Carnival Cruise Lines
by Bob Bush "The Wack"
November 25, 2006
I have just completed my 14th cruise, and the 4th on a Carnival ship, and my second 8 dayer. My group comprised 11 adults: 3 married couples (30-50yrs) a 35yr old couple, and three single adults 28, 26 and 21yrs. I selected this ship because it was new and I loved the itinerary. I had read so much about the Noro virus that was prevalent on this ship on its trans-Atlantic crossing, but I was not concerned in the least as I figured Carnival DOES not want folks to get sick, a little common sense will go a long way. If some folks cancel, it will result in more fun and more room for me to enjoy.
The normal mass confusion, but I was standing in the shade, and once inside the main building processing moved quickly, Carnival needs to invest in a microphone system for a few supervisors so they could make announcements instead of shouting at the crowd. We got to the port about 11:30 AM and were on board by about 1:00 PM. Expect to wait and be a little hot, but I have yet to go through a painless embarkation, just go with the flow.
I always book the cheapest inside; but got a great price on an outside cabin and booked it. The rest of my group except for one other couple had inside cabins and everyone was happy. I had read stories about the small size of the bathrooms, I am average size person and so is my wife, but it was never a problem. Do not expect a large bathroom; the ones provided are ample in size. The rooms are nicely decorated and there are a few new features within the room, like ordering pay per view TV movies. Also, you can check your ship charges and the different dining menus, plus you get a sports channel. The room is well laid out with lots of storage space, a small couch, dresser. The bathroom had a nice soap and shampoo stocked dispenser as well as some nice complimentary toiletries. Note: the seas where a little rough with high winds, so if you have a balcony -- Good luck! I.d rather save the money to spend on something else.
Overall, dinner food in the main dining room was my biggest disappointment. I ate breakfast at the Lido buffet and got so fed up with standing in line that I switched to the dining room and I am glad I did. Service was commendable and you do get a few items not served in the buffet (for example, salmon locks, eggs benedict). Lunch included a variety of buffet stations on the Lido deck, but once again I recommend you check out the lunch at the dinning room before deciding, some items are different. Be warned that some lines at the LIDO buffet are excessively long and move slowly (this is hard to describe, but this process seems flawed). The dinner menu presented the biggest disappointment: meat dishes were very tough and overcooked. Even lobster was tough! The majority of the other dishes were fair to middling and nothing to brag about. Appetizers were average, mind you some of the fish dishes were excellent, but after experiencing so many fine meals on my other cruises (including my Carnival cruises) I was highly disappointed. I did not eat at Supper Club as I thought the $30 price was steep.
Simply beautiful! The ship was decorated in a garden-like atmosphere and the atrium is fabulous. The ship is designed with its 4th and 5th decks serving as the main hub of activity, i.e. with shops, a casino, lounges, photo, library main traffic area. One of the newest onboard attractions is a HUGE TV screen on deck #10 overlooking the pool. This screen displayed various scenes of aquatic life during the day, but evening showings included movies and some important football games. This TV caught a lot of attention -- a novel idea.
In the evening, you will find music playing at several locations throughout the ship. There is a piano bar, also variety music in the Victoria Lounge, and Karaoke at the stage lounge was jam packed each night I went. In addition, the Atrium features a band that plays into the wee small hours of the morning. During the afternoon at the Atrium there is classical violin music and it is a great place to have a drink while people watching. The disco was disappointing and the casino is the casino they even have a 7 card Texas hold em table (expect a wait). I was disappointed in the shows offered at the Venetian place (the main stage) which consisted mainly of dancing. There was one comedian, but the rest was singing and dancing. I am not a fan of nightly singing and dancing. I would like more variety, oh well!. A fun night was the final Legends Night where some wannabe Karaoke passengers performed and had a ball. There was a midnight adult comedy, but overall the shows were lacking.
We embarked at three terrific ports. I never take the ship excursions because I think they are too expensive. I usually go on my own excursions which tend to be on the adventurous side and not for everyone. On this cruise, however, I experienced three wonderful and unique excursions that I recommend to anyone who has a sense of adventure. Drop me a thread and I will elaborate.
The variety of usual ship activities (trivia, bean bag toss, newly not so newly wed games, etc.) are offered, but not much in terms of athletic or survivor type games. Bingo (I always play bingo) is offered at a reasonable price which include decent money pots for the winners. There is more than enough to occupy you, and you can always attend the art auction and drink free champagne. You can also window shop in the Mall area.
Much improved. You can take your own bags off during the first hour, otherwise it goes by deck and numbers, no real issue, just hated to get off. Expect the normal hassle getting a cab.
Very nice ship with a terrific itinerary. Carnival seems to be working hard trying to come up with new and innovative ideas, but seems to miss on the small items that make a huge difference during a cruise. Example, there were far too many onboard announcements promoting, hawking Carnival products. Tipping at the end of the cruise is minimized as each passenger is assessed a charge to their rooms bills. I found this to be a major improvement and a change for the better. I think everybody needs to consider this ship; it was one of my best cruise experiences, and I would not hesitate to recommend this ship to anybody. The Wack