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. Families. Group.
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.
Overall experience with my 2nd carnival cruise, which we have done more with other cruise lines, was OK! The kids (8 & 6) loved it, but my wife and I had our issues.
embarkation: The only way to get on the boat is through VIP check-in, we were on the boat less that 10 minutes from being dropped off by the shuttle. Our room #9205 was set-up for 4, was a jr. suite and had plenty of storage and space for kids. with balcony, bed was comfortable,and in a section at the end of the hall where you heard nothing most of the time.
Leaving out of galveston, you had all sorts of people, and we noticed that a lot of couples were onboard. This makes me laugh, cause you know the KIDS rule the ship and swimming pools. Mostly all the kids were in the pools and hot tubs... if you think that the carnival ship is a place to romantic hot-tub relaxing... your wrong! all kids were jumping in and out (including mine) in the hot tubs and got many patrons upset.SORRY! Food: I have better, it the same"Ryans, Furrs, or Golden Corral quality. We had breakfast in the main dining room to avoid the crowds, but that was super bad, and getting worse through the days. Every ham/chesse omelette, arrrive burned, burned enough to peel it open.
Drinks were ok but weak, had to have double shots,or drink beer. Formal dining is ok, but seemed rushed most nights. Food ok, nothing special, was disappointed with desserts like cherrys jubillee, and baked alaska. Ordered mostly on repeat food item menu.
Music on deck was too loud, and such old songs played, and I'm 55. would have like more upbeat tropical or dance music. Shows were bad. New Orleans finale show was stupid... didn't even celebrate Mardi Gras other that beads and streamers. Shore excursion: cozumel Great place for beach... Passion Island is great but to crowded... carnival dream was at port too. Progresso was horrid... vendors unbearable and transfer to ship/town ridicules. My kids dreaded kids camp, did not send them after seeing several kids crying for their "mommies". Staff was nice, not overly friendly, seemed to me that they were overworked or irritated. Some were just forced to say Good morning as we walked the halls.
The whole amostsphere of the Triumph was good, It's a GREAT ship for KIDS to enjoy. The water slide, pizza, and ice cream were my kids favs... wished they would show better movies on deck instead of oldies like :sweet home alabama. That was wierd. Photots on board are good. We brought so many, just because you pay just as much with a sitting in a studio with possible 2 backgrounds, whereas we had multiple scene backdrops that we paid close to %250.00/ same price. Overall good cruise, just as I expected, My kids love shopping at Walmart, and make any opportunity to go there, Carnival Triumph is the same quality and standards as such.
Let me just say CARNIVAL just wants your money after they get your credit card they could care less about you. We was lied to. We was told we would get rembursment for something that was canceled never have...after many calls the customer service on the ship is long lines only to get no answers...Oh the lady with the cruise line who was booking my trip was nice real sweet as sugar so helpful....after you get back try calling that phone number they have you blocked you go to another team who could care less....the food lines was long sometimes there was no tables to eat at but only outside. It tasted like it came out of a vendig machine to me...if you are going to the half moon island look out pretty place if you can ever get over there...they give out numbers you have to wait until you are called half the day was gone by the time we got over and they took up the food at 2:00 so we got no lunch my daughter is diabetic and here we was on island notthing but beer andmixed drinks and they had canceled taking people to the ship because of heavy swells. I had to walk for an hour looking for someone who cared and worked for the boat so we got on the island and an hour and a half later we was leaving it no fun no food and they stuff us in the bottom of a boat with windows closed and smell of gas I got sick passed out and they charged me $90 for some air...so my whole day was shot to hell...
This was to be my last vacation with my daughters who was off to college I am a single mom so I was wanting it to be a good memorable trip for all of us and it was as I call it the trip to hell the captain sends out a letter to everyoe to apologize for that day...but the trip only got worst. You could never get into the pools because they was small and was full of little kids jumping there was no enjoyment but at the dining room table at night ordering some food that did not taste like paper...but even waiting to get into the room peope was in the hall way pushing to get in.
I wrote carnival a 12 page letter of my tip there was not many high lights on there I get back a 4 line we try to make everyone have a fun filled trip and memorable one best wishes....HELLO..HELLO I just sent you12 pages of all the paroblems we had and even pictures to back it up paid to have it signed for and thats all I got back from them...
