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. Seniors. Singles.
Good for: Singles. Families. Teens.
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.
Valentines Day Cruise on the Carnival Ecstasy February 14, 2011
Welcome to my review of our Valentine Day Voyage on board the Carnival Ecstasy. My wife Pat and I are retired and discovered the joys of Cruise Ship life about 10 years ago. This Cruise came about as a result of me looking at 4 inches of Frozen Ice and a Thermometer that has set a new record headed downward. I picked up the phone, called Lyndon our Faithful PVP. Two weeks later we are headed to a warmer clime. Before I continue, I do need to inform you readers that this missive is being compiled real time while underway. So I do apologise for anychanges from present, to past, to future tenses. I have been out of School for many years and did not do all that well in English Composition even then, so please bear with me. We are now on Sea Day 1. I am eating a chocolate chip cookie and sipping a Caffe Late on the Prominade while watching the calm (lucky for us) waters of the Gulf of Mexico flow past the ship's window. I alsoappolgise for any typographical errors that may be caused by the 4 (or was it 5) Gin and Tonics happily consumed by the Author while soaking the warm sun beams on the Lido Deck and listening to a very good Calypso/Ragae/Country Western group entertaining a festive audience recovering from the Hairy Chest Drunk'in Bubba Contest. Our trip begins in San Antonio where we visited our Daughter and her family on our way to Galveston. Hence 'killing two birds with one stone"; a family visit and a voyage. We left San Antonio for Galveston bright and early Monday morning on our drive to meet our Ship. A quick review of the trusty Droid Smart Phone GPS showed our trip to be 4 hours and 6 minutes door to ship. So away we went trusty GPS chirping away. All was well until we found Houston (which is about the hardest city to drive in except for maybe Tokyo). Right smack drab in the middle of traffic all buzzing along at Mach 1, your intrepid driver lost, and with 5 different options suddenly presenting themselves as to which way to take, my Trusty Electronic Copilot and GPS Navigator Nastily announced with a Mornful moan that it QUIT. So as I naturally chose the Wrong exit and we sped toward oblivion, I tossed my dear wife a folded up Map and yelled for help! She promptly rapped me up the side my head with folded map, and announced a 2 word command, that while rather fun to do is also impossible to do. Finally. after a some what heated discussion regarding both my driving and navigational skills, my wife plotted a course out of oblivion and back towards Galveston and our awaiting ship. We pulled into the EZ Cruise Parking Lot at 1214 PM after a 4 hour and 26 minute drive (of which 20 of those driving minutes were spent completely lost in traffic!) There awaited the Ecstasy in all her Glory. After a quick and painless ride in the EZ Park Shuttle Bus we arrived at the Cruise Ship Terminal. A $10 gratuity to the Baggage Porter was tendered in hopes that we would one day see our suitcases again. perhaps even in our Cabin.
This is our 12th (I think) cruise and we are exhulted Platinum VIP Status Guests. One of the nifty perks of being Platinum is one by passes the Huddled Masses as they wait forever in long, never ending, winding lines to board. With noses in air we headed towards Bright Red Signs beckoning (Snobby) VIPs. We were escorted to the head of the Security line and Xray machines. A with nary a Buzz, Siren, or Body Search we convinced the Guards we were indeed just innocent cruisers and we exited security relatively unharmed. Another Bright Red VIP Sign Beckoned us to an office where we were processed. Within 1 minute our name was called, our passports examined, and most importantly our Credit Card Scanned. We were then issued our Sign and Sail Cards, and told to board and have a great cruise. So once again as the great multitude of our fellow passengers wound their way through the never ending meandering lines, we happily sped past them and headed toward the Photographer and Gang Plank. I must say the Embarkation Process seemed to go well for everyone as folks moved along at a steady pace through the Boarding Process. We were on board the ship within 15 minutes of our arrival at the Cruise Ship Terminal. As we stepped off the Gang Plank and into the Atrium big smiles appeared on our faces. Let the good times Roll! We headed up to the Lido Deck with was crowded with happy fellow cruisers. All of the tables were taken on the Smoking Side (Yes...my wife is a Dreaded Smoker), however a very nice couple, Rick and Linda, also fellow smokers, invited us to join them at their table. We were soon approached by a waiter offering Foo Foo Umbrella Drinks which we happily accepted (after, of course, my Silver Sign and Sail Card was proffered, accepted, and signed) and we had our Traditional Boarding Toast with the Umbrella Foo Foo Drink of the Day. The sun was warm and life was good as we visited with our new friends Rick and Linda, who were on a birthday/anniversery/valentine/escape from the kids for a 5 day cruise. Several Jimmy Buffet songs and Foo Foo Drinks later it was time to find our stateroom and enter the "wonder where my suitcase is" lottery. (Note earlier reference to $10 Gratuity to Baggage Porter).
