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Sail Date: October 2008
My DH (age 66) and I booked this cruise to celebrate my 60th Birthday. It was our 10th cruise, 6th on Carnival. We chose this itinerary because we sailed it last year on the Triumph and loved all the ports. First of all, we had ... Read More
My DH (age 66) and I booked this cruise to celebrate my 60th Birthday. It was our 10th cruise, 6th on Carnival. We chose this itinerary because we sailed it last year on the Triumph and loved all the ports. First of all, we had VIP boarding since we splurged and booked a Category 11 suite. We arrive at port around 10:00 and boarding was a breeze. VIP boarding is all it is said to be. No waiting in lines and first on the ship. We were enjoying lunch on the Lido deck around 11:30. The Liberty is a beautiful ship from the lights in the atrium to the dining rooms. It is in great shape and shows little wear. The crew keeps it spotless. CABIN: Our cabin was spacious. So much closet and drawer space. I don't know how we will ever go back to a balcony cabin. The bathroom was huge with a bathtub and two sinks. Also there were two sitdown makeup areas with large mirrors and drawers. It was totally worth the extra expense. The location was fantastic with hardly any noise and was easy to get to since it was right by the glass elevators and the atrium. FOOD: As usual we enjoyed all the meals. We dined in the dining rooms as well as on the Lido deck. The deli, Fish & Chips restaurant, Pizza and Grill were all delicious. Great choices. SERVICE: Our head waiter and assistant waiter were the best. They provided a birthday cake and all sang "Happy Birthday". We never had to wait for a course, and they remembered our preferences. Our Cabin Steward was also amazing. He helped us when we locked ourselves out of our cabin and always remembered to keep our ice bucket full of ice. The cabin was always immaculate. The entire staff and crew were very attentive. ENTERTAINMENT: This is one area that we have not checked out much. We dine at the late seating and after our shore trips and large meals, we usually go into a food coma. Can't stay up that late. We do enjoy the trivia games and bingo during the sea days. PORTS: First of all, we were disappointed that Grand Turk was replaced with Nassau. Grand Turk is a beautiful Port but we can understand that the people are having a harder time getting their lives back together after Hurricane Ike. I believe we were the last cruise scheduled this year to Grand Turk so the people will have all winter to rebuild their homes. Half Moon Cay is the most beautiful place on earth. The water is crystal clear and the sand has the consistency of sugar. It is idyllic. On St. Thomas we took an island tour and really learned alot about the people, flora and fauna. The scenery was breathtaking especially looking out to the British Virgin Islands in the distance. San Juan has all the old charm of the past centuries. We took a walking tour of Old Town and visited many of the shops. Nassau was also a great shopping destination. DEBARKATION: This by far was the easiest debarkation we have ever experienced. We self-debarked and were off the ship and in our car by 7:45. Since we drive to port, we like to get on the road quickly for our long journey home. No problems here. SUMMARY: The "FUN SHIPS" of Carnival are advertised mostly for the young and middle aged cruisers. We have always felt at home with Carnival and even more so now that we are in our sixties. It just goes to show that no matter what age you are a Carnival Cruise is the best vacation ever. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2008
Review; Carnival Freedom / Western Mediterranean Cruise October 1st thru 13th, 2008 GROUP: Five seniors with past cruise experience (2 to 6 cruises each). SHIP: Outside cabins were comfortable and spacious, plenty of storage space and ... Read More
Review; Carnival Freedom / Western Mediterranean Cruise October 1st thru 13th, 2008 GROUP: Five seniors with past cruise experience (2 to 6 cruises each). SHIP: Outside cabins were comfortable and spacious, plenty of storage space and decent size bathroom. Food was good (average) at all eating venues which includes the dining room, buffet and specialty food bars. Staff for the most part was courteous and accommodating. Entertainment in the main theater and the lounges was enjoyable. Fitness Center has a decent amount of equipment and not overly crowded but wondered why the spin bikes are off limits. Casino was never overly crowded, staff was friendly and odds & payouts were equivalent to Vegas. We all agreed there were some things that could have been improved upon but overall the positives definitely outweighed the negatives. I recommend this cruise ship. TRANSFERS: Used Roma Shuttle at (www.romashuttle.com) for travel; airport/hotel, hotel/port, port/hotel, hotel/airport. Always on time and courteous. The four transfers for five people cost 68 euros (E 68,00) per person plus tip. I recommend and would use again. HOTELS: Stayed in Rome for 1 day prior to the cruise and 1 day after. Day prior reserved rooms at the Crowne Plaza St. Peter Roma (www.crowneplaza.com). The rooms were equivalent to U.S. hotels in size and service (E 162,00) and provided shuttle service to & from Rome sites. That day we visited the Colosseum, Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain. Day after, reserved rooms at the Hotel Alimandi Tunisi (www.alimandi.it). Rooms with bath were of good size and the complimentary breakfast was excellent (E 172,00). Located 1 ½ blocks from the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel and a 2 mile walk to St. Peters Basilica. Each hotel offered free shuttle service to and from airport but their scheduling did not match our own. I recommend each and would use again. TOURS/ GUIDES: Booked tour guides (recommended by cruise critic members) via internet at 3 ports and being in a private van made the trips more personal with an itinerary tailored to our wishes. The other 5 ports were done on our own. Naples; (www.driveamalfi.com), e-mail (info@driveamalfi.com) Roberto di Palma was filled with area info as we drove along the Amalfi coastline and through towns of Positano, Sorrento, Amalfi and Ravello. Don't miss the lunch and limoncello at a family owned restaurant near Ravello. We stopped to take a 2 hour tour of Pompeii before returning to the ship. Cost per person; tour (E 110,00), Pompeii entrance & private guide (E 31,00). I recommend highly and would book again. Monaco; (Alpes Guides Interpretes), e-mail (sylvie.di.cristo@wanadoo.fr) Sylvie was so informative as we drove through and made stops in Monaco, Eze and Nice. She knew the best points of interest and where you could get the best views of the countryside. A stop at a local restaurant in a quaint enclave in Eze for a lunch of crepes is a must. On this tour we agreed to invite another couple to join us making a group of 7. Cost per person; tour (E 90,00). I would not hesitate to recommend this tour and would book it again. Livorno; (www.tuscanyinmypocket.com), e-mail (info@tuscanyinmypocket.com) Guido Sarzani was a great guide and historian of the area, plus very entertaining. He showed us around Florence, pre-purchased tickets for the Accademia (Michelangelo's David), drove us through the countryside of Tuscany and then on to Pisa. We stopped for another good lunch at a family owned olive grove/vineyard restaurant in Tuscany, toured their cellar and tasting bar. Before returning to the ship we visited the leaning tower. Cost per person; tour (E 94,00), Accademia (E 14.00). I very highly recommend and would book again. OTHER PORTS: Rome; stayed 2 days and used the hop on / hop off bus for the city sites and walked to the Vatican. The traffic is incredible and something to be experienced. Saint Peters Basilica is a must see. Dubrovnik; took the bus in the dock area into town and then walked the wall. Strolled around town ate some pastry from a local bakery and enjoyed the city. Venice; used the water bus (Vapporetta), to get around including going to St. Marks Square to tour the sites. We had a good time in Murano, watching the glass blowing, walking the residential areas and sitting at a cafe along the canal. Ship dock to the nearest Vapporetta station is about a 25 minute walk. Use the DM water bus when possible (it's the express). Messina; walked to the bus station (20 minutes) and took the local to Taormina. It was interesting riding with the locals but it turned out to be a 2 ¼ hour drive. This left very little time to tour this gem of a town or enjoy any of the local cafes. Although the round trip bus fare was only E 6,50, I think it might be better to use the ship excursion or deal with a cabbie just outside the dock area. In Taormina, visit the restaurant across from the bus station for a scenic view. Barcelona; caught the shuttle bus in dock area to Columbus Square. From here used the Hop On / Hop Off bus to Las Ramblas with its vendors, living statues and open market. Used the bus again to the La Sagrada Familia and enjoyed some very tasty sangria at a cafe across the street. The waiting lines for the bus can get long, if in a hurry there are many cabs running throughout the city. This was a first time visit to Europe and I think it was the ideal way to get a taste (glimpse) of what is offered in the way of history, art, architecture and the personality of these countries. We were told by each of our guides plus others that October is one of the best times to vacation in the area because of the ideal weather and although somewhat crowded, it is nothing compared to the enormous crowds of the summer months. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and I would definitely recommend this cruise for the first time visitor to Europe. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2009
Embarkation: Smooth. Although our parking lot was much farther away than last year (due to an impending arrival of another ship), the shuttle service worked out well. Check in was prompt. Public Rooms: The rooms themselves were ... Read More
Embarkation: Smooth. Although our parking lot was much farther away than last year (due to an impending arrival of another ship), the shuttle service worked out well. Check in was prompt. Public Rooms: The rooms themselves were beautiful. My problem was that on vacation, my relaxation includes a good cigar now and then. On my last Carnival cruise (The Triumph), they provided the dimly light, light music Oxford Bar for all smokers. On the Glory, they had a similar bar (Ivory), which used to function as a cigar bar, but has since banned cigars apparently due to the complaint of some customer who apparently couldn't enjoy one of the other 22 bars available for non-cigar smokers. The Ivory bar was a large room suitable to smokers and non-smokers alike. On the Glory, cigar smokers are now relegated to the "Sports Bar", a closet-sized bar with noisy television screens and overly-enthusiastic patrons. Interestingly, the waiter at the Ivory bar commented that since cigar smoking had been banned, no one seems to come to the bar any more. (I passed through the bar on several occasions during the cruise and he was right. It was a desert). My wife is asthmatic and extremely allergic to most perfumes. I wonder if Carnival would agree to banning perfumes on the ship to accomodate those who find them offensive, particularly when clustering each night outside the formal dining rooms waiting for the staff to open the doors. Much improved since our last cruise in Nov 2009. Since another ship was due in, we were hustled to the far regions of the port parking area. Last year we were parked in an enclosed warehouse. This year, in an open lot. Worked out okay though and not bad since a shuttle bus was provided to take us back to the ship and returned us to our vehicle at the end of the cruise. Dining: On the whole, the food is great. My wife has insomnia at times and really enjoyed being able to have a slice of pizza and visit the nearby bar at any hour. Our seating in the main dining room was somewhat disappointing. On our last cruise, we were seated on the second level in the main dining area. This time, we were off on the side on the lower level and felt too far-removed from the singing waiters activity. The waiters in the main area also seemed to be more friendly and communicative. One other comment, the lobster plate was delicious, but kind of skimpy. I could have eaten six of them. Oh well. Entertainment: Top notch as before. We love the Vegas-style shows that the Glory Dancers provide in the Amber Palace. And to those griping about feathers and g-strings being too much for the children, send the children to the kids sections where they belong. Unfortunately, their last show was cancelled due to the difficulty of performing in high heels during rough seas. I would have been pleased to see their performance barefoot. Oh well. Justin Illusion was well done, and the comedians did a good job as well. Service: Superb as always on Carnival. Excursions: Been here before. Stayed on board this trip. Value: Carnival provides the best bang for the buck in the cruise industry. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2009
We left Tampa on Feb 1, 2009 on the Carnival Legend. We had been on the Legend's sister ship(Spirit) in 2002. Here are a few of the details: Great ship, great crew, bad weather. We had 10-15 foot waves and 30-42 mph winds, but the ... Read More
