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Sail Date: January 2011
We cruised on the pride January 23-30th 2011. Cruisers were me, my 70 year old mom, my sister, my husband and six kids ages 4-14. We had three balcony staterooms. My husband and I shared one with my 4 year old son and 7 year old daughter, ... Read More
We cruised on the pride January 23-30th 2011. Cruisers were me, my 70 year old mom, my sister, my husband and six kids ages 4-14. We had three balcony staterooms. My husband and I shared one with my 4 year old son and 7 year old daughter, my mom shared with my eight and ten year old daughters, and my 30- something sister shared with my 12 and 14 year old daughters. We chose this time of year to save money, and there are pluses and minuses to that. On the plus side Baltimore had a huge snowstorm while we were gone and our children ended up missing no school whatsoever. On the minus side, it was pretty chilly in the bahamas. As far as the cruise, I only have a few negative comments: The childrens programs were hard to find the first day. Registration was somewhat chaotic. The muster drill was confusing and chaotic. We were told at check in that we could get guest services onboard and they would allow all of our keys to open all three rooms. This turned out to be false. Instead they offered to open the partitions between the balconies. They didnt do this until late on the second day, after many phone calls, and then they tried to close the partitions the day before we got back to baltimore. We talked them out of it. The buffet was pretty confusing and hard to navigate with our big family. We ended up settling for the chicken nugget/burger buffet by the pool becvause it was the only food we could agree on and the only place with enough seats for the ten of us. Room service was VERY limited, basically just sandwiches. Other than these few things, we thought the cruise was FANTASTIC. Some of the things we loved: Kids programs. My kids were in all the levels: 2-5, 6-8, 9-12 and 12-14. They all LOVED it. The programs were really fun and creative, and the staff was excellent. My kids also loved the pool, mini golf and ice cream machines. The dining room. We ate there a lot, because it was easier with our big group. The food was wonderful, service was quick, and my kids LOVED our servers, Roderick and Mamet. They were constantly at our table with jokes and magic tricks. The kids were very sad to say goodbye to them at the end. Activities- my mom liked bingo, my sister and I liked the dance classes and karaoke, we all loved the shows (except my mom, who objected to the costumes).My husband and kids liked the family comedians. The ship had lots of comfy places to sit. We all loved formal night and took lots of pictures. Staterooms- these were basic, but comfortable even for four people. Once the balconies were open it felt even more spacious. Getting on the boat was very fast and organized. Getting off the boat took a long time, but we sat and watched movies in the Taj Mahal until it was our turn, so that was really comfortable. Once they finally called our group getting off was swift and organized. Ports- we went to the Magic Kingdom in Orlando. In Nassau we went to the Sheraton, which was very beautiful, but a little boring. My kids liked the free kayaks and paddle boats there. In Freeport we went snorkeling with Pat and Diane, which I highly recommend- the service was fantastic, and the reef very beautiful. We were pretty cold though. It was in the 60s on all our port days. All in all, I think it was a wonderful cruise. The ship was beautiful, the service was excellent, we all had more fun things to do than we could find time for. I would go again in a heartbeat (but maybe on a warmer week) Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
Our Embarcation at Tampa went very quickly and we all enjoyed the welcome luncheon. We were please with most food choices for all three meals each day so food was not an issue. However, we did want the early seating and were told we would ... Read More
Our Embarcation at Tampa went very quickly and we all enjoyed the welcome luncheon. We were please with most food choices for all three meals each day so food was not an issue. However, we did want the early seating and were told we would have to eat at 8:15. The Dine at Your Time was a joke as the diningroom was full at the early seating and all that was left was the buffet or deli or steakhouse. When you book a cruise that is mostly seniors out of Tampa, you have to book it early if you want to eat early! Our room with extended balcony was very clean and comfortable with plenty of storage. This itinerary was chosen so we could go to Belize, so our group was highly disappointed when it was announced that Belize would not be a port on this cruise and the next day it was decided Costa Maya was our substitute port.  The reason for the change was due to some negotiations with the tender boat operators at Belize. Costa Maya was a nice port but that made three ports repeats for my husband and myself. Most of our group took a tour of Grand Cayman Island and beach time while we shopped and got back to ship for lunch. It was a very warm day and we didn't want to stand in line waiting for the tender boat. Mohagany Bay at Roatan was a full day of touring island with lunch by the beach and a little time for shopping. Our guide gave us a great picture of life on this island and the views from on top of the hills were wonderful. At Costa Maya we took the bus for $3 to the fishing village of Mahahual. Half of our party had massages while the rest of us did power shopping and walking the beach. The area near the pier was crowded but it was very nice. The yellow taxis take you back to the port for $2. Our last stop was Cozumel and six of us booked the tour to Tulum through Carnival since it was a seven hour tour and we didn't want to risk not getting back to ship before sail time. The boat ride over to the mainland was very rough but no one in our party got sick. The ones with the delicate stomachs were wearing the ear patches or I'm sure they would have been sick.  Our tour guide to the ruins was Lilly and she did a fantastic job of giving us about as much information as we could handle. We had almost an hour and a half to roam around on our own at the beach, the ruins or lunch before heading one hour to the ferry and then 30 minutes to the ship by ferry. This day was definitely the best day since we didn't have time for this tour the last time we visited Cozumel. The entertainment throughout the week was good but nothing to brag about. The cruise director, Josh, did an excellent job and we did enjoy the Love and Marriage show. Now we come to the bad part of the cruise. On the day we went to the Mayan Ruins, one of our party had their room invaded and a large amount of money taken out of a locked suitcase under their bed. They had been warned that the safes were not safe so they thought locking it in the suitcase would be better. The funny coincidence is that the room steward reported their lock not working so the locksmith had to come to the room that day. (This info was given after the investigation.) When we returned from our tour there was a "snooze" thing in their door which they did not put there and their room had not been cleaned. I'm just putting this in as a warning. Do not take large amounts of money with you and don't leave it in the room. There are ATM's on the ship if you need more cash. It also isn't wise to leave any valuables in the room, so leave the diamonds at home and bring the costume jewelry. That's what everyone wears anyway. So sad this had to happen and it turns out that the couples home insurance would only refund a small amount of the loss. I hope if this happens again they will have security follow the locksmiths and see what kind of scheme they have going with the room stewards??? The above could have been avoided and Carnival could have been a little more sympathetic during the hours it took to try to solve this problem. The saddest part is the invasion of privacy and threat to feeling safe and secure on a cruise ship has left us with a bad taste for cruising. We've been on eight cruises and we've never had this happen to us or any of our parties traveling with us. Hopefully the next cruise will change our minds. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
We went on the Carnival Freedom, Jan 14-23, 2011, to Cozumel, Costa Rica, and Panama. Overall impression of the Freedom: super clean, very friendly staff, mediocre food, excellent shows by the Freedom singers and dancers, one great ... Read More
We went on the Carnival Freedom, Jan 14-23, 2011, to Cozumel, Costa Rica, and Panama. Overall impression of the Freedom: super clean, very friendly staff, mediocre food, excellent shows by the Freedom singers and dancers, one great comedian; others just ok. We drove to Ft Lauderdale the day before sailing because we did not want to be delayed because of traffic or a car problem. We stayed at the Rodeway Inn on Hwy 84 near the port; we had booked this several months in advance thru Stay123.com because they allow you to leave your car at the motel for up to 14 days for free, and they will take you to the port and come get you when you return. We found out that they would take you to the port early(when they are going to pick up returning passengers), but they charge you $2/person. We figured it was worth it to get to the ship 1.5 hours early. Now for a more specific breakdown: Day 1 Sat: Embarkation was a breeze since we got to the ship early(about 10am), and we had VIP status. We waited in a specific area reserved for VIP's until about 11:15 am, and then we were allowed on the ship. We could not get to our cabin until about 1:30, but that was ok because we just went to the Lido buffet and had lunch. Although we were among the first 15 people to get on the ship, we did not get our luggage until after 5pm; guess being a VIP doesn't do much good when it comes to luggage! The ship was supposed to leave at 4pm, but we did not leave until 5:15pm. We later found out that shortly after we checked in, Carnival had a computer problem, and so they had to check people in by hand instead of by computer, and this delayed lots of people boarding. We had anytime dining and requested a table for 2, but most of the tables for 2 were less than a foot away from another table for 2, so it was almost like being at a table for 4 or 6. We then got smart and surveyed the Chic dining room for a table for 2 that was more private; there are only about 8 of those in the entire dining room, so at future meals, we then asked for a specific table number. We had excellent service for dinner and great seafood. The shops offered a free liquor tasting--what a joke--they had 1 guy giving out tiny samples of about 6 different liquors, so it took one person 4 or 5 minutes to taste them. When we got there, there were about 20 people in line, so we left because we were not going to stand in line for over an hour to get a thimble sized sample of booze. We had a balcony cabin on deck 10; very comfortable bed and great linens and towels. Unfortunately our cabin was adjacent to the air conditioning room, so it was noisy on the balcony. I should have looked at the floor plan more carefully; so don't get 1067 unless you like lots of "white" noise. Day 2 Sun: At sea. Leisurely day; smooth sailing, calm seas. Carnival does a sorry job of planning activities--they had the shore excursion talk at 12:30, when most folks were eating lunch--very dumb! Lunch on the Lido deck was good, but really crowded and noisy--more fat people getting fatter! The Captain's party was a farce--they offered you $1 off their high drink prices; we said forget that nonsense. What happened to the good ole days when you got free drinks and snacks at the Captain's party?? Lobster at dinner was fantastic; prime rib was undercooked and very fatty. Day 3-Mon-Cozumel. We shopped at the pier shops and did not go downtown like we did last year. The prices are better downtown, but you have to take a taxi and there are so many hawkers trying to get you in their shop that we figured it was not worth it. If you are planning on buying anything, get it at Cozumel because the price will be higher in Costa Rica and Panama. I bought a shot glass for $1 that was $6 on the ship and $8 in Costa Rica. There is a liquor store at the pier, but they were out of everything but tequila, and their price wasn't any better than the ship's. We had lunch on Lido deck--excellent Mongolian stir fry with salmon and chicken. This was the only day they had salmon. Fantastic comedian/juggler show at night. Day 4-Tue-At Sea. We had breakfast in the Posh dining room; excellent service, great food--had eggs benedict and salmon. We spent most of the afternoon at the Serenity area on deck 11; very nice lounge chairs and seats--all padded. They even have 4 hammocks, but they were usually taken. Day 5-Wed-Limon, Costa Rica. The ship docked about 10, and we got off as our tour left at 10:30 am. We took the Coastal Highlights and Banana Plantation tour. If you are considering this one, please RECONSIDER. The tour was supposed to take 4.5 hours, but it took almost 5 hours--and they do NOT give you a snack or lunch; fortunately we took our own water and snack. We had a large, comfortable bus which held about 50 people. The tour left the dock and took us thru a depressed area of Limon-lots of slums-and then along the coast where you really don't get to see much except the sea--certainly no big highlights. We then went on the worst road I have ever been on--super bumpy, and full of potholes; if you want your butt bounced around like a dune buggy on a rocky road, then this is the trip for you!! Otherwise, get another tour. We then went to a Dole banana plantation, where a very informed guy told us about banana growing and processing for over an hour; you will learn way more than you every wanted to know! After we left the Dole plant, we went to a resort hotel for almost 45 minutes, where they tried to sell you $5 beer and overpriced trinkets; but they did have clean restrooms. After we wasted 45 minutes here, we were then taken back to the dock, where we did shop at a flea market where the fleas were higher priced than they were at Cozumel. At $60/person, this tour was way overpriced, but most of the tours here were pretty steep. Dinner at the Chic dining room--overcooked fish; it certainly had gone downhill since Sat. Day 6- Thur- Colon, Panama. We got off the ship early since our tour left at 9. We took the San Lorenza & Gatun Locks tour; we actually got to the tour bus about 8:30 and took off immediately; we later found out there were 4 busses taking people on this tour, so it was good that we got an early start. We had a fantastic tour guide who was full of useful info about Panama, as well as the fort and the locks. We first went thru town to the locks and had to wait about 20 minutes to cross, as a ship was going thru. We then went thru a rain forest on our way to the fort at San Lorenza, which was built in the 1600's. This was not restored like El Morrow in San Juan, but it was interesting. We then went back to the Gatun Locks where we got to see a cargo ship going thru the locks. This was absolutely the highlight of our day! We were amazed that the water level could rise so fast, and the ship was actually being pulled thru the locks with two cog engines, one on each side of the canal. We were supposed to get a snack on this tour, but we did not get one--only a "free" bottle of water. At $90/person, I thought this tour was overpriced, but then all of the tours in Panama are overpriced in my opinion. However, it was a great tour, and we had a fantastic tour guide. We got back to the dock about 1:30 and went shopping at some nearby shops. Carnival does not bother to tell you about any of the shops except Del Sol, where they sell you overpriced t-shirts. There are many shops here and a great grocery store(that our tour guide told us about). I bought beer for $0.53/can and a liter box of wine for $2.05. I drank the beers while we were shopping and took the wine back to the ship in my backpack. Since it looked like a box rather than a bottle, security