I just returned from a five night cruise on The Celebration 7-14-07 thru 7-19-07. Celebration is Carnival's second oldest ship. The age of the ship did not detract from the cruise experience. There were no hassles from the crew, and there seemed to be plenty of crew. The only issue I had with the crew is that some of them did not smile. Some of them looked like they were tired of their jobs and their blank emotionless stares gave this passenger a not so happy vibe. On a "fun ship" I expect crew members to make quick eye contact with a smile or hi/hello FIRST. A couple of times I said hello first and did not get a response back. Some of the crew were fun to talk with and I tipped them extra with two dollar bills.
All of the crew that I saw were from foreign countries. Several from Ukraine, Peru, Taiwan and many more countries. "Skip" was our cruise director. He was an Aussie or Kiwi. Skip was energetic and did a good job of hosting game shows, and informing the passengers of important information, all witha wonderful sense of humor.
The comment cards that they ask you to fill out made it difficult to score the cruise and the crew accurately, which in my opinion is hard on the crew because it is set up in a pass or fail choice. I wished I could have marked maybe instead of yes or no on some questions. At the end of the comment card questions Carnival asks if you would take this cruise again. This is an example of the pass or fail type questions. I marked NO. The thing is, I'm glad I took this cruise, and I had a great time. I would probably just want to try different cruises in the future.
I recommend the cruise and feel most people will enjoy it.
Well for starters. Take advantage of the easy embarkation by arriving early, with no food or drinks in hand or you will have to throw them away. The lines can be real long, however the process is very smooth, similar to the airline industry. Oh, I almost forgot, the parking at the Jacksonville port is $12 a day.
Once you get on the ship the excitement begins. The ship exceeded our expectations. Although the ship is older it was well maintained. About the Cabin, the cabin was clean except for the bathroom. The bathroom could have used a thorough cleaning. All in all, the cabin was nice. Nothing elaborate, yet clean and comfortable. The beds slept very comfortably. I was amazed, this was some of the best sleep I have had in a while.
Now, for those people out of shape, be prepare to walk a lot and take the stairs. Unlike the mega ships, this ship has a lot of stairs, there are elevators but the stairs are more convenient.
The food was great and there were plenty of choices. The buffet bar was great and the pizza was goodalso. The dining experience was also great. The food was exquisite and very tasty.
There is shopping on the ship and shows. Also there is Camp Carnival for the Kids, which is wonderful. The cabin steward and all personnel are nice and friendly. The music on the pool main deck was wonderful thanks to Cleve the DJ.
For the price and value this is a great cruise, bar none.
This was my 4th cruise and my worst. I was very disappointed in the ship. Too small and the entertainment was terrible and had to pay extra to eat in the formal dining room. I would not recommend this cruise to anyone.
This ship is 20 years old, but in very good shape. This was my 4th cruise and I really enjoyed myself.
Cruise director and entertainment staff were fabulous. Others at our dining table who had been on numerous cruises were disappointed in our ship and entertainment options. I'd imagine that if you had been on newer, glitzier ships with ice skating, wave boarding, big shopping malls, etc., this may have been disappointing. I was not disappointed in the least. I found there to be plenty of entertainment options and the overall atmosphere very fun.
Pools are a bit small and fairly crowded, but it didn't stop my kids from taking part.
Food was generally very good, though I was disappointed in the desserts. Ice cream and pizza 24 hours a day was great and my whole family took advantage of that. Our waiter, Wayan, and assistant waiter, Ronald, were fabulous and made paper animals for my kids every evening.
I thought the nightly shows were great, and the daytime trivia, game shows, etc., were very, very fun. We went on the Disney Wonder 3 years ago and had more fun on this cruise.
KeyWest was a charming, quaint port and we enjoyed Ardastra Gardens in Nassau.
I would love to go on one of the newer ships, and hope to do that soon. I will definitely stick with Carnival because Carnival's got the fun -- and it's affordable!
Ship - Celebration ( believe me, it's nothing to celebrate! ) out of Jacksonville, Fl
Positives Service every where on ship was fine, EXCEPT Joseph the Maitre d’ and his waiters at our tables. Joseph was very uncooperative. The comedians were very good especially Kim the self proclaimed big girl from South Carolina who was FANTASTIC! It was an hour of non stop, gut busting laughter! The Filet Mignon, Sirloin Strip and smoked Salmon were all very good. Food was presented extremely well. It's just too bad that they did not expend a quarter of that effort in making it taste good.
Room Dirty underwear was found in room the first day along with M&Ms on floor. Toilet was dirty upon entering room. Repairs had been done in bathroom previously that would be unacceptable in any house in the country. Grout was dirty or rusty and non existent in some places. There was exposed rusty metal in bathroom.