I feel they are laughing all the way to the bank ....they got my money I got the trip from hell and my daughter and I have never told anyone we even went on a vacation this year and if we are ask we start to get upset and well this should tell you stay away....spend your money on a real boat that cares....if you want to got on the worst trip of your life go on a canival boat....but do not say I did not tell you ahead....They will never get another penny or good word from me....Thank you again Carnival for the hell cruise....and this was my first one and will be my last with you people......
Just returned from the Miracle. We have taken approximately 30 cruises, about 10 of which have been on Carnival where we have "gold" status which means absolutley nothing. We didn't even receive an invition to the Captain's past passenger party. The experience was medicore but adequate. We found the food to have shown the greatest decline both in quality and selection. There seemed to be one temperature for serving all food - warm. I do not eat meat & the fish selections were overcooked, dried out & had a heavy fishy odor. Overall, service was almost non-existent. I often bussed my own table in the buffet and my mom, who uses a cane, was offered assistance once throughout the trip. Forget being offered coffee at your table.
On Celebrity, there would have been someone there to carry her tray (and mine too) as well as refill coffee cups. Staff was detached and almost none, including officers, greeted passengers in passing. Dining room service was awful. Night after night, course after course were taken away untouched yet not once were we asked if there was anything wrong. The waitstaff is very poorly trained- no fresh pepper, no clearing of crumbs from the tabletop, no follow-up after serving the course or beverage. After 6 nights of disjointed service such as one of us being served soup & the other an appetizer followed by the other being served soup & the other her app, I asked why courses weren't served together. I received a shrug of the shoulder & was told that they serve it the way they grab it off the line. This is supposed to be dining, not a cafeteria. My mom had an allergic reaction to something she ate which caused her face to swell. The medical staff was aware of this as was the dining room staff yet when she requested her meals be served without sauces, she was told that it wasn't possible. Completley unacceptable!
Room service was very limited and you must request the menu as none are left in the cabins. No fresh flowers anywhere, no ice carvings, no midnight buffet & limited dining in the dining room on certain days with regular menus being replaced by a brunch menu which does not change. Tips were added to your onboard account daily for a total of $92 per person. Given the level of "service" we received, I find this amount excessive although we did not ask for it to be removed or reduced. I found the ship to be dark and claustrophobic. In fact, it was downright ugly.
There is a new area aft called "Serenity" which was adult only & nice. I was told it is about 5 months old. Unfortunately, it is too small to accomodate the volume of passengers who want to use it. They offer circular cabanas & 4 hammocks which were taken by 6 AM from the second day at sea on. I swear some of those people slept there! We were up there by 6 AM every morning in order to get 2 regular lounge chairs and I witnessed several arguments over chairs, hammocks & cabanas. Carnival should simply institute a sign up policy limiting the use of the cabanas to 3 hours at a time. This would be fair to everyone and eliminate the 6 AM stampede & resulting aggravation. Of course, their solution I hear is to begin charging passengers to use them. I'm not sure how water in the pools is maintained but they were never emptied and I never saw anyone check the bacteria levels or put in any chemicals. I heard folks complaining that the hot tubs were cold.
We had an extended balcony stateroom which seemed smaller than the usual Carnival cabin. The website shows a lounge chair on the extended balcony but despite a request from the pursar's desk, I was never provided one. The beds were comfortable but unusually narrow. The fabric at the head of the bed was stained which was disgusting. The bathroom was very comfortable & the shower/water pressure, excellent. Smoking was a significant problem for us and often prevented us from using our balcony. The band at "Frankie & Johnnie's" was very good but it was so smokey that we, along with many others who stood outside of the club, were unable to enjoy sitting inside & listening. After a while, it even became too smokey OUTSIDE the club so we left. Karaoke was held there at times which we enjoy but again, the smoke kept us away. I also tried "Frankensteins" but that too became overwhelmingly smokey so I had to leave. You needed a gas mask to walk through the casino. In fact, the first thing I noticed when I walked onto the ship was the scent of stale cigarette smoke. Not pleasant. I didn't find the cocktail waiters to be that aggressive but I witnessed several instances of overserving. On the first night, I came across a passenger so inebriated she could barely stand or speak; she had also gotten sick on herself. I helped her on to the elevator where a female security officer happened to be. When the doors opened, security led her off the elevator and got back on, leaving this very drunk woman alone in the hall to fend for herself. Sorry, but that is just irresponsible! Carnival clearly overserved her. At the very least, they should have assisted her to her cabin safely.
