There is a 15% gratuity at the end if you don't pay ahead of time, if you dare to go on this cruise, pre-pay. Some lady got a 200.00 US bill.
The soda stickers for the kids were ok except when you dine in the dining rooms. The staff either 'forgets' to bring their drinks or refills or are very slow about it.
No cocktail sauce in the floating Old Country Buffet on the Lido (10) deck for your shrimp. If you ask staff they are already dismissing you as they walk away answering your question "whatever is on the menu".
The 15% gratuity is divided EQUALLY among the staff whether they smile, are helpful, or don't give a darn. I think that's a problem. We tip well, but not when we are already tipping.
When asked at the pool if I'd like a cocktail, I politely said "No, but I would like an iced tea" - I was directed to the Lido (Tiffany's i.e. Old Country Buffet). The staff are CONSTANTLY pushing alcohol which is expensive.
70% of the other cruisers had the more is more mentality. Piling up three plates of food, pushing at the buffet, stacking their trays and dirty dishes and food in the hallways where the sleeping quarters were + Kids running in the hall with nothing to do = mess in the halls.
Kids Club: Expect to wait in line to get your little darling signed up. The kids itinerary did not match up on 'the list', so we wasted time trying to find out where it was, only to be told there was nothing. It was a Carnival issue. Oh, and did I mention no one gives a darn? After 10:00 p.m. it's 6.75 US an hour.
Ping pong: Get your paddles and ball at the pool on the Lido deck. We wasted 1 hour waiting at the table for a break and had no idea. They want that all precious card number in case you fail to return your paddles and ball.
Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner in the dining rooms; expect to be seated with strangers if you have a small party. It's convenient for Carnival to keep all their guests in one area so they aren't burdened. Usually, I'm pretty open to meeting new people, but when the customer service is lousy, and you're sailing with more/more mentality, I was not at my best and didn't feel like putting on nice-nice and meet others. Ask to be seated by the window, and if it suits them they'll comply. We tried joining others in our group at a large table when other diners had already left, and that was too much since everyone else was "almost done dining". It was in the Imagination Dining Room and her name started with an "A" and she was a Junior something or other. SHE WILL tell you where you can sit.
You may as well hang your Carnival card around your neck, you'll need it for everything. You get receipts, so save them and see how much you've spent every day. They won't tell you till it's over.
Comedy show was ok. We went to the R rated one without younger children. Todd someone or other was performing.
Tommy the guitar player was good. He was at the Drama Bar and Jekyl and Hyde. He was also Tommy the 'sign in guy' at the over-priced art auction.
You'll get your picture taken often, and for 9.99 you can own the photo. If you have kids, the emotional ploy of NOT buying 25-30 photos at 9.99 is a real bummer for them, and the parents as well.
The food in the dining rooms was 'ok'. The lobster was good, the crabcakes were not. The chocolate melting cake is by far the best dessert on their menu. The pumpkin pie was sad. The Indian pumpkin soup was good.
Customer Service: The housekeeping staff cleaned our room three times a day. Unnecessary, but they were by far the nicest on board and get paid the least. We tipped ours at the end of our trip. We also kept the snoozing sign on our door to keep them out. Once a day is enough.
Room safe: Use your Carnival Card to lock and unlock. The directions are wrong.
Asking Staff for Help: Asked a staff member to be directed to a ship phone _ my exact question "is there a phone in there" to which the reply was "no", with the dismissive continued walk. Again, the staff does NOT care if you are happy, sad, or indifferent.
They layout of the ship was like a counter intuitive habit-trail.
We will never cruise Carnival again. The guest is not important, but your dollar is!