We found our state room Ocean View U160. Opening the door we greeted our new home for next several days. Carnival, in all of its Marketing Genius, had left us each a Welcome back Platinum Cruiser Letter signed by non other than the CEO Himself. These letters addressed to both Pat and I, listed the various perks we would receive as VIP Guests. I kind of thought it was a very nice gesture. There was also a very nice plate of Chocolate Covered Straw Berries for us to snack on. Pat had a special letter addressed especailly to her which I am not so sure is a good thing. You see this letter was from the Casino Operators, Players International, welcoming her back as a Very Important Player (Not good for me or my Wallet) with a gift and an invitation to cocktails in the casino before it opened to the commoners and more conservative gamblers. Again, a very nice gesture. Then not to be out done, there was a knock on the door and another letter from Carnival Management arrived, informing us we had been awarded a $50 credit to our on board account since we are Stock Holders in the Corporation. Next, Pat was very happy to receive (I thought) a very nice Bouqet of Flowers delivered by Bon Voyage. These Lovely Flowers had been ordered from Her Very Generous and Handsome Husband as a Valentine Present to her. (Fortunately she did not see all of the Red Roses that were on the way to other Lucky Wives/Girlfriends/Mistresses that had been ordered as Valentine Gifts from shall we say more generous spouses/boyfriends/customers who "sprang" for real Roses rather than Common Flowers. We found the safe, locked up passports, cell phones (that had been turned off), and Casino Cash. We then decided it was time for a pre "Safety Drill" Cocktail. So off we went. Being the safety conscious type we are (you never know if you are on the next Titanic) we eagerly awaited the call to muster station. The only thing I can say is The Muster Drill/Safety Briefing can only be describe for us as "Quite Civilized". Our Station was located on the Lido Deck. We sat down with a libation (obtained just before the Bars Closed for this all important event) and were happily surprised to see chairs being arranged. Yes, we all sat comfortably as the drill began and the "in case we sink" instructions were given. Everyone paid "rapt attention" in comfort, while happily sitting down. No more standing at attention while some junior ship's officer who thought she was still in "Her majesty's Royal Navy and we passengers were Sailors from HMS Bounty, gave us a verbal Cat o Nine Tail Ships Brief, which would describe my very first Carnival Cruise 10 years Earlier. And Yes, before we knew it that wonderful Sound we all were awaiting Blasted our ears; the Ships Horn Announcing we were Underway! As the Ship slowly made her way down the Galveston Channel, Pat and I rapidly made our way to the nearest Bar for a post departure Libation. We returned to our Stateroom and were happy to find that our luggage had arrived. My Ten Dollar Investment had Paid off. Our two suitcases were in our stateroom and not on their way to Bombay! I happily retrieved my 6 mini bottles of Crown Royal that had not been confinscated by the Whiskey Police and was quite relieved that I would not have to make the walk of shame to the Naughty Room where whisky smugglers are paraded in front of their fellow "law abiding" passengers. Our State Room Steward Tomas introduced himself and asked us to please let him know if we needed anything at all. As is my usual custom, I slipped Tomas an extra (pre departure) gratuity which has always insured impeccable service from our State room stewards. Tomas seemed to be quite happy with his "Windfall". As Galveston Island disappeared below the horizon, Pat happily headed to her waiting wagering machines of chance. As Bells Rang, Wheels Whirled, and Handles were pulled the Casino came to life and happy cruisers and Pat prepared to part with their money. We had late dining and headed to our 8:15 seating with visions of fine food. My poor wife Pat is Celiac Intolerant (meaning she is allergic to Wheat). Carnival does an excellent job of catering to guests with Food Allergies. The hostess went over the evening menu with Pat and the picked out her dinner. She then went over the following evening's menu and took Pat's Special Order. Once again we are quite pleased with the manner in which this was handled. We enjoyed our first dinner on board and are anticipating the dinners to follow After dinner Pat headed to the Casino and Slot Machines. I head to bed. I enjoy sleeping while the ship is underway and as usual was out like a light. Sometime during the night my eyes opened and I realized our cabin door was wide open. I have no idea how long it had been open. The door had not been properly closed. I was shocked! I consider myself very lucky that a group of cheerleaders did not sneak in and take advantage of me while i slept! Day 2 at Sea The next morning our alarm clock went off at 7AM on the dot with a knock on the door by Room Service delivering our morning coffee. A quick glance out of our porthole window confirmed we were out at sea somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico. The morning dawned