12/12/09 Western Caribbean
This was my 2nd cruise ever, 2nd with Carnival. Our 1st was 2 years ago on Inspiration. By the way we did not notice a sewage smell thru the ship. In certain spots on occasion we noticed a smell here or there, but who could say for sure what it was. I don't hang out around smells to study what could be the cause of them!
Embarkation- was a breeze. We got to port just after 11am and we were onboard within 20-30 mins I would say from luggage drop off, thru security and then check in. It was fantastic. I was worried with the amount of people it would be a nightmare.
Lunch was on lido deck as cabins not ready til 1:30- which is the norm. We chose the Mongolian, which was a long line- prob about 30 mins easy, but that was fine we had time. It was great, I really enjoyed it, but enough for 2 people if you can agree on what to put it it.
Cabin- 11201- Spa Oceanview qaud handicap modified. The room was HUGE. There was so much space it was wonderful as there was 4 of us. We were not handicap and had known we would be changed if it was needed. However laying in bed sitting up I did accidentally lean against the help button, and they did call right away.. so that is a plus for those needed assistance! Our room steward I think was Jeff(Americanized name) and assistant was Jason(?) Not out of the way friendly- we got 2 towel animals and we even made one of our own for him last night and nothing. Oh Well.. room was always clean and cooler always had ice(after we had to ask 1st day) We could feel the motion in the room every day, a lot of vibrations and felt like we hit waves pretty good a few times. I did feel the motion all over the ship, but if you hate feeling it in cabin, this cabin is not for you. The rocking was nice at night after we all got our sea legs. People did smoke out on the deck (Panorama 11) where there were no smoking signs and Spa cabins are non smoking. I reminded 1 lady but it did not good, she said it allowed and when I pointed to the sign she moved to the other side, right by the other non smoking sign. Stupid. Oh well.. did not ruin my time.
Spa- loved the Spa. Loved the thalasso pool and the thermal suites. Not too crowded most of the time, but certain times were. Just vary your time to suit yourself and you will be fine. I went every day and plenty of times was just me in a thermal suite. One of the steam rooms was always full. We did use the showers as well, and there are about 4 or 5 hairdryers in the Spa womens room, so we could get ready there if needed at night. Loved the separate entrance to the Spa too. That was nice.
Shows- Saw 4 shows- can't remember all of the names, but the Country show was awful. The music choices were poor and I did not like it at all. Boring! I liked the Legends show the last night with the guests performing, some were bad and some were great, and the rest well it wasn't a talented bunch, but it was fun. Great to see people enjoying themselves. We liked Todd the cruise director and his staff. They were all nice and fun and always smiling. I saw 3 comedy shows- 1 PG and 2 R. They were all really good. Jeff the Fun Dude was kind of pathetic, but that was his angle I guess. I felt bad for him. He needs to really work on his act a bit. Sorry Dude! Never got to see the laser show which I was disappointed about. The break dancers who performed at the lobby bar were amazing. What a great time watching them!
Dining room- the food will not thrill many. My sister describes it as typical wedding food. Had some good, ribs, lobster, prime rib.. and some bad- lobster bisque, and chile relleno come to mind. Our waiter was a bit odd. Very dry sense of humor, none of us could get his name right. We had Crimson Lower late seating. The other guy always had our bread ready and water filled. He was silent though, barely said a word. We had a table for the 4 of us. Dinner took a long time, we always were the last in his group to be served even if we were 1st to arrive. But I think he wanted to keep my sister around longer as he asked her for her email at end of cruise ; )
Food- we had no problems with lines on most days. We ate breakfast at lido buffet every day but 1 and dinner there 2 nights. We tried the burrito bar- good and HUGE- small line..Pasta Bar- went at noon - no line- good food and a LOT. Pizza was ok- better when you have had a few drinks- but could never get the mushroom/goat cheese as he would not make it, said it had to be special ordered. Isn't that what I was doing? He did not want to make it for 2 slices Oh well. I lived. Caesar Salad had too much anchovy taste. Dinner at lido was same as dining room, which I did not like as I did not want that which is why I skipped it, but there was always something else around. My sister and friend did sushi, which I do not like much but they enjoyed. There was a BBQ on sea days out on deck 5 which we saw but did not try. And usually at the martini bar area there was always a snack out - cheese or something and when they did margaritas - chips and salsa.
Ports- tendering was a breeze for us in Belize. We went to Burgundy lounge for our tender tix since we were non carnival excursion, went downstairs and got right on a tender. They held a lot of people. At the other ports were easy- we had to wait once I think in Costa Maya because another ship was docking, but they said come back down in 5 mins, we did and got right off. Same going back on. No problems at all.
Debarkation- started really early, like 6:15. We had a ride picking us up later in the morning so we were not in a rush. We had group 11.. which was called maybe around 8- and we had not even had breakfast yet. I did get annoyed as they kept telling you if your # was called to get off the ship since the luggage is on a carousel and was too crowded. It really felt like they were rushing us off. However there were still a lot of people having breakfast. I think debarkation was faster than anyone expected.
Misc- we did slides once, hot tubs once, mini golf once.. all on 1st sea day as weather was better that day then 2nd sea day. My niece checked out Club 02 but did not go- she hung with us. Checked out arcade with her, which was big, we played a few games. Gambled a little just for fun nothing much. Shopped on board. Got better deals on the ship than at some ports believe it or not. Pictures were a nightmare and they need to come up with a better way. Like how Disney does the picture pass Carnival should too. With so many ppl and them taking pics at every port and dinner and candids and formal.. it was insane trying to go thru them all. That really needs to be changed and fast!
If you go Western- Costa Maya was a short port had to be back on at 2:30.. when you are back on board- go outside and watch for the runners.. I have to say that was a fun way to end the day there.. We had quite a few runners- the boat actually waited for them too, people yelling/clapping and cheering.. lol it was funny.
Overall- it is a big ship, I loved it. I had no problem moving around the ship. I don't mind walking where I need to go. Elevators will get packed after shows etc. but use the stairs if you can or wait it out. We went down to go up or vice versa sometimes because there are a lot of people for the elevators. Just a fact. I guess living near Disney and going a lot I have no issue with lines. The majority of the staff was not that great. Not sure what it was- heard plenty of talk/speculation in the spa etc about why it was.. again it did not make or break my cruise. We did what we wanted, saw what we wanted to etc.. Don't let others worry you ahead of time. You make it what you want it to be. For the price we paid and what we got I would say I was 95% satisfied. The other 5 % is for me to worry about, but not enough to complain or say I would "sue" Carnival over. I did a 5 star resort in Nov 09 and paid a 5 star price and in no way compared it to Carnival. Totally different categories. Know what you paid for and what you will get and you will enjoy it no matter what!