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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We took this cruise in 2015 and as it was our first cruise we enjoyed the cruise experience and were totally satisfied. With our second cruise on the same ship we noticed some degradation in quality, especially in the dining experiences. ... Read More
We took this cruise in 2015 and as it was our first cruise we enjoyed the cruise experience and were totally satisfied. With our second cruise on the same ship we noticed some degradation in quality, especially in the dining experiences. There seemed to be less staff to bus and clean tables on this trip. The food was mediocre at the buffet, much better at Guys Burger and the delicatessen. Pizza advertised as pan pizza definetly was not and had a coat of flower on the bottom, crust was dry and thin and crispy. We ordered a complimentary Ceasar Salad it was horrible. Did not resemble a Ceasar in any way. The dressing was a tasteless milky substance and we refused to eat it. Room was clean and well tended by Mega, who was very friendly and attentive. Slight odor in bathroom. Cabin windows needed to be cleaned on the outside. Entertainment facilities were well used and fun, the mini golf area had been renovated since our last visit. Shows were fun and lively. Staff throughout the ship was friendly throughout the ship; although, it seemed far fewer spoke adequate English on this cruise and was often difficult to communicate with general staff. The two excursions we chose were fun and informative, great value. Overall a fun experience and we still consider the cruise full of positive memories. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
I chose this cruise to go visit Cuba and Key West with my husband. Carnival has found a way to nickel and dime you even when you pay for all such as drink package. No bartenders except in serenity that were eager to serve you. Anton was ... Read More
I chose this cruise to go visit Cuba and Key West with my husband. Carnival has found a way to nickel and dime you even when you pay for all such as drink package. No bartenders except in serenity that were eager to serve you. Anton was awesome and the only one to come back and keep us happy. All other bars you had to go to them and wait! Since they do automatic gratuity you get poor service. Food was ok....best thing was guys cheeseburgers. Tiny cups for water. Soda was flat that was part of my drink package. Not much entertainment during the day. Comedy shows were pretty good. One pool for whole ship. Definitely outdated even though it says remodeled in 2019. Would not recommend. Budget vacation/ budget ship! Very disappointed. We bought alcohol and was told by airport that cruise ship should have given us a bag for carrying it on plane-nope didn’t happen so we lost alcohol at security. Mel the cruise ship director was kind of rude. She didn’t have great things going on to engage cruisers. We could have visited Cuba on Tuesday and spent more time in Key West. Went on Monday to Cuba and all Museums are closed on Mondays...... Had to pay a $75/pp visa to go to Cuba. Our room attendant did a great job! Greeted us by first name every time we saw him! Asked me what I wanted done on a daily basis whether I needed more towels etc. he was always smiling!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
So you think a cruise sounds great. So did I. Well, here is assessment for you to make an informed decision. First, the staff is amazingly friendly. Truly nice people looking to make your trip as good as pleasant as possible. We ... Read More
So you think a cruise sounds great. So did I. Well, here is assessment for you to make an informed decision. First, the staff is amazingly friendly. Truly nice people looking to make your trip as good as pleasant as possible. We had 5-8 ft seas and high winds most of the way to Yucatán. It really wasn’t a bad ride at all. Don’t worry about the waves unless 10ft plus. Here’s where the fun stops. The food is not bad; not great but not bad. You will need to decide whether you want a drink plan for alcohol. Buy individual or as a package for around $65/day per person. Just know that if you like beer, call brand bar drinks, and sugar drinks (pina colada, rum punch) then you’re fine. If you like wine, you’re out of luck. The best wine by the glass in red or white is Kendall Jackson. No wine drinker can drink KJ every day. Even though wine list shows a couple which seem better like a French Chardonnay, no bar has it. Only at formal dinner is it available. Oh, you can purchase bottles at restaurant mark up prices but not included in a drink plan. Activities. Movie at night is about as good as it gets. The land excursions are definitely to do even that hey are expensive. Carnival marks those up tremendously but at least they’re coordinated for you and safe. Otherwise, there’s really not much to do on the ship other than eat and drink (unless you’re newlyweds!). The Comedy Club is apparently fun too but you must get there 30-45 min early for a seat. Shopping: what do I say here... mostly junk and definitely not saving any money. The tourist traps at ports are fun but don’t expect good quality for low prices. And the duty free shops!!! They are a joke. Some prices are higher than a State Liquor store in Alabama (which by the way is higher than most states!!). For comparison: Johnny Walker Blue in Louisiana on land is $200-$230. In Alabama it’s $250. In the so-called duty free stores it was $290. Seriously? Okay, so you get idea. If you like to lay by pool and consume beer or island drinks all day for 5 days, a Carnival Cruise is for you. If you prefer a bit more atmosphere or posh settings, then trust me you will be disappointed. My overall assessment.... boring, overrated, and they charge for everything. You’d be better off booking an all inclusive resort or traveling to NYC, Paris, Napa, or Greenbo Alabama. Anywhere but a cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
