This was our 11th cruise and 2nd with Carnival. The first did not go so well with Carnival, so we decided to give it a second chance. We by no means are cruising experts, but do know a few things after 11 jaunts with various cruise lines. Let's just say I should have gone with my gut and avoided this cruise at all cost. Specifically, without going into a dissertation, I will cover what happened to my family on this trip: The boarding process was slow and quite unorganized at the Port of New York. I would estimate it took about a half-hour longer than my last cruise with a different company.
The ship appeared to be clean upon boarding and everything tidy and in order. Our room was in good shape and very clean. Room was a standard balcony room comparable to every other cruise line we have used. The bathroom was clean and showers on this cruise rocked! I have never seen a shower this good on ANY other cruise line. This is where I stop the Kudos, because the rest is marginal at best. The dining room experience left a lot to be desired. Drinks were slow, steaks were overcooked and tough, menu resembled our local Applebee's. Dirty plates not cleared and it was very apparent that staff had been cut due to the economy. The expected service was not there and reminded me of why I always refer to this cruise line as the "Wal-Mart" of cruising. Seemed to me that everything was on the cheap and just not up to par, but many folks did enjoy the ship. We are used to superior service, awesome food, and fun activities. The buffet was AWFUL. This was the worst part of our cruise. Plates dirty, no one to clear dirty trays and clean tables, selection just simply shameful, and the lines not worth it. We did the "Mexican Buffet" at midnight one night and the only selection from Mexico I saw was salsa. Sad, very sad.
Getting off the ship was very unorganized and took longer than necessary, with many folks getting stuffed into the theatre waiting for the carnival to call out number to leave. We did not have a bad time, but it was not good either. This sealed the deal for us and we will never, ever return to Carnival Cruise Lines. The best part of the cruise was the money I won in the casino to help defray the cost of this junket.
We are returning to RCCL in the fall and will enjoy our Diamond Member status. It was like night and day the difference between carnival and RCCL with Royal winning by a large number. However, not all was bad, so please do not read this as a total slam, as it is only our honest opinion...The kids program was awesome, casino just fine, and 75% of the customer service good. The spa was up to snuff and the nightly entertainment was just OK. Overall a solid C for our grade