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275 Carnival Galveston Cruise Reviews

First, let me say, this was not my first cruise, nor even my first cruise on Carnival. I THOUGH I knew what to expect - but I was wrong! I booked this cruise through the Carnival website using our "personal cruise advisor". She ... Read More
First, let me say, this was not my first cruise, nor even my first cruise on Carnival. I THOUGH I knew what to expect - but I was wrong! I booked this cruise through the Carnival website using our "personal cruise advisor". She was VERY helpful until I actually booked the cruise, then not so much. LOTS of stock emails, but when I asked a specific question regarding Wi-Fi availability, she didn't answer two emails OR a phone call until AFTER we had sailed. I emailed on Wednesday before the Monday sailing, emailed again Thursday, and placed a phone call with a message to her voicemail on Friday. She sent a reply email on Tuesday - the day AFTER the sailing. The information she supplied was very complete - just too late to do any good. On arrival, we didn't see any red caps so dragged our luggage onboard ourselves - turns out it was a good move as some people were still waiting for luggage after 10:00 and some, evidently NEVER got theirs. Our cabin, for some reason, was equipped with two fold-out bunks (which we didn't need) and neither was locked. Shortly after leaving port, we tried to contact our cabin steward to ask that they be locked as they were dangerously opening and closing with each swell and movement of the ship. No luck. When we used the phone to ring the steward, all we got was a busy signal - which continued throughout the cruise. Finally, we called the purser/information desk and they (after about an hour) sent someone to lock the upper berths. Although I had SPECIFICALLY requested early dinner seating, we were assigned to the late seating. We trotted off to the main dining room and changed to the early seating with little trouble and got a GREAT table with good table companions. However, this, again, is something the TA was SUPPOSED to have arranged. I also told her we were cruising to celebrate our wedding anniversary and she said "they" (?) would provide something for the celebration during the cruise. Didn't happen. During a 20-30 minutes conversation, when I was booking the cruise, the only item she seemed to have absorbed was that we HAD cruised with Carnival before - and we did receive invitations to the "repeat cruisers" reception. Everything else she "forgot" or just ignored. After unpacking, we went up on deck for some lunch and to look around. We were IMMEDIATELY greeted with a waiter with a laden tray of "Welcome Aboard" cocktails - at $7.75 each!! Some welcome. And just the beginning of the "nickel and dime" charges for EVERYTHING during the 5 days. At dinner, we were asked whether we wanted still or sparkling water - ordered sparkling and were charged $5.00. We were dumb but we learned pretty fast to "just say no" to everyone offering anything. No beach towels in the room, but they were available on deck, so we weren't worried until the nite before our shore excursion when we would need them. FINALLY tracked down the room steward and he said "oh, they are in your room". When challenged to FIND them, he sheepishly went to get some. (We later learned they should have been in the room Monday when we boarded.) Since we finally had the steward's attention, we also asked about the lack of hot water in the shower. He said he would "look into it" but 4 hours later we again called the purser/information desk and they sent up a plumber. And then there was the Shore Excursion. Power Snorkeling in Cozumel. The excursion was WONDERFUL - I would HIGHLY recommend it. However, we had booked online before sailing rather than on the ship. Carnival encourages you to book online because many of the excursions sell out quickly. Two days before the excursion, our tickets were put under our door and we thought we were all set. Thursday, May 27 10:00 am. That's what the tickets said. So we took our time Thursday morning, not hurrying since we didn't have to be there until 10. When we got to the excursion meeting place, there was no sign for Power Snorkeling. Hmmmm..... Another couple seemed to be in the same predicament, so we went looking. FINALLY, a representative from the Excursion Desk on the Ecstasy came over and said they had "made a mistake" when printing the tickets - only for the 4 of us who had booked online. Our excursion was at 9:00, not 10:00, so we were an hour late. BUT another Carnival ship, Fantasy, was also in port that day and THEIR Power Snorkeling excursion was at 11:00, so we could just go with them. Ok, so we burn off another hour and completely destroy our shopping plans for Cozumel. Oh, well, at least the Ecstasy lost all that kick back money from the purchased we DIDN'T make. On the last day, our cabin steward WISELY did not bring comment cards to our cabin. We stopped at the purser/information desk AFTER dinner (around 7:30) to ask about them and were told they were in our room - NO they weren't. Nor were luggage tags for disembarkation, envelope for tip for the maitre'd. One of the pursers brought luggage tags and, after they contacted his supervisor, our room steward showed up AFTER 8:00 with the other things. We cancelled ALL tips for the room steward. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
I was always curious if there were any differences between two of the major cruise line players in the industry. It seems I can now express my opinion as to what I experienced as I just completed my first Carnival cruise compared to two ... Read More
I was always curious if there were any differences between two of the major cruise line players in the industry. It seems I can now express my opinion as to what I experienced as I just completed my first Carnival cruise compared to two previous with Royal Caribbean. The day before embarkation we drove from Tulsa, OK to Galveston, TX and stayed the night so we could overcome any potential mishaps and simply wake up and go to the terminal and get on the ship. We arrived at the terminal at about 12:30 P.M. to find ourselves stuck in an hour long WAIT just to make it through security...an announcement was made which apologized for the WAIT something about a 90 day crew change and visa verifications or something to that effect so at least they acknowledged the long WAIT times. I was somewhat understanding at this point until after passing through security we turned the corner and found ourselves stuck in yet another long line resulting in another hour long WAIT to actually check-in and board the ship (maybe some on-board credit would have made things better). Overall it appeared the screening and check-in staff was not sufficient for the guests coming onboard. The previous cruises with RC amounted to essentially no wait times and simply a walk up and exchange of required documents and such, for the most part it was like a 10-15 minute process. Finally we made it through and immediately on the ship we were bombarded with drink offers, while I like a stiff drink to loosen things up it seemed there was a little too much aggressive selling of drinks. I probably declined drink offers at least 10 times in the first 30 minutes onboard the ship...it just seemed a little tiresome after a two hour WAIT, I thought about writing my drinking preference on my forehead at one point. Additionally I reflected and thought who looks forward to paying $4 plus 15% gratuity for a Bud Light (a domestic beer going for $5-$6 a six-pack), other non-special drinks seem to start at $6.95 plus 15% gratuity. (See my comments about gratuity later...) Even if you buy beer in a bucket no discount is applied which I thought was another chapter in the "Let's nickel and dime these folks to death" book. In order to be fair, I voiced the same complaints to RC about their drink prices, both are relatively high and seem to be an act of price gouging. We made it to our room, for the most part I found little difference in the rooms between Carnival and RC (we've had nothing but interior rooms on all our cruises)...the first thing that I noticed was the absence of a small couch on Carnival, it was nothing huge but a difference. My wife was quick to frequently remind me that the hair dryer in the room wasn't getting the job done (to put it nicely) because it required you to hold the button down which made it hard for styling of hair (perhaps it's a fire hazard, not sure but probably should have brought our own). Overall the ship was very well kept and clean, I am not sure I ever really found my way around...compared to RC I found the Carnival Conquest to be much more darker with less views of the sea and such. Maneuvering through the ship many times involved going through blank wood panel corridors, some decks do not go all the way through so you usually find that out the hard way. I am no ship expert, but it seemed the Conquest rocked quite a bit more than that of RC when in the same sea conditions, the lower level main dining hall (Monet) was located in the back of the ship and felt like it was directly above the propellers or engines because it resulted in a noticeable vibration, not sure if there was something out of balance or not but it would seem that wasn't the best place for a dining hall. Formal dining was good but forgettable compared to that of RC, it seems the Carnival menu had some wide ranging options which is a good thing I suppose. Our service did not meet our expectations, we found ourselves refilling our own drinks and passing the bread basket around the table, which I don't mean to complain but then again I am on vacation and I didn't recall asking for refills and such on RC. What would appear to be a recurring theme on this cruise there was again a significant WAIT for our food, not sure if it was because we had a table of 8, but we had comparable numbers on RC and didn't experience the same WAIT times. Additionally we found it interesting that knowing you are expected to tip the maître d' we did not see him other than from a distance and/or over the microphone when compared to RC the maître d' made several trips to your table asking how everything was and even cutting our lobster tails (which I thought was very cool) or even just conversing about where we were from or the usual chit chat. Casual dining was for the most part of the same quality to that of RC, however again there was some significant WAIT times for both breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late night eating. Carnival seemed to offer more options with hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken strips, deli, asian, and pizzeria, however not all of those options were available at the same time which was a little frustrating. RC offered pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, and cookies at all times so that was a noted difference. I took notice of one scenario in which there was probably a line of 10 people looking to get pizza and the primary server was busy with his back turned while another food crew member (who is in a vest) just sat and looked toward the line. My initial question was there some reason he was unable to serve pizza to those WAITING in line? We always thought that room service was a really nice benefit especially with the ability to specify what time you would like it brought to your room (very handy for those early excursions). The room service menu was lacking when compared to that of RC, it seemed for breakfast you were limited to continental breakfast items, and other room service options were simply sandwiches, no soups or substantial hot food available...that was a little disappointing. Internet availability is offered but at a hefty price...the price is the same as RC, which I feel does not make it easy for simple communication to what might be a small business or a family back home. In our case we have children back home that we would like to check in via email without having to pay 75 cents a minute or being forced to purchase a package of discounted minutes for $55. Additionally you pay by the minute for a service that is miserably slow so you are definitely victim of some price gouging there. You can always pick up the phone and absorb the $6.99 per minute rate as well - but no thanks. Probably the most frustrating thing that Carnival makes policy of was the automatic $70 per person charge for service gratuities. While you are free to adjust that amount after the fact, for me there was a feeling of being cheap in going that route. Additionally it would seem that when you automatically assume and apply the gratuities it would inadvertently result in the service personnel not "working" as hard to earn the gratuity if they know it most likely will automatically be there. I think RC has a better way of handling this by suggesting how much to tip and offering a voucher that you can adjust and personally hand to each service individual (maître d', headwaiter, assistant and cabin steward) which will then be applied to your account. In the end it amounts to GRATUITIES BEING EARNED, NOT ASSUMED! I had previously heard the main difference in Carnival versus RC was in the clientele...typically it was always expressed to me that on a Carnival cruise you would expect an average age of 30, while RC was the more tamer and less "party boat" type with an average age of 40. Having that understanding and me being a 33 year old who thinks he is still 22 I thought I would enjoy Carnival's atmosphere more than RC, however after seeing two potential arguments with brawl potential (who goes on vacation and starts a fight?) and seeing security breaking up other potential altercations I started to really wonder how does such a thing happen? The last thing that I took notice of...we were once again WAITING for an elevator which resulted in others joining in line. When the elevator arrived a group of crew members just happen to stumble upon the scene at the right time and quickly jumped in the elevator in front of the waiting guests. At first I didn't notice the uniforms and just wrote it off as being the act of some rude individuals but then it hit me that it was actually Carnival crew members and unfortunately that simple event is what has stuck in my mind when comparing Carnival with Royal Caribbean. Maybe it was a case of the hard work of so many being sacrificed by the lack of thoroughness by a few....I don't know, but from my experience RC is definitely my preferred cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date April 2008
Just returned from the New Years cruise on the Ecstacy, from Galveston to the Western Caribbean. This was my 4th cruise on Carnival and my 5th over all (one on Royal Caribbean). I must admit that I was traditionally opposed to cruising as ... Read More
Just returned from the New Years cruise on the Ecstacy, from Galveston to the Western Caribbean. This was my 4th cruise on Carnival and my 5th over all (one on Royal Caribbean). I must admit that I was traditionally opposed to cruising as our vacation choice, but my wife won me over to try, and I now enjoy this form of vacation....that is, until this trip, which makes me want to go back to Vegas (or at least select another cruise line). Basically, this was an ok cruise for the first half. Embarkation was no problem, and the ship left on time. We did not get our preferred early seating for dinner, but that was not a big problem. The food was ok (nothing special, but nothing to complain about), and our waiters were good. The entertainment was stale, VERY stale. One of the comedians was Tony Stone, who did the same jokes we had heard from him on a cruise some years ago. One of the musical shows was the exact show we saw on this ship in 2006, Xtreme Country. It wasn't bad, but come on CCL, can't you trot out some new material. And how about a real headliner every now and then. OK, here's the main complaint, and I must say that I am still ticked off about it. This was a 5 night cruise with 2 stops, Cozumel and Progresso. The first part of the cruise, from Saturday departure, through Cozumel and New Years Eve was fine. We enjoyed the experience and had a first time cruiser in our party who was thrilled with everything. Then everything went south. We were surprised on New Years Day to find that we had not stopped at Progresso, and that we would instead spend two days at sea heading back to Texas, due to an approaching cold front. Wow, was it a front. Tuesday was spent with seas at 10-12' initially. Needless to say, the day after New Years festivities meant that a large number of passengers were sick as dogs the entire day, and it only got worse. By the evening, the seas were at 18', and the boat was like a bad airplane during severe turbulence. It was so bad they had to cancel the show. Wednesday it slowly began to get better, but it was mid-afternoon before it was relatively calm. Essentially, we lost 1/2 of our scheduled ports and had almost 2 of the 5 days shot due to weather. Let me be clear, I understand that weather happens and CCL can't control that. BUT, when half the ports are skipped, and 40% of the cruise is not enjoyable for most of the patrons, I and most of the people I talked to think that the cruise line needs to acknowledge that we did not get anywhere near what we paid for. Did CCL do that? NO, for our troubles, CCL was so "generous" and gave each person a $25 credit. Yes, I said a $25 credit - that's it...enjoy! That is ridiculous, and it will probably be a long time before I ever consider traveling with CCL again, if ever. I will also be telling everyone I know that they should cruise with another line. I will say that debarkation was handled well, and we at least ended the cruise well, with a smooth departure. Too bad that such a good chunk of the trip was ruined by weather.....oh I forgot, we got a big $25 credit for that, so I guess I should be happy.....NOT! Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
We left on December 29, 2007. The boarding process was quite easy, and we were met with champagne in several areas on the ship. Since we couldn't go to our cabins yet, the first place we went was to the buffet lunch. Once again, lots ... Read More
We left on December 29, 2007. The boarding process was quite easy, and we were met with champagne in several areas on the ship. Since we couldn't go to our cabins yet, the first place we went was to the buffet lunch. Once again, lots of free champagne! The lunch was pretty good. The hamburgers that are cooked out on the deck grill are excellent. However, we were quite surprised not to find hand sanitizing stations in the eating area. We have cruised several times, on three other cruiselines, and we've never been on a ship where there was no hand sanitizer. Also, we were dismayed at that point to find that the public restrooms were not very clean. There was toilet paper and paper towels on the floors, and the doors were scraped and needed painting. We were allowed into our rooms in the early afternoon, and were happy to find that they were spacious and clean. We knew ahead of time that there were no blowdryers, and so we brought our own. Dinner that night was quite good, as it was on the other nights. However, our waitstaff was somewhat overworked and harried. We definitely did not receive the level of service that we have come to expect on cruiselines. The staff was very polite and did probably the best job that they could, they just were given too many tables. Frequently our food did not arrive at the same time, and as we were eating at a large table, we often had to wait several minutes for everyone to receive their food. The food was usually pretty good, though, especially the lobster. Again, there was no hand sanitizer in the restaurant. Our first port was Cozumel. Disembarkation was easy, as well as returning to the ship. Once again we were surprised to find that there was no hand sanitizer at the entrance to the ship for returning guests to use. We are accustomed to hand sanitizer being there, as well as employees who are discreetly watching to make sure that passengers use it. The next day we were to go to Progresso. Unfortunately, a storm prevented that from happening So we had an extra day at sea. That was fine with us, because we would rather be safe. We had no problem with the staff's decision to skip that port. The problem was that the storm we encountered was quite rough. Many, many people were seasick. This lasted from the middle of the afternoon until about noon the next day. Again, this is no fault of Carnival's. We were on an upper deck in a cabin at the very front of the ship. That part of the ship catches a lot more action from the waves. Usually we like that. But on this ship, every time a huge wave would crash outside our porthole, it was followed by a VERY LOUD clanging sound! This went on for hours. Someone must have called about it, because some time during the night, it stopped. One thing I learned and would like to pass on, is that the middle of the ship has the least motion in a situation like that. After a few hours, we discovered that if we stayed in one of the lounge areas in the middle of the ship, things were much calmer. Going out on the deck was out of the question because it was very cold. Carnival did try to make up for the lost port day. Each room was given, I think, a $50 onboard ship credit, and extra activities were offered. The problem was that a lot of people didn't feel well enough to participate in the activities. The entertainment on the ship was enjoyable. I particularly enjoyed one of the comedians, and the nightly shows in the theater were entertaining. I have serious concerns about the sanitation on the ship. Please don't make the mistake of thinking that I am one of those crazy germ-phobic old ladies. It's just that I've seen up close and personally how fast a stomach virus can spread on a ship. It happened when we were on a Norwegian cruise in Hawaii, and was mostly confined to the crew, thank goodness. However, they took great measures to prevent the spread. The buffet areas were wrapped in plastic wrap so that no one could touch the food, and food was served to you rather than self-serve. Personnel actually sprayed hand sanitizer on your hands as you returned to the ship. As I said earlier, there were several times that we found the public restrooms to be dirty. Also, there was no sense that they were being maintained, and restocked with paper supplies, etc. Perhaps they just don't have enough employees. At the breakfast buffet, there were stations with different kinds of bread and toasters. I observed several times that people were handling the breads and putting them down. There was no employee to monitor that situation at all. Once again, though, I have to say that there were some good things about the food situation. There is soft-serve ice cream and yogurt available 24/7, as well as excellent pizza and deli sandwiches. Also, the room steward service was good, and our room was always pleasant, well-kept, and clean. It is difficult to understand why Carnival is so lax about the sanitation issues. Surely they don't save enough money by not providing hand sanitizer and clean public restrooms to make it cost-effective. I've been told that it is extremely costly for a ship to have to stay in port and completely sanitize the whole thing. To sum it up, I think that someone who had never cruised on another line may think that this Carnival ship is great. However, I will not be cruising with Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
