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64 Mexican Riviera Singles Cruise Reviews

The ports and tour I went on were great but the Ship and the program and lunch were not as good as the other cruise I went on. 1) their events on board ship conflicted like I wanted to do Karaoke and I wanted to do Harry Potter Trivia but ... Read More
The ports and tour I went on were great but the Ship and the program and lunch were not as good as the other cruise I went on. 1) their events on board ship conflicted like I wanted to do Karaoke and I wanted to do Harry Potter Trivia but they conflicted and did not have another trivia of Harry Potter or other events. When we wanted to have lunch we had to go to the buffet instead of the dining room. This is both disturbing and the buffet did not change their menu. The shows were alright but not very good. When you got on and off the ship it went very quickly. The food was adequate for the type of ship but the choices were not good. This ship were not for all ages. there was not much to do if you were in the aging population like other ships. It was geared for a younger crowd. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Close to home for my Birthday Cruise~~~ My fight was delayed so I boarded with no one in front of me, no line, I'll be late more often :) The ship is showing it's age, especially the atrium, dark, dull & dingy is what I ... Read More
Close to home for my Birthday Cruise~~~ My fight was delayed so I boarded with no one in front of me, no line, I'll be late more often :) The ship is showing it's age, especially the atrium, dark, dull & dingy is what I think it is...needs to be painted a light color and needs new lighting too it's just so blah no one seemed to be spending any time in there at all...bar is boring...please do something to liven this place up. Best part is watching the glass elevators go up and down...that's entertainment???? yikes!! Casino was awful, saw one woman win in 7 days...gee maybe they were just quiet about it! I played slots and they just took and took and took, pitiful. Even the "special spins" were so measly $25.00 ??...add a zero or two! Your machines are robbing us and then you have a pitiful reward for someone who is "lucky" enough to have their name drawn for a spin of the wheel. Not very much entertainment, nothing was really drawing a crowd...needs improvement. Took this cruise because it was close to home and I considered it my birthday cruise... Thanks for the wine, cookies, water bottle, and $12. photo gift card. I think this was my 6th Carnival cruise...my favorite was on the brand new Carnival Spirit in May 2001. So new in fact that we were the first to stay in our balcony cabin and when we boarded the ship the cabin number was reversed with the inside cabin across from us and they had to take a screwdriver to put the numbers in the right places. Fun memory, we knew we had paid for a balcony not an inside... it did prove we were the first passengers to be in the cabin. This was my 54th cruise, I would live on a ship if I could~~~ but not this one :) Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We chose this trip because we wanted to experience the Mexican Riviera, This ship sailed for 2 and a half days before getting to first port which was beautiful Puerto Vallarta ,which we loved. Great for shopping eating and plenty of bars ... Read More
We chose this trip because we wanted to experience the Mexican Riviera, This ship sailed for 2 and a half days before getting to first port which was beautiful Puerto Vallarta ,which we loved. Great for shopping eating and plenty of bars for drinks at a very reasonable price! The next stop was Mazatlan not the best port somewhat dirty and didn't always feel safe in some areas. The ship offered many excursions but all seemed very over priced. Our last stop was Cabo San Lucas, which we all loved very much the port was gorgeous much to see and do for sure. This was one of our favorite places. The only sad part is we were only able to be here for a very short time the shortest of all the ports. I think the ship could have stopped much sooner at another port on the way down but somehow I think they want travelers to spend as much time on ship so that we would spend money buying there drinks for a lot more than at the ports. I have good things to say and negatives things to say about Princess lines, I will start off by saying the arrival onto the ship went smooth and fairly fast and when getting to the actual ports it too went smooth. The disembark was very well organized and went very fast. Transfers back to airport was great! The entire staff on ship was excellent and the cabins and ship were spotless,the food in dining rooms were prepared beautifully and tasty with a nice variety. I was not impressed with the buffets it seemed like the same thing over and over again,especially breakfast. On most other cruises they offered many or at least 3 juices during meals ,on this cruise you had to ask for other flavored juices . The only one always available was orange juice. They also did not give you free bottles of water that needed to be purchased or ordered ahead of time. Other cruise lines I had been on gave you bottled water in your room daily. Drinks were very expensive and even the drink packages were on the high side. I really felt this cruise line was really out to get your money anyway possible. They had shopping sales, but my advice is to shop at the ports ,for you can get many bargains for a lot lot less. They had many activities on board including feature films. The shows were good some better than others and some were a yawn. The cruise director and his sidekick were fun and entertaining,I think they could have put on a great show. I would do the Mexican Riviera again but I would try to find a ship that stops longer in Cabo and a lot less time in Mazatlan and also a ship that doesnt spend two and a half days getting to the first port. I really hope my other cruise lines in the past have not skimped on food varieties and beverages at the buffets Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This was my first Carnival cruise, travelling with a hosted singles group of 95, all ages. I enjoyed the cruise, but probably won't repeat on Carnival unless the itinerary is irresistible... it just didn't wow me. Embarkation ... Read More
This was my first Carnival cruise, travelling with a hosted singles group of 95, all ages. I enjoyed the cruise, but probably won't repeat on Carnival unless the itinerary is irresistible... it just didn't wow me. Embarkation at Long Beach is, frankly, a zoo. The cavernous dome that used to house the Spruce Goose has been re-purposed into a cruise terminal, and it's just awful. Plus, the fellow checking me in didn't seem to know how to apply Carnival gift cards to my Sail & Sign account. Once aboard, I had done enough research to expect the Joe Farcus over-the-top decor. Some of it grew on me (Mad Hatter, Gotham;) some of it I never did more than tolerate (Atrium, purple purple Bacchus.) I'm old enough to instantly equate cruising with luxurious elegance, so the Vegas-style glitz grates on me. My balcony cabin was certainly nice, plenty of storage space, and the steward was attentive. We didn't make any special requests outside of filling the ice bucket, but he always greeted me by name when we met in the hallway. Dining was adequate but not adventurous. I wasn't wowed by the food, although some of my companions were. Buffet offerings at Horatio's on Lido were dull, dull, dull... at Bacchus, a little more variety & creativity, but even there it wasn't very exciting. Service was uneven... some nights, prompt and attentive; other nights we sat and sat, waiting for our entrees. Also, no offerings after hours unless it's pizza. The bartenders, on the other hand, were awesome. Cocktail menus are wildly creative, and not just at Alchemy. The Cheers package is shockingly expensive, though, when compared to other lines. The shows were cheesy. Participatory games like Trivial Pursuit in the afternoon always seemed disorganized & chaotic. Comedians were pretty funny. Carnival positions itself as the "fun" line, and it certainly showed here... all the neon & excess of a Vegas hotel buffet, right down to the dancing servers. If that's your jam, then go for it. I prefer my fun with a side of elegance. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This cruise was for my husbands birthday, a couple friends came with us. We had a great time, the service was pretty amazing too. There were never really any waits for drinks. The highlight of the cruise certainly was the cruise ... Read More
This cruise was for my husbands birthday, a couple friends came with us. We had a great time, the service was pretty amazing too. There were never really any waits for drinks. The highlight of the cruise certainly was the cruise director staff. Chloe the cruise director is like the energizer bunny. That girl never stops and is at almost all shows, events and games. J-swift was so incredibly awesome, friendly, outgoing and funny, we had a great time at bingo with her. The entertainment was like most other ships, kind of cheesy, but fun and upbeat. The ports were fun as well. We had two days in Cabo. I don't understand why they don't stay docked overnight. We had to board the ship and cruise around over night and returned in the morning. Puerta Vallarta was an even better port and time. There are plenty to do at both ports. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We had cruised the Caribbean 5 times (including Cozumel) and preciously visited Puerto Vallarta (1982) and Cancun twice to all inclusives with the grown up kids. But this was a different way to see Mexico that appealed to us, it being ... Read More
We had cruised the Caribbean 5 times (including Cozumel) and preciously visited Puerto Vallarta (1982) and Cancun twice to all inclusives with the grown up kids. But this was a different way to see Mexico that appealed to us, it being Valentine's Day and everything (my 60th birthday on the 13th). We found our aft cabin, B256 cramped and noisy. Our steward was fine, he needed some time off. I love the food but my wife just gets by with it. Sometimes she liked it but she liked less of it than I do. We had one of the best excursions ever in Puerto Vallarta with Valarta Adventures through Princess. We got WAY more than we paid for with snorkeling, kayaking, a hike, a waterfall, a beach, a close whale encounter, great food, drinks, and entertainment. Highly recommended. The entertainment was OK. The first comedian was really funny and the "Magic To Do" production number tried very hard. The fitness equipment was good but the jogging track was the worst ever. The weather was great, though it seemed it would be too cool (the last day really was) and the experience on the whole was lovely. I prefer going to the Caribbean (and it is easier from here) but this was a nice time too. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
What can I say? This was a wonderful cruise. The service was excellent. The food was excellent. I especially liked the Nick and Nora steakhouse – it was amazing! There was lots to do on the ship , Never boring. I had the best mac & ... Read More
What can I say? This was a wonderful cruise. The service was excellent. The food was excellent. I especially liked the Nick and Nora steakhouse – it was amazing! There was lots to do on the ship , Never boring. I had the best mac & cheese I've ever had during the brunch at Sea. The Dr. Seuss breakfast was a lot of fun and well worth the five dollars. Shows were entertaining as were the comedians. I enjoyed playing my favorite slot in the casino – jackpot party. Lots of places to get away for quiet to just sit and watch the ocean or read. I especially enjoyed seeing an occasional whale or dolphin from the ship. Some new things for me on the cruise was the Clue Game, hunt for little ducks, the oversized Hasbro games and the Dr Suess Breakfast. The Platinum Perks were good but not always well executed- sent to unnecessary long lines, given 10 and 11 tags delaying getting our bags at the end, only one laundry bag in room, could only use my drink coupon at breakfast and lunch in dining room. The Platinum Party and the Cruise CRITIC meet and mingle were both very nicely done. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
