Year Started: 1972
Ships in Fleet: 24
Summary: The most successful cruise line in history. Don't be misled, a high-quality cruise experience perfect for families and young couples, Fantastic value. the FUN ships, but not "party boats."
Regions:Caribbean Eastern, Caribbean Western, Caribbean
Good for: First-time Cruisers. Families. Singles.
Good for: Value for Money. Overall Service. Children`s Programs.
Good for: Families. Singles. Seniors.
Good for: Families. Singles. Overall Service.
Regions: Bahamas, Caribbean, Canada/New England, Cruise To Nowhere
Good for: Families. Teens. Children`s Programs.
Good for: Teens. First-time Cruisers. Families.
Regions:Caribbean Eastern, Caribbean Western
Good for: Teens. Singles. Families.
Regions:Caribbean Eastern, Caribbean Western
Good for: Singles. Group. Families.
Regions:Mexico, Caribbean Eastern, Hawaii
Good for: Families. Overall Service. Value for Money.
Regions:Bahamas, Caribbean Eastern
Good for: Singles. Group. First-time Cruisers.
Regions:Bahamas, Caribbean Eastern
Good for: Overall Service. Seniors. Families.
Regions:Bahamas, Bermuda, South America
Good for: Group. Families. Foodies.
Regions:Europe, TransAtlantic, Caribbean
Good for: Families. Value for Money. Seniors.
Good for: Families. Children`s Programs. Singles.
Regions:Caribbean Eastern, Caribbean Western
Good for: Group. Families. Luxury Travelers.
Good for: Group. Singles. First-time Cruisers.
Good for: Singles. First-time Cruisers. Overall Service.
Good for: Families. Singles. Teens.
Good for: Families. Value for Money. First-time Cruisers.
Regions:Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico, Panama Canal
Good for: Families. Singles. Children`s Programs.
Good for: Families. Seniors. Children`s Programs.
Good for: First-time Cruisers. Families. Group.
Good for: Families. Group. Singles.
We just completed our cruise on the Carnival Paradise. This is our eighth cruise on Carnival. Six on Inspiration, one on Spirit, one just completed on Paradise and one scheduled on Legend. Obviously we think favorably of Carnival in general. These comments are for the Paradise sailing on December 12, 2011. The Paradise is the sister ship to the Inspiration. It has just been repositioned to Tampa. My comments are comparing the reburbished Paradise to the Inspiration and the Paradise as stand-alone comments. Some are very favorable and some are very seriously negative. Let me get the negative out of the way first. The Carnival has some of the largest cabins of any fleet. The Paradise has got to be the most stupid layout that could have been thought of. First, the height of the beds. I've always been able to store my luggage under the beds, out of the way. These beds were too low to fit my luggage. The same luggage I've use on all of my cruises. I had to stow them in a closet, thus losing closet space. Second, the life preservers use to be stowed ina top shelf on a closet. Readily accessible yet out of the way. Now they've added a big square box on the floor roughly two feet by two feet. This only holds the life preservers (which used to be out of the way). This box is in the corner, under the TV, by the outer wall. The only way to get to the space between the bed and window is to crawl over the bed. You cannot get by the box by walking on the floor; only crawling over the bed!. When I wanted to get out of bed at night (I was closest to the window for the benefit of my wife) I had to slide/crawl down the bed over the footboard and avoid the box to get to the bathroom. I asked the steward if the beds could be turned. He pointed out the reading lights would not be properly placed then. Also, I measured that one bed would interfere with the desk so couldn't be turned. Plus, the televisions are not flat screened but very large bulky old sets with big boxes built around them. This layout is so anti-comfort and irritating it may discourage me from future sailings on a ship which we obviously enjoy. Third, the bathroom now has a fluorescent light which is very low illumination. OK for guys but gals strongly prefer more light in the bathroom. Let me get to more pleasurable comments. The bathroom was remodeled and shelves above the sink were replaced with a medicine cabinet with doors and shelves within. The sink surface was increased for added convenience. Service is always exemplary. Our room steward, Michael, was always present and pleasant. Ice was always replaced twice a day. Michael made new towel animals and people I haven't seen before. Our waiter, Iputu, was pleasant, prompt, and got to know our preferences right away. He always had tea for my wife as soon as we sat down. Bussing is constant on the Lido buffet deck. We greatly appreciate that they accommodate late risers with breakfast until noon. Their sandwich bar makes sandwiches to order; the Reubens are the best I've had. Embarkation is smooth considering the many hundreds being processed. Debarkation is even better. You can wait in the breakfast buffet area until you are scheduled to leave. The valet parking now delivers the car directly to the terminal. We no longer need to walk a long block with luggage to the parking garage. Greatly appreciated by those with walking difficulties. Lido to car took 10-15 minutes. Truly a great way to end your cruise. Thank you Carnival.
