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914 Carnival Spring Break Cruise Reviews

First of all, huge kudos to Carnival for taking very good care of us in these crazy times. They started by giving us a generous OBC per cabin (we had 2 with the kids in a connected room) the Friday before our cruise left on Sunday. It was ... Read More
First of all, huge kudos to Carnival for taking very good care of us in these crazy times. They started by giving us a generous OBC per cabin (we had 2 with the kids in a connected room) the Friday before our cruise left on Sunday. It was for staying on the cruise, but we had to cancel 3 days before. So, we were excited about the OBC. They switched out St. Lucia ahead of time since St. Lucia did not have their covid-19 rules in place, so that we had port that would accept us instead of learning the day of that we could not dock. We made all our ports and only had a challenge when ready to disembark in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico had added new rules, while we were gone, that would require we quarantine in the ocean for few days and other rules (but full details were not given). Carnival got clearance in Miami, though some concern that the clearance may be removed before we got there. They opened up the phones and internet and helped us get through to American Airlines. Also, kudos to American for getting us on a flight from Miami instead. Rescheduling flights for 4 people from a cruise ship is not easy, but everyone helped out. The sail to Miami gave us 2.5 extra days on the ship where additional days and service charges were complementary. Carnival also provided airport transfer in Miami complementary. I’m sure they were eager to cut ties with us after the extra 2.5 days, but they kept up spirits and service level. Now a little bit about us, we are a 40-something couple traveling for Spring Break with two sons, 11 and 14, traveling in 2 connected rooms -- oceanview cabins. This was the 14th cruise for the adults, and 3rd and 4th for the kids. Embarkation: This was a rougher embarkation. We originally just wanted to drop off our luggage early, and had read this was possible, and then go back and explore Old San Juan more. We had tired of hauling luggage around. By the time we found someone taking it, they said they were full and told us to go to another line, which was regular check in, ahead of our scheduled arrival time. There was a health survey – our way of life had not been too disrupted when we left on March 8th but got very tough while we were away – asking if we had visited countries noted by the State Dept as do not travel to due to Covid-19 or if we had been around any sick people in the last 14 days. Then check in with our paperwork and passports was fast. Then they took our temperatures before we entered the security lines. Security line was long and slow. Security tossed 2 out of 4 empty water bottles – grr – we need them for ports and the airplane back! This really annoyed me and left me with a sour start to the cruise. Though I believe the security employees are San Juan’s not Carnival’s. After security was a long wait to board in three lines that they were slowly taking a few people from each. Our boarding experience on Carnival in Miami was much, much better and in Galveston much better. After boarding, 3 out of 4 of us enjoyed our first delicious Guy’s burger, and husband enjoyed some buffet samplings. They warned us on embarkation about no self-serve in the buffet. We appreciated the care to keep everyone onboard healthy (which was successful, to our knowledge), but it is harder to try just a little of several things. We were served larger portions then we would take for ourselves. We planned to get some soda for our rooms before boarding (and even promised the kids, who do not normally get soda), but after getting through the boarding process, we decided it was too much trouble to get back off. They were selling, I believe, 6 tall cans packs (not in a box) in the terminal before security. I had read beforehand that Puerto Rico had 8 pack cans instead of 12 pack cans in boxes, so maybe this was 8, but thinking less. When rooms were available at 1:30, we rested a bit after our overnight flight to San Juan from DFW. After I did not fall asleep, I checked for luggage, and it had been delivered. So, I started unpacking in the kids room until husband got up. Best muster drill of any of our previous cruises. Normally painfully long on our previous Carnival cruises, but it quicker – we were in the Theater – and our host with the mic was funny. Dining: We had your time dining, which is in the Sensation Main Dining Room, and went each evening (early) as a family of 4. Good service and food that was pretty quick. Lois from Peru was awesome. We would normally get a kid’s menu and regular and let the kids pick which to order from. Some of our favorites or not so favorites: - Mac and Cheese side – kids and my favorite - Port of call fish the first night (San Juan) was not husband’s favorite. - Oldest son who does not eat too much meat tried the vegetarian Indian dish – which was huge – and was not a fan. Husband was and ate some and had it a couple of other nights. - Braised brisket the first night was very good! With our extra nights, it was offered again where it was still good but not as good. - Caesar salad -- is a favorite of the kids and me (though I like NCL’s better). - Fried oysters – husband loved - Prime rib – very good - Tiramisu – favorite, melting cake and Crème Brule – always favorites - Hazelnut cake – so good with delicious chocolate sauce - Lasagna – one kid like and the other did not We also enjoyed breakfast in the Main Dining room several mornings. Normally, slower than dinner, but good. The broken egg sandwich was a new one for me, and myself and youngest enjoyed it. I also had the Deli a few times, and it was always good. I was also able to get the dark chocolate sea salt cookies that I could not get on our last cruise. They were good. I had the ham and cheese panini a couple of time and the special of the day once, which was either a teriyaki beef or chicken, I think beef. It was good. And, of course, we had more Guy’s burgers, some Blue Iguana tacos, and some more buffet. The Continental buffet for breakfast, also in the Buffet, was not too crowded and worked. At the beginning of the cruise, I toasted my own bagel, but later they figured out pre-toasting them and bread/toast worked better. It did; however, the challenge was that the cream cheese was not beside the bagels but in one of the two main buffet lines (mostly in one but moved around). Again, Carnival excelled at cakes with the best chocolate icing. We also enjoyed the Alchemy Bar a couple of times – I like the Deal Closer. Husband had the martini flight that was good. We visited the candy store – very good, but challenging without self-serve, trying to explain how many of each weighed item that you want. Entertainment: Better TV than we have come to expect. They had Cartoon Network and Nick for the kids and HGTV with a guide channel. Also, the remote was one piece, easy to sanitize between guests, instead of individual little buttons. We all enjoyed the comedians. Four were expected, but with the virus, the original 2 was stuck with us the full time and the 2 new ones could not get on. Cole was our favorite. Our youngest got up on stage with the assistant cruise director to each tell a joke. He won a big lollipop from the candy store and a ship on a stick. He was excited. The kids enjoyed putt-putt, though very windy at the top, front while the ship was moving. Without a promenade deck on this ship (that was missed), we walked the walking trail around the putt-putt after dinner. That was very windy too, but the star viewing was nice. We also enjoyed trivia and a game of trivial pursuit. Our youngest noted that they should have a video game trivia, and few days later, they did. Though we told him not to get his hopes too high because some questions will probably games from before he was born. He knew some. We missed the Harry Potter trivia for our oldest. Husband won the food and drink trivia. Disembarkation: The planned Puerto Rico arrival time was 7:30am, Sunday; when we did not see land outside around 7am, hum set in. We watched the location on the TV – circling. The first announcement was about 8:30 when we were at breakfast; Puerto Rico added new rules that cruise ship had to comply to before docking (since the week before). The Captain and team would follow up with an update in about an hour. When they came back, one rule was quarantining at sea for a few days before docking. So, the new plan was to sail to Miami where clearance was currently granted. A request by the Captain to allow Puerto Rican citizens to disembark was denied, which seems crazy because they are going to fly home after getting to Miami anyway. This update noted a Tuesday morning arrival. Later announcement of opening the satellite phone lines and wi-fi for travel re-arrangements and letting family know. We were not getting through to the airlines to change our flights. Our original flight from SJU was early Tuesday morning, so we expected to fly on the same day. Husband was not sure that he was doing the call correctly – there was a button on the room phone and a code to get out that they gave in to the announcements. We assumed these did the same thing, but being not sure, I called the Service Desk to ask, noting not getting through. She asked the airline and offered to try and connect me if she got through. Since Tuesday morning was the time frame, we got a 3:30 pm flight. Right after I got it changed, I found a note outside saying Tuesday noon arrival and then cruise director staff recommended a 7pm or later flight – doh! On the last night, we saw a lull in the normally very long Service Desk line and asked if they had an earlier disembarkation for those that did not know until later not to book as early of a flight. After asking someone else, they said to just getting off with the first group. When we did, they questioned us, asked flight time, and let us go. The ship arrived about 11am instead. So, though initially concerned, but we had plenty of time. We arrived in Miami an hour earlier than announced. It was good to see a familiar skyline approaching (from a cruise the Nov before). Oh, no, there were lots of police outside; that is concerning. Still not knowing for sure if we would be allowed to get off or under what circumstances. Then someone was brought off the ship in handcuffs and one more escorted off by police. After that, the police presence dropped some. Then we saw our comedian and others on the entertain team disembark – good sign. Then fairly quiet for a while with only trickles of people in the disembarkation ramp to the terminal. We were port side with a great view of the disembarkation proceedings. Then later a better stream of people on the disembarkation ramp, but no announcements or decks called yet. So, we decided to check and were permitted to disembark with a higher deck going then. In the terminal, the process was normal – escalators or wait for an elevator up, through passport control/friendly gentleman, and outside Carnival directed us to the complementary airport shuttles. When at customer service the night before, I noticed custom forms, asked if we needed it, told yes, and filled it out. At passport control, he had not interest in it. We are glad that we got to take a Spring Break cruise with the kids and glad our ship stayed healthy, not taking or picking up the virus from the islands we visited, and still healthy. The world became scary while we were gone. Prayers for nurses, doctors, and first responders; they are working hard now! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Of the seven cruises this was the worst, no recognition for past cruisers in captain party. No update on current carnival status. Just two free bottles of water. Went to dinner in at our time 8:15 was so turned off by staff. Food was ... Read More
Of the seven cruises this was the worst, no recognition for past cruisers in captain party. No update on current carnival status. Just two free bottles of water. Went to dinner in at our time 8:15 was so turned off by staff. Food was terrible, staff was rude. We ate rest of time I On Alito deck same food each day. Yuck. Bartender in lobby bar was rude and down right ugly to me and several other customers. Didn't like working cause Costa Maya port cancellation due to weather. No corvid19 testing or checking just health form. Only good things cabin steward were excellation and very personal. Activities director Juana from buffalo by. Was one of the best we seen. Shows were not of carnival ranking we have been on before. Why were we not inform of covid19 at cozemel prior to the cruise. 1st case was found in Mexico city on 28 Feb our cruise date was 2-7 mar. Several crew demonstrated very rude and disrespectful attitudes to us and other people. Ship needs a complete cleaning. Rust on outside in several emergency boat launchers and noticed on ship in a lot of places. Our first cruise was on the non smoking ship paradise. That was in 2001. Back then carnival gave little pins with the ship name on them. That was a cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We are a family of four from Montreal, Canada, who cruise extensively. We have 9 previous cruises with Carnival, 22 overall. This trip was supposed to be husband, wife, and son only, but my daughter’s school trip to Europe was cancelled ... Read More