I sailed on one of the very first Azamara cruise when the line was spun off of the Celebrity line. I also sailed this itinerary on Holland America. When the itinerary appeared on this Azamara cruise I decided to "rediscover" ... Read More
I sailed on one of the very first Azamara cruise when the line was spun off of the Celebrity line. I also sailed this itinerary on Holland America. When the itinerary appeared on this Azamara cruise I decided to "rediscover" small ship cruising traveling an itinerary I truly enjoyed. The GOOD: The itinerary was excellent. People need not be afraid of traveling to the tourist ports in Mexico. Security was present everywhere without being intrusive. Officers with guns make some people nervous, I found them to be a comfort because even petty crime was unlikely to occur with a officer nearby. Everyone in the ports was friendly and accomodating. There was some "begging' going on but it was primarily in the form of "I am a student. Would you be willing to help me by buying such and such." They were very courteous and with a "n"o they moved on without trouble or acrimony. The Quest was immaculate and kept that way throughout the cruise. The Senior Officers were amazing. They were everywhere speaking with quests, being approachable, watching shows, interacting wherever they could. As an example, upon returning from the 17 hour excursion to the Copper Canyon on Valentine's Day, the Captain was on the pier and greeted everyone upon their return and personally handed every lady a rose! There were two lecturers. One was outstanding and the other was good. The shows were varied and generally excellent. There is a free (including detergent) self service laundromat. In addition there were three laundry specials offered during the cruise which involved a set price for a bag of laundry done by the crew. The buffet was outstanding! We never had to wait or justle for a table. The food was excellent! It ranged from hot dishes to cold dishes with a surprisingly wide variety. It is doubtful that you would not find something that you would enjoy. These comments were true of breakfast, lunch and dinner. The BAD: The dining room was not so much bad as it was terribly disappointing. When i sailed on the Quest last time, the Captain informed me that they had 150% of the budget for food per person as compared to other cruise lines. That ratio has obviously changed. The menus were static with two Chef features every night. The food was rather ordinary and we never had a Wow! meal. However, in all honesty we found the food better and the atmosphere better in the buffet area so we ate more often in that locale. The other problem in the dining room was that if you were willing to sit with other at a table service would not begin until they filled the table - 5 minutes, 10 minutes and we waited at leaast 20 minutes one night. We did not find that acceptable. The service in the dining room was iffy. The cabins are small. In fact they are the smallest cabins I have ever been in since my first days of sailing with Royal Caribbean. The bathroom was even smaller. There is no way for an average sized person to sit straight on the commode. There is no way for an average size person stand in the shower without having a part of your body clinging to the plastic shower curtain. This was my 40th cruise and the worst sized cabin of the lot. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
A friend asked my to go with her and 2 other ladies. I'd been on 6 other Carnival cruises prior to this one and have been on other cruise lines after those 6. I was really disappointed. One of the things that really bothered me ... Read More
A friend asked my to go with her and 2 other ladies. I'd been on 6 other Carnival cruises prior to this one and have been on other cruise lines after those 6. I was really disappointed. One of the things that really bothered me was that hand sanitizing was not mandatory for dining areas. On other lines, it is. The enteretainment was compareable to a high school production. There weren't even any set design just a handful of metal props they moved around. The cruise director wasn't very engaging. The crew had just returned from a 15 day Hawaiian cruise and were either too tired or just not interested in providing great service. 2 tenders for over 2000 guests. We were at least one hour late leaving port because of it. Stood in like for over half an hour to get on the tender and there were a sea of people behind us. I don't even want to elaborate on any details because it just makes me too depressed. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
$189 Per Person Special Offer with Free Room Upgrade & $50 On Board Credit. Room E101 is PERFECT close to everything Prefer Anytime Dinning which is 1 Floor Above Stateroom E101 Cheers Program $240 Per Person, Start Drinking ... Read More
$189 Per Person Special Offer with Free Room Upgrade & $50 On Board Credit. Room E101 is PERFECT close to everything Prefer Anytime Dinning which is 1 Floor Above Stateroom E101 Cheers Program $240 Per Person, Start Drinking the Moment you Get On & Even While You Wait in Line To Get Off Day 1 Catalina Island -Reccomend Renting a Golf Cart in Advance from Catalina Auto & Bike Rental $83 for 4 Hours on a 4 Person Golf Cart ***The Other Golf Cart Rental Places do not have good Golf Carts... -Cart was too SLOW & could barely go uphill with 4 people. Day 2 Ensenada Baja California -Reccomend UTV Rental from the Cruise Port: $180 for the day ***Do Not get ATV if you fall the cruise ship medical does not take any type of insurance and charges $125 just for the doctor consult. Boyfriend fell in Ensenada & Used a Wheelchair for the Duration of the Cruise... Day 3 at Sea -Reccomend Bingo & all the fun activities!!! ***Alchemy Bar is the BEST all natural drinks on the boat*** Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Overall, the cruise was good. The crew was great...always pleasant and helpful. The ship was overall clean, but of course, not spotless. The food was better than when I was on the Ruby Princess when it was in the Caribbean. There were ... Read More
Overall, the cruise was good. The crew was great...always pleasant and helpful. The ship was overall clean, but of course, not spotless. The food was better than when I was on the Ruby Princess when it was in the Caribbean. There were activities and I realize the ship isn't going to give back lots of prize money, but having trivia contests and then the top prize is a key chain or a magnet is a bit insulting. I didn't see a lot of the shipboard entertainment, but I heard it was good. The casino was good, but you still have to buy your drinks there as well as every place else. I realize they can't give drinks away for free otherwise everyone will be down there just for that, but when you have been playing for hours, you shouldn't have to buy a soda. The only sore point for me was the hard sell....on everything. Buy this, buy that....upsell on everything. Okay, I get it...that is how they make their money....but it is constant and persistent. And under no circumstances should you go to the spa or any other optional services if you don't have gobs of money to spend. I went to a free foot analysis and was pressured into buying a product (offer valid only for this hour and you will be back to thank me later...which I wasn't) and told repeatedly that I could get a full refund if I wasn't happy. Impossible. There is no refund once purchased. I complained to Princess Cruise line about being lied to and they passed the buck so I am out big money. I am not a happy customer about that. So enjoy yourself but keep a close hold on your purse strings if you aren't one of the rich Americans that everyone thinks you are. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose this cruise to travel to Cabo, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta with our niece and her husband as well as our adult daughter. The Le Cirque Bijou show was the BEST show I have seen on ANY cruise. The comedian and magician shows ... Read More
We chose this cruise to travel to Cabo, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta with our niece and her husband as well as our adult daughter. The Le Cirque Bijou show was the BEST show I have seen on ANY cruise. The comedian and magician shows are not to be missed. Really great magic and funny comedian who doesn't have to be raunchy to be funny, Desserts and buffets were delicious and service in dining rooms was great. One nice thing about the Jewel is that ALL the staff try to make your cruise experience a wonderful one. The gratutities are mandatory so let them do all they do to help insure your pleasant trip. Love that the ship is kept very clean inside and out. Washy Washy. My drink package was excellent as I never had an issue with anything I asked for and my drinks were not watered down as I had read on other reviews. The captain was everywhere on the ship and accessible to all. Cruise director Iain was also very personable and friendly and funny. Wish we had an overnight in Cabo San Lucas as it would be nice to spend the whole day at the beach or doing activities. Last tender is at 2:30 so you need to start your morning very early to enjoy as much time on land as possible. Other than that, I would definitely go again on this cruise and I know I would have loved it just as much. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Hello again. I posted a review a week ago ("a no no cruise"). This week i took the cruise with my best friend. Embarkation process - very good. Cabin - a "no no". We had cabin 1456 on deck 1. We were next to the ... Read More
Hello again. I posted a review a week ago ("a no no cruise"). This week i took the cruise with my best friend. Embarkation process - very good. Cabin - a "no no". We had cabin 1456 on deck 1. We were next to the crew's cabins. Our cabin felt like we had an engine below us. Vibrating day and night, ugh! Steward - myrene was extra awesome! Very friendly. Addressed us every morning by our names. Whatever we may need she got it for us. Very efficient, fast and very lovely young woman. A+ for her Buffet - eh! Not good. Big lines. The food was not that good. The best thing was the fruits; they look very fresh and juicy. Not too many options to pick. The beverage stations only had orange juice on the middle ones. So, if you got to sit on the end, you have to walk all the way to get orange juice. The rest of the stations only had lemonade. Why they did not put orange juice on all? i have no idea. Ship - very old. The carpet in our cabin was awful. You can see rust on every part of the ship on the outside decks. The pools were extremely small. Maybe 5-10 people get in, and the pool was full. Best place - serenity on deck 11. Very quiet and excellent to read and rest. However the heat is too much. They need to put fans on the shaded areas. The movies were good Dining - nice food. Our server assistant, alan, was great! Very courteous, friendly, and funny. Next to us were a table full of kids (between 8 and 15). They had a great time. Alan showed them tricks, jokes. They were laughing all the time. During the "showtime", alan was the best dancer. We really loved him. Safety briefing/drill - the worse experience ever. Since the last time i was on the last line, we decided to take our time to get there, so we were the first one in the big pile of people. The heat and sweating were killing us. Process still miserable. They need to do it inside!!!!!! On other cruises they scan your card to confirm everyone attended. Why having people almost dying of heat stroke, babies crying to take "manual" count. Shows - 1st show - do not go. They sing and dance for 5 minutes. The rest is the cruise director telling people what's going to happen during the cruise. 2nd and 3rd show - very good. Last show - sucked. Apparently, people auditioned to portrait different artists. A lot of them were awful. Waste of time. Guest services - while the lines were always full, they were pretty quick. Very helpful and courteous. Casino - really crowded but a good experience. Not enough bar servers for the people. Sometimes it took around 30-45 minutes to get your drink. Shops - not so many affordable options. The affordable stuff was the worst. Do not buy the 2 x $20 shirts. The material is really cheap. I have to recognize veronica in the jewelry store. So friendly and always eager to help us. Always with a smile on her face. Answered all our questions. We loved her! Excellent worker. Bands - the main band "folk factory" were very good, except when this blonde girl showed up. She had no voice at all. I rather hear the band playing with no singer. Hi lux - the rock and roll band were awesome!!!! The played the best songs ever. All kinds of music, old and new. Maria the singer had the best voice. The drummer had the ability to sing like every artist he played: billy joel, journey. The whole band rocked. I think that was the best part of our cruise. Debarkation - excellent, no long lines. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Just returned from a 4-night sailing on The Paradise. Wondered throughout the trip why so many do not like this ship. Embarkation was totally without any problems. Once on board the ship impressed time-and-again as to the cleanliness; ... Read More
