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657 Carnival Mexican Riviera Cruise Reviews

before i Sailed i checked here for a few reviews and didn't see many up to dated ones so i thought i would add one, it was a few ago and i did not write anything down so i will try to be detailed. This was a 4 day cruise from Long ... Read More
before i Sailed i checked here for a few reviews and didn't see many up to dated ones so i thought i would add one, it was a few ago and i did not write anything down so i will try to be detailed. This was a 4 day cruise from Long Beach Ca. Catalina, Ensanada Mx. sea day back to Long Beach So for the People reading this in the future we just started getting serious about the Corona Virus 3/9/20 and everyone was canceling there cruise, Carnival was trying to fill this ship up and so i booked this 10 days before they sailed through the Carnival Players Club ( Casino ) The Deal was $20 pp for a IS and I upgraded it to 6C for $10 so for double i paid $60 plus taxes of $105 and i received $100 OBC and a Drink on us package in the Casino then a few days after i booked is when the cruise industry really getting hammered with people getting Corona Virus. Carnival offered us a $100 more OBC if we didn't cancel but would honer anyone who wanted to cancel so to recap i Paid $165 got $200 OBC and free drinks..i couldn't say no. Before I boarded everyday Carnival sent emails everyday saying if you feel sick or have any signs dont show up you will not board that there was strong screening before you get on...making it easy to cancel for full refunds..and they were true to there word they did screen everyone, they took everyone's temperature as they boarded. never once did i feel like i would get sick, they were not allowing people to spoon there own food in the buffet they plated everything for you and they had full hospital gowns on face masks gloves etc..there were always people walking and wiping rails tables etc. This was my 9th Carnival Cruise 5th Fantasy class Ship and 2nd time on the Inspiration .So i knew the layout and i knew what to expect a older ship with funky coloring i like the ship and the layout and i know where to stay I like my room right by the Elevator that leads to deck 10 right in front of the buffet. easy access to food and the lido deck fun. I stayed in M 199 the room was set up as a king by my request and it had a hanging bed that was folded up out of the way. What i wanted to do this cruise was play some Craps in the casino and read some books I did just that I played a lot in the Casino they Have one of those Crap Bubble Machines that i love I probably played 7 or 8 hours on that plus about the same on live craps. I did not eat in the MDR... i ate Sushi twice Buffet once and Deli once for Dinner everyday is was Guys buggers and Fries...Omelettes for breakfast. The Buffet sucked i did not eat all of it i went and got a sandwich at the Deli later that night.I also had a new guy trying to make omelettes one morning he had to make it 3 times before he got it right,,,besides those few issues no problems with food. I only went to a few shows ...the same as always if you have not seen it go see it if you have ...unless your bored ,,, my guess was the ship sailed at about 90% so there was always people on the Lido deck as usual i walked around a few times tryig to find a quiet place to read and was not able to find it even on the ship the library had people playing board and card games only place was my cabin to read which sucked but im one of those guys who has distraction i cant read... Hey I have never been on a bad cruise I have not Issues but never have they ruined my Cruise this was no different.. My Cabin steward I met him my first day I tipped him $40 and said I am Solo i probably not gonna need a lot from you but Ice please keep my Ice chest full... I had to call him every time but once I only had him clean the cabin once which is the time he got the Ice...he was polite and professional but didn't seem to want to do the extra effort... he would of got another $40 but did not earn it. and yes i kept on the auto tip as well. also like i said with my breakfast i felt they were training people to do it, Besides that everyone was awesome and friendly the Casino crew was top notch from the dealers to the Cocktail servers i was greeted by name every time i walked in there. the staff during the Muster drill was awesome they were the Dancers in the show so they new how to Entertain us while dealing with a boring issue. So here are some weird issues this cruise had that normally you wont run into often We were suppose to leave Long Beach at 5:30 pm I was up on the lido and we just sat and sat finally i went downstairs because it was getting dark and i was hungry.. we set sail at 8:05 Captain came on once and said we were delayed because we hadn't been cleared to leave yet..First day we were suppose to be in Catalina I was going to stay on board the weather was poor and i have been to Catalina many times nothing i wanted see but i was woke up at 7:45 by the Captain saying the weather was to bad to be able to tender back and forth so we were going to make today the sea day and go to Catalina tomorrow and Ensanada on the last day. and any excursions would be refunded, taxes etc. everything would be re booked for Ensanada about 12 pm the captain came back on and said we were heading to San Diego to drop off a sick passenger and please dont try to get off the ship we are only going to stop and drop...then about 30 minutes later he cam back on and said the Coast Guard decided to come and pick him up instead please stay away from the back of the boat...of course everyone was up on the lido taking pictures...and we ended up canceling Catalina altogether and went to Ensanada as planned with the last day being another sea day... Getting off the ship I walked off at 7:45 right to my truck and on the road by 8am Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I have done the 7-day Mexican Riviera trips several times over the last 6 years through Carnival Miracle and Carnival Splendor. I was excited to learn a brand new ship was coming to the west coast and just knew that I needed to take a ... Read More
I have done the 7-day Mexican Riviera trips several times over the last 6 years through Carnival Miracle and Carnival Splendor. I was excited to learn a brand new ship was coming to the west coast and just knew that I needed to take a cruise on it. In fact, I scheduled two cruises. One for February 29 2020 and another on January 16 2021. On the February cruise, I got a category 4F inside cabin (7307). I was on the ship by 1PM. I parked my backpack at the back of the ship on deck 11 and got myself a Lobster Roll from the Seafood Shack. That was delicious. I will do that again. I started to explore everything about this ship. It is SO completely different than the other west coast ships Carnival had. (Imagination, Inspiration, Splendor, & Miracle) Panorama was not gaudy and loud like my previous Carnival ships. The Panorama was very pleasant to the senses. I didn't feel there was any over the top interior designs. I loved the clean sleek feel to the ship. I definitely loved all of the dining choices. I ate at the Fahrenheit 555 (the steakhouse), Guy's Pig and Anchor Smokehouse, Seafood Shack, Cucina del Capitano, Guy's Burger, BlueIguana Cantina, Pizzeria del Capitano, and the Dining Room. And there were still a lot of other choices for me as well. I participated in quite a few of the trivia games on the ship. Through the games I met fun people that I was able to join throughout the cruise. (I traveled solo on the trip.) The first port of call was for Cabo San Lucas. I got off the ship here to come in and have lunch at one of the local restaurants and to get some obligatory souvenirs for my office. Cabo is a great port. If you are new to this location be prepared for the onslaught of locals trying to pry money from you for their services or goods. If you are not interested just say No, Gracias and move on. They do expect you to haggle on the prices so, be bold and work a good deal. I was only in port for roughly 2 hours. I have been here many times, so there wasn't anything special for me to do this time. That night was Elegant Night, which means you have the opportunity to dress up a bit and come to dinner with everyone else dressed nicely. The next port of call was Mazatlan. You arrive at a commercial port. You can just walk off the ship, but you are confined to a small area where you will be transported from the commercial operations of the port and taken into the city. This is an interesting port. Mazatlan is a port in the Mexico state of Sinaloa. If you go into town, you must take care in where you travel. Stay in the tourist parts of town. Take the normal set of precautions you might take if you were traveling in a bad part of town. I have always had good luck there. The people you meet are friendly, and want to do business with you. There is a lot of very interesting things to see there. The cliff divers, the Gold Zone, the Malecon, the old church, the market and all of the bars and restaurants catering to tourists. Many times I take the Hop On Hop Off city tour bus. It costs about $35 US per adult and the entire circuit may take about 90 minutes to 120 minutes. This time I took the bus and never got off. (Again, I have been here 6 or 7 times already.) The next day we go to Puerto Vallarta. Many times in the past we would arrive mid morning and that would present you with an opportunity to see migrating whales or even a school of dolphins off the bow of the ship. This time we were in port by 7AM. This is my favorite location. There are so many wonderful things to do here with your family. My most favorite memories are from going to Las Caletas beach hideaway. You can snorkel or scuba dive there, they have lunch prepared for you when you arrive, There is an open bar. There are many paddle boards, or inner tubes to float on, You can have the kids visit the critters they have there. In 2018, I got to play with sea lions and stingrays but I don't know if they still do that at Las Caletas. They have just simple hammocks and lounge chairs if that is all you wanted to do. This year, I jumped into a cab across the street from the port and as I was figuring out what I wanted to do, a couple wanted to go to a fleamarket in town. The driver asked if I would share his cab and I said sure. I was already sitting up front, so the couple jumped into the back seat. We all made little chit chat while we drove to our destination. I noticed some irregularities in the driving and that is when I actually looked at the driver and saw that he was falling asleep when driving us to the flea market. At one point I had to wake him up to drive. Fortunately we were in bumper to bumper traffic so he was not going to do much damage. We all got out of the cab anyway. I did some shopping for clothing. Lesson learned. ALWAYS try on the clothes and be sure there are no stains on the clothes. I wound up on the ship with a shirt that technically should have fit but was way too small. So I am stuck with the shirt. The next two days were Sea Days. I did a lot of trivia games on the ship competing for the coveted Ship on a Stick. We got into Long Beach before 6AM on Saturday 3/7. I was already on Lido deck getting breakfast when I heard the siren of a firetruck and ambulance. I looked over the edge of the ship and saw both vehicles pulling all the way up next to the ship. This was around 6:15 but they didn't leave until almost 8AM. This was a bit odd, but I didn't think anything of it. The next odd thing was we weren't being called off the ship either. We were the ship that got stuck in Long Beach quarantined for 18 hours. An announcement was made finally around 9AM there was some sort of medical situation and tests needed to be conducted to see if the passenger had the coronavirus. 10AM there was another announcement but no additional news. 11AM, another announcement but this time they said they would open the Lido deck dining options for the convenience of the passengers. Around 11:30AM, they said we could go back to our staterooms if we wanted and that it take up to roughly 6 hours to get the coronavirus test results back. They made all of the movies on the TV in the room for free. They played a couple of movies at the DiveIn Movie screen by the swimming pool. The Fun Squad put together some entertainment and games for the passengers to play while we all waited for the results. The main dining rooms were opened for the passengers. During dinner the Captain announced they have not gotten word on the results yet. But they would keep us updated as time goes by. At about 10PM, the Captain announced the results came back negative and the passenger DID NOT have the coronavirus. The Captain offered for people that wished to debark right away, they would be able to. However, the Border Patrol people were not onsite and therefor no one was getting off the ship. Everyone got off the ship the very next morning, Sunday March 8 between 6:30AM and 11AM. Although it was a high stress situation, with people not knowing when they would be able to disembark, people had planes to catch, some people had family or friends in the parking lot to pick them up. But there were no riots, or crazy behaviour, pretty much everyone took it all in stride. In spite of everything, I would go back on this cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