We are a family of four from Montreal, Canada, who cruise extensively. We have 9 previous cruises with Carnival, 22 overall. This trip was supposed to be husband, wife, and son only, but my daughter’s school trip to Europe was cancelled at the very last minute due to “the virus that shall not be named”, so we had to scramble to book her to travel with us. We got absolutely killed on airfare, but Carnival (kudos to them) were very reasonable about changing our booking from a triple to a quad cabin. The fourth passenger’s fare was only slightly more than my son’s, and we upgraded from a porthole to a large outside cabin. Good on them. EMBARKATION: We had Faster to the Fun, so we basically walked onboard at 11am. No delays whatsoever. There is one major flaw to this system, however: there is no counter stop in the boarding process anymore to attach our credit card to the ship-board account. The result was: charges were being declined soon after we sailed. The lineup at guest services was an hour long, with everyone trying to fix this issue. One employee in the terminal could have saved many passengers a lot of trouble: “Is your credit card attached to your account? No? Over here, please.” Faster to the Fun allowed me to skip the line and use the Platinum/Diamond line, so that alone was worth the cost. Waited 10 minutes max and credit was established. Our cabin was ready right away, and keycards were in the mailbox, but no luggage was to be seen. It was supposed to be there already, due to FTTF. Luggage arrived later, after Muster drill. CABIN: We had a large outside cabin, which featured two bathrooms, but only one toilet. Cabin was initially very clean, and we only had it made up once a day, so everything was as expected. TV remote didn’t work properly all cruise. We showed it to our steward, but it decided to work whenever we showed it to him. Then malfunction later on. There was only one news channel, and the news was looped and cut for time. I did manage to locate an audio output on the back of the tv to connect headphones (great for watching TV and not disturbing others who might be sleeping). The fridge worked, sort of…. I propped the cabinet door open but the fridge didn’t work any better. Mattresses on the beds were old, lumpy and uncomfortable. FOOD: This is very subjective, but this was our 9th cruise with Carnival over the years, and every passing year the quality seems to decline, particularly at the Lido lunch buffet. There were perhaps four meat choices, including one carvery choice. Carnival “used to” have the best lunch options at sea, remembering back to our cruises on Dream and Freedom. Not any more. Guy’s Burgers was ok… I found it a bit dry. Mongolian Wok was excellent, as usual. We also ate at the Seafood Shack (snow crab), Italian restaurant and steakhouse, all of which were excellent. We had Your Time Dining, and because we ate late (8:30-9pm) we never had to wait for a table. In fact, the room was nearly empty. The dining room menu had the usual hit-or-miss fare. Prime rib, filet mignon and lobster were good, most chicken dishes were dry/overcooked/kept warm, and the rest was so uninspired I have already forgotten it. Service teams ran the gamut from excellent to downright surly. Room service took about 30 minutes, and the food was ok, I expected better since there is a charge per item now. My wife was looking forward to the dessert offerings and was generally disappointed. She found the cakes lacked sweetness. One night in the Bliss dining room, the accent lighting was blue, which made the food on our plates look absolutely disgusting. Fix this, Carnival! No blue lighting in the dining room. I also found that many Lido buffet servers just stood around, until elbowed by a supervisor to wake up – customer is waiting…. Also, food counter closing times, as announced in the Fun Times, seemed very arbitrary. Some counters closed on time, others were kept open late. No way of knowing in advance. DRINKS AND BAR SERVICE: Drinks were consistently mixed and had a decent amount of alcohol. Service was good, with one exception: during one comedy show in the Limelight Lounge, the floor waiters were short-staffed, and the second waitress (Alejandra, in her infinite wisdom) decided to follow the same route as the other waitress, leaving half the room un-served. I actually got up and asked her to serve our side of the room, but she ignored me. I know she heard me. No drinks were sold in our half of the room that night, and many were not happy. Profits lost, Carnival! Train your staff! ENTERTAINMENT: Cruise director was very good at his job, keeping everyone entertained. Production shows were spotty: some singers were excellent, some were WAY off pitch, and no falsetto voice for the Michael Jackson songs??? Special effects and lighting were very good. Soundtrack was pre-recorded. One thing of note: This ship had the most clueless, abysmal DJs of any ship I have ever been on. The same 12 songs played over and over again. AC-DC and Rob Base seemed to rule, with Run DMC (It’s Tricky) thrown in ad nauseum. The 80’s party had the absolute worst song choices…. and Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock (It Takes Two To Play This Song So Much – and there were indeed TWO most awful DJs on this cruise) cleared the dance floor completely. Good job, Mr. DJ! (perhaps you should stick to reggae… just sayin’). On a positive note, the Quest show was hilarious, and the comedians were mostly very good (again, subjective). Some very ill-bred passengers, of which there were many on this sailing, kept a screaming baby in the lounge for the entire comedy show, and a fistfight almost broke out after the show. Some people have no class whatsoever. Take your child and step outside…. PLEASE! The comedian kept his composure throughout the distraction, to his immense credit. No staff member did step in, though. Afraid… I guess. One piece of advice for those wanting to attend the comedy shows: get there 45 minutes early or you will have to stand. DEBARKATION: An absolute cluster-(you know what) with people blocking the way with later assigned times, waiting to jump first in line. No staff to guide us. Elevators jammed. People exited elevators and jumped a very long line. So we waited an eternity. Once past the card scan, we flowed smoothly, and were outside in minutes with our luggage. CONCLUSION: The itinerary was very good if you like nice beaches. This was a very ordinary cruise, where the only things that truly stood out cost extra. Food was a complete disappointment. We will try another line for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
My wife and I sailed on the Carnival Panorama on Feb 29th –Mar 7/8th (I will explain more on that later). We are experienced mass market cruisers having sailed on Carnival, Princess, Holland America, Norwegian, Celebrity and Royal ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on the Carnival Panorama on Feb 29th –Mar 7/8th (I will explain more on that later). We are experienced mass market cruisers having sailed on Carnival, Princess, Holland America, Norwegian, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean previously. This was our 28th cruise. We are senior citizens. Those of you who have read my reviews before know that I might be politely described as picky. I can’t help it. I was born with the glass half empty gene. I know this is not a good way to go through life and I have tried to change, believe me, but I am stuck with my perfectionistic attention to detail. I try to counter this by bending over backwards to give the benefit of the doubt and see things from the other point of view. I usually fail. However, I am balanced by my wife who has a Mary Poppins optimism and sees the good in everything, even me. My wife and I do like cruises for the same reasons. We love being on the ship and enjoy the relaxation and variety of entertainment that it offers. We don’t care where it goes, as the ship is our destination. Since we live near the west coast, the majority of our cruises have been either to Mexico or Alaska. We don’t even get off at the ports in Mexico any more. We shop for bargains and typically cruise during the off season. The things that are important to me in choosing a cruise ship are food, stateroom, entertainment, service, general ambience and activities – pretty much in that order. That being said, the Panorama appealed to me because of two things. 1) It had a trampoline park on board ship – the first and only ship to do so. 2) It had a category of ocean view rooms that had 2 bathrooms or technically, a bath and a half. The half bath had no toilet and smaller square footage but it had its own sink and a 2/3 size bathtub (but deep) and shower combination. The full sized bathroom with a toilet had a standard shower. The last time I was on a trampoline I was 16 years old, 5’8” tall and weighed 135 lbs (maybe). I had fond memories of how much fun I had doing all kinds of gymnastic tricks on the trampoline: twists, flips, every manner of trick. The trampoline and I were one. Everything came natural to me. I looked forward to impressing my wife with my emergence from the couch potato she knows me as into an acrobatic marvel. The fact that I am now 73 years old, have shrunk about 2 inches and gained 85 lbs., not withstanding. As I started my warm up jumping, I noticed that the trampoline and I were no longer one. The bouncing felt awkward and alien to me. I tried a simple knee drop and was unable to bounce back up to my feet – and it hurt my knees and ankles. I bounced some more, I tried a seat drop and landed awkwardly to my right side and fell onto my right arm and shoulder. When I tried to get back up, I found I could no longer use my right arm to push myself back up and had to rely on my left (I am right handed). That ended my trampoline session. My wife, however, was impressed - WITH THE DEPTH OF MY STUPIDITY! For the rest of the cruise, I came to be known as Lefty as I was unable to raise my right arm very far and could not lift with it. But enough about me, onward with the ship. FOOD – A The food in the MDR was great. Not just good – great. I have cruised Carnival before. I am pretty much a meat and potatoes kind of guy. My favorite foods are steak, hamburgers and hot dogs and pizza and any kind of potato. I have the taste of your average 9 year old. According to my wife, also the mentality. The buffet had average buffet food. No better or worse than you receive on any other mass market cruise ship. On some Norwegian ships (not all), Celebrity and Royal Caribbean ships, I have experienced better than average buffets. Although the buffet on the Panorama was often crowded, never had a problem finding a table/seat. One below average thing about the buffet was limited variety of offerings. Much more limited than most ships. Back to the MDR. Since I tend to order meat and potatoes, I often order that flat iron steak which is on the always available portion of Carnival’s MDR dinner menu. In the past, this has been an okay experience but not memorable. The first night on board I ordered it for dinner. It was amazing. More tender than usual but bursting with flavor. It was all good. Never had a bad dinner in the MDR the whole trip. Guy’s Pig &Anchor charged extra for dinner but served complimentary lunch on sea days. The problem was on sea days the was a very long line to stand in before you ever get to the food. Lines tended to be the norm for lots of things. I don’t do lines well. Rather skip the venue than wait in line so we did not eat at Guy’s Pig and Anchor. JJ’s Asian and Cucina Capitan, both extra dollar restaurants, also provided free limited lunch items. We never ate at JJs but did the Cucina for lunch one day. Quite good. Of course, there was Guy’s burgers and the Blue Iguana (Mexican food) with lines for each. On occasion, when there was a short line, I had a Guy’s burger. I know I am going to sound like a heretic, as everyone raves about Guy’s burgers and fries. The burgers are good but not fantastic, IMHO, and I do not like the way the fries are seasoned. I would rather have regular French fries. I find the burgers and fries at Holland America’s Dive In to be far superior. For one thing, they are cooked to order. Second to the Dive In, I favor the burgers available at O’Sheehan’s or the Local (depending upon what ship you are on), the 24 hour dining venue on Norwegian’s line. To each his own. Pizza was good but not my favorite, but again, everyone has their own pizza preference. I think Carnival aims for the middle of the pack, which makes sense. STATEROOM – A+ We had the deluxe ocean view stateroom with the one and a half baths. The luxury of having essentially two separate bathrooms so two people can get ready at the same time cannot be overstated. Did not know what I was missing, but any Carnival cruises I would take in the future would have to be on a Vista class ship that offers this type of stateroom. Much rather have the extra bathroom than a balcony. Nice TV that offered only a few channels and a few free movies. Comfortable bed, adequate storage. Thermostat worked great. I like it cold and lots of times I cannot get it cold enough to sleep. My wife, needless to say likes it warm. Our compromise is she can have it warm during the day and I get it cold at night. Thermostat worked great for both of us. ENTERTAINMENT – B Musicians, singers and dancers were all A to A+. The reason for the B grade was the venue. The main theater, known as the Liquid Lounge, is a hideous monstrosity of a venue. On the main level, the chairs which are not theater type chairs but regular sitting chairs quickly become uncomfortable after 10-15 minutes of sitting on them. The floor is flat and does not slant upwards so the chairs are all on one level. The farther back you are from the first row, the greater your chance of not being able to see what is going on because you are blocked by either one of the