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113 Carnival Barcelona Cruise Reviews

Just back from a 12 day Carnival Breeze Mediterranean Cruise. First time cruising with Carnival. My wife and I have done around 20 cruises and while not fussy people the cruise was not up to our expectations. The ship itself is very nice ... Read More
Just back from a 12 day Carnival Breeze Mediterranean Cruise. First time cruising with Carnival. My wife and I have done around 20 cruises and while not fussy people the cruise was not up to our expectations. The ship itself is very nice but fell short on in a number of areas . One of the highlights of any cruise for me is enjoying a good meal at supper. Most meals that were served lacked flair and were only warm (barely) when they arrived which resulted in us having to keep sending them back. This happened on several occasions. We bought a wine package which we usually do but found out only 3 days into the cruise that two of the wines ( the best of the ones in the package ) were no longer available but strangely enough our waiter said you could buy them at a bar?? Our Cabin Stewart forgot to make up our room one day. Drawer space is very limited as the drawers are small, slightly larger than a cutlery drawer so only usable for underwear and socks etc. Not a lot of staff on the decks to take drink orders. We had two bathrobes and I assume all cabins did which was a nice touch but some people wore them into the buffet section on the Lido deck and in public areas other than around the pools. Pools are small for 4000 people. Also had a couple of guys wearing toques in the dining room at supper time. Another wearing jeans. These are apparently o.k.Carnival but lacks class in my opinion. Will stick with Royal Caribbean or Princess. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
A friend and I chose the Carnival Breeze Mediterranean cruise because of its itinerary and it departed from and returned to the same port. This was my 16th cruise overall, and second on Carnival (the first being on their early ship, ... Read More
A friend and I chose the Carnival Breeze Mediterranean cruise because of its itinerary and it departed from and returned to the same port. This was my 16th cruise overall, and second on Carnival (the first being on their early ship, Carnivale). What we liked: our room (#7220) which is towards the front of the ship and has storage rooms on either side, so it was very quiet. Our room steward, Christine, was outstanding and knew our names from the time we boarded. Robe in room, convenient and means not packing your own. Ship's decor was nice, but public areas seemed small for the number of people. The ship was clean and the crew was always cleaning. What we didn't like: Meals were hit and miss. We had a couple of hits, but overall would rate the food as heavy. There was plenty of food and no one will starve, but the Lido selections were lots of casseroles, and more like Golden Coral buffet, but short on veggies. We felt the same way about Guy's burgers and the barbecue. Very much cafeteria food. We were disappointed that there was never a dining room service for lunch on any of the days (unless you count the Comedy Brunch). Dinner service was especially low. We chose Your Time Dining, but Carnival doesn't have the hang of it yet. Dinner for two meant being assigned a table only inches (like 6-10 inches) from other tables in a "bank." Once there were about 10 of us, we were treated as one table and served that way. The waiter introduced himself to the group and made a group recommendation. It was very "assembly line" service and we were served in sync. Rather the worst of both worlds. Not the comraderie and conversation of group dining, and not the privacy and individual service of Your Time dining. I did not attend the evening entertainment, but my friend said it was okay, but the shows in the Ovation Theater had a very busy, high tech background that detracted from the performances. (I glanced in at it one night and knew immediately that it would give me a migraine.) She was also disappointed that the shows go with the ship, so she will not take a Caribbean cruise on the Breeze in the Spring as planned, having already od'd on them this trip. The cruise was a good value for the ports we visited, but I felt constantly aware of Carnival's cost-cutting. Nor did I like the herd-feeling of the big ship. I'd say it was my last cruise with Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
We have just returned from a 12 night stay on the Carnival Breeze, we had a lovely holiday but we would not travel with them again. There was 1500 children on this cruise ship and this was a major factor for us not enjoying our time on ... Read More
We have just returned from a 12 night stay on the Carnival Breeze, we had a lovely holiday but we would not travel with them again. There was 1500 children on this cruise ship and this was a major factor for us not enjoying our time on the ship most of the time they run round and don't care if they run into you. We found out that the 12 nights we were on the Breeze there was over 1600 people extra over capacity. Everywhere you looked was crowds of people or children. Embarkation- this was a very easy process in Barcelona with hardly no queuing and helpful staff. Once on board we went straight to our cabin which was lovely and clean and tidy. Unfortunately due to our flights we did not have time to go into Barcelona so we stayed on board. We went for lunch on deck 10 in the Lido cafe the food in the there was very bland and cold. Lido restaurant- the food in here at lunchtimes was pretty much the same everyday, there was big queues with some very rude people who would push in front of you. The food was never piping hot also so we only really ate in here at lunch a few times. This was also the main place for breakfast where in fair apart from the again the long queues the food was OK at breakfast with a varied selection. Guys burger joint and Blue Iguana Cantina- these were lovely places to eat and you did not have to queue for these which was brilliant, the burgers were the best ive tasted and so too was the burritos. We had set dining in the evenings on the last seating in the Blush restaurant, the food in here was nice but not the best ive tasted on cruise ships, if you enjoy having a 3 course meal in 50 minutes then this is ideal for you. the waiting staff would take your starter plates away and as one was doing that the other was putting your main down straight away. that was not for us as we enjoy a break between courses. The waiting staff were friendly enough but lacked some professionalism in the way they spoke and behaved. Our first night on board in the blush restaurant straight after the dessert the waiting staff jumped onto podiums and started dancing which again not what we wanted when going down for you r evening meal. The pools on board were a joke two small pools for over 4000 people clearly does not work the slides took up alot of space which some of the room could of been used for more pools. There was several jacuzzi's scattered around the ship but they were far too hot to be sitting in during the high temperatures of the day. Forget getting a sunbed on sea day if your not willing to be up before 7.30 for a bed, again there was a small amount of beds in comparison to how many people were on board. Around the main pool they were removing towels after 40 minutes to give people a chance but people were not daft they would go and come back after about 30 minutes remove the sticker of the bed sit there for 5 minutes then go away again which meant the pool guy had to start again with the 40 minute rule. The big screen at the main pool was a big disappointment it showed extremely old films then half way through they would cut it of so that they could show you lots of things to buy of them. Photos well were do I start with that they take your photo at every given minute it gets to a point were you got really fed up with people asking you. Elegant Nights- we was pleasantly surprised with the amount of people that took this up although not many wore dinner suits they wore shirts and ties. We were very disappointed with how some people were going down dressed to evening meal as they wore shorts and t shirts some nights. No staff ever picked this up with any of the guests. The ports of call were amazing and was very pleased with the places we visited. The one thing that we was disappointed with was as soon as you were of the ship they didn't want to know, no one was about to answer questions or guide you as to were to go. The staff on board was not the friendliest of helpful apart from the cabin staff that looked after your rooms everyone you passed near the cabins would smile and say hello to you. A holiday is what you make of it and we did have a lovely holiday but it was not anything to do with the carnival breeze or its staff and in future we will not book with them again Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Arrived the day before departure and stayed at Renaissance Airport Hotel. Easy, free shuttle from airport to hotel. Early checkin request (9am) was honored. Paid $10 euro each for bus transportation to cruise ship. The Breeze was ... Read More
Arrived the day before departure and stayed at Renaissance Airport Hotel. Easy, free shuttle from airport to hotel. Early checkin request (9am) was honored. Paid $10 euro each for bus transportation to cruise ship. The Breeze was overcrowded!! Practically every public area was overrun with unsupervised children allowed to run (literally) amuck. There were 4 children ages 4-8 in the interior cabin across the hall from us; no adult present. These kids were loud, and constantly ran up and down the hall back and forth to their parents rooms. In other instances, it seemed as if the parents/guardians completely gave up supervising their children. Kids playing on the elevators (pushing every button), screaming, playing with the soft serve machine, food fights, etc. Some of the adults were rude and loud as well; pushing onto the elevators without letting others get off first. Congregating in the hallway outside the laundry room was popular activity!! CABIN--Ocean Suite smaller than Carnival Freedom. Balcony real small, chaise lounge couldn't be turned around to face the ocean. No soap dish for sink counter. We had to ask for facial soap. Storage space was sufficient for 2 people. Cabin attendant was excellent; great service. The interactive TV service was great. We could check our Sail & Sign balances, the dining room menus, order room service, etc. DINING--Guy's Burgers were good. Fat Jimmie's BBQ was good, open only during at-sea days, long lines standing in the sun in a very cramped area on Ocean Plaza. Lido for breakfast was always crowded with large, loud family groups. We had "Your Time Dining" in Sapphire and in general, it was ok. We never had to wait for a table. Great to be able to preview the Sapphire's menu on our cabin TV. Pizza place (open 24 hrs) seemed quite popular. Desserts were just ok; much better desserts could be purchased at the Coffee Cafe. OUTDOOR AREAS--Pools ALWAYS crowded except after 5-6 pm. Two small pools for a ship this size seemed inadequate. Poolside viewing of the Olympics was turned off so the scheduled movie could be shown. Cruisers were not happy about this. Seems like someone could have made the decision to continue with the Olympic coverage... The Ocean Plaza area was a great place to hangout as was the Red Frog Pub to hear the live music (Timmy Pierce was great). DECOR--The plastic trees in The Lido area look ridiculous! I understand the ship's Caribbean theme; but these trees are squished up against the ceilings and are dust catchers that will be labor intensive to keep clean. The carpet in Lido was severely stained and seemed of poor quality (our cruise was the only 6th voyage of this new ship). The carpet looked like it had been there for a couple of years. This was also true on some of the stairwells. LAUNDRY ROOM--I think the rates of $3.50 each for the washers and dryers was high. I brought my own detergent and dryer sheets; the little boxes cost $1.75 each and the dispenser was out of order most of the cruise. PORTS--Carnival's prices are quite high for tours. There are many reputable companies that offer private tours which are cheaper and give you more flexibility. You gotta do your homework; read Trip Advisor and other websites-like Rick Steves. I made my reservations before I left home. The various ports of call were all very interesting. We booked a private tour for Rome; it was a Sunday so there was less traffic congestion getting into Rome and getting back to the ship. CAMP CARNIVAL--My nephew and his wife were very pleased with this option for their 3yr old son. He loved going there and usually did not want to leave. They used it at least 9 days while on the cruise. While they were off ship touring, the baby's grandmother stayed on board in case of emergency. Some passengers felt comfortable in leaving for a 8-10 hour tour and leaving their children in Camp Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Just returned from a 12 night Western Med cruise on the new Carnival Breeze The ship is indeed beautiful & has some great features such as the Lanai wrap around deck - great to be able to sit outside a bar on a warm evening - The Red ... Read More
Just returned from a 12 night Western Med cruise on the new Carnival Breeze The ship is indeed beautiful & has some great features such as the Lanai wrap around deck - great to be able to sit outside a bar on a warm evening - The Red Frog pub & children's play area / waterworks, plus plenty of comfortable outdoor sofas, beds, chairs with umbrellas etc. The cabin was nice & comfortable & great beds. However there are many faults - although the outdoor Lanai deck is a great idea be warned if you are in a balcony cabin especially on deck 6 - the balconies are no longer private as a result of this deck directly below - people are sat outside bars & can see straight into your balcony. Deck 6 is also extremely noisy - were above the Plaza Cafe & could hear the Karaoke singing really loud in our room. Least the Plaza shut at 12pm - be careful of rooms above the disco & Red Frog pub which stay open much late & are far livelier than the Plaza. Service in the Blush dining room was also dire - we were never offered wine, lucky if we got asked if we wanted drinks, main courses were served whilst others were still having starters & felt constantly rushed. We had to ask for coffee? Very poor. The quality of food was not what we expected either & inferior to other cruise lines we have travelled with previously - it was often cold & undercooked. We were also disappointed that the sofa in our room, which had to be used for a 3rd bed was never taken up during the day so we had nowhere to sit - again this has never been the case on previous cruises , even with Carnival. The room steward persisted in servicing our room at 5pm each day - we were on late dinner sitting so had to come back to a room where the beds had already been turned down & curtains shut for the evening? Seeing as we hadn't been in the room since he'done it in the morning this left him little to do except fill the ice bucket yet we were then left with wet towels etc & Carnival still charged us $35 per day for this awful service. Also agree with the review by Tanimmo below - on this partiular sailing there were over 1,000 under 18's - I did expect a lot of children with it being August & was travelling as a family myself. However it was a rabble on board - kids were runnng everywhere - up & down corridors late at night ie 2am in the morning, galavanting round deck 5 etc mainly unsupervised. There are plenty of places for kids to go ie deck 10,11 - Carnival does get that right, yet loads were running round and playing in the lifts. The pool areas are also totally inadequate for a ship that carries 3,600 passengers plus kids - They ould have made the main pool double the size? It seems they have built a big ship to cram people on board but not extended the public areas to accomodate the no's or provided the staff (hence the crap service - Red Frog pub excluded here). We have sailed with Carnival before & really enjoyed the experience however after Carnival Breeze I will never use them again - it was not a good experience & a HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
