Second Mate

Joined: 05/10/2011
Helpful Votes

About pansieFL

Mom of one, Project Manager - love to travel, read and cooking.


Cruise Lines: Carnival Cruise Lines

Destinations: Caribbean


Cruiseline: Carnival Cruise Lines

pansieFL's Past Cruises

Carnival Sensation

February 2016 - Carnival Sensation to Caribbean - Bahamas

Carnival Paradise

January 2015 - Carnival Paradise to Caribbean - Western

Carnival Ecstasy

June 2014 - Carnival Ecstasy to Caribbean - Bahamas

Carnival Legend

March 2014 - Carnival Legend to Caribbean - Western

Carnival Glory

March 2013 - Carnival Glory to Caribbean - Eastern

Carnival Paradise

November 2012 - Carnival Paradise to Caribbean - Western

Carnival Dream

June 2012 - Carnival Dream to Caribbean - Eastern

Crown Princess

December 2011 - Crown Princess to Caribbean - Western

Crown Princess

Arriving in Ft. Lauderdale was a breeze. Given the sheer amount of folks trying to get on to ships, it being Christmas Eve to boot - it went very well getting to the ship and dropping off the luggage. And then... we waited. 4 hours... Norovirus outbreak 3rd week in a row. sitting in a hanger with hundreds of others, two TV screens, no husband turned to me and said let's go home. We can't - they have our bags was my response. Our saving grace was the fact we were the second group allowed on when we were finally cleared. Following Princess' instructions we headed to the kid's club first, given they would not pre-register us on line - only to find you could if you knew the right person - we waited for the Open House to start (with a sign up saying register now) - and then be told, oh no, the sign is wrong, come back later..... ok then... Off we went to the cabin. Bear in Mind - we were still in good cheer - it's Christmas! Get to the cabin - it was not what my father in law had requested (he treated us to the trip) - we called Customer Service, they pretty much said, yeah sorry about that, take it or leave it, we had to adjust. Mind you, we didn't pay for guarantee, assign us wherever room (rather my father in law), we sucked that one up too. It's my family time, my son was ok with the bed he got, my husband was not - we had to sleep in single beds rather than the requested double configuration due to the drop down bed set up. What is a woman to do? Made my husband a drink, gave him a snack and had him chill - it is the best i could offer at the time LOL. Going to the dining room and our first day experience of a lifetime continued - The food was bland. No salt, no flavor. There was also no exception to the could we have this instead rule - eat how it was advertised and make sure you were quick about it - we have lots of people and can't accomdate you. I will touch on the dining room only in this section - the food remained that way for the entire trip. And we found out quickly why - the median age was 69 for the cruise. I totally understood then. Returning back to the kids club, we registered my son and he took one look about and I could already tell he was not getting a good vibe - should have trusted him. He did go back for what sounded like a fun evening a couple days later, but paged us within an hour to return. We went to find out what was happening and he said Mum, I would rather baby sit my cousin than strange babies! I was stunned. I looked at the camp staff and they looked me in the eye and said Your son is lying, we don't make them do that. Now, I couldn't breathe. Bless his heart, he looked dead at them and said I don't lie, my mum and papa taught me not to lie - and that is what you made me do! and he promptly turned and walked to the door. yeah, he didn't go back to kid's club again. And that was the end of our first day. It continued on - Rated R movies showing at the pool at 10. Rude smokers who didn't care if they threw their butts down on to your balcony, staff who didn't either. Food areas only open 4 hours so if you wanted something from the grill, pizza or even ice cream - be there or be square.People being sick on the decks and no one came to clean it - i had to stop several people from stepping in it! Now to the shining stars/moments of our trip: Our cabin staff was superb. Given the sheer amount of people, they were never far away and were impeccable. The martini bar with the live piano and the staff there were wonderful. It became a hang out for us as it was a comfortable place to play boardgames and chill, listening to a good pianist. The Tapas and Sushi Bar was fantastic too - this is where we started eating dinner most nights, after we sat with the extended family in the dining room LOL The staff, the food and the whole experience was what we had expected throughout the ship but these areas turned out to be those gems for us and we spent a good portion of time within them. The Decor - beautiful. Very elegant, very bright and enjoyable, not over the top. The ports were beautiful - Roatan, Belize and Cozumel. Embarkation(once we got moving)and Debarkation were not a problem at all. Entertainment - no children friendly times for shows were identified so it was hard to see what would have suited them, so we were careful with that - my in laws said the shows were good, catering again to an older crowd. There was a Calypso band from Guyana (where my husband is from) and they were brilliant - we only discovered on the next to last night unfortunately. Summary -Crown Princess is not for a younger set of kids - Ideal 13+ as it seems lots of grandparents with their grandkids were on there. In general it caters completely to the 55+ customer and looking back on it, that is most likely why my in laws picked it LOL. Myself and my immediate family loved spending time with them, so the trip was about them, more so than about us. Would I book the Crown Princess for us again? No. Would i think it would be a good trip for perhaps an older couple or group, yes. The customer service was lacking severely in pockets, in others it was great. So i think it is truly the rotation of staff, rather than to say it is a Princess Problem.

