This was our first and certainly not our last cruise. This experience exceeded all our expectations. First, a recommendation or two, try and stay at a hotel through Carnival the night before you leave so you can pre-register at the hotel the morning of the cruise. This way, you can skip the huge HUGE line at the terminal, and go right to and through security and get your "sail and sign" card and go get some lunch in the Unicorn Cafe. Second, if you are bringing younger children, have no fear of the kids program. My daughter enjoyed the "Camp Carnival" and she was 6. They are very "kid friendly" and they break down the kids into different and appropriate age catagories. The daily activities can keep you child busy for a good portion of day.Third, once you are on the ship, some one from your party should go to the talk given by the activites director the first day or two, who talks about the different ports and expectations at each port. We did not do that and we heard from other passengers what to expect. Also, don't bring any back-up supplies, as they are all in the gift shop, pills for motion sickness (all though we didn't need them... whew!!), children's Tylenol, that kind of stuff. Plus, in the cabin they give you a small bowl filled with sample-sized items like toothpaste, shavers (men and womens), tums, lotion & shampoo/conditioner. There arelaundry rooms or you can pay your cabin steward to do it for you. Getting on the ship was fast as noted above, and leaving was fast. However, waiting an hour for the shuttle to the hotel was too long. I might recommend just catching a cab to the hotel if you are staying the same town as the ship's terminal. I think other than waiting for the shuttle, getting the luggage was a challenge as well because they set up the luggage in the terminal building (everyone's) by the color tags you get that correspond to your deck. Food was excellent. Our dinner staff was great. They were great at their job. They knew how we liked things after the first night, and we didn't need to ask. The ship does has a kids menu, and she could get anything thing from either menu (kids or adults), though all she wanted was pasta. Breakfast and lunch we had in The Unicorn Cafe, and the breakfast were good, traditional breakfast food. You can get omlettes cooked however you want them. Lunch was better with more variety, however one little glitch, no jelly for sandwiches. I can understand no peanut butter, but not jelly. It was o.k. though because then my daughter tried other things and found that she liked them, so it worked out fine. The shows were really good. If your child goes with "Camp Carnival" they get to sit together in the front rows, with the counselors. Thre is a different show every night. We found them to be very entertaining. As for the ship itself. Very clean, staff was friendly and willing to help. Our room steward was very responseive to any needs we had. Our dining team made my daughter feel welcome and they interacted with her, and were as attentive to her as to any adult. They sang happy birthday to her, and that is the second story she tells people. The first is about the animal creations from the towels, left by our room steward every night. If you think you will be bored, you won't. My husband brought his computer and did not open it, now that really is saying a lot -- TRUST ME! The annoyances were typical people stuff. Peole would throw stuff on the lounge chairs by the kids pool but not show up for hours. Reserving chairs was the big one for us and people would cut lines. The older kids, mid- to upper-teens would roam the boat at night in groups and were at times loud, but harmless.Overall, we had a great time and we look forward to our next.
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