I have just read the review written by Dave C.
While reading it I thought about how much his impressions of his November cruise were very similar to my recent cruise.
I didn't realize until almost the end of his review that not only was he reviewing the same ship and itinerary as my cruise, but that we were actually on the same sailing.
Dave - if you read this, I think you pretty much captured the atmosphere on board.
Embarkation - I found the embarkation process very good. Much faster than our March cruise on the Liberty. I think that only having one photo stop during the line up helped in that. The Liberty had THREE before we made it on board.
Cabin - Ours was very dusty when we checked in. There were candy wrappers and soda caps on the floor as well. The cabin was a good size, but seemed to be laid out wrong. There was a small sofa, an oval table in front of it, and the bed was jammed up between the sofa and wall. There was no space on either side of the bed for a night table, so there was no place to put your eyeglasses, a book or a glass of water.
On the side of the bed next to the window / balcony there was not even enough room to get out of bed. You had to crawl to the foot of the bed to enter and exit if you didn't want to roll over the person next to you.
One of the reading lamps for the bed didn't work and was actually falling apart.
The lamp was not as bad as the telephone in the cabin which was SWINGING back and forth only barely attached to the wall.
We noticed that the exterior light on the balcony did not work. We called the service number and were told that nobody's balcony lights worked. Funny how the next morning it was on . It stayed on all day and didn't go out until we sailed from the pier that evening. Maybe they have a thing about having the balconies lit while at sea ?
Dining - The food we had in the dining room was pretty good, but we only ate in the dining room 3 times. We really are only used to eating 2 meals a day, and most days after breakfast we didn't eat again until we hit the buffet around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. That left us with no appetite at our 6:15 dinner seating so we usually skipped it.
The late night offerings were pretty much the same all week - grilled burgers and hot dogs.
I was disappointed in the "Mississippi BarBQ" station that the late night food was served from.
When I saw on the Carnival website the "Mississippi BarBQ" mentioned, I envisioned Ribs, brisket, pulled pork, slow cooked chicken. "BAR-B-QUE"
What was offered was hotdogs on a roller machine and fried hamburger patties. Fried, not even flame broiled - fried. Not even any BarBQ sauce to be found.
Oh and shoestring fries. Not that there is anything wrong with that food, but when that is the offering for 6 nights in a row .......
The lines for the buffet were usually very long and the trays were often left empty for extended periods.
At one line, I watched a server bring out a tray to replace one from the serving line and stand with it for 5 minutes talking to a co-worker. There were several guests waiting for that tray and when he finally put it down he took the serving utensils with him. A guy at the front of the line walked to one of the other stations,and took those utensils.
No wonder most of the buffet food was luke warm at best.
Activities - Lame is the only word for them.
Lets all go to the library to pick up a crossword puzzle. (I can get that in the newspaper)
How about a game of trivia in the lounge - this one will play movie clips on the big screen - some of the clips will actually play.
Want to learn to make a towel animal ?
There were none of the more entertaining activities I have seen on previous cruises. Newly wed - not so newly wed game.
Guest versions of Millionaire, Deal or no deal, Jeopardy (complete with sets).
Or even a guest talent show. But they did have a couple of Bingo games - yawn.
Entertainment - There were 2 production shows offered - "Vroom" which was very good, and "Living in America" which was almost unwatchable.
There were a couple of other acts in the main lounge - a comedian early in the cruise who did an "adults only" act the next night. We saw both of his shows - the adults only act was basically the same jokes with a bit of profanity mixed in.
There was a magician who was very entertaining and a juggler (Victor, can't recall his last name) who was a lot of fun. I have seen Victor's act a couple of times in the past, and while it really doesn't change much I always enjoy it.
Later in the cruise there was another comedian who came in and he really had a hard time of it. To be fair to him, the audience was very small for his shows. If there were more people in the room I'm sure SOME of them would have found him funny.
The other entertainment was hit and miss. We enjoyed "Jim" and his guitar and tried to see him for a while each night. He always came over between sets and chatted for a bit.
The karaoke room was very quiet most days, even with the constant announcements urging guests to try out for the "Carnival Legends" guest karaoke show in the big lounge.
We watched a duo play outside the casino - they were ok, but there were not really any seats for guests to sit in front of the stage area. On the Liberty there was seating in the same area and it was usually full.
We also saw the all the live musicians get their performances constantly interrupted with announcements, "don't miss the show tonight", "hurry - hurry - inch of gold sale", "come to the art auction" - "will these 15 guests please contact the purser's desk" and then 10 minutes later "will these same 15 guests please contact the purser's desk" . I wanted to go out and find them myself just to stop the broadcasts.
The constant announcements (in both official languages) were a real annoyance.
The ship itself - Not in too bad shape for the age, but some things were looking quite bad.
On top of the already mentioned items in our cabin I noticed several stairways that had the carpet peeling of the riser portions of the steps. A few of elevators were missing the knobs that should be on the emergency phone panel, and had floor indicator lamps that looked like they were punched out and then re-glued in a hurry.
Most of the bases of the seats in the main lounge seemed to be plain unfinished plywood. Several had large nails showing. It just looked like construction was in progress. Maybe they are in the process of refinishing them.
A fair bit of rust showing on the outside areas. -
Atmosphere on the ship Crowded - Many areas were almost unbearable due to the number of people crowding into them. The worse areas being the buffet lines. Where many folks seem to have felt that the end of the line was only a suggestion of where it started. It was not uncommon to see several people just walk into the line near the serving area because they see a relative, friend or even just someone from their town near the front. Loud - some from the blaring lido pool music, most from the local guests. Pretty rowdy and loud crowd. Even in an elevator it seemed they felt the need to shout at each other.
And chilly - at some times the lounges made you want to go get your jacket or bathrobe to keep warm.
Oh yeah - I forgot one more of the incredible Funship activities -
Drum roll please ........
"Wear Your Bathrobe Night" - (who thought that one up and did they get a pat on the back for it ???? )
I'm not joking - it was in the Capers - Wear your bathrobe to all nighttime events this evening.
The staff - no problems here - I think they really do a lot for what they have to work with.
The rooms stewards and bar staff always smiled and said hello.
Malcolm the cruise director was quite nice to talk to and made himself easily approachable. Even the few staff members that we ran across while ashore were sociable.
I can't say the cruise was not good, but it was by far the worse of the Carnival cruises I have taken.
This would make number 5 and quite often we are asked by other cruisers why we keep going back to Carnival.
The reason we kept booking was because we always had a great experience. This cruise now has us looking at trying another line for our next trip. It's too much money to risk on another week like this.