January 31, 2009
I took my brother on this cruise. We had room 8152 on the Panorama deck with an extended balcony. We enjoyed the extra space. We had cruised on this ship a few years earlier to Alaska. The ship is well worn but served its purpose.
I am hoping someday someone will be daring and decorate a ship tastefully in soothing colors and fabrics instead of making it look like a Las Vegas casino.
This route took us to Acapulco, Ixtapa and Manzanillo. We had been to Acapulco when it was "the place to go" and now it looks tired and worn out.
We hired a cab for $45 for two hours to see Ixtapa and Zihuatenejo. The views are beautiful from the winding roads on the hills. Ixtapa was the best area -- new, cleaner than Zihuatenejo and not many vendors on the beach to bother us. We stopped at a local restaurant right off the ship in the row of shops and had some fish tacos and quesadillas with a few drinks. It was wonderful! Next door was a store with gorgeous weavings from the Zapotec Indians from Oaxaca. The owners spoke English and they had a weaver there working on a rug.
Manzanillo has nothing to offer unless you go on an excursion. We took a cab to Las Brisas. Ugly and dirty looking ocean because it is too close to the port. We took a cab to Miramar and looked through the junk shops, and then had a few beers at a beach table. Cab from Miramar to the ship was $12.
The food on the ship was average. They have changed the buffet style to 6 stations that you must go to for different types of food. This means walking around and around searching for fruit, salad or breads. They also serve the desserts and certain foods so you don't take too many and end up wasting food. We got tired of walking all over to get things. Also not a great idea for the seniors who had walkers or wheelchairs, or just were a little unsteady on their feet.
We went to the dining room 4 nights. Our table companions and my brother and I all quit ordering beef after two nights of tough leather. Other dishes were okay. The Chocolate Melting Cake was the best dessert.
The service was slow and impersonal. Our waiter never introduced himself and the assistant was slow to fill water or even bring coffee. Two nights we never got it even though we asked for it.
You are given only one small piece of bread at the beginning of the meal. They no longer leave the bread basket on the table.
We ate at La Playa Grille a few nights just so we could get a big salad and avoid making small talk with strangers.
Our room stewardess was wonderful. She was friendly and helpful, but not intrusive.
The entertainment/shows was disappointing. We do not expect much on a cruise ship, but this was just boring compared to other Carnival cruises we have been on. We enjoyed all of the trivia and games there were to do during the sea days. There are plenty of activities if you want to stay busy.
We did not drink on the ship because the drinks were $7.50 each plus the 15% tip. Beer onshore was $1-$2 and Margaritas were all under $4.00. Plus we love to sit at a local restaurant and watch the world go by.
We had fun and enjoyed the cruise. We would go with Carnival again.