My wife and I chose to take a cruise for Christmas and had looked forward to sailing on a new ship for months. Our two previous cruises were with Royal Caribbean and both were enjoyable but the ships were older and showed aging. We made the most of our Carnival cruise as we always try to make the most of any situation but there were some issues that will cause us to hesitate in chosing Carnival again.
On the positive, our cabin was nice and spacious. We chose an oceanview at the center of the ship and on the 1st deck which mitigated some of the motion and was a very quiet location. The bed and linens were very comfortable and we really liked the two bathrooms and mini-tub. Our stewards were wonderful as well and kept our room tidy and clean. We were pleased with our cabin and spent a great deal of time there but I did encounter one couple at the guest services desk who were located directly under the gym and complained of a constant pounding from the treadmills. Fortunately, the gym hours were only from 6am to midnight.
Our first negative experience was in the dining room. We were seated in the Crimson for the late dining and ended up with a very overwhelmed and stressed waiter. He probably had good reason to be since the dining room was understaffed with long waits for service. It took almost a full two hours to complete dinner due to the delays in taking and delivering orders.He rarely approached our table and when he did he was often conversing with guests at another table while clearing our dishes or refilling our water. It was not only annoying but rude. The mai'tre d' never roamed the room during entire cruise and there was a decided lack of leadship and response to the slow service. After three nights we requested another seating but were told that none was available. This did not matter since our "stressed" waiter quit and was never seen again. The new waiter was nice but the service continued to be slow and food was mediocre at best. As another critic noted, we were never approached for bar service and were lucky to get our water refilled.
After returning from a long day ashore, we found that the restaurants were just closing and the only choices were three short-order venues: pizza, deli sandwiches and hot dog/hamburgers. Needless to say, the lines were enormously long. My last complaint concerning food service was the room service. We used it often and only once was our order correct. I heard others with the same complaint. Come on! How can you deliver a tray with only two coffee cups, sugar, silverware and NO coffee. Twice this happened to us and we spoke to another couple that experience the same thing.
My last complaints concern the smell and the staff. Yes, hard to believe that such a new, modern ship cannot contain the smell of raw sewage. It was present almost continuously and was ripe. Some of the staff were wonderful and this is what we had come to expect from our previous cruises. However, many were rude and seemed disgruntled. Maybe the understaffing affected almost all areas and not just the food services people? A parting shot. As noted in another review, I too found the cruise director's sidekick, James, to be offensive. Come on, you are being televised to the entire ship (3,600 passengers) and cannot control your urges to pick your nose or ears during a 30 minute broadcast... I will be reluctant to book with Carnival again and will likely return to the proven good service of Royal Caribbean.