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8,045 Carnival Cruise Reviews

Embarkation/debarkation. No complaints. New Orleans has this down pat. Carnival should take what NOLA does and clone it for all their other ports. Ship. Before I go further, I must make it clear I am a fan of the older, smaller fantasy ... Read More
Embarkation/debarkation. No complaints. New Orleans has this down pat. Carnival should take what NOLA does and clone it for all their other ports. Ship. Before I go further, I must make it clear I am a fan of the older, smaller fantasy class Carnival ships, the Elation in particular.The Valor. My first time aboard her. She is a pretty ship. Decor is less 70's Vegas than the fantasy class, which is a plus. One annoying thing is the same thing as the Dream and her sisters. If you're on Deck 3 and want to go anywhere else on deck 3, you have to go up over and then back down due to the way the galley and dining rooms are placed. Deck space and pool space are excellent! It's also nice that the Dream Bar has extra seating for entertainment. ALL of the elevators worked EVERYDAY! Whoever thought of putting the Sushi Bar and Deli in the middle walkway of the buffet should be fired. Always congested there. Not happy about not having an outdoor beverage center between Guy's and The Cantina. Had to go into the buffet to get coffee or juice. Cabin. Balcony on Lido deck. Typical Carnival cabin. Comfortable and clean. Samosir, our steward was excellent. I wish Carnival would understand how hard these folks work and instead of adding cabins to take care of, cut back a bit. Food. OK, here, the Valor outshined (outshown?) every other Carnival ship I've cruised on. From the MDR to the buffet to the "fast food" places. Most everything was delicious, presented well, and served with excellence. First night out in the MDR I ordered the brisket, and it was the most tender, delicious absolutely satisfying piece of brisket I've ever had. IF I had to pick at anything, it's the length of time to get a cup of coffee in the MDR. I joked they had to go to Columbia to get the beans. My other issue... Scarlett's Steak House. I had dinner in the steak house on the Dream and the french onion soup was like dishwater. In Scarlett's, it was so overpowering, it was like biting into a beef bullion cube. But that was the ONLY issue there. The lobster and beef were perfection. And the service was beyond compare. Entertainment. If you ever get the chance to see Cazenda. Do it. Amazing group. This trip I didn't do any of the shows or comedy club acts, but I heard they were good. Service. Look, these folks work hard. From the deck cleaners to the wait staff to the stewards, they all do their best to ensure we have a memorable and pleasant vacation. They do their work with pride, and a smile. But... the Valor like the Dream suffers from too many passengers and not enough deck staff. It seems that the staffing numbers for the fantasy class ships are carried over to these bigger ships with 1000 more passengers, and it shows. It wasn't as bad as the Dream, but hunting down a cocktail isn't something someone should have to do on a ship. Watching your steward run themselves ragged trying to keep up with the cabins they have isn't either. No complaints at all about the service folks. This is all on Carnival's back... I get they have to make money, but they really need to rethink the service staff to passenger ratios on the bigger ships. Ports. Cozumel. It was Cozumel. Progresso. I didn't go ashore. Did a "port day" on board. Would I go again? Uhmmm, New Orleans and then Mexico? You bet! Laisse le bon temps rouler! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Beautiful ship! Crew is outstanding. Entertainment was awesome. MDR food - Breakfast- delicious, Dinner- little disappointed. Steakhouse -food AMAZING, service - not the best. Pros- the Crew and the decor of this ship!! Cons- not ... Read More
Beautiful ship! Crew is outstanding. Entertainment was awesome. MDR food - Breakfast- delicious, Dinner- little disappointed. Steakhouse -food AMAZING, service - not the best. Pros- the Crew and the decor of this ship!! Cons- not enough seating in Serenity, MDR food kind of blah. If you want to relax during the day and have a great time in evening, this is the ship. Embarking was a breeze. Disembarkation, not so much as people were all trying to leave at one time. Muster drill about 45 minutes. This ship had some of the best employees. Friendly, always smiling, and eager to help answer any questions. Overall had a fantastic trip. Planning on sailing on Liberty again. Layout is very easy to navigate, and the smoke from the Casino was minimal outside that area. I can’t stress enough; if you like to be treated like a VIFP, this is the ship. EXCEPTIONAL CREW!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this cruise because of the ports that are every day and for the majority of the day. We don't like too many 'days at sea'. We are not really interested in the activities aboard the ship but rather the ports of call. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the ports that are every day and for the majority of the day. We don't like too many 'days at sea'. We are not really interested in the activities aboard the ship but rather the ports of call. These were all great islands with a variety of scenery and things to do. We chose the grand suite with the extended balcony because we like to sit on the balcony and enjoy the peacefulness of the ocean/sea. The bed had a plush mattress which was the most comfortable bed I've slept in at any hotel, airbnb, condo or other cruise. The shower had lots of hot water and lots of water pressure. The lounge chairs on the balcony (the same as around the pool) were very hard and uncomfortable. If you are a food critic you probably won't like this cruise as the buffet was limited and not very tasty. Which is good I guess because then I didn't overeat! I did not eat in the dining room so I cannot speak to that food. We took the land/sea combo excursion on St. Lucia and it was excellent. A great way to see the island. At the other ports we just took a taxi to a beach we had picked out before the cruise. There are always plenty of taxis available at the ports with flat rates to most of the popular beaches. We rented a car in Barbados which I would recommend as the island is small and relatively flat, there are a number of places to see and we were there until 9:00PM. (they do drive on the left though so be prepared) Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Embarkation and disembarkation went very quick and smoothly. We had a great time. The weather was perfect, seas as calm as could be. The staff was very well trained and very attentive to everyone's needs. Interior of the ship is ... Read More
Embarkation and disembarkation went very quick and smoothly. We had a great time. The weather was perfect, seas as calm as could be. The staff was very well trained and very attentive to everyone's needs. Interior of the ship is very nice, clean and parts were beautiful. Cabin was was very nice and like most of the ship extremely well kept. On the DOWN SIDE, the food was, in a word, BAD. Don't really expect great food on cruises, especially buffets, etc., however, this was well below standards. Buffets were always late opening, and the selection minimal. BEST for us was GUY'S BURGERS and BLUE IGUANA TACO BAR. Both pool side, fast and yummy. Having taken this cruise so close to Christmas, was actually shocked to see so many KIDS, I mean, everywhere. One last note, always get the beverage package, great deal, as all drinks are very expensive. Oh yeah, they need more bars around the main pool. Would I choose CARNIVAL again? Not sure, they seem to cater to Kids. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was our first cruise, January 2020. We selected this cruise because it was short (5 days) and we could drive to the port (Mobile). Overall, the cruise was very enjoyable. The Fantasy ship is about 30 years old but is in very good ... Read More
This was our first cruise, January 2020. We selected this cruise because it was short (5 days) and we could drive to the port (Mobile). Overall, the cruise was very enjoyable. The Fantasy ship is about 30 years old but is in very good shape and is very clean. We didn't encounter any problems with the ship or our room. Our favorite on ship event was the "Astro Nautical" band in the Cat's Lounge. These are 5 outstanding musicians with an excellent lead vocalist. We also enjoyed the comedy show with Sean Kent. (I still don't know what the lady from Mississippi was saying). We had excellent burgers from Guy Fieri's burger joint. The ship's crew were excellent in all encounters. They always greet you in the halls. We purchased "Faster to the Fun" program ($70) which is basically an upgrade to the VIP status allowing priority boarding and debarkation as well as some other perks. This was well worth the money. We walked past hundreds of people in line to board the boat without waiting behind a single person. Same thing when we left the ship. We did have a very good time and we would sail the Fantasy again without hesitation, but here are our critiques. In the main theatre, the "Brits" show and the "Country" show were very corny and amateurish. Our biggest disappointment was the food. We had been told that cruise food is excellent but we found the food to be bland and the service slow. We ate in the dining room three nights and one lunch before we gave up on it and went to the buffet. At least in the buffet we could try different items and pick what we liked. Personally, I was disappointed that the Fantasy didn't have a good craft beer on tap (but that's just me). Other than that the bar service was fine. At Progreso we took a bus to Dzibilchatun Mayan ruins and found them very interesting. It is smaller than the Tikal site and Lamanai site (Belize), but with a unique history. The excursion lunch was in Merida and was one of our best meals on the cruise. Our guide, Gabriel, was excellent. The highlight of the trip was the VIP Catamaran snorkel trip we took at Cozumel. The weather was great and the water was clear and warm. We had opportunities to snorkel at two locations where we saw lots of colorful reef fish. The lunch was the best as was the bar service. Although they often have up to 40 guests, this time there were only 9 guests along with 7 crew members. Shelley and the crew took excellent care of us. We stayed at the Microtel in SARALAND, AL prior to cruising. We left our car there and they took us to the ship and picked us up at the end of the cruise. That worked out great. The Fantasy is a smaller and older ship but that didn't hinder our fun in any way. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
