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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
This cruise was an award to employees of my wife's healthcare facility. I had to pay my own way... We don't have any frame of reference. As a man, I know this may sound strange but I don't like large, tight crowds or high ... Read More
This cruise was an award to employees of my wife's healthcare facility. I had to pay my own way... We don't have any frame of reference. As a man, I know this may sound strange but I don't like large, tight crowds or high stress/high anxiety situations. Initially, I was kind of reluctant about going on a cruise and having to deal with wall-to-wall people. We drove to Long Beach from Phoenix and spent the night on the Queen Mary. As a first time cruiser, I thought it would be more stressful than bording an airplane. It wasn't! We got to the terminal early, they had a convienient parking garage nearby. We walked over to the exit of the parking garage and there was a gentleman collecting luggage for the cruise. I had pre-printed my luggage tags and attached them so I just left my bags with him! Easy peasy! We hung out in the sparse terminal for about 30-45 minutes. They started bording early, (we were in the 1:00-1:30 bording group) and we borded around 11:30. We relaxed until our bording group was called and we went up the ramp and borded the ship. Again, low stress! We borded the ship, were directed to the Lido deck for lunch and only had to kill time until our room would be ready at 1:30. We grabbed lunch, a drink and explored the ship. When we got to our room, our ID cards were tucked in behind our room # badge. We grabbed them, stuck it in the door and it opened. All we needed was luggage. I had noticed luggage carts near one of the elevators on our floor so I went down there and found our luggage, (they would have brought it to our room but we wanted our bathing suits!). From there on, it was smooth sailing! (No pun intended). We didn't have any expectations since we'd never been on a cruise but, I have to say, it was a riot! The party in the atrium every night was a lot of fun! I enjoyed seeing so many people having fun together. We saw a 70's and 80's show, a Motown show, two atrium parties, had an nice dinner, went to a, "Tase of Mexico" excursion in Ensenata to learn a couple of Mexican culinary staples as well as some tequila! (Margarita's while making food then 6 shots of tequila when learning about tequila). There were other excursions but we live near Mexico and the the towns don't vary much so we weren't interested in shopping. Our excursion was within walking distance of the ship so we walked back after our excursion. All in all, I only have a couple complaints. For first-time cruisers, you have to get to know the schedule for on-ship events. Also, there is a new schedule that is put out for each day of your cruise. Some are duplicates, some are different. We'll know to get a new schedule every day on our next cruise. Second, I never received any tickets to the excursion we paid for. I only had the receipt that I paid for it. They asked me for my tickets and I didn't have any! I figured they could get it off my "cruise card". No bueno. We got around it and they wrote a, "duplicate" pass but I didn't know I needed tickets. We're both 60-ish and like to relax in a kid-free environment. Don't get me wrong; we knew there would be kids on the cruise. They have an, "adult" area with two small hot tubs and a bunch of lounge chairs. That's fine. Except, they NEED MORE hot tubs and chairs! The chairs were always full and so were the hot tubs. This adult retreat needs to be bigger. On the Lindo deck, the hot tubs were always full of kids, surlely pissing them. I also thought the pool was quite small considering the ship holds 2000 people. These are minor complaints... Lastly, my wife and I like comedy shows. They had comedy shows every night. The problem was, the early shows, (9:30) were PG rated to accomodate kids! We would have to wait until at least 10:30 or later to see the adult shows. I think, if you have adult comedy, they shouldn't' have to dumb down their act to accomodate kids under 12. Give them their own show in a different room with, oh I don't know, Mickey Mouse telling Minnie Mouse jokes. What I'm saying is, when you're 60 and get up for work everyday at 3:45 AM, trying to stay up until 10:30 to accomodate children is not what I've worked for, for 45 years! I'm still giving the Inspiration 4 stars overall. We've already booked an October cruise, hoping there will be fewer kids.The whole experience was fun, enlightening, easy and memorable! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Summary. We are a party of 10 cruising – 6 adults, 4 teenage girls. Overall positive experience, found the ship and staterooms to be clean, friendly staff overall. Enjoyed the restaurants over buffet. The crew works very hard and ... Read More
Summary. We are a party of 10 cruising – 6 adults, 4 teenage girls. Overall positive experience, found the ship and staterooms to be clean, friendly staff overall. Enjoyed the restaurants over buffet. The crew works very hard and deserve the gratuities. Many pros/ cons and key recommendations to help plan your trip! First the positives: 1) Download and use the carnival app. It’s a great way to communicate (chat plan) with your party and source for the daily activities, restaurant hours, and ability to monitor your daily portfolio spend. $5pp for entire cruise a bargain! 2) Excellent room upkeep and service! Room steward will quickly know your names on day 1. Offer to clean your room 2x a day or 1x a day, your choice (and you note this on form day 1). 1x in the morning was fine for us. Tip them! 3) Cruise director / Emma is great. “Hello lovelies” will stick with your after this cruise. It’s really funny when she laughs at herself with this unique chuckle and then the audience laughs at that. She is really fantastic. Oh yeah, she is from England. 4) Food in restaurants is pretty good! Dinner and breakfast. Now the negatives: 1) Entertainment for most part sub-par compared to other cruises. They do work hard and try, but seems budget is limited. Limited to comedians, lip-sync, customer engaged event shows, and few production dancing shows. The 80s show was fantastic and a must see! Finally some better comedians came onto the ship last few days. Emma cruise director is doing a fantastic job trying! 2) Very noisy areas in main pool area and much of the ship in general. Loud speakers, kids running, etc. This is more of a kids ship and hard to find quiet areas for adults, but there are some hidden areas. See below. 3) Expect long waits for: Restaurants if you do ‘any time dining’ we waited 45min average given our large party of 10. Expect shorter for 4 or less parties. 4) Long lines at: Pizza Pirate near the adult pool. Expect 30 people plus waiting and 1 worker making pizza. Priority goes to the $5 delivery person so expect a wait for 30-45min to pick-up your slice of pizza. Late night pizza lines given limited food options. To management, can you not add another person making fresh pizzas to cut down this line? Tips & Recommendations 1) Install/ use the Carnival app. A bargain for $5 per person for entire cruise. Have everyone in your party do this and you can chat on the ship for meet-ups and know the hours for restaurants and daily activities for entertainment. 2) Bring your own cups (e.g. YETI) to fill with water, lemonade, tea, etc. at the 9th floor deck. The larger the cups the better. Fill them at breakfast and bring to your room. The little green and yellow cups they provide hold about 6 oz. of liquid. Ice is plentiful. Water refill at buffet area, poolside, or bars. Even keeps your beer colder longer! 3) Bring a 3-prong power socket extender. There is ONLY 1 power outlet in your rooms (well, another behind the TV and used for that). You will need to charge multiple phones etc. Or bring a portable charger for your phones. 4) Bring binoculars if you wish to see passing boats, distance, shore excursions, beach, dolphins, etc. 5) Bring a case of water or buy on day 1. You get 2 large bottles day 1 and that will go quick. 6) Wine/ Wine package. Bring your bottle of wine onto ship day 1 only, why not? Else, cost is $35 bottle average. The wine beverage package (3 bottles for $80 with auto-tax) is worth it comes to $26 bottle for standard wines (given auto gratuity) or higher price for premium wines. 7) Best quiet spot for a book or just snooze in the breeze. 3rd floor outside deck under the life boats. There is also the ‘Serenity deck’ for age 21 and up top floor front of ship. Can be crowded there. 