Just back from Carnival Carribean cruise

Dec 26th, 2002, 08:17 AM
  #1  
croozer
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Just back from Carnival Carribean cruise

Hi folks. Just wanted to share some observations from our recent cruise on the Victory. I went with my wife and son who is 3 weeks from being 2 years old. He was not allowed to participate in Camp Carnival, since he was not 2. He was also not allowed to even play there under our supervision. Since he payed full fare, I think this is unfair.
The people on the cruise were generally great. Definately alot more diverse than the Princess crowd. There was no hint of the "Walmart Syndrome" some have eluded to (drunkenness, loudness, etc).
The service was definately nowhere as good as Princess. Every dinner, our waiter would forget to bring us everything we ordered. The food was very mediocre. Princess had gourmet food by comparison, and a buffet available all the time, not just certain hours like Carnival. For those of you that have been told you can get NY strips at the grill, lol, they are more like steak-ums. Really, I kid you not. The barmaid working the tables was absolutely rude. Most nights we felt rushed by the dinner staff, but the delays were mostly because the food would take a while to arrive. Then it was hurry up and eat. On the sixth night of our cruise we finally met our Matre de. Nice of him to say hi (sarcasm, folks). We asked for some glasses to be left in our room, but everyday they were taken away by the cabin steward.
On the plus side... The ship is new and pretty, if a little gaudy. The cabin balcony was awesome. Nice place to spend some time in the morning.
I have to wonder who planned the placement of the topless deck. From the top of the sliding board, its 1 level down across from the pool. Nice view. No wonder all those 13 year old boys couldn't get enough of the slide,lol.
We really enjoyed our time at the ports. People we talked to who booked tours were dissapointed. Do some reasearch on the web and strike out on your own. You get alot more interaction with the locals and its much more fun than being babysat.
Old San Juan was all lit up for the holidays. Some people didn't like San Marten's apparent poverty. I thought it was a beautiful island. If you travel the world, you'll soon discover not everywhere is like Las vegas, thank god. Just accept it for what it is. Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas was fantastic, and St John was incredible. Snorkling on Trunk Bay was better than anything I've seen in Hawaii.
Overall, we really enjoyed our vacation. However, next time we'll be going back to spend a week in a villa in St. John. No waiting in endless lines, endless speaker messages, or watching waiters dance the macarena!
 
Dec 26th, 2002, 02:24 PM
  #2  
Liz
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Thanks for the info., Croozer. I'm glad I booked our next cruise on Princess!
 
Dec 26th, 2002, 11:42 PM
  #3  
Paul Therault
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I would like to comment. There are very few cruise lines that will allow a 2 year old in their programs, supervised by parents or not. The buffet food is always available except for short cleanup times. Princess also has cleanup times where you are left with only a few items to choose. You will find that you may get an inept waiter on any ship. Your compliants should be addressed to the Maitre d' and not here. The steak, although prime USDA is similar to a minute steak due to the time-to-cook element. Princess has no steak at all at their grill. Food is a matter of taste. Granted Princess is more gourmet but Carnival food is rated triple A and a tad better than Princess.

I did notice the topless areas on all the new Carnival ships have the topless area below the slide area but the kids are really too far away to see much.

Sorry to hear of your dilemma, but you are frightening people unnecessarily.

Paul
 
Dec 27th, 2002, 05:07 AM
  #4  
mom
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croozer, I have to say that I think the policy for 2 year olds is very unfair. If they are making a 2 year old pay full fare, they should allow participation in the programs, otherwise, give them a discount. Afterall, the 2 year old doesn't take up a bunk (probably uses a pack-n-play to sleep in)and barely eats any food.

I think this policy shared by RCCL and Celebrity by the way, really stinks!
 
Dec 27th, 2002, 06:25 AM
  #5  
croozer
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Hi again. Paul, I wasn't trying to unnecessarily scare anyone. Just giving my honest opinion. Sorry, there's no way the food is a tad better than Princess. Anyone out there care to comment? In all fairness, there were many staff that were extremely cordial and doted over the baby, to my surprise. They are to be commended. Its also absolutely true that any ship, restaurant, resort, etc. may have an employee having a bad day. Granted. I'm just reporting on my experience on being treated rudely by this person for 7 days on a 7-day cruise. Please don't take this as an attack on the particular cruise line. I'm just stating what we experienced.
 
