I am going to preface this review by saying my wife and I are gold card cruisers with Carnival and this is our 5th with them. We are super easy to get along with and are some of the most non picky eaters known to man. We hopefully are customers that Carnival would want to retain and keep going on their cruises.
I waited until I spoke to someone at Carnival about the issues I will be writing about for clarification and explanation. Carnival basically told me tough, so here it goes:
We enjoyed our Christmas Cruise on the Miracle so much that I immediately began looking for a cruise to take my family on again during the fall. I must say that the behavior and demeanor of a portion of cruise passengers on this cruise were strikingly different.
My number one complaint was the closing of the door between our adjoining balconies. Our family was next door in another balcony room and we looked forward to spending evenings sitting on the balcony after the door was opened making it one large balcony. They live 3000 miles away and we see them rarely.
Much to me and my family's dismay, the door between the two balconies had to be closed whenever the ship was moving. We had adjoining balconies in December and loved it and looked forward to it again. When I asked all the way from the person who had to close it to the front desk to the cruise director, all I received was "it's policy." Policy? Safety? How is a door held back by a 1/2' bolt going to hurt anyone? The doors going outside to your balcony are more dangerous in my opinion (with the air vacuum) than those partition doors.
When speaking with Carnival, she could not tell me if it was fleet wide or just on the Conquest. I told her if they were that worried about safety, maybe they should stop selling balcony rooms since my chances of falling overboard are probably far greater than getting hit with the metal door.
The partition door was opened while in port, but who is ever in their rooms and much less on the ship while in port? So Carnival, what changed in the last ten months? For the cruise, we had to stick our heads and part of our bodies out over the rail to talk to our family next door. How's that for safety?
Poor, poor, poor policy and an even worst explanation why!
If Carnival was as vigilant in looking for marijuana as they were in finding alcohol smuggled on board, this problem would be non-existent.
When I compare this to the passengers on my Christmas cruise from Tampa, it was night and day difference. I will say that the other 75% of the passengers on this cruise were well behaved and didn't cause any problems. It may have been an outlier or just a bad group, but there were a large amount of rude, rude, rude passengers.
The cruise director Mat was one of the best I've had. The onboard shows were really good. The singing and dancing were really great.
Embarkation was the easiest and fastest ever. Had a 1:00 appointment and was no more than 15 minutes from the time I left my Uber to on the ship. Disembarkation wasn't bad. In the last luggage group (#24) due to a late flight and we were off the ship by about 10:00 am. It's not easy to move 3000 people and luggage off a boat in 2 hours.
Ports of call:
Grand Cayman- Took a cab for $34 for six of us down to Calico Jacks on Seven Mile Beach. Relatively crowded. It is only a ten minute cab ride and the beach is clean and safe. Calico Jack's rents chairs and umbrellas (4 chairs and 2 umbrellas for $40). Grand Cayman is clean and safe.
Roatan- Went to Little French Key. $88 a person. Loved it. You have to book this on your own. Carnival doesn't allow the cabs to park in their pavilion so it is a short walk to where you catch the cabs. Ask for Renie the waiter and take care of him!
Belize- Didn't get off the ship- I guess I could sit on my open balcony now!. Been there before. Not fond of the 20 minute tender ride in. Cruise director warned to not wear jewelry, or take too much cash or leave the compound unless on a tour. Belize City is sketchy once you leave the compound. The cruise port or compound reminds me of the Bahamas where you are bombarded by people trying to sell you things. A great deal of people were back on the boat by 1:00 if that tells you anything.
Cozumel: Went to Nachi Cocum. Not as good of service and attentiveness as before. It was at capacity that day which I have never seen. Usually it is half full at most. Cab driver told me to go to Palancar Beach next trip. May just do it!
In closing, I have always loved Carnival and have recommended them to friends and family. Even after talking to Carnival about the "policy" on the balcony partitions, I am still not satisfied with their explanation. I know some of you say quit your complaining, but I spent a lot of money for two balcony rooms and feel as if I was shortchanged.
Will I go on Carnival again? The jury is still out. I may make the leap and go with Celebrity.
Clean and a bit cramped with four persons inside. See narrative for info about the balcony.