We gave this as a Christmas gift to our children who are 14 and 8. Its been a couple years since our last big vacation and two weeks in the Hawaiian sun sounded like a great idea. We have cruised five time in the past and we have always traveled on carnival. We the kids on board they always have had a great time and we are were super excited for this adventure after all its a 15 day cruise to Hawaii! YAY!
We were traveling with my parents who are both in their 70's and they get around well despite the fact my mother has stage 4 cancer and just went through her first treatments before this vacation. It has been her dream to go to Hawaii so why not now.
We left the could north a day early and stayed on the Queen Mary the night before debarkation. This is a lovely way to enjoy the history and rest up before the long day of getting on the boat. I'll let you in on a little secret but don't tell anyone. If you stay on the Queen Mary you just get up walk right across the parking lot and register on the Carnival ship about 9:30 and you'll be in boarding group 1. It works out perfect.
We swiftly went through the line and were on the ship about 1pm. Not bad at all. The ship is exactly what we have come to love about carnival ships. It looks like Disneyland and Las Vegas had a baby or exploded I'm not sure which. We went to our balcony cabin and settled in. Your not supposed to go there until later in the day but if the room is ready the help lets you go right in.
The room help is pleasant enough but they sure weren't as friendly as the other ships we had been on. My wife and I both noticed it right away. I feel I am getting way to detailed with this review so I will just cut to the chase. We all really enjoyed the food. We ate at the seated dinner every night and it still amazes me how good the food is when they prepare it for so many people. Well done chefs and cooking team. Our head waiter was Darnell. If you get his table ask to be switched he was awful. The first night we were sitting for over two hours and all of the tables around us had left and they were set for the next dinner and we were never served dessert. I brought it up to the Matre'd who said he would fix it. It never really got better and our server never spoke to us or would look us in the eye for the rest of the trip. I told my son it was my goal to be friends with him. I tried to talk to him, ask him questions to no avail. The last night he punished us and made us wait and wait and wait for everything. The buffets are limited for breakfast and lunches but there is always something to eat. Its hard to find Tabasco that's for sure. When I could find a server to ask for Tabasco when it sometimes would arrive in the mornings my daughter would say "its gonna be a good day today dad!" It always brought a smile to my face as my little ones noticed the lack of service.
Hawaii- The weather unfortunately for us sucked. It rained and stormed pretty much the whole time we were there. The last Hawaii day in Hilo we were so excited as the sun was out and the wind was calm and the beaches from the ship looked delightful only to be told the tenders could take us to shore because of safety. We ran up to the ships pool which we had not had the opportunity to use as the wind while the ship was moving made it unbearably cold. We all found some seats and jumped in the pool happy to finally be in some sun and warmth. The ship stated moving and with 15 minutes the captain took us straight into a cold rain shower storm. Out of the pool and back in the ship : ( I was told they needed to go out to sea so they could open the casino$ One of the pools has a retractable roof which always stayed open the whole trip and I never could get a straight answer as to why they wouldn't close it. When your sailing at around twenty knots and the wind is blowing at twenty knots that makes the wind on deck is around 40 miles an hour. So nothing on deck during our 9 at sea days were useable. No pools no mini golf no ping pong no sun no water slide, nope nothing.
The people- We met some truly wonderful people on this cruise, people I will never forget and they really made the trip tolerable. The one big unfortunate thing was there we no other children on the ship. Our kids have always loved carnival ships because the make friends quickly and we can hardly pry them away from their friends on the ship. This time was way different. It was a floating old folks home. There was only one girl our daughters age and she didn't speak a bit of English. Being only 8 they tried their best to communicate but I think they both found it to exasperating.
We did enjoy the shows
Now we have been to Ensenada many times on carnival and really were thinking of not getting off the ship. We'll. that was until we were stuck on it for six straight day, INSIDE. We all felt as though we were in the movie groundhog day. Ensenada was nice. The sun was out the shops were open and the local people are fun to barter with as well as talk with. At this point we all had cabin fever and could not wait to get home.
Last night when we arrived home our kids were the happiest I had seen them in two weeks. I was happy to get back to work and that just not how a two week Hawaiian vacation should end but it did.
If you like to eat, get bad service and do absolutely nothing take the cruise. If you like good service while enjoying a ships amenities skip this cruise, sure wish we had.