So....this having been my second cruise on Carnival, it was just an OK experience for me, but it was great for my 11 year old son on his first cruise ever(an early b-day present), and here's why:
Pros: Two days before the cruise, I got a call from a rep at Carnival offering an upgrade to a balcony room for $350. After further inspection, it was a room on the very rear of the ship(cabin 8452) that had an extended balcony, and offered panoramic views as opposed to having a balcony on ONE side of the ship that was smaller. I gladly took it(but later wished I hadn't).
Oh...I won about $700 from the slot machine my second day on the boat....That's about it for the pros.
Cons: The morning of the cruise, I woke up to find a $200 charge on my debit card, before I even got on the boat. When I arrived at the boat, I asked about it, and I was told that it was a "hold" to make sure that your Sail and Sign charges could be covered, which makes no sense. It really only seems like they took the "hold" to cover the gratuities, which was on my folio the very next morning! I am a big believer in tipping based on the service I receive, leaving a minimum tip is the service is poor, and an excellent one if the service is above and beyond. I really wasn't impressed with the service, but it was already too late to adjust it, since they already had my money.
The food on the trip was absolutely subpar, at BEST. Of all the cruises, and cruise lines i've been on....this food was absolutely the worst. My son, who loves pizza, was in heaven. Myself, that loves to eat, well....the BEST thing I can say is, luckily i'm trying to lose weight. My saving grace was the Burrito Bar(only open for 3 1/2 hours a day). How many ways can you make the same fish and chicken? Even the Dining Room fare was not great. I had to get two burritos for lunch, and then come back for another one to save for dinner, in case there wasn't anything appetizing to eat(there wasn't). Good luck finding anything to eat at the Buffet after 6:30-7pm....they even stopped making BURGERS at 6pm(they weren't that good, anyway). The dessert bar was usually the highlight of my food day. Getting an omelet on the morning was a struggle, because there was never a clear line to stand in to order one...three mornings in a row, I stood in line to get one, only to have people come after me, order an omelet, then have the preparer tell me i'm standing in the wrong line. The next morning, I stand in the line, but apparently it has moved that day, and there is a new place to stand in line. I just decided to get powdered eggs and oatmeal going forward.
Another thing...every boat I have been on has offered sushi, either at the buffet or at a sushi bar with a separate charge. There was none to be found. ANYWHERE. Even after I could have sworn I saw in the ships reviews, that there was one. Epic fail.
My room....the upgrade to the room was amazing, EXCEPT for the fact that EVERY SINGLE NIGHT, it sounded like someone was trying to tear the ceiling off of our room. The second night, i went upstairs and found out that those extended balcony rooms on Verandah Deck 8 aft, are right under the pool on the Lido Deck on 9. So, every night when they adjust/straighten the metal lounge chairs on the deck, it makes an INCREDIBLE amount of noise in the rooms. This is also the first boat i've been on where the TV in the cabin is not HD. The channel selection is VERY limited, with no ESPN, and a very different TNT than anywhere i've ever seen( a VERY big deal considering it was the beginning of the NBA Playoffs).
Speaking of sports...the sports bar is the WORST i've even seen(unless you're a fan of Cricket, Soccer, or Tennis...during the NBA Playoffs and Baseball season). Out of about 30 TELEVISED NBA Playoff games that week on ESPN and TNT(ALLEGEDLY available on the ship), I saw three games, two on ABC, and one on ESPN the night before I got off the ship(with a Yankee game as a bonus...OMG!) As a sports fan, this is TOTALLY unacceptable.
Overall...thank goodness I had my Mac, and the first six seasons of Mad Men...and, my son had Camp Carnival. Otherwise, this was almost a complete disaster and waste of money. I will DEFINITELY consider other cruise lines after having been on this trip.