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Sail Date: October 2009
I travel Solo, so traveling solo on this cruise I had doubts I could do it again. My first Solo cruise was to Alaska on Holland America. The itinerary was wonderful and unforgettable, however it was a challenge to be alone. So this next ... Read More
I travel Solo, so traveling solo on this cruise I had doubts I could do it again. My first Solo cruise was to Alaska on Holland America. The itinerary was wonderful and unforgettable, however it was a challenge to be alone. So this next cruise I fretted about it, but went with faith. Surprise!!! My table mates were the best. The people I had a chance to meet on board were the best. Embarkation out of Norfolk was COLD....... but quick and we were able to go to our cabins before 2pm being the ship was ready coming from Canada. My Cabin was an inside, and although I do not mined an inside, it was tiny compared to Holland Americas. Public areas were small and dated. the halls leading to the cabins were dark and dated, I noticed there were no mail boxes like the other ships I have sailed. Food venues: Buffet was average, but I did notice the wait staff was very prompt in clearing the tables compared to the last Carnival cruise on the Glory in 04 were the staff was very slow in clearing the tables, food was left all over the place. Dinning room food to me was average also, nothing stood out. Debarkation was slow being the ship came in port 45 mins late than scheduled. Very chaotic All in all I had a good time, I might travel Carnival again Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
We are a couple in our 50's and 60"s that cruise a lot. We are generally not fussy and rarely do we complain unless something is VERY bad. We usually stay to ourselves and do not go to clubs or shows much at all. This was our ... Read More
We are a couple in our 50's and 60"s that cruise a lot. We are generally not fussy and rarely do we complain unless something is VERY bad. We usually stay to ourselves and do not go to clubs or shows much at all. This was our 12th cruise and the 11th with Carnival. We actually did this cruise in 2007 and it is not our favorite. We used it to spend some more time in Old San Juan pre cruise and see an island or two and have the boat to ourselves the rest of the time. We are platinum/VIP so a lot of our cruise experience is not like it is for someone who is not. We will try to include observations pertinent to someone not Platinum when we can. As pointed out on previous reviews, Carnival NEVER has an empty cabin when the ship sails. Any "not booked cabins" are sold for very little money a day or two before the cruise. A big advantage to people who live close to a cruise port and are free to travel. The difference with this cruise is that the usual people filling the boat in other US ports in Florida for the most part are retired older people who take advantage and cruise a lot. They know the ins and outs and fit in well. On this cruise, the boat is filled last minute with locals from Puerto Rico, many of which are not aware of the typical pleasantries of cruising with their fellow passengers. They pack the maximum amount of family/friends in the cabins and a lot of children. Although we did not encounter anyone who was mean or deliberately disrespectful to us personally, there was a lack of the usual cruise etiquette which most did not appear to be aware of. If you have a poor tolerance for rudeness, cutting in line, witnessing many instances of blatant stealing of everything from ketchup bottles, salt shakers, other people's towels around the pool and anything else they could fit in the big bags they carried around and filled. (We even saw them walking the corridors and filling purses with the condiments, dishes, cutlery and cloth napkins left on the room service trays people put outside their door and empting the bathrooms for the public to use by the buffets of rolls of toilet paper) It is a wonder that Carnival has anything left at the end of the cruises. With that said , we will review the cruise as well as we can without repeating the above to often which is difficult as it does affect the overall cruise experience.. Pre-cruise We stayed at the Sheraton in Old San Juan, right across from the cruise pier. We arrived 2 days pre cruise for the Carnival Victory. We went on this cruise in 2007 and stayed at the Condado Plaza and paid a lot more for our room and we felt the Sheraton was much better and in a better location for pre cruise. We paid $155.00/night before taxes and we booked direct with the hotel via telephone. We arrived at 1:30pm via taxi from the airport (taxi fare is a set rate for all taxis-$19.00 for a trip from the airport to the Sheraton plus $1.00 extra per suitcase). Greeted at the door by doormen and they couldn't do enough for us. Everything was taken care of. We went to the desk and there was no problem that check in was not for another two hours, are room was ready and we went up immediately. The desk staff was very friendly and helpful, check in was a breeze. We asked for a recommendation for "real local Puerto Rican food" for dinner. They recommended the Raices, two easy blocks from the hotel. He even drew a map. The hotel is very nice, decorated plain but elegant. Everything was clean and in good repair. If you are very critical and choose to look for imperfections, they are there but you really have to look.. Ex.: some worn spots on carpet, evidence of previous paint layers etc-but they were hard to spot. Our room had a King bed which was very comfortable. The air conditioner is controlled in the room and worked well. There was a desk/chair- good size. An extra arm chair and foot rest that could easily sleep a child up to about age 7. The TV was new and a flat HD model with cable TV 30 channels and a pay per view movie channel, safe, ironing board and iron. Bathroom was standard for this type of hotel with the usual "goodies". There was a hairdryer and coffee maker in the room. Our room had a large window overlooking the port where the cruise ship would pull in. This hotel is in the middle of Old San Juan and close to the free trolley that runs all around Old San Juan on a regular basis. We walked to Raices as recommended and we were not disappointed. It is small, caters to locals, delicious, excellent service, and not too expensive at all (dinner for two with a beer/dessert came to $45.00 with tip.) As a nice touch, everyone dresses in authentic Puerto Rican dress. They spoke English well and all the dishes were Puerto Rican and not just the usual tourist dishes. Back at the hotel, they have a nice pool on the roof, small but adequate and very nice to swim in, there was also a Jacuzzi. The exercise room was with the pool and it looked well equipped. The machines looked new and they were in good repair. You do have to use your room key to access the elevator to the hotel rooms and pool area. The casino was on the small side but looked adequate. Saturday we ate at the Sheraton that has a breakfast buffet in the Palio Restaurant. Nice complete buffet and very good....the drawback was expense. It was $18.00 per person which we think is a little steep for breakfast. Luckily there is just two of us but, if you are a family with children, eat breakfast else where. We took the free trolley which runs all around Old San Juan. (Stop at an info booth to get a trolley map with all the trolley stops on it) We ate a late lunch and the Burger company which is also at the Sheraton-great food here...HUGE hamburgers and portions. $9.00 for a burger bigger than a Whopper, and fries that were too much for use to eat and we shared one order of fries. In fact this held us for the rest of the day and we never had dinner. Of note we saw A LOT of people waiting in the lobby today with luggage. All seemed to be pre cruise guests. I would recommend coming two days before the cruise and not the day before. I'm sure the people waiting a long time in the Sheraton lobby would not give it high marks for checking in. Checkout was easy although elevators got very crowded in the morning due to the crowds of people trying to leave and get to their cruise ship. The Sheraton will keep your luggage for you downstairs and next time we will bring our luggage down VERY early, say about 6 or 7 am and store it downstairs so the wait for elevators a couple of hours later with tons of people will luggage can be avoided. Another tip, forget valets for your luggage, it take them forever to transport the luggage in the elevators too so peak "time to go to the cruise ship time" you will wait forever for a valet and cart. Overall, this was a wonderful hotel and couldn't be more convenient for pre-post cruise stays. The staff was extremely helpful and we would stay here again regardless of what we had to pay. Embarkation: We have VIP check in so we checked in alone with other VIP passengers and were first on the ship. If you do not have this option, arrive by 11am-12 noon regardless of when they tell you. After that, I would wait until after 4pm to check in to avoid the crowds. From 1pm-3:30pm, the crowds are brutal! We had cabin 8428, aft wraparound with a huge balcony covering the aft all the way around the port side of the ship. Wonderful cabin, lots of room 3 electrical outlets and a nice desk (warning most cabins only have 1 outlet) Balcony was huge and everything was in good repair. (Note-I have seen reviews where people complain that their balcony lights were not working and no one fixed them - Balcony lights work only IN PORT. While out to sea there is some regulation /navigation thing that prevents having a light on out on the balconies while the ship is at sea - one of those nice "book reading lights" is a must if you want to read on the balcony in the dark at night) Our steward was Katuck and he was wonderful, did his job when we were out of the cabin and every time we came back, our cabin was wonderful. This cruise lacks sea days so the pretty much jam activities well into the night and for instance the slot tournament finals were at 11:40pm. After a day on the island, staying up for the night time activities is difficult. I suggest you pick which islands you want to see and sit out the rest otherwise, this itinerary can be extremely busy and not at all restful. You will pretty much have the ship to yourself while everyone else is on land. They did run a modified activity schedule for people who stayed aboard. Muster drill was late and the usual drill-not much to say here. We set sail at 10pm in the rain which put a damper on the sail away party we did not attend but we heard some weather related complaints the next day. We brought our laptop and were able to connect to the wireless in our aft cabin. (price .75 cents/minute or $55.00 for 100 minutes or 250 minutes for $100) We chose the 250 minute option as it tends to be a faster than dial up but slower than broadband connection so you use a lot of minutes. We pre-pay liquor coupons purchased from the carnival website pre cruise and they work well and save you about $1.00/drink from on board prices. As well reported, liquor is available at the duty free store at the port and can be brought on the ship with a "out of sight, out of mind" policy. They did have a liquor drop off as you came on the ship but your luggage/carryons were already scanned so it was the "honor system" to turn in your liquor. The table was empty which speaks to the honesty of the people boarding including ourselves who smiled and walked past the table with 2 liquor bottles in our carry on. First night was open seating in the dining room, after that it was assigned tables. We had a table to ourselves in the early seating and we were joined by 2 people from our CC board who changed their table and sat with us. We ate in the dining room every night and everything was delicious. This is a "dress down" cruise so even the dining room passengers who were suppose to be in "cruise casual" wear were "thrown together" as best. Formal night was not that formal, about 20% in formal wear that you would see on other cruise itineraries, 75% were in business office wear/ plain long dresses, suits for men - did not see the usual tuxs on men and a lot did not have jackets. We also ate at the buffets but did not see too many crowds as we have learned what times to avoid. The breakfast buffet is empty from 7am-8:45am and starts to get very crowded from 9am on. Same with the other "standard times", earlier the better is the buffet strategy. We also used room service for breakfast and selection is good and very prompt. Because they struggled to keep everyone up as late as possible in the casino mostly, there was a buffet every night except the last. Missing though, was the nice Gala Buffet with the ice sculptures and a lot of fancy food and desserts. They usually only have two "midnight buffets" on the 7 days cruises and one is always the big Gala one with the picture taking etc. They seemed to omit the big Gala