Just returned from a 4-night sailing on The Paradise. Wondered throughout the trip why so many do not like this ship. Embarkation was totally without any problems. Once on board the ship impressed time-and-again as to the cleanliness; fantastic crew attitude and all-around caring of the entire crew. Our cabin attendant was nearly invisible; yet, our cabin was kept neat and clean at all times. First time we were never greeted on embarkation day by our attendant. The dining room meals and waitstaff were very good to excellent. Carnival has cut back on waitstaff, so the wait was a tad longer - their attitude surely made up for it - - very caring and friendly. The Lido (Paris) restaurant was acceptable - nothing very fancy and not too much in the selection department for breakfast or lunch. The grill by the pool was very good. For breakfast, a suggestion is to eat in the dining room; in addition, try the "seaday brunch" - lots of great choices served by as great a staff. The Paradise is a smaller and older ship - and you can see that from low ceilings and dated things throughout the ship, including our cabin. However, this ship is very well kept by a very caring staff, so that many times you forget just how old (and small) she is in relation to the mega-ships in service today. The Paradise is not 5-star, in dining; cabins; or public areas. However, that being said, The Paradise crew and staff go out of their way repeatedly to make the experience on-board a great one. And again, the ship is very clean and very well maintained. The Paradise is very well worth the experience for a short(er) cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Cabin was awesome 9542 Steward Pablo was awesome Entire staff was awesome,everyone treated me well Solo cruiser. Food was good/great,but you have to shop the complimentary nightly specials as 1 night i paid for lamb chops, one ... Read More
Cabin was awesome 9542 Steward Pablo was awesome Entire staff was awesome,everyone treated me well Solo cruiser. Food was good/great,but you have to shop the complimentary nightly specials as 1 night i paid for lamb chops, one night they were free in complimentary dining. Pool areas/spas way outdated. POOL AREAS NEED UPDATING Way,way too many kids,,but it was spring break,so probably the week i chose to cruise.... Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Although I know this was going to be very special because it was the 50th Anniversary Cruise....filled with elites, cast members from the T.V. show and special entertainment [folks who had won best this and best that], it was going to be ... Read More
Although I know this was going to be very special because it was the 50th Anniversary Cruise....filled with elites, cast members from the T.V. show and special entertainment [folks who had won best this and best that], it was going to be my very first Princess cruise onboard a ship with fewer than 1,000 passengers onboard. I've been cruising since 1985 and sailed for 10 days onboard the beautiful Sun Viking to the Caribbean. It was a small ship and my very first experience with cruising. I fell in love with the sea and sailing on her. I started with Royal Caribbean but have chosen Princess as the years have gone by! The port in L.A. was so easy....drop off luggage, find a parking space [I live in the San Fernando Valley] a 50 minute drive away. Walk across the street to the Port entrance with the delightfully cheery Princess employee's to welcome and direct you. I will NEVER get tired of being treated well by them. What I love most about driving to the pier is that you can see the ship docked at it's berth and the goose bumps start at my feet and travel to the back of my neck as the ship comes into view. I can see flags flying and the very top deck with the promise of the week or two ahead filled with sun and fun. With the Pacific Princess there is none of this......You CAN'T see the ship behind the buildings.....what an eerie feeling....have they left without me? NO! She's there. She's just so much smaller than I've ever seen at this pier before. From the Diamond, Golden, Star, Crown and all the rest.....this is the first time the ship is smaller than the building she's anchored next to! I checked in within 20 minutes of dropping the luggage, parking and walking to the registration desk. There was another bit of a wait [15 minutes] until we could actually start to board. Walking onto this ship, showing my key card and getting into the elevator was the easiest I've ever experienced on boarding a ship. The crew welcomes you and asks where your stateroom is so that they can direct you to the front or back of the ship. As you step inside the ship you get the feeling of entering into a time warp. There's dark woods, wrought-iron railings, large stair cases.......sort of Titanic-like. She's friendly and welcoming.....like visiting a Great Aunt's home, who's lived there forever and taken great care of her environs. I entered my Stateroom. The furnishings were fresh, old feeling, but fresh and clean. The woods were dark and there were doors on the closets [just like at home.] I had a veranda stateroom, not huge, not so small that I felt like the walls were closing-in, it felt "just right!" I met my Steward; a nice young man "Andre", he had a clipboard and asked if there was anything special that I would like. I told him that I liked the bed separated, although there was only me and my Service Dog in the cabin, I don't like the feeling of a big bed in a small room. I think separating the bed gives the room a larger feel. He said he would do that when I went to dinner. I also like a top sheet on my bed [between me and the duvet.] I had early traditional dining and he said he'd take care of it later. He proved to be a lovely person who always greeted me with a friendly "good morning" each and every day. I found that there was NEVER a long line ANYWHERE onboard this ship. How delightful it was to ALWAYS be able to catch an elevator, to always be able to go where I wanted to go without the feeling of maddening crowds everywhere and to be able to go to the buffet and find a table to sit at.......that was really nice!!! I'm really beginning to like the small ship experience. It's so easy to figure this ship out and to find everything so easily. I really liked that feeling. Our cruise director was Sammi. She is a hoot! That's the only way I can explain her best. She puts her heart and soul into her job and shows you that she really likes what she's doing. The Hotel Director, the Dancers, the Staff in total were wonderful and helpful. When you travel through life with a Service Dog it's not always easy for the folks you encounter. There's potty box's, extra towels, needs and necessities that MUST be met and EVERYONE onboard this ship [except for the occasional server who just had to whistle at him] treated my dog with the utmost respect. Thank you Pacific Princess for your professionalism and kindness! The buffet and dining room staff are top notch. They work very hard to please and although there were a few glitches in the food area.......it was obvious at some points that they were understaffed and our server was doing "double-duty!" I know what it's like to work to the max and do the very best I can do.......they did just that! I loved the entertainment.......It's so different to be at the same level as the entertainers and to literally have them almost in your lap and even more interesting to watch how they manage to not knock your drink off your table at those high kicks. They were wonderful and I felt totally entertained at the end of each show. Having the Love Boat cast onboard with us was an extra special treat. To hear Jack Jones sing the Love Boat song in person is pure fun and joy! They were ALL gracious and lovely to share their time with us, some of them for the entire 2 weeks. I must admit, this cruise was totally going to be about the ship and not the ports. I walked off and back on without ever going on any excursions. Sometimes the cruising experience is just about the ship, the ocean, the entertainment and the food! And, because Princess was celebrating it's 50th year, I knew I'd love every minute onboard! The seas coming up the Baja coast were over-the-top rough and this small ship certainly showed her sea worthiness. Disembarkation was a breeze......so easy....again, no long lines and big smiles and thank you's from the lovely crew and staff! Getting the luggage, Immigration, getting my car could not have gone easier for me. Remember, I'm alone with a 95lb Service Dog in tow. With a Porter to help me, I could handle the luggage, the dog and get the car by myself. For any woman who's traveling by herself, there are lots of people all around to help and assist you at every turn. I can't wait until I can board another small ship and have that same experience all over again! Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
My Wife and I departed for our cruise on the Norwegian Jewel on 10/11, returning on 10/18 to the Mexican Rivera. We had initially paid over $1,800 for the (2) of us, and found that tickets were going for $350pp 2 weeks before the cruise, ... Read More
My Wife and I departed for our cruise on the Norwegian Jewel on 10/11, returning on 10/18 to the Mexican Rivera. We had initially paid over $1,800 for the (2) of us, and found that tickets were going for $350pp 2 weeks before the cruise, which was troubling. Norwegian upgraded us to a Balcony Room, but there was still a large difference between what we initially paid, and the discounts being given, and would not provide further compensation. After putting that aspect aside, we boarded the cruise and tried to enjoy ourselves. We had selected the Dining Package, and made reservations the subsequent day(s) we would be at-sea. The first night we ate at the Buffet for lunch and Sushi Bar for dinner. After experiencing what the free food at the buffet was like, and the paid food at the mediocre Sushi Bar, we decided it would be best to cancel our Food Package, and go with the Drink Package instead. I was told it needed corporate approval, but as long as it was an option to one of the initial packages we could select, that they would approve and any monies spent would be credited back. (2) days after the fact our cruise is ½ over, and the request was Declined after having spent monies, because it was stated it was never an option in the original package (which we have emails attesting to otherwise showing the Drink Package being available if we didn’t select the Dining Package). The food on the ENTIRE cruise was mediocre at best, and it was very disappointing to have our request denied on our Honeymoon, and some of the extra features we were told about over the phone, were never even offered to us (ie. Cake and Champagne was supposed to be delivered to our room for our honeymoon gratis, but never was received any of the nights). I also asked that a one-time charge on my credit card be issued, to cover for some of the drinks I intended to purchase, and find they issued additional charges that I NEVER authorized, and now have to wait for holds to be released by my bank for the charges. We are very disenchanted with Norwegian’s policies, and see little reason to go back/let alone provide any referrals to family/friends at this point. The food from the Buffet seems to be "recycled" into the other restaurants (ie. One night they had Antipasta, and the next night there was a "Vegetable Salad" with the same stuff. Grilled Chicken was turned into Fried Chicken the next day). The cruise feels like a time-share were we should have been paid, as before/after every show either the entertainers or the staff, try to sell you something. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