We arrived at the dock at 2:30pm. Everything went smoothly with check-in and we boarded the boat approx. 20 min. after we had arrived. My Mom was attending a conference on the ship and I was sailing with her to burn my vacation days & ... Read More
We arrived at the dock at 2:30pm. Everything went smoothly with check-in and we boarded the boat approx. 20 min. after we had arrived. My Mom was attending a conference on the ship and I was sailing with her to burn my vacation days & because I can't let another family member cruise without me!! First, upon boarding the ship, we went to check out our home away from home, our stateroom!! It was located on the Upper Deck toward the back of the ship. The room was typical size and set up with 2 twin sized beds. I have sailed with Carnival 1 time in the past and noticed their upgrade on the bedding and TV. That was a nice surprise!! My only complaint about our room was that the window was dirty. Do they not wash the windows - ever? Extremely cloudy with large rust stains. We then proceeded to the Lido deck for lunch. The Panoramic Cafe is where they serve all of their buffet-style meals. The food was definitely nothing to write home about. Out of all the food that was provided during that lunch serving, I thought the bread stick was the best. No, it wasn't a homemade breadstick, just a breadstick that you could find at your local Kroger. I ended up pushing my food away and went to get a small plate of breadsticks. This was not a good sign! Food in this cafe was sub-par during the entire trip. My Mom & I just stuck w/ the burgers & hotdogs that were served near the pool every day. However, no one wants to go on a cruise and eat burgers all day! You paid hard-earned money for your vacation and you want the fine-dining that is advertised. The dining room was a slightly better experience - just slightly. The food was either a hit or miss. We went to dinner there every night. We sat in a booth with 4 other people. There were times that our table was not completely set. People were missing forks, butter knives, spoons, etc. There were different steaks to choose from every night. However, after the first night they stopped taking requests for steaks to be cooked medium. Only medium-rare or medium-well. This really translates into rare & well done. Do not order steak, you will not be happy. My favorite entree was the roasted duck & my favorite starter was the escargot. They were unbeatable!! Typically, the dining experience is one that a cruiser will not forget. The waiters go above and beyond to meet your needs and will do anything within their power to make sure that you are happy. This is the FIRST cruise that this was not the case. I am not lying when I say this, I did not know my waiters name until the last night of the cruise. Suddenly, he sprung a personality and stopped by the table several times and conversed with us. I don't know if it was because he knew it was our last night or because this was just one cruise down toward him leaving to go home in 9 days. I don't think that was it though. It didn't stop with him - there were only a FEW employees that really attempted to meet your needs and enjoy serving others and doing their job. The crew just did not seem like they wanted to be at work and therefore couldn't muster up a smile and don't even think about asking them to go out of their way to help you with something. I'm going to call everyone out! From the blonde behind the purser's desk who was sorry that she couldn't print out a list of my spendings after the first 2 days. Are you serious? You can't pull it up and click print and hand it to me? To our waiter who had no name until the last night; to the waiter named WARREN in the Wind Star Dining Room who had the nerve to say to my Mom after she ordered skim milk..."You ordered a big breakfast and NOW you're wanting SKIM milk!?" Don't even get me started on Warren, he just needs to go ahead and stop working with PEOPLE in general. Carnival needs to REALLY, REALLY get it together on their customer service. It really ruined my trip. First time cruisers may have enjoyed the ship & the service but --- they are first time cruisers, they don't know what it's supposed to be like. I have sailed with Royal Caribbean three times and never, never had a complaint. I LOVED my wait staff and wanted to take them home and I loved my room stewards and the cruise director and down the food chain from there. Once you've been on a cruise where you had outstanding service you start to notice the things that aren't right and shouldn't be happening on other cruises. In conclusion, I really wanted to enjoy my vacation. I had an unfavorable experience my first time around with Carnival but I honestly went into this trip with an open mind. I don't think that I'm being too picky, 2 bad Carnival cruises for me and I'm officially done with them. They are popular but are at the bottom of the list in terms of quality & service. I know how hard people work and save to take their family on vacations. It's not too much to ask for a pleasant experience. Seek another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date November 2007
This was my second cruise. In February I sailed on the Carnival Conquest. I find myself comparing the two cruises and want to let you know some of the differences to help you choose the best cruise. My mom and my aunt sailed with me this ... Read More
This was my second cruise. In February I sailed on the Carnival Conquest. I find myself comparing the two cruises and want to let you know some of the differences to help you choose the best cruise. My mom and my aunt sailed with me this time. We live in West Texas and made the long drive to Galveston the day before our cruise set sail. We stayed the night at the Galveston Hilton. We also stayed here last time. It is a great place to stay. It is on Seawall Blvd. right across from the ocean. The rooms need a little updating but they are clean with a great staff. They also allow you to leave your car in the parking lot for free and provide free shuttle service from the hotel to the cruise terminal and then back to your car at the end of the cruise. We took the first shuttle from the hotel which left at 11:30. It takes about 15 minutes to get to the terminal. Porters are everywhere; you don't have to try to find one. They take your luggage off the shuttle and then you are off to get on the ship. Embarkation was very easy this trip. At this time of day the lines were very short and we were through the process in about 15-20 minutes and on the ship!!! I couldn't believe it because last time we arrived at the terminal at about 1:00-1:30 and we were in line for about 2 hours, so I suggest you arrive early. We were asked to not go to our rooms until 1:30. This gave us plenty of time to head to Lido deck for a drink and lunch. At 1:30 we went to our room and everything was ready. We had an interior stateroom. We didn't really feel the extra money for a window or balcony was worth it. We were rarely in our room. The room was clean and we had plenty of room. It was comparable with the room we had on the Conquest. The bathroom however was a little smaller with less counter space and fewer shelves. Our steward Sherwin was great. Everything was kept clean and we always had ice. The only complaint we had about the room was the sewer smell. I had read about this on other's reviews but on our last trip we never noticed. This trip the smell was everywhere!! Especially in the hallways and bathrooms, by the end of the trip we were so stick of the smell. It was horrible!! Our luggage arrived quickly, in fact we had all of our luggage and were able to unpack by the time we had the muster drill. The drill was quick and painless compared to on the Conquest. Maybe it was because we knew what to expect. After the drill we went up to an upper deck and watched as we left Galveston. By the first evening the ship started really moving. The water was very rough. This continued to Tues. It was really bad, many of the people were sick. You could barely walk. I heard other people talk about falling off chairs and out of the shower. We used the motion sickness patches, they seemed to help. We felt dizzy but didn't get sick. The ship was in OK condition but does not compare to the Conquest. Most of the common rooms and public areas felt very crowded. You couldn't even look at your pictures in the picture gallery because it was so crowded. While most of the staff would say hello and smile they did not interact with passengers as much as the Conquest staff would. My biggest complaint about this cruise was the food. It was terrible. My family and I are not picky eaters at all, we like everything, except the food on this trip. We couldn't wait to get off the ship and get some real food. The food on the ship was cold, with no flavor and the selections were terrible. We ate breakfast in the dining room and on the buffet. This was the best meal of the day although the choices were the same everyday. Lunch was the worst. The buffet had a different national theme everyday with no other choices. The burgers on the Lido deck were OK. They also had hotdogs and French fries. The pizza and deli were also available but were not very good either. We were very surprised because the food on the Conquest was great. Dinner in the dining room was OK, much better than dinner on the buffet. Our waiter was not fun. He didn't talk, didn't get to know us, and laughed at us at everything we ordered. After the third night we didn't go back. His helper was great. He was from Bali and always had the biggest smile on his face. We ordered snacks from room service once and it arrived very quickly. Our first stop was Progresso. This was a joke. I can't believe Carnival stops here. If you have ever traveled to other locations you will be very disappointed. There are a few small shops right off the dock with the usual souvenirs. There are tours available to the Mayan ruins but the ride is long and we didn't have much time in this port. Cozumel was our next stop. We went here on our last trip and decided before this trip that we would go to a private resort. We went to the Wyndham Cozumel Reef Club. It included breakfast, lunch, drinks, and use of water toys and beach towels/chairs. It was very pretty. The weather did not cooperate though. It was very windy and rained off and on. Snorkeling and small boat tours were cancelled. The only problem was we reserved a spot at this resort online and it said it was $40.00 per adult. We put down a $10 deposit per person. When we got there we told them our name but they never even looked it up on the computer. They just asked us how much we were going to pay. We paid them the remaining balance in cash. We never got a receipt and they did not ask us to leave an ID or anything. They then pocketed the cash. On the way back to the ship we shared a taxi with 3 other cruisers that were there for the day. They were only charged $35.00 each. Something strange was going on. But overall it was a nice place and was a highlight of our trip. We had great pina coladas and nachos while we were here. We only went to one show. It was Halloween and it was the variety show. There was singing, a comedian and then a costume parade. It was funny. Otherwise we sat out by the pool or spent time in the casino. We love to play blackjack. Almost all of the dealers were very nice and fun. It was great to be on vacation for a week but overall this trip was a huge let down; especially after such a great cruise on the Conquest. If I had taken this cruise first I don't think I would have ever wanted to cruise again. If you are considering a cruise out of Galveston consider the Conquest over the Ecstasy. I will cruise again, and probably with Carnival but I will not go on the Ecstasy again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2007
This review will be short and not so sweet as I do not believe that I should waste much more time with Carnival. The ship was large but very hard to get to know. It seemed like the easiest path was often to get back on the elevator go up ... Read More
This review will be short and not so sweet as I do not believe that I should waste much more time with Carnival. The ship was large but very hard to get to know. It seemed like the easiest path was often to get back on the elevator go up or down a couple of floors travel across and then back on the elevator up or down to the desired destination. The food was well below what I had experienced on Royal Caribbean. Carnival has a very few outstanding individuals that work for them but the vast majority of the staff, including the cruise director, his staff, the waiters, pursers, and bartenders were rude, I actually asked a few for a smile with my Coke or other beverage. I purchased the Coke Card and was treated like a criminal each time I presented it for a coke. The pursers were incompetent with little or no knowledge of any subject asked of them. The Golf "Pro" (Maybe a 7 handicap) was one of the rudest of all. I rented clubs from the ship. MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT! I went to Elite Golf's web site and expected top of the line Nike equipment. HA! The ship has 2 sets of Stiff Shafted clubs on the entire ship. (One of which was used by a man that worked for the spa on the ship.) The wedges were as big as my 460 cc driver. I could go on and on but I have already wasted more time than I wanted to. The only thing that made the cruise very enjoyable was that I spent a week with my family (Large group 12 Cabins). Read Less
Sail Date October 2007
We started our trip on a very sunny Sunday afternoon. The embarkation was painless. We got on the ship had some lunch at the buffet and right away the food was not very good. The staff seemed standoffish and unfriendly. As we toured the ... Read More
We started our trip on a very sunny Sunday afternoon. The embarkation was painless. We got on the ship had some lunch at the buffet and right away the food was not very good. The staff seemed standoffish and unfriendly. As we toured the ship we noticed that all the windows throughout the ship were very dirty which took away from the view of the ocean. The ship was very hard to navigate. If you were located center or aft on the ship you had to walk through the dining room to get to the main area of the ship. The ship was very unorganized. The decorations were loud and very unpleasant to the eye and this coming from a man. We made it to our balcony room by about 2PM. Again the window were dirty the room nothing special and the curtains leading out to the balcony were torn with an amateur sewing job that made them look worse rather than better. The balcony was nice. We were excited about the prospect of ordering breakfast in bed the next morning and enjoying it on our balcony. We lounged around took a nap and dinner came around. We noticed that even though we booked our cruise 8 months out that we did not receive the early dinner time we requested. We were surprised, they said that times are on a first request service when you make your reservation. Not true we met a person who booked the cruise a few days before it left and they had an early seating time. There were even people with early times that requested later dinner times. You were assigned one dining room and had to eat there the entire cruise unless you wanted to pay a premium to eat somewhere else. The service was subpar. My iced tea sat empty most of the time we barely had time in 2 hours to finish dinner and dessert. The food was worse than most restaurants on land. It was dry and there was not much of a selection throughout the cruise. Carnival is a party cruise liner so if you dont like to party all the time steer clear. There really was not a variety of activities for all types of people. Most activities were the same day after day. They tried to sell you something every chance they got. They even tried to pitch a vacation club that was a rip off. The ships railings had varnish flaking off throughout. The ship seemed alot more crowded than the Grand Princess we sailed the year before. The shows were entertaining and were definitely the strong point of the cruise. The cruise did stop at some nice spots: Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. By about Day 4 we were counting the days to get off the ship. On the final day before we disembarked I asked a man at the pursers desk what he expected the weather to be like in Galveston. He told me that they did not have that information at the current time. I had been at the pursers desk earlier and they told me that they would have it in about 30 minutes. So I explained this to the gentleman. I told him that they said that they needed the manager to log onto the internet so they can get the weather. He said that was not true and they got the weather from the captains deck. I asked if he could just look it up on their internet since I needed to know because I had flown my own private airplane to Galveston and the weather was a big deal to me. He said and I quote "if it is such a big deal to you why dont you go to the internet cafe and look it up yourself." That was the straw that broke the camels back. No more Carnival for us. Last year on Princess we were sad to leave. Princess treats you like a King and Carnival like a clown. We are through with carnival and are going back to Princess or may try Royal Caribbean. Hope this saves someone some money and grief. Dan Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
My wife and I were heading to Cozumel with some friends from work. We were going to play golf at the Cozumel Country Club. The plans had been in the works for several months. We left Galveston and headed for Mexico. The first day at sea ... Read More
My wife and I were heading to Cozumel with some friends from work. We were going to play golf at the Cozumel Country Club. The plans had been in the works for several months. We left Galveston and headed for Mexico. The first day at sea were were informed that there was a problem with the propulsion of the ship. We were not going to Cozumel. We were heading to Progresso! We later learned from fellow passengers that the shops in Progresso had been contacted three days ago? Another passenger said the Internet showed Progresso - not Cozumel? The Fun Pass help speed up the process of getting on the ship. We were on the Upper deck (U63). We had some reservation about the ship since it was the one that aided the people in New Orleans. The carpets had been cleaned and the interior of the ship was very clean. The only complaint that I had was that the Lido deck pool area staff was more concerned with selling the drink of the day than trying to keep the tables cleared off. Drinks, cans and cigarette butts overflowed in the ash trays. We had sampled the food on a sister ship. However, we were impressed with the food in the Lido deck. The Wind Song restaurant was wonderful. The only complaint that I had was the waiter pushing the wine and cookbooks. We did not see the shows but did lose in the casino. The wait staff was prompt in filling our drink orders in the casino. A dollar tip really seems to motive the wait staff. As I previously mentioned, we pulled up to Progresso. We had no desire to see the local sights. We stayed on the ship. The cabins have a flat screen TV with three channels with recent name movies and other channels. We had been on Grand Princess. We missed the large outdoor screen to watch movies under the stars. A "Fun Ship" cruise is great if you are 21 and want to hear blaring music and don't mind a little filth on the tables next to the pool area. If you don't mind not going to where you intend to go, are under 30 and wanted to drink till the cows come home, Carnival may be for you. We pulled into to Galveston Monday morning. We were off the ship in three and half hours. I would recommend you take your own bags off than sticking the bags out to be taken ashore. Passengers with the bags were the first off. Light House kept our car for the four day cruise for 40.00. A van picked us up and dropped us off at the Galveston terminal at the far east end. On return, we had to return back to the far east end for pick up. Read Less
