My husband and I went on the 7 day cruise in September 06 for our honeymoon. The travel arrangements leading up to the cruise were slightly on the back burner, which in hindsight was ok because you really don't have to stress about much once you're booked, it's all pretty straight forward. It's been two years and we're about to go on another Carnival cruise, so I know it's been a while, but it was my honeymoon so my memories are still pretty sharp on the subject. Some of the few HIDDEN tidbits I came across: If you don't want to be charged $10 per day, per person for gratuity, (or if you'd simply like to tip accordingly as you so choose), go to the information desk and they can adjust it for you.
I've read rave reviews about people getting onboard within minutes upon arriving. I don't know why this has never been my experience. (This was my second Carnival cruise) We arrived, and waited. And waited, and waited. I read this specific review, and hope they do not mind me stealing it- but cannot find a better way to express both the embarkation and debarkation process: "Must have been two thousand people in line, with their luggage, going back and forth in line (EIGHT TIMES back and forth across about 75 yard loops) dragging bags and kids. The process was one of the most truly stupid bits of nonsense I have ever seen. I cannot imagine a way to organize the process which could antagonize and anger passengers more, short of random beatings or use of taser on old ladies." This was true for both boarding and leaving the ship. I have yet to find a single review that feels the same way, excepting for the exact cruise I was on. There must have been something going on in customs or something.
There's no alarm clocks. No waking up in the middle of the night, wondering what time it is, and being able to look over and see. I turned the TV on every time to find out. If you're in an inside stateroom, it's pitch black at all times the lights are off, so you will never know if it's midnight or noon. Very nice for comfy sleeping though ? They don't have clocks even if you ask, so maybe bring one. They do have wake-up calls though. The bed was extremely comfy, we slept quite well. I thought it was quite nice, the bathroom was just fine. Yes the shower water can spill over if you don't put a towel down, so just put one there to start with. There were nice amenities such as razors, shampoo, soap, and little packets of "EmergenC" as well. This came in handy for me on the 6th day when I finally got a little seasick. Note I didn't use anything for seasickness the entire time leading up to this. I do believe the weather was a little choppy the last two days.
I thought everyone was very professional, with an exception, which I'll get to. I'm the kind of person who tends to like solitude, so I might have avoided direct contact with anyone but my husband, but when I did need services, food for example, the staff was exceptional! I do remember that our waiter at dinner in the main dining room was a bit..harsh. He really didn't want to dwell at our table and seemed a little annoyed (we didn't ask for anything special, no weird requests, no sending things back, so I don't know what that was about). The service complaint I have is our room steward. He did a great job of humiliating us. Maybe the second night into the cruise, we liberated some of our mini bar. Was good! Expected to see the bill and whatnot, but what we didn't expect was this. We had made some friends (seated with us was another newlywed couple, married same day and time!), and they were waiting for us outside our room so we could all leave for dinner. Well the steward comes running up to us, telling us to let him in, he is locking our mini bar we are not over 21!!!! (Yes, we were over 21) We're completely baffled, looking from our uncomfortable new friends to our steward, saying "um, yes we are..." trying to even bring him inside to show him our I.D.'s, if only to make ourselves feel less embarrassed, but MAN was he rude! He insisted on locking it, which we just went ahead and let him. It was extremely embarrassing and he was rude to us for the rest of the trip. (We did get the age thing cleared up at the help counter- don't know what happened there).
Oh. My. Gawd. I mean really, SO DELICIOUS! Two years later I'm still raving about it. The buffets were always nice, many juices, milk, coffee were available at all times, and were quite good. Oh the pizzas too! We went to the main dining room every night so as not to miss out, so I don't know what the dinner buffet was like. I do know that every course, night after night, I was floored. Every dish brought out was BEAUTIFUL and of course delicious. I'd never really seen food like this! Some portions were small, but really, you can order as much food as you want so just keep going! The desserts were spectacular and mouthwatering. Yummm. I did breakfast in the dining room only once, and found it to be quite pleasant. Had the eggs benedict, and loved them.
Let's see...there was one of those "puppet" shows...ventriloquist? Is that the right word? Well, it was hilarious and we loved it. We saw one comedian act and it was great, as well as one Vegas style show, which we were also quite entertained by.
One complaint I had is that on the first excursion day, our group meeting time was changed and we weren't informed. We got up that morning, and there was nothing on the door, so they didn't put it there overnight. We went to breakfast, and took a while I guess, but not exceedingly long. Well by the time we got back to our room there was a note saying the time of excursion had changed, and we had missed it. However, they did refund us, and we ended up doing the same tour from a non-carnival vendor, and we got to do it by ourselves instead of a group and we had a great time.
We didn't do much on-board shopping (except for pictures), but on the night of the first formal dinner we realized we had left my husband's dress shoes at home. We thought all was lost. Can't go to formal dinner in tennis shoes! Well we went up to where we had seen a tux shop, expecting to shell out for a pair of shoes for the night. Nope! Only $14.00, and that was for the entire week! That was really great.
Overall it was the best vacation of my life! I had such a great time. We didn't really swim much, we must've done a whole lot of snacking to use up the time! I loved their fruit punches! I know I had some complaints but I've only really thought about them for this review's sake. When I think back, all I remember is how happy I was!