we booked a spa cloud 9 with balcony room. it was slightly larger than other balcony rooms i've been in. it was great, for 3 of us. food was OK, drinks were better. we had one person in our group who can't walk long distances so ... Read More
we booked a spa cloud 9 with balcony room. it was slightly larger than other balcony rooms i've been in. it was great, for 3 of us. food was OK, drinks were better. we had one person in our group who can't walk long distances so we had a transport chair for her. embarkation was a breeze and so was disembarkation. the ship itself is very confusing in the way everything is set up. so many times we went back and forth to the extreme. i think the maps are not correct. service was exceptional. we did nassau ourselves but booked the stingray adventure for half moon cay. it was fun. and sitting on the beach looking at the clear turquoise water was just soothing. i used the spa. scheduled a hot stone massage and blow out. well, the hot stone massage was instead a deep tissue and very painful. she barely used the hot stones, and as you know, it's supposed to be relaxing. before we started the therapist asked a bunch of personal questions like how am i detoxing at home (um, i'm not???), etc. then, at the end of the session, she pressured me into buying a skin brush and detox bath salts. i was so floored that i did buy. but i took them back the next day and complained. they took them back no problem and they are credited to my account. i would go again, but maybe to bermuda (been there before) or some of the other northern caribbean islands. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
First Carnival cruise of around 20 total on other lines; RCI, Celebrity, MSC, P&O and NCL. Embarkation was easy at the purpose made Carnival terminal. The ships is very nice and modern. We were onboard pretty fast and during ... Read More
First Carnival cruise of around 20 total on other lines; RCI, Celebrity, MSC, P&O and NCL. Embarkation was easy at the purpose made Carnival terminal. The ships is very nice and modern. We were onboard pretty fast and during boarding all staff were friendly and welcoming. As we cruise many times a year, we only booked a inside cabin on this vacation. It was fit for purpose and modern, although the surfaces had not been wiped down since the previous guests. There was a soda spill on the bedside cabinet and glass condensation rings all over the furniture. After 3 days and upon my request the surfaces were finally wiped down which is quite concerning. The cruise director Emma is outstanding, as are the shows. They're fully immersive and I feel that Carnival has really delivered on these, although the theater venue is very small for the size of the ship and you need to line up 45 minutes before show time minimum to get a decent seat, if one at all as many were standing. The buffet is very lacking but the included burger and burrito bars by the pool compensate for this. We found the food in the MDR to be excellent on the formal nights, and a bit basic at times. The lobster was amazing, as were the chilled soups. You get what you pay for and based on the price of the cruise I would say the overall dining proposition is acceptable, but not like Celebrity etc. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and I was in one of the cheapest rooms. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Took the Carnival Sunrise with my two - year old son, GF, her mom, her brother, my sister, and two friends. We all had an amazing time, and I'm happy to report we now have two more people hooked to cruising! The ship itself, as ... Read More
Took the Carnival Sunrise with my two - year old son, GF, her mom, her brother, my sister, and two friends. We all had an amazing time, and I'm happy to report we now have two more people hooked to cruising! The ship itself, as I'm sure you know by now is the retrofitted Carnival Triumph, which probably was due for a rebranding after its well - publicized issues. Let me start with THIS VESSEL LOOKS AMAZING! Clean, well maintained, and not dated at all. Sure, you aren't going to get ALL the bells and whistles of the newer ships, but the remodel brought a good 85% of what you'd expect to find on the newer ships of today. Guy's Burger Joint, Blue Iguana Taqueria, a fun ropes course that made this chicken turn right back around after the first platform, Carnival Waterworks, there was plenty to do. In fact, I missed some things on my "list" such as the Serenity Deck because there was never a lack of activity or places to go. My son spent some time in Camp Ocean and he absolutely LOVED it! I had heard great things about Carnivals' children's programming, and was not disappointed at all. The staff was professional, fun, compassionate, and clearly knew what they were doing. I would HIGHLY recommend Camp Ocean. The Build a Bear Workshop was definitely one of the highlights. Our sailing was the first on the Sunrise for Erin Weigand, our Cruise Director, and she nailed it! I know she'll have big shoes to fill following in the footsteps of Carnival;'s 2019 Cruise Director of the Year, Chris "The Flying Scotsman" Williams, but she is more than capable. Erin brought an incredible energy, kept us updated, and most of all was FUN, and isn't that the name of the game? GF and I were delighted when she sent a 24k solid gold plastic ship on a stick and a very nice handwritten letter to our stateroom! While we are on the subject of entertainment I would be remiss if I didn't mention that one of the shows, Vintage Pop, is absolutely, without a doubt the BEST cruise ship stage production I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. Top notch performances, sets, costumes, and music. It's a can't miss! One of the leads in particular (the young lady who comes out from under the feathers) is destined to become a star, like HUGE. Also, can't say enough good things about the Electric Violinists, who wowed the crowd several nights in the atrium. The Hasbro Game Show was an absolute blast, and both my GF and I got on stage and made it to the final round! The Sunrise isn't perfect by any means. In fact, if Cruise Critic allowed decimal scores I'd rate the ship somewhere between a 3.5 and a 3.75 instead of a 4. My biggest complaints echo what some past cruisers have already stated: the buffet is designed horribly and is probably the single reason the line for it is almost always unbearably long. By having choke points at the end of the line, AND especially by putting the salad bar and hot table as one long straight line the buffet gets over loaded with slow moving diners. In addition, some of the buffet desserts (particularly the Chocolate Intensity) were some of the worst at sea, with GF calling the cake "chewy," and not in a pleasant way. Also, let's talk about those cupcakes in Java Blue. Huge, with lots of whipped frosting, they looked Great! We decided to purchase two, at $3 (plus gratuity) each. (Total came to $7.18) GF got a smore's, and I got a dulce de leche. One word, YUCK! The cakes themselves were darn near solid and chewy, while the frosting was a nearly solid mass that was very unpleasant. Even my two - year old wanted no part of it after a few bites. The Sunrise doesn't ride the water especially smoothly, and even in calm seas several passengers commented on how much shakiness and rocking they felt. This is the first vessel I've ever felt the need to take Dramamine as a matter of prevention. (though I do on each sailing anyway, just in case.) The atrium was nice, but the view upwards was blocked by some kind of globe art that really took away from the soaring space you see on other ships. The line to Guest Services seemed to be perpetually long. Let's get back to the positive, because there is plenty of it. the food selections in the MDR were spot on, with the ox tongue being a favorite of mine, Like a piece of just perfectly fatty roast beef it melted in my mouth and was very flavorful. On our last night on the ship I also enjoyed the kitchen's vegetarian special of papadam with raita, dal, and basmati rice, with was prepared and presented