Food in the main dining rooms range from good to excellent. Seconds and thirds are available without question. I noticed two changes to increase Carnival's profits that were irritating. First, shrimp cocktail used to be offered everyday; not anymore. The casino's minimum bet (for blackjack) increased from $5 to $6 (20% increase). Still, the value compared to other cruise lines is quite good. Overall, if Carnival would only raise the bed height and remove that stupid life saver box I would have no hesitation to recommend the Paradise.
The Carnival Sensation, Is without a doubt the worst cruise ship on the high seas. The food is like something you would throw away. The service does not have a ratting that can be given. The service would have to get better to be terrible. Please do not try to find a restroom, because you will be lost trying to find one,and if you do ,it wont work.The Casino plan ,Stinks and so does the ship of what I do not know. Stay away from this ship unless you like feeling worthless. Disney will make you feel like a King or Queen,try them you will not regret it.
This is more a "diary" I kept rather than a review. We all have our own opinions and I will let you make your own. I will say that despite the shortcomings, we had a great time. Like everyone else in this world, we adapt to our circumstances and do not let bad things get us down. That does not mean those things did not happen or that they should be excused though. This certainly isn't perfect and all inclusive, but was what I chose to write at the time.
Day 1: In the morning we had breakfast at the motel. We confirmed our arrangements to leave the car there and get Discount Cruise Parking to pick us up at the motel and take us to the terminal, along with a trip back upon our return. The cost for this was $20. They took us right to the front of the Carnival Magic, who arrived at the port early in the morning. We started toward the entry area and found where to drop off our main bags and left them. We continued walking and found a separate entry doorfor VIP's that prevented us from having to go all the way to the end. Inside this door was a trail with few people that led to the room where VIP cruises are checked in. After a very easy check in we were sent on our way, without having to wait in zones like everyone else to get our picture taken for the card and sent to board the ship. The whole process took about 30 minutes and we were on board at 11:30.
We relaxed for a while before heading to the Lido deck for lunch. There are several different varieties to choose from. The same obnoxious people who stand in the walkway, stop for no reason, cut in front of you, crowd you in line, take their sweet time, etc. that are on every cruise were on this one. With 3700 people on the ship, that can't be good. I eventually found somewhere to get a salad, coleslaw, and chicken marsala to call lunch.
Elevators are typical of a Carnival ship. There is no logic to where and when they stop. Everyone has caught on early to just get on one and ride it out whether it is going the direction you want to go or not. I've never seen a whole load of people who want to go up get on an elevator that goes down and back up above the original floor without anyone getting off until that point. This makes every time you need to use the elevator a chore. Not easy to use the stairs with everything so spaced out on the ship.
After lunch we were able to get into the room. There was a bottle of wine along with a notice we would be getting drink and photo coupons from Bon Voyage, courtesy of the casino. We also got a plate of 6 double dipped chocolate covered strawberries from them this afternoon. We spent the afternoon getting familiar with the ship, particularly the casino. Being a new ship, this casino has all newer slot machines, most of which require at least a quarter to play. That should be interesting.
The room was the typical small inside cabin. The television actually is more user friendly than beforeâ€¦it shows exactly what channel is showing, and it is easy to check menus, account charges and other information. The muster drill was held in inside areas around the ship. We were in the main theatreâ€¦they noted about 1,000 people were meeting in that location. It is about time Carnival stepped up from the lunacy of having it on the outside walking areas.
We went to dinner and after a short wait were led to our table. We were presented our drink tickets (8!) and two $15 off photo coupons at our table. I had a pasta dish for a starter and sweet and sour shrimp for the entre. Chocolate melting cake for dessert. We tried the "tofu steak" on the sideâ€¦pretty gross stuff. Spent the rest of the evening in the shops and casino. I went to a Superstar Live karaoke type show (good) and the welcome aboard show (bad) for about 10 minutes before calling it a night.
Day 2: Went to the Lido deck for a lackluster breakfast. My omelet was pretty good, but the powdered eggs and slimy bacon wasn't worth much. Used some of the eggs and ham to make a sandwich and went with that. Omelets take too long to makeâ€¦seems like the heating plates are not as hot as they should be. The cook even seemed impatient, using the time to do some other tasks behind the counter as they were cookingâ€¦this resulted in burning my wife's omelet. There were at least ten people waiting for an omeletâ€¦my first experience of the long lines to come. Relaxed a bit in the casino and went to work out in the gym before lunch. They no longer use lockers with keys, but instead have a bank of 16 lockers with cheap plastic knobs and light metal mechanisms. Many of the lockers do not work properly, from the plastic knobs being stripped to the metal catches being bent. One three foot bench sits in front of the lockers that apparently is supposed to serve 16 people. There are two nice large showers, but otherwise, the locker room is insufficient for its needs. Carnival has bigger locker rooms on smaller ships. Went to Cucina del Capitano for lunch. They offer a free pasta bar for lunch. Very good food, I had linguini with meat sauce, Italian sausage, and chicken, and some lasagna that had roast beef for the meat. Relaxed a while before going to the cabin crawl arranged by our Facebook group. When we returned to the room, a bottle of wine and a plate of double dipped chocolate covered strawberries were waiting for us. Someone special sent these to us. Yummy! Shortly before dinner, the gross "crepes" provided to Platinum guests were delivered. We ate one piece of shrimp and two small pieces of bread, and some unidentified fruit before throwing the rest away. What is it with the raw fish anywayâ€¦if Carnival thinks that is this popular a dish, they need to invest in a market study. Dinner was a pasta dish for a starter and pork ribs for the entrÃ©e. Went to the show of Marcus Monroe, a "comedy juggler". So so.
