Well, here goes. Please forgive any grammar or spelling errors. I have had little sleep in the last few days .
EMBARKATION: This went about the same as usual. The agents did a good job of keeping everyone organized. It took about 1 hour from our arrival until we were on the ship. The only problem we had was our dining time on the sign and sail said 8:30pm(not a good choice with a 6 year old). They told us to go to the card room and have it adjusted (we did and they moved us to 6:15.
We got on the ship about 1:30. Our Cabin was E58.The location was great. It was close to the atrium and pursers desk. The room was clean and we have sailed Carnival 3 times before, so we knew what to expect. We needed a life jacket for our 6-year-old and the sign on the mirror said to page her if you needed one. So.. silly me followed the directions and got a very irritated room steward who had “many duties and would take care of it soon” 3 hours later and still no life jacket, we reported to our muster station and were told in a rather unfriendly manner that we should have gotten a child’s life jacket from our steward (oh well!!!)I was going to have fun no matter what they threw at me), so I smiled and said “sorry, maybe you could find one for us.”
After the drill we stopped to meet some Bulletin board friends (hi Sandra and Mike!) and then it was off to The Camp Carnival meeting. We signed our son up and took a break in our room to get unpacked.
There was plenty of space for all our stuff and I used the over the door shoe hanger for all the little stuff.
I went on a tour of the spa and ended up getting a body analysis and 30 minutes in the massage capsule for 15 dollars. If you have a few minutes, go to the tours and the classes in the Spa- I got a discount or a free bee every time I went
I think I will go into more general info. here. If you have any specific questions at the end I will answer them.
FOOD: The quality and presentation of the food in the dining room was very good. There were always plenty of choices and our waiter would bring you 2 serving if you asked. The service here was fabulous. Christana and Jan went out of their way to get us whatever we needed. Christana anticipated our sons needs and always did something special for him at each meal. The Lido deck food was standard buffet fare and was filling for breakfast and lunch. The pizza was very good and the ceasar salad was part of most of my lunches. Service here was good also. I wanted eggs over easy one morning and the omelet guy was more than happy to make them for me. Everyone at our dinner table was very happy with the food and the desserts were great. (Try the chocolate decadence!)
ROOM STEWARD: I have never been disappointed with a steward until this one. She just did not want to be there. We had to remind her every day to put ice in our cooler and we had to ask for towel animals for our son. She never cleaned the desk area, and was not pleasant if we asked for anything. I was just very shocked after the other great stewards we have had. I know some of you will be upset with me, but she did not get the full tip.
ENTERTAINMENT: I enjoyed all the shows. The comedians were very funny. The midnight rated R shows were great, and the Broadway shows were very well done. There were plenty of activities around the clock. We enjoyed the piano bar and the karioke. We really loved Music Unlimited. They are in the polo lounge and never failed to entertain. Lots of Trivia games and the usual onboard games (hairy chest, newlywed game, etc.)
CASINO: I broke about even at the casino. They had plenty of .5, .25 and 1.00 slots and lots of other games to help you spend your money.
PORT OF CALL: We could not tender to Grand Cayman. This was a major disappointment for us. We had booked Captain Marvins and my son and I had done some research on Stingrays prior to our trip. Carnival ported us in Playa Del Carmen instead. This was just nasty. The place was dirty and there were no changing facilities at the beach. We tried to look at some shops, but men kept touching me and calling me pretty lady. They were trying to get you into their stores, but I do not want strangers touching me.
Cozumel was nice. We had been here before; we shopped in the morning because it was raining. We got some good deals on some souvenirs and our friends got an engagement ring. In the afternoon we went to the beach at La Cieba. We paid 5.00 per adult and got to use their pool and beach and chairs. The snorkeling was O.K. There was a sunken plane off their beach that was neat. We had a good margarita from their bar. We had planned to go to Paya Sol, but with the rain-we decided to stay close to the ship. We enjoyed this port.
In New Orleans we really enjoyed ourselves. The architecture was great and the street performers were neat. My son loved the men who stand like statues until you put some change in their box. Then they do fun moves. I spent all my change on this activity. The riverwalk mall was really neat. They had many unique items. PLEASE, be very careful here. We had 200.00 in traveler’s checks stolen right out from under our noses. Thankfully they are replaceable.
SEA DAYS: We spent them sunning and playing at the pool and relaxing with books and other onboard activities. We never had a problem finding a chair. The deck hands removed towels if no one had been there for a while.The children’s pool area was a good place to find a chair and usually (suprisingly) peace and quiet. The hot tubs on the pool deck were always overrun with unsupervised children, but the spa tubs did not allow children, so you could always find peace there.
CAMP CARNIVAL: I can not say enough good about this program. There were three councilors that made my son’s week so enjoyable. He will be keeping in touch with them. They had activities almost all day and He wanted to be there for all of them. He was in the 6-8 group. He turned 6 a few days before we sailed. They would let him go over to the 4 and 5 year old group if the group was doing something that was too much for him. There were only 2 6 year olds and 6 8 year olds, so sometimes the things they wanted to do did not mesh. They were very sensitive to this and moved kids around on a by the activity basis. If anyone has a specific question about camp, just ask.
OVERALL: We had a good time! I found that if you overlooked the little things, that the trip was fun. We may try a non-smoking ship next time around. I know that some on one of the boards I post this to will be upset with me, but I think we will try a new line the next time. Carnival seemed to be slipping in overall service. I did not go into all the service issues in my review, because we did have a good time and I don’t want to upset anyone who is going on their cruise soon.Our good time was due more to our attitude than to anything Carnival did for us. The exception to this was the dining room and the three Camp personnel mentioned above. They were excellent. I just felt that Carnival was not very concerned about the individual passenger.
If you have any questions I will be happy to answer them. Just post to the BB. Happy Sailing, Mariann