We hired a car from Gatwick to Dover. When we arrived there was a lot of people offloading bags from buses, we were approached by a man who arranged for our bags to be sent through and for transport to collect us after returning the car. When we joined the queue to get onboard, we were surprised how quickly we got through(as the computers were not working).
Once onboard we were offered lunch, and asked to wait in the public areas until the cabins were all ready. This did not take too long and some of our bags were also there, all of the bags arrived within a couple of hours. We explored the ship and yes it is pink, but it grows on you and becomes very relaxing.
The cabin has plenty of room for the varied clothing we felt we may need. Our steward was Junior who was on the ball and seemed to appear if we wanted to ask something of him. The cabin was cleaned to a high standard daily, we also ended up with our own zoo as we gained 11 towel animals.
The food, if you have sailed with Carnival before you expect good food and service and it didn't disappoint, we enjoyed dinner in the Black Pearl, Amela and Davor really looked after our every need. We tried most of the different eating areas available. The Pinnacle is a must, we went to help a couple celebrate their 40th anniversary, outstanding.
The entertainment is again to a high standard, with new shows and the specialty acts brought on were great as well.The entertainment team work hard putting on the daily games and quizzes. Children must be well catered for as we did not see any running wild on sea days. There was a magician,Rakesh, that walked around performing at tables, he was brilliant, no matter how closely you watch, or even if you know how it is done you will believe in magic. The CD was John Heald whose blog we read, he had a meeting with around 50 people who also read his 'Blog thingy' he sat and answered questions for about an hour, and still took time to speak to some individually afterwards.
Shore excursions, we took trips in each port, we booked beforehand and were happy with most, but without a doubt the highlight was St. Petersburg grand tour, spread over two days fantastic. All the tour guides were informative and spoke extremely good English. Our favorite Port without doubt was Warnemunde the people were so warm and lovely and gave us a fantastic send off. Amsterdam came close as well.
Disembarkation was so easy, we did self assist, walked straight off the ship and again we were directed to a shuttle bus to take us to the car hire pickup.
All in all it was a different type of cruise than we have done before but rates as one of our favorites and we were very lucky with the weather.