Background: This is the second cruise on Carnival for both my wife and I. I am 29 and my wife is 28. We were celebrating our 4th anniversary. We traveled with two other couples. One was on their honeymoon and the other was celebrating their anniversary as well. We have two children and we left them at home with grandma!!
Embarkation: Nightmare. It was a combination of problems that were out of the control of Carnival. They tried hard to get it done quickly. i did not know this but every 90 days all the crew has to get off the ship and "recheck" in. That is why it took so long.
Ship: Massive. We went on Elation before. The Elation could fit in the main lounge of the Conquest!! The ship was very nicely cleaned. Very shiny. My wife is an art lover (me not so much!!) so she loved the art deco theme of the ship. Every detail has some kind of impressionistic overtone. The decks, pools, common rooms, and dining rooms were all great.
Room: Loved it. it had a very large bathroom. lots of storage. The vanity in the room was well lite and spacious. The bed was super comfortable. We took all the stuff out of the mini bar and loaded all our liquor and soft drinks that we brought with us. They say they changed their policy about bringing beverages on board but it did not seem that they checked. I saw people carrying in their hands cases of soft drinks.
Food: Great. We made it a point to try something new every night. The people that say that the food is just okay are full of themselves. Carnival tries really hard to provide delicious high quality food options at every meal. We ate in the Monet dining room everyday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We absolutely loved it. We avoid buffets at all costs. Our waiter Teck and his assistant Sigmund were absolutely the best people that we met on board. They were awesome. Word to the wise. When booking ask for the Monet dinning room. There are two dinning rooms. The Monet is the only one with a view. Also ask for a window seat. There is nothing like and delicious dinner with an amazing view.
Gift Shop: My wife and I spent alot of time and money in there!! Sirgiy (?) is the best salesperson on board. He was really nice and funny. My wife loved him (maybe too much!!!) He sold us something everyday!!
Entertainment: We went to every show. They were great. The dancers were awesome. My wife and I were both pulled on stage during the r&b concert night. She danced and I sang a little!! It was fun.
People: No wonder Americans have the bad reputation that we have. I am a born and breed southern gentleman. I could not believe the aggressiveness, mean spiritedness, and selfishness that was displayed by my fellow countrymen. When did it become okay to scream at people to get our way at all costs. I mean-I saw a man scream at the purser over nothing. In the giftshop, people acted like mad-men over a $5.00 blowout sale. Pushing, grabbing, slamming, yelling--i could not believe it. My wife and I were almost trampled when we tried to turn and leave!! I was really disappointed in the adults on this trip.
Disembarkation: nightmare. Again out of the control of Carnival. Another cruise ship broke down in port and blocked the place where we were supposed to dock. Carnival tried very hard to keep us comfortable while we waited. It took approx 2 hours to from the ship to my car. That does not sound like alot but the last trip, we walked off the ship and were in the car in less then 30 minutes.
I love Carnival and will travel with them every year from now on. We love the hospitality of the crew.
The people that "slam" the ship or cruise might have a valid concern but they made a choice to allow that to ruin their trip. My advise: Don't expect perfection out of imperfect people and an imperfect ship---it will not turn out perfectly!! Your trip will be as fun as you allow it to be. Also, remember this--how bad can a meal be when you don't have to cook it!!! How bad can a cabin be when you don't have to clean it. How bad can a show be when all you have to do is set there and watch it!! (have a drink-it will get better!!!!!)