We were a family of 4 with twin boys of 17. We spent 4 nights in Barcelona pre cruise which was really nice and had a great time sight seeing all that Barcelona had to offer. The highlight of Barcelona was the segway tour we done and the ... Read More
We were a family of 4 with twin boys of 17. We spent 4 nights in Barcelona pre cruise which was really nice and had a great time sight seeing all that Barcelona had to offer. The highlight of Barcelona was the segway tour we done and the 2 days spent on the HoHo bus around the whole city. Embarkation was not too bad took us about 30 to 40 min to get on board and then another 30 min to queue at customer service desk to get our cabins sorted so me and the wife shared a cabin. Then when we got into our cabin which was ready as soon as we got on board found that we were in a twin room and the twins next door were in a double, so back to queue again at customer service desk. We had spa cabins on deck 11 and found them to be very nice and comfortable with plenty of storage place for your clothes. There were nice bathrobes included to use during your stay to go back and forth to the spa. We then had a tour of the spa which they tried to sell you every treatment they have before telling you what facilities you are entitled to as a spa cabin occupants. There was then a free draw where you could win free treatment which was not what you were told when you 1st toured the spa and they said nobody will go away without a prize except that you have to pay for it. We particularly chose a Spa cabin because it was close to the gym as my twins are professional athletes and needed the use of the gym. When they saw the gym they were very disappointed as it was just full of running machines and the weights section was in a tiny corner and very cramped and you had to wait if someone was using it. They only seemed to cater for use of running machines. The FOOD, what can i say but very disappointing in the Lido cafe it got to the stage where we could only eat fruit or cereal in the mornings as the rest of the cooked food was often cold, tasteless or nothing like what that particular thing should be like e.g juice was squash, omelet were made with UHT eggs not fresh eggs like on many other ships, the cold meats were not of the quality you would expect of a quality cruise ship and in some instances the description on the label above the food did not match the food below it. Lunchtime the best meal we found was the pasta in the Cucina restaurant which was hot and well presented and tasted like pasta should taste. The BBQ on the lanai promenade was acceptable but the Italian sausages were nothing like the Italian sausages I have eaten in Italy over the past 30 years. The evening meals were either outstanding or really bad and again what was on the menu is not what you received on your plate. I ordered steak with a peppered and mushroom sauce, I got gravy!!! The menu said prosciutto ham I received cooked ham!!! The waiters and drinks personnel in the restaurant were really helpful and friendly and if you asked to go back to the same one night after night, as we found out to our dismay one evening there was a waiting list for this particular waiter so we said we would sit somewhere else only to be served food we hadn't ordered so not surprised people went back to where the waiters were good. The ports of call were really all good but we did our own thing and booked private tours via people on the cruise forum and found it to be so much cheaper and the people we met were all very friendly and courteous. Entertainment was poor in the theatre compared to previous cruises we have been on and fall well short of the standards the Norwegian Epic sets. The Punchliners comedy club was good and was always packed out. So to sum up I would not sail with Carnival again as the poor food let this cruise down badly and the staff were not the most friendliest we have encountered on cruises. But saying that my twin boys say it was the best cruise they have been on as they made some great friends and really enjoyed themselves, so I guess there is a generation gap as to what we expect from a cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
This was my first cruise and while I thoroughly enjoyed the concept of cruising, I could not say the same for my time on the Carnival Breeze. I realize this is a 'fun ship' and as such, children will be present. That said, ... Read More
This was my first cruise and while I thoroughly enjoyed the concept of cruising, I could not say the same for my time on the Carnival Breeze. I realize this is a 'fun ship' and as such, children will be present. That said, there were far too many children running wild though the corridors, in the Lido Marketplace, by the swimming pool, etc. There was no concept of control placed on the kids by the parents & the ship staff. A fine example of this was witnessed in the Marketplace. A child wanted some ice cream however he was short and couldn't reach. So, he proceeded to stand on the counter and a member of the staff watched him fill up his dish and then lifted him off the counter. After that, he didn't even wipe off the counter! Our room was quite nice and roomy given that there were four adults in it. We had a cove balcony. Great place to see all the marine life and witness beautiful sunsets. Our stateroom steward left little to be desired though. He was not friendly at all and we had to call guest services twice because he kept forgetting to refill the soda in the fridge. Something they're supposed to do twice a day. His towel creations were very boring and his cleaning skills left little to be desired. We requested his gratuities be removed from our bill. Supper was alright most nights. The singing wouldn't have been too bad had it not been so incredibly loud. The wait staff was fantastic and couldn't have asked for better. Entertainment in the theatre was terrible and there was very little selection. The Hasboro Game show was 'ok' but not something we'd watch over again. The Divas, Latin Nights & the Brits was fine but after you watched those, there was nothing else to entertain you the other evenings. In fact, on the night before sea days, your selection of entertainment was between slim and none. The 5D theatre was fabulous and we'd highly recommend purchasing an unlimited pass. And the cruise director, Butch....fabulous!! All this said, given that its the Breeze's inaugural season, I'm optimistic that they will make some changes. After all, it is all about learning what your passengers want. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
This had been my 4th cruise this year on Carnival and the menu was the EXACT same on each ship!!! Thank goodness for Guy's burgers, Steakhouse & Deli otherwise we were eating the same food. The worst possible thing was the ... Read More
This had been my 4th cruise this year on Carnival and the menu was the EXACT same on each ship!!! Thank goodness for Guy's burgers, Steakhouse & Deli otherwise we were eating the same food. The worst possible thing was the reusing of the bread & dishes that was left at a table and we witnessed these ourselves. During breakfast & dinner (at least 4 occasions) whatever bread was left over in the basket after people ate the staff put the bread not eaten back into another basket and served this to another passenger!!! This was horrible!!! We had a family of three but the tables were set for four and each time I moved the cups or put my hands inside the cups to move them, the staff still used them and took the glasses to another table without inspecting, this was awful! This is the first time we had a junior suite it was beautiful, we loved the extra space, the tub & closest! The only bad part was on our balcony, since the jr. suites are located at the front of the ship, people who went on the front part of the deck could look right into our room we had no privacy. Others with a balcony have had shields or blockages so others could not look onto their balconies. The way our room was set people could look right into our room and at night see everything!! We had to keep our drapes closed at all times, no waking to the beautiful ports. In the morning we wanted to go out to the balcony in our pj's just like others did but there did ALWAYS people want to see the ports.... to our dislike we couldn't go out there unless we wanted everyone to see us!!! The entertainment was not up to the usual standard, not sure if it was because there were so many ports or what, but they repeated the comedy shows & the entertainment shows and many nights there was no entrainment!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
We went on the 4th cruise of the Carnival Breeze. Whilst there is no disagreement that the suit is stunning, it fell short in expectations. Firstly the embarkation was a bit of a shambles. We arrived at noon and there were massive ... Read More
We went on the 4th cruise of the Carnival Breeze. Whilst there is no disagreement that the suit is stunning, it fell short in expectations. Firstly the embarkation was a bit of a shambles. We arrived at noon and there were massive queues everywhere. Queue to get through security (whilst many of our friends from the USA just jumped them), them massive queue to get your sail card. Then queue to get on boat. All in all took 1 1/2 hours to get on boat. Only good thing was we were able to get into room straight away. Room was one of the best we have been in. We had a balcony on deck 6 and plenty room with large bathroom. Room steward was excellent and had clean towels twice a day. They had self service launderette (for a fee of course) but this was always very busy and you couldn't get near the 9 of them on sea days. Lido Marketplace (self service restaurant) was good with variety of choice. Breakfast was till noon which was good. There was a deli counter which did sandwiches and toasties etc all afternoon so if you were not hungry at lunch and did not fancy pizza or burgers then at least you had a healthy option. The biggest complaint would be that a large number of people were coming in with just bathing suits on to eat and staff didn't really mind. A lot of the guests just spend their days eating pizza and having burgers. We had late seating at restaurant. You are unable to select table size prior to going. On first night we were allocated a table with other guests. After this we requested a table on our own (some peoples eating habits are not the best!). The was promptly done for the second night. Food was good but was a bit disorganised and very rushed. Most nights there was a little song from the Maitre D and then the waiters had to do a dance. This was OK if you were finished your food, but if your not then expect everyone hanging over you taking pictures! The first formal night most people dressed up, but the second most didn't bother. Main theatre entertainment was average. At least most nights the shows were on twice so if you were late dinner sitting you got to see something. However, we had one show repeated 3 times in the cruise. They were nothing special, just your usual musical type. Apart from the cruise director HASBRO game show (load of rubbish) and the guest talent show (karaoke on stage basically). There were also comedian shows late. Some were good, some were very bad. There was also people paying music in the pub, the plaza, the atrium and the piano bar. So plenty to suit your taste. Gym was very disappointing as about the smallest I have been to on a ship and on sea days was very busy and you had to wait to get on equipment. The cruise director (John Heald) was a very nice guy but it was a bit tiring hearing him on the speaker system all the time telling you what was on or where you could spend your money. Although it was the first ship I had been on where you got to find out the names of the people who were late or missed the boat (the name Hoffman was used many times!). John did a morning show with a guy called Calvyn. This was utter rubbish and where did they find Calvyn from - he was a joke (and that's putting it mildly). As this was a fun ship there were a lot of kids on the ship. Now I don't mind them at all but there was a big problem with the 13 - 17 age group. They were really disruptive during the night and causing havoc especially in the lido area and pizza pirate areas. Some of the staff were in tears over the mess they were making with the ice cream machine. Most nights it was out of action because they had filled it with salsa, tabasco, apples or had removed the pins to make the levers work. Staff were saying that the kids were rampaging till 5 - 6 in the morning. My question would be where are the parents? May I also add that it was the kids from the USA that were doing the rampaging - the European kids must have gone to bed. I have been on a few ships, but this was the first Carnival. It was a lovely ship but the 'fun ship' idea is not to everyone's taste. It had lost a lot of the formality which most cruise ships have. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Arrival-as other reviews stated chaotic queues not very good explanation and rude staff if you cant find your form to sign to get on board. Cases=dont expect these until up to around 9pm at night=we got ours about 5.45 just in time ... Read More
