My fiancée and I decided to plan a cruise for my birthday, and we were excited by the idea of a brand-new cruise ship for Carnival. It is our first cruise together, having only taken cruises with our families separately. Our personal ... Read More
My fiancée and I decided to plan a cruise for my birthday, and we were excited by the idea of a brand-new cruise ship for Carnival. It is our first cruise together, having only taken cruises with our families separately. Our personal success with getting to the ship was fine, and embarkation onto the ship itself was actually fairly smooth, much better than I expected. However, the ship itself was much more disappointing.
It was only the two of us. We didn't travel with children, and we're both of drinking age, but we're not particularly wealthy. And it was made quite clear as we explored the ship that what we felt comfortable with spending was not enough to get much of anything out of the ship.
We dumped about $50 total into the casino and basically lost it all. The cheapest machines are about $0.40 per bet for perspective. That said, we left the casino after about 20 minutes and did not return.
There are multiple food options on the ship, which I will divide to the best of my ability by free and paid.
Paid: Guy's Barbecue, Bonsai Sushi and Teppanyaki, certain food options at dining such as surf and turf or steak, Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse, Seafood Shack, The Chef's Table, JiJi Asian Kitchen, Cucina del Capitano
Included: BlueIguana Cantina, Guy's Burger Joint, Main Dining, Lido Buffet, salad bar, Pizzeria, lunch pasta bar, deli
We didn't try much of the paid dining. We had Bonsai Sushi, and that was it. My fiancée had the sushi, and she said it was good and a fairly reasonable price; itw as about $21 for three plates. I had a ramen dish for about $7. It was so salty that I was only able to eat about half of it. I have a pretty tolerable palate, but it was honestly just disgusting.
Of the included/free dining, the cantina served burritos, tacos and taco bowls. They also do breakfast burritos during breakfast time. This food was actually pretty good. No complaints.
The burger joint was okay. It wasn't particularly well made, but it wasn't the worst. The fries were decent.
The pizzeria was okay or mediocre as well. It was a little charred in some places, and it wasn't very flavorful.
The buffet and main dining were very disappointing. The serving sizes were very small, and I didn't feel that there were many good options. I typically ended up having some variant of chicken or onion soup and then seafood or steak, and I'm not a very big steak or seafood guy. They served me creme brulee that was just lukewarm all the way through. A crewmember typically goes around during dinner, offering shots to diners. What they don't tell you is that, even if you have the drink package that makes alcohol free up to 15 drinks per day, you still have to pay for them. Further, each shot is about $10. So we got burned for $20 one night because they didn't use our drink package.
The buffet rarely had any worthwhile options, and the food was always mediocre. I took a Norwegian cruise a few years ago, and the buffet was quite good. It put the newest Carnival ship to shame.
We did not feel that entertainment was very good. As stated earlier, the casino is just not worth it. There is an Imax theater, but they only showed the same three or four movies literally every night, and we did not even check the price. There are R-rated comedy shows, but we went to one hosted by Manny Oliveira and were terribly disappointed. It was basically about 45 minutes of telling women that he would like to copulate with them and then trying to get single audience members to hook up with each other. Very crude and not in a funny way.
There are not nearly enough pools. Unless you try to go to a pool or hot tub before all the loud children wake up or after they all go to bed, you will not get a decent spot.
The spa was very expensive. I don't believe there was anything under $130.
Shopping on board is not worth it except for maybe the liquor and cigarette sales. Every time we walked through a store, particularly through the jewelry store, there was a crewmember hawking us, making sure we didn't need any help buying something or just trying anything on. It was very unsettling.
Overall, we would probably never consider doing another Carnival cruise if this is the finest that they have to offer. Read Less