Let me start by saying this was my 26th cruise and by far the worst I have ever taken. I will start with the positive parts. The flights that Carnival booked went very smoothly along with the transfers from the airport to the pier. They were quick and efficient at the airport with an entertaining driver who gave us a small tour on the way to the pier noting all the points of interest than we passed in San Juan. The boarding process was also very smooth at the pier with many agents ready to quickly process us for boarding. We had our Fun Passes complete prior to departing home. By the time we returned from lunch our baggage was waiting for us outside the cabin. We quickly unpacked and tried to tour Old San Juan on the free trolley system. The Old City was in gridlock on Sunday afternoon and we ended up walking back to the pier rather than miss the ship sailing. The best part of our cruise was our waiter Chubby and his assistant Gusti. What a team! Always wanting to please and always happy. You can tell they really enjoyed their job. The ships itinerary was great for each port of call as we were in port with only a few ships which made getting around easy and the stores were not crowded. It would have been terrible to be in port on Thursday when there are 8 ships in port in St Thomas. The shows at night were good. The flagship bar was non smoking therefore that's where we went if we wanted a drink prior to dinner. All others were smoking which kept us away pre and post dinner. The "Comfort Bed" is really very comfortable including the linens.
Now for the bad news and there was plenty of it. First of all we had no Air Conditioning for the whole week on board. They supplied us with two cooling units that needed to be loaded with ice three times a day, which helped cool the room but not to the point of A/C by any means. For the first 24 hours the purser lead me to believe that the A/C was being worked on till I went to the desk and a new purser informed me that the cooling units were it and the A/C in our room was not going to be fixed. When we arrived on board the cover over the A/C was on the floor. That tells me they were fully aware that there was trouble with the unit the previous week and they still put us in that room. Finally after losing my temper and asking to speak to the hotel manager, the 2nd Purser asked me to have a seat. Finally she came to the room and suddenly there appear another cabin available (prior to that ship was full and there was no other cabin). She offered us a lesser cabin in the back of the ship next to a room of screaming children or we could have an inside cabin. I refused both and told her I expected compensation. She said we would hear from her by the end of the cruise. The day prior to the cruise ending we were sent a letter of apology with a credit on our cruise account of $200.00.
Our cabin stewart was the worst. We never saw him and when we did see him he was never working. His assistant however was working her fingers to the bone. We always had to remind him to fill the cooling units and if we did not the room was hot. Saturday I had the $70.00 per person taken off the account and tipped the waiter and his assistant more the the suggested amount. We gave nothing to the cabin stewart and personally handed the cabin assistant money.
The ship is 11 years old and even though it is said it had a recent uplift, I do not know what they did. It needs to be dry docked. The carpets are stained. They asked one couple to vacate their room till 3pm the day we were in St. Lucia so they could lay new carpet. The last day on ship they decided to take the carpet off one of the hallways and replace it during the day. Why couldn't they do it in port or during the night. The ship is generally tired looking and not very pretty. The shops didn't have anything of interest in them and are very small in size. The ceiling in the Lido area restaurant was leaking and there was a major leak coming from a light outside the Universal Dining room. One of the three pools was not operational for at least three days of the sailing. It became available the last day at sea. They spent the week repairing it. The smell of oil paint where people were sitting was not good.
Finally the food was just OK. The food on the buffets looked like it had been hanging around for a while. The burgers and hot dogs were the best of the lunch choices. Station 1 where there was juice, lemonade, water and ice available always smelled like garbage.
Too much time was spent taking photos too much space was taken up displaying them. This space could be used for more shops.
The variety of island were great.
St Thomas - I had been there many times but never had taken the tram up to the top of the mountain. It was nice that the the shore excursion desk sold tickets on board for it. In the afternoon we went by taxi to Meghan's Bay.
Dominica - We took a taxi tour in the AM and then took the ship's snorkeling tour in the afternoon which was very nice.
Barbados - we shopped in the morning and in the afternoon we took a taxi to Mailbu Beach. It was Ok. We did not like the fact that the distillery was right on the beach.
St. Lucia - I had been there prior however my husband had not. We took a cab tour which took us to all the highlights. It was our fault not stating from the beginning that the cab was too small for four people. I did manage to get a small refund from the tour company that set us up with the cab driver who, by the way, did not speak until you asked him a question. This had nothing to do with Carnival excursion.
Antigua - we booked a snorkeling trip with the cruise ship. It was very nice however for the new snorkelers the captain did not explain how to use the equipment until asked by a very nervous older woman who was snorkeling for the first time. He also did not tell the people on board what hand signals to use if they were in trouble. They did however serve some very strong rum punch on the way back.
Day at sea. Remember to get your deck chair early in the AM.
We did not use the photographers or did not use the childrens activities.
THIS SHIP IS NOT IN GOOD SHAPE AND I WILL NEVER SAIL ON CARNIVAL AGAIN. It all has to do with cutting back and not spending money to update the ship.