said nothing!! We also bought coffee for 2 bucks/lb at the grocery store, and the tourist trap shops were selling the same thing for $6. There are also 2 casinos at the dock, and Carnival tells you nothing about them. In my opinion Carnival does their guest a major disservice in not telling you about the other shops or the grocery store--I guess that is because Carnival does not get a kick-back. We saw several of the ship's officers in the grocery store; guess they knew where the good deals were. Wise up Carnival--quit being so greedy on kickbacks and tell your customers what is available. We went to the past guest party Thursday evening--great free booze, but limited snacks. Dinner had great filet mignon, but the red snapper was way overcooked. The chocolate melting cake was yummy. Day 7-Fri-At Sea: We had a relaxing day at sea-lounged at the Serenity area for a while. Did play slots for an hour or so. Carnival has a sign that says you get free drinks while gambling, but if you read the fine print, it says you have to earn 1500 points to get a free drink. What a rip-off! We played $0.25 poker slots for over an hour and managed to get a total of 15 points, and lost $17. We could have bought almost 3 beers for that price!! We did not go to the talent show, but watched some of it on TV; glad we missed it--it should have been called the no-talent show, with the exception of the guy who sang "My Way". Day 8-Sat-At Sea. Did not do much except relax and pack. Did go to the Park West art auction, as we had a couple of times before on this cruise. You do get free champagne, but they are pretty stingy about that--if you get 2 half glasses you are lucky. Basically the art auction is a rip off. About 95% of what they sell are signed/numbered prints that you can buy online at much cheaper prices. For example, I have purchased several Gary Benfield s/n prints on line or thru other galleries at prices ranging from $15-$100. At Park West, the minimum bid for one of Benfield's prints was in the $500-800 range--and this was on paper, not canvas. The exception might be if you saw an original piece of art that you could not live without, then get it because there are no more. But most of their art works have editions of 195-750 prints, and you can get them elsewhere much cheaper. Carnival had a customer appreciation party Sat at 5pm in one of the lounges; there was just a little blurb in the newspaper about this, and they did not mention free booze. However, they supplied lots of free drinks for an hour; surprised we found out way to dinner!! We normally went to dinner at 5:30-5:45 since we had "anytime dining". This night we went at 6, after the free booze quit flowing, and lots of others had the same idea. This was the worst experience at dinner we had all cruise. We sat at table # 217, with head waiter John and team waiter Kadek. Although we were seated about 6pm, we had to wait about 30 minutes before we even got our first course---and that was after I complained to one of the supervisors--twice. I don't know if it was the waiter's fault or the kitchen staff's fault, but we were not happy campers. We had to make an unscheduled stop Sat night at Grand Cayman because someone on the ship needed medical attention. Although this took over an hour we still managed to get back to Ft Lauderdale on time Sun morning at 6 am. Day 9-Sun-Ft Lauderdale. Since we are VIP's, we got priority debarkation, and we elected to roll our bags off ourselves. We were told to be at the Chic dining room area by 6:45 am. When we got down to deck 3, we were misinformed by 2 different crew members as to where to go; these people wanted us to go sit in the lounge. I told them we were VIP's and they had no clue as to what that was. I then found a crew member who knew what she was doing, and we were directed to the right spot. We had to wait until about 7:15 am, and then we were allowed off the ship. Pretty painless--had to wait a few minutes before they opened customs--customs only had 2 lines open--not too efficient with almost 3,000 passengers. I hope they opened up more lines later. Since it was 44 degrees when we got thru customs, we decided to catch a taxi back to the motel, rather than wait 45-60 minutes for the free shuttle to pick us up. Customs won't let you wait in the terminal. We were back at the motel and in our car heading back home at 8am. Still the fastest we have ever disembarked. This is the first time that I have seen Carnival, or any other cruise line, not ask the passengers to rate the cruise, and I have been on 25 cruises. Guess Carnival doesn't want feedback anymore. One last note: There is an adults only area on Lido deck aft by the pool. This area has a retractable roof, so on cool or rainy days, you can still feel like you are outside. An ideal place for breakfast with no crowds, but around lunchtime, it fills up. Nice not to have any kids running around screaming--good job Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
Husband( who is known as Santa) and I(who is known as Karen) arrived in Ft. Lauderdale on a bright sunny afternoon. Hotel shuttle was called and came to take us to hotel. We stayed at the Rodeway Inn and Suites of 2440 West State Road 84. ... Read More
Husband( who is known as Santa) and I(who is known as Karen) arrived in Ft. Lauderdale on a bright sunny afternoon. Hotel shuttle was called and came to take us to hotel. We stayed at the Rodeway Inn and Suites of 2440 West State Road 84. What a great place. Clean clean clean. Yeah. Close to port and airport both. Izzy is the best. Attached to the hotel is the best sports bar nd grill. Very convenient and accommadating. The staff is very friendly, helpful and fun to be staying with. The food was awesome and served with a smile. It is the only place now for us to stay when in Ft. L. Hotel suggested for the afternoon and evening the water taxi would be a nice excursion. How true. For just a few dollars, we took a ride in the canal and saw some beautiful homes and boats. Back to hotel for the evening. Shuttle to the airport was the most painless I have ever experienced. Izzy knows what he is doing. Sit back and he will get you to the port in ample time with no hassles. Thanks Izzy. Got to port. We have VIP boarding so we were in our room in 20 minutes. Ft. L port did a good job for us. Carnival Freedom is a clean boat. Guess you can tell, clean is important to me. I hate to see old dust around. We went to lido and got a bite, then went to our room. 9229. Nice location. First time on lido. Think I will stay there more often. Very convenient to the pool, Serenity, shows, and exactually everything. Staff onboard-- whst can I say-- other than I have never met a more friendly helpful crew on any other cruise. From the top to the bottom, everyone was friendly and so nice. There was one housekeeper on Promenade that must of had a bad day everyday but she didnt really get in my way so no problem. She was only one on ship that I saw that seemed not friendly and not happy. oh well. The Captain was very approachable and friendly. He was out and about ship quite a few times. We had many nice conversations with him. And with his help, I found the Lucky coin. Thanks Captain. Cruise Director Ryan was OMG so so Great. He and his staff made our cruise the best ever. I had never thought of cruising a ship because of staff, but now I see how it can make a difference. Ryan, Dan, Third, Tyson, Chelsea and of course my personal favorite, Calvyn--- Thank you all so very much for a great job done. All the trivia, bingo and games were so entertaining. Goran the Maitre D-- again-- thanks for a wonderful dining experience. You have the best staff ever. Suelel (spelling bad I know), Kenneth and I Gusti-- you three were wonderful. Thanks for the special shrimp that one night. I don't know how you did it but I thank you. Santa is still talking about it. Attention to detail was beyond my imagination. Natasa==thanks for being the best bar staff I have never used. We don't use the bar staff in the dining area, but she was there if we needed her. She always found us when we were out and about. Always making sure we were enjoying ourselves. And of course, then there is Chef Sanjay Chowdury. We did the Chef's table and were blown away. What a terrific experience. Carnival-- you are to be commended on your chef and his staff. Thanks for the great food and service. Room stewards-- Anajana, Siriluck, and Jiraya-- You made our room so very delightful every time we came into it that it totally amazed me. I miss you cause now I am making the bed and can't seem to get those towels looking like yours. You make a great team. Anajana, who is the sweetest person ever, you took such good care of us I don't know how to thank you. I hope to see you some time soon, Music, Photo, Customer service, Fun Points-- All of these departments were also the best I have experienced. I never had band members or dancers come to us and make sure we were having a good time but on the Carnival Freedom they did.The shows were very well done. You guys are so very talented. Kudos to all your hard work. We enjoy the fruits of all your efforts. Photo--especially Ralph-- we got the good pics we wanted-- so a big thanks to you. Customer service-- quite the team you guys. Never have I had so much fun with customer service. Great attitudes. Fun points girls-- we passed you guys on promenade and you always spoke to us and even in Key west. Thanks for being so nice, Keep up the good work. We did not use the spa but used the elevator on 11 to 12. Even the Spa people made sure we were having a good time. Serenity deck is awesome. I truly enjoyed that deck a lot this cruise. Just getting out and enjoying the sun and breeze was nice. Sea days were a little hassled to get a seat but then, I enjoy those days when everyone goes ashore. Got the place to myself with few other peeps. On the day of our b2b switch, it was the best. I got any seat I wanted. We didn't use any of the places for the young ones so I can't comment on those. I would have like to use the piano bar but it was too smokey for us which is the same on most ships. One of the only area we felt lacking were the comedy shows. Sorry guys, you just were not funny. PG or R rating really did not make a difference. Carl Strong was okay but the others-- i really hate to say it but you just didn't entertain. It was actually embarrassing to be there and watch you struggle so much. Hope you find your place but not on a Carnival ship. I will have to give this ship a 100 plus. Great jobs all. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
Our group consisted of Granny, Poppy, three kids and ten count them ten grandchildren ranging in age from little over a year to seventeen. We saild on the Jan 8th Western Carib cruise. Because one can't be sure of Md. weather, ... Read More
Our group consisted of Granny, Poppy, three kids and ten count them ten grandchildren ranging in age from little over a year to seventeen. We saild on the Jan 8th Western Carib cruise. Because one can't be sure of Md. weather, we left a day early and did an overnight at Cocoa Beach. Highly recommend this no matter where you live as it enables you to board earlier and enjoy your first meal on the ship. Considering all in our group and changes in cabins, embarkation was easy. By 12 noon on the 8th we all were on the Lido deck having a good buffet lunch. Now about the cruise. I did not get too critical about things because one has to remember Carnival is not a premier cruise line. One can't compare Sachs 5th Ave to Wal Mart or Target. The Dream is a big ship - a very big ship. It now appears that all the cruise lines are trying to out do each other by trying to put monstrous floating hotels on the water. For this trip a very bad thing more later. Our balcony cabins were a good size and well appointed. You can get bigger but will pay more. Personally I will not cruise again without booking a balcony. They just add a bit of get away comfort. Food on board was for the most part good. There was only one dinner that we passed on for the buffet because nothing appealed. Pass on the New England crab cakes - not even close to what you can get in Balmore! Because of the number of people on board the buffet lines tended to get long. Not a real biggie. Maybe to some not to me. Entertainment was par for this level cruise. Shipboard singers and dancers good but not Broadway or Vegas, Very funny magician and expert juggler. The comedy club shows were good and there are two levels family and r rated. both funny and recommended. Don't take kids (in fact they will be asked to leave) to the r rated shows. For younger kids camp Carnival is a good experience. All my younger grand kids liked it. Now for those lost teens 17, 18 and 19 the club for them seemed to be lacking. My 17 year old grandson was lost and i did feel sorry for him This group of people are too young to night club so they wonder about the ship looking for stuff to do. Hey Carnival get with it and put together a young adult club. Butch the cruise director form your own opinion if you sail. He tried to make the fact that two ports were cancelled a great fun thing no Butch it was a sad thing. On the Titanic it would have been Hey everybody we're going down but come on out to the fantail and hear the band play Nearer My God to Be or something like that NOW THE BAD AND UGLY EXCURSION EXPERIENCE OR LACK OF IT. As i said the Dream is a very big ship and Mother Ocean made the seas rough making it impossible (OR SO THE CAPTAIN SAID. Rumor has it that a port scheduling problem kept us at sea and not the weather) to dock at Isle Roatan and Costa Maya. Many many people lost what could have been a once in a life time adventure. Carnival bless their heart is giving all a 20% discount on a future cruise. Generous aren't they? But for families that this was a once in a lifetime vacation there will be no other cruises so a 20% refund is what is deserving. We gained an extra day at sea whoopee. more booze sales for Carnival. We did two excursions both excellent, Swimming with manatees in Cozumel and the Belize zoo tour which is really a reserve for endangered animals Hey got kissed by a jaguar! Cant say enough about the crew. Our housekeeping person Marco and waiter Hari were fantastic. Hari especially with having to put up with all our kids. Guest services people were fantastic especially with having to put up with guests not too happy about the port cancellations. Enough said. Except do the express baggage thing. All your big pieces of baggage are piked up outside your cabin and you don't see them (if all goes well and it did for us) at your airport. However not all airlines participate. any thoughts or questions feel free -mga28@msn.com foxfire. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
We arrived 2 days early to spend some time in Galveston before our cruise on Monday. We left our car at the Holiday Inn Resort on the Seawall. **Big mistake.** (More about that later.) My husband and I have made this exact same cruise on ... Read More
