This is the second time my husband and I, along with friends, have done the Mexican Riviera cruise on Carnival. We were excited to go on the its newest and biggest ship, and this is the second time my husband and I have had sailings on Carnival’s newest and biggest ship.
Long Beach port ROCKS on the ease of getting on and off the ship. Long Beach has spoiled me from trying other ports (I am still annoyed with Miami from 30 years ago). The ship was sold out, yet we boarded in our time frame, and met up with our friends at Pig N Anchor for their lunch buffet. Rooms were ready at 1:30 and met our Steward Winston. Cabin number 8397 balcony in an 8D category, and it was almost the exact cabin we had on the Splendor except now they have USB ports. I wished they had them near the nightstands, but it is nice that it is one less electrical thing take up the only outlet in the cabin.
For a large ship, I did find the atrium and show rooms smaller, but I found once you got the layout of the ship, it was very similar to the previous ships we have sailed before. There were a few times did I felt like the ship was crowded.
Food: Your Time Dining, service was great. We had a waiter named Y.U. (WhyYou) that was excellent, however the food was not 100% and we choose not to return after Wednesday nights dinner. Seaday Brunch, the food was excellent, however both of our servers Dan/Daniel and MD left us hanging. Dan/Daniel didn’t even bring us our last course and MD didn’t comprehend that we would like butter for our toast.
Blueiguana on the Lido Deck had the BEST hash browns in their breakfast burrito. Guys Pig N Anchor lunch buffet was good, I would say the sides were some of the best. The pizza place did not disappoint, the Lido Marketplace buffet had some of the same selections as the dining room, and we opted to eat there a few times. We also ate at the small buffet in the Ocean Plaza area. They offer a small buffet a few times a day (this is where the trivia games are played instead of the atrium) and not only was it a small buffet, you could also go around the corner to Guys Pig N Anchor during the lunch time and add a few more items to your plate. I enjoyed Guys Burgers as well. I had the deli sandwiches and LOVED the Rueben. The only paid restaurant we did was Bonsai Sushi. Their shrimp tempura roll and green salad were good.
Skyzone ride: it was a fun sky bike ride, and I waited maybe 30 minutes in line on a seaday.
Shows: We took in one comedy show, he was funny. We watched the Celestial Strings. I was watching them perform in the atrium in between shows, and if I was going to base my opinion on the show from watching them in the atrium, I would not have gone. However, it was an excellent singing and dancing show. Unfortunately, most of the reviews are correct that the show rooms are too small for a 4,000 plus sailing. We were able to plan our time around the scheduled shows and get there early, but not everyone is able to do that. Poor planning on Carnival’s part.
Ports: We did our own thing in each port. When we were in Cabo, there was the Norwegian Gem and Royal Princess. The Royal Princess plays the opening of “Love Boat” as it leaves port. I was bummed that our ship did not do any horn wars.
Tips: The Carnival Hub app chat feature was a great way to stay in touch with people in our group. For anytime dining, our friends would add us to their reservation request (they were traveling with a child and she was not in our chat group). We never had a long wait – maybe 10 minutes tops. We did NOT have to link our reservation together. If you meet new friends on the ship that have anytime dining and you wish to dine with them, if they have the Carnival Hub chat and you have connected with them, you can add them when you request a table. Very nice feature.
Note to East Coasters/Caribbean cruisers, do a bit of checking on weather if you are unfamiliar with southern CA and the Baja area. I cruised in January and it can be chilly, plan for a lightweight jacket or layers. I cruised the Caribbean at the end of March and still needed a lightweight jacket. Cabo, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta were all 75 to 80 degrees. The Pacific is a rougher sailing in January. We previously sailed in August and it was smooth, however it was extremely humid, rain showers, and lightening. Being most people are able to Google or check social medial for what you can expect, you should not be surprised. It was a bit cool on our first seaday and it was cooler on the last two seadays, HOWEVER, that is NOT Carnival’s fault.
Facebook: I joined three FB pages dedicated to the Panorama, and one to our specific week of sailing. It was a great way to get a preview of what to expect and ask questions. I was however becoming so overloaded with information by the time we got on the ship, I was glad that I did NOT have the Wi-Fi package and was able to disconnect.
Wish list: I would like to see Acapulco or Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo added to ports of call or possibly a private island. As much fun as I have had in Cabo, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta, it would be nice to have another port option.
Cons: The main dining room food, and that seems to be addressed in other peoples reviews, along with the two servers that I mentioned.
Pros: I covered most of them in my review and I would be thrilled to plan another vacation on the Panorama.
This is the second time we have had a balcony cabin. It was the standard Carnival layout, which we find they use the space very well. There was a Pullman pull down, but it was not in use so it was tucked away in the ceiling. They now have added USB ports near the only outlet in the room, and that cleared up having the outlet being used but once a day.
Our group loves to walk thru the town a few blocks from the marina. We always enjoy lunch at Tacos Guss.
We started our day at the Green Bar in the port before hitting the shops. We finished our time in Mazatlan by getting another margarita and a port side massage.
This was our first time going to the malecon. We had lunch a Pipi's with friends before doing shopping along the beach and finishing up with a drink at the Cheeky Monkey.