First off, we did enjoy our vacation. The ship was spectacular and very clean. However, if I had to compare this Convivial cruise against my last two Carnival cruises, on a scale of 1-10, I would rate it a 5. Other than feeling that Carnival was trying to hustle me out of every dollar I had, the cruise was fine.
-Spa: My wife signed up for a spa treatment, $195. This included 1:15 see weed wrap and a 45 minute message. She was done with in 90 minutes. (what's up with that). Well, it gets better, they next day the same service were offered at $125. Needless to say, my wife feels as though she was ripped off. THANKS CARNIVAL.
- Food: Service was a 10; Food was not, I would rate it at a 5 (and I am being generous). The main dinning was very disappointing as far as the quality of what was being served. Out of 7 meals, I personally enjoyed 3 of them. Steak and Chicken was very dry and blend. Paste tended to be over cooked and the food that made it to the table was cold. I was told that we did have an alternative, the Emerald Dinning. I could pay an extra $30 a person to get a better meal with white glove service. In the past, we use to call that main dinning.
- Buffet Lines: They did have a nice breakfast and lunch buffet. The mid night buffets were non existing. They consisted of the Pizza Bar and hamburger stand. The nice midnight buffets that carnival use to have are now gone. No mid night deserts, (unless you buy it at their coffee shop), No Ice Carvings and no parties on the Lido deck.
Night Life: Carnival only offers one live show, a night, with the exception of a late comedian show for two nights. The late shows were designed to get people to the bars and casinos. Nothing happens on the Lido deck anymore No nightly bands or contests, no special buffets, bake offs or ice carvings. EVERYTHING IS DOWN STAIRS IN THE CASIONO OR THE BARS.
-Over all Service was 7. The only reason that rating is high is due to the wait staff and the cabin steward. If not for those folks, I would rate carnival at a 3 or 4. Their dealers in the Casinos actually were telling people to bet more if they wanted to win. It was like gambling in the streets of New York City. Than there were professional hustles, "drink waiters". Every 5 minutes, someone was trying to sell me a drink. On more than one occasion, I had someone wake me up, at the Pool, to ask me if I wanted a drink. At the Casino, I told the same waitress 12 times in one hour, no thank you.
-Purchases. When purchasing alcohol from the gift shop or on a shore excursion, the bottle is confiscated. You can not keep it in your state room. It is returned to you the night before you dock.
-Drinks. The only thing offered was water, tea or lemonade. The coffee, outside of meal times was either empty or cold. To get a drink, you have to go to the lido deck and walk to the other end, unless of course you wanted alcohol or a soda, which could be purchased at a very nice mark up rate. A quick note, they will sell you a bottle of water for $5.00 as you leave the ship for a shore excursion.
- Pools. While I was there, I personally carried one child out of the pool and seen three others injury themselves by jumping in the pools. Parents were not around to watch their 7 years olds, jumping. Several times, someone's child jumped on me or kicked me while I was in the pool and the hot tub. There are no adult pools or adult swims. (its something you have to tolerate). There is an adult only hot tub, but the kids pretty much have claimed that one to. I am sure this will be fixed the first time Carnival, (rightfully so) gets sued.
-Shows. Out of 7 nightly shows, Carnival conducted 3 and they were good. One was a talent show and the other 3 were talking and 15 minutes of a comedian promoting his late night show.
-Late night shows. Very talented comedian shows. However, they were over crowed. Standing room only, unless you got there 30 minutes early. People were blocking isles and standing in door ways to see the show. The unfortunate thinking is that instead of having the shows in the theater (like the regular schedule shows) They were done in back of the ship, (Ebony Lounge). This, ( I am sure of) was done to market the Casinos and bars on the way.
It was apparent Carnival is cutting back. We still enjoyed the cruise and got a great rate, but we did not like what we had to sacrifice. I do not think I will every Cruise again with Carnival. Cheating my wife, constantly trying to hustle everything form drinks to bingo and their "marketing of the clubs", I don't think I will be back. I am sure the first time cruiser will enjoy it but only because they have not experienced "when Carnival was really good". I understand, RC does a better job with maintaining standards and now I will find out. Thank you Carnival for pointing me in the right direction.