This is not our first cruise, and my husband and I have sailed with Carnival, Celebrity and Princess. I was not going to write a review, but I got tired of the negative comments directed at Carnival. I am a former Travel Agent and although I have not been on 50 cruises like some fortunate people, travel was my business and I have a lot of experience in the cruise Industry, that being said this is only my opinion just like everyone else's. I find it very sad that people love to bash carnival when quite honestly one has to think is it just because they are rude people and find negatives in everything. Firstly I don't particularly like Celebrity, but I know many people who do, so I would never say anything negative about them. Okay lets get to the cruise.
We sailed on the September 25th, 12 day cruise out of Barcelona. This is an extremely port intensive cruise, and yes the excursions are 10 to 12 hours long depending on what you want to see, with an extreme amount of walking, but to bash Carnival for trying to give people a chance to see as much as possible is ridiculous. Obviously some excursions are not for people with walking difficulties especially in Naples and Rome if you do Rome at its Best and in Naples if you choose Pompeii, Capri and Sorrento. These tours are extremely tiring and very well organized, but people need to keep in mind that for older people with walking difficulties they need to choose something else, which unfortunately many people did not and it made some of these tours difficult, because people got mad when they could not keep up, this is not Carnivals fault, people need to book excursions to their level of fitness.
I read many previous reviews on how expensive Carnivals shore excursions are, and yes they are pricey and they are also the same rate every other cruise line is charging. I would highly recommend using Carnivals excursions, because all the hassle is taken away from you and Carnival is highly organized at handling so many passengers. You never have to worry about being left if something unforeseen happens and yes sometimes the itinerary is changed due to strikes or weather, this is not Carnivals fault, and to listen to people complain and want their money back is unbelievable, unfortunate things happen on cruises everywhere and on every cruise line.
My husband and I met a lot of wonderful people on this cruise and hopefully will be able to continue those new relationships. That being said YES there was many rude people on this cruise, I don't know why and I will not say which nationalities I thought might be the cause, but to blame peoples ignorant attitude on Carnival is also ridiculous.
We had the pleasure of trying out all types of food on this ship, and we were not pleasantly surprised, it was what we expected on Carnival. Other reviews said the food was disgusting and that they felt sorry for people who thought it was good, that there must be something wrong with them. Well I have ate at 5 star restaurants and I have ate at dumpy burger joints, I am not and idiot and I know good food when I eat it. Carnival has great food are some things better then others of course. But the hamburgers don't sit for a week, they are grilled fresh in front of you. The steak house has an amazing atmosphere and great great food, if memory serves me I do believe that Cruise Critic says that Carnivals steak house is one of the best!!! They are right. The Italian restaurant is absolutely delicious and the service amazing. Our dining room service was never slow, the food never cold, and everything was very good, if you didn't like something all you had to do was ask for something else and they will bring it to you. The lido deck buffet has the best selection for food that I have seen and the choices are endless and the food is great there, especially considering how many people they are feeding. The deli sandwiches are fantastic.
My husband had the pizza and thought is was quite good as well. We also enjoyed the Red Frog and for a very minimal charge, you get a lot of yummy finger food.
The ship is spotless and beautiful and it should be, it is only 6 months old. The employees work endlessly to keep it that way as well. Is the ships decor to every-one's taste maybe not, but why criticize it, obviously some people think it is beautiful, and there is many many beautiful places on this ship, the adults only sanctuary, all the pool areas. The restaurants, the soaring atrium, just to name a few.
Our cabin was fantastic, we had the premium vista balcony, with a huge balcony, but there was a lot of room in our cabin as well, plenty of space for our clothes, 3 closets attached together and under the bed we could fit all our luggage, which included 3 large suitcases and 2 carry-on cases. Is the bathroom small, I guess if you compare it to your own at home, but it is very functional, and we had no problems, if the bathroom is to small, book a suite. We had room service every morning and excellent service, the coffee my husband mentioned is not great, it is much better in the dining room and on the lido deck.
Embarkation and Debarkation was a breeze from beginning to end, it just took as long to get on and off the ship as how fast you could walk. About 15-20 minutes to get on the ship and more or less to get off. And a very nice feature you don't have to worry about you luggage until you get to the airport, if you booked a transfer with Carnival.
I know this is a very long winded review and I just hope it helps anyone who is nervous after reading negative reviews, just take all reviews with a grain of salt including mine and enjoy your trip for the wonderful experience that it will be, if you just let it, enjoy!!!! WE DID!!!