Arrival-as other reviews stated chaotic queues not very good explanation and rude staff if you cant find your form to sign to get on board. Cases=dont expect these until up to around 9pm at night=we got ours about 5.45 just in time before we rushed for our dinner so bring spare clothes if you arrive midday like us. Apparently this is not the service you get on other liners Dinning rooms blush=over the top waiters who want tips! Only ate 2 times here as they did not leave u alone. Casino -excellent Theatre=broke all holiday Gratuities-please cancel and pay your own-they try to make you feel guilty but they were work out around £60 per day. Some staff only get 75 dollars per month as carnival expects them to make wages from tips! Cruisers=they packed in record 4600 guests but only had around 1600 sunbeds so even though up 6.30am could not get bed for 4, with 2 smallchildren this is a headache. Alot guests fighting over beds so new rule brought in if left longer than 40 mins your stuff gets removed! At the end of the day Carnival should provide enough beds and not expect you to lay on towels as some guests did. Rooms-staff fab and very friendly, they got our biggest tip! Rooms smaller than there other ships they pack u in here-noisy in morning with inconsiderate banging from the patio doors and front doors of adjoining rooms. Bar staff at main pool bars=not very friendly on lido but friendly staff who come to you Frog Pub=good friendly service, excellent live music POOLS- STANDING ROOM ONLY! THese ARE VERY SMALL -AQUA PARK EXCELLENT Italian and Steak excellent ate here twice great service and food Indian curry area fab plenty queues here though Market Place=closed half down when peak times did not make sense just created more queues? John the cruise director=annoying making announcements every day which was all about you spending more money! Ports of call=loved loved croatia, good in naples, Monaco, veniece too crowded 6 cruise liners in that day expect queues. Arrival at ports times never as they stated so set your clocks for an hour earlier at 6am or youll miss the arrival Tours-at 100 dollars per person make your own way to Pompei like us-90 euros in taxi who waited 2 hours for us saved 300 dollars! Same in croatia 15 euros in old town to beach then 50 euros for tour including journey home. Rome more difficult but you can get train. Exiting boat-PLEASE BEAWARE THIS STARTS FROM 5.30AM IN THE MORNING IF CARNIVAL OR YOUR TRAVEL AGENT HAVE NOT INFORMED YOU-OUR FLIGHT WAS 11.30PM BUT THEY STILL HAD US DOWN TO EXIT AT AROUND 6AM! AFTER SPEAKING TO MANY ENGLISH ON BOARD THIS IS NOT NORMALLY THE TYPE SERVICE YOU EXPECT FROM LUXURY LINER AND MANY SAID THEY WOULD NOT BOOK AGAIN Nationalties-certain people dont expect to queue! Very loud and arrogant Children=alot of teenagers on here if you expecting more relaxing space Overall a good holiday from the trips we took ourselves and the sights and memories,however this is not what we expected a luxury cruise liner to be like. Yes its new has fab facilities but they pack you in like sardines here, everyone we spoke to said book p and o and go from southampton. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We have just returned from a 12-day cruise on the Carnival Breeze. Sailing date was Saturday the 21 of July. Family of 4 (2 boys aged 8 and 14), 2 connecting cove balcony stateroom; 2369 and 2371. This was about my 18 cruise (not ... Read More
We have just returned from a 12-day cruise on the Carnival Breeze. Sailing date was Saturday the 21 of July. Family of 4 (2 boys aged 8 and 14), 2 connecting cove balcony stateroom; 2369 and 2371. This was about my 18 cruise (not counting anymore), a first time on a Carnival ship. Most recent cruises have been with RCCL but I have sailed many times with Princess and I also been on Norwegian, Costa, Celebrity and Oceania. I had read and received many comments on Carnival about the not so great food and services but since the Breeze was brand new, the itinerary was amazing (great ports and 4 days at seas which gave us time to relax and the kids time to enjoy all the things to do on the ship) and price was unbeatable, I finally decided to give Carnival a try. Overall, it was ok, there great things and things that were not to my expectations: Ship overall: 4/5 -Brand new ship ! Embarkation and disembarkation: 4/5 We arrived at 11h30 and it took us about 40 minutes to get in. We, like always, disembark on our own and it took us about 20 minutes from our stateroom to the taxi. Ports of call: 5/5 Perfect ports to show Europe to your kids. Pools: 1/5 -2 pools on a ship of about 3700 guests, what were they thinking ? Lounge chairs: 1/5 -Do you like to get up at 6am to ensure you get a chair around the pool area ? On the first day at sea, it was around 8h30 and we had a real hard time to find 4 chairs on the whole ship ! I have never experienced this on any cruise before. Waterslide & Sportsquare: 5/5 Kids had a great time. Shows & entertainment: 4/5 Great productions & good live music. Seaside theatre: 2/5 They have a great screen but most of the time during the day they use it to sale their video of the cruise..... Spa: 4/5 Good treatments but pricy as always. Stateroom: 4/5 Good size, good stateroom stewardess. In our stateroom 2371, very noisy in the evening as I believe above us was some kitchen facilities. Lido marketplace (buffet): 2/5 The decor is nice but that's about it. Do you like line-up's in the morning to get your breakfast ? I'm not an engineer but don't they have enough experience with prior ship to better organize the food stations ? For lunch and dinner: limited selection. Pizza station: 2/5 Hungry for pizza ? Get in line ! I had it once, its good but why do they put only 2 guys to take the orders, prepare, cook and serve..... Guy's Burger Joint: 5/5 Amazing burgers and no line-ups ! Bluelguana Cantina: 5/5 Great burritos, specially for breakfast Sapphire dining room: 2/5 Food: its ok, just ok. Presentation could be better and food hotter. Taste: hits and misses. Service: they were nice and doing their best but...rush rush rush, quick quick quick. Don't expect them to serve your wine. Breakfast was very good. Steakhouse (Fahrenheit 555): 4/5 Very expensive (35$ p/p), but very good. Service is better than in the dining room. Bonsai sushi: 4/5 Very fresh and very good. Overall rating 3/5 We got what we paid for. Happy to finally have tried Carnival after 20 years of cruising. But unless I am really strap for cash, I will not be back with Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Our experience in Europe was incredible but I can't say the same for the cruise. The ship was brand new only it's second sailing but I wasn't impressed beyond the new factor! I have been on two previous Disney cruises ... Read More
Our experience in Europe was incredible but I can't say the same for the cruise. The ship was brand new only it's second sailing but I wasn't impressed beyond the new factor! I have been on two previous Disney cruises and the carnival ship doesn't compare... Everything was an up charge! There were many areas to choose from for dining but all were additional except the standard dining room and buffets...including additional $ for any soft drink. The food was okay but definitely not exceptional.! The shows in the evening didn't even come close to the Broadway style productions of Disney...Carnival had the same 6 performers in all shows with very minimal sets... As for the design of the ship...simple things that made for frustration. The drinks available water, lemonade, and tea were always running out because they had to be hand filled. In this day on age I'm sure there is a simple solution others than having a carnival employee squeezing into the line of waiting people to refill... The omelet station in the middle of the buffet so people who only wanted fruit or Danish had to wait in line behind everyone getting an omelet. Pizza made to order, which sounds great but not on a ship with thousands of people. I could go on and on.... Then there is the sky course...the attraction that my kids loved but....it is wind restricted!! Did Carnival forget that this a cruise ship, generally windy at sea!! So you had to wait for the course hours to be open, very limited, and then hope that it wasn't too windy or they would shut it down!! On a positive note the employees were very friendly... Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
My daughter and I enjoyed our cruise, however we found ourselves continually comparing this ship to our favorite, which was INDEPENDENCE OF THE SEAS in the Royal Carribbean fleet. We expected this ship would be comparable due to it being ... Read More
My daughter and I enjoyed our cruise, however we found ourselves continually comparing this ship to our favorite, which was INDEPENDENCE OF THE SEAS in the Royal Carribbean fleet. We expected this ship would be comparable due to it being new. We found that was not the case, so we were slightly disappointed. However, there is nothing wrong with the ship and we found it adequate to have a pleasant trip. The cons of the ship were the common areas seemed small. It did not have the expansive open spaces we expected. Some of the food, while prepared fresh at the Pizza Pirate and the Mongolian Wok created long lines and lengthy delays to obtain. The cabin temperature never seemed to change despite continually adjusting it. We couldn't seem to get it cool enough at times. The shopping seemed less abundant, but perhaps it was just not spread out as far. The beach pool was not nearly big enough to accomodate the size of the ship with respect to the number of passengers. The Ocean Plaza on deck 5 was where a lot of activities, such as trivia were held and on sea days the doors opening on each side created crosswinds through the plaza. We were very disappointed in the 5D theater - it was extremely small, a fee applied and the show offerings were very limited. The pros of the ship were the crew, the production shows, the seaside theater (albeit old movies were shown), Fat Jimmy's C-side BBQ only available on sea days. Sail and sign kiosks made obtaining information easier than waiting in long guest services lines. You could also change large bills there. The Hasbro game shows were fun. The casino was nice size, with nice game choices. Overall, it was a nice trip, just nothing spectacular. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Cabins. Excellent Lido Food. Very Good Dining Room Sapphire.Good Casino. Below average- Very little variety Shows. Good Comedy Show- Very good Entertainment.Below average.The quality of singers in bars etc really were not good and ... Read More
Cabins. Excellent Lido Food. Very Good Dining Room Sapphire.Good Casino. Below average- Very little variety Shows. Good Comedy Show- Very good Entertainment.Below average.The quality of singers in bars etc really were not good and you would not want to return to hear them again. Pool and water park area.Very good. Activities on board. Poor. Staff. Found most staff very good and helpful. Ship Tours, Rip off as usual, better off organising them yourself. Liquid night club. Not inviting to any over 30. Internet access. Very expensive It would not take much to put this beautiful ship into the great category. However they really need to up their game when it comes to entertainment and activities.Simple things.For example there was no bridge (card game) organised. I don't play myself but a number of people I met would have loved to have an organised game.Entertainment around the pool was very hit and miss. In the casino people do not want to play on electronic texas hold em and roulette machines.When one stayed overnight in a port the ship was very boring with limited options. Would I go again. Probably not.NCL, Princess, RC offer more fun for your money Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Preliminarily, this was my second cruise (the first being a Caribbean one on Royal Caribbean). However, I have travelled extensively throughout Europe on business and I am a seasoned traveller. The decision to book on Carnival was not my ... Read More
Preliminarily, this was my second cruise (the first being a Caribbean one on Royal Caribbean). However, I have travelled extensively throughout Europe on business and I am a seasoned traveller. The decision to book on Carnival was not my own, but I was part of a group of about 12 persons which included my partner. I exclude from this review any commentary about ports or Carnival organized excursions (we organized all of of our own, at significantly reduced prices). I'll also say that I am in my mid-to-late 20's: I'm not being an old crabby person when I complain about a lack of formality, quiet spaces, children, etc. I've got my fair share of patience and I am not wealthy. This was the Breeze's second sailing, Barcelona->Barcelona with ports in Marseilles, Pisa, Rome, Venice, Dubrovinik, Palma de Mallorca, et al. It was a 12 night cruise with 8 ports (I believe). We set sail on 6/12; you can look it up. On the whole, I would characterize the experience as "mediocre." Many parts of the ship left me feeling underwhelmed, but the nice ports and time spent off ship contributed to a generally positive feeling. Were there more sea days or was I on a less engaging itinerary, I believe this review would be far more negative. I apologize for my rather disjoint comments, but a bulleted list is the most convenient way for me to discuss the experience: * I really enjoyed the Piano '88 bar and pianist Ron Pass. This is how most of my evenings were spent. A young guy, he lacked the smoky gruff I've become accustomed to in piano men, but he could do a dead-on Elton John. He was a bit repetitive night after night, but I understand that tips dictate his play list. This venue attracted its fair share of nightly regulars. * I'd heard rumours of Carnival as the "discount cruise line" and moreso than the staff and experience it was the other clientèle who reinforced this notion for me. Dining room dress code was generally ignored (nor was it enforced) and there was a general lack of decorum elsewhere. Being American, some portion of this could be attributed to European customs (European passengers were 1/3+ of our ship; the Russian contingent was also significant). While I respect their different beliefs, the occasional lack of decorum for queueing and personal space was a bit off putting. * Our group took formal dining every evening. Props to our server Tomaz and his attentiveness and patience with special requests. I wouldn't call the food "excellent", but it was generally "good", and there were some very nice presentations and a nice variety of selections (including an "every day" menu featuring some staples). I would encourage people to avoid the "comfort items", which seemed to have an over-emphasis on portion size and fried food. The tiramisu was absolutely delicious. Order meat one degree more rare than what you'd actually like to get. * Main auditorium entertainment was underwhelming both in selection and execution. My favorite was "The Brits", a show featuring Beatles tunes and others from the same era. There is something to be said for that fact that half of this show was projected on a giant screen (and not sung live) -- and it was still the best. The "Divas" show