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Sail Date: November 2008
We are a 60 year old retired couple from Arizona who have been on 8 previous cruises none of which was on Carnival. We drove to San Diego and stayed at 3 different economy motels from the Hotels.com website and were very pleased with each ... Read More
We are a 60 year old retired couple from Arizona who have been on 8 previous cruises none of which was on Carnival. We drove to San Diego and stayed at 3 different economy motels from the Hotels.com website and were very pleased with each of them. We arrived two days early and stayed one night after the cruise to give us time to explore the San Diego area. We were impressed with the condition of the ship and enjoyed its amenities: the miniature golf, ping pong, and water slide were fun. The pool deck was where we spent the most time and we enjoyed sipping drinks and watching the varied passengers on board. We were surprised there were so many children on a November cruise but they were pleasant to watch enjoying their freedom. The service on this ship was superior to most we have experienced on other cruise lines. The employees always greeted us with a smile and our cabin steward Ronelo always greeted us by name. We were made to feel appreciated by our experience. That was not our experience on our last cruise in January on Princess. Now I'll talk about shore excursions. In Cabo we took a water taxi to Medano Beach and had an enjoyable time on a beautiful beach with nice warm ocean water. Lounge chairs and a beach umbrella were provided free at the beach and attentive waiters brought us drinks. This was an inexpensive and pleasant way to spend time on our 4th trip to Cabo. The water taxi was $5 per person each way. It was cheaper to buy a round trip - which we did but the taxi did not return at the appointed time so we had to pay another only $3 per person to return to the dock. In Ensenada we opted for the wine country tour and thoroughly enjoyed it. We came back with 6 bottles of premium Mexican wine for a very reasonable cost. Our stateroom was large and had a nice sized shower. We were not bothered by noise or excessive engine vibration as I thought we would being on a lower deck and at the aft of the ship. Food was excellent on this ship, among the best we have ever had on a ship. Our waiters were fine but a little hard to understand. We were seated at a table for ten with the most congenial folks we have encountered on a cruise. We even exchanged e-mail addresses with them. Entertainment was for us the weak point of the cruise. The shows seemed dated and mechanical. We usually spend a lot of time listening to a wide range of music on board but this time did not as most bands performed in smoke filled venues. The piano bar players seemed uninspired and the Calypso band on the pool deck seemed stuck on one sound. All of their songs sounded alike. Disembarkation was fast even though we had a high number and we were on the road to The Wild Animal Park by 10:00AM. Despite the subpar entertainment, we will cruise again on Carnival. It was a pleasant and inexpensive getaway and better than we had expected. We had avoided Carnival for years fearing wild and drunken partiers and substandard food, and we found neither to be our experience. The demographics on this cruise could have just as well been Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, or Princess - the other cruise lines on which we have traveled. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2009
Sept 11-18. We happened to get a very good deal on an ocean suite, which entitled us to VIP status..what's so great about VIP..Glory rep meet us at customs area/walked us pass the very long line of passengers waiting to board seated ... Read More
Sept 11-18. We happened to get a very good deal on an ocean suite, which entitled us to VIP status..what's so great about VIP..Glory rep meet us at customs area/walked us pass the very long line of passengers waiting to board seated us in a nice area for our names to be called, sign & sale card were issued and we were on board in less than 15 mins. Debarking process was just as fast even if we did chose not to self assist. We were in zone 1 to be called. That was as far as it went, you still pay $3.95 plus 15% stocking fee for 20oz water.lol But the use of a bathrobe was nice. The suite was very roomy with a sitting area, separate dressing area, plenty of closets(yes more than one)plenty of drawer space. That said...it had been a very long time since we had sailed with Carnival..the service in the stateroom was excellent..not so much so in the dining room. Food, on the entire ship is just so-so. The entertainment is subjective. Some we like the other was just ok. (There were 2 musical shows, a couple of com medians and an illusionist.)The cruise director had a heavy Hispanic accent and was hard to understand, but he was funny..Someone was always "in your face" with a camera or trying to get you to purchase drinks. We stopped in St. John, Halifax, Portland & Boston(Carnival has plenty of excursion, but you can purchase them cheaper when you get off the ship)Because we were delayed in route to Halix(medical emergency)the excursion was cut short. If we had not already purchased we probably would not have gone. All in all a great cruise, just remember "it is what it is" or what you make of it!! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
We drove from our Florida home to the port and breezed through a very easy embarkation process to the Lido deck , with drink-of-the-day in hand, by 11:30 AM. We were in our room by 2:00. The room was nice, clean and in good condition ... Read More
We drove from our Florida home to the port and breezed through a very easy embarkation process to the Lido deck , with drink-of-the-day in hand, by 11:30 AM. We were in our room by 2:00. The room was nice, clean and in good condition although the mattress was worn with body shaped depressions on both sides. This was the only maintenance issue we saw on the entire ship. We are used to frequently talking with our steward on past cruises but on the Glory our cabin stewardess was strangely nearly invisible. In spite of this she did a great job keeping things clean and made-up. The on board food is important to us and we felt that this was the weak area for the Carnival Glory. We ate all but one of our dinners in the dining room where the food was mostly good but not great. The best entrees were the prime rib and a jerk pork loin meal. Dining room service was excellent. We ate all of our breakfast and lunch meals in the buffet. We felt the buffet food was at best fair and sometimes not that good. The descriptions of the lunch fare sounded good but the actual food was often uninviting and sometimes overcooked. It was, of course, all-you-can-eat. Breakfast was better but still didn't compare in variety to breakfast buffet food on Princess Cruise Line ships. Hidden away on the 10th deck above the main buffet line is the fish and chips bar. Here you can get some good fried-to-order oysters and other seafood. Seating in this area is less crowded than on the main buffet deck. After reading other positive reviews we ate one meal in the extra cost Emerald Room. The atmosphere was nice and the service was very good. The "prime" steaks were large but mine was a bit tough and overall we did not think that the experience was worth the extra cost. There were other places to eat (pizza, burgers, sandwiches, etc) including a decent sushi bar on deck 5. Unfortunately the sushi is only available two hours each day. We thought that the entertainment was good. I would have enjoyed at least one additional comedy show but that is just a personal preference. We are not smokers and we thought that there were too many smoking areas on board. The casino is so choked with smoke that no non-smoker could stay more than a few minutes. The crew was professional and friendly. Nearly everybody spoke with a smile on their face. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
This is a more-or-less objective review of a new cruise ship. The detailed opinions are nevertheless subjective and reflect the writer's biases. Carnival Splendor recently replaced both Carnival Pride and Carnival Spirit in the ... Read More
This is a more-or-less objective review of a new cruise ship. The detailed opinions are nevertheless subjective and reflect the writer's biases. Carnival Splendor recently replaced both Carnival Pride and Carnival Spirit in the Mexican Riviera 7-day market. I have now been on all three as well as on other major carriers so can base my thoughts on a wide spectrum. The choices of ships and ports of embarkation are several and we almost had four lines in competition until Princess pulled out leaving only Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean to choose from. First off I want to say that Carnival in general represents good value for the money. It is something of a benchmark by which to gauge the excellences as well as shortcomings of other companies. It is "Carnival" all the way. High efficiency and a busy, knowledgeable crew. Clean and for the most part spacious cabins, well laid out. In the case of Carnival Splendor, however, a certain leveling-off obtains. It is basically a 2000+ passenger ship into which are crammed 3000+ passengers. Not a good start. Although Long Beach is a relatively easy place to sail from, San Diego and Los Angeles San Pedro have advantages as well. For cost and ease in getting from airport and/or parking, San Diego is best. I booked an inside guarantee at a ridiculously low price just to see what would happen. As expected, my past-guest status entitled me to an upgrade of sorts to their new "Spa" deck, which I thought would include the extra features enjoyed by others in that area of the ship. It did not. It was a bad surprise not identified until embarrassed by wearing their exclusive robe and slippers into the spa only to be turned away. It went literally downhill from there. My eye fell immediately after being rejected by spa personnel on a dEcor in the rest of the ship that is simply bizarre. A woman standing next to me in the elevator coming down to the Lido on deck nine offered that the color scheme - pink and black circles accented throughout by yellows and oranges - was likely the product of some misguided guy who thought it would appeal to women in general. I replied that, on the contrary, it looked more like the work of a granny high on some hallucinogenic. Funny little ceramic globes like pincushions dotted with verbena flowerlets adorn copper colored walls everywhere. It is just plain weird. But the worst part on that deck is that all the public spaces have shrunk in relation to the crowds trying to get into them. Chairs back into each other as people squeeze by, unlike the case in older, smaller Carnival ships. To make matters even worse, it soon became apparent to me that on this particular cruise there were more morbidly obese passengers than I had ever seen before on any other. A waiter later told me one of them with an obsession for the standard Carnival warm chocolate melting cake had to be offloaded to a Mazatlan hospital en route, causing a delay of some two hours in sailing. Another poor bit of structural design was obvious from the faint odor of stale tobacco I encountered even in the hallway on Deck Ten - a strictly non-smoking area. It was wafting up through the central atrium from the casino. I learned why when I discovered that, on this ship, it is obligatory for all passengers wanting to proceed indoors from one end of the