exquisitely. Like my past Carnival cruises, the 24/7 pizza at the back of the ship was a huge hit. Seriously, Carnival really nails pizza! Favorites for GF and I included the Quatro Formaggi, and Prosciutto pies. Only thing I have always thought Carnival can do better is add one more employee during peak times, as two workers almost always seem to get overwhelmed. Also, at some point in the last few years they seem to have removed the Caesar Salad from the pizza station menu. (It still appears in the MDR) In the past I used to rave about Carnival's Caesar, but for whatever reason it just seemed good, but not great this time. Could just be me though. We visited three ports during our five day journey; Grand Turk, Princess Cay, and Nassau. Grand Turk was a lovely little island with your standard cruise terminal area featuring the usual souvenirs, jewelry, bars and eateries. There was a nice monument / information about the Mercury 7 flights and astronauts that splashed down in the ocean nearby. Outside of the tourist area is pretty run down and still sees the lingering effects of a recent hurricane. The beach features some of the best baby powder sand I've seen. Princess Cay is exactly what you would expect from a Carnival owned private island. Gorgeous views, souvenir stands, bars, etc. I've always had a love / hate relationship with Nassau, and that didn't change with this trip. If you've been there once, you know that the peddlers / solicitors can be a chore to move past. There's plenty to see and do in the city, but Nassau is usually a bit too much for me. We did not purchase shore excursions for any of the ports. As should be expected with Carnival the staff aboard the Sunrise was friendly, attentive, and eager to please. Our Cabin Steward, I Nyoman was fantastic! It seemed like every time we left our cabin for even a short amount of time he came in and made it spotless. I've always said that Cabin Stewards and staff of cruise ships are the hardest working employees I've ever seen, and this staff was no exception! Overall, despite a small number of complaints we had a fantastic time aboard the Carnival Sunrise. I truly believe that you bring your vacation with you. If you are laid back and go with the flow you will absolutely enjoy the heck out of your cruise. If you're someone who likes to complain, well, you will find things to complain about. As for me, I HIGHLY recommend a journey aboard this ship, everyone in our party had a fantastic time, and can't wait to sail again! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Chose cruise for price and destinations. Easy embarkation. Having lunch by noon. We'd visited Margaritaville in Grand Turk and looked forward to returning. Had not been to Amber Cove. Pleased. Zip line $20 unlimited. We did not do ... Read More
Chose cruise for price and destinations. Easy embarkation. Having lunch by noon. We'd visited Margaritaville in Grand Turk and looked forward to returning. Had not been to Amber Cove. Pleased. Zip line $20 unlimited. We did not do excursions, finding them pricey. Had Super cruise director/Jen.. Quirky and fun!!! Rico/Imagination waiter excellent. He sang 2 nights. We requested his section each night. Not disappointed. Good food, plentiful and varied. Love chocolate melting cake and cold strawberry and peach soups. . Ship clean. Updated recently. We've cruised on Fantasy class 4 times. Like the size. Shows fantastic tho a bit loud at times. Amazing dancers. Weather wasn't the best but there was always something to do. Wish something could be done with casino smoke. Piano bar performer delightful. Favorite later evening spot. Met lots of interesting and friendly people. Love cruising. Have never had a bad one. They simply pass too quickly. Read Less
Sail Date January 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
This was my first time cruising. It was awesome. MarQ was not only handsome but very entertaining. Our housekeeper Dewa was great as well. I knew as soon as I crossed into the ship I was gonna return very soon. One night we were in rough ... Read More
This was my first time cruising. It was awesome. MarQ was not only handsome but very entertaining. Our housekeeper Dewa was great as well. I knew as soon as I crossed into the ship I was gonna return very soon. One night we were in rough water and the entertainment still carried on as if nothing was happening. Our trip to Half Moon Cay got canceled because of the waters but MarQ kept us very informed as to what was gonna happen next and we never skipped a beat. We ended up in Freeport, Bahamas and had a wonderful time there too!! I cant wait to go on my next cruise wit MarQ again. I really enjoyed our formal night because they make you feel so elegant, almost like you're a movie star with paparazzi following you everywhere. the swim with the dolphin at Blue Lagoon was a bucket list of mine knocked off. I played with Goombay....something I dreamed of making happen and my sweetheart Lucius made that happen. We both thoroughly enjoyed it ALL and will soon return for another adventure with MarQ. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
My husband and I sailed for the second time on the Carnival Dream, stateroom category 8B, room 6318. The ship had just returned from an altered itinerary due to fog, and so hadn't been in port for several days. As such, she was in ... Read More
My husband and I sailed for the second time on the Carnival Dream, stateroom category 8B, room 6318. The ship had just returned from an altered itinerary due to fog, and so hadn't been in port for several days. As such, she was in need of a thorough cleaning outside: all outside windows and balconies were filmed over with salt and tough to see through. The inside of the ship was pristine; I seldom saw empty glasses or room service items in the common areas. Our sailing must have been quite empty, because even on the one warm sea day we had, the lido deck had chairs to spare and Serenity was quite empty as well. Bars that had been opened on our first sailing were closed on and off, and the buffet seemed less full of options than before. Activities were abundant, especially live music! It seemed that every evening we had two or three venues to choose from to listen to live music. The comedians must have been good, because even arriving early to several shows it was standing room only. Since we sailed in mid-January, there were very few kids on board, and as such the casino was full and smoky. The smoke thankfully didn't waft far, but it was bothersome to walk through. As far as excursions, our submarine trip in Cozumel was canceled due to weather conditions, and there were several Carnival staff members on the pier near the meeting areas ready with alternatives to offer us. The canceled excursion was automatically refunded and we were able to choose a trip to Chankanaab instead, which I highly recommend! Service was very good, especially the dining room staff. Our waiters Luis from Mexico, Felix from Peru, and Shyam from India were very attentive, as well as Camille from the Philippines who we saw at the buffet and Guys Pig and Anchor. Our stateroom host I Gusti from Indonesia was busy but always had a smile on his face and a greeting for us, and he kept our room tidy. Our only complaint was that our room, 6318, was directly above the casino and we could hear the machines' noise as well as gamblers' celebratory cheers at night. Our balcony was right above one of the hot tubs on the promenade deck 5 as well, and while the noise was not too bothersome it was certainly present. I would certainly sail on the Dream again! She is a beautiful ship with a more than competent staff, and I enjoyed my sailing on her immensely! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This cruise was booked to celebrate a wedding anniversary. We first cruised last year and we fell in love with cruising. We sailed out of New Orleans. We are from Louisiana so New Orleans was close. Previously we have sailed out of ... Read More
This cruise was booked to celebrate a wedding anniversary. We first cruised last year and we fell in love with cruising. We sailed out of New Orleans. We are from Louisiana so New Orleans was close. Previously we have sailed out of Galveston which we were not too fond of so we wanted to try something new. Overall I feel like it was a success. Embarkation was very seamless because we had faster to the fun. I highly recommend faster to the fun! We were arrived at the port at about 1030, And we were on the ship in our room at about 1115. We were told that the glory was a smaller ship but it is still a quite large ship. I believe for our sailing we had a little over 3000 guests with a little over 1000 crew. The lobby area and the our time dining area was congested for most of the cruise but everyone was so friendly we didn’t find it difficult. We spent the majority of our time in the casino which is part of our vacation fun. The casino staff were amazing, the dealers were the best that I’ve ever had the pleasure of interacting with. The waiters in the casino area could be very attentive or they could also be very invisible, it was hit or miss most of the cruise. Our cruise was a premier cruise,As was the last cruise that we took. But we did not find at the casino was overly crowded. The dining room food was very good for most of the nights. Breakfast or Sea day brunch was hit or miss. We had one waiter that we requested for two or three nights