A little about us. Family of 5, grown kids ages 18,19,23. Been cruising for 25 years. Over 30 cruises. Generally like different aspects of Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian. To be more specific, enjoy the ship amenities of RCCL, we love the Haven experience on NCL and we have always thought Carnival had the best food and service.
Unfortunately, this Carnival cruise did not meet with those expectations. I will comment on a few major areas.
CABIN: Standard cabin. Basic size. Balcony slightly larger than other lines. Bathroom basic and no concerns. Problem was poor AC. As others have said on Carnival Board, the AC simply does not cool down the room. Furthermore, the standard heavy duvet makes for very warm conditions. Even though my wife does not like our bedroom as cold as I do, she complained of how hot the room was during the day and night. (Note: the duvet would have been great had this been a winter escape to the Rockies). Mattress also did not seem to have as much support as on previous ships. Pillows were older, inconsistent and offered limited cushion
FOOD: Chef's Table was very good. A- grade. Superb service, variety of foods that we would not usually order including Quail and Veal. Was a little disappointed with the wine offering which was Layer Cake Cab. On RCCL, there are 5 different wines served usually with Caymus with tenderloin for last course.
Cucina del Capitano: C grade. We had mediocre service. Food was OK. Better than dining room, but just OK. Slightly better than Olive Garden. Only $15 per person. But probably would not spend extra for this quality of food.
Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse: A- grade. Great service. Food very good. Steak quality good....perhaps not to quality of Ruth's Chris or other national steakhouses, but definitely much better than Outback and Longhorn as others have commented. BIG HINT.....on the first night, they offer a free bottle of wine with dinner. Do not get this...instead take advantage of the 50% off any bottle deal. We enjoyed 2 bottles of Caymus at half price. And I would note that wine prices all of the ship were very reasonable and much better than RCCL. Caymus was priced at $90 per bottle....it is ~$130 on RCCL. So we had 2 bottles of our favorite wine for $90 on the first night.
Main Dining Room: Service was good, although it seemed poorly organized. More importantly, the food quality was just not good. As stated in intro, we have always thought main dining room food on Carnival was much better than competitors. No longer the case. Plenty of tasty appetizer options, but some did not live up to expectations. On the other hand, there weren't that many dessert options. Melting Chocolate Cake is often the only good option. Entrees were so-so most of the time.
Lunch Options: Awesome....Guy's burgers, Pizza, Mexican buffet, and BBQ. All awesome.
ENTERTAINMENT: This is by far our biggest complaint. At a time when competitors are providing plenty of entertainment options including 90 minute Broadway shows, Carnival continues to offer the 40 minute song and dance deal with taped music and cruise ship dancers. 3 different shows. Same thing each time. Very similar to the shows of the 1990's before everyone else stepped up their game. The only good entertainment was the comedy venue which is larger and better than RCCL. Good performances. SO....at night, the only good options are the comedy club and the casino. Perhaps that is what Carnival is looking for.
We didn't really sense that most of the staff was happy. Service was adequate, but not usually friendly.
CRUISE DIRECTOR continued to make announcements that were unnecessary. Average of 6 public announcements throughout the ship each day. Some were really poorly timed including a Wake up on Sea Day at 9:30 to tell us Shops are open. Excuse me.....folks are sleeping. Another notable message was to announce in cabins that there would be an emergency drill at 9am on a port day. Some people were not going to shore and were sleeping. There was no reason to wake folks up to tell them there was a drill going on.
Loud younger teens running through the hallways from 11p-2a. No supervision and security would not answer the phone
So, all in all, we will likely not travel with Carnival again. Carnival cruise prices are often a little lower than competitors. But that price difference is definitely seen in total experience. Food quality no longer superior and more importantly, entertainment options in evening are severely lacking.
Very mediocre AC. Made worse by heavy duvet.
Pillows and mattress also average at best