Main dining room The first night we could not get our water glasses refilled. The Caesar Salad had no garlic and was the worst I had ever had. The desert was supposed to besome type of chocolate cake in a bowl. It was uncooked and still liquid under the crust. After a serious discussion with Joseph the uncooperative Maitre d’ we were moved to another table the following evening.
The second night our waiter spent more time studying his orders than serving. He had four tables and would get everyone’s order and then serve all the soups at all the tables at once, leaving the people who ordered something other than soup with nothing to eat.
The third night, after he started to do the same thing, I told him to serve each course to everyone at our table at once. He started serving properly at that point. I was served Seafood Newburg that smelled bad. I was in the seafood business. I know what good seafood is supposed to smell like! I had the Cherries Jubilee for desert. It was served as Cherries Jubilee soup.
The fourth night we actually got good service. YEA! Too bad the food was awful except the steak.
The fifth night the service continued to be good. I ordered one of my favorite dishes that I have had at least 100 times before. Escargot, it was terrible and only one snail was eaten. I also ordered the Chateaubriand. It was like shoe leather. I sent both of those to the trash and ordered the NY strip. As usual it was very good.
In general the food on the ship was terrible. No better than cafeteria food at a FAIR cafeteria. The coffee was the worst coffee I can ever remember having, anywhere. The milk I received when ordering room service came out in chunks. I never could get a ripe piece of melon and I tried it every day. On the second to last day of the cruise my wife ordered a Bloody Mary and it was served without celery. We asked for a stalk of celery and were told that they had run out. There was no apology given.
There were very few scheduled activities on this cruise in comparison to most cruises. I found myself wandering around aimlessly trying to find something to do besides gamble. Most of the gambling on this ship was done on the slots with very little table action.
When disembarking we were supposed to have gotten VIP service. This means that we were supposed to have been escorted off the ship prior to the rest of the cruisers. They forgot all 18 of the "VIPs" who were waiting in the designated area for this service.
One of the pools was out of service the whole trip. In general this ship is in shoddy condition everywhere except the main public areas like the casino, food service areas, bars and lobbies.
This was truly the cruise from Hell.
Now I know that Carnival could not stay in business if all their cruises and ships were like this, but why did it have to happen to me? I would not cruise on the Celebration again if they gave me the cruise for free and $500 to gamble with!
We just got back from a 4 day cruise to Bahamas from Jacksonville, Fla, and had a great time! I'll spend some time discussing arrival at port because that was the most anxiety provoking part for us. We drove from Charleston, SC and arrived at the port around 1:30pm for the 4pm embarkation. We had a brief wait (20mins) in the cars prior to dropping off luggage, but it was very organized. Be prepared to get your luggage (and friends/family!) out quickly, then go park. You pay for parking prior to getting into the lot, which is very convenient when leaving after the cruise.
We brought a 12 pack of soda and wrote our room number all over it in marker, we also brought water jugs, but had to stuff those in our luggage- note: you can only send a case of water or soda to the room, not individual jugs. Getting onto the boat was also very quick and efficient. To maximize our vacation time, we had each packed a carry-on with our swimsuit, lotion, etc, and went right to the deck to lay out, eat, and relax while everyoneelse boarded. It was great!
Other highlights: People have written negative comments about the condition of the ship, but we didn't notice that at all. The condition of the ship by no means detracted from our enjoyment. We also found our room to be neat and comfortable- great pillows/bedding! Our housekeeping staff was very pleasant and hard-working. The ride was surprisingly smooth in my opinion, and I've cruised on the Carnival Glory before and on that trip it was difficult to walk at times. We had fun at night in the karaoke bar and night club.
The only negative experience I felt we had was that our server in the dining room did not crack a smile on either of the two nights we ate there. I say this because on my last cruise, we had a more outgoing server that we tipped extra because he was so fun. For this trip, we decided to remove the gratuity from our card for the nights we didn't eat there and we didn't tip extra.
Ports: The ports are a good intro to getting around in a set amount of time- everyone speaks English and it's easy to do your own thing if you don't wish to spend money on excursions. I recommend finding the bus stop in Nassau by the straw market and heading to cable beach or paradise island. You can travel for only a dollar per person, but have exact change. The buses are clean, comfortable, and cool, with fun music. Locals use these as well so it's easy to strike up conversation about good restaurants, etc Also, don't pay for the internet on the ship, use the internet in ports, its soooo much cheaper and they're on every corner.
Overall, this vacation was relaxing and fun. I would recommend this cruise for people who don't get picky about details like fresh paint and are interested in keeping things cost-effective.
A fine cruise for the price. Had enough time in each port to do what we wanted. No tours, just walked around Key West and to Atlantis in Nassau (had been to both ports before).
