This was my third and my husband's second cruise with Carnival. We traveled with my in-laws who have cruised before, and my parents who were cruising for the first time. I think we all had mixed feelings about our experience.
My husband and I were initially very excited about the new Serenity Spa. However, trying to find a spot on the comfy lounges was always difficult. I think maybe two days we were able to find one. It is very popular-so maybe it could have been bigger. Or maybe carnival should switch out all their lounges to these. I know it's a big complaint with some about finding chairs, but I haven't had this problem until this cruise. I don't know if it was the time of year that we sailed, or that it was a bigger ship but it was a problem on the Freedom. And honestly, I think it's a justified complaint. You are on vacation, you want to relax. But everyone is saving seats and not sitting in them. So you end up on the top of the boat getting ripped up by the wind next to the track, trying to get some rays. I saw Carnival's posting about vacant chairs having their towels removed after a half hour, but never saw the staff actually doing this. Just think it would be nice of Carnival to try and give all their guests the same courtesy's. Leaving your towel on the oh so wonderful round lounges in the Serenity spa while you go use the RR is one thing, but leaving them there all morning while you gamble in the casino is just plain rude. I think next time I'll take the half hour rule on myself, so that I can have the same amenities as the chair hogs.
In general, we have found that some of the rudest people can be found on cruise ships. It would appear that the older we get the more manners are forgotten. I have complete respect for my elders, but it doesn't seem to go the other way! If I can and DO say, excuse me, than why can't you? Maybe it's a regional thing? I've been told that the cruisers out of Galveston are much nicer - by not only guests but the crew staff as well. Would be curious to know if more seasoned cruisers feel this way?
OK NOW THE GOOD: Overall still a great cruising experience. The comedy club is always a good time and enjoyed the shows -though kind of had to laugh the night that they canceled the talent show midway during the cruise due to "lack of interest." I can appreciate Carnival trying to make their cruises more interactive, and giving the dancers a night off, but on our last cruise they brought on a comedic juggling act that was a riot-probably better to keep with the paid entertainment on the main stage. Have yet to see a Legends Show-always too tired the last night! But I think this sounds a bit more entertaining than the average karaoke night!!
My mother found the food in the dining rooms to be the best option, and my parents pretty much avoided the buffets. My husband and I didn't mind them though, and sometimes in the evenings it's a nice change of pace. Not busy at all! We had your time dining-worked well for our group. We all ate together a few nights, but most nights just ate as couples. Kind of nice not to have to spend every dinner with the in-laws! LOL.
The hot/warm tubs are great at night as well because they are empty. AND You're on vacation sitting in a hot tub, with a bar 20 ft away and a Pizza bar next to it. YEA!!!
Always hearing that Carnival is the best bang for your buck, and I think this is true-why else would they have the most loyal guests in the industry?