This was my first time cruising with Carnival. I have sailed on Royal Caribbean, Disney and NCL. I booked this cruise with hopes of getting rid of the winter blues. As the cruise approached, I started reading reviews about the ship, and to be honest, I was quite scared. I was second guessing my decision to try carnival. I went into the cruise with an open mind, knowing that some of the amenities offered on DCL would not be offered on CCL. Each cruise line is unique and I was interested to see what carnival had to offer on their newest ship.
Hotel - We flew into FLL the day before the cruise (never want to take the chance of flying the day of.) We stayed at comfort inn ft. lauderdale airport south in Hollywood, FL. The hotel was ok... served its purpose. The package we chose included a shuttle ride to port of Miami. If you want to see any of FLL, you would have to take a taxi because this airport is not directly in the city. There is a shopping mall close by.
Embarkation - We arrived at the port at 1PM and waited about 45 min in line. Not to say that this was the worst... but this was the longest I have ever waited. I talked to other people on the cruise and they said they got right on the ship so I guess we arrived when alot of other people were arriving as well.
First glimpses of the ship - The ship is brand new... only had been sailing for 6 months. Loved the decor, very nice. Loved the hallways leading to your room, they all have beach scenes on them, which gives you the caribbean feel. The blush dining room was very nice. All of the public areas were very nice. One complaint would be that there are only two pools on the ship for 4000+ people. There is NO adult only pool on this ship which was kind of disappointing.
Stateroom - We were in room 7460 in an AFT facing balcony. The room had sufficient space for 2 people. The highlight of the room was the extended balcony. Yes, I have been spoiled by choosing staterooms with a balcony. It's so nice to be able to walk outside your room and be able to listen and see the ocean.... some of the sunsets are just amazing. Our room steward was very nice and attentive.
Dining - Here's where some of the reviews got me worried. People were constantly saying how much the food stunk. I honestly thought that the food was better than other cruise lines I have been on. LOVED guy's burger joint! I must have eaten there every day! Tried the pizza once, it was good. Loved making salads at the salad bar. I will say that the scrambled eggs are disgusting but there is so much other things to choose from. I did get a cooked to order omelet a few times. We ordered from room service a few times, there wasn't that much to choose from. We had 8:15 dining. I will say that our servers were not personable at all. They basically handed you your menu and then came back to take the order. On other cruises, I would love to go to dinner to talk to our waiters because they were so friendly. We were at a table of 10. We sat next to one couple who were very nice, and the people on the other side of us were very rude. All they did was talk about being drunk all the time and they wouldn't even say hello to us ahah!! oh well. The food in the MDR was generally good. The only meal I didn't like was the prime rib. We did eat one dinner at La Cucina Del Capitano. We LOVED it! The food was really good and I thought the $12 cover charge was reasonable. The staff sang italian songs. Fun times.
Activities - Honestly, on sea days unless you like baking in the sun all day, all there is to do during the day is trivia... and don't get me wrong, I do like trivia but there should be some other things to do! We did purchase tickets for the thrill theatre... that was enjoyable.
Entertainment - Our cruise director was Butch. I found him to be kind of annoying and cheesy. I will agree with other reviewers (and fellow cruisers onboard) that the entertainment on this ship is definitely lacking. The first night we tried to go to Latin nights, but since our dinner ran so late we could not find a seat in the theatre and alot of other people were leaving as well. We went to the divas show and did not care for it at all. I expected Celine, Aretha, Whitney songs... oh no it was Lady GAGA and Lady Marmalade with the cast half dressed rolling on the floor with flashing lights. not my taste. Many other cruisers said the same. We ended up going to bed earlier than we thought we would because there was nothing to do. we don't care for night clubs. We did enjoy going to the piano bar a couple of times. Ron, the piano man was awesome. We learned from other cruisers to check out a music group in the ocean plaza at night because they play all kinds of music and they are really good. We ended up going to this show on the last two nights. It was the love souljas band. LOVED it! The lead singer, Consuela was AMAZING, such a beautiful voice. We also enjoyed going to the newlywed game... that's always a fun time.
Service - Like I said, we didn't care for our dining room staff but other people on the ship were very nice and welcoming.
Debarkation - went very smoothly!
I am glad that I tried carnival and would sail again. Vacations are all in what you make of it.