This cruise was my least favorite that I have taken so far. I didn't read the August 2018 reviews prior to leaving, now that I have returned and read these reviews, I find it upsetting to see that the same problems that I experienced have been going on for awhile and Carnival has not done anything to fix this. Of course I understand that sometimes it is difficult to fix crew members' attitudes. I would say that about 10-20% of the crew had a good attitude and were cheerful and smiling. Since the ship is getting ready to switch ports, maybe a lot of the workers are nearing the end of their contract period but even if this is the case they should not be letting it show since hospitality is their job.
The first problem we experienced on the ship was at the muster drill. Like another reviewer mentioned, after several hundred of us passengers had been sitting around for a long time in our muster station, the cruise director, Schwartz, made the announcement that several people were absent and he was going to announce their cabin numbers. Much to our surprise, he announced one of our cabin numbers, so my husband went up to a crew member to ask him what the deal was. Apparently, Carnival still had 2 former guests listed as registered in one of our cabins. My husband told the crew member that these people were not with our group. After this, we continued to wait for another 15 minutes for late arrivals to the muster drill (probably for other cruisers who were really no longer on board the ship). A few other times during the cruise we were asked by crew where these fictional members of our party were. My husband talked to guest services about this. Carnival actually accidentally billed us for gratuities for one of these people but they immediately realized their error and took it off (could see this on the statement). Whoever is in charge of clearing former guests out of the system needs to be taken to task.
My main issue with this cruise was staff attitudes, 2 out of 3 members of our wait team in the main dining room provided only obligatory service and were not really friendly or engaging.There were a lot of missed items- soup served with no spoon, items missing off of our orders (repeatedly). It kind of bothered me that our waiters did not speak to us if they bumped into us elsewhere on the ship. The evening main dining room service was not the worst though. It was acceptable.
The sea day brunch service was never really good. On the first sea day brunch, I was served a raw pork chop. The second sea day brunch was ok other than having to wait for a fork to be delivered after the food was served. The third sea day, we arrived at 9:00 as usual and they had already ran out of orange juice and we got scaled down versions of our order, 8 French fries for a side of fries, 2 of the mini hashbrowns per order of hashbrowns. For a port day breakfast, I decided to try something new and ordered the short stack pancakes that are listed on the menu as "pecan pancakes with mascarpone cream and a caramel sauce". They served me 2 plain pancakes with a single raw pecan on top. Since cruise ship food is endless, I usually just kind of laugh off these kind of instances but the 1 hour plus wait makes it a little bit more difficult.
One more comment about poor service before moving on to the good things about this cruise. So many of the crew just seemed fed up with the passengers. As other reviewers have mentioned. Ty, Kyndell, and Schwartz are engaging emcees at the shows. I did notice that Schwartz (cruise director) seemed a little fed up though. Who knows, maybe our particular group was worse than usual. Schwartz never made the overhead announcement that the cruise director usually makes about us being "such a great group that makes the crew's job easier". He did make a few announcements about how "we are all adults here" and referring to "holding people accountable". I know that at least a few people got kicked off during the trip so maybe it was just the group. I also noticed the condescending gaze of Dr. whatsherface that did the rejuvenation treatments in the spa. On her face and the face of many other crew members was a look of pure disdain for the guests.
As for the good parts of the cruise. The cabins were really clean. Our cabin steward Muhamad was very friendly and wonderful. The people working at the guest services desk, most of the spa workers, and photographers were very friendly and helpful. Schwartz, Ty, and Kyndell (I think that was the blond lady's name) were engaging and energetic. On our very last breakfast prior to debarkation, we got the best dining service of our entire trip. We were lucky enough to be seated in Gede's section (another reviewer mentioned him). He is an amazing waiter with an awesome attitude. I think my review of this cruise would have been at least one star higher if I had him as my MDR waiter for the entire cruise.
The embarkation process was not good however this was due to the weather (torrential rain) and port authority staff so Carnival had no control over this. The disembarkation process was way more chaotic than usual but I think that this was due to most passengers not listening-- the majority of people exited as soon as first few decks were called. Schwartz called decks 10-12 and zones 1-6 and then no other decks were called until 45 minutes later because people were just flooding the exit. After 45 minutes, Schwartz called Deck 1 and then no more decks were called for 45 more minutes. At 9:40, an officer came to the deck we were on ( deck 2) and told the 8 of us that had listened to instructions and not left before we were called that we could just leave if we were ready so we left. I don't know when Schwartz called the rest of the decks but I noticed that the line behind us in customs was at least as long as the line in front of us. I am sure that the last person didn't make it off before 10:30.
We had 2 deck 2 mid ship interior rooms. Cabins were spacious and well laid out. Would advise to stay away from 2 aft area (cabins with numbers close to 2400). We walked through this area often and it smelled strongly of sewage throughout entire cruise.
Got rained out this time. Enjoyed Pancho's Backporch (restaurant) and port shopping.
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