We went to New Orleans the day before the cruise. Three friends (all three were cruise virgins) and I. We stayed at the Marriott on Canal Street. Had a room on the 37th floor facing the pier. We saw the ship come in! It was so cool!!! The night before, we had cajun food at Deanie's. For lunch we ate debri at Mother's. They were both good. We went for breakfast across the street at Daisy Duke's. The eggs were okay but the rest left a lot to be desired. Will not go there again.
At 1145 we went to the pier and gave our luggage to the porter. At 1155 we were in line awaiting the doors to open and begin processing. NOTE: In times past, we gave our luggage to the porter, parked, got onto the elevatr and went straight to security. This time, we had to go back outside and line up on the outside of the building. From 12:00 until 12:35 we were processed. YES - we were ON THE SHIP by 1240! Lunch was hot and everything I selected was good.
Entering the ship was like coming home and visiting an old, well-loved aunt. It was as I remembered it the last time. Clean interior. Smiling faces. So on and so forth. I went to the Excursions desk first thing and purchased tickets for Merida Shopping Highlights and Rum Tasting. (I do not drink, but two in my party do).
After this, we went and had lunch. By the time we finished eating it was 130 and our cabins were ready.
The SHIP: Clean. Rarely were there any unpleasant odors. Plumbing was good. Air temperature was perfect for me.
DINING ROOM: Two of the people in my party were too big to fit into a booth. I went searching on the first night for the Maitre'D. There was a line of people who were not happy with their tables, but he accomodated us quickly. Our table was at the window with a view of the ocean at our fingertips almost!
The dining room (PARIS) was clean, well-lit, and there was always someone attending to our every need.
DINING ROOM STAFF: Morning, Night, and Noon - wonderful! Service with a smile. No sad looks. Songs and dances were good. I really enjoyed the dancing!
LIDO DECK: There was no Serenity Area. Disappointed in that.
This was Spring Break for Northerners and they lived on the deck, trying to get tans. The food was hot, and tasty. Although I took my meals the main dining room for the most part.
Hairy chest contest was a trip.
Ice sculpting was beautiful.
Games and dancing were typical Carnival style.
CABIN - Everything was in good repair. Cabin was one with an obstructed view. I like this type cabin. You pay for an interior cabin, but you have, two windows. The view is obstructed by the handrails that take you around your nearly-secluded patio and down to the next level. These cabins are larger than the regular cabins with more space in the bathroom as well as in the sleeping area.
KARAOKE - Where I spend most of my evenings - was a hoot. COMPLAINT: They allowed little kids to come in and sing and most of them were giggling and not really entertaining. It seems their parents were elsewhere on the ship because the songs they were attempting to sing were not the kinds of songs a responsible adult would have his/her under teenaged child singing, especially in public.
I fell in love about five times in karaoke! LOL! No need to go into details.
PAST GUEST RECEPTION - This is for guests who have sailed with Carnival before. They serve horsdevorse and the drinks are complements of Carnival. It was nice, as always. There was a live band with female jazz singer.
SHOWS - Since I was on Triumph less than two years ago, I did not really attend any shows other than the magic show and the Welcome Aboard show.
CRUISE DIRECTOR - Big Tex. I had him on another ship as CD. He has lost a significant amount of weight and looks very attractive. He is still quite amusing. Enough said.
De-embarkation - For the first time I allowed the guys to take my bags the night beore instead of self assist (Taking my own bags out the morning of departure). It was a smooth operation. I did not have to worry about people pushing, shoving and complaining because all the humans and suitcases in the hallway would not allow them to get out quickly enough. The only drawback for me is that we were not allowed to leave the ship until after 10:00. Had I dragged my bag, we would have been almost home by 10:00.
EXCURSION - Through Carnival I took the Merida Shopping Highlights and Rum Tasting. We observed the rum-making process and were taken into the courtyards of a hacienda and given samples of different wine. There was water in bottles available for those who did not drink (which would be me). We were shown different sites in the city of Merida and wheeled back to the ship in a timely manner.
The bus on which we road was owned by Carnival. It was immaculate. Air conditioned, and equipped with the cutest 19 or 20 year old Mayan-mixed guy I have ever seen.
In Summary: This was the best cruise I have had. I would give the ship a big thums up. The workers a big thumbs up. Overall I would probably rate this trip with 4.5 out of 5 stars. I would not give it a 5 simply because I am sure I overlooked something. I was having too much fun to be a true critic!