My first impression of the ship was really positive although the décor is still “over the top” Carnival, but it did not distract from our enjoyment of the cruise.
On the first day there were crew members all over the ship who wore “Ask Me” t-shirts and who were busy helping cruisers find their way around the ship. I thought that was a great addition to the cruise experience as this was our 4th Carnival cruise and we still had a few questions!
I found the staff/crew to be very friendly, responsive to my needs and motivated to please the guests; I give them an A+ and I’m impressed how well everything went. I never saw long lines anywhere, not even in front of the Purser’s desk.
70% of passengers were North Americans, 30% a mixture of Europeans (mostly UK) and 10% Asian. There were 1100 passengers under the age of 21 on our sailing, lots of kids, teens, families. There were also some older cruisers, but the overall impression was young and very active. I didn't ask how many passengers were on board, but the ship probably exceeded its full capacity (of 3646) which is based on a 2 per cabin occupancy, lots of cabins had 3 and 4, so my guess is there were close to 4000 passengers on board. Yet it never felt “crowded”, I never had a hard time getting into something I wanted to do, I didn’t line up for more than a couple of minutes at any time.
Because there were so many young people on board Sports Square was usually busy and we had fun there. The Splash Zone and slides were great, the ropes course was not scary at all.
Lido Food: first thing we ate on the ship was a Chèvre pizza, YUMMMM! I enjoyed the and husband loved the Deli. I am not a fan of buffets in general but the Magic buffet was actually really good! I had some Boston fish that was so tender and flakey, it was amazing. Actually I enjoyed everything, I didn’t find anything that looked tired or dry or overcooked.
Breakfast on the Lido was great, made-to-order omelets in at least two areas (not a lot of wait), really good stuffed French Toast, really tasty fruit, plenty of bacon and sausages, I enjoyed the coffee (I’m not picky, my husband is and he went to the coffee bar a few times), good juices, it was all good. I heard you could get ready to order waffles but didn’t see it on the Lido. Then on the last day of the cruise I saw it: you can get fresh waffles on Deck 5 right by the coffee and cake area. Will try that next time.
The dining room was wonderful as always, we had Your Time Dining and I love how you can just show up, no need to reserve, you just show up when you’re ready. With RCI they wanted us to reserve a time that could be different every day, but we still had to reserve. I prefer how Carnival does it. We never waited at all other than on formal night. I think that food quality is as good or better than ever.
Our cabin was #10251, an inside on the Lido deck (underneath the slides), it was a great location within 30 steps of the main pool yet quiet at all times. And we had a great steward who was really kind to us. I think another great cabin location on this particular ship would be deck 5, the Lanai, as there are several whirlpools there as well as bars, open deck all around, plenty of places to sit and lie, yet much quieter than the Lido.
Quad cabins are very crammed and closet space was tight, do pack light! I hit my head on one of the upper bunks so many times I think a bike helmet might have been wise. But the bedding was really comfortable, sheets soft and pleasant, bathroom space adequate, and water pressure WONDERFUL. Temperature control worked well, both for water and air. As always air ventilation was outstanding, you could do a stinky in the bathroom and within 3mn the smell was all gone, and that’s in an inside cabin!
All entertainment and announcements were in English-only. John Heald was our Cruise Director and he was outstanding, warm and caring.
Since we were on a port-intensive European cruise we didn’t go out every night and we did not attend all of the shows, but we really liked two of them: Claire Gobin (classical violinist who played with the band) and Steve Rawlings (physical comedy and juggler). They were both great because their shows were fresh and new and the kept us on the edges of our seats. We did not like the magic show very much (Destination Unknown), same old-same old.
We very much enjoyed the comedians in the Spotlight Lounge—watch out virgin ears! They don’t censor themselves in the adult show and they do cater to an American audience, which is mostly who they had. I particularly LOVED the Karaoke with the band, it’s too bad they only do it once on the first night of the cruise when everyone is jetlagged and not in the mood yet. Mark who hosts in that lounge was great.
There is a very nice gym on the ship as well as a mediocre outdoor gym on the Lido deck. It was crowded at times, but we managed. Overall we found most passengers were active and average age was pretty low. We did not use spa services.
We had a great time on this cruise, would do it again in a heartbeat and got home relaxed and missing all the services. We look forward to our next cruise!