Sail Date November 2006
This was our 2nd cruise with Carnival The check in was great cat 11 walks right in , but the line for the pictures was bad waited about 1 hour for that. ENTRY: Was very nice but They all look like Las Vegas. Headed to the buffet and it ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise with Carnival The check in was great cat 11 walks right in , but the line for the pictures was bad waited about 1 hour for that. ENTRY: Was very nice but They all look like Las Vegas. Headed to the buffet and it was ok and very crowded. Then we headed for our rooms. ROOMS: This room was smaller than our last one (we always get a balcony) and we sat out side and relaxed until it was drill time(on carnival that's always a mess) but once it was over we looked around the ship and checked things out. 2nd day at sea: We have rough seas and yes I needed sea sick pills could not even eat breakfast. Lunch: good food (but it looks like the same food from yesterday. dinner: good food (but it looks like most of it is from lunch) Night Life: VERY GOOD HAD LOT'S OF FUN. 3rd day at sea: Still have rough seas, ate breakfast this morning Very good Lunch: Hey we had that for the last 2 days for lunch. Dinner: and yes we had that for dinner and lunch for the past 2 days. Jamaica: We are off the boat we did not book any excursion on this trip (it's cheaper if you do it on your own) we had a blast toured the city this is a very nice country , very nice people. Cayman Island: we did not get to get off the ship the seas were very rough to tender in. so we stayed on the ship and went very slow like 10 knots Lunch: we are so tired of the same stuff, we talked one of the servers to make grilled cheese sandwiches and they were great Dinner: The same old stuff, ate salad Casino: crowded at times but you make due. Formal: We thought we would not do the formal thing (but it is a change of food) loved all the shows pool is always crowded kids have a hard time at the pools. and to see the shows forget it they can't see unless you get a good seat at bingo then you keep your seats for the show.and then you have the rude people that the rules at the theater dose not apply to them, no cameras or no sitting on the stairways and even sitting in the roped off areas that said vip's only Cozumel: This place has changed alot since the hurricane of 2005 we had to tender in again with the rude people, we did 1 excursion here in a submarine the kids loved it and a bit small but loved it than we shopped and they have alot of pushy people running the shops (alot of people said that about Jamaica but I find it has always been cozumel) so we didn't buy anything here. so back to the ship we go to party Saturday last night on ship: must make sure to do everything buy 10:00pm the ship shuts down at 10:00pm you always feel like you forgot something allday long. Getting off the boat: we did the vip thing so it's not bad I fill sorry for everybody else maybe they got off around 11-12 carnival should look at other company's that know how to get people off the ship in a better way. But overall we had a blast and yes We will cruise Carnival again and again Read Less
Sail Date November 2006
We are just getting back home today so my disappointment is still very strong. We boarded the ship in Galveston. We drove there (approx. 3.5 hours). This was our first cruise and I was very excited. Boarding the boat went quite smoothly. ... Read More
We are just getting back home today so my disappointment is still very strong. We boarded the ship in Galveston. We drove there (approx. 3.5 hours). This was our first cruise and I was very excited. Boarding the boat went quite smoothly. The staff took our luggage and showed us were to check in. As we are walking up to check in we are handed a piece of paper and welcomed aboard. Of course we are worried about having all documentation ready to check in so we will read the letter later. We assumed it was a welcome aboard letter. Boy were we wrong. After checking in we realized the letter said we are not going to Cozumel they have changed our port to Progresso. We then asked what is in Progresso and is it similar to Cozumel. They said absolutely. (It is not). We then had to start trying to contact people in Cozumel to cancel our shore excursion. At this point are out $200 for a shore excursion we did not get to enjoy, but Carnival did try to make this better (HA!) by giving us a $50 pp credit to our Sail & Sign Account. The food and staff were incredible. We could not have asked for better service. We mainly ate in the dining room; however, there are other options. My husband loved the room service. The bar staff is also incredible, Stella, was great waitress. The cabins are far nicer than I expected. It is very difficult to get around for the first two days. Everyone looks lost and keeps asking each other "Where do we go?" We arrive in Progresso on the third day. We would have been better off staying on the ship. We arrived at a small market that appears to be set up by the cruise ships. The pier is 6 miles long but not to worry because Progresso offers free shuttles to the town. We boarded a shuttle and had to stop half way because the bus windshield wiper fell off mid-trip. The bus were in horrible shape. All of the windows were broken and was VERY dirty. We arrive in Progresso to shop in a very small market. We finished looking through it within 30 minutes. We decided to book an excursion on our own. One promised us snorkeling at the ruins and a shopping trip. As we arrive at the ruins the tour guide notifies us he "forgot" the snorkel equipment. He then went to the gift shop to purchase a toy set. Notice I said (1) set. We had 6 in our group. We finally made it to the location to snorkel. It was ranked in the top 5 nastiest waters I have ever seen. It was a small pond covered with algae and lily pads. We then went to the city to shop. The shop area was one store. (so no luck shopping in town). The tour guide then offered to bring us to the beach. The beach looked alot like Galveston water and the beach was quite dirty. The entire reason I booked this cruise was to snorkel. That did not happen. Carnival was not helpful with our complaints and told us we should be grateful they gave us anything. They did not care that they ruined our and many others vacations. Everyone we spoke to on the ship was very disappointed and vowed to never use Carnival again. We spoke to several people that have went on several Carnival cruises trying to get to Cozumel and have yet to make it. Apparently the ship has been having this problem since at least March this year and is yet to repair it. We then left Progresso and what do you know the ship is fixed and we will make it home ahead of schedule. After this happen there was much speculation as to whether there really was a problem or not and if the cruise received any incentives for bringing us to Progresso. I am still trying to figure out how all of the tour groups knew we were arriving. We were the only ship docked there and we were not scheduled to be there. They can notify the tours guides and shops but not their passengers. We made it home this morning. The process to get off the ship went well. Upon making it home we had to cancel our debit cards and block our account so we will not be charged more than we already have for the Cozumel excursion we could not take. On to the excursions in Progresso. There is not a big choice pretty much ruin tour, beach party or kayaking. The beach is free so no need to pay to get on, the kayak adventure consisted of everyone getting in kayaks and paddling along the pier road. The lunch was a banana, water and crackers. The ruin tour only costs $6.00 to get in and the price of a taxi ($10.00 for a van). The boat was charging anywhere for $40-78 pp for these tours. Save your money it is not worth it. So my best piece of advice is book another cruise line. If you can't, don't count on going to your advertised port. You just might be as disappointed as we are. Read Less
Sail Date September 2006
This was my second cruise, and for the most part a fair to poor experience. My wife and I invited my parents, and raved about how the trip was the year before on the Carnival Elation. Carnival Conquest did not measure up. Boy, was I ... Read More
This was my second cruise, and for the most part a fair to poor experience. My wife and I invited my parents, and raved about how the trip was the year before on the Carnival Elation. Carnival Conquest did not measure up. Boy, was I disappointed. Embarkation was fairly simple, we had our "fun passes" filled out prior to arrival. Luggage ended up at the wrong door at the other end of the ship, we carried most of it to our rooms before being helped with the last few pieces. The room was nice sized with a window, small bath to be expected. The housekeeping staff for our room was no better than the Motel 6. Our last cruise we could not step out just for a coke, and the room would be cleaned or at least straightened. Our room this trip got made up once a day, and a mint was put on our pillow in the evening. This was very disappointing for my parents mostly because everyone that cruises raves about the room cleaning service. Not what was expected at all. Also, about the room. We were awakened the first THREE mornings of our vacation at 8:00 due to load banging on the side of the ship, and machinery running. I complained to the pursers desk on Monday morning and was told that they were washing the deck because of over night rain. OK I complained the second morning and was told high seas were to blame. The purser came to our room this time to listen. OK. Then the third morning, we were docked in Jamaica, I threw a fit in front of numerous other people at the pursers desk, and they took me to see the Chief Purser. She is a very nice person, and I told her in a very nice way that on vacation I like to sleep in, so please find me another room or something. She told me it was technical noise, and they would try to find some other arrangements for us. So I decided to do a little investigative work myself, and found the culprit. It was time to put new cables on the lifeboats. So every morning at 8:00 directly above my room there was a machine used to spool the old cables. WOW that was hard. So finally after speaking to numerous bosses of different things, we talked them into starting at 9:30 in the morning instead of 8:00, needless to say, the last 3 mornings were very pleasant and vacation like. So was the nice comp on the sail and sign card for my trouble. The dining room service was great. Cris and Roberto were excellent. The food on the other hand -- not so good. It was the exact same menu on the same nights as our last cruise on a different ship over a year ago. If you're a returning Carnival guest get ready for a whole bunch of the same. You would think that the worlds largest cruise company would have more options. The ship was just OK. It is a closed-concept boat. There are no tables and chairs to sit at on the deck, only loungers. This was very disappointing for me and my wife. Our favorite thing about our first cruise was sitting on the back deck and enjoying a few drinks in the evening and listening to water, not on the Conquest. If you wanted to go to the back deck, you had to stand, nowhere to put your drink down except for the deck itself. Very very disappointing for us. The entertainment was fair. The dancers work hard, but the show was pretty boring as a whole. The casino was great, dealers very friendly, although only one craps table onboard makes for very limited play due to large crowds. Camp Carnival was awesome only I do not have kids, but I did not see everyone else's kids running around all over the place, that deserves a cheers. Jamaica was very dirty, and undesirable, the Caymen Islands are beautiful and I would recommend them to anyone, you have to go to Stingray City. Cozumel is beautiful, but it is Mexico. Overall, I do not think that I'll be traveling with Carnival again. I do plan to cruise more. Hopefully Royal Caribbean will be a better experience for me and my family next time. I hope I have gave you a good insight to our fair to poor cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2006
A total of 8 of my family went on this cruise. This is the fourth year my wife and I have cruised but the first, and last, on Carnival. Royal Caribbean is far better in numerous ways. Embarkation Routine. No problems to report. Luggage ... Read More
A total of 8 of my family went on this cruise. This is the fourth year my wife and I have cruised but the first, and last, on Carnival. Royal Caribbean is far better in numerous ways. Embarkation Routine. No problems to report. Luggage did seem to be delivered to the room rather quickly. We were immediately greeted, while unpacking, by our stateroom attendant. He was very friendly and helpful. Room. This is the first year that we have sailed and not had a balcony room. My wife and I shared an interior room on the 8th floor. Not ever cruising in an interior room we were not looking forward to what was in store but we were pleasantly surprised when we opened the door to discover a well sized room. Of course, it wasn't huge by any means but we could both maneuver about with ease and without bumping into each other too much. Bathroom was small, as expected. I was glad to find that there was a refrigerator in one of the "cheapo" rooms so we could store our water and gatorade that we had brought aboard. Luckily my wife brought hangers for our clothes because the closets had about 10 hangers total in them for your clothes. Not sure if you can request more but that just seemed kind of ridiculous. Overall we were pleased with the room (for being an interior room) and with the storage space offered. Ship. The Conquest is huge. I don't think I actually ever got to see the complete ship. It was elegant and decorated well, but I have seen much better on Royal Caribbean ships. The brown micro fiber couches all appeared quite worn and in need of replacement to keep the elegant look of the ship. Overall it was ok. Entertainment. The entertainment was average. Since we were cruising with family, we attended most of the after dinner shows. Most involved dancing and I'm not much into that sort of thing. It was ok I suppose but completely uninteresting to me. The comedy shows afterwards however, were hilarious and we all enjoyed them. We all enjoyed the Tahiti Casino and found the staff to be extremely friendly...from waitresses to dealers. We spent the majority of our daytime hours on the ship at the main pool on deck 9 - Lido Deck. It was crowded - as was the entire ship - but we enjoyed it nonetheless. There were plenty of wait staff around to keep you from getting up to get a drink. I would have liked to have tried the water slide out and also the basketball court however, they would shut them down early...every day. On the final day out at sea my wife attempted to obtain a basketball from the sports desk by the pool at 5:05 pm. The girl advised my wife that she could not check out anything after 5 pm even when the sign on the desk said the hours were 9 am to 6 pm. This was only one of the minor things of which were posted but not followed. But I dismissed this and did not question the young lady. Staff. Since I was already addressing some of the staff, I'll just go ahead and address the main reason I would not ever sail Carnival again. Our first day on the ship, my wife and I went to the hot tubs in the adult only area. After reading over the rules posted by the hot tubs, we began to enter, both carrying a beverage in a plastic cup (Carnival, for the most part, will not serve most beverages in glass bottles). Out of nowhere, a female security officer appeared and quickly advised my wife and I that we could not enter the hot tub area with any form of a beverage (didn't help that she was quite rude about it like we should have known better...made us both feel like we were little kids who had just got caught with our hand in the cookie jar). I exited the area and quickly read over the rules posted again. The rules did not state anything about not bringing a beverage into the hot tub area. The rules did state that you could not bring a glass container in the hot tub or pool area. My wife and I asked which portion of the posted rules we were violating and the security guard stated that we had glass containers of which were not allowed. I pointed out that the cups were plastic and were what had been provided when we purchased the drinks. The security guard advised that Carnival considers plastic to be glass and that furthermore, if any form of beverage was spilled in the hot tub, they would have to immediately drain it. Never heard of that (Royal Caribbean never had to do that) but we went on about our business even though we were wondering if this particular security guard knew what she was talking about as we had observed other individuals in the hot tub and pool areas with drinks. So we walked to the main pool area where there were also two hot tubs. There were plenty of people with drinks in the hot tub and around the edge of the pool. There were also two male security guards standing by one of the entrances in view of the pool area. I read over the rules of which said basically the same as the previous rules for the adult only hot tub and pool area except these rules said that children of which were in diapers or not potty-trained were not allowed. Hmmmm...these security guards didnt seem to know about the no plastic (Carnival glass) rule&oh well it was time for dinner anyway. Our next problem, unfortunately again with security, was in the dance club Henris. My wife and I, and my sister-in-law and her boyfriend were in the club and the two ladies were dancing. Because they were wearing heels, they had both removed their shoes. A security guard removed them both from the dance floor telling them that they could not dance without their shoes on. I didnt think nothing of it as, in my mind, I could see another person getting stepped on or stepping on something that had spilled or broke and injuring themselves. Made sense until right after my wife told me that she had to put her shoes back on, a new song came over the system and a group of several, bare-footed, young ladies entered the dance floor. I sat for a moment and then looked around for security. I saw one of the officers standing at the door. He wasnt doing anything and appeared to be looking over the room itself. My sister-in-law then comes over to my wife and me and says that she asked about the no shoes rule and was told that it was now ok to dance without shoes. At this time my wife had also went to ask at this time and returned saying that she was told that, despite the numerous people breaking the rules, the rule still stood. I asked both who they had asked and they pointed out the same security officer. It wasnt a big deal to me at all but I did not want my wife or sister-in-law getting in trouble for dancing without their shoes on as everyone else was doing so I decide to ask the security guard so that the matter could be resolved. At this time, the security guard had walked to an area inside the club. I approached him; he was talking to another young man inside the club. I waited until the young man was through and then requested to ask a question. The security guard, whose name I found out later looked at me for a moment and then walked off. Figuring that he possibly did not hear me as it was fairly loud inside the club and I had partially lost my voice, I tapped him on the shoulder after he turned around. I began asking him my question regarding shoes and he again looked at me as if I were stupid, turned around and began walking away. Confused, I attempted to make contact with him again. Well apparently this completely ticked him off for some reason. He turned around, put his finger about six inches from my nose and said, GET OUT! Whoa!! I was absolutely flabbergasted. I could not believe this. I had just been yelled at for trying to ask a question. I followed the security guard outside the main entrance/exit of the club and ascertained his name from his name badge. I then asked to see his supervisor. He stated that his supervisor was not available. I asked for the name of his supervisor and he asked why. He then began yelling at me that I had disrespected him and that he was not going to take that. Seeing that he was pretty ticked off for whatever reason and knowing that this situation could only become worse (I didnt want to get thrown in the Brig for disrespecting someone by asking a question on my vacation). I gathered the individuals I was with and traveled to the pursers desk. There was a young lady on duty (I cant recall her name) and I asked what I needed to do to complain on a security officer. She