people in front of you or a pillar. Sight lines are awful. If you want to see a main room show, better get there an hour before, even though doors don’t open until a half hour before, as there will be a very l-o-n-g line. SERVICE – A+ Every crew member was attentive, friendly, warm and greeted us with a smile despite the onerous duties of their jobs. From our room steward to our dining room servers to the cruise director – just everyone we encountered were above and beyond. I admire and have utmost respect for those crew members. I could never be like that but their attitudes just made the whole cruise that much better. GENERAL AMBIENCE AND ACTIVITIES - A The general ambience of the ship appealed to me. It was nicely decorated and had lots of organic wood and earth tones. It was incredibly clean but it is also Carnival’s newest ship, just put into service in November and this is its inaugural season. Activities rate an A+. The top deck which has the water park, slides, sky obstacle course, sky pedal ride, pool tables, club house, miniature golf, outdoor exercise machines – too much to list, really is incredible. The elevators take a little getting used to, You push the floor on a touch screen outside the elevator banks – not buttons in the elevator itself. Then the touch screen tells you which letter elevator gets assigned to that floor. Sometimes you can wait quite a while for your elevator and it might be packed at peak times, but most of the time it worked okay. Embarkation was relatively easy. We were supposed to disembark on March 7th. We put our luggage out the night before and had our carry-ons with us ready to go that morning. It was announced that disembarkation would be delayed as customs would not clear the ship and the cruise line could do nothing about it, Apparently, there was a woman who had taken ill but clearly had a non-COVID condition. Nonetheless, customs wanted to do a thorough screening before the cleared the ship for disembarkation. Carnival knew what was going on with the passenger and was confident that she would be deemed to not have a condition that was virus related. Being that everyone is hyper vigilant with what is happening these days, customs (I think with CDC input) decided she should be transported to a local hospital and tested. We were advised it would take 6 hours for the test results to come back. At that point, it was pretty clear that we were on the ship until nightfall and probably overnight. Carnival was great about it. They opened up all the restaurants, gave us free wifi, made the pay movies on TV free, put together an entertainment schedule with the entertainment staff and did everything they could to keep us happy, fed and entertained. Hats off to the crew of the Carnival Panorama. Could not have been more accommodating and all with smiles on their faces even though they were under the most pressure of any of us. They also had to deal with the people on shore who were supposed to board for their cruise but could not as we were still on the ship. I could almost hear those poor people yelling as the buffet opened up again –“ Hey, hey – that’s our food. They’re eating our food. I paid for that food.” As it turned out, the results of the testing came back negative, just as anticipated but at that point we were well into the evening and had to stay overnight on the ship until the next day when we disembarked. Such are the risks of cruising in the current climate. The cruise itself was terrific and I would do it again. My only objection was that there were lines for almost everything and I hate lines. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Mid winter 50 TH birthday cruise on the Carnival Elation, Some good, some bad and some real ugly. For the record this was my families 8 TH Carnival Cruise since 2013 and our 12 TH cruise overall. This ship is in desperate need of the dry ... Read More
Mid winter 50 TH birthday cruise on the Carnival Elation, Some good, some bad and some real ugly. For the record this was my families 8 TH Carnival Cruise since 2013 and our 12 TH cruise overall. This ship is in desperate need of the dry dock scheduled for next month. I was surprised on how much rust was on the exterior of this ship but not all was bad. We had two rooms E-52 & E-56 and also we were with of group of 38 people in 14 different room, all of which I helped to book, all good friends on mid winter recess from New York State.This was the third cruise in three years that I've help book over 10 + rooms for our Mid Winter recess in February. We will start with the Good: The food, from the MDR (breakfast, dinner & sea day brunch) to Guy's Burgers as well as the Blue Iguana you can't go wrong. The Cruise Director Alex, outstanding job, He is full of energy. The Cowboy Comedian at Punchlines Comedy Club, one of the best I've seen !! Book him long term on all your ships !! The Cabin Stewards, absolute great job once they realized we were upgraded to there block of rooms that they were taken care of. The Itinerary, 5 night with port of calls to Amber Cove & Grand Turks. The Bad: The smaller size boat with less bells & whistles. Not having any additional for charge restaurant options on the cruise. (no steakhouse) Guest Services, no real managers, just a bunch of folks reading what the last representative wrote on the computer screen from previous visits to the guest service desk. Much smaller shopping area. Terribly small Serenity deck that had black soot from the smoke stake dropping on guest utilizing this area. The smell of sewer in hallways on all different decks during the 5 night cruise. The Ugly: The super strong smell of sewer that kept backing up into our stateroom cabin bath room vent and drains. This started right after the mustard drill and got progressively worse. We called and they sent a guest service representative to see for herself, she almost got sick. They said they would send someone to sanitize the bathroom and a plummer to hopefully fix the problem. Day number two this smell got even worse, Went to the guest service desk to complain and they said they will try to fix the problem again and I said that I would like there rooms manger to please come and see for him or herself. Then then admitted that this has been an ongoing problem with this room E-52 and wouldn't be able to fix this until it was in dry dock. They would need to move us to a lower floor, only room available was on the Riviera deck and give us a $200 we are sorry for the bad experience in on board nonrefundable credit. Which we were OK with but it meant leaving our 17 year old son and 18 year old nephew alone three floors up. We trust them so we accepted the move to the Riviera deck R-195 and to be away from that horrid smell. Next comes the ugly, the next day a different customer service representative called to ask if we were satisfied with the way things were handled, We told them that we are still upset and that we do not see the on board credit to our account.The women who was speaking to my wife on the cabin phone stated that it wasn't Carnival's policy to move rooms and give on board money credit, she told my wife that she must be making this all up. My wife was livid being basically called a lair by this representative. We have now wasted over 4 hours dealing with this situation and moving rooms. When it was all said and done we were given the on board credit because the manger who was helping us failed to write this up correctly on there guest services computer. No apologies were offered by the representative for her bad choice of not being a not so good guest relations employee by saying my wife was wrong. If they would've communicated correctly they could've avoided making a bad situation even worse. I felt we were very reasonable and just wanted to be dealt with professionally. I hope someone from cooperate Carnival reaches out to us, I would like them to explain why my family should be loyal to the Brand and someday Cruise a 9 Th time on one of there ships. With so many cruise lines, I'm not sure I will be back without a proper apology from someone from the corporate staff. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We got this cruise for free and loved every second of it! The ship has so much to do, we never had the opportunity to be bored and we loved it. Our favorite things were the entertainment, the customer service, and the ports and shore ... Read More
We got this cruise for free and loved every second of it! The ship has so much to do, we never had the opportunity to be bored and we loved it. Our favorite things were the entertainment, the customer service, and the ports and shore excursions. I wasn't incredibly impressed with the ship and the staterooms. I felt that it was outdated and a little dirty, especially our rooms, left like I was stuck in a cheap tacky casino in Las Vegas. The activities and wonderful customer service definitely made everything better. We loved our excursions,due to bad weather we had to cancel one of our port days and the crew members were so good to make our experience wonderful and enjoyable and quickly changed the plans so that we could get to a location with better weather that we could stop and spend the next day at. Some of our favorite crew members were our steward, Akhmad, our waitress Pat, and our waiter Charlie. We went home and talked about Akhmad for days, we absolutely loved him and felt like we were so well taken care of by him. He made sure to call us by name every time he saw us. Every crew member that we came into contact with was incredible and made our trip so enjoyable. We were not impressed with the food either, the waiters and waitresses went above and beyond but the food, was Golden Corral worthy, even in the dining rooms. The only food that I truly enjoyed was the Burgers from Guys Burger Joint, the Tacos from Blue Iguana, the Pizza, and of course the free Ice Cream. I don't know if this is a normal thing for cruises but by day 4 I was completely done with all of the drunk people. Everyone was incredibly obnoxious and began to ruin our cruise, this ship was for sure a party cruise, full of loud music, lots of drinking and drunk people, if you are into that, this is your cruise! Overall had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I have been on several cruises before... always on Disney, so naturally the bar was set extremely high. The reason I was on this particular cruise was because it was gifted to me by my mom. I had read alot of review about the carnival ... Read More
I have been on several cruises before... always on Disney, so naturally the bar was set extremely high. The reason I was on this particular cruise was because it was gifted to me by my mom. I had read alot of review about the carnival imagination before I embarked (on this site in particular) there were alot of reviews in which people's complaints were things I was not bothered by, there were also many things that I was bothered by that many people have not mentioned. I'll start with the good and end with the bad. The good: the embarkment process was super fast, and easy, faster and alot less complicated than Disney. One thing that I noticed other people were complaining about was the smoking... honestly I didn't mind it...I actually liked it...not because I am a smoker, because, well I am not. However what I liked about it was that the cruise did not solely cater to kids. Their smoking policy encompassed this perfect. There were many areas to smoke that was not just on deck but also inside. Speaking onto their dissregard for kids. That was probably the thing I liked, actually loved most about this cruise. Which is funny because it is what most of the reviews ranted about. Anyways, I don't like kids...I am a child free person who really dose not like kids or their parents they are rude and self absorbed. (To further prove this...there was actually a used dipper on one if the elevator button boxes that a parent had just left there) as I was saying, as much as I LOVE the Disney cruise it is very catered to kids. The carnival was not, they had many casinos, bars, smoking areas, nightclubs, 21+ comedy shows and even an area just for adults with hot tubs. I loved Catalina island the water is clear and the island was beyond expectations. There was quite a few events to keep us busy. The buffet was above average, I loved how they had the cakes cut and served to you by staff (so the kids were not getting their hands all in it) the comedy shows 21+ were above expectation and both comedians should be famous honestly. It was not too packed either. Beds were comfy as hell, state room was clean, and there was alot of good movies available. The bad: I wish we had stayed at Catalina the whole time...if you want to see Catilina this is a good way to do it. There is alot to do snorkeling, parisailing, scuba, and the water was crystal clear. That island was amazing. However ensanada is not much it is polluted, gross, and really is not much more than Tijuana. Your tours consist of getting drunk, fat, or both. On many cruises such as Disney they employ staff from all over the world. It provides a really fun and beat experience. However on carnival unlike Disney many of these staff members barely spoke English. The sit down dinners were a constant battle of guessing games. It would not bother me as much however the staff was rude about it and would get frustrated with you even though they were the ones who did not understand you. More about the sit down dining. I have been to many upscale restaurants and whatever that was is far from "upscale" if you have not had a 5 star dining experience you may be fooled, however. Many of the dinners were nasty and tasted like airplaine food. The chef mixed alot of wierd ingredients in an attempt to be fancy however they kept coming out as nasty concoctions. Besides the food, the "fancy" experience was ruined by the fact that every 5 seconds they needed your stateroom card, and we're constantly trying to sell you stuff. Also of you get the "bottomless bubbles" package (free drinks for your Cruise) you still end up paying a tax....leading into my next subjects. I don't know if you have ever flew with spirit airlines, however if you have you know about their bare minimum experience followed up with alot of "nickeling and dimeing you" (extra charges) one of the things I absolutely loved about the Disney cruise was that everything was free.... everything. However on the carnival many of the restaurants cost money, drinks cost money unless a package is purchased....your ticket may cost 200$ but by the time you spend the money to have a half decent experience you will be 500$ in easy. The pool is way too shallow. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
