Before we sailed, I think I read every review on this site. I am paying it forward.
My DH and I live in N.E.Florida. We drive to Florida Ports on the day of sailing. We have cruised a good bit, being retired, Florida Residents near to ports, and interested in new places. We also enjoy Trivia and the other parlor games on board..the shows..etc. We are VIP on Carnival, 3 times on HAl, 1 on Celebrity, 3 on Princess, 3 on NCL. We have had only one bad cruise, on the Princess Crown, Dec. 17-25, 2011 due to the Norovirus. The others..all were great.
This cruise....almost perfect. Being VIP for the first time..meant being whisked on and off the ship in record time. WOW! Our cabin was a bit aft for me as I tend to get seasick, but the space, storage, balcony....were fine. Our cabin attendant was Matthew. He was so good..we tipped him extra..TWICE. We spent very little time in our cabin.
Food was good. The MDR, to serve as many as they do, perform a miracle each evening I think. I had read menus before sailing, and enjoyed ordering the things I had seen pictures of..or read raves about. The Cappuccino Pie was divine. ditto the Sweet and Sour Shrimp. the Buffet was clean and attractive. Most of the food was served by staff. That..after a novo experience..I liked a lot.Entertainment was good. The New Orleans Show...very impressive. Great props. The Tribute to the Beatles. Just great. The MoTown..I expected Marcus Anthony and was dissapointed not to see him. Performer was good..but not Marcus Anthony. We did not see any Comedy shows, but others did. They were popular.
Activities....Ned of the Activities Staff, a young man from Manchester, England was the MC of the activities we did..Trivia daily, super duper Trivia, scattergories...and we had a ball. He made it such fun. I hope to see him as a cruise director someday..he had the gift of helping people to laugh and have fun. I just cannot say enough about him...I was impressed. There was always something to do. Line dancing..crafts...games...Bingo..Raffles...
Casino....AWFUL. Staff was great. Slots were very mean to me. Luckily so much is going on..you don't spend much time there.
SWIMMING..we don't swim on the ship as we live in Florida and avoid sun. But I noted..peace around the pool. empty chairs. Enough people in the pool..to have a good time but not crowded.
PORTS.....Costa Rica, Panama, Cozumel. I had a bad knee and had to skip all of the tours. My DH and friends we traveled with went and had a great time. Nothing bad happened on any of the shore trips.
DEMOCRAPHICS...the average age..was middle aged and older. Few children and those on board were well behaved.
WHEN THE CRUISE WAS OVER........WE WERE TOLD TO REPORT TO ZONE ONE AT 7;30. AT 7:45 WE WERE MARCHING TO THE BAGGAGE AREA. I KID YOU NOT.
THIS CRUISE APPROACHED PERFECTION. WHY IS CARNIVAL TAKING THE FREEDOM OFF OF THIS ROUTE? IT APPEARS INSANE TO ME. WE WOULD DO IT AGAIN IN A HEARTBEAT.
WONDERFUL CRUISE. WONDERFUL CREW. JUST GREAT.