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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014

As there is only 2 of us at home and generally 1 friend for XMAS, we decided to getaway instead of trashing the kitchen and eating leftovers for 2 weeks.

I am not much of an author so this will be short and sweet, but you will ... Read More

As there is only 2 of us at home and generally 1 friend for XMAS, we decided to getaway instead of trashing the kitchen and eating leftovers for 2 weeks.

I am not much of an author so this will be short and sweet, but you will get the idea.

We arrived in Sydney early in the morning and could drop our bags off after 8.30 am. That was great as our boarding time was not until 1200. We went back to the wharf at 1145 and the let us through. To get our cards and clear customs took a whole 18 minutes - brilliant. Our cabin was ready 1 hour later, plenty of room, clean and I will highlight why we picked this particular cabin later in the cabin review.

The first day was probably the lowlight of the cruise, many of the bar staff were very stony faced and made you feeling uneasy about asking any questions. All except the people serving at the red frog pub. What an incredible team they have.

Dining staff were our favourite, they made going to dinner a pure pleasure. Some nights we actually delayed our dining just to get a seat where Sirocco and Magdalena were serving. Any cruise line will have difficulty matching the friendliness, professionalism and general attitude of these people.

Only one meal (duck) was a bit dry, but everything else was top quality, no complaints here.

Outing were okay, a lot of snorkelling carried out and great marine life to see. Nothing like swimming with a huge turtle, but this cruise was for relaxation so only a few ports and that suited us

The shows were amazing. Some of the dancers and musicians were used in a number of the shows and there versatility was astounding. Many nights after the show the entertainers would move to the Red Frog Pub for dancing and playing music. Great times had by all.

Drink prices were about on par for cruise lines, some mixed drinks better than others depending which bar you went to,

One number off on the $5000 bingo prize, hoe disappointing. Day time activities a little light one, but suited our agenda.

One point I need to make is about this children, and no I am not against children on cruises, in fact it is good to see them having fun. But when I am up late at night and see groups of 8 to 13 years old girls and boys sitting on the floors outside of elevators, I get very concerned. And in no way I totally blame the cruise line for this although I feel they should make more of an issue of it.

I do however fail to understand how a parent isn't concerned when there daughter is not in there cabin at 2 am on a cruise ship filled with people they don't know. Could imagine what a fuss they would make if something happened the there child. Just look for someone else to blame I guess.

Overall, loved the cruise and would not hesitate to sail with Carnival again

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Sail Date: December 2014

We had a very enjoyable week.

This was our 5th Carnival cruise and most of our expectations were delivered.

Firstly we do not use the Spa or the premium steak restaurants so we cannot comment on those.

The ... Read More

We had a very enjoyable week.

This was our 5th Carnival cruise and most of our expectations were delivered.

Firstly we do not use the Spa or the premium steak restaurants so we cannot comment on those.

The Sunshine could easily have been mistaken for a new ship. We have been on several previous cruises on new ships and this one compares.

The embarking and disembarking experiences were excellent as expected.

The food was just Okay. the breakfast buffet was the same every day which became a little boring. You do have the option of the burrito bar which was good.

Again the lunch buffet seemed to be similar each day which became a little boring. Food quality was Okay.

We did try the stir fry which was excellent (which explains the lunchtime lines), and the pasta bar which was good.

Also, the Burger bar was excellent and very popular as was the Pizza bar.

Dinner was again acceptable but not excellent quality. Maybe what you would expect from carnival as compared to a cruise line that would be more upmarket.

The showtime experience on the sunshine was not quite up to the level that we have come to expect from Carnival.

The stage looks smaller and there is no orchestra pit. This is to cater for the theater doubling as night club where they want the extra dancing space.

The other entertainment experiences were up to the standards that we have come to expect from carnival.

Overall, a very enjoyable week. I would recommend the Sunshine and would have no problem recommending it to others.

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Sail Date: December 2014

We've been on many Carnival cruises. This was the first on the Carnival Magic. We began our trip at the Hilton Galveston, which offered free parking for the duration of the cruise. The Hilton provides a shuttle to the port, but it fills ... Read More

We've been on many Carnival cruises. This was the first on the Carnival Magic. We began our trip at the Hilton Galveston, which offered free parking for the duration of the cruise. The Hilton provides a shuttle to the port, but it fills up early, and it is difficult to get a cab when there are ships in port. Get on the list early or make reservations to park at EZ Cruise. We arrived at the port a bit early and were on the ship sipping a pina colada around noon. The Carnival Magic is large, and has the general Carnival feel. It was decorated for Christmas and Hanukkah, which added an extra festive atmosphere. We very much enjoyed the Serenity Deck, the workout room, and the daily tea time- try the dreamy biscuits with clotted cream. We attended the ceremonial lighting of the menorah each evening before dinner, but there was a cultural miscommunication- the kitchen provided breakfast pancakes rather than traditional potato latkes which we all found more amusing than annoying.

