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Sail Date: October 2008
My DH (age 66) and I booked this cruise to celebrate my 60th Birthday. It was our 10th cruise, 6th on Carnival. We chose this itinerary because we sailed it last year on the Triumph and loved all the ports. First of all, we had ... Read More
My DH (age 66) and I booked this cruise to celebrate my 60th Birthday. It was our 10th cruise, 6th on Carnival. We chose this itinerary because we sailed it last year on the Triumph and loved all the ports. First of all, we had VIP boarding since we splurged and booked a Category 11 suite. We arrive at port around 10:00 and boarding was a breeze. VIP boarding is all it is said to be. No waiting in lines and first on the ship. We were enjoying lunch on the Lido deck around 11:30. The Liberty is a beautiful ship from the lights in the atrium to the dining rooms. It is in great shape and shows little wear. The crew keeps it spotless. CABIN: Our cabin was spacious. So much closet and drawer space. I don't know how we will ever go back to a balcony cabin. The bathroom was huge with a bathtub and two sinks. Also there were two sitdown makeup areas with large mirrors and drawers. It was totally worth the extra expense. The location was fantastic with hardly any noise and was easy to get to since it was right by the glass elevators and the atrium. FOOD: As usual we enjoyed all the meals. We dined in the dining rooms as well as on the Lido deck. The deli, Fish & Chips restaurant, Pizza and Grill were all delicious. Great choices. SERVICE: Our head waiter and assistant waiter were the best. They provided a birthday cake and all sang "Happy Birthday". We never had to wait for a course, and they remembered our preferences. Our Cabin Steward was also amazing. He helped us when we locked ourselves out of our cabin and always remembered to keep our ice bucket full of ice. The cabin was always immaculate. The entire staff and crew were very attentive. ENTERTAINMENT: This is one area that we have not checked out much. We dine at the late seating and after our shore trips and large meals, we usually go into a food coma. Can't stay up that late. We do enjoy the trivia games and bingo during the sea days. PORTS: First of all, we were disappointed that Grand Turk was replaced with Nassau. Grand Turk is a beautiful Port but we can understand that the people are having a harder time getting their lives back together after Hurricane Ike. I believe we were the last cruise scheduled this year to Grand Turk so the people will have all winter to rebuild their homes. Half Moon Cay is the most beautiful place on earth. The water is crystal clear and the sand has the consistency of sugar. It is idyllic. On St. Thomas we took an island tour and really learned alot about the people, flora and fauna. The scenery was breathtaking especially looking out to the British Virgin Islands in the distance. San Juan has all the old charm of the past centuries. We took a walking tour of Old Town and visited many of the shops. Nassau was also a great shopping destination. DEBARKATION: This by far was the easiest debarkation we have ever experienced. We self-debarked and were off the ship and in our car by 7:45. Since we drive to port, we like to get on the road quickly for our long journey home. No problems here. SUMMARY: The "FUN SHIPS" of Carnival are advertised mostly for the young and middle aged cruisers. We have always felt at home with Carnival and even more so now that we are in our sixties. It just goes to show that no matter what age you are a Carnival Cruise is the best vacation ever. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2008
Review; Carnival Freedom / Western Mediterranean Cruise October 1st thru 13th, 2008 GROUP: Five seniors with past cruise experience (2 to 6 cruises each). SHIP: Outside cabins were comfortable and spacious, plenty of storage space and ... Read More
Review; Carnival Freedom / Western Mediterranean Cruise October 1st thru 13th, 2008 GROUP: Five seniors with past cruise experience (2 to 6 cruises each). SHIP: Outside cabins were comfortable and spacious, plenty of storage space and decent size bathroom. Food was good (average) at all eating venues which includes the dining room, buffet and specialty food bars. Staff for the most part was courteous and accommodating. Entertainment in the main theater and the lounges was enjoyable. Fitness Center has a decent amount of equipment and not overly crowded but wondered why the spin bikes are off limits. Casino was never overly crowded, staff was friendly and odds & payouts were equivalent to Vegas. We all agreed there were some things that could have been improved upon but overall the positives definitely outweighed the negatives. I recommend this cruise ship. TRANSFERS: Used Roma Shuttle at (www.romashuttle.com) for travel; airport/hotel, hotel/port, port/hotel, hotel/airport. Always on time and courteous. The four transfers for five people cost 68 euros (E 68,00) per person plus tip. I recommend and would use again. HOTELS: Stayed in Rome for 1 day prior to the cruise and 1 day after. Day prior reserved rooms at the Crowne Plaza St. Peter Roma (www.crowneplaza.com). The rooms were equivalent to U.S. hotels in size and service (E 162,00) and provided shuttle service to & from Rome sites. That day we visited the Colosseum, Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain. Day after, reserved rooms at the Hotel Alimandi Tunisi (www.alimandi.it). Rooms with bath were of good size and the complimentary breakfast was excellent (E 172,00). Located 1 ½ blocks from the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel and a 2 mile walk to St. Peters Basilica. Each hotel offered free shuttle service to and from airport but their scheduling did not match our own. I recommend each and would use again. TOURS/ GUIDES: Booked tour guides (recommended by cruise critic members) via internet at 3 ports and being in a private van made the trips more personal with an itinerary tailored to our wishes. The other 5 ports were done on our own. Naples; (www.driveamalfi.com), e-mail (info@driveamalfi.com) Roberto di Palma was filled with area info as we drove along the Amalfi coastline and through towns of Positano, Sorrento, Amalfi and Ravello. Don't miss the lunch and limoncello at a family owned restaurant near Ravello. We stopped to take a 2 hour tour of Pompeii before returning to the ship. Cost per person; tour (E 110,00), Pompeii entrance & private guide (E 31,00). I recommend highly and would book again. Monaco; (Alpes Guides Interpretes), e-mail (sylvie.di.cristo@wanadoo.fr) Sylvie was so informative as we drove through and made stops in Monaco, Eze and Nice. She knew the best points of interest and where you could get the best views of the countryside. A stop at a local restaurant in a quaint enclave in Eze for a lunch of crepes is a must. On this tour we agreed to invite another couple to join us making a group of 7. Cost per person; tour (E 90,00). I would not hesitate to recommend this tour and would book it again. Livorno; (www.tuscanyinmypocket.com), e-mail (info@tuscanyinmypocket.com) Guido Sarzani was a great guide and historian of the area, plus very entertaining. He showed us around Florence, pre-purchased tickets for the Accademia (Michelangelo's David), drove us through the countryside of Tuscany and then on to Pisa. We stopped for another good lunch at a family owned olive grove/vineyard restaurant in Tuscany, toured their cellar and tasting bar. Before returning to the ship we visited the leaning tower. Cost per person; tour (E 94,00), Accademia (E 14.00). I very highly recommend and would book again. OTHER PORTS: Rome; stayed 2 days and used the hop on / hop off bus for the city sites and walked to the Vatican. The traffic is incredible and something to be experienced. Saint Peters Basilica is a must see. Dubrovnik; took the bus in the dock area into town and then walked the wall. Strolled around town ate some pastry from a local bakery and enjoyed the city. Venice; used the water bus (Vapporetta), to get around including going to St. Marks Square to tour the sites. We had a good time in Murano, watching the glass blowing, walking the residential areas and sitting at a cafe along the canal. Ship dock to the nearest Vapporetta station is about a 25 minute walk. Use the DM water bus when possible (it's the express). Messina; walked to the bus station (20 minutes) and took the local to Taormina. It was interesting riding with the locals but it turned out to be a 2 ¼ hour drive. This left very little time to tour this gem of a town or enjoy any of the local cafes. Although the round trip bus fare was only E 6,50, I think it might be better to use the ship excursion or deal with a cabbie just outside the dock area. In Taormina, visit the restaurant across from the bus station for a scenic view. Barcelona; caught the shuttle bus in dock area to Columbus Square. From here used the Hop On / Hop Off bus to Las Ramblas with its vendors, living statues and open market. Used the bus again to the La Sagrada Familia and enjoyed some very tasty sangria at a cafe across the street. The waiting lines for the bus can get long, if in a hurry there are many cabs running throughout the city. This was a first time visit to Europe and I think it was the ideal way to get a taste (glimpse) of what is offered in the way of history, art, architecture and the personality of these countries. We were told by each of our guides plus others that October is one of the best times to vacation in the area because of the ideal weather and although somewhat crowded, it is nothing compared to the enormous crowds of the summer months. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and I would definitely recommend this cruise for the first time visitor to Europe. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2008
We are a 60 year old retired couple from Arizona who have been on 8 previous cruises none of which was on Carnival. We drove to San Diego and stayed at 3 different economy motels from the Hotels.com website and were very pleased with each ... Read More
We are a 60 year old retired couple from Arizona who have been on 8 previous cruises none of which was on Carnival. We drove to San Diego and stayed at 3 different economy motels from the Hotels.com website and were very pleased with each of them. We arrived two days early and stayed one night after the cruise to give us time to explore the San Diego area. We were impressed with the condition of the ship and enjoyed its amenities: the miniature golf, ping pong, and water slide were fun. The pool deck was where we spent the most time and we enjoyed sipping drinks and watching the varied passengers on board. We were surprised there were so many children on a November cruise but they were pleasant to watch enjoying their freedom. The service on this ship was superior to most we have experienced on other cruise lines. The employees always greeted us with a smile and our cabin steward Ronelo always greeted us by name. We were made to feel appreciated by our experience. That was not our experience on our last cruise in January on Princess. Now I'll talk about shore excursions. In Cabo we took a water taxi to Medano Beach and had an enjoyable time on a beautiful beach with nice warm ocean water. Lounge chairs and a beach umbrella were provided free at the beach and attentive waiters brought us drinks. This was an inexpensive and pleasant way to spend time on our 4th trip to Cabo. The water taxi was $5 per person each way. It was cheaper to buy a round trip - which we did but the taxi did not return at the appointed time so we had to pay another only $3 per person to return to the dock. In Ensenada we opted for the wine country tour and thoroughly enjoyed it. We came back with 6 bottles of premium Mexican wine for a very reasonable cost. Our stateroom was large and had a nice sized shower. We were not bothered by noise or excessive engine vibration as I thought we would being on a lower deck and at the aft of the ship. Food was excellent on this ship, among the best we have ever had on a ship. Our waiters were fine but a little hard to understand. We were seated at a table for ten with the most congenial folks we have encountered on a cruise. We even exchanged e-mail addresses with them. Entertainment was for us the weak point of the cruise. The shows seemed dated and mechanical. We usually spend a lot of time listening to a wide range of music on board but this time did not as most bands performed in smoke filled venues. The piano bar players seemed uninspired and the Calypso band on the pool deck seemed stuck on one sound. All of their songs sounded alike. Disembarkation was fast even though we had a high number and we were on the road to The Wild Animal Park by 10:00AM. Despite the subpar entertainment, we will cruise again on Carnival. It was a pleasant and inexpensive getaway and better than we had expected. We had avoided Carnival for years fearing wild and drunken partiers and substandard food, and we found neither to be our experience. The demographics on this cruise could have just as well been Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, or Princess - the other cruise lines on which we have traveled. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2008
Unlike most people my husband and I started planning for retirement in 1964 when we got married. After our first cruise in 1975 we knew this was something we wanted to do again. From that time until we retired, we were on 15 cruises, ... Read More
