It started out as a disaster, but it was not carnival's fault. Galveston was hit with a fog warning and the port was shut down. The ships were not allowed into the harbor until about 6 hrs past their due time. Then they were trying to get us on, the other passengers off, and the rooms cleaned. Needless to say my worries only increased. But then were finally on the boat just in time for dinner.
The first night we went to the Monet room for an open seating dinner, where we had new york strip steak with all the trimming and it was cooked to perfection. Our luggage was delivered to our room with no problems. We had a balcony and I suggest if you can afford it go for it. We did the cheapest balcony and let them put us where ever, we ended up on the lido deck mid ship and it was perfect. At first we were afraid we would hear everything on the lido deck, after all that is where the main buffet is and the pools, bars, etc. But we never heard any of it and we were only 10 steps away from all of it. It was great.
And let me say, you can literally eat every minute of everyday with stopping somewhere on that ship. I thought the food was really good, I tried something new every single day. The one thing I really recommend it the chocolate melting cake, if you are a chocolate lover this is to die for. Our head waiter (guillermo) was the absolute best, he was funny, courteous, entertaining, he told jokes, did magic, made shapes out of the napkins. He remembered what we liked, called us the honeymooners (we were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary) even if the food had been awful we would have gone to the main restaurant just to be entertained by him.
One of the things I worried about was clothes, what was actually dress casual, dress elegant, etc. I could not really find an adequate description anywhere so needless to say I over packed big time. Dress elegant is a tux and cocktail dress, but in reality a nice suit and tie and a nice dress like you would were to church are acceptable. Dress casual for the dining room is anything not a swimsuit, cutoff jeans, flip flops, muscle shirts. It is khaki pants or shorts, jeans or jean shorts, nice shirt for him. And skirt and top or capris/shorts and top, or sundress for her. Most people did not wear shorts but if you take 2 shirts and a pair of pants your doing great. They do have a self-serve laundry on board that cost $2 a load to wash and $2 a load to dry and they are good quality machines. Or they have a laundry service that was like $15 on thursday and saturday. Alot of the items listed on the ultimate packing list you don't need at all. What we found you will need is a bottle opener (if you don't take one, and you need to open your beer they sell them in the gift shop for $12.00), tylenol etc, ( I actually took this but because of his tooth I ended up buying more, what cost me $2.00 at walmart cost me $10.00 on board) your own pop (we took 12 12oz bottles each) 2 cans on board cost $4.90 with gratuity added. The multi plugged surge protector we used once, yes there is only one plug in the room but we found that was actually fine and did not need this other thing. The two way radios, we only used once, now I saw several other people who had kids or were with several people who claimed these were a life saver so you have to decide for yourself on this one. Other than that all you need is swimsuits and coverups, tenna shoes, and couple pair shorts and tops and something for dinner. We took 4 full size bags and I could not believe when people got on board with on one bag each. That is really all you need. Especially if your living by the pool which most do.
The room was always kept cleaned, our steward was very helpful and friendly, I was fascinated with the towel animals, and there were a couple of nights that my husband did not leave the room (once because of a toothache, and once because of the OU football game) and my stewart whose name is ninja (spelled differently) would make me a towel animal even though he actually did not go into my room and turn down our bed. The balcony in the room was what we loved the most, we could go out onto it and escape the people and be alone and still enjoy the ocean, or the moonlight, or sunrise. Sometimes we would go out there at 2 in the morning just because we could. They are always taking your pictures too, and they are usually really good but expect to pay from $7.99 to $21.99 for anything from a snapshot to an 8 x 10 portrait. And of course you can order even bigger for even more money. Pictures is were most of our money went too, they are very good at what they do.
The entertainment was kinda cheesy but I enjoyed the dancing and singing, just the plot was different. These shows were parental discretion advised due to costuming (sparkling g-string and wonder bra) and dance moves. The comedy shows were great (these were rated R and graphic so if your easily offended don't go). They had a juggler and a magician both were very good. And a few others I did not see. Karaoke all over the ship, games, dances, and of course the casino and bars. Becareful with your drinking the sail and sign cards became the drink and sink cards by the end of the voyage (several people were shocked at their end of the cruise bill, but I found out you can check your bill in your room on the tv by hitting menu and going to folio so you can keep track of what you have spent). Drinks will run you from 3.95 for early bird specials to 14.95 for drink of the day in a specialty cup. The overall experience was fantastic there were a couple of days at the beginning that we weren't sure of just because we were new, but the staff were very helpful, and extremely friendly from officers to the janitors. I can't wait to go back. You meet so many different people from different cultures and places. Its just great all around. And we figured the cost equaled to about $250 a night which is cheaper than what we would have spent if we were driving somewhere, buying gas, food and hotel fees. Not sure go for it, you wont be sorry.