So overall I liked this cruise, but I must admit in some areas there could be improvement. For those interested here was our experience...
Traveling was Me (5th cruise, 4th Carnival) and my SO (1st time cruiser) both mid 20's.
SATURDAY-EMBARKATION -We arrived to Port Canaveral fairly late (around 3:00) due to my SO having a delayed flight, upon arrival as I was walking into the port I received a text message from my mother checking to see if we actually made it to the port, apparently in the process of being rushed into the building I failed to notice the sign (maybe a foot behind me at most) that said phones and other communication devices were not allowed in the upcoming area...a port security personnel immediately yelled at me to "put the phone away now!" (which I was already in the process of doing)...I found it quite rude that he pointed to me and yelled rather than politely asking or telling me that I needed to put my phone away. -After clearing security we went upstairs to get our sail and sign and fill out any paperwork. Apparently there was quite a bit of miss communication between the attendants working for many of them were bickering back and forth. We were told to go up to a lady who complained that she did not have a computer in which case her manager?? (i assume it was her manager) told her to do it manually. She first started to do the checking in process manually but as soon as the person beside her walked away to find her customer's keys she scooted over to the station beside her and began to process our info from the other lady's station. This of course created a lot of confusion between the two attendants working as well as both sets of customers.It was very unprofessional, snude remarks coming from both attendants and to beat it all our attendant was completely incompetent and could not understand that my SO and I were using two separate credit cards for our sail and sign....after spending 30 min getting checked in (usually takes 10 min or less) we were headed to the ship...Usually upon arrival they photograph you but I assume we arrived too late. -As we got on the ship we began to head up to our room and after getting up one flight of stairs the muster drill began....Apparently we missed the announcement about the muster drill and about the time we climbed up to the 7th floor we realized that all the traffic was due to the muster, so we turned around to head back down....There was a lot of confusion to say the least. I may be one of the few or only that prefers the old muster drill where you are placed in front of your lifeboat with your life vest on... After the muster we finally arrived to our room on the 8th floor midship. Typical inside cabin....not much to say on that. -Dinner in MDR, our waitress was subpar in comparison to past cruises. Assistant waiter was more personable than our waitress. We were seated at a 4 person table...many of the tables sat 2 or 4...in the past I was use to the large round and rectangle tables that sat 6-8+....I prefer the larger tables. I also preferred the older sing/dance by the waitstaff...the new sing/dance was unfamiliar to most and provided little guest interaction...I liked the macarena, hey baby, etc opposed to low and shake shake ? ***DAY 1 - EMBARKATION---RUDE AND UNORGANIZED
SUNDAY-DAY AT SEA -Started our day with breakfast in the dining room. Nice, but there seemed to be better food on the lido for breakfast both in quality and selection. I didn't like that in the MDR they used egg substitute or the pre-scrambled eggs...I would expect it for the lido. -Played Put-put...for a ship it was very nice and fun...would have been nice to have scorecards though. -Layed in the sun...plenty of lounge chairs in almost any location you preferred on the ship. Pool was usually crowded but not to the point that it was impossible to get in and cool off for a minute...its obvious these pools are not made to "swim" in...this cruise didn't seem to have a whole lot of children (due to school now being in session) so the pool area seemed to work quite fine IMO. We tried out all of the slides...lines were not too long...the twister was pretty fun...we did it a few times...the funnel one looked like it would be a lot more fun than it actually was...the racing slides were fun, but were too short to enjoy...I think the slides needed more water going down them or something because many times the joints felt very uncomfortable on your back while going down and even left a few red marks on me. -Went to port shopping seminar....I usually go to this seminar regardless of if I intend to shop or not...it was very informative...not as many free things to pick up in the ports if that's what you were looking to do. All of the shopping is recommended to do right in the port which doesn't let you really see the island much. Seminar was informative, Kiwi was a good presenter. -Lunch at the pasta bar. It was good...didn't have to wait long...no one was up there so we found some peace and quiet -Went to the gem stone seminar with Kiwi...very informative. -Dinner in the MDR..Food was okay but I found it to be of lower quality and presentation than what I remember in the past (last cruise was just over 2 years prior)Waitress did not pull our our chairs upon seating nor did she place our napkins or remember our names. One of our table-mates requested lemonade and it was never brought out nor did anyone tell her it was unavailable etc....seemed very rude. This was our first formal night....prior to dining (we had late seating) the photo areas were jam packed and had 20min or longer lines in many