My biggest issue with the staff however relates to their utter lack of concern for handicapped people. We had been to Grank Turk previously and knew it was a long walk from the ship to the pool area. I tried over & over prior to the cruise to obtain information regarding assistance from the ship to the pool all to no avail. When we boarded, I immediatley went to customer service & they claimed no knowledge of any available assistance. Instead, they admitted that "many people have asked the same thing" yet they had no solution other than renting a wheelchair (which we didn't need) for the duration of the cruise at a cost of $128. Disgraceful.
My final comment relates to the pool area at Grand Turk. There is a mad rush to get off the ship at this port as the # of free chairs on the beach is limited. After finally getting to the pool, we noticed that the water wasn't as clear as we remembered and there was debris & hair floating around. We arrived at 1 with another Carnival ship having departed at 12 ish. After being in the water for about 20 minutes, security came running around the pool screaming for everyone to immediately get out. It seems an 8 year old girl from the prior ship had defecated in the pool and the bacteria level was too high. The solution was to throw in bags of chemicals and close the pool for almost 2 hours. While I understand that accidents happen, the way it was handled left much to be desired. The incident occured at least an hour before we arrived. NO ONE should have been allowed in that pool until after the bacteria levels were checked & it was safe. Needless to say, the day was ruined. We met people who had been on the Miracle in November & they talked about the changes they noticed. If Carnival thinks passengers aren't noticing the cuts they are making at our expense they are very wrong.
My husband's wallet went missing while we were visiting Half Moon Cay. As soon as we knew it was missing, we went to the guest services desk on board the Carnival Fascination. Since we were already under way, there was nothing they could do but file a report and help us cancel all the credit cards.
The next evening, the same person who took the report told us the wallet had been located in the locker at the Sports Center. It would be a process to get it back, but he was sure we would eventually. We were very relieved.
After we got home, I contacted Carnival to let them know where to send the wallet when it finally got to their office.
Imagine my surprise when I got the following response from the Carnival "iCare" team in Miami: We truly apologize that you were given incorrect inforamtion. At this time we have not located the wallet. If we locate the wallet you will be contacted. We truly apologize for any miscommunication there may have been.
It's bad enough to lose your wallet while you're in a foreign country, but being flat-outlied to is adding insult to injury. We won't be cruising with Carnival again, neither will we recommend them to anyone. There are plenty of other cruise lines to choose from.
Upon arrival on 7/7/12, as Ernest and I entered our room i met a gentlemen by the name of Daniel who introduced himself as our section house keeper. Ernest and I introduced ourselves as well. he seemed to be very nice, very enthusiastic, and had a big smile on his face but I felt something mysterious about him and I mentioned it to Ernest immediately. as the day went on I would notice as we both cross paths with Daniel approximately four to five times, he would say "hello brittany" with a creepy smile but would not greet Ernest.
(Day 2) 7/8/12. The same exact incident occurred with daniel every time we passed him, he would only greet Brittany with the same creepy smile but now there is waving involved. Later on that evening at 7pm, we were leaving our room to meet our ten family members for dinner. There was a very nice couple leaving their room directly across the hall in room 8353 at the same exact time. As Ernest and I were leaving the room Daniel appeared out of nowhere, meeting us at the door as if hewas trying to barge into our room. We were a bit startled. Daniel stated he had to clean our room and Ernest and I stated the room was fine the way it was and it was previously cleaned that morning and we did not need room service. Daniel refused to accept our denial of his services and told us it was mandatory that we allow him to clean our room, he would not take no for an answer. Daniel even slammed his hand on the door and would not allow us to close the door. This situation took about three minutes until Daniel got his way. As we left I realized i left my purse in the room on the dresser. At that time we were to dinner because family was waiting and i figured I could leave my purse in the room because I did not feel like I needed it for dinner anyway.