quickly went from friendly to panicked but not rude by any means. She made a few telephone calls and then told me that she was extremely sorry and that the security guard had possibly misunderstood what I was saying to him (if you have never cruised, most of the staff are foreign and some do not speak fluently in English). She advised me to return to Henris and that the security guard was going to apologize. Ok, no problem. We walk back up to Henris to be met outside by the guard and three other security guards. He immediately demanded to know my name and to see my identification as well as my Sign and Sail card. Although I quickly saw that he was hostile and angry, I asked why he needed such information. He responded that he needed it for his report. I asked report for what. He stated his report for disrespecting him. I told him that I had not disrespected him and that I was simply trying to ask a question. I then told him that I had gone to the pursers desk and they had advised me to return for an apology. He laughed as this was apparently amusing to him. At this point I am completely shocked by what is transpiring around me, and I attempt to identify with the guy and let him know that I am one of the good guys. I tell him that I am a police officer and he rudely says, well good for you! Know that this has turned from bad to worse, I again ask him who his supervisor is. He refuses to tell me. I tell him that I know everyone has a boss and that he and his attitude are completely unacceptable. We leave and I return to the pursuers desk alone (I directed everyone else to return to their stateroom). The young lady recognizes me. She was on the phone and from the conversation, talking about what had just happened. After ending her conversation and approaching me, I immediately tell her that I am sorry for all of this but that I did not know what was going on with this particular security guard. She asks me what happened and if he apologized. I tell her the story and she looks simply amazed. She then begins writing down everything that I tell her from start to finish. I am assured that I will be promptly contacted the following morning by the chief of security regarding the incident. I thanked her for her help and retired for the evening. The following day, a complete day at sea, I was not contacted at all about the matter. My wife wanted me to contact them but I did not since I was assured that I would be contacted about the matter. Next day we port in Jamaica. When leaving the ship, who happens to be the sole security guard at the door when leaving the ship, the security guard. I turn to my wife and tell her who is guarding the door and then we begin to exit the ship. He immediately addresses me in a sarcastic tone asking me if Im better today. I smiled and answered politely despite his condescending tone toward me. Next day a message is left while we are out of the room from the chief of security. After getting the message at approximately 4 pm, I promptly go the pursers desk. After waiting in a long line, I advise the person at the counter why I am there. They appear confused and begin frantically calling different extensions until it finally sounds from the conversation that they make contact with the right person. After about 5 minutes, I see a security guard approach the pursers desk. I asked the young lady if this is the person I need to speak with and she is unsure. So, I ask the security guard. I determine this is the man to talk to and he escorts me to a small office on the same floor. He immediately begins to make excuses for the guard's behavior however he says that he wants to ensure that we have a good time and enjoy our cruise. I explain my complaint to him and that I wasnt looking for gifts or comps on my room but simply for the guy to say that he was sorry. He asked if I minded if the guard came into the office. I advised that I did not. After waiting approximately 10 minutes, the guard arrived. The chief asked if he knew me. At first he acted like he did not even though he had picked me out of a crowd of people leaving the ship the previous day. I reminded him & he then remembered. The chief advised him that all I was seeking was an apology. He refused and advised that I had disrespected him. He then began telling a completely different chain of events that what had actually transpired. I listened to him without interrupting. When he was through, I told the real story. He tried to say that I used the f word toward him on several occasions inside the club and that I had came back after leaving to fight him. I told the chief that nothing like that had occurred and that I had been instructed to go back. I then explained to both of them that back home I supervised a shift of police officers and that I did not behave like he had described...ever. I also explained that because I was a police officer I understood the guard's position and that I understood what he had to do. I told him that I wasnt trying to throw that at him that night and had only been attempting to let him know that I was a good guy back home. He began becoming loud and aggressive while in the midst of his chief in the office to the point that the chief told him thats enough. I said at this point that this was not going to resolve anything and that I would just take my complaint elsewhere and higher up the chain of command. The chief then looked at the guard and said, he just wants an apology. He ducked his head and said that he was sorry. Never did he make eye contact with me after that point. Although still dissatisfied, I was ready to leave and put this behind me and enjoy my vacation. I left the office and returned to my cabin. I did not see him again for the remainder of the cruise. I did however see others with drinks in the pool and plenty of kids, even babies, in the hot tubs and pools where it was posted that this was forbidden. One of the babies was in a diaper in the hot tub. A security guard approached the hot tub next to it (which was full of teens) and demanded that they exit the hot tub&they had various drinks with me of which I assumed were alcoholic beverages). Nothing was said about the baby in the potentially soiled diaper floating around in the hot tub. Thats just nasty. Was that long enough? I can not believe my experience aboard the Carnival Conquest. The security seems to pick on people when they feel like it and to make up the rules as they go along. Completely unacceptable. My wife and I spoke with others of whom expressed the same problems as we had experienced. If they are going to have rules post them and follow them. I suppose thats enough on that. Food. The food was ok. Not as good as Royal Caribbean. Our waiter, Vladimir, was absolutely wonderful. Lively and spirited, he ensured that all eight of us completely enjoyed our dining room experience every night. I will say that the pizza and hamburgers on CCL is better that what I have had on RCCL. I only ate at one of buffets once and it was mediocre at best, but edible and it did the trick. All in all, I did manage to enjoy the cruise despite my horrible experience at first. The cruise director, Todd, is a great asset to the Conquest  simply terrific. The general staff though, all seemed to not know the answer to questions and were more often than not, unable to direct you to the proper place to obtain the answers you were seeking. They were overall friendly though. I will say that CCL attempts to pack as many people on this ship as possible as it was quite crowded during dinner and at ports. Elevators were often useless because of such. CCL needs to work on their consistency and training of their employees. To me, Royal Caribbean is the way to go out of the two however; I would like to try as many different cruise lines as possible. Assuredly, this was my first and last Carnival Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2006
Well I never thought I would ever have anything really bad to say about Carnival, but this cruise did it, we were amazed at the service and the crew. I had heard that they were training new staff but I think they should all go back and get ... Read More
Well I never thought I would ever have anything really bad to say about Carnival, but this cruise did it, we were amazed at the service and the crew. I had heard that they were training new staff but I think they should all go back and get a refresher course. We were 11 family members, 5 cabins. We were 5 adults, 2 children. I am the maternal grandparent of the children, I went to sign the 8 year old and 14 year old up for Camp Carnival at the orientation. Was told only a parent has that right, but I could be listed as 2nd adult only to pick up the children after the events of the day, seems a little backwards to me, but I could not drop them off and sign them in, but could pick them up duh!!! Good thing my daughter was on the trip with me or the kids would be very disappointed, also they do not let you in on activities for the day unless you ask what's going on. There was a talent show and the two children that were 8 years old wanted to join, but did not know they had to sign up. We all got dressed and marched down to the club for the show. The 2 children were excited as they practiced their song on the lido stage all afternoon. When we got there, the counselor said they could not join the talent show as they did not sign up for it, nor had a rehearsal, which none of us knew about. There were only 3 children signed up and they would not let our kids do their song. Anyway, it was not like there were 50 kids in the talent show, there were about 16 people that were in the club watching. 3 of which were the talent show singers. More disappointment on the little ones. I was sitting in the lido buffet, with the kids having breakfast when a little girl about 4 tables down dropped a chunk of cantaloupe in the middle of the buffet area, I watched as 4 crew service waiters walked over the melon, no one bent to pick it up. I stopped a supervisor, pointed it out and told her 4 of her people just walk by it, and someone would slip and fall on that marble/slate floor. Dirty dishes filled the tables out by the pool, no one was there to bus and pick up glasses. We were constantly clearing off tables of beer bottles, dishes, glasses, full ash trays, before we could sit and eat. Where were the service people? I seen them all over the place pushing drink specials but they never lifted any thing off the tables. We cleaned them or we had the beverage seller take everything away, whenever he walked by. That is, when we could get his or her attention. We rented tuxes for the dinner and they were delivered to the room $132.00 total. For what we rented, the one Jacket and the men's shirt was all wrinkled, so we asked the steward on our floor to send it to be press. It came back just before dinner with a bill. We had to pay to get it pressed. I went down and confronted the purser on that one. We did get our money back for the pressing, but that was besides the point. It should have been pressed and ready to go for 132 buckaroos, you think!! The 3 girls went to the salon to have updos for Captains Dinner as it was formal night. The salon people put fancy hairpins in their hair without asking. Low and behold, you look in the mirror and are embarrassed to ask them to remove the pins as you did not ask for them or were told there was a additional charge BEWARE!!!! A 45.00 updo now was 65.00 to 80.00 depending on what they placed in your hair. Dinner, what a mess. We only went the first 2 nights. We waited as the waitress came back 3 times with the wrong drink order, the waiter got the dinners wrong, and the second night we brought 2 bottles of wine to the table. They brought an ice bucket and placed the wines in the bucket, but we finally flagged down someone halfway through dinner to open and pour the wine. Second night also dinners were served wrong. We had enough. We did the buffet the remaining nights. We just did not think it was worth the effort to go back. Our Room Steward was more then ok, he was there whenever we needed him, he answered all our pages and was a great service person, and went the full nine yards with us. Thank you, Rico The lido deck had a huge leak from the pool, was dripping all over in buckets and there were buckets all over by the desert table. The public bathrooms also were flooded. We did leave all the tips on the bill 350.00. We did toss around the idea of taking them off, except for our room steward, which now I wish we had, because I would have rather seen Rico and his helpers get the full 350.00. The lido deck was filthy dirty, trash was blowing all over, no one picked it up, I was just amazed at how the staff ran this ship, NEW or not, it was a disgrace to Carnival. I have other issues but it is from other family members that were on the cruise, I would be here all night writing if I listed everything. I am not a Carnival basher, I love their ships, but this was by far the worst I have been on in the last 8 cruises. The topper was an elderly guest was totally drunk and incoherent and slid down the wall on the lido deck and was babbling and could not move. The crew walked past him for over a half an hour before someone told security that the man was in distress. He was served at the bar on lido and not cut off, they just kept giving him drinks and charging him. He could not even say NO!!! That's how drunk he was. They took him away in a wheel chair, and this was at 3 in the afternoon with children running all over the place. The bartender should have known when to stop serving him, there was no excuse for that. The man could not even talk he was sitting 2 stools away from me and he was babbling. I knew he had had enough, cut him off already!!! Tender departure was a big joke. They request your family members all be there in the morning to get number, we went at 8:30 we left the other 5 at the dining room to wait for the 2, 8 year olds to finish eating, I went up to get 11 stickers for the 2 families as we were all going ashore together was told that they all had to be present to get stickers, so we had to go down and rush them. After we all got stickers, I watched as 3 different passengers went in and got 10-13 stickers for their family members who were not even in the room after I was told NO!! All would have to be present, which I followed the rule and we got all our stickers together, I confronted the women in charge and told her Why was it ok for the other 3 passengers to get tender ticket while their families were not even in the starlight room, if you are going to change the rules do not do in the middle of the thing, what's fair is fair, make everyone follow the rules. We were there early and could have gotten the #1 tender ticket, it really did not matter, as we were all on the same tender, it's just the idea that they broke their own rules, constantly!! Bottom line, I would not take this ship again and word to wise, once a ship is dry-docked, they come out with lots of problems, and new employees training, who are confused and do not know what they are doing, not enough supervisors to guide them. Read Less
Sail Date April 2006
Galveston Texas was a convenient port for us to take a get-away week, and not having much choice was frustrating, but the ports of call were familiar and usually fun; Cozumel, Jamaica,and Grand Cayman. The boarding process was a snap; ... Read More
Galveston Texas was a convenient port for us to take a get-away week, and not having much choice was frustrating, but the ports of call were familiar and usually fun; Cozumel, Jamaica,and Grand Cayman. The boarding process was a snap; Galveston has it's act together in that regard with traffic flow and parking very convenient and plentiful. The downside is that it isn't a pretty port. The ship was interesting and bright on first sight with the appointments almost over-done, and after a few days it started to look like a house of ill repute. Alternately, the cabin was very plain but adequate and our steward was accommodating. The lifeboat drill was efficient enough, although a lot of the employees just stood around and never answered questions. Instructions were hard to hear, which was worrisome, especially as there were elderly passengers and lots of first time cruisers. I don't think it would go well if the ship actually had to evacuate. Lots of the usual drinks and fanfare to go around on departure. There are a lot of families, grandparents and kiddies on this cruise and in the price range, very casual travelers, so don't expect elegant dinner companions. In that regard the food was very poor. Cruisers look forward to good food on the trip, after all you pay for everything else! So don't expect first class taste on a budget cruise. We tried to eat on excursions as much as we could. Plentiful but tasteless cuisine is disappointing. Shore excursions were as expensive as anywhere else; and about the same as you'd expect but try to book early as I'm sure anyone will tell you about any cruise. It just makes sense if you want to save time and don't need explanations about it. It will guarantee you get the shore excursion you want. The downside of popular ports is that so many cruise ships dock at about the same time, especially during peak cruising season is that you wind up waiting with hundreds of others on the dock. In Jamaica I counted no less than four ships parked in a row. The best time we had was in Cozumel when we all drove 2 seater motor boats to a deserted beach for lunch; I don't remember when I've enjoyed such fun on a trip, especially when we raced each other for home! If I could have backed out on Dunns River Falls I would have: a cattle call for hundreds of people in a conga line snaking up the falls, holding hands to keep from falling; dangerous and a waste of time. (Although you could get a video of you looking ridiculous if you wanted it) Kayaking in the Caymans: a waste of time money and energy for experienced paddlers: avoid! Carnival cruises appeal to the budget minded traveler, young people on spring break and families. Nothing special and for my money I'd spend just a little more, look for a deal and go with a better cruise line, or even a land resort than to be disappointed. Don't go with expectations of more than the basics. Read Less
Sail Date March 2006
This was our third cruise with Carnival and unless we get a GREAT deal, I think it will be our last due to our experience on this trip. To begin with the embarkation was angering b/c they wouldn't let you get in line until you fill ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Carnival and unless we get a GREAT deal, I think it will be our last due to our experience on this trip. To begin with the embarkation was angering b/c they wouldn't let you get in line until you fill out the sacred sign and sail card, however, there were no pens b/c people were stealing them, but no Carnival employee would say anything to anyone. In front of a Carnival employee (whom I'd just requested a pen from) I attempted to pick up an unused pen and the lady that was just about to leave the pen turned around, and took it with her, chewing me out the whole way out the door! The first night out was tumultuous....EVERYONE was ill the next morning....seriously, most everyone we ran into was either sick or had to have taken something to get over their illness. The Carnival employees who had to deal w/ public directly were just awful. Hardly anyone smiled or was pleasant, most were downright rude. Our waiter, Charles, kept messing up orders and forgetting things...one night he left us waiting for half an hour for coffee, we never got it, he admitted he forgot, but he saw us sitting there forever, what about checking on us? The only ones who were pleasant was our cabin stewards, and the dancers who ran the bingo games. I would say only one bartender was nice - Julia at the Lido deck. Everyone else was argumentative and arrogant or rude. We witnessed one bartender yell at a guest over an ashtray, I am a very understanding person and sometimes it's difficult to deal with drinkers, but we witnessed that this bartender flew off the handle over next to nothing. Also, the domestic beer was $4.50, usually goes down after you get out, but never went down the whole trip. The Tiffany dining room was pretty but all food was cold, except the pizza. Now we're home and are covered in some strange rash....overall, this didn't really seem like a vacation. You have to understand, we had our honeymoon on Carnival and this was "our cruise line". We'd been on the Celebration and the Jubilee and it was fantastic....not this time and in their defense, I think the reason the staff was so grumpy was due to the motion sickness. Read Less
Sail Date December 2005
We just got back from our 7 day cruise on the Carnival Conquest 12-04-05. I was on her two years ago the shows were the same but that was fine because I liked them the first time I saw them and was looking forward to seeing them again this ... Read More