I’ve cruised some 42-times (really). It can be a wonderful vacation. Cruising has changed so much so over the last two decades and sometime back in 1990, I took my first Carnival cruise. I recently decided to do another Carnival ... Read More
I’ve cruised some 42-times (really). It can be a wonderful vacation. Cruising has changed so much so over the last two decades and sometime back in 1990, I took my first Carnival cruise. I recently decided to do another Carnival cruise this July 2015. The first one was fairly sub-standard in comparison to the other many lines I have sailed and I wanted to give Carnival another chance this 2015. I boarded Carnival’s ‘Inspiration’ with no expectations. Carnival delivered on that concept with even less than I expected. This was just a 4 day cruise out of Long Beach to Catalina and Ensenada, Mexico. Let’s start with embarkation/boarding… One hour and a half was the process time from entering the terminal to actually boarding the ship. We arrived at our recommended time of 1:30pm to 2:30pm. They were overwhelmed at check-in. In fact so much so that you had to assume this must be Carnival’s first time at this terminal. It was not. The check-in representative shared with us that so many Carnival passengers (many first-timers) fail to do their pre-departure online check-in process before sailing and that disrupts and slows down the check-in process. Boarding the ship itself and entering the ships small atrium/lobby area resulted in several 25-30 year olds in Carnival t-shirts (staff we guessed) which appeared to be there to do something with the boarding process. They did not greet or assist but we had accomplished our pre-homework (before sailing) and knew exactly where to go while some passengers did not. We headed off to Stateroom/Cabin M-187. The lifeboat drill is a mandatory attendance requirement before sailing (yet Carnival does not take role/attendance as other lines do). That was a full hour with staff/crew sadly unprepared and certainly not qualified to ever initiate an evacuation from one of its ships. Carnival has learned nothing from the sinking of its COSTA CONCORDIA brand off the coast of Italy, a few years back (Carnival owned the Costa Concordia). Know you cabin areas and muster station areas and never wait for the crew to assist you aboard a Carnival ship if there is an emergency. Carry a personal led flashlight aboard any cruise and be prepared to get your life jacket and get topside ASAP. Things quickly improved and we met our stateroom steward (Gerald) who took Carnival up several levels to exceptional and friendly customer service levels. He was genuine and sincere and stayed that way for the entire crew (he had the task of cleaning 27 cabins per day). The cabin was old and tired (as was the entire ship) but workable. The ship was last refurbished in 2010 and is in dire need of dry dock time. The outside areas were rusted, torn and dirty and Carnival was putting no effort into the ships appearance. Maintenance was never evident during the entire 4 day sailing. The stateroom itself was very basic. Only one outlet was provided for A/C power. Chargers for phones, laptops, etc. were on a waitlist for that single shared outlet. The cabin came with a small-sized TV (maybe 13-15 inches ???). DirecTV was the service provider and TV channels came in clear and clean with about 7 available channels. There were no movies in a theater onboard but Carnival showed the movie GRAVITY over and over for 24 hours on the TV. This is a self-service cruise with few planned activities. Expect ports-of-call to be the focus of your sailing with a so-called Fun-Day-At-Sea. That Fun-Day-At-Sea means drinking and drinking, walking around and maybe some sun time in crowded (and close) deck chairs. I expect some harsh feedback or criticism (from this review) but the cuisine aboard the ship was very CHUCK E. CHEESE (in the dining rooms) and GOLDEN CORAL from the buffet areas. Food counters were dirty, abused and poorly stocked. Staffing was minimal everywhere and never would you see the ships actual officers walking or inspecting the food areas or open deck areas. It was more like going to CAMP. Food quality was beyond sub-par. No effort at presentation, quality or taste. One exception to that rule was a venue called MONGOLIAN WOK where for a few hours a day (usually Noon to 4PM), Asian stir fry dishes were created poolside. They were fresh, cooked well and very good! Dining room menus offered a chicken breast entree each night and specialties included Carbonara Spaghetti (without Carbonara) and flatbreads. For $20.00 person, you could UPGRADE the menu each night to a steak or lobster tail. Our ship (Inspiration) had no other alternative pay-venue restaurants. Dining room tables (main dining room) were mostly large, seating 10 to 12 guests per table. Again, Carnival was poorly staffing the dining rooms with the waiters working incredibly hard to try their best to accommodate guests onboard. NEVER did we ever see a Maitre d’ make his/her rounds in the main dining room. There are NO RULES aboard a Carnival ship. We saw a 7-9 year old playing the slot machines in the casino with her dad. Jacuzzi tubs marked ADULTS ONLY were filled with kids. Glassware (instead of plastic wear) were in the pools and Jacuzzi’s while deck staffed looked on with no authority to enforce or they simply didn’t care. Smoking of cigars and cigarettes occurred in all areas. No enforcement. Older teens bragged that they got adults to buy them drinks or that they held out large cash tips for the bar staff who would then serve them. Carnival does have a very strict rule of bringing alcohol aboard its ships and beyond all other efforts or concerns, they placed extreme interest and time/staffing to make sure you were only buying their drinks while onboard. Liquor, wines and beer were caught always from both checked luggage and carry-ons. You also cannot carry on bottled water and must purchase their water as of July 2015. In fairness, Carnival promotes its cruises as ‘FUN’. These are boat rides and not cruises. Filled with 24/7 partying (especially in the 3-4 day segments/market). The type of Carnival passenger is varied by many 20-30 aged young adults; sometimes very rowdy. Yet many families were aboard as well. There were few senior people aboard. It’s like a Greyhound Bus at-sea or a Motel 6 at poolside. Sometimes self-centered, loud and obnoxious. Many are first-time cruisers and many are simply just good-old-boys that can down two 6-packs a day with ease. The profile of so many Carnival passengers probably can be best described as AL & PEG BUNDY along with ZZ Top at your dining room table... It’s just a boat ride for many. They have no idea of what a real cruise is really like. It really can be a classless experience if you don’t have an open mind and are not tolerant of 3-7 days of pure crazy. Vegas with Randy Quaid and Chevy Chase? Randy Quaid’s (Vegas Vacation movie) classic scene in the buffet line (with Clark Griswold) hoarding the buffet line with food piled mile-high on his plate is another profile of a Carnival passenger. This is the type of individual that Carnival sells to! It’s not wrong and it’s not bad! It’s simply Carnival and so many of the passengers onboard really enjoyed their first-time experience and liked Carnival! Some argued, some wore baseball caps to the dining room and some wore very little period! Again, a unique passenger base of varied and laughable characters. Disembarkation consists of three groups. You can pay $50 extra to Carnival to both board early and disembark early. Then there is the self-assist group for *walk-offs/carry your luggage off* and finally the cruise tradition of placing your bags outside your stateroom (night before) and waiting for your group to be called. Clear US customs, clear the parking lot (parking is $19 a day at Long Beach, CA as of this writing) and finally either board a bus for the airport or jump into your car and drive away as fast as you can! I’m personally very glad that there is a Carnival Cruise Lines! It keeps Carnival passengers off of the quality cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Disney Cruise Lines. Many passengers loved it! Many said they had sailed Carnival 8-12 times. For myself, I’ll pass on a future Carnival Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Jr Suite V1 After a hectic first quarter and busy second quarter my friend and I wanted a quick break before Summer rates start going sky high and our workload increases. About three weeks out as luck or good yield management would ... Read More
Jr Suite V1 After a hectic first quarter and busy second quarter my friend and I wanted a quick break before Summer rates start going sky high and our workload increases. About three weeks out as luck or good yield management would have it we got a special inside Casino rate for the May 31st to June 4th sailing out of Long Beach, California. So we booked it under an inside guarantee and got assigned a nice inside mid ship cabin on Main (Deck 5) Midship next to the elevators which is find for a budget summer cruise. We were assigned a 2:30 Pm to 4:00 Pm boarding time and the ship was pretty full except for the Grand Suites and Jr Suites so we decided to purchase Faster to the Fun which meets at 11:00 am and boards as soon as the ship is cleared for boarding. Two days before sailing we got the Upsell call to move from Inside Main M145 to Veranda Jr. Suite V1 for a low $200 flat fee. Since I was at work I asked about the features of the suite while I got on my tablet and looked over the deck plans I downloaded for my October 2014 sailing. I asked a few more question while I looked up the reviews for the statement room and saw that most people hate V1, V3 Starboard and V2, V4 Portside since people on the bridge observation deck can see in to the rooms and the balconies are small. I said we'll gladly take the upgrade and did my happy dance at the cube farm. After carefully reviewing Carnival's policies we cancelled Faster to the Fun since the benefits for Suite class passengers is early embarkation and debarkation which we want and don't really need early tender tickets since our on Catalina Island we would sleep in and use a third party vendor to save a few bucks. Carnival Imagination is an older Fantasy Class vessel built around 1995 and is a stretched version of the Tropicale; which in the 1980's was based on classic Transatlantic Ocean Liners. Veranda Deck is home to the lifeboats/tenders and reminds me of classic boat decks except the deck doesn't completely wrap around the whole ship but is nice for pre dinner strolls or late night walks. The lack of balcony staterooms and Single Deck Dining Rooms with a galley in the middle date this design and causing some confusion among first time cruisers. However, Carnival Imagination is a well maintained ship and has some of the Fun Ship 2.0 features like the Water Park, and Ship Wide WiFi for only $5.00 per day which is similar to land based budget hotels. The public spaces are well maintained and sort of Retro Cool now that the 1980's are cool again. Food and beverages onboard are standard for the industry and on par with what you would find in Business Class or at a Downtown Hotel catering to Business travellers. Formal night featured Prime Rib and North Atlantic Lobster Tails, while Fillet Mignon appears at the SeaDay Brunch and at one of the nightly MDR meals as beef tenderloin roast. We enjoyed a Canape tray pre ordered from the Bon Voyage shop and room service delivered with it. Both times we did room service our orders were correct and service was quick and friendly (Tipped each time same server). The Lido deck buffet was decent to good and offered several different items each day for lunch and dinner. The Mid-Night Mexican Buffet was small compared to the extravagance of the past, but since we chose late seating it would have been a waste of food for us. Still it was nice to see sugar sculptures, fruit craving, one ice craving, and flower arrangements made up of food. The hot food looked ok but the desserts stole the show so I tried a little of the flan which was light airy and delicious. Tea Time on the Sea Day was a causal American style service. With lots of dessert options and only two types of finger sandwiches, still it is nice. The Chef's Table was a culinary adventure and well worth the cover charge plus gratitude, so to me it's