My wife and I sailed on the Carnival Panorama on Feb 29th –Mar 7/8th (I will explain more on that later). We are experienced mass market cruisers having sailed on Carnival, Princess, Holland America, Norwegian, Celebrity and Royal ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on the Carnival Panorama on Feb 29th –Mar 7/8th (I will explain more on that later). We are experienced mass market cruisers having sailed on Carnival, Princess, Holland America, Norwegian, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean previously. This was our 28th cruise. We are senior citizens. Those of you who have read my reviews before know that I might be politely described as picky. I can’t help it. I was born with the glass half empty gene. I know this is not a good way to go through life and I have tried to change, believe me, but I am stuck with my perfectionistic attention to detail. I try to counter this by bending over backwards to give the benefit of the doubt and see things from the other point of view. I usually fail. However, I am balanced by my wife who has a Mary Poppins optimism and sees the good in everything, even me. My wife and I do like cruises for the same reasons. We love being on the ship and enjoy the relaxation and variety of entertainment that it offers. We don’t care where it goes, as the ship is our destination. Since we live near the west coast, the majority of our cruises have been either to Mexico or Alaska. We don’t even get off at the ports in Mexico any more. We shop for bargains and typically cruise during the off season. The things that are important to me in choosing a cruise ship are food, stateroom, entertainment, service, general ambience and activities – pretty much in that order. That being said, the Panorama appealed to me because of two things. 1) It had a trampoline park on board ship – the first and only ship to do so. 2) It had a category of ocean view rooms that had 2 bathrooms or technically, a bath and a half. The half bath had no toilet and smaller square footage but it had its own sink and a 2/3 size bathtub (but deep) and shower combination. The full sized bathroom with a toilet had a standard shower. The last time I was on a trampoline I was 16 years old, 5’8” tall and weighed 135 lbs (maybe). I had fond memories of how much fun I had doing all kinds of gymnastic tricks on the trampoline: twists, flips, every manner of trick. The trampoline and I were one. Everything came natural to me. I looked forward to impressing my wife with my emergence from the couch potato she knows me as into an acrobatic marvel. The fact that I am now 73 years old, have shrunk about 2 inches and gained 85 lbs., not withstanding. As I started my warm up jumping, I noticed that the trampoline and I were no longer one. The bouncing felt awkward and alien to me. I tried a simple knee drop and was unable to bounce back up to my feet – and it hurt my knees and ankles. I bounced some more, I tried a seat drop and landed awkwardly to my right side and fell onto my right arm and shoulder. When I tried to get back up, I found I could no longer use my right arm to push myself back up and had to rely on my left (I am right handed). That ended my trampoline session. My wife, however, was impressed - WITH THE DEPTH OF MY STUPIDITY! For the rest of the cruise, I came to be known as Lefty as I was unable to raise my right arm very far and could not lift with it. But enough about me, onward with the ship. FOOD – A The food in the MDR was great. Not just good – great. I have cruised Carnival before. I am pretty much a meat and potatoes kind of guy. My favorite foods are steak, hamburgers and hot dogs and pizza and any kind of potato. I have the taste of your average 9 year old. According to my wife, also the mentality. The buffet had average buffet food. No better or worse than you receive on any other mass market cruise ship. On some Norwegian ships (not all), Celebrity and Royal Caribbean ships, I have experienced better than average buffets. Although the buffet on the Panorama was often crowded, never had a problem finding a table/seat. One below average thing about the buffet was limited variety of offerings. Much more limited than most ships. Back to the MDR. Since I tend to order meat and potatoes, I often order that flat iron steak which is on the always available portion of Carnival’s MDR dinner menu. In the past, this has been an okay experience but not memorable. The first night on board I ordered it for dinner. It was amazing. More tender than usual but bursting with flavor. It was all good. Never had a bad dinner in the MDR the whole trip. Guy’s Pig &Anchor charged extra for dinner but served complimentary lunch on sea days. The problem was on sea days the was a very long line to stand in before you ever get to the food. Lines tended to be the norm for lots of things. I don’t do lines well. Rather skip the venue than wait in line so we did not eat at Guy’s Pig and Anchor. JJ’s Asian and Cucina Capitan, both extra dollar restaurants, also provided free limited lunch items. We never ate at JJs but did the Cucina for lunch one day. Quite good. Of course, there was Guy’s burgers and the Blue Iguana (Mexican food) with lines for each. On occasion, when there was a short line, I had a Guy’s burger. I know I am going to sound like a heretic, as everyone raves about Guy’s burgers and fries. The burgers are good but not fantastic, IMHO, and I do not like the way the fries are seasoned. I would rather have regular French fries. I find the burgers and fries at Holland America’s Dive In to be far superior. For one thing, they are cooked to order. Second to the Dive In, I favor the burgers available at O’Sheehan’s or the Local (depending upon what ship you are on), the 24 hour dining venue on Norwegian’s line. To each his own. Pizza was good but not my favorite, but again, everyone has their own pizza preference. I think Carnival aims for the middle of the pack, which makes sense. STATEROOM – A+ We had the deluxe ocean view stateroom with the one and a half baths. The luxury of having essentially two separate bathrooms so two people can get ready at the same time cannot be overstated. Did not know what I was missing, but any Carnival cruises I would take in the future would have to be on a Vista class ship that offers this type of stateroom. Much rather have the extra bathroom than a balcony. Nice TV that offered only a few channels and a few free movies. Comfortable bed, adequate storage. Thermostat worked great. I like it cold and lots of times I cannot get it cold enough to sleep. My wife, needless to say likes it warm. Our compromise is she can have it warm during the day and I get it cold at night. Thermostat worked great for both of us. ENTERTAINMENT – B Musicians, singers and dancers were all A to A+. The reason for the B grade was the venue. The main theater, known as the Liquid Lounge, is a hideous monstrosity of a venue. On the main level, the chairs which are not theater type chairs but regular sitting chairs quickly become uncomfortable after 10-15 minutes of sitting on them. The floor is flat and does not slant upwards so the chairs are all on one level. The farther back you are from the first row, the greater your chance of not being able to see what is going on because you are blocked by either one of the people in front of you or a pillar. Sight lines are awful. If you want to see a main room show, better get there an hour before, even though doors don’t open until a half hour before, as there will be a very l-o-n-g line. SERVICE – A+ Every crew member was attentive, friendly, warm and greeted us with a smile despite the onerous duties of their jobs. From our room steward to our dining room servers to the cruise director – just everyone we encountered were above and beyond. I admire and have utmost respect for those crew members. I could never be like that but their attitudes just made the whole cruise that much better. GENERAL AMBIENCE AND ACTIVITIES - A The general ambience of the ship appealed to me. It was nicely decorated and had lots of organic wood and earth tones. It was incredibly clean but it is also Carnival’s newest ship, just put into service in November and this is its inaugural season. Activities rate an A+. The top deck which has the water park, slides, sky obstacle course, sky pedal ride, pool tables, club house, miniature golf, outdoor exercise machines – too much to list, really is incredible. The elevators take a little getting used to, You push the floor on a touch screen outside the elevator banks – not buttons in the elevator itself. Then the touch screen tells you which letter elevator gets assigned to that floor. Sometimes you can wait quite a while for your elevator and it might be packed at peak times, but most of the time it worked okay. Embarkation was relatively easy. We were supposed to disembark on March 7th. We put our luggage out the night before and had our carry-ons with us ready to go that morning. It was announced that disembarkation would be delayed as customs would not clear the ship and the cruise line could do nothing about it, Apparently, there was a woman who had taken ill but clearly had a non-COVID condition. Nonetheless, customs wanted to do a thorough screening before the cleared the ship for disembarkation. Carnival knew what was going on with the passenger and was confident that she would be deemed to not have a condition that was virus related. Being that everyone is hyper vigilant with what is happening these days, customs (I think with CDC input) decided she should be transported to a local hospital and tested. We were advised it would take 6 hours for the test results to come back. At that point, it was pretty clear that we were on the ship until nightfall and probably overnight. Carnival was great about it. They opened up all the restaurants, gave us free wifi, made the pay movies on TV free, put together an entertainment schedule with the entertainment staff and did everything they could to keep us happy, fed and entertained. Hats off to the crew of the Carnival Panorama. Could not have been more accommodating and all with smiles on their faces even though they were under the most pressure of any of us. They also had to deal with the people on shore who were supposed to board for their cruise but could not as we were still on the ship. I could almost hear those poor people yelling as the buffet opened up again –“ Hey, hey – that’s our food. They’re eating our food. I paid for that food.” As it turned out, the results of the testing came back negative, just as anticipated but at that point we were well into the evening and had to stay overnight on the ship until the next day when we disembarked. Such are the risks of cruising in the current climate. The cruise itself was terrific and I would do it again. My only objection was that there were lines for almost everything and I hate lines. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This was my second Caraval Cruise my first was with Dream. I have to say it was easy bordering ship just beware uphill walking to get on board in terminal. Once on ship is beautiful designed started out in Hero’s Bar waiting for other ... Read More
This was my second Caraval Cruise my first was with Dream. I have to say it was easy bordering ship just beware uphill walking to get on board in terminal. Once on ship is beautiful designed started out in Hero’s Bar waiting for other family members. First stop of course buffet, it was too crowded and as the week progressed they serve the same items . We had burgers at Guys(lifesaver of cruise) not only really favorable with plenty of options. Our Cove Balcony 2361 was private and beautiful. Plenty of room your clothes and shoes. Nice spacious bathroom and our Porter Arthur greeted us immediately presented his card and asked us what we wanted he was amazing. We ate at Horizon on fourth floor, our waiter Faub was great. Food in my opinion was mediocre everyone else loved it. Finally Emma she was the best cruise director I’ve ever had and I’ve been on several cruises(12). She made everyone get up and enjoy this cruise. My family loved her, Hell everyone dead!! When we had to stay on the ship due to a passenger being taken off Emma came on explain and was very accommodating. They returned our baggage to the room and offered free movies and Wi-Fi would recommend Panorama. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We chose this 4 day cruise as my son lives in the Los Angeles area. Embarkation was smooth and quick. They had scheduled us at 1:30 but we showed up at 12 and we were able to board. We were in 2 rooms - M10 and M14. Rooms were ... Read More
We chose this 4 day cruise as my son lives in the Los Angeles area. Embarkation was smooth and quick. They had scheduled us at 1:30 but we showed up at 12 and we were able to board. We were in 2 rooms - M10 and M14. Rooms were nice and roomy. We were traveling with a 2 year old and she had plenty of room to explore in the room. We signed her up for the childcare but only left her one night as we wanted to spend all the time with her. The childcare seemed great and they give you a phone so you can be called. They also change diapers which I thought was great! Can't say much about the food. It was just ok. Guy Fieri's Hamburgers were excellent though. Our granddaughter loved the children's area, especially the slides. It was chilly though! My husband and son went on the ATV excursion in Ensenada and loved it! In Catalina we just walked around the shops as we had been there before. The entertainment was excellent! Our 2 year old clapped and danced to every show. A little tip about disembarkation - get a Porter! You go to the front of the line and get right off! Would do this 4 day trip again! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Carnival panorama is a beautiful new ship. Everything is new, carpeting, furniture, drink ware, flatware, etc. with over 4,000 passengers public spaces are very crowded though. The beach pool area midship and tides pool area aft fill up ... Read More
