This is our first European cruise. We are three people, husband, wife and daughter. We have cruised many times [mainly in the Caribbean] and have witnessed a steady deterioration in Carnival.
The itinerary ,only 2 days at sea [out of 12] with an overnite in Venice to begin the cruise; We arrived in Venice at 9;30 after an overnite flight ,took a cab to the ship [45euros]; were at the Garden Cafe at 11;30 and resting in our cabin by 12;30; had an early diner; took the people mover [1euro/each ] to Piazzale Rome and had a memorable walk to the Rialto Bridge and St Marks; on the way back took the vaporetto[7euros/each] to Piazalle Roma for a night ride not to be missed thru the Grand canal, missed the last people mover and splurged for a taxi [15euros] back to the ship.The following morning we took the Allilaguna boat [short walk from the ship for a round trip to St Marks where we walked around and took a [80 euro] gondola ride.
The cabin; on deck 4 midship with enough room for 3 with a French door that opens [view of a lifeboat] but it`s considered an "inside cabin" and is a good bargain.
The service; great by the cabin stewards and the dining room team but spotty at the Garden Cafe.
The activities; it was a port intensive cruise and were tired but saw two good production shows and a few good comedians [didn't understand the British ones]
The ship: it`s considered old but well maintained and clean.
Disembarkation; it started early [6am] and done by 9am but well organized [didn't see the congregation on public areas like in other crises.
The pool area; has 3 [one for the over 21 crowd] never felt crowded like in many newer and bigger ships.
Barcelona; a great city to spend a couple of days.
The food quality and variety keeps deteriorating [better in RCL and Celebrity]
They keep raising the price of the drinks and watering them down.
The price of the excursions; at every stop you can hire your own cab or a mini van for half the cost, except Rome where we took a bus tour for 1/3 the cost.
The customer care team back in the US: we ended up paying $340.00 more than people who booked at the last minute [after the Triumph incident].The claim that Carnival will always give you the better price is not true [we were told to read the small print] and I couldn`t even read it with my glasses on. Because this was our 5th cruise with Carnival we felt short changed.
To summarize, we had a good time but will not cruise with Carnival again; we will spend a few hundred dollars more to cruise with RCL or Celebrity.