buffet and settle for dinner type buffets) every night to feed the masses they were trying to keep up late into the night. Again the biggest rude guest problem was at the buffets where you got on line behind a mere 3 people. As you got your tray, the friends and family of those three people, numbering about 30 all joined them while the person ahead of you handed out trays, and dishes over heads and they all cut in front of you. Three people, now became 30 and they carried on conversations in Spanish as they slowly went down the line. Of course no one spoke English at this moment in time so they ignored your complaints and pretended not to understand the employees either. Their other buffet ploy was the "double line". Some speaking spanish only, but knew to say "excuse me" would, step in front of you "just to get a tray, they left the line, went up a few people said "excuse me"-got a plate. They worked this "excuse me line" in and out all the way down the buffet until their tray was full. Sometimes "mama" would hold the tray and send little kids in to do the in and out the line. Sometimes there were actually 2 lines, the one of people waiting the enter the buffet and the people who didn't speaking English, jumping in and out of the food line so the buffet line for the people waiting never moved. A rope barrier would be helpful here although they would probably have the 1 person in line dishing out to the people over the rope. ST THOMAS Been here before, got off, did some shopping and got back on. Safe port to go off on your own with a taxi driver you make a deal with. Always felt save here. This was the first night you were at your "assigned dining table" in the dining room. In the dining room tonight was a "table artist" - a magician who only disrupted your meal conversation, talking a mile a minute and did schoolyard magic tricks with cards - very annoying at the dinner table - thank goodness it was only one night. He mentioned he had a show at midnight and we could only think how bad it could be! DOMINICA Been here before and as a rule would not go off on your own with anyone!. Use a Carnival tour and if you get motion sick and your heart is not strong enough for speeding in a car on narrow winding roads with sheer cliff drops, stay by the port. There is a nice old church in walking distance and the usual street vendors. Ran into a lot of children on the street begging for money for "books for school" - must be the line that works the best with cruise ship passengers - we didn't see anyone giving anything but they were annoying. This was the first "formal night" and the Captain reception that on other itineraries had free drinks-this one was you pay for the drinks but that are $1.00 off) Slot tournament was very late starting at 9:00pm with the finals at 11:40pm. It is $20.00 to enter and is not well attended (they only had 5 tournament machines and that was plenty). Tournament entry is free for VIP passengers so our entry was free. As usual we didn't win a spot in the finals and the wild card spot drawn at 11:40pm was hard to stay up for (we didn't win a spot so we stayed up for nothing) BARBADOS Did the Snorkel and Pirate Party cruise excursion sold by Carnival (we booked everything on the Carnival website before the cruise) From previous experience, we know this to be a safe port where you can go off on your own with a taxi driver and negotiate your own deal/tour. This tour was pretty good for the money. It is NOT a cruise if you are looking for a real "pirate action cruise". The boat is a three story open deck party boat with a terrific slide that is not for the faint at heart. (It is not a pirate ship per se and even though the sailors wore pirate type shirts and banners, they flew pirate flags and threw in some pirate talk, the pirate theme was very vague.) Actually we were looking for a nice boat and a day at the beach so the lack of "pirate stuff" did not disappoint us, it was a great excursion in every other way for the money we paid. Plenty of seating both out of the sun, but still had an open deck and plenty for the sun worshipers too . Big bar and bar seating, drinks were reasonably priced and the rum punch was free after snorkeling. We were taken to a beach you could walk off the boat onto the sand, no need to get in a small boat to get to the beach. This would be a cruise that you could do if you had trouble walking or in a wheelchair and had some strong arms to move and assist you - (the only issue would be the bathrooms down a flight of stairs - they did have full size bathrooms and showers -private mens and womans on board.) There was three small tables of people selling jewelry on board but they were not at all intrusive.. They had snorkeling equip for everyone and once at the beach a barge type open boat took you to the shipwreck site in sight distance to snorkel. (Note-they took two groups out to snorkel and you used the same equipment, the groups were divided by the first group to board the boat and the second. We did not snorkel but it did seem the first group got a lot more snorkel time and less "slide time" that the second group. The slide was open when it was at the beach and everyone seems to have a good time on it.) Rum punch was plentiful but the problem with the cruise was there was No food available even to buy so people got VERY drunk quickly on empty stomachs. It is a little long to go without food especially if you are drinking so I would pack something to eat on the boat. ST LUCIA - This is a pretty seedy port although we had to admit, they cleaned up the shopping area around the port so at least that is without beggars like it was in 2007. Shopped and got back on the ship here ANTIGUA - Beautiful island, felt safe. Went on the Carnival excursion, Best of Antigua and it was a great excursion although they could have made the stop at the Dockyard longer than 45 minutes as there was a lot to see. The stop should be at least 1 ½ hours to see all the exhibits and museum. Got a rushed feeling here. Total tour was 3 hours and we went in the morning. After the tour we were picked up by friends who live there and saw things privately ourselves.. Tonight was the 2 "past guest" parties before each dinner time. Good party and not crowded, there were not too many repeat cruisers. Big disappointment for people here was - no ship pins. (Usually given out with your invitation) We already have a Victory pin so it didn't matter to us, but at the party many "new" past guest were disappointed that they didn't give them out (not sure what is going on with this-our planner didn't think it was discontinued and we got pins on the Destiny a few months earlier) ST KITTS - Went on the Brimstone Fortress and St Kitts tour through Carnival. First stop was at the barik clothing factory which was a waste of time to get people to buy some of these clothes - didn't see anyone buy anything but the grounds were pretty but it was a waste of time. The Fortress was great and it seemed more time could have been spent here. We didn't see much on this island except poverty and it lacked even decent Caribbean beaches. Everything is expensive here and taxis are too. People who went to the "best beach in St Kitts" were very disappointed - it is not a beach island and we would skip it if we ever had a cruise ship stop here again. DISEMBARKATION: We have VIP priority disembarkation so it was easy for us, we were the first off the ship and our luggage was separate from everyone else's so we can't comment. All in all, go on this cruise only for the itinerary only and hold your temper because you are going to need it. If this is your only Carnival cruise, you will probably get a very bad view of Carnival. We know that this is the worse cruise and not a "real Carnival cruise" so we already have 2 more booked. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
Being Platinum makes a lot of difference and is a very nice goal to attain or reach for. Getting on was a breeze, we drove to the port around 11 and was onboard by 11:45 having a bite to eat in Rosie's. If the lifeboat drills were ... Read More
Being Platinum makes a lot of difference and is a very nice goal to attain or reach for. Getting on was a breeze, we drove to the port around 11 and was onboard by 11:45 having a bite to eat in Rosie's. If the lifeboat drills were imposed on animals the Society for cruelty to Animals would have protested long ago and got it stopped. I enjoyed reading on the cruise critic that they are NOW being done away with and I pray that will be true. There is NO need for that (civilized persons should be able to see a safety movie and presentation to cover it better and in a more comfortable environment),having been thru 23 of them so far we made a promise to ourselves of NO more in that fashion anyway. That was the only Bad in our Cruise anyway other than they made us get off Sunday morning. The food was fantastic and we had table 182 in the Lincoly Dining room with the best waiter and busboy there are. Good Company,(now friends for life we pray) Great food and the only thing that could have made it nicer would have been for them to have been able to sit and enjoy the meals with us, but that couldn't be. If anyone goes hungry.. shame on them IF they ever admit it. To show how small the world is, we ran into some friends we had made on the Caribbean Princess in 2005,and were able to meet & spend some time with them and have a few more laughs and just enjoy the company again. Thanks Mark & Diane. All the ports and staff were fine and as everyone knows it all depends on our individual attitudes whether or not it is good or bad. We expect a good time and can say we have never had a bad cruise on any Ship. We had to dock in Key West for a medical emergency so we got to see the port there as an added bonus, for us anyways. Our only suggestion is that, with all the information published and signs galore on all kinds of subjects,when it comes to disembarking on Sunday mornings there were NO directions as far as where to meet or line up for the Platinum Self Assist to line up. That would only make it easier for everyone involved. It wasn't a biggie as we found someone to direct us, we wound up being about 7 or 8th in line behind the wheel chairs, and we were in our car at 7:40 heading back to I-95. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
My review starts from the booking process. The cruise was a birthday surprise from my sister, I live in Edinburgh Scotland and she has lived in Maryland for 21 years. As a surprise I in turn tried to upgrade the stateroom from a balcony to ... Read More
My review starts from the booking process. The cruise was a birthday surprise from my sister, I live in Edinburgh Scotland and she has lived in Maryland for 21 years. As a surprise I in turn tried to upgrade the stateroom from a balcony to a grade 11 suite, (this also gave us VIP status), which featured in the brochure and on line, but as my sis was main name lead on the booking I was told could not do this. I eventually had to tell my sis who paid until I gave her the money !! surprise I think not. Upon checking in to the `guest reception` and then proceeding to the stateroom, I thought the cabin was nice until I came from the hallway into the stateroom. Eeks!, the place was nothing like the picture in the brochure. Basically it was like an ordinary stateroom with about 3` longer balcony. We had to move the marble top coffee table to get to the chest of drawers and safe.... You could only swing a cat in the cabin. and was certainly not worth the $400 upgrade. When I complained to the guests desk they informed me they had no other cabins, they couldnt change us or upgrade as they cant change a reservation `on board`. They sail full. I have worked numerous years in hotels ie Sheraton,Hilton in the UK, I know all the explanations.. (What would happen if someones cabin was flooded,through maybe a lea in the bathroom or a ceiling tile become loose The bathroom was adequate but we realised that the shower tended to leak from possibly where the seal around it didnt work. (Too late to complain) and there appeared to be an unpleasant smell from the toilet itself. The wardrobe doors kept sliding all night and eventually we had to `wedge` it closed with a piece of card. (May I suggest a hook and eye catch at the top of each door) The steward was very nice and friendly. mornings Nearer the end of the cruise the balcony seemed to be wet and dirty in the mornings and discovered when the staff cleaned the stateroom above balcony all the water would run over the side. At one point I could write my name on the glass it was that dirty. On the last sea day, the Saturday, I noticed the balcony door was not closing properly and realised that the `loud aircon` was in fact the sound of the sea, because as I pulled the door closer to the inside the noise disipated which bought me to the conclusion that the salt air had perished the rubber seal. The constant sound of the engine racing at 27knots through turbulent waters didnt help. Everything seemed to rattle in the room. I have to say the restaraunt staff were superb, had it not been for our nightly meet up it would have been a nightmare. The toilets in the public areas were not always clean and the lido desk was so wet thatI know of 2 people who were hurt through the lack of mopping up. The waterslide was out of action. Every day there seemed to be a pool out of action for maintenance. We noticed that the walking areas were sandy and the hull on the top walkways were dirty as well. We were told it was probably because of the storm the week before! This ship was a `sailing` disaster in my mind and should never have set sail. Other guests mentioned that there was not very much to do on board during the day. Where is the shuffle boards, the ballroom dance classes, pub quizzes,and not much to do when in port either (on board) Carnival pressume we all go on trips. It was like a ghost ship a Mary Celeste. If I didnt know any better I certainly wouldnt go on a cruise again (my sister has been on RCC, NCL and a couple of others) and certainly after this experience will NOT be booking with CARNIVAL AT ALL. I hope a lot of people read this and take my word for it because I flew all the way from Scotland to be so so disappointed greatly. I probably could tell you more but I dont think I could sqay anything positive about this cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
