The best thing about this cruise were the ports. St. Petersburg was wonderful. We took a private tour to Peterhof and the Hermitage which was wonderful. The next day we took a tour to Catherine's Palace which was a horror. The tour guide went so fast that she lost four of us. After standing on a street corner for about 25 minutes we met another group and joined them so that we could get to the restaurant where we had an awful lunch and then supposedly saw a show. Since our view of the show was blocked by a wall, we saw very little. However, the palace was wonderful. I would recommend going with either a private car or using a private tour company, not one of Carnival's group tours. Even though Carnival says you must use their tours to get off the ship without a visa, this is a lie. You can also use a tour company that is approved by the Russian Government.
We also used a private tour company in Berlin and it cost us about 1/3 of what Carnival was charging. Carnival will tell More
you that it takes about 4-5 hours to reach Berlin by car. Not true. It took 3 1/2 hours to get there and 2 1/2 hours to return.
Now as to the ship itself. The best thing were the cabins. They were nice and roomy and had plenty of storage space. The rest of the ship was a disaster. Imagine having to walk through the cigar smoking lounge to get to the Internet. Our dining room was opposite this lounge so when you exited, you frequently got a lung full of smoke. Also to get around the ship on certain floors, you had to walk through a dining room.
There were 3 rooms with 3 washing machines each for over 3,000 passengers. People had to wait many hours to get to a machine.
The ship has a huge theater. Unfortunately, the lower level is flat so it's difficult to see and if you sit upstairs, your view is blocked by the rail which runs right in front of your eyes. There was not a show every night which was disappointing. There was one really great show but what could have been an enjoying evening was ruined by 5 stupid young girls who kept shrieking at the top of their lungs. They ruined both performances and nothing was done by the staff to curtail their activities.
The food was adequate. Unfortunately the lunch buffet did not open a minute before noon so that if you were going on an early afternoon tour, you could not eat at the buffet. You could however, have a sandwich or pizza. The dessert choices at dinner were very poor.
If you like to sit on the covered deck during at sea days, forget it. For some reason that I cannot understand, they kept opening the top so that it was too cold for most people.
The library/game was only open for 2-4 hours/day. It really didn't matter since I have more books in my personal library than they did. There were only a handful of games.
I could go on and on about the flaws on this ship. All I can say is that this is my first and last trip on Carnival. From now on I'll stick to Princess, Royal Caribbean or Celebrity. Less