End of year cruise to beautiful South Pacific. Mixed bag of thoughts for this ship. Pros; Embarkation & disembarkation was very good, 130pm & 8am respectively. Excursions to Isle of Pines were very expensive, $130 to Marine ... Read More
End of year cruise to beautiful South Pacific. Mixed bag of thoughts for this ship. Pros; Embarkation & disembarkation was very good, 130pm & 8am respectively. Excursions to Isle of Pines were very expensive, $130 to Marine Reserve. Decor throughout ship was very good although the low ceiling give a closed in feel. Dining in Black Pearl My Time was done efficiently by Maitre D, singing & dancing by staff was very enjoyable usualy done when main course is finished, staff as usual very attentive. The entertainment in Gold Pearl was annoying we only fished 1 course & it was karaoke time. Breakfast i enjoyed, dinner was ok but no sauces with the mains ? Mongolian Wok was the best service in the Lido, be prepared to wait or get there at opening. Overall food choices about 50/50. Cruise Director Lee done a very good job, he conducted a service for Military Service personnel was very moving indeed. Movies on deck9 were block busters to entertain the younger audience. Islands are great, Isle of Pines & Lifou beautiful, water is pristene aqua blue, probably best islands in world for visit. Guest Services very helpful but in a noisy area with entertainment on a stage close by. Cons; many, where do i start. My wife disembarked with pneumonia coming down sick on the last night reported to Carnival next day when hospital diagnosed. No wishy washy when entering eating areas, entirley optional, enforcing of public health was non existent. Entertainment in the Spectacular theatre was ordinary, no orchestra all pre recorded, no standouts here, usual Piano Man, Rock the 80s etc. Around the ship were usual violins, guitars & piano man all varying but then thats a personal choice. . Gym was small, three times I went to the floor space for stretching etc. & was told to leave each time as the gym guy has no office to interview clients & uses the space for his purpose. Plenty of kids onboard as it is a family oriented ship; the water slide is new installed in Singapore a few weeks ago, the arcade games are a pay for use. No alcohol allowed onboard at embarkation, the website says yes but i was told it must be a Carnival US website that says so. Beer $8 wine around $35-45 bottle. Overall it is a family oriented ship offering plenty of things for kids, I am 72yo & would not bother with Car Splendour again, very poor overall with some very good points like service by crew. Public health is a number 1 with anyone & it is lacking big time here. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We are a late 30s couple and have just returned from the 4 night Halloween sailing. We have only sailed Celebrity ships but had an idea of the Carnival atmosphere, so we weren't overly surprised with the differences. We tried our best ... Read More
We are a late 30s couple and have just returned from the 4 night Halloween sailing. We have only sailed Celebrity ships but had an idea of the Carnival atmosphere, so we weren't overly surprised with the differences. We tried our best to go into the vacation with an open mind and were determined to make the best of any situation. Embarkment was quick and easy. We arrived around 11 and walked right on the ship. The sea cards were in the cabins but we could order drinks right away with our printed boarding passes. We had a mid-balcony cabin on the 8th deck. Service was okay. No turndown service. Steward was very nice. The rooms could use a good deep clean. Lots of dust. Otherwise, it was pretty comparable to a room on any older ship. Towel animals were a nice touch. The buffet was above us so I expected it to be loud, but other than a couple instances of chairs moving around, it wasn't bad. On the first port day, I was going to go out on the balcony and there was a huge pile of balcony chairs and tables sitting there from other balconies. So odd. Apparently, they had to do maintence but didn't tell us? The next day, we were woken up to banging around on our balcony. I open the curtain and there was a room steward. They should take care of the balconies as they clean the room. Good thing our blinds were closed. Very strange, indeed. The balcony window was super gross. My husband mentioned that someone kept spitting from a deck above and it was landing on the window. Not the fault of the staff but a quick clean would have been appreciated. The food was hit or miss. We did have a great experience with the staff in the Silver at the 8:15 timeslot. All 3 of our servers were great. We danced with them during their little show, which was fun and definitely not something you would find on Celebrity. Try the lava cake. Yum. Avoid the fried chicken (was it chicken? Lol). We liked the thin crust pizza a lot. We had the Cheers package. Warning: they will cut you off after 15 drinks, even if you want to pay for more. Not a deal for me but may be for some. It was next to impossible to get a large bottle of water, unless, of course, you pay. My husband tried to order two small bottles of water at the same time and was denied. So strange. I also found it super weird that you had to sign for every drink, even under the package. We had to pay 18% gratuity (paid at the time of package purchase) on top of the already pricey package but since you had to sign for each drink, we felt pressured to tip more, otherwise the staff seemed disappointed. The Halloween costume and "scary" chest contests were both a riot. The cruise director, Donkey, was awesome. They had a special 12am screening of "It" on the lindo deck outside. Pretty neat atmosphere to watch a scary movie. On Halloween night around 9:30, they started taking all the Halloween decor down. This was before the party even started. Another "Huh? Okay.." moment. We liked the casino, with the exception of the smoke. It's 2019, let's get with the times. Felt bad for the staff having to deal with that all the time. Lots of interesting smells, which seems to be a common complaint. From sewage, to smoke, to weed, you never know what you'll get! We laughed it off. Layout of the ship was weird. The MDR and galley were in the middle of the ship, so you often had to go up to the 5th floor to get all the way across, which happened to be the casino floor. Coincidence? Hmm.. Debarkation was a disaster. We wanted to walk our bags off for "early" checkout so we were up and ready at 7am. They didn't call our floor until around 9:30. We were told that we could stay in the room until 8:30am. I'd recommend leaving earlier unless you want your steward to knock on the door every 5 minutes and other staff to be banging around on that balcony (again, what is with that balcony??). While we did have a fun time and liked the upbeat, change of pace from Celebrity, we likely won't be sailing with Carnival any time in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I am a former cancer patient. I entered remission just a few months ago and had my leg amputated. This was my first cruise. I want to start off with the musicians. There was music for everybody’s taste. But I enjoyed ALL of them. Luisa, ... Read More
I am a former cancer patient. I entered remission just a few months ago and had my leg amputated. This was my first cruise. I want to start off with the musicians. There was music for everybody’s taste. But I enjoyed ALL of them. Luisa, Juliana and Juan in the Accidental String Trio were just...the only word to describe it was beautiful. Neil was singing and Jammin’ the reggae hits on the steel drums. And Rob was rocking it on the guitar. DJ JD with the hits. The Brassaholics with the amazing Maroon 5 medley. And the Latin Band covering latin hits. Emma, Layla and Francois brought so much energy throughout the whole ship. Vargus Mason with the jokes! T.A. Williams at the Piano Bar. Diana and other bartenders tending the bar at the Lobby very well, including the bartenders on Lido who also bring their energy to the ship. I tipped what I could. Next I want to say how much I really appreciate how kind, thoughtful, and caring the staff was. They always offered help. I don’t usually accept help but I made some exceptions. I also made some friends on the cruise. The whole experience is one to remember. They always had smiles on their faces, and always greeted as we cross paths. And as you’re reading this to all of the staff, I just want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart. I hope I get to meet you all again. Cheers "Let your smile change the world, don't let the world change your smile..." - unknown "My cup is full to the brim, I could go on and on, the full has never been told" - Buju Banton Side Note: Im looking for a job also (galvancromeo@gmail.com) all photos are unedited Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We had a great time, but there could /should have been more for the teen age group to do. For example there was a dodgeball tournament , but for adults. Kids ran around the ship a lot, unsupervised. There were several fights in the ... Read More
We had a great time, but there could /should have been more for the teen age group to do. For example there was a dodgeball tournament , but for adults. Kids ran around the ship a lot, unsupervised. There were several fights in the arcade that lasted long enough for my son to video and security knew nothing about it. There were tons if activities for adults and they were all great. The staff is excellent, very helpful, friendly and accommodating. The room was nice, clean and our steward Mudi, was great! At night, the room temp was warm and the air did not seem to be working at its fullest, but not terrible. Getting on and off was very easy for the cruise as well as for the excursions. Food was good and there was plenty of options and choices. Our cruise director marQ was awesome and heand many of the cruise staff learned and remembered many of the guests names. This made it very personal and fun as well. Excursions: amber cove- we did the horseback riding at Seahorse ranch and it was great. Horses are beautiful and Fausto, our guide was very informative on our way there. San Juan: the rainforest and Old SanJuan, very nice and interesting St. Thomas: snorkeling sea turtle cove, this was beautiful and we wish it would have lasted longer Grand Turks: the beach had a lot to do for everyone the water was beautiful. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Prior to this cruise I had not cruised on the Valor Before, however I did cruise on the Pre Inaugural sailing of her older sister the Carnival Spirit. I was somewhat concerned by others commenting that the ship is showing its age. Upon ... Read More
Prior to this cruise I had not cruised on the Valor Before, however I did cruise on the Pre Inaugural sailing of her older sister the Carnival Spirit. I was somewhat concerned by others commenting that the ship is showing its age. Upon boarding I did a quick ship inspection and I was very impressed. The ship is not new, but with that said I found the floors, furniture, and ships interior all to be in excellent condition. Also we had two cabins and I found both to be in very good condition. Comfortable mattresses, couch and chairs in room in good shape, clean bathroom, and very functional closet and drawer space. The one major drawback to this cruise is not just limited to the Carnival Valor, but all the Carnival ships I have sailed on in the past couple of years, that being the quality of both food and service. To me both began their decline shortly after the retirement of former CEO Bob Dickerson, or "Uncle Bob" as he was known by employees. On our five night cruise there were two nights I did not eat what I ordered. One was the Beef Lasagna which had zero texture. It was almost mush. The pasta was was overcooked and there was no flavor at all.I ordered another entree and it was fair. The other was the Southern Fried Chicken. I am from the South and I know fried chicken. I got a small breast and drumstick i think it was, but did not keep it long enough to find out. The chicken was very dry inside, and the outside was way overcooked. It is evident that they cooked it at too high a temperature. In the Buffet lines I found the quality to be about the same. The selection also left something to be desired. Also I remember the good ole days of eating all the deserts because they were all so good, but now I try all of them to find one that is good. In all my life I have never had cheese cake that was anything like the stuff on the ship. It seems that it is less cheese and more cake. The only other negative I can think of is the Endless Bubbles program. Compared to RCCL sodas the Carnival program is bad. There are no soda machines so you have to wait in line at a bar and you end up with a warm soda being poured onto ice. Also in the Buffet areas nobody comes along anymore to take drink orders, so you have to get your food, then go outside and stand in line at a bar to get a warm soda on ice (can you tell this is my pet peeve?). The warm soda melts the ice and you have a watered down soda. Carnival needs to consider investing in the self serve soda machines like they have on RCCL. One more thing to note is that in the dining room the waiters used to unroll your napkin and place it on you lap and hand you a menu already opened. Minor thing but they do not do that any more. Also on evening turn down they would always place a mint on your pillow and they no longer do that either. Some of these are small things, but it would be wise to remember that a lot of little bits creates a gob.Other than these items I was happy with the cruise and would consider cruising on the Valor again. OK.. One more thing. I find cruise directors to be so full of themselves. They remind me of the plastic game show hosts. So fake. I took a Carnival last year and had a cruise director named "Jess From The U.S. This young lady was such a delight. She did not try to be the star of the show. She was herself and came across as being real. We need more cruise directors like her. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Flew in the same day as embarkation day. Everything went smoothly. The ship is more than 20 years old and it is pretty evident in a lot of places around the ship. The ship is pretty small and there’s not as many things to do as there are ... Read More
