This ship shows a lot of wear. The claim that it was
put into service in 1998 may or may not be true, but for just
six years of service the ship needs attention. The carpets
and all the surfaces show a lot of wear. The bright work in
the elevators, theaters, rest rooms and lounges show salt
tarnish from finger prints and general use. Some marble
and glass floors are scarred, cracked and damaged from
use and abuse. This ship is tremendously large and for the
first few days you stay continuously lost and turned around.
The main areas are on decks 5,6 and 7 amidships fully
enclosed with no atrium, just a staircase. The elevators
are slow and sluggish although there are lots of them.
In every elevator lobby you are constantly confused as
to where you are because the lobbies are not well marked.
They all look the same whether you are in the "Forward",
"Midships" or "Aft, Stern" lobby with one small sign on the
wall telling you which floor you are on but not where you
are located and all the print is small and hard to read. The
paint on the exterior is beginning to peel and flake off at
many locations. You can tell the management is not putting
very much into maintenance. The "Cruise Director" was a
big mouth blow hard with a strong British accent by the
name of "Tim Donovan". This guy yells and hollers over
all the load speakers like a raging bore daily telling passengers
where to spend their money. The Bingo games are the
biggest rip off game you've ever seen. 200 people in a theater
paying 20 to 25 dollars a piece for bingo cards to have fun.
They take in 4 to 5 thousand a session and give away $500
This ship is as long as 3 football fields and holds
3000 passengers.(950 feet) The terminal was a madhouse
with snaking lines of people for over an hour to get aboard.
What an experience! If you don't like crowds your not going
to like this. It is the Carnival Cruise Lines policy to add $10
per day per person to your room bill as a gratuity rip off as
if you didn't have enough sense to do your own tipping.
Therefore before you board they want you to give them a
credit card number to bill your account so you can't refuse
to pay this form of extortion. I chose the "Cash" option
and refused to give them my credit card number.
Generally, rooms on a large ship are spacious and
accommodating. Our room was an inside cabin and was
large enough to be fairly comfortable. The mattresses for
the queen size bed (two singles put together with a crack
in the middle) were worn and marginal. Some large heavy
person must have had mine because there was a large
indentation in the middle of mine. The other mattress was
normal. There were only two movie channels on the TV.
The ships movie channel and the satellite channel "TNT".
The satellite tracking system was sluggish and about every
two seconds the screen would trash out and come back in
two seconds later. This was continuous throughout the
voyage. The ships movie channel was clear at all times
but there was only one clear movie channel. All other
channels were shopping or informational. They had
CNN international news but it also had the same sat
After you arrive at your room a fire drill is immediately
scheduled and it is mandatory for you to attend. This is for
your personal knowledge and safety but the bad part is you
have to stand in place and listen for a half hour to a pre-recorded
"Captain's Message" in his broken English of redundant
information and boring pointless sentences of things that
you really don't need to know. There is only three things
a person needs to know. #1. The whistle signal for life boat
muster. #2. How to put on your life jacket. #3. Where your
muster station is located. All other activities are supervised
by the crew and officers.
There are 3 main dining rooms (all Italian menus)
The "Boticelli" on deck 6 aft. The "DaVinci" on deck 6
midship. And the "Michelangelo" on deck 5 midship.
Also, two other (in house) restaurants, the "Painted Desert
Steakhouse" and "Sabatini's" (Italian) where you pay $15
per plate plus a 15% gratuity ($2.25) in order to eat at
their tables. The "Boticelli" is a stuff shirt totally enclosed
Italian. Most of the time you can't understand anything
the hired help says to you so you can only guess.
The "Davinci" had a few windows mostly all covered and
had the atmosphere of a New York restaurant with over
crowding and waiters moving all around you with dishes
banging and silverware rattling, it is far from a relaxing
experience. I know a lot of restaurants where you can
have a nice meal for $17.25 a plate and be treated as
if they appreciate your business. There is no dinner
entertainment or music in the dining rooms. Just noise.
