Well, after 15 cruises, 12 on Royal Caribbean, 1 on Disney and this my second on Carnival, this was by far the most pathetic of all. I don't quite know where to start so here's the skinny on the experience.
For starters, the Tampa Port was nice, friendly, and the Valet parking was expensive but worth it at $20 a day. Once on board, we got a Grand Suite, so I was expecting a great room While it wasn't bad, it certainly showed signs of a ship that was in need of some major repairs. The ceiling on the balcony had a dropped down cage. The cage was held in place by screws which were 50% rusty and actually completely deteriorated from what they were intended to hold up. A slight push to the ceiling would cause the entire ceiling to give way in our cabin. Other than that, the cabin was dated, but not bad inside.
Typically, on Royal Caribbean, the cabin stewards are awesome. Always upbeat and happy, and make you feel like you just arrived at your long lost relatives home. I didnt see our steward until the second day. When I did, he said, I haven't met you yet, but I can't wait till the last day. Im hoping you take good care of me for my outstanding service. Sorry Ronnell, it doesnt quite work that way! Overall, he was the worste I have ever had. Asking for ice was like you were causing someone a great deal of inconvenience.
Headed to the casino for a little action. The casino was not a bad set up and decent size for the ship. The crew was again cold, made you feel as if they were doing you a favor by taking your money ,and even for big betters, I wasn't offered free drinks until the last day of our cruise with only a few hours left to drink. In comparison, on RCCL, I got a complete comp's cruise and all the drinks I wanted on day one. Nay nay on Carnival. They're too worried about the cost of the drinks and too short sighted on the big picture that you've lost me forever. Hope you enjoy keeping your cocktails Carnival!!
Lets move on to the food. Wen to the buffet 4 times in the first 2 days. Of that, the buffet was closed 3 of the 4 times. Over the 4 days, it was almost comical how often the buffet was closed. There was a boatload of people watching the NFL Playoffs this Sunday, and we were all hungry. We went to the buffet to grab a dish of cold cuts to bring down to the area where the games were on TV. NO BUFFET. Closed at 2:30 in the afternoon and did not open again until 6:00pm. Are you serious? Closed on a football Sunday from 2: 30 until 6:00??? RCCL is open nearly 100% of the time and with great food. THis food was at best Golden Corral quality. Actually, Golden Corral is pretty good compared to this. One notch above a homeless food pantry. Same boring dishes every day. Pot roast thats over done, fish that tastes like cardboard, hot dogs, hamburgers (on occasion), and french fries. When the buffet is closed (which is 90% of your cruise) you will be directed to a pizza counter and sandwich area. Problem is that there is only one person working the sandwich counter and a line of 40 people non-stop. As for the pizza area, there are at best 2 people working it, never making pizza in advance. Everyone has to order a slice or a small pie, wait 20+ minutes for it and again, the line is non-stop 15 deep. This is the only cruise I ever cam back from and actually think I lost weight (lol). I guess there is a positive to this after all.
Upon departure, we decided to do the self assist as we are locals here in Tampa. Waiting was forever!!! The cruise docked at 3 am, but at 9 am we were still waiting to get off the ship. I had to use the bathroom, so decided to go back to my cabin. Couldnt believe that the glasses we used to drink out of were sitting in the bathroom sink (where I spit after brushing my teeth as well as everyone else) with hot water running on them. I am assuming this is how they clean the glasses in your stateroom. BRING PLASTIC FROM HOME!!!!!!!
Bottom line, never again will Carnival get a penny of my money. Carnival, you should be ashamed of yourselves for treating people like dirt, having a ship that is in desperate need of many repairs< a staff that needs major help in customer service, a hospitality area that cannot keep food out for guests that are ready to eat, and a hygiene policy that needs to be on 60 minutes!
For my money, Royal Caribbean is a much better value and I feel happy, full, and safe the entire time. I'll work out after the cruise and at least have pleasant memories rather than feel the need to write a review here! PLEASE SAVE YOUR MONEY FOLKS!
Btw, i have never wrote a review in 48 years, so realize I am not one of the many chronic complainers that thinks the world is an ugly place. This is just a blatant amount of terrible service and amenities that I hope nobody wastes their money on. If I had the balls, I'd short the stock!