and he and his team were absolutely amazing. The buffet food was above average which was better than what our experience was on the Vista. We also ate at guys burger and obviously that was wonderful. We also dined in the steakhouse on the first evening. We did receive our complimentary bottle of wine which was lovely and we also received a special dessert because we were celebrating our anniversary. Those were the highlights of the dinner. It took Approximately three hours from beginning to the end of the meal with lots of time in between courses. Everything was moving so slow in the dinner service area for the steakhouse. The servers were nice but overworked and probably stressed out. They had a small bar that we sat at waiting for our table and the bartender there was nice but seemed frazzled. She also had negative views on the United States that she was freely sharing with us even though knowing that we were from the United States. It wasn’t the most pleasant conversation. On the third or fourth night we visited the alchemy bar. And we recognized the bartender from our previous cruise on the Vista. We received very good drinks and wonderful service. I would highly recommend the alchemy bar. Our cabin steward was thorough but very invisible. She was hardly around to ask for anything extra. We only saw one playlist production which was good. And then we attended the love and marriage show which was very funny. Our cruise director was cookie, and we were told he was an excellent cruise director. He was very funny but I believe he got sick during our cruise because there were a couple of days that his voice was noticeably absent. We did not go to the comedy shows or the piano bar but heard from several other cruisers that they were wonderful. All in all our cruise was a success. We so much enjoyed our vacation. And we were very grateful for the service we received on board would highly recommend sailing on the glory, It is an older ship but the staff are very friendly and attentive. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
After reading the reviews about this ship I was extremely nervous about this cruise; however, I didn’t experience any of the major negatives in past reviews. Listed below are my pros and cons. Pros: The cruise director Cam was ... Read More
After reading the reviews about this ship I was extremely nervous about this cruise; however, I didn’t experience any of the major negatives in past reviews. Listed below are my pros and cons. Pros: The cruise director Cam was amazing. He was really high energy and was able to included everyone in most of the onboard games and shows. The embarkment process was painless from the moment we parked out car we were on the boat within 20 to 30 mins same as leaving the boat. Most of the staff was friendly. Cons: You are unable to use the drink package on their private island. On NCL and Royal I was able to use my drink package on their private island. The drink package limits you to 15 drinks and I get it that they have to make some money but the days at sea it was easy to reach 15 drinks a day (6am to 6am). Once you reach 15 drinks they no longer allow you to get any alcoholic drinks even if you are willing to purchase them. Late night food choose not much to choose from. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Embarking was amazing. Walked right on the ship and was handed a drink within five minutes. The energy was fun and active. It was a great way to start a kid free vacation. Disembarking was a piece of cake too. The overall cleanliness ... Read More
Embarking was amazing. Walked right on the ship and was handed a drink within five minutes. The energy was fun and active. It was a great way to start a kid free vacation. Disembarking was a piece of cake too. The overall cleanliness of the ship met my standards. Didn’t notice any smells. Our room was cleaned daily and the staff left the cutest towel animals. Cam, the entertainment director is awesome. Such high energy and the best dance moves. He really got the crowd going. I was slightly disappointed with the shower water temp, it was barely luke warm. An attempt to fix it was made by staff, but with no luck. It is also disappointing that you can’t use your drink package at Carnival’s own island. They literally take alcohol from the ship to the island, but the cheers package doesn’t work there. The hot tubs were very crowded and we often had to wait to get in. Overall a good experience and I am surprised by all the negative ones. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
First cruise for me and my husband. We really enjoyed our time, our room steward I Made was wonderful! He called us by name every time he seen us and made sure we had everything. He was wonderful! Also the dining team was excellent,Lab ... Read More
First cruise for me and my husband. We really enjoyed our time, our room steward I Made was wonderful! He called us by name every time he seen us and made sure we had everything. He was wonderful! Also the dining team was excellent,Lab Asa, Nujarin,Rojas, Joel and Espinoza, Rogelio Jr Paiso, we thank you for your outstanding service. We will definitely be back to cruise some more. We also had fun in the casino and playing cards with our friends. The beds were really comfy and the room was cleaned everyday. The music on the lido deck was nice while laying there relaxing. We enjoyed Cozumel and Grand Cayman very much. I would recommend that you get the drink Packages if you drink everyday as the bill adds up! Also the patches behind the ears really helped me and my husband. Thanks for making us feel special!, Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this because it was kid friendly and last minute time off from work. I picked a suite. Even though it was on the lower level I felt a little better just because we were bringing a two year old with us and he’s a climber. ... Read More
We chose this because it was kid friendly and last minute time off from work. I picked a suite. Even though it was on the lower level I felt a little better just because we were bringing a two year old with us and he’s a climber. Everyone is very nice on the Vista and the older portions of the craft were being maintained properly it feels like. I have one very very large complaint!!!!!!! The rooms 2431 -2433 and maybe even more than that are at a ridiculous level of loud. Like there’s a pot and pan party that is going on where every five minutes or so they slam one up against the railing outside. It is quite literally unbearable even after having brought ear plugs. I did read after I purchased the cruise about these rooms from another reviewer and was prepared with ear plugs. The first night was a total loss on sleep and the last night was a total loss. Just FYI for all who are booking. Stay away from the rooms under kitchens Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was our 16th cruise. I want to preface this review by admitting we are not big Carnival fans. We've sailed mostly on RCL, NCL, Celebrity, and Princess. We sailed once before on Carnival, on the Carnival Magic to the ... Read More
This was our 16th cruise. I want to preface this review by admitting we are not big Carnival fans. We've sailed mostly on RCL, NCL, Celebrity, and Princess. We sailed once before on Carnival, on the Carnival Magic to the Mediterranean in 2011. We enjoyed that cruise, mostly because the ship was brand new and the great destinations, but were quite pleasantly surprised with the quality of the food in the main dining room, unfortunately offset by disappointment with the ship itself, and the very poor quality of the shows in the theater. However, we are California residents, and when Carnival decided to sail the brand new Panorama out of Long Beach, we decided it was so convenient to sail from Southern California we thought it would be fun to book a trip to the Mexican Riviera, which we hadn't visited in over a decade. Embarkation went very smoothly; it was only 25 minutes from arrival at the Cruise Terminal in Long Beach to entering our cabin (balcony cabin 8231). The Panorama is an unspectacular ship in appearance; it was very clean, but it doesn't have any features that stand out except for the three story, funnel-shaped digital displays in the atrium and bar on level 3. Those were really interesting and fun to watch, as the displays change continually. Let me summarize what we thought were the highs and lows of the Panorama. HIGHS: Excellent service. This was a pleasant surprise; of all of the cruises we have been on, my wife and I agree that the Panorama had without a doubt the most pleasant crew we've EVER experienced. Every crew member we encountered smiled without exception, was pleasant to speak with, and was as helpful as we could have asked for. Carnival stressed that the Panorama was the line's flagship, and it was readily apparent in the level of service we experienced. Dining. We thought the food in the main dining room was of very good, on par with our last Carnival cruise in 2011, about as good as NCL, and better than RCL. Where the Panorama's food really excelled was at the specialty dining spots; Guy's Burger Joint, Guy's Smokehouse BBQ, and Blue Iguana Cantina. The burgers at Guy's were by far THE BEST BURGERS ON ANY SHIP I'VE EVER CRUISED ON! No other ship's burgers are even close! I ate NINE on our seven day cruise! Tasty, juicy, thick, freshly-made beef patties (they gladly made my burgers