was also said to be respectable; with the magic act and talent show well below par. * Children. Children. Children. They are everywhere. They are loud. When sea days roll around (or the various "Camp Carnival" events let out for the night) they were everywhere. There is an adults only pool area (impossible to find a seat on sea days). Besides that, nowhere was exempt from the noise. Though the library bar is quite a nice space, it was full of kids playing games. I could find nowhere to get work done outside my cabin. With two of us trying to work, this meant one of us got the cabin desk and the other had to sit in the bed -- which wasn't very conducive to productivity. A simple adults only area could go a long ways in improving this. * I attended about ~3 comedy shows. On my particular cruise there seemed to be an over-emphasis on British comedians. Their slang and style seemed to go over the head of many in the audience. Some American comedians came on board later into our cruise, but I cannot offer comment on their performances. * The "Punchliner Comedy Brunch" offered on sea days in the main dining room was a pretty nice meal and alternative to Lido deck breakfast. However, the comedy component was nothing to be impressed with (a 5 minute advertisement occurring once hourly). Actually, try to avoid it, as the servers tend to step aside while the performance is under way. * Regarding lido deck dining: We were usually in a hurry to get off the ship at port (and I am not the best early riser). Breakfast lines were pretty large, but going to the Blue Iguana Cantina (mexican station) was a nice opportunity to *quickly* get a wrapped breakfast burrito that could be taken off ship. It had far shorter lines than the standard breakfast offerings and was pretty delicious. * We disembarked around 8AM for most ports and were back on board ~3-4PM. Having eaten breakfast, we didn't really take lunch in ports. Starving back on board, dining options were extremely limited around this time. It was either do Guy's Burgers (grease-fest) or wait in line for the limited deli options (cooked on demand). * Late night dining was also a disappointment. The pizza joint was open 24 hours and was quite good. Unfortunately, lines were long as they seemed to insist on cooking pizzas to order. The itinerary did mention "late night snacks from midnight-2AM". To the best of my searching, this did not exist on the first half of our cruise. When it did show up on the second half, it consisted of (1) hot dogs, (2) buffalo chicken sandwiches, and (3) potato chips -- EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. Just call 24 hour room service and throw them a Euro or 2; they have more healthy, fresh, and prompt offerings. More often, I fixed a plate when lido dinner opened @ 5:30 or 6:00 (prior to my 8:15 late formal dining) and threw it in the cabin mini-fridge and ate it when my midnight or 1AM cravings rolled around. * Internet service was "decent". Satellite internet obviously comes with challenges and is inevitably frustrating. I did pricing per the minute (no pre-bought package) @ $0.75 minute, and was generally able to complete an email check in ~3 minutes time. In the more mundane ports, I found a cafe, had a drink, and drained the bandwidth out of their free wifi connections. * Our ability to bring alcohol onboard was absolutely unrestricted. We disembarked with a large amount in a disguised fashion, and when that ran out, we brought it on in water bottles. Never a single question or inspection. Maybe it was just super hot and they were encouraging hydration, maybe it was European attitudes, I don't know; YMMV. Good luck. P.S. If you're American, don't buy booze and check it across the pond. We were able to buy completely respectable 750ml vodka (Smirnoff quality) at 3.33EURO in a Barcelona supermarket which we used to fill disguised bottles (and got over 3 gallons on board). * Though crowded on sea days, I quite enjoyed the pools. Shaded seating areas existed (able to put your feet in the water), very shallow pool areas in which to lounge and read, and in-pool seating were a nice touch. Lounge chairs suffered from the usual limited availability and rude "towel-down" reservation system. This was even worse in the adults-only area which featured nice couches, hammocks, and covered round seating (should you be able to get one). * Umbrella tables and the more relaxed (but pool-less) 5th deck attitude was a whole lot better than that up top. I gave the Sky Course (rope course), slides, and etc. a try -- but they weren't as important to me as if, say, I was travelling with children. Lines didn't seem too extreme for these offerings. * My experience with crew was almost universally positive. Granted, this was the ship's second sailing and they probably still had their "A team" on board. Our cabin steward was a bit too "hands on" (endlessly knocking when we were showering to talk to us). He also created some of the most abstract and nondescript towel animals I've ever seen.. * During lido lunch dining there is a free "pasta bar" upstairs at Cucina de Capito (which at dinner becomes a premium restaurant). Few people seem to know this and it comes highly recommended. I also heard "C side BBQ", open only sea days, was quite good, but didn't want to brave the lines. * Given the price point, I found our interior cabin quite spacious and well appointed (robes!). We were at the extreme stern of the ship and we did have some mild temperature issues. Our AC was at full blast, but our room never really got cold. Granted, it was a 100 degree heat wave almost every day in Europe, but the bow of the ship didn't seem to suffer in the same way (where some of our party were staying). In fact, many of the cabin hallways had external blowers in place at night, though I was unable to conclude if this was to dry carpet cleaning or help with air circulation. We never really suffered, but after a 100 degree day in port, it wasn't the pleasant shock we desired, either. You must also have your ship-card in the slot for the A.C, to operate -- though any standard-sized card will work. * Embarkation, disembarkation, and port calls were all quite reasonable and prompt. Announcements seemed to indicate a bit of trouble with some of the Carnival-sponsored shuttles, but we didn't take any of those. There was a general strike in Venice, but this was outside Carnival's control and they seemed to do a quite respectable job in trying to circumnavigate the matter. * A special shout out to "The Taylor's" who amazingly managed not to arrive back on board on time for 3 CONSECUTIVE DAYS (but always made departure). I am sure they got quite a lecture from the staff. * We didn't really participate in too many of the minor on-ship activities. We did give trivia a whirl twice and were unimpressed. First, the hosts had no idea what they were doing (they couldn't pronounce some things correctly during "culinary trivia"). Second, it seems Carnival doesn't mix up the questions much. Some 14 year-old pr*ck aced virtually every question because he had been on a prior cruise with the exact same questions (and still got a trophy!). * Why the paid locations such as the "Red Frog Pub" and "Bonsai Sushi" exist is beyond me. I noticed more staff were using these empty locations than paying customers. Surely, this space could be utilized in a more engaging way. (Poolside bars were doing fine business, though). Same with the 4D theatre. * Lemonade, iced tea, water, and coffee are the free beverage offerings. This is fine. However, is is too much to ask to have an ice machine at every beverage station? There is also some disconnect. A large number of juices are free at formal breakfast and via room service; but you will be charged when you try to order them at a bar. Sorry for tending to place an emphasis on the negative aspects here -- but that is my nature (and Carnival promotional materials will happily tell you everything they are doing right). The southern Med. ports were awesome and spending 2/3 of my non-sleeping time in port, I was quite satisfied with my vacation. If a similar cruise line had the same itinerary at a similar price point, though, I'd certainly give it a try before doing Carnival again. Again, the negativity seemed to stem more from fellow cruisers than the physical ship or its staff. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
I have always been a Carnival fan. Even my wedding was on Carnival, but this newest ship is headed the wrong direction. The 16 day transatlantic was the final leg of cruising completely around the world. When we arrived on board it was ... Read More
I have always been a Carnival fan. Even my wedding was on Carnival, but this newest ship is headed the wrong direction. The 16 day transatlantic was the final leg of cruising completely around the world. When we arrived on board it was surprising how much damage there was for such a new ship. The lightweight aluminum cones in the elevators and halls were bent and damaged from the countless scooters and wheelchairs on board. What were they thinking when they put the Serenity area right next to the Water Works. I found nothing serene about hearing the screams all the way down the two slides. I used to say that Carnival's food was better than Princess, but not on this voyage. Pasta and fish was undercooked, variety missing, but worst of all our waiter was so overworked that he didn't ever have the opportunity to check back to see if the food was OK. Once it was served, we didn't see him again until he brought dessert because he was so overwhelmed. Even the Maitre-d made an announcement to everyone one night apologizing for the food and service. The single biggest problem, I could identify is that it is too many people for the size of the ship or they have not yet figured out how to manage 4,000 pax like RCCL. There were always mobs waiting to get in for the shows. If you were not in a seat 45 minutes before a show, you were out of luck. The cruise director tried to compensate by not even promoting the final shows in hopes that enough would not see it in the "Fun Times" publication. Every day the "Top Ten" recommended things to do had at least five that required spending more money. I felt like I had paid for a 16 day commercial always being asked to spend more, spend more, spend more. Every time we ordered a drink and specifically asked for "House" liquor, they upgraded and charged extra. After confronting them, they would no longer come by and ask us if we wanted a drink. The other overall problem was noise pollution throughout the ship. Speakers were too loud, acoustics in the dining were so bad we could never hear the conversation at our 10 top. On a more positive note, I did find the cabin roomy and I'm glad they have returned to having dancing in the Atrium. Thanks also for placing the second area for entertainment not "in" the promenade walkway, but rather beside it. Overall, I would say that the Carnival Magic has cured me from wanting to go on Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We finished a cruise on October 26 and flew on Ryan Air from Rome to Barcelona. We had a wonderful time in Barcelona. What a magnificent city! It was far more than we expected, and we want to go back and spend time. One full day of ... Read More
We finished a cruise on October 26 and flew on Ryan Air from Rome to Barcelona. We had a wonderful time in Barcelona. What a magnificent city! It was far more than we expected, and we want to go back and spend time. One full day of touring was not enough by a long shot. Our cab driver to the ship was from Colombia and was very talkative. We enjoyed the drive. Embarkation involved a long line, but was a breeze and rates a grade of A. Luggage was delivered in a reasonable period of time. The ship decor was toned down compared with some other Carnival Ship. Slight echos of the MGM Grand in Vegas, but mostly quite pleasant, imho. Room: We booked a balcony guarantee and were given the farthest forward balcony cabin on the port side, deck 6. It was a handicap room, so it was spacious. Neither of us are in need of such a room. The only seat in the room was a stool at the vanity/desk. The flat screen TV was oriented to be watched from a wheelchair, not so much from the bed. On our previous cruise out of Rome on Mariner of the Seas our balcony room had twice the storage and closet space compared with our Magic room, but the Magic space was adequate for our needs. The bathroom shower area had a fold up seat. This seat was dripping a bright red substance onto the tiled floor when we first entered. It looked like blood. It was not. It was rust. This rust continued erupting from the chair for three days, but it gradually turned more rusty and less bloody in appearance. On the third day the other side of the chair began leaking a black tar substance. The repair staff worked hard to solve the problem. Finally, filling the metal tubing with silicon chalk ended the eruptions, at least for the rest of our cruise. This reduced the room cleaning workload, since the continual staining on the tile floor ended. I now think I have a better handle on what happens when church statues drip a blood-like substance, but the tar is still a mystery to me. The shower drainage design failed. Taking a shower while the ship was moving resulted in a stream of water flowing under the door into the room carpet. The solution from our ship staff was for us to put towels under the door. This stopped most of the flow, but the carpet still got wet. Since we were on a transatlantic cruise, the ship was usually moving. Except for a small wire shelf in the shower, the bathroom contained only a very small area on the sink to put anything. The kleenex box was perched on a towel rack. About ten days into the cruise our room door would not open. We had a hard time convincing the guest services person that reprogramming our sea pass would not solve the problem. We would not hand over our cards. She pouted a little but agreed to send someone to fix the door. We had to wait about a half hour, but he did come and got the door latch working. He said the whole mechanism needed to be replaced and that was done the next morning. For a six month old ship, I thought a lot was going wrong. On deck six (and only on deck six), the port and starboard forward balconies have sweptback partitions that allow not just a side view, but a panoramic forward view. That is nice, but it means that the people on the adjacent forward public deck can look into the balcony and into the room. Also the ocean view rooms at the front must tightly draw their curtains, if they want privacy. However. almost all of the balcony rooms have an extra partition above the railing that provide a higher level of privacy than it found on many ships. From our balcony, I saw lots of flying fish. In Galveston Harbor we saw dolphins. Public areas: Most of the public areas on the ship are wonderful. Lots of good places to sit and read or visit. Lots of places to be near the pool or