bright if not just a bit chilly. After a nice breakfast prepared at the Panorama Omelet Station I explored. I discovered a lovely (quiet) dining area at the very aft part of the ship where one could enjoy one's repast while watching the ship's wake and see where we had been. One level down was the New Serenity Adult only area. This is a very nice area with 2 hot tubs, chaise lounges both in the sun and an area with ample shade. I am certain that Bar Service is of course Available. The fact that Children are Banned ensures the peace and quiet we old folks enjoy. Bar Service is of Course Available. Speaking of Kids, there are more on board than I would have thought considering School is in session. It is a good thing there are no Truant Officers Allowed on Board Carnival Cruise Ships. Although one sees kids one does not necessarily hear them. The kiddos are kept busy by the various Ship Board Activities designed to keep them out of everyone's (especially their Parent's) way. After a nice breakfast we decided it was time for Bloody Mary's. The morning special ($4.95 until noon) were enjoyed as we sat at the Pool Bar (Smoking side) on the Lido Deck. After the Morning Libations, Pat headed to (where else the Casino and her beloved slot machines and I explored the ship. I really enjoy the days at sea. I pretend I am Horatio Hornblower as I walk the decks in search of a Wench and CatoNine. (Oh wait, wrong character) :) It is nice to enjoy the fresh air and warm sunshine. They have entertainment such as Raggae Music, Drunkin Bubba Hairy Chest Contests, etc. at the Swimming Pool area on the Lido Deck. Or one can remove onself, with Kindle and iPod in hand, to the Serenity Deck. We had a nice lunch in the Main Dining Room where we shared a table with an interesting couple who winter in Texas and Summer at their home in the United Kingdom. Pat returned to (where else) the casino and I headed up to the Pool area to check on the temperature. The morning started out a bit cool but as our Ship Steamed Southard the day warmed nicely. The Calypso/Raggae/Country Band was playing again and the music was great. The next thing I knew I was in a Lounge Chair sipping a Gin and Tonic with the warm sun shining on me, and enjoying the tunes. What a great way to spend the afternoon. As the evening approached I headed up to have an afternoon coffee and cookie while working on this missive. Carnival issues color coded Sign and Sail Cards. First time cruisers get blue and red cards, 2nd to 9th time cruisers get gold cards, and 10th on up get the platinum (silver) cards. As I sat and people watched I realized I was seeing a lot of blue cards and first time cruisers. As a Stock Holder in Carnival Corporation I was happy to see smiles on all of these first time cruisers. Pat and I enjoyed our pre-dinner cocktails at the Deck 9 (Dreaded) Cigar Bar where smoking is permitted. All I can say is I am sure all of the Rabid Anti Smokers were/are quite unhappy to see all of the people there having fun. I would like to point out, that there are a few smoking lounges where smoking is permitted and others where it is banned. (For instance, smoking is permitted in the Casino, since it seems most of those dreaded smokers are also gamblers.) However smoking is NOT permitted at the Casino Bar or in any of the public area where people tend to congregate. I made the mistake of visiting the on board duty free where a nice shiny new Citizen Watch jumped out and made me purchase it. I decided that instead of tossing a couple of hundred bucks away at the Crap Table, I would wear my shiny new watch around. I must say it looks good on my skinny wrist. The second evening at sea is the "Formal Night". Since many of our fellow passengers were well so dressed, I decided to join in and donned a nice pair of slacks, neck tie, and sport coat. I must admit I looked quite spiffy with my new Citizen Chongraph strapped to my wrist. We were joined by a couple of thousand Lobster Tails at Dinner. I am not sure why but for some reason the service at ort table is way below par. Everything seems to be moving quite slow and I noticed the folks at nearby tables eating while we were waiting. I generously slipped our head waiter a $20 bill on our first evening, and am now wondering if my generosity was in vain? We shall see. After a nice dinner Pat of course headed to her beloved Slots and I to the Piano bar. One thing about cruising, whenever you get a lot of people together one sees a lot of different behavior. Most good, some dumb, and some bad. Here we are in a Piano Bar; the piano player singing, the patrons enjoying. Some Bozos at the rear of the room were carrying on a loud conversation and disrupting the performance. What **** Heads! They knew exactly what they were doing and couldn't care less. I guess those must be the "low class folks" my snobby neighbor refers to whenever talking about typical Carnival Cruisers. My rocking bed beckoned. I am sorry to report that the door stayed closed and locked all night so no cheer leaders were tempted. Day 3 â€“ Progresso (Merida) Mexico As you know the Yucatan Penninsula was the home of the Mayan Indian Population. So Pat and I decided to broaden our Horizons on this cruises