Service in the dining room was superb. The wait staff took care to accommodate every request. As always, the photographers on board are talented and provide some of the best portraiture around. The most notable thing about this cruise was the smoke. I'm not sure if it is the ship design or Carnival's smoking in the casino rule, but it was difficult to find a place on the Promenade Deck from the casino back to the dining room that did not have a smokey essence. The casino itself was unbearably smokey. On previous cruises, we spend time and money each day in the casino. On this cruise, once was enough. A little non-smoking emblem on a slot machine is no match for the row of chain smokers a few feet away. My eyes burned and my clothing reeked after 20 minutes at a slot machine. We spent the money normally spend in the casino in the ports- Carnival's loss. 18% of adults smoke. It seems rather unwise to drive the other 82% percent away from an income stream. I'm not allergic to smoke or an anti-smoking cruise-aider (pun intended) but until there is decent ventilation, the smoking in the casino rule will keep us from spending time and money there.

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Sail Date: December 2014

My husband and I spent a fun New Year’s Eve aboard the Carnival Fascination to Nassau and Freeport in the Bahamas! We were pleasantly surprised that despite the ship being one of the oldest in the Carnival fleet, it felt clean ... Read More

My husband and I spent a fun New Year’s Eve aboard the Carnival Fascination to Nassau and Freeport in the Bahamas! We were pleasantly surprised that despite the ship being one of the oldest in the Carnival fleet, it felt clean with plenty of activities and perfectly suitable rooms and public spaces. What it’s missing are things like a larger spa and specialty dining areas which are things we don’t typically use anyway and it feels like there is more deck space and open areas instead which we greatly appreciated.

Embarkation while slow was smooth in Jacksonville (they could really use more staff to make things quicker). Greeting us as we boarded was free champagne which was a great way to start the trip. Our room was ready when we boarded and we were very happy with our porthole selection as it provided a view to the outdoors at an interior price. We were especially happy with the shower and found the closet space to be just enough.

Food onboard was pretty standard Carnival fare. Although the burgers weren’t Guy Fieri’s burgers like other ships, they were actually quite good. Our favorite dish continues to be the chocolate lava cake dessert at dinner. Dinners in the main dining rooms were fine, nothing special, but enjoyable. Special shout out to whomever (or whatever program) assigns the tables as we very much enjoyed our tablemates! Our wait staff was also the best I’ve experienced – efficient, yet personable, and very accommodating.

There were plenty of great places to explore on the ship. The slide area in the back was fun (and better than newer ships’ slides!), the outdoor seating areas for casual meals were fantastic, the Serenity area was a quiet retreat, and the miniature golf was entertaining. The piano bar was very cool (and the pianist that was onboard our cruise was the best we’ve ever had!) and the theater was nice (and we took full advantage of them playing college football games one day in the theater).

Shows in the theater were unfortunately a downside. It’s very clear that Carnival just isn’t putting much money into them anymore. No real storylines or sets and instead just off-key singers in scandalous outfits. We went to a few comedy shows, but unfortunately found that rude and crude was a consistent theme. The magician was amazing though! The dance club at night played way too much Latin and rap for me to enjoy, but there seemed to be a good crowd in there most of the time. Live music however was mostly good and much preferable over the DJs playing the same few songs over and over again.

My husband and I had booked the cruise as a fun way to celebrate NYE. Carnival hosted a deck party complete with streamers and party hats and a band and DJ. We had a very fun time dancing the night away (and enjoying more free champagne). I kind of had expected a bit more than just a few songs from a band and the honking of the ship horns and then a DJ for the rest of the night, but everyone was there to have a good time so the crowd made up for the lack of other NYE special surprises. It was especially disappointing to see the cruise director, Jace, leave the midnight party he had been hyping at 12:05am. Based on the noise coming from the crew’s quarters, I have a feeling he wanted to run off to another party that evening instead.

Overall the cruise and ship were a pleasant surprise and much better than we had expected for the price we paid. I’d highly recommend it for families and new cruisers as it’s large enough to be a fun and entertaining cruise, but not too large as to be overwhelming and packed. More experienced cruisers might miss some of the glitz and glam of other ships and cruise lines, but for the price you’ll pay it doesn’t get much better than the Carnival Fascination!