Since Daniel forced himself into our room he did not use his keycard for entry. The couple room 8353 said that they seen him enter our room and closed the door but we noticed other house keepers keep the door open as they clean, even leaving multiple room doors open at a time. After dinner we continued our entertainment until 1 pm. As we entered our room I noticed immediately that something was not right. I looked on the dresser and it appeared that my purse had been tampered with. When I looked into my wallet, I noticed that my one thousand dollars was gone. I was left ten dollars in ones and one five dollar bill, which was not a part of my one thousand dollars missing. Ernest and I immediately went to guest services and filed a report for this incident with the lady at the front desk. It was like no one knew what to say or do. We had to go through multiple supervisors and they still could not help us in any way. Finally the three security guards, Matilda Vikrant, Mewada Petar, and Kresimar Biskup came to escort us from the front desk to our room so they can perform a room search. They made us empty all our belongings and found nothing.
(Day 3) 7/9/12. We spoke with Donato Beece, the hotel director and he stated that this could happen to anyone, he stated we could be lying, as he laughed and chuckled at us the entire time we sat in his office. I did not expect this low level level of professionalism from someone of his caliber. He also defended his staff member Daniel and said he has been working for 25 years and a incident like this never occurred. I did not feel like Denato Beece put the customer first, it made me feel completely defeated. we requested to speak to the captain and Denato Beece said it would be impossible to speak to the captain and he would never speak to us.
(Day 4) 7/10/12. We were escorted from our room to Donato Beece's office by security. As we arrived, Captain Massimo Milano was there to greet us. Even though he was a lot more sympathetic to the situation compared to the rest of crew, he still said there was nothing that could be done and anyone could have stolen the money from our room.
(Day 5) 7/11/12. As Ernest and I walked back from breakfast at 8:30 am, we saw Daniel. We did not get the routine greeting or any eye contact at all, he looked down as we walked passed him. this was very unusual behavior compared to the previous days when he would go out of his way to greet us. As we approached him and asked him "is there something on your mind"? His first response was "I did not take anything from your room"!
Ernest and I never asked him about the incident but his guilt made him respond the suspicious way that he did.
We are not trying to blame any particular person for stealing from us but we want to target Carnival's negligence, their cleaning policy, there should be a more thorough screening of the immigrants they hire from these poor countries. Before our incident the house keepers all around the ship cleaned multiple rooms at one time while leaving the doors open. After our incident we notice the house keepers only cleaned one room at a time. They changed the policy to prevent further occurrences but did not compensate Ernest and I at all in any way. Ernest and I endured much pain and suffering from Carnival and this was our first luxury cruise experience. Ernest is a U.S. NAVY veteran who spent the past four years on a warship complete opposite of a luxury cruise and he still had to experience HELL. Our family planned this cruise based on Ernest's departure from the NAVY and his birthday happened to be on July 11th, so this cruise was supposed an unforgettable experience of paradise, but instead this cruise was the total opposite. Please feel our pain Carnival customer service and Carnival corporate said there is nothing they can do and I should have used a safe. I feel like if I refuse room service that should be it, the house keeper should not be allowed to force their way into anyone's room. I just want the world to be aware of my situation so this does not happen to anyone else. This was not a vacation, we had no money to enjoy our cruise itinerary. From this experience, we will never go on a cruise again.
Please contact Brittany Southall if you can help: email@example.com
This was my families 9th carnival cruise 16th overall with other lines. This was an 8 day.stopping at ST Thomas, Antigua,Tortola,Nassau. We had 2 balcony cabins on deck 8, one deck below lido which was great to run up and get some food. There was some noise at night from things being dragged on deck but not bad. We opened the panel on the balcony between the 2 cabins so we had a big balcony. We had late seating and the first night it took forever(1 hr to get apps) to get our food. It got better as the cruise went along. We had 4 different comedians and they where pretty good. It is nice to go to the family show before dinner and then the R rated later. The shows where alright too. There was plenty to do on the out to sea days. Getting on and off the ship did not take any time at all.
On the Islands we just get taxis and go to the beach. St Thomas-Sapphire beach $10.per person each way, Antigua-Dickenson beach $3.0pp Tortola- Brewers bay $8.00pp each way. Brewers was the calmest waterand best for snorkeling.All of these beaches where safe and had food and bathrooms. You can only get a raft in ST. Thomas. Nassau we took the Water taxi to the Atlantis. you CANNOT see the aquarium any longer without paying $35. you can only go through the shops and the casino for free.Overall the weather was great, not to hot and the water was wonderful everywhere. Of course we would cruise again. One problem we had was, We purchased liquor in the shop on board and when it was delivered to our cabin on the last night we did not open it.(we should have) when we got home we opened the boxes and they where not what we bought, and once you leave the ship you can not send it back so we are trying to get a refund from the store because the shops on board are not run by Carnival. It will take 8 weeks to get refund.
