My bff and I were looking for a cruise to celebrate 50 years of friendship, and we were somewhat limited in dates by her school schedule (teacher). We ended up on a Carnival 4 day/3 night cruise to Ensenada and back. Boarding was a nightmare -- we entered and saw very long lines, but as we approached them we were directed to another room with a row of numbers that each had a long line behind them. We sat on the concrete floor for 30-45 minutes, then were sent to the next room to join the long lines we had seen when entering the terminal. Another 20-30 minutes in line. It looked like there had been some water available earlier, but all the cups were gone. Temps were in the 80s and we were extremely thirsty. Finally get on board, drop off luggage, and go for a drink. Bars closed for the safety drill, although it didn't actually take place for another 45 minutes while we waited for everybody to finally board (they were still stuck in the lines). We first reported to out muster station in the theater, got the full instructions, then went up row by row to the lifeboats. It ended over half an hour after the start of the early dining. Finally got drinks....
We were on the Our Time dining....big surprise, another long line. We ended up with a beeper and returned later when it went off. I ordered the available daily flat iron steak, and it arrived cold. I had the molten chocolate dessert that was pure heaven though. Flashing dining room lights signaled the wait staff dancing, and flashing lighted shot glasses were available with a shot of some kind of liquor (extra fee of course).
Room was nice, beds nice, some noises even though we were under the backstage area of the theater and the show was long over.
Decent brunch -- happy to get an omelette made with Pam spray instead of a ladle of oil (HAL). Bagels can be had with lox if you order room service or in the dining room, but just the bagel on the buffet. Good hot cocoa...
Ordered drinks on the deck while sunning. An hour later the waiter remembered us.....
Second night was dressy night. Waited almost an hour for a table (with the beeper). Good lobster tail. In fact a good entire meal. Same waiter deal with the flashing lights, just waiving napkins and parading around this night. The flashing shot glasses were limoncello this night-- at least a good sipping drink.
Good show in the theater--70's music. Show was done by 10pm. We were tired and went to bed. I sleep with ear plugs, but my friend does not. Although I slept through it, there was noise such as chairs moving around, banging, etc. from 12:30 to 3 am. We complained at the desk but not much action. We spoke to the lighting tech the next night, and he said there should not have been anybody backstage -- the set was struck early, before 11.
Third day was Ensenada. Two excellent tours for the price. In the morning we did the winery tour -- two very different wineries, got a bottle to take home from the first, L.A.Cetto. Foods to try at the second, Dona Lupe-- good pizza and jams. Wine not so good there, but the owner, Dona Lupe, is charming.
Second tour was the one to :a Bufadora. Tide was high and strong, so we got a great show. Fun shopping along the way back to the bus.
Because we had 2 tours back to back, we were hungry earlier than previous nights, Had no trouble getting a table right away at 5:30. Good meal; I ordered 4 starters and no main as the starter choices were super good and it was too hard to choose. Bought a picture from the dressy night and ordered a second copy. Good show with Motown music. Went to bed around midnight, and the noises started again. Called the desk; pretty sure it was a crew party. Noises abated after the complaint.
Disembarkation day -- after eating, went to collect the picture copy. After some discussion and being told we already picked up the picture, they realized that the person we ordered it from screwed up and gave us the first picture instead of keeping it to copy. While they made the copy, we went and collected our alcohol. Got the picture just about the time they were calling our deck for disembarkation. Went down and discovered a huge line. Again no seats, just almost an hour in line winding past cabins in the hallways. No control over who was actually in line -- decks that had not been called just joined the line and it was a zoo.....
We have given Carnival a new slogan....."The line starts here"