First off, this is my first time posting anything on any site, but after returning from our cruise, I really feel inclined to share. My husband and I booked our cruise about 4 weeks ago on a whim to celebrate my 40th birthday. We have cruised 3 other times on Carnival and most recently , last September, on Disney Dream. In the past, we have had outstanding cruises, so when I read the reviews last week that were posted about all of the negative experiences, I was panicked! I was horrified to think that my husband had treated me to this trip and it was going to be a nightmare.
I told him about the reviews and he encouraged me to see for myself before making any judgements. And that I did...boy am I glad I did. I was worried for nothing! Our check-in was super quick and very organized. We were on the boat and having lunch on deck at 12:15 while the calypso band entertained us. I was looking for rude staff and nasty conditions, but instead, I was greeted with smiles and hellos around every corner. I even watched a young staffer rush to help a woman with a cane who was trying to carry her plate. She was so pleased!
Our room was really nice and for two it was the perfect size. We had an oceanview room. I immediately laid on the bed thinking it would be a rock, but found that it was VERY comfy. And even being two single beds pulled together, you would never have known that it wasn't a king. Never felt the separation. The room stewards, one male and female, were so sweet. They always stopped to speak to us no matter what they were doing. He even made sure to keep our bottle of wine on ice at all times! They never disturbed us, but were there everytime we had a need.
The pool was nice. RElatively the same as all other cruises I have had. Two jacuzzis. As for crowding, I apparently am not up on what "crowded" is. Up until the day at sea, there was hardly ever anyone in the pools. They were a bit chilly, but there were about 5 kids that were always in the pool. Other than that, it was adults sitting on the side soaking their feet. On the day at sea, there were alot of people around the pool area and finally the pool was used by many, but I never saw poeple waiting for their turn. They had ample opportunity. My pictures would prove that. I look alone in most of the pool shots! For privacy, they have a nice Serenity area for adults to use two jacuzzis. I will say that the two around the pool were always in use by four or five guests. The kids especially. So having the Serenity area was nice.
We left our children at home this time, but quickly realized the fun they would h ave had. We had several kids come up to us during scavenger hunts and the christmas program they put on was adorable. We even peeked in the rooms once to see a dance party going on. For those who say that their children didn't enjoy it, maybe they are like mine. When on Disney, they wouldn't stay in the clubs for fear they would miss something going on elsewhere. I truly don't think it had anything to do with the planned activities because the children I encountered were in heaven!
The bar staff were the best. Drinks were not expensive as I read. The drinks were always between $7-$8 each with gratuity with the exception of specialty coconut bank drinks which were $14. But that was a drink and souvenier in one! My children loved it when we got home! The staff came to know us pretty quickly, but never harassed. THey simply made sure your every wish was catered to. Some even told us of shows not to miss and activities that were upcoming.
I feel as though I am going on and on, but for those of us who rely on reviews to get us pumped up for vacation, I want to share my very positive experience so that others aren't upset and nervous as I was. I was on the same cruise as the last reviewer and had a totally different experience. I went on thinking the worst and found the very opposite. Things like the snow in the lobby and the witty humor of the cruise director are things that will stay with me forever. I met nice people and saw a boat that was not falling apart, but very much alive with color and excitement. I value each vacation as my husband and I are always "making memories". Please remember to make judgements for yourself and not let anyone or any one review spoil it for you. Vacations are what you make of them and that depends on what attiude you go in with.
THank you carnival for making my 40th birthday memorable. From the surprise cake at dinner to the card left in may stateroom, I felt very "remembered" by something that was only mentioned once at booking. Keep up the good work and I look forward to traveling again VERY soon. For the prices you offer, it may be sooner than expected!