by Tim Butler
December 1, 2008
We originally planned this cruise as a birthday present for my DW. It escalated and ended up becoming a family reunion of sorts, the funny thing being it was my family that was coming. There was 10 Butler's on this cruise and I am in wonder that the ship didn't sink! lol.
We arrived at the terminal about 11am and went through processing then waited until 11:45am to get on the ship. We were one of the first 50 passengers on the ship and let me tell you that the terminal there in Mobile, AL is the best I have seen yet. We boarded the ship and began to explore. We couldn't get into our cabins till 2pm so we grabbed lunch at the buffet and then took in all the sites.
The Holiday was the smallest ship we had been on, the previous being the Carribean Princess and the Carnival Valor, so it didn't take to long to figure out where everything was located. We went to our floor which was the "upper" deck at 1:55pm so we could go to our cabin and deposit the things we carried on and freshen up a bit. We were guaranteed by the processing people at the desk when we checked in that the rooms would be ready by 2pm. At 2:45pm they opened the door to our floor so we could go to our rooms. There were a lot of people who were not happy that this promise made to us wasn't followed through with, including me!
Sail away was a rather cool thing. It was around 45 degrees and everyone had their coats on, no one was in the pool or the hot tubs, nor could they have been because they had not even been opened up for the day, or filled for that matter, by the crew. Every other cruise we have been on had the pools and hot tubs ready before we boarded the ship. To say the least we were having doubts about the quality of service already.
The first day at sea was spent primarily below deck because it was so cold out. All the family was sitting together and we enjoyed each other's company. Our head waiter's name was Santiago, and he and his assistant Puto were the worst waiters I have yet to encounter. The first evening meal we were offered nothing to drink but water. I kept waiting for them to ask and then the food came. Carnival has excellent food, the best I've experienced. After the meal I asked about some coffee which he reluctantly brought to me and the others who wanted it. Let me shorten this by saying that I had to ask for coffee everyday except the last two. I also had to make a comment to the Matre'd that I had also asked the waiters for a coke for my wife and it had not been brought to us. Like I said, it was the worst service I have had on a ship.
The first night in our room was the worst we have had because the seas were rough and there was a lot of motion. The next morning we had our room steward Floyd turn our bed so that if we had another bad night like that we would rock head to toe and not side to side. Other then that our room was kept impeccable by our room steward.
The first full day at sea we enjoyed a little time in the Hot tub but it was still a little cool to do much else so we spent most of our time below deck again. We did go and I participated in the Hairy Chest contest, I was beat out by another competitor. We went to the Country Music show that evening in the Americana lounge, it was very good. We also played a little black jack in the casino. It was also formal night and we got some really nice pictures done and enjoyed the Captain's party.
Wednesday we were in Cozumel and it was beautiful. We went on the mini 4x4 excursion and enjoyed it immensely. After the excursion we found a vendor that paints pictures using spray paint. They had a beautiful one of a RCI cruise ship sailing at night with the moon behind it and a light house to the left side. I told them it was nice but I wanted a Carnival ship on it so they made me one right then and there. Same picture but it had a Carnival ship. We then went to Senior Frog's and had a blast, it is a very fun place to have a few cold ones and relax or join in the fun.
We were tired so we went to the room around 10pm and I got to looking at the Carnival Capers for the next day. Inside it was a letter informing us our planned excursion for Calica, our second port of call, was canceled. I was not happy at all because the excursion desk was already closed for the night and there was no way of planning something else. Personally I thought they should of announced the cancellation over the loud speakers when they found out so we could of booked something else.
Thursday we decided to spend it on ship. We were disappointed to find that the main pool was closed and the crew was doing life boat training there. Many passengers stayed on the ship and I thought that this was a slap in the face to those of us who stayed onboard.
That evening was real low key. We played some cards and had a few drinks and called it an evening.
Friday, the final day at sea was a little chilly, as we were getting closer to the States. We went to the "Newly Wed Game" that afternoon and then took a tour of the Galley, and later on that evening went to the musical show "Shout" which was excellent.
Disembarkation was fast and easy on Saturday morning. The cruise overall was very disappointing and we have vowed never to sail on a smaller vessel like this again. If I was to rate this experience I would give it a 4.