This was our first cruise and we loved it. We travelled with our 2 young children - aged 2 and 3. We had a family Harbour room (2400) with large balcony which was perfect. A bunk bed and sofa bed for the children. For us there was lots of wardrobe space with hangers. (yes you might have to double up a few shirts!) These rooms have access to the Family Harbour lounge where you could get breakfast till 9.30 and cookies at night (and snacks on sea days) which was great.Our room was quiet - we were surprised we could not hear people on either side. There were a few bumps and squeeks from something upstairs but it did not bother us.
We had a large TV for us and a small TV for the kids (room could be curtained off for them). Not much on TV but there were half a dozen free movies for adults and kids)
Embarkation was easy as we had priority boarding although that means lots of pushy people who believe they have more priority than you do!.. It was probably easier to be non priority!. We just picked up our sail and sign cards and walked on board, and were met at the entrance and pointed where to go. It took us a while to find where everything was but was fun exploring!.
The choice of food was good - A main buffet in the Lido area. Nice small choice of salads and mains and desserts. Food was not luxury and could be bland but still reasonable. There was a burger place and Mexican available during the day, and mongolian wok, pasta bars and salad bar (the last 3 were not advertised very well so you have to search them out!) for lunch. A nice pizza place was available 24 hours. We had fixed time seating and although meal choices were not huge they were tasty and service was very friendly. We discovered a nice deli in the Lido area where you could get your own toasted sandwiches made up. The room service menu was basic - some salads, and sandwiches but was useful for a snack. We did not go to any of the pay extra places but all looked good and probably under utilised and we felt that it was probably worth the money.
The kids club was brilliant and a huge surprise for us. It was free before 10pm. The staff were extremely friendly and welcoming and our kids loved going there. It was well organised and made our trip as we could drop the kids off to spend time with our family or doing things by ourselves.
We enjoyed some of the entertainment - the dance show every night was great. There were a few bands in different venues but we always felt sorry for them as there were only a dozen or so people watching. We walked passed a few activities for the day and only a couple of people were joining in. (My wife got ready for the Zumba class - turned up and found only 3 kids there! so quickly disappeared!). The cruise director enthusiasm was good to see but I think she struggled to get people into some of the activities and the mood.
Casino was good although smokey. We have got too used to having smoke free public spaces so have forgotten what it is like to have people puffing away next to you!.
The sky ride and ropes, and slides were all good activities. The movies under the stars each night were great and a good choice.(free popcorn, and blankets)
The ship layout did not make the most of the space. A lot more could be made of the promenade deck outside. A nice walk around the front of the boat- but could have had more atmosphere with shops and a boulevard feel. The pools were small and really only used by children - note your children have to be potty trained and we were lucky they were as we were not aware of this. If I did not have children I would have been disappointed with the pools - too many kids and not big enough!.but for those with kids - perfect!.
We did not use the spa - it was very expensive but expected. My wife did use the fitness area and used the running track around the ship everyday.
Drinks were expensive but we expected this and we did not go there to drink so not really a problem for us but I could see this as a big extra cost (with all the tax and gratuities) if you liked a few drinks each night.
We found all the wait and cleaning staff extremely friendly. Only staff not so friendly was customer service (although to be fair I imagine they get a fair bit of rubbish thrown at them), and the bar staff seemed a bit disinterested. The boys in the family harbour room entertained our kids every morning and were great to talk to. Everyone we saw said hello - all levels of staff and people knew us and our kids names.
We only did 2 excursions (1 basic bus to Rome to do our own thing), and 1 trip to Sorrento and Pompeii. At all ports we all either got the shuttle or walked in and spent a couple of hours at the location which was fine for us. Our only complaint was the shuttle to Livorno where they squeezed us in like cattle much to the distress of a few people. Cannot say that was Carnivals fault(just the company who runs the shuttle)
I have read a lot of the reviews of previous trips for this boat, and we listened to a lot of Americans on the boat who complained about this cruise. Firstly - most of it is down to attitude..if you come on a cruise to look for faults and look for all the poor comparisons to other boats - (especially for those experienced cruisers) you will find them. (I heard people complaining about the most silliest of things that really did not matter!.) If you set out for this to be a mega cheap all inclusive deal - it isn't , nor is it a luxury yacht, however if you come for a good time, with a friendly attitude and take things for what they are, and make the most of what is available then you will not be disappointed!!.
We were amazed at the level of service, cleanliness and friendliness - I expect that there may have been an improvement from earlier sailings.
We met up with family we had not seen for years on the boat and this is a great way to do it. Everyone has space to do their own things but come together and enjoy things as well. Would we do this again with our kids or alone! - yup!... we expect many more cruises to come.
Great room - lots of space with large balcony (seemed to be much bigger than on other decks). Close to the family Harbour lounge and quiet. Did not really see the point of 2 bathrooms but I guess if you have older kids then it would make sense.
Large TV for the adults, small one for the kids. There was a bunk bed and a sofa bed in an area that could be closed off with a curtain.
Took the shuttle into Livorno and walked around the canals and then into the local castle to a play ground for the kids at the top.The place was tourist free so a great place to visit.
Took the Rome on your own tour - expensive but it takes the worry about travelling. (Some people who went on the train by themselves got delayed by 2 hours....glad we did not do that!)
Bus drops you off giving you plenty of time to see a few sights.View All 171 Rome on Your Own Reviews
Enjoyed the excursion. Visited a small farm and had a taste of olive oil and mozzarella. Then a brief walking tour of Pompeii. Pompeii was ok but would have preferred to explore on our own as tour was too slow and hard to understand.View All 7 Culinary Tour Reviews
Took shuttle into Heraklion.... um waste of time.. nothing to see and just a busy greek town.
Great Port - walk off and into town..just take 5 mins to get off the main tourist street and it is quiet and scenic.