Flew in the same day as embarkation day. Everything went smoothly. The ship is more than 20 years old and it is pretty evident in a lot of places around the ship. The ship is pretty small and there’s not as many things to do as there are on the bigger, newer ships. I found myself bored at times even with 4-5 friends my age with me. The dinning room food was always great, the main buffet not so much. Pools and Hot tubs can be crowded, especially right after setting sail from port. This cruise itinerary is very intensive , with 5 ports of call and one sea day for a 7 day cruise. There were some shows and deck parties but again not as interesting, fun , or updated as the newer ships now a days. I stayed in the penthouse on the 12th deck adjacent to the Spa, so my room was very big and always well kept, mainly because the crew wanted extra money lol. I have sailed this ship 4 times and each and every time I either had penthouse 1 or 2 so I cant speak for any of the other staterooms. I did do excursions but they weren’t with the cruise line. If traveling with younger kids , Camp Carnival will be the place for them. Teens usually go to Club 02 to meet each other than can be seen running around the ship. Overall, this cruise is worth it for the ports that you go to. 5 ports for as low as $400 is a good price , but don’t expect much else. Also, sometimes people can be a little rowdy and rude on the ship. There were teens yelling and cursing at crew members, as well altercations where security came in and a woman had to be handcuffed. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I am choosing to writing to a review to help someone else who is researching this ship the same way that I did. I’m a mother of 4 and my children have only ever sailed with Disney Cruise Lines before.I have to admit I was a little ... Read More
I am choosing to writing to a review to help someone else who is researching this ship the same way that I did. I’m a mother of 4 and my children have only ever sailed with Disney Cruise Lines before.I have to admit I was a little worried to try Carnival based on some reviews I read. We wanted to experience Disney Parks during our spring break but couldn’t tag the Disney Cruise line into our budget. Carnival Offered a great price for this 4 day Easter Cruise that we could afford. We used Mears transportation from a Disney’s Animal kingdom lodge to Port Canaveral. For $35 a person. We used Carnivals transportation back to MCO airport. You book that through the excisions. It was the same price I believe Both were great On board the Liberty we had 2 connecting balcony rooms on Deck 8 aft. Rooms 8378 and 8380. We had 2 adults and 4 children diving us into 3 in each cabin. The price per cabin was $1500. Excellent deal.the rooms were ready right at 1:30pm like stated upon checking in Prior to booking I started researching the Liberty and found some negative reviews here on Cruise Critic which had me very worried. I am also a Travel Agent so I consider myself a Travel Expert with a lot of knowledge when it comes to what to expect when it comes to Cruising. If you are familiar with Disney Cruise lines you know that they are top notch. High quality. I’m here today to let families know that the Liberty is a excellent ship and I give it 5 stars because even though it is an older ship the staff has done a great job at taking care of it. I constantly saw crew members cleaning, scrubbing grout, being attentive to guests as well as also being very friendly. The service was perfect! The crew members onboard this ship work very hard. The kids club with Dr. Suess was great. The dining room staff was great. The gym was great and very clean. We work out everyday and this was important to me. So I was very happy with the gym. The spa services as well. The evening entertainment was soooo good. The shows were very well done. (I’ve seen some cheesy ones on Carnival before) Lots of family entertainment as well as separate adult entertainment. The dive in movies were perfect choices and they give you a blanket and popcorn. Cookie the cruise director is the best cruise director that I have ever met. Seriously that guy is going to go far in life. He stated he has only been a director for a year. Find the ship that he is on and you aren’t promised a good time. Overall my entire family was very happy with the Carnival Liberty. Guys burgers are the best here as well as The Wok on the lido deck or you can grab a sub sandwich from the deli, pizza, seafood, soooo many choices of food on the Lido deck. We don’t drink alcohol so that is the only area that I lack an opinion on. However the bar service seemed to be very productive from what I could tell. We purchased the soda package and my family did get their sodas in a timely manner. We stayed away from the Casino so honestly we didn’t experience much of any secondhand smoke. Also one of my concerns. No need to worry We sailed to The Bahamas and at Nassau we did the Atlantis Aquaadventure. This was the very best time of the entire week! Highly recommend. Worth every penny For Freeport we did the Beach day at Lucaya for $44. Also excellent. We didn’t purchase the lunch package here. You don’t need it unless you drink alcohol. You are back at the shop early enough to eat lunch when you return. We order snacks and sodas from the bar area here and paid less that $10 for the snacks and the sodas were $4. Also bottled water here is $4 They give you a chair and a umbrella as part of your package. Beautiful beach with volleyball, basketball and straw market shopping. Very safe. Also the day of embarking was so easy and hassle free. The quickest check in I’ve ever experienced. I read other reviews that stated the ship smelled. We did not have that experience. At least not on deck 8 anyway. Our bathrooms in our cabins did not smell. One evening my shower drain clogged and I called maintenance. They were there within 10 minutes to fix it in a jiffy and all was good. I hope this helps a mom out there on a budget who is wondering if a Carnival Ship would be good for her family! I encourage you that it is. We’ve done 9 cruises and mostly all Disney as a family and my children loved this ship! We would sail The Liberty again! Thank you to every crew member onboard. They really do work hard. Also helpful hint I booked this cruise on Black Friday with a special price and gave it as a Christmas gift to my kids knowing we would have school spring break so this cruise served many great purposes for us and like I said was so very affordable Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I wanted to spend my 65th birthday on a beach in Mexico, so we booked this cruise on the Fantasy. We embarked in Mobile, which is close to home, and drove down the day before the cruise from Atlanta. Minus our mandatory stop at Cracker ... Read More
I wanted to spend my 65th birthday on a beach in Mexico, so we booked this cruise on the Fantasy. We embarked in Mobile, which is close to home, and drove down the day before the cruise from Atlanta. Minus our mandatory stop at Cracker Barrel and a gas stop, it took about 5 hours. The night before the cruise we stayed at the Microtel in Saraland. They offer a great park and cruise package with breakfast all for a reasonable price. The hotel is in walking distance of three major restaurant chains, so dinner can be in any budget zone. After a good night's sleep on a great bed, we got up, repacked, had breakfast and then at 10:30 were "vanned" over to the port. Apparently there was a medical emergency disembarking which held us up a bit getting on the ship, but no problem, we are on vacation. Embarking was easy, and we were on board by 11:45, and since we finally made platinum, got to go to our cabin. We love to cruise, but money is tight, so to get a window, we book Interior Porthole. This cruise we had a porthole on the Empress level, close to the action, in the front of the ship. Downside? If the ship is rocking you will feel it here more than being in the center. The upside? Portholes are only for two people, so the running kids in the hall end before you get to that section. The cabin size is good, the service excellent, and our towel animals were a hoot! The shower was a good size, the only thing wrong was an odd smell, that we finally figured out was the shower water when you first turn on the water. So, not a problem in the long run. We don't spend a lot of time in our cabin, because there is so much to do on the ship. When we cruise, we dine like Hobbits, there is always second breakfast, lunch, tea time, and dinner. I know there is a late night buffet, but we haven't made it to that for years. We had only two situations in the dining room that were disappointing, over cooked fish, which the wait staff easily remedied, and one breakfast that was delivered in reverse of how we ordered-which you cant fix, but all the meals were tasty, and delicious. We had anytime dining, the first night, we went early- and there was no wait at all. There was a 30 minute wait on Elegant night-we went at 7:30, and on our last night we went at 7:45, and was told there would be a 30 minute wait, which turned out to be 5 minutes. Breakfasts were great in the MDR, and on our last day at sea, they introduced a new brunch menu, with about 12 new items that were extra. Lobster Eggs Benedict? Peel and eat shrimp? Interesting, but I don't want to pay more for breakfast. Steak and Eggs is still my favorite breakfast. (second breakfast after banana nut bread and coffee on the Lido). We are really kids in adult old bodies, so after we donated to the casino, we enjoyed Make it with Michaels (think Camp Art) something that you make in an hour, and can take home with you as a souvenir. We don't do the art auctions, but we did participate in the Art scavenger hunt-do this as a family, it was fun, and more eyes on your team help. We got involved with Trivia pursuit, saw the new Universe Lounge Country show, and enjoyed the Comedy Club. We also enjoyed just simply relaxing on the Verandah level. We love the back of the ship, where there is no noise, but the sound of the wind, the water and the children playing on the water slides. One thing that we really enjoyed on this cruise, was that the Lido deck was not a blast of music in the mornings, It was quiet until noon. Wonderful to walk up in the morning to the sound of surf and wind. !! And for all who missed the Caribbean sound of the steel drums, well, this is the ship for you, every day, either on deck, or by the casino bar. In the Atrium Lounge there was a great country singer, and by the casino once in a while was a great guitar player-played a great Eric Clapton style. Hats off to all of the folks who work on the ship! Everyone was excellent, friendly and helpful! Alina, our MDR hostess remembered us from our last cruise, as did the assistant cabin steward, Nina. It's so nice to get a hug, and a Welcome home! The folks at the Guest services were incredible. BUT to families with kids, Camp Carnival is their care takers, not the cleaning staff. Tell your children that if they push every button on the elevators the elevator monster will come get them! In Cozumel we enjoyed a day at the beach on Isla Pasion. It was my birthday, and I spent it at the beach! The staff bent over backwards to accommodate my DH's walking disabilities-the catamaran ride to the island gives you a great land view of the main city on Cozumel, and while it was a bit too cool to swim (I was the only adult to get in the water ) we do plan to go back to this fantastic destination. This excursion includes drinks and lunch but lunch is a bit bland and lacked in variety. We did not do an excursion in Costa Maya, which since we are not big shoppers was a mistake. Get out there in the jungle, it will do you good. BUT if you like to shop, this is a great port, they will barter with you (which I never see in Cozumel or Progresso), and everything that is not the norm is well priced. We hated to get off the ship to come home, but all trips must end sometime, so you can come home and plan another one. Disembarking is always a cluster, but at least this time I can honestly say, it was not due to folks who owed on their sail and sign cards- it was every one wanting to take off their own luggage. But we did get off, called our hotel (again they were fantastic) and after only one Cracker Barrel stop, we were home by 4. Would I do it again? Yup! DH wants to spend his birthday next year at Isla Pasion! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