Unlike most people my husband and I started planning for retirement in 1964 when we got married. After our first cruise in 1975 we knew this was something we wanted to do again. From that time until we retired, we were on 15 cruises, mostly on Royal Caribbean. Because of our early planning, we were able to retire early and have been retired for 7 years. Since we retired we have been on 25 cruises. We really like the longer cruises. More than half of our cruises have been longer than 7 days. Our longest cruises have been 30 nights from LA, through the Panama canal, down into the Amazon River to Manaus and up to Tampa, and 33 nights from LA to Sidney, Australia with stops in Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa, and several other islands. We enjoy everything about cruising. We sent our kids on a cruise for their honeymoons. We took our granddaughters on a cruise 4 years ago and are taking them again in May for a graduation and will do the same next year for the same reason. We live in the LA area and had some points to use so we decided to cruise on the Carnival Paradise. The best service we got was at embarkation because we are gold card holders, so check in was a breeze for us. We usually book balconies but we had only enough points for an ocean view cabin. Be sure to print out your FUN PASS. We got to our cabin to drop off our carry on luggage and went to lunch before most of the people even got on the ship. The Paradise is the oldest ship we have been on in quite a while. The ship was not easy to navigate because it had a dining room in the middle. You had to go up or down to get from one end to the other when you were on that deck. The public areas were very nice. The cabin accommodations were OK except for the fact that the cabin had no heat. Our table mates also had no heat in their cabins. Our cabin attendant had the air cranked all the way up the first night and luckily we went to the cabin after dinner. We found him and he turned the air off for us. When we asked how to set the heat, he said there is no heat. We told him no more air and he forgot only once. Another problem we had was cigarette smoke coming into our cabin. The cabin attendant said the people across the hall from us were heavy smokers and there was nothing he could do to help us. For the most part he was good, as were most of the staff on the ship. In the main dining room, my husband ordered fish every night and said it was excellent. I ordered beef most nights and I got it the way I like it one night and not the next. The waiter took it back twice and the third steak was not sent back. I decided to have dessert with the rest of the table and go up to the Lido for pizza. The Lido restaurant had pizza all day every day and it was good. There was a soft ice cream/yogurt machine available all day also located in the Lido restaurant. Breakfast and lunch were run of the mill in the Lido. I was surprised that the cookies I had come to look forward to were no longer free. You had to buy them at one of the little shops. They were not on the room service menu either. Overall the food was did not live up to the food on other Carnival ships. We did not take part in the daily activities or in shore excursions. Since we live near LA we have been to Catalina and Ensenada before. . On past trips to Catalina we have rented a golf cart and driven around the island. That is always fun. In Ensenada there is shopping right by the pier. There is a pharmacy that is reliable and has good prices on many things. Something to think about if you don't have prescription coverage. We like to play cards and Carnival ships have decks with their logo at guest relations for free. That was a nice touch. Two of the shows (singers and dancers) were OK but the third one was excellent. The outside entertainment was also outstanding. We had a comedian and a magician. The cocktail party was nice. The wait staff couldn't bring us enough drinks. I do not drink and they brought me diet cokes without any hesitation. There were also plenty of hors d'oeuvres to go around. We also got early debarkation. Because this was a 4 night cruise we each had a 19 inch suitcase on wheels and a carry on so we opted to carry our own luggage off the ship. . That was a breeze. We go on cruises not only to get away, but also to be comfortable in our cabin, for the service we receive, and for the food. In my opinion, those are some areas that need improvement. They were not terrible but just left something to be desired. We would not go back on that ship again. Carnival has too many nice ships with better food, better service, and nicer ships with lots of balconies for us to go backward to a ship that doesn't have them. They do have a few suites with balconies but we did not see inside of them. Our other Carnival cruises have been on the Spirit class ships and the newer Liberty and the Freedom. We have booked balconies and they have been very nice. We have been in one suite on the Spirit and it was awesome. We really enjoy these classes of ships. They are bigger but they still give you the personal touch that you look for on a ship. I am glad we used points for this cruise and not out of pocket cash because it was not a very good deal to pay what they were asking. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2009
Sept 11-18. We happened to get a very good deal on an ocean suite, which entitled us to VIP status..what's so great about VIP..Glory rep meet us at customs area/walked us pass the very long line of passengers waiting to board seated ... Read More
Sept 11-18. We happened to get a very good deal on an ocean suite, which entitled us to VIP status..what's so great about VIP..Glory rep meet us at customs area/walked us pass the very long line of passengers waiting to board seated us in a nice area for our names to be called, sign & sale card were issued and we were on board in less than 15 mins. Debarking process was just as fast even if we did chose not to self assist. We were in zone 1 to be called. That was as far as it went, you still pay $3.95 plus 15% stocking fee for 20oz water.lol But the use of a bathrobe was nice. The suite was very roomy with a sitting area, separate dressing area, plenty of closets(yes more than one)plenty of drawer space. That said...it had been a very long time since we had sailed with Carnival..the service in the stateroom was excellent..not so much so in the dining room. Food, on the entire ship is just so-so. The entertainment is subjective. Some we like the other was just ok. (There were 2 musical shows, a couple of com medians and an illusionist.)The cruise director had a heavy Hispanic accent and was hard to understand, but he was funny..Someone was always "in your face" with a camera or trying to get you to purchase drinks. We stopped in St. John, Halifax, Portland & Boston(Carnival has plenty of excursion, but you can purchase them cheaper when you get off the ship)Because we were delayed in route to Halix(medical emergency)the excursion was cut short. If we had not already purchased we probably would not have gone. All in all a great cruise, just remember "it is what it is" or what you make of it!! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2009
Embarkation: Smooth. Although our parking lot was much farther away than last year (due to an impending arrival of another ship), the shuttle service worked out well. Check in was prompt. Public Rooms: The rooms themselves were ... Read More
Embarkation: Smooth. Although our parking lot was much farther away than last year (due to an impending arrival of another ship), the shuttle service worked out well. Check in was prompt. Public Rooms: The rooms themselves were beautiful. My problem was that on vacation, my relaxation includes a good cigar now and then. On my last Carnival cruise (The Triumph), they provided the dimly light, light music Oxford Bar for all smokers. On the Glory, they had a similar bar (Ivory), which used to function as a cigar bar, but has since banned cigars apparently due to the complaint of some customer who apparently couldn't enjoy one of the other 22 bars available for non-cigar smokers. The Ivory bar was a large room suitable to smokers and non-smokers alike. On the Glory, cigar smokers are now relegated to the "Sports Bar", a closet-sized bar with noisy television screens and overly-enthusiastic patrons. Interestingly, the waiter at the Ivory bar commented that since cigar smoking had been banned, no one seems to come to the bar any more. (I passed through the bar on several occasions during the cruise and he was right. It was a desert). My wife is asthmatic and extremely allergic to most perfumes. I wonder if Carnival would agree to banning perfumes on the ship to accomodate those who find them offensive, particularly when clustering each night outside the formal dining rooms waiting for the staff to open the doors. Much improved since our last cruise in Nov 2009. Since another ship was due in, we were hustled to the far regions of the port parking area. Last year we were parked in an enclosed warehouse. This year, in an open lot. Worked out okay though and not bad since a shuttle bus was provided to take us back to the ship and returned us to our vehicle at the end of the cruise. Dining: On the whole, the food is great. My wife has insomnia at times and really enjoyed being able to have a slice of pizza and visit the nearby bar at any hour. Our seating in the main dining room was somewhat disappointing. On our last cruise, we were seated on the second level in the main dining area. This time, we were off on the side on the lower level and felt too far-removed from the singing waiters activity. The waiters in the main area also seemed to be more friendly and communicative. One other comment, the lobster plate was delicious, but kind of skimpy. I could have eaten six of them. Oh well. Entertainment: Top notch as before. We love the Vegas-style shows that the Glory Dancers provide in the Amber Palace. And to those griping about feathers and g-strings being too much for the children, send the children to the kids sections where they belong. Unfortunately, their last show was cancelled due to the difficulty of performing in high heels during rough seas. I would have been pleased to see their performance barefoot. Oh well. Justin Illusion was well done, and the comedians did a good job as well. Service: Superb as always on Carnival. Excursions: Been here before. Stayed on board this trip. Value: Carnival provides the best bang for the buck in the cruise industry. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2009
We left Tampa on Feb 1, 2009 on the Carnival Legend. We had been on the Legend's sister ship(Spirit) in 2002. Here are a few of the details: Great ship, great crew, bad weather. We had 10-15 foot waves and 30-42 mph winds, but the ... Read More
We left Tampa on Feb 1, 2009 on the Carnival Legend. We had been on the Legend's sister ship(Spirit) in 2002. Here are a few of the details: Great ship, great crew, bad weather. We had 10-15 foot waves and 30-42 mph winds, but the ship was fairly level, and we encountered no problems with stability, thanks to a great crew and ship. The upper outside walking decks were closed several times because of high winds. Probably the best food since we were on the Carnival Glory(which, in our opinion, had the best food on the 15 Carnival cruises I have been on.) Embarkation: a breeze since we have VIP status; we arrived at the terminal at 10:30am and were on board by 11:15 am or so. You are allowed to carry one bottle of wine per person on board, and we did that with no problems. I had a water bottle in an insulated holder that I normally carry with me, and have never had a problem carrying it on board before. The woman at security was very obnoxious and said I could not carry the water on board; she proceeded to empty it in a container and basically tossed the empty bottle back to me. She then closely inspected the 2 wine bottles that we had brought with us, and had no problem with those once she determined that they had not been opened.! Food: For the most part, the seafood was cooked to perfection, even on the Lido deck. I love salmon but at a couple of times at dinner, it was slightly overcooked. The beef was probably the best I have seen on recent cruises. Cabin: We were on deck 8 with an extended balcony, so the view was great. I am not sure that the "extended" balcony was any larger than the last one we had, but Carnival says it was. The bed was very good, the towels were great, but the toilet paper resembled sandpaper! Dining: We had the open dining which allowed you to eat dinner anytime between 5:45 and 9:30 PM. It was fantastic, and I hope Carnival extends that to all of their ships. We normally ate between 5:45 and 7, and had no problem getting a table. Tours: The only tour we took was in Belize to the Mayan ruins at Altun Ha. The ruins were great, but the bus ride to get there was horrible. It was on a one lane, pot-hole filled road, and was very bumpy. On the return, the bus had a blow-out on one of the right rear tires, and they sent a "rescue" bus to get us. We were not impressed with Belize and would never go there again on a cruise. This was the Belize City and Altun Ha Ruin tour, and the bus took us through a really run-down, slummy area of the city; we could certainly have done without that part. The ship anchors about 4-5 miles offshore at Belize, and you have to get a tender to get to shore. With the large waves, the Captain had a hard time positioning the ship so the tenders could get to us. We had a 50 mph tender ride to the dock, with water splashing all over us not a great experience. Once we got to the ruins, it started to rain, and rained all the way back to the tender dock and to the ship. Certainly not Carnival's fault just a weather problem Entertainment: For the most part the entertainment was very good. One comedian, Marvin Bell, was horrible, in our opinionvery racist, and not funny. We did not do the fancy dinner club at $30/person extra, so cannot comment on that. The cruise director, Jen, was very good in our opinion. Captains party(1st formal night): free drinks, no snacks as on previous cruises; guess Carnival is trying to save money. Past-guest partyvery good; free drinks and snacks. Park West art auction: basically a rip-off on prices. I have bought limited edition s/n prints on Ebay for $30-50 that Park West was trying to sell for $600 up. And they were stingy on the champagne! The free prints that you win with the drawing are basically posters that are worth practically nothing, and they want to charge you $35 to ship them to you in a tube. I have bought prints from Park West on previous cruises, but would not do that again. They really push Peter Max prints at about 50-500 percent more than you can get them online at Ebay and other auction sites. Debarkation: There are always a few inconsiderate non US citizens who do not go through immigration on the ship when they are told to, and they delay everyone from getting off the ship on time. We had VIP status and were supposed to be on deck 2 at 7:15am to be first off the ship; it was after 8;15 am before we could get off. Carnival finally called the people by name at about 8 am to go to immigration; before that time, Carnival did not call the people by name as they have done on previous cruises; Carnival just said that if you were a non-US citizen, report to immigration. A major mess-up in my opinion on Carnival's part. Overall, a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
Our cruise was on The Fascination. 3/16/09-3/21/09. We always have a great time on any cruise. It has nothing to do with the ship, we just love cruising. This was our 5th Carnival cruise (maybe our last) and our 30th cruise. In ... Read More
