Discovered cruising on a 60th-birthday-gift cruise, and can't imagine why we never did it before! Loved the whole experience. I have seen so many people on here say "It is what you make of it", and that's so true - our first cruise was a fantastically smooth 7-night on Freedom of the Seas - multiple "FOS veterans" said that they could not believe how perfect the weather was; our second cruise was a 4-night Bahamas on Enchantment of the Seas that was diverted twice by Hurricane Joaquin (and rocked pretty good on the way back to Port Canaveral!) - but we had a blast on both!
For the most part, everything was good regarding both the cruise and the ship. Nice cabin (I actually approached this part with some trepidation - we obtained our cabin through a BOGO promotion with an outside company, ended up on the lowest deck, as far aft as possible without getting wet, but we decided to give it a try as an experiment), GREAT service (cabin steward, main dining room team, Alchemy Bar).
We were not concerned when Carnival changed our ship (originally booked on Valor, which was sent to Galveston when Liberty's engines could not handle the longer distance) in November or even when they flip-flopped our port days (could have been for any number of reasons), since they even transferred our shore excursion to the correct day.
Then we got an email notifying us that our shore excursion (a Bahamian Brewery Tour and Tasting) was cancelled "due to ." (not a typo, that's actually what it said!). One of our party called the brewery to see if we could re-book directly with them (thinking maybe Carnival had an issue with the tour people or brewery) and that's when we were told that the day of our scheduled excursion was Bahamian Referendum Day (basically, their election day) and they were not allowed to sell alcoholic beverages until after 6:00 PM (scheduled departure time - 5:00 PM)! I called Carnival at that point to see if businesses in the harbor area were exempted from this (no) and if on-board sales would be affected (also no). What surprised and bothered me a little bit about this was that there were no emails from Carnival advising passengers about this, there were no changes to the excursion booklet provided when we boarded, and no announcement of this fact was made until we arrived in Freeport! I wonder how many passengers planned an outing to Senor Frog's and other establishments, only to find out no drinks were being served?
Long story short (I know, too late for that), this was really my only complaint (kind of exacerbated when I read that the same thing happened on Carnival Sunshine at a different port, again with no announcement until the morning arrival). I just think Carnival should make passengers aware of this ahead of time.
Even though we were diverted by Hurricane Joaquin (from Nassau to Freeport, and then unable to tender to Coco Cay), we had a blast. Captain Tony, Cruise Director Mark and staff kept everyone up-to-date (had a new Cruise Compass reflecting our "At Sea" Day printed in record time), and plenty of activities to keep us occupied. The sailing was fairly smooth until the last night (when, obviously, we couldn't change course since we had to return to Port Canaveral), but even that was not overly rough. Absolutely no complaints - can't control the weather, can only make the best of it! (so good, we booked our next cruise while onboard!!)
This was a 60th birthday gift and what a wonderful experience - we looked at each other at least once a day and said "How have we not ever done this before?" Seeing multiple locations while your "hotel room" travels with you, great food, great staff, great entertainment, all awesome. We traveled with another couple and had no problems finding plenty to do together and separately. I think the only negative (and it's small and I really had to think about it!) was the lack of cell service - we were prepared to be out-of-contact with "home" while we were sailing, but local (on-board) communications would have been really helpful for coordination, and we have gotten really used to looking things up at the drop of a hat...so, looking forward to sailing on the new "smart" ships!!
received a helpful vote on their Freedom of the Seas cruise review - Freedom of the Seas - First-time cruisers!
added Disney Cruise Line to their favorites on their profile.
commented on a Carnival Sunshine cruise review. - "Wow, sounds like you had made up your mind that you were not going to like this cruise before it even started. So sorry your family (oh, oops, your H..." read more
commented on a Carnival Sunshine cruise review. - ""There is no indication that you should check your bags when you first arrive at the port."? You say you have cruised before, and you were unaware tha..." read more