In my opinion this cruise was not worth the amount I spent. I have sailed with Carnival 1 other time and it was the worst experience of my life and I almost never went on a cruise again after that. Last year we tried Royal Caribbean for ... Read More
In my opinion this cruise was not worth the amount I spent. I have sailed with Carnival 1 other time and it was the worst experience of my life and I almost never went on a cruise again after that. Last year we tried Royal Caribbean for the first time and loved it and this year I decided to give Carnival another chance. My mistake. I went with my boyfriend and 2 other couples so there was 6 of us in total. To begin, the embarkation process was smooth and quick as well as disembarkation. When we got to the room it was very small with no place to even put our suitcases to get them out of the way. I went on RC cruise line last year and the cabins were much bigger. This is not my main concern. Dining times were filled up so fast we had no choice but to choose 8:15 which was very late to eat dinner. Also, it was the prime time for many events so we either missed the events or we missed dinner. The activities and entertainment were a lot of fun for all ages. The comedians were very funny and the deck parties were a blast. Our entertainment director, Schwartz, was very entertaining and really made the whole cruise a lot more enjoyable. The service was great. Most people were very helpful and friendly and remembered names. We did an excursion at St. Thomas and we did the Turtle Cove snorkel. It was AMAZING and I would highly recommend doing this excursion. Grand Turk was very busy as there were multiple boats there so the beach was packed before we even got off the ship. There were no chairs anywhere so we had no choice but to go to the pool. Puerto Rico was a port I have been to before. Lots of little shops and places set up selling things but other than that there was not much to do. The next topic is the things that bothered me most. My boyfriend and I bought the endless bubbles package. It was not endless. You could only get a drink if you were sailing unless you wanted to pay taxes. The package did not include a cup to refill. You had to stand and wait at the bar to get a drink. Also, if you were thirsty after 2am it was water or nothing. There was no way of getting a drink at night because all of the bars closed and that was the only way to get a drink. Also, every bar closed at about 12-1 am except the casino bar. So if you wanted a drink you had to go all the way down to the casino until they closed at 2 as well. We did not get our use out of our drink package at all and a lot of people we talked to did not even buy the drink package but were still being served drinks. The buffet hours were very weird and things opened and closed at weird times. The only thing open late was pizza which sucked. The food itself was not great. The food choices at dinner were horrible. The desserts at dinner were horrible as well. The buffet was hit or miss but for the most part it was not too bad. The desserts at the buffet were great. The burger joint was probably the best food on the entire boat. Lastly, the picture situation. They took amazing pictures so we wanted to buy all of them like we did on RC. There was absolutely no option to buy all of our pictures. If we wanted them all it was $600. On Royal Caribbean for $300 we got all of our pictures on a flash drive that we got to take home with us. Overall, our experience was not great. We will not be sailing with Carnival again and will be going back to Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
First of all, I must say that our cabin steward was an absolute sweetheart. Many of the ship crew were also great. The downfall is that the ship is old and small. The metal around the decks is painted over eaten away steel. We found ... Read More
First of all, I must say that our cabin steward was an absolute sweetheart. Many of the ship crew were also great. The downfall is that the ship is old and small. The metal around the decks is painted over eaten away steel. We found holes throughout the railings. The carpets throughout are old and many sofa/restaurant bench upholstery have stains. There is a peculiar smell about the ship. Many times there are sewage and/or grey water smells. The buffet was subpar. Desserts were great the first night then thereafter were dry and flavorless. The sit-down dining was better but not outstanding. The ship lacked entertainment. There was a comedy show that was good. Many of the shows in the liquid lounge revolved around what to buy on the islands and promoted their sales in their ship stores. The ship was small and if you are planning a long cruise you might want to choose one with many stops so you are not bored to death multiple days at seas. We were in a cabin with a window. The room was clean the bathroom was dirty in corners with caked on dirt. I suppose they don't have time for deep cleaning since a steward told me when we were leaving the ship that they were boarding again in one day. This ship does not compare to Royal Carribean or MSC. We were disappointed and felt it was a major waste of money. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
People don't seem to review the shorter cruises out of Long Beach, so I wanted to write one for last week. This was our third Imagination cruise from Long Beach, and it was great! Pre-cruise: Got to Long Beach the day before ... Read More
People don't seem to review the shorter cruises out of Long Beach, so I wanted to write one for last week. This was our third Imagination cruise from Long Beach, and it was great! Pre-cruise: Got to Long Beach the day before the cruise, and spent the day at Cabrillo Beach (San Pedro) relaxing in the sun. Stayed at the Golden Sails in Long Beach, which was a fine hotel 20 minutes from port. On Sunday morning, we left the hotel at 10:20, with zero traffic, we were parked in the garage at 10:45. Embarkation: This is the easiest embarkation port of the many we have used. We were completely checked in and waiting to board before 11 am. FttF was called at 11:11 (good luck!!) and we were boarded very quickly. Straight to our stateroom (E90 - right off the atrium) to drop bags, and we were at Guy's Burgers before 11:30. Stateroom: Excellent choice (E 90) for access to everything. No problems with noise, smell or stateroom steward. Received twice-daily cleaning as requested. Room was in excellent shape, with comfy bedding and everything in working order. Dining: Had Anytime dining, which worked great. Ate all breakfasts in the MDR, and avoided the buffet completely. Lunch was Guys, Blue Iguana or Deli. Sea day brunch was awesome as ever---steak and eggs was great. All dinners were good, with many choices, and we ordered double appetizers or entrees more than once. Brought case of Coke Zero and two wine bottles in carryon, so we brought our own glasses to dinner each night. Worked beautifully. Day one: Bags were delivered before 12:30, so we were quickly unpacked, and headed to an empty Serenity deck. Relaxed until muster drill, then off to get dressed for dinner. Yes, we dress for dinner each night. Not over the top, but I wore a dress, and my husband wore button up shirt and slacks each night. Comedians were okay this trip, and we enjoyed family and adult shows most days. Did a little dancing in the nightclub. Funniest thing was "80's hour", which was from 10 to 10:15 pm one night! Dance floor was packed for those fifteen minutes!!! Day two - Catalina: Breakfast in the MDR, then ready to tender to Catalina. Expected a crowd, but easily caught a tender with no wait. Didn't even use FttF tendering. Rented a golf cart for about 90 minutes for a nice tour. Walked around a bit peeking into shops for a little while. After that, we lounged on the beach by the dock for a few hours before returning to the ship for a late lunch. Short but fun day. Day three - Ensenada: This was a weird day. We had breakfast in the MDR again, and got off the ship easily at approximately 10:30. Nice walk into town along the new Malecon. The streets, stores, bars, restaurants were EMPTY. It was amazing how few people we saw in Ensenada. Nothing like our past visits. We walked along the main street looking in a few stores. Had a quick (unsatisfying) lunch at a street restaurant, then hit our favorite Ensenada store that sells stained glass, and headed back to the ship. In the two years since we've been there, prices across the board in Ensenada have skyrocketed. Maybe that's why it was dead. Returned to the ship for Serenity deck and relaxation around 2:30. Day four: Day at sea started with sea day brunch, and consisted mostly of the Serenity deck! We went on this trip to relax, and relax we did! Got front row in Serenity, but it was packed by 10:30 that morning - don't dawdle! Disembarkation: So quick and easy! They started self-assist at 7 am. Started calling zones at 8:45, and did a last call for everyone to disembark by 9:05!!! Short wait for customs, and we were back in the car by 10 am. Overall: An excellent cruise for first-timers looking to try cruising, or for seasoned cruisers looking for a relaxing few days. We don't gamble on ships, and didn't drink too much. The ship was oddly empty for the most part (considering this was Holy Week/Spring Break). Never a wait at a bar, easy to get chairs on Lido and Serenity, no long lines at lunch locations. It was downright weird!!! For the price, it is an excellent value cruising experience, and keeps us satisfied between longer cruises. Next up for us a the Legend Transatlantic 2020! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We just got back from 6 nights on the Horizon. Had a great time and would sail this ship again. We were a family of 4 sailing at the same time as several other families from our neighborhood. My family stayed at Sunny Isles Residence Inn ... Read More
We just got back from 6 nights on the Horizon. Had a great time and would sail this ship again. We were a family of 4 sailing at the same time as several other families from our neighborhood. My family stayed at Sunny Isles Residence Inn and loved the pool and room. Price was more reasonable than anything closer to South Beach. Left for port around 9:30 AM and we were in the priority line by 10:00. We only had to wait about 5 minutes to get into the building. They began boarding the ship around 11am and we went straight to our cabins since we had Faster to Fun. We had Havana cabins 5209 and 5211. We had a cabana and our 13 and 16 yo had an interior. Our steward was efficient but I barely saw him. Our luggage didn’t arrive until after muster even with priority. Therefore plan accordingly and bring a carryon with a swim suit and change of clothes. We loved the Havana area but since our kids were mostly upstairs on decks 10 and 12. we didn’t use it as much as we thought. I did love the easy access of our location to the back stairs and everything on deck 5 including breakfast in Ocean Plaza and Coffee at Java Blue. We also loved having elevators and stairs nearby. We had early dining for our group of 17. Servers were good. Food was hit or miss. I had great short ribs but my friends was dry and crusty. Same with the prime rib. Best meal for me was taking advantage of the steakhouse selection and getting the filet and lobster. That and the teppayaki were worth the extra money. I also loved the pizza and I am disappointed they are switching to Papa Johns. I don’t even get that at home! My husband tried the Mongolian wok and hated it. He also had Sushi with my daughter and liked it. I tried guys burger and didn’t like it as much as last year on Glory. We only ate at the buffet 1 time and that was the late day in Cozumel. It was okay but nothing special. Kids did the ropes course and sky ride. They enjoyed the dive in movies but didn’t try the IMAX. Might be because the movies weren’t something they would want to see. My daughter said the waterslide was okay but gave her a wedgie. My son went to club O2 a lot and made a lot of good friends. He even went to Sea day brunch with a group of 16. Except for a couple of comedy shows we mostly went to the casino after dinner. Nice pit bosses but some of the dealers weren’t super friendly but most okay. I lost overall but that’s just bad luck or choice of seat! Overall it was s great week. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I chose this cruise to go visit Cuba and Key West with my husband. Carnival has found a way to nickel and dime you even when you pay for all such as drink package. No bartenders except in serenity that were eager to serve you. Anton was ... Read More
