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Carnival Cruise Line / live and learn

1 United States Review updated:

After having an amazing cruise on Royal Caribbean one year, my family (husband, 2 kids, parents & brother) decided to try out the other cruise lines out there...

like Carnival. Maybe we were spoiled on Royal Caribbean or maybe Carnival "Fun Ship" Cruises just take no pride in quality of service. Before we even got on board the Victory, we were handed a change of itinerary stating that we would not be going to Nova Scotia Canada as intended, but instead, St John's New Brunswick. Ok, no problem seeing as there was a slight tropical storm in the way and we'd never been to St John's Canada anyway.

First off, let me just say that as we boarded the ship, it just seemed so unrefined. The interior was decorated in such a tacky way, it reminded me of a gambling resort type, not so much Las Vegas, but maybe Atlantic City. Right off hand, you can smell the cigarette smoke, that eminated throughout the entire ship. It was disgusting to say the least.

That night we were looking forward to dining and having a good meal. Yet, another disappointment. The food was horrible and cold. My husband had ordered the NY strip steak with potatoes and green beans, what came on the plate was basically a rubber steak with a side of fat and grizzle. My chowder was warm at the top but ice cold towards the bottom. The chicken satay appetizer was so dry and tasteless. They tend to concentrate more on quantity rather than quality.

The next morning, we had a full day at sea, the ship was moving at such a slow pace like 15 knotts, that most of the passengers on board, including my mom got terribly seasick. Everyone rushed to the doctor on board for those drammamine pills. We didn't understand how a ship this size created so much rocking, people were swaying from side to side, it was aweful.

Not once did we feel any kind of swaying on our Royal Caribbean Cruise.

We thought that there would be at least something to do on the Victory besides drinking at the bars (there were several by the way), we tried to go play ping pong, but there was only ONE table that was placed in an enclosed area by the stairwell the size of my closet!! Of course there was a line of people waiting to play so we checked that off our list. Next, we headed to the arcade or should I say "money eating machine". Almost every games we tried to play with the exception of the surfing and the car racing games were broken. It cost $1 to play each game and once you put your tokens in, they don't start up and you don't get your money back. Carnival Cruise Ship attendants don't bother to put an "out of order" sign. What to do next? We opted to work out at the gym for a while, of course, why did we even bother? Their freestyle weights were either too light like 7 lbs or too heavy like 25-30 lbs. There was nothing in between. Their running track was mediocre as well. Their pool slide was closed half of the time and when they did decide to open it, the water was icy cold. The jacuzzis would have been nice if only they enforced the "no children" rule. It was crawling with kids under 12, even at the "adults only" jacuzzis. Some kids were even eating in the jacuzzis and that was just plain nasty, but no one did anything. Even late at night, there were still kids in the jacuzzis and we had to wonder, where are their parents?? Getting drunk of course! Afterall, Carnival Victory is basically a "Floating Bar" designed specifically for people who just want to drink, get drunk, leave their kids unattended to do whatever they please even if it means upsetting the other passengers, and for people who are too wasted to even know what the food should taste like. I think that's why the food is so aweful, most of the people are just too drunk to realize it tasted like crap. For instance, on our last night, we ordered pork chops and out came this pork chop with some green juice oozing and bubbling out ( I kid you not). We were appalled and afraid to eat it. The food by the 4th day was still cold and we really dreaded dinner time. We opted for pizza and burgers instead. Luckily the only thing this ship had going for them was the 24hr pizzas and the late night burgers and fries. Their 24hr soft serve ice cream was the only treat worth having, as the desserts they served during their dinners tasted like cardboard. We were really hoping the dinners and meals would be gourmet and just tantalize our taste buds, but it was far from that and it just left us with a bad taste in our mouths. It's pretty sad when pizza is the only thing worth looking forward to, and I am not a big pizza fan.

