This was a cruise to celebrate my son's graduation from college. There were 8 of us. We got a balcony and the kids had oceanview cabins. So many things got screwed up with our bookings that I didn't think we would actually get on the boat. We had to do a last minute change of two people and that was a fiasco. Apparently there is some "policy" on people under 25 if they aren't your kids they can't be in a cabin unless there is someone over the age of 25 or they have to be married. Well that was tough because 4 of them were under 25 and not married. Booking was crazy on who was in what room. We had to wait until we were on the ship to move people to the right room. So instead of being able to relax when we got on board we had to stand in line at guest services. Though the lady when we embarked was really nice and patient and check in was really a breeze. Once we got all that squared away...we met Marco a waiter. LOVED Marco. Happy for him that after this cruise he was going home to Serbia to be with his newborn daughter. He was awesome tending to the needs of our celebrations. He was so good that we ended up not ordering from anyone else but him. We tipped him extra he was so good.
Kids loved joining us on the balcony. (with the booking fiasco our rooms weren't all together though they managed to get us fairly close) We love cruising with a balcony and won't cruise without one. That is my little sanctuary. I work a lot so I planned on just chilling. I actually read a whole book!
We paid for everyone's cruise so my only rule was we have dinner together as a family every night. The kids obliged. Our dining room experience left MUCH to be desired. Not the food, it was awesome but the service sucked! It was like only one guy was working. My husband and I had sailed on this ship before and service was phenominal but this time... We tried the "didjaever" items on the menu every night. snails, alligator. However my favorite is the chocolate lava cake. (I only gained 5 pounds on this cruise!) When we complained to the maitra'd guy he was very very condescending. After the 2nd night of poor service and more of the terrible attitude we complained to the head hancho on the ship for service. After that the maitra'd and headwaiter were...I don't know how to explain it, but our service improved but their attitudes were worse. We ended up eating elsewhere on the last night. The breakfast buffets were awesome.
The family loved the comedy shows. I didn't partake, I sat on the balcony each night and read. That's what I wanted to do but they loved them. We had fun in the casino and even won some money!! Seemed no matter where we were there was Marco! bringing us a drink. He knew us by name and he interacted with us, dancing... my daughter and I did the ship scavenger hunt and all the crew was awesome to help us participate. My daughter and I did a last minute mother/daughter dolphin excursion. (thanks to winning in the casino) Most were sold out by the time we did it but the guy at the excursion desk worked magic. memories like that are priceless.
Now, during this cruise my son had planned to pop the question. Needed something special. That's where Herman came in. He was our cabin steward. He is on the main deck in the middle. This guy was truly awesome. He knew which cabins were all together. He greeted us every morning and evening. Our rooms were clean and he went out of his way to make us cool towel critters. Even made me a flamingo which are my favorite. He was in on the proposal. We left him the ring from in our cabin and he picked it up while we were at breakfast and went to my son's room. He made a monkey (their favorite) and had it holding the ring on the bed. He made hearts with chocolates. When she came in she saw the monkey and thought it was cute...then she saw the ring...screamed! she said yes... I think everyone on our deck knew what her answer was. Herman was beaming ear to ear. If we take that cruise again we will definitely ask for his section. He's been with carnival for 9 years. He rocked those animals. He teaches the class on sea day. We loved the alligator on the last night. OMG it was soooo cool. Made a human in my son's bed...scared the daylights out of him.
I went and got a massage one day. Won't do it again. I really wanted to unwind and it turned into a sales pitch. It was like I wasn't allowed to leave unless I bought something. I did not like. I didn't buy anything but it made me feel uncomfortable.
It rained some on our day at sea but we still enjoyed the Lido deck and was able to find chairs which was surprising to me. My husband and my son's friend entered the hairiest chest contest. That memory will forever make me laugh. I laughed so much I wet my pants... not embarrassed to say that either. I hadn't laughed like that in years!! My husband and Ryan tied for first... they each got a bottle of champagne and a trophy. Shopping on the ship was awesome. Good deals on jewelry and alcohol. However, my husband bought a watch..an expensive watch... when we got home we noticed it wouldn't keep time. A little difficult to send it back to get it repaired but... hopefully we will get it back soon and it will work. I bought a Thomas Kincaid print at the gallery. I was excited and it arrived ... and it is beautiful! worth every penny.
Despite the hiccups with booking and even the bad experience in the dining room the cruise was awesome! Marco and Herman made up for it. Memories that couldn't be better. As our kids go on with their lives we don't get family dinners much... guess we will just have to book another cruise! (darn!)