This was our second cruise, and a first with Carnival. We live in Northern VA and drove to NY last year for a cruise on Norwegian Gem. This year we figured we avoid the long drive and cruise out of Baltimore instead. Our group of 2 families have 4 kids and 4 adults.
Parking at the port terminal was a breeze. However, there was a down pour and we got very wet while running from the car to the terminal entrance. After you drop of the luggage, you can park faster if you pay by cash since the number of cars in the credit card line is longer. Because of the thunderstorm, the main plank was shutdown and they had a shuttle to take passengers about 100 yards to the front of the ship to enter through that entrance...weird, it would have been faster to walk down to that entrance instead of waiting for the shuttle.
Overall the cruise was great. The food was fantastic with so much varieties, our group of 8 have early seating. Our waiters, Natt and Roy from Thailand and Phillipine, did such a great job we decided on giving them additional tip at the last dinner.
The kids did not attended any of the kid camps so I can't rate them. We did registered them but find that the camp is usually not open when we stop by to check them out during the week. The kid camp is located at the front of the ship so the wave motion is a little bit more noticeable which our youngest does not like.
We did run into a minor problem on the 3rd day (Sunday) of the cruise. We returned to our cabins after lunch around 1pm to a very strong gasoline/fuel odor in our hallway and in our cabins. After contacting the cabin steward, a technician came to our room and told us he doesn't smell anything - at which point several other cabin occupants in our hallway pop their heads out to complain about the smell also. The technician in the orange jumpsuit then admitted to the strong odor and called some officers in white uniforms to investigate. After about 15 minutes, we were told that a crew was painting the AC room, and that the smell should disipate within an hour or so. We left and came back in about 2 hours so that our children can take a nap, but the smell was even stronger than before, and we did not see anyone working to get rid of the strong odor. Some people in our hallway with balcony cabins had their cabin and balcony doors prop open to air out their room - we could not do this as our cabins were inside cabins. We went into our cabins so the kids can nap, but the fuel smell was overpowering and the kids complained of lightheadness. We tried to called the cabin steward several times from our cabin but no one answered so we proceeded down to the guest service desk. At the desk, an attendant acknowledged our complaint and said that the problem has been fixed and that we should stay out of the cabin for another couple of hours until the smell cleared. He was very dismissive and abrupt with us. So after dragging the two kids around for a couple more hours we return the the hallway and our cabin - again, it was in the same condition as before. At this point, the occupants of about 6 other cabins in our hallway were fed up and went to the Guest Service desk together and demanded some actions from the Cruise Director. As a group of about a dozen people, were promised that air ionizers will be placed in our rooms to clear the odor out. They proceeded to do this about 30 minutes later. We then went to dinner (early seating at 6pm)with the hope that the problem be resolved once we get back. Apparently, the ionizer helped and most of the smell was gone. There was still a faint odor that we have to tolerate that night but much of the smell was gone by the next day.
I was very unhappy with the way the cabin steward and guest service dealt with our complains, and did not take any actions until they got a mob of more than a dozen people confronting them. I'm also unhappy that we were kept out of our cabins for 6+ hours because of the smell. Our kids were tired and wanted a nap but we have to drag them around the ship so we don't have breath the noxious air in our cabin.
This was our first cruise with Carnival, and beside the problem described, we were very happy with most other aspects of the cruise. We would sail with them again with the hope that any problem would be resolved in a more timely manner.