After reading all the reviews before I went on my cruise in May and basically being scared to death by everyone’s comments I decided to write my thoughts about the cruise, hopefully helping to ease some of your worries like I had for nothing.
First of all, we ported out of New York, do yourself a favor and give yourself plenty of time if you are driving in…we had a major traffic jam and were moving like snails for 2 hours which really stinks when you are driving with a 2 year old. Also, buy the Faster to Fun pass (LOVED IT) for $50 extra your entire room can board at 11:00 instead of the 1:30 like everyone else. We got on shortly after 11:00 and our rooms were ready instantly, so while everyone else had to hold their luggage while trying to get some lunch, not us! We had already changed, relaxed slightly and went right in for the fun. Plus, you get all these extra little perks, like boarding off the ship first when you are at an island, getting to use the priority line for guest services which means you never wait and getting the option to disembark first (wonderful when you’re ready to leave).
Food…buffet kind of got old after a while (we normally ate that for lunch) so I suggest changing it up and trying to eat at all the different places on board. We ate at the dining hall every night and loved it. Menu changes every night so we never ate anything the same unless we wanted to. Our waiter was Shon John and he was AWESOME, if you have the option get him, you will never have water half empty and his team is great! Kind of got sad to leave him actually.
Customer Service…nothing but positive to say about our room steward and our wait staff. Knew everyone’s name by the first day and went out of their way to talk to you like they knew you forever.
Daycare…wanted my son to experience this slightly because I would have liked a little alone time but he wouldn’t go, refused. He did manage to go a few times for maybe like 30 minutes to an hour but that’s OK we brought him so we knew that there might be some things we would have to sacrifice. Most of the daycare staff were incredibly friendly and when my son was upset they I could see that they were trying everything to turn it around. They have a TV monitor that you can watch after you drop your child off to see him but so they don’t see you (loved that idea) helped with my anxiety a lot. They also provide you with a phone to have the entire length of your cruise to call if your child needs or wants you, obviously we didn’t use it much because he wasn’t there but the phone worked for rooms so when my husband went to venture on his own he took the phone and we were able to find him when we were ready for another adventure ourselves. All carnival staff really went out of their way to be happy around my son, even if it was just someone we passed in the hallways they always tried to give him a high-five or say something to him, which was nice-too bad he was going through a shy stage.
Dr. Seuss…great. My son will never remember it but I loved it and pictures will be there to show him. For $5 a person you can go for a special breakfast where characters come out and meet you, a complete menu is provided all Dr. Seuss related and they play children’s music. I really enjoyed and so did my family even if my son wanted nothing to do with the characters; the second they left he wanted them to come back! (Doesn’t it always work like that).
Islands….if you get a chance and you have children do yourself a favor and rent a cabana on half moon cay. You won’t regret it. Seems like a lot of money to some people (around $200, but when you think about it a family of 4 that’s really only $50 per person most excursions are more than that anyway) but you get food provided (fruit, veggies, chips, dip), drinks (water and soda, which we took back to the ship with us) and some shade for when your child needs to sleep. It was very sunny and lots of people kept saying they wish they would have bought one themselves. They provide you with snorkel equipment, towels, chairs. They go early though, we read reviews which said book ASAP and they weren’t kidding. Also, when you board the ship go to the shore excursion desk to choose which cabana you want. We went 2 hours after we boarded and 85% of the cabanas were already selected.
The ships decore is something to talk about but in all relatity what do I care if they have pink circles, doesn’t bother me any, it’s not in my living room. The crew is always cleaning. You will not go on this ship and not seeing someone cleaning every hour. Which is a great thing!
Entertainment at night was OK. I would have liked to seen some acting shows or something maybe a little different than singing and dancing but thats just my opinion.
Final thought….your cruise is going to be what you make it. If you want to find all the negative then it’s going to be a bad experience. Things aren’t going to always work out perfectly but if you want to chock it up and try to be as positive as you can then you’ll have a great time. I was scared to cruise with carnival because I never have before and I would go again. Don’t believe all the negative comments you read, some people just need to complain about something. Enjoy yourself and have a great time….I did and that was with a 2 year that clung to me for 8 days straight!