Our cruise was on The Fascination. 3/16/09-3/21/09. We always have a great time on any cruise. It has nothing to do with the ship, we just love cruising. This was our 5th Carnival cruise (maybe our last) and our 30th cruise. In all the years my husband and I have been cruising, we have never had such a dirty cabin. On such a short cruise our cabin was not vacuumed for 2 days. On one of the days, we did not get clean towels. The halls were constantly obstructed with dirty food trays and dishes that sometime sat for two days, there is nothing more appetizing than looking at old pizza, sandwiches and pasta. The huge dirty laundry bags sat in the hall as did the clean towel carts, vacuum cleaners and other sundry cleaning items that apparently was not used in our room. Some one regurgitated on the carpet in our corridor and it stayed there all day. It was disgusting. Adults as well as children walked through out the Atrium, halls and elevators in WET bathing suits. I stepped in a puddle in the elevator, if I had slipped, I might have owned a piece of Carnival. No staff member at the Purser's desk said anything to them as they stood in front of them dripping wet. The Captain should sign less autographs, sing less songs and pay more attention to what his hotel manager is up to. The hotel manager should check on his staff closer and more often. I can't figure out why when the ship docks on Friday and doesn't leave until Monday that the cabins aren't ready for the passengers at embarkation. When they embark on the ship (some people went aboard as early as 11 AM) the passengers must take their carry on luggage with them to the Lido deck, for lunch, where everyone trips over everyone else's luggage. The cabins are not ready until 3 PM, sailing is at 5 PM. The disembarkation was one of the longest I have ever waited through. The ship docked at 7 AM it cleared immigration at 7:35 AM and we didn't get off the ship until 9:45.......... Self assisted is fine for the young, but not for seniors. As I said we do love cruising. The shows were wonderful, the cruise director, Trevor Block was really great. The comedians really funny as was the juggler....amazing but more of a comedian. The dance shows really really great. The waiters needed more seasoning, but not the food. It was not as great as some other ships, but enjoyable and nothing to complain about. It would be nice if instead of putting the small non smoking section of the casino slots in a corner where you have to pass through the rest of the smoke filled casino to get to it, they put it in the front near the no smoking bar and lounge. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
Our first time cruising with Carnival cruise lines, and probably our last. I was afraid after booking this cruise, that I might have done the wrong thing, and I was right. Ive cruised six other times on other cruise lines and have never ... Read More
Our first time cruising with Carnival cruise lines, and probably our last. I was afraid after booking this cruise, that I might have done the wrong thing, and I was right. Ive cruised six other times on other cruise lines and have never ran across such a chaotic mess. First of all let me say, that the embarkation was just average, I was not impressed. Looking around the terminal I knew we where going to have a less than enjoyable time when I seen the amount of college spring breakers there. Not being surprised at all, I was right on. The first day at sea was a complete mess, no where to sit outside to get some sun and relaxation. The kids where out and out ridiculously drunk and some uncontrollable. That evening noise in the halls, banging on doors using profound language was more than I could take. This went on the whole cruise, in fact they drank so much alcohol that they ran out of some brand named beers. The room was too small, and the walls not insulated very well, you could hear everything. I was not impressed with the ship at all, one pool, and the adult area should have been for the kids, it was so small. Crowded every day, and you had to get up with the roosters if you wanted a chair. Everyone saved chairs, I never had a chair problem on any other cruise line before. The entertainment was so so, the comedian was the only funny thing we seen. The standard marriage game just about done on all ships, not very original. The bingo games where ridiculous, the way they set them up. The food was nothing to write home about. What else can I say, the only thing worth while on the whole trip was the ports we visited, at least you had some peace. All in all, it was the worst cruise Ive been on, and a big waste of money for me. I think Carnival should just turn the ships over to the college kids during the month of March, a spring breakers cruise for kids only. The security on the ship was a joke, they had none or little control of there actions. What a joke. Thats it FOLKS! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
We drove from our Florida home to the port and breezed through a very easy embarkation process to the Lido deck , with drink-of-the-day in hand, by 11:30 AM. We were in our room by 2:00. The room was nice, clean and in good condition ... Read More
We drove from our Florida home to the port and breezed through a very easy embarkation process to the Lido deck , with drink-of-the-day in hand, by 11:30 AM. We were in our room by 2:00. The room was nice, clean and in good condition although the mattress was worn with body shaped depressions on both sides. This was the only maintenance issue we saw on the entire ship. We are used to frequently talking with our steward on past cruises but on the Glory our cabin stewardess was strangely nearly invisible. In spite of this she did a great job keeping things clean and made-up. The on board food is important to us and we felt that this was the weak area for the Carnival Glory. We ate all but one of our dinners in the dining room where the food was mostly good but not great. The best entrees were the prime rib and a jerk pork loin meal. Dining room service was excellent. We ate all of our breakfast and lunch meals in the buffet. We felt the buffet food was at best fair and sometimes not that good. The descriptions of the lunch fare sounded good but the actual food was often uninviting and sometimes overcooked. It was, of course, all-you-can-eat. Breakfast was better but still didn't compare in variety to breakfast buffet food on Princess Cruise Line ships. Hidden away on the 10th deck above the main buffet line is the fish and chips bar. Here you can get some good fried-to-order oysters and other seafood. Seating in this area is less crowded than on the main buffet deck. After reading other positive reviews we ate one meal in the extra cost Emerald Room. The atmosphere was nice and the service was very good. The "prime" steaks were large but mine was a bit tough and overall we did not think that the experience was worth the extra cost. There were other places to eat (pizza, burgers, sandwiches, etc) including a decent sushi bar on deck 5. Unfortunately the sushi is only available two hours each day. We thought that the entertainment was good. I would have enjoyed at least one additional comedy show but that is just a personal preference. We are not smokers and we thought that there were too many smoking areas on board. The casino is so choked with smoke that no non-smoker could stay more than a few minutes. The crew was professional and friendly. Nearly everybody spoke with a smile on their face. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
Well off to a fine start - our flight out of ATL was delayed to the point we had to run to make the ship so there were no lines at all for us. We were able to meet up with some of the CC'ers before sail away and enjoyed meeting ... Read More
Well off to a fine start - our flight out of ATL was delayed to the point we had to run to make the ship so there were no lines at all for us. We were able to meet up with some of the CC'ers before sail away and enjoyed meeting everyone. This trip was a birthday gift for our 13 year old granddaughter and she had a great time. We had sailed the FREEDOM on her inaugural voyage out of Venice in March 07 and I didn't see any particular wear and tear issues. We needed a trip to coincide with her Spring Break and I thought the FREEDOM would be a good choice since it has everything including the water slide and outdoor screen, multi station buffet, library, disco etc. In our past experience CCL offers a great kids program for the tweeners as it did this time. We cruise often - 15+ with Carnival and another 15+ with HAL, NCL, Princess, Costa etc. But, I will always remember my first cruise on Carnival as being so much fun and have loved sharing that with my kids and now my grandkids. Thanks to Carnival for not disappointing me again this time. We had the oversize window cabin which offered plenty of space and storage for the 3 of us. Beds were comfy but the pillows could use improvement - guess I could have asked for different ones or more but we were so busy I didn't really think about it til bed time each night. We found the food to be pretty good though the meat was often tough. The fish & chips were good - the dining room was really a nice place to have lunch on sea days, quiet and peaceful as opposed to the chaos around the Lido deck. The buffets were great to OK but we always found something to eat that we liked. Our last few cruises have been NCL or Princess, both of which offer the flexible dining programs which we really like...BUT...it was nice to be called by name, our drinks remembered and the nightly song/dance number was fun, especially for a 13 year old who had never been on a cruise before, another reason I'm glad we chose CCL this time. The cruise staff was very enthusiastic and we enjoyed participating in trivia, games etc. The dancers were terrific but I would say the singers on this cast left something to be desired. We had seen these production shows before on the inaugural cruise and they are lavish and well done. The fly on talent was pretty good. We enjoyed the comedians. The "Big Band" singer didn't really do it for us. We really enjoy sea days and having 4 of them was wonderful for us. There was always something to do and we still had time to read, relax by the pool and enjoy the the great weather we had. We spent the day at Nochi Cocum in Cozumel and it was really great. Our granddaughter did not want to leave and now claims Cozumel as her favorite place in the world. In Costa Rica we scheduled a tour with JJ and were joined by several other CC'ers for a very laid back day visiting the fruit stand, banana plantation and river boat cruise. We saw sloths, howler monkeys, a crocodile and assorted birds. He spent a lot of time letting all of our kids get up close to the "action". In Panama we took a taxi to the Gatun Locks, about a 15 minute drive from the dock. It was very interesting and we saw the Island Princess go through the locks. We very much enjoyed the ship, the ports and the mix of sea days for relaxation. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2009
Just returned yesterday from our first cruise on the Triumph.  After reading some reviews we were a little worried, especially since we were taking our best friends who had never cruised before.  After spending 7 days on that ship I am ... Read More
Just returned yesterday from our first cruise on the Triumph.  After reading some reviews we were a little worried, especially since we were taking our best friends who had never cruised before.  After spending 7 days on that ship I am amazed that there are so many people who found so much wrong - maybe there is just no pleasing some.  We had a great time.We live in central Fla so we drove to Miami.  Luggage drop off and parking were easy.  Check-in took a lot longer than usual that day - we were told they were having computer problems.  By the time we got on the ship our staterooms were ready.  We got a great deal on Balcony cabins on the Lido deck.  They were fabulous.  We thought the rooms were large with more storage space than any other ship we've been on to date.  Our 1st timer friends were very impressed so I was pleased with that.  Our room steward, a beautiful Russian girl named Sonny, was by far the best we've ever had.  Our rooms were spotless every day.  She went over and above to accommodate every request and even gave us her beeper # if we needed something when she wasn't on the floor.  Getting around this particular ship did take some getting used to.  We were assigned to the Paris dining room and it was one of those "can't get there from here" things - the 1st night anyway.  The easiest way was to go to the Promanade deck and down two flights of stairs - not too bad.  Our dining room wait staff, Eka and Niloux (both from Indonesia) were truly awesome.  We waited for nothing.  We were also pleasantly surprised with the food - much better food than on our last two Carnival cruises two years ago.  Again, our friends were very impressed.Our ports of call were Jamaica, Caymans and Belize (instead of Cozumel).  First time for us in all 3 ports so that was nice.  Had a great time in Jamaica.  Did the sky explorer shore excursion up to the top of Mystic Mountain.  Very relaxing and beautiful views - highly recommend.  Then we did some shopping at the Taj Mahal center.  My girlfriend and I got beautiful jewerly there at very good prices.  Had a great time.  We did not book an excursion in the Caymans.  Just had a fun day shopping around.  Beautiful place, very clean, no one hasseling you for anything.  Would go back there again.  Belize - we have always wanted to go there and having now been there would not want to go back again.  We took the River Wallace/Altun Ha Myan Ruins shore excursion (one we've been looking forward to) and it was the pitts.  The ride down the river was very nice, but way too long.  Then we got dumped at a local, small resort with a few vendors and a small restaurant.  We were there for over an hour and a half just sitting around waiting for the bus to take us to the ruins.  By the time we got to the ruins (which were fabulous by the way) we only had one hour there then an hour and a half bus ride back to the tender for which we arrived an hour late.  Belize City is dirty and depressing - would not care to go back there again.  But we loved the ruins and were glad we got to see them.I would have to think hard to come up with any major complaints about this ship or the cruise.  Since I have daily access to a pool, sitting around the pool deck is no big deal.  Which was a good thing on this ship as it's very cut up and very small which made it VERY crowded - ship was completely full.  Only other complaint would be that they do not enforce any kind of dress code in the buffett dining room.  We only ate in there a couple of times for breakfast or lunch but I don't think anyone should be allowed in there to eat in just a bathing suit - no t-shirts or cover ups.  A little too casual for me.The food was pretty good tho - especially the deli sandwiches, don't miss out on those.Overall, this was a great cruise.  I would not hesitate to go on the Triumph again some time.  Ship was the cleanest one we have ever been on (this was our 7th cruise) and the service was outstanding.  If you're thinking about booking the Triumph, do so.  I for one don't think you will be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2009
Our cruise began with a bang, thump and crash, literally.  We shopped the duty free liquor store right in the San Juan port terminal.  There were 4 in our party so we carried on 3 bottles of wine and 3 bottles of 43, a vanilla liquor.  ... Read More
