Before I went on this cruise I read the reviews and pretty much discounted the negative ones to being written by negative people. But since going on the cruise, I now believe those reviews to be accurate. I'm an optimistic, upbeat person, but this cruise really tried me. I wanted to come home after the second day and the longer we were on the ship the more depressed hubby and I got. The last few days of the cruise we spent sleeping between breakfast, lunch and dinner. Didn't want to venture out of our cabin. Perhaps you'll understand after you read about our experience.
First, the things we liked -â€" the stateroom, the bed, the cabin steward, the spa, our dinner companions, the desserts, the wait staff, the lobby, the comedian, the Serenity Deck and luggage express.
Now for what we didn't like. After we arrived at Orlando Airport, we had a 1 Â½ hour wait for the Carnival transfer bus to leave for the ship. When we arrived More
at the cruise terminal, there were lines a mile long. We were given a notice while we waited in line stating that we would not be going to Nassau because of a weather advisory and would be refunded a little over $1 each for Nassau port charges. Yippee! (Later in the cruise they upped the amount to $20 each.) After we finally went through security, we had to wait in another huge line to check in. Once inside the ship, it was nearly impossible to get an elevator as they were being used for luggage delivery. All I wanted at that point was a drink, but couldn't even find a bar.
The next morning we went to the buffet for breakfast and were startled by the long (understatement) line. I have always found Carnival's food to be wonderful, but not on this ship. I would give it a 3 on a 10 point scale. Very limited food offerings and it was the same every day. The coffee wasn't even drinkable -â€" very, very bitter. One morning I found a black hair on my plate. And once my husband even got curdled chocolate milk. Lunch was the same experience. When you read about the dining options on this cruise it looks like a lot, but the various dining venues, i.e. Mongolian Wok, are merely cafeteria lines. Dinner was usually the highlight of the day because we had such nice dinner companions (a couple from Michigan) and the wait staff was excellent. The food choices were OK, but very limited. Very small portions and the meat was tough. The presentation was very nice, though.
We went to the shore excursion desk and purchased an excursion in St. Thomas. When we got back to our cabin I noticed they gave us the wrong excursion. I am sure it was a bait and switch because the person who sold it to us knew exactly which excursion we wanted. So we had to go back and were told the one we wanted was sold out. We were disappointed and got a refund.
I had been to St. Thomas in 1985 and it was very beautiful then, but it looks nothing like it did -â€" shoddy with nothing but shop after shop. St. Maarten was more of the same. Lots and lots of walking to the boardwalk only to see junky shops. We were not impressed with either port.
One of the things I like on cruises is the slots, but not on this ship. Everything is now done with your sail and sign card. There is no actual money involved. I used to like seeing and hearing the coins drop. And now if my balance fell under $10, I had to add another $10 to keep on playing. It wasn't fun -â€" another disappointment -- and I only played a few times.
Other things that happened: One evening a cabin steward knocked on our door after we had gone to sleep only to deliver a bottle of water we didn't order and the charge appeared on our statement. The next day we had to go to Guest Services to have it removed.
I did a lot of research before choosing our stateroom (including an interactive deck map), but somehow there were treadmills above us and we would hear thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump when the fitness center was open 6am-10pm. We complained about it and Carnival did give us a small refund.
We had a spa stateroom which was supposed to be a smoke free area (which is why we booked it), however, nearly every time we went out on the balcony we could smell cigarette smoke, but couldn't tell where it was coming from. I told Guest Services, but nothing was done. Also, on three different days someone threw a dirty rag on our balcony.
There were over 4,000 people on this ship and it isn't just my opinion, but many were extremely rude and pushy. One woman actually dived to get in front of me. Trying to get from point A to point B without someone ramming into you was impossible. We found it was too much of a hassle to venture outside our stateroom between the busy elevators, rude people and long lines EVERYWHERE. It was a very expensive way to get our sleep (between the thump thump thumps).
We both lost weight on this cruise -- and we both returned home with a sore throat/cold.
Not surprisingly, we don't plan to take another cruise. You can quote me on that! Less
Had a spa stateroom w/balcony -- supposed to be smoke free (the reason we booked it), but there was usually the smell of cigarette smoke on the balcony.
Above the fitness center. Constant thumping from the treadmill.