The boat swayed, rocked and rolled even in calm waters. Smelled like sewage the whole trip. Even when we were docked the boat vibrated like driving down a dirt road. Seemed the bars were always understaffed, wait time could be long. ... Read More
The boat swayed, rocked and rolled even in calm waters. Smelled like sewage the whole trip. Even when we were docked the boat vibrated like driving down a dirt road. Seemed the bars were always understaffed, wait time could be long. Not sure why they would wait for your pizza order before they would make a pizza, line was long and they made pizza when you ordered It instead of a pizza buffet. Daycare was great, my 3 year old loved it! this was a great kid cruise other than the smell and swaying. I would take Carnival again but not this boat. I also didn't like the drink package, it was time consuming having to provide a drink card so they could swipe it and you had to sign a ticket afterwards, I prefer the all inclusive "free at Sea" cruises, NO Hassle! The Charleston port was kinda dingy as well compared to other ports but we could drive there saving on the costs of flights. But the drink package as about the same as our flight cost would have been so that's a wash. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
I went on c.c. to check out this ship and a lot of bad things I had seen written about this ship and I was trying to change my cruise but it was too late, I just got off this ship Monday april 15th and we had A BLAST, my wife and I, this ... Read More
I went on c.c. to check out this ship and a lot of bad things I had seen written about this ship and I was trying to change my cruise but it was too late, I just got off this ship Monday april 15th and we had A BLAST, my wife and I, this is a smaller ship, but the biggest I have been on and it was real NICE,the crew was always sweeping mopping cleaning up trash and even cleaning the ceiling , food was good and everytime we ported they were cleaning the side of the boat ,we went to princess cay Island and they will take u to the island in a shuttle boat where there is a nice beach(no excursion necessary) and then went to Freeport which u do need an excursion if u want to go anywhere, but there is on the island little shop[ can shop at , at the port, cabins were great, entertainment was good and we wouid. go again, CRUISE DIRECTOR WAS '' AWESOME'' KYNDALL FIRE was her name, it was really hard getting off the ship Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I'm just off the Carnival Inspiration and thought I'd share! Our intinerary was supposed to be Long Beach - Catalina - Ensenada - Long Beach. What it turned out to be was Catalina - San Diego - Ensenada - San Diego - Long ... Read More
I'm just off the Carnival Inspiration and thought I'd share! Our intinerary was supposed to be Long Beach - Catalina - Ensenada - Long Beach. What it turned out to be was Catalina - San Diego - Ensenada - San Diego - Long Beach. There were two medical emergencies, one on the way, one on the way back, so that's why the unscheduled stops. We got to Catalina on Tuesday morning after kind of a rough night at sea. People started disembarking and then they shut down the tenders due to high winds and rough water. I hadn't left yet so didn't get to see the island at all. We then traveled to Ensenada, arriving the next morning. I did the Taste of Mexico/Tequila Tasting excursion which was fun. Naturally we had the obligatory shopping stop. That night was the formal dining. There were a lot of seasick people on this ship. It was cold and windy the entire time. People were still in the pool though! I would not recommend this itinerary for people prone to seasickness or who mind the ship rocking and rolling. I'm not sure if it's the same during the summer, though. The food was okay. Obviously preparing food for this many people is not going to be gourmet, but there was always something tasty to eat even if you didn't really care for the dining room selections. Typical buffet food. I wish Carnival would have better coffee. It's really kind of terrible. The Guy's Burger was good. The service on board was top-notch. All the ship's personnel were friendly, and boy do they work hard. Special shout-out to our waiter Manuel - he was great. I was in cabin M216 (aft) and was very comfortable. My first time in an inside cabin and I didn't mind it at all. This ship is old but in very good shape. Everything was clean. I didn't notice any of the foul odors that others have posted about. I'll be taking Carnival in the future, but not this itinerary. It was a reasonably priced week getaway and the good far outweighed the bad. Want to try one of the new ships next time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
First off embarkation and debarkation were a total breeeze. Everything went smoothly and getting off the ship in Cuba and through customs was about a 10 minute process. Everyone was extremely organized. I have read other horror stories ... Read More