We just got back from our 7 day cruise on the Carnival Conquest 12-04-05. I was on her two years ago the shows were the same but that was fine because I liked them the first time I saw them and was looking forward to seeing them again this time. The cruise director Todd was all right but came off a bit phony and he was trying to hard but not succeeding to please. He said he walked around the ship daily but I never saw him unless he was on a stage, and once in the blues club singing. Well I guess that counts as being on a stage. The events were geared more to the evening crowed if you were an early riser there wasn't much for you to do but lay out by the pool and sleep. Sports trivia was held 2 or 3 times during the week. Music trivia only once and then only as a filler while the passengers were getting their Bingo cards. Bingo was every day 2-3 times a day sorry I'm not a Bingo Or Casino person. There were no theme nights you know get all dressed up in the 1950's and '60s clothes and bee bop to the music of that time until you dropped a good sock hop would have been great, or what about a western/cowboy-girl night? Your coming out of Texas don't they have cowboys-girls in Texas? a Jamaica night, or a Cozumel night you do stop in those ports. Malcolm the assistant cruise director and big Kev was great and funny. The dining was a mess the menu has not changed in the past two years they don't give you much of a selection but did allow you to substitute from the menu the night before. Most of the seats are booths I don't care for booths. Because #1 they look like your in the family restaurant down the street you know the places I'm talking about the ones where the menu is on the wall behind the registers and kids 8 years old and under love the fries. #2 I'm way to big to fit in a booth and so was one of the other ladies traveling with us. I'll give you 1 guess where they assigned us? Yes that's right in a booth!! I spoke with the Maitre D' about our seating arrangement he proceeded to tell me about all the people he had to assigning seats to, and how it was a problem to move someone, and they only have a few tables that can seat 4 people, and he didn't have any more tables, and if we were more than 4 people he could move us. Well I'm sorry I didn't plan, design, or build this ship, the number of people you have to assign and feed is not my problem, we only have 4 people in our group we can't change that but were friendly and we don't mind sitting with someone else, but this is my first vacation after 2 years, and I did pay for my cruise, and I refuse to have my dinner standing up. The next night he had us moved to a half table half booth seat it was better for us big gals but our other two companions (who so nicely gave us the chairs) said the seats were too low on the booth side. I felt the dining staff was very overworked some nights we ate dishes we didn't order because they got it mixed up we saw how hard they were working so we ate it and didn't fuss. They gave it a good try but didn't have the time to properly see what you needed we had what I called a run by waiter he would run by ever so often and ask did we need something or was everything all right. There were a couple of other things I didn't like about the Conquest - when were in port both sit down dining rooms are closed for breakfast and lunch only the buffet style eating places are open by the time you get in line get your food and then heaven help you try to find a table to sit at your food is cold. Do they have to close both sit down restaurants, can they possibly alternate the opening of them. I don't mind buffet style eating every now and then but not on a cruise ship what happen to the elegance of the cruise ship sit down eating. That's one of the main reason's I love cruising. I love to have my chair pulled out, my napkin placed in my lap, and my waiters wait on me not stand in line being herded like cattle only to finally sit down to a tray of cold food. (Oh sorry I forgot I was on Carnival not Royal Caribbean). After this disappointing experience I thought a nice quiet, peaceful, relaxing day in the spa would be just the thing for me after all the spa is so relaxing, quiet, and so peaceful. NOT!!! I could not relax in the spa not even after an hour of kneeding and massaging my aching body. Usually doing and after a good massage I'm so relaxed I fall asleep not on the Conquest. Whoever planed this ship must have failed his class. The spa is located 1 floor under Camp Carnival (the children/babysitting area). They had 400 children on board and I belive at least half of them was in camp carnival my spa day the jumping was the worse every couple of seconds we would hear a loud thumping sound I know what I was hearing the children were jumping and having fun (I understand children must have their play time running and jumping and shouting is normal and good for them I was a childcare director for many years and enjoyed it) but why put a spa under all that noise? The girl doing my massage also commented on the noise and wondered the same thing. Well to be fair I did have some good times on board the Karaoke was good the hostess was from England and she was funny she would join in and help us sing. I think she enjoyed it as much as we did. The Point restaurant was an experience not to be missed, everything was good. Four stars for the Point. The Great Race was fun it got more people involved and the color game was a success. Over all I did enjoyed myself met some new people and I always like that. Would I cruise on the Conquest again not to soon maybe in another 10 years or so. I think I'll go back to Royal Caribbean or maybe Princess for a grander, more classier, and refined ship or cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date December 2005
My new husband and I took the Carnival Conquest cruise that left on 12/11/05. We are experienced cruisers, but this was our first with Carnival. Our experience overall was not that great and we will not sail Carnival again. We talked with ... Read More
My new husband and I took the Carnival Conquest cruise that left on 12/11/05. We are experienced cruisers, but this was our first with Carnival. Our experience overall was not that great and we will not sail Carnival again. We talked with many others on the ship before I decided to post the truth as I have seen others get reamed on this site for posting anything bad. A few people said they had a great time but at least a dozen were not too pleased. It was just the two of us cruising, we were not in a large group and we do realize that when cruising the more people you have with you the more fun it can be. We are also not big drinkers so some things were not as amusing to us. There seemed to be more alcohol flowing on this cruise than others we have been on and it showed in the behavior of our fellow cruisers (sometimes it was cute, sometimes not so much). Embarkation -- We spent the night in Galveston so that we could arrive early enough to beat the big crowd. This was not necessary, as we just had to wait. By the time we did get on the ship the crowd was pretty large. No major issues and it went fairly smooth. Would have been nice if they would have had someone to hold any carry-on luggage while taking your picture. We ended up with a goofy picture of him holding my wedding dress. Room -- We purchased a balcony guarantee and ended up in a room on Deck 7 Aft. We are SO HAPPY we got this room and as the week went on we realized how lucky we were. This was the quietest deck well away from the nightclubs and noisy bars. We had a good view without being in the dungeon or up so high we rocked. The room was great, especially compared to what we have experienced in the past. Plenty of room, a king size bed and a couch. Lots of storage and closet space. We didnt step on each other all week! The bathroom was a decent size, plenty of shelves along the mirror to keep stuff out of the way. Shower was better than anything we have ever experienced. Water pressure was great and we didnt have to straddle the toilet this time (that was a joke, most of the bathrooms are very cramped). Only complaint was a stain on the duvet cover which was changed promptly by our room stewardess (Putri) who was the most awesome person we met on the boat (staff) all week. Our neighbors were very loud, but only randomly. They apparently thought their balcony was soundproof and were often out there talking very loudly but since we didnt speak the same language, it really didnt matter. Ship -- When we got on the ship we were very impressed. The ship is absolutely gorgeous and very large. The attention to detail was amazing from the ceilings to floors. The murals on the walls were very impressive in the lobby. The bars were very elegant and comfortable. The main lounge where the shows were held was amazing with 3 levels, there really werent any bad seats but we always sat up front. Our only complaint about the ship was some pathway issues. On certain decks (Deck 3) you could not get from one side of the ship to the other or (Deck 4) you had to cut through the dining room. Many felt comfortable doing this but we felt it to be rather rude. TIP FOR FUTURE CRUISERS: To access the front of the ship (outside) go to deck 6 or 7 Forward. They do not advertise this view but it is excellent and since those floors are only rooms, most people do not realize this and therefore it is also a very quiet view. Cruise Director and Staff -- Our cruise director was Todd and we were really disgusted with his lack of enthusiasm. Every time we listened to him we were very depressed. He seemed to whine a lot about being single, how love sucked, and how hard it is to do work like this. His jokes were old and tired and heard many times before. He was not at all original or spontaneous. The rest of the staff was okay but did not have memorable personalities. We felt bad for Jennifer on the first day when she got booed by an entire group of rednecks when she was introduced. We were embarrassed for her but she overcame this well. This was not the last time our fellow cruisers made Americans look pretty embarrassing. Activities -- We were REALLY disappointed in the activities on this cruise. There were not really many activities not geared towards getting smashed and acting stupid. They had a couple of trivia games (Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Name that Celebrity) but not many. They did have bingo, but we learned many cruises ago that this can become expensive very quickly and we didnt play this time. They list all the piano bars and singers as activities but when you take those out, there really isnt too much to do during the day. Entertainment -- We went to almost all of the shows. The first two comedians were really good. One was a ventriloquist and while he wasnt so good at that, he was still really funny. All the comedy shows were for adults only and were late at night. We are not easily offended, but before they started each show they prefaced it with, if you are easily offended go find a buffet and we did not care for that too much and found it to be a bit rude and by the 3rd time it was also old. The magician was okay, but not great. We saw some of the things she was doing and it was more a light show than anything else. It was slightly sexual for a family show but we did enjoy it. The Vegas style show with the dancers was pretty good. They were not Vegas quality and slightly off but we were pleased considering they were doing two shows a night. The Broadway show was pretty bad and we left after about 20 minutes. We did not attend the Talent Show as we did not go on a cruise to see amateurs. Usually these shows are in the afternoon and we think they did this to avoid paying another professional act. We did catch it on the TV and were not too sad that we missed the original. The juggler performed the last night and we were very impressed considering we were having a really rough day at sea hitting 12 foot waves. He dropped the pins the first couple times and we felt bad but he got it together for an awesome show and he was really funny. The orchestra played at most of the shows and were pretty good and like I said, the dancers were good, but not the best. The last comedian, Tony Acosta, was HORRIBLE. I have never been offended in my life and this man managed to run me off in tears. They did preface it with the usual buffet comment and said there would be foul language and sex related material. This would not have offended us. His main show was to talk about what was wrong with each ethnic group. According to Mr. Acosta: White people are arrogant and something is wrong with their children, Indians should all be treated as terrorists and in fact he follows them to make sure they get where they are going (the people next door to us were of this decent and were at the show), Black people are great because they know how to hug without looking gay and bump instead of shaking hands (this is better because White people shake hands and apparently dont wash them after using the restroom), Asians are only the people that comprise the wait staff (this was really embarrassing for them and he even made fun of one waiter announcing that he had a big dick,) Jewish people are all landlords and interested in money, Italians dont fight but just talk big and then he started on the gays. This part lasted forever and he did several really horrible imitations of gay men (which is funny because it was the same way he imitated White people in general). He went on and on about how scary a gay man is to a straight man, how he would kill his son if he was gay, and on and on and on. This is where I left. I knew there were several gay people on this ship and I was so embarrassed that they would have to listen to this. No one should go on vacation, go to a comedy show, and be put down like this. Everyone knows someone who is of one of these groups and it was just really hateful. He was about 5 feet tall and bald and what I think would have been funny is him in an Oompaloompa outfit. I was so offended by him I was praying I would run into him on an elevator. Real life is funny, making fun of yourself is funny, racist remarks about ethnic groups, culture, religion, and character is not funny. He also performed on the last day for a family show where he spent most of the time discussing how White people need to beat our children more and asking what is wrong with them as they are the ones bringing guns and bombs to school. Many people scooped up their children and left. All of the rednecks where whooping and hollering but I guess things are funnier when you are ripped and I have to believe they had no idea what they were laughing at. This man should have been pulled off the stage. Restaurants -- We ate in the Renoir restaurant most nights. We originally were at a large table but got moved so a large group could sit together (they never ate in there again we noticed). That was okay because we got a much better table with a view of the first level. Michael from the Philippines was our waiter and he was AMAZING. He was very funny and entertaining. One day I went to dinner in a horrible mood and by the time we left I was laughing so hard I couldnt breathe. The wait staff was very entertaining. We are slightly offended when people do not adhere to the dress code for several reasons: 1) the atmosphere is supposed to be that of a nice restaurant where you dress accordingly, take time through dinner, and enjoy conversation. This is not so easily done when you have folks tramping through in tanks and flip flops waiting to be fed like cattle (there is a buffet for casual dining its not like you dont get to eat if you dont want to get dressed up!) 2) we take the time to pack and prepare to dress nicely and change clothes to go to dinner and we should get the same consideration from others and 3) the people that can pull off their tanks and shorts/jeans/etc are never the ones wearing them (come on, some can make you really lose your appetite!) This was an issue on this ship, but not as bad as we have seen on others. For the most part everyone dressed appropriately and those few that didnt just looked foolish. We also noticed that those that were not appropriately dressed also lacked some manners for a fine restaurant and sat with their arms on the tables, didnt use napkins and yes, we even saw some people who thought they were eating finger food. We ate at the buffet one night when were not in the mood to change and the food was okay. We noticed that the food on the buffet for lunch and dinner was good, but just not quite great, like something was missing. We ate at the Super Club one night and were disappointed. The steak was great, but everything else was a little strange. The presentation was absolutely amazing, but the taste wasnt anything to write home about. A baked potato would have been sufficient, but we ended up with some grilled tomatoes and rutabaga and eggplant Our waitress was very sweet but we regretted spending the extra money to go to this restaurant. My husband tried twice to have a glass of wine with dinner and both times he got chilled red wine. Now most of the people on this cruise were not the kind to notice, but it really ruined it for him and their wine was very overpriced. When we ate at the supper club he noticed that a bottle of $60 Penfolds was $262!!!!! We let them keep that bottle. We also tried a few mixed drinks but they were pretty watered down and not at all worth the cost. The Gala buffet was BEAUTIFUL but didnt taste that great and people had already stuck their fingers in some of the desserts (we had a boat load of folks that could have stood to sit through finishing school). The chocolate buffet was also very pretty but the desserts were very strange. I had been waiting for some chocolate cake all week and was disappointed when everything had something weird in it (chocolate pear cake, chocolate orange cake, etc). We did notice that people were piling their plates high and looked like greedy sheep but there was plenty and we still got to try some things (but we didnt like much of it&again, something was just a touch off). THE MAIN DISAPPOINTMENT: The food is the same in all the restaurants!!!!! Maybe not on the same night, but often it is the same on the buffet and the dining rooms each night. We paid to go to the supper club and have a filet and the next day there was filet on the buffet and the next day it was in the dining room! The atmospheres were different, and there wasnt much else to do, but if we had known, we may have saved some time and energy and just gone to the buffet. The pizza was good if you got hungry for a snack, but we would have preferred normal pizza over goat cheese pizza. The grille was good, but again not great. We had a hamburger and a steak sandwich and both were edible. We never ate at the seafood restaurant. The Chinese food was TERRIBLE and we didnt make it past the first bite. There was so much salt we just couldnt handle it. We never ate at the sandwich place. Room service was pretty good. We had a BLT and fruit salad once. The food arrived very quickly and room service staff was very nice. The chocolate chip cookies are to die for if you can find theme Jamaica -- Jamaica was AWESOME. We had the ultimate excursion&we got married. Now, I say Jamaica was amazing, but this is because it had absolutely nothing to do with Carnival. We paid a private resort to handle everything from transportation and flowers to champagne and the ceremony. This resort was so beautiful and we definitely recommend it to everyone. It was Sunset Beach Resort and is an all inclusive resort. You can purchase a day pass for $40 per person and spend the day with drinks and food included. This is a good choice if you want a safe excursion and it is only a couple of minutes from the port. The people were FRIENDLY and HELPFUL and we wanted to stay for the rest of the week! Grand Cayman -- We did not plan any excursion for Grand Cayman. We tendered when we felt like it and checked out the shops. Worst problem&there were 9 freaking cruise ships there!!! This was an issue and everything was so packed with people that you couldnt move. It wouldnt have been so bad, but it seemed everyone thought they were the only ones there and we got sick of getting stepped on and headed back. Tendering was pretty much painless except for the people that had obviously found the local bars and were pretty obnoxious on an even smaller boat. There was no escaping but thankfully the ship was pretty close to shore. Cozumel -- On this stop we decided to book an excursion. We are well acquainted with how things run in Mexico and thought of just taking our chances when we got off the ship, but decided it would be best to book something through Carnival so we would know what we were getting. We looked through the choices and visited the Excursion Desk in person to ask a few questions about the Playa Mia Beach Break. We asked if there were going to be so many ships in this port, if the beach was nice, the sand flea situation, and the non-motorized equipment rental. He assured us that this was a beautiful beach and they had tons of stuff to do and we would not be disappointed. He also said there would not be as many ships but he didnt know exactly how many. Morning came and it was raining. We got some breakfast and it was pouring. It was looking grim but we were trying to do a no-rain-dance so we could go to the beach. We then found out that even though we bought an excursion, we still had to get in line to tender because it was not an excursion that included transportation. I will say this again because it is confusing, even though we paid for an excursion we had to tender as if we were not on an excursion because the transportation to the beach was our responsibility. We got in line for a tender ticket but since one tender boat was taking people off 40 minutes away we were left waiting for the one that was left. We waited for an hour and realized that between the rain and the wait, there was not going to be much beach time. We went to the pursers desk and