My husband and I have cruised before on a different line and had a great time. This time we decided to take our children 2,4, and 14. My parents also decided to join us and this would make their first cruise with carnival but 9th overall cruise.
Embarkation was smooth and very quick. We had all documents out and ready. We only waited about 5 minutes to board the boat after checking in.
Upon arrival rooms were ready quick. All common areas were clean but they do allow smoking in a few areas and you can smell It right away. (we are not smokers)
We ate a few nights in the main dining room. EVERYNIGHT our wait for food was over and hour. That is virtually impossible to keep my kids still that long. They had lobster one night which were very small but good. They did have some interesting things on the menu everynight, like alligator, sushi.etc..The food in the dining room was average. Nothing terrible but nothing that knocked out socks off. We did love the melting cake desert. Every time we were there we also had to ask for drinks. They only drinks that were easy to get were alcohol, go figure, those you pay for. A pet peeve of mine for the whole drinking on this trip is no child safe cups.
We ate at the buffet just about every breakfast and lunch as the dining room for breakfast didn't open til 8:30 which is far too late to eat for my family. The breakfast buffet every morning was exactly the same. The bacon was never cooked enough and the scrambled eggs were runny. Not impressed at all. Lunch was the same thing, they pretty much had the same things everyday.
The timing of food was also strange to me. Things closed at awkward times and it made it hard to get food 24/7. After 9pm all you can get is pizza (which was burned everytime) or a sandwich. Again the food was just ok. The deserts were lacking in the buffet. Nothing simple everything had strange flavors or things added to it.
My mother purchased a coke card but did not realize you can only use it in 3 bars. Each time she would wait in line for 10-20 minutes just to get a soda because their was only ever one bartender at a time.
We only had one day of sun the entire trip. It was day 2. The pool was so crowded and there were so many children running wild, swimming without supervision, that we eventually left because it was unsafe. Again no one came around asking for drinks, and there was no one even keeping an eye on the pool. The decks were super slippery at well, and I would think someone would be walking around doing something to wipe them up. No carnival staff was around at all.
We had 3 ports. Port Canaveral FL, Nassau, and Freeport Bahamas.
Our first day in port it was cloudy/raining. We decided to do an excursion to Cocoa Beach FL because nothing else was really around. It was about 20 minutes away. The beach was not too crowded but it is a small beach and it is dirty. My kids did enjoy the beach. You could rent boogie boards for a reasonable price and there are stores all around. We left after it started to rain. I feel like this port is pretty much a waste and should be removed. However I bet a lot of people choose to go to Disney/universal and they probably make a mint on that. We have already been to those places and carnival was charging and arm and a leg to get there.
Our 2nd port day was Nassau. It was raining and cold. go figure. We did take a taxi to the Sheraton on cable beach. Beware the people of the Bahamas pretty much attack you as soon as you get off the boat. I already had researched a safe place to go for my family with plenty to do and we stuck with going to the Sheraton even after the driver tried to change our mind. The ride to the resort was about 15 minutes, and you ride by the forts etc..The Sheraton was beautiful clean and the employees were great. Unfortunately we did not stay long because it was raining. They do have several pools and non motorized canoes/paddle boats you get to use with your day pass. The water temp was freezing so no one in the water. We went back to town, walked around but nothing really interested us so we went back onboard.
Our 3rd port of Freeport was cancelled and for the next 2 days we were stuck in storms. Horrible waves, everyone was sick. Really would have went home early. There was nothing to do on the boat. Things were getting cancelled left and right because the boat was rocking so bad. I was also upset with the kids club. My kids did not want to be left there with people they did not know. I figured I could just go in with them so they could enjoy all the toys since they could not do anything else due to weather. Well I was wrong.. You can not go into kids club. The child has to be left , no adults. So for 3 days my kids were bored, miserable, and cooped up for a lot with nothing to do. For such a child friendly cruise there was nothing they could really do/sit still to enjoy, and the outside was off limits due to rain.
I called carnival to tell them about my experience and they told me "too bad" I understand the weather is uncontrollable but the customer service is. They should have more to do for families. They should be quicker with meals and be more helpful. OVeralll I think they are understaffed. I will probably never cruise with carnival ever again. I do believe you get what you pay for.
I did go to one show, it was supposed to be "jazz" era. There was nothing jazz about it, it was horrible. My husband fell asleep. The singers/dancers were terrible. They messed up quite a bit. We did see a physical comedian one night and he was awesome. They should have had him on more. Since we missed a port we weren't able to pick up any comedians so the comedy club was cancelled the rest of the trip.