ship to the other to pass directly through the casino. Only the topmost outdoor decks provide unrestricted walkways end-to-end. Similarly, the huge number of passengers needing dining rooms at 1500 a pop have mandated splitting them into two, one amidships and the other aft, separated by a large common galley that effectively creates a two-deck Chinese wall across Main and Upper decks that on most ships provide access to all the usual shops, meeting rooms, library, Internet cafe, espresso bar, etc. The Internet cafe here for example is almost hidden away, accessible only through one of fourteen or so cocktail and dance bars. (By the way, what community of 3000 inhabitants needs fourteen bars in the first place?) Even by the last day of the cruise I was encountering people totally lost in the maze trying to find their assigned dining room. Only on a similarly constructed Norwegian ship have I seen such confusion. This is also a very loud ship. In the theater, on deck, by the main pool - a constant din of competing musicians and loudspeakers. The cruise director would interrupt from time to time in a rapid-fire voice excitedly making unintelligible noises about this or that activity, some of which I observed personally attended sparsely at best. Noisiest of all is the aptly-named Royal Flush casino, where my own gaming budget was flushed away within the first two days, even though I play only the cheap slots I am familiar with at home (where I usually come out even, by the way). But, as I have noted, it is impossible to avoid walking through that casino on the only central indoor deck. I wonder why? In short, Splendor is nothing new. It's just a tried-and-true standard expanded way beyond its own capacity, exponentially challenged. The best symbol of that is found in the - pardon the misuse of English - library. It is called in fact the "Alexandria" library and sports a mural of that eponymous and legendary edifice. But it is in fact a tiny room that affords access to some 500 books looking as if they just came from the Salvation Army, and is in any case open for getting books only twice a day for an hour to appease the avid reader. As a senior, I'll take Holland America's Oosterdam or even Norwegian Star over Carnival Splendor in that market any day - except when my purse has shrunk to the size of Splendor's library and I want to start with the cheapest basic price on the cheapest day out, and then just to be able to get down to some of my favorite ports of call. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
Our Halloween weekend cruise to Nassau was 95 percent fine. Embarkation was fairly speedy, although we were surprised there was no tram to assist us with luggage in the handicapped-parking lot. Next time we will learn to arrive about an ... Read More
Our Halloween weekend cruise to Nassau was 95 percent fine. Embarkation was fairly speedy, although we were surprised there was no tram to assist us with luggage in the handicapped-parking lot. Next time we will learn to arrive about an hour prior to sailing so we can proceed directly to our cabin and not mark time in lobby. The cabin itself was fine, except for the TV. The picture was too dark, and there was no way to adjust brightness. Also the programming was mostly Carnival promotion and advertising. It would have been nice to have a couple of channels with factual information about the ship and the Bahamas. An iron and a coffee-maker would have been useful amenities for the cabin. Next time, we will bring a large mug or Thermos to minimize the coffee runs to the Lido. (I know we could have asked the steward for a pot of coffee, but we tend to be self-service animals.) We enjoyed the theater entertainment, especially the Sensation Dancers & Orchestra. But it would have been helpful to have more detailed information from Carnival on what to expect in the way of Halloween celebration. Ship souvenirs were overpriced as we expected. Too bad they didn't provide at least one free T-shirt, similar to the freebie we received from Royal Caribbean a few years ago. Cocktail lounge entertainment was so-so. Bartenders were polite, but didn't exude a lot of personality. Maybe the automatic gratuity add-on reduces the incentive to be humorous and charming. Debarkation was simple and speedy. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
This was our (husband & I's) fourth cruise on Carnival. This time however, we had decided to spend a week in Florida and then, end the vacation with a three day cruise with several friends. We arrived at Port Canaveral on ... Read More
This was our (husband & I's) fourth cruise on Carnival. This time however, we had decided to spend a week in Florida and then, end the vacation with a three day cruise with several friends. We arrived at Port Canaveral on Dec 11th at approximately 11:00 am and included amongst our group of friends, was one wheelchair bound person. We were all very impressed with the immediate courtesy and assistance that we received for her while trying to board ship. The entire boarding process was less than 30 minutes. Due to our arriving early, our rooms were not available yet, so we choose to have lunch in the liddo deck. The liddo deck food is best described that Carnival's emphasis is on quantity, rather than quality. Although, I must admit it is edible. I noticed immediately that the non alcoholic drinks were very limited. It was either coffee, tea, water, lemonade, lemonade and more lemonade. I don't know what happened to fruit drinks that were once offered. The muster drill was quite unorganized and I found it strange that we weren't required to bring with us our life jackets. (In case of a real emergency, many people would not have any ideal how to use it). Although I find that Carnival generally has very courteous staff; it is unfortunate that many of them have difficulty conversing in English. Also the staff in the information desk area, tend to be quite stressed and unfriendly at times. Other than that, we had a fantastic cabin steward, who was beyond helpful. We appreciated him so much that he,along with a few other staff members, were tipped extra money by us at the end of our cruise. Overall, the staff managed to appear friendly, but they really looked fatigued and overworked! The rooms were sufficient for our use and always kept tidy by our cabin personnel. We really loved the towel creations, that appeared in our room nightly. I might add that in the evenings, it was kind of annoying having to listen to groups of people gathering in the halls or outside their rooms to engage in loud conversations with other passengers. Our formal dining was in the Fantasy dining room and we had two great servers, Putra and Laurence. They were always attentive to serving us; while taking care of other tables that they were assigned. The food was a bit disappointing, but again...edible. Also, I thought that the menu choices had changed drastically. Entertainment was less than average, but if you were a first time cruiser, you may have enjoyed it. I do hope that Carnival will eventually add a few more ideals for entertainment to their roster. Since we were recently in Nassau (June); we didn't have any problems with enjoying the Port stop. We had a ball in Paradise Island (Atlantis Hotel) and the surrounding area, as well as hiring a taxi-bus driver to take us around the island. Overall, the 3 day cruise was satisfactory and more than a value for the money spent. While at Port in Nassau, the new ship (Oasis) docked and we were in awe in its size and RAVING reviews from many of its passengers. We'll continue selecting Carnival for future cruises that we merely are going for total relaxation. However, if you're looking for more pampering, better selection of food, entertainment and a upscaled experience; Carnival's Sensation ship is not the cruise for YOU! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
Carnival splendor is a great ship. A tad busy colorwise but a fun ship. Definately a party boat.But,we met the most interesting people on this ship. People from all over the world. The food in the cafeteria was fair at best.Rather ... Read More
Carnival splendor is a great ship. A tad busy colorwise but a fun ship. Definately a party boat.But,we met the most interesting people on this ship. People from all over the world. The food in the cafeteria was fair at best.Rather dissapointing. We did not go to the formal dinners mainly because we had late seating which was too late for us. Our ship crashed into the dock in Puerto Vallarta.We were not able to go to Masatland because of repairs being done to the ship.We were given $20 per person port charges back. I do have to make a comment about the charges for alcohol and sodas. We like many other people are on a budget. Yes we got a good deal on the cruise.But it is ridiculous to pay $45 for sodas and $6 for a beer. Needless to say not many sodas or beers were bought. Our room stewards were outstanding. Also all dining staff were good. One last comment I have is; Met a gal from california. She jumped down from a upper bunk the first night on ship and broke her leg. She went on shore in PV and had it wrapped until she got home to Cal. My issue is she rented crutches which were taken from her the night before we got back to cal. They said she would have to pay $50 to be able to use them till the next day. This gal was the most upbeat person. She took it in stride but it left a bad taste in my mouth. All in all it was a good cruise. Great people and staff. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
We left for Ft Lauderdale the day before and I had done online research to know that we could stay at Miami International Days Inn and get free shuttle (up to 2 people) to Miami port, so we rented car from Ft Lauderdale , headed to Miami ... Read More
We left for Ft Lauderdale the day before and I had done online research to know that we could stay at Miami International Days Inn and get free shuttle (up to 2 people) to Miami port, so we rented car from Ft Lauderdale , headed to Miami Beach, and spent few hours, but it was cold and we headed back to hotel after eating. We dropped off car , had them take us to airport where we waited for shuttle from hotel, ( took an hour) Other Days Inn buses went by but not International. Finally after getting to hotel a older gentleman ahead of us at desk told them he had tried calling for pick up at airport and no one answered. The one man behind counter said he was so busy. But he did give him the taxi money refund back to him . Hotel lobby was small, and hallways were dark, but rooms were big, clean and nice. And the best part was got an online deal for $80 and that free shuttle to ship was good the next am. Embarkation went smoothly , having the FunShip pass gets you in faster. After eating in Lido deck we went to our room which was also on Lido ( nice to not have to deal with elevators to get to lunch daily) We enjoyed most all the food and dining staff , but our room steward we saw once on first day, after that did not hear from him , other than to see the animal towels on the bed at night. We enjoyed the night shows, our table partners, and the food. Chocolate bar was good, but not well advertised. We did not use casino, but did take advantage of internet one time on a half price deal, spent 15 min there. Also enjoyed the karoke watching. We as all other 3,000 people were very disappointed with the week of weather. Out of 7 days we only had one day of sun. So did not see people on deck or sunbathing , was just too cold or raining. Seemed like real cabin fever after awhile , what we thought we