We arrived 2 days early to spend some time in Galveston before our cruise on Monday. We left our car at the Holiday Inn Resort on the Seawall. **Big mistake.** (More about that later.) My husband and I have made this exact same cruise on the exact same date on the same ship (in the same room even!) for the last 3 years and everything had always worked out perfectly. This was my 8th cruise out of Galveston. Out of 11 cruises, I have NEVER had a bad one. But the last day of this one turned it into a day of "debarkation H E L L". The Embarkation was a breeze and we were on the ship in a matter of 30 minutes. My brother-in-law had recently come out of a cast and was unsteady so they provided us with a wheelchair and someone to push him onboard. Which we were very happy about because we worried about getting him up the ramps and onto the ship. Carnival went out of their way to assist us. My sister and I had over packed with 3 garment bags, 4 large pull pieces of luggage and several carry ons. Our objective on this cruise was to get a big variety of formal pictures with our husbands because they are typical men and have to be "helped" into getting their pictures made at home. My sister and I decided that we would get enough "good" pictures to hand out to our kids and grandkids that dragging our husbands to a photography studio sitting would be unnecessary for at least 10 years! We spent more on pictures than our cruise cost, just to give you an idea of what I am talking about. This part of our plan worked perfectly. Ecstacy is a grand ol' lady and we enjoy sailing her. I have been on her 5 times, my husband cruising with me 3 of those. She is smaller and easier to find your way around on her. The rooms are adequate and usually our room stewards are magnificent. This trip there was sort of a pallor or an odd "out of place feeling" that something just wasn't right about the crew/staff attitude. Some (but not all) just didn't seem happy. To me, that was unusual and different from previous cruises. Our room steward was nothing to brag about. Oh, she did keep the room clean and put a towel animal on the bad at night but other than that, she lacked something that I cannot put my finger on. I asked for a hairdryer and she acted like it put her out to bring me one. She never restocked our water (we drink a big water everyday) and we had to order it from room service. Maybe that's a new policy? At any rate, we didn't complain, we just didn't ask her for anything she wasn't willing to provide to us. My sister drank the Cokes in her room and those were not restocked either. Just weird from our previous experiences, I guess. Calling room service was ok and that is what we did, but we also tipped when they brought our order just like we tipped when they delivered our coffee in the morning. There were other odd things that were different. Nothing big, but just little things that made us wonder if Carnival's attitude had changed toward it's customers or was it just "our" steward. Later her bad attitude was not disguised at all and she was unapologetic for it. Our cruise was wonderful. Progresso is a highlight for us. We enjoy seeing it change each year. We took the same tour as the past three years, to see the horse show and all our "old friends" there even though we really didn't know any of them personally, we felt as though we did. At Cozumel we did Mr. Sanchos and spent the day on the beach with a nice long massage and a wonderful lunch. The water was spectacular as always and pretty chilly when you first get in but warms up quickly or at least we did! The waiter there could teach our room steward a thing or two. The return trip was smooth and uneventful. It seemed as though there were not as many shows as there was last year but all in all, it was a good trip until we reached Galveston where the port was closed due to fog. I realize that weather is beyond Carnival's ability to control. I have been on the sea running from a hurricane in 25 foot swells before. I have seen (but never had to use) the barf bags in the lobbies. I know that cruising is dependent on mother nature. The closed port and the dense fog were not Carnival's fault. They are guiltless over missed flights and disrupted plans both for those debarking and those embarking. But they are TOTALLY and COMPLETELY at fault for the decisions they made to get us into port and debark us at a heavy equipment loading dock to be bussed back to the terminal. I have never seen such incompetent, disorganized, unprofessional debarkation. To announce that 2500 people must carry off their own luggage, stand in what was nothing short of bedlam to fight and push and shove to get on a bus to be bussed to the terminal was beyond what can be described here. I am not talking "inconvenient". I am talking dangerous. We had people being trampled and ambulances were sent to assist. I saw a man in a wheelchair trying to maneuver thru the crowd and his back wheels ran over a man's feet and the man almost dumped the wheel chair over trying to get it off his foot. People were rude, mean and tired. Carnival had one young guy out there running all over the place but he was totally out of his depth with crowd control and organization. As I told you before, my sister and I over packed. My husband is a heart patient on meds and her husband was unsteady and needed wheelchair assistance which he didn't get even though the purser said one would be provided. We were told that our room steward would help us with our luggage. But she said she couldn't help and there was no one who could help us until we went back to the purser and our room steward had to be "ordered" to assist us as far as the gangway. After that, we were on our own as were 2500 other people. There were some porters to help get the luggage on the buses and we managed to tip one of them heavily to help us maneuver in the line with all our luggage. They had no carts so it was very difficult to move it. We stood in that for about 2 hours before finally getting a bus. But that wasn't the end of it. The buses did not pull up in front of the terminal. They used the bus parking and the bus driver said it was not his job to unload our luggage. We managed to drag it all out there and somehow got it to the front of the bus where we found a porter with a cart, again over tipping heavily for assistance to get us from the bus parking over to the terminal. He unloaded us on the curb at 2:30 and that is where we sat until 6:10 that afternoon. The 3500 people from the Conquest and the 2500 people from the Ecstasy were on that curb at the terminal at the same time, along with another 3500 from the other ship that came in with us. And just the same number of people trying to get into the terminal. I have never seen anything like it. I know that Carnival was trying to cut it's losses by turning those ships around quickly. But I also know that their FIRST obligation was to the customers they already had, "us". They stagger the port days of ships for a reason. We were stuck with no way to leave the port. The shuttle buses were all full, as were the taxis. We waited and waited for the Holiday Inn/San Luis Shuttle. When it finally showed up it had a limited number of seats available and thousands of people wanting to board it. That one time was the only time it came by the entire time we waited on the curb. My sister finally asked a stranger that had walked to get his car and came back to pick up his wife and luggage for a ride to the hotel where we had left our car. How dangerous and desperate was that? There were 10,000 people trying to get transportation away from that port on that day. THAT was Carnival's fault. Those on Ecstasy were treated as "second class" citizens when they allowed the Conquest to use our terminal and stuck us out in some unloading dock. No debarkation assistance whatsoever and no care for anyone's safety or well being. Those are just some of the charges resting squarely on Carnival that day. The moral of this story, if there is one, NEVER park farther away from the port than you can walk to, or have the phone number of someone to call to pick you up other than a commercial operation. NEVER carry more luggage than you are able to physically manage by yourself even if you don't intend to carry it yourself. AND don't become spoiled by the excellent, above expectations service at the time of starting your trip and expect the same quality of service after your cruise is over. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
Checking in and off the ship was a breeze. I had expected a bigger hassle. The amount of smoking on this vessel is certainly a big negative. Given that most Americans don't smoke, and some are allergic, one would think that ... Read More
Checking in and off the ship was a breeze. I had expected a bigger hassle. The amount of smoking on this vessel is certainly a big negative. Given that most Americans don't smoke, and some are allergic, one would think that the smokers would be to confined to at least half the public places. It was difficult to find a smoke free locale outside of the dining areas. The goal of the ship is for everyone to be having "FUN" every minute of the day. The louder the music and encouragement, the more fun we must be having. Every bar excepting one I could find was so loud as to make conversation impossible. The bass is so loud one can feel it in the chest, thumping, thumping, thumping. I found that wax earplugs, when attending the shows created an amplification level which was tolerable. Mind you all, I'm old, not deaf!!! I seriously suggest passengers carry ear protection to avoid possible injury to hearing. To give some idea of the noise, I live three blocks from the home port of the ship in Charleston. On the day of departure, information is broadcast throughout the ship. I can hear and understand every word, three blocks away. I really should say something good. The personnel aboard were really caring. The folks who served us the late dinner, Margarita, Tatiana and Denis, were great. Our cabin steward was efficient and our cabin spotless. So, if you bring your gas masks and ear plugs, I do think you'll have a good time on the Fantasy. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
We wanted to sail from our home Port of Galveston and decided Carnival to Jamaica was the cruise for us. Arrived in fogbound Galveston Saturday before cruise and was finally able to board around 4 PM on Sunday. Unfortunately a barge ... Read More
We wanted to sail from our home Port of Galveston and decided Carnival to Jamaica was the cruise for us. Arrived in fogbound Galveston Saturday before cruise and was finally able to board around 4 PM on Sunday. Unfortunately a barge had bumped the Conquest and we had to stay in the harbor until Monday morning. Lost our docking in Jamaica and Carnival subbed Progresso. Carnival gave every passenger $15 credit for the inconvenience. REALLY Cruise was for hubby's birthday which was Sunday and the dining room finally acknowledged it on Friday. Housekeeping staff was OUTSTANDING. Wait staff through out the ship was overall indifferent to the guest. Stood around talking in groups and resent being interrupted Point Steak House was superb would highly recommend it to everyone. First Cass all the way. Cabin was closest to elevator use for moving luggage. Very few planned activites for seniors. Overall we will not be booking on Carnival again when we can get better value for our money on other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
This was Splendor's first sailing since the fire. We had booked way back in August 2010 and were worried that our cruise might be cancelled since we were the first one scheduled to go after so many cancellations. Embarkation ... Read More
This was Splendor's first sailing since the fire. We had booked way back in August 2010 and were worried that our cruise might be cancelled since we were the first one scheduled to go after so many cancellations. Embarkation was smooth and took about 45 minutes. We went straight to the Lido deck for lunch. It was crowded, but the food was good. The kids were immediately thrilled with the pizza and ice cream. This was the first cruise for the kids. After that headed to our rooms. We had two inside rooms (one double and one triple) next to each other as well as one balcony a few doors down the hall on deck 8. Rooms were fine. I thought the balcony was quite spacious. Met our room steward Pedro who was fabulous thoughout the cruise. We had dinner in the dining room. Our waiters seemed unfriendly at first, but greatly improved over the course of the cruise and eventually greeted us by name and brought the kids their favorites without being asked. Meals in the dining room were all good though sometimes the food was just warm, other times it was hot. On lobster night there was a huge delay. I think it took about an hour for our entree to arrive. Many other tables nearby in the same boat (pun intended). This was due to the kitchen, not the wait staff. Signed up for the kids program later that night (I had preregistered online so already had the forms completed). There was a long line the first day, but fine after that. I was very impressed with the kids program. The kids loved it (ages 10, 4 and 4) and always wanted to go. You could even drop them off before dinner for the night as well as leave them on-board while going ashore!!! Our 10 year old went to the 'Party On' party from 10pm-3:30am and rated it a 14 on a scale of 1 to 10. The youth staff even brought her back to our cabin at 3:30am so we didn't have to get up. Now that's service! The kids always fought over the chocolates left at turn down, so I suggested our 10 year old leave a note for our cabin steward to leave a few extra and for the next few days we were greeted with a HUGE pile of chocolates each night onward...like we needed more food. Anyway, the kids were over the moon. We enjoyed the shows and activities. The show Vroom was the best we've seen on a cruise ship. My Mom won $1000 in the casino! I booked shore excursions through cabosanlucastours.com and were VERY pleased. The Los Veranos zip lines were the highlight for us. Ship was very clean and in great shape although I really don't care for the Carnival decor. Overall all seven of us had a great time and service (except one grumpy guy at the Guest Services Desk) was excellent. Great value and bang for the buck. I wouldn't hesitate to book another Carnival cruise on one of their larger, newer ships. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
Starting out with the booking 8 months in advance with the Early Saver Plan. I advise everyone who knows they will not be cancelling to go this route. I call several times and checked weekly for changes and got upgrades and obc very ... Read More
Starting out with the booking 8 months in advance with the Early Saver Plan. I advise everyone who knows they will not be cancelling to go this route. I call several times and checked weekly for changes and got upgrades and obc very wonderful. We arrived at port 11 am on Thursday and we checked in very smoothly with no problems we eating by noon. Weather was a big problem and we were delayed by about an hour and a half, but they had us in our rooms before 1 pm and the party started from there. Headed to the Lido deck with drinks in hand and had a great day with the Waite staff which was friendly fun and very energized. Went to check out towels and headed for the hot tubs which were warm (not hot). I headed to our room before dinner and family went to the small dining room with a wine package and the food was hot and I am told very well done. I had room service and it was fast and very nice. After supper we all rejoined to check out some of the ships night life. Had a over 40's dance which we enjoyed and after about 2 hours had to call it a night, but was such a great way to start the cruise. A little about the ship it has 10 decks one pool one buffet large water works area serenity area was small, but had very little trouble finding a chair was quite and very nice 2 hot tubs both different temps, so that was nice as well. Lido deck had 2 hot tubs and pool dance area with life size chest pieces very cool. The fun was non stop on this deck with games and contest and dancing and loud. We stayed on the Empress Deck which is main artery to most everything from gift shop to main elv. to entry bar with piano very relaxing with lots of people milling around. The ship for the most part was very comfortable temperature. The shows we saw were both full of fun and energy great performers and a very pleasant way to spend a little indoor time. Had a great time at the comedy club for the adults very funny. The day at sea was not much different that the first day, spent most of time between the Serenity and Lido deck. Had Breakfast and lunch at the Buffet and it was all good, nothing stood out, but was well prepared with plenty of variety to choose from. Dinner was wonderful we were greeted by name and got hugs from our hostess and she was very funny. We had different companions every night and managed to have a oceanview table every night. They sang and danced during dinner every night and fun was had by all great food. We party and danced after the main show and went to bed to a clean room with a strange looking animal on our bed I think it was an ant eater, but not real sure. Did not see our room staff until the day we left the ship. We woke up in Cozumel. Spent the morning shopping and wondering around on our own very nice way to spend the morning it was very slow pasted no one bother us in the least and all were very friendly. We went to Pasion Isle for the afternoon for a buffet and all you can drink open bar and beach with palm trees water toys and oh by the way they had beds on the beach very odd but very cool. We had chairs under the shade of the palms and played in the water. The only bad thing was the trip back to the ship we sat on the bottom and were soaked and very chilled by the time we got back to the ship. Overall we had a fantastic trip and booked our 2ND cruise on board with 100.00 off price and 100.00 OBC to begin with for 7 days on the Legend. The whole experience was a pleasure stress free and very relaxing. The embarkation was a little long, but that was our fault you get off faster if you choose to self disembark which we did not choose. It took about an hour to get off, but it was very quick with no problems encountered. I would be very happy to go back on the Inspiration and will be doing more Carnival cruises in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