Our cruise began with a bang, thump and crash, literally.  We shopped the duty free liquor store right in the San Juan port terminal.  There were 4 in our party so we carried on 3 bottles of wine and 3 bottles of 43, a vanilla liquor.  We were allowed on the ship around 1:00 pm.  We went directly to the lunch buffet on the Lido deck.  By the time we finished our lunch, our staterooms were ready and some of our luggage was already there.  We unpacked and then went to explore the ship.  After we had dinner, we went to pick up the tuxedo's that the men in our party rented for the formal nights (the best way to go) and then returned to our cabin and found that the rest of our luggage had arrived.  Because we had a long day, we stayed in our cabin to finish unpacking and because we had adjoining staterooms, we gathered in one and had a drink of 43.  We began to sail immediately at 10:00 pm.  We wanted to have a fairly early night so I had my husband go into the bathroom to wash out the glass that he used and I heard a thump and crash.  My husband tripped over the lip of the shower with the glass in hand and  landed in the shower.  The glass broke and he had blood all over the place.  After looking at the wounds, I noticed that it looked pretty deep and called the ship's 911.  The medical personnel were prepared to come up to the cabin but instead told us if we could, wrap his hand in a towel and bring him down to the infirmary.  The staff there were phenomenal.  They took him right in and x-rayed his hand to make sure there was no glass left in any of the wounds.  He ended up with 6 stitches in his hand. He was told to come back the next evening to have the bandages changed which was repeated again the following evening.  Every day, we were contacted to check on his progress.   While we were down in the infirmary, my sister-in-law called housekeeping to clean the bathroom of glass and blood.  By the time we returned from the infirmary, the bathroom looked just like when we first arrived.  Of all the cruises we have been on, this was our first encounter with the medical staff.  I have extremely high praise for them.  Even now, his wound which is almost all healed looks great. We had a category 6A oceanview room.  This included a king size bead and a sofa but no refrigerator like we had on our inside stateroom on our last Carnival cruise.  I was expecting to have a little port hole to look through but was pleasantly surprised at the size of our window.  One thing about the location of our state room was we were just above the thrusters. To some people this could have been a good thing or a bad thing.  For both of us couples, it was not a bother.  We were able to tell when we got into port in the morning by the noise of the thrusters going into reverse to slow the ship down and at night when we were leaving port (if we were in our room at the time). The closet space and overall storage space was more that adequate.  Even the bathroom was relatively spacious (for a regular room on a ship). We were toward the end of the hallway so it was pretty quiet except for the first night when there were kids running up and down the hall, but that was the only time.  The food, our room, the shows and the staff are rated very high in our opinion.  Our high esteem for this cruise had nothing to do with the fact that this cruise was free for us as we won a cruise for two, ocean view on a prior Carnival cruise.  They have a raffle at the end of the cruise during Bingo where the winner wins a cruise for two in a oceanview room for 3, 4, 5, or 7 days.  On our last cruise, I won it.  The only thing we had to pay was the port fees and taxes and also our transportation to the port.  Read Less
Sail Date: May 2009
My wife and I chose this cruise mainly because we were traveling to Florida to spend some time with our daughter and my wife's sister who live in the Ft. Lauderdale area but still wanted to work in a cruise. We also were looking ... Read More
My wife and I chose this cruise mainly because we were traveling to Florida to spend some time with our daughter and my wife's sister who live in the Ft. Lauderdale area but still wanted to work in a cruise. We also were looking forward to the visits to Cozumel and Belize. The Swine Flu changed all that. But we had never been to the ports on the new itinerary so we went anyway. We drove from Colorado to Fla. visiting friends and family along the way. We stayed at the Radisson hotel on Cape Canaveral. We spent two nights there prior to the cruise. Excellent hotel - we left our car there for the week of the cruise and they shuttled to and from the cruise terminal. The day prior to the cruise we spent at Cape Kennedy. A really special place. Embarkation was a breeze - no problems or delays at all. "Glory" is a beautiful ship. This was our seventh cruise and she was probably the smoothest sailing vessel we have traveled on, I can't think of a negative thing to say about her. We booked an inside cabin on Riviera deck. The room was as expected for an inside cabin. It was clean, comfortable and adequate. Service was excellent throughout the cruise. Our cabin steward and our head waiter in the dining room along with his assistant were very pleasant, helpful and efficient. We dined one night in the specialty restaurant and found it to be worth the added cost. Very pleasant staff. Dining in the main dining room was very enjoyable. We were seated with three other couples in the same age range and their company made dinner something to look forward too. We were well satisfied with the quality and variety of food in every venue from dining room, lido buffet to the self serve ice cream stations. Entertainment was excellent as well. The ship entertainment staff were talented the production numbers were well produced. The outside entertainers brought aboard were also very good. My wife and I don't participate in a lot of onboard activities but for those who do there seemed to be plenty to do and those who did appeared to have a great time. On Grand Turk we didn't do a shore excursion. We just walked around the pool and shopping area next to the pier. In Ocho Rios we took the shore excursion to Dunn's River Falls. This is a must see in Ocho Rios. At Grand Cayman we took the shore excursion to the beach and the Turtle Farm. The Turtle farm was very interesting and made for a relaxing time. Disembarkation was as smooth and uneventful as embarkation. To summarize, our Caribbean cruise on "Glory" was more than worth it. Good ship, good staff, good food, good entertainment, and interesting places to visit. Another memorable cruise. This was our first cruise on Carnival and I can recommend Carnival to anyone considering a cruise to where they sail. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2009
This was a short getaway to relax after a family visit in California.   I was not unhappy with the change from Ensenada to Catalina - I've been to both before and either one was fine with me.  I didn't plan to do an excursion ... Read More
This was a short getaway to relax after a family visit in California.   I was not unhappy with the change from Ensenada to Catalina - I've been to both before and either one was fine with me.  I didn't plan to do an excursion in either place.  I had a spacious 1A cabin - it was perfect for one person.   Never met my cabin steward, but he did a great job.  I haven't had an inside cabin for a while, but it was fine for a short cruise.   Room service every morning was a nice way to wake up.  I had late dining and was assigned to a table for 8.    We were only 3 for dinner but my dining companions were very pleasant and we had a great time.  Our waiter and assistant were terrific.  I also ate in the dining room for breakfast and lunch on the sea day - all very good.   At the buffet, I prefer the grills and pizza to the other offerings.  I didn't do much as far as activities went, preferring to spend most of the days on the adults only serenity deck.   I saw a couple of shows, which were good and visited a couple of the lounges for karaoke and other music.   I spent just enough time in the casino to make a small deposit - rare for me since I usually win.  Embarkation and debarkation were quick and easy.  I carried my one small roll-on on and off myself. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2009
 My wife is 63 and I'm 66.  We have cruised several times before - the last time on the Glory in 2008.  We've cruised the Inside Passage twice (NCL Spirit and NCL Star) and enjoyed both of these.  We booked several months in ... Read More
 My wife is 63 and I'm 66.  We have cruised several times before - the last time on the Glory in 2008.  We've cruised the Inside Passage twice (NCL Spirit and NCL Star) and enjoyed both of these.  We booked several months in advance with Ashley at MOAA, and booked our excursions with CCL after comparing prices and finding very little significant difference. We flew Delta from Atlanta to Salt Lake City to Anchorage on Monday  the 15th.  We used FF miles and booked Business Class the whole way.  A good breakfast on one flight and a decent lunch on the other.  We arrived in Anchorage at about 2:15 pm, and the view from the plane was gorgeous as we approached.  The sky was nearly clear of clouds, and my wife got beautiful phone pictures of the glaciers. We got a cab and proceeded to the Westmark downtown (it's where the Delta flight crews stay).  The cost of the taxi with 20% tip was $23.00.  We have a friend who lives in Anchorage, so we took her to dinner, and she drove us to several of the sites around the city.  On the drive we saw 4 doll sheep (two within 30 feet) and a cow moose less than 100 feet away in a bog area.  We finally got to sleep about  4:00 am Atlanta time (midnight). On Tuesday, we rented a car from Avis - pickup point was 4 blocks from the hotel.  The Camry was comfortable and roomy for our planned trip to Seward.  The drive was beautiful along the Turnagain Arm and through the mountains.  We stopped at Portage Glacier and Exit Glacier before arriving in Seward.  We had lunch in town - we had never had rockfish before and it was great.  At 3:30 pm we boarded a boat with Renown Tours for a 3-hr nature watching tour.  We got beautiful pictures of the Bear Glacier (mammoth), whales, puffins, sea otters, sea lions.  We've never seen so many birds in one place.  The captain was very informative and funny on the trip.  We picked up some wine at the Safeway there for onboard, and then drove back to Anchorage and crashed for the night. Wednesday morning, we had breakfast in the hotel and walked around downtown Anchorage, hitting all the souvenir shops.  Alaska Cruise Transfers and Tours picked us up at 12:30 pm for the drive to Whittier - the cost was $45/person and had a wonderful narrative along the way.  We had a 30 minute wait at the tunnel, and arrived at the pier at 3:15 pm.  It took us about 20 minutes to get onboard, and our luggage arrived at the door 15 minutes after we did.  We had a balcony cabin midship on the port side Upper Deck.  We went to dinner at about 7:00 pm and were seated immediately (anytime dining).  They asked if we would mind sharing a table, so we sat at a table for six - no one sat with us and I had definitely showered that day.  The meal was good, and the service was excellent (each meal in the dining room we asked to share a table - it was a wonderful way to meet new people each time we dined).  We went back to the room and sat on the balcony relaxing.  The tunnel was closed for 1.5 hours due to a motorcycle wreck and there were delayed arrivals, so the ship didn't sail until about 10:15 pm. Thursday was College Fjord and a sea day.  Beautiful scenery.  Dinner that night was cruise elegant, so I wore a coat and tie and my wife dressed fittingly and beautifully.  We noted  that many men wore just dress shirt and tie - some wore jeans.  Also, cowboy hats in the dining room really turn me off. Friday we arrived in Sitka.  We had not been there before.  The tenders seemed to take forever to get from ship to dock.  It was an interesting town.  We walked the town and saw the major attractions in town, and then decided to walk to the Raptor Center.  On the way, we went in a beautiful little church (St Peter's by the Sea),  had beautiful views of the Spirit through the harbor, stopped at the fish hatchery, viewed the totem poles, walked through the National Forest, and arrived at the Raptor Center.  Worth the price of admission.  What these people do for injured raptors is truly amazing with the ultimate goal of releasing them back to the wild.  Up close with eagles (bald and golden), hawks, peregrine falcon, owls, etc is a rewarding experience.   We walked back to town, and had a late lunch (halibut) at the Westmark hotel restaurant.  No excursion there - just a nice walkable town. Juneau was on Saturday.  We walked around town seeing all the jewelers and had a mandatory drink in the famous Saloon.  We walked back to the dock and boarded a bus to take us to our 1:00 pm whale watching excursion and salmon feast we had booked through CCL.  The boat was a two-level craft with lots of open space.  Within 40 minutes, we saw a mother humpback and her calf cavorting in the waters.  They were surface feeding and breaching for the full 30 minutes we were allowed to stay with them.  Interestingly, Capt Larry was there at the same time.  I believe the considerably higher boat we were on allowed a better angle for much better viewing and photography with no noticeable crowding at the rails.  We photographed two other humpbacks, sea lions, eagles, and awesome views of Herbert and Mendenhall glaciers.  We went back to Juneau for the salmon eat and were not disappointed.  Salmon and chicken grilled perfectly with all the side dishes you could want.  The area was picturesque with a beautiful waterfall - reminded us of Liarsville in Skagway. Sunday morning we arrived in Skagway.   On our previous trips we had ridden the White Pass Railway up the mountains to Fisher in British Columbia (a must if you've never done it), so this time we rented a Camry from Avis and drove to the Yukon.  The drive is beyond awesome - nothing compares to the scenery you view.  We stopped in Carcross for ice cream at Matthew Watson's - an interesting store and good ice cream.   It was Aboriginal Day in Carcross,, so we were fortunate to see many people in Native attire and the Mounties were in full dress.  We drove on to Emerald Lake with a stop at the sand desert area along the way.  The drive back to Skagway was similarly stunning scenery.  If you do this drive, watch the speed limit.  We saw 4 Skagway police radar units on the descent from British Columbia to Skagway.  We got back to Skagway around 2:30 pm, walked the town, and easily got back on the ship with plenty of time to spare.  It was extremely windy on the walk back.  When we departed, the Captain said that the wind was 30 knots and we were travelling 20 knots directly into the wind, so the actual wind on the balcony was in the neighborhood of 50 knots.  Once again, great scenery and the naturalist Michelle had interesting tidbits of info along the way to Ketchikan. We arrived in Ketchikan at 11:00 am on Monday.  We really like Ketchikan in spite of all the souvenir and jewelry stores.  It's quaint.  We visited the downtown stores and picked up all the freebies from the merchants.  We walked back to the pier at 1:00 pm and boarded the bus to the George Inlet Lodge and Crab Feast excursion.  When we got to the Lodge, we donned wet weather gear and went on a boat to pull up some crab pots.  The first pot was filled with huge Dungeness crabs and a couple of starfish which we all handled before releasing them back in the water.  Our guide, Paul, was very interesting and knowledgeable.  When we returned to the lodge, they served all-you-can-eat crab.  Our table overflowed the shell waste container, and the crab just kept on coming.  On the return bus ride, we saw more bald eagles and huge salmon forcing their way up one of the creeks.   We walked to Creek Street, the old brothel street, and watched a young man catching crab off the bridge - he caught three keepers while we were there.  