Had done Disney twice, RC and Norwegian once each and all were great. Just didn't want to do Carnival due to their adds and rumors of constant partying. But got a good rate and this fit all of our needs so decided to give it a try. Went in with zero expectations. Truthfully, I was expecting to be terribly disappointed. And it turned out to be just fine and I would do Carnival again! And believe me I am somewhat picky.
It started kind of badly as I thought the crew that we met on day 1 didn't seem very happy. But when we saw our cabin that's when I got my first surprise. It was huge! Had an ocean view on Deck 1 and this cabin is appx. 220 sq. ft. Much more than any other cruise line I had been on. We actually could move around and not bump into each other! And after Day 1 the crew got happier. My husband said maybe it was Embarkation Day blues and shift changes. This cruise had 3 days at sea that I worried about being bored but it turned out we enjoyed and needed these days for rest and relaxation. It's not necessarily good to be in a port every single day trying to do it all. That can be exhausting! I have done it and will probably do it again, but this time it was OK.
I don't really want to spend a lot of time here talking about the port stops because Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Maarten have been thoroughly dissected on this website. What I wanted to say in this review was how pleasantly surprised I was with Carnival Cruise Line. The crew was great. The food was fantastic! I was not expecting that at all. The dining room food was excellent and I have the extra 6 lbs to prove it. The room steward kept our cabin stocked and clean constantly. Once the toilets stopped working on our deck and it was fixed within about an hour. It seemed if anything wasn't working that it was taken care of instantly. I can say that was not the case on RC. On RC I remember some of the public toilets not working and some overflowing and they stayed that way for days. The other thing about Carnival is they really want everyone to have a good time, so there are activities going on all the time. If you get bored it is your own fault. The lounge shows were excellent. On RC they were laughably sad. The show called Justin Illusion was awesome. We didn't want to go at first because we were like "oh great another magician". But we decided to go and were blown away! I'm so glad we decided to go! Oh and the "extra fee" fancy dining experience in the Emerald Room was just over the top fantastic. The best piece of Filet Mignon we've ever had. And the service and all the food was awesome. I give one point off to Carnival for the individual entertainment acts in the various bars and lounges. Some of these people sang so off key and badly we had to cover our ears when we walked by! But the piano bar experience is another cool thing we did. This guy "Russell" plays the piano very well and has an extensive song collection that he can play. Everyone sits around him as he and his piano slowly rotates and sing along. It is a riot if you get the right bunch of people together. It is hysterical to hear standard classic rock songs sung with a Phillipino accent! Cute!
I must include here my review of the ship Glory also. I did not like this ship very much. I thought it was laid out badly and didn't like the pools. But let's face it, a cruise is mostly about the food and the ports, right? I will say on sea days it was very easy to find a spot on deck to hang out because of the Carnival towel policy. They charge you $22 per towel if you don't turn in your towel at the end of the cruise. This prevents people from "chair hogging" with towels because they are afraid of losing their towel! How nice this was in comparison to my other cruising experiences where people "marked" their chairs from 7am to midnight with towels. This made it very difficult to find a good spot for a little while during sea days. So YEA Carnival for your towel policy, it works and it's fair! Note: if you have the suitcase room, bring your own towel from home. We didn't even "unpack" the Carnival towels in the room.
There's only one electrical outlet in the cabin. This seems to be on all cruise ships. Bring a multi-outlet converter if you need more than one outlet.
Let an ex-smoker vent here too please. I am appalled at the number of people who still smoke knowing the dangers we are now aware of. There were so many on this ship I couldn't believe it!! But they do have their places on the ship where they can smoke, but it makes the casino sometimes unbearable. It would be so nice if there was half of the casino smoke-free, or perhaps a much better ventilation system installed??
So in closing I want those of you who are afraid of Carnival to go ahead and book with confidence. I will do them again. By the way, I am in my early 50's and enjoy a good time but also like my 8 hours a night of sleep. I got both on this cruise. The beds are good and the cabins were so quiet I wondered if we were alone!