I was so excited about our cruise. This was our first cruise with Carnival and the first time I had splurged for the balcony room. Unfortunately, the whole experience was over shadowed by one experience. We found ourselves covered with bites from suspected bed bugs. This was disturbing, but Carnival's response is what will likely lead us to never cruise with them again.
Beginning on the very first full day of the cruise, my husband and I began noticing little bites on our bodies. These continued to get progressively worst throughout the cruise. We weren't sure of what the bites were, but we knew they appeared while on board. We were also aware of the numerous bed bug stories in the news.
The interaction with the medical staff was the disappointment of the cruise. The nurse was immediately dismissive, hostile and antagonistic. Her number one concern was to attempt to convince us that whatever the cause, it was something we received off the ship. She also treated us, as if we were con artists, out to make false accusations against the ship. She began to excuse the symptoms as not possibly being bed bugs because as she stated, "the whole ship would be infested." She then told us, it must have been something we picked up on one of the beaches. Of course this was implausible since we noticed our first few bites prior to the arrival of our first port of call. She also stated that because my husband was covered in bites and that I only had a few, this was not bed bugs. All of these explanations defied logic and gave the impression that our welfare was secondary to the need to deny responsibility at all costs. She finally conceded that she could not tell by looking at the bites, whether they were caused by bed bugs. She seemed to resent the fact that we reported this issue and retained her antagonistic demeanor throughout the entire conversation. Her hostility was completely unwarranted and inexcusable. We are not opportunists but genuinely concerned with both the potential for a ship-wide infestation and preventing an infestation in our home.
The nurse didn't examine either my husband or I, but provided us some ointment for the itching. She told us someone would be sent to our room and we would receive some type of follow up after they went to our room. Although, we did see people go into our room, we received no follow up or further information. When we got off the cruise, we called family at home to ask them to research the steps we should take to ensure we didn't bring bed bugs into our homes. Hopefully, the internet searches prevent our home from infestation, because Carnival didn't seem concerned.
I must say outside of the medical office experience, we found the staff to be fantastic. Everyone was so responsive and polite. We were traveling with my 15 month old daughter. Staff members made a point to learn her name and everywhere we went, she was greeted by name.
Carnival Glory was the worst layout of any cruise I have taken before. This was particularly annoying since I had a stroller with me and had to go up and down elevators multiple times to navigate from one part of the ship to another. The thing that I disliked about this the most is that all the public areas are lined up next to each other, instead of in different areas around the ship.
We went with Anytime Dining for the first time. This worked out great for us because of our young daughter. However, I really prefer the formality of traditional dining. With Anytime Dining, we never had a wait and we got to sit in a different part of the dining room every night. This was interesting. We also had different waiters every night, and all of the staff was wonderful. I missed the bonding experience and enjoyment of getting to know my wait staff. I also missed getting to meet fellow travelers. The tables on Carnival were designed to fit the size of your party, so for breakfast, lunch and dinner, we always sat alone, as a family. This is surely a preference for many. Anytime dining worked great for my daughter because we never had to rush and we minimized our disruption to others, but as soon as my daughter gets older, I hope to return to the traditional dining.
I can't speak to the shows because I did not get to enjoy a single one on this cruise. However, the lounge acts were mostly horrible. The highlight of my last cruise was sitting in the lounge enjoying a drink and gifted performers. The highlight of this cruise was the jokes we made, imitating the performers after we left. It really was bad. The main act we witnessed multiple times couldn't hold a tune and didn't know the words to the songs he was singing. He was just funny, but I don't think he was supposed to be a comedy act. The plus to this was we never had to wait for a seat.
So here are some of the things that I really liked about Carnival, the room was spacious and well designed. There was also cable television with at least a limited selection of channels. This came in quite handy because we had a rough sea day and I ended up with my first experience with sea sickness. I spent the entire day in bed, with multiple trips to the restroom. At least I had tv. We had a few tenders on port days and they all seemed to run smoothly and quickly. I really found embarkation, tenders and disembarkation very organized. Great job here! I also really enjoyed the presentation of the food every night. Finally, we loved the water slide. My husband and I took turns going down this over and over. Great fun!
Some of my dislikes: Our bed was horrible and I'm not talking about the bed bugs, that is a given. You could see the lumps in the bed when you walked into the room. There was no cuddling on this cruise because the mattresses were so worn. Both my husband and I were forced to sleep in the well worn groves of the pushed together twin beds. My experience on my last cruise was you could barely tell that the bed was two twin beds pushed together. The music at the pool was too loud and you could not escape it. It was also horrible, but what do you do? Also, the blow dryer in the room was worthless. It was incredibly hot and had no lower setting. My hair was a mess because I took my chances and didn't bring my own. As a general impression, the food choices were not as exciting as previous cruises. I thought the food was good and the presentation was great, but I found myself settling on something every night. I was never excited about the choices. I also disliked the setup at the buffet. Everything is on one line, rather than stations. If you just want to grab a little fruit or something, you have to decide whether to cut the line or wait through the salad bar, through the sides, etc. to get whatever it is you want.
I still enjoyed the cruise and look forward to another one in the future. I expect I will go back to Royal Caribbean or try something new. I hope you have a great next cruise!!!