Carnival panorama is a beautiful new ship. Everything is new, carpeting, furniture, drink ware, flatware, etc. with over 4,000 passengers public spaces are very crowded though. The beach pool area midship and tides pool area aft fill up by 9am every morning with people reserving loungers and chairs with towels, caps, and backpacks. For adults only, the serenity area isn’t quite as crowded but there is limited spaces and people reserve spaces up there like the other pool areas. There is one pool area that is not crowded, the Havana pool area. Here there are two hot tubs and a infinity pool. If you don’t like dealing with a crowd and would rather relax on your cruise you MUST cruise in a Havana cabin. The Havana pool area has the best aft view of any public spaces onboard. It’s very laid back and service is outstanding. The area has ample loungers and several day beds for relaxing. There are even call buttons for service. You don’t need to get up from your lounger or daybed or pool or hot tub to order a drink. Just press the call button and a waiter will be there in seconds. This is also the best place for viewing whales in the Cabo area. It was NEVER crowded here. Of course you must cruise in a Havana cabin or a Grand Suite cabin to have access to this area and they monitor this very strictly. It is well worth it for these cabins. We will definitely do this cruise again in a Havana cabin. Dining: Main dining rooms were ok. Lido marketplace was ok and the omelette bar here is great. The steakhouse was great and the table art desert is a must if you eat at the steakhouse. Bonsai teppanyaki was good food with a great show by the chefs. Seafood shack was ok, pizzeria was ok, and Cucina Del Capitano was ok. We also did the Elegant Affair cooking class. This was a lot of fun and the chefs were very accommodating and helpful. We prepared an entire meal at our individual workstations lead by a chef. Then afterwards we were served the meal prepared by the galley, which was much better than what we prepared. Our best dining experience was the Chefs Table. It was the most interesting dining experience ever, you must do the chefs table. It’s like no other meal you’ve ever experienced. It is well worth the price. Bars: All were very friendly and no matter where I went in the mornings, bloody Mary’s were delicious. Never much of a crowd at any bar. Casino: Had lots of slots and live table games. However it was always very Smokey in the casino with cigarettes. Unbearable at times. Slots seemed very loose the first couple nights then very tight, alt least for me. Shopping: Loved Cherry on top, especially sour candy selection. Not much in way of sundry items and the shops seemed small. Not a very large selection of tee shirts or shorts. Excursions: We did not purchase shore excursions. We hired taxis in port and went where we wanted on our time. We usually do excursions through the ship, but not this time. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I have taken this cruise before, both as a 3 night and a 4 night. The 4 night fare is usually cheaper since it runs mid-week while the 3 night runs over the weekend. It tends to attract groups of bachelor and bachelorette parties, which ... Read More
I have taken this cruise before, both as a 3 night and a 4 night. The 4 night fare is usually cheaper since it runs mid-week while the 3 night runs over the weekend. It tends to attract groups of bachelor and bachelorette parties, which liven the trip up and provide excellent people watching opportunities. Not for the Cunard crowd, thankfully. Unfortunately we didn't have great weather - cool, windy, some rain, which killed most pool deck activity, other than the overcrowded hot tubs. The cruise director Benjamin was very energetic and helped make the best of the trip. The gym is small and was not crowded. Good to see that Ensenada is still the same dump it was five years ago when I went on this itinerary. Friendly merchants on the streets trying to suck you in to buy their cheap junk, or visit any of the upstanding massage parlors, where one guy invited me in for a "rub and *** from one of his pretty cousins". My cabin (porthole, upper deck, very much up front) was clean and functional. Pushing the beds together resulted in an obvious divide and I would probably been more comfortable sleeping on a twin. TV channel... movies are good including TCM, CBS News network (extremely repetitive) and some kid channels. If you're up front, you will be awakened at 5am when returning to Long Beach by the ships engines, extremely loud and lots of vibration. I survived, the trip was cheap. Food in the MDR was at least okay, no complaints but not very exciting. The lido buffet was fine, the pizza was actually good, the deli counter is great, and the Guy's burgers were much better than typical cruise buffet burgers, actually very good for any burger. Stand-up comics were excellent, even when they did their family friendly shows they engaged the kids in attendance. Musical shows in the theater literally put me to sleep. The cruise activity staff was small, Benjamin and the person who did bingo (Jax?) plus a couple of people who did games. The cruise has been livelier in the past, but the cool weather kind of put a damper on it. I arrived around 2:30 pm and was in my cabin within 15 minutes. I carried on a 12 pack of coke and a bottle of wine, no hassles. Disembarkation is the dreaded long line snaking around deck 7. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
A smaller ship has its benefits: It was easier to get on, get off, find a deck chair, and find a chair at the shows. But this is an older ship, it is worn on the edges, had some bed smells, and had a funky cabin layout (The 4 of us were ... Read More
A smaller ship has its benefits: It was easier to get on, get off, find a deck chair, and find a chair at the shows. But this is an older ship, it is worn on the edges, had some bed smells, and had a funky cabin layout (The 4 of us were layered like a Jenga game). The bands play in odd places that don't have chairs to watch them from. Even being an older ship, it is Carnival, and the staff is excellent. Our steward was awesome. The comedians were good. The staff we interacted with around the ship was great. The food was good, not great, not bad. The breakfast in the dining room was not the best, we had the same menu items on the Vista last spring and they were far better then. Catalina is a great stop, but the cruise passengers and their rental golf carts disturb the peace as they race around on their gas powered vehicles. We hiked up into the hills around town, that was really fun. Ensenada is nice along the waterfront and the fish market, but the the main shopping street was too much; very high pressure people on the street trying to get you in their store. I was exhausted from saying, "Gracias No". We bought souvenirs from an older couple that owned a store and did not hassle us. The Love and Marraige show, Hairy Chest Competition, and one of the comedians were fun. This was our first cruise, out of five, that loud passengers woke us up at bar closing time. They woke us up every night as they stumbled back to their cabins. Perhaps because this was a 4 night cruise, not to sound snobby but we had only been on 7 night cruises before this. Our kids liked being in their clubs as usual. We did not do any shore excursions. We booked this cruise 4 days before sailing and paid $1,000 for four people including tax and gratuities. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We have cruised previously on HAL and RC, first time on Carnival. We sailed during the mid-winter break for California schools. There were 1500 kids (full capacity on the ship and they were everywhere. We would not knowingly book our ... Read More
We have cruised previously on HAL and RC, first time on Carnival. We sailed during the mid-winter break for California schools. There were 1500 kids (full capacity on the ship and they were everywhere. We would not knowingly book our vacation during school break again. Embarkation: We traveled about 3 hours to port and embarkation was fairly organized at the 12:30-1:00 PM check-in. The only negative was we were rushed in security as eager passengers threw their carry-on items on the conveyer belt for ex-ray before we completed the process, causing one of our carry on items to be mixed in with theirs. There are a lot of staff placed on the route to the ship guiding passengers to the gang-way. Once on the ship we were welcomed by many of the crew. We found something to eat on the Lido Deck 10 and explored a little prior to finding our room keys in an envelope at the our cabin. Our luggage didn't arrive until after sail-away and dinner around 6:00 PM. Disembarkation: There is a Disembarkation briefing on the last sea day, also a flyer is left at your door with disembarkation information. Numbered luggage tags can be picked up at the briefing or at guest services. If you check your bag you must have a numbered tag on it. If you are in a suite, Diamond or Platinum or have priority status you will be disembarked early. You may put your bags outside your cabin between 9:30 and 11:30 PM to be picked up for checked baggage on the last sea day. Passengers must vacate the cabins by 8:00-8:30 and wait on the Lido deck or the Liquid Lounge. Decks are disembarked one at a time beginning with Deck One according to the deck your cabin was on. You may also choose to carry off your luggage yourself and disembarked ahead of passengers with checked baggage. Ship: The ship is new and offers many different spaces to explore on decks 3, 4, 5, 10, 11 and 12. There are deck maps at each elevator bank, along with a touch screen for selecting the your floor, make the floor select6ion prior to entering the elevator - there is no option inside the elevator. Pay attention to ships time reflected at some elevators, on your cabin telephone and on the television screen. You will pass through different time zones and there was a couple that almost missed the ship at one port due to the time difference. I found the Carnival Hub App helpful. You can't really see the menu until you board the ship. What I didn't know prior to boarding is while the App is free, they charge $5 extra to use the chat option. Shame on Carnival for nickel and diming their passengers. Especially after they purchase the internet plans. Dining: Caution: While in port on Day 1 you will be charged tax on drinks even if you have the Cheers and Bubbles pass until sail away. There are plenty of dining options and most are good, some are excellent. JiJi's was excellent one of my favorites. This is not ordinary Asian fare. Staff at this restaurant go all out to give you a special evening. Each person gets 2 entrees, 2 starters, 2 sides and 2 desserts and it is served family style for sharing. If you gave special requests they are most accommodating. Very Important: Let them know what your desired spice level is, they want to get it right. The steakhouse is also very good with the meat prepared as ordered every time we went. The portions are small on the surf and turf but enough. I also can rave about the taco (fish, port and chicken) and burrito bar and Guys burger joint (best burgers) and the pizza place (24 hour pizza operation-hand made) all on deck 10. I think the fish and chips are good too at the Seafood Shack also on deck 10. The buffet is at the market place on the Lido Deck 10, breakfast is good here and a fine selection of desserts. You can also find the same breakfast on a smaller scale on deck 5 near the Coffee Bar which is also highly recommended. Plenty of indoor and outdoor seating there. Pizza delivery is $5 or you can pick it up. They make them fresh and there is always a line. Entertainment: I saw and recommend the Rock Revolution production show in the Liquid Lounge on day 4. I also saw a female comedian who was hilarious and an older male comedian who was disgusting and centered his routine on insulting the audience, as people were walking out on him he would chase them out and insult them some more. Even though it was an adult show, I didn't find him funny or entertaining, only vile. There were some musicians located in different areas that were very good - Nightshift band was one of them. Activities: There were many activities, trivia and puzzles and contests and bingo, mixology and towel folding along with an ice carving demonstration. Carnival Kitchen cooking classes: Between my husband and I, we took 10 classes. Chefs graciously assist and make sure you are on track to prepare the dish or dishes you signed up for and answer all your questions. The classroom has new stainless equipment and quartz countertops and is well appointed. There is an I-pad with the recipe at each work station and students follow the chef on the I-pad. Depending on the class, you may sample what you make during the class or it will be sent to our dining venue that evening or you will have a sit down dinner in the Carnival Kitchen. I have received all of the recipe cards by e-mail for the classes we took. I have already made my own pizza. Something I would not have tried before this class. Spa and relaxation: I had relaxing massages from Lal in the spa and a very nice facial from Hardashi. I had my hair braided by Shannon at 9:00 AM and it was undone by 2:30 PM; when I returned to have it repaired I was told she was booked and couldn't be worked in by the blonde European lady, so I cancelled my other appointments. You can get massages for much less in the ports and a braid as well. Thermal Suite: This is a nice area but they overbook it and it is so crowded I couldn't relax most of the time I was there. Staff does not control the chair hogging where people put their towels on the lounges while they do other stations. Also, staff isn't good to pick up towels people leave in the steam room, but there are always fresh towels available. Spa is too small to accommodate all the spa suites and day pass guests. Over all, nice concept and facility but overbooked, too small and underkept. Gym: Very busy on sea days, but well equipped and everything seemed to be working fine. I like that the machines are positioned in front of the windows. Too bad the locker rooms aren't closer. Be ware the bathroom is tricky to lock inside the locker room. Casino: Too smoky to use and no hand sanitizer in sight. Pools: Water was cold even in the warmer climates. Spa on the Serenity deck is too small for the size of that deck. Also, there should be enforcement of chair hogging with towels. This is done on all decks and every pool and spa area. Overall: The staff and crew were friendly and went out of there way to make the cruise special for all passengers. I was impressed with the staff and considering the ship was at full capacity, most of the passengers seemed happy and friendly. Staff kept the ship clean but it would be nice to have more focus on germ control with rail and surface cleaning and hand sanitizer dispensers. There were health questionnaires in the Carnival Kitchen prior to each class and at the Embarkation lines. Information: There isn't enough signage and information given to passengers. They are left to navigate the processes and ship themselves. In ports: Other cruise lines have air conditioned buses to transport their passenger to and from the ship and nice welcome tents and welcome towels and water where Carnival has a open air tram in Maztalan with a long line and a long wait and no information or welcome tents. In fact there is very little information provided throughout the ship. You are left to figure it out on your own. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Carnival Imagination was a great experience for a first time cruise. They have amazing service and the place was always so clean. The buffet had so many options for breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. The pride restaurant was a wonderful ... Read More