Embarkation: Galveston, Texas, on board late at 12:45 pm due to a medical emergency requiring helicopter transport that prior evening. The ship was about an hour and a half behind schedule at arrival. Having booked a category 11 stateroom ... Read More
Embarkation: Galveston, Texas, on board late at 12:45 pm due to a medical emergency requiring helicopter transport that prior evening. The ship was about an hour and a half behind schedule at arrival. Having booked a category 11 stateroom it made the process of boarding quite easy. Staterooms were ready at 2:15 pm. Considering the setback for the crew all was fine, for us anyway.  Category 11 or now OS cabin 245 sq. ft. Balcony 85 sq. ft. with three comfortable chairs and one round table. Stateroom: Real hardwood entry. There were a total of four full length closets that could easily accommodate three to four weeks of clothing. Separate vanity area(granite top)with four full sized drawers and full row lighting leading into bathroom. The bathroom has granite counter tops with two sinks, full sized tub with jacuzzi. Ample mirrors throughout bathroom and stateroom. Two sitting areas in stateroom, one at desk another with large couch, side chair and adjustable table. Being forward/port was fine. Pretty quiet with the exception of neighbors that never learned how to shut a door with consideration to others. The stateroom had dimmers on all recessed lighting, very nice. Bed was comfortable and linens we of high quality.Pantry about eight staterooms away for easy access to ice. This being our first large ship we found it easy to navigate and really didn't notice the other three thousand guests too often. Crowds were consistent at the buffet when we did go through that area but appeared to be moving quickly. Tasted a couple items from the buffet and it was clear that the dining room was the winner when it came to flavor. Dining was above average...not great...but well executed and mostly toothsome. Room service delivered accurately and on time each morning. The coffee could use an upgrade but for the most part room service food is room service food, right? Entertainment... as another guest mentioned...it had to be seen to be believed. Ports of call...Montego Bay, Jamaica...we debarked; shopped in the terminal for coffee, got right back on board. We kept seeing large plumes of black smoke dotting the island from our balcony. At dinner that evening we learned what that was about. It seems that some residents were trying to make a statement of some sort to their government by igniting tires on major roadways blocking traffic, mostly tour busses. Many of the guests were unable to make their excursions due to the situation. George Town, Grand Cayman Islands...as beautiful as it was seventeen years ago. I will note that rising at about four stories high, just beyond the terminal was an awful sight. It was a landfill. I couldn't believe what I was seeing, pitiful. I think I remember one of the sting rays we encountered years ago...I learned on this visit that they can live as long as eighty-five to ninety years! A very special place Sting Ray City is. Cozumel, Mexico...the Puerta Maya terminal is impressive. We suspect Carnival had a lot to do with the construction/funding as the pier appeared to have only the names of Carnival ships painted on it. We also took note that RCCL Voyager of the Seas was docked at the older, rather unfortunate-looking pier. We had rain, due to the coming of Ida and seas went from slight to rough. Many of the guests made an appearance in the infirmary. It was a rocky cruise Friday night into Saturday. Then, by that evening things were calm again. Debarkation: ship arrived around 6:15 am...had breakfast and was ashore at 8:10 am. A good time was had Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
We Ashley 26 y/o and Brian 30y/o sailed the Carnival Freedom for our Wedding Cruise. We got married in St Thomas. We were with a group of 42 family and friends ranging from 11 months old to 80 y/o. We flew into FLL from Baltimore MD ... Read More
We Ashley 26 y/o and Brian 30y/o sailed the Carnival Freedom for our Wedding Cruise. We got married in St Thomas. We were with a group of 42 family and friends ranging from 11 months old to 80 y/o. We flew into FLL from Baltimore MD (mainly but we had others come from Philly, Nashville and VA) through Airtran. We had a group savers booking and all received 10% off the lowest price on the website. We had a bumpy flight in but a very smooth flight out. About 30 members of our group stayed at the La Quinta Inn (Airport). They offered free transport to the hotel and to the port in the morning. They also had a great free breakfast including make your own waffles. While the hotel is further from the airport than we expected, it was very close to the port. Also it was located right outside of a large shopping center. We arrived at the hotel around 3:00pm (ppl in our group arrived different time) and went to the hot tub then went to TGIFridays for dinner (had 10% off there with our hotel room key). The hotel was very nice and staff was friendly. Would definitely recommend this hotel. On the morning of our cruise we ate bfast at the hotel then boarded a large coach bus for transport to the port. Because we stayed in a suite we had VIP boarding. When we arrived at the port around 10:30 the Coast Guard was completing a test of some sort so we waited for about 10 minutes before boarding. We were literally around the 20th ppl to get on board. We immediately went to Lido and got the Mongolian grill. Our Suite Our suite was awesome. Loved loved loved the jetted bathtub and the bathroom as a whole with the dressing room. We had a larger balcony. Our Room stewards David and Iba were the best. Very attentive to our needs. I sent my wedding gown out to be pressed the day before the wedding way after the time in which I needed to send it in order to get it back before the wedding. David made sure my gown arrived early the same day. The Actual Ship and Staff I will be really honest. I got really annoyed reading ppl's reviews of the Freedom bc I never really notice if a ship is pretty/ugly. Well ppl's comments were warranted bc I noticed on this cruise. I am used to the layout of Conquest class ships but the dEcor on this ship sucked. All those Statue of Liberty heads started freaking me out. Otherwise the ship was fine. The ship was sooo clean all the time and I felt that this ship had the best staff overall. Wee Jimmy the CD was okay (IMO he was great) but I have many family members who are platinum cruiser and they hated him. They felt that he was way too laid back and couldn't get the crowd on its feet. I enjoyed him being a bit laid back. It was refreshing as compared to the over the top CDs I've experienced. Also in San Juan I saw Wee Jimmy in a restaurant and he gave me the best Mojitio I've ever had lol. The female Maitre D in the Sun King (Supper Club was awesome). My husband and I really bonded with her when we went to the Supper Club alone on our wedding night and she treated us like celebrities. She also informed us of the fact that she hadn't been off the ship in 4 months. So Sad... Let her off!!!!!! The manager in the jewelry store was great as well. Also our waiter Leo in Posh was awesome and so was our Maitre D Fernando. Activities I read reviews that stated that there were no shows for ppl who ate at the 8:15 dinner. That's a lie. They had 10:30 and midnight shows for late seating guest. To be honest we really didn't do much besides casino, shows and eating but all of our friends were always rushing off to one activity or another so I know they were plentiful. Also my friends and family members loved the disco and they hung out there almost every evening from like 12-3am-ish... Ports San Juan In San Juan We celebrated the night before the wedding by barhopping and shopping. We ate at this great little place in Old San Juan then went to some great bars. We were in San Juan at night which was fun. St Thomas Wedding Day I got married on Megan Bay Beach then had our reception at The Grille Room on the Mahogany Run Golf Course. We then had an island tour by Sunny Liston. Everything went well. I would definitely recommend Sunny Liston again and again. I would not recommend my wedding coordinator Janelle Scott of Island Bliss Weddings in St Thomas. Antigua In Antigua we missed our pre paid Lobster Lunch cruise with Creole Cruise. We were really looking forward to that, but we were on ship time not island time so we were left. We then found a personal tour guide and were taken on and island tour then to Nelson Bay?. We ate lunch at Caribbean Cuisine a local restaurant and had something that our guide recommended but we hated it. It was this mushy cornmeal stuff. But we also had selfish. OMG that was delicious. We then went to this beach (it felt like the beach was on the other side of the earth) and I got a 1 hr full body massage on the beach while my hubby jetskiied, Not the day we planned, but it worked out. Tortola In Tortola we went on a tour unplanned. We got off the ship late and weren't on the island long. However our tour guide was really good and gave us an extended tour. So we were touring for at least 3 hrs. Way to long after a while but it was a very nice tour. Nassau In Nassau we went (with about 20 family members) to a cafe that my family knew about. We had great food. I loved the Conch Soup. We then went to Cable Beach. We were supposed to pay but our cabbie spoke with the staff and they let us in for free. We hung out the rest of the day there relaxing and jet skiing. Conclusion In conclusion we really enjoyed ourselves on this cruise. The staff we encountered was awesome. All the food was great. I loved the new midnight buffets outside the disco. Karaoke was lame on this ship so we didn't go to the Legends show but the talent show was awesome. The waters were very rough due to a storm in Cuba so it was really hard for all the 1st time cruisers. My sister had the babysitting service watch my niece one night (she's 11 months). My sister sent her food and explained that she needed to eat in about an hour. An hour after she got there my sister was paged because my niece was crying. When she arrived my niece was hysterical and starving because they had chosen not to feed her. Clearly my sister never let her return to the babysitters. We booked thru a PVP and not as a group due to so many ppl being return cruisers. This worked out until our PVP was promoted. We didn't like our new PVP as much and I probably won't work with him in the future, I will definitely cruise carnival again. This was my 3rd and hubby's 4th Carnival cruise. We want to be platinum ASAP!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
Boat was late getting into port, because it was closed due to the very thick fog.. Dropped off bags around 11am then went to eat at the Spot on the seawall. The price was pretty hefty for a hot dog, hamburger, sides, & beer. $40. It ... Read More