The service was also mediocre, the room attendants and waiters looked like they hated their jobs and wanted to jump ship. Our room attendant did however, do an ok job in tidying our rooms and placing extra towels etc., but he didn't go that extra mile with the towel animals every evening. He made us one freaky towel animal that didn't look like anything we've seen, more like a towel mutant which scared the kids. Maybe that was his intention, who knows. Our waiter forgot our salads one night and the asst waiter totally ignored us and forgot to serve us any bread, as he just stood there chatting away and laughing with the other waiters. Karma works in mysterious ways as that asst waiter tripped while the ship still swayed from side to side.

This was truly a disappointing cruise ship experience. We will never step foot aboard a Carnival "Fun Ship" ever again. Our travel agent was so right when she said that if you want a family friendly, adventure-type cruise choose Royal Caribbean or Norwegian, but if you want to just party and get intoxicated, choose Carnival. We should have listened, but we live and learn.

Va
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Comments

  • Va
      17th of Aug, 2006
    0 Votes

    Pwee writes: "Afterall, Carnival Victory is basically a "Floating Bar" designed specifically for people who just want to drink, get drunk, leave their kids unattended to do whatever they please even if it means upsetting the other passengers, and for people who are too wasted to even know what the food should taste like." So everybody was happy but you? Or are you including yourself in this lofty description?

  • Va
      17th of Aug, 2006
    0 Votes

    Everyone else was not happy, we spoke to other cruisers who had previously been on Norwegian and Celebrity Cruiselines and they too were appalled with Carnival's lack of quality and service. I'm sure the people who intended to booze it up on this cruise were VERY happy with the conditions. The food really wasn't good at all, they didn't enforce any kind of rules for children in the hot tub areas, the games in the arcade were broken but you didn't know till you put your tokens in. When you have all those things working against you, and all that is left are the smoke-filled bars and kids running around in the casinos, it's hard to find a silver lining. I wouldn't have had a problem if Carnival took the care in preparing the food right, made sure the games were fixed prior to embarking, perhaps let the parents know that their kids should not be in the adult only hot tubs. This was just our experience. I'm sure some people enjoyed the cruise, to each his own, but after being on a wonderful cruise the first time, surely you'd want to have the same experiences with your next. Unfortunately we didn't have that with Carnival. I've read many reviews on here that said all there was to do on Carnival was drink and gamble, so I know I'm not alone in this. This was our first Carnival Cruise, in a way I am glad we endured it, that way we're able to compare other cruises.

  • Va
      17th of Aug, 2006
    0 Votes

    PWee: I have read some of the same complaints from others as you have wrote. But not as well as you wrote them. I was laughing so hard (not because of your bad experience)but because of the way you write. It's great! I love how you decribed the towel animals and the towel mutant and it scaring the kids. And how the attendants looked like they wanted to jump ship and you followed it with "our attendant did"..but you said it about something else. I am so sorry for your bad trip and I thank you for sharing. I do think you should start writing for a newspaper or magazine as a critic. You do a good job. I myself had an offer to go on a Carnival Cruise in October but after the bad reviews and illnesses and dissappearences I read abou and listen to in the news I think I'll stick to dry ground.

  • Va
      17th of Aug, 2006
    0 Votes

    I can empathize with you. My fiance and I had a similar experience especially the part about the kids in the hot tubs specifically for adults only. Our dinners were cold as well, sometimes lukewarm if we were lucky and it was like eating at a Sizzler's or Golden Corral ~ not impressive. Maybe they didn't fix the games on board and had limited activities so that you would have to spend your money in the bars and casinos? Just a thought.

  • Va
      17th of Aug, 2006
    0 Votes

    Some of the bargain/lower priced ships don't police patrons or their kids. It's turned into a "get what you pay for" kinda thing.

  • Va
      17th of Aug, 2006
    0 Votes

    In regards to 'you get what you pay for', I've gotta say that for a 4 day cruise, it really wasn't as cheap as you would think. It was approx $550 per person. If it was under $300 I would have just brushed it off. Our 5 day Royal Caribbean cruise was much cheaper @ $409 per person and it was definitely more enjoyable, go figure.