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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014

My husband and I have been on 8 cruises. We've not cruised on Carnival in about 10 years. We always defended Carnival when people said they were the "Wal-Mart" of cruising. In the past, the food and service were always excellent. Not so ... Read More

My husband and I have been on 8 cruises. We've not cruised on Carnival in about 10 years. We always defended Carnival when people said they were the "Wal-Mart" of cruising. In the past, the food and service were always excellent. Not so this time. We decided to take our daughter and son in law on their first cruise for Christmas. We booked 2 balcony spa cabins which was a blessing as it was quieter and less crowded than other parts of the ship. The service in the dining room was extremely slow and we had to ask for wine each night…it was not offered. Many times we did not get the wine until we were 1/2 way through our meal. The wait staff was not as friendly as in the past. I have to eat gluten free and they would take my order the night before. Every time I ordered beef medium rare, it came well done. The waiters did not understand "gluten free" as they brought me things that were gluten free, dairy free, sugar free and taste free. The dining room seemed very disorganized and there were nights that we were late to the show because we hadn't finished eating. I had heard how "magical" Christmas cruises were…how some people decorated their doors, their cabins and balconies so I purchased SOLAR outdoor Christmas lights and strung them on our balcony. The next morning there were a bunch of crew members outside our door telling us we had violated some rule with the solar Christmas lights. I offered to take them down and put them in my suitcase under the bed, but no…they had to confiscate them. They made me feel terrible. Picking the lights up the morning of debarkation was another nightmare. The quality of the food has gone downhill in my opinion. The entertainment, however, was excellent! The cruise director, Malcolm, was probably the best cruise director we've ever had and the singers/dancers were fabulous.

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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014

We surprised our grand daughters (whom we are raising) with this as their Christmas present! Emma, age 16 and MC age 8 were ecstatic! We were on our 25th cruise, but only the third with Carnival. Years ago, we went on two short cruises ... Read More

We surprised our grand daughters (whom we are raising) with this as their Christmas present! Emma, age 16 and MC age 8 were ecstatic! We were on our 25th cruise, but only the third with Carnival. Years ago, we went on two short cruises on Carnival's older, smaller ships, and were not impressed by comparison to the Royal Caribbean and Princess cruises we had previously gone on. BUT, since the four of us could drive, thus savings $$$ in airfare, and because the Dream was so much larger and newer, we thought we'd give it a try.

We had a great time, the girls loved their various activities, MC wanted to go to Camp Carnival every day. Emma was shy about going to Club O2 by herself the first night, but then met a few kids, and they ran around together in a pack all week.

We had a very good cabin steward, he was in there at least twice daily, keeping the ice bucket filled, bringing us fresh beach towels, robes, and anything else we requested. Our main dining room servers were super friendly, remembering us by name each night.

The food was typical cruise ship quality, mostly very good with a few exceptions each night. We were surpised to see that Carnival still serves lobster and escargot, and some other "fancy" foods that some of the lines had cut out. We dined one night at the Chef's Table steakhouse, and it was superb. Emma ordered lobster and it came with not one, but three tails! The desserts were to die for.

We thought the production shows were good, but not over the top. The dancers were talented, the male singer was quite good, female just OK. And, yes, "family friendly" is a matter of opinion...a lot of sexy dancing in very skimpy costumes. The entertainment around the ship was sub-par, the singers in the atrium were pretty terrible and they were LOUD. We didn't care for the comedian either. I don't understand why, what with all the fantastic talent out there, the cruise line would hire such marginal acts.

We did Faster to the Fun, and would do it again...for 50.00 for the whole group it makes embarkation a whole lot easier, and, on the last night, we went down to guest services and there were about 30 people in line but the FTTF line had only two ahead of us.

There was a lot of smoking on this ship, the whole deck five around the casino area reeked of it.

The kids loved the water slides, the mini golf, and we all watched a "Dive'In" movie, that was pretty special!

All in all, a good cruise for our family, but if it was just the two of us, Carnival would not be my pick. This ship was VERY crowded and we like a more elegant atmosphere. (They actually announced in the dining room, that, on "elegant" night, men were not allowed to wear flip flops and wife-beaters, and no ball caps!)

One other tip: If you are driving to the port, park at the Fulton Street garage, it was less than half of the price of the one at the port! It is only two blocks away, and they have a shuttle bus with porters to help with your luggage.

 

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Sail Date: December 2014

We sailed on the Carnival Conquest December 2014 over Christmas and needless to say it was below par.