like doing and excursion and includes a group photo. We still talk about that magical evening and our favorite courses. Entertainment onboard was geared to a younger crowd the new cast was good but still need to fine tune some of the dances during Epic Rock and Divas. The comedies were fun and tended to engage the crowd, so they both did a little insult comedy which can either be funny or a turn off. I found them both good but not for kids due to contend. The nightclub was packed at night, as was Karaoke. The hairy chest contest was funny to watch but it depends on the personality of the contestants. The Casino was busy at night and the tables were crowded most of the time. Not much enrichment on board but that's not why we go on Carnival. The passengers on board this start of summer cruise consisted of mostly of passengers between 18 - 50 about 55%, with children 17 and under the second largest group around 30%, and 50 and over around 15%. This cruise is close to the high season and one of the officers mentioned there were 2018 passengers onboard this sailing. Most of the passengers were from the western states however several hundred were form aboard including a large group from China, and a tour group from New Zealand. Due to the young average age the decks were still busy after midnight and things didn't really die down until after two in the morning. Stateroom V1 is Junior Suite starboard side and is spacious and contemporary. The leatherette sofa is comfortable as are the beds. The bathroom is a little bigger than the standard rooms so there's room to shave but it still has a clingy shower curtain. There is plenty of closet space and a small fridge and bar. The nightstand/vanity is big and has two US outlets and one EU outlet still needed a power strip for all our electronic devises that we didn't really use. There are stairs from the Lido deck to the Bridge Observation deck right outside the room, also people and the Upper Bridge wings can look into the cabin. For security we kept the door locked when we weren't in the suite. Most of the time when we were in the room we kept the shades open the air valve closed and the balcony door open to enjoy the fresh Pacific air. Two things different about RCL is that the AC can be shut off and most RCL balcony cabins have sliding doors that can be locked in the open position. My friend and I liked V1 the people watching from our cabin was cool but we really loved V1, especially on speedo day and borat day. The balcony on V1 is tiny compared to newer builds but is still a nice place to have coffee and juice in the mornings with an old fashioned newspaper while just wearing the soft comfortable bathrobe and watching the sea. Overall this spring/summer cruise was amazing the crew was friendly and professional. Our tablemates were well matched. The Excursions were fun and geared toward my market segment. I was greeted by name by most crew members who I interacted with (Bar staff, Serenity Deck, MDR, Cabin Attendant, Entertainment Staff, Gym/Spa, Chef's Table) I felt like I was on Celebrity Cruise instead of Carnival (and at 1/4 the price). I'm wondering if they track me as good as the airlines and Las Vegas Casino do? Well the service is much better on Cruise Ship than on land at least for me. Wine Country ATV Adventure First business; it's a Carnival backed tour so if something goes wrong the company will know right away especially in a foreign country the adult side of me likes that piece of mind and assurance. The operation is new and the ride is around and in El Cielo (Ranch) in Valle De Guadalupe a 30 to 45 minute ride North of the port. Once there Miguel 1 and Miguel 2 (two guys named Miguel) spent 20 minutes showing us the new semi automatic Honda ATVs. After that we went on an hour long ride around the Ranch and along the countryside on dirt roads and easy trails. Half of the people in our group were new to ATVs and everyone was under 50 which is cool so those of us with Miguel 1 could hit full throttle and power up and down the hills. My homeboy was with Miguel 2 since he hadn't ridden one in ten years. He had a good time if a little slower. It's the dry season when we went I only wished it had rained the day before or during so we could get muddy. The wine tasting was cool in the cellar of El Cielo, which looks likes a modern Napa Valley winery but an excellent value. They matched the wines with local cheeses and fresh baked breads. I a pick up a couple of good bottles of Merlot for $20.00 US. This was almost a perfect excursion for me, to be perfect throw in some cigars, skeet shooting and/or target practise than it would really be Awesome. After all Beavis and Butthead said, "ATF Rules, Alcohol, Tobacco and FIRE-Arms!" (plus ATVS) Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We had excellent weather, all of the embarkation and disembarkation procedures went very well. Everyone was polite and courteous. Sometimes there were soo many things going on, we found ourselves almost without time to eat, but we ... Read More
We had excellent weather, all of the embarkation and disembarkation procedures went very well. Everyone was polite and courteous. Sometimes there were soo many things going on, we found ourselves almost without time to eat, but we managed. Entertainment was very good. There were enough beach chairs to go around, which was nice and we enjoyed the view from the pool area. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Terrible odor permeated my cabin. It was the filthy shower curtain that had pink mold and smelled of urine. Balcony not finished with slip proof flooring as others are. Very small and tight. Food was simply terrible. It was always cold ... Read More
Terrible odor permeated my cabin. It was the filthy shower curtain that had pink mold and smelled of urine. Balcony not finished with slip proof flooring as others are. Very small and tight. Food was simply terrible. It was always cold which is scary because that is how one gets ill. Limited food options. Over salted. Disgusting. Omelet were premade egg patties they simply threw fillings into. Kind of Subway breakfast sandwich. Who decided it would be a good idea to give folks who paid $150 for ultimate ship behind the scenes tour a heavy bathrobe. What about the weight when flying? Dumb. Very little to do. No fun activities. Casino is so tight, only house wins. Never again. Will stay with Carnival! Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
My wife and I went on a ten day Princes Cruise on the Crown Princess to the Mexican Rivera. We departed from Los Angeles. Our first stop was San Diego where we walked the old town area. It was a nice quiet easy day. Cabo we took a ... Read More
My wife and I went on a ten day Princes Cruise on the Crown Princess to the Mexican Rivera. We departed from Los Angeles. Our first stop was San Diego where we walked the old town area. It was a nice quiet easy day. Cabo we took a snorkeling excursion which was uneventful but the boat ride and scenery to and from the area was worth the excursion. La Paz we docked about two miles away, we boarded busses that took us to the small town. It was fun walking around this town, fun shops and the people were very friendly. Loreto was a beautiful small town like you would see off the beaten path, loved it. It was an easy walk from the ship exploring the quaint town. The high school children preformed at the town square in their traditional garb, what a delight. Puerto Vallarta is a large town but each to walk in. We did the zip line which was quite a site. When we returned to LA we decided that this was such a great cruise we will defiantly take it again. The Crown Princess is a great ship with very friendly staff, good food and the night entertainment can't be beat. We would highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We recently returned from a 3 night cruise with a large group. We had lots of fun but definitely some things have gone downhill. We were in U87,a full suite, the most expensive category on the ship.The suite has adequate square footage ... Read More
We recently returned from a 3 night cruise with a large group. We had lots of fun but definitely some things have gone downhill. We were in U87,a full suite, the most expensive category on the ship.The suite has adequate square footage and a wonderful large balcony. Unfortunately there is a large floor to ceiling pole so close to one side of the king size bed that you can't avoid it, hazardous if you get up during the night. We have had much better amenities in other cruise lines in standard cabins. If you're in a suite wouldn't you at least expect a small complimentary bottle of shampoo and a complimentary bottle of conditioner, a shower cap, body cream/lotion, q-tips or cotton balls? The only thing provided was a bar of soap and a complimentary tube of toothpaste. There was a soap and shampoo dispenser in the tub/shower combination but attached so high it was only helpful if you were showering and not soaking in a tub. This suite was a joke with a worthless wimpy wall attached hair dryer in the bathroom that barely blew warm air. How expensive could it be to have a hand help dryer in a drawer for the guest's use? We had the thinnest, cheapest towels, something you might expect in a Motel 6, substandard to any towels we've ever had on any of our many cruises on numerous cruise lines. There were 2 attached metal glass holders in the bathroom but again...worthless since the glasses are much smaller and would fall through the holder. There was a magnifying mirror attached to the bathroom wall which would have been wonderful but it just hangs down. I tried to find a way to tightened it to make it usable but to no avail. On a good note....we had a wonderful cabin steward, Alexi, who went above and beyond. He was very attentive and personable. We were pleased with the food in the Mardi Gras dining room and no complaints in the dining room service though you could tell they were overloaded and often stressed. The public areas in the ship were in much better condition than our shabby suite. We did like the Priority boarding Suite guests have, but not worth the $ we paid. All and all we had a nice time since we were with friends in our group. Unless this group cruise is offered on a different cruise line or a newer ship, I'm doubtful we would cruise on the Inspiration again. Word of advice...bring anything you may need during your stay since the basics are not provided, even in their suites. Carnival is CHEAP, you get what you pay for. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
This was our second cruise on the Carnival Miracle. We had previously sailed on the Miracle in 2010, going out of Florida. This was my first cruise sailing out of California. I was sailing with my parents. We spent a couple of days in ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the Carnival Miracle. We had previously sailed on the Miracle in 2010, going out of Florida. This was my first cruise sailing out of California. I was sailing with my parents. We spent a couple of days in Huntington Beach, visiting my brother and his wife, before the cruise. Sunday: We took a taxi from the Long Beach Airport. It was a flat rate of 45 dollars from the airport to the cruise ship terminal. The taxi dropped us off where the parking garage is, and that is where the porters take your luggage. We are VIP, so we got to wait in the Captain’s Lounge right outside the dome. Then we went through the dome, going through security and getting on the ship. We were on board at 12:45 PM. We ate lunch in Horatio's. It was Italian and they had strawberry cake pops. We were in cabin 8233, a balcony room. We had a view of the Queen Mary and the Dome. We got our luggage rather quickly and were able to unpack. We had the muster drill at 4 pm. I sat on our balcony and watched the sail away from Long Beach and Sunset over Catalina Island. We ate dinner in the Bacchus dining room at 6 pm at table 233, a table for 6. Service was really slow. Only us three showed up. I had fruit, sweet and sour shrimp, and Black Forest cake. We asked for table reassignment because the table was in the back of the dining room and not wheelchair accessible, like they say it is. We watched Up or Out game in the atrium, which involves trivia and the glass elevators, based on the show Cash Cab. We watched the ballroom dance class to a Michael Buble song and Game Show Mania in the Phantom Lounge. Monday: We ate