were getting away from. It was just a bad week, the cold streak from north made it all the way into the caribbean. We even had choppy water, such that the bed would rock most nights. We did take motion pills. The stingray and snorkeling tour at Grand Cayman was cancelled . But we had booked the turtle farm which we enjoyed, It was the only time I had my bathing suit on... snorkeled in lagoon area . The Isle of Roatan we scheduled no excursion as we planned that as our beach day. Nice local beach, new Mahogany Bay port area of shops and sky ride to beach ( we walked ) Ship sells package to another beach , but this is a good one for free but was cooler and drizzling rain so sat on beach chairs with towels covering us, some people walked along beach with umbrellas. Others took buses in town for tours. Our Belize day was rain most all of day, so we had booked online a cave tubing tour, but did not go , due to not wanting to walk 30 min in forest in the rain and cold. So did some shops and small lunch at the bar . We did not go past the walls into the city as we were told was not safe. The last stop was Cozumel, and thankfully had sun, but that ruins tour was in Playa del Carmen so we took ferry for 30 min , then bus ride for 45 . Was fantastic bus guide and stop at nice souvenier place, and ruins were great. Had nice beach there but not enough time , just enough for a pic by the ocean and then off to the bus again. That was the only day we felt warm. Other times on the ship we spent eating and eating . Started to feel a bit bored. Played some bingo ($20 for 3 cards ) Did win $160. We enjoyed the dress up nights and got some pics taken. We have been on two other cruises many yrs ago so hard to remember to compare, but all we were most disappointed in was the weather and also trouble getting around the ship. BE AWARE >>>> we paid extra for the express luggage handling from our cabin to Chicago. At time of pickup in Chicago , it was not there, we made a claim at airline. They called the next am and said it had not come in. I then called Carnival and they did a search to say it was found on the pier ! They fedex it and arrive four days later. Luckily I had insurance on cruise line that did cover delayed baggage. but airline claims people said this happens alot with Carnival and Disney cruises, so my suggestion is to take your own luggage to checkin. We got our money back but a mental headache not knowing where luggage was. We payed for the bus shuttle back to airport after we got on the ship and that was $18 a piece. Was convenient just walked out and got on , they loaded our carryon luggage and told us where to get off. We will probably not go on a cruise for awhile , maybe Alaska , if anyone has any good ideas for itinerary for that one , email me at gile436@comcast.net We were excited at the beginning of the trip and each day got more dismal . The luggage issue just topped off the experience for us. On a sunny day all the ports though would be great choices. Unfortunately we sailed on the coldest week of all ! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
The food was tasty, beautifully presented with diverse choices, the waiter service excellent, but on this January cruise Carnival decided to have besides the regular early and late pre-assigned tables, a "choose your time" dining ... Read More
The food was tasty, beautifully presented with diverse choices, the waiter service excellent, but on this January cruise Carnival decided to have besides the regular early and late pre-assigned tables, a "choose your time" dining option (5:45 to 9:30) with Maitre D assigning the tables each night. Hundred wanted to eat early. What a madhouse it was to get seated in the 5:45 PM timeslot, which was promised when we booked thru Carnival back in July/August: a table for 2 at 5:45. Some folks were really angry. Grown adults can behave very rudely, pushing and shoving, cursing even, with several passengers discovering they could get in the back entrance and taking SELF-assigned tables, throwing the whole seating plan all askew. The Maitre D's was almost tearing his/her/their hair out, but always remaining polite, and eventually getting everyone seated though sometimes not until 7:45 PM defeating the whole purpose of "choosing your own time". None of us were happy cruisers. Carnival HAS to fix this problem. We started out in cabin 1203 on deck 1. NEVER, EVER, Book a cabin in the further-most forward section on the lowest passenger deck, unless you are out of your cabin all night long and can sleep like a log. Besides the waves hitting the bow, there are fin-like stabilizers that move out from the bow to stabilize such a huge ship. They are not quiet. Fortunately after begging for another cabin, we got assigned to an inside cabin on deck 8. It was a joy to be in that cabin, and even though it was small, it was perfectly adequate. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
Having sailed with Carnival on the Glory twice previously, i was excited to book a vacation on the new 'Dream'. I thought I would love an even bigger ship. Whilst we both enjoyed getting away from the English winter into the ... Read More
Having sailed with Carnival on the Glory twice previously, i was excited to book a vacation on the new 'Dream'. I thought I would love an even bigger ship. Whilst we both enjoyed getting away from the English winter into the Caribbean for its warmth, lovely beaches and glorious seas, we were both disappointed at a couple of aspects of the 'large' ship. The first one being the saving of seats in the theatre. We felt very uncomfortable, at seeing very elderly people climbing to the top of the theatre, to be told by people that the seats were reserved. We noticed this most nights, some people even saving a whole row of seats. This should not be allowed. It should be monitored. All party members should enter the theatre together and take their seats together. There was even a stand up fight one night and security had to be informed. Not a good sight, particularly whilst on vacation. Our second problem, we felt the food in the main dining rooms were not hot enough. Was this because the kitchen was too far away - I lost my appetite, and we went to the Lido a couple of nights. The plus was the Chef's dining room, well worth the extra $30 - what a treat to have hot food, served exactly as it should be. Loved the serenity deck. Will we go on the Dream again - not sure, think we preferred the GLORY. All in all, excellent inside cabin. We had an inside cabin on the 9th deck. We chose not to choose a cabin prior to sailing, but chose to go for a guaranteed inside. We found ourselves on the 9th deck. Next one up was the Lido deck. The cabin was, as per the Glory, spacious, the king size bed extremely comfortable, the bedding, wish I could have brought it home with me -it was lovely. The bathroom was as per all bathrooms I have been on on cruise ships, adequate. Spotlessly clean - thanks to our cabin steward. Plenty of space for clothes, excellent lighting, television placed so you could see it easily from the bed or dressing table. We did not find the hallway noisy. However, the early morning announcements could hardly be heard clearly when cabin door was closed. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
We booked the cabin knowing nothing about a Cove type and in talking to Carnival HQ no one there knew anything either. It was not a major shock, then, when we opened the door and studied our week-long home. The cabin itself was pretty ... Read More
We booked the cabin knowing nothing about a Cove type and in talking to Carnival HQ no one there knew anything either. It was not a major shock, then, when we opened the door and studied our week-long home. The cabin itself was pretty basic, similar to most balcony cabins, but the balcony is considerably smaller and a bit frightening. It has steel walls that double as doors and cabin separators, but the seaside also was kind of a steel wall with the opening fair sized, but my impression was a little claustrophobic. There is barely enough room for two people to sit side by side and then the view is limited. The cabins are on deck 2 so really low on the ship which is a two edged feature. First, the balcony was almost always wet, but being low the cabin had little motion and rode nicely. Our last day was really rough but we felt little motion through the night. It was rough enough that the Disney ship stayed on its private island an extra day rather than head into the rough seas. Winds were gusting up to 50 knots. The cruise was fine - food ok, service good and a really beautiful ship. I ventured into an art auction (first time ever) and bought some good stuff. On other cruises I had sneered at the auctions, but the young couple conducting the sales were entertaining and very educating. We are Platinum so our embarcation and disembarcation were great, no hassle. That seemed to be the only benefit to Platinum but that in itself was enough. Our real complaint was similar to many of the newer big ships - too many passengers for the public areas. They seem to add plenty of new cabins, but keep the same public area decks with the ratios seeming to shrink with each new ship. We took a transatlantic on the Emerald Princess last fall and found the same, almost universal complaint. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
Embarkation process - Long lines but did not take all that long to get through, perhaps a little over an hour. Our cabin, a regular balcony room, was much smaller than the category 9A we had had previously on the Triumph. We were ... Read More
Embarkation process - Long lines but did not take all that long to get through, perhaps a little over an hour. Our cabin, a regular balcony room, was much smaller than the category 9A we had had previously on the Triumph. We were disappointed at how tiny the balcony was and the chairs were not lounge chairs but upright chairs that my husband could not even fit in comfortably. Also, the design of the Miracle has several zig-zags where the ship juts out and in on the side. We were at the indentation of one of those and felt our view was greatly obstructed. We couldn't see forward at all because the cabin next to us jutted out several feet beyond our balcony. We much prefered the aft cabin we had on the Triumph with the spacious wrap-balcony where we had an expansive view. So for the increase in price, we spent very little time on our own balcony and were resigned to hunt for a lounge chair on the lido or sun decks in order to be comfortable. On our previous cruises, we loved having our own private space (space is the operative word here) to hang out in. The bathroom was also smaller than in our previous cabin. It was okay for our needs, but the other cabin had two medicine chests on either side of the sink. This bathroom had open shelves where items could fall off if there was much movement of the ship. Again, not something that ruined the experience for us, but the other cabin was much nicer, and we will seek similar or better accommodations for future cruises. I loved the citrus shampoo and body wash they supplied. It was a nice clean scent without being overpowering. The bed and pillows were very comfortable. A minor issue with the layout is that the TV (not a flat panel) was up high and my neck hurt from tilting my head back to watch the TV. Not that we watched a lot, but we'd check the news and the position of the ship, etc. The TV in our other cabin was on the counter so that you didn't have to tilt your head back to see the screen. But of course we don't cruise to sit in our