We left Tampa on Feb 1, 2009 on the Carnival Legend. We had been on the Legend's sister ship(Spirit) in 2002. Here are a few of the details: Great ship, great crew, bad weather. We had 10-15 foot waves and 30-42 mph winds, but the ship was fairly level, and we encountered no problems with stability, thanks to a great crew and ship. The upper outside walking decks were closed several times because of high winds. Probably the best food since we were on the Carnival Glory(which, in our opinion, had the best food on the 15 Carnival cruises I have been on.) Embarkation: a breeze since we have VIP status; we arrived at the terminal at 10:30am and were on board by 11:15 am or so. You are allowed to carry one bottle of wine per person on board, and we did that with no problems. I had a water bottle in an insulated holder that I normally carry with me, and have never had a problem carrying it on board before. The woman at security was very obnoxious and said I could not carry the water on board; she proceeded to empty it in a container and basically tossed the empty bottle back to me. She then closely inspected the 2 wine bottles that we had brought with us, and had no problem with those once she determined that they had not been opened.! Food: For the most part, the seafood was cooked to perfection, even on the Lido deck. I love salmon but at a couple of times at dinner, it was slightly overcooked. The beef was probably the best I have seen on recent cruises. Cabin: We were on deck 8 with an extended balcony, so the view was great. I am not sure that the "extended" balcony was any larger than the last one we had, but Carnival says it was. The bed was very good, the towels were great, but the toilet paper resembled sandpaper! Dining: We had the open dining which allowed you to eat dinner anytime between 5:45 and 9:30 PM. It was fantastic, and I hope Carnival extends that to all of their ships. We normally ate between 5:45 and 7, and had no problem getting a table. Tours: The only tour we took was in Belize to the Mayan ruins at Altun Ha. The ruins were great, but the bus ride to get there was horrible. It was on a one lane, pot-hole filled road, and was very bumpy. On the return, the bus had a blow-out on one of the right rear tires, and they sent a "rescue" bus to get us. We were not impressed with Belize and would never go there again on a cruise. This was the Belize City and Altun Ha Ruin tour, and the bus took us through a really run-down, slummy area of the city; we could certainly have done without that part. The ship anchors about 4-5 miles offshore at Belize, and you have to get a tender to get to shore. With the large waves, the Captain had a hard time positioning the ship so the tenders could get to us. We had a 50 mph tender ride to the dock, with water splashing all over us not a great experience. Once we got to the ruins, it started to rain, and rained all the way back to the tender dock and to the ship. Certainly not Carnival's fault just a weather problem Entertainment: For the most part the entertainment was very good. One comedian, Marvin Bell, was horrible, in our opinionvery racist, and not funny. We did not do the fancy dinner club at $30/person extra, so cannot comment on that. The cruise director, Jen, was very good in our opinion. Captains party(1st formal night): free drinks, no snacks as on previous cruises; guess Carnival is trying to save money. Past-guest partyvery good; free drinks and snacks. Park West art auction: basically a rip-off on prices. I have bought limited edition s/n prints on Ebay for $30-50 that Park West was trying to sell for $600 up. And they were stingy on the champagne! The free prints that you win with the drawing are basically posters that are worth practically nothing, and they want to charge you $35 to ship them to you in a tube. I have bought prints from Park West on previous cruises, but would not do that again. They really push Peter Max prints at about 50-500 percent more than you can get them online at Ebay and other auction sites. Debarkation: There are always a few inconsiderate non US citizens who do not go through immigration on the ship when they are told to, and they delay everyone from getting off the ship on time. We had VIP status and were supposed to be on deck 2 at 7:15am to be first off the ship; it was after 8;15 am before we could get off. Carnival finally called the people by name at about 8 am to go to immigration; before that time, Carnival did not call the people by name as they have done on previous cruises; Carnival just said that if you were a non-US citizen, report to immigration. A major mess-up in my opinion on Carnival's part. Overall, a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
Well off to a fine start - our flight out of ATL was delayed to the point we had to run to make the ship so there were no lines at all for us. We were able to meet up with some of the CC'ers before sail away and enjoyed meeting ... Read More
Well off to a fine start - our flight out of ATL was delayed to the point we had to run to make the ship so there were no lines at all for us. We were able to meet up with some of the CC'ers before sail away and enjoyed meeting everyone. This trip was a birthday gift for our 13 year old granddaughter and she had a great time. We had sailed the FREEDOM on her inaugural voyage out of Venice in March 07 and I didn't see any particular wear and tear issues. We needed a trip to coincide with her Spring Break and I thought the FREEDOM would be a good choice since it has everything including the water slide and outdoor screen, multi station buffet, library, disco etc. In our past experience CCL offers a great kids program for the tweeners as it did this time. We cruise often - 15+ with Carnival and another 15+ with HAL, NCL, Princess, Costa etc. But, I will always remember my first cruise on Carnival as being so much fun and have loved sharing that with my kids and now my grandkids. Thanks to Carnival for not disappointing me again this time. We had the oversize window cabin which offered plenty of space and storage for the 3 of us. Beds were comfy but the pillows could use improvement - guess I could have asked for different ones or more but we were so busy I didn't really think about it til bed time each night. We found the food to be pretty good though the meat was often tough. The fish & chips were good - the dining room was really a nice place to have lunch on sea days, quiet and peaceful as opposed to the chaos around the Lido deck. The buffets were great to OK but we always found something to eat that we liked. Our last few cruises have been NCL or Princess, both of which offer the flexible dining programs which we really like...BUT...it was nice to be called by name, our drinks remembered and the nightly song/dance number was fun, especially for a 13 year old who had never been on a cruise before, another reason I'm glad we chose CCL this time. The cruise staff was very enthusiastic and we enjoyed participating in trivia, games etc. The dancers were terrific but I would say the singers on this cast left something to be desired. We had seen these production shows before on the inaugural cruise and they are lavish and well done. The fly on talent was pretty good. We enjoyed the comedians. The "Big Band" singer didn't really do it for us. We really enjoy sea days and having 4 of them was wonderful for us. There was always something to do and we still had time to read, relax by the pool and enjoy the the great weather we had. We spent the day at Nochi Cocum in Cozumel and it was really great. Our granddaughter did not want to leave and now claims Cozumel as her favorite place in the world. In Costa Rica we scheduled a tour with JJ and were joined by several other CC'ers for a very laid back day visiting the fruit stand, banana plantation and river boat cruise. We saw sloths, howler monkeys, a crocodile and assorted birds. He spent a lot of time letting all of our kids get up close to the "action". In Panama we took a taxi to the Gatun Locks, about a 15 minute drive from the dock. It was very interesting and we saw the Island Princess go through the locks. We very much enjoyed the ship, the ports and the mix of sea days for relaxation. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2009
Just returned yesterday from our first cruise on the Triumph.  After reading some reviews we were a little worried, especially since we were taking our best friends who had never cruised before.  After spending 7 days on that ship I am ... Read More
Just returned yesterday from our first cruise on the Triumph.  After reading some reviews we were a little worried, especially since we were taking our best friends who had never cruised before.  After spending 7 days on that ship I am amazed that there are so many people who found so much wrong - maybe there is just no pleasing some.  We had a great time.We live in central Fla so we drove to Miami.  Luggage drop off and parking were easy.  Check-in took a lot longer than usual that day - we were told they were having computer problems.  By the time we got on the ship our staterooms were ready.  We got a great deal on Balcony cabins on the Lido deck.  They were fabulous.  We thought the rooms were large with more storage space than any other ship we've been on to date.  Our 1st timer friends were very impressed so I was pleased with that.  Our room steward, a beautiful Russian girl named Sonny, was by far the best we've ever had.  Our rooms were spotless every day.  She went over and above to accommodate every request and even gave us her beeper # if we needed something when she wasn't on the floor.  Getting around this particular ship did take some getting used to.  We were assigned to the Paris dining room and it was one of those "can't get there from here" things - the 1st night anyway.  The easiest way was to go to the Promanade deck and down two flights of stairs - not too bad.  Our dining room wait staff, Eka and Niloux (both from Indonesia) were truly awesome.  We waited for nothing.  We were also pleasantly surprised with the food - much better food than on our last two Carnival cruises two years ago.  Again, our friends were very impressed.Our ports of call were Jamaica, Caymans and Belize (instead of Cozumel).  First time for us in all 3 ports so that was nice.  Had a great time in Jamaica.  Did the sky explorer shore excursion up to the top of Mystic Mountain.  Very relaxing and beautiful views - highly recommend.  Then we did some shopping at the Taj Mahal center.  My girlfriend and I got beautiful jewerly there at very good prices.  Had a great time.  We did not book an excursion in the Caymans.  Just had a fun day shopping around.  Beautiful place, very clean, no one hasseling you for anything.  Would go back there again.  Belize - we have always wanted to go there and having now been there would not want to go back again.  We took the River Wallace/Altun Ha Myan Ruins shore excursion (one we've been looking forward to) and it was the pitts.  The ride down the river was very nice, but way too long.  Then we got dumped at a local, small resort with a few vendors and a small restaurant.  We were there for over an hour and a half just sitting around waiting for the bus to take us to the ruins.  By the time we got to the ruins (which were fabulous by the way) we only had one hour there then an hour and a half bus ride back to the tender for which we arrived an hour late.  Belize City is dirty and depressing - would not care to go back there again.  But we loved the ruins and were glad we got to see them.I would have to think hard to come up with any major complaints about this ship or the cruise.  Since I have daily access to a pool, sitting around the pool deck is no big deal.  Which was a good thing on this ship as it's very cut up and very small which made it VERY crowded - ship was completely full.  Only other complaint would be that they do not enforce any kind of dress code in the buffett dining room.  We only ate in there a couple of times for breakfast or lunch but I don't think anyone should be allowed in there to eat in just a bathing suit - no t-shirts or cover ups.  A little too casual for me.The food was pretty good tho - especially the deli sandwiches, don't miss out on those.Overall, this was a great cruise.  I would not hesitate to go on the Triumph again some time.  Ship was the cleanest one we have ever been on (this was our 7th cruise) and the service was outstanding.  If you're thinking about booking the Triumph, do so.  I for one don't think you will be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2009
Our cruise began with a bang, thump and crash, literally.  We shopped the duty free liquor store right in the San Juan port terminal.  There were 4 in our party so we carried on 3 bottles of wine and 3 bottles of 43, a vanilla liquor.  ... Read More
Our cruise began with a bang, thump and crash, literally.  We shopped the duty free liquor store right in the San Juan port terminal.  There were 4 in our party so we carried on 3 bottles of wine and 3 bottles of 43, a vanilla liquor.  We were allowed on the ship around 1:00 pm.  We went directly to the lunch buffet on the Lido deck.  By the time we finished our lunch, our staterooms were ready and some of our luggage was already there.  We unpacked and then went to explore the ship.  After we had dinner, we went to pick up the tuxedo's that the men in our party rented for the formal nights (the best way to go) and then returned to our cabin and found that the rest of our luggage had arrived.  Because we had a long day, we stayed in our cabin to finish unpacking and because we had adjoining staterooms, we gathered in one and had a drink of 43.  We began to sail immediately at 10:00 pm.  We wanted to have a fairly early night so I had my husband go into the bathroom to wash out the glass that he used and I heard a thump and crash.  My husband tripped over the lip of the shower with the glass in hand and  landed in the shower.  The glass broke and he had blood all over the place.  After looking at the wounds, I noticed that it looked pretty deep and called the ship's 911.  The medical personnel were prepared to come up to the cabin but instead told us if we could, wrap his hand in a towel and bring him down to the infirmary.  The staff there were phenomenal.  They took him right in and x-rayed his hand to make sure there was no glass left in any of the wounds.  He ended up with 6 stitches in his hand. He was told to come back the next evening to have the bandages changed which was repeated again the following evening.  Every day, we were contacted to check on his progress.   While we were down in the infirmary, my sister-in-law called housekeeping to clean the bathroom of glass and blood.  By the time we returned from the infirmary, the bathroom looked just like when we first arrived.  Of all the cruises we have been on, this was our first encounter with the medical staff.  I have extremely high praise for them.  Even now, his wound which is almost all healed looks great. We had a category 6A oceanview room.  This included a king size bead and a sofa but no refrigerator like we had on our inside stateroom on our last Carnival cruise.  I was expecting to have a little port hole to look through but was pleasantly surprised at the size of our window.  One thing about the location of our state room was we were just above the thrusters. To some people this could have been a good thing or a bad thing.  For both of us couples, it was not a bother.  We were able to tell when we got into port in the morning by the noise of the thrusters going into reverse to slow the ship down and at night when we were leaving port (if we were in our room at the time). The closet space and overall storage space was more that adequate.  Even the bathroom was relatively spacious (for a regular room on a ship). We were toward the end of the hallway so it was pretty quiet except for the first night when there were kids running up and down the hall, but that was the only time.  The food, our room, the shows and the staff are rated very high in our opinion.  Our high esteem for this cruise had nothing to do with the fact that this cruise was free for us as we won a cruise for two, ocean view on a prior Carnival cruise.  They have a raffle at the end of the cruise during Bingo where the winner wins a cruise for two in a oceanview room for 3, 4, 5, or 7 days.  On our last cruise, I won it.  The only thing we had to pay was the port fees and taxes and also our transportation to the port.  Read Less
Sail Date: May 2009
My wife and I chose this cruise mainly because we were traveling to Florida to spend some time with our daughter and my wife's sister who live in the Ft. Lauderdale area but still wanted to work in a cruise. We also were looking ... Read More
