We drove down the night before and stayed at Country Inn and Suites. It was a great one night stay and the customer service was phenomenal. We parked the car at a cost of $40 for the week and did the round trip free shuttle. We were on the first shuttle and left about 10:15.
We zipped thru the Platinum check-in and were ready to board. They finally cleared the ship and boarding began after 11:30. We were greeted with smiling faces and any type of food you could wish for. No lines yet so I headed for the Mongolian Wok. It was delicious.
The design of the food and drink stations was very poor. When there were more than 12 people in line for the wok, they extended into the beverage station and then out into the walkway. It was always congested on that side of the lido.
Our rooms were ready and we were really excited to have a Spa Balcony Cabin. It was a cabin for 4 with a pull down bed and a sofa bed. My daughter of course chose the pull down bed.
The steak house was our first dinner. It did not disappoint. Our only complaint is that we couldn't eat it all. The baked onion soup, filet mignon and the cheesecake were the best of the best.
Our first night we spent exploring. We were exhausted so we skipped the show. We wanted to hang out on our balcony and enjoy the ocean. Did I mention that we were in a Spa Balcony. We booked this to enjoy the spa but also to be away from smoking. There is no smoking in these rooms or on the balconies, or so we thought.
Our neighbor to the left was puffing sway. We promptly reported this to our room steward. He did nothing but report to her that we were complaining. She apologized and stated that she was not aware of this when she booked the cabin. It didn't stop her at all. When we walked out there was always that smell and she would quickly go inside when she heard our door open. We then noticed our neighbor to the right smoking as well. There is a privacy wall but you can see the reflection of the adjoining balconies and I witnessed both sides smoking.
So much for our smoke free balcony experience....
We turned in and were rocked to sleep by the ocean waves. Yes, there was movement being all the way forward and so high up. It never bothered us.
The next morning at 6:10am we were up. Not by choice. The noise was awful. There are treadmills, free weights and weight machines directly above the room. The person on the treadmill must have been in great shape because he pounded on that thing for at least an hour. The people using the weight machine would let it drop and it was a loud clang that vibrated the ceiling.
We went up and looked at the gym area. There are many treadmills and sure enough, the one toward the end over our room was the only one in use. There wasn't an attendant around so we visited Guest Services. We reported the noise and the smoking. They apologized and said that they would contact the gym manager to take the machines right over our room out of service until after 8am. That sounded reasonable to us.
The smoking complaint was a joke. She said that we would have to call security and they would have to catch them in the act. Since when do I have to police the rules in which Carnival has set. A letter to each cabin stating that there would be a $250 fine with the next complaint would have stopped that behavior.
We spent most of our lounging time at the aft pool area because there was no smoking there. A few umbrellas around was a nice touch. We went to brunch on the first sea day and found stickers with a time on our towels. This was the only time this happened and they never moved anyone's things.
The line to brunch was extremely long on both sea days. The food was very good. The first day I ordered a bloody mary from the bar server. The second brunch day, I had them to make it at the little stand outside the dining room. It was so much better and you could add all the spice you wanted.
We really enjoyed the shows on this ship. Fun force break dance team was always entertaining.
Food was good but not great. Most fish entrees were either dry or tasted fishy. We did notice that our waiter had 36 people to serve. There were several large groups, the three of us and another table of two. It always took about 20 minutes to get served bread but after that, they seemed to move smoothly. There was never time to establish a rapport with the servers. They were pleasant, but stretched to their limit. There were many tables with only half the seats filled in other sections. Not in our section, everyone every night that we visited.
Now to the spa. We couldn't wait to soak in the Thasslo pool. We went to the front of the ship to use the small elevator, not because we are lazy, just because it looked neat. Out of order! Oh well, the stairs it was. We turned our card into the desk and took the spa key cards. There was no one in the thasslo room. I couldn't wait to relax. I stuck my foot in and wow. It was really hot. We eased in and were only able to stay for about a minute. It was that hot. I went back to the desk to inquire about the temperature and then the attendant told us that they were having difficulty regulating it. She said that the last temp recorded was 45 degrees Celsius. That is 113F. At that temperature, you would think there would be some type of warning. No mention when we checked in or any signage. Another lady came in and dipped her foot in, she immediately left.
We did enjoy the other rooms. I actually fell asleep on the heated lounger. Guess I was tired from my early wake up.
Each morning it was the same wake up. Bang, bang, thud. We went up to the gym and were there any machines taken out of order? Absolutely NOT. I took a few photos and headed to guest services. The supervisor would not be in until after 8am. At least someone got to sleep in, right.
They called and left a message while we were in port. We visited for a face to face late that afternoon. The supervisor was very apologetic but acted like that guest services had no control over what was done in the gym. She stated that they had requested this and she thought it had been done. I asked if she wanted to see my photos and of course she didn't.
They did extend us a small onboard credit but I would have much rather had what I paid for. A relaxing room and a smoke free balcony.
Debarkation was a breeze. We did the self assist option and had to be in the Crimson lounge at 6:40am. We were off the ship by 7am, shuttle pick up was waiting on us and we were in the car and on the road by 7:30am.
A vacation is what you make it and we had a great time in spite of the challenges of smoke and noise. We simply won't choose a Spa cabin, a balcony cabin or any cabin near high noise levels.