Carnival Imagination was a great experience for a first time cruise. They have amazing service and the place was always so clean. The buffet had so many options for breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. The pride restaurant was a wonderful experience especially for valentines. I recommend having all your dinners there. There was plenty of activities to do on the boat but of course many things cost extra money. They have an arcade, miniature golf, water slides, a library with games, and much more.You can not pay anything in cash so everything gets charged to your cabin. The casino however is the only place you can use cash to gamble which is nice. Be sure to check out all of their activities because they give out prizes and raffle great things. If you are without kids the serenity room which is hidden in the back of Xanadu Lounge, a great gem. My only complaint is that i bought a Happy Anniversary cake from the fun shop. In all the pictures it shows a beautiful heart shaped cake with the words spelled out. When i saw my cake it was round and only had to letters HA, I complained to several people and no one showed any interest in helping me out. It was delicious but very disappointing. In all reviews everyone seems to have had the cake i wanted, my cake was very lazy and guest services was rude because i complained. I would go again but i will never order anything from the fun shop again. And at the end of the trip they charge us 40 bucks each for gratuity so keep in mind this is not included in the ticket pricing. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Review of Carnival Imagination Sail date 2/2/20 Room type – Ocean View – Empress Deck – E135 My young adult daughter and my late 50-year-old self-took the Imagination to celebrate her bday and to just enjoy some time to ... Read More
Review of Carnival Imagination Sail date 2/2/20 Room type – Ocean View – Empress Deck – E135 My young adult daughter and my late 50-year-old self-took the Imagination to celebrate her bday and to just enjoy some time to ourselves. Why we chose this line and specific cruise: 1. We’ve always cruised Carnival (we’re gold) 2. Port is quick hour flight from our home 3. Very cost friendly and she was paying her own way 4. Just right amount of days (4) Embark was a breeze out of Port of Long Beach – we literally just walked on – we had 12 – 12:30 check in time but were earlier. Although we carried our luggage on flight – we decided to check at port – I might just keep my luggage with me next time although we did receive within 2 hours of embark. We didn’t realize at the time but you walk on the ship on the Empress deck which was where our room was. We headed to the Lido to wait out the 1:30 cabin access time and grabbed a quick bite at the well-appointed buffet; and noted the Guy’s Burgers for future enjoyment. Lido was booming the welcome music and Ben-your-cruise-director – was making periodic welcome announcements and updates. As this was my first Ocean view cabin vs balcony, I was a bit worried about the space however was pleasantly surprised at the room especially as we had our twin beds made into an L shape which left the middle of the room open. Nice, large (albeit could have used a wash) window and usual appointments in cabin and bathroom – as this wasn’t our first rodeo, I knew to bring a small usb hub for multi charging. Beds were very fluffy and comfy and as it was a bit chilly, we asked our steward for comfy blankets and he brought very soft, blue fleece ones for us to use. Was a bit dismayed to find a small pipe in one of the drawers and some used gum under one of the closets - but, I realized we were not on a luxury line and didn’t let this bother me too over much as I know how little time the stewards have to turn these rooms (and no – I was not tempted to keep either item). Room was midship and the deck was perfect – not noisy above and easy to get around from location. As day 1 was Super Bowl, Carnival had several tv screens on around ship and had set up the large Dynasty showroom with buffet and bar and had the game on the big screen. Muster was delayed accordingly until 8:30 and was very brief. We received sad news that due to high winds, we were not going to be able to visit Catalina the next day (it is a tender port and thus, small craft advisories prevent visiting – make a note for those going in Winter/Spring – and, in fact, were not going to leave Long Beach until morning – as this was the port we were most excited about, we were very sad however decided to make best of it and scheduled an excursion for Ensenada and I booked a “top to Toe” spa treatment for my daughter as she was gifted a $50.00 spa gift card via Carnival delivered to our cabin. We were refunded our port fees for Catalina but no other compensation – I did note one couple demanding their money back at Customer Service desk – luggage in hand - Other areas to note: • The excursion we booked was the Bufadora Adventure (?) – while a very nice tour and we had a very nice but beware – you must run the gauntlet of aggressive vendors to get to the blowhole and also are shown what is touted as a wildlife conservatory with baby tigers but is nothing of the sort and is just a sad use of animals as entertainment – and although the baby tigers looked healthy it was just sad. We alerted Carnival to this and as of now, we have not received a response to our request, onboard at the excursion desk, they indicated we were not supposed to have been taken to this or had to ensure the stores. Who knows if this is accurate? • Dining room – mediocre at best – food just isn’t good. Soups however are amazing – broccoli cheddar and steak/ale amazing • Ship overall – ship is older and it shows – but I wasn’t expecting much so wasn’t disappointed. I’m not sure I’d choose this for my first cruise but for our purposes of a short get-away – it was just fine. • We carried off our luggage and had early departure due to flight time – got in line at 7:00 and were off ship by 7:30 and at John Wayne by 8. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
the design of the ship reminded us a lot of Royal Caribbean, it is disappointing they don't put lemons on the tables every night only formal nights. We had a great time the extras like the hand washing stations in the lido deck and at ... Read More
the design of the ship reminded us a lot of Royal Caribbean, it is disappointing they don't put lemons on the tables every night only formal nights. We had a great time the extras like the hand washing stations in the lido deck and at the cherry on top Candy shop we're great additions. Ship featured a large effy jewelry selection and the piano bar had a fantastic host for the sailing we were on the design was well-thought-out also.they could have done more karaoke is that was a big hit and they stopped it mid cruise. My wife and I really enjoyed tee time on sea days at 3 p.m.going this early in February we saw whales at breakfast when we were pulling into Cabo breach over 15 times. Well worth the money. I just wish they would offer more non alcoholic drink packages besides just bubbles. Leaving out of Long Beach it is awesome to be able to use your ticket to board the Queen Mary and take a tour for free. The liquid lounge their main entertainment venue is rather small for a ship this size however they did not hold great enough entertainment to keep it full most any night.the one annoying thing in the room is you have to leave a card in a slot to turn the lights on most people end up just shoving a piece of paper in that dead man switch so they can use that feature without leaving their seapass card. This is the second type inaugural Cruise my wife and I have taken, in both cases there were surprises and let Downs overall this is a good ship for a good value. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
The Panorama was new and beautiful. Our interior was tight, but expected. The staff on top of things and the food was fine. Our dining staff were meticulous. I especially enjoyed the blue iguana and guy burger joint. Yum! The rooms were ... Read More
The Panorama was new and beautiful. Our interior was tight, but expected. The staff on top of things and the food was fine. Our dining staff were meticulous. I especially enjoyed the blue iguana and guy burger joint. Yum! The rooms were clean and my family and I had a fun time. All three ports were lovely and we felt safe and welcome at each one. Our whale watching excursion rocked! I wish the adult section on board the ship had a pool though and bigger hot tubs. Covering that section from the wind would have helped as well. Unfortunately, some parents were using the hot tubs in the common areas as a day care center, which is tacky when the kids literally have floaties on and are swimming in a hot tub around adults trying to relax. Thank goodness the staff stopped a father from distributing ice cream cones to his kids in the hot tub. But, this isn't a Carnival problem, it's a parenting problem. There is so much to do and see, you make your trip and experience your own. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
First Carnival cruise of around 20 total on other lines; RCI, Celebrity, MSC, P&O and NCL. Embarkation was easy at the purpose made Carnival terminal. The ships is very nice and modern. We were onboard pretty fast and during ... Read More
First Carnival cruise of around 20 total on other lines; RCI, Celebrity, MSC, P&O and NCL. Embarkation was easy at the purpose made Carnival terminal. The ships is very nice and modern. We were onboard pretty fast and during boarding all staff were friendly and welcoming. As we cruise many times a year, we only booked a inside cabin on this vacation. It was fit for purpose and modern, although the surfaces had not been wiped down since the previous guests. There was a soda spill on the bedside cabinet and glass condensation rings all over the furniture. After 3 days and upon my request the surfaces were finally wiped down which is quite concerning. The cruise director Emma is outstanding, as are the shows. They're fully immersive and I feel that Carnival has really delivered on these, although the theater venue is very small for the size of the ship and you need to line up 45 minutes before show time minimum to get a decent seat, if one at all as many were standing. The buffet is very lacking but the included burger and burrito bars by the pool compensate for this. We found the food in the MDR to be excellent on the formal nights, and a bit basic at times. The lobster was amazing, as were the chilled soups. You get what you pay for and based on the price of the cruise I would say the overall dining proposition is acceptable, but not like Celebrity etc. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and I was in one of the cheapest rooms. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was our 16th cruise. I want to preface this review by admitting we are not big Carnival fans. We've sailed mostly on RCL, NCL, Celebrity, and Princess. We sailed once before on Carnival, on the Carnival Magic to the ... Read More