8) For large parties eating together at ‘anytime dining’ send someone down to put your name down and get a pager. Will cut your time down for waiting from 45 minutes to 10 minutes. 9) Alcohol in general. Gratuity of 18% auto added to every adult beverage., expect $10 drinks average. The carnival craft brew was great. Value of getting $18 beer pitchers. 10) Teenagers can visit the sports deck for volleyball, basketball and hanging out with others. 11) Auto applied Gratuities for your team members: Vary by cabin, but example $112 pp in cabin allocated to restaurant staff ($55), room service ($35), and group for all others ($22). Posted 2 days before end of cruise, and you can make adjustments at the front desk +/- and allocation % to your preference. 12) Unless you buy/ plan for roaming leave all phones in Airplane mode. Friend charged $3000 prior trip by AT&T and even though I requested all our family to keep in airplane mode, daughter still activated for a few hours and AT&T sent us email for international data of ~$200 for Bahamas temporary use of her social media. Food options 1) Avoid the daily buffet (there is MUCH better options with the restaurant, else Guys Burgers, B-Que). My view is more of poor food quality and lacking taste at buffet and sanitary conditions. Do you really want to touch the tongs that everyone else on the ship is using to server their food including all the kidos! 2) Use the restaurants, they are excellent for breakfast and dinner. From salmon bagels cream cheese capers to steak (filet mignon) and eggs. Yumm. Brunch menu. Dinner options have extensive menu options. 3) Dinner Formal nights. Lobster on the menu for one night and filet mignon the other. Yes, you can get as many lobsters as you can eat! 4) Lunch: Recommend Bque restaurant on 10th floor. Across from steakhouse. Many don’t know about this place given a bit hidden. 5) Lunch. Recommend Guy’s burgers and pizza take out. Pizza is actually very good. 6) Lunch: The sandwich window, excellent meatball sandwich. All are actually great. 7) Breakfast: Eat at the dining room or order room service. 8) Free drinks stations at the buffet areas. Ice, Water, Lemonade, ice tea, coffee. Found the coffee was surprising good and strong. There is a custom coffee shop for $5 coffee, but my view is standard coffee is fine in dining rooms. You can also get coffee delivered room-service! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose Carnival Pride because the departure city of Baltimore is about an hour away, so no airfare required. Drove to the harbor and had to wait maybe 20 minutes for luggage drop-off and parking. Check-in went quickly at our appointed ... Read More
We chose Carnival Pride because the departure city of Baltimore is about an hour away, so no airfare required. Drove to the harbor and had to wait maybe 20 minutes for luggage drop-off and parking. Check-in went quickly at our appointed time. The walk up the gangplank is a bit of a hike if you're out of shape and lugging much carry-on. We splurged on this cruise because we were celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary, and were really happy with our Grand Suite, except the lack of outlets. See below for cabin review. But I will add that we LOVED having a nice big balcony, so there was no need to compete for space around the pools, all of which were extremely crowded, including the Serenity area. If I had wanted to be in the pools, I would have found that very annoying. Dinner every night was in the main dining room, where we took the late seating. Initially assigned to a table for 4, our dining partners moved to a table with a window, so we had the table to ourselves all week - yay! Wait staff was friendly and efficient, and brought us a special little dessert for our anniversary. Once hubby found out he could pick and choose entrees and sides, have dessert as an appetizer and take another dessert back to the cabin to eat later, he was a happy camper! I enjoyed sampling the more adventurous options - but overdid it at the start of the week and by the end of the week was keeping it simpler. I was a little disappointed that a number of guests did not comply with the dining room dress codes at all, even on the formal nights (a few wearing shorts, t-shirt, and baseball cap). I appreciate that the ship doesn't want to be clothing police, but it would be nice if people understand that it brings the experience down for other diners if they're dressed like they went to McDonalds. At least a polo shirt and slacks would have been a decent compromise (even though that's technically what's expected the rest of the week at dinner, right?) We mostly enjoyed our cabin, balcony, and casino. Line dancing on Lido deck was fun. Dr. Dre was outstanding as cruise director - so much energy and humor! But we didn't really partake of other entertainment or activities this time around - just wanted relaxation. Port #1 - Grand Turk: Excursion Deep Sea/Reef Fishing - We had a blast. Six cruisers on the boat, and we caught 3 baracuda! Had the option to stop trolling and go bottom fishing to catch more, but we were all having fun so we kept trolling for the big guys! Port #2 - Half Moon Cay: No excursion. Rented snorkel and enjoyed a little self-guided exploration. Port #3 - Freeport: Excursion - Ocean Swim with Dolphins! YES! This was so much fun - I highly recommend, even though it's pricey. It was a bucket list item. Swimming in the lagoon would be better for people not comfortable swimming in deep ocean with fins. Back on the ship - our steward Farry was really nice, and did a great job taking care of us. We asked for ice twice a day, and there it was! We blew up an extension cord (oops) and he got a replacement. Very efficient and thoughtful. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This cruise was a family cruise with 2 grandparents, two toddlers, 1 teen, and 9 adults on the Carnival Vista sailing out of Galveston, TX to Cozumel, Belize and Mahogany Bay. This was my 7th cruise and 5th with Carnival so I am ... Read More
This cruise was a family cruise with 2 grandparents, two toddlers, 1 teen, and 9 adults on the Carnival Vista sailing out of Galveston, TX to Cozumel, Belize and Mahogany Bay. This was my 7th cruise and 5th with Carnival so I am getting to the point of knowing what to expect when cruising and I'll share my thoughts on this one. EMBARKATION This was the first time in 7 cruises that I felt like I basically showed up and walked right on the ship. I wanted the Faster to the Fun when I first booked the cruise, but it was sold out which was a good thing because it wasn't needed. We had a 12:30 - 1:00 check-in window and were in our rooms by 1. TIP: Bring a backpack to carry on your wine, (soda) pop and the things you might need before you can get to your room and luggage. Check everything else in with the porter so you don't have to drag it on the ship. SHIP We chose the Vista because it was one of the newer bigger ships and we like to try different ships. I felt the Vista was very clean, the decor (for Carnival) was nice and there was tons to do onboard. If you are the type that likes to just stay on the ship from start to finish, I don't think you could ever be bored and not find something to do everyday. The biggest perks on this ship for our family were the waterpark and slides, Skyride, Rope course and the hot tubs which I felt were never crowded. We also did the Thrill Theatre which was fun for a one time try. One of the biggest complaints I've read about this ship were the missing glass elevators. I didn't feel it was ever crowded enough on the ship to miss them. Wait times were busy during high peak hours, but we just used the stairs in those cases. TIP: Enjoy all of the aboard activities during non-peak times when possible. If there is a port you are staying on the ship or a big event happening you are not interested in, then go take advantage of the pools, slides, rides, mini golf etc.. We didn't get off the ship at Mahogany Bay until mid afternoon and had a great time in the pools. CABIN We all had balcony cabin on the Lido deck (10) and I can't see ever booking a cruise without those cabins. You are right there were everything is happening - food, activities, bars, movie theatre and more. Our cabin was nice. Wasn't noisy aside from the balcony door slamming occasionally. The stateroom attendant always kept our ice filled, cleaned our room twice a day and asked if we needed anything from time to time. FOOD & DINING We didn't use the buffet's for any food, because we didn't need