2 Jacksonville Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

It is sad that I write such a disappointing review of this recent cruise, because my cruise last year on Carnival Sensation was incredible. I'll list the good and the bad - starting with the good: The Little Big Town concert was ... Read More
It is sad that I write such a disappointing review of this recent cruise, because my cruise last year on Carnival Sensation was incredible. I'll list the good and the bad - starting with the good: The Little Big Town concert was INCREDIBLE (however there is a serious bad associated with going to the concert) Roger in the Piano Bar - sensational, personable, talented The band Five2One was great Hamburgers on board seem to be better (last time appeared to have more soy content instead of beef) Room steward - great, friendly Weather - perfect Now with the bad: As I'm sure Carnival has received complaints from the multitudes of other people that reserved the cruise thinking the concert was included - it was NOT! Granted, the cruise costs $170 more per person for the Carnival LIVE concert cruise than the identical cruise in a couple of weeks - there was an additional $45 PER PERSON charge to attend the concert on the ship. Basically you pay $215 to hear the concert on this ship - as I suspect is the same with the other Carnival LIVE concert cruises. The troubling part is that I reviewed the website, printed materials, registration, itinerary, etc... and there is NOTHING (not even an asterisk) beside the concert that would make you think additional tickets must be purchased or that it is not included in the increased price of the cruise. These feelings were shared with MANY other people on board. This is at the least deceiving and at the worst fraudulent. When we returned from our dinner one night - the room smelled like SMOKE! My wife and I have an extreme allergy to smoke - which resulted in the final 2 days of our cruise each suffering from a migraine. While we were prepared with prescription migraine medicine - we missed a rather large portion of both days. Comedy show - probably just me, but I didn't laugh a single time. Some others did laugh, so maybe I'm just to critical of comedians. The infamous $120 gratuity we are automatically charged on the sign and sail card. I specified that gratuity NOT be automatically charged to my card - but yet it was. The night of the formal dinner we were so disturbed by the family in front of us that was refused service (because the lady was wearing dress pants) - that we didn't enjoy the formal dining experience either. Granted it isn't such a big deal to miss the meal - the food is the same quality at the other restaurants. This couple looked "NICE", not shorts nor torn blue jeans nor tank tops, etc....the lady was dressed very nicely and this family looked much more clean and presentable than many allowed in the dining room. You could tell from their embarrassment and anger - this will be their last cruise. We simply chose to support them by not dining that evening either - but their treatment was deplorable. On this subject, a dining establishment has the right to refuse service to patrons. However, in doing so - they forfeit the right to CHARGE these patrons for food and service. Ironically, everybody pays to enjoy the dining room experiences. Therefore, Carnival should refund the amount of dinner to those that deem "unworthy" to dine with others. My wife enjoys karaoke and looked forward to finally spending a week to sing karaoke (as she typically works 6 days per week and we are rarely off together). The cruise last year was the perfect opportunity for us to sing and enjoy ourselves daily/nightly. This cruise denoted karaoke in the "Passage to India" lounge twice, but yet the karaoke did not take place. Also, karaoke was denoted in the "Putting on the Ritz" lounge one evening, but did not take place. While that may not seem like much to most people, this is the primary part of the cruise that my wife enjoys - so obviously she wasn't happy. We did realize too late one evening that they moved karaoke from "Passage to India" to the "Putting on the Ritz" - just not on the night indicated and not in time to sing more than one song. The guy running the karaoke was very friendly, but many CD's wouldn't play, feedback, sound and microphone issues, etc..... Basically, we had migraines 2 days, paid $215 EACH extra to hear a concert and didn't get to participate in the one activity that prompted our cruise. Last year was great, this year not so good....the verdict is out on whether we will risk cruising with Carnival again. Oh yes, we were scheduled to depart the ship around 8:15-8:30 am, but we didn't depart until 10 am. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Embarkation in Jacksonville was a nightmare. Carnival does not do the "herding" aspect of cruising well. As others have mentioned, the advanced age of the employees seemed to slow down the whole process. I'm no spring ... Read More
Embarkation in Jacksonville was a nightmare. Carnival does not do the "herding" aspect of cruising well. As others have mentioned, the advanced age of the employees seemed to slow down the whole process. I'm no spring chicken, but Carnival needs to reassess where these folks might be better utilized. Room- my first impression was the stinky, stale smoke smell that met my nose as I entered the room. I don't need anything fancy or even need a window in my room. But I don't want to smell old tobacco every time I come "home." On the plus side, the beds and pillows were really comfy, and our room dude was superb. The entire decor in this ship is shabby and dated, which includes the rooms. Carpet was worn and dirty. Dining- our waiter was great- very personable and attentive. Food was below so-so. If not for the chocolate melting cake, I would rate it horrible. The Lido deck buffet for breakfast had a great omelet making station, but it's a good thing I get up early before the "crowds" hit. On our last day, they had NO COFFEE until about 9am. The lines were usually quite long, and since there is no place to put your tray, they have to be left on the tables for the staff to clear. Except that they don't do it often. I cleared tables every day, breakfast and lunch, so that I would have a place to sit. It was literally the same food every meal, which got old even on this short cruise. They did have decent pizza and a sandwich bar, but again, the same old thing. Entertainment was the worst I ever experienced. The "comedian" was so bad that people were leaving like crazy. There was a juggler (ZZZZZ)... Lots of "singer/dancer" shows of really mediocre talent. I also got really jazzed about paying $20 for ONE GAME of bingo. Don't even get me started on their web site to try and register, etc. Numerous calls to Carnival only got us a "we know it's bad" answer. Maybe it's the old adage of "you get what you pay for", but there were a lot of folks on this cruise (one lady we talked to described them as "riff raff") who were just plain loud and rude. I'm going on a spring break cruise on Princess (another first), and I'm hoping for a much better experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009

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