Dec 27th, 2002, 07:55 AM
  #6  
Amused
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"... waiters dancing the macarena ..."

Seems this is something folks either love or hate. (I'm in the latter group.)

Add to that, the maitre'd who sings nightly to the captive audience.

I want dessert and coffee pretty darn quick after finishing the main course. Slowing down the service for the obligatory aria, then frolicking waiters (complete with fright wigs, yet!) does not please me.
 
Dec 27th, 2002, 08:40 AM
  #7  
Peter
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croozer - don't be offended by Paul - he is a Carnival lover (we aren't sure why) and anytime anyone has something negative to say, he comes at you with both guns blazing.

This, again, is one of the reasons I get on Pau - here is a poster who is relating a negative cruise experience -conistent with the purpose of this forum, and they get the bums rush from Paul. He tells you to air your complaints to the Maitre d' and not here - thats wrong. He tells you to stop frightening people - you're not; just relating your experience.

Why do we need to fighten people from posting on this site - we've got enough trouble without that.

And P.S. Paul - Carnival doesn't serve "prime" USDA steaks - maybe "choice", but definitely not prime.
 
Dec 27th, 2002, 09:29 AM
  #8  
jimbo
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Why in the world would you bring a kid that young on a cruise?
 
Dec 27th, 2002, 04:12 PM
  #9  
Cathy
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Thank you croozer for a good and honest review of the ship. I am planning my 3rd Carnival cruise on the Conquest because the ship is close to where I live.

I have found that most mainstream cruise lines have pluses and minuses. One thing that could have accounted for your poor wait service is it could have been close to crew change. They rotate out from 6-8 months and when it is close to the time they go home..service can be lax. Plus being a holiday, the ship was probably full and they were overworked. It amazes me how they work from sunup to around midnight everyday and they still have to be "on" - cheerful. I don't know how the Carnival cruise directors do it because the cruise directors are also the shopping talk people and they sponsor the games and they are also up from dawn to past midnight and still be cheerful cruise after cruise after cruise....

Still, bad service is not good for your vacation.

The secret to enjoying a Carnival cruise is to have modest expectations. I usually book for the lowest possible price and have been plesently suprised with an upgrade. I don't expect gourmet food and have been plesently suprised - not on the Destiny but definitely on the Pride. The people I have met on Carnival ships have been very nice and I too do my own homework and do my own shore excursions, so the ports of call are never a disappointment.

Seems like you had an overall good time and I am glad you did.
 
Dec 27th, 2002, 10:26 PM
  #10  
dana
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I tend to agree with Croozer. The ships are very gaudy, the food "so so", and I don't need waiters dancing the Macarena on the table tops when I am waiting for my entre.

Our wait staff were great -- the maitre d' was a total ass, interrupting dinner every night to tell us the dining hours for the next day -- always the same hours, no variation, and that info could be found in the daily newsletter that is put in your cabin.

On the Spirit, we did not have day-long buffets, they were restricted hours.

When you book Carnival, you have to realize you are getting a great cabin for the price, but the rest of the service doesn't match up.

Celebrity is much better, in my opinion.
 
Dec 27th, 2002, 10:55 PM
  #11  
Paul Therault
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Carnival has a full buffet all day except for very short (1 hour) times (twice) during the day. This is for clean-up. Other cruise lines also have clean-up and the food is very limited. Carnival is the only cruise line that has a full buffet except for the above short clean-up times. When you arrive back on a Celebrity ship hungry after a shore tour you will find no buffet except for a one hour tea-time. For passengers that have late seating there is no full buffet from 2:30PM through to 8PM. You do, of course, have a full room-service menu.

I will repeat, Carnival is a mass-market family value "fun" cruise with average service. It is not for everyone. But the multi-million dollar productions shows and the great food does make up for the slight negatives.

I agree with the staid Ocean Cruise Liner Society that stated Carnival food is equal to that of a 4 and 5 star cruise line. I can add that for presentation, quality and a varied menu I would agree, but it is definitely not gourmet.

