This was our second cruise with Carnival (previous cruise was on the Carnival Dream in Jan 2012)
and it was really fantastic.
First off we drove to the port and parked and the "Cruise and Park" which was $30 cheaper per week than the parking at the cruise terminal. This parking was less that 5 minutes from the terminal and the shuttles ran very regularly.
We were amazed at how fast we were able to get onboard.....I would say less than 30 minutes. We were also able to bring two bottles of wine, a case of water, and a case of pop on board with no problems.
The ship itself is a nice mid-size ship. Very easy to navigate. It is showing it's age in the carpets and on the corners of walls and elevators. Overall it's still a pretty ship.
Our cabin was really well laid out with the queen bed and the bunk beds. I liked our location as we were located close to the atrium in the middle of the ship.....when we went up to lido we were in the middle of the buffet.
Food: The food really exceeded my expectations. The buffet was pretty standard. I really liked the pizza when I was willing to wait for a fresh hot piece. Enjoyed getting hot chocolate and cookies every afternoon. The hamburgers and hotdogs were not great- but the fries were fabulous. The sandwich bar was very tasty and had a great selection.
The really good food was in the dining room. One night we had lobster that was so tasty, I also found all of the soups they offered very good. One night they served crab cakes- and they were the best I had ever tasted! I also had the chocolate pot for dessert every night- it was fantastic! A lot of the other dessert were very yummy. I also found the dining service at dinner was great- they were very pleasant and efficient. I did however find the service at lunch hit and miss.
The supper club- for $35 per person was amazing! really worth going to. Had the surf and turf and it was soooo good. Everyone in my eight person party was blown away by the food and service- it was a special experience.
entertainment: the people over 50 years old in my party loved the production shows. I have seen 15 real NYC broadway shows and at least 6 Cirque du soleil shows- so to me these were less than fabulous and very cheesy. One of the male singers sounded like Clay Aiken....and not in a good way. However the seniors in my group were very excited about both shows.
I loved the mid-night comedy shows and Doug in the piano bar. we also liked the hawaiian guitarist in the atrium....he was fun.
I also loved going to the art auctions- but it's not for everyone.
As for the ports: Skagway was not very intersting- but we did do the 3 hour train trip and that was fun. We booked off the ship...which was cheaper but was a ten minute walk away.....the same train pulls right upto the ship and picks up the people who have purchased their tickets on board.
Juneau was pretty- we actually bought a $19 tours off of the ship to the Mendall Glacier....that was great. The tour was 2 hours and the glacier was beautiful with a really nice visitors centre. YOu can walk around, get great photos, and watch a 20 minutes movie about the glacier. A good value for sure.
Next was Ketchikan- this was a favourite stop. It was also the only sunny port we went to. This was a great place to do your shopping. I bought some great bronze alaskan coins for my kids.
Victoria- we did not get off as the city was not within walking distance and we got there in the evening.
Travelling with a 2 year old and a 5 year old.- Camp Carnival was well organized and the workers were great. They have us a phone to call us when our children needed us. They opened at 10am every day and earlier on port days. Our kids often went from 10am-noon and then we dropped them off for dinner every night- which was great because it gave us a chance to have a leisurely dinner in the dining room. They were quite organized in hosting a dinner for the kids every night.
They had some great activities for them in Camp Carnival- like decorating t-shirts, movies, games, etc
We often got room service for the kids every morning which was nice. They could watch cartoons and have toast and cereal in bed every morning.
I did find it sad that we could not go in the pool or hot tub- not because they weren't open- but it was too cold! I also wished they had more activities in the morning.
Overall Carnival did not disappoint- will be going back to the Dream in January 2013!