This was our fourth Carnival cruise and our third European (the first two were on Celebrity and RCCL) and I have to say that all though the ship had great points and the itinerary was nice we won't be going on Crnial again and I would like to share why.
First the good....
The entertainment, especially the nightly comedy shows.
The casino was open and lively, with friendly staff and a nice environment.
The food was great, with the exception of the buffet, which was hit or miss in taste and temps. The specialty options at lunch wee great, especially the me in and Asian options, delicious!
The kids club was always clean, friendly, and had plenty to do.
The Havana and Regfrog bars were very fun.
The waerslides were a big hit with the kids on board.
The not so good...
The room, we got Ocean Suites which were considerably smaller than those we just had on RCCL. Very cramped and not worth the money.
Certain updates around the ship seem to have been thrown together rather haphazardly. It would have been nice to not see quite so much evidence of the renovation.
The buffet. I mentioned it above but it is worth saying again that it really had issues. It was not even warm much of the time so we tried to avoid it as much as possible.
The reason we won't book with Carnival again....
This itinerary was Rey port intensive so we opted to enjoy an extra day on the ship. By 9:00 we noticed crew members guiding dozens upon dozens of people with visitor badges around the lido deck. By noon, he visitors had completely filled up the water slide area, the main pool and the jacuzzis, splashing in the water, eating at guys, the buffet, and the burrito shop. This was upsetting to the other cruisers that wee expecting a quiet day.
I went to guest services to ask what was happening and they explained that the Italian crew were allowed to bring their friends and family aboard for tours but they were not allowed to eat or use the facilities that we were for paying guests. When I complained that they were using them, I just got a shug and was told it was a perk for the staff and it wasn't their job to police their behavior. I asked for a supervisor to call me and left. The next day, when we got back on the boat, we were met with the same type of visitor crowd, and it continued on all Italian ports. I went to guest services two more times and no supervisor err was available or ever tried to contact me as requested.
I think it is reat that Carnival would offer a perk to their staff, however it should be done on a day between sailings, not on days were their are paying customer onboard who pay a hefty premium to be there. We felt taken advantage of, as if our fares were subsidizing the staffs perk and taking away from our experiences. To make it worse, guest services could are less hat there were a number of paying guests complaining about it. The other times we have cruised in Europe. We did not encounter this issue and as a result, we will not cruise with Carnival again.
Carnival does have some nice features but none of those features an out way the negative experience we had onboard. Fortunately there are enough wonderful alternatives out there, that we have plenty of great choices. This definitely should be something you consider when choosing a cruise in the future.