This was our 16th cruise. I want to preface this review by admitting we are not big Carnival fans. We've sailed mostly on RCL, NCL, Celebrity, and Princess. We sailed once before on Carnival, on the Carnival Magic to the Mediterranean in 2011. We enjoyed that cruise, mostly because the ship was brand new and the great destinations, but were quite pleasantly surprised with the quality of the food in the main dining room, unfortunately offset by disappointment with the ship itself, and the very poor quality of the shows in the theater. However, we are California residents, and when Carnival decided to sail the brand new Panorama out of Long Beach, we decided it was so convenient to sail from Southern California we thought it would be fun to book a trip to the Mexican Riviera, which we hadn't visited in over a decade. Embarkation went very smoothly; it was only 25 minutes from arrival at the Cruise Terminal in Long Beach to entering our cabin (balcony cabin 8231). The Panorama is an unspectacular ship in appearance; it was very clean, but it doesn't have any features that stand out except for the three story, funnel-shaped digital displays in the atrium and bar on level 3. Those were really interesting and fun to watch, as the displays change continually. Let me summarize what we thought were the highs and lows of the Panorama. HIGHS: Excellent service. This was a pleasant surprise; of all of the cruises we have been on, my wife and I agree that the Panorama had without a doubt the most pleasant crew we've EVER experienced. Every crew member we encountered smiled without exception, was pleasant to speak with, and was as helpful as we could have asked for. Carnival stressed that the Panorama was the line's flagship, and it was readily apparent in the level of service we experienced. Dining. We thought the food in the main dining room was of very good, on par with our last Carnival cruise in 2011, about as good as NCL, and better than RCL. Where the Panorama's food really excelled was at the specialty dining spots; Guy's Burger Joint, Guy's Smokehouse BBQ, and Blue Iguana Cantina. The burgers at Guy's were by far THE BEST BURGERS ON ANY SHIP I'VE EVER CRUISED ON! No other ship's burgers are even close! I ate NINE on our seven day cruise! Tasty, juicy, thick, freshly-made beef patties (they gladly made my burgers doubles), crispy on the edges, excellent condiments, these are without a doubt as good as the most of burgers at the upscale burger restaurants in the Bay Area. Likewise, the Blue Iguana's tacos were incredible; my wife and I agree they were superior to the tacos in virtually all of the Mexican restaurants in our area. The meats were nicely seasoned, properly cooked, tender and tasty, and the condiment bar was very well stocked, and had an excellent selection of salsas and sauces. Another experience we greatly enjoyed was the Chef's Table; for a very reasonable $95 we enjoyed a three hour experience which included touring the kitchen, food preparation, wine and champagne, and a creative,12 course, delightfully presented meal. We thought it was definitely money well spent. Entertainment. There were four shows performed in the main theater by the Panorama's production crew, and we enjoyed all of these. There were also multiple comedians every evening, and we saw several of these, and most were very good. Cruise Director. Emma, the Cruise Director, a former English school teacher was, without a doubt, the BEST CRUISE DIRECTOR EVER! Her energy, her sense of humor, her enthusiasm, were outstanding. Normally, when we cruise, the Cruise Director is a non-entity to us; we know they exist, but don't care about them at all. Every time I heard Emma's voice; at the shows, in the Atrium, poolside, or over the PA system, she made me smile. Without a doubt, she was an incredible asset to the Panorama. Value. Our balcony cabin was an incredible bargain, and the package that the Panorama offered for the price was excellent. LOWS: The buffet was mediocre. The Lido Marketplace was surprisingly small for a ship with 4000 passengers, and the variety and selection were disappointing, compared to other cruise ships we've sailed on previously, while the quality of the food was about average. The one outstanding feature of the buffet was a cake bar; every day with the lunch buffet there was a separate offering of six to eight layer cakes, with almost all offerings changing on a daily basis. This became one of the highlights of our day! The cakes were almost uniformly good; moist, flavorful, great butter creams, and lots of variety. My wife and I sampled four or five different cakes every day, and they were very good (and my wife is a great baker in her own right). Even now, a week after our cruise, we talk about the cake bar! The Panorama. What can I say about the ship's physical features; it's public rooms were very pretty pedestrian. Artwork throughout the ship was pretty blah. Our balcony cabin was just okay, a bit smaller than average. The theater was small, and most of the seats on the main floor were just ordinary padded chairs, with no arms. Even the pools were smaller than average. The new Sky Ride was very underwhelming, almost boring. The outdoor screen for movies was impressive, being brilliant and sharp, and easily seen, even in bright daylight Overall, we thought our cruise on the Panorama was a really good value, and we had a very relaxing cruise to some very pleasant destinations (we think Cabo San Lucas has beaches as beautiful as any in North America). Terrific service, very good food, lots of entertainment; a really pleasant cruise.. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This cruise was a four-night trip on the Carnival Inspiration, round trip from Long Beach, visiting Catalina Island and Ensenada. This was my 16th cruise lifetime, and 4th on Carnival. My most recent cruises were on Princess; my last ... Read More
This cruise was a four-night trip on the Carnival Inspiration, round trip from Long Beach, visiting Catalina Island and Ensenada. This was my 16th cruise lifetime, and 4th on Carnival. My most recent cruises were on Princess; my last cruise on Carnival was about two years ago. This was my first cruise as a solo (divorced) traveler. I picked this trip simply because the timing worked out, and the price was right. Even having to pay double occupancy fare, with taxes, port fees and gratuities prepaid it came to under $500. I arrived early on Monday morning at the pier at 10:30am. My boarding pass showed I was in boarding group A3 and has a check-in time of 12:30pm. The parking garage is incredibly convenient, being right next to the terminal building. Part of it is currently under construction for expansion, but I had no problem finding a spot, and ended up on the ramp between the 1st and 2nd floors, right near the exit. Incidentally, this location charges $23 per night for parking. There were several porters sitting around by the curb at the edge of the garage, but I couldn’t immediately tell if they were bringing luggage out for people leaving or picking up new luggage. So I walked past them before being directed back by the friendly Carnival staff at the crosswalk. At the terminal building there was no one waiting, and the staff welcomed me to come inside and “get the process started”. They have three lines at the entrance – one for priority and FTTF, one for people arriving at their check-in time, and one for people arriving early. It didn’t matter though, since again no one was there. So I walked into the terminal at 10:42am and was through security at 10:45. Then I had nothing to do but wait inside the large domed building on their cushy bench seats. They started calling priority and FTTF boarding at 11:13am. Since there was still not that many people there, they continued by calling groups A1 and A2 at 11:14, followed by group A3 at 11:15. So the folks who purchased FTTF, for which one of the perks is earlier boarding, got on a whole two minutes earlier than me. After walking a long distance through an inclined ramp that went around and around, I made it to the upstairs check point at 11:18 and was on board at 11:21. (Rooms are announced as being not available until 1:30, and the doors to staterooms corridors are all closed at this point). I had lunch at Guy’s Burger Joint, which is the first opportunity I’ve had to try this. It was actually a pretty decent burger, and they give you a small side of fries on the side. They have a pretty expansive condiment bar, with sauces and toppings such as bacon and mushrooms. Also on the pool deck is the Blue Iguana Cantina, offering street tacos, burritos, and taco salad bowls. They’re only open for breakfast and lunch, closing at 3:30pm (2:30pm on the last day at sea). Guy’s is open Noon-6:00pm. Incidentally, the Cantina also has an expansive salsa bar, so you can dress up your tacos any way you like. I was surprised that for burritos, the only tortilla offerings they had were wheat or jalapeno. They have two self serve beer kiosks on the Lido deck, one between Guy’s and the Cantina and one inside the buffet area, where you swipe your card and pour your own beer and it charges by the ounce ($.37/oz). I tried the one outside once – it coughed and sputtered up foam. And the resulting ounce of liquid I ended up with did not taste like the Dos Equus it claimed to be. Fortunately I did not incur a charge for this; I guess the machine knows when it’s not working. And even more fortunately, they have the Blue Iguana Tequila Bar and the more popular Red Frog Rum Bar, both of which feature their own menu of cocktails, and daily featured drinks for $1 off. I like how Carnival has its self-serve beverage station set up, out at the Lido deck near the pool, with machine dispensers for coffee, hot water for tea, and cocoa as well as water and lemonade all day (and other juices at breakfast times). It’s nice being out in the open with room to move around it. It’s so much more…user friendly then how things are setup on Princess. And I love having instant access to cocoa all day long. Except – the machine is a one-touch button that pre-fills the mug a specific amount. And that amount is 60% full. So you have to press it again and pull your cup out before it overflows, allowing the rest to pour down the drain. For some reason they had a person dressed up as Mr. Potato Head, taking pictures with people on the Lido deck on embarkation day. Still haven’t figured out why. Muster was call 25 minutes late according to the posted schedule, at 3:55pm. As is the norm these days, no need to bring a life jacket to muster. I was in the Paris theatre, and was impressed that the captain came to our muster station to talk, accompanied by the chief engineer and hotel director. I’ve never seen the high brass at muster before. I had Your-Time dining this trip, which was the first time on any line that I’ve done this. I’ve almost always done traditional early dining before. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the Your Time dining worked. I arrived the first night at 5:55pm (it opened at 5:45), and was seated right away at my own table. There wasn’t even a line to get in really, just a few people. They pull your room number at the front, which gives your waiter your name; it is a nice touch when they address you by name. My waiter this night was Julio, and it was his first night onboard too (he previously was on the Fascination). Nice guy, but this would be the only night I saw him. I started with the poblano and corn soup, which frankly was amazingly flavorful with just a bit of spiciness. I then had the lasagna, which looked good but was overly beefy and under-seasoned, nor was I a fan of the creamy white cheese they use. But it was still pretty good. And of course I had the chocolate melting cake for dessert. It’s basically like an undercooked brownie-cake with a side of vanilla ice cream. Sooo good. I left at 6:55 and noted that there was still no line outside. My dining each subsequent night went pretty much the same, and all of the food was enjoyable. I noted at one point on the first night that a pop version of My Heart Will Go On (from the movie Titanic) was playing on the speakers. Why do they play this on cruise ships?? ENTERTAINMENT The entertainment onboard was pretty good. I should mention that I never had issue getting seating at any show, early or late shows, whether I showed up 5 minutes early or 20 minutes early. Seating just wasn’t an issue here. The stage shows were…okay. Studio VIP and Motor City. You can tell the cast has some talent, although if I were to be nitpicky I’d say they’ve gotten a little lazy on the choreography. Just not a lot of attention to detail in uniformity. But my big problem is the design of the shows, which I just don’t find to be well written with a good flow to engage audiences. I’ve found the shows on Princess to be written much better, and on Princess they have a live orchestra that really adds to the experience. Where Carnival really excels is in their Punchliner Comedy Club. With two comedians on board and 2-4 shows nightly ranging from PG to explicit, there’s a lot of offerings. They blow Princess out of the water here. It’s among the best in comedy shows I’ve seen anywhere, on land or sea. Andre was a great host and has some talent of his own, and in particularly the comic Douglas Williams was fantastic. I also really enjoyed the Piano Bar, which is in a little lounge in a separate room off the atrium. Michael has great personality for this venue, and he’s quite talented. I also attended the Love and Marriage show, hosted by CD Ryan Rose, which was incredibly funny and well run. And that coming from a single, divorced guy. Incidentally, the CD on this trip w did a great job and was all over the ship. PORTS We had tender service in Catalina, and honestly it was the smoothest and easiest tendering I’ve ever done. No tender tickets needed. Just show up and go. Assuming you can figure out where to show up – they are not very good about posting anywhere where you’re supposed to go. It’s not in the FunTimes or on the Hub app. There’s no signs in the stair/elevator landings. I think they made an announcement, but I was in my stateroom and couldn’t hear it. Anyways, tender service was scheduled to begin at 7:45; I headed down at 8am. I basically kept going down as far as I could, wandering eventually to deck 4, where the signs say “Medical Center”. And that’s where you go, apparently. But I walked right on the tender, no waiting, and we were soon underway. Golf cart rentals in Catalina are $50 an hour, btw. It’s been a few years since I was here and I don’t remember them being quite that high. But I walked around on my own, first along the waterfront before heading up the hill to the Wrigley Botanical Gardens (admisson $8 general, $6 senior). They have a nice collection of cacti as well as plants such as aloe and agave, and a variety of small trees such as shrub oak. The old stone monument, built in 1933, offers some nice views down to the bay. I also did the Garden to Sky Summit trail, which goes up to the top of the hill offering even more fantastic views around the island. Ensenada was the next day; we docked in at 7:35am. Once again I found my way down to deck 4 and walked right off. I can tell Ensenada has been working on improvements over the last decade. They’ve improved their waterfront walk and added in fountains (which didn’t operate until the afternoon). It seems like there were less people around the pier area trying to hawk stuff. Though downtown, you still see a lot of this. I had lunch at a colorful little street café, and got approached every few minutes by 5-year old girls trying to sell trinkets. As well as groups of older men with instruments trying to play you a song. I was offered several massages with happy endings out on the street, along with all manner of pharmaceuticals and typical trinkets that are mostly identical in every shop you come to. I did visit the