and we signed up for a tour of the Xcapa Mayan Indian Ruins. We were up at 5:30 AM to prepare for our trip back into time. Our ship docked at Progresso bright and early at 7AM. Passengers (us included) streamed off the ship with smiles and with water bottles in hand we headed towards awaiting buses. Some folks were off to tour the various Ruins, some headed to the beach, some into Merida, some to explore, and some to drink Mexican beer. We boarded our bus along with 60 other fellow amateur archeologists and away we went. It was about a 45 minute ride and all along it our trusty tour guides kept us informed of different minituae along our route. I must admit it was quite informative; I now know why Flamingos are pink! The ruins are quite interesting. One must stop and reflect that this was a culture that was extremely advanced. Their Mathematics and Astronomy rival that of today. The city we visited was founded 200 years BC. After our visit to the ruins we visited a Cemetery where we learned why there are different colors on the crypts. It seems if the deceased were Pure Mayan his new home is painted a bright blue, green, or yellow. We then proceeded to a small town inhabited by modern day Mayans where we visited a big (surprise) Catholic Church built back in the 18th century. Last but not least, was a stop at a 'modern' resort on the beach where 'lunch' was served. We all agreed that the "lunch" we were treated to made everyone really appreciate the fine food we are enjoying on board the Ecstasy. As we were waiting in line to re-board our ship I noticed lots of smiles among our fellow passengers. We visited with one lady and her daughter who had just visited the local Rum Factory. I know why they both wore big smiles. We headed back to our cabin. Awaiting us was another nice gift from Carnival to their Platinum Cruisers. We both received a nice Logo Notebook along with Ecstasy Pins. As I recharged my batteries ship was underway once again, now on course for an overnight sail to the Cozumel. There was a knock on the door and there as a plate complimentary hor de vours, a welcome snack, complements of Carnival (I think). Dinner this evening was quite good (well for everyone except poor Pat). I am happy to report that our servers seemed to be doing a bit better this evening. As I mentioned earlier Pat has food allergies and Carnival does an excellent job (usually). Pat's dinner that had been preordered the prior evening was Gluten Free Pasta and Chicken that is specially prepared. Her dinner was very late in arriving but alas it tasted just great! (More to follow) Pat returned to her beloved Slot Machines after dinner, and I just kind of wandered around. I became enamored with the Crap Table but am proud to say I left with nary a wager and headed to bed with visions of 7's and 11's dancing in my head. Day 4 â€“ Cozumel We awakened on this 4th day with the sun shine beaming in through our Porthole Window. Our ship is headed towards Cozumel where we are scheduled for an on time arrival at 8AM. Alas my dear poor Pat had been a-wake, and ill all night long. It seems that the "Gluten Free" pasta that had tasted so good at dinner the evening befoe, had "Glutened" her. She (correctly I think) has decided that somehow her Pasta was not Gluten Free.) Since Carnival does such a good job with special menu's and prepared food, we decided the failure was at the lowest denominator, perhaps the server or junior cook. That is why it tasted so good (you see gluten free food tastes bad!) Somehow Carnival has blown it. I am not sure if the problem was the kitchen or the server, but somehow they missed the mark! Poor Pat is Sick as can be as our Ship pulled into Cozumel. She will remain in the cabin until the gluten is out of her system. You see this food allergy causes her intestines to become inflamed (yep it is painful) and swollen closed. This is what Poor Pat is dealing with. Me? I shall enjoy a quiet ship while in Port and the rest of my fellow passengers are off at Senior Frog's drinking Tequila Shooters. It sure is a good thing I have visited Cozumel before. So I shall go by myself and have a quiet shot of Tequila as I salute Cozumel. I decided to spend some time pool side while Pat hopefully rid her body of the Toxins from which she had been poisoned by the prior evening's dinner in the Main Dining Room. Actually, it is quite nice to have the whole ship to oneself while 1,782 fellow passengers are ashore. I assumed the "moniker" of Aristotle Onassis as I enjoyed Gin and Tonics Pool side in the warm Yucatan Sun (while Jackie was ashore entertaining the Governor of the Island. Wow did that guy have it made, even if he did have to purchase Jackie) Pat joined me for lunch at the Panorama Buffet. She seemed to be feeling a bit better but did not eat very much as her internal system is still on tilt. (Last time it tilted this badly she spend 4 weeks in a Hospital and we "prepared for the worst") I have to admit I have wondered if the value of my Carnival Stock will drop very much after we file the 'lawsuit'. After Lunch Pat repaired back to our stateroom as I returned to Poolside with my Kindle Electronic Book in hand. Mr. Kindle and I watched the Lido slowly fill up as my