I just returned from a carnival cruise to the Bahamas/Grand Turk aboard the Carnival Victory. I have never used the Port of Miami before so I didn't know what to expect. I had a great time despite some of the disappointments. I know that Carnival tends to be a more affordable option but I just don't think its worth it in the long run. I am going to list my complaints in categories:
Unorganized!: I don't think I have EVER seen such an unorganized process for leaving the ship to get to the piers on port days. We were fortunate that our first excursion was later in the morning so we didn't have to wait long when we got to Nassau. The day we got off at Grand Turk was RIDICULOUS. There were no numbers...no waiting in the auditorium but instead we filled the floor above the gangway shoved together blocking other persons cabins. We arrived before the other Carnival ship but were not allowed to get off until AFTER the other ship.
Service/Food: Worst on ANY ship I have been on. We did not leave port on time. While our room was sufficiently cleaned we never met our cabin stewards. We had two people assigned to our table for dinner. There was no one waiting to fill your glass. I had to ask for bread most nights. Very disappointing when you are used to the great service we have received in the past. I am pretty sure they were understaffed. The quality of the food was mediocre. I think I enjoyed two of the meals at night and the taco I got on Mexican night. Even the pizza was so thin it was more like a pizza chip. On Carnival's private island, I avoided one of the tables as BIRDS were EATING off of the food! Thirsty and want something to drink on the island? Enjoy your "Dixie cup" sized paper cup. I mean really? Even the fruit didn't taste fresh at times. We were finding a seat one afternoon at the back of the ship there were many dirty tables. We sat down expecting someone to quickly come and clean them. One hour later or so...someone came.
Excursion: We opted for a new excursion to Balmoral Island. We did not get to the island on time and the facilities on the island were old and in need of replacement. The beach was beautiful and we enjoyed our chairs and unbrellas. The food was o.k. Getting back on the small boat to get to the pier required a little effort and getting on the pier....2 foot of walkway with no handrails. Half moon Cay was beautiful as was Grand Turk. Also, we could not find a Carnival rep with the sign when we got off the boat. WE WERENT THE ONLY ONES! There was a small group of us. When we told them we couldn't anyone, we were told they were there.
Update Needed: This ship is OLD. I think it had a facelift at some point but they forgot to remove the mauve colored sinks and tiles. Someone at our table had holes in their sheets. However, I believe they were replacing carpets in some of the rooms while we were on board. The pools were in need of some repair as well.
Family Atmosphere: If you would like a family atmosphere....THIS ISN"T IT! The comic who was supposed to be G rated at family hour used expletives. The shows included bare backsides of women wearing G-strings and men who stripped down to their underwear. Sleeping at night consisted of people running up and down the halls at night loudly with the last night fighting and banging on doors. Of course, there was no one at Customer Service to help us.
Advice: Pay a little extra and go on Royal Caribbean.
The pros of this trip were beautiful islands (expect your days in port to be short), warm weather. I do want to add that the shows had great dancers and singers and the staff did the best they could shorthanded.