This was my 12th cruise, my 9th with Carnival, and my first time on the Paradise. 2 adults (in our 50's), 2 children (10 & 11) and my wife's service dog Duncan. Our previous cruise was last year on the Carnival Splendor (no, ... Read More
This was my 12th cruise, my 9th with Carnival, and my first time on the Paradise. 2 adults (in our 50's), 2 children (10 & 11) and my wife's service dog Duncan. Our previous cruise was last year on the Carnival Splendor (no, not during the fire), which was our favorite ship so far. I will make a few comparisons to the Splendor in the review.We met our friends at the port at 11:45. They had flown down the day before from Washington. Since we had our service dog with us, embarkation was quick and easy, as we were handled through Special Services, and we were on the ship in about 20 minutes.Being a 3 day cruise, we didn't expect it to be relaxing, and we were right. Always something to do on the ship. We first checked with Guest Services as to the location of Duncan's litter box (it was in a great location, roped off and out of the way on the Lido Deck). We then went down to our cabin on the Main deck. It was still a bit early, but we went to the room to drop off Duncan's stuff which we had to carry on. Immediately met our room steward Roy, who was fantastic. He said he would lock the door as soon as the cabin was vacuumed to protect our stuff. After the first meeting, he always called us by name. This was the last cruise of his 6 month contract, and after it he was flying home to his family in Indonesia for a 2 month vacation.Then up to the buffet. Food was very good. We preferred the additional lunch areas on the Carnival Splendor (Tandoori area, Burrito bar...), but the variety was still great. Everything was clean, the service was friendly and everyone was smiling.The cabins on the Fantasy class ships, including the Paradise, have plenty of storage space, and are roomy for 2 people. With 4 people and the 2 bunk beds pulled down in the evening, moving around the cabin is much more difficult. Layout of the cabins on the newer ships such as the Splendor is much better, having a sofa/bed as your 3rd bed, and 1 bunk directly above the sofa/bed. But heck, you're not in your cabin that much anyway!Dinners were great in the main dining room. We had early seating in the Elation dining room, at table #100. Service was excellent. Food was very good. We especially loved the pork ribs, the lobster and shrimp, the stuffed mushrooms, and of course, the warm chocolate melting cake. And one of our girls LOVED the cheeseburgers at the grill, wanting them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Probably our least favorite item was the flat iron steak, which was very tough. Years ago, Carnival instead had N.Y. strip steak, which was always great, but I'm sure it was replaced due to the cost. On the Lido deck in the grill area, my wife loved the grilled chicken breasts. Many of the desserts on the Lido were just so-so.Room service was fine. Orders were correct and in a reasonable time.My daughters are 10 and 11, and had a great time. This was their third cruise. They enjoyed the pools, pool slide, hot tubs (though there were too many adults in them drinking), and the mini golf. They weren't too pleased with Camp Carnival, as they are at the upper age of the group (Camp Carnival is for 2-11 year olds), and they were bored there. They made friends on the ship quickly though and were always busy.For entertainment, we enjoyed most of the music onboard. I saw one of the R-rated comedy shows, and didn't enjoy it much. Saw SHOUT in the main showroom, and even though we had seen it previously on the Splendor, we really enjoyed it. We also liked playing the trivia games. Ensenada was uneventful. Been there so many times we probably wouldn't have even gotten off the ship if not to let Duncan see some grass. Just did a little shopping in the port area, and then got back on the ship.Disembarkation was easy. With my wife being disabled, and having Duncan, we could have been in the first group off, but instead waited until the last group with our friends. Why rush off when you can sit and relax on the ship for 2 more hours? We had no long lines to contend with. Getting off the Splendor was much worse last year, sort of like a cattle call.We were on the ship during one of the weeks of spring break. I was a little concerned about previous review I had read about everyone being drunk. Yes, there were many college age cruisers, and yes there was probably more drinking, but, with a few exceptions, MOST people were still pretty well behaved.One interesting thing...I have read some reviews which stated security does nothing about noise complaints. I was heading back to my cabin late one night with Duncan (probably after 1 a.m.), and saw a security officer outside a cabin talking to the people in it. I of course slowed down to hear what was being said. The security officer told them this was their 2nd complaint, and if they got one more, their sail-and-sign cards would be deactivated for all future purchase (such as BOOZE), and they would receive letters from Carnival telling them they would be banned from any future Carnival family of cruises. The cruisers complained that this was only their first warning that night (the second night of the cruise), and the security officer responded that complaints are not figured daily, but as a whole! 2 complaints was the limit! I'm glad to see security was taking this seriously.Things I liked most about the cruise: Friendliness of the staff, cleanliness of the ship, great food (lobster!), great service, free 24-hour room service (hear that, Royal Caribbean?), and how well the crew treated us with Duncan (ESPECIALLY Thelma in Guest Services - she was FANTASTIC)!And speaking of Duncan, thanks to all of our fellow passengers and the crew who treated Duncan AS a service dog, almost always ASKING FIRST if it would be all right if they pet him. As we told them, so long as I was walking with him, or my wife was in the wheelchair with him, it would be okay to pet him. But if my wife was walking with him, not to interfere with him as he was working. And thanks to the crew for placing the litter box for him in a nice out-of-the-way location, and in a non-smoking area. Previously on the Elation, the litter box was on a main smoking deck, and we always found it filled with cigarette butts.Things I liked least about the cruise: the flat iron steak in the dining room, some desserts were bland on the Lido deck, the 1 comedy show we saw, and Ensenada. I wish there were another port a 3-day cruise could visit, but realize that isn't possible on the west coast. All-in-all, none of this put any kind of damper on our enjoyment.Looking forward to going again next year on the Carnival Splendor! Duncan's 4th cruise, and my 10th, meaning we finally get free laundry on the ship!Richard Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
This was our first time to the Caribbean. We selected the cruise because we are not big fans of sea days, so the chance to visit five islands made it worth flying to San Juan. Our only other cruise prior to this one was with NCL in Hawaii, ... Read More
This was our first time to the Caribbean. We selected the cruise because we are not big fans of sea days, so the chance to visit five islands made it worth flying to San Juan. Our only other cruise prior to this one was with NCL in Hawaii, where you get to visit all the islands. We liked that cruise so much that we did it TWICE. We were very disappointed that the stop in Dominica was cancelled because we felt that the island would provide a different and "wilder" experience than the other islands.I am 65 and my girlfriend is 58 and we like to "do" rather than to "see", so we did not take any land tours on any of the islands. We preferred various water activities, which I will get to later. We do not drink, so there will not be any critique of the bars on the ship. We stayed overnite at the Quality Inn El Portal in the Condado area of San Juan. I got a good rate because I booked WAY EARLY. It was adequate for one nite, nothing special but not bad either. They have a continental breakfast served on the roof, so that is a nice way to start the day.Like many others, we checked out just prior to noon and headed for the dock. Lots of people, but check-in went well. We checked all our bags, including the "carry-ons" so that we could then tour Old San Juan without having to carry them around. One caution: they do not start boarding until around 12:45, so there were quite a few people sitting and waiting. They call by "Groups" and you have to wait until your group is called. PLEASE DO NOT STAND IN A PLACE WHERE YOU IMPEDE THE PROGRESS OF THOSE WHOSE GROUP IS CALLED BEFORE YOURS. This was actually the only time in the entire cruise that I found many people to be rude in that they stood in the way of those trying to enter the boarding line. Security is relatively slow and the lines to get on the ship are long, but there is FOOD waiting on Lido deck when you get there. One hint: if it is difficult to find a table, find the stairs by the dessert cart and go up one flight where it is very quiet and there are lots of tables availableAs with many others, we then headed off the ship to spend some time in Old San Juan.We are not critical people. We took the cruise to enjoy it, not to nitpick, so you won't hear much in the way of criticisms from us. We did "Anytime Dining" and we were really impressed with the friendliness of the wait staff and the efficiency of the kitchen in the MDR. By that, I mean that we rarely waited long for any of our food. We normally ate quite early, around 6:00, so perhaps service slowed down later in the evening. Still, the "Early Dining" folks were being served at essentially the same time as we were, yet our food arrived quite quickly to the table. Both the head of Anytime Dining and the Maitre'd stopped by EVERY table EVERY nite, so if you did have complaints, they were available to hear them. All of the entrees were good, and we especially like the "Jerk Chicken" and pork. The wait staff kept stopping by our table to see if it was "too spicy", but "Jerk" chicken is SUPPOSED to be spicy! The hostess was also pleasant, friendly, and efficient in seating us.We also ate breakfast in the MDR and were once again pleased with the efficiency of the operation. Why did we eat in the MDR? Because there was no place on the buffet line where they prepared eggs on an "individual" basis. Only scrambled eggs were available, along with an omelet station near the back pool. I like my eggs "over medium", and the MDR was the only place to get them that way. We even ate in the MDR on those days when we had an early tour because we found that we could be in-and-out in less than half-an-hour with just the two of us. The only problem we had was that one morning we were given seating at a large table where a number of other couples were also seated. As I approached my seat, I was OVERWHELMED by the smell of perfume, so bad that I literally almost gagged. I was going to be seated next to the culprit. I did not even sit down, but immediately went back to the hostess to get a table for two. EASY ON THE PERFUME, LADIES! Why exactly does one need to douse oneself with perfume first thing in the morning????????Our room attendant, Justin from Dominica, was pleasant, efficient, and yet somewhat dignified all at the same time. We left him a nice tip.We are not big show people either. We did catch the end of a juggler/comedian show one nite, and the end of another comedian another nite. Both were pleasant and funny. Now a bit about the ports and the shore excursions. On St Thomas, we did a catamaran sail to Greater St James Island on the Spirit of St Christopher. The problem with this tour is that it is now primarily for those staying in hotels. It starts at 11 in the morning, and we got back to the ship at 4:15. There were some times late in the day when I was beginning to worry. Still, it was a nice sail and snorkeling trip that includes lunch and rum. You can call Captain Jimmy and see if he will accomodate you. The website is at treasureislecruises.com.On Barbados, we went to Accra beach, also called Rockley Beach. Our cab driver called it Accra Beach. We were dropped off right in the middle of the beach and found a couple of chairs and an umbrella for $15. The beach was very nice and the water clear. There were kiosks that sold booze, and there is also a bar at the far end of the beach. There are also a few kiosks selling local merchandise and clothing. There are plenty of taxis to take you back to the ship when you desire. We ate a a small restaurant across the street and had some excellent flying fish sandwiches.In St Lucia, we did the "Kayak to Pigeon Island" tour through the ship excursions. If you need some exercise, this is a good way to get it. You don't really get that far from shore, probably a couple of hundred yards. You kayak for about half-an-hour or a bit more. There are refreshments waiting for you when you get to the Pigeon Island beach. At that point, you have three options: snorkeling, either guided or on your own; a guided tour hike to the top of a promontory for some excellent views; or just sitting around on the beach. I snorkeled while my g/f chilled. There were all ages on the tour, and everyone seemed to enjoy it.In St Kitts we went to Cockleshell Beach. There are lots of lounge chairs to be had for FREE, but we selected one of the few with a thatched shade roof for $15. As the fella said, "The chairs are free, the shade is $15". *L* The beach is beautiful and the water was calm. There were some small fish swimming around and they were not shy about coming close to take a look at your legs. One lady screamed, "There are fish in here!" I said "There are supposed to be fish--this is the ocean!" *L*We sat right in front of Lion's Bar. There is a Reggae Bar at the far end of the beach for those who want a more crowded bar scene. DO NOT MISS LUNCH FROM LION'S BAR! It was more than food, it was culinary art. You have your choice of bbq ribs or fish or shrimp, along with small portions of fried plantain, cole slaw, sweet potato, broccolli, and a few other items that I can't remember. It was "island food", kind of expensive at around $18 US per plate, but well worth it in my view. Lion prepares it on "island time", so it is not ready until around 1:00. It was one of the highlights of the trip.Also on Cockleshell Beach near the Reggae Bar is a "shack" where a fella named Fernando sells his "folk art" paintings that he does in his home. He also sells them out of a knapsack as he walks along the beach. They are simple painting of palm trees and sunsets, some might even call them "cheesy". Then again, lots of people pay hundreds of dollars for Thomas Kinkade paintings and I don't think you can find anything more cheesy. We think that they capture the essence of the islands and recommend that you at least take a look at them. In St Maarten, we did the "Capt Alan's 3-Island Tour". Very good