Embarkation We had a early flight into Long Beach and arrived at the pier at about 10:30. Carnival staff were everywhere and directed us to the Queen Mary to finish registation. We knew the ship got in a little late and we were told we would not board until at least 1:30, so we decided to have a leisurely breakfast at the restaurant on the Queen Mary. Good choice, the food was good and we had quite a wait ahead of us. Because I walk with a cane we were given a special assistance pass and were put in zone one, thank goodness because some passengers didn't get on the ship until after 6:00pm that day. The poor souls that embarked the next Sunday had even more of a wait, more about that later.
Public Rooms Oh my gosh, it's really pink. It was kind of overwhelming at first, especially the abundant pink/zebra circles in the atrium and elevators. The dining rooms are pretty gawdy too, but as the week went on we got more used to it. I like glitzy, but this was a bit much. The theater was layed out really well, three decks, lots of seats. The curtain was goreaous, good use of "glitsy". There were so many places to sit and relax around the ship, it never felt over crowded. We enjoyed the seating area in the atrium.
Cabin We had a cabin on the Lido deck, 9274. The size and layout were good, better than any I've had on RCCL and NCL and as good or better than Celebrity and Holland America. We had plenty of room to walk around, a big couch and vanity, lots of closed and drawer space too. The bathroom was fine and I thought maybe the biggest shower we've had on a cruised yet. I'd heard how great the beds were, hubby and I woke up with a back ache the first couple of days, after that it was much better. Great sheets, pillows and duvet. We loved having a balcony, a bit small, but we were thrilled to have one this cruise. We didn't use it, but there was a passenger laundry just a few doors down. The noise level in that cabin was a bit much during the day, in the eveing they shut the big doors by the elevators so it was fine for sleeping.
Fitness & Recreation We didn't use the gym or pools so I can't comment of those, but there was tons of deck chairs and space to enjoy the sun. The Lido deck had a huge movie screen that was used for concerts and movies that played a couple of times a day.
Dining Our main dining room was the Black Pearl on deck 4, handy for us because like our cabin they were both near the front of the ship. Our server was Richard, he did a great job. The food was good with a few exceptions. I didn't care for the prawn appetizer, four tiny little prawns with carrot curls and lettuce. The Caesar salad was just ok. My favorites were the soups, always good, especially liked the potatoe and onion ones. Prime rib, mac and cheese and ribs were good. We had breakfast a few mornings in the Golden Pearl, ok, but nothing special. The buffet was just, ok in the morning...good omlettes but most everything else was just so, so. Many of the lunch entrees were really flavorful and there was a burrito bar we used one day. Dessers were better than most other buffets we've had on cruises. The grill had good hamburgers, but cold french fries. Pizza was 24 hours a day, pizza was fine, especially liked the chicken garlic De Chevre. People on other reviews raved about the deli. We had a Reuben, not impressed. We dined in Pinacle specialty resaurant one evening. Lovely presentation, excellent food and great service. We had the crabcakes, blue cheese spinich salad and Surf and Turf. For dessert hubby had the Citris Cheese cake while I had the chocolate sampler, really yummy.
Entertainment The first night was a comedian, can't remember his name, he was pretty funny. The next evening and the second to the last evening was the singer/dancer show. I was not impressed, I thought the choreography and performers themselves were not up to the standards I've seen on ther cruises. We missed the two Mexican acts, odd for me beacause I usually don't miss a show. Our final night was supposed to be the Legends show featuring the kareokee winners, but it was postponed to the final day because of the weather conditions causing a danger for anyone trying to perform on stage. We did see it the next day and I was surprised how good some of the passenger singers did. Goose, the cruise director, did a good job.
Service Staff and crew were always friendly and helpful, even on the final day when I'm sure they wanted to pull their hair out at times. More about that soon.
Shore Excurions We only booked one through Carnival, it was the tequila factory tour in PV. I was not feeling well that morning so I sent hubby off without me, he enjoyed it, got to see some of the countryside too. We did a city tour/massage combo in Mazatlan. It was with Mazatlan Frank's company, we had Ismael for our guide, what a nice man who took us all over, very fun day. We met friends for lunch in Cabo, so no tour.
Lots of Children Since it was a cruise over Thanksgiving I expected a large number of kids. I think some parents decided to just let them run loose and not supervise them. There were always kids playing in the elevators and several times running and shouting through the halls. I did call customer service one day and so did a tablemate of ours, it had gotten really out of hand.
The final day Our captain was taken off the ship in Cabo, we heard it was a heart attack. We were already three hours out of Cabo when they turned around to evacuate him. We heard he was doing much better the following day, thank goodness. That put us six hours behind and then that evening we hit stormy weather causing a lot of ship movent, it was hard to walk a straight line. Because of the weather the new captain was forced to slow down to keep us safe. We were told instead of docking at 9:00 that it would be most likely 1:00. It turned out to be 2:00. We didn't get to star debarkation until 3:00.The crew was fantastic trying to keep us all entertained, big screen football, movies and a big buffet lunch. They helped passengers by changing flights of those who booked their air through Carnival and those of us that booked our own, they provided complimentary calls from our cabins to the airlines to make changes. It was pretty "zoo like" trying to get off the ship to catch our flight. Thanks to a speedy cab driver we made it to Long Beach airport with five minutes to spare before they started to board passengers.
We would probably cruise Carnival again, not on a holiday though.