Boat was late getting into port, because it was closed due to the very thick fog.. Dropped off bags around 11am then went to eat at the Spot on the seawall. The price was pretty hefty for a hot dog, hamburger, sides, & beer. $40. It started raining pretty good, & it rained most of the night before. We drove around the island to see if ship was there. It docked around noon. We had to wait until everyone started to get off the ship. They said to come back after 2pm. We went to park at the Galveston Park n cruise at 2:30p. Had reserved a spot for $30, but there wasn't any spots open yet, but for $5 more, we could upgrade to a covered or inside place, whichever came open. An inside place came open, so we took it. It was pouring rain & we had to walk about 1 1/2 blocks, then cross the street. Took 1 1/2hrs from start to finish before we got on the boat. They circulated a letter saying they would credit our account $15/each because of missing lunch. I thought that was really nice of Carnival. By the time we got on, all the rooms were ready, so we went right to the room. Ship didn't leave until 6:30pm in the rain. Ship is beautiful, loved the renovations. Second time I've been on it, so i remembered where most of the places were. Thought slots were tighter, & didn't play much bingo(did not win). At Progresso, took Uxmal excursion thru ship. Was really excellent. Impressive. Our 4th mayan ruin. Love them all. Got back to pier with only 45 minutes left to shop, so didn't buy anything there. It was 90 degrees, very hot out, but this place has alot of shade. Next day at Cozumel, just shopped for trinkets. Trip across Gulf was a little rocky, many people were missing from supper. Saw a kid throw-up around the pool. This is the first time we have gone when the ship was decorated for Christmas. It was beautiful. I really enjoyed it. Our room steward Jose was great, he gave us ice, & cleaned the room several times. Our dining room server Renauldo was great also-he knew what we liked to eat & drink. Had late dining, which i thought i wouldn't like, but we had ice cream around 3pm everyday to make it to the 8:15pm dining. Overall, it was a really nice cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
This was our (husband & I's) fourth cruise on Carnival. This time however, we had decided to spend a week in Florida and then, end the vacation with a three day cruise with several friends. We arrived at Port Canaveral on ... Read More
This was our (husband & I's) fourth cruise on Carnival. This time however, we had decided to spend a week in Florida and then, end the vacation with a three day cruise with several friends. We arrived at Port Canaveral on Dec 11th at approximately 11:00 am and included amongst our group of friends, was one wheelchair bound person. We were all very impressed with the immediate courtesy and assistance that we received for her while trying to board ship. The entire boarding process was less than 30 minutes. Due to our arriving early, our rooms were not available yet, so we choose to have lunch in the liddo deck. The liddo deck food is best described that Carnival's emphasis is on quantity, rather than quality. Although, I must admit it is edible. I noticed immediately that the non alcoholic drinks were very limited. It was either coffee, tea, water, lemonade, lemonade and more lemonade. I don't know what happened to fruit drinks that were once offered. The muster drill was quite unorganized and I found it strange that we weren't required to bring with us our life jackets. (In case of a real emergency, many people would not have any ideal how to use it). Although I find that Carnival generally has very courteous staff; it is unfortunate that many of them have difficulty conversing in English. Also the staff in the information desk area, tend to be quite stressed and unfriendly at times. Other than that, we had a fantastic cabin steward, who was beyond helpful. We appreciated him so much that he,along with a few other staff members, were tipped extra money by us at the end of our cruise. Overall, the staff managed to appear friendly, but they really looked fatigued and overworked! The rooms were sufficient for our use and always kept tidy by our cabin personnel. We really loved the towel creations, that appeared in our room nightly. I might add that in the evenings, it was kind of annoying having to listen to groups of people gathering in the halls or outside their rooms to engage in loud conversations with other passengers. Our formal dining was in the Fantasy dining room and we had two great servers, Putra and Laurence. They were always attentive to serving us; while taking care of other tables that they were assigned. The food was a bit disappointing, but again...edible. Also, I thought that the menu choices had changed drastically. Entertainment was less than average, but if you were a first time cruiser, you may have enjoyed it. I do hope that Carnival will eventually add a few more ideals for entertainment to their roster. Since we were recently in Nassau (June); we didn't have any problems with enjoying the Port stop. We had a ball in Paradise Island (Atlantis Hotel) and the surrounding area, as well as hiring a taxi-bus driver to take us around the island. Overall, the 3 day cruise was satisfactory and more than a value for the money spent. While at Port in Nassau, the new ship (Oasis) docked and we were in awe in its size and RAVING reviews from many of its passengers. We'll continue selecting Carnival for future cruises that we merely are going for total relaxation. However, if you're looking for more pampering, better selection of food, entertainment and a upscaled experience; Carnival's Sensation ship is not the cruise for YOU! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
Quicky as this is not part of my review...I first booked this cruise last June. Thinking I needed surgery and not being able to find out for sure before I entered the %100 percent penalty phase (no insurance..that'll teach me!) I ... Read More
Quicky as this is not part of my review...I first booked this cruise last June. Thinking I needed surgery and not being able to find out for sure before I entered the %100 percent penalty phase (no insurance..that'll teach me!) I cancelled and THEN learned I didn't and - determined to go - I rebooked a few days before sailing. I had originally booked with an online agency and I was VERY happy with how they helped me thru the cancellation process but when I went to rebook I found the cabin/category available thru Carnival so I booked with them. Now for the cruise!! We arrived about 10:30 and were able to enter the parking facility right away even thought there were still previous cruisers still leaving (I think it was Mobile where we had to wait till everyone had left before we could enter?!) It cost $80 which we paid in cash and there was an attendent there to feed our money into the machine and tell us where to head. We dropped off one suitcase and then drove up a couple of levels and parked near the elevators. All went very smooth. Once inside it took about 30 minutes in line to get through the security check and then we were directed (after a photo) to sit and wait till we could board. What we didn't know - and weren't told! - was that someone was standing off to the side giving out #'s to board by. So we ended up with a higher # than we'd have had if we 'KNEW' right off. We probably waited an hour to board but that was fine. All in all, a good process. After lunch on the Lido deck we went to our cabin. We were very surprised by the size and pleased with the location even tho it was all the way in the front of deck 10. Before this becomes a true novel, I want to say that we were well pleased with this trip. It's a beautiful ship and the food was good in all venues. The CD was a 'hoot' and we enjoyed listening to him 'whenever'. We enjoyed all the shows and especially the magic show. HOWEVER, we were 'straight on' in the theatre and our DR tablemates were on the side and saw all their 'secrets' which, to me, would take away all the fun and the 'wow' aspect. We did the self debarkation which went smooth too. I would definitely sail on this ship in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
OK it's not fair to compare The Carnival Miracle with the Celebrity Solstice and HAL's Amsterdam but that is what we just did. We sailed a TA on the Solstice then onto the Miracle then finished up on the Amsterdam for an Xmas-New ... Read More
OK it's not fair to compare The Carnival Miracle with the Celebrity Solstice and HAL's Amsterdam but that is what we just did. We sailed a TA on the Solstice then onto the Miracle then finished up on the Amsterdam for an Xmas-New Years Panama Canal. The Miracle is truly the ugliest thing afloat. The only nice place was our cabin. Clean neat tidy. Not words you could use to describe any other place on the ship. One could barely find the Xmas decoration due to all of the ugly tacky stuff everywhere. Ugly filthy dirty I could go on and on. Staff the could seem to care less. What the hell is up with the roof over the pool. Poured rain several times during the cruise. People got wet and they never closed it. Truly seemed as if the staff could care less about the guests on board. Food was so so. Ok for the most part in the dining room. Though, broccoli seemed to be the only vegetable. The Lido was so filthy I wouldn't eat there. Tables were never cleaned inside or outside. Filth all over the floors. The floors on the Solstice were clean enough to eat off!!! The staff Dancers and singers were very good but the other shows were just OK. Smoking in most of the lounges made it impossible to enjoy them. For the most part spent most of the time in the cabin when not ashore. Even the balcony was not useable due to smokers next door. First and last time on Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
Carnival splendor is a great ship. A tad busy colorwise but a fun ship. Definately a party boat.But,we met the most interesting people on this ship. People from all over the world. The food in the cafeteria was fair at best.Rather ... Read More
Carnival splendor is a great ship. A tad busy colorwise but a fun ship. Definately a party boat.But,we met the most interesting people on this ship. People from all over the world. The food in the cafeteria was fair at best.Rather dissapointing. We did not go to the formal dinners mainly because we had late seating which was too late for us. Our ship crashed into the dock in Puerto Vallarta.We were not able to go to Masatland because of repairs being done to the ship.We were given $20 per person port charges back. I do have to make a comment about the charges for alcohol and sodas. We like many other people are on a budget. Yes we got a good deal on the cruise.But it is ridiculous to pay $45 for sodas and $6 for a beer. Needless to say not many sodas or beers were bought. Our room stewards were outstanding. Also all dining staff were good. One last comment I have is; Met a gal from california. She jumped down from a upper bunk the first night on ship and broke her leg. She went on shore in PV and had it wrapped until she got home to Cal. My issue is she rented crutches which were taken from her the night before we got back to cal. They said she would have to pay $50 to be able to use them till the next day. This gal was the most upbeat person. She took it in stride but it left a bad taste in my mouth. All in all it was a good cruise. Great people and staff. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
We booked the Dream's "Inaugural" Caribbean Cruise well in advance, and in all fairness to Carnival, we received an excellent upgrade, ending up on Deck 9. The stateroom was in a most convenient location with easy access to ... Read More
