My history: 5 cruises. 2 disney (small and large), 1 carnival (sensation, tugboat class), 1 norwegian (Epic, large class). Having cruised from ports of Canaveral and Miami, large and small ships, i feel like I have a good grasp of ... Read More
My history: 5 cruises. 2 disney (small and large), 1 carnival (sensation, tugboat class), 1 norwegian (Epic, large class). Having cruised from ports of Canaveral and Miami, large and small ships, i feel like I have a good grasp of Caribbean cruising including Cozumel.
When we booked this cruise, we knew what we booked, we booked an inexpensive small cruise ship (for today), with a single stop over 5 days travel. I think most would agree that the general rankings for carribean cruise lines are : Royal Caribbean, Disney, Norwegian, then Carnival. I was familiar with this class ship, cozumel, and carnival.
General summary : Cruises to me are defined in order of importance :
1)cruise ship amenities / attractions
2)Ports of calls
5)ship organization / leadership
Here's a brief explanation as to why that order. I cruise with a family and want to stay busy on these floating resort islands. The amount of stuff to do and the variety of it is more important than other matters because if a ship has enough stuff, then the ports don't matter as much. Nearly as important is the other passengers factor. If they are rude , drunk or plain annoying, you won't enjoy a cruise regardless of port of port or attraction. On a ship with multiple stops that stop in great locals, you may be ok with annoying passengers if you don't spend alot of time on the ship. Food is plentiful on any cruise. Some aren't great, but you can order any replacement meal and get one to your liking if you're a little patient. This part is very important to some, especially foodies that come for high quality meals. Lastly, the ship's organization, the way they dish out information, via television and pamphlet is my last critical importance. A poorly placed plan can ruin a novice cruisers experience quite quickly as they learn time after time they have missed shows and events due to poor communication. There is lots going on cruises, you need to stay on top without it feeling like a lot of work.
So with that, here is my summary of this ship. This ship has poor organization and communication, just one channel (13) and a lousy paper that isn't organized well compared to the organizations of Norwegian and Disney. The food is on the red lobster scale, that is casual dining experience. You won't find anything you'll be raving about and some of the food will be undercooked, cold and overcooked. I sat at a table with others who had this experience as well. On one night, i asked for a medium steak and got it well done and cold. But I knew i could just ask for another, in fact i asked for 2 just in case. I asked for another medium and a medium well. both came out great in 2 mins. Just expect this as par for the course. Passengers, a mix of people. A few drunks, grumpy elderly frequent cruisers that are annoying because they are annoyed at your mere presence on their beloved ships. Port of call. This is a mexico bound ship. Just one stop. Having been to Cozumel before, i had rented a Thrifty car rental car for $34 at the port and grabbed it, and drove around. We did snorkeling (on the cheap), tequilla taste tests, authentic food and beer (total was $4 usd) while others who stayed visited resorts were paying $15 for a burger. Again, if you know what you're doing.... Lastly, the amenities were not plentiful. A large casino, a seldomly used theater, boring shows, and a painfully weird nightclub. The george lopez comedians were great, Mark Macy and the carrotop of carnival were great. Carnival has the best comedians.
So as a wrap, we knew the people were going to be a mixed bag, so no problem, we knew the amenities would be some of the worst, so no problem, we knew the food would be 2 star quality, so no problem their either. In the end, this cruise is all about the port. 3 days cruising and a day in cozumel. Overall it went better than expected. The port day was easy to get on and off of, we controlled our port fun and didn't rely on carnival. In my experience, if you go the route of cruise control of ports, disney was better followed by Norwegian. Carnival has a fake mayan town in cozumel where the prices are all jacked up, stay the hell away from it. The ship has a 70's/80's theme to it that just feels cool today. Will likely miss this when it gets refreshed. Read Less