I chose this cruise to go visit Cuba and Key West with my husband. Carnival has found a way to nickel and dime you even when you pay for all such as drink package. No bartenders except in serenity that were eager to serve you. Anton was awesome and the only one to come back and keep us happy. All other bars you had to go to them and wait! Since they do automatic gratuity you get poor service. Food was ok....best thing was guys cheeseburgers. Tiny cups for water. Soda was flat that was part of my drink package. Not much entertainment during the day. Comedy shows were pretty good. One pool for whole ship. Definitely outdated even though it says remodeled in 2019. Would not recommend. Budget vacation/ budget ship! Very disappointed. We bought alcohol and was told by airport that cruise ship should have given us a bag for carrying it on plane-nope didn’t happen so we lost alcohol at security. Mel the cruise ship director was kind of rude. She didn’t have great things going on to engage cruisers. We could have visited Cuba on Tuesday and spent more time in Key West. Went on Monday to Cuba and all Museums are closed on Mondays...... Had to pay a $75/pp visa to go to Cuba. Our room attendant did a great job! Greeted us by first name every time we saw him! Asked me what I wanted done on a daily basis whether I needed more towels etc. he was always smiling!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Sailed on the Freedom out of Galveston. First time in 10 years sailing on Carnival. Have sailed once with RC and 6 times with Disney. Embarkation was easy (we did have FTTF). We flew in the night before and stayed at a Holiday Inn ... Read More
Sailed on the Freedom out of Galveston. First time in 10 years sailing on Carnival. Have sailed once with RC and 6 times with Disney. Embarkation was easy (we did have FTTF). We flew in the night before and stayed at a Holiday Inn Express on points. Took a Lyft to port which was easy. We sat for maybe 30 minutes before boarding. No line for security and our bags were at our door when we boarded about 11:45. It was also nice to have a shorter line at guest services. We had an oceanview room on deck 2 forward (2288) The room was a good size, bed was comfy and there was plenty of storage. Liked the shelves in one of the closets for clothing and shoes, and suitcases fit under bed easily. Shower was ok but the water seemed to come out of the shower way too easily. Not enough water pressure for me either but the temp was ok. The main problem with the room was the noise. It was right across from where the stewards loaded their carts which was pretty noisy. It also really creaked a lot - there was a noise that sounded like a marble rolling above our heads a lot of the time. Kind of annoying! Room steward was awesome though. Always kept the room clean with ice etc... and was very friendly. The TV remote didn't work correctly. Food - the main dining room food was pretty good. IMO it was significantly better than RCL and about the same as DCL. Breakfast buffet was ok but it was the same exact thing every morning. Tried the Sea Day brunch one day and it was ok (pancakes were tough) but eggs were good. Loved the Guy's burgers. Really enjoyed the sushi (extra cost but got quite a big serving for the price). Also tried the crab sliders at the seafood shack - they were ok but the buns were hard. The burritos at Blue Iguana were also very good. We did try the steakhouse selection in the main dining room and thought the filets were very good. Not a noticeable difference (other than maybe 3 ounces) in quality of the included filet on the MDR menu though. Room service was quick but didn't enjoy the food all that much for the price. We did have the bubbles package for soda. Really didn't enjoy having to stand at a bar for a soft drink. Wish Carnival would do what RCL does with the freestyle machines. It seemed like such a waste to have canned sodas (not chilled at all) on the ship. You would have to pour it over a whole glass of ice which immediately watered it down! Now to the shows. Enjoyed the Hasbro game shows and Bingo. I also really liked the 80s pop show. Probably not fair to compare to DCL but the shows were not even in the same category as Disney. I knew that going in. The cruise director Emma was great and the singers/dancers were also very nice. We did get bored in the afternoon sometimes as there didn't seem to be much to do. Loved the comedians in the evening a couple of nights. Service. The MDR servers were very nice but after sailing on DCL really missed the interactions we are used to there. Service was usually pretty good but a couple of nights seemed really slow. We had the early assigned dining time ( 6 PM). The bartenders were all nice but sometimes really busy which meant waiting for 10 minutes for a drink. The room staff were great. I asked for a fan for our room the first night but it never showed up. I was able to use an app on my phone for white noise but still. The biggest difference we noticed was the décor and layout of the ship. It was very dark and IMO really ugly (very dated). I should have taken a picture of the pink snakeskin wallpaper in the dining room - so didn't match anything! The atrium area just felt dark and closed in and it took us a couple days to figure our way around. There are a couple of decks that you cannot walk all the way through as a dining room is in the middle. The pool deck had several levels but also felt really small and closed in. The adult pool at the far back of the ship was nice and more open though. I also didn't enjoy the smoke in the casino. I would have gambled a little bit but couldn't breathe in that area! It would be nice if they would consider maybe a time or two throughout the week where non smokers could enjoy the casino. Also, all week several of the elevators were not working (or just turned off). We visited Key West, Nassau and Freeport. In all three we just walked around the shopping areas. Freeport was not very nice - would really recommend an excursion there as the beaches looked nice. My daughter had a cast on her leg so we couldn't do our normal beachy excursions this trip. We had purchased the trolley tickets through Carnival but the line to get on was so long we ended up not using them. There was no shade while waiting. Also thought Carnival was a lot less organized with shore excursions. In Key West anyone with any excursion was supposed to meet in the dining room but there wasn't a Carnival staff member there to direct or ask questions. Overall we did enjoy the trip. It was about 1/2 the cost of DCL by the time you pay for all the extras. If we do another Carnival, we will try a newer ship and hope the layout and décor is better. I have another RCL and DCL booked so we shall see. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We sailed the Carnival Breeze for our bi-annual Spring Break cruise, April 13-20, 2019. It was a great cruise but did have a few negatives. First, the good and very good: -Embarkation – the new way that Carnival does this worked ... Read More
We sailed the Carnival Breeze for our bi-annual Spring Break cruise, April 13-20, 2019. It was a great cruise but did have a few negatives. First, the good and very good: -Embarkation – the new way that Carnival does this worked very well, and boarding the ship was an easy process. Much better that the prior process of waiting in lines to see a representative, showing your credit card, getting your room keys, etc. Now it’s just walking into the security area, having your boarding pass scanned, getting a boarding group number, having your picture taken, getting screened and waiting for your number to be called. Your room keys are in a tamper-proof envelope in your cabin’s mailbox. -Food – the food everywhere was quite good, especially the desserts in the main dining room and the “Sweet Spot” in the Lido Marketplace. I wanted to try many of the dining options I’ve not tried on my prior Carnival cruises since the Breeze has so many to choose from. BTW, they changed the Tandoori station (which was included) in the aft pool area to a Seafood Shack (additional charges apply). I’m glad they did, as the lobster roll platter was outstanding – 2 rolls with fries for $14, and the lobster filling was fresh and plentiful. I also tried the new Carnival Deli menu – the Cuban sandwich was very good. Also, I tried the Mongolian Wok for the first time and enjoyed my noodles with beef in Sichuan sauce (spicy). I was going to try the free lunchtime pasta bar at Cucina del Capitano, but some of our cruise mates tried it and said it was nothing special. The new food tries also included Guy’s Pig and Anchor Barbecue (very good) and the light soup and salad lunch offerings in the Plaza Café. Of course, previously-experienced Guy’s Burger Joint was visited as well as the Blue Iguana Cantina for a breakfast burrito and lunchtime tacos. All very good as usual. We ate breakfast in the main dining room every morning except one, for Sea Day Brunch or Open Seating breakfast, to avoid the mobs of people in the Lido Marketplace. Food was good; however, it was hit and miss on the poached or over-easy eggs having a soft yolk. Dining room food for dinner was very good with few exceptions. -Drinks – we had the Cheers! Package so we were able to try many different concoctions from many different bars. Our favorites were the Casino Bar, Alchemy Bar and Red Frog Pub. Drinks were consistently prepared, and after-dinner specialty cocktails at Alchemy were a nightly event. -Entertainment – very good shows in the main theater, with talented singers & dancers and nice staging/special effects. The Country/Rock band and singing duet were both great. We enjoyed the live music nightly. They also had a modern string quartet that played today’s songs instead of traditional string compositions. -Shops – the Breeze has a wide variety of shops with reasonable prices. Of course, my wife got a “souvenir” at the EFFY fine jewelry shop. We also won a raffle there for a signature EFFY jeweled panther keychain and ruby pendant necklace. -Service – overall the service was quite good, and the crew we encountered friendly and wanting to help. Service at the bars was quick and efficient. Our dining room team (Early Seating Dinner) was hard working and did a good job all week, learning our names the first night and using them every night thereafter. However, it is apparent that they have reduced staff in recent years and the team was stretched thin on the busy nights (first night, Elegant nights, etc.), as the ship was at capacity, with 4700+ guests on board (standard double occupancy is 3690). The Guest Services staff were some of the best I’ve encountered – I’ll describe an issue I had with the cabin involving Guest Services later in this review. There were some inconsistencies with certain aspects of the service we experienced, which are also described later in this review. -Cabin Steward – our Steward Victoria was probably the best we’ve had on any cruise, on any cruise line. She did an amazing job of keeping our stateroom clean and comfortable and supplied with what we needed. -Casino – it was large with plenty of slots and table games. I don’t gamble, but my wife certainly made some donations on the slots. As mentioned previously, the bartending team was top-notch. However, as this was Carnival and the only indoor venue that allows smoking, be prepared for a constant smoke smell – the ventilation clears the actual smoke quickly, but the odor is persistent. Shore Tours – we did Carnival-sponsored tours in each of our four ports. All were fun and informative. Now, the not-so-good: -Cabin – although our category 8C veranda cabin was Carnival’s usual rather roomy size compared to other lines, with a comfortable bed and couch, our cabin #8441 developed a sewer-like smell shortly after sailing. Long story short, they were unable to resolve the issue during our voyage. Our steward said this was not the first time someone raised this issue, so I would recommend avoiding this cabin. That said, once I raised the issue with Guest Services, they did make every effort to resolve the issue, sending the floor manager, HVAC technician and even a Guest Services representative to investigate the matter. Our workaround was to leave the bathroom door slightly opened, as the air intake vent in the bathroom was quite powerful and kept the air circulating and the smell reduced. We bring a bungee cord with us to prop open the balcony door, so this was also done occasionally – when opening the cabin door at the same time, the air from the hallway comes rushing in to refresh the cabin air. These steps kept the issue to a minor annoyance, and Guest Services compensated us with an OBC that we felt was satisfactory compensation or our inconvenience. -Certain Main Dining Room Service – at Breakfast/Sea Day Brunch, it sometimes took a while to get attention by the servers after being seated. It sometimes took several minutes before we received water and coffee. Also, it sometimes took a while to receive our orders, even when adjacent tables received theirs even though being seated after us. Finally, getting bar drinks/wine at dinner was a challenge, especially in the first few days of the cruise. Things were better later in the week. -Crowds/Lines – this was the largest cruise ship we’ve ever sailed, and as mentioned previously, the ship was at capacity since it was a Spring Break cruise. The chair hogs we out in force, so we didn’t even try to lay out in the sun while on the ship. We got our sun time on our shore tours. Also, lines for certain food stations in the Lido Marketplace could be very long at peak breakfast and lunch times. In fact, the one morning we had breakfast on Lido the lines were so long at the buffet I was able to get a Blue Iguana burrito (no line!) and finish it before my wife returned with her eggs and bacon from the buffet. Finding available tables could also be a challenge. Getting off the ship at certain ports of call also had big backups. The cruise being over Spring Break meant over a thousand kids on board, so there was plenty of hallway running, (every) elevator button pushing, and loud areas. Definitely not a cruise for relaxation. -Debarkation – chaotic and slow-going. It seemed to me they called too many decks (for self-assisted departures) and Debarkation Zones (for checked luggage folks) at the same time, overwhelming the solitary forward staircase and elevators used for this purpose. This needs to be better-managed. -Overall – a great cruise with lots of dining choices, great drinks and service (with a few exceptions) and smooth embarkation process. Although there were some issues (the cabin odor being the main one), the weather was great all week, and we enjoyed the ports and sea days. I would definitely cruise the Carnival Breeze again, just not at Spring Break and not in cabin #8441. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This is our third carnival cruise and we really enjoyed the Vista! It’s a huge ship and even over spring break it did not feel nearly as crowded as other ships have. There are several pools/hot tubs and lots of places to be/activities to ... Read More