Day 3: Went to the Lido for breakfast to find the same long lines. Settled for another egg sandwich for breakfast. We spotted a "steak and egg" that looked pretty good, but the steak was rarer than rare. More good food in the trash if they can't cook it right. Had my morning workout at the gym. We had lunch at the Oceanside BBQ on the 5th deck. Another long line for an outdoor cookout that sent smoke to all the balconies above it. I had small thick burgers and soft chicken tacos. Many people tried to take up the small seating area near the grille, some placing their garbage on the table to "save" it. There are plenty of better places to eat inside and on the other side of the ship though. Only thing close to drink was soft and hard drinks for sale at the "temporary bar" they put out there. I went to the one inside and got water. Seems like a dumb place for a cookoutâ€¦common sense says put it on Lido. I went to the cruise group meet and mingle. This cruise group was the best planned one I have ever been a part of, having set up events on board and excursions on land. In mid afternoon, I noticed less than 10 people in the burrito bar for the first time and took advantage of that even if I wasn't hungry. Very nice selection of items to put in the burrito. One strange thing is you tell them of your choice of a wheat or jalapeno tortilla, and they walk to an area behind them, grab a tortilla and put it in a bin, apparently heating it up. This takes about a minute, so ten minutes of every line of ten people is spent on this task alone. They fill the tortilla with what you tell them, roll it up, and put it in a plastic basket with tortilla chips. Would be nice to have some queso there for themâ€¦oh well. Burrito was delicious. There was a pretty sorry menu at the restaurant tonight so we went to the Lido area for the first time for dinner. Surprisingly few people were there â€“ and they apparently expected it, using only one main food serving area, resulting in still another long, slow line. We went to the deli in back and found few people and quick service. My Turkey on a Country Roll sandwich was delicious as always. There is actually no show tonight. They are having what appears to be some dance class with the band and Carnival Magic Dancers, where "lucky contestants will be chosen to have one on one training with a Carnival Magic Dancer and to perform in our Carnival Legends Production". What a rip. There will be a beach party at 10 on Lido.
Day 4 – Jamaica – Docking was delayed 2 hours due to the wind. We shopped the pier shops including a few that were open in the shopping center next to the pier. This is the first time we have noticed anything open in this area. Only got a few drinks. We had breakfast in the restaurant and I got an omelet and eggs benedict without having to endure the lines. We went to the Burrito Bar for lunch, the line being much shorter with everyone off the ship. Couldn't find anything better than the gourmet burger in the restaurant for dinner. I don't believe it was 8 oz as advertised, and they forgot the guacamole. The show was a boring magician act, although some of the stuff he did was pretty good. Magicians nowadays put so much fluff, lights, and music in their shows very little of what they do is actually a magic performance.
Day 5 – Skipped Port – The winds in Grand Cayman did not allow safe operation of the tenders so the port authority closed the port. They supposedly considered another area of the island but decided not to do that either. They said that spending the day at sea would allow us to arrive at Cozumel an hour earlyâ€¦interesting math there. Oh well. Breakfast in the buffet, waiting in line for an omelet. The guy was fiddling with the plug and knobs on one burner, which apparently had quit operating altogether. Still pretty slow getting these out. I still think they are not heating properly. We had lunch in the Lido deck â€“ nothing special there. At dinner in the restaurant, they put us in about the worst table available, next to two food stands next to the side door in and out of the restaurant. Very entertaining as we watched them drop our starter lasagnas on the floor, requiring them to reorder. They also gave us two different dessert menus. We both had filet mignon with contort ribs, which was ok, though they indicated our order preference of "well done" actually meant we wanted them "burnt throughout". Great. The show was an initial performance of a bunch of 70's musicâ€¦a day early due to not stopping into the port where the Motown guy was flying into. They moved that show to tomorrow. The performance was pretty good and a lot went into the stage sets and costumes. They had in interesting event in the 3rd floor lobby. This is an atrium to the top where they put a snow machine at the top. Turning this on sprayed "snow" in the air to flow down to the bottom, creating a nice winter scene. This area is one of the music areas provided that allow one to just relax, read, or do nothing.