cases. Plan ahead and go early to avoid the rush of pre-dinner/post-dinner crowds. -Went to the show...I believe this one was the country themed show....nice show...the male and female singers did fantastic IMO. Dancers were very good as well. I left the show pleased. -Wanted to go to piano bar but it was one of the smoking sections and was too smokey for us to enjoy....you could smell the smoke pouring out of there feet beyond the entrance. -Went to the late night adult only comedy show (I can not remember his name but it was the midnight showing) LOOOVVVVEEEEDDD him! I had previously saw him on the Glory and he was great, but I feel he was absolutely spectacular this time...If he did comedy every night I would have been right there each night to see him. I thought he was better than many people I have seen on HBO, Comedy Central, XM Radio, and in live venues. ***DAY 2- DAY AT SEA- NICE, RELAXING, CROWDED, INFORMATIVE, ENTERTAINING
MONDAY-COZUMEL -We decided to do the Cozumel Bar Hop Tour that went along the east end of the island. This is a tour to not pass up! More information in my port review below. -Had dinner in MDR....similar experience as to other nights of lackluster service and quality...I would consider it a descent imitation of fine dining...better than going to Applebees haha. -Went up to see a little of the Lazer show....not too impressed ***DAY 3- COZUMEL- BEST PART WAS THE EAST SIDE BAR HOP
TUESDAY- BELIZE -We decided to do the zip line tour through the ship's shore excursions. Tendering process went well....more info on this port in port review -Had dinner in MDR -Went to the show Dancing in the Streets.....FANTASTIC!!! One of the best performances I've ever seen on a ship...By far the best one I've seen on CCL. -I think this was the night they had the Mardi Gras party...it was fun...bead throwing, music, and a parade to the lounge...where karaoke began -Karaoke was pretty neat....used the Dream Big Band for the music, and even had a backup singer...some of the people were very good...very entertaining...if you are really into karaoke, I'm sure it would be awesome to have a live band and vocals behind you... ***DAY 4- BELIZE- GREAT SHOW!!!
WEDNESDAY-ROATAN -Here we went to the west end. We were not able to port in Mahogany Bay. West End was amazing for snorkeling and enjoying the beach. We wanted to go to West end and from there take a water taxi to west bay...but the port area was very confusing so we just went to west bay. The taxi ride was a mess but all worked out in the end. More about that in the port review. -Had dinner in MDR -Saw the comedy/magician in the encore lounge...he was okay. ***DAY 5-ROATAN-GREAT SNORKLING
THURSDAY-COSTA MAYA -Here we had a short day in port...we took a taxi to Mahauhal for the beach. Nice beach, cheap drinks, clear water, nice port -Had second formal night in MDR...it was a nice time...our waitress seemed to be in a bad mood or something and it showed in service. Got a real nice picture taken afterwards. -Went to the Motown? show in the Encore Theater....it was nice. Good song/dance. Very entertaining. Didn't compare to Dancing in the Streets. -Went to comedy afterwards. He was good, but not as good as the guy we saw earlier in the week. ***DAY 6-COSTA MAYA-NICE BEACH, NICE PORT, GOOD SHOWS & COMEDY
FRIDAY-DAY AT SEA -Slept in a little -Ate a late breakfast on the lido -Lay in the sun/pool -Ate lunch BBQ on the Lanai deck. We waited in line for nearly an hour (and this was at 2:00) and was not impressed by the food....I suggest eat on the Lido or one of the other specialty bars that we missed. -Went to the Game of Love show in the Encore Theater. Was very funny. -Played 5 Game BINGO...$25 for a triple game card. Price was a bit steep but it was still fun -Did trivia....they had this multiple times and after playing we wish we had played the other times as well...it was a fun time.
-Last night in the MDR....waitress still did not call us by name (she also received nothing above the recommended tip...we did prepaid tips) We knew nothing about her, she knew nothing about us...never asked what we did on the islands, etc. I couldn't even tell you her name or where she was from and we ate in the MDR every night. -Saw the Carnival Legends show in the MDR...it was entertaining...I saw it on my last cruise so nothing was a surprise but it was still fun to go see...I personally preferred when they had the Carnival talent show on the last night. This allowed each cruise to be a little more unique and had a variety of talent whether it be comedy, dance, singing, musical....saw some amazing acts back in the day of the talent show. ***DAY 7- DAY AT SEA-RELAXING
SATURDAY-DEBARKATION Was pretty organized and went well...can't complain here.
OVERALL -I prefer a smaller ship...I didn't see that this ship had much more to offer than the previous class of ships (my comparison-Glory...The ship's size is larger but I didn't notice much of a change in public space and service personnel. Be prepared to wait in lines. -Food seems to be of less quality than I remember in the past. (possibly so they can push the steakhouse option at $25? pp) -Itinerary was great -Entertainment was great -For a new cruiser I would recommend this ship (unless the person HATES to wait in lines) -For an experienced cruiser I would recommend something smaller or possibly even another cruise line. -I think next time I cruise I will be trying out another line...not that I had a horrible experience, but that I would like to see what others have to offer...Carnival seems to have become somewhat repetitive to me now.