Boat is outdated

Not kept very clean

Kids clubs are horrible if you have tweens.

Shows consist of a ... Read More

We sailed on the Carnival Conquest December 2014 over Christmas and needless to say it was below par.

Boat is outdated

Not kept very clean

Kids clubs are horrible if you have tweens.

Shows consist of a person singing with a digital background behind them.

Food was horrible. Not kept properly cooled or heated.

Food staff were not friendly.

Long lines for food.

Took forever getting off the boat at ports because they wanted to take a picture of every person getting off - never been on a ship that was so desperate for money that the tried getting photo opp's getting off the ship.

I don't recommend going on this ship. Maybe their newer ones are better, but Conquest was a dive.

 

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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014

Let me start by saying I was not a big Carnival fan. Was on the Sensation a few years ago, realizing it was an older smaller boat, expectations were not set that high, but it was bad. the Splendor got me excited about Carnival again. We ... Read More

Let me start by saying I was not a big Carnival fan. Was on the Sensation a few years ago, realizing it was an older smaller boat, expectations were not set that high, but it was bad. the Splendor got me excited about Carnival again. We have a family of six, and always cruise with another family of 4, so if there was something to complain about trust me I would hear about it. Kids range from 12-20, most of which were in that 13-14 range. we booked on the Splendor because of price. it was a New Years cruise, so when I went to book, everything was higher than you know what. For some reason the Splendor was not as bad price wise, kinda scary on why initially? We left for Miami Christmas Day, spent a couple days on south beach before the cruise and boarded on December 28th and it was Absolutely Awesome . Great weather, great ports, great service, great food. The Splendor is in a class of its own, a retrofitted Costa boat. it has not had the Funship 2.0 and all the upgrades yet, but it was clean and had plenty of stuff for adults and kids. the Kids loved the Circle C club at night , the sea side movies were cool, and the adults were at the George Lopez Laugh liner comedy club each night . The comedy club was awesome. Being a New Years Cruise it had a nice New Years eve formal dinner, and also a countdown to new years part on the pool deck.

We have sailed with RC in the past, and don't get me wrong they are awesome too, but this past trip on the Splendor really did get me excited about Carnival again. So much we are already booked on the Dream for this year. Don't be afraid of the Splendor. Sure there are nicer ships but she holds her own.

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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014

Hi all, just done two weeks on Liberty around the East and West Caribbean. Good information to start the cruise from Carnival and the simple booking in system meant a minimum of delay on getting on board. We did two days in Cocoa Beach ... Read More

Hi all, just done two weeks on Liberty around the East and West Caribbean. Good information to start the cruise from Carnival and the simple booking in system meant a minimum of delay on getting on board. We did two days in Cocoa Beach to help reduce the jetlag and found a wonderful place called, 'Fat Kahunas' which gave us one of the nicest meals we have ever tasted, so good, we booked for the day we came back from the cruise. Our cabin was spotless and our steward immaculate on both weeks, becoming almost a friend in their quest to assist. Son aged 14 enrolled into Circle C and we didn't see much of him apart from the trips and formal dinners - there seemed much for him to do. Probably had nothing to do with the teenage girls on the cruise either but hey ho. We ate in anytime dining and were extremely well looked after by the front of house team, their smiles brightened up the evening; we never bother where we sit as long as we can get food so putting us at a table wasn't too difficult. We had a bit of a wait one night when the battery failed in the bleeper and we received some lovely chocolates in the room by way of a not necessary apology.

Praise Point: The staff are what makes this ship tick, they are simply outstanding and so hard working, a pleasure to be with them at this festive time.

Development Point 1: Entertainment; we sailed on Liberty last year and the entertainment was nothing like what we found then. Fortunately, we are not drinkers nor massive on the entertainment side but we were slightly put out at the poor showing.

We took a couple of excursions to the Mayan ruins on Cozumel which at St Gervaise were superb and Mike the guide, took us last year and was as outstanding on this years trip. Another asset to his culture and Carnival. We also did the trip on Roatan to the Marine biology centre which was brilliant, the rum cake 'factory' which was a shack near the lighthouse and I do not give my recommendation to a visit there as it seemed to be a quick take a small piece, decide and then buy. I prefer a laid back approach which wasn't abundant there. The Cameo visit was superb and an education, so laid back I did not realise that things were for sale there and had to ask - they were so lovely and dedicated to their craft, one of only two places in the world that does this work and well worth seeing.