My wife and I chose this cruise mainly because we were traveling to Florida to spend some time with our daughter and my wife's sister who live in the Ft. Lauderdale area but still wanted to work in a cruise. We also were looking forward to the visits to Cozumel and Belize. The Swine Flu changed all that. But we had never been to the ports on the new itinerary so we went anyway. We drove from Colorado to Fla. visiting friends and family along the way. We stayed at the Radisson hotel on Cape Canaveral. We spent two nights there prior to the cruise. Excellent hotel - we left our car there for the week of the cruise and they shuttled to and from the cruise terminal. The day prior to the cruise we spent at Cape Kennedy. A really special place. Embarkation was a breeze - no problems or delays at all. "Glory" is a beautiful ship. This was our seventh cruise and she was probably the smoothest sailing vessel we have traveled on, I can't think of a negative thing to say about her. We booked an inside cabin on Riviera deck. The room was as expected for an inside cabin. It was clean, comfortable and adequate. Service was excellent throughout the cruise. Our cabin steward and our head waiter in the dining room along with his assistant were very pleasant, helpful and efficient. We dined one night in the specialty restaurant and found it to be worth the added cost. Very pleasant staff. Dining in the main dining room was very enjoyable. We were seated with three other couples in the same age range and their company made dinner something to look forward too. We were well satisfied with the quality and variety of food in every venue from dining room, lido buffet to the self serve ice cream stations. Entertainment was excellent as well. The ship entertainment staff were talented the production numbers were well produced. The outside entertainers brought aboard were also very good. My wife and I don't participate in a lot of onboard activities but for those who do there seemed to be plenty to do and those who did appeared to have a great time. On Grand Turk we didn't do a shore excursion. We just walked around the pool and shopping area next to the pier. In Ocho Rios we took the shore excursion to Dunn's River Falls. This is a must see in Ocho Rios. At Grand Cayman we took the shore excursion to the beach and the Turtle Farm. The Turtle farm was very interesting and made for a relaxing time. Disembarkation was as smooth and uneventful as embarkation. To summarize, our Caribbean cruise on "Glory" was more than worth it. Good ship, good staff, good food, good entertainment, and interesting places to visit. Another memorable cruise. This was our first cruise on Carnival and I can recommend Carnival to anyone considering a cruise to where they sail. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2009
This was a short getaway to relax after a family visit in California.   I was not unhappy with the change from Ensenada to Catalina - I've been to both before and either one was fine with me.  I didn't plan to do an excursion ... Read More
This was a short getaway to relax after a family visit in California.   I was not unhappy with the change from Ensenada to Catalina - I've been to both before and either one was fine with me.  I didn't plan to do an excursion in either place.  I had a spacious 1A cabin - it was perfect for one person.   Never met my cabin steward, but he did a great job.  I haven't had an inside cabin for a while, but it was fine for a short cruise.   Room service every morning was a nice way to wake up.  I had late dining and was assigned to a table for 8.    We were only 3 for dinner but my dining companions were very pleasant and we had a great time.  Our waiter and assistant were terrific.  I also ate in the dining room for breakfast and lunch on the sea day - all very good.   At the buffet, I prefer the grills and pizza to the other offerings.  I didn't do much as far as activities went, preferring to spend most of the days on the adults only serenity deck.   I saw a couple of shows, which were good and visited a couple of the lounges for karaoke and other music.   I spent just enough time in the casino to make a small deposit - rare for me since I usually win.  Embarkation and debarkation were quick and easy.  I carried my one small roll-on on and off myself. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2009
We booked the cruise in February 2009 directly through the Carnival website at the Past Guest rate. A couple of days before the Early Saver 5-month deadline, we converted our booking to the ES rate. That resulted in a $60 credit on our ... Read More
We booked the cruise in February 2009 directly through the Carnival website at the Past Guest rate. A couple of days before the Early Saver 5-month deadline, we converted our booking to the ES rate. That resulted in a $60 credit on our final payment. After final payment date the prices only increased so we did not receive any OBC nor were we ever offered an upgrade or upsell. Still we were very happy with what the cruise cost - about half of what it was when we first started looking a couple of years ago and less than our Caribbean cruise on the Elation from Galveston 5 years ago. After a 4-day rail & bus trip to Denali NP, we embarked on the Carnival Spirit at Whittier for the 7-day Southbound cruise ending in Vancouver, BC. Ports of call included Sitka, Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan. I will try to limit this review to the Spirit and the onshore activities related to Carnival. We've only been on 1 previous cruise - Elation to the Western Caribbean from Galveston in Oct 2004 - so we do not have a lot of experience to compare. As our cruise was "port-intensive," we tended to relate to the Spirit as more of a floating hotel as opposed to a cruise ship, so we did not participate in a lot of onboard activities. We also had weather! Very rough seas Thursday afternoon and night and rain, fog, & mist in Sitka, Juneau, and Skagway. Ketchikan though was beautiful - lots of sunshine, 60deg - and a magnificient sunset! Regardless, our Alaska experience was unforgettable! Embarkation: Upon arrival in Whittier, we took a glacier cruise, arriving back at the dock about 5:45pm. Embarkation was quick and easy - onboard in 15 minutes. We went to the Lido for dinner. Our luggage was delivered in good order about 7pm. Accommodations: We were in 4D #6161 on Verandah Deck. We didn't spend a lot of time in our cabin, but that was the main idea. Our cabin steward, Pepito , was very attentive while being non-intrusive. Our cabin was immaculately clean the entire 7 days. It was adequate in size and amenities. One negative - the bed was uncomfortably firm - or should we say just plain hard. A more comfortable bed would definitely have added to our cruise experience! We chose an inside cabin for several reasons - #1 being price - a minimum of $800 difference from a guarantee balcony. We also knew that with 4 port days and the extended port times of the southbound cruise, we wanted to spend as much time as we could onshore. Last but not least, being inside made us get up, get dressed, get some coffee, and get topside for the scenery while underway. We did fine with the inside cabin and would probably do it again. Dining: First let me qualify my comments about the dining. We are not "fine diners." We are on the road a lot and eat where and when we can. We actually sit down at a "restaurant" about once a week. We ate in the Empire Dining room only twice. We chose "Our Time" dining option, primarily because of the varied port times. The first night the seas were very rough and the wait staff really had a difficult time. We could hear stuff crashing about and a lot of folks could not finish their meals. We actually enjoyed our dinner, but it took forever to get served. We ate again in the MDR on Saturday evening. Food was good, but again, service was very slow. It appears that the waitstaff for "anytime" is seriously undermanned and overworked. No entertaining or conversation, just take your order and bring your food. Probably will not do it again... The remaining meals, except one evening in the Supper Club, we ate at the Lido buffet. The buffet was, well... a buffet. Sort of a floating Golden Corral. Nothing to rave about but no ranting either. The omelets were good in the morning and lunch seemed to be better than dinner. Best thing was stuff that was good, you could get more of it... We also spent a very pleasant Monday evening at the Nouveau Supper Club after our day in Ketchikan. The food and service were good, but not what we expected. Again, probably will not do this again... Overall, for what we paid for the cruise and considering what dining onshore in Alaska costs, we can't complain too much. The comments others have made about bland food is probably correct, but these folks prepare about 10,000 meals a day. Try that at home... Onboard Activities: Attended one show "Hot Jazz" - not Vegas, but not bad either. For the remainder of the cruise it was early to bed, early to rise.... eating, sleeping and sight-seeing was about it for onboard activities. Ports of Call: Harvard Glacier - Although not actually a port of call, it bears mentioning as it was another one of the highlights of the cruise. The Captain did an excellent job of navigating the waters of College Fjord and brought us within a ¼ mile of the glacier face, rotating the ship so everyone got a good view. Close enough to not only see but hear the glacier calving and feel the wave. Great experience! Sitka - Although we were a couple of hours late getting into Sitka because of the rough weather during the night, the harbor was calm enough for a comfortable tender ride to shore. We were absolutely worn-out from the rough weather during the night, so we went ashore, did a little sightseeing and shopping in town and rode around a bit on the Community Ride bus. The tendering process went rather well. We were in no hurry to get off the ship so we waited and went ashore in tender #17. Returning was quick. We just walked up, boarded the waiting tender and returned to the ship. Juneau - Rain! Lots of rain... But it slacked up enough for us to still enjoy our Mendenhall Glacier and Glacier Rainforest Gardens tour, booked through the ship. At Mendenhall, the black bears were having their fill of salmon as we watched from the protected deck area. The glacier was magnificent. The Rainforest excursion was a bit hurried but we enjoyed the overall experience. Our guide, Lawrence, made the tour very enjoyable. Skagway - Again, we chose an independent excursion - the Yukon Rail & Bus Tour hosted by Chilkoot Charters. This was another high point of our cruise & tour, second only to our tour through Denali Natl Park. Ketchikan - An absolutely beautiful day! Sunshine all day long and a magnificent sunset! For our last Alaska port of call, we chose to go with a Carnival hosted tour "Best of Ketchikan by Land & Sea" then spend the remainder of the day wandering about Ketchikan on our own. Ketchikan is the one port to expect rain, but not the day we were there. The boat ride to the Libby Cannery was another great experience as was the tour through the old cannery. Debarkation: Debarkation was at Vancouver's Canada Place. The process was very well organized and orderly. We waited on the Lido deck for our section to be called and exited the ship without delay. We quickly snagged a luggage cart and claimed our luggage which was waiting for us in a neat little group. Canadian Customs was no problem - very pleasant and professional. Within 15-20 minutes of exiting the ship we were at the Quick Coach waiting area for our transfer to SEA-TAC airport. Overall Impressions: Considering our experiences on the Elation 5 years ago, our Alaska cruise on the Spirit was like a being on a different planet. Embarkation and debarkation, along with the tendering process was very well organized. The ship was clean and orderly, the crew efficient and professional. The accommodations were excellent and the food was OK. The excursions we booked through Carnival were interesting and worked out quite well. We had a great time and everything, including the weather came together to make our cruise an unforgettable experience. Our "trip of a lifetime" was just that! Our thanks to Carnival and the Crew of the Spirit. One last note: I've tried to keep this review relevant to Carnival and the Spirit. You can find more detailed reviews, photos, links, etc. in our day-by-day travelogue at Len & Judy's Alaska Travelogue - 2009 . Len & Judy Turner Read Less
Sail Date: August 2009
Overall, we have to give this cruise a high rating. My wife and I were reluctant to cruise on Carnival due to its "frat party" reputation. We had read on Cruise Critic that things had changed. As usual, the Cruise Critic ... Read More
Overall, we have to give this cruise a high rating. My wife and I were reluctant to cruise on Carnival due to its "frat party" reputation. We had read on Cruise Critic that things had changed. As usual, the Cruise Critic reviewers were right. We have cruised on Holland America, Royal Caribbean and Princess. We found the Carnival Legend to be not much different. The ship decor seemed a bit dated to us, but, we understand that the ship is due a refit in the next year or two. The food was outstanding. The quality of the food is the one thing that impressed us the most. I don't think we had a bad or even mediocre meal on the entire cruise. Since it was our 40th anniversary, we had dinner at the Supper Club and paid the extra $30 per person. The meal was one of the best we can remember - and we eat out a lot. The service in the main dining room was outstanding. The variety in the Unicorn Cafe was excellent. Our only derogatory comments relate to the maintenance of the passenger areas of the ship and the attitude of the lower echelon staff. After having said, above, that we understand the ship is due for an overall; we found quite noticeable paint splotches, scratches and wear marks throughout the ship. We found room service trays still on the floor hours after we had originally seen them. The floors in the Unicorn Cafe were often wet and we saw a few people slip but not fall. Although, in general, the staff were friendly, we felt that they were a bit sullen, possibly from overwork and a reduction in take home pay that we understand, not from crew members, has occurred on the cruise ships. The recreation areas on the ship seemed to us rather limited. The pools were small by today's standards and very, very crowded. Our room, 8250, was under the promenade on the 9the deck and we occasionally heard chairs being moved about but it was not a problem. We will certainly be cruising with Carnival in the future. First Port: Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands Tuesday, September 1, 2009 We had made online reservations with Moby Dick Tours for the snorkeling and Stingray City tour. . The tour consisted of approximately 34 people; a small group by tour standards. We went out from shore about 20 minutes and snorkeled for around half an hour. We rode to the tour boat in an old, not air-conditioned, school bus, but, it was a short ride. . The water was beautiful but the coral was brown. A hurricane had damaged the reef. Stingray city was a blast. We were in 2 to 3 feet of water and the rays were everywhere. The rays were attracted by the squid we fed them. They can weigh as much as 300 lbs but are as gentle as kittens. It was quite a thrill. We had a great time and highly recommend this tour. Second Port: Cozumel, Mexico Wednesday, September 2, 2009 We had made online reservations with cozumeltaxi (@hotmail.com) and requested Gerry as our driver. Gerry took us to the Mayan ruins at San Gervasio where we had Tony as a guide. San Gervasio is very interesting and, if you are into things Mayan, well worth a visit. We had Gerry drive us around the island so we could see what it really is like. We stopped for lunch on the opposite side of the island from the cruise ships (and the crowds) at a very nice, modest size restaurant right on the water. The Key West style restaurant had fabulous views. We had a fantastic meal of fresh broiled fish and beer. We could have stayed all day. Then, Gerry took us to a small cafe with access to the water. We snorkeled and had a great time. If you want to enjoy the island, learn something about it and eat well, we highly recommend Gerry. Third Port: Belize City, Belize September 3, 2009 In Belize, we took the BACAB ECO Park Horseback Safari. We purchased this tour through the ship due to the logistics involved in getting to the ranch. We had a nice, narrated, 40 minute, air-conditioned bus ride to the horses. We were in the "experienced" group of riders. The ride is through a rain forest so it was muddy and buggy. Bug spray was a necessity. The tour was a lot of fun for those of us who don't get to ride very often. Fourth Port: Isla Roatan, Honduras September 4, 2009 We had made reservations for a car and driver through Bodden Tours. Ali, our driver and guide, met us at the dock. Ali took us on a tour of the island. We got to see what it's really like. We went to a small monkey / bird sanctuary and pet the animals. Then, Ali took us to a place he recommended for lunch. The place was Key West style and somewhat rustic. The men's room was not in good shape but the ladies room was ok. The view was good and the food was fine. The best part of this place was it was on the water and had access to a snorkeling area... The snorkeling was really great. Water was 2 to 7 feet (or so) deep and crystal clear. There was actual coral you could swim around. The bad part is that we don't think it will last long unless people are really careful while they swim. There were a large number of pretty little fish swimming around and a lobster or two. We highly recommend Ali and Bodden Tours. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2009
