This would be the second cruise for my husband and I and the first for our boys (5 and 3). We were looking forward to some family time but all so quiet relaxing time just for grownups.
We arrived in Long Beach, parked our car, dropped off our bags and proceeded to the terminal to check in. The check in process went pretty smooth after about a 10 minute wait in line. Our agent checking us in did a great job and even wished me a happy birthday as it was only 3 days away. There wasn't a long wait to get on the boat, it all went pretty smoothly.
Our cabin was great. Tons of storage. I think we had 4 suitcases and they either fit under the beds or in the closets. The boys loved the upper bunk. We did have to put the ladder up during the day as our 3 year old was getting a bit too comfortable climbing up and down. Our cabin steward, Sinchai, was wonderful. Everytime we went out in the hallway the boys had to search for him.
The ship it self was fine, I was prepared for all the pink with all the reviews that I had read before our sailing. It was pretty easy to get around, some times though we did have to go to a different elevator bank as the one we were at didn't always go where we needed to go.
The food was good. We did not go to the supper club or the dinning room any of the nights we were there. We ate lots of pizza and visited the grill often. We tried the deli once and didn't think it was all that great. The rotisserie was good and my son loved the mac and cheese. When we checked in someone at security said something to our sons about enjoying the spaghetti cupcakes, we never saw this.
Camp Carnival was wonderful. Our boys loved it. The only complaint we heard was from our 5 1/2 year old who was in the 2-5 group. He wasn't too thrilled about playing with the 2 year olds, he wanted to be with the 6 to 8's playing video games. They loved going to dinner with their friends and loved cake decorating night.
Our cruise was headed to Mexico at the same time as the Swine Flu out break. We did a "technical stop" in Cabo San Lucas our second day at sea. We were informed that we were not getting off at any of the Mexico ports and would be refunded for the two ports we did not visit. We were glad that Carnival was concerned about our well being, as we really didn't want to go to Mexico. We were then told we would be going to San Fran instead. At first the idea was exciting, until we heard the weather, 40 and rain. We only had clothing for 80 plus degrees. On Wednesday, also my birthday, we tried to make the best of things. The boys wanted to do the water slide and play mini golf. The slide was closed we are guessing due to the wind, we told the boys that golf was too, as we didn't want to be out in that cold wind either. The only "outdoor" place you could be on the boat without freezing or getting blown away was on the Lido deck where they had the roof closed. The pool there was fun, but too deep for small kids. My very tall 5 year old couldn't even touch the bottom of the pool as the boat was sooo rocky there were waves in the pool. When we leaved of the courtesy call to Long Beach my husband and I decided it was best for our sanity and those around us to leave the ship. The boys were tired of only having the option of camp or our cabin, which had nothing for them to do in it.
It took forever to get off the boat on Thursday. I think everyone that left took their luggage off themselves. We had to go in separate elevators and then cram in to the very small lobby with hundreds of other people. After waiting in the long line we get to the door and the scan my card only to find out I have a credit and needed to go to the pursers desk. Ofcourse that's were everyone else was. Once it was my turn I was told we had a $400 credit from shore excursions. I was very excited to hear that but not too happy when she opened the cash drawer and started counting out cash. I asked if they could just put it back on my credit card, but they couldn't. We finally got off the boat and headed to Disneyland, along with others on the ship that we had met.
So, a 7 night cruise turned in to 4 nights. Not what we had planned. Also not what Carnival had planned either. Carnival did not handle things well while on the ship. It seemed they did not care about us at all. I heard other cruise lines gave ship board credit etc, not ours!
After returning home I read a lot on line about the Swine Flu and cruise ships. I called Carnival to see if they had any plans in offering us anything to keep us as their customer and the answer was not that we know of. My husband and I composed a 2 page letter to them. As of yet we have heard nothing from our letter, however, we did receive an email today that I am guessing went out to everyone. Carnival is giving us 50% off a 3-7 day cruise before December 2010. This was our first Carnival cruise and before we got the email was our last. Now we are considering booking another cruise with them and using our discount. Hopefully the second time will be a success.