Carnival's Splendor, which took us to Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas for a week long 'fun' cruise, wasn't what I was expecting. We travel a ton, but this trip was very disturbing. Let me begin at the end. Last day of the cruise, our room flooded. Water cascading from the ceiling and down the walls. Not drips, but RUNNING water. Called Guest Services as we were trying to get ready for our evening. Supervisor showed up, assured us we would be contacted and that things would be resolved before returning to our room. After a night of dinner, dancing, gambling and visiting with family, we arrived to our room at two-thirty in the morning. We had to leave the ship by ten a.m. The bed was pulled from the wall, helter skelter in the middle of the room. Bedding thrown in a corner on the floor. Side tables and lamps thrown on the bed. sopping wet towels spread throughout the room. Our clothes, luggage and belongings thrown on the floor in a damp heap. Message light on phone. Message is: "Thank you, Mr. *****. We have solved the problem. Ifyou would like a new room, please call." I call. At two-thirty in the morning, they expect us to pack all of our things they threw on the floor, wait for an attendant, and move to an inside cabin from our balcony room. I want to have a supervisor look at the state of our room. Wait a half an hour. No response. I call again. Nothing. I walk down the hall, find housekeeping at random, and a half hour after that, we crept into a damp bed, room still trashed, exhausted after the employee at least changed the sheets and pillows. Got to sleep by four in the morning. Nobody ever showed up to take care of anything. The result: Talk to guest services. Nothing. Talk to others. Nothing. But let's start at the beginning..... It took three evenings to finally have my immediate family seated with the rest of my family for dinner, as Carnival made a mistake with booking. I was polite, but was ignored and put off for three days until we physically dragged our chairs through the dining room to the big table, scrunching in with them. What a scene, and a horrible one, but I was at my rope's end. We came on the cruise to be with family, and dinner is the main gathering place to talk about our times on the ship! Then, of course,as we were blocking the aisles, they solved the problem very easily. Day four. One hundred dollars cash was stolen from our cabin. Very crafty, they are! Had eight hundred in the safe, but whoever stole it was good. Only took five twenties. Again, ignored. My bad in forgetting to lock the darn safe that time. No comment from Carnival. Snorkeling excursion in Cabo booked via Carnival: Worst ever taken. 45 minute trip to destination, given 45 minutes to snorkel, except you had to swim for almost fifteen minutes to reach the bouyed off section due to so many ships in the area. Paid $80 per person (4 of us) for 20 minutes of snorkeling in twenty five feet of murky water. Took pictures, offered to compare them to the advertised pictures. Carnival declined to see them. Saw eight fish. Result: half of our excursion refunded. One of our bags was put in the incorrect section when the porter took them for disembarking. Couldn't find it. Left, flew home. Carnival found it, but didn't call us. I called them, finally. We had to pay for shipping of the luggage to our home. Response: 'Thank you for vacationing with Carnival.' I enjoy gambling, but let me tell you, the dealers DO NOT like you having a good time, and certainly don't like you winning! Dour, sour, even downright offensive dealers consistently, every night. I gamble to have a good time, but it's difficult to have that good time when it's so obvious that they don't like you. I'm not an offensive person, have respect for everybody, but it was so bad that after the third night of rudeness, I didn't tip a dealer once for the rest of the cruise. I sent several emails from home to explain what happened, and we find out that for everything, we were compensated $60. Yes, that's right. Sixty dollars. You decide for yourself if you'd like to spend nearly six thousand dollars on a family vacation with Carnival and expect this in return. But I have to love the email address! ICare@Carnival! That's irony.
Please be aware and leery of Carnival Cruise Line. They will advertise a 7 day cruise and if the cruise is cut to 6 days or less they won't refund you the difference. You talk with them on the phone or write to them all they do is give excuses for what took place. This is a criminal act of fraud and should not be accepted by anyone. If you decide to cruise with Carnival Cruise Lines please be cautious.