We picked this cruise because it was close to home (my husband drives all over Fla. all week long) and had the ports we liked. Couldn't work out the airfare with a cruise that wouldn't bankrupt us! This was our 14th cruise (I ... Read More
We picked this cruise because it was close to home (my husband drives all over Fla. all week long) and had the ports we liked. Couldn't work out the airfare with a cruise that wouldn't bankrupt us! This was our 14th cruise (I love cruising-the ultimate relaxation!!!) Just a note though....they need to replace their beds on this ship-was adequate - no cork liners for the beds, but we did have robes which was nice. Also, put chair in the inside rooms like on the Freedom so I can read in the room. Also, open the library more often. It is a wonderful place to relax and get books, especially when you bring on a book that turns out crummy! No nail polish remover or cough medicine in the shop and, very small selection of perfume and practically no selection of Clinique as on the Freedom. Embarkation was a bit busier than we've experienced, but thanks to Carnival organized. Port Canaveral is our favorite. Ft. Lauderdale the worst. Beware, security is a bit tighter, but of course, the agents had a sense of humor, and we felt safe with security. We headed to the buffet to start the "eatathon!" Surprised that we could find a table and good selection of food. We then went to the cabin and was surpised to find our luggage waiting. In the past, we've gotten our luggage 15 min before dinner. Our cabin steward, Risky, was wonderful & friendly. Was surprised we got our early seating and lucked out to be at a 4 person table with Bill & Marge. It was great meeting them at dinner each evening. Since it was our 40th anniversary, my husband left it to me to decide if we would do the optional $30 each dinner, but it wasn't necessary. Except for the Mahi Mahi I ordered the first night, every dinner was wonderful. Our server, Anthony (the Matre'd was also Anthony)& Arta (?) were great and really made us feel welcome. Girls-Anthony was really good looking & Single and Arta so funny (boy can he dance during the servers evening performance). Even Anthony, the maitre'd was friendly and made a point of checking each table. Ports: St. Thomas was nice and we only looked at the shops at the pier. Never got downtown. Was waiting to get to St. Maarten to shop in our favorite store, but hurricane Erika diverted us to Turks & Caicos (ugh)so never got to the port. No perfume, no knockoff purses, no costume jewelry and no discounted liquor. Turks & Caicos was not a port I would not run back to. If you were there for the diving or beach, this was the place. Shopping was a total rip (you should just wear a sign...Take all my $$$). Did find a slider necklace on board and did get a good price on it. Shop personnel were really nice & friendly. Casino people also were great! Came home with some slot money from my favorite machine. Slots were not as bad as some ships. We took this cruise because it had a cigar bar (RC had done away with theirs). This was a deal breaker for my husband (I don't smoke). We love RC for the promenade and the 24 hr Seattle coffee. On this cruise as was with the Carnival Freedom, he had to buy a coffee card to get good coffee (my decaf on board was great-usually the opposite). As it turned out, he could only smoke his cigars in the "On the Green" bar. Cruise lines...get with the program-there are plenty of men who smoke cigars. They are the "buying" public. Why alienate them? It turned out that the room that they had previously used for a cigar bar (large room)(as on the other Carnival ship) was always empty. Why? Beware, drink prices have risen. Carnival is trying to institute a new feature, Comedy Shows, both G & R Rated (separately). I think the Glory was the first ship, and in my opinion, was a great success. We got tickets to each late night show, but they also had a waiting line to get in line. The concept was very popular. They also had great shows in the theatre every night. There was always something to do. Bingo is also getting a bit more expensive. Debarkation was smooth, and we were off the boat and in our car about 9:30 am. This cruise surprised us. Our previous experience on an older ship wasn't the greatest (RCCL-Sovereign was horrible on a 4 niter). Just a suggestion to those of you who "wouldn't be caught dead" on a Carnival ship. You get more than your money's worth. This cruise was one of the best we've been on. Carnival works hard to please the public and that is why they are one of the most popular lines. Incidentally, there were all age groups. Already looking for my 15th cruise. Thanks to Carnival, my husband and I got to relax which we needed badly. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
Hello, I have been doing cruise reviews on Cruise Critic for a few years and this cruise ranked in my TOP 3! I was not expecting much from a shorter 4 day cruise but this Ship, Itinerary and staff really exceeded my expectations in all ... Read More
Hello, I have been doing cruise reviews on Cruise Critic for a few years and this cruise ranked in my TOP 3! I was not expecting much from a shorter 4 day cruise but this Ship, Itinerary and staff really exceeded my expectations in all categories. I was traveling with my 88 year old grandfather and had no difficulty with any aspect of this cruise. He uses a cane and had such a good time on this ship. I will have notes that some handicap members may be interested in. I was not expecting too much from a 4-day cruise & smaller ship, but the IMAGINATION really made me reconsider what my expectations were. I enjoyed this ship better than some of the larger ships and longer itineraries. Miami-Key West-Cozumel-day at sea-Miami Miami airport only 15 minutes from the port. get the Carnival transport prior to the cruise. It was only $27 per person round trip. 1 formal night on day2 / Great quick get-a-way cruise CARNIVAL TRANSPORT to & from Miami airport & the port was a smooth, quick process. Definitely worth the money to avoid aggravation before and after your cruise. EMBARKATION went extremely quick. A Carnival rep. was waiting at the door when we arrived with a wheelchair for my grandfather. Although, we were taken directly to the family check-in, there was barely any line and everything went smooth. ROOM STEWART was at our door before we had a chance to close it to introduce himself. He greeted us by name each time we saw him, and our room could not have been any cleaner every time we came back to it. He was extremely courteous and took the time to talk to us about our trip and excursions with sincerity. I increased his gratuity directly to him by $10 per day which almost brought tears to his eyes. CABIN Ocean view 6C M65 mid ship .... NO FRIDGE, but I knew that. This cabin has 2 beds, 2 pull down bunks and is located in a perfect part of the ship. Also in room: SAFE, 32" flat screen TV, room light switches at the bed, ice bucket, water and soda to purchase in the room. Free room service + gratuity. 2 Robes were hanging in the closet. Conveniently located two doors from elevators made moving around the ship simple for my grandfather with his cane. COMPLIMENTARY BATHROOM BASKET included Razor, toothpaste, Pantene-RED color enhancer shampoo/conditioner pack, some upset stomach packets (like TUMS) shower-Shampoo & Liquid Soap (I brought Cottonelle wipes, a travel Lysol spray) FOOD/DINING We chose the new "YOURTIME DINING" on this cruise, which was a pleasant surprise that I did not know Carnival was offering. We only ate in the dining room on elegant night to celebrate my Grampa' 88Th birthday. The Carnival staff surprised him with a birthday cake & singing happy birthday. The food & service in the Dining Room was excellent and could not have been any better. The rest of the cruise we chose to eat at the Lido Deck buffet & HORIZON/bar&grill at the back of the ship. It was kept clean and the food was as good as any other cruise I was on when I chose to eat in the main dining room. this was the 1st time I have eaten most of my meals at the buffet & may not be the last. SHORT RIBS on day 3 were EXCELLENT!! Full DELI fro fresh variety of sandwiches, full salad bar, dessert bar, grill, 24 pizza, ice cream & frozen yogurt. (hint: take the choc melting cake scoop it into the cone before you get ice cream YUMM!!!!!!!!!!) STAFF I can honestly not find anything bad to say about the crew on this ship. Information, Excursion, dining, housekeeping, cruise director, officers, shops, entertainment, bar service, casino all were great! I don't know how they keep up the positive attitudes day after day, week after week, month after month! B-R-A-V-O to all of you! The ship was extremely clean and they take care of their ship like it was their very own top to bottom. ENTERTAINMENT WOW! WOW! WOW!! I WAS THE MOST IMPRESSED with this caption than ANY other. It was so nice to see Carnival adding some new and different options. The HIP-HOP crew FUN-FORCE performing in the Atrium was A++! Do not miss them. I was simply blown away by the shows in the Dynasty Lounge the entire cruise. I can not say enough about the shows. Especially the SHOUT production on night 2. The dancers in the Dynasty lounge were by far THE BEST GROUP OF SHIPS DANCERS I have seen to date!!!! the 5 male dancers are worthy of any Broadway or Vegas production! Backed up by some of the best female dancers I have seen as well. I had the pleasure to meet with the person that teaches them & he should be extremely proud of this cast! I understand a new cast was taking over after this trip and what big shoes they have to fill. Best of luck to them. Only negative comment: Dynasty lounge 2ND level is not as steep as other ships Ive been on so some seats are limited visibility. For this ship i think lower level is better seating unless you arrive early and get a booth UP front on 2ND level. You can walk to seating in booths and/or seats without needing to do steps, however if using a wheelchair you may want to opt with lower level. the view may be better for you. CRUISE DIRECTOR: Karl with a "K" was the fun & enlightening glue that kept this cruise moving and pleasant. His witty persona is just what these ships need. His assistants in the Carnival FUN crew were everywhere on the ship making certain that your cruise was the best it could be! It is no Surprise to hear that the IMAGINATION is ranked #2 in the fleet. They can not be far from the top spot in my humble opinion. I did not use the SPA or CAMP CARNIVAL so have no comments to make here. FELLOW PASSENGERS Although Carnival technically has no control on who books a cruise, they went out of their way to make certain that everyone was as happy as they could be. The jubilance seemed to spread throughout my fellow passengers. Everyone had a smile on their faces wherever you looked. SPECIAL NEEDS/ MOBILITY NOTES My 88yr old grandfather uses a cane and often need support for standing. walking etc. He had no difficulty around the ship at all. I would have liked to see a support bar in the shower fro him to use if needed, but i did not have a handicapped room so I am not disappointed. I personally carries his food trays, but I did notice crew members carrying trays for those in wheelchairs and if additional assistance was needed. Excursion deck called the SUB OCEAN VIEW tour operator to check if my grandfather was able to get into the sub easily. Very helpful to decide on the excursion! Took advantage of the CANVAS PORTRAIT special offered at the photo desk. $55 for a 16x20 and it was ready in the last night for pick up. In the past this was mailed to you after the cruise. I will be covering some special needs info in my shore excursion section. Specifically for members that have trouble walking or use a cane. In summary, I really liked seeing CARNIVAL offering different entertainment such as Hip Hop dancers in atrium, additions of variety of dancer styles in shows. Addition of sanitizers throughout the ship good to see. YOUR TIME DINING is going to be a nice offer to compete with NCL's Freestyle dining. NEW- Adult Serenity deck is a nice addition with lush comfortable deck chairs, but can get crowded-(NO pool here) on front of ship. NEW- Children's water park was very nice on back of ship Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2009
Getting there and embarkation: For me getting to Long Beach was a simple ride of just over thirty minutes. Although I will admit there are times for other cruises I have spent the night at the Queen Mary in Long Beach just to watch my ... Read More
Getting there and embarkation: For me getting to Long Beach was a simple ride of just over thirty minutes. Although I will admit there are times for other cruises I have spent the night at the Queen Mary in Long Beach just to watch my "ship-come-in". A day or so before the cruise, Carnival called and requested that we not show up until 2pm on the date of departure. Since I usually get to Long Beach at around 11am and am having my first DOD by noon, I compromised and got there at around 12:30pm. Unlike my last cruise I ran into absolutely no lines during the check-in or embarkation. Well, there were about 20 people in front of me on the gangway, but that is because they stopped the line to move something around on the walkway. All-in-all it took me less than 25 minutes from arriving at Long Beach to get on the ship. There were people at the elevator directing people to go to the Lido deck to wait for their cabins, which they said would be ready by 2pm. Since I am so good at following directions I hustled up to the Lido deck for a DOD. The "Fun Ship", always one of my favorites! I grabbed some lunch, another DOD, wandered the Lido deck, and dang it wasn't 2pm yet. Headed toward my cabin anyway, and found that pesky sign hanging on the hallway doors saying that the cabins were not ready yet. So, I opened the door and walked through. Not a soul in sight. Opened the cabin door no problem, and looked around. The Cabin: I had booked a Category 11 suite. I was absolutely surprised. On the Paradise I get a Cat. 12 suite, which I typically never use the sitting area, and I swear this Cat.11 on the Splendor was so much more efficiently set up. Because of the proximity of the sitting area in this suite, it was actually used more! There were two closets, one in the dressing area before the bathroom, and one by the beds. Now, when you have multiple people in the cabin this is priceless. There also appeared to be larger drawer spaces. The balcony was of ample size it just seemed less deep than the Paradise. Unpacked, ready to go, I headed back toward the Lido deck where some nice folks from CruiseCritic.com, had planned on a Meet & Greet. Then off we go to the Muster Drill... After Muster drill I go back to the Lido deck for a bit of the Sail Away party, than back to the cabin to clean up for dinner. I spent a bit of time at the various game shows, and the like after dinner, than off to the Casino. The Ship: I have heard many complaints about the ship being too pink. Actually looks like a washed out mauve to me, but I found nothing