We just got back from our 13th cruise. Our 6th with Carnival. We enjoyed the cruise, we always do, however this was not our favorite to say the least.
Embarkment... Oh my heavens. When others have complained about the mess involved with getting on this ship we tried to take it with a grain of salt. However this was the worst experience ever. We stayed the night on the Queen Mary the night before. So since they allow us to check in at 9:30 and get our Zone number we thought this would be easy to get on board. We were so wrong. We were told to go to the waiting area at 11:30. We stood around... only a few chairs so you had to stand ... then after about 45 minutes or so we were walked over to the front entrance of the dome. There it got very messy. As we walked over to the dome the check in line was horribly long. I felt so sorry for the people who would be in that line for ages. Also when we got to the dome we we all jammed together waiting to get in. Everyone working for Carnival were trying to shout above the crowd. No one could hear anything. People were getting dropped off and getting in line behind us not knowing they needed to check in at the Queen Mary. Not just a few people but many. A Lot of people in wheelchairs and walkers. It was terrible. Once we finally got in the building we see all these new check in areas not being used. Have no idea why. It would have made the process much easier to have all of those check in areas. Again the carnival staff were barking orders like we were in the army. The escalator was broken so everyone had to walk of up stairs with their carry on items. Once you finally reached the top there again was a carnival staff barking orders not to stop but keep walking. The poor lady in front of us was huffing and puffing and my husband had to help her up the stairs. However... she was ordered not to stop and catch her breath and to just keep moving. I could not believe the confusion and frustration.
I know I will never go out of this port again. I would not put myself and my traveling companions through it again.
Cabins: We were in 1255. The cabin size is great. A little wider then the normal cabin and it does make a difference. I would not recommend this cabin because it is over a access door that is used during tendering. You can hear the equipment squeaking and scraping all night long. Thank goodness for ear plugs. Our room steward was not exceptional but did his job and was friendly.
Our dining staff were all great. Lots of fun and were good at their job. However... the food was poor. I had read that people were unhappy with food. I again thought people were overreacting... well the reports of the food were right on. It has really gone down hill over the years. Presentation is terrible, and really the choices were limited. Both the dining room and the buffet was really poor. We did not even go to dinner two of the nights. It just wasn't worth it. We ordered sandwiches from room service and enjoyed them more. Now I am not a picky eater. Give me a steak and potatoes and I am happy. The side dishes however were a joke. They were served in tiny dishes. About 4 spoon fulls and you were done.
The Staff: We felt the staff on board were all very very friendly and helpful. Much friendlier then many of the ships we have been on.
Cruise Director: This is the first cruise that we had felt we didn't even need a cruise director. It seems he was only around to introduce the shows. We found his humor off and not funny at all. We really never saw him around the ship at all.
The ports are getting boring... Puerta Vallarta was nice. Cabo was really not a port that we wanted to have to spend 2 days in. It would be nice to have a different port option.
So... even though there were some things that did not go well it was still a good cruise. Can't say we have ever had a bad one.