The Elation is a Fantasy class ship that we had just sailed a few months ago, so we knew what to expect. We have sailed her many times.
We love cruising out of New Orleans. We are Diamond members, so we get VIP Check In and New Orleans does that very well. IF you are sailing when NCL and RCCL are in town, the traffic can be a bit of a pain on Saturdays and Sundays, but they were goneâ€¦so we had no issues. I believe RCCL and NCL are only in New Orleans from Nov - April.
To me the Elation is the prettiest of the Fantasy class ships and one of my favorites, even though it does not have the new Evolutions of Fun water park or the balconies that have been added to some Fantasy class ships.
The food was good. We ate in the Main Dining Room every night. Yes the menu has changed over the years, but we were always able to find something that we liked.
The Deli was good as was the Mongolian Wok. And of course the 24 hour free ice cream. YUM
Service wasexcellent all over the ship.
Gary Brierley was the Cruise Director and he is just delightful. (one of our favorites)
Ryan is a Social Host of Australia whose performance in the Legends Show is not to be missed. He also hosted karaoke and was a huge hit!
Bruce in the Piano Bar is from Scotland and a delightful (and talented) gentleman.
The Cover Band was Simply Friends and they are very good.
We had 4 in an interior on Empress. This was our last "family" cruise for awhile, since our oldest son is now grown and is sailing on his own and with friends.
We had plenty of room even with 2 boys that are 6+ foot tall.
We found the ship to be in good shape. Our cabin was clean and the cabin steward friendly and attentive.
They have the NEW Legends Show and it was good to see some new acts.
We have been to Progreso and Cozumel more times than I can count but always have a good time when we are there. Both are safe. I know with all the violence in other parts of Mexico this can be a concern.
We did our own thing in both ports. We always just walk about in Progreso and this time I actually forgot to pack my white socksâ€¦and was able to find some in the local market (orange building).
In Cozumel, we went to Paradise Beach for a day of fun in the sunâ€¦.but we are also very fond of Cozumel Bar Hop. Both are independent tours you can find on Facebook and we have a blast.
They did VIP Self Assist very well...except that it is difficult to get your luggage up to Promenade and then back down to Empress. Since this is "self assist", then they should know all these guests are going to have all their luggage and should have a meeting place that allows for that fact.
Over all, what we thought would be just a 5 day getaway turned into one of our best cruises.
Ok everyone, here is my review of the Carnival Ecstasy. We sailed from the 26 May 12 to 31 May 12. First let's talk about pre-boarding, do not try and take bottles of alcohol packed in your luggage. Carnival X-Rays every piece of luggage and if you have any bottles, guess what they will not be there when your luggage arrives. What you will get is a letter telling you that it was removed. Now you can try and get it back at the end of the cruise, but if it has been opened, well it became part of the trash. Trust me, I tried and got caught. Also ladies, each cabin has only 2 A/C outlets, so if you have any hair dryers, chargers or anything that needs charging I recommend that you go to your local hardware store and get a 4 plug AC strip. This will give you a couple of extra plugs to use. Also the room lack ventilation. Bring a small fan with you packed in your luggage. This will help a lot to move the air in your room and make it alittle more comfortable when you sleep. Embarkation was a little surprise. We arrived at the port at 1:30pm and there was a long line. So the word of the day, be calm enjoy the people around you and remember the boat will be there and not sail without you. Carnival did move the line and it took about 30 minutes to finish with check in. Now the ship, I found the ship was very clean, some areas did look worn and some areas could have used a little paint, but overall the staff did an excellent job in maintaining the ship. Bathrooms were clean and common areas were clean also. My only complaint here is the sewer smell throughout the ships cabin area. Some days it was very strong and some days not so strong. Good news here, I never had any of the smell enter my cabin, which by the way was Empress deck 7, cabin E-95. This ship was a little hard to get around at first. I do recommend take an hour and walk each section of the ship. Some areas you have to go up a flight of stairs to get where you want and then down a flight to continue. I thought the ship layout was confusing. Cabins are nothing to shout about. I had a balcony cabin with bunk beds for the 4 of us. My walk in closet at home has more room. The bathroom and shower were small and the shower, well let's just say, don't plan on strong water pressure for your showers. Caution here, remember turn on cold water then add the hot water. The hot water is scalding hot and you can get burned. The staff on board were excellent, everyone that I met always had something nice to say and always greeted with "Good Morning" or afternoon. I have no complaints here. Now the one that everyone wants