First off, I would like to start this review with telling everyone not to listen to the old, grumpy, and stuck up snobs that have nothing better to do than complain about every little thing that might go wrong and try to make everyone else miserable, rather than enjoy their time on a trip of a lifetime. These cruises don't cost that much at all and you're going on them to get away from everyday life, have a good time, and relax for a little bit instead of spending every day of your life working and being stressed out.
This was my second cruise I had ever been on. First cruise was back in 2004 on Royal Caribbean when I was in high school. At the time of this cruise, I was 23 years old and I took my 20 year old girlfriend. My best friend from elementary, middle, and high school also went with us, who was also 23, along with his 26 year old girlfriend. None of them had ever been on a cruise before. I could go on forever talking about how much fun we had on this cruise and how it was probably one of the best times of our lives.
Surprisingly, this was not bad at all. The entire time we were driving to Miami, I kept thinking this was going to be an extremely long and drawn out process because everyone is going to be trying to get on this ship at the same time and was dreading waiting in long lines. However, it was nothing like that. We walked into the port and found that there was hardly even a line. We walked right up and were called over by a female attendant, who was extremely friendly and made it a point to keep us smiling and laughing the whole time. We were on the ship in less than 15 minutes, enjoying the decor and puerto rican music that they had playing with a live band on the Lido Deck. We chose the Debarkation process, which allowed us to carry our own luggage off the ship on the last day and it couldn't have gone any smoother. We were off the ship in probably 15-20 minutes max.
Unbelievable! we could not walk past a staff member on this ship without them stopping what they were doing and greeting us and asking if there was anything we needed. Our room steward was amazing and couldn't have done a better job. Every morning when we woke up, he was in the hallway cleaning other rooms and would always greet us with a smile and a "good morning!". When we would come back from breakfast to get ready to get off the ship for a day on the beach, our room was already clean! That is service you won't find in many other places!
Our waiters in the dining room were awesome as well. By the second night at dinner, our waiters and waitresses had our names memorized and knew exactly what we wanted to drink and even remembered how much we loved the chocolate lava cake and asked if we wanted to have another. We were so amazed by his memorization of everything and every one's names, that we decided one of the times to mix everything up and we all sat in different positions. To our amazement, our waiter approached to table to greet us and GOT ALL OF OUR NAMES CORRECT as he was passing out our napkins, silverware, and EXACTLY what we always ordered to drink! Not to mention, the food was phenomenal! They even took the time to get a picture with us on the last night and to thank us for being there and letting him serve us. We definitely left them an extra tip at the end of this trip!
The first day we boarded this ship and went to the Lido Deck, we were approached by one of the roving bartenders and asked if we would all like something to drink. Of course, we ordered a drink and he went on his way. Because of how friendly and bubbly this guy was, we made it a point that anytime we wanted an alcoholic drink, we found him and made sure he got the sale. By the end of that night, anytime he saw us, he would smile really big, come up and shake our hands and ask how our cruise was going. He would ask if we wanted anything and if we did, he made sure we got it and if we weren't in the mood at that moment, he would still smile and tell us to just let him know when we were ready. One of the nights we went to a comedy show and saw this same bartender roving around with drinks at the show. He saw us, remembered us, and made it a point to come say hello and he actually sat and talked to us for a while. I didn't ever feel like they were pushy at all and them, along with all the other staff members, just did what they had to in order to make you feel comfortable.
Luckily, with our cruise, everyone seemed to be in a great mood and were always really friendly and fun to talk to. We met a father and his younger son in the hot tub one night and talked for hours! We were constantly meeting new people and when we would see them out on the island or around the ship at night, they would always smile and ask how we were doing. Felt good that you could be so far away from home and thrown in with thousands of people you don't even know, but have such a good time with them.
WOW! from the moment we stepped on this ship, we couldn't believe anything we saw. The atrium was beautiful, the rooms were spacious and quiet, the pool deck was relaxing, and there were constantly employees running around the ship cleaning. I never found a dirty part of this ship. I did see where there was some wear and tear though, such as the long strand of lights that go across the Lido deck at night and some other small defects, but who cares? Nothing is going to be absolutely PERFECT, but you have to be able to enjoy having the opportunity to go on a vacation like this.
The shows were very good! We didn't go see a whole lot of shows, but we did go see our Fun Ship guy speak several times and saw a few of the comedy shows, which were absolutely hilarious!
I would recommend Carnival Cruise Lines to anyone who asks! The ship was beautiful, the staff were friendly and helpful, and the overall vacation was something that myself, my girlfriend (who is now my fiance!), and my friends will never forget. None of us were ready to Debark the ship after 7 days and actually, asked one of the staff members on our way out, which way we need to go to get back on because we had a great time! If you ever have a chance to go on a cruise, don't hesitate to choose Carnival just because of the whiny people you see posting comments on this site. Think about it, some of these people say "this is my 20th cruise with Carnival and this is the first time I have ever had trouble and I will never be back!" come on people, if you've been on 20 cruises with a company, somethings bound to go wrong at some point. Doesn't mean it's a bad cruise line. just means they're human too! nothing is always going to be perfect! If it is, good for you!