breakfast in Horatio's. I love the Double Chocolate muffins. We were pretty close to the elevator and could go right up to the buffet from our room. We went and looked through the photo gallery and shops. We went to the Fun Ashore Talk and Shopping Talk in the Phantom Lounge. We ate lunch in Horatio's, which was serving American food. I had some cheesy potatoes with pot roast, with Key lime pie for dessert. It was our first Formal Night. My Mom and Dad got interviewed for the cruise weekly video, while we were waiting for the dining room to open. We got moved to table 209, a table for 3 in front of the dining room by the stairs. Our waiters were Zoran, Raymond, and Dudik. I had the strawberry bisque, prime rib, and diet banana gateau. The waiters performed "That's Amore." We had our photos taken against a red backdrop. We went to the Mad Hatter's ball to see the comedian, Stanley Ullman. He brought three kids on stage and asked them questions. The main show was Generations, a tribute to 1930's to 1980's. Tuesday: We ate breakfast at Horatio's, before getting on a tender. There are fifteen stairs to go down to the tender, so one of the workers had to carry Mom’s wheelchair while Dad and I held on to her. We tendered into Cabo San Lucas, Mexico around 10 am. This was my first visit to Cabo. We went shopping and Mom collected free charms from the jewelry stores. At the shopping talk, they gave us a treasure map to get stamped in various jewelry stories. The fourth and final one is clear downtown by the airport, so we were unable to get that one, due to our scheduled tour. We went on the Whale Watching and Coastal cruise for two hours, from noon till two. It was amazing! They took us past Land's End, Lover's beach, and the Arch. They gave us pineapple juice, potato chips, and Oreos. We saw humpback whales flap their fins and tails, and blow water out of their blowholes. After our tour, we got back on the tender to sail back to the ship. There was one really drunk lady in a bikini, crawling over people, licking the tender workers, and biting the finger of a guy who was trying to help her walk. She walked head first into the security poles. We were back on board the ship at 3 pm. We ate lunch at Horatio's and it was Caribbean food. I liked the beans with rice and the banana cream pie. We took a nap, while we were sailing away from Cabo. We ate dinner in the dining room. I had the fruit, the chicken breast, and warm fig and date cake. The waiters performed "Shake Shake Shake." We went and looked at our photos and the shops. We went and played, Guess that Song and Gender Showdown. I had a raspberry smoothie. We had to set our clocks an hour ahead. Wednesday: We docked in Puerto Vallarta at 8:30 am. This was my first visit to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I watched us sail in and dock next to the Crystal Serenity. The port is right across from a Sam’s Club and a Walmart. Dad and I saw two stingrays swim between the cruise ships. We took a cab for 4 dollars a person and went shopping downtown at the Malecon, which is a boardwalk. Dad was supposed to go on a snorkeling and kayak tour to Los Argos, but it was cancelled due to lack of participants. We took a cab back into port. We had pizza for lunch, as the French food didn't seem that great. The pizza is thin crust and delicious. Mom and I watched the Crystal Serenity sail away and the pirate ship come back. We ate dinner in the Bacchus. I had peach soup, farfalle with turkey and peas, and bitter and Blanc. The main show was a Mexican Folkloric Show, with dancers and a mariachi band from Puerto Vallarta. We set sail at 9 pm, so we sat on the lido deck and watched the sail away from our room. Thursday: This was our second day at sea. We ate breakfast at Horatio's. We went and look at our photos and the shops. Mom's wheelchair kept setting off the security alarm in the photo gallery, for some reason. We had to sail back up to the bay of Cabo San Lucas to evacuate one passenger for medical reasons, so a tender had to meet us with a gurney. They took the passenger off and took him or her to the nearest hospital. We got to sail past Lover's beach and Land's End again and see some more whales. While we ate lunch, we saw the people dance for the Groove for St. Jude. They danced to the "Cupid Shuffle," "The Wobble," and "Cha Cha Slide." Lunch was Italian. I had some chicken fingers and vegetable pasta, with some fruit for dessert. We went and saw the Newlywed Game. It was our second Formal Night. We ate dinner in the Bacchus. I had the cherry soup, chateaubriand, and baked Alaska. The waiters performed "Gangnam Style." The comedian was Seth Buchwald. He did improv comedy with one of the social hosts and people from the audience. The main show was Ticket to Ride, the tribute to the Beatles. Friday: This was our third day at sea. We ate breakfast in Horatio's. We went and looked at our formal night photos and the shops. We ate brunch in the dining room, because we had a free drink coupon. I had the Mac n cheese with chicken, a peach smoothie, and a Caramel salted brownie with raspberries. Dad went on the backstage tour and got to see all the costumes and makeup areas. For dinner, I had the mango soup, chicken fettuccini, and the warm chocolate melting cake. Our waiters sang, “Leavin’ on a Fun Ship.” We went and listened to a band and a singer/songwriter, Tommy Green Jr. Saturday: When we woke up, we were back in Long Beach. We were in Zone 1. We disembarked the ship in the morning right after breakfast. We had to go through customs before we got our luggage. Right as you get out of the dome, there is small desk that says Transportation, where you can ask for a cab. We got to the airport at 10 am, and were able to check in our luggage early for our flight at 3pm. We ate lunch at the food court. The George’s Greek place is really good.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
First a little about myself. This is my 21st cruise overall, my ninth cruise with Carnival and my first cruise on the Splendor. I've been to Cabo and Puerto Vallarta four prior times. I booked this cruise for the ship. After this ... Read More
First a little about myself. This is my 21st cruise overall, my ninth cruise with Carnival and my first cruise on the Splendor. I've been to Cabo and Puerto Vallarta four prior times. I booked this cruise for the ship. After this cruise it will do a two week cruise to Hawaii and then go around South America and end up in New York. I took a look at its New York itineraries and decided I would rather go to Cabo and Puerto Vallarta for a fifth time (besides, Long Beach is a drive to port for me). This cruise was original scheduled for six nights (more on that soon). I prefer one week or longer. I could have taken the prior cruise which was scheduled for a full week except that it spent two days in Cabo and I really didn't want to do that (though with the modified itinerary, that is exactly what I ended up doing anyway). So I am at work on Friday, January 11 and I get a message to call my travel agent -- now. There can be only one reason for a message like. I figure that she is not going to inform me of the delivery of three million dollars as my share of the twelve million dollars that I earned helping some prince that I have never met smuggle out of some African country that I have never heard of. It has to be bad news, and it is. The Splendor is spending time in Puerto Vallarta to repair seals damaged by an underwater fishing net. I am trying to figure out what other kind of fishing nets there are, perhaps above water fishing nets to catch flying fish? At any rate the repairs are taking longer than expected. The ship will arrive one day late. Okay, this is a drive to port for me, so I'll end up spending an extra day at home. I quickly realize things could be a lot worse. For example I could be on a ship that will arrive one day late, and have flight arrangements that are no longer good. Or, I could have driven to the port and be expecting a Sunday arrival, allowing me to be at work on Monday. Then I realize I could be flying to Los Angeles and suddenly need to make last minute changes to my flights or get a hotel for one extra night. So all in all, I'm in pretty good shape. It is also not lost on me that January 13 is the one year anniversary of the sinking of the Splendor's sister ship, owned by Costa. Then I realize the original itinerary cannot be completed in five nights. Carnival has changed the itinerary to one day at sea, two days in Cabo another day at sea and return on time (hopefully) on Saturday. My choices are to accept the new itinerary, plus a pro-rated refund, plus refund of taxes, plus a refund of Puerto Vallarta port fees, plus an on board credit of $50, or I can accept a full, penalty fee, refund. I have four credits on my Sail & Sign card ($75, $8.58, $50 & $9.98). The $75 is from a future cruise that I bought on a prior cruise. For those that are not driving, Carnival is offering up to $200 to change flights or the same amount for an extra night's hotel stay plus a food allowance. As I said, I booked this cruise for the ship, as there is no other ship of the same class in the Carnival fleet, so I'm on the cruise. Though I really am not looking forward to spending two days in Cabo, I had something more interesting planned for Cabo than Puerto Vallarta, so at least that worked out for me. It would be better if Cabo was not a tender port. Overnighting when docked gives the passengers a chance to experience the night life. Since Cabo is a tender port, we will not be able to do that. There is one more interesting aspect to this. The Carnival Inspiration is also scheduled to dock in Long Beach on Monday, and the dock in Long Beach can only handle one ship. Fortunately for Carnival, San Pedro is only a few miles away and one of the ships can dock in San Pedro and Carnival can easily run a few buses between the two ports. Which ship will end up where? I'll find out Monday morning. Monday, January 14 -- embarkation day I pack this morning and leave home just after 10am. Even though I catch a little of the morning rush hour (which in Los Angeles last from 4am to 11pm) I make it to the port in about one hour. The Splendor is in Long Beach (meaning the Inspiration is in San Pedro). Every time I have boarded a ship in Long Beach (this is my third cruise out of Long Beach) have had priority boarding, so I am unaware of the issues that most passenger face when embarking in Long Beach. There is some sort of zone boarding system. Your zone number is based on how early you arrive at pier. I am booked in a standard port side balcony cabin on deck nine (the Lido deck). So there are two obvious questions. One, why this cabin and two, how does someone who is not platinum (or above) and not in a suite get priority boarding? No, my uncle is not the CEO of Carnival. I am a member of the Carnival Vacation Club. Today things were even worse than normal for boarding in Long Beach. The hand full of priority passengers was no problem for Carnival. However, with two ships in two different ports, Carnival had to split its staff between the two ports. Apparently the embarkation process did not go well, and we left port about one hour late because it took so long to get everyone check in with only half the normal staff. I am in the first group to board (just before 12:30pm) and I immediately head to my cabin to drop off my carry-on. Then I find my room steward to make sure he knows it is my back pack in the closet. Then I am off to photograph the ship. I start at the pointy end upper deck and work my way aft and down. After photographing the rear Lido deck I notice the Deli station is open and nobody is in line, so I decide to have a couple of sandwiches. Since my cabin is on the Lido deck, and it is now after 1:30pm, I decide to go photograph my cabin. Rats, no luggage yet. I photograph my cabin and then decide to check out the observation deck, only I can't get out of my cabin. My luggage has arrived along with someone else's luggage that looks like mine, and is blocking the door way. However, I am in 9226 and the luggage is clearly marked for 9210 -- oops. I decide that the only good way to get it out of my way is to drag it down to the other cabin myself. I unpack and take some more pictures of the ship. Then I decide to rest up for the muster drill. However, the muster drill which should have taken place at 4:30pm does not take place until 5:30pm. Several announcements