Embarkation: Our embarkation was delayed due to heavy fog. Carnival sent emails and text messages with updates and we were told they would start boarding at 3 p.m. We arrived at our parking location, Discount Cruise Parking (booked online ... Read More
Embarkation: Our embarkation was delayed due to heavy fog. Carnival sent emails and text messages with updates and we were told they would start boarding at 3 p.m. We arrived at our parking location, Discount Cruise Parking (booked online for $19 for the whole 5 days) at about 1:45. We arrived at the cruise terminal a little after 2 and we stood in line a long time. Wish we had waited till 3 p.m. to arrive. Once we completed check in and had our sail and sign cards, we went directly on to the ship and lunch was being served on Lido Deck.
We had cabin 9273. I don't recommend it. We had 2 adults and 2 children ages 11 and 13. The room was dated with some rust in the bathroom, and with the full length sofa made into a bed all of the time it felt cramped. Although the location was really convenient to all the fun, we were right by the forward elevators off the lido deck and people at the elevators could be really loud late at night. I'm just letting you know, because all of that was not really important to us and it didn't damper our vacation at all. One thing did have a bit of impact, the first night someone in a cabin above us was sick and it sprayed back onto our balcony. I had ordered coffee and Danish early morning to enjoy having on the balcony. So much for that idea. I reported it to our cabin steward but did not tell anyone else. They cleaned most of it that day, but when attempting to sit out on the balcony again we spotted several spots still on the deck. By Tuesday afternoon, the fourth day of our 5 day cruise, we were able to enjoy our balcony. It was a bummer because it was the first time I have stayed in a balcony cabin. I think I'll stick to inside from now on. Just a note, if you book early saver with Carnival and they offer you an upgrade, don't take it. I took an upgrade to a balcony and soon after the price dropped quite a bit on a 35 hour sale. I would have gotten the balcony upgrade for a lot less or an on board credit, but because I had taken the previously offered upgrade my early saver was no longer good. I spent more than necessary for the balcony. I won't do that again. If you book early saver just watch the price and grab the upgrade or onboard credit just before your cruise if applicable. No compensation was offered at all by Carnival for the price drop or the loss of 3 days of my balcony.
Now on to the good stuff (enough complaining, already.)
What's on Deck: The boys loved the basketball and ping pong, but their favorite was the Twister Slide. They even got old MawMaw here to give it a try. I was told later that they all had a good laugh at me screaming as I went around the twists of the slide. We only played mini golf once, not that great, but pretty cool to play golf on a ship :) My daughter and I enjoyed the hot tub, but found the pools to be too cold for us. My grandson won the prized Ship on a Stick for the bean bag throw and later his mom won one, also for the bean bag throw. There was almost always a DJ or videos on the Seaside Theater playing while we laid out on the Lido Deck. We never had much trouble finding a couple of chairs if you just go up one or two levels. They showed movies at night on the Lido Deck but we never made it to one of them.
Entertainment: We really enjoyed the Punchliner comedian's family show. The boys thought they were awesome. We never watched the adult show but I'm sure they were very funny. We didn't make it to the first singing/dance show but we watched the second on the last night. It was a bit slow at first but picked up later in the show. The female singer was really good. We all enjoyed the magic show a lot. On this cruise they had Christmas Carols and Snow (it was sort of like snow and sprayed out of machines)in the atrium one day and a visit from Santa on another day. I wish there had been a place to sit and enjoy a band, but the only area we found them playing was in the Casino Bar as we walked down the Promenade. There was just too much smoke to be able to linger and listen. As I said earlier, there was music on the lido deck almost all the time. The DJ was entertaining and most of the videos were okay. I only found one video to be seriously not suitable for families and there were a lot of kids on this cruise. I miss the bands that use to play on the Lido Deck for sail away and parties.
Food: OMG, I gained 4 pounds in 5 days. The pizzeria is at the back of the ship and is awesome. Guys Burger Joint was fresh and delicious, my oldest grandson is a burrito fanatic and he loved The Blue Iguana. Those two places are very convenient, outside by the pool. The ice cream machines were all working great and the ice cream was enjoyed often by my grandsons. I enjoyed Chopsticks (a variety of Asian dishes) and the deli. The buffet was good, but we didn't eat it much. We enjoyed the other places too much. We had anytime dining. We found the food to be very good. The boys tried Lobster for the first time and ended up getting seconds. I think the kids had the chocolate melting cake for dessert every night. There was plenty of variety and you could be adventurous or choose old favorites. We tried the Seaday Brunch which is included. Definitely go! We had filet mignon and eggs...what?
Service: Our cabin steward was very nice and polite. We had a towel animal every night. I would give him 5 stars except I had to ask for ice more than once and it took two days to get our balcony completely clean. I don't blame him because I know how hard these guys work. I gave him an extra tip....they deserve it. We had the best waitstaff ever in The London Dining Room. If you have kids traveling with you, ask for Spitz. He and his team, I Made and I Putu, went the extra mile every night we were lucky enough to get them. They are simply wonderful and this was Anytime Dining deck 3. I can't remember her name but the bar tender in Alchemy was outstanding. Splurge a little and do the martini tasting class. So worth it. The bar staff on the Lido Deck were great. They came around often, were not intrusive and got your drinks to you quick. Be prepared to pay though. Drink specials were $7.95 and that didn't include tip or a souvenir glass.
All in all, we very much enjoyed our cruise. I would not hesitate to book another one. My husband and I always go on 7 day cruises, but I think the 5 day cruise was great, especially with kids.