First off embarkation and debarkation were a total breeeze. Everything went smoothly and getting off the ship in Cuba and through customs was about a 10 minute process. Everyone was extremely organized. I have read other horror stories about going through customs in Cuba and in my experience they were all exaggerations. The upgrades to the states rooms were well thought, as we all know outlets are usually an issue in older ships. There were four usb plugs in my interior room which was spacious with plenty of closet and storage space. The ship itself is a little quirky but I got the hang of it. I am not a fan of a ship that you can not walk straight through (it’s a minor inconvenience and mainly something you adjust to after the first two days on board) the atrium is beautiful but has a lack of seating. This ship also has one pool which wasn’t an issue on our cruise but I can imagine it being packed on a cruise with more families/children. Food overall was great. Guys and blueiguana are my go to for lunch on this ship as the lido deck is more limited than other larger ships. Dinning room service and meals were some of the best I have had. The one thing that fell flat was the pizza. Carnival usually has the best pizza and it’s something I enjoy having late at night once the day is wrapping up but there was something so off about the pizza on this ship. Had it once and didn’t bother trying it again. The standout port on this trip and the reason I even booked it was Cuba. I mentioned above reading several “horror” stories of getting through customs in Cuba and either those were inaccurate or Cuba and the cruise line have learned how to stream line this process. You will have to fill out your visa which carnival gives you at embarkation. If you’re not sure how to fill it out or want to make sure you do it correctly guest services can give you an example of a complete visa or it will be in your fun times printout the day before you arrive to Havana. We booked an excursion through carnival. Culinary traditions and Cuba. It was hands down the best excursion. Our tour guide Viviana made the excursion she was informative and answered everyone’s questions. We started with a walking tour then drove down the Malecón. Had an amazing lunch at the Habana Libre hotel with a band and dancers. From there we went to plaza de revolucion, took pictures with old fashioned cars before finishing our excursion with shopping and a Cuba pairing of cigars, coffee and rum. If you’re thinking of going to Cuba do it and do it now. Cuba is changing that much is obvious and if you want to see it before it does don’t wait just go. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Embarkation process was wonderful, our arrival time was between 12:30 and 1:00. We arrived around 12:00 and we walked right on the ship. We had lunch on Deck 10 the lido buffet. I found the food to be limited, they have a themed ... Read More
Embarkation process was wonderful, our arrival time was between 12:30 and 1:00. We arrived around 12:00 and we walked right on the ship. We had lunch on Deck 10 the lido buffet. I found the food to be limited, they have a themed lunch/dinner every day. French, Italian, All American, Good Eats. I didn't really care for it. The deli also in the buffet was good I had the turkey wrap it was excellent, hot dogs were also good.Guys burgers were great. We forgot to eat at Blue Iguana Cantina but I heard it was good. I thought the pizza was terrible, it was paper thin and had no taste so it didn't matter that it was open 24 hrs. The ice cream was wonderful also 24 hours. The dining room was closed for lunch, I was not really used to that on the other ships I have been on. We did eat in the dining room for dinner I found the food to be very good but thought the portions were small. I had the chicken breast it was seasoned well and moist but only came with 2 pieces of broccoli or a handful of peas and carrots. My husband had the pork chop and he felt the same and usually had 2. We chose this ship because of the itinerary, Key west, Havana, and Cozumel. In Havana bring toilet paper, towels and hand sanitizer. Go to the lecture about Havana you will learn about pee-pee coins, because you need to pay to use the restroom. We did the easy havana and fusterlandia tour and it was excellent. Raciel with havanaturs was our tour guide we had an air conditioned coach with a bathroom. All ports were amazing we did the ship sponsored tours. Our room was very nice we had a outside view it was perfect for us as we were not in the room much but we wanted a view and I could sit on the ledge and look out the window and look at the water. Our steward was Jay, he introduced himself on the fist day and brought us our bathrobes, and my complimentary water as I was a repeat Carnival cruiser he cleaned our room early when we went to breakfast, our room and the ship were always very clean. Everywhere that you went that somebody was always cleaning something. The shower was small but we did fit. The shower curtain was a joke and when we showered there was a large puddle outside the shower. Found the activities to be limited but that was fine because we were off the ship or eating most of the time. We did the trivia and trivial pursuit we had a great group of people. I was very impressed with the debarkation it was extremely well organized, we were off the ship and in our car on the way home in half and hour. The elevators were inadequate, so ended up taking the stairs most of the time, so we felt less guilty about the food we ate, because we burned it off going to the next level of the ship. Overall we had the best time and we would go again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We did this cruise via a casino coupon and we upgraded to a Junior suite from an inside room . Mistake but I will talk about this in my cabin review. We were two couples in our early 40's and my single friend in her early ... Read More