distasteful or gaudy with it. Personally, I like pink polka dots! I found her easy to navigate. Being basically in the center of the ship had it's advantages. The Ports of Call, etc: Monday and Tuesday were sea days. They went by rather quickly. These days were spent eating, going to various ship activities, eating, gambling, drinking, and eating some more. Monday was the first cruise elegant night on the ship. So, before my (almost) last meal of the day, I got all dolled up and went to dinner. Where, yes I did order both the prime rib and lobster. On Tuesday, some of us from the CruiseCritic's group got together and did a cabin crawl and were able to see a variety of cabins across the ship. This was fun and useful, in helping me plan where I might want to be located next cruise. Wednesday, I was up early and watched us dock in Puerto Vallarta. By 9am it was already 90 plus degrees outside with 89% humidity. I had only one thing planned for PV, and that was a signature swim with the dolphins. I had breakfast and headed for my excursion. We were water taxied over to the swim sight. That took about 15 - 20 minutes. There was a 20 minute introduction to dolphins, and safety measures. After which we were herded off the dolphin pools (tanks). There was no "locker" as it stated in the brochure, you were given a cubby hole to put your belongings. They did provide towels at the end, so if you go, there is no need to lug the towel from the ship. Leave all your jewelry in the safe on the ship, because you cannot wear your watches and rings into the pool. They fit you with a life vest and you get in the water. You are in a group about 10 people, with 2 dolphins that are yours for the next hour. My dolphins were both 10 months pregnant. They were a mother and daughter. Every now and then the alpha male dolphin or one of the younger dolphins would start a ruckus on the other side of the pool, so we had to stop and go back to the edge of the pool. While you are in the water, there is nothing but the edge of the pool to hang on to. You cannot touch bottom. The dolphins swim in and around you, they take various pictures and the last thing you do is "ride" the dolphin back to the point were you get out of the pool. You can pay a reduced price for someone in your party to just observe and take pictures if you want. The pictures they take are pretty expensive. $99 for 8 pictures, and since they only really take 3 or 4 of you, you may wind up buying more than you need. It is a very nice efficient photo system. They put them on a computer and you chose the ones you want. They can print them or put them on a CD. They also feed you lunch, but I was told by some that ate it, it really was not very good. I had bottled water and a soda, both free. After taking the water taxi back to the ship, I decided it would be best to shower and put on fresh clothes before venturing back out into PV. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men (or apparently women on a cruise). When I got back to my stateroom, I went in to wash my hands, and there was no water. Nope none! Not a drop. I opened the stateroom door and there were some workers in the hallway which I apparently was oblivious to when I walked in 2 minutes prior. A pipe had burst leaving my cabin and 6 others without water. It would be about an hour before it was fixed. So, seeing how I already had my suit on, and it was hotter than heck. I headed toward the Lido deck, to get a nice cold DOD. (And, of course some food...) Probably would have showered in one of those showers near the pool area, but decided that taking my shampoo and room towel up there was probably not a good idea. Since I was already hot and sweaty and my cabin mate needed to get some closed toe shoes for our "Behind the Fun" tour of the ship on Saturday; we decided to walk over to Walmart. Yep, I just sailed for two and a half days to go shopping at Walmart! We stopped at the little flea market outside the area where the ship docked. There is also some shopping and places to eat after you enter the controlled area. When we got back to our room, our water was back on, and the shower felt terrific! The bad part about early dining is that if you really want to dine in the dining room, it is almost a rushed occurrence at the end of the day. Late dining is too late for me, and I know there is always the Lido deck. But I do like the sit-down thingy. I believe in January, the Splendor goes to the "anytime dining". Thursday we got to Mazatlan, where again it was painfully hot and humid. Heat index of about 112! I got off the ship long enough to take a ride around town and get back on to the comfort of my favorite Lido deck bar, and the DODs. Now, the ride through town lasted about 90 minutes and my cab driver gave quite a bit of history, and even stopped a few times for some photos. Total charge $20 plus tip! During dinner, the ship stopped for a medical emergency and took someone off the ship. Friday, we tendered into Cabo San Lucas, went to a beachy area, went to some shops, petted a baby tiger, and had some breakfast. Cabo is a quick stop, and we were lucky to get off the ship and back on during the time the wait for the tender was not long. Saturday, our last was our last sea day. I took the 3 ½ hour "Behind the Fun" tour. The cost was $95, but it was worth it. They must have given us over $50 of goodies after the tour. We got to go to the main galley, the Steak house galley, the laundry, the crews quarters and mess, the infirmary, the morgue, the "jail", behind the stage, the engine control room, the bridge, the bow of the ship by the ships bell (which is the crews deck area), the Captain's dining room, and the environmental area where they recycle everything. It was very informative, and the time passed rather quickly. (Files/Behind the Fun.pdf) The Food: Since I keep bringing up food... let me just say this.... There is NO food shortage on this ship. I was amazed at the variety. There is a Burrito Bar, Mongolian BBQ, a Sushi bar (hrs from about 5 to 8pm), a Rotisserie Chicken place, a nice deli, a grill, the pizzeria, and then the buffets. (and I think I forgot a couple of places!) Numerous drink and ice cream stations are located all over the place. The lemonade and icetea were better than most ships I have been on. Plus the glasses and coffee cups are larger than I have normally seen. If you want to spend the extra $30/person you can eat at the Pinnacle Steak Room. The folks that I talked to that went raved about the food. All I can say that anyone that goes on this ship and tells me they can't find anything that they can eat, needs to stop cruising! I found the quality and variety of food to be much better than on my July sailing on the Paradise. I was more than pleased with all the service on this ship. The crew was exceptional. From Goose the cruise director, Michael, and Leslie the asst. CD. My room steward Rio was absolutely the best. My wait staff, Richard and Mohammed were funny and efficient. My favorite bartender Yulia, served me on both the Lido deck and the aft lounge in the evenings. The Maitre d' Miguel was a sharp tongued witty person. So, in a nutshell here is what I enjoyed on this cruise: The service - from stem to stern was stellar The food - was good, some was terrific, didn't have anything bad The activities - plentiful My "Behind the Fun" tour and pictures with Captain Pagano (he is the one in the commercial that tells the kook that sounds the horn to get out!) I enjoyed not losing my butt in the Casino, and becoming an official members of the Player's club and enjoyed some free drinks there. Here is what I didn't enjoy::::: Hmm, well, actually, there was nothing that I didn't enjoy. The weather was not Carnival's doing, so I can't blame the heat and humidity on them. Although I know there are some out there that will try! Now, the broken water pipe, well although it was a minor inconvenience, I think it was handled in a timely efficient manner and really with little disruption. I was never worried, as I knew too many people on the ship that would have "loaned" me the use of their shower. The extras: We had a Captain's reception on the Promenade Deck where drinks were a dollar off. We had a past guest party with free drinks and snacks. Pins and invitations delivered to the room. We had a farewell party with free drinks. We had two cruise elegant nights, Monday and Friday. Monday was Lobster or Prime Rib. Friday was Prime Rib, and they had escargot for an appetizer. We were able to buy $100 certificates for the next cruise. It is a good deal, gives you $100 toward the down payment when you book and $100 on board credit (depending on cabin type). It is good for 5 years and if you can't use it, you just send it back and they send you your $100 back.(Files/Future Cruise.pdf) I hope if you go on this ship you have a Splendid time! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
I travel Solo, so traveling solo on this cruise I had doubts I could do it again. My first Solo cruise was to Alaska on Holland America. The itinerary was wonderful and unforgettable, however it was a challenge to be alone. So this next ... Read More
I travel Solo, so traveling solo on this cruise I had doubts I could do it again. My first Solo cruise was to Alaska on Holland America. The itinerary was wonderful and unforgettable, however it was a challenge to be alone. So this next cruise I fretted about it, but went with faith. Surprise!!! My table mates were the best. The people I had a chance to meet on board were the best. Embarkation out of Norfolk was COLD....... but quick and we were able to go to our cabins before 2pm being the ship was ready coming from Canada. My Cabin was an inside, and although I do not mined an inside, it was tiny compared to Holland Americas. Public areas were small and dated. the halls leading to the cabins were dark and dated, I noticed there were no mail boxes like the other ships I have sailed. Food venues: Buffet was average, but I did notice the wait staff was very prompt in clearing the tables compared to the last Carnival cruise on the Glory in 04 were the staff was very slow in clearing the tables, food was left all over the place. Dinning room food to me was average also, nothing stood out. Debarkation was slow being the ship came in port 45 mins late than scheduled. Very chaotic All in all I had a good time, I might travel Carnival again Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
We are a couple in our 50's and 60"s that cruise a lot. We are generally not fussy and rarely do we complain unless something is VERY bad. We usually stay to ourselves and do not go to clubs or shows much at all. This was our ... Read More
We are a couple in our 50's and 60"s that cruise a lot. We are generally not fussy and rarely do we complain unless something is VERY bad. We usually stay to ourselves and do not go to clubs or shows much at all. This was our 12th cruise and the 11th with Carnival. We actually did this cruise in 2007 and it is not our favorite. We used it to spend some more time in Old San Juan pre cruise and see an island or two and have the boat to ourselves the rest of the time. We are platinum/VIP so a lot of our cruise experience is not like it is for someone who is not. We will try to include observations pertinent to someone not Platinum when we can. As pointed out on previous reviews, Carnival NEVER has an empty cabin when the ship sails. Any "not booked cabins" are sold for very little money a day or two before the cruise. A big advantage to people who live close to a cruise port and are free to travel. The difference with this cruise is that the usual people filling the boat in other US ports in Florida for the most part are retired older people who take advantage and cruise a lot. They know the ins and outs and fit in well. On this cruise, the boat is filled last minute with locals from Puerto Rico, many of which are not aware of the typical pleasantries of cruising with their fellow passengers. They pack the maximum amount of family/friends in the cabins and a lot of children. Although we did not encounter anyone who was mean or deliberately disrespectful to us personally, there was a lack of the usual cruise etiquette which most did not appear to be aware of. If you have a poor tolerance for rudeness, cutting in line, witnessing many instances of blatant stealing of everything from ketchup bottles, salt shakers, other people's towels around the pool and anything else they could fit in the big bags they carried around and filled. (We even saw them walking the corridors and filling purses with the condiments, dishes, cutlery and cloth napkins left on the room service trays people put outside their door and empting the bathrooms for the public to use by the buffets of rolls of toilet paper) It is a wonder that Carnival has anything left at the end of the cruises. With that said , we will review the cruise as well as we can without repeating the above to often which is difficult as it does affect the overall cruise experience.. Pre-cruise We stayed at the Sheraton in Old San Juan, right across from the cruise pier. We arrived 2 days pre cruise for the Carnival Victory. We went on this cruise in 2007 and stayed at the Condado Plaza and paid a lot more for our room and we felt the Sheraton was much better and in a better location for pre cruise. We paid $155.00/night before taxes and we booked direct with the hotel via telephone. We arrived at 1:30pm via taxi from the airport (taxi fare is a set rate for all taxis-$19.00 for a trip from the airport to the Sheraton plus $1.00 extra per suitcase). Greeted at the door by doormen and they couldn't do enough for us. Everything was taken care of. We went to the desk and there was no problem that check in was not for another two hours, are room was ready and we went up immediately. The desk staff was very friendly and helpful, check in was a breeze. We asked for a recommendation for "real local Puerto Rican food" for dinner. They recommended the Raices, two easy blocks from the hotel. He even drew a map. The hotel is very nice, decorated plain but elegant. Everything was clean and in good repair. If you are very critical and choose to look for imperfections, they are there but you really have to look.. Ex.: some worn spots on carpet, evidence of previous paint layers etc-but they were hard to spot. Our room had a King bed which was very comfortable. The air conditioner is controlled in the room and worked well. There was a desk/chair- good size. An extra arm chair and foot rest that could easily sleep a child up to about age 7. The TV was new and a flat HD model with cable TV 30 channels and a pay per view movie channel, safe, ironing board and iron. Bathroom was standard for this type of hotel with the usual "goodies". There was a hairdryer and coffee maker in the room. Our room had a large window overlooking the port where the cruise ship would pull in. This hotel is in the middle of Old San Juan and close to the free trolley that runs all around Old San Juan on a regular basis. We walked to Raices as recommended and we were not disappointed. It is small, caters to locals, delicious, excellent service, and not too expensive at all (dinner for two with a beer/dessert came to $45.00 with tip.) As a nice touch, everyone dresses in authentic Puerto Rican dress. They spoke English well and all the dishes were Puerto Rican and not just the usual tourist dishes. Back at the hotel, they have a nice pool on the roof, small but adequate and very nice to swim in, there was also a Jacuzzi. The exercise room was with the pool and it looked well equipped. The machines looked new and they were in good repair. You do have to use your room key to access the elevator to the hotel rooms and pool area. The casino was on the small side but looked adequate. Saturday we ate at the