to as there were so many other options. We did get deserts from the buffet area and really like the Gelato ice cream. Favorites were Guy's Burgers, Blue Iguana Cantina (great tacos) Pizzeria, Deli and a few others. Never stood in line for anything more than a couple of minutes tops other than for the pizza that still wasn't that long. We had early dining and had a great wait staff. I am not a picky eater and love to try different things and found there was a very good selection of food. Love the "Ports of Call" selections. However, I do feel like the dining room food was not as good as our previous Carnival cruises. Tasty, maybe just not as flavorful as past sailings. TIP: If you never been on a cruise or just didn't know, you can order as many things as you like at the dining room. Didn't like your spare ribs? Order something else off the menu. You can also get hidden items like the Banana Split if you ask the waiter. Also if you are not a fan of the sauces or spices they put on then ask to have your meal served plain and then have them bring you a particular condiment you like. ENTERTAINMENT We did a couple of the comedy club shows and they were funny. Trivia is always a family favorite and we finally got to bring home a Ship on a Stick trophy. Movies Under the Stars is always a great way to relax for us. We didn't do the shows at the main theatre, but heard they were good. Cruise Director Matt is the best in the business. Always had us laughing and threw a great deck party. TIP: If you want to take advantage of the onboard entertainment get the whole group there early to get good seats. Saving seats is frowned upon and should be. There is nothing worse than getting to a show early and finding one person has ten seats saved. DRINKS We are not big drinkers, except on cruises. This was the first cruise where we decided to try the Cheers program. Worth the money if you take advantage of all they have to offer - milkshakes, specialty coffees, (soda) pop, and 15 a day in alcoholic drinks. I felt like there were plenty of opportunities to get your money's worth without having to try and get to your drink limit. TIP: For the Cheers program, always ask for premium liquor in any of your cocktails. Since you cannot use your drink package on the first day of the cruise leaving the Galveston port, bring on your own bottle of wine to have the first night. Don't plan on drinking much on a particular day? Get a couple shots and put them in your rooms mini fridge for when you do. PORTS AND EXCURSIONS Cozumel - This was some of our family's fourth time at this port and always a favorite. Plenty to do on this island without buying an expensive excursion. We decided to take a taxi to Sky Reef and had a lot of fun. It was less than $200 for 7 of us to snorkel, have a drink, get a backrub, taste some tequila and enjoy the area. TIP: Do some research and you will find plenty of things to do at Cozumel fairly cheap with just a taxi ride to them. Belize - We did buy an excursion for this one as we felt it was safer to do. We did the Cave tubing with lunch and it didn't disappoint. The bus ride was long to and from the place but our guide did a great job of keeping us entertained - Yeah Man! Cave tubing was fun and interesting. Lunch was tasty and I recommend getting the Cashew wine for the trip back. TIP: Bring water shoes and some cash for the gift shop. If you have health issues, keep in mind that there is a little bit of a trek through the rain forest including walking up some wooden stairs all the while carrying your tub. Grandparents had a little bit of a struggle keeping up with the group. Mahogany Bay - This was your basic beach port with amenities. Nothing fantastic, but we had a relaxing time. It's nice to have a port where you can get off the ship, stretch your legs and not have to pay for anything. TIP: No need to bring snorkel gear to this place. Really nothing of worth to see here. DISEMBARKATION Worst part of the cruise in my opinion. Carnival is not totally to blame, but things could have been done better. I didn't care for the way they provided the information for the disembarkation process the night before getting off the ship. Didn't hear the announcement or see that they had a stand for the tags so we ended up not getting any luggage tags and had to carry off all of our luggage. Oh well, lessons for next time. Due to customs issues there was a super long wait to get people off the ship as well as having to stand in a long line to get through customs. If you are carrying all of your luggage, have toddlers and senior citizens, standing in a long line for over an hour can test your nerves. TIP: Don't be in a hurry to get off the ship. Go enjoy a nice breakfast at the dining room. Kick back and relax in your cabin until you have to get out and then go find a nice place to sit until they call your deck to leave. Also, find out the disembarkation process the day before leaving if you want luggage tags. VISTA EXPERIENCE The whole family loved this ship and had a great time. There was plenty to do for all ages and never felt we didn't get our money's worth. For a big ship with lots of people nothing was ever crowded, and did about everything we wanted to do onboard. Other than disembarkation, we never had any problems with the whole process from booking to being on the cruise. FINAL TIPS: First time cruisers do plenty of research. Watch videos, read reviews and find out what you can before you go. This will help you have a better time while onboard. Watch the Cruise TV in your cabin to see what's going on and read your Fun Times. Have a waterproof watch on so you know what time it is and allow you to be early to the activities and entertainment. Relax, have a good time and remember that you are not a work, you don't have to cook, clean or make your bed. Happy Cruising! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This was perfect for our two first time cruisers. Not too big, not too long and ports that have lots to choose from. Same great Carnival food, service and dance parties as the big ships. Benefits of a smaller ship and carnival include ... Read More
This was perfect for our two first time cruisers. Not too big, not too long and ports that have lots to choose from. Same great Carnival food, service and dance parties as the big ships. Benefits of a smaller ship and carnival include fastest and friendliest dinner service at sea. Also way easier to get on and off of than a mega ship. It was a younger, rowdier crowd than we’re used to seeing on cruise ships out of Florida. Older ship with no rock climbing walls or ropes course and only one pool. But maintained very well. It works for a short cruise with one sea day. I wouldn’t want a longer cruise with more sea days on this ship. Drinks were way more expensive than any cruise we’ve ever been on. You need to have planned excursions tours or daypasses in Bahamas. We always go to Atlantis in Nassau. We got a day pass for viva Wyndham fortuna in Freeport. Was really great day. Kayaking some snorkeling pools great beach buffets snack bars and drinks included. They have a scuba shop but we did not use it. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I have cruised with Carnival over 100 days. I live close to 2 cruise ports and take advantage of the same day drive to the port. I picked this cruise because it was 8 days and went to Key West. I had not been there in 6 years. This was ... Read More
I have cruised with Carnival over 100 days. I live close to 2 cruise ports and take advantage of the same day drive to the port. I picked this cruise because it was 8 days and went to Key West. I had not been there in 6 years. This was also my first trip to Half Moon Cay. Embarkation was very smooth and we walked on the ship immediately after going through security. We had lunch at the Anchor BBQ and it was very good. Overall we had a good cruise. There were some negatives. Our cabin was on the Riveria Deck in bow. The room was in good shape and the A/C worked very well. We heard some complaints by other passengers that their A/C did not work and rooms were warm. Our room steward did a great job. We had late dining in the aft dining room. Late dining is not my cup tea. Eating at 8:30 to 9:00 is too late. This not the ships fault. We booked late and that is all that was available. The wait staff did a great job. However, the menu is becoming boring. The menu has had very few changes over the years. I do not enjoy the shows in the theater. I did enjoy the family friendly comedy shows. The musicians were a mixed bag. The brass section was good and some of the solo artist were good. Carnival is a lower end cruise experience. Carnival is not a luxury cruise ship and it is not a gourmet food experience. People will over indulge and you will hear more foul language than you may want to hear. We also had someone throw up in the main pool on the last sea day and it had to be drained and refilled. Also the hairy chest contest is not for children. It can be over risque when the participants have over indulged. On debarkation, 5 NO policemen and a police dog escorted someone off the ship in handcuffs. Overall, we enjoyed the cruise and you can find plenty of places on the ship to get away from the crazies. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