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Carnival Inspiration

June 2011 - Carnival Inspiration to Caribbean - Western

Carnival Inspiration

First of all, I have to say - this was our first cruise for the whole family - and our first impressions might not apply to those seasoned cruisers out there. But given we did tons of research before we left, I think we were somewhat prepared for our first endeavor on an ocean. Port of Tampa - Embarkation Day: Chaos - there were 8 lines of cars all trying to somehow vie for a spot to unload and get through to either parking or valet - which seemed to be all intermingled. Coupled with Border Patrol trying to randomly pull vehicles to inspect (!!!) it was mayhem. Porters running about, no one knew where to go to get Valet sorted, people yelling to move (how can anyone move if they left their cars to get valeted???) My son almost got hit by a car as he was trying to step out of ours, a gentleman pulled him back in time. Saving Grace - Getting in to the processing hall was easy for us, being VIP - the normal line wrapped around the block with what i was told a 45 minute wait. I had heard it would be a breeze getting on the ship here - I found the opposite - Though coming back was perfect.... we were off the ship, in our car and on the road in 20 minutes!! The ship is older but everything on it was in great working condition. I saw a few spots that were worn but given how spotless everything was, it was absolutely great. We went on to the Lido deck, waiting for our cabin, had no problem signing up our son for Camp Carnival and enjoyed sitting in the shade, listening to some lovely music. There were people already swimming, the mood was light and fun. That mood was prevalent throughout the trip. I found 95% of the very full ship (2600 people, with 1000 of them being kids) a pleasure. Now, there a few that seemed to have checked their manners in at the valet stand (no, not the kids, no not the teenagers nor the college kids, yes you 50-55 range folks who seem to think they were owed something that i was not quite aware of) but overall everyone was friendly and fun. The mini golf, the slides, the clubs and the lido deck were all very well maintained. We took full advantage of room service - we are early risers and love our tea and coffee in the morning LOL So, I placed our room service order every evening and we had fresh pastries to go with that coffee and tea - it was fabulous. Always on time too! We ate every evening in the MDR and enjoyed everything that we picked. We did not indulge in two apps, two mains etc, but we did enjoy our variety - and if we wanted something again the next day or something special, they accomodated us at every turn. The bar staff was superb, they remembered after the first order what you like and how - brilliant. They even told bar staff in other areas when they saw you to take good care of you. You felt special. During the day, the family enjoyed the Mongolian Wok - made to order and healthy with a good variety of different meat and vegis. Truth be told - this room is more of a junior suite than an ocean suite by current standards - but it was immaculate and the stewards were a dream! Tiny balcony (be warned) but the reason we chose it was simple - they are the only rooms on the Inspiration to have balconies! And i do not like to be confined in spaces (can you tell that an inside cabin may never be my thing) so this was the choice for us. It was worth the money spent and yes, we spent time in our cabin - every afternoon relaxing and just chilling - all three of enjoyed that immensely. I have to say this is JUST my opinion - I know some my disagree, but I am writing this review, so hush LOL Cayman Islands - Loved it - expensive, clean and the water was perfect. I enjoyed the people and felt at home. The food, the beaches, everything was great. Cozumel - dirty, overpriced and touristy - great for drinking, not so much for families. We took an excursion around the island in a jeep - it was great to see the island but i have to say, it was not what we expected. The ocean was particularly rough and I was glad to be back on the ship. This trip was a fabulous family vacation. We all agreed that 5 days is too short for a cruise! We loved the idea of the cruise, fell in love with all the activities and I do believe all three of us relaxed more than we have in a long time. I think this cruise is perfect for those wishing to get away for a little bit, first time cruisers or last minute cruisers - informal, fun and relaxing.

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pansieFL's Tips

Crown Princess Crown Princess - The cafe and bakery were the BEST - - everything fresh and the coffee was superb. Get a coffee card and you get an insulated Princess mug free!
Carnival Inspiration Carnival Inspiration - Try the Mongolian Grill - I think you can get this on many Carnival ships now - by far the freshest food available - you choose what you want, they cook it right there. Caters to allergies as well, which is a great plus.
Carnival Inspiration Carnival Inspiration - If you like the outdoor activities without a crowd - get to mini golf at around 8ish - that goes for the ping pong too - no one there, nice and clean and not too hot yet!
Carnival Inspiration Carnival Inspiration - Cayman Islands - You do not need to book an excursion here - take the tender and walk - you can grab a taxi or even a mini bus and they will do a tour for you! We had a blast!
Carnival Inspiration Carnival Inspiration - Any time dining - great option and the seats are located by the windows! Lido deck - get there for about 10 - still ample time for grabbing a seat. Chef's Table - if you like food, this is for you!

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checked into July 16, 2016 cruise on Carnival Valor roll call and is traveling with 2 other guests. Interested in meeting:- Other families with young children- Other families with older children

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