hot tub. Shaded areas. Sunny areas. Great bars and snack bars. The Serenity Deck for adults is fabulous. The library is well run and inviting. Given the advent of the Kindle, the relatively small size of the library is less important than it would have been in the past. The fitness center was slightly smaller than I expected, but it was well managed and well equipped. The pools, hot tubs and the water park are all superior. I often walked on deck five, the Promenade Deck. Usually, I did this very early. I saw several rainbows, including a full double rainbow ahead of the ship with the illusion that we would be sailing beneath it soon. I like to play trivia. My wife did handicrafts and I played on trivia teams. Lots of people from Texas. Lots of Canadians. Those groups bring lots of good will and friendliness to social life on board, and nice people mean a great deal on a cruise. The theater: The main theater is very beautiful and well designed for serving drinks. However, the spaciousness provided for passing waiters reduces the seating capacity to 1300. Even with two shows, this is a problem. When they have only one show during the evening, forgetaboutit. Entertainment varied from poor to very good on this cruise. Rouch sea conditions adversely affected the entertainment. I expect that the new cast for cruising from Galveston will provide quality entertainment. Theater lighting and special effects are impressive, but they have bulky equipment haphazardly taking up some of the seating space on the main floor. How can that be so on a brand new ship? The stainless steel pillars in the theater are very attractive but seem to be designed to maximize the number of people who have some of their stage view blocked. The buffet: I thought the buffet was very good. The barbecue and ethnic offerings, such as tandor, were good. The deli was very good, as is usually true on Carnival ships and never true of other ships. Many people complained about finding seats and tables in the buffet, but I thought it was less of a problem on this ship than on many other ships. Dining room: We were assigned late seating in the Southern Lights dining room, deck three. The first night was very poor. Not the food. It was good. We were at a table for 10 with one other couple. We lacked silverware, especially spoons. They were setting up for breakfast and seemed much more into that than in providing any service to us. The other couple managed to move to early seating. The next night we hooked up with two couples assigned to the adjacent table for 10. We shifted to their table and the six of us ate dinner together for the rest of the cruise. Our service improved over the course of the cruise. We began to instruct the waiters to provide salt shakers and other supporting material. On a couple of nights, we actually got offered pepper from pepper mills. They quickly learned to provide a plate of lemon slices. I think with more training, the waiters will be successful. We got our main courses cold, but hot desserts usually came hot. Four of us always ordered the same drinks with dessert, but they never remembered that we did. Most of the green veggies provided on this cruise were more of a garnish than a side dish, but you could always request more. Carnivals food is good in general. They are not into pies, but their desserts tend to be quite good. Breakfast and Lunch in Southern Lights was way, way below any reasonable standard of service. It was as if they wanted to punish us for having the audacity to show up. The breakfast menu was always the same. Special requests clearly pained the waiters to the point of ruining their days. Ken, our Maitre'D, has a beautiful voice and sang for us every night. The waiters served as chorus and dancers. They were better at that than at waiting on tables. Excursions: Our ship's tour to the Caves of Drach on Mayorca was terrific. Our ship's tour to Grenada from Malaga is something I will treasure forever. On Gran Canaria Lynn needed to see a dentist to get a prescription for medicine, so we did not take a tour. The dental office was ultra-modern and the dentist quite young. We speak Spanish. The office visit was 20 euros and the pharmacy charged 3.50 for the medicine. We did a lot of walking, drank beer, used the internet and enjoyed our Gran Canaria time. We were going to go on a ship's tour snorkeling on Grand Turk, but that was canceled so the ship could put into Freeport in the Bahamas to repair a damaged rear thruster unit. That damage caused our cruise to be rougher than it should have been. The ship was subject to great vibrations and many noises one would not expect from a new ship. Being in a far forward cabin we had howling wind and many thumps and bangs and wave poundings. Although they did not get the complete repair done in Freeport as hoped, the ship seemed to handle better on the two full sea days between Freeport and Galveston. Disembarkation: This went very smoothly and our trip to the airport was nice. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Following Tims review, we had another problem. My companion uses a mobility scooter and thus our cabin was a handicap access one directly over the bridge. We will ignore the 9 1/2 Air Berlin Flight of the transfer in Berlin where ... Read More
Following Tims review, we had another problem. My companion uses a mobility scooter and thus our cabin was a handicap access one directly over the bridge. We will ignore the 9 1/2 Air Berlin Flight of the transfer in Berlin where someone dissassembled and misplaced some of the scooter ( charger) which I recovered spinning on the baggage carousel The special access taxi in Barcelona was great and weather Thursday Rainy so we really didn't see as much as we wanted. Found the Spanish food not to out taste and ate McDonalds, an Italian and a steak house. No Paella. Boarding was very easy since we went with the scooter through the VIP line But discovered the dining assigned was wrong. We asked 4 GSM persons where and time to see the Mt'De and got 4 answers all wrong. Sort of set the mood. When finally found was right in computer and told a new card would come never did he cut Jean off in mid question very rude and later chased us down to apologize. Was the only officer to apologize and many were RUDE. John Heald had supposedly set up a gangway meeting with Calvin but took several notes before he appeared, Got the normal strawberries and champagne and 1 SOS for the 2 of us . We had tried booking the hotel to ship transfer for CCL said they couldn't do the scooter. More on this later Had a wheelchair access booked for Mallorca and the night before got a note it was cancelled. Visits to the excursion desk gave no alternative or help so we stayed aboard. A big mistake. see later references In Malaga we tried to get thru the CCL excursion Desk access to the shuttle to town (fee) and said they couldn't take us so we decided to walk, Leaving the gangway saw a Interline Supervisor and asked him if the shuttle would take the scooter. Of course he said, sold us a ticket and we got round trip w/o a problem. Hmm CCL said this couldn't be done. While walking in town we came across about 8-10 buses with signs for town tour some RCL and some Magic. Well the RCL ones were loading and unloading scooters and when I asked the supervisor for the Magic busses they said they do it all the time and CCL should have booked us. In LasPalmas the same thing, HOHO was not equipped but when we tracked one down on own they had a ramp, special space for the scooter with a large window. Do you see a pattern here. We had a cabana rented on Grand Turk with a ramp and then they cancelled GT for Freeport to repair a problem with the stern thruster. As Tim said they offered a free shuttle to Lycaya but The Excursion Desk would not give us a ticket. Same excuse , went to shore and talked to shuttle agents and said no problem but you need a ticket. Was a perfect catch 22. We had contacted John Heald and he meet with us aboard at Freeport and was so he said totally appalled but this which really destroyed our European experience He promised something, and even to take us to Europe on the Breeze but think that was just blowing smoke. Now to the ship well we never had a room service delivered correctly. We agree with Tim on the lack of venues and activities. Showtime only had 4 handicap reserved spaces and unless one was there an hour early we just didn't get seating. And most time they had Bingo immediately before the show and so seating was taken. To many activities from show to comedy club were scheduled so as to overlap so you could only do one The Ocean Plaza was packed all day with card players, cribbage gamers all the way back to the piano bar and the tables in the red frog that the activities there trivia etc. could not find sitting, We talked with Kevin and Calvin on this and they agreed was poorly planned. The Lido tables along the windows were taken by those looking for a place to not eat and there was posting in Funtimes to please use other areas so those dining on the Lido could find a table. Lido offered options for lunch, and we liked the burrito Bar but for diner it was limited to one serving area (from 4) and served the same stuff as the dining room basically so we did the MDR. The room was forward and in the crossing was constantly being slammed as the ship hobby horsed. Looking at the speeds posted it was obvious the captain was more concerned with his schedule to get to Freeport for repair the Thruster and not comfort of passengers. Jean was tossed twice and luckily landed on the edge of the bed and not the floor. We spent most of our time in the Casino for want of anyplace or thing to do. They had a free drink program with 1500 points which we both earned but you could not find a bar person to place and order. seemed they avoided you if you had the free drink card. I complained several times on the time factor and got various excuses, only one working etc but it took about 30 minute play to place a drink order and 15 plus to get it. Considering how tight the slots were decided was cheaper just to buy a drink when wanted one . We had a great balcony across the front of the ship and contrary to what JH had said the access was ramped and there were chaise lounges ( never set up) and two wood benches. Spent a nice 2 hours there though cold in the wind getting into Galveston. For many days there was a sign posted that the area was closed because of high winds. Could have been nice except for 23 K, Sean and coolness Trip ended as it began. MDR last night with Prime Rib and it was served lukewarm. the apple pie came with almonds ( allergic to nuts and when replaced no ice cream, by the time the ice cream came it was soup. Sad because service and food had been good to excellent up to the last meal. We were early disembark and with the scooter sort of bulled our way off. Got the bags and then the bus assigned was full and we were put on an another,Handled the scooter though had to pull seat and lower steering since the baggage bay was smaller. BUT he delivered us to the wrong terminal in a rain shower. CCL had a representative at the entrance who escorted us to the right terminal. Said was 2nd shuttle that did this delivering passengers to the wrong terminal, Got to RSW around 4:30 Mike was waiting, got home tired, somewhat disappointed but some good with the bad. Got it off my Bucket List. Would I do it again. No, Ship was too big and venues too small, 16 days was too long. Will stick to midsized ships and shorter cruises. Think was mainly a MAGIC and not a CCL problem in general. Noted the first cruise out of Galveston had the itinerary changed due to more Thruster Problems so the story continues Like everyone else have the Magic Hack. Is getting better. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
First of all my wife and I experienced cruisers who are not very particular, demanding or complainers. We take events as they come along and always make the best of any situation. We make our own good time. Carnival Magic was ... Read More
First of all my wife and I experienced cruisers who are not very particular, demanding or complainers. We take events as they come along and always make the best of any situation. We make our own good time. Carnival Magic was advertised as this large, brand new, technically advanced marvel. More on that later. Our first disappointment was when we met with the Carnival representatives at the airport in Barcelona. We were to take an excursion that would end up at the ship. We presented the representatives with all of our documentation. We were told where and what time to meet. We wandered around the general area as we waited. Approximately one hour before our excursion was to meet and leave, we saw a Carnival representative caring a sign with the name of our excursion with a group of people following her. My wife and I commented to each other that this must be a popular and crowded excursion and that this was the first group to go. As our departure time approached we noticed other people lining up with a different color sticker. I suggested that my wife go over to a Carnival representative and ask about our excursion. My wife came back to me in a furious state of mind after finding out that our tour group had already left and we had missed it. We were absolutely certain as to the time we were to meet as it was repeated to us several times by the representative and we repeated it back before we wandered off. My wife was beside herself with anger so I took over communicating with the Carnival representative who eventually admitted that perhaps there was a communications problem. We were told of another excursion that would end up at the ship and we reluctantly accepted it. The satisfactory conclusion to this mix-up was that Carnival gave us a full refund for the more expensive excursion we had booked and gave us a 25% discount on the excursion we had reluctantly accepted. When we finally boarded the Carnival Magic, the interior was the typical Carnival gaudiness, comprised of plastic, aluminum and pressed wood. I will now explain why I stated that Carnival cares more about appearance then what is best for passengers. This large, new, technically advanced marvel vibrated violently. The explanation given was that a thruster had gone bad even before we began our 16 day trans-Atlantic cruise in Barcelona. This was to be the Magic's maiden voyage across the Atlantic to it's newly built home port in Galveston, Texas. The press was invited, a concert was planned and other celebratory events were to be held as this great ship made it's way into Galveston. The vibration was so loud and/or the acoustics in the two main restaurants were so bad, one could hardly hold a conversation with the person sitting next to him or her. A table mate of ours, whose single person stateroom was on the first deck said she was literally bouncing around in her bed and unable to sleep well because of the noise and vibration. Several days into our cruise an announcement