Carnival Spirit Cruise Review by Gail Kelsey: Carnival -v- P&O
Member Since 2014
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Carnival -v- P&O
I have done quite a few cruises before. Mainly with P&O. This was my husbands first cruise. I finally convinced him he would love it. And from my experience with P&O He should have. But from the minute I walked into the main entry of the ship. I was grossed out by the "décor". It was so ugly and over the top. All so fake. But looked like a mausoleum. Garish, over the top, ugly, gaudy. Right away I had bad vibes. And I was right. Our first meal. was cold, and only had a choice of pie, sausage rolls, sausages, horrible "mushy" peas, and instant potato. Cold chips. And an assortment of salads. I was very disgusted by that. But, thought it was early days. Nothing improved. Buffets and hot drink machines were all over the place. It was a confusing mess for everyone.. You had no idea where to go for what. Plates and cutlery were not where you would expect to find them. You had to go from one buffet to another, if you could find it. To see what was even available. And it was More
never much anyway.. Food was always warm, but never hot. Meals didn't change much. No variety. P&O always had different lunches and dinner every day. Carnival just did the same of rubbish pie and peas etc every day for lunch Yes they did have another buffet. But it was never that appealing. Most days we only had breakfast and dinner. Just couldn't be bother with what was there for lunch. I had told my husband how wonderful cruise food was. Well, it wasn't on Carnival. And beer and wines were over the top in price. So much more expensive than P&O. My husband likes a beer. I think he only had about three this trip. He refused to pay outrageous prices for a glass of beer. Breakfast. Oh my. Same old stuff every day. And the toaster. So many people were complaining about the toaster. Or lack of it. One two slice toaster for each buffet. And it was a slow toaster. People had to wait and wait just to use the toaster. P&O have big industrial toaster on each food line. No waiting for twenty minutes just to get a slice of toast. They did have toast already made. BUT, it was COLD and tuff. No one bothered with it. I tried it once. Didn't even eat it after the first chewy bight.. Not even friend eggs on the breakfast buffet. Just poached and scrambled. They were fine. But no variety any of the days. The omelettes were made from powered eggs. I didn't even bother with them. The French toast was nice. They did that well. Also the pancakes were nice. The daily bread rolls looked to be thawed frozen ones. Not made daily like on P&O The coffee/tea machines always had one of the sections out of order. People were juggling with hot cups of liquid in crowds. There was no organisation in even getting a cuppa. And it was dangerous trying to get one. I saw one lady wear a cup of hot liquid from a kid swinging around. And there were NO trays. You had to juggle everything. Made it so hard. Walking through crowds trying to find a buffet and then get what they wanted. No right end to enter it. People were going all directions. No plants much at one end to show where to start. And the hygiene. They had stations with anti bacterial liquid. But no one to make sure people use it. On P&O there is a staff member standing there making each person at the head of the two ORGANISED lines, use it.. Just good hygiene being insisted on. The whole dining room was a disaster area.. P&O have two big lines. One each side of the ship. You start at the beginning. Pick up a tray, put it down on the runners, put on the plate, the cutlery, And then proceed to follow the buffet around. No one is walking into each other. No accidents waiting to happen. You just follow it around and exit at the end of both. Most of the time there were two men carving roast for each line. I saw staff carving roast for people. But you had to try to get to him. I finally got to him once. And he just put down his knife and walked of. Other people wanted a bit of roast meat to. But they missed out. He just wandered away.. The dessert buffet. It looked wonderful. Until you ate it.. The cakes and cheese cakes, and tarts were dry and clugged in your mouth. They all needed some custard or at least cream. Many times I picked up a piece. But took one bight and didn't finish it. And I wasn't the only one. Only once was there a beautiful apple puff pastry slice. But, they only had that the once. And also the honey biscuits were lovely. Thank goodness they had them out everyday. They were the only desert worth eating.. All up I found the food a BIG disappointment. We honestly didn't enjoy one meal we had. We did eat in the restaurant once. It was a so so meal. I had rump steak. But it had been pre cooked in a microwave first. I think. Then on a hot plate. I ordered it medium. It came out raw in the middle. And to eat in the restaurant. It took sooooo long. Half an hour to get a menu, half an hour for the first course, half an hour for the main course, then another half an hour for a desert. By the time we finished dinner. We were exhausted for all the waiting. I know they were busy. But it can be done better and faster.. I heard so many people complaining about the food and other things on the Carnival. All people who had cruised before. The ones who loved it. They had never cruised before. So had nothing to compare it to..