science museum just off the pier, which is a huge new building, of which only about 10% is finished and running. But for $3 you can visit a room with displays and videos about endemic plants and animals on the various islands around the Baja peninsula. On our last day at sea before returning home, I went to the Sea Day Brunch that is apparently a popular thing to do. I arrived at 8:30, which was the opening time, and the line stretched out of the Mardi Gras dining room and halfway around the atrium. And this was despite having competition with the Green Eggs and Ham breakfast going on at the same time in the Carnivale Dining Room. This was the longest I waited the entire trip to be seated for dining – and it still only took 6 minutes. Of course with the initial opening, service was a bit slow, and it took over a half hour to get served any food. But it was still good, and I recommend it. I had the eggs benedict and a blueberry muffin (served warm), along with a side of “brunch potatoes”. As far as dining goes, I should note that lunch is never available in the MDR’s. I often enjoyed this on Princess, especially on embarkation day. But it’s not offered on Carnival, or at least this ship. For cooked meats – they give you two options: medium rare or medium well. Getting drinks on the ship was never a problem, as I found servers to be plentiful anywhere I was. And the staff in general was great ship-wide, always friendly and seemingly glad that you are there. I should also note that this ship has the waterworks slides, as well as a 9-hole mini golf course area that also has a foosball table and two pool tables (not that the balls ever stay put much on a moving ship). And there’s one ping-pong table, midship deck 11, port side. Well eventually you have to go home. On disembarkation day the full breakfast buffet opens early, at 6:30am (instead of the normal 7am – on Princess incidentally they always open at 6am). The disembarkation process is more streamlined than on Princess, where they have you wait in a lounge somewhere while they call through dozens of different groups. Here on this Carnival ship anyway, they just call by deck starting at 7:30. You have to be vacated from your room by 8:30, and everyone is supposed to be off the ship by 9:30. I didn’t wait that long, as I hate long good-byes. I noted that a line started forming around the Deck 7 atrium just before 7am, which is when they allow those off who have priority or who are carrying their own luggage. I didn’t head up myself till about 7:08, and by then there were only a dozen or so in line. I made it off the ship and down to security in 10 minutes, and breezed through security in about 30 seconds. In summary, the Carnival Inspiration is an older ship but with recent renovations to give it some of the amenities you’d expect on newer vessels. It’s well maintained enough that it’s easy to forget its age, and the crew is by and large friendly, helpful, and energetic, displaying great pride in their work. Although it’s just a short 4-day voyage, and they don’t offer really any enrichment type classes on the places you’re visiting, it’s a nice little vacation getaway. 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Sail Date January 2020
I chose this cruise because I live in Southern California and there was no airfare involved. Also, the fact that it is a brand new ship. Now, that I've had some time to think more clearly I'm going to put some of my thoughts ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I live in Southern California and there was no airfare involved. Also, the fact that it is a brand new ship. Now, that I've had some time to think more clearly I'm going to put some of my thoughts down about the Panorama. Where we were situated on the ship Deck 1, Cabin 1214 was not the best place to be. We had an outside cabin but could hear every noise possible at night. The waves crashing against the ship, the cabin next door to use, banging and loudly talking. We heard it all. Hence we didn't get a lot of sleep. The beds were extremely comfortable. The shows were fantastic! Like the other Carnival ships, the food was mediocre up in the Lido and in the dining room. On Royal Caribbean, we ask for broccoli and berries at dinner and receive it every night like clockward. Here, we asked once or twice and only received the broccoli and they ignored our request for berries entirely. The extra restaurant, Bonsai Teppanyaki was wonderful and well worth the extra cost. The other eating places that I liked were Guys (both of them), Bueiguana (Mexican fare) and the Mongolian Wok. I had lunch half the time and avoided breakfast because breakfast was the worst, especially the brunch. The Liquid Lounge Theater layout was really strange to us. The seats made it nearly impossible to see all of the show due to the way they were arranged. It is a mix of individual chairs down below and cushioned seats that are really close together up above. It was a tight fit for us and we're short. Not set up for 4,000 people! Emma, the cruise director was full of energy and shows like Motown, Dancing Through the 80's and the Glow Party were a lot of fun. The Comedy shows we enjoyed. Don't forget to do SkyRide. It is fun. It only looks scary. None of the swimming pools on Carnival are heated. But, I did manage to swim twice towards the end of the cruise. I did my laps. The debarkment was horrendous to us. Being Royal/Celebrity people we weren't used to Carnival. People were getting off and getting on in the same place. It made it extremely confusing and hectic. This is a beautiful ship, but it is still Carnival run. My grown-up children would like it. I am going to book it again with them in mind. We still prefer Royal, Celebrity and Princess though for our normal cruising. We have been on over 60 cruises. So we consider ourselves active cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
The cruise was chosen by a friend because of the destinations and the price. I had never been to Cabo San Lucas nor Escenado but picking the right cruise line and the right cabin mate is essential. We had an oceanview cabin (1137) which ... Read More
The cruise was chosen by a friend because of the destinations and the price. I had never been to Cabo San Lucas nor Escenado but picking the right cruise line and the right cabin mate is essential. We had an oceanview cabin (1137) which was just enough room for the both of us. Made' our cabinet stewart took excellent care of us and ensured that every need was met, whether it was additional towels or simply opening the door when we both had our arms full. The Miracle is an older ship but it was ok. The decor was the most outdated to me but the crew made up for it. The Lido deck was small and a little off centered compared to the other carnival ships that I've been on like the Fantasy, Inspiration, Sensation, Glory, ect. Alex in the Bacchus (restaurant) was very attentive and ensured after a small hiccup the first night that the other 5 nights were wonderful. The food was ok but nothing to write home about. The Entertainment was so so, I've seen better on the other ships. Burgers on the lido deck were awful so I stuck to the deli and the restaurant. The burgers seemed to have been made earlier that day and just left on a warmer. If possible get on one of the ships with Guy'S Burgers, no won't be disappointed. Cabo San Lucas was really nice with beautiful beaches. Our first day we did the Top 10 Best of Cabo which was our 2nd choice since Explore Cabo: Sightseeing, Tacos, Tequila, & Shopping tour was full. For $60 it was acceptable but there wasn't a lot of time to walk around and shop it you wanted to get something to eat. Since we were there for 2 days we decided to do the tour day 1 @ 10am. On day 2 we decided to walk around downtown on our own where we explored the shops at the dock and inside the city with a couple of hours at the beach which was about a 30 minute walk from the cruise dock. Day 3 was at Ensenada which was ok but the vendors at La Bufadora Adventure where exhausting. You couldn't turn around without having 3 or 4 people coming at you at the same time to buy something. I had to pretend to have a hearing problem just to make it down the street which made that whole experience my least like of the whole cruise. Needless to say we didn't even get to see the blow hole "blow". Tide didn't get high enough. The 2 days at sea were okay but again my cabin mate and I got a long splendidly so it was nice. The gym on the Miracle was one of the better ones I had ever experienced on any of the carnival ships but it could have had more room to move around. The staff at the Guest Service desk were amazing. Would I go again, for the right price, absolutely. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I just wanted to post some thoughts on the Miracle. We sailed her on a short 3-day out of San Diego, leaving last Friday and returning yesterday morning. This is technically my 4th cruise overall- the first was on Royal Caribbean so ... Read More
I just wanted to post some thoughts on the Miracle. We sailed her on a short 3-day out of San Diego, leaving last Friday and returning yesterday morning. This is technically my 4th cruise overall- the first was on Royal Caribbean so many years ago I can't remember it, then the Carnival Imagination (or Inspiration... I get them confused) almost 4 years ago, Ruby Princess in March 2019, and then this one. We tried an inside cabin for the first time to see if I could stand it (prior cruises all had at least a window) and we knew it would be a "booze cruise" type experience but we just wanted to get away for the weekend. We flew from PHX to SAN and walked the 2.2 miles from the airport to the cruise terminal (we were carrying only regular sized backpacks so no luggage to speak of). Overall, I do prefer the decor of the Ruby Princess to either of the Carnival ships I've seen. I thought the Princess atrium/piazza was more elegant and so was the Princess theater. I did not care for the Phantom theater or the Mad Hatter area on Miracle at all. The entertainment on Miracle was, IMO, far and away better than what we saw on the Ruby. Those 8 young people sang and danced their hearts out and they were really very good- no off key notes or half-hearted performances. We saw an 80's rock and roll type show, a "piano" (keyboard) heavy show, and a 60's beach party type show. All three were very very good. The Alchemy Bar (recommended by several on a Carnival social media group I visit) was not decorated in a very exciting manner but it had unique drinks that my husband appreciated (well, he appreciated being able to get one with Absinthe, which I despise), and we enjoyed the bar staff very much. That was the one lounge we kept going back to. The interior room was fine and I didn't get claustrophobic. We were in 6201 which was a middle-ish deck in the middle-ish of the ship. The only downside (and this surprised me as I thought we were high up enough to avoid any such thing) was that there was a constant, yet intermittent (if that makes sense) vibration that I could feel when I was trying to sleep. It actually felt like my husband's leg was twitching... about 3 times in a row, pause for a couple seconds, and then it did it again. I have trouble falling asleep with that type of movement, so that was a minor annoyance. Out of three nights, we had dinner in Nick and Nora's Steakhouse the first night (that was unplanned... the first night comes with a bottle of wine. We don't drink wine so we had planned to take it with us and give it away to some young couple but we weren't allowed to remove it from the restaurant so that was a bust). Our steaks (cowboy something for my husband and the filet for me) were VERY good. The sides (mac and cheese, fries with smoked paprika, and garlic rapini) were just OK. We got the "art" dessert and had an enjoyable time with that although flavor wise, I would not get it again. Second night we had the Chef's Table dinner. We aren't sure if they were a bit disorganized or perhaps inexperienced- but we had a good time. I was not expecting to eat in Frankenstein's Night Club but that's where we were! I might do it again on a different ship. We never got around to eating in the MDR which was OK with me because we went to visit it and I found the decor to be a bit over the top, which was an ongoing theme with me. Still, most of the decor was better than the black ceilings and neon on my last Carnival cruise! Overall we had a really good time and we would do that cruise on that ship again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Chose the Panorama since its a newborn ship, Lovely, clean and new. Bad part was the room above a gym. Unfortunately a suppose to be a very relaxing cruise is ruined by a very loud morning spin class that blows the room with Noise. I ... Read More
Chose the Panorama since its a newborn ship, Lovely, clean and new. Bad part was the room above a gym. Unfortunately a suppose to be a very relaxing cruise is ruined by a very loud morning spin class that blows the room with Noise. I almost had a nervous breakdown. If management is listening, I suggest that the room within the vicinity affected by the noise be transformed into a room for the hearing impaired or redo the rooms to make it noise resistance. Being in the SPA area, I think about relaxing, smooth, dreamy music. Last thing I was expecting was "very loud rap or whatever music" early in the morning in tandem with the spin class. What a headache. Giving cash incentives or comps can only go so far. I'm cruising for my sanity, so I can relax not to get comps or have a nervous breakdown. The room should be sound proofed or the spin class moved to another area AWAY FROM THE ADVERTISED AS "RELAXING SPA". Kids are NOT allowed but apparently blaring music is. HELLO!!!!! The spin class is held almost every morning. Almost reminded me of the time I was in Basic Training on my first morning. The music from the spin class reverberating into room scared the living daylights out of me. The same will happen to you. The noise will wake you up with a rumble that goes louder and louder and no matter how much you complain the loudness of the music will not change. Now, I carefully choose the cabin rooms I stay in. I don't want to have a nervous breakdown. Other than that the rest of the cruise was lovely. The crew amazing. Over and Out. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was our twenty-something cruise with Carnival. We like the price of the cruise and now what to expect. This was the 3rd sailing of the new ship. Still smelled like new carpet. In all, it's a very ship. While I don't miss ... Read More
