Very unsatisfied with this cruise. As a frequent cruiser, and more specifically Carnival brand, this Cruise was far below expectations. As a part of the gold VIFP club, traveling on 7 Carnival ships in the past, this will be my last without a doubt. By far the worst part of this cruise was the other passengers. Not only were they mostly children, but they were RUDE. I have never met a grouping of so many people with so little manners. I guess it makes sense though because the adults on board were just a bad. People would bump into you, push you out of their way, not say excuse me. I watched several people (both adults and children) use the public restrooms and leave without washing their hands. I heard people puking their guts out in the bathroom next to the pool, and then watched said person jump into the beach pool like any other ordinary day.
Then there was dinner in the main dining room. We had the anytime dining. What a NIGHTMARE. I will admit, it was not as bad the last few nights, but the first 4-5 nights on board, we had to stand in line for 15 minutes, and it was HOT. Either there was no A/c, or the heat from the "pixels" gallery radiated the entire hallway. Once checked in, we had to proceed to deck 3 or 4, from 5, turn in our ticket and then we could be sat. Granted it was a new ship, and new crew, but we were showing the table presenters where our table was before they walked us around the dinning room 3 times. And then back to the other people... From what I understand from past cruises, there is a dining room dress code?
NOT ANYMORE. Guests were eating dinner in baseball caps, shorts, sandals, sleeveless shirts, pants with holes in them. etc. I wish I could say this was just on "cruise casual" nights, but nope. Guests were actually wearing jeans, t-shirts, and sneakers on "CRUISE ELEGANT" this really set me off.
The Dining room staff were very friendly and polite and the food was alright. Although we had anytime dinning, we requested the same servers, Jessen and Adrijan. They were the only reasons I went to eat in the dinning room for dinner, instead of the other options.
If the wait staff can wear a vest a tie to serve you, the people under dressed should have been denied entry for dinner.
Our cabin was great! our steward, Leonard, was VERY friendly and polite. However, we had a Spa Balcony, and you guessed it. More problems! When booked in a Spa Balcony, we were supposed to have exclusive access to the Thermal Suites (steam rooms, dry rooms, and whirlpool tub in the spa.) However, since carnival stands to make money wherever they can, they sell "spa day passes" WHAT A JOKE. we paid extra for the cabin, to use the thermal suites, and because the spa sold what seems like an endless amount of day passes, there was almost no way to have a relaxing, enjoyable experience in the spa. The amount of people they let in is just short of ridiculous. And even without the spa pass, people can mosey their way into the thermal suites. It is true the door locks and you swipe your sail and sign card for entry, but it stays open for about 10-15 seconds and anyone can just walk right in! there is no one that asks to see the wristband or day pass. On more than one occasion, the Whirlpool (that fits 10 people or so) was filled to capacity, and none of the occupants had any type of wristband.
The bars! We had the CHEERS package. It would have been great if we could actually get a beverage when we wanted. The bars were packed, and the bartenders could not have been moving any slower. For the amount of people sitting in front of them, they lacked an incredible sense of urgency. It took almost 20 minutes to get waited on and served our beverages. Even a soda. If there was more than one person sitting at the bar, the bartender would take one persons drink, not even acknowledge any other occupant at the bar, proceed to make the first beverage and cash them out, then move onto the other guests. you could be sitting there for 10 minutes without a "hello! I will be with you shortly." This was mostly prevalent at the Red Frog bar on the Lido Deck by the beach pool. On port days, I attempted to get a bottle of water from the casino bar, and atrium bar before I left for the ports. They refused service because "we don't start serving until 9 and 11" (9 for casino, 11 for atrium.) Talk about bogus. I can understand not serving alcohol until a certain time, but they should encourage people to drink water. There was only a few times I was impressed with the bar service, and that was from Jaya, at the Blue Iguana. He was very friendly and polite, and it felt like he was the only one that actually enjoyed working there. Compared to the rest of my experiences with the bartenders, his attitude was phenomenal.
The food was good, the dining room was a fine dining experience, and presented well. The desserts were sub par. and lacked a few of the traditional options I would have expected (cherries jubilee baked alaska.) they did have the carnival melting cake every night. Oh boy.
I did not get a chance to try the pizza in the tides pool area. the line wrapped around the deck, mostly at night (because it is the only food option other than room service) however even in the day it could take 20 minutes or more standing in line for a slice of pizza. The Lido buffet was just as bad. We ate the buffet for breakfast only once. but the lines were "out the door" as with for lunch, with 4 different lines, it took almost a half an hour before we even got to the food. From what I remember in the past, the Lido buffet desserts were garbage this time around. there were less variety, and they did not taste like I remember.
We ordered Room service a few times, it was delivered in a timely manner, and the food was good. It was mostly sandwiches and salads. We ordered buffalo wings for $5 extra. Not worth it. There were 8 wings, and they tasted alright. but they definitely were not buffalo.
The Javablue cafe was nice, however the location was terrible. It was in the back of the ship on deck 5, between a bar, the ocean plaza, and pixels gallery. A better place would have been in the atrium, or around it, or even the Lido deck. The Coffee was good, the ingredients tasted fresh, and "java joe" had a great attitude.
All in all, We made the most of our vacation. However all things considered, If given the opportunity, I would not travel carnival again. It is unfortunate that being a dedicated past member this is the carnival cruise that will stand out the most, for all the wrong reasons.
I now can see why Carnival is dubbed the "Walmart of cruises."
Shopping in St. Maarten is always great!
Did not get off the ship.
The beach was nice.