Hi, I am 26 yrs old, and this is my 29th Cruise, so not new to cruising, and have done a review almost every cruise. We were traveling with a group of friends ages 21-40. We were on this ship last year, and had an OK time, and the only reason that I went again on it is some other people had won a Carnival Cruise at bingo and had to use it, and it was everyone elses vote to try this ship due to the Porthole Magazine Award. What a mistake!
Embarkation: What an easy Process!!! Got to the pier at 10, was on the ship by 1125!
THE SHIP: I don't think the ship is well taken care of compared to RCCL and princess. The railings were constantly dirty with salty/grit (RCCL/Princess are constantly cleaning these), deck areas stained with spilled cocktails that other lines clean up so they can't stain, etc. Yes it is the small things.
The movies under the stars screen had some major problems. The first 3 days the sound would cut out in the middle of the movie/show, and often times the movies were incorrect that were supposed to be shown as to what was actually played!
The pool and the hot tubs were nice, the Hottest hot tub is the one under the water slide- if you are looking for it. The 2 aft hot tubs are adult only.
FOOD: I really don't like to review food as everyone's taste is different, but I will say this. The Deli was great! The pizza was pretty good. (Try the calzones! They are worth the 5min wait as they make them fresh)
I really wasn't impressed with the buffet selection. It is about 1/2 of Princess' and 1/4 of RCCL's selection. The buffet line only featured 7 Hot selections at each meal, plus a carving station for 1 meat. But here is a tip, check out the other side of the buffet, as sometimes there are a few different things offered over there.
ENTERTAINMENT: We had 3 Midnight Comedians and evening comedians. VERY GOOD, VERY FUNNY! There were 2 production shows, 2 Headline singers, and of course the Carnival Talent show so they don't have to pay another headline entertainer.
I was NOT at all impressed with the cruise director steve. We had Todd Last year, and he had pretty good activities, this year most were gone. We had the Newlywed game and Family Feud, and they played the game Shout about movies/tv 5 times. Only about 10-20 people showed up for it each time it was so bad. They had cut out Deal or No Deal, the Liars Club, Gameshow Night, and several other activities since last year. The most disappointing activity they cut out was part of the deck party where we met in different lounges prior to the party starting and having different games and competitions in each lounge based on the color of your team. IT was an awesome night last year. This year they didn't do it, and as a result only had about 50% of the people upstairs by the pool as they normally would as people simply went to bed.
Debarkation, Did self express walk off. Waited until the lines went down around 730, and literally walked right off!
This cruise was fun, but it is too bad they cut out all the activities that they had last year. This ship is in no way as nice as the Large 160,000 Ton RCCL Freedom class ships or the similar sized to this vessel Princess Ships. I would definitely recommend them over this ship!
The crew on this ship seemed unhappy and unmotivated for the most part, not nearly as friendly as on other lines. They did not seem to want to go the extra mile for guests as other lines do. Carnival may be cheaper, and it is because they offer a lower quality vacation, ship, and service then do other lines.
I am very surprised that this ship won Porthole Mag's Megaship of the year last year! I have NO idea how this ship could have beaten a large princess or RCCL megaship. The service is sub-par, crew not as friendly, and selection of food not as good as the other lines. I would definitely not recommend this ship.