Carnival has undertaken a huge top to bottom review of operations designed to slash costs and increase revenue and called it Carnival Funship 2.0. It has been a failure on a massive scale with multiple ships breaking down and trashing Carnival's reputation. The changes to onboard operations are also miserable failures.
First, if you enjoy having a nice, leisurely sit down meal rather than fending for yourself at the buffet, you will be out of luck 1/2 the time. During embarkation, we were directed to the buffet and told it wasn't possible to enjoy lunch at a sit down restaurant unlike other cruise ships on embarkation day.
After lunch, I went to my stateroom to take a shower. The shampoo was horrible. I had to rise my hair 3X before my hair felt clean and my wife told me she had to shampoo her hair 6X before her hair felt clean. I think Carnival should splurge a little and buy some VO5 shampoo for the shower instead of the crap they bought from the lowest bidder.
The day following embarkation was a sea day. I like many other working stiffs tend to get up early and want to enjoy a nice cup of coffee with breakfast at a sit down restaurant shortly upon rising. That option has been eliminated to save money and brunch is now offered at 9AM in the main dining room. I want to have a sit down breakfast at 7AM and not wait until 9AM to eat. Because I don't stuff myself at 9AM, I get hungry again at noon-1PM but I don't feel like returning to the same brunch restaurant and handed the same brunch menu for lunch. Thus, I'm forced to lunch at the buffet which I don't enjoy very much. On the way back to New Orleans, we had two sea days and I'm screwed out of breakfast again and forced to have a lousy lunch at the buffet twice more. Further, on port days, you can't even eat at a sit down restaurant and you a forced to resort to less appealing options like the buffet, a burger, a burrito or limited room service menu. Thus, my ability to have a nice, leisurely sit down meals has been cut back to unacceptable levels--not all of us want to eat at the Golden Corral every sea day and every time we are in port. There is a special steakhouse called the Point which costs $70 for a party of two. However, I decided that I would no longer eat there after my last cruise where I was told by the waitress that I couldn't have two appetizers and a salad despite having paid $70 extra to dine there. (Remember: increase revenue and slash costs). Further, the Eastern Europeans who run the steakhouse tend to be a bit arrogant and snooty unlike the friendly Filipinos and Indonesians.
The entertainment budget has been slashed to the bone. The cruise director is now expected to get the bored cruisers dancing and participating in the hairy chest contest instead of having a nice show to watch in the evenings. Carnival still has a robust lineup of comedians but one of their comedians, Mike Lukas told the same jokes that he told last year:
Carnival also seems to forget they are feeding Americans. For example, there is always plenty of protein to select from at the buffet, but side dishes like mashed potatoes, rice or simple vegetables to complement the beef/chicken/fish entre are usually lacking. Dammit, I want some mashed potatoes after having some turkey or roast beef from the carving board.
Disembarkation was a mess. After the self-servers were allowed to disembark, It was announced that deck one would be allowed to get off. The people in charge did nothing to stop those who weren't on deck one from getting off at the same time. The cutters and cheaters got their own way and those of us who waited patiently for their own turn got screwed.
Cruise on Carnival if price is of the utmost importance because you will be receiving a cut-rate cruise experience.