First run fresh from the yards, Norfolk was easy on, just don't get there before your boarding time because you will wait. We had the aft balcony stateroom, nice large balcony. The ship looks great for a 20 yr old vessel. Food was ... Read More
First run fresh from the yards, Norfolk was easy on, just don't get there before your boarding time because you will wait. We had the aft balcony stateroom, nice large balcony. The ship looks great for a 20 yr old vessel. Food was better than we expected, steak house knocked it out of the park. Seafood shack was very good as was the Bbq and of course the burgers, deli and pizza also good.Service was a little confused in the dining room the first few nights but did come together, We do not eat sushi on cruise ships so we passed on this and we did enjoy thr italian restaurant. All in all the ship did seem a little crowded at times, 3008 on our 7 day run to Grand Turk, Half Moon and Freeport, we have visited these ports before and feel you only need to see these ports once so we stayed aboard and we enjoyed the ship on these days. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We took this cruise in 2015 and as it was our first cruise we enjoyed the cruise experience and were totally satisfied. With our second cruise on the same ship we noticed some degradation in quality, especially in the dining experiences. ... Read More
We took this cruise in 2015 and as it was our first cruise we enjoyed the cruise experience and were totally satisfied. With our second cruise on the same ship we noticed some degradation in quality, especially in the dining experiences. There seemed to be less staff to bus and clean tables on this trip. The food was mediocre at the buffet, much better at Guys Burger and the delicatessen. Pizza advertised as pan pizza definetly was not and had a coat of flower on the bottom, crust was dry and thin and crispy. We ordered a complimentary Ceasar Salad it was horrible. Did not resemble a Ceasar in any way. The dressing was a tasteless milky substance and we refused to eat it. Room was clean and well tended by Mega, who was very friendly and attentive. Slight odor in bathroom. Cabin windows needed to be cleaned on the outside. Entertainment facilities were well used and fun, the mini golf area had been renovated since our last visit. Shows were fun and lively. Staff throughout the ship was friendly throughout the ship; although, it seemed far fewer spoke adequate English on this cruise and was often difficult to communicate with general staff. The two excursions we chose were fun and informative, great value. Overall a fun experience and we still consider the cruise full of positive memories. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
wanted to try a different ship and port......conquest was nice... staff friendly....food ok-with exception of the steak house!!!! It was over the top!!! the prime steak house was very nice wait staff very eager and helpful food was out of ... Read More
wanted to try a different ship and port......conquest was nice... staff friendly....food ok-with exception of the steak house!!!! It was over the top!!! the prime steak house was very nice wait staff very eager and helpful food was out of this world!!!! The chef came to the table and I could not have been more pleased!!! The "art of dessert" was fantastic!!! we will do this again! This meal would have cost more than $200.00 back home...Book early and enjoy! The Barbeque was not to my liking...On the Magic it was fantastic ...don't know what happened here on the conquest. I thought that the quantity of the food offered at the blue Iguana was lacking..two pieces of chicken on a burrito and five shrimp in a bowl come on. The spa was fantastic!!!! a young lady from south Africa gave me the men's day at the spa with a professional shave and haircut facial and massage..IT WAS SOOOOO GOOOOD! Casino was ok at first and too smoke filled for me so, after one evening there I did not return....cant there a smoke free cruise? Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
Third cruise; first on Carnival. New Orleans, Roatan, Belize City, Cozumel. Embark/disembark very smooth and efficient. Stateroom: Balcony near aft elevators deck 7. Room pleasant, normal, functional. Had two 12-pack cases of ... Read More
Third cruise; first on Carnival. New Orleans, Roatan, Belize City, Cozumel. Embark/disembark very smooth and efficient. Stateroom: Balcony near aft elevators deck 7. Room pleasant, normal, functional. Had two 12-pack cases of water pre-ordered and delivered to room. Good idea. Ship has sub-par water. Small balcony had push open door rather than sliding. Food: Guy Fieri's Hamburger Joint and his themed Pig and Anchor BBQ. If these were in my town I'd be a regular customer. 24 hour pizza: If this was in my town => out of business in a week. Main dining (Anytime): Ok. Good service, mostly good food. Crew gets celebration going regularly during dinner. Ate off the regular menu; good flat iron steak, poor, skimpy shrimp cocktails. creative appetizers, sides of veggies kinda small, deserts ok+. Feast night ordered two lobster tails. Good idea. Breakfast: Main dining room, not crowded. Good. (eggs benedict). Good coffee. Buffet, Pretty good. Deli made good sandwiches. 24 hr soft serve ice cream stations good. Experienced very few and limited lines or much trouble finding a table. Could have been due to 800 passengers for a business conference who mainly were out of site and may have eaten together when not in meetings. We tended to use the stairs a lot; two flights up/down to stuff. Nice, quiet, get away place in Library room. Movies under the stars were ok, but surrounded by several open bars with folks enjoying a good (noisy) time. Catch the comedians at the Punchline club. Shows in main theater were ok+. Cruise director was great. Over all, would cruise again with them (taking note of 800 preoccupied conference people and some other reviewers talking about long lines). Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Have to commend the captain as he had some very difficult decisions to make but he managed to still get us our 5 stops. Wasn't very happy with the food. Main dining room menu didn't change very much and food was not as good as ... Read More
Have to commend the captain as he had some very difficult decisions to make but he managed to still get us our 5 stops. Wasn't very happy with the food. Main dining room menu didn't change very much and food was not as good as I have had on other ships. Entertainment wasn't as good either. Loved the daytime trivia, seemed to always be a trivia to go to and Chloe the entertainments manager was great. Thought the evening shows could have been a lot better. Room and bathroom were plenty big enough and always clean. Staff very friendly and always ready to help. Embarkation and disembarkation went without a hitch and used Carnival for transport to airport. Shore excursions were mainly booked privately but all went very well and most enjoyable, must say Isle of Pines is now my favourite island. Loved the outside cinema and watched a few good movies there. Also happy to see a few members of staff moving towels so others could sit down. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
This cruise was a sibling reunion - 5 brothers/sisters and spouses. We booked 5 oceanview rooms at the back of the boat, deck 2. It was wonderful to hear the hum of the engine as we slept and to see the wake, but be aware that when ... Read More
