We sailed Feb 22-26/2020. We had been on this ship when it was the Triumph a few years ago.This was somewhat of a compromise vacation. My husband wanted to do an all inclusive and be on the beach and I wanted to cruise. So we chose a 5 day cruise and then stayed on the beach in Florida afterwards for a week. We chose this cruise because Grand Turk is one island we had not seen (been on all the rest of the islands over the years) and it was only 5 days. (note: these islands really are all the same)
We did have a really good time and I'm not the time of person to complain and I hate reading bad reviews, however I thought maybe listing this information would be helpful to future sailors!
Embarkation: smooth, fast and easy. We were on the ship in record time!
Day 1 was a little chaotic for us due to an issue with the drink package I purchased on line the day before we sailed. I followed all the prompts and thought I did it properly and all was set but got to a bar where they said no you don't have the pkg on your card. I had to go wait in line at the courtesy desk to find out that no it didn't go through. So I said I would like to purchase it however I feel I should have the 10% discount as I did do it on line. No, cannot do that (?) really?...ok fine I'll sort it out later....go to bar and wait in line again to find out....Gee the card didn't process....I must go back to courtesy desk. Ugh...in line again.......she says Yes it did go through.....back to bar.. (extremely thirsty at this point)....finally got our drinks.
Next issue was our luggage didn't arrive till around 4:30pm ( everyone on our floor was in the same boat (no pun intended), everyone was peaking out their cabin doors looking for luggage. This was no biggy, we always pack in the carry on's whatever we may need right away- make sure to do this, or keep your big luggage yourself. The cabins were available at 1:30pm
Next issue- THIS IS A BIG ONE FOLKS! Save yourself some grief and DOWNLOAD the carnival HUB APP prior to getting on the ship!!! "free wifi" to Carnival means free wifi ONLY for their APP.I assumed free wifi meant free wifi but alas.....it doesn't. You can only get free wifi whilst on Carnival's APP. I didn't download the app because I don't want to be on my phone on vacation and figured I would never use it. We got anytime dining and this process has changed dramatically since last we cruised a couple of years ago. Anytime dining used to be great- you came anytime between the time frame. NOW....you must make a reservation FIRST! the easiest way to make the reservation is on the APP which I didn't have, and of course could not get wifi to obtain said APP. We wasted SO much time going from employee to employee to help us figure this out. The staff at the dining room were helpful and tried to get it on my phone for me and ended up saying go get free wifi at next port. First day there was a HUGE line up at a desk opposite the suishi bar that you wait in, to make your reservation for dinner!. UGH....not going to happen. Everyone kept saying to go there to make your reservation. I was so confused.....anytime dining? meant you pop in anytime? ....not anymore.
We finally got the APP loaded and the next day made the reservation for our dinner only to find out, you have 10 minutes to get to your table once making the reservation. ??? too much stress while on vacation. I feel that once you choose your dining option, they should really stress to obtain this APP BEFORE you get on board. The internet fees on board are expensive and then I have to pay roaming charges and on top of that I'm paying in Canadian funds so add another 34%. I didn't want to pay 30 bucks or more to get an app.
DINING ROOM: We went 2 nights in a row and were so very disappointed both nights. The quality of the food really has gone downhill. Every other cruise we have done on Carnival (and 2 on other lines) the food has been fantastic everywhere the whole trip. We were really surprised.
My husband ordered a steak which was tough and chewy. The baked potato was 1/2 cooked and cold. My shrimp cocktail was 4 mushy wet small shrimp (the kind you get from the frozen ailse in the grocery store....literally ) Then my grilled chicken was literally that. A piece of chicken that was cooked- no spices, no flavour, no sauces...and it was tough as well....the vegetables were undercooked and all was cold. We were blown away and yet didn't complain to each other or to the staff as we didn't want to ruin the evening. (again we aren't the type to complain and whine) everyone is human....the cook had a bad night etc.....no point in being difficult.....
Night # 2....same thing....steak tough, vegetables undercooked....baked potatoes 1/2 cooked and all cold. I ordered prime rib medium -asked for a little pink....it arrived 50% white marble fat with 4 bites of meat and the meat was red dripping in blood. I wasn't feeling well that day because the seas were very rough night before and all day, so I didn't eat it....again we didn't complain as the staff were very good and they were trying very hard to be good servers and they were.
(on a positive note...the wine and the buns were good lol)
Day 3 and on we decided to eat at buffet or other spots as we couldn't be bothered to make those reservations and the food was disappointing in the dining room.
GUYS BURGERS!!! - To die for!!!!!! we ate one every day.
The Taco and burrito bar......SAME!! EXCELLENT!...loved it
Sandwich place......again really really good!
