My wife encouraged me to take this cruise on Carnival to give them another chance.
I used to sail on Carnival a lot, but in light of all of the many problems they have experienced over the past several years, I was very reluctant to go with them again. I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised by the total quality that I experienced on this cruise.
Let me start with the cabin. We had an aft facing balcony cabin. It was a little smaller than most of Carnival's balcony cabins, but I loved the aft view and it was roomy enough for my wife and I. The bed was very comfortable and the shower was great. Our cabin steward was incredibly friendly and he really aimed to please us with anything we wanted.
On to the food. We tried pretty much all the food venues that Carnival offered on this ship. The main dining room was very well appointed and it was very clean. The service was all that you could ask for or expect and the food was delicious in all that we tried.. We also tried several meal in the buffet service area for dining and found it to be excellent as well. The salad bar was exceptionally good with well rounded choices. Only in one case, did I think the food was overcooked, and I know that can happen on a steam line, so I was happy to just choose something else to eat. The up scale restaurant is named "Scarlett's" and it was nothing short of excellent. The service was very professional and the food was superb.
The only thing that I would fault Carnival on during this cruise was the "Cheers" alcohol program. The cost of the program was $50.00 per day and of course you had to pay for each day of the cruise at the beginning of the cruise. They allowed you up to 15 drinks per day with a value of up to $10.00 per drink. The prices of the drinks on board was very fair and you could purchase very good quality drinks in almost all cases well within the program. My complaint with the program is that the bar tenders are evidently told to very carefully measure the shots however and they give you ONE MEASURED SHOT per drink and you can only get one at a time. So if you want to get a bigger drink like a double to take back to your cabin in the evening to relax with before going to bed you either have to pay extra for the second shot or stop at two different bars and get a drink at each one. Since you are paying for the liquor, you should be able to order a double as long as you haven't gone over your limit for the day.
The ports that we stopped at were excellent. We took a few shore excursions and we enjoyed those as well. I have been on some real bummer shore excursions on Carnival as well as other cruise lines, before so I have to say that Carnival is listening to guest when they say an excursion is no good, because these were all good and worth the money. We were also traveling with some friends who were very novice cruisers and they were really wowed by the cruise the staff and all other aspects of the cruise.
I must say that Carnival has earned my respect again and I shall be more than happy to give them another try later this year when I pick my next cruise.
CaptTed from Southern California