Our dissatisfaction with Carnival started on our last cruise before this one, 7 day Western Caribbean on the Dream Dec. 10th. We noticed then that the service, the attitude, and the entertainment offerings had diminished since our last cruises three years prior. Plus, I came down with the cruise viris and was very very ill for two weeks after that cruise. So, it was with trepidation that we decided to go ahead with this Hawaii cruise which we had already booked in advance. We did think, that since we were now Platinum, we would get better service. But, as noted in other reviews, the embarkation was horrendous. We were told we could board early, so we got to the pier early. Big mistake. We waited four hours amidst mass confusion and continual lines, before we were finally given the go ahead to board. The whole process was messed up, including the lack of any information about what the hold up was.
Then once aboard, the ship did not sail until well after 11 pm. Again, all seemed disorganized on the dock with loading of supplies and luggage. Our luggage was damaged in this process. And, when we asked for assistance with it, we were told there was nothing they could do for us...we would have to file a claim once we got back home. We were looking for a temporary repair to make the suitcase usable for our flight home.
The first thng we did was book the "Behind the Scenes" tour, that we really wanted to see. But, it was delayed once..and then finally cancelled, with little explanation. That was disappointing. The ship was supposed to have a new slide functioning during our cruise, and that opening was postponed, and finally cancelled. The Spirit obviously was not ready for sailing after it's "rehab". The cabin upgrade we were supposed to receive from Carnival ( since there was a $600 decrease in fare from the time we booked and paid to the time of sailing) was a disappointment as well. The so called extended balcony as just a bit larger than normal, and it had one side blocked so we could only see aft or straight ahead. We did not consider this an upgrade at all, but a worse view than we would have had if we were in our original cabin one deck higher. So, definitely not a $600 value...when we conplained, we were told there was nothing they could do for us. We would have been happy with a bit of onboard credit and an appology. But, the service desk staff seemed uncaring about our displeasure. The staff was unenthusiastic, with the exception of one or two who actually called us by name, and were friendly.
The food was good. We are not fussy, and only ate in the main dining room one night, so mostly frequented the buffets. Again, the staff there seemed less than enthusiastic, especially the pizza guy, who was not accomodating at all, and acted as if we were bothering him when we ordered. The shows were mediocre, at best. Not up to the shows we have seen in the past on other Carnival cruises. Since the weather was rough crossing the Pacific, there was little outside deck activities, and we spent alot of time playing cards and bingo. There were not alot of planned activities to occupy 8 days at sea. We relaxed, which was a good thing. But, we expected more activities planned by the staff or at least some decent movies in our room.
Our biggest complaint was the terrible mattress in ourcabin. It was bowed in the middle, and hard as a rock. Must have been original to the ship. Never has my back hurt so bad from a bad night's sleep! Our steward tried, twice, to do something to fluff it up and make it more comfortable...but to no avail. The ship needs new mattresses!
Hawaii is beautiful, and afterall, that is why we took this trip. But, I felt that we did not have long enough days in port to enjoy it to its fullest. The ship's excursions were overpriced, compared to what we could find on our own, but with the short port times, we were limited as to what we could do. The stop in Ensenada was a waste of time for the couple of hours we spent there. Disembarkation went okay for us, since we were amongst the first to leave. But, there definitely was a lack of communication about when we were to depart, and almost missed getting off with the first group. All in all, I would not recommend this cruise on this ship to anyone. We had a good time with the folks we met onboard, and in the ports. We made our own good time relaxing and enjoying the scenery and the company. But, Carnival did not make that happen. We did.