fellow cruisers returned from their various shore bound excursions. I suspect some of them had sampled tequila shots! I had a nice visit with the lady lounging next to me. We discussed the joys of a Cruise Ship Vacation. She has cruised on both Cunard and Carnival and had some interesting reflections on the different types of cruisers the various lines attract. We both agreed that Carnival does indeed offer good product for the value. Oh, by the way, Cunard has a very strict dress code in their Dining Rooms. The British do know how to dine properly. Finally the Carlos Santana Noise (I mean music) drove me away as we sailed away from this Island Paradise and our ship turned to a North West bound heading towards (sob) Galveston. So with ears ringing, I headed do to the cabin to check on Pat. One thing I have noticed on this cruise and on all of our other cruises is the how clean and well kept the Ship is kept. Empty glasses, plates, and assorted flotsom seem to be instantly picked up by personnel armed with brooms, mops, and containers. I must leave soon to meet Pat in the Atrium for Cocktails while a Piano Concert is scheduled in the Main Atrium. I think it is a good sign that Pat is up and about and considering a libation. Hopefully the Crohn's Toxins have not done too much damage to her delicate insides. I shall return to this missive soon, perhaps tomorrow. While I am gone I would like to ask that you readers bid me good luck as my anti-gambling at the Crap Table (re: my fancy new wrist watch) resolve has crumbled. Pat decided not to eat in an attempt to help her recover from her health problems caused by the dinner she ate had eaten the night before. She did visit with the hostess in the main dining room to let her know that somehow her dinner the night before had caused her problems. Of course the Hostess, and Maitre d' assure her that was impossible. She just wanted them to know that there had in fact been a failure. I have no doubt that they checked into what/when/how Pat's Gluten Free meal had been prepared, and realize they could never admit that they were at fault. (Read Lawyers) We just wanted them to be aware that there had been a problem. We had (my) pre-dinner cocktails at the "Society Cigar Bar", which, you guessed it, allows cigarette smoking. While there I had a very interesting conversation with Alan, the Bartender, who is from Lima Peru. He is a very knowledgeable fellow and we discussed Carnival and the company's different Policies. I suspect Allen will go places within the company. He is very representative of Carnival's Personnel and their good attitudes towards Guest Relations. It made me feel good about being a Stock holder (sadly my holdings are quite small) and my future value of my investment. I think I shall increase my holdings, as they say on Wall Street. I dined alone, since Pat was off food. Our table mates were missing as well, so I had the table to myself. The group of eight next to me very graciously invited me to join them for dinner, but I declined. The Hostess, Maitre d' and even the waiters all inquired about Pat's well being and wished her a speedy recovery. I must way that my solo dining table service was impeccable and I enjoyed a nice dining experience. After dinner I stopped by the Casino to wish Pat good luck and headed to bed. I find I usually sleepy by the time the late dinner seating is over, which is usually around 10PM. I think next cruise we may try the Any Time Dining which everyone who says is great. I thought about how our ship was sadly steaming homeward bound as I fell asleep.
Day 5 â€“ At Sea Homeward Bound Our last day at sea dawned beautiful. Blue skies and bright sunshine has warmed the day as our ship steams steadily northwest ward. I grabbed my trusty Canon Camera, which has been giving me trouble this whole voyage, and headed up to the Lido deck. Although I have 2 batteries for it, I have decided both are worn out and need replaced. Sometimes my camera will happily snap way, other times it goes on strike. I am happy to report that this morning it decided to work and I was able to get some nice shots of the blue waters as we chugged along. I enjoyed a lovely breakfast outside at the aft area of the ship while enjoying the warm sun shine beaming down. My fellow sea borne sailors all seemed happy as we greeted the new day. I returned to our Cabin to find Pat feeling better as she announced she had recovered from her recent Gluten Poisoning. We were both quite relieved. (One cruise she ended up spending 2 days in the ship's infirmary, had an ambulance ride to the hospital where she spent 2 weeks on our arrival in New Orleans. ) I must point out this is NOT the Cruise Lines fault. She had experienced a Crohn's attack and in those days no one was aware that Wheat (Gluten) seriously aggravates the condition. We happily headed up to the Lido deck and the Luncheon Buffet where she could hand pick her meal, insuring that it was gluten free. She chose Fish, Salad, French fries, Sushi, and some sort of Jello for dessert. Our friends Rick and Linda, the nice couple who invited us to share their table on the sail away day, joined us and we enjoyed a nice meal. Afterwards, with Kindle in hand, I headed to