Okay let me start with the stats: I'm 22, BF is 24. Neither of us have any kids, both first time cruisers. We're from South Jersey just a romantic trip vacation with the BF. Anyways, to put it mildly, I was STRESSED out with the Blizzard coming. I'm a total snow/ice phobic person, so it was a nail biter for me. We had originally planned on leaving Sunday morning about 11 am, as we're only about 1 ½ hours away from Baltimore. Once we got wind of the storm, we debated on leaving early, but completely couldn't. BF's job had him on a tight schedule, and he couldn't take off a day earlier without being penalized. As everyone knows, we got SLAMMED. We stuck with our original plan and left Sunday morning, except we left about 9am instead, in hopes maybe since I-95 is a major highway it would take major priority. AS IT DID I-95 was beautiful! If it wasn't for all the salt on the road, you wouldn't be able to tell it snowed. I SERIOUSLY commend all road workers, they did their thing with this one! Anywho.... Since we left at 9am, and the roads were good, we got to the Port of Baltimore about 10:30-11.... LOL.... Better late than never I guess. The parking lot at the port was still being shoveled, and that made the line to get into the port REALLY REALLY long. By the time we finally got into the port, paid for parking, and got on the boat it was about 2pm. We didn't drop any of our luggage to the baggage people, we carried EVERYTHING on with us, and took it all to the room ourselves. I wouldn't advise anyone to do this that has a lot of luggage, BF and I only had about 2 suitcases a piece, so we managed, but for someone else it might be a big hassle. The rooms weren't ready yet, they kept repeating that over the PA system and told everyone to go to the Mermaid Grille for lunch, but we dropped our stuff off in the room anyway (I know we're bad) and then went to lunch! After we ate, we walked around for a bit, got acclimated with the ship, and then went back to our rooms to unpack.
DÉCOR: I've heard soooo much about the dEcor on the ship, and it really is up to the individual and their own preference. I thought it was beautiful, art is art. All the ships can't look the same, and I thought they did a nice job with the dEcor. BF said he thought it was a bit much, but I thought it was nice.
ENTERTAINMENT, SHOWS, GAMES, POOLS, SHOPPING ETC:
Okay, we went to a few different shows. "Welcome Aboard", "All Around the World", and Carnival Legends, and another one I can't remember. All the show I thought were great!! Really added a Vegas style show feel to the cruise! We also went to the Rated R show with Tommy Drake, he was funny. Of course we went to the famous "Love and Marriage show", which was hilarious, and I was a frequent at the Bingo games . We didn't gamble at all, so I can't tell you about that, nor did we get in the pools at all. We planned on it, but never got around to it. What I can tell you about the pools is it reminded me a lot of musical chairs with the way people were shuffling, and scheming for a chair. This had a lot to do with the reason we never got in the pool, I'm on vacation, and don't feel like fighting over a chair, that's too much like work. The hot tubs were cleared out at night, but it was cold by then and we still didn't want to get in. A lot of the activities during the day seemed geared towards working out, art auctions, or the casino. We weren't in to any of that stuff, so we stuck with the activities I mentioned above and just relaxed a lot.
I would advise anyone that wants to buy anything in the Fun Shops, or any of the stores to wait until the last 2 days of the cruise before you do. They need to restock the shelves for the next cruise, so they have great sales! I bought 2 beautiful clutch purses for $10 each, and a little gold bracelet for $13!
We booked Balcony room, category 8C, deck 5, room 5206, and it was great! I was mid ship, so we felt minimal movement of the ship or noise. Abe, our Steward was great also, by Day 2 he had our schedule figured out and we were never in each other's way. I thought the room came with the 2 twin beds, and we were suppose to have the Steward make it into a full, but once we got in the room it was already done! And it didn't have that weird hump in the middle when you push beds together; it damn near looked just like one bed.... And they were soooo comfortable, I swear every time we even sat on it we zoned out. It was to the point where if we knew we had to be somewhere soon, we wouldn't sit on the bed because it would put us to sleep!
Be careful in the shower, the water temperatures are really funny and will go from lukewarm to scalding hot!!
Everyone favorite subject! LOL... Okay let me start with the Mermaid Grille. I've heard a lot of CC about it being really confusing and I will add to that that it truly IS! There seems to be no method to it, just scattered food stations all over the deck. The food at the grille for Lunch was generally good. Not great- good. It was warm at best. We never at there for dinner, and breakfast was a whole different story. Breakfast in the grille was gross. I hated it sooo much, so we only ate there twice. It was really generic food, powered eggs, and by the time you found what you were looking for, sat down and started to eat, it was ice cold. Once I got grits, I sat down, put butter in them and stirred it up. 2 minutes passed and the butter NEVER melted. I was disgusted!
Now the Normandie restaurant was a different story! We ate there for all dinners, and breakfast from then on, and it was some of the best food I've ever had in my life. I ordered 2 of everything I liked, and it always came hot, good and plentiful. The servers and waiter really go out of their way to make you feel special and pamper you, so let them!
The room service food was also good. They had the basics, sandwiches, salads, continental breakfast. Everyone raves about the Warm Chocolate Melting Cake, but PLEASE try the chocolate cake from room service, it's soooo good!!
PORTS OF CALL:
Wasn't too bad, we docked at about 12, and by 1:30 we were off the ship walking back to the car. Again, the lot was cleared, since it did snow again after we left, so kudos to whoever cleaned it!!
I thought it was a GREAT trip. I'm a first time cruiser, and have nothing to compare it to, but since I've been stalking CC I kind of knew what to expect and look for. Everything exceeded my expectations, and I loved it!! I left a cruise virgin, and came back a cruise whore!! Already booked Carnival Victory for May, and I'm working on a trip with the girl's for next year!!