This was our (me and my husbands) 2nd cruise with Carnival. This time we cruised without the kids and chose a good time because there were far less children than in the past since it was during school. I brought my own but was somewhat annoyed by the large amount of children running about on the 1st cruise.
The embarkation process went fairly smooth. We were able to arrive much earlier than we were told to drop off our luggage. We left from the Port of Long Beach which is a very nice pre/post cruise area to stay in. Lots of restaurants.
The staterooms are spacious and nicely decorated. The beds are extra comfy and there is plenty of storage space. Our steward, Randall was nice enough and kept our stateroom immaculate. This time we got a balcony room for $50 more each which was well worth it. The only complaint about the stateroom was a funny noise that came from outside our sliding glass doors each night. Fortunately I brought my good ole Benadryl along so I slept like a baby regardless. The ship itself was clean and also nicely decorated. Not too gaudy or outdated.
The food is the highlight of all my vacations because I love to eat. I'd say it was just good this time. Nothing spectacular. I had the warm chocolate melting cake EVERY night in the dining room. One thing I really liked was the abundance of two seating tables. I have no desire to dine with strangers. Our waiters were great. The lines at the buffet dining went fast. There was a nice variety. The supper club was the best and worth paying the $30 for. My husband hated the piano player and singer though. I would warn you about the soda card. Only buy it if you truly plan to drink several a day. One thing I did not like was that often in the am a lot of the bars were not open so I could not get a soda. I probably could have saved money buying them individually. You also cannot use it for room service. The alcoholic drinks were rather week. This was surprising because one of my biggest praises for the 1st cruise were how well they were made.
Another complaint was the internet service. It was incredibly slow which just cannot be when you are paying 75 cents/min. What should have taken a quick couple minutes took forever because of how long it took to load one page.
We did not attend much of the shows offered. Carnival needs to change up on the singers they use for the Legends show. They were the exact same used on our 1st cruise. The stand-up comedian-Jerome, I think was hilarious. The nightclub, though very dark, was nice and played good dance music.
I thought the photographers were great. They all took their time getting your poses just right regardless of how many people were waiting. We spent in excess of $200 on pictures.
I enjoyed the ports-Puerto Vallarta the most. There is much shopping to be done. The locals are very persistent but remain extremely friendly at all times. So friendly I wanted to buy something from everybody. Have your tip money ready because everyone wants one. They truly deserve them though. Service was great on every tour and restaurant we went to. They are very dependent on tourism there. The Los Veranos Canopy tour was a blast. Stone Island in Mazatlan was a bit of a disappointment. The island is a little run down to me.Great for horseback riding though. The tour guide was not very strict and let us take the horses on a gallop on the beach. In Cabo we did the ATV tour with Playa de Sur, I think it was and that was great too, aside from them being late picking us up. One tip on the tours—they are MUCH cheaper if you book them online ahead of time instead of going through Carnival.
In 5 months we'll be cruising on the Freedom and hope to have a time just as enjoyable as this last.