the Serenity Area where I spent the afternoon reading the Latest Nikki Heat Novel while watching our ships wake disappear over the horizon. Sadly this is the last day and our cruise will soon be over. I am not sure if it is me or if the temperature really is getting steadily colder as we steam along. Tomorrow is debarkation day and as Platinum Concierge Guests we are offered Priority Debarkation. Being lazy, I have decided to pack my "Steamer Trunk" sized Suitcase tomorrow morning and after lowering its "Landing Gear" we will wheel our stuff of the ship. Stay tuned to find out how that goes. For now I see a Martini in my future and am looking forward to dinner. After retrieving Pat from the Casino, we headed to the Society (smoking permitted) Lounge for our pre-dinner cocktails. We again had a nice visit with Alan before heading off to our final dinner. I did tip both the Maitr 'd and the Jennifer our Hostess because they did go out of their way to insure that Pat's Gluten Free meals were provided. It was not their fault that the one gluten failure occured and I am sure they took steps to prevent future mishaps. Our two table mates missed dinner again. I suspect they decided they preferred the more relaxed upstairs dining venue. I gave our cocktail waiter one last gratuity which he was so very happy to receive. Just before our dinner was delivered a nice bottle of wine was presented to Pat with compliments from the Casino. Gosh we were sure showered with nice little gifts. I can only wonder why? ($$$) Our two waiters wished us well and thanked us profusely for the extra gratuities. My theory on gratuities is to tip generously. These folks that provide the service are not well paid. So extra is very highly apprecitated. I have also found that these generous offerings I make do indeed (usually) pay off handsomely. For instance, if a $1 bill is laid down on the bar along with ones sign and sail card one will almost always find that an extra large pour is added to ones libation. In other words almost a double for the price one. That works for me! GALVESTON ARRIVAL AND DEBARKATION or EXTRA FREE DAY AT SEA I awakened early on Saturday Morning. There was a beautiful full moon shining down on us. I felt the ship was barely moving. A quick peek outside the Port Hole Window confirmed we were barely making way due to heavy fog. I would estimate the visibility as less than Â¼ mile. Every 2 minutes the ship's Fog Horn would sound. I headed upstairs and using my nifty new chronograph determined the fog horn would sound for 5 seconds at 2 minute intervals. I used my Droid Phone Recorder Application to record the Horn from outside as it sounded. So hopefully I will have a nifty new Ring Tone for my phone. (Yes folks my Droid Phone ring tone is now the Ships Horn!) Pat and I have decided to lug our suitcases off with us when we disembark. The jury is out as to whether or not we made a good call or a major blunder since our wheel along steamer trunks are heavy and clumsy. I am certain there are elevators in the Cruise Terminal, I HOPE! As I was having my breakfast, timing the fog horn blasts, I noticed the ship and stopped, and the fog horn was no longer honking. Shortly thereafter our Captain came on and advised us that the port was closed due to zero visibility and we were anchored at the Pilot Station. And as ATC used to advise me when I had to enter holding awaiting for weather the 'delay is indefinite". It is now 8:30AM and we are still awaiting for the visibility to improve. I am not sure just how much RVR (Sea Visual Range) these guys need to navigate but I suspect they need a bit more than the 600 foot runway visual rangne I could land my Jumbo Jet in. I feel sorry for the passengers on shore awaiting our arrival so they can depart on their Cruise. My guess is we will arrive at the Galveston Island Cruise Terminal between 10:30 â€“ 11:00AM. Boy am I worng on that ETA! The Captain just came on and said we were still holding awaiting weather minimums to improve so we can make our approach into the harbor. He said he will make another announcement in an hour, which tells me there is not much improvement in the forecast. This is weather and no one can control it. February is Fog Season in this part of the world. I remember 3 "zero zero" landings in a row all in Houston one year. Around 4 PM the ship got underway. The electronic map along with the Mornful Moan of the Fog Horn showed we were proceeding toward Galveston. About 5 minutes later we came to a screeching halt (well OK, we slowed to a stoop). The Captain came back on and annouced that the visibility improved somewhat, then it went back down. Shorty there after the Captain informed us all that we would in fact remain out at sea overnight and would proceed off shore to a point where they could open the Shops and Most Importantly, The Casino. We all enjoyed our extra night at sea as everyones Luggage was returned to them. My FaceBook friend Mach (of Cruis Critic fame) sent me this map of the Ecstasy's Travels while awaiting the fog to clear. You can see where we left and went back out to sea completing a large Triangle Course which returned us back to the achorage where we awaited the Fog to Clear. Thank you