are made that the muster drill is being delayed because there are people still in the terminal. Why is anyone late when they should have been here yesterday? At dinner I got the answer. As I noted above, because the staff that would normally handle just one ship had to be split between two ships, there was only half a staff to handle a full ship. Things were not running very smoothly. Finally the muster drill takes place. As I noted earlier, this ship is a sister ship to the ship that sank one year ago. Part of the problem (in Italy) was that several hundred people had boarded but had not participated in the muster drill because it was scheduled for the following day (that unfortunately for some, never came). Now if I was asked which deck the muster station was on, I would have guessed deck 3, the Lobby deck. That is the deck you enter on and that the bottom deck of the atrium. However, the muster station is actually on deck four, the Atlantic deck. Most likely one would not know that unless they had been on the ship before. One nice thing is that we don't have to bring our lifejackets. The straps from the lifejackets end up dragging on the ground and people trip on those things all the time. As soon as the muster drill is over I head over to the aft Lido deck where I expected to find my roll call group, but I didn't find anyone. Perhaps it was because it was a little cooler than most people feel comfortable with, though I found it quite nice (I like cool). After we hit open water I expected the ship to accelerate, because to make it to Cabo in one day requires a high speed run. However, the ship did not accelerate. I went back to the cabin and found the map channel on the TV (channel three). There I noticed the speed slowly increase until we were going about 20.5 knots (which is about 23.5 MPH). Then I realized why. In order to reduce pollution around the port, ships are required to run at a reduced speed near the port. I believe it is ten knots within ten miles of the port. Once outside that range the ship picked up speed. We lost an hour getting started; however, we will gain an hour because we are not setting our clocks ahead one hour to match the local time in Cabo. We will stay on Pacific Standard Time (or I guess you could say that in reality we are not losing another hour by moving the clocks ahead). Between all the standing at the muster drill and all the walking around I did photographing the ship, I was not sure which was more sore, my back or my legs. So I decided to just relax until dinner time. I have the late seating in the Gold Pearl restaurant (the rear most restaurant). The Splendor is laid out a lot like the Conquest class ships. The Splendor is about two to three percent bigger than the Conquest class ships and has a little water park for the younger kids that the Conquests class ships do not have. It has the normal Carnival water slide, but does not have the extra big slides the Fantasy class ships are getting with the waterworks upgrade. This brings up one of the two reasons my favorite class of Carnival ships is the Spirit class, and that is the mid-ship restaurant, which on this ship is the Black Pearl restaurant. That restaurant is on decks three and four as is the Gold Pearl restaurant. However, it also blocks access to the Gold Pearl restaurant. You have to go up to deck five, go all the way to the rear, then down one or two decks to get to the Gold Pearl restaurant. But it is not just when going to the Gold Pearl restaurant that this comes into play. Once, when I was on the aft lido deck (deck nine) I wanted to search for photographs, which is on the Atlantic deck (deck four). I took the elevator down to deck four and found myself trapped. This does not happen on the Spirit class ships as there is no mid-ship restaurant. The other reason I like the Spirit class better is that it has the best space ratio of all the Carnival ships. I am seated at a large table with two couples and a gentleman from Ventura (which is not too far from where I live) who has 58 cruises with Carnival (and 45 with Royal Caribbean). One couple is from Canada and the other couple is from Montana (the state - not the former quarterback). Good group, as is our wait staff. It was from the two couples that I learned about the problems with embarkation. One couple spent four hours in line and they are not too happy about that. At any rate, I have sweet & sour shrimp which is very good. After dinner I go back to the cabin to rest and prepare for running around the ship late at night to get more photographs. However, I am too tired and sore and finally give up that idea of photographing the ship at night and just go to sleep. Tuesday, January 15 -- day at sea I am up in time for sunrise. Unfortunately there are not many clouds in the sky, so it is not a great sunrise, but at least it is a sunrise, so I take a few pictures from my balcony. Then I head to the observation deck above the bridge. The door is on the port side and there is a strong wind blowing across the ship, from port to starboard. Okay, it is a very strong wind. As soon as I push the door open the wind catches the door like a sail and instantly the door is fully open, and I still have a really good grip on the door handle. I weigh well over two hundred pounds and I have been dragged outside as easily as one would through a bucket of water in a water fight. One of the room stewards saw what had happened. Seeing that I am okay he decides to close the door -- except he can't. I have to help him close the door. After taking a few pictures I weigh my options for returning to the cabin. I finally decide to take the stairs to the tenth deck and where I can get inside via a wind protected door and take the stairs back down to deck nine. Then back in the cabin to upload the pictures, shave, shower and dress. Then out of the cabin for breakfast and to allow the cabin steward do his job. The two shortest lines in the buffet are at the Off the Grill which is a serving station next to the dome covered pool and the cook to order omelet station. The lines for the four inside serving stations are long. Why stand in line for precooked eggs when the line for cooked to order eggs is shorter. I went to the Off the Grill near the domed pool as there was no line at all there. The roll call group had planned to meet on the aft lido deck at 10am. Once again I don't find anyone. However, while taking pictures around the ship one person says I guess you are the one posting the corny jokes (on the roll call thread). Okay, so one person found me. I also wanted to check for any good photographs (of me taken the day before). However, even by mid-morning the pictures are not ready for viewing. So I grab my camera and run around the ship taking pictures. It is cool and windy and most people are not doing much. The dome over the pool is closed and the kids are taking advantage by swimming in the covered pool. I walked past the mini water park and it was closed. I never saw the water slide open either. In fact, by early afternoon the top decks are also closed off because of the strong wind. In the afternoon I checked out the store, but find nothing of real interest. I did find a couple of pictures to buy. The eight by ten pictures are $22! I was given an invitation to a ten dollar sale of watches and other accessories. I've been to those before, and I have purchased some items. After all, ten dollars is not much of a risk and I am still using one of those ten dollar watches. I like it because it is digital, which makes changing time easy. Also, it is plastic so I don't have to take it off if I pass through a metal detector. I only wear it on vacation. At home I wear a different watch. That said, the people who go to these sales can be pretty aggressive, and I am not in the mood to put up with that today, so I don't go. If you do go to one of these, make sure your arms are properly attached and that your medical insurance is paid up. I am also invited to an art auction. Incredibly Carnival is still using Park West. Concerns about Park West go way back. In fact, in August 2008, I attended a Park West auction on the Carnival Victory, purely out of curiosity. Nonetheless, recently Park West lost a lawsuit over its activities. I know at least one other cruise line no longer uses Park West. I don't go to the art auction either. In fact, by mid-afternoon, with nothing much happening, and my back acting up, I decide to retreat to the cabin. The Discovery Channel provides some entertainment while my back heals. Tonight is elegant night. I get dressed up, sort of. I've got enough pictures of me in a suit. I want something different with a little color. So instead of a white dress shirt I'm wearing a Hawaiian shirt. For dinner I have the prime rib which is very good. I also make sure everyone at the table, including the waiter, knows I will not I will not be at dinner tomorrow night, as I am going to be at the steakhouse. Tonight the entertainment is a production show, Fiesta Latina. It is high energy and very good. Since it now close to midnight, I decide to just hit the sack. See you in the morning.Wednesday, January 16 -- Cabo San Lucas I am up in time to see us proceeding within sight of land. The wind is blowing something fierce. As Cabo is a tender port I am concerned that we will not be allowed to go to shore. I decide to venture out onto the observation deck. I eye the door carefully, well aware of what happened to me yesterday. I am worried that if I am not careful, I'll be thrown out hard enough to go over the railing. Just below the observation deck is the bridge. I can imagine the surprised look on the captain's face as his view changes from ocean to some passenger falling from above, turned upside down (naturally I would go over the rail head first) with my body and face plastered to the window by the force of the wind. The only good thing that would come of this is the great picture I would get of the captain's surprised look, since I do have my camera with me. At least I'm sure of winning the next photo contest Carnival has if this does happen. So, I grab the door handle with both hands, brace myself and turn the handle. It worked, as this time I am only dragged half as far as yesterday. However, closing the door without the help of the room steward proves to be quite challenging (again, I weigh well over two hundred pounds). For the record, I leave the same way I did last time, up the stairs to deck ten and back in through the wind protected door leading out to the Panorama deck, soundly defeated by the force of something that I cannot even see (though I can feel it). As we get closer to land the wind subsides and once inside the bay it is quite calm, so it looks good for going ashore. The temperature is about 66 degrees which is fine for me, though most people will find it a little chilly. Nonetheless, since we are not moving, the weather is nice and the dome is open. I have only one goal for this port and that is to go to the glass factory and get something for my sister and brother-in-law. As such I have no intention of joining the morning rush to the tenders. I eat a late breakfast (brunch) and board the tender around noon. I actually make it out of the marina area without having to dodge any of the vendors. I find a taxi that is willing to take me to the glass factory. The only problem is he says that there are two glass factories -- which one do I want to go to? I didn't know there were two, but nonetheless I have the name of the factory and a map. $20 round trip and he will wait for me. We arrive at the same glass factory the tours go to, in fact one is there watching a glass blowing demonstration. Great, I have the entire showroom to myself. I quickly find the martini glasses I am interested in. The price marked is 77. I'm guessing that is Pesos, and the sales lady confirms that. At twelve Pesos to the dollar, that works out to about $6.50 each. During my search I noticed that there are several pitchers. I find one that matches the martini glasses and I get the three items for $38. Back to the marina and I pass by a shop with some shot glasses. One shot glass for my friend and my souvenir hunting is over. Now back to the ship with the goal of not breaking anything. This means I am holding my loot and not my camera, so I miss quite a good photo opportunity. The seals climb on to the back of the fishing vessels begging for a handout, just like a dog at the dinner table, except most