We then walked back to the ship, sort of dreading the fact that we would only have one more day aboard. The Inside Passage was on Tuesday.  Once again, the scenery was beautiful.  We passed quaint lumbering towns, lots of fishing and sail boats, and some gorgeous oceanview homes.  I did see two humpback whales from the balcony that were close enough to photograph. Vancouver, Wednesday, debarkation.  We had breakfast in the buffet, and departed our cabin reluctantly at 8:15 am.  The cabin stewardess had told us we could stay til 8:30 without causing her any delay.  Since we were staying in the city one night, we didn't need an early debarkation number.  Ours was 28, and we were off the ship and on our way to the Park Inn at 9:45.  We checked in and then walked to Granville Island in the light rain.  This was the first day that was rainy.  Granville Island is an interesting collection of fish and produce markets.  We had our last halibut fish and chips for lunch on Granville Island and a great Indian dinner near the hotel. Home on Thursday.  We took a cab to the airport for our return Delta flights to Atlanta.  It's nice to clear US Customs in the Vancouver airport.  We had a short flight to Salt Lake City and then, with a 40 minute turnaround, on to Atlanta, with a very good dinner and wine in Business Class. Service on the Spirit was very good.  The dining room wait staff was exceptional - seemed to have time to talk and give advice.  Our cabin stewardess was nearly invisible, but efficient; and, the towel animals were appreciated as always. Food on board was also very good.  We had breakfast in the room, at the buffet, and in the dining room - all very nice.  Surprisingly, we never saw a crowded buffet area and never waited for a table in the dining room using anytime dining.  Dinners at both the buffet and dining room were also good.  The prime rib in both was very good, cooked medium rare the way it's supposed to be done.  My wife thought the crème brulee was good, and she's a connoisseur when it comes to that dish. The Entertainment started off poorly but got better as the week progressed.  The first show routine was very poor - no energy, poor choreography.  Then we went to the Blues Brothers show.  Chris (the cruise director) and Mark (assistant) gave the best performance of the week - it was outstanding.  Then, the final dance show was much more memorable.  The comedians and so forth were average.  And, the Legends Show was a great topping on the cruise. Looking back, it was a great cruise - relaxing, fun, entertaining, and certainly memorable.  The weather was unbelievably beautiful.  We love Alaska, and the Carnival Spirit was a great way to visit. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2009
We booked the cruise in February 2009 directly through the Carnival website at the Past Guest rate. A couple of days before the Early Saver 5-month deadline, we converted our booking to the ES rate. That resulted in a $60 credit on our ... Read More
We booked the cruise in February 2009 directly through the Carnival website at the Past Guest rate. A couple of days before the Early Saver 5-month deadline, we converted our booking to the ES rate. That resulted in a $60 credit on our final payment. After final payment date the prices only increased so we did not receive any OBC nor were we ever offered an upgrade or upsell. Still we were very happy with what the cruise cost - about half of what it was when we first started looking a couple of years ago and less than our Caribbean cruise on the Elation from Galveston 5 years ago. After a 4-day rail & bus trip to Denali NP, we embarked on the Carnival Spirit at Whittier for the 7-day Southbound cruise ending in Vancouver, BC. Ports of call included Sitka, Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan. I will try to limit this review to the Spirit and the onshore activities related to Carnival. We've only been on 1 previous cruise - Elation to the Western Caribbean from Galveston in Oct 2004 - so we do not have a lot of experience to compare. As our cruise was "port-intensive," we tended to relate to the Spirit as more of a floating hotel as opposed to a cruise ship, so we did not participate in a lot of onboard activities. We also had weather! Very rough seas Thursday afternoon and night and rain, fog, & mist in Sitka, Juneau, and Skagway. Ketchikan though was beautiful - lots of sunshine, 60deg - and a magnificient sunset! Regardless, our Alaska experience was unforgettable! Embarkation: Upon arrival in Whittier, we took a glacier cruise, arriving back at the dock about 5:45pm. Embarkation was quick and easy - onboard in 15 minutes. We went to the Lido for dinner. Our luggage was delivered in good order about 7pm. Accommodations: We were in 4D #6161 on Verandah Deck. We didn't spend a lot of time in our cabin, but that was the main idea. Our cabin steward, Pepito , was very attentive while being non-intrusive. Our cabin was immaculately clean the entire 7 days. It was adequate in size and amenities. One negative - the bed was uncomfortably firm - or should we say just plain hard. A more comfortable bed would definitely have added to our cruise experience! We chose an inside cabin for several reasons - #1 being price - a minimum of $800 difference from a guarantee balcony. We also knew that with 4 port days and the extended port times of the southbound cruise, we wanted to spend as much time as we could onshore. Last but not least, being inside made us get up, get dressed, get some coffee, and get topside for the scenery while underway. We did fine with the inside cabin and would probably do it again. Dining: First let me qualify my comments about the dining. We are not "fine diners." We are on the road a lot and eat where and when we can. We actually sit down at a "restaurant" about once a week. We ate in the Empire Dining room only twice. We chose "Our Time" dining option, primarily because of the varied port times. The first night the seas were very rough and the wait staff really had a difficult time. We could hear stuff crashing about and a lot of folks could not finish their meals. We actually enjoyed our dinner, but it took forever to get served. We ate again in the MDR on Saturday evening. Food was good, but again, service was very slow. It appears that the waitstaff for "anytime" is seriously undermanned and overworked. No entertaining or conversation, just take your order and bring your food. Probably will not do it again... The remaining meals, except one evening in the Supper Club, we ate at the Lido buffet. The buffet was, well... a buffet. Sort of a floating Golden Corral. Nothing to rave about but no ranting either. The omelets were good in the morning and lunch seemed to be better than dinner. Best thing was stuff that was good, you could get more of it... We also spent a very pleasant Monday evening at the Nouveau Supper Club after our day in Ketchikan. The food and service were good, but not what we expected. Again, probably will not do this again... Overall, for what we paid for the cruise and considering what dining onshore in Alaska costs, we can't complain too much. The comments others have made about bland food is probably correct, but these folks prepare about 10,000 meals a day. Try that at home... Onboard Activities: Attended one show "Hot Jazz" - not Vegas, but not bad either. For the remainder of the cruise it was early to bed, early to rise.... eating, sleeping and sight-seeing was about it for onboard activities. Ports of Call: Harvard Glacier - Although not actually a port of call, it bears mentioning as it was another one of the highlights of the cruise. The Captain did an excellent job of navigating the waters of College Fjord and brought us within a ¼ mile of the glacier face, rotating the ship so everyone got a good view. Close enough to not only see but hear the glacier calving and feel the wave. Great experience! Sitka - Although we were a couple of hours late getting into Sitka because of the rough weather during the night, the harbor was calm enough for a comfortable tender ride to shore. We were absolutely worn-out from the rough weather during the night, so we went ashore, did a little sightseeing and shopping in town and rode around a bit on the Community Ride bus. The tendering process went rather well. We were in no hurry to get off the ship so we waited and went ashore in tender #17. Returning was quick. We just walked up, boarded the waiting tender and returned to the ship. Juneau - Rain! Lots of rain... But it slacked up enough for us to still enjoy our Mendenhall Glacier and Glacier Rainforest Gardens tour, booked through the ship. At Mendenhall, the black bears were having their fill of salmon as we watched from the protected deck area. The glacier was magnificent. The Rainforest excursion was a bit hurried but we enjoyed the overall experience. Our guide, Lawrence, made the tour very enjoyable. Skagway - Again, we chose an independent excursion - the Yukon Rail & Bus Tour hosted by Chilkoot Charters. This was another high point of our cruise & tour, second only to our tour through Denali Natl Park. Ketchikan - An absolutely beautiful day! Sunshine all day long and a magnificent sunset! For our last Alaska port of call, we chose to go with a Carnival hosted tour "Best of Ketchikan by Land & Sea" then spend the remainder of the day wandering about Ketchikan on our own. Ketchikan is the one port to expect rain, but not the day we were there. The boat ride to the Libby Cannery was another great experience as was the tour through the old cannery. Debarkation: Debarkation was at Vancouver's Canada Place. The process was very well organized and orderly. We waited on the Lido deck for our section to be called and exited the ship without delay. We quickly snagged a luggage cart and claimed our luggage which was waiting for us in a neat little group. Canadian Customs was no problem - very pleasant and professional. Within 15-20 minutes of exiting the ship we were at the Quick Coach waiting area for our transfer to SEA-TAC airport. Overall Impressions: Considering our experiences on the Elation 5 years ago, our Alaska cruise on the Spirit was like a being on a different planet. Embarkation and debarkation, along with the tendering process was very well organized. The ship was clean and orderly, the crew efficient and professional. The accommodations were excellent and the food was OK. The excursions we booked through Carnival were interesting and worked out quite well. We had a great time and everything, including the weather came together to make our cruise an unforgettable experience. Our "trip of a lifetime" was just that! Our thanks to Carnival and the Crew of the Spirit. One last note: I've tried to keep this review relevant to Carnival and the Spirit. You can find more detailed reviews, photos, links, etc. in our day-by-day travelogue at Len & Judy's Alaska Travelogue - 2009 . Len & Judy Turner Read Less
Sail Date: August 2009
Overall, we have to give this cruise a high rating. My wife and I were reluctant to cruise on Carnival due to its "frat party" reputation. We had read on Cruise Critic that things had changed. As usual, the Cruise Critic ... Read More
Overall, we have to give this cruise a high rating. My wife and I were reluctant to cruise on Carnival due to its "frat party" reputation. We had read on Cruise Critic that things had changed. As usual, the Cruise Critic reviewers were right. We have cruised on Holland America, Royal Caribbean and Princess. We found the Carnival Legend to be not much different. The ship decor seemed a bit dated to us, but, we understand that the ship is due a refit in the next year or two. The food was outstanding. The quality of the food is the one thing that impressed us the most. I don't think we had a bad or even mediocre meal on the entire cruise. Since it was our 40th anniversary, we had dinner at the Supper Club and paid the extra $30 per person. The meal was one of the best we can remember - and we eat out a lot. The service in the main dining room was outstanding. The variety in the Unicorn Cafe was excellent. Our only derogatory comments relate to the maintenance of the passenger areas of the ship and the attitude of the lower echelon staff. After having said, above, that we understand the ship is due for an overall; we found quite noticeable paint splotches, scratches and wear marks throughout the ship. We found room service trays still on the floor hours after we had originally seen them. The floors in the Unicorn Cafe were often wet and we saw a few people slip but not fall. Although, in general, the staff were friendly, we felt that they were a bit sullen, possibly from overwork and a reduction in take home pay that we understand, not from crew members, has occurred on the cruise ships. The recreation areas on the ship seemed to us rather limited. The pools were small by today's standards and very, very crowded. Our room, 8250, was under the promenade on the 9the deck and we occasionally heard chairs being moved about but it was not a problem. We will certainly be cruising with Carnival in the future. First Port: Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands Tuesday, September 1, 2009 We had made online reservations with Moby Dick Tours for the snorkeling and Stingray City tour. . The tour consisted of approximately 34 people; a small group by tour standards. We went out from shore about 20 minutes and snorkeled for around half an hour. We rode to the tour boat in an old, not air-conditioned, school bus, but, it was a short ride. . The water was beautiful but the coral was brown. A hurricane had damaged the reef. Stingray city was a blast. We were in 2 to 3 feet of water and the rays were everywhere. The rays were attracted by the squid we fed them. They can weigh as much as 300 lbs but are as gentle as kittens. It was quite a thrill. We had a great time and highly recommend this tour. Second Port: Cozumel, Mexico Wednesday, September 2, 2009 We had made online reservations with cozumeltaxi (@hotmail.com) and requested Gerry as our driver. Gerry took us to the Mayan ruins at San Gervasio where we had Tony as a guide. San Gervasio is very interesting and, if you are into things Mayan, well worth a visit. We had Gerry drive us around the island so we could see what it really is like. We stopped for lunch on the opposite side of the island from the cruise ships (and the crowds) at a very nice, modest size restaurant right on the water. The Key West style restaurant had fabulous views. We had a fantastic meal of fresh broiled fish and beer. We could have stayed all day. Then, Gerry took us to a small cafe with access to the water. We snorkeled and had a great time. If you want to enjoy the island, learn something about it and eat well, we highly recommend Gerry. Third Port: Belize City, Belize September 3, 2009 In Belize, we took the BACAB ECO Park Horseback Safari. We purchased this tour through the ship due to the logistics involved in getting to the ranch. We had a nice, narrated, 40 minute, air-conditioned bus ride to the horses. We were in the "experienced" group of riders. The ride is through a rain forest so it was muddy and buggy. Bug spray was a necessity. The tour was a lot of fun for those of us who don't get to ride very often. Fourth Port: Isla Roatan, Honduras September 4, 2009 We had made reservations for a car and driver through Bodden Tours. Ali, our driver and guide, met us at the dock. Ali took us on a tour of the island. We got to see what it's really like. We went to a small monkey / bird sanctuary and pet the animals. Then, Ali took us to a place he recommended for lunch. The place was Key West style and somewhat rustic. The men's room was not in good shape but the ladies room was ok. The view was good and the food was fine. The best part of this place was it was on the water and had access to a snorkeling area... The snorkeling was really great. Water was 2 to 7 feet (or so) deep and crystal clear. There was actual coral you could swim around. The bad part is that we don't think it will last long unless people are really careful while they swim. There were a large number of pretty little fish swimming around and a lobster or two. We highly recommend Ali and Bodden Tours. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2009