We booked the Dream's "Inaugural" Caribbean Cruise well in advance, and in all fairness to Carnival, we received an excellent upgrade, ending up on Deck 9. The stateroom was in a most convenient location with easy access to the Lido (Gathering) restaurant. The Cruise Director and staff totally succeeded in making the touted Inaugural Cruise a non-event. A great opportunity was lost here. It should be understood anyone who reads this review that my mate and I are veteran cruisers, having cruised on HAL, MSC, RCI and others. Also the reader should know that this was our 18th cruise on Carnival ships out of a total of 42 cruises. We were told when we arrived at the Canaveral guest waiting area that there were over 600 "Platinum" guests to board. Boarding the ship went smoothly and was surprisingly early, considering the ship's capacity. As usual, we found no fault with the staff and the service was up to par with one exception, a deck hand who was permanently in a snit and encountering something like this is extremely rare. The berths were comfortable as would be expected on a new ship. Okay, that's the good part . . . now we'll proceed to "tell it like it was." As the ship was built on a Conquest Class platform, most inner spaces, theater, shops, bars, etc were about the same as the Carnival Glory. However the weather decks were another story, with many innovative features which we had not seen on other ships. Some of these were good, and some were abominations. Lets take the Serenity deck . . . a very big disappointment for us, as the seats, lounges etc. appeared to be designed by the Marquis de Sade, not very subtle instruments of torture for those who were seeking quiet and comfort. The on deck experience. The fluorescent rail deck lighting was arranged as to blind anyone who came on deck, destroying any possibility of any viewing of a night sky or other ships around. These lights could have been adjusted (three set screws) so they shone on the deck and not up into guests eyes. The jogging track was plain linoleum deck covering with no cushioning, and the "teak" decking was printed on the deck covering as well as the jogging trck. Traditional teak decking was very rare. The deck lounges were generally comfortable. There was a power failure and there were people trapped in elevators, air conditioning was down, and this seemed to last just short of an hour. Fortunately we were taking a siesta in our stateroom, and were only inconvenienced by "Todd's" many announcements (piped directly into thestateroom speakers) reassuring those trapped in elevators that they would be out soon. Of course, the biggest fiasco was the cancellation of the San Juan port of call. The Captain decided that the ship could not be docked without damaging the lifeboats, and the ship just held position a couple of hundred yards off the piers while final decisions were made. Note that the ship's design is very "hippy" with the lifeboats and Deck Five extending out from the sides of the ship. Pretty dumb design if you ask me. I did look at San Juan on Google Earth and noted that in the image that a Carnival Conquest-class ship was docked in a space that was unoccupied while we waiting around. This was an inexcusable fiasco. The food was so-so, most of it was supplied by Syco's, and monotinous. The deserts were not unlike plastic food, and getting hot food was just about impossible except for the Pasta Bar as we did get one hot meal there. The Welcome Aboard and Repeaters parties were a total failure. Offing a dollar off on drinks is a total insult. The changes instituted in these two events are totally negative, it's getting to the point there either event is not worth the time it takes to attend. Summing up, we would never cruise on the Dream again, and we'll be cruising on HAL and RCI for a while. Carnival ain't what it once was! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
I think the other reviewers hit the biggest issues that plagued this cruise so I won't continue to drive those nails into the Dream coffin. And I realize that some of the issues are quite subjective such as the average patron age ... Read More
I think the other reviewers hit the biggest issues that plagued this cruise so I won't continue to drive those nails into the Dream coffin. And I realize that some of the issues are quite subjective such as the average patron age (70+) and the extreme rudeness of a significant portion of them. However, on a technical/objective front, the Dream staff really must have had their work cut out for them since there was mass confusion right from embarkation (everybody stood around the Atrium clogging the way to the elevators and no signs or staff telling people where to go/what to do) Later we found out there were a couple of young staff with 'help' shirts on but I didn't see them and if I did, would I have known why there were there? The design of the Lido buffet restaurant was atrocious. We already heard how patrons got their hot and cold drinks but what wasn't mentioned is that their placement is such that it caused huge choke points in the main aisle ways and around the dinner lines. To further add congestion and confustion were the millieu of staff with push carts trying to navigate these choke points at peak times, and being very frustrated with people in their way. The designer should get a D- minus for not only the layout of this desk but all the public areas. We're in our early 40s so the entertainment was so so. Sure the R rated sessions were a little raunchy but if you were offended, why didn't you just go to the PG rated shows? And FunDude?! You were an odd curiousity the first time with your squeakyness, but seriously, stay off the stage. The singing was fine but the dancing was hohum. Several dancers not completing their movements and most of the time were out of sync. I've seen better at our local country theatres. The food was alright, but the restaurant food was less than the stellar meals we were lead to belive they'd be. And the portions were puny! At first we were kind of shocked that people were ordering several appetizers and entrees but now we know why! And the fresh fruit? Sour oranges (from a Florida port no less) no bananas halfway through the cruise, seemed like the end of the cruise was filled with fruit puree at the buffet. The dinner rolls served on the last 3 days were definitely several days old but the cinnamon and croisant rolls at breakfast were fresh daily. Debarkation was like being a guest on a hideaway bed and the owner shook and tilted the bed, telling us to get out. It was THAT FAST! Felt the love, not. And, don't even get me started on San Juan. One would think that in today's age, those pier artifacts could've/should've been added to the port simulator for docking trials. Here's an objective situation for you. We signed up for the Kennedy Space Center debarkation tour with airport transfer on the 2nd day at sea. We looked up what it would cost to do such a tour and a shuttle separately and felt that the onboard price was very very compelling so we asked once by phone then once again at the shore excursion desk if the price was correct? Yes it is we were told both times so we signed up. 2 days later we got a call saying our tickets were being refunded because the price was wrong in their published guide and on the TV and that there's nothing anyone can do, not even give a discount for our inconvenience, nothing. 2 days later we still want to go so we sign up and the morning of the debarkation we were informed that they would honour a 50% discount to everyone who signed up. (which brings us back to the original purchased price) So several days of frustration with the same end result.... Overall, unless you were a Gators fan (pre-empted the big screen movies) or just wanted everyone to leave you alone and sun out on the deck and didn't care for the subtle pamperings that 99% of our friends told us we'd experience on a Carnival cruise, you'd rate most likely had a good time. We did not. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
KEEP ON DREAMING... Nice to cruise on a fairly new ship, the largest in Carnival's fleet. Liked some of the innovations such as a Promenade deck that you can actually walk around, miniature golf, a toned down and somewhat ... Read More
KEEP ON DREAMING... Nice to cruise on a fairly new ship, the largest in Carnival's fleet. Liked some of the innovations such as a Promenade deck that you can actually walk around, miniature golf, a toned down and somewhat pleasant color scheme in the atrium and around the ship. There are a few gripes however, and they include: · The atrium has the most slippery and uncomfortable bar stools I've ever had the displeasure to sit on. · Four whirlpools are placed on the Promenade deck of all places. It was interesting seeing all the folks in their robes and swimsuits and towels taking the elevator to the fifth deck then walking thru the shopping area and casino in order to get to the whirlpools. · Look up when sitting in the whirlpool and you will most likely see folks on their balconies on the 6th, 7th,8th, and 9th decks looking down on you. Smile and wave. · The least expensive balcony cabins on this ship are located on the deck below the lifeboats that overhang the side of the ship. These balconies have a cave-like appearance. Innovative design...perhaps, good design...I think not. · There are two swimming pools on the Lido deck, one mid-ship and one aft. Both are postage stamp size. Was the formula the Dream ship designers used "more passengers = smaller pools"? · The Lido deck dinner buffet was very minimal and had such a small variety of food and dessert, it made a KFC restaurant buffet back home look good. · Lunch on the Lido deck, however, was a much different experience. Passengers hurrying everywhere, and then waiting in the food line, drink line, or for a vacant table. Service personnel bumping into to you while trying to negotiate the passengers and obstacles in an ill-designed area. · The Lido breakfast was ok, but in no way exceptional. Note to food manager: why do you insist on having someone dishing out the bacon? Bacon is NOT gold. It would speed up the line if people could serve themselves bacon as they do on other items. · Speaking of obstacles...the positioning of the drink stations on the Lido deck is terrible. Their positions cause horrendous passenger bottlenecks that could be avoidable if their location was better designed. Additionally, at these drink stations, why place the coffee mugs in between the ice machine and the cold drink machine? Passengers are very frustrated having to endure multiple lines at these stations just to get something to drink. Surely the ship's food management officers have observed this crazy situation but what has been done to remedy it? Duh... · Room service is 24 hours but consists of a very limited menu. When we did place an order, the service was prompt but often there was something missing...such as condiments. · Supper Club was definitely a disappointment. The service was BAD. They did not refill the water or ice tea. Although only about 50% of the tables were occupied, there was not enough wait staff for proper service. The food presentation was good but the quality and taste were not. Save your money, don't eat here. · Note to Todd Wittmer, Cruise Director: Don't quit your day job. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
OK, I admit it -- my wife and I cruise because we love to eat. We have sailed on over 15 cruises, including 3 prior cruises on the Ecstasy. In the past the food has mostly been good with some being great, and occasionally being poor. This ... Read More
OK, I admit it -- my wife and I cruise because we love to eat. We have sailed on over 15 cruises, including 3 prior cruises on the Ecstasy. In the past the food has mostly been good with some being great, and occasionally being poor. This time the food was mostly poor. I'll start with breakfast and lunch, and then I'll do a day-by-day breakdown of dinner. Note that this was a 5 day cruise, leaving on Monday and returning on Saturday. Breakfast: As with most cruises, breakfast is the same each day. On this cruise, the bacon tasted "old" and not very flavorful. The eggs benedict was overcooked; I prefer runny yokes. My wife had a omelet and asked for salsa, and instead was given pico-de-gallo -- not the same thing at all. The orange juice was watered down. Overall breakfast was poor. Lunch: Very poor. The Lido buffet had several choices, but few were really good. The tomato soup was excellent -- thick, and flavorful. Other soups often had way too much onion. Entrees were usually dry, presumably from being set out too long. Entrees were not very hot, so I don't think they were drying because of heat lamps. And the entrees often had little to no taste -- even the jerk chicken. Note that on Carnival, the lido buffet lunch has different selections on the port and starboard sides (unlike RCCL which usually has the same selections both sides), so check out both sides before you make your selections. The pizza was OK, but drier than in the past (read that as "needed more sauce"). The made-to-order sandwiches were good -- don't miss this at the back of the Lido deck. Out by the pool, there was a hamburger grill (they will also grill chicken); this was OK. So were hot dogs. The french fries were OK if you got them hot from the frier, but the ones that have sat a while were tough and dry. I did not try the Mongolian grill also by the pool area (new to this ship). We ate in the main dining room for lunch on Friday. The wife had fish which was terrible. I had the ribs which were OK but room temperature. Now...On to the main dining room dinners. I'll break this down by days. Monday: I had a steak which was really quite good -- cooked medium just like way I ordered and quite juicy and tender. I don't remember what the wife had. The odd thing is that the side dishes now are all the same regardless of what you order; I don't remember that in on past Carnival cruises. So I was served mac-n-cheese with my steak, and not a potato. Shrimp cocktail was good, and you can have this every night. Soup must not have been memorable, because I can't remember what I had. Tuesday: This is meal most people look forward too -- Lobster and Prime Rib. And both were quite good. I had two lobsters and one prime rib (medium rare). However, the "au jus" was really a brown gravy -- good, but not really "au jus". Now, I always love the "West Indian Roasted Pumpkin Soup". But not this time. It was watery and not creamy or thick like in the past. I was very disappointed. Wednesday: I was not very hungry. I tried the chicken fettucini. The chicken was dry, and the fettucini was too pasty and not enough sauce. My wife tried the Mahi Mahi (available