cabins and watch TV so it's only a minor issue. And it was nice to have the refrigerator to keep drinks cold. My husband and I both felt that we had more counter and drawer space in our previous cabins as well. We barely saw our cabin attendant, but he was always courteous when we did see and speak to him and our cabin was kept clean. Ship's dEcor/layout - I was looking forward to sailing on the Miracle because I read lots of reviews about this class of ship being so nice and easy to get around. I did not find it that easy. The lobby was much smaller than the Triumph's lobby and the Lido dining options were very confusing for me. I never did get the hang of where everything was. The buffet area was so much smaller and the areas were not clearly labeled. That said, I loved that there were 3 pools on the Lido deck. We loved the intimate seating areas on decks 2 & 3, particularly Kane's Way and Gatsby's Garden. With the exception of the main dining room, which was the gaudiest thing I've ever seen, the ship's dEcor was great. I loved the old pictures around the Gotham Lounge and all the literary characters in the hallways. The Mad Hatter Lounge was cute, too. The pools were nicer than those on the other ships we've sailed on. I liked that they had the shallow area for just cooling off all around the pool and the depth of the main part of the pool was just right for me. I did some water aerobics and some swimming. Food - We had a couple of room service breakfasts and ate other breakfasts and lunches on the Lido deck. The food was typical of what we've experienced on previous cruises. We were satisfied. We ate dinner every night in the main dining room. Our servers were pleasant, but not overly attentive. We felt the dining staff on our previous cruises went out of their way to get us anything we wanted or refill water glasses and bring rolls to the table. I'm wondering if budget cuts have kept the staff from offering extras since I've seen lots of comments on the lack of attentiveness of the wait staff on all the ships lately. Our waiter did offer to bring me two desserts on the last night when I was having trouble making up my mind between the two. Carnival seated us with another couple that was around our age and we found we had many other things in common as well so we had a very pleasant dining experience. We did not eat at Nick and Nora's. I have a gastric lap band and did not want to pay the extra money as beef is difficult for me to digest and we were happy with the dining room menu. Spa - I had several nice treatments in the spa. When I cruise, the treatments are a luxury for me, and I don't like the pressure to purchase the expensive products. One gal tried to charge me for over $2000 worth of products and then seemed insulted when I told her I could not afford it. I'm sure there are people who can afford these things, but the cruise itself is a stretch for us. I enjoy being pampered at the spa and don't care for the automatic assumption that I want to, even HAVE to, spend additional money on products. Entertainment - We attended the welcome show (typical) and "Ticket to Ride." I did not much care for the main female singer (personal taste) but the shows were well done and it was fun to hear (and sing along with) all the old Beatles' songs again. We skipped the Legends show as we had just seen that in December 2008 on the Triumph and my husband even portrayed Frank Sinatra in that one. The comedians were so-so. I'm sure the material is a lot funnier if you've had a lot to drink. The cruise director and his assistant were very much people persons. They were fun and you could tell they loved what they were doing. One big gripe - My husband and I paid over $100 for 2 soda cards. After a few days I learned to ask for very little ice so I actually got something to drink in the glass. My biggest gripe was that the bar staff in the main show lounge would take my order and then not bring me a drink. I guess they didn't feel they had to wait on me because there would not be an additional tip. I'm going to address this with Carnival. I had heard that you could not ask a waiter on the Lido deck to bring you a soda with the card, but there is a bar nearby for that. I can't get up during the show to get drinks and there is no bar close to the main lounge. I think for $56 a piece, they could have brought us a stinking Coke during the show. I did order other drinks from time to time, but at no time did a waiter tell me he could not bring me a Coke on the soda card. He'd just take my order and never come back. By the end of the cruise we learned to stop in at a bar and bring a drink in with us to the show. Shore excursions - I will cover this under the destination/shore excursion heading. Disembarkation - This was a breeze. We did the self-disembark thing and were off the ship in no time. We never had to wait in line anywhere and customs didn't even ask us to open a single bag. We chose to park our car at the hotel we stayed at the night before departure. It was cheaper than the port parking rate and it was a breeze to get there by shuttle afterward. The unfortunate thing was that we had a flat tire when we got back to our car and lost two hours waiting on our auto club. We finally drove the car down the street to a Tire Kingdom since the tow truck never showed. But none of that was Carnival's fault. Just one of those things. Overall, I liked the Miracle, but would prefer a different cabin. On this class of ship, I'm afraid we'd have to go with a suite or pay less for an ocean view room and just use the Lido and Sun decks for our outside seating. It just isn't right to pay for a balcony you can't really use. I've heard complaints about Carnival's balconies being small, but in other ports we were docked next to ships from other lines and their balconies seemed to be about the same size as ours. And although I liked the length of this cruise, I would not care to visit some of these destinations again. More on that under the destination reviews. I still remain loyal to Carnival and even purchased a certificate for a future cruise while onboard. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
My friend and I left on April 19th for a 4 day cruise To Catalina Island and Ensenada, Mexico. We really didn't know what to expect, other than I had been on CC forum and had talked/ask questions of these two ports, which neither of ... Read More
My friend and I left on April 19th for a 4 day cruise To Catalina Island and Ensenada, Mexico. We really didn't know what to expect, other than I had been on CC forum and had talked/ask questions of these two ports, which neither of us had visited before. When we arrive (we flew in directly from Kansas City, Missouri), we found our transportation, and they took us to the cruise ship, which is probably within 10 - 15 minutes of the ship. In San Diego it was 75 degrees, but from then on the weather changed to rain/wind/COLD. (Please see Ensenada, Mexico for when we went back to San Diego before we went home.) I had already filled out our Fun Pass, so that helped us get through everything much smoother, and able to get to our rooms. We thought we might have to go to the Lido deck, but by 1:30 (I believe it was) our room was ready. We had a window and the room seemed spacious enough for what we had. I will say since the Elation is an older ship, and maybe because we were only doing 4 nights, it seemed like the room was missing a few things that I was used to having on the longer trips, but that was OK. We had a vault, which I definitely wanted, as well as the TV, but we didn't have a small refrigerator, which I think some of the other ships I have been on may have had. The bathroom was a nice size with the amenities that come, but there was not a hair blower, but that was OK, as my friend brought that, and I brought the curling iron. I really love our beds/bedding as I feel like a baby when I put the comforter on me. Really warm and light. Before I forget, do no bring an iron with you if you need to press your clothes. There is a laundry room where you can was/dry your clothes for a certain price or coins. The iron is free as far as I know, or it was when I used it a year or two ago. The ship (I like more vibrant colors) was in browns/coppers, and it was kept real clean for an older ship. Our table (seating of 10) had Vince and his helper attending to us in the dining room. They always kept me in HOT tea, which I had requested, and NO ice in my water. We had the 8:15 seating as that didn't rush us to have to be at dinner so early, or leaving a port that we were vising to get to dinner in time. We were pleased with the food, and if there was something that we didn't like or want, we could ask, and they would try to get us something else on the menu for that night. Flying in to San Diego, we met a lot of people from California, where they didn't have to pay to fly in like us. If you like to save money, they still have the $10 store, mainly for ladies, but they have some good buys that I have been pleased with down through the years. Since the weather was so windy/cold we played miniature golf, but there were few at the pools. We did go to the theatre and seen the Newlywed Game, which was very good. There was always something to see/do if you wanted to on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
Pros: Newly renovated public areas with very colorful(or garish) decorations. Very nice pool, 4 hot tubs (2 adult only. Very clean everywhere! Typical Carnival service in dining areas, always exceptional. Good ports, Montego Bay, Grand ... Read More
Pros: Newly renovated public areas with very colorful(or garish) decorations. Very nice pool, 4 hot tubs (2 adult only. Very clean everywhere! Typical Carnival service in dining areas, always exceptional. Good ports, Montego Bay, Grand Caymans, and Cozumel. We ate mostly in Tiffany Buffet, had been assigned late seating in Dinning area and that was too late for us. Only went to one entertainment presentation which was fairly good. In general we have found that we did not care too much for the Carnival Entertainment which is typically too loud and rather obnoxious, but others said they enjoyed it. So its a personal preference. We do not cruise for the entertainment but for the relaxation.Cons: Food serving were up and down. Some items were very good, several others were consistently poor. We found that the bread served (usually french bread slices were hard and dry almost always and resorted to have a bun toasted for us at the sandwich station. With the exception of ice cream, desserts were pretty to look at, and poor to eat. By picking and choosing and using the Pizza station we generally food something we liked. Since we only ate once in the assigned seating I cannot comment on that. I found customer service to be exceptionally bad. We made 2 requests, one about cabin noise, and one about our TV, and got absolutely no help except for a brush off (ex. well its the satellite signal making the fuzzy picture, when TVs all over the ship were showing clear pictures!). Cabin clean up was not as good as on the Carnival Fantasy which was completely unobtrusive. Cabin steward tried to freshen our cabin 4 or 5 times while we were present. Avoid cabins around U42 since noticeable ship noise occurs all night long. Embarkation and Debarkation were chaotic though this may be due to the fact that it was a first cruise from Mobile. In conclusion, in comparison to a 5 day cruise on the Fantasy, the Elation needs work. It was rumoured that Elation was being moved to the West coast, if so I would avoid a first time cruise because or boarding/exiting problems. Despite the glitches we enjoyed our carnival cruise and will cruise again if possible. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
