We picked this cruise to go with some friends who were also cruising. It also is conveniently located to some family so we could maximize our vacation over the holiday.
This was my first time on carnival. Embarking the ship was so easy and not a long process at all! Very fast and friendly! The cruise director and entertainment staff were very fun and entertaining. The Motown show was very fun. We enjoyed the NYE celebration on the top of the deck. And the comedians were pretty good as well.
Let me say that my previous cruises have all been with NCL. So maybe my standards were a little high. The pictures are overpriced. They took up so much space doing the portraits and the packages were overpriced.
The food on the buffet was not at all what I expected. It was not open as often as i thought the buffet should be and the food that was on it was not flavorful or appealing. We stopped there for lunch and ate dinner in the dining room. The burger, taco bar and pizza were the best food on the boat. I would say that the salsa bar was great it just needs tortilla chips to go with it. They didnt have any. The lunch time deserts were great! Better than the after dinner options that we stopped to see after dinner.
The food in the dining room was ok. It was definitely better than the buffet at lunch. The desserts were ok. The best was the chocolate cake. The service by Z is outstanding. He was wonderful at keeping the drinks full and the kids happy. He really wanted us to feel at home during dinner. His other co-wait staff wasnt very friendly. The girl was rude and looked inconvenienced the whole time.
The Atrium bar staff was extremely friendly and the drinks were great! The Alchemy bar had the best selection of mixed drinks on the ship. The tall bartender with glasses was fantastic and friendly. On a separate visit to that bar we recommended someone join us, we had a different person and he was not as friendly.
Finally, the cleanliness of the ship could use some work. The sanitizer stations were empty. The bathroom by the atrium on the 8th floor is a busy bathroom after a show. It was also busy on the last morning. To have 3 stalls broken, clogged and not flushing seems to be a maintenance issue. The housekeeping staff, Nat, for our room was very friendly though and he really had that room clean upon our arrival and was great! The only complaint about our room was the location. We were right under the kitchen and 3 and 4 am or 4 and 5pm are extremely busy. It sounded like someone was dropping ovens on the ceiling.
Kids are pretty easy going. Other than the ice cream machine, burger bar and pizza bar I didnt see many of our kids eating much of anything else. In the dining room even the older children liked the kids menu food. My daughter loved the kids club. The scavenger hunt was her favorite thing. My younger daughter enjoyed the ice cream.
I would definitely recommend checking weather for this timeframe before choosing this cruise. It was fairly chilly and if your family enjoys pools and sun decks, this cruise may not be for you this time of year. Catalina was beautiful. Get off the ship and get a golf cart and see it all. It was probably my favorite part of the trip. If you are getting off the boat in Ensenada, Papas and Beer was the only thing downtown that we would recommend. There is a beach south of the ship but we didnt realize that until later in the day.
I will say that the sunsets are beautiful! Make sure to be upstairs at sunset and take in that amazing view on this cruise. You wont forget that!
It was a little smaller than what we have sailed before. It was right under the kitchen for the dining rooms and it was very loud early am and early pm.
Loved this Port! Golf carts were $50 per hour but worth it.