Day 6 – Cozumel – Ship arrived shortly after 9. We didn't even fool with a real breakfast today, just getting some French toast and waffles in the line by the pool. Got off the ship for a couple of hours. They actually had some lounge chairs on a sandy area where we could relax for a while on a make believe beach. An area was set up for massages as well. We didn't take advantage of them, but it was nice to see more than just the cruise sponsored shops on the pier. We got a salad for lunch on Lido and relaxed in the room for the afternoon. The restaurant has nothing special so we skipped dressing up for formal night. I had a salad and steak in Lido. The show for the night was the Motown one that was supposed to be the night before. He was ok, but put a lot of fluff in the show, wasting time bringing people on stage to "dance" to whatever it was he was singing. Among the "Motown Classics" he sang was Twisting the Night Away, Friends in Low Places, Sweet Home Alabama, and Rocky Mountain Highâ€¦what a joke. He didn't have 45 minutes of Motown material for both shows combined. The later one had a couple of different songs as promised, but the same old BS wasting time he should have been singing. Saw our first bit of seat saving stupidity when after we took the time to go downstairs to the third row on the side, some idiot laid down across the bench saying it was all saved. This kind of crap is what happens when rules are not enforced. Carnival might as well start including "seat saved" pages with the electronic documents that we can all print off and use to save seats. It would have saved us the effort going for them this time. In between the shows, I went to the comedy club for a little R-rated comedy â€“ the guy was a riot.
Day 7 – Sea Day – Breakfast in Lido with powdered eggs, bacon and sausage which I made a sandwich with. There was also a small dish labeled "Eggs, sausage, and fries" that was mostly made up of onions with some fries and barely any sausage and egg. They seem to be trying to invent different varieties of Eggs Benedict, using raw fish, rare steak, and now sausage, failing miserably. Room steward did not bother to clean our room this morning. We called about it and someone showed up about 3 pm claiming they would do it nowâ€¦unfortunately we had all our clothes out packing, and could not allow it at that time. They did do the evening cleaning, but skipping the morning one when they usually provide the customs forms and disembarkment information meant we did not have it and had to go searching on the third floor to get it. Wanting to try the Wok dishes at least once this week, I went about 2:10 to find about 10 people in line in front of me. It took almost an hour to serve them and me. Lines were so slow people were snacking on the vegetables directly from the dishes in the line. Some of us got enough for two people so our family members would not have to endure the line. (This does not take additional time to cook in the wok). They were trying to put the food in two small bowls from the pan. They had no large trays that would have been perfect for the task, and of course there were none at the beginning of the wok lines. Some people went clear to the back of the ship where some were located and brought them back for several of us to use. Lines at this station were long all week. We went to dinner in the restaurant where I had frog legs and the Bacon Mac & Cheeseâ€¦ho hum. We spent the rest of the time at the comedy club and the casino before calling it a night. Breakfast starts at 5am with Priority disembarkment scheduled for 7:45. They are kicking us off the ship earlier and earlier every time.
Day 8 – Kicked off the Ship – Shorter lines in Lido allowed me to get an omlet today. Add a little sausage and potatos and our final meal on the ship is done. Went back to the room and relaxed until 7:00 when we went to the restaurant to be escorted to the luggage area with other Platinum guests. As it was expected to happen at 7:45, I started to boot up my computer to kill some time. Soon everyone was getting up to leave. We heard no announcement about what was going on, so we followed the group assuming it was the Platinum cruisers that were leaving. Turned out this was the self assist group that was walking off. No luggage was yet placed in their areas, and we would have to wait off to the side before it is available. This occurred at around 8:00 am. So now we see why they do not normally let us off the ship until a certain time, and why you must carry ALL your luggage to self assist. It was interesting seeing the luggage being brought in and unloaded by staff and the porters. I always thought the porters were just a bunch of money grubbing bums preying on their catch. The wife went to get our pieces of luggage while I guarded those we carried off the ship and went to meet the wizard. He briefly looked over our passports and the customs form and sent up on our way. We had a short wait for the van from Discount Cruise Parking who loaded up the luggage and dropped us off at the Hotel.
The theatre is no bigger than the ones used for smaller ships. This makes it difficult to get ANY seat, much less a good one, unless you get there at least 30 minutes early. This is aggravated by holding bingo games before every show, as they do not clear out the theatre after the game to allow fair game at the seats.
I bet 90% of the announcements on the ship go unheard as you generally cannot hear them in the rooms. There should be a way to hear them directly in the room, either by a switch allow guests to turn on the speakers in the room or on one of the tv channels. As is, the only reason to make announcements that few hear are to cover their butts, so they can say they made them if something bad happens.
There seem to be the exact same number of elevators on this ship as there are on smaller ships, making it difficult to move the increased number of people. It was also noticed not all elevators were usable for whatever reason, by the big "X" noted on the display quite frequently. As usual, they do not stop on all floors where the buttons have been pushed, and full elevators seemingly stop on every floor only to have waiting guests run to an opening elevator and unable to get on. It would also seem that the banks of elevators that have an adjacent bank of atrium elevators could be linked together on the same buttons instead of guests having to push both. Carnival should seek the advice of large business owners who depend on having people where they need to be efficiently to make a profit to retrofit these elevators.