We did this cruise via a casino coupon and we upgraded to a Junior suite from an inside room . Mistake but I will talk about this in my cabin review. We were two couples in our early 40's and my single friend in her early 40's. The single friend was a first time cruiser and she loved it! The rest of us have been on 5 or 6 other cruises and thought it was up there in our favorite 2. We didn't go in with huge expectations and maybe that is why we had a blast. Embarkation was a breeze. Because I upgraded to a Suite we had priority boarding which meant a really short line compared to the huge line for everyone else. They will let your non suite friends get in the short line with you. We were there at noon and on the ship by 12:20. We all bought the drink package and thank god! We like to drink and some of them got cut off by midnight because they reached their 15 drink max. But hey, drinks get warm, you set them down, you may not like one, they still count so we were glad we bought it. Lunch on the Lido deck we all chose guys burgers and fries and they were all great. We hung out all day by the pool, in the casino, walking around etc. We missed going under the sky bridge in Tampa as we were in the casino (woopsy) . Anyway this boat rocked alot more than other cruise ships I have been on. Sometimes you noticed it, but I just tried to not look out the windows as we moved and I was generally fine. I am also very sensative to sea sickness and I never heard anyone else complain about it. We met for early 6pm dinner in the main dining room Destiny. We sat the 5 of us and 3 lovely ladies from Virginia. Our two waiters were great and our drinks and apps were on the table in 5 min. All our meals in the main dining room were very good! we did all pay $20 extra one night and got the filet and lobster and it did not disappoint. Day 2- arrive in Key west at noon, I really wished we got here sooner as it is very close to Tampa???? I was confused why the itinerary didnt allow more time at this port. Anyway we had a few cocktails on board and waited for the masses to fight their way off. We walked off at 12:50 ish and no lines. It rained all day in Key West but we did a little bar hopping and had fun anyway. Irish Kevins was for sure our favorite spot with the live singer/comedian guy. Got back on the little trolly thing around 3pm and went back to the ship. I will definately be back in Key West as it wasnt nearly enough time here. Got back went to casino (after we were like 12 miles out of course) and made it to the main dining room again for dinner. I say made it because it was a long day of drinking and some people wanted to nap! Food great again! Day 3- woke up around 8am, some ate breakfast (my husband and I don't really eat breakfast) Waited for most to get off the ship in CUBA, we got off around 11 am with absolutely no one in line. Customs took 30 seconds as did money exchange. Just to give an idea of how much you will need in Cuba, most of us took our $80 US and it was too much (for what we did). First of all DO NOT get suckered into buying an excursion if you want to just walk on your own!!!! Carnival will try and tell you that you have to check off "people to people" and book an excursion. We being in Cuba last year knew to check off "support the cuban people" option and you can totally just walk off. We walked to the main square accross from the ship and you will get a few locals asking if you want to pay $1 each and they will walk you around. We said no, but one guy seemed to never leave so what the heck we let him walk us around. He took us to a local John Lennon bar (dive bar but very cool!!) we all go cubra libras (rum and cokes) and were surprised it was $10 a drink!! We had one, felt very buzzed and moved on to the next stop. We walked through beautiful streets, saw the market, other squares, local people living life. It was great. Ernest Hemingway bar right near the port was our fave as it had live cuban music and here a round of drinks for 5 people was $7.50 US. Or $7.50 CUC. Totally cheap and fun here. We danced and walked around some more. We all tipped our guy $25 US and he was more than happy I am sure. Got back on the boat and only 2 made it to dinner.... Day 4 - Cozumel- We arrived at 12:45pm to port and we chose again to wait an hour before getting off to avoid the crowd. We had booked El Cid's for the twilight day pass as our ship was here 1pm to 9pm. No other day pass resorts were offering this late day pass. It was $65 each I think?? MAKE SURE you bring the printed piece of paper with your reservation or they will make you print it at the hotel. We had drinks, food (good food) towels, pool, snokeling, all included. It was a fun day! The shopping area right a the ship is awesome, I thought it was beautiful clean and lots to do. We were back on the ship around 6 as we are wimps of the sun and apparently cannot drink too much in the sun. Day 5- day at sea, usual activities, silly games by the pool, lots of food.... I dont really know as I was burnt from Mexico and did not hang around outside. We were mostly hanging around the casino area/American bar. Now 3 of us were smokers and even as a smoker I will say that this small one side of the bar and in the casino were always VERY smoky.. The air suckers in this area seemed to not work. This was also the area that they had the trivia games which we LOVED!! So much fun. But dang do something with the smoking vents! CASINO!!!!