Back to the décor. Every room was over the top garish. Floors screamed at walls, walls screamed and ceilings. Everything screamed at each other. You got bombarded by colours and ugly "Italian" wall ornaments and décor. The multi coloured lights were beautiful. But they got lost in all the other garish stuff around them.. I had to get out of some bars because I felt closed in by old ugly "décor"... As the old saying goes. Less is more. But you went with more more more more. And made it a horrible mess. I saw an add on the cabin TV. How they wanted the first impression of getting on the boat, one of WOW. I laughed. Mine was YUCK.. The boat needs to be totally stripped out. And done in plain colours and open plan.. You should go on the P&O boasts. To see how its all done.. I will NEVER travel on another Carnival ship again. and I tell everyone who asks. The same thing.. The only haven we had was our cabin. Thank God we had a balcony suit. We could escape the ship by looking out to sea. We spent most of our time in the cabin. The ugliest of the boat was to depressing..
The TV channels. Yes I know you are at sea. BUT. to play the same four movies over and over and over for ten days. Come on. Not everyone was to drink them self stupid in the bars.. The only escape from the boat was our cabin Which was lovely. But to have nothing to watch on TV. We watched the same movie three times. How hard is it to play different ones every day. Even different ones through the day.. And the same with a series you had on there. It was the same show every day.. TV was hopeless. Its not hard to bring a library of TV shows and movies and change them all the time. is it.. And the adds for Carnival. All you got was FUN FUN FUN. Fun shops. What a load of rot. they were shops. No different to any other shops. Souvenir "International". How stupid do you thing people are. Duty free and cheap. NOOOOO They were way over priced for cheap junk made in China.. And really. We didn't want a "souvenir" of this trip.. Everyone one you talked to had some complaints. Mainly about the "food". And the toasters, or big lack of them. And the gaudy décor of the ship.. One couple with young children were very upset. They were told they would have to bring their own port a cot the their baby. They went and bought one. Travelled with it on the plane, lugged it all the way to and in the ship. Just to find they had one already in the cabin... But they had rung up especially to find out if they were available. And told to bring their own.
Another big grips. We went to customer services desk. Before the ship even left Sydney. One of the busies times for that counter. And they had two staff on the computers at the counter. And at least 30 people waiting. Two staff, and the busiest time. And at other busy times. I had to wait for almost an hour just to get served. And I was in the top six waiting. There were other staff walking in and out and around out the back. But no one thought to help the two struggling ones.. P&O ALWAYS have their full six staff at the service desk. Busy or quiet. Staff are always at all computers. Not Carnival. People were grumbling right from before the ship even left port.. And at one time I went for information. and they didn't know what to tell us. They told us one thing. But we later found out it was wrong. Client services, giving out wrong info..
I didn't have children with me. But could see the kids clubs were well below par. P&O have brilliant kids clubs. Kids loved to go to them. I asked one little boy what he thought of the kids club. He wasn't impressed..
The staff in the dining room would take so long to remove plates.. P&O are right there when you finish a plate. And whisk it away. Not Carnival. You had to try to juggle dirty plates around on the table.. Having no trays was a bad move. I looked and looked the first time for the trays. Just to be told "Oh we don't have trays". The staff are alright. If you can understand them... Most of the time you can't. Not their fault. But I never had trouble with P&O staff understand me or me them...
I felt the "buffet" was no better than Sizzlers. Same stupid salads. But lack of good meats and food.. P&O have a massive big buffet. Twenty times the size of yours. With quality food.. Your quality was bad.
I loved our cabin staff. He was really nice.. Made lovely towel animals every night. But so do P&O. Nothing different there.. At least you got something right... The ship was always clean.. Some staff were a bit abrupt. But most were nice. If you could understand them.
