Our trip was off to a bad start by standing in line for almost 2 hours to check in. We arrived before noon to avoid the lines, but Carnival would have to cooperate by having more than 2 people at the embarkation counter for this to have worked. Stateroom: Nice but a little outdated - the TV was out of the 80's and the pink bathroom seemed out of the 60's (there was even an ashtray built into the wall near the toilet). Overall the room was a good size and the balcony really nice. Biggest issue is that our stateroom was under the karaoke bar - so we heard bad lounge singers all day and all night. Make sure you check this and don't book your room under a bar! We needed ear plugs to go to sleep at night and when in the shower it literally felt like you were on stage with them...a very strange way to take a shower!
Dining: The dining rooms (Paris and London) are very "Vegas" - and not current cool Vegas, they are old and dated Vegas. Buffet area especially the one by the main pool is really disgusting - steamy with long lines every, people smoking where they should not be smoking, tables not cleared for 30 or 40 minutes. Really unappetizing. The buffet at the back of the ship had much fewer people and seemed to be kept much cleaner in all areas. Food in general is decent - other than a couple of standout desserts. If this were a restaurant in my home town it is not one I would visit more than once. We did enjoy breakfast as the food was much fresher and the areas were cleaner because most of the dancers/drinkers were sleeping in. We loved the room service - great BLT's and cheesecake.
Service: While our specific waiter and cabin steward were both very responsive and cheerful they were definitely the exceptions to our overall service experience. The biggest issue was the general surliness of the staff. When you would meet staff in a hall they rarely spoke, rarely smiled, and rarely even acknowledged you were there. When we asked a question they seemed irritated to have to answer and certainly did not offer to actually help. From rude bartenders, irritated pursers office staff, surly photo shop clerk…the list is long. Even room service staff who we tipped was hurried and unfriendly.
Entertainment: Decent evening entertainment – but if there were a surcharge I would want my money back. Seaside Theater is fun to watch a movie on a night – but during the day it is very loud and not relaxing at all. Go to the aft deck pool or side chairs to relax. Slide was closed much of the time, whirlpools closed quite a bit also.
Spa: Really rude and condescending front desk spa staff. More interested in talking and giggling with one another than servicing you the guest. Although I did get a good massage and my masseuse was very professional. One tip book your massage while in port and get a significant discount. You can book mid afternoon so you have plenty of time for a morning excursion or shopping and still get a decent discount.
One big issue - smokers were everywhere and not required to smoke only in designated areas. Smaller issue - elevators slow - I mean really really slow. Disembarking at the end of the cruise was almost as bad as embarking – stood in a crowded lobby for almost an hour with the line barely moving. Can’t they figure out a way to do this a little more efficiently?