I'm a seasoned cruiser, with the majority of cruises having been on Princess, which I love. This time I joined 11 other members of my family on their annual Thanksgiving cruise. It was my first time on Carnival, and will for sure be my last. We sailed on the Splendor out of Long Beach.
Our server in the main dining room for dinner, Jess, was a delight. He called us by name every time we entered the dining room and was truly a gem.
We bought the week-long spa package for access to the thalassotherapy pool, steam rooms, etc. It was worth every dime and was the highlight of the week.
Deli at tha back of the Lido Buffet - really good fresh, made to order sandwiches that didn't take 30 minutes to order.
We had an inside cabin and it was pretty well laid out for an inside cabin and had enough space for 3 of us to store all our stuff. The beds were comfortable too.
Sadly, that's where the highlights end. Pretty much everything else about this cruise was a disappointment. Here's a recap of the main things that were, for me, deal breakers:
The smoke, the smoke, the smoke. Carnival allows smoke in a lot of their public areas, which means almost the whole ship wreaks of cigarette smoke - even the elevators and hallways. Absolutely disgusting. Many times we walked into a public area and had to turn right around and walk out due to the smoke. Just awful. I can't understand how in this day and age that is allowed.
The food was the worst I've ever had on a cruise ship, period. Buffet was awful (except deli noted above), and the dining room food for breakfast & lunch was downright appalling. Dinner in the main dining room was disappointing as well, although I can say that there were a handful of things I ate for dinner that weren't horrible. I heard the tandoori and wok food in the buffet were good but there was always a minimum of a 30 minute wait so I never tried either.
Our room steward - twice he never showed up to clean our room. He was difficult to track down.
Entertainment - the worst I've ever seen. Frankly, I could have done a better job singing and dancing. The revue shows were a joke. I'm not sure how those people were ever hired to perform on a ship.
Ship layout - the ship is very chopped up and has no flow. Many decks don't go through all the way across the deck so there was a lot of "up and down and all around" to get where you wanted to go. It's also very dark and has an over all "seedy" feel to it.
Balcony - all my family members had balcony rooms (we were a last minute add on, thus the inside cabin). I was shocked to see how small their balconies were. Barely enough space for 2 people to sit. I was so glad I didn't pay extra money for a balcony of that size.
Everything I've always heard about Carnival turned out to be true - now I know. I need to stick to Princess. In reading other reviews on this ship, many are similar to mine. Carnival, do you read these reviews?