We picked this cruise because it was close to home (my husband drives all over Fla. all week long) and had the ports we liked. Couldn't work out the airfare with a cruise that wouldn't bankrupt us! This was our 14th cruise (I ... Read More
We picked this cruise because it was close to home (my husband drives all over Fla. all week long) and had the ports we liked. Couldn't work out the airfare with a cruise that wouldn't bankrupt us! This was our 14th cruise (I love cruising-the ultimate relaxation!!!) Just a note though....they need to replace their beds on this ship-was adequate - no cork liners for the beds, but we did have robes which was nice. Also, put chair in the inside rooms like on the Freedom so I can read in the room. Also, open the library more often. It is a wonderful place to relax and get books, especially when you bring on a book that turns out crummy! No nail polish remover or cough medicine in the shop and, very small selection of perfume and practically no selection of Clinique as on the Freedom. Embarkation was a bit busier than we've experienced, but thanks to Carnival organized. Port Canaveral is our favorite. Ft. Lauderdale the worst. Beware, security is a bit tighter, but of course, the agents had a sense of humor, and we felt safe with security. We headed to the buffet to start the "eatathon!" Surprised that we could find a table and good selection of food. We then went to the cabin and was surpised to find our luggage waiting. In the past, we've gotten our luggage 15 min before dinner. Our cabin steward, Risky, was wonderful & friendly. Was surprised we got our early seating and lucked out to be at a 4 person table with Bill & Marge. It was great meeting them at dinner each evening. Since it was our 40th anniversary, my husband left it to me to decide if we would do the optional $30 each dinner, but it wasn't necessary. Except for the Mahi Mahi I ordered the first night, every dinner was wonderful. Our server, Anthony (the Matre'd was also Anthony)& Arta (?) were great and really made us feel welcome. Girls-Anthony was really good looking & Single and Arta so funny (boy can he dance during the servers evening performance). Even Anthony, the maitre'd was friendly and made a point of checking each table. Ports: St. Thomas was nice and we only looked at the shops at the pier. Never got downtown. Was waiting to get to St. Maarten to shop in our favorite store, but hurricane Erika diverted us to Turks & Caicos (ugh)so never got to the port. No perfume, no knockoff purses, no costume jewelry and no discounted liquor. Turks & Caicos was not a port I would not run back to. If you were there for the diving or beach, this was the place. Shopping was a total rip (you should just wear a sign...Take all my $$$). Did find a slider necklace on board and did get a good price on it. Shop personnel were really nice & friendly. Casino people also were great! Came home with some slot money from my favorite machine. Slots were not as bad as some ships. We took this cruise because it had a cigar bar (RC had done away with theirs). This was a deal breaker for my husband (I don't smoke). We love RC for the promenade and the 24 hr Seattle coffee. On this cruise as was with the Carnival Freedom, he had to buy a coffee card to get good coffee (my decaf on board was great-usually the opposite). As it turned out, he could only smoke his cigars in the "On the Green" bar. Cruise lines...get with the program-there are plenty of men who smoke cigars. They are the "buying" public. Why alienate them? It turned out that the room that they had previously used for a cigar bar (large room)(as on the other Carnival ship) was always empty. Why? Beware, drink prices have risen. Carnival is trying to institute a new feature, Comedy Shows, both G & R Rated (separately). I think the Glory was the first ship, and in my opinion, was a great success. We got tickets to each late night show, but they also had a waiting line to get in line. The concept was very popular. They also had great shows in the theatre every night. There was always something to do. Bingo is also getting a bit more expensive. Debarkation was smooth, and we were off the boat and in our car about 9:30 am. This cruise surprised us. Our previous experience on an older ship wasn't the greatest (RCCL-Sovereign was horrible on a 4 niter). Just a suggestion to those of you who "wouldn't be caught dead" on a Carnival ship. You get more than your money's worth. This cruise was one of the best we've been on. Carnival works hard to please the public and that is why they are one of the most popular lines. Incidentally, there were all age groups. Already looking for my 15th cruise. Thanks to Carnival, my husband and I got to relax which we needed badly. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
Hello, I have been doing cruise reviews on Cruise Critic for a few years and this cruise ranked in my TOP 3! I was not expecting much from a shorter 4 day cruise but this Ship, Itinerary and staff really exceeded my expectations in all ... Read More
Hello, I have been doing cruise reviews on Cruise Critic for a few years and this cruise ranked in my TOP 3! I was not expecting much from a shorter 4 day cruise but this Ship, Itinerary and staff really exceeded my expectations in all categories. I was traveling with my 88 year old grandfather and had no difficulty with any aspect of this cruise. He uses a cane and had such a good time on this ship. I will have notes that some handicap members may be interested in. I was not expecting too much from a 4-day cruise & smaller ship, but the IMAGINATION really made me reconsider what my expectations were. I enjoyed this ship better than some of the larger ships and longer itineraries. Miami-Key West-Cozumel-day at sea-Miami Miami airport only 15 minutes from the port. get the Carnival transport prior to the cruise. It was only $27 per person round trip. 1 formal night on day2 / Great quick get-a-way cruise CARNIVAL TRANSPORT to & from Miami airport & the port was a smooth, quick process. Definitely worth the money to avoid aggravation before and after your cruise. EMBARKATION went extremely quick. A Carnival rep. was waiting at the door when we arrived with a wheelchair for my grandfather. Although, we were taken directly to the family check-in, there was barely any line and everything went smooth. ROOM STEWART was at our door before we had a chance to close it to introduce himself. He greeted us by name each time we saw him, and our room could not have been any cleaner every time we came back to it. He was extremely courteous and took the time to talk to us about our trip and excursions with sincerity. I increased his gratuity directly to him by $10 per day which almost brought tears to his eyes. CABIN Ocean view 6C M65 mid ship .... NO FRIDGE, but I knew that. This cabin has 2 beds, 2 pull down bunks and is located in a perfect part of the ship. Also in room: SAFE, 32" flat screen TV, room light switches at the bed, ice bucket, water and soda to purchase in the room. Free room service + gratuity. 2 Robes were hanging in the closet. Conveniently located two doors from elevators made moving around the ship simple for my grandfather with his cane. COMPLIMENTARY BATHROOM BASKET included Razor, toothpaste, Pantene-RED color enhancer shampoo/conditioner pack, some upset stomach packets (like TUMS) shower-Shampoo & Liquid Soap (I brought Cottonelle wipes, a travel Lysol spray) FOOD/DINING We chose the new "YOURTIME DINING" on this cruise, which was a pleasant surprise that I did not know Carnival was offering. We only ate in the dining room on elegant night to celebrate my Grampa' 88Th birthday. The Carnival staff surprised him with a birthday cake & singing happy birthday. The food & service in the Dining Room was excellent and could not have been any better. The rest of the cruise we chose to eat at the Lido Deck buffet & HORIZON/bar&grill at the back of the ship. It was kept clean and the food was as good as any other cruise I was on when I chose to eat in the main dining room. this was the 1st time I have eaten most of my meals at the buffet & may not be the last. SHORT RIBS on day 3 were EXCELLENT!! Full DELI fro fresh variety of sandwiches, full salad bar, dessert bar, grill, 24 pizza, ice cream & frozen yogurt. (hint: take the choc melting cake scoop it into the cone before you get ice cream YUMM!!!!!!!!!!) STAFF I can honestly not find anything bad to say about the crew on this ship. Information, Excursion, dining, housekeeping, cruise director, officers, shops, entertainment, bar service, casino all were great! I don't know how they keep up the positive attitudes day after day, week after week, month after month! B-R-A-V-O to all of you! The ship was extremely clean and they take care of their ship like it was their very own top to bottom. ENTERTAINMENT WOW! WOW! WOW!! I WAS THE MOST IMPRESSED with this caption than ANY other. It was so nice to see Carnival adding some new and different options. The HIP-HOP crew FUN-FORCE performing in the Atrium was A++! Do not miss them. I was simply blown away by the shows in the Dynasty Lounge the entire cruise. I can not say enough about the shows. Especially the SHOUT production on night 2. The dancers in the Dynasty lounge were by far THE BEST GROUP OF SHIPS DANCERS I have seen to date!!!! the 5 male dancers are worthy of any Broadway or Vegas production! Backed up by some of the best female dancers I have seen as well. I had the pleasure to meet with the person that teaches them & he should be extremely proud of this cast! I understand a new cast was taking over after this trip and what big shoes they have to fill. Best of luck to them. Only negative comment: Dynasty lounge 2ND level is not as steep as other ships Ive been on so some seats are limited visibility. For this ship i think lower level is better seating unless you arrive early and get a booth UP front on 2ND level. You can walk to seating in booths and/or seats without needing to do steps, however if using a wheelchair you may want to opt with lower level. the view may be better for you. CRUISE DIRECTOR: Karl with a "K" was the fun & enlightening glue that kept this cruise moving and pleasant. His witty persona is just what these ships need. His assistants in the Carnival FUN crew were everywhere on the ship making certain that your cruise was the best it could be! It is no Surprise to hear that the IMAGINATION is ranked #2 in the fleet. They can not be far from the top spot in my humble opinion. I did not use the SPA or CAMP CARNIVAL so have no comments to make here. FELLOW PASSENGERS Although Carnival technically has no control on who books a cruise, they went out of their way to make certain that everyone was as happy as they could be. The jubilance seemed to spread throughout my fellow passengers. Everyone had a smile on their faces wherever you looked. SPECIAL NEEDS/ MOBILITY NOTES My 88yr old grandfather uses a cane and often need support for standing. walking etc. He had no difficulty around the ship at all. I would have liked to see a support bar in the shower fro him to use if needed, but i did not have a handicapped room so I am not disappointed. I personally carries his food trays, but I did notice crew members carrying trays for those in wheelchairs and if additional assistance was needed. Excursion deck called the SUB OCEAN VIEW tour operator to check if my grandfather was able to get into the sub easily. Very helpful to decide on the excursion! Took advantage of the CANVAS PORTRAIT special offered at the photo desk. $55 for a 16x20 and it was ready in the last night for pick up. In the past this was mailed to you after the cruise. I will be covering some special needs info in my shore excursion section. Specifically for members that have trouble walking or use a cane. In summary, I really liked seeing CARNIVAL offering different entertainment such as Hip Hop dancers in atrium, additions of variety of dancer styles in shows. Addition of sanitizers throughout the ship good to see. YOUR TIME DINING is going to be a nice offer to compete with NCL's Freestyle dining. NEW- Adult Serenity deck is a nice addition with lush comfortable deck chairs, but can get crowded-(NO pool here) on front of ship. NEW- Children's water park was very nice on back of ship Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
My sister and I took our mother on her first cruise to Catalina and Ensenada on the Carnival Paradise. Both my sister and I have been on several cruises and I have to say we both thought this was the worst cruise either of us have ever ... Read More