Sheraton that has a breakfast buffet in the Palio Restaurant. Nice complete buffet and very good....the drawback was expense. It was $18.00 per person which we think is a little steep for breakfast. Luckily there is just two of us but, if you are a family with children, eat breakfast else where. We took the free trolley which runs all around Old San Juan. (Stop at an info booth to get a trolley map with all the trolley stops on it) We ate a late lunch and the Burger company which is also at the Sheraton-great food here...HUGE hamburgers and portions. $9.00 for a burger bigger than a Whopper, and fries that were too much for use to eat and we shared one order of fries. In fact this held us for the rest of the day and we never had dinner. Of note we saw A LOT of people waiting in the lobby today with luggage. All seemed to be pre cruise guests. I would recommend coming two days before the cruise and not the day before. I'm sure the people waiting a long time in the Sheraton lobby would not give it high marks for checking in. Checkout was easy although elevators got very crowded in the morning due to the crowds of people trying to leave and get to their cruise ship. The Sheraton will keep your luggage for you downstairs and next time we will bring our luggage down VERY early, say about 6 or 7 am and store it downstairs so the wait for elevators a couple of hours later with tons of people will luggage can be avoided. Another tip, forget valets for your luggage, it take them forever to transport the luggage in the elevators too so peak "time to go to the cruise ship time" you will wait forever for a valet and cart. Overall, this was a wonderful hotel and couldn't be more convenient for pre-post cruise stays. The staff was extremely helpful and we would stay here again regardless of what we had to pay. Embarkation: We have VIP check in so we checked in alone with other VIP passengers and were first on the ship. If you do not have this option, arrive by 11am-12 noon regardless of when they tell you. After that, I would wait until after 4pm to check in to avoid the crowds. From 1pm-3:30pm, the crowds are brutal! We had cabin 8428, aft wraparound with a huge balcony covering the aft all the way around the port side of the ship. Wonderful cabin, lots of room 3 electrical outlets and a nice desk (warning most cabins only have 1 outlet) Balcony was huge and everything was in good repair. (Note-I have seen reviews where people complain that their balcony lights were not working and no one fixed them - Balcony lights work only IN PORT. While out to sea there is some regulation /navigation thing that prevents having a light on out on the balconies while the ship is at sea - one of those nice "book reading lights" is a must if you want to read on the balcony in the dark at night) Our steward was Katuck and he was wonderful, did his job when we were out of the cabin and every time we came back, our cabin was wonderful. This cruise lacks sea days so the pretty much jam activities well into the night and for instance the slot tournament finals were at 11:40pm. After a day on the island, staying up for the night time activities is difficult. I suggest you pick which islands you want to see and sit out the rest otherwise, this itinerary can be extremely busy and not at all restful. You will pretty much have the ship to yourself while everyone else is on land. They did run a modified activity schedule for people who stayed aboard. Muster drill was late and the usual drill-not much to say here. We set sail at 10pm in the rain which put a damper on the sail away party we did not attend but we heard some weather related complaints the next day. We brought our laptop and were able to connect to the wireless in our aft cabin. (price .75 cents/minute or $55.00 for 100 minutes or 250 minutes for $100) We chose the 250 minute option as it tends to be a faster than dial up but slower than broadband connection so you use a lot of minutes. We pre-pay liquor coupons purchased from the carnival website pre cruise and they work well and save you about $1.00/drink from on board prices. As well reported, liquor is available at the duty free store at the port and can be brought on the ship with a "out of sight, out of mind" policy. They did have a liquor drop off as you came on the ship but your luggage/carryons were already scanned so it was the "honor system" to turn in your liquor. The table was empty which speaks to the honesty of the people boarding including ourselves who smiled and walked past the table with 2 liquor bottles in our carry on. First night was open seating in the dining room, after that it was assigned tables. We had a table to ourselves in the early seating and we were joined by 2 people from our CC board who changed their table and sat with us. We ate in the dining room every night and everything was delicious. This is a "dress down" cruise so even the dining room passengers who were suppose to be in "cruise casual" wear were "thrown together" as best. Formal night was not that formal, about 20% in formal wear that you would see on other cruise itineraries, 75% were in business office wear/ plain long dresses, suits for men - did not see the usual tuxs on men and a lot did not have jackets. We also ate at the buffets but did not see too many crowds as we have learned what times to avoid. The breakfast buffet is empty from 7am-8:45am and starts to get very crowded from 9am on. Same with the other "standard times", earlier the better is the buffet strategy. We also used room service for breakfast and selection is good and very prompt. Because they struggled to keep everyone up as late as possible in the casino mostly, there was a buffet every night except the last. Missing though, was the nice Gala Buffet with the ice sculptures and a lot of fancy food and desserts. They usually only have two "midnight buffets" on the 7 days cruises and one is always the big Gala one with the picture taking etc. They seemed to omit the big Gala buffet and settle for dinner type buffets) every night to feed the masses they were trying to keep up late into the night. Again the biggest rude guest problem was at the buffets where you got on line behind a mere 3 people. As you got your tray, the friends and family of those three people, numbering about 30 all joined them while the person ahead of you handed out trays, and dishes over heads and they all cut in front of you. Three people, now became 30 and they carried on conversations in Spanish as they slowly went down the line. Of course no one spoke English at this moment in time so they ignored your complaints and pretended not to understand the employees either. Their other buffet ploy was the "double line". Some speaking spanish only, but knew to say "excuse me" would, step in front of you "just to get a tray, they left the line, went up a few people said "excuse me"-got a plate. They worked this "excuse me line" in and out all the way down the buffet until their tray was full. Sometimes "mama" would hold the tray and send little kids in to do the in and out the line. Sometimes there were actually 2 lines, the one of people waiting the enter the buffet and the people who didn't speaking English, jumping in and out of the food line so the buffet line for the people waiting never moved. A rope barrier would be helpful here although they would probably have the 1 person in line dishing out to the people over the rope. ST THOMAS Been here before, got off, did some shopping and got back on. Safe port to go off on your own with a taxi driver you make a deal with. Always felt save here. This was the first night you were at your "assigned dining table" in the dining room. In the dining room tonight was a "table artist" - a magician who only disrupted your meal conversation, talking a mile a minute and did schoolyard magic tricks with cards - very annoying at the dinner table - thank goodness it was only one night. He mentioned he had a show at midnight and we could only think how bad it could be! DOMINICA Been here before and as a rule would not go off on your own with anyone!. Use a Carnival tour and if you get motion sick and your heart is not strong enough for speeding in a car on narrow winding roads with sheer cliff drops, stay by the port. There is a nice old church in walking distance and the usual street vendors. Ran into a lot of children on the street begging for money for "books for school" - must be the line that works the best with cruise ship passengers - we didn't see anyone giving anything but they were annoying. This was the first "formal night" and the Captain reception that on other itineraries had free drinks-this one was you pay for the drinks but that are $1.00 off) Slot tournament was very late starting at 9:00pm with the finals at 11:40pm. It is $20.00 to enter and is not well attended (they only had 5 tournament machines and that was plenty). Tournament entry is free for VIP passengers so our entry was free. As usual we didn't win a spot in the finals and the wild card spot drawn at 11:40pm was hard to stay up for (we didn't win a spot so we stayed up for nothing) BARBADOS Did the Snorkel and Pirate Party cruise excursion sold by Carnival (we booked everything on the Carnival website before the cruise) From previous experience, we know this to be a safe port where you can go off on your own with a taxi driver and negotiate your own deal/tour. This tour was pretty good for the money. It is NOT a cruise if you are looking for a real "pirate action cruise". The boat is a three story open deck party boat with a terrific slide that is not for the faint at heart. (It is not a pirate ship per se and even though the sailors wore pirate type shirts and banners, they flew pirate flags and threw in some pirate talk, the pirate theme was very vague.) Actually we were looking for a nice boat and a day at the beach so the lack of "pirate stuff" did not disappoint us, it was a great excursion in every other way for the money we paid. Plenty of seating both out of the sun, but still had an open deck and plenty for the sun worshipers too . Big bar and bar seating, drinks were reasonably priced and the rum punch was free after snorkeling. We were taken to a beach you could walk off the boat onto the sand, no need to get in a small boat to get to the beach. This would be a cruise that you could do if you had trouble walking or in a wheelchair and had some strong arms to move and assist you - (the only issue would be the bathrooms down a flight of stairs - they did have full size bathrooms and showers -private mens and womans on board.) There was three small tables of people selling jewelry on board but they were not at all intrusive.. They had snorkeling equip for everyone and once at the beach a barge type open boat took you to the shipwreck site in sight distance to snorkel. (Note-they took two groups out to snorkel and you used the same equipment, the groups were divided by the first group to board the boat and the second. We did not snorkel but it did seem the first group got a lot more snorkel time and less "slide time" that the second group. The slide was open when it was at the beach and everyone seems to have a good time on it.) Rum punch was plentiful but the problem with the cruise was there was No food available even to buy so people got VERY drunk quickly on empty stomachs. It is a little long to go without food especially if you are drinking so I would pack something to eat on the boat. ST LUCIA - This is a pretty seedy port although we had to admit, they cleaned up the shopping area around the port so at least that is without beggars like it was in 2007. Shopped and got back on the ship here ANTIGUA - Beautiful island, felt safe. Went on the Carnival excursion, Best of Antigua and it was a great excursion although they could have made the stop at the Dockyard longer than 45 minutes as there was a lot to see. The stop should be at least 1 ½ hours to see all the exhibits and museum. Got a rushed feeling here. Total tour was 3 hours and we went in the morning. After the tour we were picked up by friends who live there and saw things privately ourselves.. Tonight was the 2 "past guest" parties before each dinner time. Good party and not crowded, there were not too many repeat cruisers. Big disappointment for people here was - no ship pins. (Usually given out with your invitation) We already have a Victory pin so it didn't matter to us, but at the party many "new" past guest were disappointed that they didn't give them out (not sure what is going on with this-our planner didn't think it was discontinued and we got pins on the Destiny a few months earlier) ST KITTS - Went on the Brimstone Fortress and St Kitts tour through Carnival. First stop was at the barik clothing factory which was a waste of time to get people to buy some of these clothes - didn't see anyone buy anything but the grounds were pretty but it was a waste of time. The Fortress was great and it seemed more time could have been spent here. We didn't see much on this island except poverty and it lacked even decent Caribbean beaches. Everything is expensive here and taxis are too. People who went to the "best beach in St Kitts" were very disappointed - it is not a beach island and we would skip it if we ever had a cruise ship stop here again. DISEMBARKATION: We have VIP priority disembarkation so it was easy for us, we were the first off the ship and our luggage was separate from everyone else's so we can't comment. All in all, go on this cruise only for the itinerary only and hold your temper because you are going to need it. If this is your only Carnival cruise, you will probably get a very bad view of Carnival. We know that this is the worse cruise and not a "real Carnival cruise" so we already have 2 more booked. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
Being Platinum makes a lot of difference and is a very nice goal to attain or reach for. Getting on was a breeze, we drove to the port around 11 and was onboard by 11:45 having a bite to eat in Rosie's. If the lifeboat drills were ... Read More
Being Platinum makes a lot of difference and is a very nice goal to attain or reach for. Getting on was a breeze, we drove to the port around 11 and was onboard by 11:45 having a bite to eat in Rosie's. If the lifeboat drills were imposed on animals the Society for cruelty to Animals would have protested long ago and got it stopped. I enjoyed reading on the cruise critic that they are NOW being done away with and I pray that will be true. There is NO need for that (civilized persons should be able to see a safety movie and presentation to cover it better and in a more comfortable environment),having been thru 23 of them so far we made a promise to ourselves of NO more in that fashion anyway. That was the only Bad in our Cruise anyway other than they made us get off Sunday morning. The food was fantastic and we had table 182 in the Lincoly Dining room with the best waiter and busboy there are. Good Company,(now friends for life we pray) Great food and the only thing that could have made it nicer would have been for them to have been able to sit and enjoy the meals with us, but that couldn't be. If anyone goes hungry.. shame on them IF they ever admit it. To show how small the world is, we ran into some friends we had made on the Caribbean Princess in 2005,and were able to meet & spend some time with them and have a few more laughs and just enjoy the company again. Thanks Mark & Diane. All the ports and staff were fine and as everyone knows it all depends on our individual attitudes whether or not it is good or bad. We expect a good time and can say we have never had a bad cruise on any Ship. We had to dock in Key West for a medical emergency so we got to see the port there as an added bonus, for us anyways. Our only suggestion is that, with all the information published and signs galore on all kinds of subjects,when it comes to disembarking on Sunday mornings there were NO directions as far as where to meet or line up for the Platinum Self Assist to line up. That would only make it easier for everyone involved. It wasn't a biggie as we found someone to direct us, we wound up being about 7 or 8th in line behind the wheel chairs, and we were in our car at 7:40 heading back to I-95. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
