This was our first experience with Carnival and it was a study in contrasts. There were so many good and bad things that it is impossible to just classify it with one word. So, here are the good and the bad that we experienced. Individually, some of these things may sound petty, but lumped together, they have to be considered in evaluating the cruise. Finally, we love cruising and had a good time on this ship. However, our favorite lines are still Royal Caribbean and Celebrity.
1. Embarkation was fast and efficient. We were dropped off at the terminal in Manhattan at about noon and we were on the ship in less than 30 minutes. The staff person we spoke with was courteous and quite helpful when it appeared that the credit card I registered online had not been approved.
2. Leaving from NY was enormously better than having to fly somewhere.
3. Carnival reduced our fare by $240 because the senior rate was not posted at the time we booked.
4. The food in the buffet was average to good. There was a decent variety and the burgers and fried were pretty good. The deli section made wraps and sandwiches to order and did a good job.
5. The mdr menu was on the cabin tv each day.
6. The food in the main dining room was good to excellent, especially the chocolate melting cake.
7. Service in the main dining room was attentive.
8. We tried any time dining and we never waited more than 5-10 minutes for a table.
9. Nick and Nora's Steakhouse was as good or better than any steakhouse we have ever visited. Even though it cost $35 per person, it was so good that we went back a second time.
10. The Fountainhead on deck 2 made great milkshakes.
11. The ship's singers were ok. The band was wonderful.
12. Cruise director Corey was one of the best we have seen.
13. Our balcony stateroom was average sized and had enough storage space for our four suitcases. The bathroom was laid out well and had enough shelf space. The water pressure was good. It was an aft extended balcony and we liked it a lot.
14. The A/C in the cabin and around the ship was effective.
15. The ship was clean and well-maintained.
16. This was the first time we had wifi in the room. Expensive, but convenient.
17. The comedians in the Punchline Comedy Club were really funny. We ended up going to three shows.
18. While getting a seat in the Serenity area was difficult, once we did we found it to be one of the best places to relax on any ship we have been on.
1. Contrary to what many others have said, this was the ugliest ship we have ever been on. We found the decor to be dark and somewhat unpleasant. Ceilings in many areas were low and caused a feeling of being closed in (we are not claustrophobic).
2. The layout of the buffet was poor. It was difficult to take a look at the food because of the people on line as well as the people trying to walk by.
3. The tv in the cabin was placed so high that it was impossible to get a good viewing angle. Colors were distorted and sometimes difficult to see. Others we spoke with agreed with us.
4. The tv shelf jutted into the room over the safe, ice bucket and fridge. This promoted bumped heads. Again, other passengers agreed with us.
5. We didn't see the cabin steward Jay Jay for hours after getting into our cabin. We had to leave him a note to get ice and the fridge unlocked. We couldn't call because our phone didn't work the entire cruise.
6. While, as I said above, we liked the singers and band, the dancers and choreography were laughable. It was though we were watching a dance recital.
7. We found that tables in the buffet restaurant and around the deck areas often had trays and dishes on them long after the passengers left. On several occasions we had to carry the used trays and dishes away just to get a clean place to sit.
8. I'm not a coffee drinker, but my wife said it was terrible.
9. There was only one outlet in the cabin. In this day when couples have multiple iPads, kindles, etc., one outlet is not enough.
10. The only lunch venue was the buffet restaurant (including the burger station) because the mdr was used for the brunch (which had primarily breakfast items).
11. Smoking is allowed on balconies. We could often smell smoke which made sitting on the balcony uncomfortable. Ashes had blown on one of the chairs. Not seeing this, my wife sat down in white pants and got black streaks on them. The happy ending is that the ship offered to clean the pants for free.
12. On the next to last day of the cruise we were told we had to be out of our cabin for 4 1/2 hours so that the balconies could be washed. That should have been done prior to sailing.
13. While the mdr food was good, the selection was more limited than on other cruiselines. Several times, my wife had to "settle" for a dinner item.
Decent size; tv placement too high to view comfortably; tv shelf juts into the room and can cause bumped heads; bathroom well laid out; good water pressure and hot water in shower; aft balconies are the best