- Ok we hung out here ALOT!!! Like every day for a long time especially at night. We usually go to Greektown Casino in our hometown near Detroit. We usually hit at greektown pretty much every time we are there so we think it is the loosest best slots in the world lol . This casino was pretty close. It is small but it pays good!!! Every single time you sat down people were hitting like crazy! My husband probably won $1000 a day on slots easily. I couldnt believe it . I loved playing roulette with our group. I won one of the pong games in the casino where they called my name and I had to throw one out of ten ping pong balls into a gift bag with money on it. I won $75 it was fun. Overall the wait staff was fantastic, you always had a drink in your hand, we never waited once at any of the bars nor in the casino. Dinner service was fast, we never waited more than 10 min for dinner. I couldn't believe we were on the same cruise that people were ripping on the slow service and crappy food. We did not think this at all. Look , don't expect Ruth's Chris style meals, expect more like outback or Texas Road House lol. Then you will not be disappointed. This boat is small and therefore you won't get lost and everything is easy to get to. Having said that it is small and can sometimes feel like there is not much to do. There is not much craziness going on near the pool, which I like sometimes. We NEVER had a problem getting a chair, there were never any big drunks partying like it was springbreak. There was no more than 20 kids on the whole ship. It was just a great cool crowd of people. Cabin review is next.... Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
If you are expecting variety, pleasant atmosphere, entertainment, luxury, relaxation, or well maintained facilities, EVEN wifi, you'll be in for a nasty shock. This was our first cruise. We will NOT be going back to Carnival ... Read More
If you are expecting variety, pleasant atmosphere, entertainment, luxury, relaxation, or well maintained facilities, EVEN wifi, you'll be in for a nasty shock. This was our first cruise. We will NOT be going back to Carnival cruises ever again. Our cruise was just a 4 dayer to Moreton Island. It's fortunate my husband and I can entertain ourselves, because this cruiseline is geared towards a) little children who don't know any better b) people who like to be in bars for 26 hours a day c) those with bad hearing d) dummies who would pay for things that should be freely available and e)....ah...shall I say less than your average sort of person. BOARDING: We had priority boarding. It went quite well. We arrived at 11am and boarded at 11.10. The problem was, our room was supposed to be one of the first ready, and it wasn't. No where near. We had nothing to do for 2 hours + while it was sorted. In fact, doors to accommodation were closed, with signes on Do Not Enter, until 1.30. Even then, ours was still locked and incomplete with no card to get in. Apparently we should have been able to get in early. So we had to hang around, lucky Sydney was so pretty to look at. CABIN: Our room was nice, we'd paid extra for a vista suite, one of the most roomy cabins in the ship, aft. Very nice, and nice and clean thanks to our very nice lady, Sunny, who was one of the few highlights of the cruise. The balcony was dirty and glass filthy. Don't expect a roomy suite, it's still a little cramped, but to be expected. It has a very nice balcony, wrap around the stern. Worth the money for the view and the 'get away from it all'. It had a delicious bed,...that's one of the 'dot' ratings. Pillows annoying, but the bed was lovely. The room had curtains on rails which swung and squeaked after every trough and wave. Try that when you're going to sleep??? Door to the bathroom kept swinging too. The lights, which dimmed if held pressed, were a nightmare to navigate. all over the place and which ones did which was a mystery. Plenty of hanging space and drawers (if you need that sort of thing), a big bathroom, if you need THAT sort of thing. Stupid shower water mixer, obviously people are scalded by it, because there was a sign on the wall. I hate combo faucet/shower heads where you have to press or pull the button to choose. A small lounge area with TVs, one chair had back wheels missing, never could work out if on purpose so it leaned back, or not. Lounge was diabolical. FAR to wide to sit leaning back, and vinyl, so you slipped when you tried. No cushions. If you're only 157cm, (5'2") it was ridiculous. Bottles of water cost $4.50 each. Not even one for free. Hmmmm. I'm beginning to start to wonder. DECOR: of the ship......oLD FASHIONED TACK. oh me..oh my. Think a cross between a bad Buckingham Palace / Titanic / Op shop - and you'll get my drift. (pardon the pun). ANY level surface was patterned with faux 1930s patterns. Nauseating carpet patterns, golden cupids and fat GOLD heads, swirls and