every night) and it was BAD -- very fishy and dry and tough. She could have ordered something else, but chose not to. Thursday: We both tried the chateaubriand -- mine medium rare and hers medium. It looked like it was cooked as we ordered, but both were dry. The only way I think this can happen is if it is under a heat lamp for a long time. But the worst of the meal was the lobster bisque soup. It was horrible. It smelled very fishy when served. We each took one small taste and pushed it away. Very disappointing. I wonder if anyone ate the lobster bisque that night. Why would any chef prepare something so horribly tasting? Friday: I had the beef short ribs. It was like an overcooked pot roast. My wife had the veal parmesan and said it was very good. The French onion soup was very good too. Well, on to other stuff. Music: The music was so-so. The ship's band was down to 5 pieces (keyboard, bass, guitar, drum, sax), and none of the musicians were great. They also had a female singer who was OK, but off-key on some songs. Other musicians were not very good. The best was probably Loraine in the piano bar, but it so smokey in there that we had too leave. No classical music at all this time. The covers on the real pianos in the atrium and also by the Rolls Royce were never removed to my knowledge. I love live music, so this was a real disappointment. Shows: The shows were pretty good. However, most of the singing-and-dancing shows use pre-recorded sound, so of course it sounds good. The main singers sing live. The dancing was good to excellent sometimes. The two comedians were funny. The talent show Wednesday night was fun as usual. The best entertainer is Steve Cassell, our cruise director. He play the violin/fiddle and also juggles. Steve is one of the best cruise directors I've had. My wife has multiple sclerosis, so we did not get off the ship and I cannot review the ports. The cabin was fine. We had an inside cabin, and usually do. We had some things that needed fixing, and these were fixed immediately. The shower always had plenty of hot water. On all of my past cruises, the ship's tap water was fine. This time the tap water had way too much chlorine, making it almost impossible to drink. I'm glad we brought a gallon of drinking water. Tip: Stop somewhere and get a gallon or two of drinking water. You'll need it if they don't change the water on this ship. Would I go on the Ecstasy again? Probably. For the money, it is OK. Just don't expect too much. Also, I have heard that food quality on all cruise lines seems to be declining. That is too bad. Does it really cost that much more money to fix a tasty hot meal rather than a bland dry room temperature meal? Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2010
This was my Aunts 2nd cruise and about my 14th or 15th. Have sailed with RCCL,NCL and Disney in the past. It was my 3rd on Carnival in 8 months. Until my 1st Carnival cruise in June I wouldn't dream of sailing on what I thought would ... Read More
This was my Aunts 2nd cruise and about my 14th or 15th. Have sailed with RCCL,NCL and Disney in the past. It was my 3rd on Carnival in 8 months. Until my 1st Carnival cruise in June I wouldn't dream of sailing on what I thought would be a ship full of drunken college kids. I was so wrong. I love Carnival! This was my 2nd winter cruise from the east coast so I knew it would be different from one that started out in a warm climate. I really wanted to relax this trip.I alwasy get a balcony, but this time I had my first obstructed view balcony. I had thought about upgrading right up until the week we sailed. Glad I didn't. Due to cold, wind and some rain, we spent very little time out on our balcony. Embarkation went great right up until we had to swipe our new Sign and Sail cards just feet from the Pride walkway onto the ship. Due to the cold, the computer system broke down. A short wait and we were back on track. I don't think the Pride hits you with a "wow" factor as you enter the main lobby, but the beauty of this ship does grow on you quickly. We had all lunches and breakfast meals in the Mermaid Grille, dinner in the dining room. We had "anytime dining" and it was much improved over our June Pride cruise with this same dining type. This time we never waited at all for a table. Service was great and food was delicious. We loved curling up with a book in one of the ship's many open lounge areas inside. Spent very little time on deck due to weather, but we were never bored. Staff was very friendly. I wasn't wild about the shows - had seen most only months before on the Pride. We didn't get to stop in Freeport due to high winds, but we hadn't planned on getting off the ship here anyway, so no loss for us. Only complaint would be amount of smoke in casino. All in all, it was a great cruise. Looking forward to my next Carnival cruise in fall 2010. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
We left for Ft Lauderdale the day before and I had done online research to know that we could stay at Miami International Days Inn and get free shuttle (up to 2 people) to Miami port, so we rented car from Ft Lauderdale , headed to Miami ... Read More
We left for Ft Lauderdale the day before and I had done online research to know that we could stay at Miami International Days Inn and get free shuttle (up to 2 people) to Miami port, so we rented car from Ft Lauderdale , headed to Miami Beach, and spent few hours, but it was cold and we headed back to hotel after eating. We dropped off car , had them take us to airport where we waited for shuttle from hotel, ( took an hour) Other Days Inn buses went by but not International. Finally after getting to hotel a older gentleman ahead of us at desk told them he had tried calling for pick up at airport and no one answered. The one man behind counter said he was so busy. But he did give him the taxi money refund back to him . Hotel lobby was small, and hallways were dark, but rooms were big, clean and nice. And the best part was got an online deal for $80 and that free shuttle to ship was good the next am. Embarkation went smoothly , having the FunShip pass gets you in faster. After eating in Lido deck we went to our room which was also on Lido ( nice to not have to deal with elevators to get to lunch daily) We enjoyed most all the food and dining staff , but our room steward we saw once on first day, after that did not hear from him , other than to see the animal towels on the bed at night. We enjoyed the night shows, our table partners, and the food. Chocolate bar was good, but not well advertised. We did not use casino, but did take advantage of internet one time on a half price deal, spent 15 min there. Also enjoyed the karoke watching. We as all other 3,000 people were very disappointed with the week of weather. Out of 7 days we only had one day of sun. So did not see people on deck or sunbathing , was just too cold or raining. Seemed like real cabin fever after awhile , what we thought we were getting away from. It was just a bad week, the cold streak from north made it all the way into the caribbean. We even had choppy water, such that the bed would rock most nights. We did take motion pills. The stingray and snorkeling tour at Grand Cayman was cancelled . But we had booked the turtle farm which we enjoyed, It was the only time I had my bathing suit on... snorkeled in lagoon area . The Isle of Roatan we scheduled no excursion as we planned that as our beach day. Nice local beach, new Mahogany Bay port area of shops and sky ride to beach ( we walked ) Ship sells package to another beach , but this is a good one for free but was cooler and drizzling rain so sat on beach chairs with towels covering us, some people walked along beach with umbrellas. Others took buses in town for tours. Our Belize day was rain most all of day, so we had booked online a cave tubing tour, but did not go , due to not wanting to walk 30 min in forest in the rain and cold. So did some shops and small lunch at the bar . We did not go past the walls into the city as we were told was not safe. The last stop was Cozumel, and thankfully had sun, but that ruins tour was in Playa del Carmen so we took ferry for 30 min , then bus ride for 45 . Was fantastic bus guide and stop at nice souvenier place, and ruins were great. Had nice beach there but not enough time , just enough for a pic by the ocean and then off to the bus again. That was the only day we felt warm. Other times on the ship we spent eating and eating . Started to feel a bit bored. Played some bingo ($20 for 3 cards ) Did win $160. We enjoyed the dress up nights and got some pics taken. We have been on two other cruises many yrs ago so hard to remember to compare, but all we were most disappointed in was the weather and also trouble getting around the ship. BE AWARE >>>> we paid extra for the express luggage handling from our cabin to Chicago. At time of pickup in Chicago , it was not there, we made a claim at airline. They called the next am and said it had not come in. I then called Carnival and they did a search to say it was found on the pier ! They fedex it and arrive four days later. Luckily I had insurance on cruise line that did cover delayed baggage. but airline claims people said this happens alot with Carnival and Disney cruises, so my suggestion is to take your own luggage to checkin. We got our money back but a mental headache not knowing where luggage was. We payed for the bus shuttle back to airport after we got on the ship and that was $18 a piece. Was convenient just walked out and got on , they loaded our carryon luggage and told us where to get off. We will probably not go on a cruise for awhile , maybe Alaska , if anyone has any good ideas for itinerary for that one , email me at gile436@comcast.net We were excited at the beginning of the trip and each day got more dismal . The luggage issue just topped off the experience for us. On a sunny day all the ports though would be great choices. Unfortunately we sailed on the coldest week of all ! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
The food was tasty, beautifully presented with diverse choices, the waiter service excellent, but on this January cruise Carnival decided to have besides the regular early and late pre-assigned tables, a "choose your time" dining ... Read More
The food was tasty, beautifully presented with diverse choices, the waiter service excellent, but on this January cruise Carnival decided to have besides the regular early and late pre-assigned tables, a "choose your time" dining option (5:45 to 9:30) with Maitre D assigning the tables each night. Hundred wanted to eat early. What a madhouse it was to get seated in the 5:45 PM timeslot, which was promised when we booked thru Carnival back in July/August: a table for 2 at 5:45. Some folks were really angry. Grown adults can behave very rudely, pushing and shoving, cursing even, with several passengers discovering they could get in the back entrance and taking SELF-assigned tables, throwing the whole seating plan all askew. The Maitre D's was almost tearing his/her/their hair out, but always remaining polite, and eventually getting everyone seated though sometimes not until 7:45 PM defeating the whole purpose of "choosing your own time". None of us were happy cruisers. Carnival HAS to fix this problem. We started out in cabin 1203 on deck 1. NEVER, EVER, Book a cabin in the further-most forward section on the lowest passenger deck, unless you are out of your cabin all night long and can sleep like a log. Besides the waves hitting the bow, there are fin-like stabilizers that move out from the bow to stabilize such a huge ship. They are not quiet. Fortunately after begging for another cabin, we got assigned to an inside cabin on deck 8. It was a joy to be in that cabin, and even though it was small, it was perfectly adequate. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
Having sailed with Carnival on the Glory twice previously, i was excited to book a vacation on the new 'Dream'. I thought I would love an even bigger ship. Whilst we both enjoyed getting away from the English winter into the ... Read More