doubles), crispy on the edges, excellent condiments, these are without a doubt as good as the most of burgers at the upscale burger restaurants in the Bay Area. Likewise, the Blue Iguana's tacos were incredible; my wife and I agree they were superior to the tacos in virtually all of the Mexican restaurants in our area. The meats were nicely seasoned, properly cooked, tender and tasty, and the condiment bar was very well stocked, and had an excellent selection of salsas and sauces. Another experience we greatly enjoyed was the Chef's Table; for a very reasonable $95 we enjoyed a three hour experience which included touring the kitchen, food preparation, wine and champagne, and a creative,12 course, delightfully presented meal. We thought it was definitely money well spent. Entertainment. There were four shows performed in the main theater by the Panorama's production crew, and we enjoyed all of these. There were also multiple comedians every evening, and we saw several of these, and most were very good. Cruise Director. Emma, the Cruise Director, a former English school teacher was, without a doubt, the BEST CRUISE DIRECTOR EVER! Her energy, her sense of humor, her enthusiasm, were outstanding. Normally, when we cruise, the Cruise Director is a non-entity to us; we know they exist, but don't care about them at all. Every time I heard Emma's voice; at the shows, in the Atrium, poolside, or over the PA system, she made me smile. Without a doubt, she was an incredible asset to the Panorama. Value. Our balcony cabin was an incredible bargain, and the package that the Panorama offered for the price was excellent. LOWS: The buffet was mediocre. The Lido Marketplace was surprisingly small for a ship with 4000 passengers, and the variety and selection were disappointing, compared to other cruise ships we've sailed on previously, while the quality of the food was about average. The one outstanding feature of the buffet was a cake bar; every day with the lunch buffet there was a separate offering of six to eight layer cakes, with almost all offerings changing on a daily basis. This became one of the highlights of our day! The cakes were almost uniformly good; moist, flavorful, great butter creams, and lots of variety. My wife and I sampled four or five different cakes every day, and they were very good (and my wife is a great baker in her own right). Even now, a week after our cruise, we talk about the cake bar! The Panorama. What can I say about the ship's physical features; it's public rooms were very pretty pedestrian. Artwork throughout the ship was pretty blah. Our balcony cabin was just okay, a bit smaller than average. The theater was small, and most of the seats on the main floor were just ordinary padded chairs, with no arms. Even the pools were smaller than average. The new Sky Ride was very underwhelming, almost boring. The outdoor screen for movies was impressive, being brilliant and sharp, and easily seen, even in bright daylight Overall, we thought our cruise on the Panorama was a really good value, and we had a very relaxing cruise to some very pleasant destinations (we think Cabo San Lucas has beaches as beautiful as any in North America). Terrific service, very good food, lots of entertainment; a really pleasant cruise.. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this cruise for the length (15 Days) and the destination (Hawaii). Boarding the ship in San Diego was extremely organized, once you got through security. The security line was pretty much a free-for-all. I read reviews about ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the length (15 Days) and the destination (Hawaii). Boarding the ship in San Diego was extremely organized, once you got through security. The security line was pretty much a free-for-all. I read reviews about the ship being in bad shape. Yes, it's an older ship that was weeks away from dry dock, but the ship was in great shape! Very clean and all public areas were in excellent condition and working order. We had an interior cabin (it was a casino comp...so we dealt with it! LOL) and made it work. It was very small, but as long as we kept it picked up and used all the drawer/cabinet space , it was fine. The service throughout the ship was wonderful! Very friendly crew everywhere we went, and always greeted with a smile! Our cabin steward, Genjah, kept our cabin in perfect order. It seemed like whenever we left and came back to our room, no matter the time of day, our cabin had been cleaned and organized! The entertainment was okay, not the best, but we enjoyed ourselves. With a total of eight sea days, there's only so much you can do. We brought some games and books along to keep us occupied...and out of the casino! LOL As far as Hawaii goes, our ports of call could not have been better! (Maui, Oahu/Honolulu, Kaua'i, Hilo) The only excursion we booked through Carnival was a snorkeling excursion in Maui. This was advertised as a snorkeling with turtles, which it was not; but the snorkeling was beautiful...and on the way back to the island we saw so many whales! It was a highlight! The rest of our excursions were booked on our own and we had no problems getting back to the ship on time, with all but one of them picking us up right at the ship. The only real disappointment was the food. It was not terrible, but sometimes lacked flavor. The Steakhouse was wonderful, but the Chef's Table was disappointing. We've done other Chef's Tables and the menu and quality was much better. I believe Carnival has cut back on this and would do well to redo the menu. The main dining room was again...just okay; but our service could not have been better. Debarkation was a little long, but that was due to the amount of Platinum and Diamond guests on the ship. We always give ourselves plenty of time to get to the airport, so this is never a big deal to us. Overall, the ship and crew on Carnival Miracle really made this trip special, and we would do it all over again!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Although an older ship due for dry dock, the Miracle was still a lovely, clean, and inviting ship to be on. (I do hope that they replace the mattresses in the cabins, though, during the dry dock. They weren't very comfortable). The ... Read More
Although an older ship due for dry dock, the Miracle was still a lovely, clean, and inviting ship to be on. (I do hope that they replace the mattresses in the cabins, though, during the dry dock. They weren't very comfortable). The crew was amazing--helpful to elderly and disabled and very friendly and accommodating. The activities and entertainment was varied and enjoyable. Some of the comedians were just so-so, but others were great, so evened out. I would not rave about the food. It was just okay in both the Lido and the Dining Room. The best meals were at the Sea Day Brunch. Hawaii ports offered plenty to do, although several of them were not the most scenic - we docked in industrial terminals. I will definitely consider sailing on this ship again after it is refreshed. It was so easy to figure out the layout and get to all the venues with very little crowding and few lines. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I chose Carnival cruise because it was a family fun holiday ship. Overall cruise was great. Ship was great. Staff were great. Entertainment was fantastic. Art auctions were great. Food was fine and at times great. Grumps and ... Read More
I chose Carnival cruise because it was a family fun holiday ship. Overall cruise was great. Ship was great. Staff were great. Entertainment was fantastic. Art auctions were great. Food was fine and at times great. Grumps and don't bother with: Don't pay for the priority boarding. You get on the ship fast enough when you first board and when you disembark. As for propriety boarding on day trips if you pay for tours it cancels out your priority boarding. It only applies on on the boat shuttles if you are not doing an organised ship tour and it will only apply for your trip out to shore. It won't cover you for getting back to the boat so this is when you will want it to really work and it won't. We had a 1 hour wait from Akora to get back to the ship. The last water shuttle deadline was at 5:15pm. We didn't clear the line to get on the shuttle boat until about 5:30pm and I reckon about 300 - 400 people queued up on the jetty panicking the ship was going to leave them behind. The ship waited for all passengers to get on board. SO NOT WORTH PAYING FOR priority boarding. The internet is a 50 - 50 thing to get. If you need to post, contact people via social media or keep updated on what's going on back home then you need to get it. Would suggest you get the value pack as the internet is slow and at times won't work at all. It is user number dependent meaning the more people online the slower the internet will work. Would suggest you get your children their own internet package for their device as it is a one device at a time package. This will cause fights in the cabin for sure. The main milk is soy and dairy in the buffet areas - so anything special is difficult to get on the ship apart from the dining room or cafe. There is only 1 Australian and USA powerpoint in the cabin which is so close to the bench top that you cant fit a power pack in. It is low voltage 220 Volts. There is a powerpoint in the bathroom for shavers but it is USA input only. Why?? Don't upgrade to the back of the boat or upper high decks