Let me preface this review by disclosing that my wife and I are Platinum Level with Princess so that is our comparison.
Although we were only Ruby level, the boarding process was quick and easy we arrived for our appointment right on time and were on board by 12:00 pm. We had a suite so we had early access to our cabin. The Lido deck was packed and so was the buffet so we grabbed a burger ate it really quick and went down and hung out at the Atrium Bar until about 1:30 when we headed to the room to see if luggage arrived so we could unpack. We received our checked luggage around 2:30 pm.
We had a Vista Suite due to the price being awesome and it by far was one of the best rooms we have ever had on a ship. Would highly recommend this cabin type on the aft of the ship.
Overall the cruise served it's purpose which was rest and relaxation. The ship was really old although we liked the décor. It did not have all the bells and whistles of the newer ships but we managed to keep busy enough.
There wasn't a whole lot of quality activities on board. There’s no outside movie theater on this ship. The water slide looked like an antique and there were two pools for everyone and one pool in the Serenity area for the 21 and over area. All pools were packed and the adult only pool was dirty and full of drunks whom I never saw get out to go pee. The comedy entertainment was awesome. The live musical shows were awful. The lead female singer screeched like an owl on attack and there was no diversity in the cast. All white. They even had the nerve to try and do a Motown show with all white performers. Pretty tacky in today's day and age. Most people seemed to be interested in drinking and spending all their time in the Casino.
We were disappointed that they did not have any "talks" on Pirates who sailed the Caribbean or of the history of the ports we were visiting. We have always seen these on Princess ships wherever we were traveling.
We had the Anytime dining and were seated very quickly each time. However, once seated it took forever to get through dinner. The food was just ok. Nothing to write home about and nothing like the great food we have had on Princess. The buffet, pizza and grill was always crowded and it seemed they always had sections of buffet areas closed so everyone was crammed in the same place trying to get food. We went to the steak house for my birthday which was extra charge, but was awesome and definitely worth doing at least once.
We did get the Cheers package and managed to get our money's worth for the cruise. It is a good option if you drink as there were many at the end of the cruise crying at guest services about their bar bills. (that is great entertainment if it is not you LOL)
We booked our excursions through Carnival so that we didn't have any issues. The ship stays on eastern time even though you go through two time zones so it can be confusing when on shore. We did the Cayman Land and Sea, Princess Maya Resort, and the Lamanai Ruins tour. All were excellent and we would recommend. We had one booked for Cozumel but we were too exhausted from late nights and early rising so we turned the tickets in.
The photographers were everywhere trying to get you to take pictures. They offer no digital package and waste so much paper printing every picture instead of using a photo card and monitors like at Disneyland or other theme parks. Very expensive to purchase photos. Don't do the photo studio unless you are ready to shell out thousands of dollars.
The alchemy bar and the Gotham Bar were our favorites. You definitely have to go see Yudi at the Gotham Bar on deck 3 outside of the Bacchus. He is awesome, friendly and a blast to hang out with.
Although there were many younger adults on the cruise, the dance floor at Frankenstein's was usually sparsely used. I think the most I counted were 8 people at one time. On Princess you could hardly find a spot to dance.
Overall it was a sufficient vacation but continually felt like we were on a floating Motel 6 or Days Inn. Very much a younger crowd. We did not take the kids this time with us.
We are willing to try Carnival again but it will definitely be on one of the newer ships with more bells and whistles..
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