Our intention with this trip was to take a cheap vacation to somewhere warm in the middle of winter and it was a success. We were blessed with warm weather for the majority of the trip and were pleasantly surprised at how much we enjoyed this cruise.
Having said that, cruising is not our desired type of vacationing, so we went in with appropriate expectations, and found them, for the most part, met or exceeded.
Before the utter disaster that is their debarkation process, I would have said this would be a trip we would consider again in the future... post debarkation there isn't a chance I would ever get on this ship again.
5 out of 5
Easy embarkation. Arrived at our designated time and was on the ship in under 30 minutes.
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
Service in all of the dining options was always friendly, but the food isn't great and I felt like there is a serious lack of vegetables available. The Steakhouse food was the best we enjoyed on the boat, but again, no real veggie options. One evening in the main dining room my entree was described as coming with broccoli... I received one spear on my plate, same with my husband... we just laughed about it. Luckily, we didn't come for the food, so other than feeling a little gross because of the lack of healthy options, it didn't really negatively affect our experience.
3 out of 5
There always seemed to be a full day of activities planned, just not a whole lot that interested us. Seminars on improving your posture or looking ten years younger seem kind of silly. The pools never seemed packed and the same with the casino. Even the water slide never seemed to have a long line. It is an older ship, so while there aren't the upgraded water park and outdoor activities, there's always something to do while onboard.
4 out of 5
We attended a few of the evening shows, listened to a number of bar area performances and went to the piano bar several times too. By far, Martin in the piano bar (and his sidekick the young lady bartender... I'm mad at myself for not catching her name) were our absolute favorite! We spent many hours singing, dancing and laughing in the piano bar during the week. The rest of the shows were okay, it was something to enjoy with a glass of wine while we waited for our late dining time. We only caught the violinists in passing but they always sounded great too.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
No complaints about the staff at all. Everyone we interacted with was friendly and helpful. Komang, our room steward, Michael, who works in the jewelry store, and again Martin, the pianist, and the bartender in the piano bar, were all especially interesting, fun, nice, helpful, but everyone on the ship was lovely in our experience.
3 out of 5
There are pros and cons to this older ship... pros: the elevators are easy to use (unlike the crazy new ones we experienced on Carnival Horizon), the ship is easy to navigate, and it never felt crowded like some of the newer ships. I think just a more pleasant overall ship to be on. Cons: perhaps because it is an older boat, it is rusty, dusty and a little dirty. We saw lots of random trash around the boat, almost every flat surface is coated in dust, and the outside of the ship is rusty and dirty. Salty windows, dirty balconies, just not well maintained overall I don't think.
I have to add, however, that the buffet area seemed to be kept very clean. I saw a whole team of people constantly sweeping and tidying whenever we were up on that level.
Cabin / Stateroom
4 out of 5
Typical balcony cruise cabin, small but enough space for 2 people for a week. The bed is a queen size, not king, and though it was comfortable the 2 twin mattresses kept sliding apart leaving a gap in the middle.
The room was a little dusty and the balcony was just dirty. We had to wipe down the chairs, table and railings before we could use it.
Beautiful beach, but as previous reviews mention, the sand is rocky and soft, so take care making your way into the water. We heeded the warnings about busy tender times and headed to the beach nice and early, so we had our pick of lounges and rented a clamshell for $30 for the day to get out of the sun when we needed to. We took one of the last tenders back to the ship and found both arriving and departing the beach to be quick and easy.
We didn't go to the buffet, but heard it was mediocre with a ton of flies, I think what anyone would expect of something like that.
We were blessed with beautiful weather and just enjoyed a lazy day at the beach, exactly what we expected.
Our one day of terrible weather, but we still had a blast. It was cold and rainy all day, so we took our time getting off the boat and then just headed to the port bars. Service at Dick & Willy's was horrible, so we headed to Senor Frogs and are glad we did. We got there just as the party started and had a great time. Staff was friendly, our fellow travelers were there to have fun, and it ended up being a really great day. Had the weather been better we would have ventured into the city, but just something to look forward to next time we're in Freeport.
Booked a day pass at Riu Palace, a 21+ all inclusive resort next to Atlantis on Paradise Island, and we had a blast. Taxi to and from was cheap and fast, and the resort was beautiful. We hung out all day at an infinity pool overlooking the beach, with a swim up bar, and ate some delicious jerk chicken from the stand by the pool. The other guests were super friendly and we enjoyed every second of the day.
1 out of 5
This is the singular reason I will never book this trip again and would encourage anyone else considering this ship/ company/ itinerary to reconsider. You arrive in Baltimore at 10am, you must be out of your room by 9am, room stewards are (understandably) knocking on your door at 8am to see if you've vacated your room yet, there are only 2 areas you may wait until you are able to debark (certainly not enough space for over 2k people and all their crap), and in our experience we were not allowed off the ship until after noon. Also, food service ends at 9:30am. Marty, the cruise director, encourages you to relax and enjoy the last moments of your vacation, but it's pretty difficult to do sitting on the ground, standing around, packed in crowded uncomfortable conditions.
Carnival should really do better with this process.
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