tour! We started at an "island" that was not much more than a big rock a few hundred yards offshore. There were some underwater rocks and a reef that had lots of fish. Capt Alan gets you there FIRST in the morning. By the time we came back in late morning, I noticed that there were about half-a-dozen boats at the "island". We had it all to ourself earlier!Then Capt Alan takes you to a beach where you get to do the "mud bath". How long has it been since you have played in the mud, let alone rubbed it all over yourself! What a kick! It felt like you were five years old and getting to play in the mud! Then we laid on the warm sand for awhile and let the mud "bake" into our skin. How nice that was! Finally, you get back in the water and wash it all off and your skin feels really soft. You then go to a reef where there are a few turtles and, again, quite a few fish. We saw a few turtles on top of the water as we approached the reef, but they declined to swim with us. Still, there were plenty of fish to see. Finally, Capt Alan takes you to "Pinel Island Beach" where you have the opportunity to swim in the shallow waters or just relax on the beach. They also have some iguanas that they feed behind the bar/restaurant if you want to see them. There is beer or soda as refreshments. All in all, a very relaxing and fun morning. One caveat: the boat does go into the "open ocean" for about 20 minutes. The ride was a bit bumpy, but Capt Alan did an excellent job of going through the waves. If you are prone to seasickness, this may be a bit of a problem. Finally, a bit about disembarkation. We had an 11:30 flight and we had heard that the airport was "a mess", so we chose to do the "Self Debarkation". One problem is that you have to be off the ship by 7:45 or so if you do the self debarkation, so that may mean getting up earlier. Still, we got up and ate breakfast in the MDR and still got off the ship by around 7:45. If you do the self-debarkation, be advised that you use the elevators all the way to the front of the ship. They are the only ones that go all the way down to the "ZERO" level. They are also the best elevators to use in the morning when you get off the ship to head for shore. We happened to get the Tasmanian Devil as our cab driver, so we got to the airport VERY quickly. At one point, I thought she was going to hit another vehicle and I gasped "oh wow!" "What did you say", she said. "I said oh wow" I said. *L*The airport was virtually empty when we got there around 8:00. We took our bags through agriculture and then headed for the ticket counter. Even though we were in advance of the "three hour" rule for getting your tickets, they gave them to us anyway, I suppose because they also knew what a long line would develop later on. It was a long wait in the airport, almost three hours till boarding the airplane, but we thought it was worth it to avoid the "mess" that would develop later.All in all, a SUPERB vacation and we highly recommend it...... Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
Boarding was fine. The balcony cabin was light colored and very adequate as a base of operations. The only exception to this was severe mold on the shower tiles and grout.Choose the "your time" dining for dinner at it suits ... Read More
Boarding was fine. The balcony cabin was light colored and very adequate as a base of operations. The only exception to this was severe mold on the shower tiles and grout.Choose the "your time" dining for dinner at it suits your schedule. Food was mediocre at best. It was an identical desert menu every night and contained only basic menu items. Dinner choices were simple, plain, limited and ranged from quite good to inedible. The buffet was horrible as it always is on Carnival. The sandwich and Chinese stations was quite good if you don't want to kill 1-1/2 hrs in the sit sown restaurant or choke on the nightly buffets. Do not cruise on Carnival if you like food. Carnival has chosen to close the sit down restaurants while in ports, which leaves only horrible food choices, consisting primarily of the buffet, yuck. We discovered the burger place was closed during dinner hours, another way for Carnival to save money.With only one "fun day at sea", the island stops were frequent, long enough and varied enough. Carnival continues to increase charges for their excursions however. You might want to avoid paying them inflated prices and chance doing things on your own.Snorkeling in St. Thomas was two locations on sandy bottoms. Without live color reefs there was no marine life to see. Save your money. We took an expensive fishing tour at St. Lucia was awful. Eight of us took turns in the single fishing chair with 10 minute turns. It was us to the quests to organize the timing as the mate did nothing. They advertise only going 4 miles out to sea but went about 15-20 miles out in extremely rough waters. All guests got sick and blessed an early termination of the trip to return to shore. Carnival refunded only a small amount of the costs. Save your money. Hope you don't need a lifeboat as the drill was impossible to hear. You left without a clue what to do in the event of an emergency. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
We booked this cruise because we could drive to the port and avoid using airlines and their hassles.Our 6th cruise, 2nd on Carnival. We found none of the negatives, that others reviewers found on this board.Shows were good, but not as good ... Read More
We booked this cruise because we could drive to the port and avoid using airlines and their hassles.Our 6th cruise, 2nd on Carnival. We found none of the negatives, that others reviewers found on this board.Shows were good, but not as good as those on HAL. The talent show on the last night was great.We enjoyed "your time dining" in the Renoir dining room every night; the food was excellent, and meeting fellow cruisers from all over the world (but mostly Texas) was fun.Ports, the first time we visit a port we take a tour to see what's there, and then maybe venture out on our own. Montego Bay, Jamaica was first and we booked an excursion thru Carnival. It took us thru some of the worst areas I've ever seen, garbage, trash, was everywhere. Packs of goats were roaming everywhere, twice that I saw, the bus received the universal sign (were number 1) from locals. Everyone was constantly harassed to buy junk and some were offered drugs for sale. I think Jamaica should be dropped as a cruise port.Grand Cayman and Cozumel were nice ports, we took private tours that were cheaper and just as good as ship excursions. We just made sure there at least 8 guests on each one.The final sea day I was able to book a "behind the scenes ship tour", it took almost 4 hours and was a highlight of the cruise. We were told we could only spent 15 minutes on the bridge with the captain, but we stayed over 45. The officers answered every question and more. The parts of the ship passengers don't see are just as clean as the rest of it.Embarkation and disembarkation was fast and easy, no problems. The windows in the Lido could have been cleaner, heard the power sprayer system was down. There should be No reserving tables and then getting in line for food in the Lido. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
Introduction My lovely wife, Rosy, slipped on ice, pre-Christmas, and broke her left shoulder. She suffered a lot of pain and has been off sick from work since then. I decided that some hot sunshine would cheer her up and hopefully ... Read More
Introduction My lovely wife, Rosy, slipped on ice, pre-Christmas, and broke her left shoulder. She suffered a lot of pain and has been off sick from work since then. I decided that some hot sunshine would cheer her up and hopefully aid her recovery. Therefore, we looked for a Caribbean cruise, at a good price, preferably departing Florida. There were several to choose from, but alas no 'award' flights available. I had an American Express 2-4-1 voucher, which allowed me to use my BA miles to purchase two tickets for the price of one, on a return flight from the UK to any destination. I'd learnt from the FlyerTalk.com website that the most cost effective use of miles is to travel in either Club World or First class. I found good availability to Houston, Texas and found a 7 day cruise to the Western Caribbean from Galveston, Texas at an excellent price, utilising a $100 discount for the over 55's. We also qualify for on board credit (OBC) through our Carnival share-holding and past guest status. I used 25k more miles to upgrade the outbound flight as I hope the 747 will be fitted with new First, as most Houston flights currently have the latest cabin style. This is also a long daytime flight and so we can take advantage of the extensive wine list and personal service. For years we travelled in economy, where my 6'4" frame fits very snuggly, so it's a real treat to be at the other end of the plane. Last weekend (two weeks from our cruise), Galveston was fogbound and all cruises were delayed. I haven't told Rosy this, as I don't want to worry her, so I hope all is well on March 6! Outbound Journey We usually travel up to London the night before a long flight, but as our flight doesn't leave until 14.20, we decided to travel up in what should be lighter traffic, as it's a Saturday, on the day and leave quite early, allowing more time in the Concorde Room. My mum has just moved to a respite home near Cambridge and wanted some things, so we decided to travel up on Friday 4th and stay at her house, near Cambridge, before driving to LHR on Saturday morning. I found a special offer for parking on the Travel Essentials website, allowing valet parking for the same cost as long stay. Perfect parking are charging us £59.99 for 9 days parking, excellent value. We simply drive to departures, leave our car with their chauffeur and do the reverse on our return. UNWANTED FLIGHT CHANGE On the Thursday night, I received a PM from a friendly Flyer Talk member, informing me that our flight BA197 may be cancelled. This really worried us as it meant we would miss our cruise, if the flight was cancelled. This was about 21.00 and BA in the UK close at 20.00, so I called BA USA and the agent told me that although the flight was still live, it said on our booking ref that it had been cancelled and as we had award tickets we would need to call BAEC in the morning. This stressed us further so I waited 30 mins for BAEC in USA and the agent confirmed that our booking ref showed the flight cancelled. He offered us various options, but the only satisfactory one meant us driving overnight to Cambridge to drop off my mum's things and then drive back to LHR. We knew she'd be upset, but fortunately she was awake at 05.00 and we had a quick chat. We arrived at LHR at 07.15 for the 10.50 flight, but the parking guys kept me standing in the cold for 45 minutes, which delayed our breakfast and Bucks Fizz. Fast Track and check-in were really busy, so we didn't get to the CCR until about 08.30 and no spa treatments were available so we booked the massage chairs and showers, followed by smoked salmon and scrambled eggs for breakfast. I had to change my car hire and book a hotel in Dallas, which took an age on the awfully slow BA wifi. Eventually I used the terminals in the Board room enjoying the comfort of the old Concorde leather seats. This internet was much quicker and I used my Starwood points to book the Westin DFW (3000 points). We changed the car hire for a Saturday collection and will keep our original reservation for the Sheraton Houston North for the Saturday night. Just before we left the comfort of the CCR Terrace, I asked the BA agent if our original flight BA 197 on 5 March, had been cancelled and was horrified to find that they were checking people in and the flight was 'live'. They suggested I email BA customer services, with my 'story of woe'. Something must be seriously wrong with their booking system for things like this to happen! In no time at all, our flight was shown as leaving from gate B34, which meant a bit of a trek. One minute it was showing as Boarding, then the next 'final call', so we rushed along. In the excitement, I initially failed to spot that this flight had new F, so I was delighted. I took some pictures ably assisted by the cabin crew, who were very attentive. We were soon airborne, only allowing me enough time to send a couple of PM's to FT members and post an update. The champagne in F is Taittinger Brut Millesime 2004, which tastes good, but I have no idea as to it's quality. After two days of liquids and Aloe Vera in a Detox diet I'm delighted to be enjoying other liquids. My wife is adorned in a beautiful silky blue dress and she looks lovely, it's great to be alive. I hope Sam, the cat will forgive us for the hurried exit last night! We are about to have lunch, which for me will be salmon and shrimps, followed by a duo of English beef and some cheese and chocolate (don't tell the Detox adviser!). Still to come, cream tea and banana chocolate cake. With three hours to go I still haven't had the cake, but oh dear I have sneaked off to the Club kitchen and indulged in chocolate! All that effort and the calories come creeping back! Maltesers, shortbread chocolate bars all the way from DORCHESTER! Hey, we've still got the cruise to come and Rosy wants to find the Cheesecake Factory, my oh my! I now have burnt butter ice cream and Bailey's with ice, yum yum! We have been having a discussion about the distance from the table that an average stomach is and how important kit is to use a napkin! Pity the poor soul that does the laundry! Now 2 hours to reality, when we land at DFW and presumably meet chaotic immigration, but don't forget queue on the right, where the line moves fastest. Arrival at baggage reclaim presents a further problem, as our bags are still in London, so a nice lady called Ruth, gave us a voucher for a night in the DFW Hyatt, with food to the value of $140 and an ATM card with $300 for replacement clothing. Our AMEX travel insurance allows us a further £750 and we're told that our bags will arrive in Dallas FW on BA193 5 March. We took the shuttle to the Hyatt Regency DFW and had a very comfortable room, but it was now quite late and we were too tired to eat much. We went to bed at 22.00, only to awaken at 01.30 and couldn't get back to sleep, as were so stressed. Next morning we enjoyed our complimentary breakfast and then returned to DFW for our short but bumpy flight to IAH. This was only the second flight that the cabin crew had been told to stay seated, so no drinks. Upon arrival at IAH, we took the shuttle to the rental car centre and they tried to rip us off as we needed what we thought was 1 extra day's rental. I had notified NetFlights.com of our change of circumstances but they hadn't amended our voucher, for which we had booked an economy car for 8 days. Initially they wanted a further $120 for 1 day, but we challenged them and only ended up paying an extra $40 for a full tank of petrol, so we have to return it empty or lose out! We were offered a choice of two cars, either a Ford Focus or Mercury Grand Marquis (a luxury car - we took the Ford - no not really). It was dirty and pretty scratched, so I marked numerous things on the report form. Next, we sought some replacement clothes and a suitcase, but the satnav tried to take us to Miami and we were getting thoroughly cheesed off, so we eventually stopped for coffee and cake at the Cheesecake Factory then bought a few things, but we just couldn't be bothered. Then we called Ruth at DFW, about our missing bags. They'd arrived from LHR and would arrive at IAH on a Continental flight and we could then collect them. We drove to Terminal B and the Continental staff had no knowledge of them and there was no reference on the system, showing them as having left DFW. I threw my arms into the air in disgust and they told me not to get upset! We went to BA in Terminal D and they couldn't find any reference to them, but they were very helpful and told us they would look after us for the return flight. They told us there were to further flights arriving IAH that night so we went back to Term B and whooped with joy as our bags were sitting on their own in the middle of a near