came over the P.A. system informing the passengers that there was to be a change in the itinerary. We were scheduled to go to Grand Turk Island for one day. Instead we were to go to Freeport, Grand Bahamas for two full days since that port had facilities for repair. Carnival did arrange for free transportation into town, which was a nice gesture. The problem was that they were only able to arrange for seven buses to transport possibly over three thousand people to town if they had not already booked a last minute excursion. The process was considered a fiasco by many passengers as it took many hours to leave the ship. Many people opted to pay extra money and take a cab into town. One was able to see the new thruster on a barge and watch as divers removed the damaged thruster. The next problem was that Carnival had scavenged nuts & bolts from a Princess ship to attach the propeller to the thruster. The thruster's purpose is to move the ship in and out of a dock or move the ship in circles of either direction. The scavenged nuts & bolts did not fit the damaged Carnival thruster, thus bringing it on-board still is disrepair. We left Freeport a few hours later then expected, but there was still plenty of time to reach Galveston as scheduled. The miraculous difference one noticed was that the vibrations had ceased, leaving one to consider whether the "thruster problem" was ever true. So, I ask you, did Carnival have the right to inconvenience over three thousand passengers to save face and make a grand entrance into Galveston with all the prearranged hoopla? Now for some positive statements. The service and food were excellent. If one was lucky enough to be in the Southern Lights Restaurant, they had the pleasure of hearing the fantastic vocal expertise of Ken the singing Maitre d'. There was an Indian gentleman who came around to the tables to perform close-up magic with ropes and cards, which where unbelievably good. My wife and I never enjoy the stage productions, but we did enjoy several really good comedians, a hypnotist performance, in which I participated and Ron, the piano man. We did meet new people and enjoyed ourselves. However, I will most likely not cruise with Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We are very new to cruising, this one being our second - so many of you may not think we know enough to write a review, and we probably don't since our first was on CCL Ecstasy and we loved it! The problems started almost from the ... Read More
We are very new to cruising, this one being our second - so many of you may not think we know enough to write a review, and we probably don't since our first was on CCL Ecstasy and we loved it! The problems started almost from the beginning, not all Carnival's fault. The first CCL problem was that we were promised a CCL rep would met us at the airport to make sure we were transported to our CCL arranged hotel, no one ever showed. After the large group of us found our way thru the airport and around the building we found the shuttle pick-up, but the hotel only brought a small van (They used the large vehicle to transport groups for other things), so we waited over and over for the van to return until it was finally our turn (even though several people thought they were to good to wait in line). The CCL arranged hotel was nice & the staff very helpful. The next CCL problem was that a CCL rep was suppose to be at the hotel on departure day for those of us that arranged a pre cruise tour. That rep never showed and when the CCL rep in charge of the shuttles from the hotel to the port arrived she met with a very angry mob. After many phone calls, our tour bus arrived over an hour late and with not enough seats and no room for our luggage which was suppose to be transported with us according to the tour description. After more phone calls and loud arguments between the tour guide, the CCL rep and the concierge about what to do with all our luggage - it was finally decided that we would leave it in the lobby and the CCL rep would stay with it until it was transported by truck to the ship. We later learned that she did not stay with it and many people had items stolen from their bags (ours were locked). The tour was nice, but a bit rushed due to leaving so late.Embarkation was difficult, but probably our fault. We purchased a souvenir on the tour that the Spanish customs wasn't sure we could take with us. Since no one spoke English and our Spanish is weak, the only thing we got was that our walking stick might be considered a weapon, but no one was sure. The CCL rep & CCL security would only speak to the Spanish customs staff, no matter how many times we tried to ask questions or offer to just leave it behind. Finally we were told they would check into it and if we could have it they would give it to us in Galveston (yes we received it in Galveston). All that time and mess for a 10 euro wood walking stick. By the time we were onboard our room was ready. We dumped our stuff and then joined the fantastic CC Roll Call on deck for a M&G and sail-a-way. This was the first time we had joined a Roll Call and the group was so nice and really added to the cruise for us. It was also the first time we noticed that we could not find a waiter to get a drink. This continued for the entire cruise no matter where you were. We never had this problem on our other cruise and I have heard many people talk about how the bar waiters drive people nuts trying to get them to buy drinks. Since I don't have a lot of experience to compare to, I can only talk about things I thought were a problem and would have been a problem on a cruise or any vacation. The shortage of bar waiters was in almost every location, except the Red Frog (we saw 4 and no customers). The Spotlight (comedy club) holds about 200 to 300 people. We only saw one waiter every time we were there and was only able to get one drink at one show and it arrived just as the show ended. We only saw 2 bar waiter in the casino and were NEVER able to get a drink from them. We were only able to get a drink from the bartender in the casino and only if we went to the smoking side and hollered and waved. The rest of the time we were totally ignored. We had Your Time Dining and saw 2 bar waiters there. If we sat in the back we had a very nice young lady who really watched her tables, but the 2 times we sat in the front we had a young man that would never come to our table, even if the head waiter told him to. He spent more time vising with his friends, even sitting at their table and talking. We saw a few waiters in the Showtime Theater, but could never get them to wait on us (maybe our S&S card was the wrong color). At the Past Guest Party we ask 4 waiters if we could have a glass of white wine, then each tried to tell us that someone else would bring it to us. We were able to get 2 cubes of cheese and then at the end of the party we got to glasses of hot white wine. The people in the seats behind us never got any food or drinks. We were very lucky that our CC friends gathered us up and took us to the Farewell Party on the last day. That was the only time we had a bar waiter that brought drinks and checked on us. I know some people have complained about the lines for all the venues. As far as dining, that really depended on what time we ate. The lines for the shows started at least an hour before the doors opened and people stampeded like cattle to grab seats. Knocking people over and saving seats (sometimes those seats were never filled). If they can issued tickets for the shuttles, then why can't they issue them for the shows? The food in both the buffet and dining room was ok, but we never had a meal that was the correct temperature. The cold food & hot food were both room temperature. The waiters served it as soon as it came from the kitchen, the kitchen was just not doing their job. The steak house was wonderful and worth the money. The Cucina (Italian) was pretty good for the free lunch, but I got food poisoning from the dinner. Our room steward was very nice, but nothing special. Guess we were spoiled on the Ecstasy. It was 3 days before we had a towel animal and they were removed everyday. :-( The minibar refrigerator was not refilled unless we asked and we had to ask each time. The thing that stood out more than anything else was how old & worn the ship looked. The back of every elevator had a beautiful glass panel with 2 modern metal sconces. Every panel was shattered and the scones dented. We noticed the transition strips in many areas were coming lose and some were coming off. Worn carpet, worn upholstery, deck chairs with torn place. Even our cabin look old and worn. We took CCL tours at most ports. They were ok, but we felt rushed on every tour.We are very confused about the staffing problems. I seem to remember a Facebook posting about how the ship was going to be staffed with the cream of the crop - the employees with the best reviews from the customers. Well if staff that doesn't speak English, that is rude or ignores customers or just plain doesn't care, are the cream of the crop, then maybe Carnival needs to rethink their employee reviews. Will we sail CCL again? Yep - we have heard too many good things to let this one sailing keep us away. Will we sail on the Magic again? Probably not, at least until CCL get all the problems fixed. Rumor has it that the ship is cursed - I am beginning to think maybe it is. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Having sailed on Carnival in the past we knew pretty much what to expect. We liked being on a new ship and the itinerary. A few glitches we noted: The cabin temperature was "too cold" so we notified the room steward who ... Read More
Having sailed on Carnival in the past we knew pretty much what to expect. We liked being on a new ship and the itinerary. A few glitches we noted: The cabin temperature was "too cold" so we notified the room steward who called the Director of Housekeeping. She arrived in the cabin and got an ambient temp of 72 degrees. We told her we wanted it adjusted and that our thermostat didn't seem to effect the cabin temp. She informed us that this was controlled by their central a/c/heating mechanism and that it was "the policy" to keep the temp between 72-74. We asked her to raise it. Three days later we again complained to the steward who reminded us of our earlier complaint. We insisted and she reappeared. Same story. We protested and she said she "might contact Maintenance". Shortly someone from maintenance appeared and denied the Housekeepers version of cabin temperature controls stated "she's new" and promptly diagnosed the problem as a "blown fuse on the thermostat" After repair we were able to adjust the cabin temperature from the individual thermostat after being uncomfortablly cold the first week. We booked our Rome excursion ($189) each with Carnival and missed their chartered bus by 5 minutes because there was no on in the lobby to assist passengers with the "sign-in" process. We inquired as to their lack of staff and organization. They eventually refunded our cost and rebooked on a similar one in the afternoon that included only half our tour. At their prices you would expect that they could provide a few underpaid staffers to assist with the thousands who were waiting for shore excursions. We overheard several employees reporting that other guests had missed their tours as well. Guest services staff were visibly flustered. Otherwise staff were very pleasant. Food generally good in MDR. Didn't try specialty restaurants. Lido buffet over-crowded; Indian food when available good; sushi so/so; lounge hogs selfish and unregulated; the cruise line should come up with better system; mixed drinks better if you watch them prepare them; ship very clean; cove balcony a nice addition; spa staff need education on service and communication; wish they would cancel Steiner group; gym adequate; didn't attend any shows; bands and duos mediocre to good. We went for the itinerary primarily. Otherwise would have selected a different cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We went on the Carnival Magic in October for a 9 day cruise around the Mediterranean. The ship itself, even being so new, showed some signs of wear and tear but was for the most part very clean. Clientele was generally older and not as ... Read More
We went on the Carnival Magic in October for a 9 day cruise around the Mediterranean. The ship itself, even being so new, showed some signs of wear and tear but was for the most part very clean. Clientele was generally older and not as quite downscale or rowdy as you might find on Carnival ships sailing in the US. The buffet food on the Lido deck, as many have mentioned, is cafeteria quality. It was difficult to find options that we really wanted or liked. It became repetitive, even with different options like the burrito bar. Typically, we think of cruises as a time where we will just eat constantly and come back satisfied (and a few pounds heavier). However, we found as the days went on, and especially with all the walking we were doing in port, we were bound to lose weight. We would look at the menu for the main dining room during the day and at times it was tough to find anything we were really excited about. I was also disappointed to see that there was not a lot of variation with the dessert selections from night to night. Overall, I would say the food that we did order in the MDR was decent, but I wasn't raving about anything. Although, I will say I was surprised how great the lobster was on lobster night. Aside from the food, the service in the main dining room was disappointing. I didn't know that there had been such a trend towards smaller tables lately and I think this changed our service significantly. We were at a table of 4, and our wait staff had to look over about 8-10 other small tables. (I'd say as opposed to having 3-4 large 8 or 10 person tables) Because of this, our waiter had time to hand us menus and take our order, nothing more. No recommendations, no explanation of any dishes. Not sure if this is something we just took for granted on other cruise lines, but I had come to expect a little more interaction and recommendations. Our wine rarely got poured for us and our water sometimes got refilled often, sometimes never. All of the staff were very friendly and really worked their butts off to try and make sure everyone was happy, but it's just impossible to provide good service to that many tables when they all sit down at once. It would typically be about 45 minutes before we would see our appetizer and the whole meal would average about 2 hours. Let's just say we were lucky to have good table mates, otherwise we would have really noticed the huge gaps between courses. We didn't go to all the shows on the ship, partly because we wouldn't make it out of dinner on time but mainly because none of them seemed too appealing. The ones we did go to were just ok - not the same quality that we have seen on other cruise lines. The other activities hosted throughout the days were fun, good variety. The 'shopping' sales were annoying to say the least, and the announcements that went along with them were even more nagging. Many other people have noted the fact that they excessively push merchandise and products on to you throughout the duration of the cruise. I feel like this is just part of being a business, but they could tone it down a bit. I wish there was also a way to access your photos from your stateroom, since the photo stations were always really crowded and congested. We had a balcony stateroom on deck 8. We would have been frustrated to be lower than that since the main deck and jacuzzis would have been closer to us. It's definitely better to be up a few decks to get your privacy. Our stateroom was large enough and very clean. Nothing to complain about there. Overall, I feel like if we had paid a lot more to go on a more upscale cruise line, it wouldn't have been worth it since we spent so much time in the ports. The site seeing was definitely more of the highlight of the trip, rather than the actual cruise. This made it easier to stay off the ship longer or even eat our meals in port and not feel like we were missing out on our cruise experience. Nevertheless, it was always nice and relaxing to come back to our ship everyday. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
