Our family has taken numerous cruises on almost every cruise line over the past 12 years. After my father past away last August, my 81 year old mother still was hoping to enjoy cruising. Since my dad had been sick, she had not been cruising for 3 1/2 years, so my sister, mom and I decided to try a short, easy cruise to see how she would do. We live driving distance from Los Angeles and have been on this particular cruise twice before and since Carnival is the only one that does this cruise now, chose Carnival. We had heard from others about Carnival being a "party" cruise line with younger crowds and many younger families so we tried to pick the earliest week in June before all kids were out of school and vacationing with their families.
The GOOD things: very nice cabin- chose a Grand Suite with a balcony. There are only approx 24cabins with balcony and I believe they are all Grand Suites. They sleep 4 so we all had our own beds which were very comfortable. The only negative is the shower, which seemed to almost flood the bathroom each time we showered. The food was very good, no complaints there. The staff was extremely friendly and helpful. They were very good about cleaning up our dishes quickly after we ate.
The BAD things: way too many unsupervised younger (pre teen) children. With a really good children's program, I really don't understand why this should be. I have two children and 2 grandchildren, so I am used to being around kids and am used to noise and I work at a school. We repeatedly had children running down the halls at all hours of the night. One day we went to see the movie. There were 1/2 dozen children running in and out and jumping over the lounge couches during the entire movie. The mother did come in once and check on them, but did not stay more than 5 minutes. The last night, we tried to take our mom up one of the atrium elevators (there are two but only one worked the entire cruise) and when the door opened, there were 4 children screaming and sitting and laying on the floor laughing and just joyriding the elevator up and down. There was staff who noticed, but said nothing. In fact, I never saw anyone from the staff say a thing to any of the children who were misbehaving and causing a lot of racket. Because we were with our elderly mother, we tried to stay at the quieter parts of the ship.
The ship is older and therefore is showing some wear. It was refurbished about 6 years ago. Some of the activities seemed a little unorganized and compared to other lines we have been on, the shopping is quite limited perhaps because of it being an older ship and less room for shops.
My sister and I had massages and the massage therapist was excellent. However, the room is beneath the jogging track and golf putting so there was constant thudding on the roof of the room-hardly relaxing. The walls were thin and you could hear talking from the room next door over the supposed to be soothing music she had playing.
The price was rather expensive for a short 4 day cruise, but this cruise looked to fit our needs so that is why we chose it. We had to have a cabin big enough for three separate beds.
If you have children-young or older, or don't mind unsupervised children running around, this is a
great cruise for you. If you are older with no children, be warned that you may have the same problems that we did. Catalina Island was great...we rented a golf cart and had a great time sightseeing around the island. It's a beautiful place and the golf cart was an ideal way to see it all!
We have decided that we will not choose Carnival again...I can only imagine what this cruise is like when it is primarily younger families with more children!