My husband and I just took our 2 kids, ages 12 and 16, on their first cruise. The 2 of us had previously sailed on Carnival. We first sailed on the Elation to the Mexican Riviera in 2001 and then 3 years ago took the Victory out of Miami to the Caribbean. All 3 cruises were a lot of fun but this last one didn't quite live up to the service we had previously had with Carnival.
Let me start with Embarkation: This was our first time going out of Long Beach and the process was flawless. Check in was a breeze and we were on the ship before we knew it. We had plenty of time for a relaxing lunch on the Lido deck before we could go to our stateroom. We were in a balcony room, cabin 8391 on the Verandah deck and our kids were in an interior room right across the hall in cabin 8393. Our rooms were very clean and about the same size as the rooms on the Victory. It was our first balcony and I have to say I love that. Well worth the extra dollars. Our cabin steward (I don't know his name) was friendly and kept our room neat and clean our entire stay. He did the same with our kids room.
Moving on to the food: This was a part of our cruise that was not quite up to par with our previous cruises. We had dinner in the Gold Pearl Dining Room and had the late seating. We were placed on the wait list for early seating but that was never going to happen. We were on the upper level of the dining room at table 512 and our waiter was Aleksander. Our first couple nights he was very attentive and wanted to make sure he was providing us with good service. Everything was great. The last few nights, however, the service got to be incredibly slow. We would be the first to be seated and give our order but be the last (by far) to get served. I mean, people were done with their desert by the time we got our appetizers. What was going on? We tried to figure out why this was happening and the only thing we can come up with is that on the first couple nights we took his suggestions about what to order, but then we didn't want what he was recommending so we ordered what we wanted. Maybe he got offended? Just a guess. Also, the Gold Pearl is in such a bad location on the ship that it constantly vibrates and shimmies back and forth. One night my daughter and I couldn't take it anymore and went back to the room and ordered room service. The food on the Lido deck was usually good as was the 24 hour pizza.
We loved the activity crew, especially Greg and Lory Glory. Our family is really into trivia and enjoyed those contests. I even won a plastic gold plated ship on a stick. Goose, the cruise director, was a disappointment. My husband liked most of the bands that played in the lounges. They had a good variety of types of music.
One thing we were constantly annoyed with on this cruise was the huge amount of kids. I mean little kids. They were running around unsupervised and screaming. Even our kids were annoyed by it. There needs to be a rule that small children cannot run amok on the ship unsupervised. Ugh.
Debarkation was the easiest we have ever experienced. We chose to take off our own bags and were off the ship, through customs and in a cab in 15 minutes!