I have taken many Carnival cruises over the years including sailing twice previously on the Victory. I am therefore fully acquainted with the Carnival formula.
I can't think of a better way to spend New Year's Eve than on a cruise ship and once again Carnival delivered the goods. Well done!
The itinerary is superb, the weather was perfect the whole time and sailing from San Juan takes away the risk of the first and last sea days being cold which at this time of the year happens with sailings from Florida and the gulf coast.
There were some matters of serious concern. On the first night there was open sitting until 8-30pm in the MDRs. We lined up at 8-15pm but ten minutes later we were told to go away because the MDR is closing and that if we wanted to be fed we would have to go to the Lido that was serving the same menu. The Lido restaurant was a scrum with incredible long lines and of course it wasn't serving the same food as the MDR. We enjoy having a formal sit down dinner and to be denied this and for the Assistant Maitre'D to lie to us saying the food in cafe was the same as the MDR was disappointing.
The following matter is of much greater concern for the safety and well being of passengers. The cruise director had assembled a posse of line dance followers during the cruise. For some reason he would bring them to the casino every evening to block off the main walkway leading from the theatre to the other deck five showrooms and restaurants. This is a very, very busy walkway. The result was that walkers found their access blocked by line dancers. This is very dangerous from a health and saftety perspective and in the event of an incident could lead to people being knocked over or worse. These blockages also caused the tempers of obstructed walkers to be raised. I cannot think endangering passengers is a new Carnival policy so I can only think it is maverick conduct by the cruise director who's ego was clearly massaged by fifty line dancers in a cramped space in a way it wouldn't be if those line dancers were in a showroom or on the Lido deck.
The Lido buffet jiust cannot accommodate the number of passengers on board, there are long lines at all stations from first thing in the morning until early evening even on port days. The service in the MDR was good though