Pizza- we grabbed a slice once and it was undercooked and mushy. the pepparoni was almost raw....not good.
ice cream- 5 stars lol
Buffet: ugh, here I complain again and I really hate to be that person....but the food has gone downhill....fish was mushy and more like soup....eggplant mushy, not much flavour.....spagetti one night was mush and tasted like store bought sauce....caesar dressing tasted like Kraft dressing from grocery store...I forget what else we got, but nothing was amazing like we remember on other cruises. Breakfast was good however, eggs/bacon/ everything very good. It seems they have issues with mass producing good food for lunch and dinner. on the last day my husband got a meatball sandwich and there were pieces of spagetti in it....omg did they re-use last nights leftover spagetti dinner from someones plate? no....lets' not think about it.. He didn't finish it and I have to say my husband came from a big family where "YOU EAT everything on your plate !" to this day he has a really hard time not finishing his plate....and he left ALOT of food this trip!! (I grew up in an atmosphere where "when you're full...you're full...don't stuff yourself,")...so I have no trouble leaving food lol (huge issue between us for the last 35 years lol) It's taken me years to make him realize this is abusive....and only eat till your full!!! our kids as well- note: my husband is the ONLY one in his family who is not overweight with health problems....60 years old and never been on any medication!...
Crowds of people: I know ships are full of people and you wait in line etc....but I had read a review before sailing where someone said "THERE ARE TOO MANY PEOPLE ON THIS SHIP!!" and Yes I agree now....holy cow....I've never really had too much trouble getting a chair at the pool on a cruise...but there are too many people on this ship lol, very hard to get a chair on fun days at sea..and....I love children.....but OMG I've never seen SO many infants, toddlers, buggies, babies.....I can't see how mom's can have a good time travelling this way. The kids were all good and well behaved we didn't have any issues, and again we love children but WOW there were LOTS of babies and buggies on board.
ERIN the cruise director was AMAZING! a bundle of energy and so funny.She did a great job! Don't miss the mardi gras party on 3rd floor, it was so much fun, and we all marched to the pool area for dancing. The Hasbro game show was really good too. We missed the shows for some reason, not sure what we were doing. the comedian was really good. NOTE: if you go to the last show on last night of cruise- GET THERE early! it filled up fast with standing room only.
Excursions: we only did one on Grand Turk as we had never seen this island and so we did the "Junaroo" party bus tour. As we were driving around on the bus we looked at each other and said "Omg...this could be Barbados...or jamaica...or Dominican...." These caribbean islands really are all the same. Lots of poverty....rubble....skinny dogs....The DJ on the bus was fun and funny and played great music....the rum punch was never ending......the tour was comical as there is nothing to see! "to your left is the post office"......"to your right is the police station"....whoop te do!! LOL
thats about it lol. we did go to a private beach which was really nice, the water and beach were good. There is a lighthouse self guided tour area where there are plaques to read about history..not much there....really a whole lot of mediocre stops....However we did have fun, and met some fun people on the ship we hung out with later.
NOTE: if you are a POS (Person of size)...to be polite.....this bus tour is NOT for you. The bus is an old school bus for 9 year olds....everyone's knees were up to their shoulders, cramped, tight tight seating and aisles...no room for your knapsack or your legs lol
-Also, the windows are thick and dirty and i'm short so I could hardly see anything. In retrospect I would have done the open bus tour, you see more. However that tour looked like no rum punch and no music...not sure how it was....we wanted to have fun so we picked the junkaroo, or junaroo, whatever it was called.
PORTS: OMG BOTH ports are absoultely gorgeous....there really is no need to do an excursion and go inland to see poverty and rubble...these islands are all the same. Both ports have beautiful HUGE pools and areas....shopping...beaches....
Grand Turk: take your towel and go straight to Margaritaville! By 10 am everyone is dancing...tunes are cranked....swim up bar....great pool, gorgeous landscapes....
Amber cove- same thing...get off ship right away and head to the pool area where the zip lining is and grab a chair....music....dancing....pools are clean....FUN!- thats what we did at Amber Cove, just stayed at pool all day. It was great.
Both ports have piers ( I hate to be tethered in by those little boats) that was really great. I forget which one but they had free bicycle carriers to take you from ship to entry of port for a tip.
Room was clean, ship was clean....nicely re-furbished.
One more wee little complaint....we found that not 100% of the staff were smiling, happy friendly. Some were, but there was quite a few who didn't seem to happy to be at work. This is the first time we have encountered this as well. in the past EVERYONE was great! but there were quite a few bartenders who hardly looked at you, no smile, no bantering...talking...our cabin stewart was good but first day I felt like we were being treated like a custom officer does..."hello, what would you like- morning, or nightime cleaning or both....".(this is new as well) in the past they automatically came into the room 2ce a day. but thats ok we only need it once a day.....he didn't smile or anything, hardly looked up from his paper.....
we found this a few times around the ship which kind of affected the whole overall experience. In the past as I said we've left the ship feeling exhilerated, and we just didn't get that this time.
oh well....we still had fun and would cruise again.
Have fun everyone- life is short :)
Very clean and relatively spacious. NO plugs in the bathroom was our only small issue.
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