My sister and I took our mother on her first cruise to Catalina and Ensenada on the Carnival Paradise. Both my sister and I have been on several cruises and I have to say we both thought this was the worst cruise either of us have ever been on. Let me say that the boat was nicer than most of the low end boats for the 3 or 4 night cruises. Our room was 185 sq feet with plenty of room for the three of us. We selected this cruise because of the price which was only 169 and we then got an upgrade as our mother was a senior to an outside window for $200 total each. If we were not looking for quality food or service, then the price was right! Most of the employees were not friendly and only on occasion did someone look at you and smile. Our cabin steward was both pleasant and accommodating to any questions or requests. We got the nice towel animals and chocolates on our beds each night with fold down service which was nice to come back to each night. The bathroom which I was told was 4 x 7, was very large and did not feel cramped at all. Plenty of closet space and our room E4 was right off the center atrium area 1 floor down from all the action and promenade deck. Easy access to elevator and stairs. The entertainment was good and was probably the best part of the trip. There were two shows with the Carnival dancers, one night with a comedian,and one with a magician and comedian. You really should arrive early enough to get a good seat because anything beyond rows 2 or 3 had only marginal viewing. The rows in the theater have only a slight rise which did not allow for viewing over the heads of those in front of you. The casino in this boat was HUGE! The slots had a pretty good payout on a few select machines and plenty of open game tables. Lots of penny and 2 cent machines. We hit a few jackpots which allowed us to play quite a bit more than I expected. Although this boat was full, it never felt very crowded except in the buffet on the Lido deck at the end of the boat. The buffet was only so so but it was always packed. There was a 24 hour pizza area which had fantastic pizza. That and the yogurt/ice cream bar were the only items open 24 hours. Room service was available 24 hours but only minimal offerings of sandwiches and desserts. The chocolate cake through room service was better than the desserts served in the main dining room. They had 1 formal night and served lobster tails and prime rib for the beef entree. Both were good. There were no ice sculptures, food carvings etc. and the food was served without any special attention to arrangements or garnishes. You could ask for all you wanted but we did not find a single dish we wanted seconds on. The desserts lacked any imagination. The melted chocolate cake was good but so rich you could not eat more than 1/2 of it. The choices for desserts were minimal. My mother wanted pie and finally on the last night they had apple pie and the crust was so hard and thin you could not eat it. The dinner prior to that was chicken parmesan and it was burned black on the bottom and crispy. I asked for the short ribs instead for my mom and they were so tough that I had to give her my steak because she was too embarrassed to ask for a third meal. Not the kind of meals that everyone told her she could expect on a cruise and it was disappointing for her. They had a nice water slide and several areas with hot tubs that seemed to get lots of use. Drinks were offered constantly and sometimes they even got a little pushy. Lots and lots of bars and lounges on this ship but most were empty. As far as cleanliness is concerned, the boat was clean and late at night and early mornings one could see crew members scrubbing various areas of the ship. One complaint was the buffet area. Tables were not cleared very quickly and the crew that was responsible for cleaning the outside tables were outright hilarious at their attempts to do bare minimum of cleaning. Overall, we had fun but I think next time I will try another cruise line. I mean really, isn't the best thing about cruises the food? Apparently Carnival doesn't think so! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
First I will explain why we rated this cruise as low as we did then I provide information concerning the rest of the week. These comments are ours but reflect the feelings of many others we talked to during the week. This was the ... Read More
First I will explain why we rated this cruise as low as we did then I provide information concerning the rest of the week. These comments are ours but reflect the feelings of many others we talked to during the week. This was the worst of 10 cruises on various lines including Carnival for us! As far as our cabin location for this cruise, we had a CAT. 8 midship balcony cabin on the Verandah Deck. The food in the main dinning room was just OK, usually served just warm and you could see where they cut back on the selections and quality. Our main complaint was the noise in the cabin area was to say the least ridiculous!! We have seen on previous cruised where the cabin area was one area where others respected the fact that others may be sleeping and kept the noise level to a minimum, not on this cruise! We are usually fairly easy to please but the cabin was extremely noisy every night to the point that I spoke with guest services several times but nothing was done. The noise in our area usually started about 11pm and lasted until about 2 am, others we talked to had to put up with the noise until at least 4am. The worst part of it was it was not the kids on board making the noise, about 400 on board, but the so called adults who didn't seem to care about anyone but themselves! Several times a couple of cabins down from us two inside cabins and one balcony cabin would block their doors open and actually yell back an forth to each other, what happened to talking? We have never encountered more rude and self centered people in any of our travels! I also noticed that all the entertainment went out of their way to cater to those from Puerto Rico, we and quite a few others actually walked out of the 1st night show due to the comments made by the so called comedian Al Romero especially when he said that when you go to another country you should learn to speak the language and in the case of going to the US that would be Spanish, we left! Due to the above we also have many doubts about going on Carnival again and agree with others that we will NEVER sail out of San Juan again! Now with that said we can get to the good stuff and some recommendations. We flew down the day prior to sailing and stayed at the Sheraton Old San Juan, great location if you are leaving from the Old San Juan terminal. When we got to our room we found that the room had not been cleaned yet and I informed the desk who asked if we wanted to change rooms or have the room cleaned. We told them that cleaning of the room would be Ok and we would be back in a couple of hours. Upon our return nothing had been done to the room and we informed the front desk. They made it right by moving us to an upgraded room with a beautiful view and provided us with breakfast vouchers. Boarding was one of the easiest we have ever had. We took our bags over to the ship, right across the street, about 11:30 and dropped them off with the terminal baggage handlers and proceeded to the check in area. It took us about 5 minutes to get checked in and get a boarding number, when the start boarding they go by group numbers with about 25 in each group. Boarding started about 12:30 and we were on board by 12:40. The cabins would not be ready until 2:00 so we ate lunch, looked around a bit then went to our cabin. Our luggage was waiting for us. As far as the ship is concerned it was very clean inside and out and looked to be very well maintained. Every crew member we ran into greeted us as we went by which gave us the feeling they wanted us on board. Our last Carnival ship was the Carnival Miracle and this ship was pleasantly toned down in both color and decorations. In St Thomas we went to one of our favorite beaches, Sapphire Beach. The beach was still beautiful but they have some sort of legal problems so the restaurant isn't open but you can still rent beach equipment and there is a small snack area at the beach rental desk. The cabs charge by person not by cab in St Thomas with set rates for a given zone, when you go to the taxi stand they will give you the rate for where you want to go, our rate to Sapphire was $12.00 US per person one way. Tuesday we were in Dominica where we had rain off and on so we didn't do much except walk through the market area between rains. That evening was a very good show put on by the cruise staff which was a very high powered, fast moving, recommend going to it. Wednesday we went snorkeling with the sea turtles, we used SHASTA Catamaran Cruises. I would highly recommend this husband and wife company but for their service and the fact that there were only 6 of us on the tour, I think they take a max of about 10. As a point of interest all the ship sponsored snorkeling tours were cancelled due to weather. Our tour went as scheduled after they evaluated the weather and found it to be Ok, the weather was great. The show that night wasn't great but wasn't bad either. Thursday we were in St Lucia and did the Serenity Volcano and Beach Tour with SERENITY VACATIONS 7 TOURS. There were only two of us on the tour with our driver Russell who was great. After the drive to the volcano and a short tour we headed for a 3 hour beach stop at a secluded beach, the beach was beautiful with excellent snorkeling and free beach chairs and umbrellas if you bought lunch. The sandwich was huge so you may want to split one. Upon our return both of the owners greeted and thanked us. Highly recommend SERENITY. That night was another cruise staff show which was also good which I would recommend going to. Friday we were in Antigua and went to Jolly Beach. Jolly beach is open but the CASTAWAYS is closed for renovations but there are folks there to rent beach chairs and umbrellas. There was also a portable snack bar and drink bar set up so if you want something to eat or drink it is available, along with portable restrooms. I believe I saw a sigh that CASTAWAYS is reopening in November. Another beautiful beach! Cab fare is by the cab so with 4 of us the fare was $6.00 US per person one way. The show with Rand Woodbury was just OK. Saturday we were in St Kitts and just took the Sugar Train from the ship. If you want to get a look at the entire island, 2/3 by train and 1/3 by bus this was a good way to do it. The people on the train and bus really tried to please their customers. That night was a show formed from passengers who were selected earlier in the week at the karaoke bar, they actually put on a fairly good show. During the cruise we also notice that shorts on both men and women were allowed in the dinning room for the evening meals, including the formal nights, where was the dress code? One very positive aspect of our cruise was our waiter, Dennis, and our busboy, Norman, who were a joy to be with the entire week. Debarkation was very easy, for us. I did realize a potential problem Thursday evening when we did not have any debarkation paper work or CARNIVAL CAPERS left in our cabin by our steward. I check with the Service Desk Friday morning and they said we should have had paperwork left for us to fill out concerning our flight times. They asked when our flight was, ours was 12 noon, and gave us a debarkation number of 2 and was told ignore any other number placed in our cabin. That night we found a #14 in our cabin along with a Spanish Customs Form which would have been a real problem for us. During the debarkation talk given by the cruise director Lenny he had those with early flights stay after the talk for special directions. Those directions were to meet in the lounge at 8:15 and we would be the first to debark, prior to the general announcement. We were off the ship, picked up our luggage, went through customs, in a cab, and through airport security by 9:00. One thing which was not discussed during the debarkation talk was the need to go through agricultural screening at the airport prior to trying to check in at your airline. The agricultural inspection sticker must be all your bags before you can check in for your flight. No one really says anything about this requirement until you are at the airline check in counter, if you haven't don it you have to leave the airline check in desk, get in the agricultural inspection line, get inspected then get back in the airline check in line! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
This is a more-or-less objective review of a new cruise ship. The detailed opinions are nevertheless subjective and reflect the writer's biases. Carnival Splendor recently replaced both Carnival Pride and Carnival Spirit in the ... Read More
This is a more-or-less objective review of a new cruise ship. The detailed opinions are nevertheless subjective and reflect the writer's biases. Carnival Splendor recently replaced both Carnival Pride and Carnival Spirit in the Mexican Riviera 7-day market. I have now been on all three as well as on other major carriers so can base my thoughts on a wide spectrum. The choices of ships and ports of embarkation are several and we almost had four lines in competition until Princess pulled out leaving only Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean to choose from. First off I want to say that Carnival in general represents good value for the money. It is something of a benchmark by which to gauge the excellences as well as shortcomings of other companies. It is "Carnival" all the way. High efficiency and a busy, knowledgeable crew. Clean and for the most part spacious cabins, well laid out. In the case of Carnival Splendor, however, a certain leveling-off obtains. It is basically a 2000+ passenger ship into which are crammed 3000+ passengers. Not a good start. Although Long Beach is a relatively easy place to sail from, San Diego and Los Angeles San Pedro have advantages as well. For cost and ease in getting from airport and/or parking, San Diego is best. I booked an inside guarantee at a ridiculously low price just to see what would happen. As expected, my past-guest status entitled me to an upgrade of sorts to their new "Spa" deck, which I thought would include the extra features enjoyed by others in that area of the ship. It did not. It was a bad surprise not identified until embarrassed by wearing their exclusive robe and slippers into the spa only to be turned away. It went literally downhill from there. My eye fell immediately after being rejected by spa personnel on a dEcor in the rest of the ship that is simply bizarre. A woman standing next to me in the elevator coming down to the Lido on deck nine offered that the color scheme - pink and black circles accented throughout by yellows and oranges - was likely the product of some misguided guy who thought it would appeal to women in general. I replied that, on the contrary, it looked more like the work of a granny high on some hallucinogenic. Funny little ceramic globes like pincushions dotted with verbena flowerlets adorn copper colored walls everywhere. It is just plain weird. But the worst part on that deck is that all the public spaces have shrunk in relation to the crowds trying to get into them. Chairs back into each other as people squeeze by, unlike the case in older, smaller Carnival ships. To make matters even worse, it soon became apparent to me that on this particular cruise there were more morbidly obese passengers than I had ever seen before on any other. A waiter later told me one of them with an obsession for the standard Carnival warm chocolate melting cake had to be offloaded to a Mazatlan hospital en route, causing a delay of some two hours in sailing. Another poor bit of structural design was obvious from the faint odor of stale tobacco I encountered even in the hallway on Deck Ten - a strictly non-smoking area. It was wafting up through the central atrium from the casino. I learned why when I discovered that, on this ship, it is obligatory for all passengers wanting to proceed indoors from one end of the ship to the other to pass directly through the casino. Only the topmost outdoor decks provide unrestricted walkways end-to-end. Similarly, the huge number of passengers needing dining rooms at 1500 a pop have mandated splitting them into two, one amidships and the other aft, separated by a large common galley that effectively creates a two-deck Chinese wall across Main and Upper decks that on most ships provide access to all the usual shops, meeting rooms, library, Internet cafe, espresso bar, etc. The Internet cafe here for example is almost hidden away, accessible only through one of fourteen or so cocktail and dance bars. (By the way, what community of 3000 inhabitants needs fourteen bars in the first place?) Even by the last day of the cruise I was encountering people totally lost in the maze trying to find their assigned dining room. Only on a similarly constructed Norwegian ship have I seen such confusion. This is also a very loud ship. In the theater, on deck, by the main pool - a constant din of competing musicians and loudspeakers. The cruise director would interrupt from time to time in a rapid-fire voice excitedly making unintelligible noises about this or that activity, some of which I observed personally attended sparsely at best. Noisiest of all is the aptly-named Royal Flush casino, where my own gaming budget was flushed away within the first two days, even though I play only the cheap slots I am familiar with at home (where I usually come out even, by the way). But, as I have noted, it is impossible to avoid walking through that casino on the only central indoor deck. I wonder why? In short, Splendor is nothing new. It's just a tried-and-true standard expanded way beyond its own capacity, exponentially challenged. The best symbol of that is found in the - pardon the misuse of English - library. It is called in fact the "Alexandria" library and sports a mural of that eponymous and legendary edifice. But it is in fact a tiny room that affords access to some 500 books looking as if they just came from the Salvation Army, and is in any case open for getting books only twice a day for an hour to appease the avid reader. As a senior, I'll take Holland America's Oosterdam or even Norwegian Star over Carnival Splendor in that market any day - except when my purse has shrunk to the size of Splendor's library and I want to start with the cheapest basic price on the cheapest day out, and then just to be able to get down to some of my favorite ports of call. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2009
