I have sailed a few other ships with carnival before, the last being a couple yrs ago or so. So things have changed and it was interesting. Checking in and checking out of the ship is faster now than ever before which is a plus. The airport transfer is still smooth and hassle free.
Embarkation day on 11/20 was good. Got to the ship around 12 noon and breezed right through the check in process. The muster drill is a little easier now too which I like, don't have to bring the life jackets to the drill. I happened to be on this cruise thanks to getting the last available room on the ship. Therefore, I get my set and sail card and see I have the 8:15pm dining. At 1pm I head to the dining room when it opened, to make changes, and got the 6:00pm dining which was cool. The water was very rough heading out on Sunday night the 20th. Was a rough sail all night, the boat rocked pretty good and had people bouncing off walls. Felt like I was hammered but I only had 2 drinks for the night. Bought the bottomless bubbles soda card after I left port for 27.00. Would have costed 29-30.00 in port.
Dining staff - Maitre D Orhan was a lame duck. Yes, a lame duck. He really showed no interest in stopping by tables during the week to mingle with the crowd, little to be seen or heard from it seemed like all week. Kind of weird if you ask me when all my past experiences, maitre d's get invovled and their dining room staff involved with their tables. The waiters were ok but nothing to cry home about about. Very low key and straight to business. I also did not leave any tip at the end of the cruise. According the information I read, the tip in the maitre d is not included in the 40.00 billed tips. The food was pretty good though as usual that carnival has had over the years, in the dining room.
Food in the other lounges - Pizza I think has gone downhill a little from my past experiences on carnival. Didn't seem like it's the same. They always had soft serve ice cream available. The food cooked around midnight was good and plentiful. Loved the prime rib and chicken. Sandwiches were good, loved their tuna yummy. Also loved all the different desserts they had mmmmmm.. Breakfast was ok but not super great. Eggs are kinda wet and not much taste to them, and they come scrambled. Omlettes are available on request.
Room Service- Always got the room service within 20 minutes of ordering every night. I took advantage of it since it is free. The only thing not free is drinks. Even if you have bottomless bubbles they'd charge for it. The chocolate cake thing they have for dessert in room service is soooo yummy.
Bar / Drinks - I stay away from the 7.50 drinks of the day as that can rack up the bill pretty quick. The classic mixed drinks run 8.95ish, drink of the day 7.50, and the other mixed drinks run around 6-9.00. In the lounge on the Lido deck where the other food is, there is only Lemonade, White and Chocolate Milk, and Unsweetened Iced Tea as well as coffee. They didnt offer fruit punch which ive had years ago on other ships with carnival, kinda bummed about that. So with no juice really, I took the soda card. Sodas are normally 1.95 each. So 15 sodas for the week breaks you even. I shared my soda card with my mom which is another way to save costs. This time around, I notice carnival actually swipes the set and sail card for the bottomless bubbles soda card, when years ago they just looked for the sticker on the set and sail card. I guess they try to limit people abusing the unlimited sodas (such as passing the card onto others, picking up someones set and sail card and using it, etc). I would just go to 1 bar get a soda, then go to another bar and get the other soda for mom. Real easy. Highly recommend for people looking to save a buck.
Staterooms - I had a steward, Edison, he was awesome. Rooms were prepared nicely and perfect each day, couple times a day. Never an issue. Everything worked well, bed was super super comfy as usual. Edison was super friendly and personable, awesome to have staff around that care (unlike the dining room staff).
Comedy Shows - Somewhat funny, one guy with cerebral palsy wasnt all that funny, but the other comedian was funny. Couple of R rated comedy shows which was funny as can be.
Karaoke - Superstar live is awesome! I love how now they have that on the ships, where people do karaoke along w/ the show band playing the music. Ty, the karoake host, was awesome. She always had me laughing in her superstar live entertainment. She would do the back-up singing for the guest and joke around as well.
Showtime Band - Welcome Aboard show was PHENOMENAL. One of the best I seen in years. The Farewell show, the 2nd and final show of the cruise on the last night was lame and not really that entertaining. The dancers were great and good at what they do. Obviously, still very sexually suggestive type of show with their clothing.
