.....That said, this was certainly not our finest cruise experience. This was our 7th cruise, the 6th on Carnival. We had a small group of 10 adults to celebrate a family milestone, and the group included some first time cruisers. Although everyone had fun, we were disappointed on several levels, including the cabin, the service and the dining experience. The biggest detractor was the terrible embarkation melee and being delayed 8 hours. If this had been my first Carnival cruise I'm not sure I would be all that excited to re-book with Carnival.
Ship was significantly delayed getting into Tampa from the previous sailing due to fog, and did not arrive in port until 6:00 PM. Meanwhile we were sitting in the cruise terminal for 8 hours with very little information forthcoming. We were not able to board until 9:30 PM, and the ship did not sail until 12:30 AM. This certainly put a damper on festivities! Carnival issued each person a $40 credit, which seems a little stingy, considering we missed out on half a day.
This is the smallest cabin we have ever had. We had an interior cabin, which is usually no problem for us. But I am telling you, this cabin was small! With the beds pushed together to make a king, there was not enough room to pull out the stool to sit at the dresser. There was only one outlet in the entire cabin, located on the dresser. The issue was that it was so small it would not accommodate the larger plug-ins that are common on newer hair dryers, etc. So, I could not use my hair dryer the entire trip - bad hair!
For dinner we had late seating in the Mardi Gras dining room. Service was simply OK - not stellar. Food choices were routine, nothing different. Food was prepared very well. We purchased a wine package which was a pretty good deal. However, one of our selections was not to our liking (a terrible Sauvignon Blanc that tasted like green apples!). Unlike a normal restaurant where you can send back the wine, they would not let us return it. So we were stuck with wine we couldn't drink. Breakfast service in the dining room was lacking - several times we actually got up, found the coffee pot, and poured refills for the entire table.
Nice Pool/Serenity Area
The pool area was very nice. Big problem with chair hogs, with no intervention from staff. I finally removed towels that had been saving chairs for over 2 hours. Could never score a chair in the Serenity Area. The poolside activities were "same ol'-same ol'" - nothing new or different.
Service in general was lackadaisical. Exceptions: our room steward was wonderful, and the bar servers on the pool deck were terrific. But, generally-speaking, we were not bowled over. An example of the tepid service: we were trying to get to the Serenity Retreat, and couldn't seem to find the right elevator. I asked several employees and did not receive one solid, helpful response! One staff member said "Yesterday was my first day - I don't know". Not one person offered to find someone who could, in fact, help us. I encountered 2 staff members in the photography display area who were downright rude.
De-embarkation: Well Done
We were very impressed with the speed and efficiency.