Let me start with the negatives and then I will move on to the areas I think were very good. To put it bluntly embarkation was a MESS! There was very little communication and the lines were extreemly long. Something I had never experienced on other cruise lines. To make a long story short it took us 2 and 1/2 hours from the time we reached the cruise terminal until the time we went through the door of the Carnival Spirit. Alas, the party wasn't over. It seems the software for the keys/sign and sail cards had malfunctioned so no one could get to their rooms until they were given a new card. Imagine the line at the Purser's desk for 2,400 people all wanting their new cards. Enough said 4 1/2 hours after my arrival at the cruise terminal I was heading back to my cabin with keys that finally worked. THIS IN MY OPINION WAS WAY OVER THE TOP!I decided to put that all behind me and my wife and I agreed to have a good cruise from that moment forward. We did and it was a good cruise from that moment forward.The Carnival Spirit is pretty "gawdy" when it comes to decoration...let me say this it isn't conservative or understated, each new room is an experience in and of itself. I realized, that is the way they want it and like it. My favorite public room was Pharoah's Palace, it's really cool. Egyptian theatre. They had great shows in that theatre and their two they had on formal nights were the best I had seen on a cruise ship.The music one could go to was excellent as well. Several Lounges with great music no matter your tatse.The activities were many fun a the variety was excellent. I was told before I went on Carnival that it was party all the time. I didin't find that to be the case but I did find that there was something fun to do all the time that you wanted to.The cabins were big and nice. We had an extended balcony and really enjoyed it. Thanks Estelle for the recommendation. The other two couples we traveled with both had to be assigned cabins one and outside gurantee that they got a balcony from and the other a balcony guarntee that they got a 4 category upgrade from. The service in the cabins was great from room service to our cabin steward Bernardo.TV was a disappointment. On other cruise lines they had CNN and first run movies. Sometimes I like to go to my cabin and just watch a movie or the news. The news would have been great since I was from San Diego and the fires were burning away. The food was without a doubt the highlight of this cruise. Excellent food and service in the main dinning room and the buffets were varied and plentiful.You would think from reading my reviwe that I should have rated this cruise a B+ or and A or better than 3 stars. I would have if the attention to detail in the service was there. The service to put it bluntly was adequate. Nothing special but adequate. No one went out of their way to make me feel special. No one in 8 days directed my wife nor myself to an empty table in the buffet area. No one offered to carry our tray. The Purser's desk and staff were totally unhelpful. They didn't even answer the phone for a simple question.This style of service is something I hadn't been exposed to before on Princess, Celebrity or RCL. Would I cruise Carnival again, yes, but if there was a Princess ship going to the same place at the same time I would choose Princess every time.
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