This was our twenty-something cruise with Carnival. We like the price of the cruise and now what to expect. This was the 3rd sailing of the new ship. Still smelled like new carpet. In all, it's a very ship. While I don't miss the the rack hold accents, this ship is pretty plain jane. Most public walls are laminated maple with iron railings. There is no atrium which is a huge loss. the main gathering at spot is now centered on the ground floor with 2 levels of shops abov.e. The changing tornado scree is centered in this area. Really miss the glass elevators. Food was the same as recent menus. Prime rib was featured 3 nights since it was New Years cruise. Missing the filet mignon and chateau briand. The staff was amazing as usual. I have always been impressed with Carnival's quality control. We had one incident with our meal and the wait staff went way beyond to make it right with sincerity. The buffet lines have been the biggest improvement I noticed. Instead of 2 long lines along the sides, they have broken up the hot buffets into 4 smaller central buffets. The cereal and fruits are in other areas. It works well. Very impressed with Heroes Sports Bar. Any appreciation for our military is very deserved in these politically divided times. Playlist Productions have improved a lot of over the few years. Rock Revolution was amazing in talent, technology and production. Carnival has made up for the days of silly sailing shows with the addition of Epic Rock, America Rocks, and now Rock Revolution. Hope they continue this rock theme for a while since the rock generation is currently buying cruises (Gen X and Gen Z). All in all the Carnival product remains solid but affordable. I do miss some of the upscale decor and finer dining but there has been some balance to the cutbacks. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We sailed on the ship's 4th voyage, over New Years 2019. Overall, we had a great time. The positives - we always choose an inside cabin because I can't see spending big $$ for the amount of time you are in your cabin. This ... Read More
We sailed on the ship's 4th voyage, over New Years 2019. Overall, we had a great time. The positives - we always choose an inside cabin because I can't see spending big $$ for the amount of time you are in your cabin. This is our 8th cruise and I have to say these were the best inside cabins we've been in. They were spacious (actual room to walk around the bed) and the bedding was quite comfortable. The free on demand movies were great too. Before bed time each night we watched a movie, saw 5 in total. Typically cruise TV consists of a loop of pre-recorded stuff. We actually got CBS news, HGTV and Food Network, along with a few other channels. We also enjoyed all of the fun activities that were planned for families (i.e. Interactive Trivial Pursuit, trivia contests, Sky Ride, Ropes Course, Fooseball Tables, nice workout facilities, Sky Zone (costs extra), Lip Sync Battle, etc.). Emma, one of only a handful of female cruise directors at sea, was terrific! She is loaded with boundless energy and conducted a very informative Q&A session with guests, which we attended, in which guests could ask her anything about life on a cruise ship. Even though there were 4,000 passengers on board, it never felt that way. We didn't feel like we had to push to get food or rush to miss out on getting a seat. Probably because there are so many things to do, passengers are doing things at different times, which helps to spread out the crowds. We took excursions in each of the three ports, two of which were booked through Carnival and one we booked independently. Actually, the one we booked independently was the one we enjoyed the least. At Cabo, we took the camel excursion, which was excellent! In Mazatlan, we booked our own tour and in Puerto Vallarta we booked the Extreme Adventure excursion, which was extreme, but so much fun! The negatives - You almost had to bribe someone to get you any fresh fruit. It became a running joke in our family. We are in Mexico, for crying out loud, so where are the fresh pineapples, mangoes, and so on?? I wanted a banana one morning and I asked our waiter for one. The look on his face when I mentioned 'banana' was priceless! My family told me I just ruined his day. He eventually came back with half of a mushy, overripe banana, but I am not picky, so I gladly took it. On the buffet each morning on the Lido deck, was just canned peaches, grapefruit, cantaloupe and honeydew. No grapes, pineapple, banana, mango, etc. Very strange.... Being that this was our 8th cruise and having sampled many buffets, this was our least favorite. Carnival needs to up their buffet game. We ate there the first day, because there wasn't another choice, but only returned each day afterwards to see if anything had changed. It's more quantity over quality. Even the presentation was bland. Simple rectangular trays lined up over warming plates, in a small, crowded space. The salad bar was nothing more than plain lettuce (no spinach or anything else) and a few toppings. When I say few, I mean few, bordering on pathetic. Norwegian and RCCL buffets blow away Carnivals - not even a comparison. So, we scoped out other places to eat, like the taco stand, which was tasty. Here is our other MAJOR complaint, and I'm putting this here in case others have a dietary need like mine. I have to be gluten free, not the other members of my family, just me. So, if someone does a search of these reviews for 'gluten' they will hopefully come across my review. I have recently cruised with both Norwegian and RCCL and those lines handle GF needs wonderfully! Not so with Carnival. Now mind you, I did not starve. It's just that things were more of a hassle for me to eat and I did not have as many choices. I spent a lot of time standing and waiting around while the rest of my family had their food and ate. Basically, the best way for GF to be handled on the Panorama was to eat in the main dining room. The buffet items were not tagged as being GF. The buffet area also did not have any GF waffles, bread, pancakes, etc. in the morning. Both Norwegian and RCCL not only have these items readily available in the morning on the buffet, but they also have a dedicated GF toaster oven in the buffet area as well. This toaster oven is behind the buffet area, so only cruise personnel can use it, but you can see it. And both Norwegian and RCCL have an actual GF section on their buffets. Not so with Carnival. One morning I asked for GF bread and literally spent 20 minutes waiting for toasted bread, just standing there, while people stared at me and asked me if I needed help. I was told the sandwich station would have GF bread, so one day after a long excursion and returning late, I went to the sandwich station and ordered with my family. I waited 15 minutes past when my family got their sandwiches before I got mine. Apparently the GF bread isn't kept at the sandwich station, you can just ask for it there. The sandwich must be made far away and brought to the station. All my family members received french fries with their sandwiches, mine was plain. I am going to guess that they don't have a dedicated fryer for GF items, so it would have been cross contamination. I figured out that if I asked in advance at the taco station, they would put an order in to get me corn tortillas, because again, it took time to get those tortillas made and brought to the taco area. Strange as we are in Mexico, where corn tortillas reign, but everything at the station was flour. One afternoon they advertised a 'Chocolate Extravaganza' up on the Lido deck, stating that they would have treats for 'everyone.' Well, the GF option was a slice of something that tasted and looked like chocolate jello. I took one bite and that was it - tasteless. If I can buy a GF box of chocolate cake mix from Aldi or Pillsbury, why couldn't the pastry chefs of the Panorama come up with something (anything) for the Chocolate Extravaganza or for dessert in the main dining room? Besides eating ice cream (they only have vanilla, chocolate or strawberry - really, how about butter pecan, peppermint or chocolate chip for those GF folks who need a little variety) I had a baked apple one night for dessert. There really isn't much in the way of sweet offerings for GF folks. The moral of the story is if you have a dietary need, you will be best served in the main dining room - kind of a pain to have to go there, during set hours, each day. We ate all our dinner meals in the main dining room. Carnival handles the GF dinners in the same fashion as Norwegian and RCCL. Each night your waiter gives you the next night's menu and you pre-order. However, instead of ordering with the head chef (who probably knows more about how dishes are prepared and if they can be made GF) you order with your own waiter. I think Carnival needs to follow their competitors and have the head chef come out to take a pre-order from those with dietary needs. Since I like to cook and know what substitutions can be made for things, at times, I was telling our waiter that yes, this particular dish can be made GF. Our waiter also told me that I could pre-order a breakfast (like GF french toast) and it would be available for me the next morning, in the main dining room. So, we ended up eating most of our breakfasts and dinners in the main dining room. Lunches were spent waiting around the ship for GF bread or corn tortillas, etc. Now, did this ruin our vacation - no. It's just that Carnival has a way to go to meet the competition regarding satisfying dietary needs!! I hope this review helps someone else. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was our 9th cruse with Carnival and we booked the Panorama because were excited to finally have a new Carnival ship on the West Coast. We are in our 50's and our kids are 18 and 15. We drove into Long Beach from the SF Bay Area. ... Read More
This was our 9th cruse with Carnival and we booked the Panorama because were excited to finally have a new Carnival ship on the West Coast. We are in our 50's and our kids are 18 and 15. We drove into Long Beach from the SF Bay Area. Departure City: We drove into Long Beach and stayed pre cruise in Seal Beach at the Pacific Inn with their park and cruise package. My family enjoyed the included breakfast and the room was adequate with 2 Queens with a microwave and fridge. Tip: reserve your shuttle times in advance. They had overbooked the shuttles but payed for a Lyft to the ship the on cruise day. It took about 20-30 minutes to get to the ship due to a parade. We have stayed at the Hotel Maya right in the cruise port before and found that hotel to be more convenient to the port. The drop off area for luggage takes a bit of patience as people are still departing the previous cruise or waiting for rides. This was expected and they do their best. Embarkation was a breeze as we were on time for our reserved 1/2 time slot, did every pre-requirement, had documents and passports in hand and had set up our onboard accounts online. We were onboard very quickly with absolutely no waiting. We booked 2 Havana Interior rooms on the 7th floor. I chose this floor to get as far away from the late night live Havana band noise spilling into the room. I could still hear the congas and bongos in the room but I do have very good hearing. They often played until 12:30AM but it wasn't a big problem for us. What I didn't expect from the new ship is that our cabin room door was sticking and very hard to unlock, close all the way and lock. I had to put all of my body weight on the handle to unlatch the door. Because the ship is new it hasn't settled and the screws and moldings are still so tight that they cracked and popped very loudly when the seas were a bit rough. I imagine this will lessen as time goes on but we did have 2 nights of horrible sleep with loud creaking and snapping from the ceiling area. If you book the upper Havana areas on deck 6 and 7 it is important to know that the online floorplans show a staircase on port and starboard side on the aft but there is actually only a staircase on the port side. We used this staircase all the time to access the Havana Pool area. We missed having the usual 3 closets but managed with the 2. We used the large open shelves by the fridge for room service dishes (which were removed daily), pool towels and the bottom for shoes. I was able to fit a pop up hamper in the closet but not many shoes. Our closet was packed with wooden hangers. Havana Pool: We loved this area! It was usually quiet and always well taken care of. The hot tubs were wonderful and not crowded and the infinity pool lovely. Pool temperature was not too cold and we waded or swam in it very comfortably. There are attendant buttons on each cabana for service but we got our own drinks from the outside bar which wasn't crowded. Sometimes there was light music and sometimes no music. This area was a game changer for us and it would be hard to return to packed deck chairs and constant noise on the Lido. Too each his own but as we age we like the party noise less. Havana Bar: We loved this area but didn't stay very long inside as the air conditioning was too cold. Others used the game areas constantly for domino games or cards. It is beautifully themed and the design of the Havana bar is very nice. On the other Vista class ships there are tapas and snacks served in the Havana area but the bartender told us they removed this from the Panorama. Ocean Plaza deck 5: There is a small breakfast buffet here to avoid main deck 