We are two seniors from Florida with more than twenty cruises, mostly Caribbean and most with Carnival. We do not expect perfection, we have modest needs and we try to keep our expectations reasonable. Some cruises are more enjoyable than ... Read More
We are two seniors from Florida with more than twenty cruises, mostly Caribbean and most with Carnival. We do not expect perfection, we have modest needs and we try to keep our expectations reasonable. Some cruises are more enjoyable than others; this cruise to Alaska was among the best. We booked air and transfers with Carnival to assure our timely arrival. In order to make it in time in Seattle, we had to leave home at 3AM for our early flight and our return flight would not return us until after 11PM. We did not want to ask friends for a ride in the middle of the night and the local shuttle did not operate at those hours. So we drove to the airport and paid $136 to park. The flights and layover were uneventful. My PVP did not suggest arriving a day early, in retrospect it would have been a better choice. The transfer provided by Carnival and the embarkation process were terrible. On arrival in Seattle we were told to meet a Carnival representative at the baggage claim. He was very cordial, checked our passports and directed us outside to a kiosk. The people staffing the kiosk were rude and arrogant. Everyone seemed to have different paper proof of having purchased a transfer. I was told I was not entitled to the transfer even though my documents clearly stated it was included. After they tore my documents apart - literally - they were in pieces, they checked passports again and then demanded that every piece of luggage including carryons be tagged before proceeding to the bus. I had printed out extra luggage tags, but not enough for the carryons and the scotch tape I had brought to affix them was at the bottom of my carryon - it was not produced quickly enough for the transfer Gestapo, their comments were uncalled for. Once I got the scotch tape out and put the tags on we were allowed to load our own luggage under the bus. We could not put our carryons under because they weren't tagged and we were not allowed to take them on the bus with us. We just stood outside the bus trying to figure out what to do. The bus driver arrived, placed our carryons under the bus and got us settled on the bus. She was a delight. She solved our luggage dilemma, gave us a lovely tour on our way to the port and had our carryons waiting for us as we stepped off the bus. Her efficiency and professionalism erased the awful experience at the beginning of the transfer. At the port it was necessary to walk a fair distance to the terminal and then walk the length of the terminal to start the process. We both have mobility issues and always look for the shortest distance between two points. We showed the FunPass with the VIP on it, but it was ignored. Maybe VIP boarding has not been instituted in Seattle? We were directed to the other end and even though there was no line, no other passengers being processed, we had to walk through the ropes back and forth, up and down the terminal instead of just stepping up to the counter. Once arriving at the counter the process took about a minute. Then we were directed outside to walk the length of the terminal again to start the climb up a series of ramps to the ship. Once onboard we headed straight to the cabin to wash up and rest for a few minutes. Hunger struck and we headed to Lido to see what food might still be served. The regular buffet line was closed, but the rotisserie was still serving. We had roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy and veggies. Very good! Before we finished the meal we started to sail away and enjoyed a beautiful sunny, warm, clear and calm start to a fantastic voyage. We did not take part in many of the onboard activities. We have done most before and competing with the passing scenery was no contest. I usually try to win a ship on a stick, but this cruise I did not take the time to join in the games. We chose anytime dining and very much enjoyed it. We never had to wait, our server Assadee was very attentive and anticipated our needs. She suggested choices and always made sure we were happy. We appreciated how nicely Lido was set up with all the food choices. We found that if one area was busy another was not crowded. We never had our minds made up before we went, just ate what was convenient at the moment. We had stir-fry a few times, the carving station three or four times, tried just about every deli sandwich, lots of pizza. Some of the pizza chefs were better than others. Some didn't bake it long enough and it was soggy. Others got it right and the pizza was great! We ordered calzones a couple of times and they were made with only mozzarella, no ricotta at all. Asked about it, but the language barrier got in the way. We ordered room service for many breakfasts and a few snacks. Delivery was accurate and prompt. The sandwiches, salads and veggie plates were just right after a day in port. Overall the food was excellent. We tried many new to us items in the dining room and always found something to enjoy on Lido. One very nice plus was light breakfast was available very early in one of the small serving areas. Cereal, milk, fruit and baked goods were set out for the really early birds. We usually book an inside but chose to splurge on an obstructed view 7A balcony for this cruise. It was a good choice. We enjoyed having breakfast in the quiet while gliding along the beautiful waterways. Waiting for the sun to break over the mountains to start the day was a highlight of the trip. The room was very comfortable, lots of storage, good beds and bedding, enough floor space and a well appointed bath with a great shower. Our steward Arjawa (RJ for short) was super efficient and friendly. He truly spoiled us. We saw a number of solo entertainers in passing, in the atrium, various lounges and bars and the casino. None drove us out, but neither did they draw us in. In fairness to them, it was not their lack of talent, I had trouble pulling myself away from the scenery, same for the shows in the main theatre. I dropped in on a few of them and they seemed to be entertaining, but the draw of the open decks was too strong. I had thought I would miss the Seaside Theatre - wrong. The Versailles Lounge became the movie theatre. It was quiet, comfortable, air conditioned and had a great system for showing films. I wished they had shown films more days. The 6PM time slot was a great time for a little R&R before dinner. The ship is fantastic. I had heard how much some enjoyed the Spirit class, I am a fan now too. The steakhouse in the funnel is unique and beautiful. The placement of so many lounges and quiet places around the ship spreads people out and makes it seem uncrowded. Having three pools, one covered, and so many spas is wonderful. The ease of navigating the ship is a plus and the decorating is a nice mix of pastels in Lido with the rich woods in the staircases and elevators. Some of the whimsy is a nice touch. The Jungle Walk is a wonderful area to spend some quiet time looking out a window and the storybook Camelot outside the Conference Room complements the Artists theme in the nearby lounge. I was disappointed in the gym. Continuing some physical therapy on my own while cruising was a high priority. I went to the gym three times and was never successful finding someone to help me get the unfamiliar machine started. I finally piled in but was not able to set the digital readout or the tension. While in the gym I bumped into a few other cruisers who were disappointed in the array of machines. They seem to be geared to those who already enjoy high levels of fitness with nothing for those who have limited range of motion or impact restrictions. Maybe some of the machines might fill the bill, but without instructions on the machines or a person to ask, it was a waste of time. Disembarking was another terrible ordeal. As platinum cruisers we were directed to a lounge near the front of the ship to be escorted off with the #1. There were about ten of us gathered in the lounge when a member of the entertainment staff came to get us. I followed the group until they were directed up a flight of stairs. By the time I realized I could not do the stairs, the group had vanished. I took the elevator and joined the regular line and was off fairly quickly. The line for the transfer went on and on. We were directed to lines depending on which airline we were flying. The lines moved ridiculously slowly. Again the issue seemed to be the different "tickets" everyone had for the transfer. Some people were boarded and then it was discovered they had not purchased transfers and they were asked to get off the bus. Some people clearly thought they had bought the transfers, but apparently were misinformed. The whole scene was ugly, exasperating and an area where there is "room for improvement". We had the same lovely driver for the trip back to the airport and she was a gracious as ever. She is a gem - I'm sorry I did not catch her name. The flights home were uneventful, we did get a nice upgrade on the second leg. Overall this cruise was outstanding. Carnival did not disappoint with the ship, level of service, accommodations and dining. Mother Nature treated us to many sunny and calm days and the most extraordinary natural beauty. The sunsets after 11pm and the lightening sky at 3am gave hours and hours of the most beautiful landscapes that changed as the light changed. I was never bored; found time to lose my share in the casino, eat myself stupid and explore wonderful ports. The ship was a joy to explore in the early morning hours and to talk with the crew who were busy at their duties, but not overwhelmed by passengers. The one area that was way below Carnival's standard was in the transfers. I prefer to think that whoever trained the staff in the fairly new to Carnival port was overzealous and instilled a follow the rules mandate without thought to common sense, manners and patience. A standardized form of ticketing the transfers would go a long way in easing the confusion. I have every confidence that these shortcomings will evolve to an efficient part of the process. I would love to return to Alaska and sail with Carnival there again. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
This was our 4th cruise, 3rd on Carnival. We traveled with my sister and her family- all first timers, to see how they would like it.The good news is that they all had a wonderful time and plan to go on another cruise in the future. ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise, 3rd on Carnival. We traveled with my sister and her family- all first timers, to see how they would like it.The good news is that they all had a wonderful time and plan to go on another cruise in the future. Ecstasy is small compared to the other ships in the fleet. While I missed the spaciousness of ships like Conquest, it would be ideal for anyone who has difficulty walking distances. The ship has nearly everything available on the larger ships, just in a more compact form. It does not have an upscale specialty dining restaurant. Cabin U69 is a modified, not fully accessible, ocean view cabin. The only changes were a wider door, a somewhat lower bathroom step up, and a fold-down shower seat. It just barely worked for us. Although we had confirmed early seating for dinner, we were assigned to Anytime Dining upon arrival. It worked well for our group, but I really prefer the regular seating. It is nicer to get to know people over several days and the service is more personal. Anytime Dining feels more like going to a restaurant rather than cruising. I have also noticed a huge downgrade in the formality, menus, and special touches (like the elaborate midnight buffet) fleet wide since our 1st cruise in 2003. At least they still have the towel animals. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
