We are 5 time cruisers who have been on three royal Caribbean cruises and two carnival cruises. We are carnival VIFP members AND THIS WAS BY FAR THE WORST CRUISE WE HAVE EVER HAD! This cruise was booked by my family (2 adults and 2 children) and because of other carnival cruise experiences we had two other families (2 adults 3 kids & 2 adults 2 kids) book with us. Let me breakdown the good and the bad! About 1 month before our cruise, the price dropped approximately a total of $400 before we sailed. I filed the price guarantee and got no response.
Embarkation: Manhattan was nice and easy. We arrived at 1:30 and were through and on the ship by 2:15. Don't waste your money on the faster to the fun program because it only saved the folks we talked to 10 to 15 minutes. Not worth the money!
Arrival on the boat: all families stayed on the 2nd floor and the smell was awful like a sewer back up filled the hallways. The rooms were clean and the house keeping staff was friendly.
Two days at sea: The food lines at all of the lido deck buffet style and special order stations moved at a good pace. The quality of the food was fair to poor. The food was cold. Breakfast foods- Eggs were not edible and watery. Bacon was slimy and not cooked thoroughly. Cereal was the best option unless you ate in the formal dining room. Lunch foods- food was bland at the Mongolian grill. The hamburgers and hot dogs again were cold due to the fact they are cooked in such quantity. The pizza was the best option everyday as it was tasty, hot and made fresh to order 24 hours. Dinner foods- in the gold pearl were fair. The wait staff was exceptional, however the food was bland or fair at best. Although the staff would bring you more if you wanted additional portions or menu items, they still were not very tasty. Kids food was the same in the formal dinning room!
Port canaveral: we decided to go by taxi $12 per person round trip to cocoa beach! We exited the boat easily and got in the taxi line. Coca beach is about 8 miles from the port and was a good experience. We went to the Ron Jon surf shop walked to the beach. We rented beach chairs and umbrellas on the beach and then returned to the boat by 5 pm. That night there was a lot of empty seats at the formal dining room. Later that evening when we asked our waiter about this he told us that some people were not feeling well.
Nassau: when we woke and went to the lido deck for breakfast before leaving the ship, the pool area was closed off and there was a large amount of staff sterilizing everything in sight. My wife asked an employee if they always clean like this, he replied no! She asked are there a lot of people sick, he replied yes! With that we left the ship quickly and went to the blue lagoon dolphin encounter. We booked this through them directly and it was awesome. We took a $20 cab ride to the ferry dock and were transported to and from the encounter. It is a beautiful place and really worth every penny! When we returned we ate at senior frogs before returning to the ship.
Freeport: here is where it gets bad. My one son woke up and was vomiting. Luckily our other son slept in our room with us and was not near his brother. So my wife and I took turns staying in the room with our sick son and brought our other son out to Freeport: as I left with my son to explore Freeport there were a lot of people I'm their rooms. I overheard a lady telling the house keeper that they could not leave their room because both her and her husband were sick. The smell on the floor was aweful. As we entered the elevator there was and employee sanitizing the elevator as were several employees outside of the elevator. I asked the employee are there a lot of people sick,and he replied yes, mostly kids and older people. We left the ship and literally saw all there was to see in about 40 min. There was a senior frogs and Fat Tuesday right off of the boat. We returned to the ship and went back to the room and ordered room service. The blt was tasty as was the grilled cheese. But due to my son being sick we lost the day. Later that night after dinner my second son went to sleep and woke up vomiting In our bed. We called house keeping and they cleaned up our room quickly,But they wanted the names of our children.
Last two days at sea: we were confined to the room form most of the first day and the kids began to rally in the afternoon. My wife went to the front desk to speak to them about our experience, the price guarantee claim and what they planned to do about the sick people on the ship and how they were going to make this right by us. They looked at my wife like she was crazy and said there is not a lot of people sick on the ship. And they would not do anything for us because they don't know if our kids just had too much ice cream (which obviously that didn't happen). Or perhaps the entire number of people sick on the ship had too much ice cream. Even when confronted about the comments made to us by their staff about people being sick and all of the sterilization, they adamantly denied everything and offered no help,insight or customer friendly service. We were told that the price Guarantee is only for a price change within 48 hours of the date you book it so we were not eligible for a credit. So basically they guarantee a price for 2 days. When question about why we never received a response they said that it was not by their control. That is a different department. We were told we could file an appeal. We told them that we are appealing now in person and they informed us that they could not handle our appeal.
The last night of the cruise was fair, but again the food was fair to poor. Breakfast had a leftover type buffet.
Debarkation: we were able to leave the ship at 9:45. Due to the volume of people it took about 35 min to collect our bag and get through customs. The best tip is to use the porter service and they will carry all of your bags and get you to the front of the customs line. That is worth it!
I hope that you are reading this review before booking with the carnival cruise line! If you have already booked I hope your experience is better!