Taking my brother-in-law on the first cruise for his upcoming 70ty birthday. I wanted him to have fun and it is endless on a Carnival cruise. However, our first port experience was such a bummer it became an overwhelming complaint point in every conversation we shared with others on the ship. The destination called Amber Cove is not worth getting off the ship. It is the first cruise stop so you are anxious to begin the fun. Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic is a total rip off. Taking private cab rides for drives through communities is often a fun thing to do -- in Amber Cove - it is best NEVER to leave behind the confines of the "artificial village" created by Carnival. Cab drivers were asking for usurous fares for sightseeing virtually NOTHING! Their goals are to get you to be hustled by private vendors as they surround the car presenting themselves as offering native stones in jewelry pieces. The pieces are nothing but $1,00 store trash selling or $40.00 or more. Mine fell apart before I could put it on. There is only poverty and nothing of interest to see - my tour consisted of the cab driver taking me to see the bottom of a cable car building (I was so enthusiastic I almost jumped out of the cab). All sarcasm aside - Carnival needs to terminate this location on their port of call -- a bad taste is what most people came away with as well after talking in elevators and at dinner.
This new app - Carnival Hub is dangerous. I found that out when my 24 year old son (mentally challenged) charged two alcoholic drink packages over the phone WITHOUT PERMISSION. I was able to get a refund for the one he charged for ME (a nondrinker) but he had unlimited - 15 a day drink access for 7 days on a cruise. To say it simply - he was WASTED and never left the ship or ate dinner or enjoyed anything with the family. A private booze fest for him and his friends. He will never ever travel with me again on a cruise after that experience. To prevent further charges by him I had to BLOCK my card so I had no charge privileges after first day. THank God husband was in another room and handled all of my future purchases.
Carnival has found all kinds of ways to save money and extract your money and new cruisers really need to be cautious and check that account summary" daily. Casinos are the same - money drains, bingo is the same - not a decent return based on the numbe of peopld playing the game, quality of food is definitely lower quality than earlier cruises I have taken. The staff is still tremendous in all areas (although one or two exceptions); Cruise fun directors were very good and they kept the ship "partying" throughout the 7-day cruise. The shows need some updating and are poorly attended. It was throrougly enjoyalbe for the novice in our group - but the good ole days kept returning to our conversations. What Carnival "used to do." The VIP reception was just pouring liquor to groups already loaded with alcohol and enjoying free booze. The acknowledgment of the upper staff was watered down - the best part of the cruise is their introduction and our opportunity to clap and show appreciation -- I felt that was lost this time. Would I cruise Carnival again -definitely YES because I love the fun atmosphere and the clientele they attract (diverse and sometime unhinged which adds to the flavor of unabashed fun). I will just study the newer ports of call a little more carefully before deciding to get off the ship.
The cabin steward was a gem. I can not say enough good things about him. I Made was his name and I really appreciated his understanding of my situation -- SNOOZING CHILD every morning preventing cabin service. He promised to come up in the afternoon and he did give me clean towels, clean room and my towel animal daily. I really appreciated him
Hated every minute. DO NOT go beyond the village if seeking private tours. There is nowhere to tour - just ripoffs from the locals. I wasted $90.00 and was angry with myself and more Carnival for even developing a port at such a raunchy place. The artificial village is the limit that anyone should go for an adventure. Much better locations in the Carribean to spend your money and time.
Enjoyed t.walking through the town's local shopping areas and markets, while husband and brother in law took excursions which they enjoyed. Discovered that duty free is not necessarily cheaper. Amazon Prime had the cologne I bought for my husband for $6.00 less.
Always enjoy walking to the fort and up the hills to see local architecture A repeat stop and we all enjoyed it. Nice day and if wanted private tour - drivers only wanted $15.00 per person. Not a bad deal. The free public bus system is no longer operational through the town so walking was the tour de force.
Beach beach beach - hot hot hot . Nothing to complain about - relaxing day.