This cruise was a sibling reunion - 5 brothers/sisters and spouses. We booked 5 oceanview rooms at the back of the boat, deck 2. It was wonderful to hear the hum of the engine as we slept and to see the wake, but be aware that when docking (and occasionally other times) there is a lot of engine noise. Our room steward (Silvana) was great! The rooms were clean and adequate. Walls and ceilings are magnetic, so bring magnetic clips! We sat at a large round table for dining and chose late dining (8:15). It was a bit later than we would have liked, but the early dining was too early. We loved our servers!! (Olga, I Madi and Widi). They made dining a highlight of the cruise. The food and selection was very good - much better than we expected! One comment (complaint actually) is that they have stopped putting tablecovers on except for formal nights, and the noise in the dining room is extreme - we couldn't talk to the people across the table from us! The entertainment was disappointing - not bad, per se, but lacking in variety and imagination. I'm not sure who they are catering to, but it didn't seem to be very popular with any group! Some cruises we have been on have had full broadway shows, cirque du soleil type acrobatics, professional ballroom dancers, music for all eras, lots of color and costumes, etc. The comedians were fine, the magician was okay - we never made it to the piano bar. The ship itself was clean and had nice amenities - fun mini golf and water slides and a nice outdoor theater, good hot tubs. The central atrium wasn't very exciting or beautiful. We had beautiful weather and wonderful stops, so all in all this was a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose carnival because of family recommendations. ship is old. it's decor belies it's age, but it's immaculate from bow to stern. We cruised with another company last year and their ship was not something they could be ... Read More
We chose carnival because of family recommendations. ship is old. it's decor belies it's age, but it's immaculate from bow to stern. We cruised with another company last year and their ship was not something they could be proud of. Dining room server, i putu, and his assistant were a wonderful, fun, helpful twosome. And the dining is no longer just " food". No, it's come a long way from what you might expect. It was d__n good! Our cabin stewart, ida, was amazing. My wife and i couldn't believe how fast and thorough she was.....smiling all every time and with a jovial greeting.and let us assure you, the place was always squeaky clean. Carnival has improved vastly. and we'll be back to spend another wedding anniversary with them. We starting to dream about the next anniversary. Where you see us give a four star rating for any facet of our voyage, just add another half! ! ! ! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
I did not chose. My brother did and we went with him. He choose this trip for 2 reasons. 1 It was in the Eastern Caribbean 2 It had a cabin type 4j we had good weather, the food was good, but not great. the entertainment was ok. I ... Read More
I did not chose. My brother did and we went with him. He choose this trip for 2 reasons. 1 It was in the Eastern Caribbean 2 It had a cabin type 4j we had good weather, the food was good, but not great. the entertainment was ok. I liked the Sunshine better than the Dream or the Libertyonly thing that I did not know was the cabin was a handicap room until I paid my final payment. Because it did have a larger bathroom but it is not a good room to make into a king size bed. our room was 7103. most of the food seems bland, it is like they try too hard to make fancy food. It would be nice if they had some just plain food. besides burgers. The soft serve ice cream is bad. I have not found it to be good on any of the previous 5 cruises I have taken. I have traveled with 3 different cruise lines. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise for a sibling/extended family getaway. We flew from Houston and chose the Carnival bus for the transfer from the airport. At the airport Carnival personnel directed us to a Carnival desk where we got our boarding ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a sibling/extended family getaway. We flew from Houston and chose the Carnival bus for the transfer from the airport. At the airport Carnival personnel directed us to a Carnival desk where we got our boarding passes and transfer receipt for to and from the ship. The bus was prompt and the trip was fine. At the ship luggage was loaded without our having to touch it. Boarding was what we expected. Our balcony cabin was ready before the appointed time. Checked luggage was delivered promptly. In the cabin a hinge was broken on one closet door. The mirror in the bathroom was deteriorated, there were two holes in the couch and the locking device on the balcony door was broken. We called guest services and were promised quick repairs. They never came. Exterior maintenance of the ship was needed. Our cabin steward, Komang, introduced himself right away. He was one of the best cabin stewards we have ever had. (we have been cruising 40 years) The safety drill went smoothly and was not stressful as some are. Folks in the casino were friendly and helpful to new players. The dining room crew was very nice, except for Evelyn, in charge of seating, who needs and attitude adjustment. Bohan came to our rescue and arranged fro us to have a nightly table for 12. He oversaw things and our dining room experience was a highlight because of him. The food was average for cruising except for the lobster which was done to perfection. Entertainment in the theater is standard Carnival, one troupe performing for the entire cruise. Not bad but very repetitious. The ports were fine. We had been to Porto Rico and St Thomas before and really enjoyed The Dominican and Grand Turk. Debarkation was smoother than we expected but the transfer back to Miami airport was a bit stressful. Overall we had a good time and will sail with Carnival again, as we have many times before, but not on the Magic. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Basic balcony room, with ocean view and chairs to kick back in. Housekeeping team were very efficient in maintaining our rooms. Dining was always on par, quick friendly service, all dining request were accomodated. Entertainment was a ... Read More
Basic balcony room, with ocean view and chairs to kick back in. Housekeeping team were very efficient in maintaining our rooms. Dining was always on par, quick friendly service, all dining request were accomodated. Entertainment was a new group of performers that "WOW'ED" all of there shows. Those were the Pros; Cons; The ship's photographers were aggressive in getting photo's at every opportunity they see you. AVOID THE EFFY JEWELRY STORE! It is truly buyer beware at this place. I found a nice ring only later to find it was nothing more than costume jewelry grade piece at fine jewelry prices. Don't be dubbed as I was. Duty Free Store; If any of your have learn to price shop, then it should be obivous that there prices (even with rebates) are above the prices at your local CVS, Rite-Aid, etc. For the most part, the cruise forfilling there hospitalitly was Very Good to Excellent. Just know where the traps are. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Embarkation was smooth and we boarded the ship very quickly. We parked at the port that also added to the convenience. Our first meal was as at the Seaside BBQ. The BBQ was very good (chicken, pork and beef). The BBQ beans were not good. ... Read More
Embarkation was smooth and we boarded the ship very quickly. We parked at the port that also added to the convenience. Our first meal was as at the Seaside BBQ. The BBQ was very good (chicken, pork and beef). The BBQ beans were not good. There were 4 in our group and we were all in agreement about the beans. My wife and Ihave been on over 12 cruises each. We have become complacent with the food. Over the past several years the main dining entrees have remained the same. Therefore, we do not eat in the main dining room every evening. We did eat the first elegant night and the service was great. The staff always called us by our name and we're very friendly. The food was good, but the lobsters are small and slightly over cooked which causes them to be tough/chewy. I had the Maui Maui and the sea bass on the trip and both were very good. We also had the flat iron steak and it was tough. Our favorite meal is having breakfast in the Plush dining room. The food is much better than the Lido breakfast. The eggs are cooked to order and the French toast is delicious. Manfredo provided great service at breakfast. I did eat breakfast a few times on Lido. I few times I got a lump of uncooked goo in my scrambled eggs. I enjoyed the musical entertainment on the ship. Travis played in the Red Frog Pub and was very good. We also listened to Patrick in the Piano Bar. He puts a lot of energy in his show. However, it is definitely 18+. Maybe 