This was our 5th cruise and we've only sailed on Carnival. Not sure I'm willing to pay to risk sailing on any other line since we have so much fun with Carnival. I like the relaxed atmosphere and the ability to be "who we are" while still being treated like the only reason the ship is moving is because we are on it.
The food was good and certainly plentiful. I waited in my first and last line for breakfast this morning (debarkation day) so there was no waiting any other time.
We chose to dine in the steakhouse one night and it was certainly good food with excellent service and amazing presentation. Silly maybe, but I was disappointed that I was not given a black napkin since I was wearing all black, which is what most fine dining establishments will do for their patrons. That was the one and only complaint I had, which isn't much of a complaint. Saying that, I don't know that I would spend the time or money to enjoy the steakhouse again. Maybe if I was trying to impress someone or for a honeymoon dinner but otherwise, I personally just didn't feel it was worth it.
I stepped out of my usual habit this trip and tried many different things on the dinner menu. ALL were excellent. Except when I tried the sugar-free pumpkin pie. I am sorry to say that somehow when leaving out the sugar they also left out the other spices and it just wasn't anything great. Now... the melting cake is always wonderful of course, but don't miss the apple pie or Almond fudge cake. Oh, and the cappuccino pie, oh my!
The drinks and bar service was plentiful and as always there was a great variety. I personally like Long Island Iced Teas and with any "classic cocktail" you get a $5.00 "match play" credit at the casino. I managed to collect a few (okay, more than a few) and was lucky enough to win every time I used the match play card. I didn't play much, just enough to get some money back and play for a while with their money.
I expected the decks to be crowded but even during the "events" I never felt rushed or claustrophobic, just surrounded by happy people.
Had a great time dancing on deck 9 aft on our way out to Mexico and was thrilled to find out there would be a deck party on the way back from Mexico. It was a blast and wow, what a workout!
The entertainment was first quality. Some of the lady dancers need to catch up with the talent the male dancers have, but still everything was very flashy and entertaining. The main talent in the shows is far above average. Almost missed the "Carnival Legends" show and cannot stress how glad I was that we stayed for it. Don't miss it!
Stayed out of the shops for the most part but can report that they were fun and enticing and had some decent deals. I was sorry that I waited to buy some Milagro tequila because by the time I got there last night everything but the huge bottle was gone. Milagro is my favorite so I learned a valuable lesson here.
The ship was maintained beautifully with the exception of one of the ladies rooms that must have been forgotten by the attendant.
MY room was kept impeccably clean by my room crew and my steward's prowess with towel animals had me laughing and giggling each and every night. I came back to my room after dinner the first night to find a seal which was the only standard animal the entire trip. How in the heck did he make a peacock, a cobra, a duck that looked like it was celebrating??? I don't know, but I deeply appreciated the extra entertainment I had every night. We brought champagne and he kept it chilled the nights we requested it. I brought back these beautiful little fuchsia colored seashells from Manzanillo, delicate and sand-covered. That night I found them cleaned and gently drying, waiting for me after dinner. Collin was his name and if you're lucky, you'll have him for your cruise.
We had the honor of getting to know the entertainment staff well this trip and they were absolutely fabulous. Stuart Dunn was the cruise director and to say he's a madman may be sugar-coating it a tad. Lunatic may be closer and anyone who made their way to the horse racing on Sunday will understand what I'm trying to say. He is positively bursting with energy and good will, always with a smile and a hearty handshake. And a genuine desire to please pours out of him. He's wonderful and his crew that works so closely with him are just as wonderful if not more so. If anyone reading this has the good luck of sailing with him, do yourselves the ultimate favor and do not miss any of his events. His deck parties might leave your muscles a little bit sore the next day but each twinge will just remind you what a great time you had earning them. As Victoria on the entertainment crew would say, it was "off the hook."
There was plenty of entertainment throughout the ship, with a wide variety of musical styles and good performers. No matter what may strike your fancy, just walk a little bit and you'll find it.
I have so much more to say but need to face the real world tomorrow so must get back to some real world chores. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want a more detailed report.