This was my first cruise. I went with my boyfriend and his family who have been sharing stories about previous Carnival cruises for 4 years now. I was elated when I was finally able to go.
Embarkation was great. There were 9 of us and we all went through the VIP check-in. We were on the ship in 20 minutes. My only problem with the process was that they had all the main elevators reserved for luggage so it was a bit of a pain to get to our room. Stairs were pretty clear but Grandma needed the elevator.
Our room was amazing! I was pretty lucky to have a Suite for my first cruise after seeing what the inside of the interior staterooms looked like. Although if you don't spend much time in your cabin it would have been sufficient. More than enough storage room. Hanging closets and drawers everywhere. Vanity area made for easy and fast preparation for 2 people for dinners. Bed was so comfortable! We had no problem keeping our 2 twin beds together. The linens were fresh and comfortable. Balcony was bigger than I expected. 1 chair and 2 lounger chairs. Doors between each balcony had the option to open as well.
Our room steward was not as prompt as the stewards for the rest of the family. We did not see her until about 8 pm, when we had met the 2 others for our family. Nyoman was not our steward, but rather the steward for our family. He remembered my name as well as my boyfriend even when it wasn't his job! Extra props to him. We did however receive excellent service the rest of the stay.
Ship theme was unique. A bit interesting to see who they considered heroic enough to be a part of the ship. The color scheme was great. Bright colors where it was proper and a bit more mellow where it was needed. A lot of dark cherry wood made it feel very luxurious. Everything was always clean! Someone was always cleaning something.
Entertainment was my favorite part. Always something to partake in, even if you decide not to get off the ship. PLENTY of room to sunbathe. Never had to worry about a finding a chair. Nothing was crowded. Plenty of bars everywhere so you didn't have to walk too far to get a drink if you even had to do that! I was asked frequently by a server if I needed anything, even laying out on the deck. I picked deck 14 to lay out because the wind keeps you from feeling hot! And the slide was right there. Lines only formed on "fun days" and were not too bad.
Night entertainment was great as well. Always an after dinner show to attend. Comedic Bill Brick was so funny! There was also a hypnotist and that was probably my favorite after dinner event. Those were the only nighttime shows I attended after finding a permanent home in Lindy Hop with the "piano man" Ron Pass. By far my favorite entertainer on the cruise! Very energetic! Not only was he talented in his music but also in his performing. Great stage persona. He gives 100% on all songs every time, no matter how many times he has to play it. The bar itself was beautiful and the rotating piano stage was a major plus! I will book future cruises on Ron's schedule!
We attended the get together in the Eagles Lounge I believe for past guests. Great hor d'oeuvres and free cocktails. Very nice to see the beginning of Carnival Cruise Lines.
Food was excellent as well! Great selection at dinner. There was always something for everyone. If fancier food is not your style, the pizza and hamburger places were good too! 24 hour pizzeria was a blessing after a night with Ron Pass. I found myself having to find more room to put all the food because I didn't want to miss out on anything. Our dinner wait staff was A+! Never had to wait on a thing! Headwaiter and his assistant were so kind...they could even tell when we didn't like something and would suggest another option and bring it to us.
Only complaint I had was the bit of difficulty getting around the ship. Only 2 decks went the full length of the ship so it made it frustrating at times to get where you needed to go. The deck plan they provide came in handy! I did not think that the cruise director Mr.Abrams was as good as he could have been. He skipped some of the stops at his shore excursion talk because he didn't find them "interesting". Someone else might have. He had a bit of an obnoxious tone most of the time, but did provide some helpful information.
Leaving the ship was pretty easy. Long lines moved very quickly. Our only aggravation was that we were the last cabin color called, so the wait outside of our room was boring but that is just the way it is sometimes. Carnival staff continued to be helpful all the way until we were seated on the bus to go to the airport.
The whole staff exceeded my expectations. We got to know everyone by name as they did us. Nothing ever seemed to frustrate them and nothing was unimportant. Like I said before...our room steward was a bit hard to find at first but she was quick to make up for that. It is expected to have some quirks on a ship that is loading 3000 guests. They always made us feel as if we were the only individuals around. From word of mouth, Carnival has been the best option I have heard compared to other cruise lines. I will probably never find out for myself as for Carnival has hooked me in for life!