SIZE does matter, this ship is big. Dream designed for 3600 passengers had 4700 as most cabins come with extra beds and it was family cruise time. How did it affect us, elevators were a constant wait, each venture out of cabin required ... Read More
SIZE does matter, this ship is big. Dream designed for 3600 passengers had 4700 as most cabins come with extra beds and it was family cruise time. How did it affect us, elevators were a constant wait, each venture out of cabin required elevator travel. Not just a wait for slow elevator but having to ride wrong direction because too many of the opening doors revealed they were full, computer on elevator obliged to stop for our call but didn't have sense to know it was full. Only thing worse than a slow elevator is no elevator when power went off, 14 decks of stairs was possible for those not in wheel chairs as every landing we passed had one waiting. Dream had a power failure and 30 minutes later someone assures the people stuck in elevators that they were working on the problem, it did come back on in less than a hour, but must have seemed longer since no a/c. Deck levels needed: 3 for dining restaurant, 10 for cafeteria, 5 for sushi bar 4 for library,5 for casino, clubs,11 for spa 15 for Serenity, adult only deck but that needed a transfer as only elevator to it was within the spa on 11. Not being young and fit, walking the 1,000 ft corridor forward to aft was a chore. The two formal restaurants with waiters were on deck 3,4 but one was central while the other was aft, the after dinner entertainment theatre was all the way forward. the lounges with late night comedy shows were aft. 1000+1000+1000+1000 and back to the room 1,000 or about a mile on moving decks either with carpet or tile. We noticed lost people every day, even on debarking a lady asked, "are we walking right way to forward area". Only place to know where you are is a floor and deck plan located by elevator banks for each deck, very easy to get confused without fore and aft or port and starboard indicators. Carnival cutting back on paper decided not to have deck layout plans readily available they did give small deck level drawing, but customer relations desk had to hunt up a floor plan for the missing info. We enjoyed the ship most while in port, even tried to watch a movie on giant screen, worked until returning passengers filled the tiny pool and noise competed with sound system. Lots of hot tubs on board but they didn't need to heat them here in the tropics. Reason for time of cruise was to celebrate G-son's graduation, from now on we will go back to cruises while schools are still in session. We couldn't hear general announcements due to good sound proofing of door, but I know the in room speaker worked as we did hear a couple of messages looking for individuals. Had to prop door open with dead bolt to be able to hear debarkation announcements. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2010
Cruise Report - Triumph 8/16 - 8/21 A 5-day sailing from New Orleans to Progresso, Cozumel and Return Embarkation - Arrived at 11:15 AM, short lines, on the ship by 11:40!! Super Dockside Staff & Support First Alert - Zillions of ... Read More
Cruise Report - Triumph 8/16 - 8/21 A 5-day sailing from New Orleans to Progresso, Cozumel and Return Embarkation - Arrived at 11:15 AM, short lines, on the ship by 11:40!! Super Dockside Staff & Support First Alert - Zillions of Kids!! Mostly well behaved, but a few 'groups' of scruffy teens roaming about the ship. Discovery - School starts back a week or two in the future for most kids, so this was one of those 'family outing' cruises. Cabin (9206) available right at 1:30 PM as promised! Cabin Staff (Sagi & Donny) have everything properly in-order and they kept it that way for the whole time (Plus provided extra requested services promptly and with a smile) - EXCELLENT!! Sailaway - right on-time and great views of the city. Dinner - Met a very nice couple and shared a table for the duration of the cruise - new friends!! Shows - OK and passable but with the sound levels frequently at an uncomfortable BLAST!! Seriously, I had to cover my ears several times to lessen the hurt from the volume! First Alert Confirmation - On Triumph, listed as 'Guest Capacity: 2,758 (double occupancy)' the CD advised that we have over 3100 on this sailing!! Sea Day - a Fun Time with our Cabin Crawl!! Met more new CC friends and had a chance to view several cabins - several with decorations and/or refreshments. Then Progresso (excellent private day-tour in A/C sedan by William Lawson - highly recommend his services - http://lawsonsdriving.blogspot.com/) and the next day Cozumel - followed by a Sea Day back to New Orleans. Overall Impression - There are no bad cruises! Was it a good cruise? Certainly!! Did we meet new and interesting Cruise Critic folks? You Bet!! The Cabin Crawl was a lot of fun!! PLUS - the cabin staff were excellent and the dining staff did the best they could with 'way too many tables to care for each evening. However, I Goofed!!! I'll not make this cruise again!! I'm not really complaining (yes I am), but a Gulf of Mexico cruise in late August is simply unreasonable and too HOT!! I do not see how so many folks could spend the time at the pool with intense sun (temperatures over 90) and high humidity as well. So we kept to the cabin for comfort - but if I am going to spend most of my time in the air-conditioned cabin looking at TV, I might as well stayed home!! Food? Let's just say that dining at Golden Corral or Olive Garden would have been an improvement. The buffet was a ZOO for lunch - just too many folks anxious to get their food! The Deli served fine sandwiches. Evening meals were either so-so or forgetable. Room Service for breakfast (our usual request) was a surprise - ONLY juices, coffee / tea / milk, breads (danish, rolls, toast) and cold cereals - NO hot breakfast service of any kind by Room Service. But the wine and drinks were fine!! Overall - in the words of a Jimmy Buffett song: It's been a Lovely Cruise!! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2010
We are very experienced cruisers, mostly with Princess, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. We took this cruise because the price was very attractive, we live near the port and we could use a week of relaxing. We were a little reluctant about ... Read More
We are very experienced cruisers, mostly with Princess, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. We took this cruise because the price was very attractive, we live near the port and we could use a week of relaxing. We were a little reluctant about cruising Carnival as we had not used the line in years, but our concerns were unfounded - this cruise exceeded our expectations in almost every way and was an excellent value. Good points: - Cabin was very roomy for an inside. Bathroom was very reasonable size for an inside, especially the shower - Food was excellent in the dining room, and good in the buffet. Food was also excellent in David's steakhouse - Although My Time dining is pretty new to Carnival they handled it quite well. No problem getting a table for two at any time, service was prompt and efficient. - Comedians were excellent. The use of a small venue as primarily a comedy club with multiple shows worked very well. - Music on the ship was very good in all venues. There was even a real Caribbean band, which seems to be more rare every year. - The Chef's Table is well worth the $75 per person cost, truly a memorable evening and meal. In addition to the outstanding gourmet meal you also have all the wine you wish, a large photo, and a Carnival cookbook Room for Improvement: - For a relatively high priced restaurant ($30 each plus tip), Davids has a poor atmosphere. It is designed and furnished very nicely, but it is open to the atrium and only one deck above the buffet areas, so it was quite noisy - not at all what you would expect for what should be a quiet, elegant experience - Drink service in the dining room is almost non-existent - there were several evenings when we might have had an after-dinner drink at the table but there was no bar waiter at hand. - For a cruise that does not dock until 10 AM on return to Baltimore, it seems silly to ask customers to leave their cabins by 8:30. We were in one of the earlier groups to disembark, but we still sat and waited for nearly 4 hours. - Too much smoking area on this ship - allowing it on the starboard side of all three pool areas was too much. Also it was a shame that the Ivory Club was smoking - this made the piano bar unusable for us. - The only adult area is at the back of the ship, where ALL of the lounge chairs are in the direct sunlight. It would make more sense to make one of the midship pool areas adult only. General Notes and Tips: - This is a good cruise to take if you don't care much about the ports and like laying about on the ship on port days. For old timers like us who no longer spend the day at the beach, neither Port Canaveral or Freeport has anything worth the bother of a long cab ride. Nassau on the other hand is always fun to do a walkabout. - Want an uncrowded place to wait to disembark? We went up to Davids club on 11 deck. The tables at the windows have a great view and were quiet. We saw only one other couple take advantage of this. On the other hand, the other main public decks (2, 3 and 9) were jammed. No problem hearing the announcements as Davids is open to the atrium. You can ignore the early announcements that ask you to wait on 3 or 9. - Go to the pier early - if you go later in the day you will probably be waiting in long security and check-in lines. At least if you go early you get to wait sitting down. In our case the Pride was late docking so we waited an extra hour to board, but the good news is that we were early enough to get a chair and a nice bag lunch and bottle of water. Later arrivals had to make do with a breakfast bar. - In Nassau the Iguana Grill, just off the pier on Bay Street serves a terrific blackened grouper sandwich and good conch salad Read Less
Sail Date: September 2010
We have cruised Holland America, Princess and Royal Caribbean since our last Carnival cruise, swearing never to sail with them again. But the pricing value was just so advantageous that we decided to take a chance and go again. ... Read More