glass and pretend copper and brass, wood veneer, and giant chandeliers and claw footed furniture. Oh, and my personal favourite.....the fake frescos of nude gods, goddesses, angels and just...well just naked people badly painted ...actually really HORRIBLY painted, all over the ceilings and on multiple rondels around the walls. Add to that the framed artwork...matching I'll add....of (yes you guessed it) more naked people, very ordinary artworks of things like greek gods. In our suite, Venus was being fondled by Cupid. It was pedophilic. I can't understand why someone let that be hung in a room! You've no idea how off-putting it was to wake up to that huge poster every morning. the artist should be shot. So should the decorator. It was the most hideous attempt at vintage glamour I've ever seen. TACKY. Ostentatious Tack. MAINTENANCE: The outside of the ship was not much better. I was literally scared that the balcony of our room might fall off, there was so much rust under the paint. The RAILING was stuck on top of the old one, which was warped, peeeling and rusted. The glass along the railing was absolutely filthy, as were our cabin windows. That's a shame since you could see nothing when inside the cabin, looking through dirty windows and a dirty glass railing. aLL throught the ship I noticed peeling veneer, broken foam faux gold leaf cupids etc, In our suite I found it ludicrous that a fairly nice birds eye veneer was used on cupboards and drawers and then old 1980s gold tone plastic handles attached which colour was worn off. Wardrobe door would not slide. Looking at the interior of other ships, this one was a decor disaster, and I'm not even fussy! SAFETY DRILL - i WAS pretty annoyed when we were hearded out onto the deck (though the temp was nice) and made to stand there for 20 minutes, while nothing happened, then a ridiculously simple safety blurb - how to put on a life jacket. (really??) and then stand there for a nother 10 minutes whjile nothing happens. Then a very loud horn (there go a few more of my aural cilia) and we're apparently allowed to go. FOOD: tHERE are 3 main areas to eat. a) the communal eat what you want, as much as you want, wheneve you want. (Except you can't, because it's not open all the time, only the pizza, tea and coffee is.) b) The posh restaurant upstairs. c) the main restaurant comprising of 2 levels. The food was ok. Pretty good, acceptable. I don't want to make it sound great. It was fresh enough,a nd there was plenty of it. We ate at all 3 places. POSH RESTAURANT; we booked in very early. Months ago. When we arrived we were annoyed that there was not a window table as we'd asked. "Sorry, we don't do that' he said. Why book then?? He said first come first served. Again...why book then? Food was nice, but my lobster was way overcooked. I'd say in a warmer or something for a while. It was even tough to cut. (It was my one splurge dinner.) Sides were ordered. Broccoli. 2 tiny pieces of broccoli. (If I'd known that I would have order 4 serves!!) and mash with wasabi for my husband. About 2 tablespoons of mash with no wasabi. I couldn't taste any. He couldn't taste any. So I'm saying the sides were a waste of effort. Big steak though. And tender. And we were asked "All OK?" "All good?" "Is food ok?" so many times, I lost count. Literally 20 times by 3-4 different people. It was sooooooo annoying. I had a mushroom entree which was delicious. Then the overcooked lobsters. Then a chocolate sphere, which I understood to be filled with something else..., actually it was all just chocolate, melted with melted chocolate, and with chocolate inside and chocolate smeared on the edge. ERgh. I love choc. But no counterpoint to give some contrast it was sickly. Hey chef, ever heard of raspberries? or orange? or even cream? Meals are $55 for choice of 3 courses. EMPIRE RESTAURANT: (THE middle one) Staff are tremendous. Work like trojans serving all the hundreds of people, sitting at decadently decorated tables in the ostentatious huge dining room. They're quick, efficient, and super friendly. The menu is not anything special. It has most of the food that is also served upstairs at the posh restaurant (for an exctra $30), and all of the food from the serve yourself buffet, but put on a plate for you. (free). You can choose what you want, multiple times if you want. So it's really like a buffet, but you can't see the food and someone else gets it for you. It's ok food though. Except I had bouillabaise last night which was just a broth with a few teeny bits of seafood chucked in at the last minute. And a cooked apple with lime pie inside, the apple was so tough I couldn't cut it, obviously not cooked enough, and my husband had one too, but it was only half the size!!! Breakfast is also held in this room. BUFFET: Welcome to cattle class. In many respects. Pushers, shovers, pigs. (sorry, but true. - I guess this style attracts it.) I enjoyed my couple of visits to the buffet as the food was fine, it was the people who weren't. Also, Carnival, your set up...organisation of food stations is abysmal. Identical lines of food from both sides, both converging inwards to the same place is ridiculous. Especially when that place is also the coffee and tea station. I enjoyed a cantina outside which did taco type things. It was fresh and interesting. There's an all day pizza place, but other than that, only tea coffee hot choc and something they called lemonade, but to us (Aussies) it's very strong sweet lemon cordial. It was hideous. Really, no soft drinks or even WATER!!! No juice either. I suppose you could get it from the bar if you wanted to. BARS: Speaking of bars...the inumerable multiple bars all over the ship. You couldn't escape them. Clearly the focus of attention for designers. 