We have always sailed on RC or Celebrity and decided that we would try Carnival. We love Hawaii and wanted to be there in January for whale watching, and the Spirit seemed to fit. We arrived on the pier early and it was madness. The chaos and misinformation/communication provided by Carnival staff, left us to wonder if it was the first day on the job for many
We sat or stood around for hours with no updates about the delay no kind of refreshments (water, etc...)were ever offered. Upon finally entering the ship we went to our room. We had upgraded from an interior to an "obstructed balcony view." The room was spacious with lots of storage & shelves. This one thing was the only saving grace we found.
We made our way to the Lido deck for the buffet lunch. The layout of the food lines causes much congestion and waiting lines. Royal Caribbean's Jewell really has this problem mastered.
Our luggage didn't arrive until after 9 that same evening. The ground crew was loading supplies until late in the night, and the ship didn't leave port until after 11:30. So much for a sail-away party.
How could a ship that had been in dry dock look so unkempt? The vacuum had not be run, numerous light bulbs missing, dirty windows etc.... The banisters were nasty and sticky. Having traveled on ships many times, we have observed a constant cleaning of banisters & elevator buttons. As easily as ships become infected with viruses, cleaning and disinfecting should be a priority.
There were not many activities for those who don't gamble or play bingo, which made for lengthy sea days. There was a delightful couple on board doing crafts, Les & Emily and we became acquainted. A couple of days craft time was the highlight of my day.
We were told that the water slide would be ready for use, and that proved to be a lie. But amazingly enough, it was operating the day we disembarked... prepared for their departure to Mexico.
The staff was mediocre and seemed unmotivated. Our wait staff was impersonal and our Head waiter was aloof. He seemed to be put off with us, and it was evident that he was not enjoying his job.
The Cruise Director, as well as, the Assistant were both lifeless and seemed phony. Royal Caribbean and Celebrity demand a higher standard in their staff and it shows.
We have become spoiled to Broadway quality productions on RC, and we really missed not having a fabulous show each night. In all fairness, The Big Easy was a good show & it would seem that they put all their efforts into one night's show.
The stateroom attendants are unsung heroes, ours did a wonderful job & I was greeted with an adorable towel creation every night.
The day of debarkation was chaos, as well. We finally left the ship at 10:30. I'm not sure why it took 3 hours to start the process & I'm grateful that we didn't have an early flight. It's not rocket science, and again citing the above mentioned cruise line....it can be done in a timely fashion.
Ports of Call:
Who has even heard of the other side of Maui? and why would anyone want to stop there? What a let down. We have been to Lahaina many times and everyone knows that is the "side" that makes sense where all the activities are located. I wonder if it was about money, perhaps cheaper?
The process to tender into Kona was silly and frustrating. Everyone had to present themselves for a sticker with an assigned number which would be called later. Just getting the boats off the ship was time consuming, much time was spent by the staff trying to figure out how to accomplish that task. Seems as though proper instructions & training might enable them to get in the water sooner, thus getting people to the island sooner.
Carnival Cruise Line was a disappointment to us. We will return to RC/Celebrity and we promise to never stray again!