Great value but the crowd is sub-par
Sail Date: March 09, 2013
Reviewed: 3 years ago
Traveled As: Family (young children)
Room Type: Balcony
These cruises are always a blast. We have two kids, 9 and 6. This was our second Carnival cruise and it helps to know the ships and tricks ex. where to go eat, what shows to aim for (comedy for kids always a huge hit). Our first cruise was with experienced friends so they helped us figure our way around. The ship gets complicated, you can't just go front to back, you have to zig-zag and go up and down the decks to get to your destination. But after a couple of days you know where to go for everything. Both our kids got sick during this cruise, with minor belly aches and fatique, each only lasted less than a day and was nothing serious. You just have to be very careful with kids not to expose them to too many germs or let them get cold in a wet swimsuit up on the windy decks, especially mini-golfing after being at the pool/waterslide. The pools are not what you expect. There are 3,000 people sharing 3 20ft by 20ft pools. Those pools are UTIs waiting to happen and we generally avoid them. They did not seem to be at all chlorinated and the tile surfaces were dirty with algae. The water slide was fun but crowded, and the kids would freeze up on top while waiting in line. It is expected during springbreak, but the crowd on the ship was majority college kids out of control. Day partying was ok on deck, but there was little respect for the fact that there were families. The poolside dancing and contests were reaching the limits of obsene at times. Carnival makes their money by selling alcohol, and those not interested in that kind of cruise, suffer for it. We opted for the late dining to give ourselves time to enjoy the activities during the day. On our second night, there was a table of 8 young people, all completely drunk on the table next to us, using profanity and being out of control. Everyone around was complaining and instead of kicking them out of the restaurant, the management moved all of us who complained. There was another group of young people drinking heavily where they moved us, and they also used profanity and got loud. The management kept apologizing but did not address it, other than move us to the early dining schedule which was a good idea after all. We were very disappointed that there were things to do only on two nights. The other two we watched their feature movie in the cabin tv, which was from the 80s. The food in the main restaurant was truly excellent, all across. The waiters were outstanding. Very friendly, took care of us very well and knew our names from the get-go. Taking a pre-booked tour in Jamaica was chaotic but you have no option since it is so dangerous a place. Our balcony cabin was small for 4 people, but the balcony offered privacy and it was a great perk to sit outside in the evening and enjoy the sea, or to take pictures from as we got to each port. The lines at the buffet restaurant are always so ridiculously long. You stand in line for over a half hour and if you are a little late, they close them down and send you away. The cabin attendants are always friendly and helpful, and always around to address your needs. The kids love Camp Carnival, the staff there is outstanding and they have plenty of interesting activities. Our kids never wanted to leave. Gives the adults a chance to hit the gym or spend some time without them. The gym was impressive and not too crowded. Some treadmills were broken but nothing different than a typical gym. It would've been nicer if there was a separate pool with the water slide away from where the loud partying took place, like the setup they have on Carnival Ecstacy. The night shows, especially on the last night, was very impressive, very professional and a true entertainment. The kid-friendly early comedians were good, the first was excellent but the second was hard to understand and the kids had no clue what he was saying.
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|Food and Dining||Excellent, especially the dinner is truly outstanding. Great value and the service is superb. Five stars on dining and service. Just have to control the drunk people.|
|Cabin / Stateroom||Small but Ok, nothing different than a standard hotel room. The balcony is a great option, well worth the money.|
|Service and Staff||Did not have any complains from any of the staff.|
|Entertainment||Disappointing that there was nothing to do (with kids) on 3 of the 5 nights|
|Children's Programs||Staff at Camp Carnival is excellent and the program is great, kids never wanted to leave.|
|Destinations and Excursions||Jamaica is tricky, you spend extra money and don't get all that much for it in tours.|
Opt for early dinner to avoid the drunken younger crowd. Must get to pooldeck early to get a spot.