CARNIVAL MAGIC -â€" A MIXED BAG We recently took a 9 night Mediterranean cruise on the Carnival Magic. We are experienced cruisers, but most of our recent cruises have been on Princess or Celebrity, and we had not been on ... Read More
CARNIVAL MAGIC -â€" A MIXED BAG We recently took a 9 night Mediterranean cruise on the Carnival Magic. We are experienced cruisers, but most of our recent cruises have been on Princess or Celebrity, and we had not been on Carnival for many years. We have avoided Carnival for our Caribbean cruises because we do not particularly like all the hyper-activity party environment that we associate with Carnival. However, we booked this cruise mainly because its timing and itinerary fit our schedule, and thought that the downsides of Carnival warm-weather cruises would not be an issue on a European cruise in October, because most people would be off the ship during the daytime and there would not be many children on board. We had a mixed reaction to the our experience on this cruise. We were pleasantly surprised by certain aspects and disappointed in others. All in all, the experience was better than we had expected, but we likely would not select this line or ship over Celebrity or Princess for any future cruise. Because this ship is so new, and Carnival is relatively new at cruising in Europe again, we thought that it might be helpful to detail our reactions to the cruise. EMBARKATION: We were very pleased with the embarcation process. The ship offered boarding very early, at 11:30 a.m. We had filed out all the required paperwork ahead of tme, and the boarding process was a breeze. Maybe because we were so early, it took us only about 20 minutes to check in, go through security, and get on board. Our luggage arrived relatively early, about two hours after boarding, which was really nice. SHIP COMMON AREA DESIGN AND DECOR: The design and décor of the ship, in our opinion, had pluses and minuses. The first thing you see upon boarding is the atrium lobby. No doubt, other people may have found it very attractive, but we found it 1980s tacky. It was laden with light fixtures that change colors. The finishings throughout had a plastic feel. There was nothing really elegant about it. On the other hand, the floors with the cabins were appealing. The entertainment rooms (the theater and other show room) were not particularly attractive, and also had a feeling of economy to us. On the other hand, the dining room was very attractive. In addition, everything was brand-spanking new and in top condition. There were also some flawed design aspects that we observed, but they were not big deals. For example, the ship offered live entertainment in the atrium lobby at night, but that created a lot of noise on the cabin floors because there was nothing to muffle the loud music from the atrium. Similarly, the ship has a wonderful room for the piano bar, but it is right next door to one of the show rooms (the Spotlight Lounge), and the noise from one permeated into the other. In addition, the ship has very good computer availaibility (in fact, I have never seen a ship with more computers and computers located around the ship, such as on the pool deck ), but the main computer area is flush in the middle of the main entertainment floor with all the computers in a row. As a result, there is no privacy when you are working on the computers, which you have with the separate work stations in the separate computer lounge on the Princess ships, and you are subjected to the noise from one of the hallway music lounges which is right next to the computer area. On the plus sign, the main reception desk and the other service areas were well located. CABINS: The cabins are suprisingly nice. We had a stateroom with balcony towards the front of the ship. The cabins have a very nice layout and had a relatively spacious feel. They have a very large desk area, sofa and coffee table, which were very nice touches. There are two separate closets and a larger than average amount of drawer space. The bathrooms were adequate and offered enough shelf and storage space. The showers have separate soap gel and shampoo dispensers, which we thought was an improvement on the little packages that we usually see. The only downside to the cabins were that the walls were paper thin, so we could hear noises of every type from the adjoining rooms, and the balcony was pretty small (but that may have been a product of the location of our fore cabin). FOOD: The food service on this ship was the worst part of the cruise and second rate, which really confirmed our concern that Carnival is not a top-tier line. Again, I am sure that others may disagree, but we were very disappointed overall. The choice of entrees and appetizers in the main dining room was not particularly impressive. They offered three courses (appetizer or soup or salad, entrée and dessert), unlike Princess, which offered four. What made it worse was that the "every day" options that were available when you didn't like the menu were almost laughable. We did not go on a cruise to be offered fried chicken, hamburgers, or flat iron steak (not sirloin). The food itself was mediocre at best and, even when the food itself was acceptable, the portions were really small. As experienced cruisers, we knew would could order more courses or extra food if we wanted to, but most people would not know this. Even worse was the buffet. On the plus side at breakfast was the made-to-order omelets. But the variety was limited, the food was not very well prepared, there was no attention to detail (like making sure that the milk for cereal remained chilled). In addition, the ship offered pre-cooked pancakes, french toast and waffles, but only at the hamburger bar next to the pool and away from the rest of the buffet. As a result, you had to go all the way to the pool to get it and then come back in wait in line for the rest of the selections at breakfast. This is a major conceptual design flaw that proved very inconvenient. The salad bar was almost laughably limited compared to other ships we have been on. At lunch, the burrito bar was a nice touch, as was the option to have made-to-order pasta in the Italian restaurant for free at lunch. The Mongolian wok was also a nice option, but it lost all appeal because there was not enough staff to cook the selections and serve the number of people who wanted to partake, which led to really long lines. The dinner options at the buffet were also pretty limited and the food (some of which included certain of the dining room options) was not particularly good. The desserts were mostly tasteless, but that is not uncommon on ships in our experience. Maybe the best experience we had on the ship was the night we ate in the Prime Steakhouse. We live in a major city and eat at good restaurants regularly, but the dinner we had on ship compared favorably with some of the better steakhouses in our city. The menu was varied and interesting, and the food was beautifully presented on elegant dishware and with imaginative garnishes and other touches. The portions were very generous. We got a meal that would have costed in excess of $100 per person in a restaurant for only $30. I would strongly encourage everyone to try this restaurant at least once. In fact, had we planned better, we would have eaten there at least two or three times because of our dissatisfaction with the dining room food, but it was booked by the time we got around to discovering how good it was. Nice touches were the now routine hamburger grill and pizza bar around the pool area. The food at both was very good. However, a big downside was that the hamburger grill closed around 6 p.m., before many people could go there for a dinner option if they wanted a burger instead of dinner. The pizza was surprisingly good. The ship also offered what it called a "deli", but it looked pretty unappealing. There also was an Indian food option, but we are not into Indian food, and did not try it. My guess is that the ship will shut down both of these and use the space for something more popular because we did not see many people going to either. Another huge disappointment for us was the availability of food in the later evening. We are not gluttons, but we do like on some evenings to have a light snack, such as fresh fruit, or perhaps a light desert or a little salad. The late night options on this ship were virtually non-existant after around 9:30, consisting only of the 24 hour pizza s and, a soft-serve/yougurt machine, and a dessert stand on the entertainment floor, which offered gelato, fancier desserts and coffes (all at an extra charge). In our opinion, this was really inferior to other experiences we have had. OUTDOOR RECREATION AND POOLS: This ship obviously was designed for Caribbean cruises and for families. Once again, the amenities were a mixed bag. On the plus side, this ship offered realy first rate outside seating. There was a lot of very nice seating in the shade around the pool decks, including very nice cushioned love seats and other interesting seating. The lounges around the pools were nice. Perhaps, one of the nicest features on the ship was the adults-only Serenity seating area with large covered bed-like lounges for two or more people to relax in. In addition, the ship offered more whirlpool spas than any ship I had ever seen, and even had spas on the Promenade deck overlooking the ocean, which was a very nice touch. Even nicer were the eating area just outside the enterntainment floor and some really nice outdoor seating areas for a couple of casual dining places on the entertainment floor, including under the Red Frog. Another really nice touch is the outdoor theater around one of the pools and the generous availability of towels by the pools and blankest for the hardy souls who wanted to watch movies outdoors at night, when it is cool on the ocean at this time of year. There also were lounges chairs spread all over the outdoor space on the recreation floors -â€" far more than I anticipated and have seen on other ships. There should be no problem getting a lounge chair in sunny areas on this ship, provided that you are not wedded to being around the pool. All in all, these were really nice features that surprised me. We were less impressed with the pool areas themselves. The main pool was really surprisingly small for a ship that is designed for warm weather sailing. On the other hand, there is a nice pool at the very rear of the ship that has a large enough feel to it. It, too, offered very nice seating options in the sun and shade. Although we did not use any of the outdoor sports options, they seemed to be varied and plentiful (miniature golf, basketball, rope climbing, etc.) One minor downside of the Promenade deck is that it also hosts some of the seating and dining options, so that is not as easy to use just for walking (and believe me, you can get a lot of exercise doing walking laps on this ship) as on other ships, where the Promenade provides unobstructed walking space. But this is just a nit. SERVICE: We generally were pleased with the service. The cabin steward, like most cabin stewards we have met, was really excellent. He cleaned the cabins promptly and well. A nice touch, if you care about these things, is that he made nice little animals out of towels each evening. Our dining room staff, comprised of one waiter and two assistants, could not have been nicer. We had a table for two (thankfully) at the late seating. They were very accomodating in handling any quriky requests we had (like lemon on the tables for the water and iced tea and an extra glass of ice). On the other hand, through no fault of their own, the entire dining experience always felt rushed. They came to take orders almost immediately after seating, and the food came flying out of the kitchen. As a result, you could easily go through a three course meal in 45 minutes. In reality, we do not mind eating and leaving reasonably quickly, but this was rushed even by our standards. Again, while some people might disagree with us, we were a little put off by all the "entertainment" that the wait staff is compelled to provide late in the dinners, such as singing, conga lines, etc. In our opinion, there is no place for this in what is supposed to be a relaxing time for meals. We also heard a fair amount of grumbling from people who had chosen the "Your Tiime" dining option. It seems that some people thought it was pretty disorganized, but we have no personal experience on this. Most of the other staff were very friendly and accomdating, including the waiters (who really cleared tables in the buffet room very quickly), the bartenders, the front desk staff, etc.). One exception to this is that I did not find the excursion staff particularly outgoing. One huge negative for us, which distinguished Carnival as a lower-end line, is that when we asked a waiter in the buffet to get us a Diet Coke and gave him our room charge card, he told us that they don't get drinks, but there was a bar by the pool. That do me was very disappointing and a lack of service that I had not experienced before. The ship was generally very clean, which appears to have been a priority. ENTERTAINMENT: This was another mixed bag to us. A couple of the production shows were ok, and others were just tacky. The piano bar was very nice, and the lounge player there was very good. The various bands and combos were adequate to good, in our opinion. The ship rotated comedians, and several of them were pretty funny, particularly at the x-rated late night adult shows. The reliance on magicians seemed a bit low-end to us but, again, reasonable people could easily