Hi Folks, Just rolled back into town today. we drove to/from Port Canaveral from Delaware...about 14 hours total each way. Not a bad drive for those considering it.
Here is our review: Embarkation: Piece of cake! We pulled into the port and dropped our bags curbside. Since we did an 8A Balcony guarantee, we still did not have our cabin number when we arrived. The porter looked us up on his listing and put tags on our bags. We then pulled into the line for parking...$105 later ...Carnival's info on the port is off here. BTW, there is a sign at the cashiers box that mentions if you have food in your car, get rid of it as Ants have been known to infest cars during the stay. We made sure there were no empty soda cans or any open food containers. No problem. We went into the terminal and were processed through in under 10 minutes! Arrival time at the port was 11:30 AM and we were on the ship by 12:00 noon from driving up to walking on! We did have to wait until about 1:00PM before our deck was ready to allow us into the cabins. BTW, we finally received our first upgrade. 8A Balcony guarantee and we ended up on deck 10 in cabin 1009. At least we considered it an upgrade since we could just walk straight out and were one deck up from Lido activities and the Red Sail restaurant.
Ship: The ship was very clean. The colors motif wasn't too over the top compared with some of Carnival's decorating schemes. The first thing we did was go see the Maitre'd to switch to a table for two. He accommodated us very easily...though we did here a lot of complaints about seating arrangements. Here's where we embarrassed ourselves. We didn't even notice that we were scheduled for late seating. When we had gotten ready for dinner, my wife mentioned that the card the Maitre'd gave us said 8:00PM. I said "that cant be right, let's go down and see him" So we show up for early dinner and mention it too him. As I am talking to him, I look at our sail and sign and see 8:30! I felt pretty stupid and apologized! He then managed to accommodate us for that day with an early seating table for two since we were already dressed! Anyway, back to the ship...Amber palace was very nice for the shows. We chose to sit on the balcony level just starboard of the stage...great view, but the Camp Carnival kids can get a bit noisy. So we chose to try port side for one show. Well there was a guy there that decided his lot in life was to be the ship's comedian each night and he was noisier than the kids! Aft on deck 5 (Promenade) by Cinnamon Lounge, there are some funky looking chairs...try them! They are very comfortable! Here's a pic: The lobby ceiling is pretty neat too...it is a pattern of triangles that constantly changes color
Crew: Our cabin steward greeted us almost as soon as we got to our room. She kept the room in great shape and was very friendly Our waiter was awesome! Ajit was his name and he was from India. One night the we were told incorrectly that it would be Mojito night along the Promenade deck. Unfortunately it was Martini night instead. Ajit had one of the waitresses go make us Mojitos and had them delivered to our table! Doubles I might add! People were wondering where we managed to get mojitos! Apparently, they do not keep the mint leaves stocked at the bars so they are only offered on a couple of nights...keep an eye on the capers to see when they are offered. We were greeted by our names by just about every crew member we came in contact with...very friendly crew.
Shows: Pretty much Carnival standard...although the dancers on Glory were prettier than I can recall on other ships! We didn't care too much for the magic show....more dancing and and jumping around the stage than there was impressive magic. The comedian was good...Michael something...don't recall his name. The Motown show was outstanding! Legends was pretty good too. The passenger that did James Brown was very good and so was the girl that played Aretha Franklin.
Food: Fish and Chips were so so...more like an at sea Arthur Treachers to me. I stuck with the Deli sandwiches. The lunch Buffet seemed to leave a bit to be desired. Oh and they need to find a new Pastry supplier! The standard breakfast pastries really looked bad! Dinner was superb all week. The chocolate melting cake was good, but way too rich for me. I couldn't eat it all! The Souffles on the last night are our favorite dessert! The pizza...not so good Cheeseburgers..a big thumbs up as always! They also offer a steak sandwich at the burger grill. My wife had it and said it was good.
Misc: We saw a killer whale on our 3rd at sea day. It came right along side and broached 2 or 4 times, then went back into the wake.
Debarkation: It was going fairly smooth until somebody decided to leave an unattended bag in the terminal. Not sure if it was a passenger leaving or arriving for the next cruise, but it caused everyone a lot of inconvenience! We started debarkation at about 7:15. At 8:00 everything was stopped while the bomb squad took care of the offending bag. Now here is another spot where we will have a difference of opinion, but James the cruise director and Sally the assistant cruise director announced initially that some one had gotten hurt and they were temporarily halting the process. They then said that the authorities had halted it and they didn't know why. I don't agree with them giving excuses, but at the same time, I am glad they did not get on the PA and announce the possible bomb situation. As it was we had some people getting belligerent when they saw the bomb squad truck and I'm sure Carnival will get a note from them. But had they announced it, they probably would have created a bigger panic! I'm of the mind set that we let the authorities do their job and it makes life a lot easier for the rest of us!
OK...now for the bad! And I'll probably get folks flaming me...So, I will state up front that it is my opinion...take it or leave it!
On all the cruises I have been on, I can now see what people are referring to when they say that carnival is the "lower class" cruise line! I have never seen more people show up to dinner in shorts and ratty t-shirts than what I did on this cruise! Even formal night, people were showing up for dinner in jean shorts and t-shirts! In fact all over the ship! Buffet lines had people bare chested (guys that is ) getting food, women in bathing suits and no cover ups in the Amber Palace theater. Now I know that the whole formal versus casual and shorts or no shorts thing has been discussed ad nauseam, but I was amazed at how wide spread it has become. I saw young adults (ie teenagers) show up dressed better than a lot of adults on the cruise! Just boggles my mind as to why it's so hard to put on a pair of slacks and a shirt!