The cruise started out with high expectations. I had previously filled out all of the paperwork on line. My flight arrived into LAX at about 9 a.m. and the shuttle was prompt in getting me to the Long Beach terminal. Early check-in was available on the Queen Mary and it was great. We were able to start boarding the ship at about 12:30 p.m. but were not allowed into the cabins until 1:30 p.m. as they were still cleaning them from the prior cruise that had docked earlier that day.
The ship's decor on most of the floors was rather cheap and gaudy looking.
The first on-board experience was not pleasant. My sister and I went to the Pizzeria to get some lunch. It was about 4:15 and not having anything to eat since before boarding my flight at 7 a.m. in Dallas, I was starving. As we came into the dining area I found myself flat on my side and back having slipped in a huge puddle of water at the base of the food cases. Apparently there was a leak and the ice water was melting onto the floor. Unfortunately the Carnival staff had not bothered to place any type of warning cone around the very wet area and I went down. It was interesting to note how fast the warning cones went up after that! The staff was less than helpful. It was fellow passengers who helped me up and over to a chair to sit on. Finally a crew person came over and asked what I wanted to do. How stupid of him. It would have been much better if he had just escorted me to the infirmary. I waited another 30 minutes before there was someone available to help me down to the bottom of the ship. Another hour of waiting ensued before I was seen by the ship's doctor. While he was a great person, there wasn't much he could do for me except give me some Ibuprofen. I spent the rest of the cruise hobbling around on a very swollen foot. The doctor I saw back in Dallas immediately put me on crutches and bed rest with my foot elevated.
Entertainment: The first two days of this cruise were sea days. It was quite chilly outdoors so only the very hardy were sitting in the deck chairs. Inside the ship there was very little entertainment unless you like to hang out at the casino. I imagine for those who like to gamble, this was great entertainment. For those of us who don't get a thrill out of pulling the one arm bandit, or playing cards, it was quite dull. Oh, yeah, you could play Bingo at $10 a pop. Also not my idea of fun.
There was a scrapbooking activity on the second sea day. Being as bored as we were the first day, this was looked forward to this with great anticipation. What a let down. In order to participate we had to purchase a kit. Having done scrapbooking for a lot of years, I had no problem with that, even though scrapbook workshops are usually free of charge. But the kits they had available were not even applicable for the cruise we were on. Good grief. We were cruising to the Mexican Riviera and the scrapbook kits that were available were for the Mediterranean. The scrapbook albums available were generic that could be purchased in any decent scrapbook store or one that was designated as a Caribbean ocean cover. Both of those destinations are clear across the world from where we were and thus utterly useless. The rest of the activity consisted of the 'privilege' of getting to share two pairs of scissors among about 16 people and cutting flowers and logos from prior cruise picture rejects. LAME.
The ships' dancers and the costumes were great but the singers were HORRIBLE. It made the rejected American Idol contestants sound good. There were 4 different comedians. The family rated shows were pretty funny and entertaining but when they did the late night reviews, they were all pretty bad. I'm not a prude by any means, but the crudeness of some of the jokes were beyond tasteless.
There was a towel folding activity the last day at sea. Can you believe it--this was the most entertainment of all. Each night a cute little towel animal was waiting for us on our beds, and this activity showed us how to create them ourselves.
The legendary food service you hear so much about on cruises was also a disappointment. The first night's dinner was great, with excellent choices and quality food. Each night was a little more mundane; spaghetti was a choice on the first formal night. Dinners were nothing at all like I remember from my first cruise a few years ago. I would compare it as more of a banquet type meal rather than an individual meal cooked to order. I've been at a lot of conventions with this type of food served to the crowd, but expected better on the ship. (I asked our waiter and he said the food isn't cooked until the order is placed so it is even more of a mystery as to why it turns out like mass produced convention food.) The lunch and breakfast choices were on par with a cafeteria line food. Quantity rules rather than quality. Perhaps they think if they have enough food available at all times of the day and night the passengers will not notice that most of it is not very good. The midnight gala buffet the last night at sea was gorgeous in presentation and very disappointing in quality and flavor. One high note---the warm chocolate melting cake. That was one dessert which lived up to my expectation.