Lines for the omletes, burritos, and wok are excessive for the area they are in. These lines block access across the ship and to other food areas.
An outdoor barbeque on the 5th floor on the side of the ship with smoke going up the ship in the path of a bunch of balconies??? Yeah, that was a great idea. (NOT!)
myself and my hubby worked all year for this cruise, excited to go on the biggest ship... mistake,,, will not happen again, ship was beatiful, service excellent, people friendly, food ,,,aweful. not any meal was nearly WARM,, shame they ruined the ship with the cold food. going back next year, will be my 10th on carnival and princess, but a lot smaller ship also not under the dining room had no sleep on the dream from 2;30 to 5;00 aweful again... get the problem with the food fixed..... thanks bb
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Inspiration by Cruznut2 Western Caribbean November 14, 2011
Carnival Inspiration, November 14th - 19th 2011
Parking - We used the valet service parking at the Port of Tampa. A nice feature that I rather liked. Cost $95.00
Boarding: We arrived around 12:00 PM which is later than I like but I had others with me. I think if we had arrived earlier we would have had a swifter process. We stood in line for endless amounts of time. The terminal was very hot and our carry on bags seemed to be gaining weight. We finally crossed the gangway and entered the atrium around 1:20 PM. We went to our room which was just a few doors down from the atrium. We rested a short while then took off to find lunch and explore Inspiration.
Inspiration The ship was well kept for an older ship. I thought that she was quite plain for a Carnival ship of that era. After being on Sensation with her loud and proud PURPLE and blue Inspiration was the plain sister. I really enjoyed the serenity area and used it quite a bit. Bothtimes I found myself falling asleep while I watched the wake slip away behind us. The public rooms were nice and I was happy to find that more of the casino was given over to non smoking. Not that it made much difference. A non smoking area in a room is as effective as a no pee area in a pool.
Dining The buffet lines in lido were never bad. The food was as usual for lido fare. Good but not special. I always enjoy the early morning coffee and was up before the others in my party having coffee while they slept. One of my favorite things is the croissant rolls and they had plenty.
Mardi Gras Dining Room:I loved the model of the Mardi Gras that stands in the entrance to this dining room. It brought back many fond memories of my cruise on her in 1984. We chose anytime seating and I really enjoyed this. We had an array of dining companions at dinner none were overly friendly beyond a hello. I was disappointed as I like to chat with my table mates. Maybe I am too friendly and outgoing. I found the food to be good and enjoyed the choices. Bev and I shared an order of the alligator fritters and they were good. I was trying to get the courage to order the frog legs. I asked my companions if they would try it if I ordered but they declined. Bev and Sandy both tried the meatloaf. Sandy sent it back and ordered another entree. Bev was less than enthusiastic about it. Bev was more adventurous about trying things which surprised me. I have known her 40 years and she is usually a fussy eater. Sandy had no sense of adventure when it came to food. She stuck mainly to the every day choices. Most days we went to the dining room for lunch and breakfast. We all found the choices and service to be more enjoyable than the buffet line.
Entertainment The production shows could be summed up in one word, Excellent. I always find that Carnival excels in this. One evening they did a line dancing class in the main show room. It was entertaining to watch and Sandy actually got up there and participated. I was in the promenade and heard the "Not So Newlywed Game" going on in the showroom. It made me smile as it brought back memories of watching Ray and Helen participate in this a few times. They were always delightful and always won. The ship had lots going on most of the time. I was disappointed that my friends were bored. I would leave them a copy of the day day schedule before I left the room but it seems they never used it. I would leave them a copy on the dresser every morning when I left. I also told them that they were available in most of the public rooms. They just never knew what was going on and when.
The Ports Grand Cayman Sandy was the only one that went ashore at this port. Bev was intimidated by the tender process. She has trouble with he legs and uses a cane to get around. She and I stayed aboard. Cozumel We all went ashore for this and walked around the shops there. So much has changed there since my last visit. There were more drinking places on the pier where once there was open walkway and great views of the ships. We took a few pictures and browsed the souvenir shops. We went into Diamonds International to dream a bit.
Disembarkation This process was as usual on Carnival. Too many people chose the self disembark in the hopes of getting off earlier. That always seems to end up a mess with too many people trying to manage too much luggage. Eventually they called the rest of us to leave. I was off by 9:00 and there were still self disembark people struggling along. This program needs to be revamped if not scrapped altogether. Leave the luggage handling to the crew and relax. Have another cup of coffee and leave when you are called.
All in all it was a good cruise for me. I always enjoy a cruise under any circumstances.