Development Point 2: The ship published details of armed robberies on this Island but when we asked the locals, they claimed that the robber had been severely dealt with and was in prison. Not sure how accurate or timely that advice was.

The food on the ship was excellent and plentiful; I sent two dishes back, one an Eggs Benedict that had rock hard yolks (I was promised soft and runny!!) and no sauce apart from a yellow coating (I insisted I did not receive another!) and the second one was the mussels of which two were closed,,,,,,, not a good sign when mussels are closed. Other than that, the food was varied and as good as we can taste anywhere.

Development Point 3: On Deck 6 where we were, there was a strong smell of faeces occasionally, I don't think it was someone with wind but it was very whiffy on more than one occasion. In addition, there was a noticeable list in the ship on its way back to Canaveral and vibration from what one Mariner on the cruise thought, a bent propeller. Either way, it could probably have been mentioned.

Afternoon tea was another highlight on sea days and a chance to catch up, two Veterans meeting hours each week were really good, well supported and nice of Carnival to put on tea and coffee.

Development Point 4: Someone insisted on putting coffee into the jugs and not washing them properly and the taste permeated each jug, as a result, I stopped ordering tea from room service and I took a cup at the Vets meeting and the taste of rancid coffee in the water was really strong and disgusting. As a retired military logistician, I think the people who do that ought to be made to drink it!! no point in mentioning it as the damage was done. The smell of smoke was creeping further than it should from the casino area, often being smelt on the promenade deck in the shops, I wonder if the extractors need a bit more ooommfff?

Disembarkation was quite a simple process and was a pleasure until,,,,,,,,,,,,, we got ashore. Port Canaveral was a shambles. There were 5 ships in and a new terminal opening and no one from Carnival or the Port thought it a good idea to tell us. The taxi firm is literally only one company with limited cars and were overwhelmed so the lady wasn't ordering any taxis for anyone else other than her firm and strangers like us didn't know how to get to the hire car place. That is another story, National only sent one bus to our terminal and nearly two hours later, another had not appeared. We waited another 40 minutes for a taxi and went down to collect the car. A simple note to make sure that pickup was previously arranged would have prevented us spoiling our day and missing out on the trip to Kennedy Space Centre. A shambles and I probably wont be going back to Canaveral and couldn't recommend it I am afraid. Two hours and a bit to clear the port after disembarkation is not good.

In summary, Liberty was fun, the crew amazing and did their best to make us welcome and share their Christmas away from their families with us. We have the usual lovely memories, it was an excellent place to be at this time; would we sail on her again? Almost certainly but we might even try a sister ship to compare but Carnival need to really address the entertainment side of things and up their game in that direction. We didn't go on a trip in Belize but I understand that some passengers were delayed by lack of tenders, it is probably little comfort to them that we waited for the rush to finish as suggested and walked onto a tender with no wait having breakfasted in slow time. It must have been quite serious as we got $50 per person as a shipboard 'sorry' from the skipper which was really nice but I am sorry to hear others were very inconvenienced. Cant wait until the next cruise with Carnival

 

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Sail Date: December 2014

The embarkation process really sucked. You pass through security and then you go into the great hall and wait for someone to arbitrarily give you a zone card, we never did get a zone card and had to force our way into line behind a ... Read More

The embarkation process really sucked. You pass through security and then you go into the great hall and wait for someone to arbitrarily give you a zone card, we never did get a zone card and had to force our way into line behind a group of aggressive Americans who obviously knew the system better than us. If we had waited around for this stupid zone card thing then we would have been last to board. They should give you a number as soon as you get through security , just like a deli, would have been less frustrating.

The ship is huge with lots to do and see and eat. If you do not find something to your liking on this ship then you are a real Stiff and have no one to blame but your self. We where with a group of 20 and found the public areas to be very accommodating and well served. The News Years party was amazing with thousands of guests filling the main decks, free champagne for all was a great touch.

The Cruise director Matt Mitchum really made the public functions rock, this guy is so talented, he got the crowds to sing and dance along. The service at the main seating was slower than usual but it did give time to discuss the day with our family. The one thing I really liked was that Carnival was Enforcing its 45 minutes or lose it deck chair policy. If you leave your chairs unattended for more than 45 minutes then they take the ``save - zee `` stuff off and give the chair to people who will actually occupy them. I just loved it when some goof ball family would leave there stuff on a chair at 6:30am and come back at 10:30am thinking it was still there for them, only to find another family there. ``hey where's our stuff`` , ``we where since 6:30am`` , Get lost goofs. I loved it. Bravo Carnival for enforcing the policy and it is the main reason I am a return cruiser.

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