November 6, 2005
- The Good: Generally speaking the ship's crew is friendly, courteous, professional and prompt. The ship is clean and well-kept. The stateroom beds are comfortable and have good linens. The room size is good compared to other ships and the balcony size is decent. The Long Beach terminal is efficient and not as crowded as San Pedro/Port of LA. (Although the redneck heathens from the Inland Empire in front of me in the check-in line give new meaning to the term "ugly Americans".)
- The Bad: Quality of Food. I didn't have to worry about over-eating because there wasn't anything I wanted to indulge in. Breakfast buffet was Denny's quality, lunch was about the same as your typical company cafeteria, and sit-down dinner at the Normandie was just acceptable. Make no mistake about it folks, the food included with your cruise is not of the "fine dining" category. Perhaps David's Supper Club ($30 extra/pp) raises the bar but we didn't check it out so I can't comment on that. These comments only reflect the quality of the food, and not the service, which I thought was good (with the exception of the Pizza makers who delighted in playing "hide and seek" all the time. Whenever you wanted a slice of their soggy, oily pizza, you had to wait over 5 minutes for someone to appear from behind their door to take your order.)
- The Ugly: Camp Carnival. As nice as these daycare ladies from Canada, England, South Africa, and Trinidad/Tobago appear to be, they should know better than to have one group consisting of 2 through 5 year olds. Two year olds don't behave the same as 5 year olds. Two year olds don't always understand the concept of sharing toys, which are in limited supply on this ship. Furthermore, you can't reason with a 2 year old as you can with a 5 year old, thus 2 year olds are more problematic for their daycare staff, a consequence which they don't know or want to deal with. The result is that unless your 2 year old is semi-comatose, you'll get paged every day with a request to pick up your kid early due to their "bad behaviour". As I was picking up my kid, two other moms told me "don't take it personal sir, they told me the same thing".
The daycare facility for 2-5 year olds is rather small and dark and I personally expected better amenities from a line that proclaims its superiority in this area. By contrast, Dawn Princess has MUCH nicer and larger kids facilities.
In summary, you get what you pay for...