This is a fantastic ship and if youve a family then there is something for everyone so lets keep this simple.
Waterpark - Fantastic for kids and adults with 2 x full size slides.
SkyCourse - Brilliant idea for kids to climb safely above the deck.
Sports square - Fully enclosed football and basketball court fantastic
Crazy golf - very fun
Gym and spa - Excellent
Northern lights - Food good buy on many nights queued 10 deep for a table.
Lido market place - Plentiful but sometimes bland
Del Capitano - Good service food average
Rib House - Good food and service
Indian, Deli, Burger bar and Pizza bar - excellent considering how many they have to make per day
Barcelona - Great city but need excursions
Monaco - Fabulous, you can walk from the ship directly into the town
Citivechia - Very industrial - need excursions
Livorno - Yuk!
Naples - Yuk! definitely need excursions
Dubrovnik - Beautiful, again you can walk from port to town
Venice - Majestic, and you can walk into town (dont bother with the water taxi or electric train)
Sicily - Mmmm...its ok but you need an excursion
Here's the catch...Carnival excursions are incredibly expensive. The average trip was between $150 -250 per person. For a family of four it was a major expense and all you really get is a coach laid on with a guide. They will try to scare you by saying that if youre not on these trips and are late back then the ship will sail without you.
We used the local taxi drivers who you simply agree a price with and they will look after you and only accept payment at the end of the day. We saved 75% on each trip!
Gratuities and Tips
Beware, this is not detailed enough. You will pay $10 per person per day. So a family of 4 sailing for 12 days = $480.
But it doesnt end there, everything you purchase (drinks, sweets even opening a water in your room) adds a 15% gratuity, by the end of the trip its immense.
We spoke to a member of staff and here's the deal - The staff do not receive any salary from Carnival (except a $75 a month retainer) gratuities and tips are actually their salaries. You are pretty much obliged to pay this fee. In the UK, a Tip is classed as a reward over and above their salary for good service and you choose to pay it or not. Beware this gets expensive.
Tricky one this as I know they need to get the ship ready quickly for the next set of people, however, from 5.45am they repeat constant tannoy announcements advising you to leave the ship as taxi's are hard to get, theres another ship docking and you dont want to be caught in the mad rush.
Every 15 mins they tell you this and remind you its better to leave early.
personally, this is my final thought from what was a brilliant cruise. I got the feeling of...'We've had youre money now get off'. A more civilised exit would of ended the holiday nicely.
Overall 8 outa 10 just beware the costs