This was the second cruise aboard a Carnival ship, and our fifth cruise in the past 4 years. Like many others have said, check-in was a breeze. We were on the ship within 30 minutes of arriving at the terminal. We were told that our cabin would not be ready until 1:30 pm, and to proceed to the Lido deck for lunch. Unfortunately, all 2000+ passengers were told the same thing and the Buffet was packed with people, and the offerings were very marginal. We decided that the safest choice seemed to be hamburgers. We looked around the ship a bit, and though gaudy, it seemed clean enough except for the windows. Every window on this ship was filthy.
The cabins are very small compared to any other ship that we have been on. When we were unpacking and putting away our clothes, we found a tube of Industrial Strength adhesive in one of the drawers, and an eyeglass case that someone had left. Later, when we were departing the ship on the last day, we found a slightly moldy orange under the bed. I guess that with so many quick turnovers, things get missed.
Just prior to departure, there was the mandatory passenger and crew muster. I was surprised that the crew didn't really take this seriously, as they were talking and joking to each other in our Assembly Station F. Though we were told during this drill that our station would be the first to the lifeboats, we were never shown where our lifeboats were. Having been a professional mariner on large ships for the past seventeen years, I found this entire drill to be very unprofessional.
At dinner the first night we met Team Head Waiter Ernesto, and his assistant, Team Waiter Made Rai. Their service and demeanor made this cruise for us, but the food certainly did not. Generally, the worst food we have ever had on a cruise ship. Lots of prepackaged type products, and mostly served lukewarm or cold. None of the bakery items were other than one could buy in a grocery store. The buffets had very little choice and were closed more often than they were open. I was really surprised one morning to find that our "made to order" omelets had grated, processed cheese in them! How can a cruise ship not even have real cheese?
The second night of our cruise, the floor drain in the bathroom started to make extremely loud gurgling noises that, on several occasions, woke us up. The overpowering stench of sewage made our cabin unbearable. For some reason, the odor was only in the cabin, and not in the hallway outside. Interesting to see my wife fanning the door of the room, while in her pajamas, in the wee hours of the morning, to try to get some of the smell out. When I mentioned this to guest services, they were very nonchalant about it, which leads me to think that it is a pretty common problem on this ship. Knowing from my marine background that some ships use ozone to treat their sewage, and that this is a potential health risk if inhaled, I was concerned. Eventually, I saw the ships' Safety Officer, Marijo Puljiz, walking on one of the decks and I asked him about it. Fortunately, he said that this ship does not use that type of system. He immediately radioed about our problem, and assured us that it would be fixed. It was, but there was no apology or compensation offered at any time during the duration of the cruise.
Would I cruise Carnival again? Probably not. It seems more geared to young people that just want to drink. Alcohol is pushed incessantly, you will be asked several times an hour, morning till night, if you want drinks from the bar. The noise level on the ship is unbearable. The only respite that you will get is inside your cabin, otherwise, blaring music is the theme. Except for the comedians, the shows were generally a bit tacky. A cross between a high school musical and a very cheap Las Vegas show. I think that I will stick to Holland America in the future.....even though it is owned by Carnival.