  • Va
      17th of Aug, 2006
    0 Votes

    PWee-I went on two Royal Caribbean cruises before I went on a Carnival one and let me tell you, RC wins hands down overall. I had so much fun on the RC cruises. There was hardly any fun things to do on the Carnival cruise. The food and service on the RC cruises was amazing. I was disappointed that the formal nights on Carnival were less than formal. Hardly anyone dressed up, the food was horrible, and the service was just "ok". One day on the Carnival cruise, our ship was parked next to a Royal Caribbean ship. I couldn't help but sit on my balcony in complete boredom and scream "I wish I was on that boat with you!" to the other RC guests. I have to say though, with all the stories that I've been hearing lately about cruise ships and disappearing guests, I probably won't be taking another one for a LONG time.

  • Va
      17th of Aug, 2006
    0 Votes

    Misstina, you're so right about formal night on Carnival being less than formal. One couple two tables away from us were in bermuda shorts and capris. My brother was like, "See, I could have just worn my board shorts instead of this monkey suit!!" (hehehe) That's so funny about the RC ship docking next to you guys, I would have felt the same way too ~ might even go as far as jumping overboard towards RC and pretending I belonged on their ship. :)~~

  • Va
      17th of Aug, 2006
    0 Votes

    There isn't much comparison between a Carnival and RC cruise. Carnival reminds me of a cruise line you use if you're single or on a really tight budget. It's just not the same service or ambiance. That's why it's cheaper.

  • Va
      17th of Aug, 2006
    0 Votes

    Typically, these days, Carnival is catering moreso to the singles and spring-break crowd. We haven't cruised them for years, it's just not the same experience as the pricier ones.

  • Va
      17th of Aug, 2006
    0 Votes

    Finally got a hold of a friend of mine who used to work on Celebrity Cruiseships. I told her about my experience on Carnival to which she replied, "Oh I forgot to tell you that we all (meaning she and the crew) know that Carnival is the "Dirty Ship". I guess it's an inside joke between the crews of other cruiseships. Ok, I'll admit that I was a bit embarrassed and mortified when she said that, but at least I get to leave and never go back on Carnival... however, the poor crew is now known as the "people who live & work on the Dirty Ship"

  • We
      12th of May, 2008
    0 Votes

    You all are ###s. I have Cruised on Carnival 7 times and all 7 times I found nothing to be Dirty about the ship. In fact; more often than not from the time I boarded till the time I left I saw plenty of people, cleaning, painting, washing windows, etc...on the ship. I had NEVER had a bad meal prepared for me, my wife, or my child on board the ship. I will agree that formal night isnt as formal for some people but those people are few and far between.

    I would never want to cruise on any other cruise liner. RC is just full of snooty people and CC is just the same way. Now I'm really sorry that Carnival didn't have someone following around behind you to wipe your ###. I'm really sorry that the arcade games were not working or placed out of order (maybe they didn't know and you could have told them but of course you didn't). I'm really sorry that nobody dressed up in 10, 000 dollar clothes for you on Formal night but guess what its a vacation. If you want a snooty vacation take your ### back to RC or CC and dont come back. Carnival doesn't need people like you who all you can do is talk ###.

    I have only ever had ONE problem aboard a ship and that was with one of the crew being a dick to me. I complained about it, got my free bottle of wine, and a personal apology from that crew member. My room attendants have ALWAYS been 150% the best. Towel animals ever night and none of them looked like mutants. Waiters always been wonderful. My overall experience aboard a Carnival Cruise Line has been fantastic. So anyone who you wants to go have FUN on a Cruise come over to Carnival. If you want to hang out with a bunch of snooty ### and rich ol farts and go over to RC.

