Carnival Reviews - Cruise Ship reviews by Cruisemates Readers
Carnival Cruise Lines

by Bob C
June 2, 2002

This is a review of our cruise on the Carnival Holiday that we took the week of June 3, 2002. It was our first cruise so we have nothing to compare it with. My wife and I and our two teenage children had a great time. We had two nice outside cabins; U69 and U71. The ship was full to capacity and then some. There were many teenagers and children on board but all were well mannered. The ship never seemed that crowded even with a full load.

We arrived in New Orleans at about 12:30; along with everyone else. Had to wait in a line of cars for about 15 minutes to drop our luggage off with the porters. Was very impressed with these hard working men. Went on to the Fulton Street garage and parked our car in covered/secure parking for $7 a day. Took their free shuttle back to the dock. It took us about 30 minutes from the time we walked into the building until we walked onto the ship. We were delayed by several people who had not filled out their documents. There were many Carnival people around helping/directing traffic. All in all a very easy experience. If we had gotten there a little earlier the whole deal would have taken about 15 minutes.

We found the ship to be in good shape. Clean with no problems anywhere. To us the ship was huge, but small enough that you did not have to walk too far to get anywhere. It took me a couple of days to really figure out where everything was.

Our cabins were nice with good storage space. We way over packed to say the least but still had room to spare. There were some hangers but we used a few that we brought with us. The safe was very convenient. We also greatly appreciated the advice from these boards about bringing something to upgrade the one electrical outlet. There was no clock but they did offer a wake-up call. The bathroom was larger than expected. We are thin people and found the shower could handle 2 people without too much bumping into one another :) every morning. We had a very nice basket of toiletries. The shower had a dispenser of shampoo and soap. Our cabin steward; Alva did a very good job and was good at towel animals. Anything we asked for he immediately took care of.

Food was great. On the Lido deck the buffets were very good. Some new, good and interesting tastes were presented. At breakfast the omelets were great. We never had to wait in line for more than about 30 seconds for anything. Don't know if we just timed it right or what. The line for pizza looked long at times, with all the teenagers aboard. With all the other selections pizza never entered my mind , however.

Dinner in the Seven Seas dining room was an experience. Food was very good with good selection. I would give it a good 4 stars. Presentation was just outstanding, however. Everything was a work of art. I especially enjoyed the fresh herbs that were served on most plates. Our waiter, Sanjib, did a good job but seemed to rush things a bit. We had a table for 4 to ourselves. It always seemed we were the first to get our food but also the first to leave. Our assistant waiter, Padu, was one of the things that made this cruise fun for us. We looked forward to going to dinner just to see Padu and his antics as did all he served. He was great and greatly enjoyed.

We thought the portions were more than adequate. Have noticed that some people complained that they did not get enough but really do not see where they were coming from. For example I ordered the chicken dish one night and was given half a chicken plus the side dishes. I mean what more do you want. But like I said earlier, we are thin people and are not big eaters. Considering the number of people on board, the food and presentation was beyond belief. Somebody was working their tail off. They also had a very good wine selection. Better than most land restaurants. There was not a good selection of the high priced stuff ($30+ a bottle) but adequate. If you did not finish your bottle they would hold it for you until the next evening.

We enjoyed the shows we saw. Americana Lounge was always full but we always found a good seat. Sight lines were good for the most part. The best show by far was on the last night and was the amateur night. Standing room only plus crowd. There were some really good performers on board. Several of the girls got very well deserved standing ovations. One in particular was amazing. The casino was never crowded. The slot machines were as good or better than the ones I play here in Mississippi. Overall, I thought it was a good casino experience. You could always find a party. You could also always find a deserted deck with nobody around.

At Playa del Carmen we took a ship tour to Tulum, the Mayan ruins. If nothing else one of the most beautiful beaches to be found. A unique place to be sure.

In Cozumel we took a taxi on our own to Chakaanab Park. Fantastic place. We went snorkeling and saw lots of fish, coral etc,. When we first got there you you count the people in the water on one hand.

In both places we found great places to eat. In Playa, we ate at an open air restaurant overlooking the aqua waters of the Caribbean at our ship. I had some of the best shrimp that I have ever eaten. Cooked in the "mojo del ajo" style. Manners aside, I really wanted to lick the plate. To be honest, with the help of a couple of Corona's, I did.

We loved it. The two things that will really stand out are Padu, our assistant waiter. He was great. The deep blue color of the water of the open sea. It was special. Look forward to seeing it again.