This was our 8th cruise, and our first on Carnival. Mary, my companion has MS and uses a cane. Embarkation was a confusing mess. We were shuffled from one red shirted Carnival employee to another, always with the promise that the next one ... Read More
This was our 8th cruise, and our first on Carnival. Mary, my companion has MS and uses a cane. Embarkation was a confusing mess. We were shuffled from one red shirted Carnival employee to another, always with the promise that the next one would be able to secure a wheel chair. We never saw one, and actually boarded ship sort of moved along by the crowd rather than in any organized fashion. Debarkation was also chaotic.
Our cabin, 1407, was excellent, very large by most standards, sleeping up to 5, and normally used for families. It was located on deck one aft, which put us right below our dining room, and should have been convenient to the buffet and other services important to us. Unfortunately, we were to find that elevators rarely stopped on deck one. They would come as close as decks 3 or 2, and then proceed back up. On numerous occasions, Mary had to navigate the stairs, along with several other disabled passengers. On one occasion, a woman in a motorized wheel chair unable to get an elevator or use the stairs, became frightened at being stranded and made quite a scene. I had worked as an advocate for people with disabilities, so I volunteered to go take up the issue with the customer service desk. After pointing out the hazard to people with disabilities, I was assured the problem would be addressed. While it did improve somewhat as the week went on, the elevators remained a sore spot, and in my opinion, a safety hazard.
Food aboard ship was a total disappointment to us. The buffet was the worst we had encountered in our 8 cruises. Both quality and variety were inferior in every way to previous cruises. For the first time as cruisers, we found ourselves eating away from the buffet, eating pizza on several occasions. The up side was that the pizza was excellent, and there was good access to ice cream and other alternative foods.
The dining room was a shock to our system, resembling a discotheque more than an elegant dining room. We were assigned to a booth that reminded us of something from Denny’s. It was a disappointing departure from the large table and wonderful group dining we were accustomed to. We were extremely fortunate to have a wonderful couple named Les and Tammy assigned with us who proved to be perfect dinner companions, otherwise, we would have fought a battle over the accommodations. Elegant dining is one of our most enjoyable experiences while cruising, and Carnival frankly has missed the boat with that. The dining room food was as inferior as the buffet. We and our companions, found the meat dishes in particular, of very poor quality. Carnival definitely gets failing grades when it comes to food.
Service was a bright spot. Our servers in the dining room, as well as our room attendants could not have been finer. Our server, a young woman from Croatia was delightful, and always going above and beyond. The same with our room attendant, who was always around, and always pampering us. If the food had been of the quality of the help, we’d have been in heaven.
Entertainment was hit or miss, we did attend a good comedy show, but most of the music on stage was stale, or just too loud for our taste. There were some very entertaining audience participation shows featuring the cruise director, similar to what we had enjoyed on other cruises. Trivia, which is one of our favorite activities on cruises, was also hit or miss depending on who was conducting it. The most frequent conductor was an entertainer at heart who seemed too hung up on himself and his own interests to make it true trivia. Even at that, we enjoyed trivia greatly.
All three shore stops, Mahogany Bay, Belize, and Cozumel were awesome, and we enjoyed them famously. Due to our disabilities, we are not bungee jumpers or volcano climbers, but rather traditional tourists out for some good shopping, and sights to see. These three stops are great for that, and I highly recommend them.
No complaints about the aesthetics of the ship, it is a beauty, decorated in bright colors that add to the atmosphere of party and good times. The casino is bigger than any other we had experienced on a ship, and busier. In fact, the casino seemed to be one of the central features, and a well done one at that. We enjoyed it greatly.
In summation, Carnival is Carnival, and you get what you pay for. If like us, you are in to traditional elegant cruising, Carnival is not a good fit. The dream is a party ship, and sailing out of New Orleans, a lot of the passengers are from Louisiana and Mississippi, and are out for heavy drinking, hooting and hollering, and a large number are smokers. If that is your bag, by all means, go aboard. I’ve always said, that we have never been on a bad cruise. We still haven’t, we just enjoy others more than we did Carnival.