24+. Please do not take the kids, adults only. The Variety Violins playing in the Atrium were also very good for an alternative style of music. We did spend some time on the Lido deck around the main pool. It was very crowded and difficult to find a chair. Carnival does not prevent people from saving chairs early in the morning and not showing up until 10:00 or later. We also went to the Serenity deck and it was nice but still difficult to find an open seat. The four of us did the Turtle Cove excursion in St. Thomas. It was a good trip and we saw a lot of turtles. There were not a lot of fish. I guess the turtles ate the fish. The crew on the boat provided great service and very customer friendly. We also went to San Juan, Ambor Cove and Grand Turk. I was disappointed in Grand Turk. The pictures on the internet are much nicer. The beach was over crowed and a little trashy. I saw cups, beer bottle, broken glass and horse poop on the beach. The beer at Margeritaville is over priced. $32.99 + 18% gratuity and 11% tax. The waiter made sure we new the price before being seated. I di not think it was possible for ship beer to be cheaper, but it was. The shopping area was very clean, but don't expect any bargains. Debarkation on the final day was great. We do the self assist. We are Platinum and we met in the dining room at 6:30 and we were getting off the ship at 7:00 and I was in my car by 7:30. Overall, we had a great trip. Carnival provides a great experience for the price. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Really a nice ship. Staff was excellent: room steward Josephine, wait staff Sunny, Ikatuk & Kadek In Crimson, bartenders Airine (sp? pronounced Irene) and Dwi at Ocean Plaza Bar (next to Alchemy), Tomislav and Harta at the casino, ... Read More
Really a nice ship. Staff was excellent: room steward Josephine, wait staff Sunny, Ikatuk & Kadek In Crimson, bartenders Airine (sp? pronounced Irene) and Dwi at Ocean Plaza Bar (next to Alchemy), Tomislav and Harta at the casino, Nana at the Lobby Bar and Dipak at level 10 aft bar. All were EXCELLENT and recognized me by name after first day. Rock band was Excellent, brass jazz/soul band was Excellent too! (Together they were PHENOMENAL!) Steel drum lady was good as well. All other bands were “meh”. Biggest Dissapointment: 1st Caribbean cruise I’ve been on without a Latín band. No salsa, no merengue, no cha cha cha, in other words no spice. The disco was really bad too, not a soul in there probably because the music was terrible, undanceable. Food was very good to excellent. For breakfast go to the lido deck and do the omelette station. Pizza was very good too, open 24 hours. Guy’s Burgers were pretty good but Guy’s BBQ (“Pig & Anchor”) was HIGHLY over-rated. Did not do any shore excursions. Overall, good cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Wanted to enjoy Carnival's largest ship but was disappointed with some of the ways things are done on this ship. The ship is beautiful, the crew is wonderful but some of the procedures and design of space is poor. Your time dining ... Read More
Wanted to enjoy Carnival's largest ship but was disappointed with some of the ways things are done on this ship. The ship is beautiful, the crew is wonderful but some of the procedures and design of space is poor. Your time dining check-in is ridiculous...check-in midship at a desk to then be sent to aft dining room on a different deck, no, no, no. The Liquid Lounge is too small with poor seating arrangement. The cigarette smoke in the casino is unnecessarily extensive. A no smoking portion of the casino is necessary. The number of non-smokers far exceeds smokers but the smokers are getting preferential treatment. Embarkation procedures are great. Debarkation was okay except the procedure is really slow. Getting to your car at 11:00 am is really late in our experience. The food on this cruise was probably the best we have been served in nearly 30 cruises over the past 10 years. The choices in the main dining room were wonderful and the preparation and presentation was superb. The buffet choices were also great. We didn't try and specialty dining. Why pay extra when the included choices are so good! Overall I would probably cruise on Vista again. But I highly recommend some procedural changes need to be made regarding your time dining. The entertainment is geared for a much younger crowd. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
My husband and I just returned from a 13 day journeys cruise aboard the Sunshine. We typically have rain a good portion of our vacation and were pleasantly surprised to only have rain two half days. The ship itself is in great shape for ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from a 13 day journeys cruise aboard the Sunshine. We typically have rain a good portion of our vacation and were pleasantly surprised to only have rain two half days. The ship itself is in great shape for its age. The crew went out of their way to make the cruise special. We visited 7 islands - St. Thomas, Aruba, Curacao, St. Marteen, St. Kitts, San Juan, and Amber Cove. We had been to all of these ports except Amber Cove. I turned platinum on this cruise and enjoyed all the perks - chocolate covered strawberries, a free blanket throw, 5 bags of free laundry, priority boarding and disembarkation, and a free drink. The shows on board were all pretty good. My husband and I enjoyed the comedy shows the most and averaged two shows most days. The Love & Marriage Show dragged on too long. It took almost 45 minutes to pick the contestants. We ate most dinners (10 of the 13 nights) in the main dining room with Any Time Dining. We never had to wait over 5 or 10 minutes for a table. Most nights we were in and out in about an hour and 15 minutes. We typically ate early (around 5:15). We only paid to eat one meal and that was at the sushi restaurant. Sushi for two with tip was around $25. We booked all excursions on our own. There were a few things that irritated me. Number 1 - the free drink. You have to get it either at breakfast or lunch and only in the main dining room. I went three times before I even found the dining room open during these times. One time breakfast was over and lunch hadn't started. Another time lunch was already over. ( I know it is free and you shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth, but get real, it is a $9.50 drink!) Number 2 - No refrigerator. This is the first time I have ever cruised a big cruise line with no refrigerator. Number 3 - making you choose morning or evening service of your cabin. We chose morning but our steward still serviced it twice a day but you could tell he was overextended doing so. Shame on Carnival for putting him in this position. I think each steward services over 30 rooms. Number 4 - Disembarkation was a nightmare. It took us over two hours with priority and we just made our flight by 10 minutes and yes it was an afternoon flight. Overall, I will still sail on Carnival again but will give other cruise lines equal consideration. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Been on several 7 day cruises and decided to try short one. Chose the Carnival Paridise for the interesting look of the atrium. Since this ship was recently redone and a smaller ship leaving from Tampa. I was only an hour from the port. ... Read More
Been on several 7 day cruises and decided to try short one. Chose the Carnival Paridise for the interesting look of the atrium. Since this ship was recently redone and a smaller ship leaving from Tampa. I was only an hour from the port. Parking garage was just across from the port. Boarding was a easy as Carnival had specific boarding times. Unfortunately dis embarking was a little chaotic with impatient passenger getting in line before their call. I chose check out luggage and at the scheduled time I was off of ship less than 15 minutes Loved the sail away party. The buffet was typical food. Out on deck the guys burgers and the blue iguana tacos tops. The dinning room was cozy and a lot of different items to have. the breakfast buffet had general fare. The seaday brunch was a nice touch. Ordered room service for the continental breakfast, arrived at time requested and it was fresh and warm. Shows were great. The few shops had good buys .The cabin smaller than big ships was very clean and the window big enough to enjoy the outside. Room steward freshen up room daily. I preferred the evening. Towel animals ,cute Carnival Paradise had Staff and crew honored at the dis embarkation program on the last day of cruise. Another thing I liked was the military appreciation show later that day that honored military people on board. Overall I had a great time on the Paradise. Planning to book another cruise Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was an all-gal trip for three of us in our sixties. We have all cruised before and two of us cruised on this ship in January of 2013, almost exactly 6 years ago, although we left from a different port and the cruise length was a day ... Read More