Having sailed with Carnival on the Glory twice previously, i was excited to book a vacation on the new 'Dream'. I thought I would love an even bigger ship. Whilst we both enjoyed getting away from the English winter into the Caribbean for its warmth, lovely beaches and glorious seas, we were both disappointed at a couple of aspects of the 'large' ship. The first one being the saving of seats in the theatre. We felt very uncomfortable, at seeing very elderly people climbing to the top of the theatre, to be told by people that the seats were reserved. We noticed this most nights, some people even saving a whole row of seats. This should not be allowed. It should be monitored. All party members should enter the theatre together and take their seats together. There was even a stand up fight one night and security had to be informed. Not a good sight, particularly whilst on vacation. Our second problem, we felt the food in the main dining rooms were not hot enough. Was this because the kitchen was too far away - I lost my appetite, and we went to the Lido a couple of nights. The plus was the Chef's dining room, well worth the extra $30 - what a treat to have hot food, served exactly as it should be. Loved the serenity deck. Will we go on the Dream again - not sure, think we preferred the GLORY. All in all, excellent inside cabin. We had an inside cabin on the 9th deck. We chose not to choose a cabin prior to sailing, but chose to go for a guaranteed inside. We found ourselves on the 9th deck. Next one up was the Lido deck. The cabin was, as per the Glory, spacious, the king size bed extremely comfortable, the bedding, wish I could have brought it home with me -it was lovely. The bathroom was as per all bathrooms I have been on on cruise ships, adequate. Spotlessly clean - thanks to our cabin steward. Plenty of space for clothes, excellent lighting, television placed so you could see it easily from the bed or dressing table. We did not find the hallway noisy. However, the early morning announcements could hardly be heard clearly when cabin door was closed. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
Cruising from Galveston for us is the easiest and best way to cruise. No airfare! We live in the Dallas area and drove to Galveston on Sunday before the cruise and stayed at the Tremont Hotel near the Strand. It was fantastic as it was ... Read More
Cruising from Galveston for us is the easiest and best way to cruise. No airfare! We live in the Dallas area and drove to Galveston on Sunday before the cruise and stayed at the Tremont Hotel near the Strand. It was fantastic as it was Mardi Gras and we had a great time roaming the streets. Our hotel was booked through an Internet agency so we had prepaid it. Upon checking in, we told the front desk we were cruising to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and the hotel sent chocolate covered strawberries and champagne to our room as a surprise! The hotel also offers free cruise parking at their sister hotel, the Galvez so we were able to park there and the Tremont took us to the pier the next morning for embarkation. We arrived in style in their town car! Of course, this is February and the weather can be unpredictable, but we NEVER allow this to impair our vacation. Embarkation was quite easy and we were on the ship by noon, dining in the Panorama Grill on the Lido deck. The food was awesome and this was just the beginning of a five day culinary feast! The staterooms were ready by about 1:30 and we took our carry-ons and our other luggage appeared quickly after that. We booked an inside and had the beds in the twin configuration so it gave us more room to walk about the cabin. We unpacked and then went about to roam the ship. The Ecstasy is glamorous and full of life! Music can be heard from every bar area. Our chosen dining time was the any time dining and we ate every night at the same table #111 with Alvin, the best waiter on board this ship. The food each night was unbelievable and the choices were just fantastic, in fact, of all the cruises we have been on, this food topped the list! Go Carnival! On the night of our 25th anniversary, we had champagne, a cake and singing waitstaff. Each evening we were entertained by our waiters and Jamal the maitre d' was great with introductions of what was happening next. During the day, there was trivia, bingo, port talks, the casino, the library, bars and a plethora of things to see and do. We were never bored! My husband did the "behind the scenes" tour to see what the crew actually does and got to visit the engine room. He said it was the best thing he had done in many cruises. This is offered to a limited number of passengers for a fee of $55. Time just flew by and before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye. We chose the self assist and really had no problems as we were off the ship and at our car by 10:00 and back driving north on I-45. Would we book this one again........you bet! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
The Good: Nice roomy comfy stateroom, roomy bathrm (room for 2 in the shower LOL). Really nice room steward. The Bad: Tacky icky low-end Las Vegas-y decor throughout the ship. & The Truly Awful: Right-in-your-face photographers who ... Read More
The Good: Nice roomy comfy stateroom, roomy bathrm (room for 2 in the shower LOL). Really nice room steward. The Bad: Tacky icky low-end Las Vegas-y decor throughout the ship. & The Truly Awful: Right-in-your-face photographers who try very very forcefully to stop you at every turn, on AND off the ship, and must be all "paparazzi-in-training" ... most are ready to graduate to dogging celebs! The food is not great, and is often really bad. The service is mostly very very bad. One example... I ordered eggs for breakfast, a fellow at next table ordered same but with hash. He started eating, figuring the hash was coming. My eggs came with hash. We told the waiter about the mix-up and he then picked up my plate, scraped the hash off onto the other guy's plate and then put 'my' plate (with streaks of hash residue) back down in front of me. I have more, similar stories. Little or no consideration is given by anyone (embark staff, ship staff, debark staff) to folks with 'limitations' (canes, walkers, etc.) Everyone was complaining and there are tons of older people with bad knees, etc., on these cruises. We were told to follow someone down 5 flights of stairs during a mandatory safety drill; many tried to complain but the 'someone' was already two+ flights down and out of earshot. We went and found nearest elevator, but didn't know what floor to get off on, so had to try a few. Conclusion: Would never do a Carnival cruise again. Lots of folks we talked to on board felt the same and said it was definitely the worst line they'd ever been on. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
We checked out of our hotel room at Galvez early so we could board the ship early. Bad mistake. This was the Feb 21 Conquest cruise that was fogged in. Actually the previous group could not dock for the fog, so that was just one delay, ... Read More
We checked out of our hotel room at Galvez early so we could board the ship early. Bad mistake. This was the Feb 21 Conquest cruise that was fogged in. Actually the previous group could not dock for the fog, so that was just one delay, then the Harbor Master didn't allow us to leave till the fog lifted. Once on board we did not care; dinner was great, our bags at the cabin doors, and after a long day, we were all glad to explore the ship. We noiselessly slipped away sometime around 2 a.m. and woke to pleasant rocking. We knew we had the perfect cabin location 8233 forward. Then Captain Antonino pushed that ship to the max & we were only 2 hrs late to Jamaica. Yeah Captain! Monday night my husband got sick & I called the infirmary for Imodium AD. They insisted they see the patient. He had no fever but was quarantined in our cabin 48 hours. Thank goodness we had a balcony! He was well cared for and checked on; food service brought his prescribed diet any time. His mini bar sodas and bottled water was all free. They did offer free movies but he did not order any. There was no formal diagnosis, but we think they are correct to be careful for others' sake. He missed Sky Explorer, and the next day at CI, the Atlantis sub was canceled due to rough seas anyway. All fees were promptly credited. The rest of us went to Sky Explorer and Dunns River Falls. The climb up the Falls should have been designated a level 3 for difficulty; the lift was very pleasant tho. Lunch was delicious (jerk chicken & peas n rice). Our tour guide was Ter-Ann. She alone was worth the cost. Such an entertainer, and gave us dozens of little known Jamaican facts, lore, language, and history. I think my 11 yoa grandson was in love!! She is also very pretty and super sweet. Honestly, she explained the plight of the poor in Jamaica, as well as the beauty of her country. This was an excellent excursion; something for everyone. On the return lift, it was getting to be dusk (remember, we were late to arrive) and the night birds were swooping over the jungle, calling out to each other. They were beautiful, the lift was quiet, and it was a treasured moment we shall never forget. I should have never boarded the CI tender in rough water! We decided to go shopping there and the taxi ride was ok, but we did not like the crowds, noise, and just the atmosphere. It was too much like a mall, and we can do that at home. After buying a few things, we left early for the tender. After letting one part of the group off, the waves were banging the tender against the gangway almost violently. Our pilot took us out & circled 2 more times before all were able to get back on the ship. That was still difficult! At Cozumel, husband was finally released and we all went shopping there. This was much better surroundings and the rest of the family was disappointed to have to stop shopping for our excursion for 'Dolphin Encounter'. Husband went back to the ship and we went a short way to a nice plaza serving food, drinks, etc, with shower & changing rooms. The dolphin trainer was informative and had an excellent knowledge of his dolphins. Afterward we were herded to a room full of computers where the photos are displayed. Several package prices are presented, but only the most expensive included the "kiss", where each group member poses with a dolphin kissing cheeks and lips. These were very outrageously priced and we declined all offers. I thought it was cheap of them to exclude the 'kiss' from the CD. On the way home, the entertainment was excellent with dancing, juggler, comedian, talent show, much more. All was very good. One of the shows had a Paris theme, and was of good quality, just not our favorite show. It plays off the excellent paintings all over the ship. The drink of the day card was a good deal. If you ordered a second one, it was a smaller glass. Our favorite was 'Kiss On the Lips'. Yummy! The soda cards were just right for kids because they drank one with dinner every night; good way to limit them. Dinner with our waiter Techisith was exceptional. He and his crew treated us like family; he was a talented kid pleaser with Daffy Duck, Roadrunner and Buggs Bunny noises. DInner was also our best meal, and I do hope others tried the diet desserts, like lemon chiffon cake and coconut cake. Awesome! Better than the tiramisu (I ordered both). We have no complaints about the food, seating, waiters who dance & sing, late seating. Cant think of a thing to gripe about. On Lido deck we tried Pizza, deli sandwiches, ice cream, drinks, lunch buffet, dessert bar, sushi,breakfast. I am not fond of the lunch buffet, but fried chicken was fantastic. Some casseroles were ho-hum for taste. We never made it to fish & chips. Debarkation was a breeze, as well as EZ Park's shuttle. Next time tho we will stay at Galvez, use their shuttle, and park all week for free!!! We did not know that perk and already paid EZ Cruise Park. We are all ready for the next cruise and we do love that Conquest best of all the Carnival ships. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
Twas a dark and snowy winter. Northern Ohio is usually good for one big snow a year, but the Winter of 2010 produced three. There was 30 inches of snow on the ground with more in the forecast as we departed with my in-laws for a Western ... Read More