One thing that ticked so many people of. Was the morning announcement. It would BLARE of the dining room. Soooooooooo LOUD that people were putting their hands over their ears to stop the pain from the noise. Little kids were crying when the "announcement" started. And you couldn't understand him anyway. Being so LOUD it was just a big noise. And he had such a strong accent, you couldn't understand it anyway..
The abandon ship drill. An hour you had us all standing there. Most of the time nothing was said. We just had to line up like little school kids.. Standing in the hot afternoon sun of the ship deck. Then it got screamed at us soooooo long again. It hurt ears. Most of the people waiting had to hold their ears. Even one of the crew had her hands over her ears.. And hour we stood there.. What a total waste of time. No one could understand what was being said... Employ foreign workers for sure (Much cheaper for you. You pay them terrible wages) But when it comes to public announcements. Get someone who can speak English without a bad accent.. Common courtesy.
The shows we did go to. We walked out. Just stupid.. The cruise director, NZ guy was so full of himself.. And thought he was so funny. He wasn't...
Oh yes, the FUN FUN FUN you heard and saw plastered EVERYWHERE. What are you trying to do. Brainwash people into thinking if they see the word often enough. They might actually think they are having fun.. Didn't work for us. Nor for a lot of other people. I personally got sick of seeing the stupid fake word FUN..
Leaving the building in the lifts. You should have heard the negative comments.. Even one of your own staff members, said "Give them a review, they need it. It's the worst ship I have ever worked on" Then he said "Stick it to them". From one of your own staff. That is how bad the ship is.. The ship itself on the outside is lovely, very grand.. But the inside left a sour taste in your mouth and eyes...
I have never had such a bad cruise in my life... First and LAST time I travel with Carnival. when I got home. My sister asked what ship it was. I told her Carnival.. Straight away, she said "OH no"... She had heard all the negative comments about it as well....
We wasted about $4,000 dollars on something we got no enjoyment out of. And, what possessed you to go to Noumea on a Sunday. Nothing is open. We didn't even bother leaving the ship that day..
Another thing. that "Lemon Squash" "drink" you fill all your machines up with. Is disgusting. It tastes like Alkasa. All gritty, Disgusting stuff. And no change to lime, cola, nothing. Just Lemon Squash. Was there a special it that week. Everything on the ship seemed to be a purely money making adventure. Bad food to save money. Horrible bitter coffee, Not much food at all really.
My husband thought I had been lying to him about how wonderful cruises were. Until. He personally talked to or over heard others saying how bad it all was....
Thank goodness the weather was lovely. But you had no control over that. Thank goodness. the Serenity deck is lovely. No screaming kids. And no charge to go there. And no loud horrible music blasting your ear drums.. We spent a lot of time there, when we weren't in our cabin..
The library had pitiful books in it. Not much of a selection at all. And no board games for people to take out and use..
And there wasn't a lot of entertainment. P&O always has things happening. Their leaflet for the days activities takes up a full A3 page. Yours was a little bit down the side.. Lots of trivia. But, guess what. Not everyone goes on a cruise to play trivia five times a day. The ice sculpture was a big let down. I didn't even know what it was supposed to be.. Look what P&O do and copy them. Not everyone wants to play bingo or gamble. Or sit around drinking..
I am sure I had a lot of other complaints about Carnival. The list every day seemed endless. First time I have ever hated a cruise. And I have done many.. Sorry to complain. But you really have to up your game. And get rid of that garish décor you inflicted onto such a majestic ship.. Some of the décor was really quite nice. But got lost in the expanse of the garishness of it all.... Not everyone likes garish Italian décor.. Open plan and white or light colours does way more for a ship, and passengers...
Out of everything, the garishness of the "décor" and the revolting food was what everyone was complaining about. The pizza station was brilliant. that man there has brilliant. We ate a lot of pizza. They were the best food on offer. Sad that junk food was a better option than what was offered....
I know this is long winded. But it had to be said.. I'm sure you have heard it all before. And from a lot of the reviews I read. You have. Only first time cruises give the good reviews. Nothing to compare it to...
Thank you for reading this. If you did. Please act on it.. P&O run rings around you...
Gail Kelsey. Less
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