We are a 40'ish couple from Texas traveling without our kids. We chose the cruise to get to visit Cuba and had it booked before the latest change in June that Americans cannot travel to Cuba, so cruise ships would not longer be able ... Read More
We are a 40'ish couple from Texas traveling without our kids. We chose the cruise to get to visit Cuba and had it booked before the latest change in June that Americans cannot travel to Cuba, so cruise ships would not longer be able to stop there. Carnival offered a free cancel or a generous OBC due to the change. The airline offered no generous change option. We are not Carnival's target audience; we are not fun enough and don't stay up late partying. We stayed on the cruise, and it was a great get away.
Embarkation was super quick. We had the 11:30-12:00 check-in time slot. We arrived and the boarding passes that I had printed did not have or printed without the barcodes, so they sent us to a lady standing nearby who quickly printed us each a boarding pass from a mobile device. It was then 11:27am, so they put us in the early/late line. There was no line, so we showed our passports, husband got his picture taken since his passport is older when he looked younger, went through security quickly, the allowed 12 can soda went through the x-ray machine with no extra table with people ripping them open. Then, we walked right on with no wait, just some twists and turns which seemed like a good amount of walking :). They also take your picture right before entering the gangway for face recognition that was used again at disembarkation.
Muster was faster than our other Carnival cruise, which was good, but always seems silly to have those who slower leave first.
It is an older ship and gets some bad reviews. My husband was trying to orient himself and noted the midship staircase was purple; I replied that I thought that they were all purple. I was not a big fan of the purple staircases/elevator areas and the colorful ship direction signs were bold. The buffet is small. I liked the layout of the theater; there is a row of two person tables and then space to walk so no climbing over people. That was on the lower level; the upper level looked hard to see from any seat, though we did not try to sit up there during a show. We also missed the promenade deck for after dinner walking, took a few windy night walks on the top jogging trail. But overall, the ship is fine and in good condition.
We enjoyed Lowell Sanders stand up show; we attended the PG show. We had seen and enjoyed his act on a previous cruise. I was not a big fan of the previous comedian’s show. He did not have much material and was just interacting with the audience/possibly picking on some in the audience. We also went to the Clue game and did some trivia. Both were fun. With just one sea day, that is all we made it too. We did the water slides after already Grand Turk since we were already wet. We played putt-putt one day. It is challenging in the wind and with ship movement with the foam balls. I read to bring a real golf ball to avoid the issue but decided not to bring extra stuff. I will when the kids go with us over spring break, so they can play. The Alchemy drinks were good. I attached a picture of the full cruise entertain summary.
The food that was very good: teriyaki salmon, cakes (Carnival excelled at cakes and desserts in general -- Baked Alaska, cakes with good gauche icing, and creme brulee), and from the local menu: pepper steak. There was other good items from the local menu, but I have forgotten. The jumbo shrimp on formal night were not so jumbo. The buffet was missing India food, which my husband loves on cruises. The deli does not have the dark chocolate chip cookies on the sign menu. The pizza place menu has a hand tossed Caesar salad advertised, but I found in the evening that they just sent me to the salad bar. I had one deli sandwich that was pretty good. We did not try the pizza and missed the hot dog at the pizza place.
I did not think the breakfast burrito was as good as our last cruise. I thought they had regular pork sausage before. The choices now are chicken sausage (not very good) and ham (not good quality – well formed and pressed). I had 2 guys burgers – very good. The first day they were trying to go really fast to get the line served, but it was leading to having trying to talk fast enough – no mayo, no that sauce, and many tossed out top buns.
The MDR was slower the first 2 nights. Then they sped up, so much so, that the last 2 nights I felt we were being rushed. However, the last night we did make the 7:15 pm comedian show. With the exception of Sea Brunch, all of our waiters were excellent. Sea Brunch Caesar salad and filet were excellent. The waiters performed/danced in the MDR every night. I had a paid filet the last night; it was very good. We went to the MDR every night and had your time dining.
Breakfast in the buffet was not as crazy as we feared (it is a very small buffet). We grabbed some items from by the pool because it was less crazy. One day, up earlier for Nassau excursion, there was no one in the omelet line, so I got one of those. They also have a bagel/toast line (with no line), toaster, and cream cheese outside.
The water on the ship was gross (normally I like ship water), but overly chlorinated this time. Luckily, our included past cruiser bottles of water were huge. We would also use our overnight melted stateroom ice and ate the good Sonic-type ice from the buffet.
Disembarkation had more of a line, but not bad. We did the Carnival face recognition and then walked through customs. Read Less