Getting there and embarkation: For me getting to Long Beach was a simple ride of just over thirty minutes. Although I will admit there are times for other cruises I have spent the night at the Queen Mary in Long Beach just to watch my ... Read More
Getting there and embarkation: For me getting to Long Beach was a simple ride of just over thirty minutes. Although I will admit there are times for other cruises I have spent the night at the Queen Mary in Long Beach just to watch my "ship-come-in". A day or so before the cruise, Carnival called and requested that we not show up until 2pm on the date of departure. Since I usually get to Long Beach at around 11am and am having my first DOD by noon, I compromised and got there at around 12:30pm. Unlike my last cruise I ran into absolutely no lines during the check-in or embarkation. Well, there were about 20 people in front of me on the gangway, but that is because they stopped the line to move something around on the walkway. All-in-all it took me less than 25 minutes from arriving at Long Beach to get on the ship. There were people at the elevator directing people to go to the Lido deck to wait for their cabins, which they said would be ready by 2pm. Since I am so good at following directions I hustled up to the Lido deck for a DOD. The "Fun Ship", always one of my favorites! I grabbed some lunch, another DOD, wandered the Lido deck, and dang it wasn't 2pm yet. Headed toward my cabin anyway, and found that pesky sign hanging on the hallway doors saying that the cabins were not ready yet. So, I opened the door and walked through. Not a soul in sight. Opened the cabin door no problem, and looked around. The Cabin: I had booked a Category 11 suite. I was absolutely surprised. On the Paradise I get a Cat. 12 suite, which I typically never use the sitting area, and I swear this Cat.11 on the Splendor was so much more efficiently set up. Because of the proximity of the sitting area in this suite, it was actually used more! There were two closets, one in the dressing area before the bathroom, and one by the beds. Now, when you have multiple people in the cabin this is priceless. There also appeared to be larger drawer spaces. The balcony was of ample size it just seemed less deep than the Paradise. Unpacked, ready to go, I headed back toward the Lido deck where some nice folks from CruiseCritic.com, had planned on a Meet & Greet. Then off we go to the Muster Drill... After Muster drill I go back to the Lido deck for a bit of the Sail Away party, than back to the cabin to clean up for dinner. I spent a bit of time at the various game shows, and the like after dinner, than off to the Casino. The Ship: I have heard many complaints about the ship being too pink. Actually looks like a washed out mauve to me, but I found nothing distasteful or gaudy with it. Personally, I like pink polka dots! I found her easy to navigate. Being basically in the center of the ship had it's advantages. The Ports of Call, etc: Monday and Tuesday were sea days. They went by rather quickly. These days were spent eating, going to various ship activities, eating, gambling, drinking, and eating some more. Monday was the first cruise elegant night on the ship. So, before my (almost) last meal of the day, I got all dolled up and went to dinner. Where, yes I did order both the prime rib and lobster. On Tuesday, some of us from the CruiseCritic's group got together and did a cabin crawl and were able to see a variety of cabins across the ship. This was fun and useful, in helping me plan where I might want to be located next cruise. Wednesday, I was up early and watched us dock in Puerto Vallarta. By 9am it was already 90 plus degrees outside with 89% humidity. I had only one thing planned for PV, and that was a signature swim with the dolphins. I had breakfast and headed for my excursion. We were water taxied over to the swim sight. That took about 15 - 20 minutes. There was a 20 minute introduction to dolphins, and safety measures. After which we were herded off the dolphin pools (tanks). There was no "locker" as it stated in the brochure, you were given a cubby hole to put your belongings. They did provide towels at the end, so if you go, there is no need to lug the towel from the ship. Leave all your jewelry in the safe on the ship, because you cannot wear your watches and rings into the pool. They fit you with a life vest and you get in the water. You are in a group about 10 people, with 2 dolphins that are yours for the next hour. My dolphins were both 10 months pregnant. They were a mother and daughter. Every now and then the alpha male dolphin or one of the younger dolphins would start a ruckus on the other side of the pool, so we had to stop and go back to the edge of the pool. While you are in the water, there is nothing but the edge of the pool to hang on to. You cannot touch bottom. The dolphins swim in and around you, they take various pictures and the last thing you do is "ride" the dolphin back to the point were you get out of the pool. You can pay a reduced price for someone in your party to just observe and take pictures if you want. The pictures they take are pretty expensive. $99 for 8 pictures, and since they only really take 3 or 4 of you, you may wind up buying more than you need. It is a very nice efficient photo system. They put them on a computer and you chose the ones you want. They can print them or put them on a CD. They also feed you lunch, but I was told by some that ate it, it really was not very good. I had bottled water and a soda, both free. After taking the water taxi back to the ship, I decided it would be best to shower and put on fresh clothes before venturing back out into PV. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men (or apparently women on a cruise). When I got back to my stateroom, I went in to wash my hands, and there was no water. Nope none! Not a drop. I opened the stateroom door and there were some workers in the hallway which I apparently was oblivious to when I walked in 2 minutes prior. A pipe had burst leaving my cabin and 6 others without water. It would be about an hour before it was fixed. So, seeing how I already had my suit on, and it was hotter than heck. I headed toward the Lido deck, to get a nice cold DOD. (And, of course some food...) Probably would have showered in one of those showers near the pool area, but decided that taking my shampoo and room towel up there was probably not a good idea. Since I was already hot and sweaty and my cabin mate needed to get some closed toe shoes for our "Behind the Fun" tour of the ship on Saturday; we decided to walk over to Walmart. Yep, I just sailed for two and a half days to go shopping at Walmart! We stopped at the little flea market outside the area where the ship docked. There is also some shopping and places to eat after you enter the controlled area. When we got back to our room, our water was back on, and the shower felt terrific! The bad part about early dining is that if you really want to dine in the dining room, it is almost a rushed occurrence at the end of the day. Late dining is too late for me, and I know there is always the Lido deck. But I do like the sit-down thingy. I believe in January, the Splendor goes to the "anytime dining". Thursday we got to Mazatlan, where again it was painfully hot and humid. Heat index of about 112! I got off the ship long enough to take a ride around town and get back on to the comfort of my favorite Lido deck bar, and the DODs. Now, the ride through town lasted about 90 minutes and my cab driver gave quite a bit of history, and even stopped a few times for some photos. Total charge $20 plus tip! During dinner, the ship stopped for a medical emergency and took someone off the ship. Friday, we tendered into Cabo San Lucas, went to a beachy area, went to some shops, petted a baby tiger, and had some breakfast. Cabo is a quick stop, and we were lucky to get off the ship and back on during the time the wait for the tender was not long. Saturday, our last was our last sea day. I took the 3 ½ hour "Behind the Fun" tour. The cost was $95, but it was worth it. They must have given us over $50 of goodies after the tour. We got to go to the main galley, the Steak house galley, the laundry, the crews quarters and mess, the infirmary, the morgue, the "jail", behind the stage, the engine control room, the bridge, the bow of the ship by the ships bell (which is the crews deck area), the Captain's dining room, and the environmental area where they recycle everything. It was very informative, and the time passed rather quickly. (Files/Behind the Fun.pdf) The Food: Since I keep bringing up food... let me just say this.... There is NO food shortage on this ship. I was amazed at the variety. There is a Burrito Bar, Mongolian BBQ, a Sushi bar (hrs from about 5 to 8pm), a Rotisserie Chicken place, a nice deli, a grill, the pizzeria, and then the buffets. (and I think I forgot a couple of places!) Numerous drink and ice cream stations are located all over the place. The lemonade and icetea were better than most ships I have been on. Plus the glasses and coffee cups are larger than I have normally seen. If you want to spend the extra $30/person you can eat at the Pinnacle Steak Room. The folks that I talked to that went raved about the food. All I can say that anyone that goes on this ship and tells me they can't find anything that they can eat, needs to stop cruising! I found the quality and variety of food to be much better than on my July sailing on the Paradise. I was more than pleased with all the service on this ship. The crew was exceptional. From Goose the cruise director, Michael, and Leslie the asst. CD. My room steward Rio was absolutely the best. My wait staff, Richard and Mohammed were funny and efficient. My favorite bartender Yulia, served me on both the Lido deck and the aft lounge in the evenings. The Maitre d' Miguel was a sharp tongued witty person. So, in a nutshell here is what I enjoyed on this cruise: The service - from stem to stern was stellar The food - was good, some was terrific, didn't have anything bad The activities - plentiful My "Behind the Fun" tour and pictures with Captain Pagano (he is the one in the commercial that tells the kook that sounds the horn to get out!) I enjoyed not losing my butt in the Casino, and becoming an official members of the Player's club and enjoyed some free drinks there. Here is what I didn't enjoy::::: Hmm, well, actually, there was nothing that I didn't enjoy. The weather was not Carnival's doing, so I can't blame the heat and humidity on them. Although I know there are some out there that will try! Now, the broken water pipe, well although it was a minor inconvenience, I think it was handled in a timely efficient manner and really with little disruption. I was never worried, as I knew too many people on the ship that would have "loaned" me the use of their shower. The extras: We had a Captain's reception on the Promenade Deck where drinks were a dollar off. We had a past guest party with free drinks and snacks. Pins and invitations delivered to the room. We had a farewell party with free drinks. We had two cruise elegant nights, Monday and Friday. Monday was Lobster or Prime Rib. Friday was Prime Rib, and they had escargot for an appetizer. We were able to buy $100 certificates for the next cruise. It is a good deal, gives you $100 toward the down payment when you book and $100 on board credit (depending on cabin type). It is good for 5 years and if you can't use it, you just send it back and they send you your $100 back.(Files/Future Cruise.pdf) I hope if you go on this ship you have a Splendid time! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
Our Halloween weekend cruise to Nassau was 95 percent fine. Embarkation was fairly speedy, although we were surprised there was no tram to assist us with luggage in the handicapped-parking lot. Next time we will learn to arrive about an ... Read More
Our Halloween weekend cruise to Nassau was 95 percent fine. Embarkation was fairly speedy, although we were surprised there was no tram to assist us with luggage in the handicapped-parking lot. Next time we will learn to arrive about an hour prior to sailing so we can proceed directly to our cabin and not mark time in lobby. The cabin itself was fine, except for the TV. The picture was too dark, and there was no way to adjust brightness. Also the programming was mostly Carnival promotion and advertising. It would have been nice to have a couple of channels with factual information about the ship and the Bahamas. An iron and a coffee-maker would have been useful amenities for the cabin. Next time, we will bring a large mug or Thermos to minimize the coffee runs to the Lido. (I know we could have asked the steward for a pot of coffee, but we tend to be self-service animals.) We enjoyed the theater entertainment, especially the Sensation Dancers & Orchestra. But it would have been helpful to have more detailed information from Carnival on what to expect in the way of Halloween celebration. Ship souvenirs were overpriced as we expected. Too bad they didn't provide at least one free T-shirt, similar to the freebie we received from Royal Caribbean a few years ago. Cocktail lounge entertainment was so-so. Bartenders were polite, but didn't exude a lot of personality. Maybe the automatic gratuity add-on reduces the incentive to be humorous and charming. Debarkation was simple and speedy. Read Less
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