Our family of four decided to spend Christmas on a three day cruise this year. Our son would have just turned 21 and it would be the first time he could enjoy a DOD! Although it was quite expensive we booked a Grand Suite as our Christmas present to the family. About a week or two prior to our cruise I was contacted by Carnival and asked if we would like to upgrade to the Owners Suite after some discussion we went for it, after all it was Christmas and it might be a once in a lifetime opportunity.
We arrived at the port early, who can wait to get on the ship? Because the owners suites aren't on all of the ships the VIP area was having trouble printing our key cards. After several attempt the agent we were working with escorted us onto the ship and made sure the keys were printed and that we set. She was very pleasant and went out of her way to help us. Just what I have come to expect from Carnival. Once we got on the ship we went to our suite and were blown away. It was so much more than we had expected. We had a seating area with a couch that made into a double bed and chairs that made into a single bed, this made the kids happy since they wouldn't need to share a bed. The bed room was also quite large with a flat screen T.V. and a recliner as well as a large bed. There was a walk-in closet with plenty of hangers, two sinks in the vanity area and a jacuzzi tub and toilet in a separate room, and lots of power outlets!!! We were very happy we had splurged for this special cruise. Mark our steward was very pleasant and efficient making sure we had everything we needed.
We had lunch from the deli and then spent sometime wandering the ship.
We had chosen the anytime dinning for this cruise, it would be our first experience with anytime dinning. The first night our waiter introduced himself to us and was friendly and helpful and the bar service was good although the food selections were disappointing as were the portions.
The next morning we decided to eat on the Lido deck, our son had been looking forward to the omelet station. We then got ready and headed into Ensenada where did a little shopping, had a few drinks and some lunch then headed back to the ship.
That night was formal night, so we all got ready and headed down to the dinning room. Unfortunately the service wasn't what it had been the previous night I have no idea what our servers name was, or who was supposed to be her assistant waiter. I felt like I was more of a responsibility than I was a guest, although I could see she was quite busy, that isn't an excuse for rudeness. I was disappointed in the food also, if the lobsters get any smaller they will need to call them Langostinos! My daughter and I went to the 10:00 pm comedy show which we enjoyed, she went on to the casino and I went back to our room.
Christmas morning after seeing what Santa had brought we had breakfast in the dinning room. Once again we received the wonderful service we are used to on Carnival our waiter and his assistant both introduced themselves wishing us a Merry Christmas. We had a full table that morning and really enjoyed our fellow guests and our servers.
We spent Christmas day relaxing and enjoying our family, my daughter and I went to the sauna. We decided to order room service for lunch, after calling in the order we waited well over an hour before I called to see what the problem was, it was another 20 minutes before our food arrived. It would have been nice if when I placed our order they had mentioned that they were backed up and it was going to take along time.
Dinner that night was even worse than the previous night, the service was slow, the portions were small and the quality was poor, my husbands Filet was over cooked and not even the size of a hockey puck. The only bright spot in our evening was our hostess,she was friendly and made us feel welcome as we waited for our food we watched as she sat other guest making them feel just as welcome has she had made us. Our last night on the ship was spent packing our bags and cashing out our players bank, the kids went back to the comedy club and my DH and I relaxed in the cabin, we spent a lot more time in our cabin since it was so nice.
The next morning we once again went to the Dining room for breakfast, this time we were seated at a table by ourselves, the dining room wasn't overly busy but the service was worse than ever. After waiting over 20 minutes for our orange juice, which was sitting at the serves counter, my husband requested it again and was told by the server that we were the fourth table and he would get to us. I waited tables for years and often had up to six tables at a time, there is no excuse for taking that long to pour juice, and you never talk back to a guest, you apologize and do what the ask.
It may not sound like it but I am a loyal Carnival Cruiser, it is the only cruise line I have ever cruised with. One of the reasons I love Carnival is that they have such wonderful crews. Even this cruise, other than in the dinning room, everyone was great, very friendly and helpful. I don't know if it was the anytime dining that was the problem or what but I was very disappointed in the wait staff. As for the food, over the years it seems to have gone down hill the portions and the quality aren't what they used to be. Not only do they need to have new items but they need to be quality items. We tried the alligator fritters, there was meat in them? they were more like hush puppies. I am afraid that if Carnival doesn't improve the quality of the food in the dining rooms it will start to loose guests.