Embarkation: First let me give kudos to our Carnival Agent Yvette. She helped us through the booking process. She was extremely knowledgeable, patient and dependable, always returning our calls promptly (even after we had already booked). We wish we were gonna sail Carnival again, just to be able to deal with her. We arrived at port around 10:30 and breezed right thru signing in. But they don't let you board until noon. Atleast we were the first on boat when they did open the boat.
Room: We had room 7439 and it was great! We choose it because of the large balcony, and I'm so glad we did. The other balconies were so small. Our room was very nice, lots of storage and no complaints there. The room stewart, on the other hand, was not so great. I drink a lot of soda and like having ice available all the time. I was constantly chasing him down to get more ice. You'd think after the first few days he would have offered an additional ice bucket. The other thing he did that really irritated me alot.....he would gently knock ONCE and then IMMEDIATELY use his room key. I could never get to the door before he was walking in. A couple times he almost caught me in a compromising situation. He never once asked how are day was or addressed us by name.
Dining: One word sums it up...boring. I won't go as far as saying the food was awful...but pretty darn close. My husband and I both like to cook and thought the food in the main dining room was so boring and unimaginative. Every nite was the same with the exception of one or two new entrees. Chicken was cooked the same way every nite, so if you wanted to stay away from beef, you had to eat fish. We tried the MDR for breakfast one morning and even though it seemed empty, it took us 30 minutes to get food. When it came, it was pretty much the same stuff you can get on the lido deck.
We usually ate lunch and breakfast on the lido deck. The food was dry and cold, even if you were the first in line. And don't even get me started on the lines....they put things like a carving station in the middle of the line, so you had to wait for everyone to get served....it was a disaster. My DH tried the fish and chips station, and did not like it at all. Someone on here, said they had oysters and shrimp cocktail, so we were looking forward to that. If they ever had that kind of fresh stuff, we missed it. He said the best thing he had all cruise was the hamburger he got the day we boarded.
One nite on the way back to our cabin we were hungry (since we hadn't eaten much at dinner). I saw some calzones and grabbed one. OMG...it was so bad I threw it out after one bite.
We tried the supper club on the last night. Would not do it again! The food was a little better. We ordered the Surf and Turf, the steak was very good, but the lobster was the same overcooked lobster we had on elegant night. The appetizers and desserts were good, but nothing I would rave about. I guess we had an attitude anyway. When we got to our table the wine steward came over. My DH doesn't drink wine, so I just wanted a glass of Beringer white Zinfandel (the same stuff I had been drinking all over the boat). I was told they didn't have that and asked would I try Woodbridge(a cheaper brand). I said sure, but when it came it was awful. I sent that back and the wine steward came over pushing Reisling on me.....bottom line, he was too lazy to go downstairs and get the Beringer. He didn't even offer to pay for my glass of Reisling. I think he figured I was drinking a cheap wine and not worth the trouble. This really set the mood for the whole evening.
Entertainment: We didn't get to see any of the shows. On previous ships, there was a show scheduled after the late seating. On this cruise, they wanted you to go to the show before dinner. The whole reason we had late seating is that we wanted time to relax after being in port and not have to hurry up and be dressed early.
Also, if you in your early fifties and done getting stupid drunk, there is not much to do. I gamble, but you can only do that for so long. We have no interest in the Hairy Chest contest! It would have been nice if they had computer classes, culinary classes, wine tastings, or anything like that. My poor husband, who doesn't gamble was bored to death.
The Ship: Very clean and overall pretty nice.....not much in the way of shoppes, and the library is only open a couple hours a day. The decor is exactly what everyone says....gaudy as heck, but didn't really bother us.
The Spa: I booked a Facial for $169 and it didn't even include a head and neck massage!!!! I was very mad and mentioned it to the tech...she then gave me a superficial fave massage for 5 minutes....a total rip off...she was more interested in selling me a bunch of useless products. I cancelled the rest of my treatments. My husband went for a massage and said it was pretty good. His tech tried hard to sell him products too....but at least I had warned him not to buy beforehand.
The Ports: GREAT! This is the reason we chose this cruise and they did not disappoint. We did the cooking class in Cozumel. Only a few people from our boat did it, but we had a fabulous time....open bar with hands on cooking!!
In Costa Rica, we did the Pineapple Plantation....also a very good time. Again not many from our boat chose this, so it was much nicer and personalized. We live in Fl and grow pineapples in our backyard, so we really learned a lot. Some one else may not like this as much as us.
Panama, we did the train from Ocean to ocean.....also really fun....it is a very long day though. Barely made it back to boat.....and no time for shopping. But the train is great and goes right along the canal and thru a little bit of rainforest.
Ok...I'm done rambling...bottom line, we will not sail Carnival again. If you are young and still like the heavy drinking and partying time, this is the ship for you. You won't make it to breakfast anyway and probably won't care what dinner is. Don't get me wrong, we liked partying in our younger years too...we're just done with that part of our lives.