Just returned from our Cruise tonight and felt the need to warn people about some annoying imperfections that blighted our cruise.
Having previously sailed with Princess and Royal Caribbean the standards set were quite high, however we had been warned that sailing with Carnival would be a different experience, so our expectations were lowered beforehand.
We chose this cruise for the following 3 reasons:
Relatively cheap price
I can honestly say the price was unbelievable value, the itinerary was amazing and the ship was also impressive following its $150m refit, so all in all we had a good time.
But now for the imperfections:
Spanish Tax added to all purchases on board that we weren't warned about (10% on drinks & 21% on souvenir photos)
15% Service Charge added to all drinks, including the new swipe and serve your own beer stations.
2,000 sunbeds for 3,000+ guests which regularly descended into arguments and battles with deck staff and an early rise at 7:00AM to claim and guard your beds.
Food in the self service restaurant was simply appalling. Food was often cold, very little choice, not enough seating and not enough staff to clear tables.
We gave up eating in the main restaurant after three nights as we often waited between 20-30 for seating and again the food was cold when served, or we waited 20 minutes between courses.
Maintenance works were carried out until midnight and resumed at 8:00AM, so we demanded a move from deck 1 to deck 5 for sleep.
Juice, coffee, ice machines and supply of cups often ran dry, which I guess is down to the lack of staff.
No advice or communication from Carnival regarding the ports of call. We were given a useful map from a Thomson cruiser in Venice that was full of tips and recommendations. Take note Carnival!
In general Carnival are clearly trying to run this ship on a shoestring and have less staff, so the service isn't quite the same, however I can accept that you do get what you pay for and although the list of grumbles is quite long we did have a great holiday regardless.