October 2013 - Carnival Sensation to Caribbean - Bahamas
We enjoyed the cruise--it was my husband's first. In fact, this was our honeymoon 44 years late. No matter, we invited my handicapped sister and her caretaker! For the most part, everything was just as we had expected. There was an over-abundance of food and drink. The entertainment/activities directors worked extremely hard at their jobs.Our room steward was polite, responsive, respectful, attentive, tidy, and fast. My sister was attended to wherever we went on board--except for the top deck.
I have a few reservations:
1. Children are "tagged" in order for staff to help connect them with family in the event of a separation. But, adults in danger of similar circumstances (separation due to disorientation, disability, confusion, etc.) need to have the option of being "tagged" for the assistance in helping them find their correct cabin/location. My husband recently had brain surgery, is on medication, has a hearing difficulty, has panic attacks, becomes disoriented and cannot comprehend language when he is disoriented. He was separated from me and, because he was an adult, I could not make the staff understand the importance of finding him before dangerous events threatened him. He was also locked out of his room because he had no key. Guest Services told me they were "closed" when I approached them for assistance. Security told me they were busy and could not leave their posts. Finally, Carlos from security called in to get permission to help me. However, his help was in the form of leading me all over the ship to check the areas I had already checked instead of simply communicating with all muster stations via cell or speaker. Eventually I found someone with a little rank who realized the seriousness that could have befallen my husband and who decided to intercede. Finally, my husband was found, unharmed but terrified.
2. Stair steps need to be numbered for those of us who become "lost" or disoriented before we realize how many banks of stairways there are. I tend to look down when I manuever the stairs so that I have less potential of falling. I could NOT locate myself for lack of numbering on/around the stairs. The names of the floors are not as helpful as a simple numbering system would be.
3. My sister could visit only other handicap accessible rooms because room doors are too small for her wheelchair to pass through.
4. WARNING! the welcome-aboard drink is POWERFUL and NOT free!
5. The art auctions were the highlight of my cruise!
6. Karaoke songs were too few and too limited in number.
7. BEWARE shop prices at the beginning of the ports of call. The products are almost identical from shop to shop and the prices go down!
8. Many of the natives have a love-hate relationship with tourists: they hate the fact that they love your money! And many of them lie to separate you from your money. Buyer be warned!
9. Room service was awesome!
10. I don't like the system of "forced" tipping. Adding on a standard tip to the bill saves time, but it negates the purpose of a tip: extra bonus for excellent service. As a standard add-on, the tip is now used as an assessment of the tourist rather than an incentive for good service. Remove it from your bill and you are viewed as a cheap visitor--a re-write of the rules of etiquette!
11. A full-sized map of the ship, or at least of the designated floor, posted near each bank of elevators along with the number of the floor would help lost tourists!
12. Storage space was ample in the cabins, but the pool was very small.
13. The "red crew" or guides were helpful on day one, but they disappeared after that.
14. Pre-cruise: if you tend to get sea sick, buy a pair of sea bands at a local pharmacy. Using accupressure via elastic bands anda "pearls" over the pulse points they control nausea! Better than drugs that make you zombiefied!