Cruise to Nowhere
June 12, 2004
2-NIGHTS TO NOWHERE
This was our first "nowhere" cruise and we really enjoyed it. We sailed from Norfolk which was great. I wish Carnival had a ship here year round instead of NY.
We headed over to the pier about 11:00 and were quickly checked in and found our fellow CCers. Chatted for awhile and they handed us our sail and sign cards. We started moving towards the ship soon after this. Keep in mind that nowhere cruises are all "self-assist" luggage so they have to screen all your luggage with you at boarding. This takes a lot longer. Also, the ship was cleared late as a teenager on the previous cruise got drunk and did not make it back to her cabin. They found her passed out about 10 a.m. and sent her on her way. We got this information from our favorite bartender, Sandor, in the sports bar (Trident Bar). All this resulted in the ship leaving 45 minutes late and shops and casino opening late.
We were on board, dropped luggage in our cabin, had lunch and in a hot tub by 1:30. Nice, very nice. We got the upgrade we expected (from info we read here to check cabin number). I really would have liked to give at least part of this upgrade back. We were in cabin 8321 right under the lido deck and it was very noisy. We had a great cabin steward and he was rewarded with the alcohol of his choice from the ship's store at the end. Cabin was in good condition and very clean. Our gifts we ordered with our Capital One points were waiting for us.
I had ordered drink coupons and figured I could use the leftovers on our upcoming Holiday cruise in Sept. Well Sandor makes the best blue margaritas and I only have two left. We slipped him a five each day but he gave us great service even before we offered the additional tips.
Food on the buffet was average with the desserts there being above what I expected. We did not do breakfast either morning so we can not comment on it. I think Carnival failed a little on anticipating where people would eat. One trip past the buffet they had only one side open and lines miles long. I believe this was the first night for dinner. The buffet was very crowded and seemed ill prepared to accommodate the amount of people who were eating there.
We were given late (8:00) seating for dinner even though we requested early. This was okay since our daughter wasn't with us and we had nice dinner companions the first night. We were seated at a great rear table for 10 with only one other couple. They did not attend the second night's dinner as it was formal and they did not bring formal clothes. Here is where I will complain a little. I booked directly with Carnival and was told no formal night. I found out by way of Cruise Critic that yes indeed there was a formal night. I was then prepared but many were not and they had been told by TAs and Carnival that there was no formal. For two nights I would have preferred to leave the formal at home and went with a cocktail dress.
All dining room food was exceptional, both lunch and dinner. It is the first time in a long time that the lobster was not overcooked and rubbery. I usually don't even order it because of the way they overcook it but I wanted something lighter than beef that night. Our waiter was ok, nothing more, nothing less. The asst. waiter was not doing much and the dining room was not busy. We had to ask for more water and tea and also rolls.
We skipped both shows as we have seen them before. We did make it to all three comedy and they were great. My favorite was Phat Kat but Pete Michael was also good. No comedy show was crowded and we had great seats for both. The only bingo we did was the 10 games for $10 and it was fun.
We donated in the casino and got to meet and experience the casino host, John Rush. The name really fits. Unlike other casino hosts who seem cool and together while overseeing the casino, John always seemed rushed and a little overwhelmed but still managed to do a terrific job. He remembered names, was always in the mix and just generally did a great job. We both did the slots and blackjack tournaments. Very fun and cheap entertainment.
Now another complaint, we needed to make use of formalities to replace a broken champagne glass. The Capers gave incorrect times about when it was open; a Carnival employee got snotty with me and said that the Capers plainly said it didn't open till 7. I didn't get my Capers out in time to show her that it also said it was open 2 to 6. Finally got there for the champagne glasses and after being told that they did not sell ones with "Romance" on them, I showed the woman the window display with them and she sold me the window display. Box was beat up but I really wanted these. Also saw an overpriced gift that I wanted for the DD we left home. Guess what, they don't have it. Okay they will have it the next day out of the stock room because they do sale these. Four tries the next day and we gave up. Nicolete was working there and she was so clueless. If Carnival sold anything from this shop during this cruise, they were lucky. We were in the shop at the same time as some other unhappy cruisers (had to happen since we were there 5 times in two days just to be disappointed).
Shopping in the gift shops was just the opposite; fast, friendly and well-stocked. Only gripe is kids' items are too expensive or junky. We were unaware that on nowhere cruise you do not do customs and are allowed unlimited alcohol and cigarettes. Had we known we would have taken extra luggage. As it is we did some heavy duty shopping. They do charge a 3% tax since there is no duty or limits. I was ready to offer a 5% tax (just joking). They seemed sorry to have to charge it but here in PA we pay 6%, cigarettes are $42 a carton and I paid $16.50 on the ship. My freezer is well stocked with cigarettes and our rum and Kaluha is stocked.
I did not indulge in the spa but they were offering some really good deals. They now offer a gym package at an extra charge. Here is the nickel and dime-ing.
My least favorite part was the captain piped into the cabin at 7:00 on Monday to tell us he would like the ship empty by 9:30. Everything stayed open late the night before and we partook till 2 a.m.
This was a different kind of cruise for us and we really enjoyed it. I hope Carnival does afternoon comedy on sea days on other ships. I always feel there sea days are lacking but this time it was fun. I don't know if they built in extra because of no ports but it was fun.