were told that they would not refund the excursion because it was not canceled. Again, this is confusing&We were on an excursion, but not an excursion, to the beach that could not be canceled because of rain. So, we waited for the tender boat (2.5 hours) and finally made our way to the beautiful resort. When we arrived we found that admission to the beach is actually only $12 and we had paid $33. The tour to the beach was interesting and we got a first hand look at the hurricane damage, but it did not stop there. The beach was a disaster, the buildings were gone and everything was being held under a big tent. They were even still digging one of their water trampolines out of the sand. We decided to try a paddle boat but the area we had to use them was very small and the equipment had all been patched and was not adjustable. I am sure a midget would have enjoyed this adventure, but we were folded up and this made it pretty difficult. We were still trying to be positive and the rain had let up so we decided to lay on the beach for a bit. We got a beer and a Diet Coke and sat in one of their flat beach chair type things until he started to feel sick and I had sand fleas crawling all over me. At this point it was time to head back and the rain was returning. We got out of the cab with water up to our shins and made a break for the tender boat. We spent $66 to go to the beach and $30 in cab fare and we had been gone just a little over an hour. We spent the rest of the day in our cabin quite ill. We waited until the excursion desk was open the next day to discuss this adventure at which time he told us he had just been there last week and it was lovely. I dont know what his idea of lovely is, but well, I guess anything is possible. I have looked at their website since we returned and it WAS lovely, but now it is a nightmare and not suitable for tourists. He said he would send a letter to our stateroom by 8p.m and let us know what they could do. At 10p.m. there was no letter and we headed to the pursers desk. She explained that since no one else complained they would do nothing and in fact she couldnt do anything anyway as the Excursion Desk was closed. The following day would be disembarkation day and we wanted this resolved before our account was settled. She refused and said that she would be glad to beep him earlier in the morning but for tonight NO. I thought my husband was going to burst a blood vessel as this was a pretty shady trick. The man told us he would do something and then put us off until his desk was closed and the cruise was over. We finally did receive our form letter around 11, but it was just patronizing and we returned the cheap, warm champagne they had sent to shut us up. Excursions -- in General The excursions available through Carnival are very few compared to other ships. They are also very short and expensive. We took a horseback tour through Belize that lasted 7 hours that included lunch and bottles of water and only paid $89 per person last year on Norwegian. The excursions we had to choose from on this ship were only 2-3 hours long, if that, and were the same price or MORE! I like the idea of an excursion and the safety, but it is not worth it to me for the prices they were charging and especially not if they do not back up what they are selling you. I could have taken the risk and only been out a third of the money to go to this beach! We also talked to several people about their excursions and they were not happy. This is hearsay, but Ill pass it along anyway. One woman went to the beach in Grand Cayman and paid over $20 per person and was in a very small roped off Carnival section only a block from the public entrance that was $4. Her child tried to buy a hot dog and it was $8!! A man told us that he went on the glass bottom boat thing and the glass was so messed up they couldnt see, his wife got sick, and there were no fish. We heard that the sting ray tour was way overbooked and too crowded. We saw the Mexican cooking demonstration in Cozumel and it looked pretty crowded there too since they were operating under a tent. Photo Shop -- We were really upset about the photos on this cruise but maybe this was because we had something to compare it to. On other ships we have been offered a package deal to get all of the pictures or at least a good number of them (although we have never seen so many photographers!) On this ship, almost every picture was printed in an 8X10, even our embarkation photo holding our luggage. There was no choice in buying the picture, if you wanted it small you could buy the big and they would print you a small. The 8X10 photos were $20. On formal night we expected to take lots of pictures, but they had so many stations it was annoying. Several groups kids were running around taking tons of photos at each stop and this not only held up the line, but just made more photos that would be thrown away. We cannot understand why they cannot just print a small preview type strip and allow you to choose which ones you want to print and in what size. This would cut down on the waste, and allow you to make some choices. We finally broke down and bought a couple, but on the last day there were thousands of pictures that were headed for the trash. We really wanted more pictures since this was our wedding vacation, but at $20 apiece, we could go sit at a professional place and leave with the photos! Most of the backgrounds were pretty cheesy and available at your local Wal-Mart anyway. Everywhere you turned all week though they were trying to take your picture: dinner, getting off boat, formal night, causal night, etc. This just didnt make any sense to us, it seems there is a more environmentally sound way to do this that would let everyone get more pictures. As I have said, we are not new to cruising, we understand the pics will be pricey, but this was ridiculous. Again Norwegian actually puts them to shame! General Staff -- The general staff on this ship was pretty yucky. Our waiter and stewardess were the only ones that actually even spoke more than a word. Most of the staff looked tired and not very friendly. We had a few eye rolls and several blank stares. The pursers desk was really horrible. We know they hear stuff all day, but they have this really amazing way of making you feel very small. I think it is the size of the ship and the mass amount of people on it that made this so bad. In the huge group of people you really just get lost in the shuffle. Its very similar to being herded and you never really get treated as an individual guest. Im sure that those who got great deals were okay with this, but we did pay more on this since it was a special occasion and some personal touches would have been nice. (At least we found a bed full of swans and flowers from our room stewardess on our wedding night). DONT GO TO THE SPA!!! I went to the spa to get a facial before my wedding. It was such a scam. She smeared some stuff on my face and shined a light on my skin but after a little use of my psychology degree I had the real truth. She was 20 years old from England and really had no experience in this at all. What she was good at was a scam! She said she would get me some stuff to use tonight for my eyes (I had not slept well) and I ended up with a $300 bill for a $100 facial. She talked to my husband while I was getting dressed and made him think that I had already agreed. I had no idea she was about to sell me bottles of this stuff (which by the way is nothing more than a Burts Bee Green Goddess mask you can buy for $5 a pound). By the time we left we were just looking at each other saying what the hell just happened? Beauty Salon -- The beauty salon was great. I got a manicure the day before my wedding and was pleased. A little more expensive than at home, but it was easy to get in and I would expect to pay more on a cruise ship. She did a good job and was very nice. I got my hair done on my wedding day (I booked this the day we got on) and it was beautiful!! She was pretty fast and very nice. I had 73 hairpins and my head seemed to way 50 pounds, but it lasted all day and I hated to take it down. I felt like a princess and it was well worth the $50!! Disembarkation Not too smooth. We decided to do self assist as we were past ready to get off this sucker. The line got held up and it took over 2 hours to get off the boat. We passed our Asst. Cruise director on the way out who didnt even say a word. The girl checking our cards on the way out didnt speak either, not a bye, drive safe, or kiss my butt. When Carnival is done with you, they are done! In all it was not a good cruise. There are just too many people and it seems they are trying to scam you every time you turn around. We didnt feel like we had very many choices as it is their way or nothing. I also believe we got stuck with a different group of people. Usually we get a more diverse group of people to mingle with but this one was pretty much Southerners and man were they proud of it. Overall I was embarrassed to be from the South and hate that it is these people who will set the stage for how others see us. If I never hear Git er done again, it will be too soon!!! We have thought about upgrading to Princess or something, but I refuse to give Carnival another dime. We will return to Norwegian and Celebrity or go to the resorts instead Hope this helps anyone as it took FOREVER. Read Less
Sail Date December 2005
November 10, 2005 Elation -- just would like to express my feelings of how displeased we were in our trip. I am a very seasoned cruiser and many trips on Carnival and others. The getting onboard was fine -- got to the state room our room ... Read More
November 10, 2005 Elation -- just would like to express my feelings of how displeased we were in our trip. I am a very seasoned cruiser and many trips on Carnival and others. The getting onboard was fine -- got to the state room our room attendant was not friendly at all. My girlfriend has to take insulin and I had brought a bag to hold ice in and she got pissed off about having to get ice for us. Food in most of the areas was just more junk food at best, cookies are just bag cookies not fresh baked like there use to be but you can buy one of them for $2.00 the shows were kinda silly costumes were just bad. There was one guy that had a show that was good but the others were just boring. I fell asleep in one. Food in the dining room was just ok one stake was very good but desserts were not good I have gotten desserts at Sam's club better it was like it was not fresh baked or made. Boy the big one Calica if your ship is going there just stay home you will have much more fun!! We pull into this place it is a gravel pit no kidding a gravel pit!!! and it did not get much better. You get off the ship to a sea of rent cars and taxis and some buses. We rented a Jeep from Exclusive $65.00 for the day. They gave us a Map thank god due to Wilma All road signs are gone we drove up to Hidden Wonders had a good time there but my daughter wonted to do some shopping we drove back to Plya and arrived there remember NO SIGNS drove around for some time and found a area we would even get out of the jeep this place just appeared not safe at all -- they are really trying to RIP YOU OFF. We did little shopping had to keep very close eye on the girls -- guys jacked with them some and I was not going to back down.. We elected to just go back to the ship. Stopped at the gas station -- they started to pump the gas one guy started jacking with the jeep and the guy pumping the gas turned the pump off and cleared the pump then got a ticket for $100.00 US. We had only driven about 40 mi at most gas should have been no more then $10.00. We had to get back to the ship. I got ripped off for $20.00 -- park some one on the pump so this will not happen to you. Better yet don't go there. Got back to the ship. Guy was a real jerk dropping off the Jeep -- he told me there was a 25.00 cleaning charge due to the Jeep not cleaned it was full of trash when I got it we cleaned that out and the dust my god the dust was just everywhere and the jeep was a pile of junk. I told him that he can just put it on my Visa he advised no I had to pay in cash. I handed the key to him and walked off. There were two venders on the dock--T-shirts and stuff. This guy was trying to work everyone we just got back on the ship. End of the trip was ok takes lots of time to get off ship not a very good trip I will think long and hard and before I take a Carnival trip again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2005
Conquest 10-11/05 Good: It's an super elegant ship all right. Very impressive when first boarding. Best was a four deck water slide. Good for kids, adults, fatties, etc. 10 piece showband. Good when they played decent music. Very ... Read More
Conquest 10-11/05 Good: It's an super elegant ship all right. Very impressive when first boarding. Best was a four deck water slide. Good for kids, adults, fatties, etc. 10 piece showband. Good when they played decent music. Very seldom. 11 deck atrium and 4 glass elevators, Nice. Classical string music trio, including clarinet, very good. Jazz trio, guitar, drums, bass. Quite good and interesting. Trip to Tulum was interesting. Got our own tour for 5 for the price of one ship tour. Taxied to free beach at Jamaica. Fine, a few locals there. No facilities. Lovely free beach at the tender dock at Playa del Carmen. Can't knock the costumes and props for the productions. Good. Last day at sea, a beautiful, warm, sunny day. Not so Good (similar to shades of bad): Always pounding, throbbing "music" everywhere. Had to sign out for pool towels with your credit. Productions needed much improvement. Had plenty of high kickers. Only two live vocalists, rest was lip synched. Live music but dreadful poor taste, loud and irritating. Announcements over the speakers was designed for the deaf. Maybe you get deaf when listening to all that din. One headliner, all time worst ever, take note, "Ron Joseph". Black, loud, talentless, had a giant Karaoke. Lots of audience on stage, yelling, screaming, whistling, etc. Second day and night, rougher seas than we ever experienced on a big ship. Went through a tropical storm remnant. Mostly rain. Minor inconvenience. Screaming and whistling was solicited for every event, even each bingo call. It was given. At Playa, worst tendering experience ever. Used 300, 500 passenger ferries. Took forever to load and unload. For the last tender to the ship the line was 2000 (?) people long. Awkward to get to dining room. Had to keep going through the casino. Problem was that you had to get past the galley and the forward dining room to get to our dining room. Always enjoy magic shows. This one stunk. Mostly dancing and pounding "music". Little magic. The magician should have vanished herself. Indifferent: Food was tasteful and nutritious(?) as expected. We could find room for improvement though. Service was good again as expected. Rained stay at Cayman, OK, we had no plans. Many tours cancelled. A shame for them. Experience: A fellow in line at the desk with two bags laundry. He turned his luggage in to porters at pier. Not been seen since. They did a complete ship search. We got a letter asking us to search our cabins, under bed, etc. All they offered was to do his laundry. Then at the desk, they knew nothing about it. Was he mad. He knew someone who knew someone and he was going to have the ship blackballed. Maybe the whole Carnival line? Of course the porters at the pier are not CC employees. Maybe the luggage is still there? Bottom line: Little reason to repeat on Carnival Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
Aug. 22nd 2005, 5 day cruise Cozumel, Calica. Where to begin? The bottom line for me is the entire ,"were done with you, we have your money, go to bed now" attitude has got to go! You need to understand that on SO MANY Different ... Read More
Aug. 22nd 2005, 5 day cruise Cozumel, Calica. Where to begin? The bottom line for me is the entire ,"were done with you, we have your money, go to bed now" attitude has got to go! You need to understand that on SO MANY Different levels Carnival does NOT have your best interests at heart, no matter what they say or do! The saddest part is when they quite literally "roll up the sidewalks" at night, leaving you with no options but to go to bed. Forget visiting with friends or meeting new people, especially if you want a drink or two to enhance the experience, the bars are closed, the pool is closed, the deck chairs have been stacked and pushed to the corner, the music has been turned off. Now Please understand that I'm NOT talking about midnight, 2am, (I could understand that!), I'm talking about 10-10:30 PM! Everything you buy has an 18% gratuity on it, including drinks you walk half way around the ship to get yourself! (which you have to do when the wait staff quits at 10pm!) And can you believe this, the ONLY bar left open on Thursday night ran out of beer! The excursions: TOTAL JOKE! I was with a large group of 10 people. We wanted to do a jeep excursion. The Carnival web site said you could get a jeep that would seat 4 for $150, (give or take). Yet on the ship, it went up to $80 per adult, and $70 per kid. So a jeep with 4 people would cost $320?? And that Rebecca chick claimed that had sold out. So we get to Cozumel: First off, its FAKE! You are entering a totally fake area created for Americans. Bypass all of that crap, and keep walking down to the rental car place. Guess what? They have SCORES of Jeeps available for rental, (pick your color!) $50! We rented a Ford Econoline Van that held all 10 of us for $80 plus the $25 Mexican insurance. Went to a Grocery store in downtown Cozumel. Got a styrofoam cooler, 2 cases of Mexican beer, (cold out of a cooler!), 2 bags of ice, bottled water, $30 bucks! We all cruised downtown Cozumel, (the REAL Cozumel!), bought 6 Cubans, food, and some T-shirts, loaded in the van, and STILL joined in the jeep excursion! Went to the sample places and everything, but we had beer and food! Went to 4 different beaches, partied all day! Oh, and I recommend you visit the "Gentleman's Club" just outside the "FAKE" area, and spend your money there! The diving, swimming and snorkeling? Its done in the harbor where yours and 3 other ships are docked, where they are dumping their waste and such! Yummy! Calica: Total waste of time! Again, another "FAKE" area set up for Americans as a tent city, assembled just as the ship arrives. Again we rented a car for $50, went into town, got beer, and drove to cancun! Its the ONLY way to go! Its a quick trip because you need to be back by 3:30, but well worth it! Beware of Pemex! The ONLY gas stations in town! They cheat you! Watch that person pumping your gas like a hawk! They clear the pumps and claim they put more in then they did! My advice: 1) Buy the soft drink card, you use the HELL out of it! 2) Smuggle your own booze and bottled water onboard any way possible! 3) Bring a book or games. The "fun days at sea" are brutal! 4) Expect to spend $100 a day on board for just crap! 5) The casino is TIGHT! No real big winners, but lots of big losers! 6) The food is OK, but most of the waitstaff does not speak English and are on their first cruise, (I hear of 75% turnover) Overall, NO real value! Make your own fun! Read Less
Sail Date August 2005
Staff of Elation were professional, prompt and courteous, however, there didn't appear to be enough wait staff at the Tiffany's. Tables were not cleared promptly nor wiped clean. Our cabin (E173) was directly below the kitchen. ... Read More
Staff of Elation were professional, prompt and courteous, however, there didn't appear to be enough wait staff at the Tiffany's. Tables were not cleared promptly nor wiped clean. Our cabin (E173) was directly below the kitchen. We were awakened each morning around 5:30 AM with clanging of pots, slamming of doors and one morning it appeared that they were dropping bags of ice on the kitchen floor (our ceiling) to break up the ice. The noise continued for approximately one hour each day. Purchased 3 bottles of liquor at Cozumel. Complied with ship rules by giving liquor to Elation boarding staff to keep until last night of cruise. One bottle was delivered to our cabin, they found the cap to another bottle and never located the third. Entertainment was disappointing. Elation had a new cruise director who indicated he was "on trial to see if he could be a cruise director" who did a good job. Perhaps entertainment was booked previously. It was geared to a 70 plus age group. Have cruised Carnival in the past, but will try a different cruise line next time. Read Less
Sail Date August 2005
Where do I begin? Our entire family booked this vacation in February, including members from the East and West Coast, and to say that we were disappointed is a major understatement!! To start, when we arrived in Houston Int'l and ... Read More
