Well, let’s start from the beginning. The debarktion process was smooth. It seemed to be organized and my room was done quite early. I must say, I was expecting the ship to be cleaner and a little nicer. I know the ship is older but a little white paint can go a long way. The lobby area had lanterns hanging from the ceiling which had stains all over them. My bathroom shower was cracked. The ship was more run down than I would have liked to see. I’ve been on Norwegian and Disney cruises and this ship was NOTHING in comparison to those ships.
The food was okay. What made our dining experience amazing was one special waitress! Her name was Irvina. She was lovely. She went above and beyond for us every night. Her smile and warmth made us feel like we were at home. The girls at the coffee shop were also just as lovely. They always had a smile on their face and by the end of the cruise they new my fiancé’s order by heart. Our room Stewart Heru was extremely accommodating. We had family members who came down with a cold on this cruise. They were stuck in their cabins for a few days. Heru, did everything he could to make sure they were comfortable and had everything they needed. Overall, the cruise staff were great. The entertainment was awesome. Donkey our cruise director was hilarious. The casino was a huge hit. It was large and we did very well there. However, there is only one computerized poker table. My fiancé loves poker. He was quite disappointed with the computerized table. It didn’t stop him from playing, but he did say he would have rather had a dealer.
One of the biggest downfalls on this cruise was the drink package. First of all, my finance has MS and he is a hemophiliac. He is not allowed to drink. We were not able to submit a medical note to excuse him of purchasing the drink package. Since we were sharing the cabin and are both over the age of 21 we had to purchase the drink package if one of us wanted it. Which I found to be quite unfair. I understand why Carnival is strict with this policy however, my family and I chose Carnival because it was cheaper than Norwegian (who has an unlimited drink package including soda). So the drink package cost me an extra $860. Then to top it off I couldn’t order an extra shot on top of my pina colada or a double on my Tito’s and vodka. They literally measured out one shot per drink. They limit you to 15 drinks a day. Which seems a lot. However, if you wanted an extra shot that went toward one of your 15 drinks. Furthermore, if you wanted an extra shot in your drink you needed to wait 5 minutes and you could go back with your drink for them to add the extra shot. It was just extremely inconvenient. If I would have known that I was going to pay all this extra money and have this much of a hassle to have a decent drink on my vacation I would have chose to go back on a Norwegian ship in a heart beat. The ships are cleaner and there is NO drink minimum and they aren’t skimpy in pouring their drinks. Another thing that stumped me was my brother who didn’t have a drink package was able to pay 3 dollars extra to have extra alcohol added to his drink. When I asked the bar tender if I could just pay the difference I was told no because I had the Cheers package. It didn’t make any sense. When I expressed my frustration to the bar tender he tried to say its a safety issue. I didn’t understand and asked him to elaborate what he meant by a safety issue. He said they limit the cheers packages to 15 drinks per day because that is a lot of alcohol. So my answer back was but if I was to never have the drink package and pay per drink I could easily purchase over 15 drinks per day and nobody would ever know? So how is this a safety issue? Plus, I didn’t care if they deducted an extra drink for an extra shot in my drink. I wanted to actually have more than a tbsp of alcohol in my drink. This may make me sound like an alcoholic which I am NOT by any means. I didn’t reach my 15 day drink minimum any day I was on the cruise. It just was inconvenient the way they have this package set up.
The second WORST part of this trip was a disturbing night that was inexcusable. At about 12:30 one night my fiancé and I woke up to what sounded like a air compressor going off right under our cabin. It was horribly loud. So horribly loud that multiple guest around us went onto their balcony looking around. We were all upset and didn’t understand what this noise could be and the time it was. My fiancé called guest services and they apologized and assured him it would stop. About an hour later the noise continued. I called guest services and was notified that they were doing construction and they were unaware that this outside company would be doing Maintnence until 9:00am. Mind you, it was around 1:45 when I called. I was furious. My fiancé was sick. He had caught a cold. Therefore, while not feeling well and hearing this awful sound all night on your vacation was far from enjoyable. The next day I got a call from guest services. They gave me a bottle of wine, cookies, and apologized. They told me that the construction would occur again that day from 6pm-7pm. I cannot wrap my head around how they thought it was okay to make that much noise in the middle of the night. One of the guest a few doors down from us mentioned the noise to us the next day while we were in the elevator. She had two little girls with her and she said they were all up all night due to the noise. It left a horrible taste in my mouth about Carnival cruises.
As far as our ports that were stopped at they were all great. A few tips...if you are going to St. Thomas Magen’s Bay gets crowded very quickly. Try to get off the boat early! By the time we got there we were unable to rent chairs. They had no more. Which wasn’t a problem for us but I know some people surrounding us weren’t too happy. At Dominican Republic we went to a local beach. It was gorgeous. I didn’t feel as unsafe as I expected to at this port. I went to Punta Cana in the past and it wasn’t the safest area. At amber cove it seemed to be cleaner, safer and more developed. Puerto Rico, we enjoyed waking around the forts, we ate at an authentic restaurant and did some shopping. At Grand Turk you NEED to get off the boat early if you want a spot close to the water on the beach. The beach is located right off the port. It is gorgeous. It does get crowded quickly! We rented a golf cart off the port for 50 dollars for the day and explored the island. It’s safe. I wouldn’t advise you to go if you are a bunch of 18 year old girls but as a family we had a good time. We literally rode the entire island. Ate at a local restaurant. It is an impoverished country. Stray and and malnourished dogs, horses, and donkeys were everywhere. If you are an animal lover like me, next time I will be bringing dog treats with me.
Overall, Carnivals cleanliness, noise distruption and drink package was really a turn off.