Carnival makes it extremely easy to get onboard! A swipe of your passport and we were off to the get our card key at the next checkin. The staff was so happy and upbeat, you would have thought they were going on vacation with us!
Although the stateroom was larger then the last time we cruised (on another cruise line), the room was more then suitable. This room actually had room to put your suitcase on the floor. It contained a stool, chair and night table in addition to the double bed. The bathroom was "spacious" compared to our last experience and had a fashionable sink, with free samples and coupons in a bowl. The room and bathroom were very clean with decent linens and pillows. The in-room safe runs off your key card which was very convenient.
Food is where Carnival jumps to the front of the line. We did back to back cruises on this trip, so the difference in food quality was obvious (at least between NCL and Carnival). The buffet is very well laid out with little duplication. The dishes changed daily and the quality of food was excellent. We ate in the dining room a few times, but were always comfortable to go back to the buffet. The staff cleaned up the tables immediately to prohibit the birds from coming in for a "snack". This was more of a problem when we were in port, but the service was always delivered with a smile. The soft serve machine was 24 hours and offered both ice cream and yogurt. The only complaint I had with the food was the choice of baked goods. The variety was good, but they were lacking something.
As for the low points to this cruise: From the moment we boarded we were approached to buy something. Reminded me of being on the beach in Mexico! Everything from wine packages, photos, art, to drinks of the day.....someone wanted to sell me something! It got a little annoying after awhile, and by the third day it was not as much of an issue. The daily drink served in the coconut for a mere $15 had a sticker on the bottom saying it was "made in China".
We were disappointed with the variety of shows or lack there of. Other cruise lines offer much better entertainment. The comedian at the "adult comedy" was tired and cranky. He alienated much of the audience and even he didn't appear to be having a good time.
The worst experience I had was in the spa. There are no robes, no relaxing experience to be had here. The spa is not run by the cruise line, but when it came to hawking products, this massage therapist was on a mission. The session began with an interview (or consultation) that took up massage time. I told her I wanted my neck and shoulders massaged because they were very tense and "knotty". I think she hit the shoulder and neck a few times, but seemed more intent on massaging my lower back. At the end of the massage, we sat again for another "meeting" and she told me that my shoulders and neck were very tense and knotty. She recommended that I purchase two (expensive) products to solve the problem. I suspect that they are paid a good commission for selling these products. Don't waste your time in the spa. Its overpriced and the emphasis isn't on the massage, but on the sale of products.
My husband spent his time in the casino. Although small, he enjoyed it and even won a few dollars!
Did we have a good time? Yes! It was relaxing, the ship was clean and the food was delicious. There is a wonderful quiet "adult area" called Serenity in the back of the boat. Cushioned lounge chairs, and a nice space to get out of the sun when you have had enough. One of my favorite places to read and sunbath!