This is our third carnival cruise and we really enjoyed the Vista! It’s a huge ship and even over spring break it did not feel nearly as crowded as other ships have. There are several pools/hot tubs and lots of places to be/activities to do, so people are spread out. The staff are friendly, as always and the food was very good. We are in the main dining room every night but lots of people raved about the specialty dining. We enjoyed the cruise director, Matt, but Emma is still by far our favorite! Our kids really enjoyed the waterworks area (loved the slides) and the sky ride. We loved our room location. Quiet, close to the elevators/stairs and it was centrally located so easy to get everywhere! Overall there were 9 of us in our group, from age 5 to 65 and we all had a great time! I’d sail on the Vista again in a heartbeat, even over spring break. ;) Pros: Large ship with LOTS to do so it doesn’t feel as crowded as other ships. You don’t have to fight for deck chairs or space. The layout was nice and easy to get around. Friendly staff and really good food (Mongolian wok and of course, Guys are really good and included) Cons: The main showroom layout is poor. Makes it difficult to see the show from almost everywhere. (The shows were pretty good though from what we could see). Comedy club is too small for how popular it is but it is larger than other ships. The casino seemed to smell way more smoky than other ships. It was hard to even walk past it and we definitely weren’t going through it or in there (we would have had it but been so bad). We were actually surprised how bad it was since it’s a new ship but it was really awful. Embarking and disembarking are a nightmare but I think that’s more of an issue with the port than the ship. Port Galveston seemed to be far more disorganized but than Port Canaveral but once through to the cruise line it wasn’t bad getting on. Getting off was the same. It took hours for them to let us off, the port kept stopping the process. We just hung out on the lido deck though, not a big deal and not the vista’s fault but if you’re sailing from Galveston prepare for disorganization!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We did this cruise via a casino coupon and we upgraded to a Junior suite from an inside room . Mistake but I will talk about this in my cabin review. We were two couples in our early 40's and my single friend in her early ... Read More
We did this cruise via a casino coupon and we upgraded to a Junior suite from an inside room . Mistake but I will talk about this in my cabin review. We were two couples in our early 40's and my single friend in her early 40's. The single friend was a first time cruiser and she loved it! The rest of us have been on 5 or 6 other cruises and thought it was up there in our favorite 2. We didn't go in with huge expectations and maybe that is why we had a blast. Embarkation was a breeze. Because I upgraded to a Suite we had priority boarding which meant a really short line compared to the huge line for everyone else. They will let your non suite friends get in the short line with you. We were there at noon and on the ship by 12:20. We all bought the drink package and thank god! We like to drink and some of them got cut off by midnight because they reached their 15 drink max. But hey, drinks get warm, you set them down, you may not like one, they still count so we were glad we bought it. Lunch on the Lido deck we all chose guys burgers and fries and they were all great. We hung out all day by the pool, in the casino, walking around etc. We missed going under the sky bridge in Tampa as we were in the casino (woopsy) . Anyway this boat rocked alot more than other cruise ships I have been on. Sometimes you noticed it, but I just tried to not look out the windows as we moved and I was generally fine. I am also very sensative to sea sickness and I never heard anyone else complain about it. We met for early 6pm dinner in the main dining room Destiny. We sat the 5 of us and 3 lovely ladies from Virginia. Our two waiters were great and our drinks and apps were on the table in 5 min. All our meals in the main dining room were very good! we did all pay $20 extra one night and got the filet and lobster and it did not disappoint. Day 2- arrive in Key west at noon, I really wished we got here sooner as it is very close to Tampa???? I was confused why the itinerary didnt allow more time at this port. Anyway we had a few cocktails on board and waited for the masses to fight their way off. We walked off at 12:50 ish and no lines. It rained all day in Key West but we did a little bar hopping and had fun anyway. Irish Kevins was for sure our favorite spot with the live singer/comedian guy. Got back on the little trolly thing around 3pm and went back to the ship. I will definately be back in Key West as it wasnt nearly enough time here. Got back went to casino (after we were like 12 miles out of course) and made it to the main dining room again for dinner. I say made it because it was a long day of drinking and some people wanted to nap! Food great again! Day 3- woke up around 8am, some ate breakfast (my husband and I don't really eat breakfast) Waited for most to get off the ship in CUBA, we got off around 11 am with absolutely no one in line. Customs took 30 seconds as did money exchange. Just to give an idea of how much you will need in Cuba, most of us took our $80 US and it was too much (for what we did). First of all DO NOT get suckered into buying an excursion if you want to just walk on your own!!!! Carnival will try and tell you that you have to check off "people to people" and book an excursion. We being in Cuba last year knew to check off "support the cuban people" option and you can totally just walk off. We walked to the main square accross from the ship and you will get a few locals asking if you want to pay $1 each and they will walk you around. We said no, but one guy seemed to never leave so what the heck we let him walk us around. He took us to a local John Lennon bar (dive bar but very cool!!) we all go cubra libras (rum and cokes) and were surprised it was $10 a drink!! We had one, felt very buzzed and moved on to the next stop. We walked through beautiful streets, saw the market, other squares, local people living life. It was great. Ernest Hemingway bar right near the port was our fave as it had live cuban music and here a round of drinks for 5 people was $7.50 US. Or $7.50 CUC. Totally cheap and fun here. We danced and walked around some more. We all tipped our guy $25 US and he was more than happy I am sure. Got back on the boat and only 2 made it to dinner.... Day 4 - Cozumel- We arrived at 12:45pm to port and we chose again to wait an hour before getting off to avoid the crowd. We had booked El Cid's for the twilight day pass as our ship was here 1pm to 9pm. No other day pass resorts were offering this late day pass. It was $65 each I think?? MAKE SURE you bring the printed piece of paper with your reservation or they will make you print it at the hotel. We had drinks, food (good food) towels, pool, snokeling, all included. It was a fun day! The shopping area right a the ship is awesome, I thought it was beautiful clean and lots to do. We were back on the ship around 6 as we are wimps of the sun and apparently cannot drink too much in the sun. Day 5- day at sea, usual activities, silly games by the pool, lots of food.... I dont really know as I was burnt from Mexico and did not hang around outside. We were mostly hanging around the casino area/American bar. Now 3 of us were smokers and even as a smoker I will say that this small one side of the bar and in the casino were always VERY smoky.. The air suckers in this area seemed to not work. This was also the area that they had the trivia games which we LOVED!! So much fun. But dang do something with the smoking vents! CASINO!!!!- Ok we hung out here ALOT!!! Like every day for a long time especially at night. We usually go to Greektown Casino in our hometown near Detroit. We usually hit at greektown pretty much every time we are there so we think it is the loosest best slots in the world lol . This casino was pretty close. It is small but it pays good!!! Every single time you sat down people were hitting like crazy! My husband probably won $1000 a day on slots easily. I couldnt believe it . I loved playing roulette with our group. I won one of the pong games in the casino where they called my name and I had to throw one out of ten ping pong balls into a gift bag with money on it. I won $75 it was fun. Overall the wait staff was fantastic, you always had a drink in your hand, we never waited once at any of the bars nor in the casino. Dinner service was fast, we never waited more than 10 min for dinner. I couldn't believe we were on the same cruise that people were ripping on the slow service and crappy food. We did not think this at all. Look , don't expect Ruth's Chris style meals, expect more like outback or Texas Road House lol. Then you will not be disappointed. This boat is small and therefore you won't get lost and everything is easy to get to. Having said that it is small and can sometimes feel like there is not much to do. There is not much craziness going on near the pool, which I like sometimes. We NEVER had a problem getting a chair, there were never any big drunks partying like it was springbreak. There was no more than 20 kids on the whole ship. It was just a great cool crowd of people. Cabin review is next.... Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We have cruised on this ship 10+ time and will return for another cruise in October. This is the smallest of the Carnival ships. We enjoy having a fewer number of guests, shorter lines and frankly, just less people everywhere. Sometimes on ... Read More
We have cruised on this ship 10+ time and will return for another cruise in October. This is the smallest of the Carnival ships. We enjoy having a fewer number of guests, shorter lines and frankly, just less people everywhere. Sometimes on the larger ships it seems like they increase the cabins but not the common areas. guests who sail on the Fantasy range from babies to seniors, but it always has a southern hospitality charm. Having sailed nearly 30 times, I can say with confidence that the crew of the Fantasy is second to none. They are open, friendly, and in the few short days you are on the ship, they become friends. The dining room staff always remembers what you doing and most of the time, my drink was sitting on the table when I arrived. The waiters around the pool are awesome. On the cruise last week, the waiter remembered that I ordered a bottle of water with every other drink-FROM THE LAST CRUISE IN DECEMBER! He just started bringing it to me again. On the Fantasy, you will not find rock climbing walls, roller coasters or trampolines. However, the children seem to be entertained and happy playing old school games as ship scavenger hunts. Believe it or not, they even have an adult one that is hugely popular. Our favorite places on the ship are the piano bar, the comedy club and wherever the live band is playing. We do frequent the shows as well. While Country Roads is not my favorite, they are all well done and great entertainment. Sometimes on the larger ships it seems like they increase the cabins but not the common areas. I have read several reviews where people have said this is a great ship for first time cruisers, and it is. However, you will also find diamond guests with over 400+ days who sail this ship out of choice. It truly is a ship with a personality and that personality is based largely on that time of year. During the winter months while school is in session, it is mostly adults taking a short break from parenting, holiday celebrations, and work. Summer months, the ship is all about families making the ship seem twice as crowded (4 people in cabins instead of 2). If you do a Journey cruise on the Fantasy, or any other ship, the clientele seems to be much older. I guess its difficult for working families to take 10 days or more but it is still tons of fun. Just different fun. During spring break, well, the ship "rocks" until 3am or so. I love all the ship seasons but you just have to be prepared mentally for what to expect. The dining room food is great and they will bring you one (or two) of everything on the menu if you ask. Embarkation is so easy. Mobile certainly has it down to a science. Debarkation is typical but not nearly as crazy because you simply have fewer guests leaving the ship. Finally, the Fantasy is a popular ship for people to sail back to back (and to back and to back). We met guests on the last cruise that had been on the ship for 2 months. Don't let the age of the ship (and yes, in places it shows) fool you, the Fantasy is consistently one of the top rated ships on customer service. Enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
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