Cruise Ship Director - What a shame to have this guy Danny being the cruise director. He was really out of the loop most of the cruise except for the morning announcements on what the day is to offer. He really never came on stage in the lounge and had any sort of fun like many other cruise directors i've seen. He never really came around the open areas and mingled with the crowd, and made himself known. Kinda pitiful if you as me.
Piano Bar- Barry is the man. He is funny and good with the music. This was a lot of fun to look foreward to every night after midnight until 2-3am. He is a jokester and not just a guy who plays piano all night, well on this cruise anyways. Highly recommend people to hang out with Barry late nights, he is a trip!
Freeport Bahamas- Arrived on Monday morning, rolled out of the ship around 10am and went to get a taxi outside the ship (5.00 per person each way, 10.00). Took the ride to Our Lucaya and got dropped off at the central pick up and drop off spot by the stores. Walked 5 minutes back to the beach entrance (next to the police station which the taxi driver will point out, free access). Did the inflatable banana boat ride which was great. It's pulled by someone in a motorized about. The excursion is about an hour and you get it when you arrive at the beach. $25.00 per person which is a steal and a great way to go for a little ride out in the water. It takes you down into this little cove where you get to see dolphins for 5-10 minutes, the ship used in the pirates of the carribbean movie, and some beautiful beach front houses. It's quite a ride on the inflatable banana boat. They provide a life jacket too. Water was warm but it was a little windy. Last taxi pick up was at 4:00 and caught that taxi back to the cruise ship. There is nothing to do around the cruise ship by the way, you end up by oil refineries for those who have never been to freeport. Everything is a taxi ride away or thru a carnival overpriced excursion that will cost you around 60-100.00 per person on average
Nassau - Arrived on Tues 11/22 and stayed there overnight til 6:00am on Wednesday 11/23. Ship says, all back on board at 5:30am. Nassau was very very windy and according to the lifeguard at the sheraton resort I went to, it's very normal this time of year, the rough waters and the wind. So that bummed me out. Ended up just laying out on a beach chair at the resort. Admission is 25.00 per person and the bus is 1.25 each way, which leaves 1 block away from the pier and returns to the same spot. Real easy to find the bus, the locals will direct you to where they are. The #10 bus is what will take you to cable beach / breezes / wyndham / sheraton resorts. You do get towel use at the sheraton so leave the carnival towels on ship. Also do get to use snorkels if you want. There are 3 pools. The food at the Sheraton is overpriced, like 15.00 for a burger. So I opted to wait it out til I got back a few hours later to Carlos n Charlies at the pier. The food was amazing there I must say. mmmm Chicken tacos so yummy and well worth the 18.00. The drinks for 5 something each were awesome too yummmy... They do include the tip on the bill there which makes things easy, I think it's 15% if I added it up right.
Seaday - Played laser tag which was a ton of fun. At as much food as possible as I did all week. The boat roacked a little in the early evening on wednesday night but wasn't as bad as leaving port on sunday. Ate in the dining room for this final night and the staff did a little entertainment and sang us a song about how now it's time to go and they hope for us to come back to another carnival ship. How it's sad to see us go and so on. Was a great song too I must say. Played the slot tournament and blackjack tournament 2 times each to try and get to the grand final round, but lost both times on both tournaments. The fee to play is 20.00 each time. I didn't play any of the bingo in the lounges all week. That's just a scam that I know will never win haha. They had the hairy chest competition which was kinda lame. There was no "big party" on the lido deck like other carnival ships do on the final night. Kinda bummed about that too..
Dembarkation - Smooth, Fast, Efficient. Everyone was off the ship by 930-10:00am.
All in all, not the worst cruise I ever been on, but not the best. There could be much improvements starting with the entertainment staff / cruise director / dining room staff. I'll of course sail carnival and stay loyal to them, I know not all ships can be the same experience since staff move around all the time.
I'd recommend this cruise if you want something relaxing and enjoyable. But not for those looking for a grand ol' party. For the 1,000 kids that were on this cruise, I thought camp carnival did a great job keeping them occupied all day and night. Late night they would be running around the ship freely as usual when the parents were at the bar stonefaced. Other than that... happy trails cruisers!
M33 - Nothing to complain about