Hi friends! Last month the wife and I enjoyed a pleasant cruise on the Carnival Magic! Lots of our old friends were on board which made it even a grander time for all.
The musical group, Maroon 5, were featured guests and performers the night before our cruise began and Carnival Cruse Director John Heald was in attendence to M/C the ceromonies and joined us onboard for the sailing. As most of you know, it is never a dull moment with John around...
Our cruise was the first cruise for the Magic from a USA port and we are PROUD that Galveston was chosen as her home port. Texas will stand tall for her always! The cruise was a 6 day affair that was to go to Costa Maya and then to Cozumel. The wife and I were looking forward to visiting Costa Maya as we went there in 2004 aboard the Grand Princess on her first trip from Galveston. But, alas... it was not to be on this trip as the good ship was still suffering from problems with her stern thrusters from an earlier outing. The trip ended upgoing to Progresso for an overnight stay and then to Cozumel. A HUGE... did I say huge, disappointment.
The Carnival Magic is very well laid out and easy to manuver through. We chose an inside cabin but were located directly over the casino. I said to myself late one night as I tried to sleep... "Self! Do NOT ever choose a stateroom over the casino again!" You would think that someone like me, with 13 cruises on my ledger, would have known better. But... We were easily whisked away to either show rooms, the restaurants, and the lido areas. Even though the ship had 4400 guests onboard it never, ever felt crowded! Being allergic to cigarette smoke, our excursions through the casino were fine because the smoke was not an issue. The Red Frog was fun as were all of the distractions. The wet area was amazing with so many different gizmos and attractions. The ropes course was a bit tough for this old man but fun. The food was excellent everywhere and the staff were fabulous. We chose to sleep in each morning and were never bothered by a knock at the door by our room steward.
Overall, the ship is a success to us and we will be on here again soon. I just hope that thruster thing is fixed by then.
The Triumph had about 2,000 people aboard this time and has 11 decks. This was a 5 day sail out of the port of Galveston to Progreso Mexico and Cozumel. I was on deck 10 in an inside state room about 4 rooms away from the forward elevators. This was really an ideal location because of the way the ship is laid out. There is a pool and hot tub close-by and the lido deck where most of the food choices and buffets are.. is one floor below. The cabin I had was spacious, the bed was unbelievably comfortable with buttery soft linens and pillows. I got towel animals every night with chocolates and the room is made up twice per day. I love the bathroom showers. They are quite roomy and set up perfectly..Very well thought out. They provide luxury robes as well. There is more than enough room for your hanging clothing as well as storing your other clothes. Ample room in the safe as well (no extra fee). The TV is old but it works and you do get at least 8 or so channels plus PPVmovies. They have some nights where they show free movies with no PPV charge. This is great compared to my Celebrity cruise where the TV never worked in the 7 nights we sailed in our balcony suite. You can also access all the charges to your account via the TV and they keep them current (daily).
The staff on board this ship are amazing..I don't think I ran into one bad staff member. They were all 10 steps above any staff member I encountered at Celebrity. They far exceeded any expectation and went out of their way to help and do everything they could to make sure you had fun and enjoyed your trip, period!! My room was always cleaned well, service everywhere always excellent. Employees here more often than not always smiling..truly enjoying their jobs!!
Now..Where Carnival could use some improvement is their food at the South Beach Buffet. The food here is often mediocre. One thing could always be counted on to be good, and that was the fish! The only time the fish was not outstanding was when they fried it. The other thing that was almost always delicious was their desserts..even the diet desserts!! The meatloaf was surprisingly delicious with au jus gravy. However, the other red meat and pork chop dishes were always TOUGH and needed some serious tenderizing!! I tried two or three different kinds of steak dishes and two different pork dishes and they were so tough that I took one or two bites and stopped. I also never saw mashed potatoes. Potato salad every single day gets old. Their cornbread dressing tasted like glue. Their chicken dishes were usually pretty good..On a 1 to 5 scale - usually a 3 to a 5. Fresh fruits and salads available daily and those were always good. Breads were just ok. Buffet recommendations overall - get the fish dishes, fried shrimps, potato salad, fresh fruits and salad and any dessert that looks good to you. Go over to Chopsticks (near the South Beach buffet line) and get the glass noodles!! They are to die for! I tried the Pizza place on board one day. I had the goat cheese (Chevre goat cheese), sausage and mushroom pizza. Honestly, it was not that good. I'd give it a 3 out of 5 at best. In the main dining room the only three memorable things I had to eat were: the Lobster (on elegant night), the dessert pear soaked in wine (diet), and the shrimp cocktail. Note: be sure to ask for two lobster tails on elegant night as the lobster tails they serve you are tiny and they don't mind bringing you a second! Breakfast - If you're like me and you do not want to bother with main dining room for bfast, the made to order omlets are good on the lido deck, sausages are just ok and you have to go to the middle of South Beach buffet line to be served up some bacon if you want any. Coffee is excellent in the main dining room but just ok at South Beach buffet.