deserted terminal. Now anyone could have walked off with them - quite astonishing and the CO staff couldn't care less! We drove to our hotel completely exhausted, but happy we'd been re-united with all our possessions. We were staying at the Sheraton Houston North, which offered free parking or a free shuttle. We'd been upgraded to the Club Floor, with free soft drinks and continental breakfast.We also had a ginormous bed! Sunday 6 March (start of cruise)We sure were ready for our cruise as the last few days had been a nightmare and I hope we'll receive an explanation as to what happened to suggest our original flight had been cancelled. Anyway we had an uneventful journey down to Galveston, avoiding the expensive toll roads by using I-45, which was an excellent road and our economy rental car, a Mercury Grand Marquis - £119 for 8 days, cruised down there with ease. We had a quick walk around then found that from where we had parked, it was an easy drive to the terminal, avoiding the bust traffic approaching from I-45. We dropped off our bags then drove a couple of hundred yards to our pre-booked car park. A short walk to the terminal followed. It took about 30-45 minutes to get on-board and we basked in the warm sunshine, whilst we waited for our cabin to become available at 13.30. My bag was waiting for me, but Rosy's was held back as she had a bottle of champagne in it. It was confiscated as it should have been in her carry-on, which she didn't have! Apparently people carry on alcohol in all sorts of disguises, but Carnival are getting very tough on this. They missed my water, which could have been vodka! We had dinner on a table for six, but no-one else showed until half way through. Carnival is getting far more aggressive with their attempts to sell extras such as bottled water and bar drinks, which can be annoying. The Chocolate melting cake was outstanding, but we are starting to talk about returning to Princess! I fell asleep during dinner and again in the welcome aboard show, so went to bed, but I still awoke at 04.30, blooming jet lag! I am currently enjoying some early morning coffee, whilst most sleep! I think we'll be taking more cruises from nearer home in future. These long flights pre-cruise are too risky. It's so easy leaving from Southampton, UK, 50 miles from home, but the weather is less predictable. Just had breakfast in the buffet, but I'm feeling cold, which is unlike me, so maybe I'm under the weather. I was hoping it would be sunny and warm, but there's quite a stiff breeze blowing. Rosy commented that Carnival may be cutting back on their entertainment budget, as there aren't many craft-based activities. Clear the decks! It's now pouring with rain and everyone's running for cover. That'll sort the chair hogs! Tomorrow, the weather will greatly improve, says the Captain, after this weak front's moved away. Good because we had enough rain and cloud on our 'Dream' cruise! Tonight is the first elegant night, so the baseball caps should be hidden away. Ports of Call Montego Bay, Jamaica We had decided to take the shuttle to town and back, walking wherever we felt like and mixing with the locals, but the shuttle was $15pp, so we decided to walk the 1.5 miles instead, ignoring the constant peeping horns seeking a fare. We walked to the edge of town, when we were befriended by a local, who advised us where to go and where to avoid. We thought nothing of it and continued on. A few minutes later this same man, who claimed to work at the port, again offered some assistance. He just stayed with us and was a very good guide, showing us some interesting places, including the Church of England. By this time I was becoming a little wary and said thanks for the info, but we would buy a hat and some water before returning to the ship. He offered us a beer in an authentic bar, but I was concerned something might be added to the drink, having heard stories of tourists being drugged and robbed. He found what we wanted and sorted a cab back to the ship for $10. Surprisingly he got in too and advised us that his 'guiding services' usually cost about $60 each, but he'd settle for $40. We pretended we only had $30 and gave him 20 saving 10 for the driver. He then got out. On arrival at the port the driver tried to charge us $30 each for the 10 minute ride. We gave him $10 and told him that was all he'd get. This is a cautionary tale, as I consider myself to be very careful, but I think my previous rule should apply. Never talk to strangers! After lunch we walked to the Sunset Beach Resort, which took about 20 minutes and probably costs $10 by cab, maybe per person. This return visit to Jamaica, our fourth, has confirmed what we thought before we came, that we'd be quite happy not to return and we wouldn't trust anything a Jamaican told us. It would often be cheaper and safer to take a London cab! The "all inclusive" resorts seem to be very well cared for and very comfortable, but once you step outside it can be quite scary. Grand Cayman This is a tender port and we were off bright and early at 07.30. We enquired about snorkelling, at tourist information and discovered a place called Eden Rock, where equipment can be rented for $14pp. We have our own and paid for flippers and a vest for me. We saw many multi-coloured fish large and small and it was good value for money. Next we walked about 1 mile out of town to a peaceful retreat called Dart Family Park, which is a National Trust venue, mainly for young children, with a play area and chickens, but it was nice to sit and relax in a rural spot. After this we walked to a bar called 'Hammerheads' where free wifi is available, as well a selection of food and drink, but prices are in local dollars, so multiply by 1.25 for $ US. A typical cocktail was expensive at about $10 including tip. After sampling some rum cake we returned to the ship. Cozumel We have booked a catamaran, sail and snorkel trip for $70pp, really to have everything taken care off, rather than trying to find the best place to snorkel and the transport to get there. The excursion, booked thru Carnival, is run by a company called 'Fury'. They have 5 catamarans, which run from the various cruise ships in port that day. The company also has its own beach, with loungers, sun shades, cabanas, hammocks etc, as well as primitive restrooms. They offer purified water, Daquiries, sodas and beer, all included in the price, both on board and at the beach. Scattered close to the shore are water trampolines, slides etc and kayaks are also available. Parasailing and wave runners can be rented, but Fury discourage this as they cannot be held responsible for any mishaps. Soon after leaving the jetty we stopped to snorkel. This is very well organised by the safety conscious crew. Floatation jackets are mandatory and we all kept to a tight formation. The sea was quite choppy and the current strong, but it was very well run. At collection time, the 'cat' moved around to sort of scoop us all up! Then the bar opened and the staff were very keen to serve us and kept offering refills. I thought the alcoholic drinks seemed quite weak until we left the beach, for the return trip. At the end we were given a farewell talk by the guide, who went on a bit about how impoverished his crew and their families were and how much we should tip them. I didn't like this and tipped the same as I would have without the 'speech'! Disembarkation We got up at 07.45 and grabbed a quick breakfast, eaten on our balcony and we now await our number to be called. Our number '2', was called at about 09.15 along with numbers 1&3 and then had to wait 1.5 hours in an immigration line, the only line for International customers. Why is there a need to treat us in this way? We'd already waited 2 hours to get through Dallas. Our car was parked right across the road, and the journey was very easy. As we had the extra day at the beginning of our car rental, we had to be at IAH by 12.30pm, or they would impose a hefty surcharge, so this means a long wait at the airport, hopefully enabling me to complete this trip report. Unfortunately the First cabin is full for the return, so no chance of the promised u/g dependent upon available space. We were allocated seats 18E,F in the main cabin and no upper deck seats available, but delighted to be on our booked flight and in such comfort. The service, food and drink were all excellent and then most went to sleep, but I always find it difficult to sleep for long, so tend to recline and watch tv. About 90 minutes from landing we enjoyed a quite decent breakfast. We landed on time, but had quite a long bus journey to the terminal. Immigration was quick and we were soon on our way home. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
To our misfortune we picked up a virus from a very rude traveler who coughed all over us during the first show we attended and it really limited our activity, however, that is not the ships fault. For the record, this was our ... Read More
To our misfortune we picked up a virus from a very rude traveler who coughed all over us during the first show we attended and it really limited our activity, however, that is not the ships fault. For the record, this was our fourteenth cruise and our third Carnival cruise. Our favorite cruise line is Holland America, second favorite is Royal Caribbean. NCL and Carnival are not at the top of our list. We are retirees who cruise to get away from boredom and relax. First the ups. Cabin was excellent with the exception of the mattresses which are more like saggy hammocks. Nice fluffy duvets cover up the sag when the bed is made, but wait til you climb in. Was on Carnival's Glory a couple of years ago and found the same bed situation there. Nice long sofa, nice decor, excellent bed linens, nice bathroom, lots of storage. One of the balcony chairs reclines in the event you'd like to do some private sunning. It seems that each time we cruise Carnival, we find they have hired more and more Indonesian staff. That is one of the reasons we are so fond of HAL. Most of their staff are Indonesian and they are the warmest, friendliest people. They certainly make us feel as though they are dedicated to providing excellent service and the service on this trip was superb. We were not prepared for the fact that our March 5th sailing was the beginning of spring break - we thought it was later. Carnival bent over backwards to see that the students had lots and lots of late night activities and I must admit that the student conduct was excellent and the young folks were a pleasure to be around. In the past we've had bad experiences with breakers going wild on cruises and really being disruptive. The Dream was one of the cleanest ships I've ever been on. It was immaculate. There were alot of small children on our cruise but here again, Camp Carnival kept the little ones very busy, away from the general population, so they weren't under foot. Casino action was good. Adequate gaming tables and pleasant dealers. And the downs. Weird bath amenities included things like tape strips to open your nostrils and pepcid. Did they anticipate the food would upset your stomach???? Shampoo and shower gel dispenser in shower, but no lotions or shower caps. Carnival needs to understand that travelers, particularly females, enjoy the little sample packs of amenities that spoil us. It seemed that we were being used as guinea pigs for manufacturer's free samples of products they are promoting. I generally get one massage and one facial in the spa as part of my vacation spoil, but not wanting to spread germs avoided close contacts. Also, each year that we go, the prices for spa services just skyrocket, so be prepared. I'm a foodie, so that was where my biggest disappointment lay. Carnivals signature warm chocolate melting cake is always a treat and their creme brulee was excellent. The breakfast danish pastries are the very flakiest and excellent. Muffins had a hard crusty top like a hockey puck. The flat iron steak was definitely not as good as other reviewers mentioned. It had livery overtones - don't know what cut of beef they get theirs from. One night the menu featured "Chateaubriand with Bernaise Sauce", which got me excited until I read the fine print on the listing. Said it was cut from beef shoulder. PLEASE. Everyone knows that chateaubriand is the center cut of the tenderloin -AS IN LOIN, NOT SHOULDER. This is grossly misleading and a misrepresentation of a gourmet item. I guess you have to pay extra and go to the upscale steak house to get good meat. We did not try it on the Dream but we did on the Glory and it was worth every penny. Will say the vegetables were all tasty and well prepared. Particularly the fried eggplant. It was exceptional. Also, the ship serves butter from France and it is the best butter I've ever tasted, so skip the Land o Lakes margarine which is also offered. The buffet on the Lido was very disappointing and had very limited selections. The hot dogs at the grill are excellent and huge. The hamburgers at the same venue are sometimes cooked on the grill and sometimes on a conveyor being run through the pizza oven. Go figure. The Dream offers continental breakfast, sandwich and dessert items from room service. These are available 24 hrs a day, but selection is limited. HAL has the policy of allowing you to order anything from the regular dining room menu for breakfast, lunch or dinner, as long as you order during the regular dining times. This is a wonderful practice and provides the guest with so many options from bacon and eggs in your room in the morning, to a strip steak for dinner, when you're interested in privacy. We thought almost all of the entertainment was poor. Comedy club was not good. Even the family show was so gutteral. If you enjoy unsophisticated humor about farting and other bathroom habits, you'll love it. In the main show lounge performances, the male dancers were excellent, the female were very lackluster. The male singer was okay, the female to loud and abrasive. The only good show was one that some other reviewers have mentioned called Dancing in the Street and that is because of additions to the cast which I won't describe, in the event you are booked on the Dream - best to let you be surprised. Carnival has relaxed it's dress policy and now calls what used to be "formal nights", "elegant nights" but jackets and ties are no longer "required". Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
This is a review of the April 11, 2011 Carnival Triumph cruise from NOLA.It started well and went downhill from there. Got into a crowded elevator, you know the type, so crowded you can see down blouses. Before it started to go up, ... Read More