to know, Dining. There are two types of dining. Assigned dining at 6pm and 8pm. The other dining was "Anytime Dining". Here you can pick your time to dine. Remember one thing though, you may have to wait for a table. Anytime dining does not guarantee you a table when you want to eat. So I recommend when you book your cruise, pick your dining time so you know you have a table. Staff was excellent and my only complaint here, I drink ice tea, and I had to remind them every night for ice tea. Now the food. Carnival like many other cruise ship, have felt the crunch of the economy. Carnival is trying to do more with less and I have to say they are doing a good job at it. The meals were good. Now I did not say excellent, I don't expect gourmet food on a cruise ship, but what was available was good. My complaint here is Carnival is using more fish and chicken for their meals. Beef was available twice. Now for those out there that like prime rib. This is served the second night during the formal. Go to the Lido deck to the buffet and there you can get the same thing. At dinner they give you a small cut of prime rib. At the buffet you can ask them for the cut that you want. I had an inch cut and went back for seconds. The other steak that is being served is strip steak. Not my favorite and will not eat it again. Tough and chewy and hard to swallow. Overall the food was very good. Remember, the ship was filled and trying to serve over two thousand people is a task that only the military can achieve. You do have two menus that you can choose from. My son liked the gourmet hamburger. I have to admit, it did look good. You can combine menus and pick anything you want for your meals. This was nice and gave me more options. Overall I did not have any bad experience with the food or staff. The buffet in the morning can be a bit overwhelming. And again this depends on the time you get up and eat. One note here, there are three omelet stations. Go to the back of the dining hall to the Deli station and to the left is a omelet station that rarely gets used. You can bypass the lines and get to your table a little early. Tables were always available, so no complaints here. Here is some good news, all of the ice cream you can eat free. So like my kids, go for it. Entertainment was very lacking. We had only two shows, one for the sail-a-way, and one production "All about Country". There was the normal, comedy acts, and different small shows, but nothing else. One thing that I was very proud about, was that Carnival did have a veterans gathering for all military personnel active duty or retired. The first mate and cruise director and several staff where there to meet with all of the military personnel. Way to go Carnival!!. One thing that I was asked to talk about was the pool area and hot tubs. The pool area was large enough for everyone and lounge chair were available. The hot tubs on the other hand were full with teenagers, go figure. But good news here for all adults, there is an area under the Lido deck dedicated to adults with two hot tubs. Now here is the good news, this is controlled. My son who is 14 years old, came to check in with us and was asked to leave. Now the staff was very polite and after my son explained that he was only there to check in, the staff member said that was ok, and my son left. This was very nice to have an area for us adults. Debarkation was very smooth and quick. Carnival has come up with a good system to get there passengers off of the ship. First there is early departure. Now this is done by decks and they ask you not to come down until your deck is called. Then there is normal departure again this is done by decks and went very smooth. Now remember the ship was filled, so there was some waiting but not bad. Luggage is tagged with a number and all you have to do is go to the area with your number displayed and your luggage is there for you. Now for the not so fun stuff. Carnival like other cruise industry are there to make money. This is a business and like most businesses they must make a profit to stay in business. So prices on board are very expensive. Beer is 6.50 each and a bucket of beer with four beers runs 25.00 dollars. Special drinks run 7.50 dollars. So before you know it, you can run up a tab of several hundred dollars. One saving grace, those that don't drink, purchase a "Bottomless Bubbles" for soda. This ran about 54.00 for two and 22.00 for the cup for two. This breaks down to about 4.50 dollars per day. Now this gets you all the soda you can drink, and juice you can drink also. Be careful with there so called "Sales" again take your time and really ask yourself if you need that item. Remember, not all sales are a bargain it part of their profit line to make money. Pictures, now the staff will be taking your pictures on and off of the boat. Not cheap to purchase but nice memories, so pick and choice the one you really want. Well I have used up a lot or your time. Overall the trip was very nice and would I sail with Carnival again, properly not. I have liked Royal Caribbean and I like what they offer. If you would like more information on ports of call and pictures please free to contact me any time and I will answer your question and send any pictures. Contact me at
Take care and enjoy your cruise