Embarkation: Galveston, Texas, on board late at 12:45 pm due to a medical emergency requiring helicopter transport that prior evening. The ship was about an hour and a half behind schedule at arrival. Having booked a category 11 stateroom ... Read More
Embarkation: Galveston, Texas, on board late at 12:45 pm due to a medical emergency requiring helicopter transport that prior evening. The ship was about an hour and a half behind schedule at arrival. Having booked a category 11 stateroom it made the process of boarding quite easy. Staterooms were ready at 2:15 pm. Considering the setback for the crew all was fine, for us anyway.  Category 11 or now OS cabin 245 sq. ft. Balcony 85 sq. ft. with three comfortable chairs and one round table. Stateroom: Real hardwood entry. There were a total of four full length closets that could easily accommodate three to four weeks of clothing. Separate vanity area(granite top)with four full sized drawers and full row lighting leading into bathroom. The bathroom has granite counter tops with two sinks, full sized tub with jacuzzi. Ample mirrors throughout bathroom and stateroom. Two sitting areas in stateroom, one at desk another with large couch, side chair and adjustable table. Being forward/port was fine. Pretty quiet with the exception of neighbors that never learned how to shut a door with consideration to others. The stateroom had dimmers on all recessed lighting, very nice. Bed was comfortable and linens we of high quality.Pantry about eight staterooms away for easy access to ice. This being our first large ship we found it easy to navigate and really didn't notice the other three thousand guests too often. Crowds were consistent at the buffet when we did go through that area but appeared to be moving quickly. Tasted a couple items from the buffet and it was clear that the dining room was the winner when it came to flavor. Dining was above average...not great...but well executed and mostly toothsome. Room service delivered accurately and on time each morning. The coffee could use an upgrade but for the most part room service food is room service food, right? Entertainment... as another guest mentioned...it had to be seen to be believed. Ports of call...Montego Bay, Jamaica...we debarked; shopped in the terminal for coffee, got right back on board. We kept seeing large plumes of black smoke dotting the island from our balcony. At dinner that evening we learned what that was about. It seems that some residents were trying to make a statement of some sort to their government by igniting tires on major roadways blocking traffic, mostly tour busses. Many of the guests were unable to make their excursions due to the situation. George Town, Grand Cayman Islands...as beautiful as it was seventeen years ago. I will note that rising at about four stories high, just beyond the terminal was an awful sight. It was a landfill. I couldn't believe what I was seeing, pitiful. I think I remember one of the sting rays we encountered years ago...I learned on this visit that they can live as long as eighty-five to ninety years! A very special place Sting Ray City is. Cozumel, Mexico...the Puerta Maya terminal is impressive. We suspect Carnival had a lot to do with the construction/funding as the pier appeared to have only the names of Carnival ships painted on it. We also took note that RCCL Voyager of the Seas was docked at the older, rather unfortunate-looking pier. We had rain, due to the coming of Ida and seas went from slight to rough. Many of the guests made an appearance in the infirmary. It was a rocky cruise Friday night into Saturday. Then, by that evening things were calm again. Debarkation: ship arrived around 6:15 am...had breakfast and was ashore at 8:10 am. A good time was had Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
We Ashley 26 y/o and Brian 30y/o sailed the Carnival Freedom for our Wedding Cruise. We got married in St Thomas. We were with a group of 42 family and friends ranging from 11 months old to 80 y/o. We flew into FLL from Baltimore MD ... Read More
We Ashley 26 y/o and Brian 30y/o sailed the Carnival Freedom for our Wedding Cruise. We got married in St Thomas. We were with a group of 42 family and friends ranging from 11 months old to 80 y/o. We flew into FLL from Baltimore MD (mainly but we had others come from Philly, Nashville and VA) through Airtran. We had a group savers booking and all received 10% off the lowest price on the website. We had a bumpy flight in but a very smooth flight out. About 30 members of our group stayed at the La Quinta Inn (Airport). They offered free transport to the hotel and to the port in the morning. They also had a great free breakfast including make your own waffles. While the hotel is further from the airport than we expected, it was very close to the port. Also it was located right outside of a large shopping center. We arrived at the hotel around 3:00pm (ppl in our group arrived different time) and went to the hot tub then went to TGIFridays for dinner (had 10% off there with our hotel room key). The hotel was very nice and staff was friendly. Would definitely recommend this hotel. On the morning of our cruise we ate bfast at the hotel then boarded a large coach bus for transport to the port. Because we stayed in a suite we had VIP boarding. When we arrived at the port around 10:30 the Coast Guard was completing a test of some sort so we waited for about 10 minutes before boarding. We were literally around the 20th ppl to get on board. We immediately went to Lido and got the Mongolian grill. Our Suite Our suite was awesome. Loved loved loved the jetted bathtub and the bathroom as a whole with the dressing room. We had a larger balcony. Our Room stewards David and Iba were the best. Very attentive to our needs. I sent my wedding gown out to be pressed the day before the wedding way after the time in which I needed to send it in order to get it back before the wedding. David made sure my gown arrived early the same day. The Actual Ship and Staff I will be really honest. I got really annoyed reading ppl's reviews of the Freedom bc I never really notice if a ship is pretty/ugly. Well ppl's comments were warranted bc I noticed on this cruise. I am used to the layout of Conquest class ships but the dEcor on this ship sucked. All those Statue of Liberty heads started freaking me out. Otherwise the ship was fine. The ship was sooo clean all the time and I felt that this ship had the best staff overall. Wee Jimmy the CD was okay (IMO he was great) but I have many family members who are platinum cruiser and they hated him. They felt that he was way too laid back and couldn't get the crowd on its feet. I enjoyed him being a bit laid back. It was refreshing as compared to the over the top CDs I've experienced. Also in San Juan I saw Wee Jimmy in a restaurant and he gave me the best Mojitio I've ever had lol. The female Maitre D in the Sun King (Supper Club was awesome). My husband and I really bonded with her when we went to the Supper Club alone on our wedding night and she treated us like celebrities. She also informed us of the fact that she hadn't been off the ship in 4 months. So Sad... Let her off!!!!!! The manager in the jewelry store was great as well. Also our waiter Leo in Posh was awesome and so was our Maitre D Fernando. Activities I read reviews that stated that there were no shows for ppl who ate at the 8:15 dinner. That's a lie. They had 10:30 and midnight shows for late seating guest. To be honest we really didn't do much besides casino, shows and eating but all of our friends were always rushing off to one activity or another so I know they were plentiful. Also my friends and family members loved the disco and they hung out there almost every evening from like 12-3am-ish... Ports San Juan In San Juan We celebrated the night before the wedding by barhopping and shopping. We ate at this great little place in Old San Juan then went to some great bars. We were in San Juan at night which was fun. St Thomas Wedding Day I got married on Megan Bay Beach then had our reception at The Grille Room on the Mahogany Run Golf Course. We then had an island tour by Sunny Liston. Everything went well. I would definitely recommend Sunny Liston again and again. I would not recommend my wedding coordinator Janelle Scott of Island Bliss Weddings in St Thomas. Antigua In Antigua we missed our pre paid Lobster Lunch cruise with Creole Cruise. We were really looking forward to that, but we were on ship time not island time so we were left. We then found a personal tour guide and were taken on and island tour then to Nelson Bay?. We ate lunch at Caribbean Cuisine a local restaurant and had something that our guide recommended but we hated it. It was this mushy cornmeal stuff. But we also had selfish. OMG that was delicious. We then went to this beach (it felt like the beach was on the other side of the earth) and I got a 1 hr full body massage on the beach while my hubby jetskiied, Not the day we planned, but it worked out. Tortola In Tortola we went on a tour unplanned. We got off the ship late and weren't on the island long. However our tour guide was really good and gave us an extended tour. So we were touring for at least 3 hrs. Way to long after a while but it was a very nice tour. Nassau In Nassau we went (with about 20 family members) to a cafe that my family knew about. We had great food. I loved the Conch Soup. We then went to Cable Beach. We were supposed to pay but our cabbie spoke with the staff and they let us in for free. We hung out the rest of the day there relaxing and jet skiing. Conclusion In conclusion we really enjoyed ourselves on this cruise. The staff we encountered was awesome. All the food was great. I loved the new midnight buffets outside the disco. Karaoke was lame on this ship so we didn't go to the Legends show but the talent show was awesome. The waters were very rough due to a storm in Cuba so it was really hard for all the 1st time cruisers. My sister had the babysitting service watch my niece one night (she's 11 months). My sister sent her food and explained that she needed to eat in about an hour. An hour after she got there my sister was paged because my niece was crying. When she arrived my niece was hysterical and starving because they had chosen not to feed her. Clearly my sister never let her return to the babysitters. We booked thru a PVP and not as a group due to so many ppl being return cruisers. This worked out until our PVP was promoted. We didn't like our new PVP as much and I probably won't work with him in the future, I will definitely cruise carnival again. This was my 3rd and hubby's 4th Carnival cruise. We want to be platinum ASAP!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
Boat was late getting into port, because it was closed due to the very thick fog.. Dropped off bags around 11am then went to eat at the Spot on the seawall. The price was pretty hefty for a hot dog, hamburger, sides, & beer. $40. It ... Read More
Boat was late getting into port, because it was closed due to the very thick fog.. Dropped off bags around 11am then went to eat at the Spot on the seawall. The price was pretty hefty for a hot dog, hamburger, sides, & beer. $40. It started raining pretty good, & it rained most of the night before. We drove around the island to see if ship was there. It docked around noon. We had to wait until everyone started to get off the ship. They said to come back after 2pm. We went to park at the Galveston Park n cruise at 2:30p. Had reserved a spot for $30, but there wasn't any spots open yet, but for $5 more, we could upgrade to a covered or inside place, whichever came open. An inside place came open, so we took it. It was pouring rain & we had to walk about 1 1/2 blocks, then cross the street. Took 1 1/2hrs from start to finish before we got on the boat. They circulated a letter saying they would credit our account $15/each because of missing lunch. I thought that was really nice of Carnival. By the time we got on, all the rooms were ready, so we went right to the room. Ship didn't leave until 6:30pm in the rain. Ship is beautiful, loved the renovations. Second time I've been on it, so i remembered where most of the places were. Thought slots were tighter, & didn't play much bingo(did not win). At Progresso, took Uxmal excursion thru ship. Was really excellent. Impressive. Our 4th mayan ruin. Love them all. Got back to pier with only 45 minutes left to shop, so didn't buy anything there. It was 90 degrees, very hot out, but this place has alot of shade. Next day at Cozumel, just shopped for trinkets. Trip across Gulf was a little rocky, many people were missing from supper. Saw a kid throw-up around the pool. This is the first time we have gone when the ship was decorated for Christmas. It was beautiful. I really enjoyed it. Our room steward Jose was great, he gave us ice, & cleaned the room several times. Our dining room server Renauldo was great also-he knew what we liked to eat & drink. Had late dining, which i thought i wouldn't like, but we had ice cream around 3pm everyday to make it to the 8:15pm dining. Overall, it was a really nice cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2010
This was my Aunts 2nd cruise and about my 14th or 15th. Have sailed with RCCL,NCL and Disney in the past. It was my 3rd on Carnival in 8 months. Until my 1st Carnival cruise in June I wouldn't dream of sailing on what I thought would ... Read More
This was my Aunts 2nd cruise and about my 14th or 15th. Have sailed with RCCL,NCL and Disney in the past. It was my 3rd on Carnival in 8 months. Until my 1st Carnival cruise in June I wouldn't dream of sailing on what I thought would be a ship full of drunken college kids. I was so wrong. I love Carnival! This was my 2nd winter cruise from the east coast so I knew it would be different from one that started out in a warm climate. I really wanted to relax this trip.I alwasy get a balcony, but this time I had my first obstructed view balcony. I had thought about upgrading right up until the week we sailed. Glad I didn't. Due to cold, wind and some rain, we spent very little time out on our balcony. Embarkation went great right up until we had to swipe our new Sign and Sail cards just feet from the Pride walkway onto the ship. Due to the cold, the computer system broke down. A short wait and we were back on track. I don't think the Pride hits you with a "wow" factor as you enter the main lobby, but the beauty of this ship does grow on you quickly. We had all lunches and breakfast meals in the Mermaid Grille, dinner in the dining room. We had "anytime dining" and it was much improved over our June Pride cruise with this same dining type. This time we never waited at all for a table. Service was great and food was delicious. We loved curling up with a book in one of the ship's many open lounge areas inside. Spent very little time on deck due to weather, but we were never bored. Staff was very friendly. I wasn't wild about the shows - had seen most only months before on the Pride. We didn't get to stop in Freeport due to high winds, but we hadn't planned on getting off the ship here anyway, so no loss for us. Only complaint would be amount of smoke in casino. All in all, it was a great cruise. Looking forward to my next Carnival cruise in fall 2010. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
