We took this cruise because we could drive to the port and because it fit perfectly with my grandchildren's vacations. We appreciate the kid's program on Carnival, and it included New Year's Eve. We are very seasoned cruisers with Princess as our main cruise line but we have done this particular cruise three times now. Never again and never again Carnival.
The nickel and diming of cruise lines in general is noticeable, but on Carnival it whacks you right in the face. Nowhere is there a bigger sell than on Carnival. The game Clue?? You have to go visit two Bingo sessions and three other places to get a clue. The T shirt sale? You have to listen to some crew member talk about raffle tickets and winning a cheap bracelet in a box before you can take the covering off the Tshirts. The wifi? They know this itinerary. Carnival knows you cannot get any satellite signal for about half the cruise. Yet they charge for those days. The popcorn at the movie? Yes, it is free but it you go five minutes before the movie starts you cannot have any. You get an unfriendly answer from the Popcorn Police that you have to wait until the movie starts. Whatever happened to concept that the person that paying for 7 people is a guest??? The shows? Mostly put on by the passengers (Hasboro crap) or not very well staged if they include singers and dancers. Entertainment? Mostly trivia. The meet the Captain? Gone. The champagne waterfall on NYE? Gone. Chocolates on the bed? Ha! Our cabin steward and his one helper were responsible for 32 cabins. Really? And yet the towel animals persist. Why not just do them for cabins that have kids.
The ship itself needs to be completely refurbed. Balconies had paint drips all over the furniture. Deck never scrubbed. Carpet not vaccumed. Shelves not dusted. Awful smell from sink drain. Water tasted vile all over the ship. Daughter found a used bandaid in drawer as she was unpacking. We found pair of underwear under bed on last day--not ours. TV was fixed on first day by AV tech wiggling input cord. They should have just told us. I could have done that. Towels in bathroom thin and yellowed. Well past their prime. Etc, etc etc.
On a postive note, the food is good, the buffet pretty good (although don't try to find anything to eat past 8:30 or so) and the bulk of the crew is wonderful. The three grandkids loved the kids program although the older ones used it to form a group and then just hung together. Half Moon Cay is a beautiful beach with a decent BBQ. Grand Turk was a real find--just go to the free beach immediatley to the left of the ship and then to the lazy river at Margaritaville. It's all free except for what you eat or drink. Freeport is just sad. An excursion there is pretty much a must as the port is just an industrial port.