This is a review of the April 11, 2011 Carnival Triumph cruise from NOLA.It started well and went downhill from there. Got into a crowded elevator, you know the type, so crowded you can see down blouses. Before it started to go up, someone's cell phone rang and at the top of her lungs she answers "HELLO". She was offended by my request to speak quietly. While my ears were still ringing, she left by saying "this is my third Triumph cruise and I already met someone rude" Its too bad there wasn't a mirror on the elevator because we all saw someone rude also. For those of you on this cruise she's the same one during the welcome back party that thought being on the Triumph three times was a big deal.There were a lot of good things on this cruise. Those crew members that choose to work did a wonderful job and this was the norm. My cabin steward, waiter at dinner and bartender at the wine bar, were wonderful. But far too many crew felt it was their duty to hide and let someone else do their job, especially at the aft pool area.The whirlpools throughout the ship did not work properly. Water was cool or warmed by the sun. The jets were not pushing the water as they do on other ships. When a maintenance crew member was asked about them, his response was "they are working". He turned and walked away.The reason I am writing this review is to bring attention of what happened to my wife and me for the entire five day trip.We were in room 1007 but this would apply to every forward room past 1025, port or starboard. The noise level in this room was horrendous coming from above; it took us several days to figure out the source. Even though the gym closes at 10PM, crew used it until 12:30AM when a cleaning crew came to do their job. I found this out by going into the gym and watching them, especially those that were in the weight lifting area by dropping them on the deck with no regard to the paying guest that are sleeping below. For this we paid?We visited guest services several times, each time they told me the gym closes at 10PM and the noise can't be coming from the gym, the doors are locked. A lie, I walked in and saw everyone.Called security, waited, they never arrived. Walked outside and ask another to accompany me. All the while he kept telling me he will take care of this. There's no one inside, I kept walking and when we came upon the crew, the security guard changed his story saying they were the cleaning crew. Another lie or is it a cover up?I could go on and on about this incident, phone calls, so called inspections by guest relations with every comment made to prove me incorrect. In fact at one time I was inside the gym when a guest relations rep walked by and saw the doors closed and assumed no one was inside.I can't believe this matter had not been identified in the past. One of the crew led me in the correct direction to determine the source.Another source of noise in this section of rooms was the teen disco on deck 12 forward. Screaming, yelling till 1AM. While waiting for security to address the previous problem, I walked over and looked in. Whoa, what a surprise. Two teenage boys came over and asked if I wanted to dance. What is Carnival promoting here? They were acting like they were either drunk or stoned; but for sure they were loud. VIP passengers we were told to wait in one of the dining rooms and we would be allowed to disembark first, which is one of our perks. No coffee or danish were available, which is the norm on other lines. But worse, everyone who was trying to hang around the lobby was lead to this dining room, even first time cruisers. Where was the perk? Mass disorganization and confusion.NOLA has one thing to be thankful for, Triumph will be moving to Galveston.Out of my 57 cruises, this cruise ranks among the worst, right next to Mercury.Since I have a future cruise cert, I intend to use it on the Magic out of Galveston, then that's it for Carnival stopping at 15.I read Carnival business reports which show a ridership reduction. Most sail and sign cards were blue, no wonder. They must keep attracting newbie's to continue to grow. This company and ship needs a complete overhaul.Mr. Cahill, please save this wonderful ship. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
I booked two cabins on Conquest April 3, 2011 to celebrate with my daughter and two adult granddaughters who will be going to graduate school and moving. They had only cruised as children and I choose Carnival Conquest because I had ... Read More
I booked two cabins on Conquest April 3, 2011 to celebrate with my daughter and two adult granddaughters who will be going to graduate school and moving. They had only cruised as children and I choose Carnival Conquest because I had sailed on this ship on 3 other occasions and had always found it to be a beautiful, luxurious ship.This cruise was somewhat disappointing due to passengers being allowed to come into the dining room dressed like they were going to the beach. Always before my family has been told that only shirts with collars, pants no shorts and no t-shirts were allowed in the dining rooms at the evening meals.Every night my family dressed according to the dress code listed however other passengers were allowed into the dining room with shorts, short shorts, t-shirts, ball caps and on two occasions flip flops and attire that should only be worn on the beach.I personally asked the Mad re d why this was occurring and was told that if I had not sailed on Carnival in the last two years that they had relaxed their dress code so that you now could wear whatever. If this is the case then why stipulate at all what should and should not be worn in the dining room both in the brochures and in the daily fun news sheets.Many of the passengers I spoke to were as upset as I was that this was allowed, it made formal night nothing special for the majority of us who made the effort to dress appropriately each night. I might even accept on casual nights allowing some relaxing of the rules but we were seated on our last formal night across from a 50 something couple who were both in shorts, skimpy t-shirts and flip flops...hairy legs and all, it sort of takes away from the ambiance of FORMAL night. I know it we are Texans but most of us do know how to dress correctly when expected. We are not all BUH BUHS.Ironically, a lovely lady at breakfast wearing a yellow beach cover up was told she could not enter the dining room for breakfast because the cover up looked like a bathrobe, REALLY! She took it off and was allowed to enter in her swim suit top.This truly saddened me because my family had so looked forward to elegant dining and as it worked out we might as left all our dresses at home. The specialty dining room was lovely and we did enjoy that. I guess my complaint is why have dress code rules listed for the dining rooms if they are not going to be enforced, those who did NOT wish to dress appropriately could have eaten at the buffet or pizza etc. which is what they probably were used to eating anyway.Having been on more than 7 or 8 Carnival cruises and 18 other cruises in total I think I would have to think twice about booking one again. I did talk to a friend who had cruised on Ecstasy the month before and she said that the dress codes were highly enforced on that ship....perhaps it is just Conquest who is willing to cater to a lower class of passengers now? Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2011
Let me get the only negatives out of the way first...the embarkation meant standing in line an hour and 40 minutes. Apparently they had computer problems. The line on the other side of the room seemed to breeze through, no idea why. We use ... Read More
Let me get the only negatives out of the way first...the embarkation meant standing in line an hour and 40 minutes. Apparently they had computer problems. The line on the other side of the room seemed to breeze through, no idea why. We use room service a lot and they sent the wrong thing several times. Amazingly, the "wrong thing" was good every time. Lastly, we ordered the Chateaubriand and it was tough. That's it, we enjoyed every other aspect. We have always had good room stewards but these guys, Bayou and Chris, were amazing. Everyone who cruises frequently has had the experience of returning to one's cabin after hours away to find it STILL hadn't been made up. Not these guys. No idea how they did it as they service 27 cabins but if we were out 15 minutes our room was done. I told them on day one I use a lot of ice and I never went a minute without it. They were smiling and never seemed to be in a hurry. If we ever get to return to this ship we would want the same cabin. These guys created a stress-free environment for us, towel animals and all. Speaking of our cabin, we enjoyed it. Bedding is awesome, instant and plentiful hot water. Cabin 4212 was perfect for us, directly above the main dining room by one deck. A quick elevator ride (the elevators are the most efficient we have ever experienced, never had to wait) to deck 9 and we were in the buffet or the pool. They only guarantee Internet access in the Internet Cafe and hot spots but we had in in our cabin, a bit slow but always there. We enjoyed the food and were thrilled to have lobster and escargot on the menu in these austere times. Breakfast buffet was good and had no trouble finding things we liked for buffet lunch. We did late "My time" dining and after being waited on by Aliaksandr, we asked to be seated at his table every time. He was funny and amazingly quick. We had no wait at all. He took the time to chat with us in spite of the fact that I have never seen a busier human. We have nothing but praise for his service. As mentioned, we use room service a lot. It arrived sooner than promised each time. Again, for example, we ordered a Fajita and got a Ruben, but the Ruben was very good. I have to mention 2 waiters that served us more than once...Neboja and Bojan. These busy young men asked us about our day, bantered with us, and gave the impression that they cared that we were pleased with our service. The stamina of these guys, rushing about while maintaining a pleasant and interested attitude is admirable. (You don't see any fat ones!) It is not fair that I have no names for the early AM waiters as they were pleasant and professional, too. The reason is that they came while my husband was still sleeping and we spoke only what was necessary. The Captain's party was good..they were generous with the drinks and kept canapes going. The welcome back party as well. No sign of the recession here. The pools were nice and we always found a chair. Bar service was there but not pushy. Spent a little time in the casino, service helpful and friendly. We liked the fact that you could choose either cash or cruise card in the machines. Library was well stocked with new releases. Shops were large and we got good deals on sale items. No problem with our bill at all and embarkation was a breeze, best organized we have ever seen. My only suggestion would be to give out a little more port information. We always enjoy the little port history that some other lines put out. Here we just got shopping info. Bottom line is this is an excellent ship. Great service and overall attitude is "we want to please you." They did. Hope to cruise again on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
Embarkcation process went smoothly as everyone stated. The family came in 1 day early and stayed at Country Inn and Suites in Cape Canaveral and the stay was very pleasant.OK now our dream beginsWhen boarding the ship there was no one ... Read More
Embarkcation process went smoothly as everyone stated. The family came in 1 day early and stayed at Country Inn and Suites in Cape Canaveral and the stay was very pleasant.OK now our dream beginsWhen boarding the ship there was no one greeting the guests, you were left to figure out where to go next, I feel that would be tough on first time cruisers, which we had 4 with our group.We headed to Deck 10 (Lido deck)to the Gathering for lunch that was overwhelming, long lines, DH had to sit at empty table while we were in line for food, food was OK nothing to brag about.Room was ready by 1:30 received luggage in a reasonable about of time. Never meet the room steward but he did an excellent job on keeping our room clean and staffed with clean towels.After changing into our swimwear we headed off to the pool, another challenge no seats and small pool for a ship of 4,000 people. Oh. now the sail away party what a BIG disappointment, possibly the worse one ever.We ate in the main dining room 6 out or 7 nights, we had 14 people at our table now Anthony was our headwaiter and did a fine job, but his assistant sucked, the head matrid never once came to our table, until I asked for him to complain about the amount of time it took to serve us. A minimum of 2 hours for dinner, food was only warm and getting a drink was almost impossible, we were on the upper level of the Scarlet Dining Room and the kitchen is on the 3rd level and the food had to be bought up from the 3rd level on the escalator along with anything you wanted to drink, it took forever, We enjoyed the shows and the comedy shows we had no complaints, the only problem is the saving of seats, at the pool and at the Encore theater, the activities need some help, the fun days at sea where not fun, very little to dounless you like playing Bingo all the time at $20 a game. Oh yeah the serenity deck I think you needed to be there in the middle of the night to get a clam shell or a hammock because there NEVER was one available, also there is no pool for the adults, which there should be.Disembarking was done by zones and it was very very slow took us until 10:30amto get off the ship.Overall not a great cruise, too many people, to large of a ship. For the sizeof the ship they don't have alot to offer, but we had a great time with ourfamily, we will never cruise the Carnival Dream as a couple, Forgot one thing the Lani Deck (deck 5) was very nice had 4 hot tubs and plenty of tables and chairs in the shade and plenty of chaise lounges in the sun and a complete walk around deck 2.5 times is 1 mile, that's where they hadthe BBQ on sea days and it was pretty good. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
We've cruised many times in the past and were supposed to be on a hiatus this year..until I saw a good price on this cruise and talked DH in to going for Mothers Day, birthday, anniversary, etc. I think this was our 9th Carnival ... Read More
We've cruised many times in the past and were supposed to be on a hiatus this year..until I saw a good price on this cruise and talked DH in to going for Mothers Day, birthday, anniversary, etc. I think this was our 9th Carnival cruise. Enough background, on to the cruise.We went to our cabin on day one to find the beds together and immediately found our cabin steward to tell him that neither one of us seniors is physically able to crawl over the other to get out of bed! I also asked, "where is the chair"? He said the beds would be separated before bedtime (they were!) but that 'this class ship had no chair'. I begged to differ having been on the Fantasy a couple of times but let that drop. However, he found us a small chair and put it in our cabin which really we thought was very nice (and a tip was in order!). Next it was on to the see the matre'd and plea for a change to early dining if possible. We booked just 2 weeks ago and I was not very hopeful and was actually prepared to eat late each night but fortunately we got notice the next day that we were switched!! So far we are batting a hundred.Let me say right off that the ships staff were all very nice...from our room stewards to the waiters we had for each seating and - really - every one we encountered throughout the ship. And we lucked out on table mates. too.As for the ship itself, we thought it looked pretty good. But it had the slowest, squeakiest elevators we've ever seen!!HOWEVER, I do not think the food quality was as good as it has been in the past and not having a theater show on 2 nights out of 5 is a letdown, too. Entertainment on Carnival never was their forte but has really hit a new low in our opinion. Their singers and dancers had two shows...one very good (rock and roll!) and one they need to rethink..Win. Oh, they had something going on each night in the theater but I do not consider a game show, nightly bingo or line dancing on stage as being 'entertainment'.So it's back to NCL and RC for these two old fogies....definitely more our style. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
Let me first start by saying, I was very nervous about this cruise after all of negative reviews I had read prior to sailing. This is my second cruise on Carnival, the first having been in 1986 on the Festivale. This was my husbands ... Read More
