Where do I start. Maybe with my #1 recommendation that EVERYONE should do. Drink prices are absolutely outrageous now. you are allowed to bring on one small case of pop that you must carry yourself! and....one bottle of wine. I suggest you do this!!! People kept looking at us asking I didn't know you could do that! You have to read the contract.
Last year on this boat was ok. Whenever you go at Christmas you can expect it to be packed so no surprises there. We WERE scheduled to be on a Royal Caribbean ship. We should have stuck with it. We found a great deal for this one and love Cozumel and Grand Cayman so we changed to this boat since last year was good and we knew what we were getting. Emilija our dining room waiter was beautiful she made up for the real problems I'm about to get into, and we also loved Putu our room steward he always greeted us and always has a smile!! Food on Carnival is also above par out of any cruise liners out there and the chef even came to our table to greet us which has never happened before!
.......now the problems....
Who came up with this new point system for the cards!?!?!? It sucks!!! We were well on our way to Platinum when they changed this. our parents have upwards of at least 12-15 cruises from them and when they went to the service desk they could find only a few of their past twenty year cruises and are stuck at Gold level. And with this NEW system it's going to take us FOREVER to get to platinum!!! My parents have Diamond status on Royal Caribbean and are treated like royalty!! And it only took upwards of 15/16 cruises to get there! On this new plan with Carnival it's going to take us forever!!! And for what?? Just to have our own lounge for boarding?? Oh? We got on the ship within five minutes last trip and fifteen minutes this trip. You have no leg to stand on Carnival.
They were late getting to every port we went to and considering the days were short to begin with by the time we were an hour and half behind at Grand Cayman we were furious because they only allowed their own paid excursions off first which p'eed me off!! So we only got 4 hrs in Cozumel and 4 hours in Grand Cayman. Keep that in mind when booking this boat!!! The Captain didn't seem to care about making up time either because by the time we got back to port in Tampa he was an hour and half behind and we sat and sat and sat waiting to get off the freaking boat and I can only guess that the New Years Eve people were late getting on. We have always had the Captains going faster to make up time.
We've been on eight cruises and my parents the "We've lost count more than 70 plus now people" were absolutely aghast at the stupidity on board.
1. Lack of things to do period
2. Serenity is too small always packed can never get a seat
3. They take up Promenade completely with their picture taking after 4 pm and I couldn't sit anywhere with a good book without flashes going off in my face.
4. Oh I almost forgot! They constant battery of asking take your photo, and then it happened they started calling my daughters and I Barbie. Take your photo Barbie!!! I was so angry and later my daughter said she was asked by several of the photographers the exact same thing night after night. I was furious!!!
5. Then there was the captains party for past guests. They slipped what looked like a door hanging tag under the door. Pete and I read everything we don't want to miss a thing, but my parents thought it was just another piece of paper or something for their door so they threw it aside. It wasn't until my husband and I said something that they went "really? There was no announcement!" and in fact a lot of the ship didn't. We went in to Queen Mary lounge and there was very few people there!!! they had free drinks for past guests and no one got the message it seemed and they had all these hors d'oeuvres that they didn't have near the people to give to. We were shaking our heads.
7. I don't know what it is about smaller ships but they have the most ignorant passengers. Not the cruise liners fault but I think next time we'll pay a bit more because only one working pool on that ship sucks. The other one has the slide going into it and as usual no one is doing anything about the kids in the jacuzzi and at least Royal Caribbean actively tells kids to get out!
All in all this ship should be tanked, the Captain should be ashamed, the only thing that saved their butts was our dining room experience. thank goodness for our servers and the food. All I can say is Royal Caribbean is looking good for next year.
My husband wants me to mention this last slap in the face. We had to go to Normandy lounge last day for US Immigration and because they were an hour and half late getting to Tampa we had to wait there for an hour then another half hour and they promised that the dining room hours would be extended....well no surprise they weren't and we were forced to go to Lido for breakfast which we NEVER do and my daughter promptly got food poisoning from wet eggs. They could have announced the delay and we could have gone and ad relaxed breakfast first and THEN gone to do immigration when we docked!!!!
The room itself was spacious and standard for Carnival...BUT..... their beds suck the big one!!! I constantly was padding them with other comforters. How can you have a relaxing vacation if you back and neck hurts and you get terrible sleep?? Also don't pick this room, the water pressure was terrible it only trickled out and you have to put the cold on FULL or you will scald yourself! The location to Lido and dining room was great but to everything else too far away. Pick mid ship!!!