We have cruised Holland America, Princess and Royal Caribbean since our last Carnival cruise, swearing never to sail with them again. But the pricing value was just so advantageous that we decided to take a chance and go again. Embarkation did not bode well for me: Miami was a zoo, in spite of our having arrived early. Multiple lines with long queues were daunting, as was all the walking and shoving through throngs of people. Although we booked a year in advance, Carnival had us on a wait list for My Time Dining, so our first stop was to arrange that. After a line at Guest Services, we were sent to a line for the maitre d'. He did facilitate that. After that, things looked up! The cabin, aft with extended balcony, was just what we expected, but no amenities except shower gel and shampoo in dispensers in the shower. I had to ask for bar soap for the sink! The room was in good condition; and Daniel, our steward, served us very well all week, including remembering we needed extra hand towels each day, and always having plenty of ice. We never got a key for the mini-bar and there were no directions for that, which didn't matter to us, but seemed weird. Warning! The safe needs to be secured by swiping a credit card, which means you have to carry your credit card with you all the time. Someone gave me a good tip: any mag strip card will work. I locked up my credit card and used my AAA card. A WalMart gift card with a minimal amount on it is a good purchase, if you have no other mag strip cards. Other cruise lines allow you to set your own combination and lock up your credit cards. The only other complaint about the room is that the room service menu is very limited. Breakfast only has continental available and the rest of the menu is pretty limited to sandwiches and a couple of salads and a few uninspired desserts. We would have enjoyed breakfast on the balcony and evening hors d'oeuvres, but that was not to be. We usually ate in the dining room, rather than the buffet, except for lunch on sea days and one breakfast when we needed to debark early. The public rooms were very nice, not as glitzy as most Carnival ships, and with a continued theme of heroes and heroism. Entertainment was good, but not great. Service was excellent in the room, in the dining room, and at the pools and bars, always attentive. The food as well was good, not great. Except the melting chocolate cake. I don't even like chocolate and loved it! I also appreciated the availability of the spa menu and some fruit based and sugar-free desserts. I consider it a success that I only gained one pound over the week! Fish meals were mostly delicious. The salads were good, but the Caesar was uninspired. Selection of activities on board on sea days was pretty standard. None of the pools was big enough to swim in, and all were very crowded on sea days. And someone had an infant in diapers in the adults only pool, even after being asked to remove her. I used the gym twice. The treadmills are all lined up in front of oceanfront windows, but they are only chest high, so you can't see out while walking! The track on the sky deck was much more pleasant. There was a decent selection of weight benches and free weights and the gym and locker rooms were clean. Most classes incur an extra fee, except the morning stretch and abs classes. There were no aerobics or water aerobics classes or Tai Chi offered, which I found unusual and lacking. Embarkation and debarkation on shore days was crowded but went smoothly and quickly. The itinerary, Grand Cayman, Isla Roatan, Belize, Cozumel, was very much to our liking and we chose well with our shore excursions. The ship sailed PROMPTLY at sailaway time, so don't lag behind until the last minute! The Guest Services desk was most helpful and patient with all sorts of requests. I found all the people I encountered to be very service oriented and tuned in to individual needs and requests. However, Carnival's corporate policies are not as customer friendly. There are no facilities to change hard and fast rules (like switching to My Time Dining before sailing!)and service people are restricted to apologies, which always seemed genuine. The staff on board so seem to like working on this ship, which is a tribute to management. I took the galley tour. If you enjoy cooking or are in any restaurant business, this is a must-do. It was fascinating and, to me, amazing. I ended up buying the Carnival Creations cookbook at the formal wear shop. We are in our early 60's, but fit and active. We were definitely the "Grandparents of the Cruise." Couples we connected with all compared us to their parents and called us "Pop" and "Mama" or "Mamacita." That was okay; mostly we kept up with them, but didn't drink a lot, which would have surely slowed us down! Someone had complained about the aggressive photographers. We found it easy to say "No, thank you," and they complied without making it uncomfortable. On the other hand, I do like purchasing some of the photos. Realize, this is where Carnival makes big profits, along with the bar and casino, not on the cruise fares. If you go with other people, have them take pictures of you, and you do the same for them. We often asked other cruisers to please snap us together at critical vista points, then offered to do the same for them. The ship photos are very over-priced, but are all you have left after you lose the weight you gained! We were so pleased with the value for the dollar-ship, food, service- that we purchased the certificate for a deposit on our next Carnival cruise. And this was after having sworn never to sail with them again. NO, it's not top-notch cruising luxury, but it was lots of fun and you get more than what you pay for! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
This was our second cruise with Carnival. Embarkation was very efficient. We had originally booked a balcony and just before the cruise were given a choice of upgrading to a suite which we took. This gave us the VIP treatment which was ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Carnival. Embarkation was very efficient. We had originally booked a balcony and just before the cruise were given a choice of upgrading to a suite which we took. This gave us the VIP treatment which was very nice. The suite was very nice and roomy with plenty of storage space. Only real complaint about the room was the TV—only CNN or HLN-thus for 8 days we did not know what was going on in the world. The staff was excellent as has always been on our cruises—if you treat them with respect, they will return same. Food was pretty good, but could have been better. We did not attend the shows as they all seem to run together after a while. This was a relaxing cruise for us. The first port was Cozumel—it had rained so time there was short but pleasant. Next was Costa Rica which had absolutely nothing near the port so for safety reasons, we elected to stay on board. Then the Panama Canal. We took the train which was great. We were able to see two ships passing through the canal. What a treat. Then two sea days which as stated above were relaxing for us. There are plenty of places on the ship for quiet time, you just have to hunt them out. The Posh restaurant was great, hard to find due to going to the rear of the ship and taking the elevator down to three—can't get there any other way without a lot of jumping from elevator to elevator. But for breakfast, it was worth the extra walking. As with all others, the smoking can get out of hand. Smokers just don't seem to care if they are blowing the smoke in your face, after all, this is "their right." So naturally, we had to do a lot of moving around to avoid these inconsiderate. Unfortunately, we had a medical emergency on board and had to drop off the person at Cayman, which caused us to arrive in Ft. Lauderdale four hours later. Folks with airlines to catch were scrambling. The staff did the best they could under the circumstances. This just showed us that should we have to fly to a port, plan on flying out the next day—less hassle in case of an emergency. Debarkation was very quick given the latest of our arrival. We were able to get to the garage and get our car and get underway. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
We recently took the Splendor to Mexican Riveria. Have traveled before on other cruise lines to include Carnival but have never been on a ship that moved so much even in calm seas. I can only assumed that the ship did not have stablizers ... Read More
We recently took the Splendor to Mexican Riveria. Have traveled before on other cruise lines to include Carnival but have never been on a ship that moved so much even in calm seas. I can only assumed that the ship did not have stablizers or did not use them. Previous reviews have dissed the quality of the food - but we found the quality of both food and service to be excellent. Whenever there was an issue about a particular food item, it was removed and another menu item brought with no questions. The Splendor with it's 3,000 plus passengers appears to have spent all it's space on the cabins and not so much on size of its common areas. I have to give a big shout out to the quality of the entertainment. We had previous cruised with Carnival in September out of Baltimore and so had seen basically the same shows like Vroom. However, the singers and dancers of the Splendor had more energy than any others that I have seen. Had scare at Cabo with tendering and whether or not we would be able to visit port - but after maneuvering ship and tender sites several times we were able to off load ship. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
We arrived a day early (my husband being a pilot - we know about airlines & would never try to arrive the day of a cruise). We went to the Holiday Inn on the Stay & Cruise deal. The Holiday Inn was old & not extremely ... Read More
We arrived a day early (my husband being a pilot - we know about airlines & would never try to arrive the day of a cruise). We went to the Holiday Inn on the Stay & Cruise deal. The Holiday Inn was old & not extremely attractive. Even though the website said there was a free breakfast, they told us when we asked that there would be an additional charge if we wanted it. We knew we'd be on the ship early so just got something at Jack in the Box to hold us over. We left the car parked there & signed up to take the 10:30 shuttle to the ship. This went without incidence, but it was further than we'd thought over there. I was a Platinum member, so this was our first experience with VIP check-in, which was really nice. No wait at all to check-in, then just staying in a special room with other platinums waiting to board. They had pretty good lemonade available. I would recommend a TV screen with either pictures of places Carnival cruises or ships or something, even regular television as it was a little boring just waiting for an hour or so. They came & got us & told us it was time to get on the ship. What an awesome difference VIP is. We went right in, were the first to go through security & get on the ship. No wait whatsover. We went straight to the Lido deck to get lunch & it was great. About an hour or so later, we went to our room. The balcony was really amazing. We were in a corner room 6450 at the back of the ship on the port side. The balcony wrapped around the back & side of the ship. It was huge!!! The room was a different configuration, also. And even though the information said it was no bigger, it seemed larger than other balcony rooms because it was more triangular instead or rectangular. Our steward was OK, but not exceptional. Our waiter was good & our drink lady was even better. We hardly ever had to ask her to refill anything as she was always on top of things. We liked the maitre'D. I admit I have hardly ever even talked to one before as they were never very personable. But this one (sorry can't remember his name) came by to talk almost every night. He checked on how we liked things & arranged for creme' brulee to be made for several of us on an extra night. He was very friendly & concerned. The cruise director John Heald was hysterical. I really liked him. We have only liked one other cruise director almost as much. He could make anything funny & we laughed a lot on this ship. I guess he is going on another ship & if he does, he