Mach! I must admit I did feel a little guilty eating dinner in the Main Dining Room that would was really intended to be enjoyed by the poor folks stranded on shore in Galveston awaiting our non-return. AN EXTRA Â½ DAY and FINALLY HOME I awakened this morning to the feel of an idle ship. A quick peek out of the porthole window confirmed that we were still fog bound. Since the fog horn was not blowing I assertained that we were at anchor. Around 9AM the Captain came on to inform us that the Port of Galveston was still closed due to zero visibility caused by the sea fog. Finally around 10AM a quick peek out of my porthole window showed the visiibilty rapidly increasig. It was really amazing seeing all of the ships that we were anchored among as they slowly became visible. We went up and had a nice breakfast on the Lido Deck and I did notice a bit of excitement among my fellow sailors at the notion of going home for real. By 11 we floating were under blue skies and warm sunshine as the ship began to make way towards port. We were informed that there were 3 ships all headed in at the same time and we would be mooring at Pier 10 instead of the Cruis Terminal. The Cruise Director came on and gave us a briefing on how disembarkation would be handled. After docking they would call Â½ deck at a time to proceed to the forward showroom where we would clear Customs and Immigration on board the ship. We would then return to our rooms, pick up our luggage and self-disembark where buses would take us to the Cruise terminal. As Platinum guests, we were called in the first group to clear customs and disembark. It worked quite well for us. As we waited in the fast moving line to meet with Immigration I learned there were only 39 Platinum guests on board. I must say this did surprise me. After clearing customs and immigration, we lugged and rolled our wheeled suitcases down to level 3 and were soon off the ship where we boarded an awaiting bus. From the time we were called to clear customs to the time we were in our Car at the was 2 hours, which all things considered was not too bad. I have read that some of the later passengers disembarking that day encountered a horror scene. We did not. So with smileS on our faces we pointed our Rav4 toward home.
I am a Platinum Guest having Sailed more than 10 Carnival Cruises. This was the Worst Cruise of all. The Food has gone down in Quality along with a drop in Selection. We were seated fin the Dining Room at a table for 4 it was 5 of us with an added chair limiting table space for everyone. The Servers appear to have more tables to service and this cut down on quality of service. The Fresh Fruit and Vegetables are of poorer quality. Portions are smaller but you can always order more. The Casino allowed a 7 or 8 year old child to sit at a full Poker Table next to his parent leaning on the table and they spoke Spanish. I had to lean over onto the table to make sure the kid wasn't looking at my Cards, supposed to be English Only with No Kids allowed. Table Dealers were Not Friendly. Casino Management was oblivious of what was transpiring. Room Steward was efficient as was Boarding Agents. Carnival at least this Ship is Not up to it's usual standards. Maybe trying to save money since the Groundingof the Sister Ship in Italy. They need to get back on track or they will be the Big Losers, everyone on board was saying the same thing. They are going down hill.
To Whom It May Concern:
I would like to commend the Carnival Cruise Lines for all the great cruises we have taken. We are PLATINUM GUESTS. I have a special review for the Team Head Waiter,I Ketut Sudiasta, who we met 5 years on a cruise. This employee is efficient and makes sure all his guests are satisfied in everyway. He is professionsl, kind, friendly and all his guests are over whelmed and keeps in touch with him. He is an important asset to this cruise line. We will continue to cruise on the ships which he travels on. His ID is #264743. We chose this cruise because Ketut would be on this ship.
WARNING...THE RETURN OF ROTO VIRUS CARNIVAL STYLE!
PLEASE BE ADVISED THE FOLLOWING WAS SENT TO WEST PALM BEACH LOCAL NBC-TV STATION INVESTIGATIVE REPORTED...PLEASE CLEAN UP YOUR ACT...AND KEEP DOING IT!!!!!!!!!
We went on the Carnival Freedom on Sunday 1/22 to Saturday 1/28/...I could not help notice the total lack of sanitation and sterilization aboard. First of all this was my 25 cruise...last year I cruised 4 times...so I know what I am talking about!
After the major stomach viruses a few years ago...at night the ships were pressured cleaned every night about 2 am...passengers had to spray their hands with sanitizers...or they were spray. Sunday night...ed by the crew! This trip you could not find the hand sanitizers and there was no overnight sanitization.
Again we returned on Saturday 1/28...the baby Daniela started getting sick on Monday...her mom Rosalie got sick on Tuesday...I got sick on Wednesday and her dad got sick on Friday...that is 4 of the 6 on the cruise.
I contacted Carnival...who said they would document it...otherwise "Feel Better"...now two other of their ships have be effected do to their lack of proper sanitation...This I feel is another epidemic about to explode!!!!
