Let me first start that I have never written a review, but have read them here, and found them very helpful. This was our 5th cruise, we are 50, 45, our son's are 16, 18, and 20. We have cruise with Royal Carib, Celebrity, Norweigian 2x, and we thought we would try Carnival. We had heard that they were trying to go a little upscale, not the party boat. We are go with the flow people, very easy to please.
The Good: The ship has a real nice setup, with 3 pools, one adult only in the back. I liked this versus the setup we did on the Norweigan Dawn, where there was one pool, with stadium like seating, which was horrible.
Ship was very clean, and we had excellent service from everyone, housekeeper, dining, drinks, casino people. Food was also great, and the buffet had nice seating, again some have a cafeteria type feel, this did not. The rooms were larger than other ships, we had a Balcony, again, very nice.
The Bad: The shows were second rate to all other cruises we were on. It was almost like a decent high school show(maybe). I think the other ships pay more for the talent. Some of the dancers looked like 40 years old, balding, the setups looked like cheap carnival show. We actually left 2 of the shows, they were so bad. They had one guy that sang Motown, and he was real good, except for the 40 min show, he sang 4 songs, and talked and promoted his CD he would be selling at the end of the show, one example.
The Ugly: I heard as we started meeting people on the boat, that Carnival was cutting back entertainment expense, and also it was a training ship for some of the crew, which seemed true. First, as we left NY, all other cruises they had party music band at pool going, and God Bless America as you pass the statue of Liberty, well, there was nothing. Everyone was looking down at the stage by the pool, no one there, my kids heard the next day the had electrical problems...gee,,they maybe could have made an announcement.
Second: the Cruise Director(big sexy) and (little lou)s taff must have been trainees..I think it was Wednesday, and we still did not know his name. All other cruises the Cruise Director was like a traveling show, and you would see him/her everywhere,,,you never saw the guy, I have no Idea what he did,,,the last 2 days he seemed more active. The funniest thing was his nick name, that he gave himself?? Little lou, the assist had a very snippy edge to her.
Third: There was nothing going on, other cruises they had game shows, etc, you would do, everyday, They did one newlywed type show, for 30 mins, and he kept looking at his watch? Where did he have to go?
Fourth: There was nothing going on outside either, as I said, the Entertainment seemed cut down, the had 2 guys playing at the pool, I think the played 1 r 2 hrs a day..we walked around for chairs, by that time they were done! Fifth: Hey, how about volleyball or something at the pool every day, one day they cancelled, one day they jumped on a floating toy, again, 30 mins as they kept checking there watches. And last, for boys 16, 18, and 20,,there was nothing for them to do. The club for over 18, was 40 plus....then you had the teen clubs, The age group on the cruise was probably 30 to 50,,with 50 percent having kids under 10.
Okay, after the long winded rant...my summary First time cruisers would like it, that have kids under 10. And I am sure first time cruiser on our cruise would say, what they heck is he talking about, but if you have been on other lines, you will know what I am saying. My take is you get what you pay for, and I tried Carnival, but will pay a few more $$ and go back to Royal Carib.