Carnival has cheap company policies that
you will experience on all Carnival owned ships. Only
water is served on dining tables and all the water smells
like bleach. When I complained that my water smelled
like bleach the waiter said, "We have to sanitize the
water. All the water smells like that." Iced Tea is never
put on the table, you have to ask for it after all the table
hawks come around to prod you into ordering wine or
something from the bar. If you ask for Iced Tea they
bring it to you in a small little 6oz glass full of ice with
lemon. Lime is not available. Carnival Corporation
orders things in bulk because they are cheap. There
is no individually wrapped butter. All butter is served
in small pats in a small silver bowl coved with crushed
ice along with all the cold stale hard bread they serve
at all meals except breakfast. All the kitchen staff has
been handling your butter before you get it including
what they have taken off other tables. There is never
any warm fresh bread served. The same goes for the
jellies and jams at breakfast. These are bought in bulk,
dispensed in small demitasse ceramic cups. A waiter
will come around with different flavors on a tray and
ask who wants jams or jellies. They are never put on
the tables and never served as individual sealed portions.
Syrup is only portioned out as one small serving pitcher
per table of eight. This is disgustingly cheap service.
It doesn't surprise me why they have outbreaks of onboard
viruses spreading from crew member to passengers and
vise-a-versa. In all the time I was aboard, I was not served
one outstanding or remarkable meal. All the menus are
cock full of cheap pasta and cheap meals. The food is
bland and under cooked. All vegetables are served in small
portions (six strips of carrot, 3 brussel sprouts, ect.) and
always blanched and half cooked with no spices. I ate
things such as "Green Pea Soup", "Red Bean Soup",
"Cream of Chicken Soup". There was not one decent
seafood entrée served during the entire trip. On the
second day lunch I ate "Red Snapper". The fish was
dark and oily on the inside and brown on the underside.
That afternoon I came down with food poisoning, stomach
cramps until I was hollering with diarrhea in my stateroom.
I called the pursers desk and told them what happen and
asked if they could send some coke-a-cola to my room.
They acted unconcerned and removed from the situation
and I was told "I can connect you with room service!". So
I soon learned that to Carnival Corporation you're not a
person, you're just another buck.
There are an abundance of bars onboard. If you ask
for a mixed drink such as a "Rum and Coke" it is served to
you in a small 6oz glass full of ice with about 1/2oz of rum
and fountain coke. After about two or three sips it's done.
For this privilege you pay them $3.90 plus $.59
(15% gratuity fee) for a grand total of $4.49 for a super
small Rum and Coke. Do you know any local bars that
treat you like this?
On the second day in the afternoon when we
arrived at Belize we found two letters on our stateroom door.
(one to my wife and one to me) telling us that since I did not
register a credit card with the pursers office, they wanted me
and my wife to deposit with them "a minimum cash deposit
of $300.00 per person by the end of the day today!" in order
to settle our bill at departure. Why didn't they just come
to the room, put a gun to our head and say "give us $600 or
we'll throw you off the ship!" They just wanted to insure that
all their gratuity rip offs were paid at the end of the voyage.
Carnival Company policy of course. I ignored all their threats
and when I arrived back at Galveston I had a total of $25 in
onboard charges. I called the pursers office and asked them
to send a final bill to my room. They refused, they said they
don't have personnel to deliver bills. They said I would have
to come to the pursers desk. I went to the pursers desk. My
bill was $240.00. The travel agent had paid a $100 ship
board credit to my account in appreciation of my business,
so the balance was $140.00. $25 worth of on board charges
and $215.00 worth of tacked on gratuities thanks to Carnival
Corporation. I paid the $140.00 in cash but I will never be high
jacked on the high seas by Carnival Corporation again, period.
The night before the ship sent printed material to our rooms
stating that we need to be ready to disembark from the "Explorers
Lounge" and out of our rooms by 7:30 a.m. Do you know any
hotels that tell you to be out of your room by 7:30 a.m.?
We complied. We sat around the ship for 3 hours waiting to
be called to exit the gangway. All 3000 people had to be cleared
by customs before they would let anybody off. So at 10:30 that
morning we were finally invited to exit the gangway. What an
ordeal for everyone on board.
If you choose to sail on any Carnival Ship, Beware!
Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruise Lines, Holland America,
Seabourn Cruise Line, Windstar Cruises, Costa Cruises, or
the Cunard Line will all treat you in this manner. Go sail
with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. You'll like it a whole
lot better. Bring bottled water aboard with you. Buy bottled
water at every port as needed. Buy cokes and soft drinks
ashore. If you go to the theater take a coke with you.