I've cruised on nearly every Carnival ship, and each time I visit one (around once per year) I'm continually surprised at the nice touches the cruise line adds. Just got off Victory (overview on CruiseMates' home page this Friday) and here's some of the new features I found. They're effective fleetwide now.
Plush terrycloth bathrobes (all outside cabins, all ships); toiletries in bathroom;
self service frozen yogurt from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. daily; Chinese and deli choices (separate areas) in Lido restaurant; cybercafe (on Victory, ten stations; 55 cents per minute); lobster on menu once per week; female room stewards and waiters.
Plus the food is superb and always improving. In the luncheon buffet I found lobster and papaya salad, and at dinner the best chocolate cake I've ever had aboard a ship -- plus, lots of terrific entrees like bass, duck, steaks, lobster, etc.
...Anne, thanks for your Carnival observations! After a bunch of Carnival cruises, I have yet to experience the ordinary. I'm sure you've heard that they strive to "exceed your expectations". I've yet to have anything but the time on my life while vacationing with this cruise line! It sounds like even a seasoned cruiser like yourself can be "continually surprised" by a cruise line as good as Carnival. "It's a big bang for the buck". More accurate words could not have been spoken.
...Anne, thanks for the synopsis, and we're looking forward to your overview.
...Smooth Seas and a Gentle Breeze ...Doug
I too enjoyed the environment on the Victory. The food was wonderful, even though we were not lucky enough to have lobster on our 2 day to nowhere. Looking forward to cruising Carnival again. Probably 2002, interested in the Carnival Spirit to Alaska. I'm sure it'll just keep getting better and better.
My wife and I just returned from a 4 day cruise aboard the Carnival Ecstasy and we too were pleasantly surprised. This was our third cruise and the first on Carnival and we bopth agreed that this was better than on the Royal Carribbean-Monarch of the Seas. Our expectations were more tan exceeded. The ship was clean, the staff happy and helpful, and entertainment was superb. Yes, we had terry cloth bathrobes, the room and bathroom was much larger than on our previous two cruises. It is said that the Carnival is the "Chevy" of the lines but I think it is moving up fast.
Was on FAntasy in Feb and was surprised at the quality of the DR food. Outstanding. A sustantial notch above that served on Grandeur last Oct. Not that Grandeur's was bad, just ot memorable. The neon lights and sparkly lights did get a little old and the noise in the common areas, from the casino, became almost unbearable.