Okay, down to the stuff I hope will help you if you take this one. JaxPort web site says it is open at 10 AM for parking etc. We arrived at 11:10 (we live in Orange Park, south of JAX) Parked in the parking lot ($12/day) and jumped on a golf cart type wagon taking us to the ship. (The ship is close enough to walk to) Checked two bags, and went right to the check in counter (make sure your Nassau immigration paper is filled out ahead of time or you will be stopped till you do), After a quick check in we joined a pretty long line and waited for boarding to begin at 11:30.
On the ship and having lunch by 12. Tip – they say you can not go to the room till 1 PM, but we went to our cabin and dropped off our hand carried luggage (just twosmall pieces)
Had great entertainment shows and the best dance band I have seen in 8 cruises. (Black Jack Band) Very good menu selection and the only bad thing, is that the ship was COLD. Really COLD. We had not taken any sweaters nor long sleeves and ended up taking our beach towel to the lounges to keep warm. Be aware – take a wrap….Jan is now getting over her cold which we presume started on board.
Debarkation went well, we carried all our bags off (self assist they call it) and left the ship at 7:30, through immigration and at our vehicle by 8:10. (Walked to parking) Understand others who did not carry their luggage were off the ship by 8:30 or so.
If you have any specific questions you are welcome to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dick and Jan.
by Ivy - May 25, 2006 Our cruise on the Celebration was chosen because of proximity to home and overall price/value. We were very excited to go on our first cruise, but a little hesitant because of some of the reviews we had read about this vessel.
Fortunately, everything we read that was negative we did not experience, and by the time the cruise was over we decided that the reviewers had either a) picked the wrong cruise for their tastes, b) were 'lifetime' cruises and belonged on a larger, more luxurious ship, or c) were just plain picky and/or negative.
The embarking process was easy since we left from Jacksonville, which has only one ship departing - the Celebration. We were able to bring on four bottles of wine spread throughout our baggage and two 12 packs of soda to offset the cost of drinking Coke and Diet Coke (this is HIGHLY recommended and such as savings as you can use the drinks as mixers if you are drinking liquor drinks.) Although Jacksonville doesn't attract the brightest crew for embarkation, they were pleasant, had a good sense of humor, andkept the traffic moving above a snail's pace.
Once onboard, I was pleasantly surprised with a room decorated with flowers, happy birthday garb, and a bottle of champagne (not chilled, but cool and FREE.) Apparently, family and friends can buy you things for the cruise without your knowledge, so if you are taking a cruise for a special occasion, LET EVERYONE KNOW YOUR CABIN NUMBER AND SHIP NAME.
Soon after boarding, we were greeted by our Steward, who was the only disappointing part of the cruise. He was friendly enough, but immediately stated the hours he WASN'T available. Strange. Oh well, we were happy our room would be cleaned twice a day and we wouldn't be involved in the cleaning.
The room was small, but clean, and the perfect place to rest our heads at night (the only time we planned on being in the cabin aside from showers.) The TV had a Carnival channel that looped the entertainment, cruise director's advice, and excursion info.
The life jacket drill was hot and long and something we could have followed along with in the air-conditioned room.
As we were turning around in the St. Johns river, we had to re-dock and we watched with curiosity (and horror) as ambulances and fire trucks pulled up to the side of the ship. Apparently, the life vest drill had overheated several passengers (it WAS that hot, and MANDATORY) and they had to be taken off the ship. Too bad. The drill could have been indoors.
Our first taste of the food was a mid-day buffet, which was above-average for a buffet and had a wide variety of food and salad. When I learned the buffet was almost 24 hours I realized I was in heaven. The pizza was really good as well, and it was open 24 hours a day (great for late night post-disco munchies.)
The party started right away on the main outdoor deck as folks were already tipsy and dancing in the middle of a magnificent thunderstorm as we passed Ft. Caroline, St. Johns Bluff, and the Mayport Naval Station. The party in the electrical storm lasted until it was time for everyone to get ready for our first dinner.
My biggest regret is not requesting main dinner seating, which is around 5:30. We had 8:30 seating, which was great but we missed bingo and some fun activities planned during the second dinner shift.
Nevertheless, the food was awesome (AWESOME), the service was great, and it was a lot of fun meeting other folks sitting at your table. Carnival does a good job matching groups for dinner based on demographics and the interests in your profile, and we had a ball with our group. Again, the food was incredible and I ordered two main dishes two of the four nights on board simply because I couldn't decide.
I was serenaded by our server and crew and had a memorable birthday dinner with strangers.
The disco was a lot of fun at night, especially because this is where the crew goes when off-duty, and they are one wild bunch. The musicians were great, and the comedians were fantastic as well.