unless you are a seasoned cruiser with a strong stomach for rough seas. Best to get a room higher than level 3 and lower than level 5 and always be mid ship not back or front of boat unless you want to be tossed around in your cabin or you are up for sling shot sleeping all night during open ocean days. NOT WORTH THE EXTRA MONEY TO BE GREEN FOR MOST OF THE TRIP. Make sure you get to all shows, trivia and other events at least 30 mins early. Lunches on shore excursions ARE a big issue. You can't take food off the boat. You can buy drinks of water before you leave the boat. GET THEM. As it may be hours before you can get food or drink on your tour. Be aware that meals or mealtime included in your tour. It was a big issue on 1 of our tours and we were very light headed and thirsty by the end of the tour - did not eat until 3pm and it was only a basic lunch. Self tours beware you will be up for heaps of walking so make sure you can walk well and you have the local taxi number on hand. Many taxi companies wont take your booking for short rides and some of these places only have a few taxis in the area and difficult to hail from the side of the road. If you are at the back of the boat watch out as towards the end of the cruise (about 2 days left of it) you will experience a bad sewerage smell, which makes it impossible for you to go out on you back deck. iF you open the balcony door the smell will get into your cabin and is difficult to get rid of quickly. It is putrid enough to make you want to vomit if you smell it. Housekeeping said the filters on the sewerage tanks get full towards the end of the trip and they don't change them until they finish the cruise. Grump of the day is the lack of passengers tipping the housekeeping and dining room staff. It really was shameful to see that so many passengers did not tip their staff for the amazing work they did for them on the cruise. Going minimum tipping rates are: Housekeeping - $50 AUD Waiting Staff dining room only - $20 AUD each (you will have up to 3 staff you will need to tip here) Drinks waiter dining room only - $10 AUD (you should only have 1 of these and this is for the alcohol dining waiter) that's about all we would suggest you tip. Beware if cruise photographers they will take great pics of you and your family throughout the cruise each day. When you go to pick them up they will charge you top dollar for these pics and the package deal is expensive. There were pics I wanted but we left them all behind on the ship as the cost of the photos was overpriced. You will need minimum $1000 AUD to do a small photobook. Just take your own pictures and get a book done through somewhere like Big W where it will cost you under $50 AUD Art auction - beware most of the paintings you are bidding on are limited edition prints done in various ways. The one off paintings are limited and makes sure you check before you bid or buy if it is a one off painting or a run in a series of prints. IF you are going Quality of products in the on ship shops. I think you have to be careful what you buy from shops on board. I purchased a beach back and the zip broke on it the next day. The souvenirs are for a country you are not travelling to which is pointless and annoying. Watch the prices. Especially the jewelry. Also check the quality. Be aware if you have the bubbles program you are only covered for over the bar, dining room and Showtime areas. Room service, drinks for onshore excursions and specialty bars you will not covered. you will have to pay. Cheers to Carnival cruise and make sure you do: Entertainment is fantastic don’t miss a show and try and get to comedy hour also. Trivia quizzes are fun so be sure to do some Staff are amazing across the entire ship. 10 out of 10 for service and efforts they all go to for you and for friendliness. Rooms are kept clean Keep an eye on your spending and have fun. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I sailed the Ecstasy on January 13, 2020 out of Jacksonville. I chose this cruise as it is one of their smaller ships, easy drive from Tennessee, and I had never been to Princess Cay. I take a Carnival cruise each January from either ... Read More
I sailed the Ecstasy on January 13, 2020 out of Jacksonville. I chose this cruise as it is one of their smaller ships, easy drive from Tennessee, and I had never been to Princess Cay. I take a Carnival cruise each January from either Jacksonville or Mobile both easy drive. Early January breaks the Christmas New Year hassles, gets me to warmer weather, and kids are back in school. I stayed at Hilton Garden Inn near the airport and around 15 minute drive to port. I never could find out if Uber was allowed in port so I parked at the port but checked and Uber is permittee and next time I will use this service to the port. I am Platinum and checked in a little before 11 am and had just sat down and were allowed to start boarding. There are ramps up to 7th deck to enter ship but you can stop to rest if you need to as they are wide enough for people to pass. I was in E185 and upper/lower on 7th deck. I find this to be perfect for me and had no issues with cabin at all, A/C was very cold and had to turn it off. I never did notice any bad smells at all throughout the ship as others have stated. I do not do the shows, casino, fun squad activities and usually spent the day at serenity. I mainly used the buffet and thought the food was good but noticed they really cut back on salad bar and fruit at continental breakfast. Very small bowls of fruit, salad fixings that quickly ran out any no one to refill. Ate brunch twice and eggs benedict were cold and had been sitting for a long time, eggs to order did not include potatoes and long time to order. they did have some good five music options and listened to some of them from time to time. Princess Cays was very good and I have been to HMC a few times and wanted to compare them. Princess Cays was enjoyable and yes there are rocks here and there and I have not seen so many lounge chairs. Most go to the left but I went to the right and found a nice spot in the shade and they have a bar and food venue on this side of the beach also. I walked to the left side and it is beautiful and lots of shops and trees and plenty of space to roam. Since this is not an island but private beach the best for me was you could walk outside the gate and there was a local bar where you can get local Bahama beer for $4. There were also souvenir shops here as well. I really enjoyed my stay and would love to return. Nassau I have been to many times and I go to my favorite bar for cracked conch and Kalik. We had good weather but the last day was rough and windy as we neared Florida. The Ecstasy is showing rust but the inside looked good to me and people were having fun, seems most the people I met were from the Southeast. For those who have not cruised much people have fun on this class ship altho the larger newer ships seem to be the way of the future which is why I now choose smaller ships with some less than 200 people for most of my trips but the Ecstasy does a good job and the Bahamas is always a fun stop for me. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This cruise was a four-night trip on the Carnival Inspiration, round trip from Long Beach, visiting Catalina Island and Ensenada. This was my 16th cruise lifetime, and 4th on Carnival. My most recent cruises were on Princess; my last ... Read More
This cruise was a four-night trip on the Carnival Inspiration, round trip from Long Beach, visiting Catalina Island and Ensenada. This was my 16th cruise lifetime, and 4th on Carnival. My most recent cruises were on Princess; my last cruise on Carnival was about two years ago. This was my first cruise as a solo (divorced) traveler. I picked this trip simply because the timing worked out, and the price was right. Even having to pay double occupancy fare, with taxes, port fees and gratuities prepaid it came to under $500. I arrived early on Monday morning at the pier at 10:30am. My boarding pass showed I was in boarding group A3 and has a check-in time of 12:30pm. The parking garage is incredibly convenient, being right next to the terminal building. Part of it is currently under construction for expansion, but I had no problem finding a spot, and ended up on the ramp between the 1st and 2nd floors, right near the exit. Incidentally, this location charges $23 per night for parking. There were several porters sitting around by the curb at the edge of the garage, but I couldn’t immediately tell if they were bringing luggage out for people leaving or picking up new luggage. So I walked past them before being directed back by the friendly Carnival staff at the crosswalk. At the terminal building there was no one waiting, and the staff welcomed me to come inside and “get the process started”. They have three lines at the entrance – one for priority and FTTF, one for people arriving at their check-in time, and one for people arriving early. It didn’t matter though, since again no one was there. So I walked into the terminal at 10:42am and was through security at 10:45. Then I had nothing to do but wait inside the large domed building on their cushy bench seats. They started calling priority and FTTF boarding at 11:13am. Since there was still not that many people there, they continued by calling groups A1 and A2 at 11:14, followed by group A3 at 11:15. So the folks who purchased FTTF, for which one of the perks is