by Ken Jones
April 23, 2006
Embarkation: We arrived at the port of Miami at about noon, and found the embarkation process to be rather painless. The only brief delay was at the top of the stairs when they hold the lines while they take photos of the passengers. (no, not the ones for your "sign & sail", the ones thay hope to sell you).
Cabin: We were assigned an inside cabin on deck 8, and had a great cabin stewardess. The cabin itself, was not quite as large as most other Carnival ships we've sailed, but was well layed out, with an oversized shower, and plenty of shelf space, both in the bath, and in the closets. The temperature was thermostatically controlled, but I found it to get a little warm in the middle of the night. Beds are great, but once again, not quite as good as those on HAL.
Food: Food was greatly improved over our last cruise with Carnival on the Pride, however nothing seemed to have a lot of flavor. (desserts were very good IMO) I would expect the kitchen to hold the spices on HAL, but certainly not on Carnival! We ate exclusivelly in the Lincoln dining room for dinner, so didn't experience the "Steak House". Our servers were excellent, and went out of their way to see that we were well taken care of.
Ports: Since we cruise a lot, we seldom leave the ship at any of the normal ports, so can't comment on the ports. From what we heard from fellow passengers however, they had a great time at each port except Nassau, which is a very short stop, and not worth the hassle of going ashore.
Entertainment: We had a "stand-in" cruise director named Jen Baxter, who was filling in while the normal CD was absent from the ship. She did a good job, but was very, very loud, and really needed to turn down the volumn when on the ships P.A. The singers and dancers did a great job, and we really, really enjoyed the big production shows, especially the "Far From Over" show. I had the privilege of performing as "Frank Sinatra" in the "Legends" show the last night of the cruise. It was great fun, and we even got a standing "O"!
Disembarkation: Once again, relatively painless. We were asked to vacate the cabins by 9 A.M., and unless you rush to the atrium to try to beat the masses, you'll find that everything works smoothly. We were off the ship, and on our way back to Lakeland by about 9:30.
Summation: A really nice cruise, aboard a beautiful ship. Truly a great value for the money, with few squawks. Will I sail her again? You bet!