FYI...can'tnot eat anything...constant Diarrhea (every 1/2 hour)...the good news is I lost 7 pounds and the Bad News is I am still going 5 days later...same with everybody else...SO:
GO GET THEM...Joe Nasuti...BOOKING # 330RD8
After cruising on the "Dream" and being very disappointed I took a cruise on the RCL Enchantment of the sea, There is no comparison the dream(nightmare) was so bad I would not recommend this cruise to any body whose expectations of a cruise is to be entertained or served at least in the dining room. I have had better service from the staff at Mcdonalds then I had on the dream(nightmare)
Cruise first day was 01/01/2012. I put 12/31/2011 as the start date because 2012 was not listed as an option.
I have cruised 23 times, this being number 13 with Carnival. I am a Platinum Past Guest with Carnival and Royal Caribbean.
As a VIP (Platinum), embarkation was fast and easy as registration was quick and the long lines were avoided.
My room was on floor 6 above the Ocean Plaza, but I felt like my room was in Ocean Plaza when there was live music playing there. Apparently there is no type of insulation or acoustic barrier between floors 5 and 6 in that area. Other than that, the room was nice but nothing special and the bathroom was the same as on most other Carnival ships. The TV channel selections left a lot to be desired. There were no sports channels (ESPN, etc) as there were in the bars with televisions. So if you wanted to watch sports you had to go to a bar. The room stewards were very friendly and did an excellent job.
The Lido dining area was about the same as other Carnival ships, with along buffet line instead of separate areas like on other cruise line ships where salads, breads, entrees, etc are separate. The food was not as good as expected. Replenishment of foods was slow at times and you had to wait.
The waiter and assistants in the Southern Lights dining room did a great job but the food was nothing special. On most cruises, the Maitre D sings, however in this dining room we had a singer trying to be a Maitre D. I don't know why he was there other than to sing as the rules/restrictions on clothing were not being enforced and he never came near our dining area. On casual dining nights, baseball caps could be seen in the dining room, with 3 men at the same table with baseball caps on every casual dining night. On formal night, men with jeans and sandals were observed. Carnival should either enforce the dress codes/restrictions or eliminate them.
The food and service in the Cucina Del Capitano was very good. The extra charge has been raised from $10 to $12.
The Pizzeria service was very slow in the late evenings with long waits for pizza as none was prepared.
There never seemed to be deck chairs/loungers available, while a great number of them were occupied only by towels. Reserving of deck chairs was not enforced as some people left a towel on their chair/lounger and were gone for 60 minutes or longer to eat, etc. There was no Caribbean/calypso music played in the pool area even though this was a Caribbean cruise. No bands played in the pool area and it would have been nice to hear music with steel drums or other type of band music instead of DJ crap.
The Red Frog Pub was a good addition, their signature beer is good and the bartenders were friendly.
The Casino staff wasn't very friendly and drink service become very slow after becoming an "ON US" customer.
The shows were nothing exceptional as compared to other Carnival cruises and cruise lines.
Arriving back at the ship on a tender in Grand Cayman took a long time as a previous tender was still unloading passengers because there was only a single scanner to process everyone through and passengers were prevented from leaving the tender as the lines waiting to be scanned were too long for the waiting area on the ship. Passengers were stopped a few times from leaving our tender until the lines shortened up inside the ship.
The ship was late arriving back at port due to dense fog which closed the port down. As a VIP, I was instructed to go to the Northern Lights dining room to wait for disembarkation. There were no people directing and/or signs designating which area was for VIP's, self assist passengers, others, etc in the dining room, which was a zoo. Disembarking was a disaster and took more than an hour after leaving the ship to retrieve luggage. I was one of the first off the ship as a VIP (Platinum) in category Group 1. While waiting for Group 1 luggage to be delivered to the luggage pickup area, I observed that luggage for groups 12, 22, 25, 26, etc was being brought to the area before Group 1. When we were finally able to retrieve our luggage, processing through customs was fairly quick.
Waiting for a cab took another hour or more as there were no cabs waiting in line and they were arriving one at a time every 5-10 minutes. We finally left the port area about 3:00 PM which is 5-6 hours later than when we left from previous cruises there. Although much of that time was related to the fog, the 2 hours for retrieving luggage and getting a cab could have been 15 minutes or less if properly handled.
Again, I was one of the first to retrieve luggage and to get a cab. I'm sure it was even worse for the 3,000+ passengers who followed.
The Carnival Freedom was a big disappointment for the food and service of the crew. It seems that some of the crew thought we were going to other areas and this was the start of the problem. The crew thought they would sell the same ports as they did a year earlier and this would let some of them get to ports of their home. If not for our server Alberto the whole food and service would have been horible. Stopping at the ports was the only good thing, this was to get off the boat. The 80.00 per person tips for the crew was a surprise. This was a no choice 80 per person times 5 = 400. This was taken out of our account on the second day. The room service was horible sometimes waiting up to 45 min for an item. I will never travel on Carnival again.
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!)