Twas a dark and snowy winter. Northern Ohio is usually good for one big snow a year, but the Winter of 2010 produced three. There was 30 inches of snow on the ground with more in the forecast as we departed with my in-laws for a Western Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Valor. We traveled through the Fort Lauderdale airport where we were met by Carnival (CCL) staff and seated on a large highway bus. The bus dropped us at the entrance to the cavernous Port of Miami terminal. The CCL staff provided wheelchairs for my moderately disabled in-laws. We were escorted through the embarkation process. Our first cruise experience was many years ago with a cabin the size of our walk-in closet. We did not cruise again for several years until we took our sons on a Caribbean cruise with CCL. The CCL cabins were a pleasant surprise...huge when compared with our first cruise. It was, however, a disappointment to walk into our stateroom aboard the Valor where we were immediately confronted with a heavy blanket of lingering cigarette smoke. Our steward gave the room a second cleaning, but the odor remained oppressive. The floor manager became involved. With our steward, she oversaw a complete cleaning of the room, draperies were changed out as was the bed spread, the carpet was wet vacuumed. The smoke issue was completely resolved. With 3,000 passengers, the Valor is huge. It is somewhat surprising to read reviews about a ship with a stated capacity of 3,000 passengers wherein the writers complain, with some apparent surprise, that upon their arrival they found 2,999 other passengers on board. Likewise for those who sail during spring break and find... Size does have its virtues. We like cabins on a lower deck towards the middle of the ship. This minimizes the motion both the front-back pitch and the side-to-side inverse pendulum. On the Valor, this strategy is almost unnecessary. Throughout the voyage, I felt very little ship movement and on multiple occasions stopped just to take note of this fact as I watched the ocean pass by. Food was abundant, at all times, and healthy choices were available. The sit-down dining service was good. In speaking with friends, it seems some cruise lines are testing the minimums for staffing. The CCL dining room staffing was adequate. The quality of the menu items varied. Some were quite good. I did not care for most of the desserts. On the Lido deck, I avoided the general buffet and the burger stand at the ends of the dining area. I ate at the specialty buffets in the center. The chefs at the deli window were most accommodating in their preparation of "Turkey" Reubens. The undiscovered fish and chips bar is best left undiscovered. The pizza bar is good, but not gourmet. There are multiple ice cream machines with their attendant knots of children. (McDonalds cones not Ben and Jerry's) The children's clubs on board seemed to do a good job of keeping the little darlings occupied and elsewhere. Based on our prior cruise experiences, our fellow passengers on this particular Winter sailing included a disproportionate number of Canadians, as always courteous and a pleasure to be around. Among the best surprises was the stellar quality of the stage shows. Having sailed on smaller ships where goofy cruise ship skits by crew members were the shows for the night, the professional performers and professional presentations were far beyond our expectation. Another benefit to size! We enjoyed our shore excursions. The West End Village on Roatan was underappreciated at the time. Laid back is inadequate to describe it. Our disembarkation went well until Customs caught the guy in front of us with something he wasn't supposed to have. Our line was closed and he was escorted to the back room. The alert CCL staff redirected our line. It was a pleasant cruise, away from the snow, with good company...and the usual suspect got his due at the end of the show. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
We booked the cabin knowing nothing about a Cove type and in talking to Carnival HQ no one there knew anything either. It was not a major shock, then, when we opened the door and studied our week-long home. The cabin itself was pretty ... Read More
We booked the cabin knowing nothing about a Cove type and in talking to Carnival HQ no one there knew anything either. It was not a major shock, then, when we opened the door and studied our week-long home. The cabin itself was pretty basic, similar to most balcony cabins, but the balcony is considerably smaller and a bit frightening. It has steel walls that double as doors and cabin separators, but the seaside also was kind of a steel wall with the opening fair sized, but my impression was a little claustrophobic. There is barely enough room for two people to sit side by side and then the view is limited. The cabins are on deck 2 so really low on the ship which is a two edged feature. First, the balcony was almost always wet, but being low the cabin had little motion and rode nicely. Our last day was really rough but we felt little motion through the night. It was rough enough that the Disney ship stayed on its private island an extra day rather than head into the rough seas. Winds were gusting up to 50 knots. The cruise was fine - food ok, service good and a really beautiful ship. I ventured into an art auction (first time ever) and bought some good stuff. On other cruises I had sneered at the auctions, but the young couple conducting the sales were entertaining and very educating. We are Platinum so our embarcation and disembarcation were great, no hassle. That seemed to be the only benefit to Platinum but that in itself was enough. Our real complaint was similar to many of the newer big ships - too many passengers for the public areas. They seem to add plenty of new cabins, but keep the same public area decks with the ratios seeming to shrink with each new ship. We took a transatlantic on the Emerald Princess last fall and found the same, almost universal complaint. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
Embarkation process - Long lines but did not take all that long to get through, perhaps a little over an hour. Our cabin, a regular balcony room, was much smaller than the category 9A we had had previously on the Triumph. We were ... Read More
Embarkation process - Long lines but did not take all that long to get through, perhaps a little over an hour. Our cabin, a regular balcony room, was much smaller than the category 9A we had had previously on the Triumph. We were disappointed at how tiny the balcony was and the chairs were not lounge chairs but upright chairs that my husband could not even fit in comfortably. Also, the design of the Miracle has several zig-zags where the ship juts out and in on the side. We were at the indentation of one of those and felt our view was greatly obstructed. We couldn't see forward at all because the cabin next to us jutted out several feet beyond our balcony. We much prefered the aft cabin we had on the Triumph with the spacious wrap-balcony where we had an expansive view. So for the increase in price, we spent very little time on our own balcony and were resigned to hunt for a lounge chair on the lido or sun decks in order to be comfortable. On our previous cruises, we loved having our own private space (space is the operative word here) to hang out in. The bathroom was also smaller than in our previous cabin. It was okay for our needs, but the other cabin had two medicine chests on either side of the sink. This bathroom had open shelves where items could fall off if there was much movement of the ship. Again, not something that ruined the experience for us, but the other cabin was much nicer, and we will seek similar or better accommodations for future cruises. I loved the citrus shampoo and body wash they supplied. It was a nice clean scent without being overpowering. The bed and pillows were very comfortable. A minor issue with the layout is that the TV (not a flat panel) was up high and my neck hurt from tilting my head back to watch the TV. Not that we watched a lot, but we'd check the news and the position of the ship, etc. The TV in our other cabin was on the counter so that you didn't have to tilt your head back to see the screen. But of course we don't cruise to sit in our cabins and watch TV so it's only a minor issue. And it was nice to have the refrigerator to keep drinks cold. My husband and I both felt that we had more counter and drawer space in our previous cabins as well. We barely saw our cabin attendant, but he was always courteous when we did see and speak to him and our cabin was kept clean. Ship's dEcor/layout - I was looking forward to sailing on the Miracle because I read lots of reviews about this class of ship being so nice and easy to get around. I did not find it that easy. The lobby was much smaller than the Triumph's lobby and the Lido dining options were very confusing for me. I never did get the hang of where everything was. The buffet area was so much smaller and the areas were not clearly labeled. That said, I loved that there were 3 pools on the Lido deck. We loved the intimate seating areas on decks 2 & 3, particularly Kane's Way and Gatsby's Garden. With the exception of the main dining room, which was the gaudiest thing I've ever seen, the ship's dEcor was great. I loved the old pictures around the Gotham Lounge and all the literary characters in the hallways. The Mad Hatter Lounge was cute, too. The pools were nicer than those on the other ships we've sailed on. I liked that they had the shallow area for just cooling off all around the pool and the depth of the main part of the pool was just right for me. I did some water aerobics and some swimming. Food - We had a couple of room service breakfasts and ate other breakfasts and lunches on the Lido deck. The food was typical of what we've experienced on previous cruises. We were satisfied. We ate dinner every night in the main dining room. Our servers were pleasant, but not overly attentive. We felt the dining staff on our previous cruises went out of their way to get us anything we wanted or refill water glasses and bring rolls to the table. I'm wondering if budget cuts have kept the staff from offering extras since I've seen lots of comments on the lack of attentiveness of the wait staff on all the ships lately. Our waiter did offer to bring me two desserts on the last night when I was having trouble making up my mind between the two. Carnival seated us with another couple that was around our age and we found we had many other things in common as well so we had a very pleasant dining experience. We did not eat at Nick and Nora's. I have a gastric lap band and did not want to pay the extra money as beef is difficult for me to digest and we were happy with the dining room menu. Spa - I had several nice treatments in the spa. When I cruise, the treatments are a luxury for me, and I don't like the pressure to purchase the expensive products. One gal tried to charge me for over $2000 worth of products and then seemed insulted when I told her I could not afford it. I'm sure there are people who can afford these things, but the cruise itself is a stretch for us. I enjoy being pampered at the spa and don't care for the automatic assumption that I want to, even HAVE to, spend additional money on products. Entertainment - We attended the welcome show (typical) and "Ticket to Ride." I did not much care for the main female singer (personal taste) but the shows were well done and it was fun to hear (and sing along with) all the old Beatles' songs again. We skipped the Legends show as we had just seen that in December 2008 on the Triumph and my husband even portrayed Frank Sinatra in that one. The comedians were so-so. I'm sure the material is a lot funnier if you've had a lot to drink. The cruise director and his assistant were very much people persons. They were fun and you could tell they loved what they were doing. One big gripe - My husband and I paid over $100 for 2 soda cards. After a few days I learned to ask for very little ice so I actually got something to drink in the glass. My biggest gripe was that the bar staff in the main show lounge would take my order and then not bring me a drink. I guess they didn't feel they had to wait on me because there would not be an additional tip. I'm going to address this with Carnival. I had heard that you could not ask a waiter on the Lido deck to bring you a soda with the card, but there is a bar nearby for that. I can't get up during the show to get drinks and there is no bar close to the main lounge. I think for $56 a piece, they could have brought us a stinking Coke during the show. I did order other drinks from time to time, but at no time did a waiter tell me he could not bring me a Coke on the soda card. He'd just take my order and never come back. By the end of the cruise we learned to stop in at a bar and bring a drink in with us to the show. Shore excursions - I will cover this under the destination/shore excursion heading. Disembarkation - This was a breeze. We did the self-disembark thing and were off the ship in no time. We never had to wait in line anywhere and customs didn't even ask us to open a single bag. We chose to park our car at the hotel we stayed at the night before departure. It was cheaper than the port parking rate and it was a breeze to get there by shuttle afterward. The unfortunate thing was that we had a flat tire when we got back to our car and lost two hours waiting on our auto club. We finally drove the car down the street to a Tire Kingdom since the tow truck never showed. But none of that was Carnival's fault. Just one of those things. Overall, I liked the Miracle, but would prefer a different cabin. On this class of ship, I'm afraid we'd have to go with a suite or pay less for an ocean view room and just use the Lido and Sun decks for our outside seating. It just isn't right to pay for a balcony you can't really use. I've heard complaints about Carnival's balconies being small, but in other ports we were docked next to ships from other lines and their balconies seemed to be about the same size as ours. And although I liked the length of this cruise, I would not care to visit some of these destinations again. More on that under the destination reviews. I still remain loyal to Carnival and even purchased a certificate for a future cruise while onboard. Read Less
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