January 11, 2009
What a great time my family had!. We arrived earlier that the 12:30 check in time. Not a problem as they let us board anyway around 11:30am. We had the buffet lunch and only had to wait until 1:30 to get to our rooms. Most of our luggage was in our rooms when we arrived and the rest was delivered within the hour. We spent the remainder of the afternoon getting accustomed to the layout of the ship (which can take a couple of days to get used to).
This was our first cruise so we didn't quite know what to expect. I have to say that the entire experience far exceeded our expectations. I really can't think of taking another vacation which wouldn't involve a cruise and I would definitely sail on a Carnival Cruise again. When they call it a Fun Ship, they really mean it. If you like to have a good time then this is the cruise line for you.
The food was really good. Breakfast and lunches were good (not amazing, but good). The real treat came later in the day in the dining room. The food and wait staff were amazing. I would equate each dinner with an $80 meal in a fancy restaurant. You'll get to tast some amazing foods with exquisite presentation that you normally wouldn't get to.
The ship's entertainment was far better than expected. They had a comedian one of the nights who was amazingly funny and played to a packed house in the Cole Porter Lounge. He was billed a appearing on Comedy Central and he lived up to the expectations. The other nights in the Cole Porter Lounge was Kareoke. Fun, but WAY too many old people who think that people still enjoy songs (and sung badly) from the 50's and 60's. Really? Something from this century please!
We did take in one of the "song and dance shows" one of the evenings. It was pretty good but again, you had to be like 70 or 80 to really have an appreciation for it. "Yankee Doodle Dandy" kind of crap. LOL. Those kids work really hard though so I shouldn't bang on them and they are all very talented. But seriously, a more up to date show with a bit more edge would be welcomed. The final evening featured a hypnotist who was pretty good and was entertaining. The real treat was the Newlywed Game. Probably some of the funniest stuff I've seen in a long time! Steve the Cruise Director has to be one of the funiiest and most talented people in the industry. His entourage of Norja, Irish Bob, Nick and Cory all do an amazing job keeping everyone entertained throughout the cruise. Hats off to all of them!
The ship was very clean and well cared for. Everywhere you look someone was cleaning something. We had an Ocenview Room which was small but that was to be expected, you won't spend much time in there anyway. What impressed me the most was the size of the bathroom. I just envisioned something like that of an RV but I was wrong. The room was large enough for two people to fit into comfortably as well as the shower (for 2) and the water pressure was amazing! No shortage of hot water either! All of the trimmings and fixtures have a European feel which was a plus because the Europeans sure know how to make quality fixtures. The only drawback would be using the toilet if you weighed like 300 lbs. or something. It's very small and the confines are rather tight.
Our room was right behind guest services which was a blessing because we were only one or two floors away from all of the fun. You'll spend most of your time on Decks 8, 9, 10 & 11. We were on 7 so that worked out well. I felt sorry for the people way down on Deck 4. Also the Veranda Deck seemed like it would be really hard to get to. Our kids were in an inside room which was one floor down and about about ten doors away (took like 20 seconds to walk to thier room).
All in all, either this ship had a major renovation recently or it has just been that well cared for over the years. I'm not sure which one.
We visited Catalina which was fun. Rented a golf cart to tour the Island. Don't rent the $60/hr. carts. When you get of the boat, go to the left and go to the last place that has golf carts. $40/hr. Nice people and the best deal. They give you a map telling you where to go, very scenic route!
Just stay on the ship when you arrive in Ensenada. Nothing special in Mexico to see or do unless you like to watch water come out of a hole, No Thanks! Been there, done that and I especially don't like the feeling of having ALL rights stripped away from me just by going through a turnstile. Too many horror stories from down there. Keep you and your family safe, It's simply NOT WORTH IT. We stayed on the ship and had almost the whole thing to ourselves with everyone being gone. It was nice not having to get around all of the old people. Seriously, they actually get on an elevator to go down one floor instead of using the stairs which are right there. Or they will be walking down a hallway and simply stop in front of you and just stand there. It's all very funny.
Our kids had a blast! They're boys of 12, 15 & 17. They didn't really use the kid clubs because there just weren't that many kids on the cruise probably because of the time of year as most kids were just getting back to school after the Christmas Break. They had plenty of fun just doing their own thing and the scheduled activities. Bring two-way radios. I had read blogs where people said they didn't work but ours worked awesome. Several floors away and from the front to the back of the ship.
Debarkation was a breeze (very depressing though as we didn't want to leave). Carry your own luggage off. Otherwise you need to turn your bags over to the porters by 11pm the evening before.
I would definitely sail with Carnival again!!
I read alot of reviews before this cruise so we would be prepared. I'm not sure why people would write a bad review of this cruise. Then it dawned on me....Some people just aren't happy and no matter how great the situation they just can't be pleased. I feel sorry for them. Seems like most of the people who had issues with their cruise were because of something stupid that they did on their own accord and for whatever reason expected Carnival to make it all better.
Embrace your time on this cruise and do as many activities as you can, trust me, you'll have a great time!
Great job Carnival!