The theme song for this cruise was “we´re on the ship to nowhere”. That´s how we felt on those 6 ¨fun days¨at sea and during the 3 itinerary changes. We have been on 8 different cruises and this was our first (and last) cruise on Carnival. We had selected the cruise because of the new ship and the attractive itinerary; however, it ended up being a total deception, waste of precious money and vacation time. Furthermore, communication from the ships’ officers to the passengers seemed non-existent especially when so many changes were taking place. These changes led to an impromptu gathering of passengers in guest services demanding to speak with the captain as the cruise director was unable to deal with the passengers’ concerns. (She even commented over the intercom, after cancelling the 2-day visit to Venice due to weather, that passengers should focus on their loved ones being affected by hurricane Sandy). This event ended up being the “entertainment” that evening as the theater was chosen to accommodate the large and growing crowd. The next morning (another “fun day at sea”) allowed the ship’s hotel director to answer “questions” from the passengers. Once again, and without a microphone, the ship’s hotel director had inadequate answers to passengers’ real concerns leading to an early and escorted exit due to a so-called “important conference call”. Once again, the passengers were left feeling frustrated with no real explanations as to why so many changes had taken place and above all, no real compensation (only $40 per person total for cancelled Port charges) for all of the missed ports and shorter port times in the latest itinerary.
Other negative points: The entertainment was lacking and repetitive, the most fun was actually the Liquid Night Club, thanks to the fun guests on board. Halloween was also a good time, but once again, thanks to the guests who hauled their costumes in their suitcases. (we were unable to buy costumes at any ports due to the cancellations). Any of the “interesting” lectures on board were actually Carnival sales pitches to get us to spend more money. The activities on board were boring…too much Bingo, too much trivia and too few classes to actually learn things. The theater was too small for the amount of people on board (especially for port information meetings where people had to sit on the floor, stand or sit on the stairs) The gym offered too few group classes as well although the individual equipment was good.
The good points: The wait staff in the dining room was very patient, accommodating, positive and friendly. They dealt with all of the changes in stride and made sure we had a good time at dinner and ate well. The food in the dining room was quite good and the Lido buffet was not too bad (except those scrambled eggs!). The hamburger was surprisingly good and there seemed to be a variety of food to choose from.
The cabin with balcony was a decent size, clean and quiet. The beds were comfortable too, except for the very hard sofa bed which was made as soft as possible by the cabin steward. He was also quite accommodating and friendly. There was enough room for the 3 of us (adults).
All in all, the cruise was very memorable, both good and bad. We still don’t understand why Carnival would offer this itinerary so late in the year knowing how the weather affects specific ports of call (i.e. Monaco, where the ship could only dock with very little wind so it had been cancelled various times by Carnival already in October). It was unfortunate that Carnival was unable to re-work the itinerary in a way to include substitute ports of call that could handle the ship during autumn weather. Instead, we spent too many “fun days at sea” cancelling ports traveling back and forth and in circles all around the Mediterranean Sea.