We took one shore excursion on Freeport, which was a good choice because Freeport is undeveloped and decimated by recent hurricanes so there isn't much to do on foot. Our jeep excursion arranged through Carnival was a five hour incredible adventure through hardwood forests, mangroves, beaches, and we even went to a fresh and saltwater cave. It was pricey, but well-worth the money. Our guide was great, and even took us off the regular path to see 'The Flying Dutchman' ship from Pirates of the Caribbean (2), which was filed in Freeport. We saw this incredible Hollywood set in a cove close-up and learned a lot about how they filed the movie. We also had a full two hours off-roading, which was a blast.
Our only disappointment that day was that our room was not cleaned when we returned to change for dinner, and our Stewart didn't answer the call button for the 90 minutes we were in our room. It was clean when we got back from dinner that night, but he didn't take the empty glasses or plates from room service (you actually have to call someone different for that.)
Nassau and Atlantis were fascinating and beautiful, and we wish we had more than one day on the island. The water taxi and cab rides were adventurous, to say the least, and Senor Frogs was worth the visit just for the experience. The only annoyance was the locals as everyone wants to braid your hair or sell you a flute. Regardless, the setting was beautiful.
The day at sea was a great was to 'decompress' as you headed back home. We felt bad for folks who had to travel long distances the next day to get home as we only had a ten minute drive (this is KEY if you live in Jax.)
Overall, four out of five stars, the star lost because of our steward. I can see why cruise enthusiasts may not like this ship, but it's always what you make of it, and it is a fantastic deal.
Just came off the Celebration out of Jacksonville,FL going to Key West and Nassau. I said I would never go on another Carnival ship again a few years back. Then the ship seemed to be filled with drunken young people who were very loud and boisterous but this was a wonderful cruise. Carnival seems to have improved their image here.
We were able to board the ship about 12 with lunch already under way. The food was very good in both the cafe and the dining room. We had an inside room and it was very nice and the bath was modern and nice.
The ship was very clean and while it was an older ship and a small one it was nice for a 5-day cruise.
Our stop in Key West was good but too short as the ship left at 3p.m. and not quite enough time. We did our own tour of the town and visited Truman's and Hemingway's homes at $11 each which I thought was worth the price. In Nassau we took the ship tour of the city for $27 for a 2 hour tour. Also seemto be a good deal although I am sure you could get your own tour cheaper. There is not anything much to see in Nassau but the Queen's Staircase and the Fort. I did object to paying a guide a tip at the fort when I thought it should have been included in the price.
There are no lounge chairs on the walking decks( and these do not go around the ship) but plenty around the pools.If you want to sit away from the pools and a lot of noise you must bring out a small chair yourself.
I had no complaint about the cruise except the Astoria Lounge was very cold for the shows which were quite good. The Talent night show was good and the entertainment crew put on a skit was about the funniest I have ever heard.
You may now carry off your luggage which we did but so did hundreds of others but still the exit was not bad. Parking is $10 a day. I think too high.
We both took colds after getting home and I wonder how many more people did also.
I would rate this cruise excellent from start to finish. Carnival is doing a good job on this cruise.
I just returned from my first cruise. We sailed from Port of Jacksonville to Key West then Nassau. Embarkation was very smooth and we were on the ship in no time at all. I had lurked on reviews prior to sailing and was a bit cautious of what my first cruise or the ship would be like, but I thought the ship was gorgeous. It was very clean, in fact the crew cleaned the entire five days. Everyone was very friendly and it was fun meeting each of the crew members who are from all over the world and learning about their countries.
The day we left was very chilly onboard. Once out to sea we proceeded to dinner in the Horizon dining room. The room was lovely, the food was really good and our waiters, Santiago and Lukacz were very attentative, and provided excellent service. Each night the dining staff put on a show to us, it was great. We ate breakfast and lunch in the wheelhouse and again, the food was great, the facility clean. Our stateroom was very roomy. The beds were comfortable and our room steward poppedin often to remove/replace towels and clean the bathroom. He was charming, as were the towel animals they place on your bed each night.
I saw many jackpots being hit in the casino. I won about 80.00 on the nickle machine however I lost it back on another. I still had fun and some of the family members I traveled with won a few hundred dollars. The shows in the Astoria lounge were nice. We saw the Broadway and Country show which features the singing dancing. One night they had a magic act and a comedian. That one was ok, not to great. I would recommend this cruise.
Key West was beautiful. Nassau wasn't so pretty, I was a bit disappointed, Atlantis was a gorgeous huge hotel, but almost overdone. I'd have to say the best part was Key West.
We had a wonderful time. I didn't travel with my children, but after observing how much fun the kids had at camp carnival, I have already planned a trip next year with mine.