Extra charges - Bottled water does not come cheap on this ship. I spent at least $40 in 5 days on just bottled water. A canned coke is $2. Alcoholic beverages will cost you too..My tab for those was pretty pricy as well. About 6.50 for a small rum punch. Large rum punch was $14. You are not allowed to bring any alcoholic beverages on board. I rode in a transport van with 3 women who got their bottles of alcohol (that they had packed in their luggage) confiscated. I did see people attempting to bring cases of water and cokes on board - I do not know if they let them or not. I had one large bottled water in my carry on bag and no one questioned that or searched me. Make sure you have 2 robes and 2 beach/pool towels in your room when you get there, otherwise, you will be charged for them later! I was missing 2 robes. The tea and coffee is free. I suggest if you like coffee and tea, drink to your hearts content! $50 per person in the cabin is auto charged to your sail and sign card for tips (pre-paid) so you don't have to worry about paying at the end of the cruise. However, they will leave you and envelope for the Maitre' D on your last night to tip him at your last dinner. He is not included in that $50 pre-paid tip.
Port stops: I can't say much about Progreso, Mexico as I did not get off the ship. It was raining and I had heard that Progreso was not all that enthralling. However, don't go by what I heard!!! Cozumel: rented a car and snorkeled in front of the Cozumelena Hotel, Playa Corona, and Playa Palancar. All good snorkel spots. Playa Palancar is pretty far from port so you will need a rental car to get there but it is the most comfortable and probably most picturesque spot of all. It is also away from the throngs of tourists so you won't feel like a sardine. The fish tacos here are to die for and the loungers are pretty and padded. Tropical drinks are good and frosty and served chair side..as are any meals or snacks you want from the grill. All very reasonably priced. The snorkeling here is not bad either!!
Debarkation on this ship is long and arduous. It needs to be streamlined.
Overall, when I compare this cruise to Celebrity (which I paid tons more money for), Carnival wins hands down because of the excellence in service. My Cabin Steward (Muhammad) was stellar in his service, my cocktail waiter (Arthah) in the casino was outstanding, fast and always had a smile for me, and "Z" my main dining room waitress was fun, fast and always accommodating.
My recommedation..GO! Have a great time on the Triumph!!
Carnival Conquest-Disappointing. Departed Oct 16th, 2011. Embarkation was great. Onboard by 1130am. Cabin was good-outside cabin on deck 2. Our room seward was wonderful. Everyone of the crew was very friendly. The ship is worn in places- the seats in the lounges worn and dirty with stains. The food was laughable-although I wasn't laughing while on board. The food in the buffet on the Lido was unrecognizable. The hamburgers and pizza was good. Never received my order hot or correct in the Renoir dining room. Debarkation was horrible. Was in group 2 after self assist and did not get off the ship till 10am. Will never sail Carnival again.
Just got back from the Dream.The ship still has the "Carnival" look,but with a few changes. More tile and chrome and less Vegas style carpet. Overall it is a nice ship.Even though we had over 4000 people aboard, it was easy to find quit areas to relax. The buffet was just so-so, while the deli,pasta,burger and burrito bar was good but only open for lunch? the desserts looked nice but had no taste to them. Could have done better on the food I think. Our biggest complaint is with the sewage smell that showed up several times a day and then went away. Once during the art auction we had to leave the room due to the smell. We even had this happen in our cabin several times. Our room steward said this has been a problem since the ship was brand new. He said it has to do with the sewage vent lines and weather conditions. we had a cloud 9 spa room and really enjoyed it and the access to all the thermo rooms and pool. Just wish the would expand the hours so they would openearlier. I tried the steam room in the commen area of the gym ladies locker room and found it very small (6-7 people) and it smelled like it was not cleaned very often.What amazed me was the amount of people walking around in these areas and restrooms all around the ship barefoot! We found the room balcony to be a little smaller than other Carnival ships.Maybe 40" deep and 7' long. With two deck chairs and small table it filled it up.The shows were alright but not great. Plus they seemed to lack entertainment all around the ship. Alot of stupid trivia games that drew maybe 20 people to them. The checkin and departure was fast and easy as usual with exception of the few people who slowed the line down by trying to bring aboard a ice chest with several cases of water and soda in them. This resulted in a loud shouting match with security. Guess who won? So overall we had a good time but won't go out of our way to book the Dream again. We bounce between Carnival and Princess, and overall Princess is leading in our book. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if anybody has any questions
This was Mrs. Brown's and my 8th Carnival cruise, and we (I) chose this itinerary specifically because Panama was one of the port stops.
We spent two nights prior to embarkation in Ft. Lauderdale at the Ft. Lauderdale Sheraton Beach Hotel which was very pleasant. I prefer to travel from Miami, but only one carnival ship goes to Panama, and only on one cruise every 4 weeks, leaving from Ft. Lauderdale, so we had little choice. I don't want to sound like I'm complaining though, as we did enjoy the stay.
