We traveled out of Miami on the Victory. We knew that tropical depressions could mean our cruise was changed, but hopefully not cancelled. As it was, TWO hurricanes -- Cindy and Dennis -- caused us to change our itinerary. We substituted Freeport and Nassau for Cozumel and Grand Cayman.
As noted in previous reviews, the embarkation process is stressful -- but Carnival is getting better here. One simple suggestion for Carnival: More communication. Lots of Carnival staff, standing around, saying nothing. Tell us more -- why are we standing in yet another line, how long is the wait, what line should we stand in, etc. More communication would have made that easier to get through.
We had a WONDERFUL cruise. Most of the staff is great, the food is good, and the shows were entertaining. Here are some minor issues that Carnival should address:
My wife and I prefer to eat in the cafeteria-style Mediterranean Room, rather than the sit-down dinner. The food is good, but we usually had trouble finding a clean table. One evening, we were part of a very small crowd eating there, but couldn't find a table because the wait staff had not bothered to clean any tables.
Here's another minor beef. At one shore leave -- in Ocho Rios -- we were rushing to an 8:15 connection on the dock and had to wait a very long time with several hundred other people on the stairway leading to the gangplank. Normally, this is understandable. But the cause of the delay was the photographers who too pictures while people were on the gangplank -- an gangplank too narrow for more than one person. Why not wait until people are off the gangplank, particularly since several hundred people are waiting to get off the ship?
Finally, cannot help but mention the other passengers. Most people we met were wonderful, cheerful, and friendly. Keep this rule of thumb in mind, however: One-third of the passengers on any cruise will be whiny crybabies. Several days into the cruise they announced that, due to Hurricane Dennis, we would divert to the Bahamas rather than Cayman and Cozumel. The tears started to flow. You would think they had just announced they would be killing our family pet. Hey, we were having to go to the Bahamas -- how great is that? -- and the crying and anger was just unbelievable. Most of the crew did a great job of being cordially to the crybabies, but just remember that rule of thumb, be prepared for it, and you will have a more enjoyable cruise.
Congrats to Carnival for the great time ... we loved it and will do it again!