This was our 21st cruise with Carnival. They get bigger but sorta remain the same. Being in VIP status I really felt sorry for those who were not. the embarkation lobby was totally packed and some said they waited as long as 3 hours to board even though they arrived around 10:30 or 11:00. In other ports there are VIP lines that are easy to find and not near as crowed. Never found a VIP line and had to keep asking attendants every 20 to 30 feet.Close to 6000 on the boat counting the crew..
You knew there was a slew of them but overall we always found a place to sit after we had navagated the food lines. The ship is beautiful, rooms were great, service was great. The food is horrible and seems to be getting worse. Some ship restaurants are only open for short periods, like the Bar-ba-que place! and when its open the lines are incredible, a minimum of 25 minutes to get your food. Only open from 12 - 2:30 on sea days. We tried two of the for-fee restraurants and truly enjoyed the steak house. However the Italian restraurant was a real disappointment. The servers were awful. we kept seeing differnt ones who make the treck to our table. This group shoud be required to do some training in the main dining room so they can learn how to take care of the customer. We tried the burger joint and I could only finish about 1/4. They have some sort of seasoning on them and the were greasy and tasted awful. The fries were soggy and limp! there is a nice condiment line next to the burger joint that was really prepared nicely.
The shows are awful, the Diva's show was a joke,. The sound would blow you away - liiterally, too loud.
I hate to give up on carnival being we have VIP status, but there is no comparison to NCL, RC or Celebrity Lines even on this beaufiful ship. However I would consider the smaller less crowned shiips.
As always, we never use the on board Cruise programs. We toured, swam, ate at every port and paid 50% less using local tour guides that what Carnival sold them for on board. Of course Carnival says they will match any price but who wants to go through that hassell.The ports were beautiful though and we really enjoyed them a lot. Still had a great time, and we enjoyed the best and fastest debarkation at each port than any other cruise.
John from Atlanta