Where do I begin? Our entire family booked this vacation in February, including members from the East and West Coast, and to say that we were disappointed is a major understatement!! To start, when we arrived in Houston Int'l and checked in with the Carnival Reps at 11 am, we were told the next shuttle bus to Galveston would be in 20-30 min., so we did not have time to eat, at 12:30 the bus finally arrived and the staff boarding and loading the bus were less than polite!! Upon arriving at Galveston, we were greeted by a 2 hour line to check in, in the dirtiest most disgusting warehouse I have EVER been in!! There was no entertainment for the children, no sitting areas, nothing but lines! Finally after the grueling check in, we made our way onto the ship, and after standing there for 5 minutes, we had to find someone to give us directions to our cabins, no greeters, no maps, and certainly no personalities - she pointed us at the elevator's and went back to her private conversation with a fellow crew member. After finding our cabins, we were told that the buffet, which is advertised as open 24 hrs., had closed for the muster drill. The drill began at 4pm, it was 3pm. There were not enough life jackets in our cabin, and the muster drill was the most disorganized thing I had ever been through!! We had to walk up 7 flights of stairs, and I am handicapped and no accessibility options were made available to me, then we stood around in a waiting area for 15 minutes while the staff figured out what was going on. My 15 year old nephew did not have a life vest, but we were told to report to the muster station and he would be provided one there. We were not provided one, and a crew member yelled at my brother for his son not having a vest. When we explained the situation to her, she nastily informed us that it was our fault because there are exactly enough life vests in each room, and stalked away. I am very glad it was not an actual emergency, because the concerned and competent staff would have let a 15 year old boy drown! Finally, we were ordered up yet another flight of stairs and told to stand in tightly packed lines, in our vests, in 105 degree heat, for the next 10 minutes. There was absolutely no effort to keep cabins together, parents and children together, no organization at all. A woman directly in front of us finally succumbed to the heat and passed out. We had to remove her vest and render first aid. After five minutes of screaming for help to the crew, they finally responded in typical poor-natures, and made her walk to the infirmary. I ended up sitting on the deck with my head between my legs to keep from passing out!! We had not even left the port yet and were already disgusted!! The rest of the trip followed in much the same fashion. Our waiter in the dining room was just shy of rude. We had to ask for drinks other than water, asked fr refills on drinks and bread and never received them, and when my meal was brought out one evening cooked incorrectly, I was informed by the assistant that he didn't cook it and what would I like him to do about it? We were never offered replacement entrees or dessert. Anything we wanted we had to ask for, and most of the time did not receive anyway. My brother attempted several times to order wine from the recommended list on the menu, and the had to explain it to the wine steward. On more than one occasion she had no idea what he was talking about, and informed him that the wine he was interested in was only available by the bottle not the glass. Does anyone else think that information should be included on the menu? The entire dining room experience was pathetic. As for the rest of the ship, while I understand that this is an older ship, it was filthy and in great disrepair. In the pool area, you could not even enjoy the water because a group of young, punk kids kept jumping on everyone and everything in their path. I know that Carnival is not responsible for the actions of the passengers, but on more than one occasion people had to complain to the crew repeatedly to get anyone to take action. Is this not considered a safety hazard? Myself and my entire family got very tired forcing crew members to do their jobs!! One of the main attractions for the pool is the giant slide, which for some insane reason closes at 5pm. My 7 year old nephew was in line and had finally reached the top. He was the next person to go down the slide when the crew member at the top told him it was 5 o'clock and the slide was closed. Rather than allow those few children to take their turns down the slide, the crew member slammed the gate shut and made all of the kids go back down via the stairs. Needless to say, the line was made up of crying children, especially ny nephew who couldn't understand why, if he was next, she couldn't just let him go? Her exact words were, "Didn't you hear me say the slide is closed? Now get back down the stairs, now." I certainly don't expect special treatment for my nephew, but they couldn't have closed off the stairs and taken the extra 2 minutes to allow those kids to go down the slide? That would have meant extra effort on their part, and actually caring about customer service, so I guess that answer was NO!! The pools were a disaster as well. I understand that all cruise lines use saltwater to fill the pools, but I have NEVER been on a ship that does not desalinate the water. You couldn't open your eyes, or even swim underwater because of the salt!! The ports we visited - Progreso, Cozumel and Belize were wonderful. My husband took the excursion in Progreso to the mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, and it was phenomenal. The bus ride was long, but enjoyable and informative, and the ruins themselves made the trip worth it. The stay at the ruins was a little shorter than we would have liked, but the ship has a schedule to keep, so that was understandable. On the return trip, we were given a very nice bag lunch and time to practice the national sport of Mexico, taking siesta's! Cozumel was absolutely beautiful! The water was so blue, and the shopping was wonderful. Clean, well kept stores with no one harassing you to buy anything. They were still picking up a bit after Hurricane Emily, but it was still beautiful. We hired a taxi and went to Paradise Beach, one of the last free beaches in Cozumel, and spent a wonderful afternoon playing in the water and sand. All of the beaches that the ship had available for excursions charged a minimum of $12 just to walk on to the sand. Nice!! Belize was the most beautiful of all the ports. Rainforests, mountains, absolutely stunning. We book a cave tubing excursion through Reggie's Tours. Our tour guide, Lionel, was the best!! We paid less than half the price we would have paid if we had gone through the ship, and we got a longer, better tour of the rainforest and caves. I will warn you, the trip through the rainforest is grueling, so please make sure you are in good shape!! At the end of the walk you got to dive into this beautiful grotto of water that was so refreshing, and started your cave tubing from there. This was definitely the highlight of the trip! If you take the tubing excursion, use Reggie's Tours, and order the lunch from the restaurant before you go. The food was phenomenal!! The bar staff and our cabin steward were excellent. I cannot say enough positive things about them, but that is the limit of the good things I can say about this cruise. All cruise lines charge extra for a soft drink card, ok, I get that, but the price of the card on this ship was $45.00!! That is ludicrous!! On Disney, which runs circle's around Carnival, the card was $12.00. I found it interesting that you could not find out the cost of the card until you boarded the ship. I looked on the website and called Carnival's 800 number, was always told that the price varied, but was reasonable. By whose standard's?? Back to my rant about the dining room. We had a party of 12, and requested to be kept together. My aunt and her granddaughter from California told them that if they had to split us up, please put the 2 of them at another table and keep our party together. Fat chance!! They put us at 2 booths. Who even has booths anymore? Three members of our party have various health problems and disabilities, and sliding across a booth in dress clothes is no easy task!! When we complained to the maitre d', we were told they couldn't accommodate parties larger than 8. Apparently he thought we were blind or stupid because right next to us were 3 table's that sat 11. And by the way, they had 2 separate parties at those tables. The Maitre d' and head waiter told us they understood our displeasure, but too bad for us. I thought customer service was supposed to be number one on cruise ships. I am very sorry that Carnival forgot about that. All in all, while my family enjoyed the ports and being together, this vacation was a disaster. I will NEVER book any trip through Carnival again, and I will strongly urge anyone who will listen, take another cruise line. Carnival may call themselves the "fun ships", but certainly not for us. Read Less
Sail Date July 2005
We had our 12th cruise on Carnival's Elation from October 31st to November 7th, 2004, sailing out of Galveston, Texas My review comments are based on comparisons with our 11 other cruises. Unfortunately, although I do try and be ... Read More
We had our 12th cruise on Carnival's Elation from October 31st to November 7th, 2004, sailing out of Galveston, Texas My review comments are based on comparisons with our 11 other cruises. Unfortunately, although I do try and be objective, this probably has more negatives than positives, and most likely is our first and last cruise with Carnival. ITINERARY: We were supposed to have gone to Belize but you can read below why the schedule changed. We left Galveston, sea day, sea day, Progresso, Mexico, Cozumel, Mexico, Calica, Mexico, sea day, and return to Galveston. HOTEL: We arrived in Galveston the week before, driving from Lubbock, Texas. We were on a one week cruise on Rhapsody Of The Seas, then simply changed to the Elation for the following week. We had booked a room with Holiday Inn On The Beach. The personnel there was extremely friendly and helpful and we were surprised when we were upgraded to a better room on the second to top floor. This Holiday Inn allows you to park in their parking lot, during the cruise, for free, saving you $60.00 per week in parking charges at the pier. They also provide a free shuttle to and from the pier. Our shuttle driver both times was "Rodney" who is quite a character and a very nice person. He really takes good care of you and gives you his cell phone number so you can call him when you return and he'll hurry down to pick you up. (Eight minutes from our call to his arriving!) All shuttle drives are done by reservation so make sure you are on their list. They also check to ensure you have been taken and picked up. I fully recommend Holiday Inn for a Galveston sailing. EMBARKATION: At first it was a breeze. We arrived early and there already were long lines. However, it only took ten minutes to get processed, get our room key cards, and go to the next room. Surprise! There was a horrendous line and we asked what the holdup was. It was for the taking of pictures. Okay, we said, we'll get formal pictures on board, can we go through? NO, we were told. We then waited an extra 43 minutes because of this. We later discovered this was simply one of many negatives to befall us on this cruise. By the way, when it was our turn, we simply walked past the photographer. I don't believe when you are wet and disheveled, that it is a time for a picture. Plenty of time for that later. THE SHIP: A big surprise was once we got inside the ship. Of 12 cruises, this had to be the best looking atrium of all. Actually beautiful. A Roman styled motif and lots of brown and maroon colors really helped and the dark colors did not detract at all. There were a lot of small bars and clubs, some intimate. Most of the public rooms were also nicely decorated and didn't look glitzy at all. The only problem was getting to some of them as they'd be located behind another you had to walk through first. Duke's, named after Duke Ellington, was a favorite of ours. Located near the main dining room, it was a good place to have a drink, smoke, talk, and wait for the dining room to open. The signage on the ship was extremely poor. For instance, on each deck, the only place you could look to see what deck you were on was directly in front of the elevators. There were no such signs near any of the stairwells. The way they were designed, you could not see the floor numbers on the elevators on the other side of the hall from where you were. You had to walk over to see which elevator was closest to your deck. Further on elevators, inside were small signs telling you what was on each deck. Problem here was two fold. First, they lit up as you reached each deck but you couldn't read them until you actually reached that deck. Second, many of them had bulbs out and didn't light up at all. Some maintenance needed here, Carnival. Also, the elevators had a habit of going up or down PAST your deck while you were waiting and not stopping. In the atrium, each side going forward or aft had signs stating certain restaurants and clubs etc, for each deck. Problem is some of those places were a deck up or down from what was stated. Very poor signage. Try finding the Inspiration Restaurant. We searched for TWO HOURS that first day until we discovered you had to go down one stairway to get there from where the sign was. (We were assigned to the Imagination Restaurant and found that so no problem!). You are given a small deck plan layout when you embark. Keep it in your pocket or you'll go mad trying to figure the ship out. The "card room" on that deck plan did not exist, it was now an "art gallery." CABIN STEWARD: We also had a very nice upgraded cabin. We always book a lower inside guarantee and usually are not disappointed with some type of upgrade. This time, we were upgraded two decks and to an OUTSIDE cabin. Nice! We couldn't get to the window without crawling over the bed. Although Carnival states their cabins are larger than others, we felt it was about the same size as on the Rhapsody the week before, but, the bathroom was much larger and you were not crowded in the shower. There was a built-in tv at the foot of the bed. Only one outlet in the cabin so a power strip might come in handy if you need extra outlets. We had two very large suitcases with us and there was a space right near the door where they seemed to fit right in after unpacking them and not be in the way. There were two chairs, one with a back, and no couch, so you really couldn't relax in the cabin without lying on the bed. You really don't spend that much time in your cabin so that wasn't really a problem. The problem was with our room steward. We didn't see him. We are usually met upon boarding. After dinner, we still had not met our room steward (there were a few things we needed, and a few things to explain to him) so we called the Purser's office to inquire. They said they had no idea who he was or where he was. They refused to give us a number for housekeeping and rudely said to call them back at 10:30 p.m. As we had late dining at 8:30, we called them back when we returned. We informed them that we had left a note for the room steward that was ignored, and we still had not met him although he had been to the cabin to turn down the bed. The Purser's desk then rudely stated, "These people work 14 hours a day and we can't know where they are every minute." If they work 14 hours per day, why haven't we met him somewhere? As for the television, there was a notice that they were having problems with satellite reception but that was never corrected. The same shows and movies repeated for all seven days, there was never a CNN channel for news. This was the week of the national election and we finally got to watch a "local" Nashville channel with their election results. The TV guide in the cabin stated we'd have all three networks but never saw all three working at the same time. As for the movies, be glad they reran them over and over because halfway through, the movie would suddenly end and a Carnival commercial would come on. The movie never resumed and you'd have to watch it when it restarted a few hours later. I never found out what this was all about. I know that all ships do not have a bow cam (this one didn't), but this was the first time that there was not a channel devoted to where you were, how far to go, what the weather and waves were, etc. Nothing. CABIN STEWARD - 2nd NIGHT: After a day and a half of frustration of meeting and talking with our cabin steward, we went once again to the Purser's desk. This time we talked to Anthony Forshaw from Australia. He knew we had been there a few times and called a few times with the same problems and asked what he could do. We told him our problems, what we needed etc. I've put his full name here because he followed through with everything and got it all rectified. Also, we were in our cabin getting ready for dinner and heard a knock on the door. Guess who? It was our cabin steward, Clinton. He apologized for not meeting with us sooner and, as it turned out, he was very good in what he did. He also got a nice tip. I only wished we could have met him as we embarked and gotten those things taken care of earlier. I told you we were upgraded to an outside cabin with a window. On night six, the ship was traveling full speed to get back to Galveston and the waves were 10 to 12 feet according to the Captain. Well, when we'd hit a wave with the bow, being fairly forward in our cabin, we could see the wave spray straight out of our window on Deck six. We went down to the lowest deck to see if anyone had their door open so we cold take a look outside and see what that looked like but all doors were closed. We've only seen waves crashing that high once before and it was a sight to behold. You could also hear it in your cabin. That ship was moving! LIFEBOAT DRILL: Here is something that drastically needs attention and might possibly be a violation of the Coast Guard rules. Our cruise is over and we are back home and we STILL do not know which lifeboat had been designated for us in case of an emergency. We sailed from Galveston at 4:00 p.m. and lifeboat drill was called at the same time which deprived new cruisers from watching sailaway which is always a favorite time to see the ship undock itself and leave the pier. The problem is that our muster station was inside the theater, inside the ship. If the ship was on fire, or was capsizing for any reason, there is no way that we would go INSIDE to muster with a crowd of frantic people. No way. We'd head for the outside deck as many others would do. While in the theater, wearing our life jackets, we noticed a lot of people did not have theirs on. We watched as a person in charge went to one after the other and asked them to put on their life jacket and were told "It'll muss my hair" (really!), "I'm too big, it doesn't fit", and other excuses. Very few of them ever put their life jacket on. If there had been a real emergency and they ended up in the water, who do you think would be suing if they survived? To further this situation, we then were told to go outside on deck in a particular order. We were in the balcony and last to get out. Another bad feeling. Then, when on deck, we had no particular lifeboat to go to (none was posted on the inside cabin door either) and we all simply stood in a group on deck while listening to a recorded announcement. None of the crew in special hats guiding us to our muster stations ever spoke with any direction unless we asked a question first. All in all, very poor and downright dangerous. MEDICAL EMERGENCY: On Monday about 4:40 in the afternoon, the Captain announced we were turning around and heading back to Texas. A passenger had fallen and broken his hip and the situation had gotten worse. We were going to get within range of a Coast Guard helicopter that would come out and pick him up. He said this would take place late at night. He also said that the next port, Progresso, was cancelled. More on that below under ports. After dinner that evening, we went on deck and found it very crowded as everyone was waiting to watch the helicopter arrive. About 1:00 a.m., a security officer came to our part of the deck and said that the helicopter would arrive at 3:00 in the morning. I asked if he was sure of that time and was told yes. We'd been out there since 10:30 the night before so we went back to our cabin for a couple drinks and spruce up. We went back on deck at 2:45 a.m. only to find all the outside deck barriers they had erected were gone. A deck hand said the helicopter was there at 2:00 a.m. and had left. We had been lied to. The next day, it was announced from the bridge that the helicopter had arrived on schedule at 3:00 a.m. and the evacuation had gone smoothly. Another lie, we were on deck fifteen minutes before that and it had taken place. Eventually, Progresso was put back as a port for the following day, Belize was cancelled, and Calica, Mexico was added. Reviews of those ports are below. We had two cruises in two weeks and neither got us out of North America! (Personal note. I in no way fault the Captain for turning the ship around. If it was me, I'd want them to do the same thing.) A bad joke was making the rounds while this was taking place. Someone asked, "What if someone fell overboard. Would the Captain turn around again to find and rescue that person or continue with the first emergency? It does make for a hard decision and I'm glad I wouldn't have to make it. DINING ROOM: The first night, our waiter was Norris and he was pretty good. The asst was lacking and it was 22 minutes before any bread/rolls was brought to the table (they only had three tables to manage and ten people total). Same for drinks and water, 22 minutes from sitting down. The next night, he and the asst were gone and had been replaced by a new waitress, Nicoletta, and our asst, Adriana, both from Romania. They were