Cruising from Galveston for us is the easiest and best way to cruise. No airfare! We live in the Dallas area and drove to Galveston on Sunday before the cruise and stayed at the Tremont Hotel near the Strand. It was fantastic as it was ... Read More
Cruising from Galveston for us is the easiest and best way to cruise. No airfare! We live in the Dallas area and drove to Galveston on Sunday before the cruise and stayed at the Tremont Hotel near the Strand. It was fantastic as it was Mardi Gras and we had a great time roaming the streets. Our hotel was booked through an Internet agency so we had prepaid it. Upon checking in, we told the front desk we were cruising to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and the hotel sent chocolate covered strawberries and champagne to our room as a surprise! The hotel also offers free cruise parking at their sister hotel, the Galvez so we were able to park there and the Tremont took us to the pier the next morning for embarkation. We arrived in style in their town car! Of course, this is February and the weather can be unpredictable, but we NEVER allow this to impair our vacation. Embarkation was quite easy and we were on the ship by noon, dining in the Panorama Grill on the Lido deck. The food was awesome and this was just the beginning of a five day culinary feast! The staterooms were ready by about 1:30 and we took our carry-ons and our other luggage appeared quickly after that. We booked an inside and had the beds in the twin configuration so it gave us more room to walk about the cabin. We unpacked and then went about to roam the ship. The Ecstasy is glamorous and full of life! Music can be heard from every bar area. Our chosen dining time was the any time dining and we ate every night at the same table #111 with Alvin, the best waiter on board this ship. The food each night was unbelievable and the choices were just fantastic, in fact, of all the cruises we have been on, this food topped the list! Go Carnival! On the night of our 25th anniversary, we had champagne, a cake and singing waitstaff. Each evening we were entertained by our waiters and Jamal the maitre d' was great with introductions of what was happening next. During the day, there was trivia, bingo, port talks, the casino, the library, bars and a plethora of things to see and do. We were never bored! My husband did the "behind the scenes" tour to see what the crew actually does and got to visit the engine room. He said it was the best thing he had done in many cruises. This is offered to a limited number of passengers for a fee of $55. Time just flew by and before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye. We chose the self assist and really had no problems as we were off the ship and at our car by 10:00 and back driving north on I-45. Would we book this one again........you bet! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
We checked out of our hotel room at Galvez early so we could board the ship early. Bad mistake. This was the Feb 21 Conquest cruise that was fogged in. Actually the previous group could not dock for the fog, so that was just one delay, ... Read More
We checked out of our hotel room at Galvez early so we could board the ship early. Bad mistake. This was the Feb 21 Conquest cruise that was fogged in. Actually the previous group could not dock for the fog, so that was just one delay, then the Harbor Master didn't allow us to leave till the fog lifted. Once on board we did not care; dinner was great, our bags at the cabin doors, and after a long day, we were all glad to explore the ship. We noiselessly slipped away sometime around 2 a.m. and woke to pleasant rocking. We knew we had the perfect cabin location 8233 forward. Then Captain Antonino pushed that ship to the max & we were only 2 hrs late to Jamaica. Yeah Captain! Monday night my husband got sick & I called the infirmary for Imodium AD. They insisted they see the patient. He had no fever but was quarantined in our cabin 48 hours. Thank goodness we had a balcony! He was well cared for and checked on; food service brought his prescribed diet any time. His mini bar sodas and bottled water was all free. They did offer free movies but he did not order any. There was no formal diagnosis, but we think they are correct to be careful for others' sake. He missed Sky Explorer, and the next day at CI, the Atlantis sub was canceled due to rough seas anyway. All fees were promptly credited. The rest of us went to Sky Explorer and Dunns River Falls. The climb up the Falls should have been designated a level 3 for difficulty; the lift was very pleasant tho. Lunch was delicious (jerk chicken & peas n rice). Our tour guide was Ter-Ann. She alone was worth the cost. Such an entertainer, and gave us dozens of little known Jamaican facts, lore, language, and history. I think my 11 yoa grandson was in love!! She is also very pretty and super sweet. Honestly, she explained the plight of the poor in Jamaica, as well as the beauty of her country. This was an excellent excursion; something for everyone. On the return lift, it was getting to be dusk (remember, we were late to arrive) and the night birds were swooping over the jungle, calling out to each other. They were beautiful, the lift was quiet, and it was a treasured moment we shall never forget. I should have never boarded the CI tender in rough water! We decided to go shopping there and the taxi ride was ok, but we did not like the crowds, noise, and just the atmosphere. It was too much like a mall, and we can do that at home. After buying a few things, we left early for the tender. After letting one part of the group off, the waves were banging the tender against the gangway almost violently. Our pilot took us out & circled 2 more times before all were able to get back on the ship. That was still difficult! At Cozumel, husband was finally released and we all went shopping there. This was much better surroundings and the rest of the family was disappointed to have to stop shopping for our excursion for 'Dolphin Encounter'. Husband went back to the ship and we went a short way to a nice plaza serving food, drinks, etc, with shower & changing rooms. The dolphin trainer was informative and had an excellent knowledge of his dolphins. Afterward we were herded to a room full of computers where the photos are displayed. Several package prices are presented, but only the most expensive included the "kiss", where each group member poses with a dolphin kissing cheeks and lips. These were very outrageously priced and we declined all offers. I thought it was cheap of them to exclude the 'kiss' from the CD. On the way home, the entertainment was excellent with dancing, juggler, comedian, talent show, much more. All was very good. One of the shows had a Paris theme, and was of good quality, just not our favorite show. It plays off the excellent paintings all over the ship. The drink of the day card was a good deal. If you ordered a second one, it was a smaller glass. Our favorite was 'Kiss On the Lips'. Yummy! The soda cards were just right for kids because they drank one with dinner every night; good way to limit them. Dinner with our waiter Techisith was exceptional. He and his crew treated us like family; he was a talented kid pleaser with Daffy Duck, Roadrunner and Buggs Bunny noises. DInner was also our best meal, and I do hope others tried the diet desserts, like lemon chiffon cake and coconut cake. Awesome! Better than the tiramisu (I ordered both). We have no complaints about the food, seating, waiters who dance & sing, late seating. Cant think of a thing to gripe about. On Lido deck we tried Pizza, deli sandwiches, ice cream, drinks, lunch buffet, dessert bar, sushi,breakfast. I am not fond of the lunch buffet, but fried chicken was fantastic. Some casseroles were ho-hum for taste. We never made it to fish & chips. Debarkation was a breeze, as well as EZ Park's shuttle. Next time tho we will stay at Galvez, use their shuttle, and park all week for free!!! We did not know that perk and already paid EZ Cruise Park. We are all ready for the next cruise and we do love that Conquest best of all the Carnival ships. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
Twas a dark and snowy winter. Northern Ohio is usually good for one big snow a year, but the Winter of 2010 produced three. There was 30 inches of snow on the ground with more in the forecast as we departed with my in-laws for a Western ... Read More
Twas a dark and snowy winter. Northern Ohio is usually good for one big snow a year, but the Winter of 2010 produced three. There was 30 inches of snow on the ground with more in the forecast as we departed with my in-laws for a Western Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Valor. We traveled through the Fort Lauderdale airport where we were met by Carnival (CCL) staff and seated on a large highway bus. The bus dropped us at the entrance to the cavernous Port of Miami terminal. The CCL staff provided wheelchairs for my moderately disabled in-laws. We were escorted through the embarkation process. Our first cruise experience was many years ago with a cabin the size of our walk-in closet. We did not cruise again for several years until we took our sons on a Caribbean cruise with CCL. The CCL cabins were a pleasant surprise...huge when compared with our first cruise. It was, however, a disappointment to walk into our stateroom aboard the Valor where we were immediately confronted with a heavy blanket of lingering cigarette smoke. Our steward gave the room a second cleaning, but the odor remained oppressive. The floor manager became involved. With our steward, she oversaw a complete cleaning of the room, draperies were changed out as was the bed spread, the carpet was wet vacuumed. The smoke issue was completely resolved. With 3,000 passengers, the Valor is huge. It is somewhat surprising to read reviews about a ship with a stated capacity of 3,000 passengers wherein the writers complain, with some apparent surprise, that upon their arrival they found 2,999 other passengers on board. Likewise for those who sail during spring break and find... Size does have its virtues. We like cabins on a lower deck towards the middle of the ship. This minimizes the motion both the front-back pitch and the side-to-side inverse pendulum. On the Valor, this strategy is almost unnecessary. Throughout the voyage, I felt very little ship movement and on multiple occasions stopped just to take note of this fact as I watched the ocean pass by. Food was abundant, at all times, and healthy choices were available. The sit-down dining service was good. In speaking with friends, it seems some cruise lines are testing the minimums for staffing. The CCL dining room staffing was adequate. The quality of the menu items varied. Some were quite good. I did not care for most of the desserts. On the Lido deck, I avoided the general buffet and the burger stand at the ends of the dining area. I ate at the specialty buffets in the center. The chefs at the deli window were most accommodating in their preparation of "Turkey" Reubens. The undiscovered fish and chips bar is best left undiscovered. The pizza bar is good, but not gourmet. There are multiple ice cream machines with their attendant knots of children. (McDonalds cones not Ben and Jerry's) The children's clubs on board seemed to do a good job of keeping the little darlings occupied and elsewhere. Based on our prior cruise experiences, our fellow passengers on this particular Winter sailing included a disproportionate number of Canadians, as always courteous and a pleasure to be around. Among the best surprises was the stellar quality of the stage shows. Having sailed on smaller ships where goofy cruise ship skits by crew members were the shows for the night, the professional performers and professional presentations were far beyond our expectation. Another benefit to size! We enjoyed our shore excursions. The West End Village on Roatan was underappreciated at the time. Laid back is inadequate to describe it. Our disembarkation went well until Customs caught the guy in front of us with something he wasn't supposed to have. Our line was closed and he was escorted to the back room. The alert CCL staff redirected our line. It was a pleasant cruise, away from the snow, with good company...and the usual suspect got his due at the end of the show. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2010
We arrived at the cruise terminal in Mobile at around 12:30 and after a fairly short wait, unloaded our baggage and parked in the secure parking garage, ($15 per day-$75 total for the trip, paid on entry to the parking garage. They do take ... Read More
We arrived at the cruise terminal in Mobile at around 12:30 and after a fairly short wait, unloaded our baggage and parked in the secure parking garage, ($15 per day-$75 total for the trip, paid on entry to the parking garage. They do take credit cards!.) After parking and taking the elevator to the terminal(have your passport in hand when you enter the terminal) we spent a very reasonable amount of time standing in line to be processed on board by Carnival's friendly and efficient embarkation staff.Once you reach the embarkation desk it takes only minutes to be processed and receive your sign and sail cards, which are also your room keys. Once on board we were able to go to our cabin after no more than a 10 minute wait.The cabin was clean and well supplied.The bed was very comfortable and the service by the cabin staff was great.Room service was immediate and efficient. We went to the self serve buffet on the Lido deck for lunch and found it to be pretty much standard (nothing fancy) fare, edible but nothing to get excited about. The trip out of the Mobile harbor was interesting with lots of ships, tugs and other maritime equipment to see and the trip down Mobile bay, (which takes a while)was interesting and enjoyable. Once aboard the ship the atmosphere is relaxed and festive and we spent a very enjoyable afternoon exploring the ship and sitting on the pool deck.The staff and crew are very friendly and always ready to assist you or answer any questions that you may have. Dinner was served in the dining rooms in a very elegant setting and the dining room staff are unbelievable in their courtesy and efficiency.Our waiter(Santosh) and his assistant(Alberto)were the best that we have encountered on any of our cruises.The food in the dining room was for the most part excellent and the presentation very well executed.(There were a couple of instances of tough meat, but overall it was very good.)I wish that I could say the same for the buffet on the Lido deck, but it was less than expected in quality.Coffee, tea, and lemonade are available on Lido all of the time.The coffee in not of a good quality and takes a lot of getting used to. It is made so strong that it is bitter. The only problem that we saw on the cruise was that 4 small boys that were allowed to run around the ship unsupervised and making mischief as young boys tend to do, removing do not disturb signs, room service orders and knocking on cabin doors and running away. Perhaps a little more Security presence in the passageways would eliminate this. The trip back to Moblle was fun with good entertainment and lots of activities. Debarkation was slow and took longer than expected, with long lines which moved slowly through the Customs check stations.This was not the U.S. Customs folks fault. Please have your passport and Customs declaration forms in hand when you get there and in will save everyone a lot of time.Most of the delays were caused by people who had to fumble around for their paperwork of complete it after they got to the check point. Overall it was a great cruise and we are looking forward to our next one on the "Carnival Triumph" in October 2010. Read Less
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