    And thats my 2c

  • Ca
      11th of Jun, 2008
    0 Votes

    In Europe, people believe that it is disrespectful to others to dress down (i.e. it's an eyesore). If anyone has ever put in the time and effort to look nice, there's something great about everyone looking nice. Although, yes, this is America and people can dress how they want to dress, it's selfish and rude to the people around them if they thumb their nose at the opportunity to be part of a fine social gathering (or choosing to rebel and look tacky). And, you know, it might just repair the reputation of CC being a "dirty ship" if that is, in fact, true. Think about it. -C

  • Wi
      22nd of Sep, 2008
    0 Votes

    Carnival = Wal Mart
    Royal Caribbean = Dillards
    Holland America = Neiman Marcus

    I have cruised over three dozentrips in my life, one on Carnival. Circus is a better description. What a disaster.

    Wesley, I fear you are sadly mistaken - perhaps you have only been on Carnival. Believe me, there are MUCH better cruise values out there - sorry. I wanted off the Carnival ship.

  • Ka
      25th of Sep, 2008
    0 Votes

    ROYAL CARIBBEAN SUCKS:

    Do you want to take a vacation and have an awful time? Do you want to spend a lot of money for a vacation only to find out you would have rather flushed that money down the toilet? If your answer is yes to the above questions then I suggest that you take a cruise on Royal Caribbean.

    8 of us from work decided a year ago to save our money and take a nice cruise to Bermuda on Royal Caribbean...WRONG!!! When we docked in Bermuda we spent the first day on the beaches. On the way back we were in a bus accident, thank God none of us were hurt badly, we basically just got a few cuts.

    To make a very long story short...The police came onboard that night to take our statements about the accident. It was when we were at dinner when they showed up. They went to the main desk asking for us and instead of paging us or looking up what dinner seating we had they basically did nothing other than left a message on our phone telling us the police were onboard for our statements and that they would be back the next day at 10:00 A.M.

    We knew that 10:00 would be too late since we wanted to take the Ferry and go over to Hamilton for some sightseeing and shopping. We asked the desk to please call the police dept. and tell them to come onboard at 9:00. The following day we find out that they NEVER called them and we ended up waiting until 11:30 when we finally said, "Forget this the ship is leaving here at 4:00 P.M. and we haven't even seen Hamilton yet so we went back to our cabins, got ready and left the ship.

    We had 1 1/2 hours to see Hamilton before we had to get back on the Ferry in order to make it back to the ship on time before it departed. As we got back on some of our names were being paged, when we answered the page we were told that the police are onboard to take our statements.

    The communication between the Royal Caribbean employees to us and the police were awful. I spoke to a woman from Royal Caribbean and the bottom line was this...The staff are NOT obligated to page or find you onboard, they do though have to leave a message on your phone in the cabin.

    Now, like I said to the women on the phone, "if we had committed a crime and the police were onboard looking for us DON'T TELL ME that the staff wouldn't have done everything in their power to find us". Also why is it that they didn't page us the first night that the police came but they surely paged us the next day an hour before the ship was to leave.

    I am SO disappointed in Royal Caribbean and their unprofessional staff not to mention that we lost an entire day because of their lack of communication. We all saved up all year long for this trip only to have it ruined by them.

    I have heard a few bad things about Royal Caribbean but I decided to go anyway (MY MISTAKE). I have been online reading not so good things about them I had only wished that I would have read all of these articles before wasting my money.

    Royal Caribbean you got us this time but it will NEVER happen again, thanks for a cruise that none of us will EVER forget!!! People before booking with them PLEASE go online and research the things that I have read about them AFTER I got home.

    And also, I am not on here to get a free cruise from Royal Caribbean nor do I want a discount because using them again will never happen and I told the representative this on the phone.

  • Km
      11th of Jun, 2009
    +1 Votes

    I had my wedding done on a Carnival Crusie ship in June of 2008. The wedding experince was wonderful, mind you that money was not an issue for me. It was stress free. After the wedding, we all cruised to the Western Carribean (there were 14 of us). I enjoyed everything about the cruise. Our room attendant was wonderful. He even helped me with my hair on the wedding day. My only gripe was all the children in the adults only area. Other than that, I very much enjoyed it.

    I think this is a great cruise for familes traveling with children. My next cruise will either be with RC or Norwegian (sp?), due to the children factor.

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