10 buffet crowds. My teens (18 and 15) enjoyed the live evening bands and it always seemed to have some trivia or crafts scheduled if you enjoy that in this multipurpose area. Room service: I use this regularly and didn't care for the quality of the room service food on this ship. The delivery people were nice but the quality was lacking in comparison to our other cruises. Dining: The waiters did a great job. We chose assigned dining at 8:15 but we were very disappointed that assigned dining is now in the smaller one story Horizon dining room. It felt cramped and with low ceilings. You can find videos about this on youtube. We really missed the grand open 2 story dining rooms we always had in the past. The "any time" diners get this larger Vista dining room now. So if you enjoy the large open opulent dining rooms be prepared to select "any time" dining. However, I've heard that the anytime service is much slower with long wait lines. We purchased a wine package of 5 wines and the waiters always pulled our bottles and had them ready at our table when we arrived. Entertainment: We enjoyed the entertainment a lot. I am a retired dancer and the show Rock Revolution was absolutely the best I've ever seen on a cruise ship. Don't miss this show! The fresh choreography, live music, projections, wonderful costuming, talent, unique makeup design, direction and most importantly commitment from the dancers was exceptional. Audiences loved the lighted drones. We also enjoyed the show Celestial Strings but the music of Rock Revolution was my favorite. Get there early for a good seat and note that the entertainers work throughout the main floor. We did have difficulty with the volume level in the Atrium Bar where musicians play in the evening. The string players were wonderful but the speakers were way too loud. It was impossible to sit at the Atrium bar and have a conversation. Service: Our servers were all very pleasant. There were a few items I had to ask my room attendant for (fresh washcloths, ice, clean glasses) but they were always provided when I asked. The wine I preordered was waiting for us in the room upon arrival. Our room service attendant asked us to pick a time for cleaning each day and I appreciated knowing when that would be. Excursions: As a veteran West Coast cruiser I arranged our excursions. We've done Carnival excursions before and there are benefits to that also. In Cabo I booked a 42' sailing yacht independently with Cabo Sailing. They provided snorkeling gear, towels, unlimited drinks and lunch. The team was personable and we loved it! Cruisetipstv has a great youtube video about this. We stayed onboard and enjoyed the ship in Mazatlán as it's not our favorite. In Puerto Vallarta we hung out in the Havana pool in the morning and took a taxi to the Malecon in the late afternoon for lunch at Bar Oceano. Walk all the way out of the port area for a less expensive taxi ride to Hotel Rosita and enjoy the walk along the Malecon to your lunch destination. Our taxi ride back to the cruise port was only $2 per person. Our children 18 and 15 enjoyed the water slides, pizza, ice cream and ropes course. They enjoyed the sky ride. The sky ride line was usually about 20 minutes but we talked to a fellow passenger who waited 1 1/2 hours. Our kids wanted to use the trampoline area but the only open reservations were during dinner. It's $12 per hour but more expensive for the rock and glow time. Food: Our favorite lunches were the Guys Pig and Anchor (free lunch on sea days out door bbq). Or at paid times the Pig and Anchor trash can nachos. We also like the Guys burgers on the Lido area. We tried the sushi place and it was great. I did not enjoy the $12 lobster roll from the crab shack. I asked for butter instead of mayo but still got mayo. I didn't finish it but the fried were good. My son really loved the fish and chips from the crab shack. Our drive home over the grapevine to northern CA was gorgeous as they had a huge snowstorm while we were gone. We are exhausted and I can't wait to book our next get away! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
So I have never done one of these before because there are always hundreds of reviews already, but since this ship is only a couple weeks old, I figured I would chime in. Cruised with my wife and daughter 20 and son 16. We have cruised ... Read More
So I have never done one of these before because there are always hundreds of reviews already, but since this ship is only a couple weeks old, I figured I would chime in. Cruised with my wife and daughter 20 and son 16. We have cruised together at least 5 times and my wife and I an additional 2-3 times. We have done Oasis of the Seas, a couple other RC ships, Disney Magic, and a Carnival cruise or two. Overall the ship was great to excellent. We sailed on 12/21 which was the second full week. I was somewhat concerned about the new ship, new crew, new situation, but honestly if I didn't know going in it was the second cruise, I would have had no idea. Ship and all the spaces were obviously brand new so no wear and tear whatsoever. Overall design was classic cruise ship. Nothing bars, restaurants, or common area wise that was over the top fantastic. Not sure what I was expecting in that realm, but there wasn't a lot of wow! check that out, that is unique. One possible exception was the video tower thing in the main atrium, that was pretty good. My opinion of the ship overall was that it was a big ship that they seemed to try to make small if that makes any sense. Take the Lido Marketplace buffet. Other ships I have been on, the buffet takes up the back or front of the ship and you know you are in a room with 100+ people. In this case, it is still 100+ people but the buffet is broken up over the back of the ship and broken up into sections, so you more feel there are 30 people in your section as opposed to 100+ overall. The Grand Atrium had the cool art and video installation, but was pretty small in terms of square footage going up several decks. Compare that the main promenade on some of the Royal Carribean ships where it is a huge open space in the center of the ship that goes up 4-5 decks. You walk into that and say "wow" because it is a massive "inside" space on a cruise ship. Now when you think about what you do in that space, it is perhaps a lousy use of space above your head. So my overall satisfaction wasn't affected by that missing, I just found it interesting. Cabins were small in my opinion and the balcony was small. Now there is a chance if you gave me the square footage of the cabins I have had, I would not be surprised if it was pretty close to others, but it felt small. A little more squeezing past the end of the bed to get to the balcony, squeezing out the door to get to the hallway, it just seemed that things were cramped. Balcony had a table and chairs and they seemed kind of "fit in" to the space that was there. We also had an inside cabin that seemed a little small as well. We were on deck 9 towards the back which is a great spot for access to the Lido Marketplace and the back pool deck. Cabin service was good. Things were clean. I did find it interesting that the cabin steward asked us early on when he should come in for the day and he came in one time. In the past it seems that every time you left, the dude came in like a ninja and folded towels and stuff, This time, he kind of came in once a day, Maybe once at night a couple times, but you didn't get the feeling where the guy was always around waiting to jump in when you left. Room was clean and that was totally fine with me, but something I noticed. Restaurants and Food In the past on other ships we have done the specialty restaurants often, but not on this cruise. Primary reason was that pretty much all the restaurants were sold out 6-9 for the entire cruise when we got on. I had not had that experience in the past. You can always get in the steakhouse or the asian place, but things were pretty booked up. We did cruise over Christmas and there were a lot of groups so maybe they booked out places, I am not sure. Dining room food was good and service was excellent, On our first day I think we sat in the section of Ivica, Nedelko and Musna. They were absolutely fantastic. My time dining always works better for my family, but the service and the relationship with the staff always suffered. You have more of that "cruise experience" when you do the structured seating in my opinion. In this case we requested their section every night and had to wait maybe an extra 20 minutes a couple of times, but it wasn't much of a hassle. They were great. The food overall in the dining room was pretty good. A good variety over the course of the week and I never resorted to the steak or fish on the "available every day" menu. Always plenty of food of course. Having the table waiters handle the bar is so much better than it used to be when you had to find the "bar" waiter. Additional food thoughts. Lido Marketplace food was good. The two different sections have some different food choices if you want to check out both. The Guy's Burger Bar on the pool deck was quite good. The Blue Iguana burrito and taco bar is kind of like a chipotle and is very good as well. 24 hour pizza was good as well. These were the primary 3 places open when you got back on the ship at 4 or 5 and they did a pretty good job of handling the pressure. Specialty restaurants - we did JiJi Asian kitchen one night and it was good. Presentation was nice and the selection was good. Plenty of food of course. Entertainment was good. I am never blown away by cruise entertainment but the production value and sets and such were good. Voice quality was at or above other cruises I have been on. Lots of live music all over the ship and that seemed to be emphasized which is nice. Activities - we did the deck dancing, played some bingo and some trivia. My son did the SKyzone trampoline park three times. it is pretty small, but he enjoyed it and the games and interactions were good for a sixteen year old. He said the skyride thing was fun and the top deck activities were good to excellent with cornhole, ping pong, soccer billiards. They never got to putting the actual score zones on the shuffle board which makes that game pretty stupid. Maybe they put it on by now. Ports and shore excursions. We did nothing through Carnival....but here you go. Long Beach - Is in LA so it's LA. We did Disney for a day on Friday before departure on Saturday so that was cool. Cabo San Lucas - we did ATVs with Cactus Tours through Costco Travel. It was okay, A little long. My girls were pretty tired after the trip as bouncing over stuff takes it out of you. Equipment was okay and training was pretty minimal. They kind said "4 gears, pull up to shift, let's go" and the shifting was rough some times. If you do this, you may want upgrade to the automatic for someone that isn't comfortable. Mazatlan - Stone island Bay and Beach party through Shore trips. Ended up being run by King David Tours. Ship was a little worn that took us around. Guy that ran the trip was good, but it was really just a boat ride to see a sea lion and an island off the coast and then we ended up at a nice beach On Stone Island that was about a 100 yards from the ship by water taxi that costs a dollar. If you are a beach person, ask someone at the port where to get the 2 minute water taxi to Stone Island, hike ten yards across the jetty and you are there. Plenty of restaurants, chairs to rent, tables to rent, banana boat rides, etc. Puerto Vallarta - Dune buggies with Unqiue ATV tours. Had to cab to their office for like 10 minutes. Always negotiate the cab fare in PV. Tour was good. Drove through town a little and up the mountain on dirt roads. So that is all I got. Struggled with the actual ratings a little. You can see I used the word "good" a lot and that is how I feel. Everything was fine and what you would expect on a big ship, but not something I would say you have to go on the Panorama for X. Never felt real crowded and there were lots of people. Would I take the cruise again when it is time for another cruise? Sure. If someone asked would I recommend it? sure. We pick cruises on itinerary and departure port and we prefer the big ships. LA was cheap to get to at Christmas and the cruise was great so I would say the value was there and would recommend it. A final thought - Christmas cruising seems to be a way of life for a lot of people. Coordinated outfits, pajamas, decorations, etc. It was fun to see it if you never have. If you have questions, let me know. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Overall it was a great time. New ship, new crew, new facilities all of that. Carnival did a great job with this new ship in creating some new classes and fun things to do onboard. Also the new Long Beach terminal was easy and fast for ... Read More
Overall it was a great time. New ship, new crew, new facilities all of that. Carnival did a great job with this new ship in creating some new classes and fun things to do onboard. Also the new Long Beach terminal was easy and fast for both embarkation and debarkation. However, the stateroom seemed smaller than on other Carnival ships I have sailed on, and the overall design of the ship made it seemed closed off and confined. The other critical thing that I want to mention is that a person needs to be aware that when they go on a Holiday Cruise, it is also a holiday for the ship crew. Many areas closed earlier in the evening than advertised so that staff Holiday parties could occur, and there were many additional people wearing staff uniforms in lines, such as at the pizza place, the speciality restaurants, etc, with their families and special guests. This made the lines move slower and things feel more crowded. It s not that I don’t think crew members are entitled to a holiday party, it is just something I have not seen on other cruises at the holidays and I was not prepared for. Overall it was a great cruise on a beautiful new ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
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