We have cruised with Carnival three times prior to this cruise: Elation, Valor and Victory. We are in our sixties and have also sailed with Seabourn and Crystal Cruises.
We drove to Galveston and ended up parking in Lot B. Getting in line and boarding was done very well and our wait was not long at all.
We went directly to the Renoir dining room to change to the early dining since that is what we had requested. Apparently a 2200+ other passengers had also requested the early seating and after about a 30 minute wait was told we could get on a wait list but the change was not likely and it did not happen.
Then to the cabin and that is where we were really upset. As I said, we have cruised with Carnival before. Two times the cabins were ocean view and one a balcony. This cruise was also a balcony. This is where we were very disappointed. We purchased our cruise directly through the Carnival agent. Each time we were encouraged to take a rear cabin. This time we did. BIG MISTAKE! We were on deck seven in the direct center of the ship. There are six cabins like this one. It was NOT like regular 8B balcony cabins...it is small, cramped and only has one chair for two people to use. The entry hall into the cabin is so narrow a dinner tray could not come in without being turned length wise. Impossible to have room service other that coffee as there was no place to sit and eat. Also, the dividers between rear cabins is slanted so you really have no privacy and can be seen from below and both sides. We were not told that it would be any different than the regular cabins even after specifically questioning it. I went directly to the Purser who informed us the ship was full and "after all we had the cabin we requested". We were like two peas in a pod and we constantly had to step aside for the other to move around. It also was not very clean...still had confetti on the floor from a show that would have been on the early Thursday. The balcony had matches and ashes all over the chairs.
Our stop in Montego Bay was delightful..we climbed Dunes Falls (great fun) and relaxed on a lovely beach for a 5 hour get away. Guide was very good and made sure that we were not harassed by the locals.
We had been to Grand Cayman before so just took a quick trip to the Butterfly Farm and then back to town for a bit of shopping and back on board the ship.
We had also been to Cozumel before (swam with the dolphins-a wonderful experience), so we took our time on board, read and had a nice lunch before we got off to walk around. Hate it when there are people at every shop door trying to sell you or get you into the store.
We were not thrilled about the late dining time but then we didn't have to rush to dinner and were able to get ready leisurely and have a nice cocktail in the lobby bar before going in. The tough part is that you have to go to the late show and that lasts until 11:30pm and it makes it hard to enjoy the other night life on the ship.
The dinners were mostly acceptable. Some meals were better than others. Our wait staff was wonderful and it was a pleasure to see them each evening as well as our table mates. We were at a table for 6 and there were only 4 of us so we were not crowded and they were very nice to visit with.
We did have dinner at "The Point" supper club and it was an absolutely wonderful experience. The food and service were exquisite.
The musical entertainment around the ship was quite good. The shows were acceptable. The comedy show with Greg Ray was a lot of fun.
I will say that the passengers on the cruise were bit on the rowdy side and it tended to get very loud from time to time. We did sail over Super Bowl and Mardi gras week so maybe that had something to do with it.
All in all, after accepting that our cabin was going to be and nothing to be done about it and eating LATE, the cruise was quite nice and all the crew around us were very nice and hospitable.
I am sure that we will cruise with Carnival again....we will just be a bit wiser next time. NO Rear cabins.