My husband and I cruised from Barbados with two teenagers 3 years ago on Carnival Victory. This time we cruised with friends who haven`t visited the Caribbean before. We thought this would be the best way for them to see so many islands combined with hotel stay in Barbados as Carnivals ittinery was the best although they have dropped Dominica since last time which allows for a sea day.
The ships dEcor was typical carnival which is bright and colourful and this time it was a hero's theme. Our aft cabin was not typical of the balcony category as it was L shaped and without a sofa. We loved this cabin as it was spacious and had two windows and longer balcony which also has a sunbed. Don't be put off if you are allocated this cabin. When I looked up cabins on other sites it hasn`t got the best reputation because it is on the 6th deck, right above the Eagle Lounge. we didn`t experience any noise but that was because we were out until after midnight and shows had finished by then. Nor did we experience any rough movement or engine noise being at the back of the ship which I was dreading and I must add the winds were high on a couple of nights!!.If you are embarking in Barbados you have to remember you are joining the ship mid cruise so all the best cabins have gone unless you book really early.
We chose any time dining which perhaps wasn`t a good idea, it wasn`t as good as doing this on NCL as they have more eating places to choose from. Carnival only has the main dining rooms and buffet unless you want to pay extra at steak house etc. So this caused long lines but it wasn`t that bad and we were given a pager. our longest wait was 20 minutes. Service/menu made up for this and we had a different waiter and table most nights. So I recommend early or late seating if you want to remain with same staff for a more personal dining experience. Staff at Rosie's buffet always accommodating in getting me lactose free milk in the morning from the kitchen. Choice of foods not as good as last time though. The crew, as experienced before are excellent. Cabin steward spoke to us using our first names as soon as we embarked and was always friendly. Nina in the American lobby bar is excellent and very good at her job, knowing what our party of 5 drank with out asking after first night. I wish my memory was that good!! singers in this bar we thought were not great. sorry. We didn`t go to any shows so can`t comment, We signed up to the cheers programme which for 50 us dollars per person per day allows you 15 alcoholic drinks/non alcoholic up to the value of 10 dollars each drink including cocktails. We thought this was defiantly worth the money even if we didn`t drink the 15 a day. Night club was good and DJs were kind enough to make up a CD for one of our party. All the crew on the ship work extremely hard but always have a friendly smile. My friend and I had our hair done by Andreas in the spa and would defiantly recommend although he leaves in 6 weeks. He makes you feel special. The ship was very clean in all areas. Serenity (adult only area) was great to get away from the crowds and lido deck was great if you like to be in them as always something to keep you entertained. Carnival seems to have cutback on their budgeting since last cruise in some areas but I would love to try their newer ships. It would of been nice to sit in an outside bar other than lido deck while cruising the Caribbean.