We sailed on the 11/17 cruise from Ft.Lauderdale. After many years of not cruising with Carnival for various reasons, we decided to try them again as it was a new ship and what could be so bad right?? Wrong!!!
Embarkation was very disorganized. A security belt broke down so everyone had to go through one security station until they started to reroute people through a security gate at the other end of the port. That really did help the process.
Once on the ship we found our Cabin #6364. The rooms were nicely appointed, very pink as the rest of the ship, but very spacious. The bathroom was the largest of any ship we have every been on and the shower curtain didn't swallow you up. The balconies were smaller than any ship we have been on. Our Cabin steward was terrific, friendly, and very conscience of our needs.
NO SAIL AWAY PARTY. WE HAD LIFEBOAT DRILL AT SAILAWAY. First time for that.
There were several seating areas for the buffet and plenty of tables inside and outside overlooking the pool area. We were disappointed with the buffet, which has always been great on other ships. The evening buffet, unless you got there at 6:30 pm was cold almost always. We had second seating in the Gold Pearl. After the first night, we found the menu to be uninviting and decided to eat at the place we found to be the best on the ship "The Grill" where you will find the best pannini sandwiches, rubens, etc anywhere. I will say there was always something to eat, pizza, fries, sandwiches, burgers, all by the pool at night. Ice Cream is 24 hours and that was great. Now you are probably thinking we only eat junk food, but we are in the restaurant business, my husband a chef, and thought the dining room food to be underpar (our opinion only).
For the size of this ship, the motion was very bad. Yes the wind was wild at times, but the seas were not bad enough to warrant the amount of motion we felt. We still think the Captain felt he was driving a Ferrari instead of a ship and was in the race of his life. That we feel caused much of the motion. Due to weather, we did not stop in Grand Turk but sailed a day at sea and back to the Bahamas. Our first stop was in Half Moon Cay, the highlight of the cruise. The best beach I have ever seen. Clean, clear, blue, blue water. You must get off the ship early, or you will not find a beach chair which is free there and will have to pay to get a clam shell in which a chair comes with it for $20.00.
The entertainment was just okay. Sailed the Crown Princess in March and the Enchantment of the Seas in September and the entertainment on those ships were fantastic. Movies under the Stars was covered by the non-working retractable roof which did not allow any air onto the pool deck.
We thought the staff was personable and accommodating, but found the entertainment and food to be below average. Room Service being among the worst ever encountered.
Disembarkation was the quickest and easiest we have ever encountered.
For the very reasons we stopped sailing with Carnival years ago are the same reasons we will probably think long and hard before booking with them again. We have taken into consideration that this ship was new and there will be issues, but the disappointments were the normal everyday Customer Services things that Carnival should have down pat after all these years on the High Seas. Now, we cruised Princess for the first time in March and our review on the Crown Princess was a 5+ because they really took care of their passengers and everything from the moment you stepped on that ship to the time you got off, someone was asking you if you were enjoying yourself and if you were complaining about anything they were at your cabin in minutes. They truly cared about our Cruise Experience, where I think that Carnival has a very large loyal following and that keeps them in the waters. Sometimes you get what you pay for !!!!!
Happy Sailings !!!