The beaches at Cozumel and Grand Cayman were wonderful. The waitstaff was friendly and the food was better than expected - I don't expect "fine dining" on a ship. The problem? The ship was overrun by families with children and Carnival either wasn't prepared or didn't care about those of us who weren't traveling with kids and just wanted a little minute of quiet at some point during the week. I'm not one who requires complete silence to sleep, but I purchased earplugs at the giftshop and still didn't sleep one decent night out of seven. Normally going on a cruise is a sure bet that I'll sleep great.
I can't count the number of times the doors of either side of my cabin slammed. I can't count the number of times I was almost knocked down by kids running, RUNNING, down the halls. I'm not talking about only little kids, I'm talking about big, hulking teenagers.
I wonder how the old people with walkers managed not to break a hip. I'm not kidding. The little monsters (hey, I'll call them as I see them) were seriously out of control. It's as if the parents of the kids turned them loose for a week and thought, "What could happen? It's only an ocean out there? Let's hit the bars." One night we returned to our cabin to find a little boy of about 6 years old sitting outside his cabin, alone (10 pm), locked out because his "dad was at dinner". Something was seriously wrong with this picture, people. (Yes, we waited until he had help getting back into his room.)
My cabinmate and I attempted to be pleasant about the noise with, "Hey, do you minds?" We called the front desk. We went to the front desk. We were told to call Security. We were told we should have picked another time to sail. Really, we were told that WE made the mistake of vacationing when we did. Ummm...ok...perhaps we did. And perhaps we chose the wrong cruiseline.
I wonder if another cruiseline would have been more strict about barefeet in the formal dining room. Although we inquired of the Maitre d' about a girl who was barefoot at a table next to ours, the same girl was again barefoot the next night. This wasn't an infant, she was almost as tall as me.
The positives? The Point Steakhouse was excellent. For an extra thirty bucks a person we enjoyed a delicious meal. We thought it was worth it. There was a Motown show one night that provided great music and some unexpected laughs. Purchasing a bottle of vodka from the Bon Voyage service is a great way to save on the liquor bill. Ours was in the room the first night of sailing.
We stayed on the ship at Montego Bay and enjoyed a near-empty Conquest which was really heavenly. The quiet was sublime. We had spa appointments with facials, back scrub and hotstone massage, and scalp massage. There was a special port price of eighty-nine dollars. The spa was scrupulously clean and we both agreed that our treatments were sublime.
The overhead announcements have been cut back so they're no longer as frequent as on previous sailings. That's a very good thing. Again, the waitstaff at the bars and the dining room were very friendly. The ship was clean and embarkation went smoothly.
I've met all types of people on Carnival cruises. I'm not sure why this particular sailing had so many that didn't seem to be aware of (or care about) the way their children were behaving. I do put the onus on Carnival for not enforcing the behaviors of their passengers. As a paying customer I don't feel I received my dollars' worth. I've written the company to let them know.