I agree with Cathy, there are positives and negatives related to all cruise lines just as there are positives and negatives to all vacations.

For people that want "church" do not cruise Carnival!

Paul

 
Dec 30th, 2002, 10:32 AM
  #12  
Jim
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I think you all are missing the point. Why didn't Croozer lie and tell them his son was 2? That's the simplest solution.
 
Dec 30th, 2002, 11:13 AM
  #13  
croozer
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I did do exactly that at camp carnival. I fibbed, told them he was 2. They checked his passport information (needed to get into St. Martin) and wouldn't let him in.
 
Dec 31st, 2002, 12:03 AM
  #14  
Paul Therault
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Disney is the ony cruise line that accepts toddlers. It is a baby-sitting program. They also will allow a younger child to go into the next step up program if they are within one month of the older age.

Here's the kicker .... You pay additional money to cruise Disney. It is not a family value cruise line. So either cruise Disney with your 12 month to 3 year old or wait until the child grows up.

Paul
 
Dec 31st, 2002, 05:23 AM
  #15  
xman
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Why doesn't Paul "air" his opinions to the Maitre d' instead of here? Because he wants others to hear what he has to say. Same as Croozer. So what's wrong with that? Nothing!

Paul I'm glad you are so passionate about Carnival but don't belittle others for sharing their point of view.
 
Dec 31st, 2002, 05:47 AM
  #16  
goosegirl
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I'm curious as to why Croozer didn't check to find out what the minimum age was at Camp Carnival in the first place. Or, did you already know it was two and you tried to sneak him in anyway? Why is it "unfair" of Carnival when YOU didn't do your homework?
 
Dec 31st, 2002, 08:08 AM
  #17  
croozer
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I DID do my homework. I spoke with several people who assured me if a child was just a few days from being 2 that they would happily overlook it. When it came right down to it, they stuck to their rigid protocol. Fine, that's their perogative. They were unwilling to go the extra little bit to please a full-paying customer. Fine. Hurray for carnival. Now I will certainly exercize my option of booking cruise lines that Do go the extra mile to please their customers. I love giving repeat business to companies that not just meet their obligations, but sometimes exceed them. And believe me, they do exist!
 
Dec 31st, 2002, 09:56 AM
  #18  
shark
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On our last Princess trip there was an irate passenger who's child was right under 2. She claimed that her travel agent assured her that the little one would be accepted into the childrens program. Understandable that she was quite upset...had to advoid her at all costs and her constant complaining about it all week to anyone who would listen. We had our son( 1 month shy of 2) with us, and they did allow us to accompany him into the play areas at all times. Please be aware of the strictly adhered to camp ages. It's usually in the brochure. It might save your vacation!
 
Dec 31st, 2002, 11:26 PM
  #19  
Paul Therault
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I do not belittle anyone. I'm attempting to explain that you will get bad service on any cruise line at some time or other. I have sailed many Princess ships and at times experienced a bad waiter, busboy, cabin steward or butler. The next post after Croozers by Liz stated she is glad she booked Princess. How many thought the same. Therefore I defended Carnival. Princess has a massive amount of seafood at the buffet and dinner which many passengers do not care for. My wife loved the food but at times I went hungry (I do not care for seafood) and had to eat lettuce when the buffet was limited due to cleaning.

There is quite a bit of general information that I post which will benefit others.

Here's another tidbit .... When Croozer mentioned that the glasses that were sent up to his cabin by the maitre d' were taken by the steward it is due to the fact that the steward is programmed to take away any glasses that do not belong in the stateroom. What I do is take the glasses from the buffet or bars and hide them in the closet.

I try not to offend, but at times my wording is inappropriate. Thus the posts from the two most negative posters on this site who bash as they please ..... Peter and xman.

Paul



 
Jan 1st, 2003, 12:46 PM
  #20  
Peter
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Paul, you're so full of it. In this thread you tell people that if their toddler is under three to cruise Disney or just don't cruise. Then on the thread that somehow got deleted titled "2.75 year old" you tell everyone that traveling with your children is special and take them with you regardless of age.

All of this has nothing to do with your wording - its the meaning. You vasilate between opposite ends of arguments to suit your own image. If the heats up high, you back off. Its far more important to you to stroke and please than advise.
 

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