My wife and I just returned from our first cruise with Carnival. We have been on many cruises over the years and just love it. Somehow though we had never taken a trip with Carnival. So, we figured why not give it a try it is a lot cheaper and we will never know if we don't try.
We drove down the day before the cruise and actually stayed at the Hilton in Orlando for some reason. Bad Idea! I really did not like having to drive over the morning of the cruise. I much prefer to stay in the Cocoa Beach area. Anyway, we decided to try something new this cruise and not park at the pier. I was a little nervous, but it worked out great. We parked with Park n' Cruise and thought that they did a great job at a fair price. The shuttle ride over to the ship was about a five minute ride and painless. Upon disembarking the ship they were there waiting on us. Pretty good for $6.99 a day. I will definitely do it again.
There were lines out of the terminal when we arrived and I thought it would take forever to get on board, but I was wrong. They really did a great job and we were on-board in 20 minutes.
First off not to sound like a snob, but there are many people on this cruise that need to learn some etiquette. I have been on many cruises and you get them on all of them but not quite like this. So if that bothers you don't go on this cruise. I choose to look over it and enjoy my vacation.
I was not sure what to think of the ship as I much prefer the more traditional feel, but it was not as overwhelming as I thought it might be. We made our way to the Gathering for lunch and it was packed! We manged to find a place to sit and get a quick lunch before heading to our stateroom.
The stateroom left a little to be desired and was really bare. However it was everything you really need. It was the first ship I have been on in quite some time to have a shower curtain rather than a sliding door of some kind but no biggie. I guess really the room was fine just really plain.
Many people had told me that the food would not be up to par with some of the other cruise lines I had been on, but I really enjoyed it. It was not the best ever but no complaints here. Breakfast at the Gathering was just your typical fare. There was nothing really great nor bad about it. They had many options available at lunch. The pasta bar was very good and a nice idea and the burgers and hot dogs by the pool were quite good as well. When open I always opt for the dining room at lunch. It was very good and gives you a chance to meet some new people. We had dinner in the Scarlet Dining room every night and really enjoyed it. We were at a table for eight but rarely did more than two others show up. Our waiter, Carlos was great and took very good care of us.
The entertainment was non stop on this cruise and I am not really one for going to all the production shows, but went to a few with Dancing in the Streets being the best. My favorite part of the cruise, other than eating or course, was the Burgundy Lounge. This is the new comedy club on this class ship at it is great. We tried to make it to as many shows here as possible and I highly recommend it. Do get there early though it fills up quickly. Also, Jeff the Fun Dude does a great job here. Oh and check out the Fun Force dancers. They are amazing.
The open deck area of the ship is nice, but compared to RCCL and Celebrity its not even close. The pools are way to small for the size of the ship. Good news though I never had a problem finding a chair in the shade our sun.
As far as the ports go, I did not really do anything at any of them. We had been to them all before and just either stayed on the ship or got off and walked a little then returned to the ship.
Well, I went on this cruise thinking I might be disappointed but was not. It was not the best cruise I have ever been on and far from the worst. I am glad that I finally gave Carnival a chance. There are things that are different and I expected it for what you pay, but it is what you make it. I would definitely cruise with them again if the price is right!