will make it a lot of fun. Our first port was Puerto Vallarta & we went ziplining. OK, no one ever told me that ziplining meant about 40 flights (I am not exagerating) of stairs. My sis in law (75) & myself (bad knees) had a tough time getting up to ride the lines down. The company was Los Veranos ziplining. This amount of climbing was really tough & since it was warm & humid, it was challenging.The people were very friendly & helpful, but we just were not prepared for that much physical exertion. The next day we went to Mazatlan. I had arranged for a tour off the ship & it was OK. I wouldn't really recommend it. The company was OK & the guy took us around the entire area. It was pretty seeing everything, but not outstanding. The last day was Cabo San Lucas. Cabo is beautiful. I had arranged for a 3 site snorkeling tour & a speed boat ride. This was pretty awesome. They took us to Lover's Beach where we were able to get off & see the Pacific Ocean & Sea of Cortez & take some pictures. They also took us to two other places to snorkel. The water was pretty & it was very nice. The tour was supposed to last a little longer than the ship leave time, but the tour company dropped us off on the dock making sure we got there in time. Well, as it turned out, we waited in line at least 45 minutes to get back onto the tender for the ship. I wonder why there is no "Platinum line" to return to the Cruiseship? When we got on the tender to go into Cabo, we did not have to wait at all, but had our own personal elevator to take us directly down to the tender. As we left Cabo, we sat out on the beautiful balcony & watched the view for a long time. Since I was platinum, one night they brought some great appetizers & another night, they brought petit fours. They also gave me a nice Carnival frame. It was nice to take advantage of the free laundry & go home with almost all of my clothes clean. I liked the Splendor. The food was OK, about the same as normal. Just enough to gain 6 or 7 pounds. I kind of wish they'd add a few different items or change things around a little more. Wish they would have King Crab Legs one night. Because one of our members gets bored on the sea days, I planned a mini-golf tourney & photo scavenger hunt. It was pretty fun & helped keep us all active & involved. There didn't seem as many activities during the sea days, but maybe they are getting old for me. Karaoke was BAD, BAD, BAD. The Russian girl hosting was so caught up in herself that she didn't try to give effective customer service. When people picked a song, she'd tell them she couldn't find it, and made them pick something else that she liked instead. She wanted to do only recent songs & some of the older people didn't care for the picks. She wouldn't let others sing, but would sing herself instead, then say there was no time for them. And the songs she would pick had foul language. If I want to hear "R" rated songs, I'll get them, but should not have to listen to those when I just go to relax & listen to others sing. She wore some really tacky & super tight clothes that showed her thong lines (black thong - under red dress - ewww)underneath then bragged about how some of the crew wanted to come to see her in this outfit. She didn't seem to have much of a sense of humor & really was not the one who should have been in that position. We love karaoke, but hated her! She ruined it for us. Our debarkation was great & quick. Because we were Platinum, we got to get off pretty quickly. We called the hotel to have the shuttle come get us. Well, they only had one shuttle & we had to wait almost two hours. After we'd waited that time, a few other people came & waited about an hour. When they saw the shuttle, they tried to push us off & jump on it first, but luckingly the driver had our names on the list for pickup. I would never do this again since Holiday Inn's shuttle was so unorganized & slow. They should rent or get another shuttle. It was a great trip, though & we did enjoy the Splendor. Didn't care about the decor, but wouldn't let it spoil my trip. Sometimes I think cruise ships are so caught up in "designer decor" that they think things are beautiful just because a certain person did it. Instead, they really should just go with the decor of "less is more". Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2010
Carnival Pride Dec 19- 26, 2010. Short review since others taking this same ship in the fall of 2010 present some good advice. First problem: ALWAYS ask your agent (or call Carnival) to tell you what is directly or almost directly ... Read More
Carnival Pride Dec 19- 26, 2010. Short review since others taking this same ship in the fall of 2010 present some good advice. First problem: ALWAYS ask your agent (or call Carnival) to tell you what is directly or almost directly above your cabin. Don't trust that the floor plans will reveal problems. We selected 8210 based on other reviews, but the first night, we were up and down and up and down with rumbles and thump-thump from above. Monday morning I paced off distances and discovered that 8210 is directly under the kitchen entrance for the Mermaid Grill on the 9th (Lido Deck) level. The Mermaid Grill is the major food service facility other than the sit-down dining room (The Normandie Room). It serves food from early (6 or 7 am) to late (10 pm) and then offers pizza all night! The thumping and rumbling above was the food service carts, dish carts, etc., crossing the threshold from the kitchen to the walking area. The walking area is tiled, with stone tiles, while the tables areas have carpeting. But keeping the walking areas clean would be impossible with carpeted floor. We asked for a change of rooms, but Carnival said, "have none." Tuesday, our second full day, they found us a room (5214) that was identical to 8210 but on Deck 5 rather than Deck 8. We moved ourselves in 15 minutes, and that solved the problem. One trial learning: Never, ever, book a room without knowing specifically what is above you! Second problem: we're Baltimore Ravens professional football fans. The BIG game that week was on Thursday, and Carnival noted on their daily Fun list (distributed to every cabin the day before) that the Ravens game would be on the TVs in the Casino and adjacent Sports Bar. We asked about room television but were told that it was only on the Casinos and Sports Bar televisions. But the only inside smoking areas are the Casino and Sports bar! To watch the game, we were trapped in the smoky Casino and Sports bar. We estimate that at least ¾ of the passengers on the ship didn't smoke. That is a common ratio for the USA today. Carnival forced anyone who wanted to watch the game to breathe the stinky air in the Casino or Sports bar. Be aware of this smoking area—it's really unpleasant and we stayed away from the Casino as much as possible, but if we wanted to watch the Ravens football game, we had to stay there. Not very thoughtful of Carnival. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2011
I live thirty minutes from Galveston so it was a simple matter to drive over on the morning of the 3rd. I was traveling with three friends and we arrived around 11AM. We always park at the EZ Cruise parking. By making reservations on-line ... Read More
I live thirty minutes from Galveston so it was a simple matter to drive over on the morning of the 3rd. I was traveling with three friends and we arrived around 11AM. We always park at the EZ Cruise parking. By making reservations on-line you can park for $35 for a five day cruise. The people at the parking lot are very helpful and we were taken without delay to the port. After checking our bags at the curb I was expecting to have a long wait in line to go through the security area and board the ship. On the two previous Ecstasy cruises embarkation was a long and tiring experience. It seems that the Port of Galveston must be listening to the complaints from cruise critic members because this time embarkation was handled very efficiently and in less than thirty minutes we were boarding the ship. CABIN: Our cabins were not ready so we went to the Lido deck for lunch. We were met with another pleasant surprise, the Mongolian Buffet. I have always thought that the Ecstasy had the best hamburgers but with the Mongolian Buffet they are now second place. Within an hour the cabins were ready and we went below to stow our baggage. The cabins haven't really changed and are still at best utilitarian. There is not really any place to comfortably sit except on the bed. The cabins are small but do have adequate closet and drawer space. The cabin attendant was very good and kept the ice bucket filled, plenty of clean towels, and the room in neat order at all times. DINING: I was in need of gaining a few pounds and found doing so to be very easy. The food in the buffet was edible but nothing spectacular. The main dining room was a very pleasant experience. The waiter was very good despite having a lot of tables. Each night the menu had entrees that were tasty and nicely presented. Two of our table mates ordered a complete Indian Dinner and were kind enough to share it. It was very good and I was impressed that Carnival was willing to prepare this as an off-menu item. Since I wasn't overly impressed with the buffet the grill on the Lido deck became my venue of choice for lunch. The Ecstasy still has the best hamburgers of any of the ships I sailed. They cook them on the grill as you wait and serve them hot. All in all I think the Ecstasy holds its own with other ships when it comes to food. OTHER: One of the nicest things that have been added to the Ecstasy in its last retrofit was the Serenity Deck. It isn't in the most convenient place but worth the effort to reach. The young lady who was the attendant was extremely nice and did an excellent job of enforcing the adults only rule. There were nice lounge chairs, two hot tubs, and an area that was shaded. The serenity deck became my favorite place to relax, read, and nap. Being just below the pizza preparation area, the nice aroma drifting down around noon always let you know it was getting close to noon. I also enjoyed the 3PM Tea Time on sea days, the pastries were delicious and the waiters were very attentive. ENTERTAINMENT: The shows in the main show room were nothing special. It may be because I had seen them before but after several years I did think that some changes would have been made. The show band was good but most of the singers and dancers were what one would expect at a high school musical production. DEBARKATION: Another pleasant surprise. In the past self-assist was a nightmare with a mad dash being made by passengers creating long waits. Carnival seems to have gotten a handle on this situation because this time when your deck was called the process was efficient and you got off the ship in a short time. Also clearing customs has also been made much more efficient. In less than thirty minutes from the time our deck was called we were at the curb and on our way to the parking lot. I hope this was not a one time event and that in the future embarkation and debarkation continues to be handled efficiently. CONCLUSION: Carnival is still the "party" group but for a quick get-away the four and five day cruises out of Galveston are a bargain as long as you don't drink too much. I took my first cruise on the Ecstasy some years ago and will always remember just how great I thought she was. In truth, the Ecstasy isn't nor never will be a ship with a lot of "wow" but she offers her travelers a cruise that is worth the money. Read Less
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