and for the remaining sea days it was a lot better.
The lido restaurant was also busy for breakfast on the first morning and we were a bit unhappy about having to queue for 20 mins or so for breakfast. However, that was the only morning where we actually queued. Some have complained that the breakfast offer never changed, however the choice of cereals, fruit, yoghurt, continental pastries, omlettes and full range of cooked meats and eggs would keep most people happy over the cruise.
Meals in the Sapphire restaurant were very good. Of the 12 nights we ate there only two meals were so-so. We had the choice of 12 starters and 12 mains every night, which I think is pretty good. The service was excellent. We chose any time dining and always went to dinner around 7.15. No queues. However, from 7.45 onwards huge queues formed. Despite repeated announcements about the quietness of the dining room before 7.15, people seemed to prefer to eat later and queue.
We had a balcony cabin which was great and the staff were amazing. There were plenty of bars with different types of music to choose from and the shows were good, without being sensational. They were a good watch. The comedy club was also very good, although we only took in two shows, due to the extent of what else was going on.
Overall, we loved the holiday, loved the attitude of the fun loving staff and would definitely cruise again with Carnival.