This was our third cruise and the first one with Carnival. Our previous experiences have all been outstanding, 1 with Norwegian, 1 with Royal Caribbean. This was the exception.
The ship itself was beautiful. There were plenty of activities to keep you busy. The ship was at full capacity but there were not many times we had problems with a crowd. My worries began prior to sailing. I had purchased a category 4a cabin to be assigned at boarding. I called Carnival 3 times to request an upgrade. I was willing to pay extra for an outside room. I was told to wait, then again wait, then the last time not to worry that the ship had many empty rooms and I would be assured of an upgrade at no cost. I had my doubts but trusted the staff.
When we boarded we went to find our cabin. 2450 level 2 at the back of the ship. This is the worst cabin we have ever had. The vibration, engine noise and rocking was unbelievable for such a large and new ship and the seas were never rough. 4-6 feet were the worst we had. When we docked the noise awoke us and kept us awake the entire time with hydraulic noised, clanging and what sounded like equipment being moved. Upon leaving port it all began again. Sleep was very poor during this trip. Not to mention the beds were as hard as sleeping on the floor, not exaggerating either. I was quite upset that we were not allowed to change cabins even after several attempts. The ship now was full and had no available cabins. The staff were not very helpful with this matter. The major complaint we have with the ship was the lack of attentiveness by the staff.
There was only 1 dining room staffer who made an attempt at special care. We went 2 days, with several requests, without bathroom items needed. We were told by the front desk one evening we could not get any cabin help until the next day because it was after 9:00 PM. After requesting again the items were brought to us so we could shower for the night. There was very little effort made to make you feel pampered as we had become accustomed to in previous sailings.
The dining room, Pacific late seating, was fair, Not anything special. One evening you were not even given a choice of desserts, they brought everyone baked Alaska that was terrible. We went the first 3 nights with no drink refills or bread after the first piece was given. On the 4th night my wife and I both noticed a drastic change in staff attention and were pleased until I realized the reason. Around the corner walks the Maitre-d. After that it was somewhat better. The food in the Mediterranean dining room was terrible 5 out of 7 days. The only place you could go for a sure good item was the hamburger grill or pizza. Hard to mess these up.
The ship docked at San Juan, this was a mistake in the schedule, I am unsure why this docking took place. The cruise line needs to take a serious look at this. You get off the ship at 5:00PM or later and sail at 11:00PM. You have about 1.5 hours of daylight. We visited a few street vendors got some dinner and went to the ship. Some guests felt it was just a good way for the ship to save on the cost of dinner for guests. The other ports of St. Martin and St. Thomas of course were wonderful.
The activities on board were okay but the casino and alcohol was in every discussion or activity. Way too many intoxicated persons on the boat. Some whom I was concerned were too young to be drinking. Our overall vacation was good but only because my wife and I love each other's company and know how to enjoy ourselves. I do not think I will cruise on Carnival again, we will return to one of the other cruiselines. I would rate the ship as 2 out of 5 stars.