dogs don't weigh four hundred plus pounds. Back on board I find a safe place for my loot. Round trip, departing ding to reentry ding (ding is the should the security machine makes when you insert your card to check in and out) is about two hours. I walk around the ship a bit and then head back to the cabin to rest up for dinner, which will be at the steakhouse tonight. My back is hurting me if I stand too long. I have the rib eye, Creaser salad and the chocolate sampler. The steak was great, the salad good and the chocolate sampler a little bigger than I expected. I was expecting some small, pillow mint sized, samples of different chocolates. Instead I ended up with four small cups of different chocolates, and I'm kind of full, so I only finish off two of the small cups and half of each of the other two. After dinner I head back to the cabin to work on this, upload the pictures and to get off my own back. Thursday, January 17 -- Cabo San Lucas When I wake up I check the TV. The ship left Cabo yesterday, headed east, then south, did a figure eight and we are now headed northwest toward Cabo. We were doing about ten knots which surprised me. I would have expected a speed of four to six knots; after all we are not going anywhere. I'm out on my balcony to see us arrive in Cabo again. I did everything I wanted in Cabo yesterday and have no interest in going through the tendering process, especially given that the last tender back to the ship was at 1:00pm. That would mean to spend any time in Cabo, I would have to catch an early tender to Cabo and I was not interested in doing that. If I had gone into Cabo it would have been my sixth visit in the last eight years. Ships love to visit this port, so I'm sure I'll be back, even if it is on another Panama Canal cruise (I do want to do that again). The weather is a little better with the temperature getting into the seventies. So I just walked around the ship and bit, worked on this, uploaded pictures and just relaxed. I did notice it was 2pm and the ship was turning. Yet we just sat there for a rather long time. I thought it was because the captain was waiting for the harbor patrol to clear a way for the ship to leave. The water taxis and jet skis seemed clueless that a very large ship was preparing to leave. These small boats are headed back to Cabo and are directly in front of the ship. However, at dinner I found out that the ship had waited for one family that apparently arrived at the tender dock after the last tender left, but before the ship left. Though I noticed a tender leave the ship very late, I just assumed that it was one of the Mexican officials leaving the ship. This afternoon was the repeat passenger party. I arrived on time for the party; however, the doors were not open yet. So I had a chocolate martini at the martini bar called El Mojito. Then I had two drinks at the party. After the party I went back to the cabin to sleep off the effects of the three drinks. At dinner I didn't like any of the starters, so asked for the tiger shrimp dinner to be served as a starter and had the gourmet burger for dinner. Both were good. One of my table mates seems to have the most cruises with Carnival on this cruise. At dinner he gets a glass of wine which he shares with me (the others at the table turned down his offer). Given all the drinks I have had, the condition of my back and something new, my allegories are acting up, I decide the best course of action is to head back to the cabin. One of the gifts I received as a returning passenger was a coupon for a free drink. However, the restrictions made it unusable for me. It is only good in the main dining room during breakfast, brunch or lunch. It is good for any drink up to nine dollars, however, I eat breakfast and lunch at the buffet and I am not going to start drinking at breakfast or lunch (mid afternoon is early enough for me). Friday, January 18 -- day at sea We seem to be making better time and a check of the ship information channel (channel three) confirms this. On the way to Cabo we were going about 20.5 knots. On the way back we are going about 21.5 knots. As we head north the weather is getting a little cooler, from the mid-sixties dropping to the lower sixties. Though I think it is nice, the dome is closed. I leave the room long enough to grab a little nutrition walk around the ship and peek into the stores to see if there are any specials. The main goal here is to give the room steward time to do his job. The ship is selling anything with Mexico on it at a big discount. Why, because the ship will not be returning to Mexico. The next cruise is to Hawaii, and then the ship heads around South American on its way to New York. So, I get a key ring for fifty cents and two t-shirts for ten dollars (yes, five dollars each). Back at the cabin I decided to upload my pictures work on this and give my back a rest. January is not the best time to be cruising the Mexican Riviera if it is sun and swimming that you are interested in. I knew that and would have booked an April or May cruise except the ship would no longer be here. So, I am relaxing which one of the things cruising is all about. So while it does not sound all that exciting, all my goals (given the modified itinerary) have been met. I was able to cruise on the ship and I obtained the glassware I wanted to get in Cabo. Speaking of the ship, people describe it as overdone in pink. So I was expecting a lot of bright pink when I boarded. Well, it is not covered in a bright pink color. It is half way between pink and light purple. Personally I don't get the comments about Pepto Bismol pink. I went looking for it and I couldn't find it. Unless the colors have faded since the ship was new, the color is closer to a dull lavender (in my opinion). Now I don't believe that I explained why I chose the cabin I did. I have been in a forward facing balcony cabin (through the Panama Canal - it was great), I have been in the forward most side facing cabin, I have been mid-ship several times and in rear facing balconies several times. On this ship I wanted to be on the port side for two reasons. First, that is the side El Arco is on as the ship approaches Cabo. Second, that is the side of the ship that the door to the outside observation deck is on. As I said before, the layout of this ship is just like the Conquest class of ships. I was on the Carnival Freedom in 2011 and had a similar cabin on the starboard side of the ship. The problem was the longer walk (in time - I didn't mind the longer distance) it took to get to the outside observation deck because the only door to the outside observation deck is on the port side. I had assumed that there would be two doors (one on each side). This time I checked the deck plans before I booked. Nonetheless, being on the side of El Arco would have been more important than which side the door was on, but it was a consideration. Also, on one cruise I had a cabin that was directly across from a crew access door. Hearing that door close all the time was a little annoying. As a result I prefer a cabin that is across from other cabins. So, I looked for a balcony cabin that was on the left side close to the front that only slept two (so that Carnival would have no reason to move me). If I was in a cabin that slept three or four and a family of three or four wanted to book, and no cabins that sleep three or four were available, Carnival would have moved me to a different cabin that only slept two to make room for this new family, and I didn't want that to happen (in fact, before the repair issue, the ship was sold out). The balcony cabins on either side of me both sleep three. So that just leaves the deck choice. First I wanted a deck with cabins above and below me. Second I wanted access to the forward observation decks. Deck seven would have also met this criteria (on this ship). However, one advantage of the lido deck (deck nine) is quick access to the action. Out the door and onto the pool deck and the buffet deck - no elevator and no stairs. Had it been warmer that would have been a nice added bonus. Well at any rate this is a day at sea, the weather is cool and it is our last day. I'll pack later, but I do want to get things organized. Otherwise, it is not very a very exciting day. Too cool to interest me in swimming and between my allergies and my back, I'm more interested in laying down then running around or even sitting at the computer. Prior to dinner I went down to guest services and picked up a few envelopes. The room steward, assistant room steward and waiter have been great. I'm paying the normal gratuities via my ship board account, but these three have done an excellent job and I'm going to give them a little extra just as a way of saying thank you. After dinner I pack, put my suit case out, leaving some clothes out for tomorrow (I don't want to be one of the cruise director jokes about having nothing to wear except the bathrobe because I pack everything in my suitcase) and go to sleep. Saturday, January 19 - debarkation day I wake up just before the ship enters the harbor. We are earlier than the posted arrival time. I'm in no rush. Not only do I have a very high number (29), but I'm not going straight home. A group of us on the Cruisers from California forum are getting together for lunch at a restaurant near the pier, so I've only got a five minute drive ahead of me and we are meeting at noon. The only incentive I have for getting off before 11:00 is to avoid having security chase me down. I did leave the cabin to get some breakfast, but returned to upload the last of my pictures (I took a few sunrise pictures this morning). Around 8:30 I leave the cabin so the cabin steward can get the cabin ready for the people going to Hawaii later today. I decide to just go to the pool under the dome and watch wind surfers on the big TV screen. The highlight of the morning, prior to my debarkation number being called, is the dome being opened. First time I had a chance to see that done live. Actually my number is never called. The last number called before mine was 27. The next number called was five hundred and something (I doubt that anyone had a number higher than thirty something). Even then I waited a while, and it worked, the custom lines were half the normal length when I got there. After customs, it was off to the luggage holding area which was now quite empty, then off to my car. I arrived at the restaurant at 11:30 and had a nice lunch with the group. Then it was about an uneventful hour drive home. So, did I enjoy the cruise - yes. Was it my favorite cruise - no. I had to live within certain realities. Those realities included my wanting to cruise on this ship, the fact that the ship was leaving for New York, that I didn't like the New York itineraries, that it was winter (not spring), that given the repair delays, this was now a five night cruise instead of a six night cruise and we were only going to visit one port that I have been to four times before. It also didn't help my mood any that two weeks earlier Carnival had charted the ship that I had booked a cruise on. Changing to a different date on the same ship didn't bother me. What did bother me was that I booked an early saver rate, I was booking the same cabin on the same ship during the same month. However, Carnival would not allow me to book at the same rate I originally booked at. So I had to pay about $100 more for the same cruise not because of anything I did, but because of a choice Carnival forced on me. So with all the changes and my back bothering me, I could have been in a better mood before this cruise started. Nonetheless, I did accomplish all my goals, given the modified itinerary. I cruised on the ship, took lots of photographs (over one thousand - good thing digital pictures are free), picked up a gift for my sister and brother-in-law and relaxed. All in all, not a bad way to spend a week. Hopefully (for those of you in New York) this review (and the pictures I am posting with it on the main boards - I cannot post pictures in the review section) will be of some help in planning your cruise. The ship is a good match for New York, as it has a sliding dome that can be closed when the weather is bad and opened when the weather is good. Many of the ships that cruise the Caribbean do not have a covered pool, when limits outdoor choices when the weather is bad. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013

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