earlier boarding, got on a whole two minutes earlier than me. After walking a long distance through an inclined ramp that went around and around, I made it to the upstairs check point at 11:18 and was on board at 11:21. (Rooms are announced as being not available until 1:30, and the doors to staterooms corridors are all closed at this point). I had lunch at Guy’s Burger Joint, which is the first opportunity I’ve had to try this. It was actually a pretty decent burger, and they give you a small side of fries on the side. They have a pretty expansive condiment bar, with sauces and toppings such as bacon and mushrooms. Also on the pool deck is the Blue Iguana Cantina, offering street tacos, burritos, and taco salad bowls. They’re only open for breakfast and lunch, closing at 3:30pm (2:30pm on the last day at sea). Guy’s is open Noon-6:00pm. Incidentally, the Cantina also has an expansive salsa bar, so you can dress up your tacos any way you like. I was surprised that for burritos, the only tortilla offerings they had were wheat or jalapeno. They have two self serve beer kiosks on the Lido deck, one between Guy’s and the Cantina and one inside the buffet area, where you swipe your card and pour your own beer and it charges by the ounce ($.37/oz). I tried the one outside once – it coughed and sputtered up foam. And the resulting ounce of liquid I ended up with did not taste like the Dos Equus it claimed to be. Fortunately I did not incur a charge for this; I guess the machine knows when it’s not working. And even more fortunately, they have the Blue Iguana Tequila Bar and the more popular Red Frog Rum Bar, both of which feature their own menu of cocktails, and daily featured drinks for $1 off. I like how Carnival has its self-serve beverage station set up, out at the Lido deck near the pool, with machine dispensers for coffee, hot water for tea, and cocoa as well as water and lemonade all day (and other juices at breakfast times). It’s nice being out in the open with room to move around it. It’s so much more…user friendly then how things are setup on Princess. And I love having instant access to cocoa all day long. Except – the machine is a one-touch button that pre-fills the mug a specific amount. And that amount is 60% full. So you have to press it again and pull your cup out before it overflows, allowing the rest to pour down the drain. For some reason they had a person dressed up as Mr. Potato Head, taking pictures with people on the Lido deck on embarkation day. Still haven’t figured out why. Muster was call 25 minutes late according to the posted schedule, at 3:55pm. As is the norm these days, no need to bring a life jacket to muster. I was in the Paris theatre, and was impressed that the captain came to our muster station to talk, accompanied by the chief engineer and hotel director. I’ve never seen the high brass at muster before. I had Your-Time dining this trip, which was the first time on any line that I’ve done this. I’ve almost always done traditional early dining before. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the Your Time dining worked. I arrived the first night at 5:55pm (it opened at 5:45), and was seated right away at my own table. There wasn’t even a line to get in really, just a few people. They pull your room number at the front, which gives your waiter your name; it is a nice touch when they address you by name. My waiter this night was Julio, and it was his first night onboard too (he previously was on the Fascination). Nice guy, but this would be the only night I saw him. I started with the poblano and corn soup, which frankly was amazingly flavorful with just a bit of spiciness. I then had the lasagna, which looked good but was overly beefy and under-seasoned, nor was I a fan of the creamy white cheese they use. But it was still pretty good. And of course I had the chocolate melting cake for dessert. It’s basically like an undercooked brownie-cake with a side of vanilla ice cream. Sooo good. I left at 6:55 and noted that there was still no line outside. My dining each subsequent night went pretty much the same, and all of the food was enjoyable. I noted at one point on the first night that a pop version of My Heart Will Go On (from the movie Titanic) was playing on the speakers. Why do they play this on cruise ships?? ENTERTAINMENT The entertainment onboard was pretty good. I should mention that I never had issue getting seating at any show, early or late shows, whether I showed up 5 minutes early or 20 minutes early. Seating just wasn’t an issue here. The stage shows were…okay. Studio VIP and Motor City. You can tell the cast has some talent, although if I were to be nitpicky I’d say they’ve gotten a little lazy on the choreography. Just not a lot of attention to detail in uniformity. But my big problem is the design of the shows, which I just don’t find to be well written with a good flow to engage audiences. I’ve found the shows on Princess to be written much better, and on Princess they have a live orchestra that really adds to the experience. Where Carnival really excels is in their Punchliner Comedy Club. With two comedians on board and 2-4 shows nightly ranging from PG to explicit, there’s a lot of offerings. They blow Princess out of the water here. It’s among the best in comedy shows I’ve seen anywhere, on land or sea. Andre was a great host and has some talent of his own, and in particularly the comic Douglas Williams was fantastic. I also really enjoyed the Piano Bar, which is in a little lounge in a separate room off the atrium. Michael has great personality for this venue, and he’s quite talented. I also attended the Love and Marriage show, hosted by CD Ryan Rose, which was incredibly funny and well run. And that coming from a single, divorced guy. Incidentally, the CD on this trip w did a great job and was all over the ship. PORTS We had tender service in Catalina, and honestly it was the smoothest and easiest tendering I’ve ever done. No tender tickets needed. Just show up and go. Assuming you can figure out where to show up – they are not very good about posting anywhere where you’re supposed to go. It’s not in the FunTimes or on the Hub app. There’s no signs in the stair/elevator landings. I think they made an announcement, but I was in my stateroom and couldn’t hear it. Anyways, tender service was scheduled to begin at 7:45; I headed down at 8am. I basically kept going down as far as I could, wandering eventually to deck 4, where the signs say “Medical Center”. And that’s where you go, apparently. But I walked right on the tender, no waiting, and we were soon underway. Golf cart rentals in Catalina are $50 an hour, btw. It’s been a few years since I was here and I don’t remember them being quite that high. But I walked around on my own, first along the waterfront before heading up the hill to the Wrigley Botanical Gardens (admisson $8 general, $6 senior). They have a nice collection of cacti as well as plants such as aloe and agave, and a variety of small trees such as shrub oak. The old stone monument, built in 1933, offers some nice views down to the bay. I also did the Garden to Sky Summit trail, which goes up to the top of the hill offering even more fantastic views around the island. Ensenada was the next day; we docked in at 7:35am. Once again I found my way down to deck 4 and walked right off. I can tell Ensenada has been working on improvements over the last decade. They’ve improved their waterfront walk and added in fountains (which didn’t operate until the afternoon). It seems like there were less people around the pier area trying to hawk stuff. Though downtown, you still see a lot of this. I had lunch at a colorful little street café, and got approached every few minutes by 5-year old girls trying to sell trinkets. As well as groups of older men with instruments trying to play you a song. I was offered several massages with happy endings out on the street, along with all manner of pharmaceuticals and typical trinkets that are mostly identical in every shop you come to. I did visit the science museum just off the pier, which is a huge new building, of which only about 10% is finished and running. But for $3 you can visit a room with displays and videos about endemic plants and animals on the various islands around the Baja peninsula. On our last day at sea before returning home, I went to the Sea Day Brunch that is apparently a popular thing to do. I arrived at 8:30, which was the opening time, and the line stretched out of the Mardi Gras dining room and halfway around the atrium. And this was despite having competition with the Green Eggs and Ham breakfast going on at the same time in the Carnivale Dining Room. This was the longest I waited the entire trip to be seated for dining – and it still only took 6 minutes. Of course with the initial opening, service was a bit slow, and it took over a half hour to get served any food. But it was still good, and I recommend it. I had the eggs benedict and a blueberry muffin (served warm), along with a side of “brunch potatoes”. As far as dining goes, I should note that lunch is never available in the MDR’s. I often enjoyed this on Princess, especially on embarkation day. But it’s not offered on Carnival, or at least this ship. For cooked meats – they give you two options: medium rare or medium well. Getting drinks on the ship was never a problem, as I found servers to be plentiful anywhere I was. And the staff in general was great ship-wide, always