2/3 of the public areas ...at least...were bars. Maybe you like that.. I didn't. Why on earth would you drink inside a ship, when you could ...well...drink outside of one? And why is there a need for 7 or more bars? Bar people will not make drinks to order. One day, I went to get a cocktail. I wanted one without orange juice as I'm allergic to it. I asked for a cocktail off the list, but substitute the oj for coconut milk or something, as I like it creamy. Barman said no. I thought he was joking. He said can't do. I said 'What?" he said can't leave out orange juice. I said I don't want oj. He said I can't do. People around me are shaking their heads...what? why? pick something else. OK...pina colada but no ice. No. Can't do. (pina colada's aren't made like dacquiri, they're not icy, and he was making them like that.) No can't do. I asked him why, he just shook his head. I said, but I'm paying for it!!! So I had to make a complaint. I never ever complain. Long stoir short. Dep Head Barman explained. They won't make drinks to order. Too many people on board. (I'm thinking, why would you hire barmen that can't make drinks to order? the bars are never crowded because there's so many of them.) Also, apparently no coconut milk. Really? on a tropical cruise? They use pina colada mix. No pineapple juuice, no coconut cream. Just a stodgy looking mixture. ergh. NO WIFI - unbelievably, there is no wifi on the ship. (I'm not an idiot, I can work out why. - they do not want passengers on their phones or tablets for free, instead of bars and restaurants, casino and shops where they would be spending money.) For this reason also, there is NO NEWSAGENT, NO BOOKSHOP etc on board. They don't want you reading, when you could be drinking or gambling or otherwise spending more money!!! So after leaving sydney and my 4g carks it, I start to wonder. Where is the wifi. I get the Carnival Hub,a nd to my dismay it costs $72 PER PERSON to get 4 day cruise long middle of the road wifi. (not hispeed and not all sites, eg no youtube). You can switch devices, but not at the same time. So husband and I could not be on wifi at once unless we had two accounts. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Even aeroplanes have wifi. Coober Pedy, in the desert of South Australia has wifi and that's 850 kilometres away from the nearest city. And you're telling me acruise ship, 10kms off coast, can't give wifi? It's because it's another cash grab. Pay for wifi, or pay to do something else. No entertainment for free on this ship. So we bought ONE wifi account, swapping devices, and only one of us using it at a time, when we needed to. however. IT WOULDN'T WORK IN OUR BEDROOM OR ON OUR BALCONY. Wifi is garbage on the ship. It's slow, and I don't know about you, I like lying in bed looking at emails whenI'm on hols. And I had to sit on the bed, as I couldn't sit on the slide wide sofa. But I couldn't get wifi in the bedroom. Soooooo annoying when I'd paid $72 for it. That's more than 2 months worth of wifi I pay at home! ENTERTAINMENT: As you may have observed, I'm not a fan of 24 hour drinking, gambling or eating. I naively expected there to be entertainment on board. Adult entertaiment. Not "ADULT" but for adults. Not bean bag tossing. Not the hairy chest competition. :/ NOT a lecture about ...wait for it....wrinkles. I didn't want to have my photo taken, I can do that. I would have played trivia or even bingo in a pinch, but these more fun games were held in random spaces in side passages in a few seats in a cafe with people filing past and talking through them. It was impossible. Adn it wasn't for grown ups so kids were running around and talking. Seriously? Think about it. Can't hear the question, can't hear the answer. No point. So...THINGS TO DO. Virtually nothing. Unless you like drinking eating or gambling or spending money on rubbish. There are shops (jewellery, souvenirs, photos.) tHAT'S it. There are theme nights, if you're willing to risk your hearing. An 80s night for this cruise. Nothing else going. So if it's raining or windy, be aware. You will be very very bored. No internet, no books, tiny pools, no activities worth doing. Just a thought...Carnival. Try some FREE activities. What about a 'get fit' class on the deck. What about an 'All about Moreton Island' exhibition for 2 days ont he way there, and an 'all about the ocean' exhbition on the way back. What about a singalong, a talent show, a cooking exhibition. What about a FREE tour of the engine room (you had to pay). What about a mini borrow-library? A music room? A makeup show. The activities were pathetic and cash grabs, and here's the worst of them. ART AUCTION: There was the most bizarre art show I have ever witnessed. And being an artist myself, I have witnessed plenty, including some pretty odd ones. The organiser was a woman who spoke 3.75 x the speed of sound. Even when she was speaking 'normally'. People were sniggering behind their hands at her. She needs to take something to slow her up a bit. Around 30 minutes of blurb on how, why, who and when, would have been soporific, but for the voice of Speedy Gonzales. she informed us that SHE would