This was an all-gal trip for three of us in our sixties. We have all cruised before and two of us cruised on this ship in January of 2013, almost exactly 6 years ago, although we left from a different port and the cruise length was a day shorter then. We chose this cruise primarily because we were on a budget and wanted the most bang for our bucks. Even though the itinerary wasn't particularly adventurous, we know that half the fun is the company on the cruise and we had adjusted our "cruise attitudes" for maximum tolerance. HOTEL INFORMATION: We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on Savannah Highway in Charleston. We chose this hotel because they participate in the "park and cruise" program so we could drive down from North Carolina (about 6 hours) and leave our car in the parking lot for the duration of the cruise. The hotel was sparkling clean, beds were comfortable, and there was a surprising number of electric and USB outlets. The breakfast was outstanding with not only the danish and coffee, but omelets, sausage, yogurt, a pancake maker, and just about anything one could want for breakfast. The shuttle to the port was quick and easy. The room covered two tickets, a a third was only $20 -- for both ways! This was a pleasant surprise. CRUISE PORT: I had never cruised from Charleston and I was a little surprised how much of the embarkation takes place out in the open parking lot as you rattle and roll through bumpy pavement from tent to tent checking first passports/ID and then boarding pass, etc. It felt that there were just too many passengers to let board at one time, so they manufactured these little stops to take up some time along the way. We had purchased Carnival's "Faster to the Fun" option and once we got through the parking lot, we were very quickly through security and on the ship. Except that the bunk had not been lowered, our cabin was ready for us. Charleston is quite a bit further north than its sister ports on the east coast, and the temperature was quite brisk on embarkation day. Most wore sweaters or jackets and only a few were enjoying the pool (more in the hot tubs). SHIP INFORMATION: I sailed on the Ecstasy in 2013 and have had the pleasure of cruising a number of times since, mostly on Carnival. This is a very small ship, in comparison to the rest of the Carnival fleet. There is no room for an outside theatre as many of the Carnival ships have, and there is a central elevated stage for music and contests and such. Movies were shown in one of the larger lounges. It's easy to quickly walk the length and breadth of this small ship. There are not as many outlets for evening entertainment, but that was not very important for us. I managed to get my 10K steps goal in every day but the last one. Our cruise director was Leon and I felt he did a good job and seemed genuine -- I especially liked his admonition at the conclusion of each of his talks reminding us to "be kind to one another" -- much needed advice on a cruise ship. CABIN Riveriera 145 (window view): Even though the Ecstasy was refurbished in 2017, I don't believe those improvements extended to the cabins. Our cabin was Riviera 145 -- a window room with two regular beds and a bunk. It looked identical to the room we had in 2013 (which was just down the hallway). I had gotten used to bigger rooms and was a little dismayed at first at the size, but when I compared photos later, it was indeed the same. We had the steward move one bed beneath the bunk, and that resulted in the most space available. The room was comfortable and there was enough room for clothing and accoutrements of three women traveling together. There was no full-length mirror in this cabin (usually on the inside of a closet door), but the vanity mirror was sufficient. Our room steward Roy (from Indonesia) kept our room in tip-top shape throughout our trip, leaving towel critters each evening, and always remembering our names and inquiring about our day's activities and adjusting his schedule to our convenience. There is no refrigerator in this cabin, but Roy provided an ice bucket and refilled it each evening. DINING: I had just returned from another Carnival cruise in December, so I was able to compare menus from a larger ship. The food in the dining room was tasty and there were always acceptable viands each evening. I was a little disappointed that no lobster was offered -- apparently that is now reserved for cruises of 7 days or longer. I could have paid the $20 extra for lobster, of course, on any evening. I enjoyed many of the "Port of Call" selections which I thought were very tasty and reinforced the theme of each island we visited. The sea-day brunch offered was not as nice as what was offered on the Glory just 3 weeks before. There, we had been offered filet minon and eggs and other upscale items that were missing from the Ecstasy menu, but ::shrug:: that was hardly a deal-breaker. We ate at the buffet several times, enjoyed the Guy's Burgers several times, and ate our breakfast from the buffet out on the deck every morning. ENTERTAINMENT: We caught one production show, but it seemed identical to the Motown show offered on Carnival cruises for several years. We were not exactly disappointed, but we didn't choose more of those productions. Two of my cabinmates wanted to see the PG comedy show, but it was always scheduled during our dinner hour, so we missed that. Contests and such were held on the lido deck and we hung out on the peaceful Serenity area, so we missed most of those. SHIP SHOPS: Carnival really needs to do something about their shops. They are boring and overpriced. I'd like to see some handmade products from the places or areas visited. There is even room for local craftspeople to demonstrate and sell items, possibly jewelry, for example. Carnival can do a lot better than what they are currently offering, and it would not be for naught -- I would gladly buy items like those featured on Novica or Gifts with a Cause. Even their ho-hum tee-shirts need some new designs. I'm growing weary of their neon offerings with shady sayings. Please. Do something here. GUEST SERVICES: We had no problems and the time or two we had a question or needed a small service was quickly handled. FASTER TO THE FUN: Unless we book a suite, we consider the $$ paid for this well worth it. We like the expedited embarkation and debarkation and having our cabins ready when we board the ship. On this cruise, we also used the priority tender service. Until I get to the Platinum level, I'll continue to purchase this option gladly. PORTS: • Freeport -- well, Freeport cruise terminal was boring. I saw mostly overpriced items from India and China. And the same thing at soooo many shops. I purchased nothing here, although I had money to spend! That's a terrible feeling on both sides of the bargaining table. Next time, I'll book an excursion. The last time I visited Freeport, I took a bike tour and that was a good way to get out into the island a bit. There certainly is nothing in the cruise terminal worth hanging around for. This could also be a good day to stay on the ship and enjoy the amenities there. • Half Moon Cay -- I've visited several times and it's beautiful, but I believe they need to do some landscaping work here. There is almost no shade except under man-made shelters. The beach is looking very barren. Carnival needs to culture some trees, make some shady hammock areas, something other than sun on a blistering beach. The Beach BBQ was adequate, but nothing really to write home about -- dry burgers and long lines. We had a brief shower while here, but managed to wait it out and it passed over quickly. • Nassau -- this trip, we booked an excursion to Blue Lagoon Island and it did not disappoint. My sister and fellow-traveler visited this location in the 90's and it was just beautiful. Carnival could take some pointers from the way they have things set up -- multiple kinds of places to enjoy the beach (beachfront, lagoon-front, and small-inlet-front) with a plethora of chairs and plenty of filtered shade and sunny areas. The meal offered with the excursion was similar to the private island BBQ, but what a difference! Burgers