This cruise was a new experience for us (never been to Europe) and absolutely wonderful! I am starting to realize just how "ship-based" cruising experiences are opposed to the company that is hosting the sailing (i.e. Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian, etc.). Me and my 62 year old mother went on this cruise, and we were very pleased with most about this cruise and the ship.
CUSTOMER SERVICE: We've sailed on both Norwegian Cruise Lines, and Carnival Cruise Lines, and have often said that customer service on Norwegian Cruise Lines is better. This ship had the most proactive and responsive customer service I've ever experienced on a Carnival ship. When we arrived to the cabin, we had the water we'd previously paid for already in our room, and customer service immediately called to ask my mother whether she brought her CPAP machine (for her sleep apnea), and if she would be needing distilled water for it. One reason for the 4/5 rating in this category is that it took several hours after that telephone call, and a couple of calls before we received the water. However, we did appreciate the proactivity. As with most Carnival experiences, there were certain issues throughout the cruise that we had to bring up to customer service, but they were promptly, and politely responded to. The workers here were overall more considerate, kind, and responsive than any other Carnival ship I've been on (Breeze, Splendor, Liberty).
FOOD: The food was CONSIDERABLY better than on any other Carnival ship. Even the food on the buffet was more flavorful and better prepared. The foods in the dining rooms were most often superb, and definitely in the specialty restaurants. Typically, Carnival food is mediocre at best. Whichever Chef you have on this ship who is responsible for the food - KEEP HIM. Lots of great restaurants to choose from. Didn't get to try to the Asian or the Italian restaurant on this ship, but heard they were really good from other guests.
We had an oceanview cabin on the 1st floor and it was pretty spacious; however; we noticed it has less closet space than on other ships. Fortunately, it turned out to be enough for me and mom, but I had to fold up more of my clothes than I was used to and mom and I had to bargain for space. Our room steward Francisco was fabulous! He was very proactive, quickly cleaned our room each day, was very careful not to bug us every five seconds obnoxiously (I've had room stewards like this), made us beautiful towel animals each night, and brought us buckets of ice each day. I've not had that same experience on all Carnival cruises. When we first got to our room, we noticed that there was some leftover poop in the toilet that apparently slipped past the view of our room steward. He probably cleaned the room and then the guests came back to the cabin afterward and he didn't realize. Additionally, there was stuff from the previous guest left in the room. Once we pointed this out to him, we didn't have any issues other than that.
Due to my mother not feeling well, we didn't take a formal excursion. However, we met a taxi driver who was gonna take us around for 2 hours for the same price as the "Big Bus Tour". The people seemed very nice here and I look forward to visiting again.
We didn't get off the ship. :(