Embarkation went well although I was surprised that there were no check in kisoks like in Miami. Instead, a long row of agents was busily and quickly processing incoming guests.
Two nights before we left home Carnival called and asked if we wanted to upgrade from our interior cabin to a balcony that came open due to a cancellation. On the spur of the moment, not knowing whether the $350 offer was a good deal or not, I accepted, and we were very pleased with our room, never having stayed in a balcony cabin before. Our room was 1015, almost atthe top of the ship, very near the front, only steps away from the forward open decks which I really enjoyed. Our room steward was excellent and took great care of us.
Our first port stop was Cozumel, which I've never been impressed with, so we just got off the ship for photos and souvenirs but didn't go into town.
Our second stop was Limon, Costa Rica. When we were here previously in 2004 we took a train ride excursion; this time I had no preference so Mrs. Brown picked an excursion called Carribean Cacao Experience, which was a tour of a nearby nature preserve called Cacao Trails, where we learned the history of the cacao bean and experienced hands on methods of making chocolate. I initially had low expectations of this tour, but was surprised that we had a busload of 50 or so participants, and was very pleasantly surprised to find the tour very informative and enjoyable.
Colon, Panama was our last and by far best port stop. In 2004 we took the train ride across the isthmus, which was a very rewarding tour, but I was left wanting to see more of the Canal, so this time we took the Panama Canal tour. On this tour we rode buses across the isthmus to Panama City, where we boarded ferries for the trip up through the Miraflored and Pedro Miguel locks, through the Culebra Cut to Balboa where we reboarded the buses to go back to the ship. This was an excellent tour and the guide was extremely knowledgeable and easy to understand. We met 6 or 8 oceangoing ships in the canal which I found exciting. The tour may have been a bit long for anyone who is not as interested as someone like myself, as it took the entire day. We left the ship in Colon soon after docking at 7 or 8am and didn't get back until after 5pm. The ship was supposed to leave at 5pm but as there were 10 busloads of passengers on this tour, and we were late getting back, we didn't depart until nearly 6pm.
After Panama we had 2 sea days on the way home. I was surprised after going back to the room late the second night to step out onto the balcony at 1am and see a nearby island. Looking at the ship's position on the cabin TV I saw that were were at Grand Cayman; an announcement later that morning revealed that we had stopped to disembark a passenger with a medical emergency. Between this and the late start from Panama we were several hours late returning to Ft. Lauderdale, but debarkation started around 845am so I don't think it was a problem for anyone.
A couple observations: Since our frist cruise in 2002 it's seemed to me that Carnival is really cutting costs. In 2002 our dining room waiter and assistant had 2 tables of 10 and one table of 4; on this cruise our poor waiter with 2 assistants had a huge section of tables with what had to be 50 or more passengers. They were running constantly during the service, with very little time to visit as we'd become accustomed to previously. We were seated with a very pleasant couple at a table for four.
Unfortunately Carnival's food quality also doesn't seem to be as high as it used to be. Don't get me wrong- it was all very good, just not AS good, and a couple of my wife's meat dishes were quite ordinary. I think in addition to saving money on food costs, Carnival seems to be trying to push passengers to use the upscale extra charge restaurants. We haven't made it to the point where we want to try one of those yet.
Another thing that surprised me was an $8 pay per view charge for in room movies- these used to be free.
Freedom is a huge ship; the largest we've been on yet, and at times felt very crowded. The buffet areas and Promenade deck were by far the worst, with traffic along the promenade often moving at a snail's pace due to the crush of people.
One area that I was impressed with was the upper decks; there is a lot of deck space on this ship with what must be thousands of deck chairs. Although there was a lot of chair saving going on, there were always multitudes of empty chairs elsewhere so it wasn't a problem.
There are several pools on this ship, and 2 hot tubs in the Serenity area forward on the top deck that were fun and well located, so we never had a problem finding a place to swim.
The ship's entertainment was good, with the usual mix of big shows and comedy, etc.
I always enjoy the multi-cultural exposure we see while on cruises, and I wish I could adequately describe the amusing encounter I overheard in the ship's store, while one of the ship's officers from the purser's desk was asking the store clerk for advise on buying snack food. I'd previously encountered this very attractive Russian officer at the Purser's desk when changing bills, and while she was far from hostile, she was all business, almost severe, so imagine overhearing her, with strong Russian accent (think of Natasha from the Bulwinkle show) question the poor young store clerk about the merits of cheese balls vs. caramel popcorn. It was quite funny.
While I do miss the "old days", overall this was a very enjoyable cruise, and Carnival's staff still gets high marks from me, although sometimes I wonder what management in Miami is thinking (not really- I know it's all dollars). I'm not a big fan of the huge ships, but this one took us where we wanted to go and did it well, and I am looking forward to a little smaller scale on our Spirit cruise to Hawaii in April.