This was our 7th cruise overall and our 6th one on a Carnival ship. We love Carnival so we booked this cruise without a second thought! Being this cruise would also take in Halloween, we were very excited about going! We are big kids at heart! We packed our Halloween costumes and headed for the port!
We also brought along my new travel sized mobility scooter, being this was our first cruise with me having limited mobility issues (due to neck and back problems). The scooter measures only 17 inches wide and it fits through a regular sized cabin door. It breaks in to 2 pieces and fits in the trunk of a compact car - still leaving room for groceries next to it. I am mentioning it because it plays a major role in why we were treated so badly on this cruise - more to come on that issue later.
Embarkation: We used Carnival transfers from Orlando airport to the cruise terminal. Drivers were always polite and helpful. Bus rides to and from the airport/cruise terminal were prompt and the buses were comfortable. Ran in to some problems inside the cruise terminal. We were directed to an area where other mobility challenged passengers were waiting for help. After sitting there for quite some time, we decided to get in to the regular line. That line moved quickly and we had our sail & sign cards in no time! But then we were once again directed to sit back in the other waiting area.
My husband finally tracked someone down to ask why we were being made to wait, while others were boarding. Once that gentleman saw that we were all checked in, he directed us to board as well. We headed for our cabin to drop off our carry on bags!
Our Cabin: We had a Balcony room on the Upper Deck - right above the lounge. This cabin is very noisy at night. You will hear every show or sound that takes place in the lounge below. We were ok with that as we had planned on staying up quite late at night. Also, my husband can sleep through anything due to his time in the Navy!
Our Cabin Steward, Dexter, was Wonderful!! Very friendly and professional! He was one of the highlights of the cruise!!
Dining Room: The Hostess was great! Sadly though, the meals were not as good as on other Carnival ships we have sailed. The filet mignon was over cooked, making it too rubbery to even attempt eating. My husband's was burnt so much that he actually had to cut the burnt top off! That was the last night we ate there. We hit the Lido Deck Buffet (Red Sail) from then on.
Shows: Stage shows really need some updating. The Magician/Comedian needs to bring his act out of the 50's as well.
Ports of Call:
Nassau, Bahamas - we did the Breezes all inclusive shore excursion. It was for guests ages 16 and over and cost about one hundred dollars per person. You had a long walk to the bus/van and then about a 15 minute ride to Breezes after that.
There was a beach, various pools (including one with lounge chairs IN it - my personal favorite!! Inside, there was a game room, a gift shop and an air conditioned restaurant. There was also an outdoor buffet by the pools. The buffet food left a lot to be desired. Cold hamburgers, which tasted more like the frozen salsbury steak tv dinners, and cold fish with fries.
But, to me, the beach, the pools and the adult atmosphere made this worth the while to me!
**Mobility Impaired - Please be advised that while this claims to be handicapped accessible, the shuttle vans they use are small. If your scooter is large, you will be made to use a wheelchair or cancel the excursion. **
St. Thomas - We opted to walk around and do some shopping in St. Thomas, as opposed to taking any shore excursions. I used my mobility scooter and my husband walked. It was an Ok port but it wasn't our favorite one.
St. Maarten - now here's a mobility challenged dream port! Easy gangway access off the ship. Wide area to move around in. Easy in and out store entrances. Has a wonderful feel to the area! Steel drum band playing, friendly locals and great souvenirs and prices! We want to go back here again!!
Spa On-Board: LOVE it!! Friendly staff! A real pleasure to deal with!
Halloween Night: The ship came alive with blow-up decorations and spider webs hung through out! We had brought our costumes on-board with us and were happy to see other people had as well!
The crew didn't expect the number of people who turned out for the costume contest, and so many excellent costumes were over looked due to that.
The mobility impaired passengers were left out of everything. Being I was unable to dance or climb on to the stage, I simply didn't exist. After speaking to many other people in scooters and wheelchairs, I realized I wasn't the only one who felt over looked and left out of things.
Traveling with a disability really opened my eyes to a lot of things. I called Carnival the minute we were back in port to inform them of all the problems we had encountered.
We love to Cruise and, while I will not cruise again on Carnival at this point, I will be trying other cruise lines, as I simply can not give up my love for cruising and for the ocean.
Do I recommend this cruise for able bodied people? Yes.
Do I recommend this cruise for physically challenged passengers? NO.
And to the people who rushed in to elevators to go up or down one floor - when physically challenged passengers were waiting an hour or more for any room to be made for them on elevators - shame on you!
I saw one woman cry due to not being able to get back to her cabin for her medication before dinner!