friendly and seemingly glad that you are there. I should also note that this ship has the waterworks slides, as well as a 9-hole mini golf course area that also has a foosball table and two pool tables (not that the balls ever stay put much on a moving ship). And there’s one ping-pong table, midship deck 11, port side. Well eventually you have to go home. On disembarkation day the full breakfast buffet opens early, at 6:30am (instead of the normal 7am – on Princess incidentally they always open at 6am). The disembarkation process is more streamlined than on Princess, where they have you wait in a lounge somewhere while they call through dozens of different groups. Here on this Carnival ship anyway, they just call by deck starting at 7:30. You have to be vacated from your room by 8:30, and everyone is supposed to be off the ship by 9:30. I didn’t wait that long, as I hate long good-byes. I noted that a line started forming around the Deck 7 atrium just before 7am, which is when they allow those off who have priority or who are carrying their own luggage. I didn’t head up myself till about 7:08, and by then there were only a dozen or so in line. I made it off the ship and down to security in 10 minutes, and breezed through security in about 30 seconds. In summary, the Carnival Inspiration is an older ship but with recent renovations to give it some of the amenities you’d expect on newer vessels. It’s well maintained enough that it’s easy to forget its age, and the crew is by and large friendly, helpful, and energetic, displaying great pride in their work. Although it’s just a short 4-day voyage, and they don’t offer really any enrichment type classes on the places you’re visiting, it’s a nice little vacation getaway. 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Sail Date January 2020
Because I'm at Disney twice a year and because I don't like to fly just to get on my cruise, I booked this as a short trip for me and my adult children between days at Disney. I have some pretty severe back issues, and had ... Read More
Because I'm at Disney twice a year and because I don't like to fly just to get on my cruise, I booked this as a short trip for me and my adult children between days at Disney. I have some pretty severe back issues, and had reserved a scooter on embarkation. I also advised CCL that I had a CPAP unit. The price I paid was excellent for 3 people in an Ocean Suite.We are veteran cruisers of several Mass market lines, RCCL, NCL and Carnival. My thinking has always been that Carnival puts out a decent product at a fair price, tho one needs to be mindful of school schedules, spring breaks and shorter trips as your cruisemates change! Embarkation was amazingly quick and accommodating, as we were in a suite - NOT due to scooter/disability, etc. Carnival really has their act together at Port Canaveral! I will say I was asked 3x before boarding about my CPAP machine and my need for an extension cord, tho I never even requested one! This was followed by a call from Guest Services and a visit from the Supervisor of Stewards!!LOL - And I had brought my own! The ship was clean, yes, a bit worn here and there, but always crewmembers to be seen fixing and freshening, wiping and tidying. We made our way to Happy Hour at the Casino Bar and enjoyed champagne with some new friends. I also was told I had "Drinks on Us" but only when seated in the casino, not at the bar. I would enjoy 3 strawberry daquiris over the 4 days, paper straws only included upon request. In retrospect, it may have been a mistake to book the Specialty dining at Diamond Steakhouse for the 1st night. By far, it was the best meal I had during my entire vacation, including Disney's signature dining restaurants! I had French Onion Soup, mushroom risotto, Filet Mignon and baked potato and, finally, we shared Art on a Plate. My daughter is a vegetarian and they accommodated her through every course. The service was impeccable. Some people ask on the boards about the wine offer on the 1st night. The deal was one free bottle of house choice or 50% off any other bottle. They gave us the free bottle but had to open it first and recork for us to take back to our cabin and drink later. By far, an excellent meal all the way. What a wonderful surprise! EXCEPT!!! MDR calling for the next three nights. Our tablemates were lovely, and I love conversing with new folks when I cruise. And we all pretty much approached dinner the same way, which got rather comical at times. First of all, portions are miniscule, so almost all of us ordered two appetizers and often, two entrees each. Service is rushed and servers are stressed, overwhelmed and impatient. Desserts have to be ordered with the appetizers and entrees, a practice I detest. And then, there was the food.... palatable, tasty I guess, but often cold, raw (prime rib, and I am fine with medium rare - blue, no!) or barely visible. Mashed potatoes? literally maybe 2 Tablespoons. Broccoli? 2 tiny trees. Sad. A highlight was my daughter's Indian vegetarian dish, which she enjoyed for 2 nights, one taken to go and very hot temp-wise. Go figure. Other food venues were more satisfactory. Plates were cleared quickly, servers at the buffet were very accommodating, serving, re-stocking and cleaning with a smile.Blue Iguana staff could use some burrito rolling lessons, but tasty nonetheless. I had one Guy's burger mid-afternoon - always popular and crowded and there was a break to enjoy it. No breakfast on this ship at my time of sailing. Pepsi products, however, on the menus. I'm a DP fan so I appreciated not having to carry onboard. Shows and entertainment in the theatre were enjoyable, a little cheesy but expected. Love and Marriage show is always fun. Activities seemed limited, but I enjoyed participating in several trivia games, meeting shipmates and trying to help the adorable woman running it whose English was less than stellar. My kids noted repeatedly that the crowd on this trip was older - MUCH older - than their previous cruisers so that they felt bored at times. They enjoyed movies outside, tho, as well as the late night comedy. I can't say too much about ports and excursions, as I've "been there, done that" years ago. My daughter and I roamed around Nassau a bit to shop. My son booked an excursion to Atlantis because he loves checking out new casinos, and although he could have hopped on a water taxi for $8 RT, he is mildly disabled (ASD), so we both felt more secure with the ship's "tour". He enjoyed it. Overall, better than expected. I's book more specialty dining next time, some feel strongly that it's like paying twice, but I don't think that way. At $38 a person plus tip, it was a steal in my book. Just my opinion. I regularly drop that for just an entrée at Disney and this was far superior! Don't be afraid to book this older ship. Yes, it's missing the glitz of the newer ships, but it was a fine short trip. A bad day at sea is better than a good day at work, right?? Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We were with a group of 17 couples who met from across the country and cruised together for a week. This was our first experience with Carnival, but we have cruised twice before. We stayed in a Grand Suite and found the accommodations ... Read More
We were with a group of 17 couples who met from across the country and cruised together for a week. This was our first experience with Carnival, but we have cruised twice before. We stayed in a Grand Suite and found the accommodations spacious and lovely. Incredible amount of efficient storage. Bathroom was lovely, spacious, including double sinks, a jacuzzi tub and bidet. Service from our room steward to the dining room was excellent. We enjoyed the shows and my husband enjoyed playing Bingo one morning. The string trio was amazingly talented - able to play almost anything from a variety of genres. Our shore excursions were excellent. We especially enjoyed our excursion in Cozumel, where we went into the city, visited a church, traditional markets, and an orphanage, followed by a lovely lunch at a small cafe: https://www.carnival.com/shore-excursions/cozumel/make-a-difference-give-back-with-purpose-304265. Angel, our tour guide, was excellent and the orphanage was amazing. There are parts of the ship that could use a little facelift, but we found the ship clean, comfortable, and staff excellent. Most of the food was very good. We enjoyed breakfast best at the buffet - plenty of choices and quality good. Lunch was mostly good; some for the buffet items were unusual, but most were tasty. Dinner in the regular dining room was very good, but occasionally someone in our group had an item that was a little subpar. The wait staff was excellent. We found that there were a number of people that were clearly there to "party," drinking and smoking, but they tended to congregate in the bars and casino, so could relatively easily be avoided by those of us seeking more quiet relaxation. I was pleasantly surprised at how easily we were able to get elevators on such a busy ship. Port of Tampa was easy to navigate and everyone from the luggage porters to the immigration officers was pleasant, helpful, and professional. Embarkation and debarkation were easy and painless. Very quick and efficient. Note we had a relatively early flight, so handled our own luggage during debarkation. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
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