both extremely good, always had a smile, and we had a good time. One item I noticed, again, was that rolls/bread were no longer put on the table for you. The asst. waitress would come around periodically and ask what you wanted. We eat a lot of bread before a meal so, Carnival, put the bread plates back on the tables! We asked for a table for ten, got a table for six and one couple never materialized. The one other couple there, Willy and Elaine, were from Pennsylvania and very pleasant. We had a good time. Carnival is one of those that puts your "voluntary" tips on your statement automatically. We went to the purser's office (again) and had them removed as we want to tip personally and adjust up or down depending. In the case of the dining room, we added extra to both as they certainly deserved it. Carnival also closes the buffet restaurant that last night so if you want to eat, you are forced to go to the dining room so as not to stiff your wait staff on tips. Pretty shabby idea if you ask me. If someone is going to stiff someone, they will do it no matter what. Also, Carnival made a big deal in both their daily newspaper and on the intercom that on that final night, you should tip your maitre 'd. Oh really! We never saw him on any other night and we asked for him twice on Monday night and Tuesday daytime. On Monday we were refused (?) and Tuesday, someone else asked what we wanted and then answered the question. However, on that last night, the maitre 'd (am I spelling that correctly?) was stationed right at the entrance with his hand out. I shook it as we went past. TIFFANY'S: This was the buffet-style restaurant which is always informal, and this was one of the places that the Elation starred! The buffet food was great, and it seemed that when prime rib was served in the main restaurant, they had it also. There was always something being carved and the selection varied from night to night. Salads, drinks, and desserts were located in other places so the lines for food were never that long. This is something the other ships can take note of. There was a deli, a sandwich deli where you could have sandwiches made to order from a list of ingredients posted. I saw one sandwich being made that was about two inches high, really! The person asking for it had just about every meat and cheese offered in it. I didn't get to see him eat it, unfortunately. I think that could have been in the talent show! Tiffany's also had a pizza bar that was open till the early hours of the morning and the pizzas were pretty good. You could also get coffee, lemonade, punch, and ice cream 24 hours per day there. As for the desserts, they had things I didn't recognize, the selection was so large. Many of the items were made from sugar so the kids on board were happy, and their dentists, but there was a nice variety. One of my favorite places was the grill located on deck just outside of Tiffany's. During the day, you could get hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, and other snacks anytime you wanted. In the morning, it was a breakfast bar with Reyman of the Philippines making custom omelettes for you. I had him make one for me each morning (well done with ham and cheese). By the third day, we walked up and he knew what we wanted. We also tipped him special at the end of the week. At first, he tried to give it back saying that the food was free. We said, "We know, this is for you. Put it in your pocket". He smiled and said thank you. THE CASINO: The Elation had one of the roomiest casinos at sea that we've seen, and it was laid out nicely. You could sit at a slot machine or a card table and others could walk behind you without knocking you out of your chair as on some other ships. This was really nice. But then they spoiled it. I stated in the other review that I don't know why they do this but they played modern music extremely loud all the time which was giving me a headache as we also had the sounds of all the slot machines. When shipboard announcements were made, we could hardly hear what was being said. (It is my belief that the slot machines make all that ringing etc. for a reason, so you can hear if you have "hit" something, and to hear whether someone near you has hit some sort of jackpot. There is no need, in my opinion, for that very loud music that is played over the ringing of the slot machines.) To further this problem, there was a country band next door without any wall separating and when they were playing live, it REALLY got loud in there. Can you imagine the slot machines bells, the loud music next door, the loud music (different) being piped in, and shipboard announcements? Keep the headache medicine ready. You can also add the "extra" music being played during the slot tournaments as the person in charge had his CD player with him and asked for requests. Now, here is a suggestion. That "club next door contained a bar and no smoking was allowed (?) although there was no wall and the casino next door had smoke pouring out of it as all casinos do. I never saw many people frequenting that room. Dump that small club, keep the bar, and expand that casino because, big as it was, it was also always full. Carnival, you could have the biggest casino at sea, keep it busy (making you money) and have a bar there for your patrons. If you do this and put in more slot machines, put in a couple 25 cent Wheel Of Fortune machines. Those were missed. Just a suggestion, no need to pay me a consulting fee (tongue in cheek). Another BIG annoyance was the people coming to us VERY often asking if we wanted a drink from the bar. I counted six people asking us within five minutes one time. There were always about three people in the casino at any one time taking drink orders. THE POOLS: The bigger pool wasn't that big when you consider it had a water slide and half the pool was walled off because of those coming off the slide into the water. What was left was a fairly small area. They had two hot tubs beside the pool but all were in the sun. This makes the Solarium on the Rhapsody and other ships mighty inviting. No one was supervising the hot tubs. One was designated for 18 and older, the other for younger kids and adults. Very young kids were always in the "adult" hot tub. They were diving in from the outside which was against the rules. We saw a couple with their drinks in the hot tub and one drink was in a glass, again against the rules. The pool area was always crowded on good days. There was one day in Cozumel when it started raining very hard. We had been to Cozumel four times so decided to get in the hot tubs...in the rain! We had one all to ourselves and the other one had a solitary man in it. We waved to each other. After all, rain is just water and there was no lightning. ENTERTAINMENT: Most entertainment took place in the Mikado Theater. This was a nice place with a balcony that appeared to hold as many as on the main floor level. Acoustics seemed to be pretty good as well. We did not attend any of the production shows as we'd listen first at the entrance as the program began and they simply seemed fairly amateurish to us. Many people were in the theater so most obviously liked it. GUEST TALENT SHOW: Yes, they had one but the talent was really bad and we left as the 4th one came on stage. KIDS: Except for the instance in the hot tub described elsewhere, most of the younger set we saw were fairly well behaved. During the first formal night, we got out of the elevator and saw a family with a very young son, maybe four or five, dressed in a tuxedo, and a little girl about five or six dressed in a gown. They were so cute and this makes you forget the so-called "bad" kids. Also, at the pool one day while the band was playing, there was a little girl no more than two (she walked very unsteadily) who got up and began shaking and dancing when the band was playing. It seemed that most of the people with cameras came over to get a picture of her. PORTS: (individually below) PROGRESSO: We arrived here early and were awaked by a noise outside our window. We then saw a lifeboat being lowered. The crew was having a practice drill. Thanks to these boards, we were informed beforehand that Progresso was one of the cheapest places to buy things, and those people were right! What appeared to be handmade maracas at $2.00 per pair for the bigger ones. What about $5.00 for a woven blanket that really looked nice. We saw tee shirts for $4.00 each. Also, the Mexican people at this port seemed to be a bit friendlier than at other ports. If you're going to buy souvenir type items, buy them here. By the way, we saw those same $5.00 blankets in Cozumel for $7-$10, and in Tulum for $45.00! COZUMEL: This was our fourth visit to Cozumel so we simply got off and walked around for a while and got back on the ship. The Elation docked south of town so if you wanted to go into Cozumel proper, it was a three mile taxi ride (I think it was $5.00 for up to four people). Because of the emergency problem and the cancellation of Belize, we stayed in Cozumel until 10:00 p.m. Docked next to us was the Sensation, another sister ship. At least, the two looked alike deck to deck. I'm always amazed when something as large as a ship can dock and undock itself without tugboats etc. Well, this time we all got a treat as the Sensation left at 6:00 p.m. and we watched as she moved sideways from the pier about 100 feet out, then turned completely around to leave. As it was getting dark and she was all lit up, many were on deck with their cameras. It was quite a sight. CALICA: As with Costa Maya, this is a port built by the cruise lines and there is literally nothing there unless you take an excursion. As a matter of fact, when we asked the local vendors on the pier if they had any tee shirts that said "Calica" instead of Cancun, they told me that Calica was a town name the cruise line came up with and that area was really Cancun. We talked with some people afterward about this port and they all said they took a bus or taxi ride to Cancun and spent the day there. We had wanted to go to the Mayan ruins at Tulum from Cozumel but it wasn't offered on this cruise. When this port was added when Belize was cancelled, Tulum was offered and at a much lower price as we were then closer to the site. The bus was at the pier when we got off. The tour started off with a bang, literally. As we were driving along in the bus, we heard a very loud bang and the floor right under my feet lifted. The bus had blown a tire. It was an inside of a double tire so we proceeded along and the driver got it fixed while we were in Tulum proper. The drive was about 45 minutes but we stopped on the way at a "special" souvenir" place where nothing was price marked. Items only had tags with written codes on them. That should've been a warning sign. When we asked about the price for a few items, the prices were extremely high. Don't bother. They did have toilets available that were fairly clean considering where we were. The excursion to Tulum was $59.00 from the ship and I did not see any vendors at the pier offering it as there was basically nothing there, only a few souvenir stands. Once at the entrance to Tulum, we are told it is about a half mile walk to the ruins but, a trolley was available for $2.00 round trip. Please hear this, buy the trolley ticket! The ruins are in the open, it is very hot, and the walk over might be okay but after trekking through the place for a few hours, the walk back can be terrible. BUY THE TROLLEY TICKET so you can smile as you pass the others walking back, sweating and huffing and puffing. The restrooms at the entrance were primitive but fairly clean. Sometimes, someone is standing at the door expecting a tip. For what, I don't know but give him a couple pieces of pocket change and go on. No problem. We were also told about this on the excursion folder. If you have a video camera, there is a $3.00 extra charge to use it at Tulum. Still cameras were not charged. There is a lot of walking along the trails there and the word "trail" might be misleading because you are usually walking on a lot of large stones in places. Make sure you are wearing good shoes and be prepared. (By the way, you are not allowed to climb any of the structures as we did in Altan Ha.) The view from the temple overlooking the Caribbean cannot be beat. There is also a small beach at Tulum available to you (no extra charge). The waves there were kinda high and breaking close in but it was crowded so someone was having a good time. Your guide will talk talk talk about the history of the Mayan and Tulum. We asked if we could go about on our own and were told yes, so we did. You don't have to stay with your group, only be back on the bus by the time the guide stated. We left two people there because we waited and waited and after 17 minutes, he said, "Well, you all have to get back to your ship so will you sign this paper that we did wait." We did and I don't know if those two people got back or not. When you take the return trip by trolley (buy the ticket for $2.00!), you come back to the entrance and there are souvenir shops there. The vendors really hassle you if you allow them to. They will also negotiate a lower price with you if you want to haggle. Be prepared to say no and turn to walk away. The price suddenly is reduced again! Also, there are several open air places to get a cold drink. Pepsi in a bottle was $2.00 but it was cold, and worth it. We actually passed Xel Ha on the way to Tulum so if you also want to go there, there is a longer excursion with both Mayan sites. DEBARKATION: Carnival allows "self assist" which means if you want to take your own baggage off the ship, you are allowed to get off fairly early. We do this all the time and were the second group called for immigration check and then departure. We got off very early. It might sound like some of the negatives here are nitpicking and they probably were. I am trying to compare this ship and cruise against the others we've taken and give those going on a first cruise on the Elation what to expect. I've always said "Go with the flow" and make your own fun and we did just that on this ship as there seemed to be more negative things here than any of our eleven other cruises. Unfortunately, this was probably our first and last cruise on Carnival. It wasn't all the negative things that made up our minds as much as the attitude of much of the crew, especially some of those at the Purser's desk. I always thought that post was to help people, not insult them. The final straw came on the last night when my wife called the Purser's office to find out what the expected weather would be in Galveston the following morning so she could dress accordingly. The first person she talked to said they didn't know and HUNG UP on her. We called back and got someone else who told us they wouldn't know until 4:00 in the morning. My wife said, "What about those who left their suitcases outside their cabin to be picked up at midnight. How would they be able to dress accordingly? She was rudely told that the weather was "none of her business but she was welcome to call back to 4:00 a.m. if she wished." As I said, that iced it and we'll go elsewhere for our next cruise which should be in about three or four months. I'd just like to let Carnival know that the 12 cruises we've taken have all been within the last three and a half years. I did really try to find some positive things to try and balance this report. I hope I was objective as the Elation had a lot of good things going for her, but you always look at the bad more than the good. I do hope this review has been of help to someone as I've depended a lot on these boards with posts from others. Thanks. Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
This was our first (and possibly last?) cruise onboard Carnival. Immediately upon boarding we were disappointed in the ship's decor. We found it both dark (even somewhat claustrophobic in the buffet room, Tiffany's), and gaudy. ... Read More
This was our first (and possibly last?) cruise onboard Carnival. Immediately upon boarding we were disappointed in the ship's decor. We found it both dark (even somewhat claustrophobic in the buffet room, Tiffany's), and gaudy. We were VERY frustrated with the layout of the ship, i.e., almost no matter where you are or where you want to go, you can't get there from here!. About the 5th day of our 7 day cruise, somebody finally keyed me in that the only public deck that goes the whole length of the ship is the 9th deck. So, if you are on the 6th deck aft, and you want to go to the 6th deck fore, you must go up to the 9th deck, across, and back down again. Some elevators go to some floors, but not others, etc. Very confusing and frustrating. I will definitely never sail this ship again for this reason if for no other. Now as for our cabin, it was a little larger than the cabins we've had before (we've only sailed the Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the Seas before), and the shower was definitely larger (very nice). However, the layout of the cabin (OV) was very awkward. In order to have the two beds put together as one, they had to be shoved up against the wall so that somebody always had to crawl across the bed to get in or out. There was also not enough seating in the cabin, only one stool for the vanity and one small armchair. If we both wanted to sit to watch tv or read, somebody was going to be either on the stool or the bed, either way, uncomfortable. There was definitely more storage space in this cabin than in our OV on the Rhapsody. There is a small cube in the corner where they store the life vests, but there is plenty of room remaining in it where we stored some of our bags and the rest were able to fit under the bed. There is one open closet and one closed, along with shelves the entire height of the closet, then also the vanity drawers. We were frustrated with the safe, however, as rather than having a password, you had to open and close it with your Sail & Sign card, but only the card which locked the safe could open it, so it wasn't easily accessible to both of us (if my husband locked it, I couldn't unlock it). I believe the quality, preparation, and tastiness of the food was somewhat better than on the Rhapsody. Tiffany's (buffet) did not have as much variety as the Windjammer does on Rhapsody. Also, there are two different buffet lines serving different items, then a separate salad bar, then a drink station, with no trays on which to carry your meal. We found that to be difficult and frustrating. Silverware was rolled in napkins and placed on the table, however, if you wanted a clean fork for your dessert, you had to take another set of silverware from another table. We would have preferred to have had silverware available to be picked up in the buffet lines, or at least at the dessert station. We found the staff that we had a "relationship" with, i.e., cabin steward and waiters, to have provided very good service, to be very friendly, etc. However, there were many times when I crossed path with other staff in various places when I had to move out of their way. For instance, one night even as we were entering the dining room, several women not dressed in uniform but wearing crew name tags, cut right in front of us and to enter the dining room. I don't believe they ever even realized there were other people there. Other times just walking in hallways, etc., staff didn't greet and make room for passengers as they do on Rhapsody. We frequently overheard disgruntled crew talking to each other with no regard for passengers being nearby, and once even became involved in conversation with some of them. As for entertainment, we found the "Fun Ship" to not be very much fun. I hate to keep comparing to Rhapsody, but it is my only point of reference. On Rhapsody, there were always several things going on and I had a difficult time choosing what I wanted to do--partly why I sailed her twice, in order to do the other things I missed the first time. On Elation, we had a difficult time finding something to do. There were many hours with nothing going on. We finally broke down and played Scrabble once, and I saw many other people playing dominoes, card games, Monopoly, putting together puzzles, etc. We didn't find what entertainment that was offered to be very entertaining, (or even find the cruise director to be very entertaining), but then that is a matter of hit and miss, and also a very subjective thing. We did enjoy the itinerary and ports of call. I would have to say that was the highlights of the cruise. At Progresso, we took the Merida City tour and were very impressed with Merida. It is a very nice, clean city with a lot of great architecture. We would consider returning to Merida for a long weekend, etc. What can I say about Cozumel---we love it. We hired a private guide to take a tour of the city from a local's viewpoint and enjoyed it greatly. At Belize City, we didn't go to town. We took a snorkeling expedition to Goff's Caye (pronounced key), which is a very small island (about 5 palm trees), on the reef. At the time we went we didn't get to see very many fish (although a later excursion to the same spot did), however, the coral formations there were huge and quite fantastic. This is my first review, so I hope I've covered everything. Overall, we were very disappointed in this ship. We may try Carnival again sometime, but we definitely won't sail the Elation again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2004
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