This is the first time that we have arrived for our cruise the day of embarkation. we opted for the carnival transfers. the people were great, the waiting for the bus was not. they waited until they had about 12 to 14 couples from different flights, my husband having a problem walking and standing was difficult during the wait time.
the embarkation was great, my husband had to be in a wheel chair and we were whisked right through, the process was great. but being that it was 12:30 and the rooms were not ready until after 1, we had to wait with all of our carry on luggage on the lido deck with everyone else needing to eat and then had to carry it down to our room without the wheelchair and assistance.
we opted for the assigned dinner time and table (because we enjoy interacting with people) so we got to our assigned table the first evening and found that my husband and i were the only ones at our table (we had a 2 topper only) so no making of new friends. the maitre d KEN was exceptional, we would cruise just to have him every night. he sang every night and was better than those in the theater production they were okay, but definitely not the quality of voice that Ken had. our servers, their assistants were great. the beverage server, knew from the first night that we were not liquor drinkers, so he had our soft drinks ready at our table as we arrived. very special service. after the first night Ken knew us by name as did all our servers. even when we ran into him during the day on the lido deck, he called us by name. was a wonderful display of caring about your passengers.
food was good most of the time, Philly steak sandwich was dry, dry, dry. on the night of the fillet Mignon and short rib plate, the fillet was tough and over cooked. the rib was great. would be nice to have a little bit more varied selection of beef. there were a couple of nights that we went back to the standard steak instead of the nightly specials.
in the Monet restaurant in the mornings the staff was NOT good. you would ask for something, may or may not get it....was like pulling teeth to get a second cup of coffee, or your juice, sometimes you did and sometimes you didn't, they acted like they didn't care whether they waited on you or not....was very disappointing after the wonderful service you would get the night before in Renoir. lunch time was a little better, but the noon food wasn't as great either.
we were very disappointed in the Viva Paris review......i didn't come to a cruise to see jiggling girls bare butts. the singing was also only so,so. we have attended some shows on other ships that had been Broadway quality....this wasn't. very disappointed in the shows. we attended, but afterward felt like we would have been better off just going to our cabin and watching TV.
the comedians were great....the family shows....after the fiasco of the Paris review we figured out that we definitely did not want to go to anything listed as adult. but the comedians did have great family entertainment.
the main problem that we had was on the first day, we tried to purchase the 'soda' card. all my literature said that it could be purchase at one of the bars. so we started trying to do that while we were waiting for our cabin to be ready....one bar after another kept sending us someplace else, then they sent us to a table by the pool.....but she was just closing up and she said we had to go to the bar to get it....which is where we had just come from....so back we went....they were very rude and acted put out, because we wanted the soda card....never a friendly face....they charged it to us and i had to ask how to use it and they were sharp with me and very unhelpful. then later when we tried to use the card at the bar to get a soda, the bar person acted like we were a bother, they rolled their eyes and were snappy....this happened at several of the bars, then when we tried to use it in the disco club, the bartenders there did the same thing. my husband finally contacted the beverage director and complained about it. later in the voyage (last 3 days) it did get better. they were pushing the alcohol like they had a quota to sell so much of it. they need to get a better handle on this issue.
our room steward was great, knew us by name from the first afternoon and did an amazing job.
our excursions were great. in Jamaica the Appleton plantation Rum factory tour is great....the two hour ride and back is not fun, but interesting, you are able to see what and how the real Jamaicans live (which is sad) prices on the rum was great too.
On grand cayman, the turtle farm was very interesting, the whole area where they take you is all touristy....the Tortuga factory tour that was included is only a stop at their rum store. was disappointing since the Appleton tour in Jamaica was so good. in grand cayman, it was just another tourist store. in Cozumel we took the TULUM Mayan ruins tour, the ride to the mainland on the ferry was rough water crossing.....many many got sick, the ruins were great, the gift shops are pushy, lunch is not included in the full day trip, we ate at the suggested cafe by the tour guide, was great food.....don't eat the salsa....my husband did and he got 'montezuma's revenge' from it. the one complaint that i have about these excursions is that you are pushed to tip both the driver and the tour guide on each of these excursions and also the ferry boat people......for these 3 ports it was an additional fee that we had not planned on....but they all made it clear that is was expected and one even told us that, that was their pay....that they weren't paid otherwise. so they all quilted you into tipping them. so if the excursion you are on is say 90 per person, your going to pay another 10 to 20 per person before you are finished.
we did have a problem at Cozumel....my husband needed to go down in the elevator, so he got on it, i walked down....well they had the elevators turned off to the bottom deck, i informed those crew members standing by the elevators that my husband and several others needed to come down on the elevator and all i got was 'we don't allow that, they are turned off to this deck....so he finally had to come down the steps....almost caused us to miss our ferry, and also re-injured his knee. we were not able to get any help from the crew....when we got back on board we reported it to the customer service, and was told...oh no there was someone there to help and we informed them that NO there wasn't and that no one else would help either. they need to get their act together...there were several crew members that were not friendly at all...but to give credit, there was many more that were. it is just that the ones that weren't, stood out and caused us problems.
the ship itself: there was a lot of maintenance that needed to be done on this ship. there were alot of lights out all over the ship, bannister's that were broken, chairs that were broken, our stateroom had a whistle in the outside door that we had to plug every night.
we did love our cruise, it was just not up to par compared to the other cruises we have taken.