disagree. The karaoke options are abundant for people into that. These events culminated in a passenger talent show, which sounds cheesey, but really turned out to be among themost fun entertainment options of the whole cruise. The disco was compact and adequate, but might get crowded when the ship is filled with younger people. The cruise staff generally was good. The cruise director, James, generally was very good. The cruise offered a wide variety of activities, enough to keep almost everyone on-board entertained while on ship. The casino was sufficiently large to accommodate most cruisers. (I only wish that they would have more no-smoking tables.) The shops were what you would expect on a cruise ship, although the candy store was a nice touch, but I doubt it will survive, given the lack of traffic. One big negative is the relatively frequent announcements over the public address system of upcoming entertainment events. These got downright annoying. I wish they would dial these back a notch. EXCURSIONS: We found the choice of excursions to be sufficiently varied, with half-day and full day alternatives offered. Our advice, however, is to do some research on your own well before departing for your cruise and try to book the excursions on your own. You no doubt will save a lot of money. While the cruise lines don't guaranty the performance and timing of the independent tour operators, most of the better independent tour operators depend on cruise passengers and are highly reliable. If you can afford it, we strongly recommend trying to put together a small group and hire a private driver/tour guide to take you wherever you want to go. You will see far more with them than you will ever see on a cruise excursion, and the price probably will be a lot less. DISEMBAKCATION: Carnival handled the departure of the ship with military precision. Kudos to them for that and the smooth transfers, which include them carrying luggage directly to the airport, so you never have to touch your luggage. GENERAL OBSERVATIONS: The ambience on this ship clearly is not one of elegance, or even upscale. It clearly is middle-of-the road. I generally like casual dress onboard, and do not even like to dress up for dinner. However, this cruise line welcomes people to come to the dining room in shorts and blue jeans, rather than, for example, khakis or similar wear. Again, I am sure some people enjoy this, but we think that this is a bit lower-end than we would have preferred. But this is Carvinal, not Celebrity. BOTTOM LINE: We love huge ships, and this is huge. There are many nice features to it, particuarly the cabins and outdoor seating, but it has a plastic feel to it overall. The food quality (except for the steakhouse) is really a deal-killer for us. This is probably a good choice for first-time cruisers, those on a tighter budget, those who like a lot of activity and entertainment, and those who tend to be easier to please. It also should appeal to Caribbean travelers who like party ships and people travelling with families. But, on balance, I do not think that this would be a good choice for those who have enjoyed more upscale cruise lines because of the lower-end ambiance, lack of attention to niceities, and second-rate food service. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Where to begin....let me first say that these are my own opinions, obviously, and others may disagree with me on some of these points. I don't intend to insult anyone. Our main intent for this cruise was just to get to the ... Read More
Where to begin....let me first say that these are my own opinions, obviously, and others may disagree with me on some of these points. I don't intend to insult anyone. Our main intent for this cruise was just to get to the destinations without having to pack and unpack in each city, on a strict budget. My companions and I are in our late 20s to mid 30s, so this may be an entirely different experience for older folk. CRUISE ITSELF Embarking: we were able to drop our bags off at 10am and explore Barcelona a bit before entering the ship, which was nice. Taxis are aplenty at port, though you may have to wait in a long line to go back into the city depending. Room: we had three girls in an interior room towards the middle of the 7th deck. It was really the perfect location, in the middle of everything. I thought it would bother me not to have a window, but it wound up being fine. I wouldn't have more than three people in a room, though. The bathroom, as you can imagine, is really, really small. The shower is nearly impossible to shave in. But we expected all of this so it wasn't a problem. The TV has very few channels, but if you're not spending a lot of time in your room, this won't come into play much. There are three closets that are a pretty good size and a dresser with three small usable drawers. The beds are high enough to slide a good size suitcase under them. Pool & Pool Deck: the pools are smaller than we had expected. The one in the back of the ship is the quieter one. The front is where they have a live band or loud music. The back has music playing but more in the background. It's difficult to find a lounger by the pool if you don't get up early, but we had no problem finding one on the 11th or 12th decks no matter what time of day it was. Food: Horrible. There's no way around that. We heard some people say that it was terrific, and I feel sorry for those people because they haven't been exposed to truly good food. We tried the buffet, the dining room, and the Italian restaurant that requires a fee for each guest ($10). The buffet: the omelet bar, burrito bar, and wok bar were okay, but everything else was awful. Burgers sit there for hours; buns are stale; hotdogs are boiled until they're mush instead of grilled; meat and seafood are overcooked; somehow the salad bar wasn't even that great and that was just straight up veggies and beans. Southern Lights dining room: We were at the youngest table and were served last every night. As a result, almost every entrEe was served cold. Our app plates would sit in front of us for way too long before being cleared away. Desert was nearly always melted by the time it was served. It took over 2 hours every night, which was not necessary in my opinion. Servers have more than one large table, so they are run ragged by the look of things. And each night dinner ends with a man singing Sinatra and the servers getting up on pedestals to dance a "friendship dance". I know cruises can be cheesy but this was waaaay too much for me. Italian restaurant: not great, not terrible. The pasta was cooked well, but it was served luke warm and wasn't great. I don't think it was worth the extra $10. Entertainment: Danny in the Red Frog is good, but everything else we heard music wise was cheesy to the max. All onboard musicians LOVE Bon Jovi and have a very limited selection of music that they play. We didn't watch any of the comedians or see any of the other shows, so I have no opinion of those. Service: our room porter was great; waiters at the Red Frog are terrific; other service was alright - not great, not horrible. People: Most people on the ship were seniors with very few children since school had just started. We were shocked at how rude the majority of the people on the ship were. Pushing and shoving to get into the buffet. No "please" or "thank you" or common courtesy. No manners at all. It got to be really, really annoying by the end of it. Disembarking: we had no problem. We were allowed to begin disembarking at 5:45am. We left the ship between 7-7:30am and just breezed through. We didn't even have to wait for a taxi. DESTINATIONS Buy this book: Seriously, do yourself a favor and pick up Rick Steves' Mediterranean Cruise Ports. It was our bible throughout the entire trip. When you have only hours in a city the size of Rome, you don't have time to mess around. This book gives directions by walking, transit, highlights of the city to hit up, restaurant recommendations, what to do if you miss your ship, etc. I don't know what we would have done without it. Itinerary: Be prepared for changes in the itinerary. We were told on our first day that Rome was having a transit strike the day we were supposed to be in port, so they had to shuffle things around. As a result, we would no longer be going to Naples, and that Naples was replaced with Marseilles. Many people, including ourselves, were very upset with this. We chose this cruise specifically for the destinations, and they can just change them on a dime. They said they'd notified us the week before, but they had not. The times you think you'll be in port are also likely to change. I believe Florence was initially supposed to be 7:30am to after 7pm and it wound up being 10:00am to 6pm. Excursions: In the interest of saving money, my companions and I opted not to do any excursions through Carnival. They are way too overpriced in my opinion, and I am not a patient person. I am also comfortable with public transit. If you do choose to go on them, be prepared to wait on people and not have any say in how you spend your time in cities. Our tablemates told us that no matter the amount of free time they say you'll have, it never winds up being that much time. Self-transfers into main cities from port: Italian trains are VERY unreliable. Trains get cancelled and break down all the time. Both happened to us in Florence. Do not wait until the last minute to come back, because a cab ride from Rome or Florence back to port is going to run you hundreds of euros. Liverno requires a 1 hour and 20 minute train ride into Florence. We split a cab to the train station. You'll need to make sure that the train you are on is either direct or requires a transfer in Pisa. Be sure to ask this (we almost wound up not transferring, ending up god knows where). Once into Florence you can take a bus to wherever you want to go. Rome requires a 1.5 hour (or less) train ride from Civitavecchia. The train station is within walkable distance from port. Once in Rome, you can take the subway to the Colliseum or Vatican, or wherever you want to go. It's really easy once you figure out what line you need. The book I suggested gives explicit directions that we followed seamlessly. When going back to port, give yourself at least 20 minutes to walk to the platform once in the train station. Taxis: be sure to ask how much it should cost you if you can, because they will try to rip you off. If it winds up that you need to take a cab back from Rome, I know friends of ours talked a cab driver down to 120 Euro. They'll likely aim for 200. Theft: be smart with your belongings. Thieves run rampant and they're not all scary looking men. We had someone tell us that a little old woman attempted to jack his wallet. I hope this helps! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We had previously cruised Europe on Celebrity and there was no comparison. I decided to try Carnival for the ports and the fact it was a new ship. The ship was fine- large with plenty of lounges- but it lacked the ambiance of other cruises ... Read More
We had previously cruised Europe on Celebrity and there was no comparison. I decided to try Carnival for the ports and the fact it was a new ship. The ship was fine- large with plenty of lounges- but it lacked the ambiance of other cruises I have been on, the service at some places, and the food was poor. Embarkation was very easy at 11 AM and we were on the ship within 10 minutes after arriving at the port. We immediately headed to the buffet for lunch which was not yet crowded. At 1:30 PM our cabin was ready and our luggage arrived shortly thereafter. We had a balcony room (I guess a mini-suite but not called that) which was fine although it did seem smaller than on other cruises. Our room was always clean but this is the first cruise that the room steward did not come and introduce himself. We never saw him except an occasional wave in the hall. Our main complaints were the rudeness of some of the staff plus the lack of knowledge of the ports. The shore excursion desk was not at all helpful. We were given the wrong information on several times. I do not think they cared about answering questions about the port unless you took their excursions. With the exception of Naples where we took the ferry ourselves to Capri, all of our excursions were booked through the ship. On our first night, we received word after 8 PM that our tour the next day in Monaco was canceled due to not enough people signed up. By then the desk was closed and all tours were filled. If there were on 6 signed up for a tour for 40, they should have contacted us early in the day to say there was a possibility the tour would be canceled and what was our second choice. Then when I did speak to someone the next morning, he led me to believe there would be tours you could take at the port. Other than the 30 minute train ride around Monaco, there were none. Luckily, I guess they had a lot of complaints so they added a bus and made an afternoon tour to the French. They misled us about the shuttle services to town in other ports also. The time was not properly utilized on excursions- we were given 45 minutes in places that had nothing and yet less time in places with a lot of shops and cafes. The staff in the perfume shop were very unfriendly and rude. I saw that a sample of perfume I wanted to try was empty and asked if they had another tester. I was rudely told "not until the next cruise." The staff in the casino was also rude. We asked one attendant how to cash out a few dollars we had won and she acted like she was doing us a favor by showing us and was fresh. The same with the man in the cashier cage. The hours for currency exchange was also limited if you had an excursion booked or dining plans. However, our dining staff in the main dining room were great. Our waiter, Caesar, was wonderful as well as Made and Suraj. We thoroughly enjoyed their attentiveness and service. The comedians were great! I was not impressed at all with any other show. TV in the room just featured showing the cruise director and news. We were not on the cruise to watch tv but when we were getting dressed or relaxing, it would have been nice to have a choice. The food was nothing special - with the exception of a few entrees or desserts in the main dining room. The breakfast buffet was very poor- everything was not presented in a convenient location (pancakes, waffles, and french toast were only by the pool) and the selection was poor. There were no nice fruits like strawberries, pineapples, sliced oranges - only cantaloupe and water melon everyday. It never changed. Most items were cold. The deli was very good as well as the grill by the pool- the pizza didn't compare to that on Princess. Room service was very limited for breakfast if you had an early excursion. I just felt Carnival lacks something major. I doubt if I would cruise it again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
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