determine the starting price, NOT the buyers who usually start an auction. (OK....), and SHE would put in bids whenever she felt necessary. (??? OK......) And the starting bid for the first piece of work was $6000. Six Grand. Did I hear correctly? or have my ears lost 75% hearing due to the ridiculous noise of the music in all the bars? You might not flinch at that. But the 'work', was done in highlighter and permanent marker. In fact, I have never seen such a flagrant upsell, overqualifying sales pitch for such utter rubbish in all my life. The 'works', were clearly up to 20 years old, absolutely revolting pictures, sad huge old gold tone wooden frames bashed and beaten, and reused over and over agiain, with the work begin recycled for cruise after cruise, until some idiot buys it. at $6000. I would say none of the work was painted in Australia. It6 looked like 1980s American junk store stuff. Oh boy. To add insult to injury, a 'free' glass of champagne and orange was offered just before the auction to soften the wallets of the numbskulls who were considering a hefty purchase. Only to be outbid by the seller, who could put in a bid over you to bid you up. Leaving you bidding against yourself. They called it 'collecting'. You can collect art from your cruises. People. People. Do yourself a favour. Go to Saint Vincent de Paul op shop. Pick up the same type of thing for $4 and be done with it. Or better, go to the art show of a local community Art Society and pick up a beautiful artwork recently painted, with genuine provenance, and the blessing of the artist, in a clean and modern frame. $500 should buy you a real cracker! PUBLIC AREAS: did I mention the music? No relaxing music, just super loud, aggravating ear pounding music. In all the bars, and pool areas. All the time. Even the accoustic guitar guy, who was the best of them, was sooooooo loud I wouldn't have put my children in the pool near him. No relaxing anywhere there. Nup. SPEAKING OF POOLS: Not pools. small spa style areas. They LOOK like pools in the pictures because of the huge overflow areas, like paddle areas about 1" deep, but which take up 2/3 of the pool area. The pools themselves are minute. About 4-5 metres long adn 2-3 metres wide. It would fit 20 people in max. No self respecting adult is going to get into a pool that small with 100 kids trying to get in. There is a 'serenity' area which has an even smaller pool. Think about it. Thousands of people. tiny tiny pools. I didnt travel with my older chldren, thank goodness. they would have been bored out of their trees. MORETON ISLAND. We loved it. We took our snorkel gear and walked the 2kms or whatever it is up to the wrecks and swam around on them looking at the gorgeous sea life. Then found a quiet sushi bar and bought an Asahi and a sushi. OH! I almost forgot. THE SHUTTLE BOAT. How could I forget that. It was an exciting experience to say the least. The WAITING: We were told we could o over at any time. We left at 9.50. We didn't ACTUALLY leave until 11.10am. Why? because there were tiny shuttle boats, and so few of them, and we were all herded into the auditorium with numbers, waiting our turn. It took over an hour for our turn. Really? There has to be a better way. The cruise director made it sound like we were SOOOO lucky to be getting on "Now for lucky 38. If you're 38 you can go to the island!!" It was ridiculous. At least have some entertainment for the 400 or so people all waiting to leave. the DRIVER: Picture this. You give your $150,000 car to your 14 year old to drive up to the shops and back. That's what it felt like. On the return trip, our boat driver was so pitiful it beggared belief. My husband is a Master 5 ticket holder, meaning he can drive BIG boats. He felt like he should go and offer assistance he was so pathetic. First, he zigzagged his way through the passage with reverse thrusters every time he needed to slow or turn. (use twice as much fuel and spin the boat around erratically, over steering to compensate.) It took 10x longer to get back than it did to come over. Worst, when we came alongside the ship, he tried to reverse it again, it should have taken around 12 seconds, with maybe 3 manouvres. It was a fairly calm sea. He botched it so badly the boat spun around 360 degrees TWICE! another boat came in, instead, probably to show the driver how to do it. (aka don't reverse up, just drive up to it!!) our driver still did not do that, mucking around over steering and reversing, and ultimately going forward, but so poorly he crashed into the SHIP!! All the passengers screamed, and while I knew nothing would happen, the sound was tremendous and the other passengers scared. Crew were standing on the ship watching the pitiful attempt, in disbelief. There was even a small vessel coming in, a bumpered vessel like a 'pusher', to help 'push' the shuttle into position. It was atrocious. And terrible of Carnival to hire boat drivers in charge of their passengers who have no skill and put lives at risk. They should be ashamed. You may have figured this kind of cruise is not for me. I have done many things like this, and don't get seasick. But I was dismayed at this cruise. It was a cash grab pure and simple. Only the staff saved it. Most of them anyway. They were helpful and worked hard. Probably don't get paid enough for the hard work they do. Most were overseas workers from the Philippines or Russia. Read Less
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