Let me first start by saying, I was very nervous about this cruise after all of negative reviews I had read prior to sailing. This is my second cruise on Carnival, the first having been in 1986 on the Festivale. This was my husbands first cruise. We started out by staying at the Renaissance Riverview Hotel in Mobile the night before the cruise and had the sail away cruise package. Very clean hotel, wonderful room overlooking the river and cruise port. Wonderful staff and just overall a nice relaxing place. We left our car for the week in the hotel parking garage and it is very secure. Saturday we left the hotel on the shuttle to the cruise terminal (basically across the street). We were on the 11:15 shuttle and it was running a little behind so we finally left about 11:40. No problem though. Cruise terminal was very busy and finally got on ship around 1:00. Cabins were open at 1:30pm on the dot. We took our carry on luggage to our room and we loved it. Very roomy for 2 people and had a nice picture window. Beds nice and comfortable and very clean. The moon was on our side of the ship almost every night and shined right through the window like a beautiful night light. Our bathroom sink was stopped up when we arrived, but within a couple of hours our cabin steward had it fixed. The first two days were fun days at sea and loads of fun, sun and rest. Lines for lido deck buffet and Tiffany's are long but move quickly. Very good food. I had heard the bar staff worried you to death about buying a drink and they did ask quite a few times, but if you tell them you are ok for now, they do leave you alone. Very nice bar staff though. Very friendly and call you by name through the whole cruise. The photographers were more scarce than I thought, mostly on the Promenade deck in the evening and in the ports and dining room. They were not annoying at all. We approached them most of the time. They were a little pushy about the photo albums when you went to buy photos, but once you said no in a firm voice, they left you alone. The entertainment on the ship was pretty good at night. During the day, there was not a lot going on. Mainly music by the pool. The nightly shows were very good, the juggling act we almost skipped, but went anyway and so glad we did. Very entertaining and amazing show. The "Win" show was terrible and after dozing off a few times, we left. Many people we taked to didn't like it either. We stayed on the serenity deck most of the time during the fun days at sea. Very relaxing, close to food and bar. In the evening there is country music and dancing at the Drama Bar. The disco at 11:00pm turns wild and I saw some dances that I didn't know existed! Security is all around though. Didn't go to any comedy as we don't care for "R" rated material. Went to the dining room every single night and loved it. Very good, hot food, very attentive wait staff and wonderful chocolate melting cake. You can order as many entrees, appetizers as you like, but do it all at once when you first order because they won't take a second order. Never had a bad night in the dining room. Word of warning on the port days, if you don't want to fight huge crowds trying to eat breakfast at the pool buffet or Tiffany's, go to the dining room. There is open seating and you can have a nice relaxing breakfast and the leave for the ports, unless however you must leave quickly for an excursion and then some of them you will still have time for the dining room breakfast. As far as the ports-we were warned by several Carnival staff that Montego Bay was best for an excursion as the locals are very pushy. Basically if you are looking at something you have bought it. We were even told that they will chase you down the street stating that you should pay for something that you were just looking at. Many people on the ship that had been to Montego Bay before decided to stay on the ship due to the hassle of the locals. We didn't plan an excursion, so we stayed onboard. Next was Grand Cayman-I had read horrible reviews about the tender boat system. It was a breeze and I would almost do that than walk the pier. My husband has a leg disbability and he was worried about getting on and off tender boats. The Grand Cayman staff was very attentive and helpful to him and placed him in the first row of the boat and got him off first when we got to the pier. Went on our own into town and had a blast shopping. Met our daughter and son in law who were on another ship. We shopped and had lunch at Margaritaville. Cozumel was next and it was great too. Pier was very long, so again my husband was worried about the walking distance. The locals who have bicycles with a carriage on the back for 2 people work for tips only and they will meet you at the ship and take you to the end where the shopping area is. We shopped, went to Fat Tuesday's and had a blast. Locals are very kind. Then bicycled back to the ship. Very convenient for someone with a disability. Overall, we had a great time and great weather. Ship did get in some heavier waves on the way to Cozumel due to 45 mph winds and was a little rocky in the evening and all night, but nothing to worry about and no one got sick, just rocked a little from side to side and sometimes you could feel it while sitting in the dining room or lounges. No big deal though for most people. We loved this port and this ship. I had also read reviews about how tacky the decor was, but we thought it was beautiful. I myself like the smaller ships. I don't think I would want to try a bigger one. This was the perfect size for us. We had great service, great food and met lots of wonderful people. Carnival was great and we will definitely sail with them again. So sorry they are leaving Mobile though. I guess we will go to Charleston or New Orleans from now on. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
I cruised as a solo for some needed R&R on the sea, and I got that. I'd never sailed on Carnival but chose this cruise, because I could drive to Charleston. I went wondering what I'd experience because of Carnival's ... Read More
I cruised as a solo for some needed R&R on the sea, and I got that. I'd never sailed on Carnival but chose this cruise, because I could drive to Charleston. I went wondering what I'd experience because of Carnival's reputation as a party cruise line.Embarkation was quick, and I was on the ship within 15 minutes of arriving at the terminal at about 11:45 a.m. However, no crew member told me where I might find lunch. I headed to the Lido deck to the buffet but ate at an outdoor grill instead. Food there was mediocre.Cabin was ready by 1:30. I had a port hole cabin which was just fine - spartan but about what I expected. It was comfortable. I was happy.Service: Mediocre at best on many counts. First, when my luggage hadn't been delivered by 6:00 p.m., I called and then went to Guest Services. I was told that luggage was often delivered that late. I said I'd never had this happen on other lines and was curtly told it did on Carnival. Next, I'd ordered a bottle of wine and purchased drink vouchers prior to boarding. The wine was in my cabin but no drink vouchers. Back to Guest Relations who sent me on a wild goose chase. Finally got vouchers at dinner. Seemed I had to sign for them. I'd bought enough to pay for drinks all five days but spent money for sailaway since no drink card.Met cabin steward only twice, and both of those times I had to find him. He did his job, but that was all. And, to my dismay he left a dirty glass on a table for two days, and he didn't replace Kleenex when box ran out.Dining staff were fine but nothing more. All five days I felt many of the crew were just doing a job and not much else - not incompetent but not going out of their way to make passengers comfortable or welcome. This was true at all levels of service.Dining Venues and FoodI tried the Windows on the Sea Buffet for breakfast one day. Bagel was hard as a rock. Coffee tolerable. OJ tasted like it came out of a can. Room service breakfast wasn't much better. Celebration Dining Room breakfasts a bit better, but Eggs Benedict overcooked.Windows on the Sea buffet had limited options. I never tried the hot foot but chose the salad bar which was only ordinary salad bar fare, Celebrations Dining Room food was decent. Maine lobster tail was good. Cold soups were good. Steak just so-so, a bit overcooked for me and a bit tough. No creativity about presentation.Dining Room had very limited hours for breakfast and lunch - not at all open for as long as I've found to be the case on other cruise lines. Not a plus for me.Very disappointed in way people were allowed to dress in dining room each night. Slouchy shorts and blue jeans plus t-shirts with logos, etc. were common. I like informality but do like to see women in pants or dress or skirt and men in pants with polo shirt at the least. I don't want to feel like I'm in a fast food place.Shore ExcursionsThe shining light was the Shore Excursions staff, especially Sophie. She was friendly and helpful and remembered who I was and was very apologetic when my shore excursion was cancelled in Nassau. I wished she'd let me know prior to the time for the excursion, but that was a minor detail, because she was all I'd expect someone in her position to be.Entertainment and ActivitiesI was part of one production show. It was okay. I'm not a big fan of cruise shows, so I really can't say much more. And I don't participate in activities like dance classes, etc.DisembarkationThis was a nightmare. We were given numbers and told to wait until our number was called. That was fine. However, the numbers were called in groups rather than one by one. From the time my number was called until I cleared customs, I'd been in line 1 hour! Unreasonable amount of time and unnecessary had we just been held in comfort in the lounge on the ship.Carnival has a reputation as a party cruise line, and there really were many young adults, and they were having a lot of fun. There were few older people like me, but that was okay as I like to be with all age groups. I did like the informal atmosphere overall. And, I found places to be quiet, have a drink, get some sun, read my book, chill out and do all of that on the sea. In the end that's the most important part of cruising for me.However, I think I'll probably go back to Royal Caribbean or Celebrity the next time. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
This was our first cruise with Carnival. Contrary to some of the negative reviews we read before we booked with Carnival, we rate the cruise overall at something less than "excellent", but better than "good." Our cabin ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Carnival. Contrary to some of the negative reviews we read before we booked with Carnival, we rate the cruise overall at something less than "excellent", but better than "good." Our cabin was roomy, comfortable, and kept neat and fresh by our steward, Michael. The worst feature of the cabin was hearing chairs and/or kitchen equipment or carts scraping over the floor on the Lido deck above us at all hours of the night, often disturbing our sleep. Although the cabin was cleaned, we noticed formation of mildew in the corners of the shower base and in corners under the lavatory. Also the underlip of the lavatory was scummy, not visible when viewed from a standing position. With very few exceptions, the food on both the Lido and in the Truffles DR was very good for quality, taste and variety. Our Truffles servers performed efficiently, and were genuinely personable. Suresh was friendly, dignified, and professional, serving us with style and without delays. Valentyn provided not only good service, but humorous banter that made the meal entertaining. He has an infectious sense of humor that we looked forward to every evening. The part of the cruise we liked least were the hawker-style efforts to promote and sell products and future services. The sales events were conducted with excessive hype, offering great prizes that were actually much less in quality and value than described. The promotions presented in robot-like, impersonal fashion were ineffective to gain not only ours but also other's confidence. Especially insulting were the efforts at these events to generate excitement in the passengers to lead up to a climax that was anti-climactic. Building up customers' hopes for something alleged to be fantastic and then letting them down with a less-than-quality prize from a drawing will not fool thinking people more than once. After attending a couple of these events, we lost interest and ignored some of the later promotional events. Weeee Jimmy as a tour director was excessively silly in an effort to be funny. Perhaps he forgets that he has an international audience rather than an audience of Scots. He often talked so fast that his meanings were garbled by his hurried Scottish accent. He was an utter failure on disembarking day in Tampa. Although he announced a specific plan for calling passenger categories to disembark, he failed to follow the plan toward the end. We were sitting near the main lobby waiting to hear our deck called when we noticed that not only had he not called some of the upper decks, he suddenly began to vocally call to and invite passengers waiting on the balcony above the main lobby. I wondered had we not been in the vicinity, would we have known when to go the the lobby to disembark. I considered Weeee Jimmy a joke as a cruise director. He would be better labeled a Cruise Jester, and a poor one at that! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
We began cruising in 2002 and were immediately hooked. As we began on Royal Caribbean we stayed with them to build up loyalty points which has led to us reaching diamond status with them last year.An unplanned opportunity to cruise arose ... Read More
We began cruising in 2002 and were immediately hooked. As we began on Royal Caribbean we stayed with them to build up loyalty points which has led to us reaching diamond status with them last year.An unplanned opportunity to cruise arose for us in May and we found that the only Royal Caribbean cruise available for our time slot was one we had already booked for the fall so we decided to give Carnival a try. We have some cruising friends that highly recommended the Legend, especially raving about the port of call, Roatan.So we booked this cruise with great anticipation of sampling life on "that other cruise line."Our first reminder that we were not on RCCL was that we had to go through check-in without any priority status but this was relatively painless and not too slow.First stop...Lido deck to eat (with every other person onboard). Pleasantly surprised by the variety and quality of the offering. We ended up eating here every breakfast and most lunches and were never disappointed.Checked into the stateroom, deck seven amid-ship, and were again pleasantly surprised by the spacious closets, shower that appeared roomier than some we had seen on RCCL, easy to access balcony, and generally roomy feel. Checked out the main areas of the ship and must agree that the decor was a little much but everything seemed well laid out and convenient to get to. Our cabin was right at the mid-ship elevators which made it easy to go anywhere.Dining room also in the category of somewhat dated look but we found the food very good and the service excellent. Our first two nights we ate alone at our table but after that another couple joined us and we enjoyed their company the rest of the cruise.We don't stay up late at night so the evening shows are not high on our list. However the first night we went to the welcome aboard show and this appears to be one of the biggest differences with RCCL. This was by no means a lavish stage show but then again, that is not what I come onboard for. We did make it to the R-rated comedians one night and thoroughly enjoyed that show. Those shows are in smaller, more intimate venues which adds to that type of program.We thoroughly enjoyed catching some the musicians at different areas around the ship although having them play behind the bar in the casino was not very enjoyable.We did shore excursions in every port and found all of them worth the money. My wife is not usually very adventurous but on this cruise she kissed the stingrays, held small turtles, danced with children in Roatan village, danced with wait staff in the dining room, all indications of being on a fun cruise.Leaving the ship was another reminder that we had no priority status with Carnival but once our area was cleared, going through customs and getting our bags was extremely quick and easy.So what is our evaluation of Carnival? Loved it and are ready to go again with them, especially with lower fares for many of the same itineraries. I guess there is a little "Walmart" in many of us and you just might find more real people on these funships.In closing I must also mention our stay with Holiday Inn, Rocky Point. They have a cruise package that includes shuttle service to and from hotel/cruise terminal and free parking at their hotel. They really provided great service. Read Less
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