We choose this cruise because we needed to rebook after a COVID cancellation and wanted to book something similar to the cruise that was cancelled. We ended up with a completely different itinerary but some important stops where the same and so we were happy. We have sailed with Carnival many times, the last time being just before COVID shut travel down. In the past we have loved Carnival for the family friendly and "cheap and cheerful" kind of experience they offered. This trip though was hugely disappointing, from the initial embarkation. 1. The route to the ship was not well marked and there were no staff directing us, so we ended up having to circle back through check in twice when we took a wrong turn getting onto the ship. Once on the ship we attended the 1:1 safety briefing but were told that there was a problem with my account number and my sign and sail card would not work. We were directed to go to Guest Services, where we waited with our bags in a long line, only to be told there was no problem with the account and our cards would work fine. 2. The food on Carnival is usually quite good, fresh and varied but it was terrible this cruise. There were few fresh food options, very cheaply done in the buffet. There is no coffee service to the table in the buffet, which was always so welcome, and so line ups for coffee in the morning were long. We were so disappointed because food is important to us on the cruise. It was a special trip, but this was never acknowledged until we made a reservation in the Steakhouse. We ordered ourselves a drink at the beginning of the meal. At the very end of the meal, after dessert, our Anniversary was acknowledged with a glass of Champagne. This should have been offered much earlier in the meal of course and would have saved us ordering a drink. 3. The sanitation was not up to Carnival's usual standards. In the Buffet the tables were not wiped in a timely manner so people were sitting at dirty tables. When they were wiped the staff did not use a fresh cloth, or even a fresh squish of disinfectant. Many times we observed staff just reusing one cloth, with no disinfectant, for several tables. The first night when I pulled back the bed sheets there was a large stain on the bottom sheet and a piece of hair. We called Guest Services and they sent up two male housekeepers who were initially shocked to see the disgusting stain, then said it was probably "glue". It was not glue. The room was dusty when we got in, the mirror smudged and the bathroom was never cleaned well. When we expressed concerns about the hygiene and cleaning in the room, our issues were minimized, though Guest Services did send up 6 chocolate covered strawberries. Unfortunately they were left in the room while we were out in port, and they were melted and inedible by the time we got in. When we cruised before the pandemic we were impressed by the attention to cleaning, the staff offering hand sanitizer as you walked into restaurants. This time, with pandemic issues still a concern, hand sanitizer stations were pushed off to the side. 4. There was a problem with the Entertainment, the main evening shows. There wasn't much other entertainment in the lounges. For the main show, there were no sets, not much in the way of lighting. One show consisted of the singers and dancers simply sitting on stools, with the singers just singing songs, no dancing or "show". That performance, all the entertainers had large water bottles on stage beside their stools and one performer walked off during a song, returning several minutes later! We later heard there had been a COVID case within the set crew and somehow that effected the quality of sets and lighting, and the usual shows had been scrapped, there was no back up plan in place. 5. In one of our ports we had to use the tender boats to get ashore. We were packed in very tight, too tight for these COVID times. We noticed that only 1 tender boat was being used. On the way back we had to stand in a line for about 45 minutes awaiting the boat in the hot sun. It was truly sad to see several elderly folks trying to stand in that line in the hot sun, and being very uncomfortable. It was ridiculous to operate with only 1 tender boat and people were very unhappy.
The worst thing for me is that I tried twice to address issues on the ship but Guest Services minimized even the stained sheet. I am not a complainer and have a good tolerance for stuff that goes wrong on a vacation, having traveled extensively, but this was frustrating. As well, I gave feedback politely on a guest services survey post cruise and sent a letter to Carnival with feedback and although it's been a couple of months I have not been contacted or heard a word from them to address the issues. We won't sail with Carnival again, which is sad given our long history with the company.
Spacious and well designed but the cleaning and poor hygiene issues were a big problem for us.
We used a local tour operator to see the Apes and then were dropped off in the shopping area where there were good restaurants and shops. We were able to walk back to ship. A good day