were moist and delicious; there were several local recipes offered (fried plaintain and rice dishes and delicious jerk chicken). We also had an opportunity to interact with the dolphins for less than $20!?! That was for a "dolphin kiss" and a photo (on a CD!) for just $19.99. Since there were only 3 of us, our guide ended up giving us the rest of the dolphin encounter for free. It was amazing. I also appreciated the way they "keep" the dolphins here -- they are free to swim out to sea, if they like, but they are tagged and monitored if they do so. I felt it was a good balance of caring for marine animals while letting us enjoy them. Five stars for this excursion to Blue Lagoon Island. DISEMBARKATION: Our Faster to the Fun privileges had us getting off the ship by about 7am! We were picked up our car about headed home by 7:30-ish. Amazing! We also had the option to say in our cabins until 8:30am and we considered that, but as there was snow coming at home, we opted to leave early. Note that unlike other Carnival ships which provided a continental-type breakfast for priority guests, this was not included for FTTF guests and ther was only 15 minutes between the start of continental breakfast on Lido and the leaving time in the lounge. We got a biscuit down the road. SUMMARY: If you are a "tourist" -- one who sees what he comes to see -- then you may not enjoy this small ship with its limited itinerary; but if you are a "traveler" who can take joy in most experiences and "chew up the meat and spit out the bone," when it comes to challenging experiences then you will likely enjoy your time on the Carnival Ecstasy. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Always wanted to go to Cuba and I prefer the smaller ships and the price was good and right after the holidays I hoped the ship would not be crowded and not too many kids which turned out to be correct on both counts. The dry dock had ... Read More
Always wanted to go to Cuba and I prefer the smaller ships and the price was good and right after the holidays I hoped the ship would not be crowded and not too many kids which turned out to be correct on both counts. The dry dock had the ship looking great and the crew was really great. Embarkation was so quick and smooth than any other port I have been at, I was on the ship a little after 11. I was E187 inside room and very nice and never did hear any noise from restaurant above my cabin. Food in main dining room had no taste so much better at buffet which I prefer anyway. I Still have no idea why everyone loves guys burgers but I still can't see the attraction. There was a singer on the ship, Emma Jude, who was very talented and enjoyed listening to all the live music on ship. There were very few announcements from cruise director which I really enjoyed. I spent most of the day on the serenity as wind was less noticeable there. They had tv's at all the bars on national championship game and nfl playoff games and there was crowds at those venues. Departure was also very quick and wish every port was as good as Tampa. Did notice cutbacks on food and salad bar fixings have been really cut back on but I always had plenty to eat. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Cuba was one of the few places we had not visited in the Caribbean. That was rectified January 2019 on a five night cruise aboard the Paradise which proved to be an excellent overall experience. This ship was easy to navigate and not ... Read More
Cuba was one of the few places we had not visited in the Caribbean. That was rectified January 2019 on a five night cruise aboard the Paradise which proved to be an excellent overall experience. This ship was easy to navigate and not crowded like larger ships tend to be. Recently refurbished the public spaces and our suite were clean and bright. We had G3, one of two Grand Suites and the views and serenity was fabulous from Deck 14. Only complaint was the back cushion on sofa bed was easily toppled over and still would have loved a coffee maker like Carnival used to have in higher end suites. The food in the main dinning room was above average and offered wide choices. Staff throughout were friendly and helpful. Major drawback was lack of information regarding Cuban Visa procedure pre-cruise in a timely fashion, not detailed to week before and while the $75.00 fee per person was typical, it should have been clearly stated that the charge would be put on your room account. Both embarkation and debarkation were easy and painless. TIPS: Exchange US dollars for Canadian dollars or Euros pre cruise and receive a much better exchange rate at Havana Terminal Exchange. Also much better and personalized old car tours of Havana can be arranged via the internet (highly recommend Old Cars Havana) prior to the ship and was literally 1/3 longer and 1/2 the cost of Carnival offered excursion. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
There is no question that the price of the cruise makes it worth while. It is not the top of the cruise ship line but neither were the prices. Everything is there for you to make a great trip for yourself. It will be what you make it. We ... Read More
There is no question that the price of the cruise makes it worth while. It is not the top of the cruise ship line but neither were the prices. Everything is there for you to make a great trip for yourself. It will be what you make it. We went on the Dec 30th 2018 4 day cruise. Come prepared - this is a much older ship. There are few portholes, fewer balconies - book an owners suite, grand suite or junior suite for those extra amenities. We had an inside cabin, M100, small, but comfortable. Shower was excellent. The beds were converted to king at out request, so less room. Very limited electrical outlets - bathroom on had shave outlet over mirror. Plug into the ground 3 prong US outlet on left side of mirror with multi-socket extension cord. Will support hair dryer, curling iron, etc. - if not used same time. The ship is basically sealed and the air flow system is excellent. There is smoking around the casino and the smell spreads to adjacent areas. Love Charmin toilet paper so brought our own. Bring some air deodorant, just in case. If you have not gone on a Carnival cruise before beware of daily parking fees; have someone drop you off and pick you up or use Uber/Lyft/Taxi. If you drive drop off people with luggage and then park. Had a very difficult time finding entrance to parking facility and it was jammed with cars. Take a photo of where you are parked so you won't struggle to remember. We brought our own booze on board as Carnival charges a lot for a drink and adds a 15% tip to the mandatory 18% you will pay on your overall expenses. Carried booze on ourselves. Not in luggage. Fast on and off if use transport own luggage. Forget the TV, too small and inadequate. Forget the expensive wifi package. Use your phone and laptop when in port. Found the locally based trips to be better than Carnivals. Went on the Conservancy 3 hour jeep ride over Catalina. Was terrific. It was cold - insulated clothing and gloves needed in open jeep during cold weather. Worth it. Ensenada was closed - except tourist area when we debarked on January 1. Easy walk to and from ship, if you are in reasonably good shape. The ship was essentially full. No problems with kids running/screaming. All kept in check by parents and activities.. Cabin walls are paper thin. Sneeze and hear your neighbors say 'Gesundheit". Shows were good. Better later in evenings when kids not allowed. But, Carnival likes to wake up at 8:00a to tell you about the joys of the day. Cant sleep through it. For us, not a whole lot to do on the ship. All games and entertainment, nothing to learn or listen to. Too cold to be outside beyond mid-afternoon. Ship inside warm and comfortable. Dress - casual and somewhat less. New Year's eve most people dressed up. Ship decoration like Vegas in the 80's - gold, brass, glitz, but nicely kept up. New Year's Eve in the atrium was a lot of fun with music, balloons and streamers galore. Everyone in party mood. People are very friendly. Staff generally great. The food the first night was terrible-essentially non-edible. Then it became really great. Had the Captain's table - if you can get it,+$75/person, do it. Wonderful experience. Breakfast and lunch buffets - excellent. Three hot stations where will cook fresh for you in accord with meal at that time. Must try the hamburgers. Had no room for the burritos but folks said they were great. Again, trip is what you make of it. Read Less
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