My husband and I are an older retired couple, and I use a scooter because I can't walk far or stand for long. We did a back to back out of Baltimore on the Carnival Pride. This was our first and second cruises on Carnival and on the Pride. we had never cruised with Carnival before but we love cruising out of Baltimore and we don't care for the Enchantment of the Seas which is the only other ship out of Baltimore at this time, and that's why we decided on Carnival.
Although the Bahamas itinerary is one of our least favorites, when we take a cruise we like it to be for more than a week so we tacked it on at the end of the Bermuda cruise because we do like Bermuda. Unfortunately our Bermuda cruise (for which I've written another review) was cut short, but the Bahamas cruise turned out nicer than I had expected.
The first reason we don't like Enchantment is the way the inside cabins are configured so that you can't get around the bed unless you separate it into two singles. Carnival wins on this count HANDS DOWN - one of the best inside cabins I've ever had with plenty of room to walk around the bed, plenty of storage area, and places in the bathroom to put medications, razors and other necessities.
I had heard that the decor on Carnival was a bit flashy, and indeed there was a lot of fake wood and columns and many Renaissance type paintings (many nudes) covering all available surfaces with never a fig leaf in sight. It didn't bother me (except that I kept trying to think what the original painting had been) Some of the copies were dreadful. I think the mother of a small outspoken boy child might have had a problem with it.
One of the things we missed was the opportunity to provide feedback to Carnival on our experience. So my husband wrote them a letter - this is part of it.
"1- The ship's ventilation in the stateroom was outstanding indicating attention to detail by the ship's engineering department
"2- The ship's crew members were always upbeat and cheerful and always made the cruises pleasant.
"3- Since my wife is mobility challenged and uses a scooter to move about the ship, she frequently had problems navigating the doorways especially to the outer deck areas. the small ramps provided at the doorways were too short and steep so that the scooter had to be lifted over the door sills. The only ramp that was adequate was located on Deck 2 for the final debarkation." [I would also add that the doors to the public rest rooms were extremely heavy and not handicapped accessible at all.]
"4- The ship's course progress on the TV was done on some strange graphics. Why not use a regular navigational chart which would provide some measure of detail of the nearby land masses?" [I would add that while the ship navigation channel was the worst I've seen, the bow and stern camera channels were excellent - the best I've seen]
5- He had some comment about the TV channel selection which didn't bother me. My comment is that I was annoyed that I could only see football via ESPN if I got dressed and went to the Sports Bar.
Another problem is that the closest bathroom to the restaurant is all the way over by the atrium - nothing close.
"6- The following crew member deserve 'special' notice because they performed their duties in an exemplary and professional manner, but they also provided a 'ray of sunshine"... [and then he listed]
"Ms Milana Dukic Restaurant Hostess..
"Ms Aragana Vitomirovic - Jr Hostess [and he writes "I had to wait about 5 minutes to get the spelling of her name because I think other passengers were trying to adopt her")
"Ms Ann Marie Mumfort - Guest Services (She provided excellent help with a lost credit card in Bermuda and with the back to back boarding between cruises)
"Mr Winston Rodriguez - Restaurant Waiter (provided help parking the scooter)
"Mr. I Gede and Mr Alex Nipas -housekeeping for our stateroom"
The other comments I must make are about the food. I had heard Carnival had better food than other mass market lines, but according to other cruisers who have previously had many Carnival cruises, this is no longer true.
I found the service in the dining room to be somewhat spotty although it wasn't terrible - it wasn't as good as Celebrity for instance. Also the cooking was very much hit or miss. Since we were on back to back cruises, we could re-order things we enjoyed. The escargot were fine the first time, but the second time they had a funny taste and I didn't eat more than one. Oysters Rockefeller was another example of this - one was good, the second was not. I had a Caesar salad once and it was dreadful - glops of mayo in it. French Onion soup - also bad.
They had a really strange way of doing cold soups. You got a plate with a little cube in it and they poured the soup part over it from a pitcher. This was OK for the fruit soups. It didn't work well for the spicy cold soups. The best thing to order would be the beef - the least complicated dishes were the best.
We always ate breakfast in the main restaurant. They always gave us cranberry juice when I asked for it even though it wasn't on the menu (Royal Caribbean tried to charge me bar prices for it).
I hated eating in the buffet which I had to do when the ship was in port because it is just impossible to do with a scooter unless you have help. I addressed this in my other review, but it was still true on this cruise. We ate in the dining room whenever possible.
Disembarkation was quite easy. We got off as close to last as we could. We did find a group of people who had stayed in the Comfort Inn and left their cars there, and then the Comfort Inn closed for renovations, and there was no shuttle to take them back to their cars. So, since we were the only ones going to the Country Inn and Suites, we (our driver) took them back to their cars on the way to where our car had been parked (for free).
This cruise exceeded expectations (except for the food)