Carnival should have been allot more forthcoming about the status of repairs. I got much better info Googling about than Carnival itself provided.
Our last one was the Norwegian Gem out of Manhattan. We used to alternate cruising Norwegian / Carnival; it is a long list of ships that we have been on. I am all done with Norwegian for the time being as they now like to "nickel dime" one at every opportunity. I thus went into this one looking forward to it, and those expectations were met.
ONE HUGE NEGATIVE
To my wife, the following rendered this cruise an overall negative. I am not as harsh, but it wasn't a good situation.
We booked as :Inside guarantee", which means you do not select your room numbers. We travel with 4 young adult children. The rooms were way far apart, but I believe one takes that risk when booking this way, so ok on that.
The problem was Dining Room Dinner. First, they assigned us late seating, which I despise and has never been done to us before. Considering we booked quite early I do not see why this had to happen. Then they made a complete train wreck out of it, and a little postcard under the door informed us that one room would have to go to Black Pearl late seating, and the other to Gold Pearl early seating.
We thus never got to sit as six at fancy dinner, which is the time that we usually get together if they are off doing something else, which has infuriated my wife.
The Maitre Ds would not fix this situation, nor would the front desk. Maybe the initial problem was the result of a programming error by someone in Miami, I don't know, but if a party books 2 rooms on one credit card and identifies that this is a husband, wife, and four kids, then Carnival ought to make absolutely sure that they fix the situation, not just point mournfully at a computer monitor.
16 oz beers are $5.75 now. I think the drink prices are too high. Carnival buys in great bulk and is getting the beer at cheap; do you have to whack us so hard ?
The Casino is good sized and kept clean. It is a good development that Carnival opened up more $5 Blackjack tables, because I jet when some ding dong hits their 15 with the dealer showing a six.
I don't know what the payback percentage is set to, but it seemed fair to us.
There are a good selection of different slots with different bonus structures depending on how you play.
On a related topic......
EASTERN EUROPEAN MALE STAFF
A few in the Casino were, from former Soviet occupied countries, more of them as a percentage on this ship than I have noticed otherwise. I do not find them as naturally warm as let's say the Indonesians. Some at times seem vaguely glowering and distantly hostile. Their pursuing one to see if one needs a drink gets a little aggressive, and one dude had like a head problem about pushing chairs in.
In another incident that really endeared carnival to my wife, she was smoking and trying to get her player's card onto the little ring on the telephone cord. One of the Casino staff ran over and assailed her for sitting and smoking without playing. This is pretty outrageous, especially considering she lives in the Casino while on board. If it was a land based Casino she would have left over being treated like that.
As it was, she stayed long enough to get free drinks out of them on the last day. This started with another dispute, as although I do not recall seeing this sort of fine print on the signs on the first few days, it turns out that one can only get the free drinks while sitting at a machine and playing, if one of the floating drink people goes by. Why pray tell can she not get a drink at the bar in the Casino, or at the Sports bar that is attached to it ? I am not talking about her taking a drink and leaving, but howsabout you can get one after you come out of the bathroom or something, or on your way to a machine ?
SMOKING SITUATION ON BOARD
Why oh why has Carnival caved in to the PC nanny state crowd ? Half the Casino is non smoking now. Half the Lido is non smoking. Please, we get enough of this sort of hairy legged finger waggling type at home, ( can't smoke in bars in Massachusetts anymore ) do we really need it on vacation ?
As the users of this legal product are now treated like they have the Ebola Virus, they end up crowded together in places like the Sports Bar adjacent to the casino, and the HVAC can not keep up with the billowing.
On the Norwegian Gem, they have shrunk the Lido to ridiculous, so as to attempt to force one into a pay restaurant. I find this very offensive. This is not the case on Carnival. The Lido is good sized, and the selection is quite good as well.
The 24 hour pizza is very tasty, and one can get fancy slices if one will wait just a few minutes. Pepperoni is usually available almost instantly.
The Deli is also quite good. I liked the tuna and the corned beef especially.
The Main Lido cafeteria has a rotating menu that is always interesting. The Burrito bar and the mongolian stir fry are also INCLUDED and are tasty and interesting. If you are going to try the Mongolian, go at an off time as the lines are long as each dish is cooked in a pan just for you, and be warned that the spiciest sauce is hotter than you might think.
I liked every bite of food I ate up on the 9th floor, and I commend Carnival for this experience, as it does not happen by accident. I never saw a single piece of brown lettuce. I never spit out a single bite of gristle into my napkin.
As mentioned we could not do the sit down dinners together, and even if the mistake originated in Miami, they should have straightened it out on board.
We could walk into some breakfasts in the fancy room, and the food and the service were quite good
Our cabin stewards were excellent and work like coal mine donkeys.
It was interesting to note that the "Paintings at Sea" thing has been deleted. Free champagne aside, it really was quite a spectacle, with auctioneers crooning to one, trying to make one feel like a sophisticated art buyer, when I am sitting next to a dude with his package showing out of his Speedo, carrying his fifth bucket of beers of the day.
Also good riddance to the Bingo Assault. There is still Bingo, but it is not being beaten over my head like before.
We did Cabo twice. Carnival never said why they deleted Mazatlan; it turns out that muggings were a regular occurrence, and then a couple of tourists actually got shot.
The Internet is still .75 per minute if one does not buy a plan. This is too much. Yes I know that they idea is to lock me up and squeeze as much revenue out of me as possible, and if one is online one is not coughing up the dough. The thing is, Carnival is getting that out of myself and the wife, we are what they want in terms of drinking and gambling. How about the young adult kids ? How about the online gaming and the Facebooking they do daily at home ? They aren't going to drink and gamble, no revenue is lost on them if they are online, if anything, maybe they will eat less out of boredom. Lower this price big time please.
OVERALL SHIP CLEANLINESS
The Ship is spotless, and it takes alot of effort to keep it this way.
I do wish that Carnival would have more Purell stations, and keep them filled. This is the one and only thing the Norwegian Gem did better. Yes I know it was all about Norovirus panic, but I ended up getting a rare chest cold off of something I touched, and maybe with the border line obsessive focus that the Gem had about this, I wouldn't have gotten it.
....was horrible, took so long ?