This was a cruise with my wife and I. We selected this cruise because the ports of call looked good and at some point we wanted to "try out" a cruise on Carnival.
Embarkation: We had left out of San Diego before so when kind of knew what to expect. A nice city with a somewhat unorganized port. I do not like this as much as going out of LA, but I thought it might be different this time since we were using a different cruise line. NOPE. They had two ships leaving on the same day. This port is not great for this. There is only one building, so they cram everyone from both ships into the same building. No porters at the curb...you have to take your luggage into the terminal and "drop it off" with the porters. Then, because there were two ships, there was only half the seating and that made the wait long if you had to stand (We did). They finally got us on to the ship about 12:15 and we made our way to the lido deck for some food. (more on this later)
Ship: The ship appeared in good condition and didn't look too bad on the inside. After hearing about the decor in most Carnival ships, I had prepared myself for the worst. It wasn't too bad, but I did see what one reviewer meant when she talked about the amount of Artwork on the ship with topless women. Some may not notice it, but I found that funny since this cruise line caters to and has many families onboard. It didn't bother me, just interesting. The layout of the ship is nice. They basically put everything on the same floors. What I mean by that is that floors 2 and 3 have many public areas, shops, casino, ect...while 4-8 have only cabins and then 9-11 have more public areas. it makes getting around the ship nice. You only have to remember a couple of floors. I did like that. The ship did appear to be in good condition and we never felt too crowded and there were several nice places to sit.
Room: We had and inside room. I know people who had balconies said that they loved them. Our room was good sized. Like others, the safe in which you have to keep out a credit card to open and close the safe, seemed kind of stupid to me. But, it did have a safe and fridge. That is nice. There is plenty of room under the beds for suitcases. The shower is good sized. Bigger than on other lines. I like this, as I am a bigger guy (6'3" 260) There is plenty of closet space, but could have used more hangers. Average TV. In our room it didn't turn totally towards the bed making viewing a pain. Our Room Steward was good. He did a good job and was very friendly.
Dining: The food was good on this ship. It wasn't great. I think that Princess and Celebrity have better food and most of the time Royal Caribbean does as well. The steak the first night was not good, but most of the meat dishes after that were good. The warm chocolate melting cake (on the menu every night) was really good! We ate one night in the supper club, and if not to break the bank, we would have eaten there every night. The food was amazing and the service is great. If you get the chance, spend the money, it will be worth it! Speaking of service, the service in the dining room could use a serious improvement. We sat with some friends one night and there server was really good, but our server was not good. The first night when were just seated and getting to know our table mates, he came to the table 3 times in the first 5 mins and asked if we were ready, we we told him "No", he rolled his eyes and acted mad and walked away. He did this 3 times. I gave him the benefit of the doubt (bad day or something) and stayed in his section the rest of the cruise. Ne was never rude like that again, but was never that friendly and never did the little extras that I am used to the server doing on every other cruise I have been on. To say the least, there was no extra tip given to our server. Our Bar waiter was great! Funny and gave us some good ideas at some of the ports. (He got a big tip at the end of the week) Interesting enough, He didn't say anything bad about the ship or cruise line, but he did say that when his time was up on the the Spirit...We was off that ship and wouldn't come back.) Lunches in the Dining room were OK. The food was a better than the buffet, but they had some really weird selections and not much "normal" food for lunch. The service at lunch was terrible. The servers all acted like they wanted to be somewhere else and it was not good...and we ate there 5 times.
Entertainment: We saw one show. Late night comedian (R rated) and it was funny. We saw a couple of pieces of the other shows, but the weren't that good. The onboard activities weren't good either. More than half the activities were some kind of trivia. It as just kind of boring. Good thing, I like to lay by the pool and take naps. That was perfect for this cruise. I tried a few things, but was usually bored. A good place to find a deck chair is the "over 21" deck area with access by the Supper club on deck 10. Not too many people there and lots of chairs. It was nice, but there isn't bar service up there.
Spa: My wife did one of their "specials" and she said it was good. Her lady didn't even try to sell her too much stuff. But, they did call and try to push some products later in the day...I didn't like that that. They don't need to call my room.
Ports: Acapulco was nice. We just did a our own time heading to the beach. (There are many to pick from. We just walked along until we found a place we liked. The beach was really crowded because we were there on a Sunday afternoon, so may of the locals were also enjoying the wonderful weather and beach. We paid the 3 dollars and got 2 chairs and an umbrella and then had the server bring us nachos and beer. It was good and pretty reasonably priced. Then caught a cab back to the ship for 4 bucks. We then went to see the cliff divers. It was good. Acapulco is a big city and is kind of dirty, but the beach was nice. A good stop.
Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa was a good port. Where you tender in the fishing village of Zihuatanejo and it had some cool stuff just right off the pier. Lots of little places to buy stuff and get some food. There were some beaches there that we planned on going to, but we wanted to go see Ixtapa first. So we caught a cab for a few bucks and headed to Ixtapa. This place was AWESOME! It is just a little resort area. It reminded me of Hawaii. Nice beach with some nice hotels on the beach. You can just walk through the hotel and get a place on the beach. It wasn't crowded and was very nice. Again, we got chips and drinks. The surf can be bigger here, so be careful. (If you find a pair of Oakley sunglasses there...they might be mine, a wave knocked them off and they were gone, but it was still really nice. Because of how nice this beach was, we never made it back to the beaches closer to Zihuatanejo. But, if you get the chance, avoid the rush there and go to Ixtapa. It is nice. I would even think about a vacation there!
Manzanillo...Don't bother getting off the boat to go to town. We didn't plan anything and just went to town...what a waste. People said Mirmar beach was nice. But the town is an industrial port town. I would have rather had another sea day than this stop.
Disembarkation: It went alright. The customs at the San Diego port is a JOKE! No questions...just you walking through a huge garage door and handing your form to some people standing there. Then you pick up your bag and you are done. It was fast and easy...but not real safe.
Overall this cruise had a couple good stops and one bad one. The service and overall friendliness of the staff on the ship was pretty poor. The ship and rooms were nice and the food was good but not great. This was my first cruise with Carnival (10th overall) and I will only go on them again if there is some great itinerary or and unbelievably cheap cruise, otherwise, I won't cruise with them again.