I have never written a review and I tend not to put a lot of stock into what people say in the reviews because my experience has been that reviews are subjective and everyone has a different set of criteria. Well this is one boat that I wish we had taken the reviews seriously. Plus our experience with Carnival up until this point has been positive, so again we ignored the reviews. We are done with Carnival for a long time.
I will start off with the positives. The boat is big and beautiful and the crew is always cleaning it. The downside of all that cleaning is that it happens at the most inopportune times. For example, in the middle of your breakfast in the Marketplace Cafe, it is not unusual to smell bleach or pine sol. Or to have big fans blowing because they washed the carpets. I just think they could find a better time to tackle these tasks. I did feel that the ship was "germ" free. You did not see any sick passengers and they had hand sanitizer and tissue to hold the door knobs every where. They were doing a good job at holding off the viruses.
Now the negatives.
First off, if food is important to you don't choose this ship. Breakfast, probably the best done meal of the day that they prepared, had long lines for the specialty foods like omelets. Otherwise, there was an adequate selection of breakfast foods. This cruise ship needs to do a better job laying out the food. People stood in long omelet lines to get a slice of cheese that had nothing to do with an omelet. But it was all roped off, forcing you to stand there.
The layout of food in the Marketplace made no sense at all.
Lunch - One of the two good lunch venues was "Guys Hamburgers." The staff was friendly and the fries and hamburgers were delicious. But how many hamburgers can you eat? This seemed to be the only venue with food ready and available beyond limited hours.
The Marketplace Cafe's selection was like a cheap buffet at Chucky Cheese if you know what I mean. I have never been on a ship where you couldn't get a salad. I am very serious. There were very limited salad fixings and the time for the Marketplace to be open was very limited as well.
There was a pizza venue. The lines were long and they literally cooked one small pizza at a time. Pizza was touted as being available 24 hours a day, but you had to stand in line for 40 minutes sometimes when you only had 4 or 5 people in front of you. In my opinion, pizza should be made a head of time, especially during peak hours such as days at sea.
The best food we experienced on this boat was the Jimmy's Barbecue. It was FANTASTIC. However, it is only open on days at sea for a limited amount of time. On the third and final day at sea, we were there at 1:00 p.m. but because the lines were long, and I mean long, we decided to play a little cards and keep checking the line. (Only open noon-2:30.) About 2:10 p.m. the line was much shorter so we went up to get in line when we were very rudely told NO. That there wasn't enough food. We were taken aback because we could see the food and said we only wanted the "pulled pork." Again we were told very rudely - NO. Even if there wasn't enough food, we should have been allowed to get in line and if the manager felt compelled to say something he could very nicely have said that they only cook a certain amount and he could not guarantee what would be left. That we would have understood.
There was a Mexican venue that was o.k. at best, but the crew was nice.
The dining room experience was the worse we have ever had. We had 3 different head waiters. They just couldn't seem to get it right. On top of that the food was extremely slow coming out of the kitchen, cold when served and the selection and food itself was much like a two-star cafeteria. Such a disappointment. Not everyone at the table got their food at the same time, and sometimes, we didn't even get offered coffee. It was just a big disappointment.
There were a couple of "soft serve" ice milk machines. Notice I said "ice milk." You could see that the kids love getting their own.
It was disappointing that there were no afternoon cookies or pastries. When the Marketplace closed up shop at 2:30 or 3:30 - that was it. You could get pizza or burgers.
Our dining room table was in a poorly designed back room. We could not see what was going on and the place was like a refrigerator. We soon learned to bring our warmest jackets or sweaters with us if we didn't want to freeze. I will never again accept a "bad" table. We should have asked for our table to be changed immediately, but we always feel bad for the waiters.
Our cabin steward was great. He was there for us and the room was well cared for. We chose a balcony and we were glad we did. The increase in cost is substantial, but it was worth it. Even though we were with another couple, we did use it.
I don't think we have ever experienced as many rude people as we did on this ship. I went to the excursion desk to ask about a beach excursion. My question was what is there, and I got a very rude "the beach." I'm sure he knew I meant what amenities because he soon changed his tune after he saw the look on my face.
We also experienced something on this boat that we have never seen before. The staff spent a lot of time talking and flirting. That was never heard of before. We actually witnessed them making plans to meet after work, while we stood there and waited to be waited on. Seriously!
I could go on and on, but I think I've given you enough to work with. What I've realized is that new cruisers may think they died and went to heaven on this boat, but since our experiences have been so much better, we can't help but compare.
It wasn't all bad. We had a great time. I just think that Carnival has "cheapen" their cruises to a point where quality is going to suffer.
Oh yes, one more thing. If you are a coffee lover. Bring some Folgers dipping bags. The coffee in the Marketplace Cafe is instant, I'm pretty sure and just plain awful. The coffee being sold on deck 5 is made from 3 shots of espresso and hot water, hmmm not much better for $2.00 a cup.
We actually chose this boat because it was new and we were always under the impression that the cruise lines took their best chefs, and workers and put them on the newer boats to promote them. Thinking this we felt we paid a little extra. We could have waited until the boat was a little older or gone on another cruise.