When we first went on a Carnival cruise, I was skeptical, because the thought of being stuck on a ship all day and night seemed kind of boring. Now, multiple Carnival cruises later, there isn’t another vacation I would want to go on. Although Carnival has been in the news a lot with disasters ranging from engine-room fires and unsanitary conditions, and although one of the ships I was on crashed into the dock, forcing us to skip an entire destination, there isn’t another vacation I would prefer. If you’re considering cruising with Carnival, knowing what you can expect might convince you to give it a try.
Although we’ve always had balcony staterooms during our cruises, I did get a chance to look at a room with just a porthole. If you’re on a budget, this is well worth it, partly because you’ll be out of your room most of the day. The balcony room was wonderful, because we were able to enjoy the sights and sounds of the ocean, and at night, we’d leave the door open and the ocean would basically sing us to sleep. There was plenty of space for all three of us in the room, which had all the basics: a bed, desk, sitting area, closet, bathroom and flat screen TV.
The food alone would be enough reason for me to go back on another Carnival cruise. Whether you want a casual dining experience, or a more upscale affair, there’s a restaurant for it on the ship. I did find the casual restaurants better than the upscale restaurants, which took forever to bring our order to the table. Room service was also available, but delivery too took a long time, so ordering well ahead of time was a must. The late night joints, which served pizza, burgers and fries were the best, and the buffet with its many choices was a must every day.
Being real movie buffs, we always cruise on ships with a movie theater. Carnival didn’t disappoint. They have an indoor theater and an outdoor theater under the stars. The latter was quite popular with my family. We’d grab a blanket and chair, get some popcorn and drinks and enjoy the movie while surrounded by the ocean breeze. Other things to do on a Carnival cruise include swimming in the many pools, exercising in the gym, gambling in the casino, watching the shows, relaxing in the spa, playing miniature golf, karaoke, participating in games on the main deck, shopping and dancing in the nightclub. For kids, they have a childcare facility where you can drop off your child. You get a cell phone so you can stay in touch with the kids club and kids enjoy everything from craft making to movie night. There are also special swimming pools, a splash zone and an arcade for kids, so boredom is out of the question on a Carnival cruise.
The Shore Excursions
When you reach land, choose your shore excursions carefully. When we were new to cruising, we decided to do a tour of the island. We ended up sitting in a small, hot van with a bunch of strangers for four hours, while being whisked from one place to another. We also took a boat tour in a glass-bottom boat, which was fun, because we were able to see many colorful fish and private islands. Now when we cruise, we don’t book excursions anymore, we just grab a cab and have it take us to the nearest beach resort for a little fun in the sun.
All things considered, Carnival delivers a fun experience for young and old. I’m sure I’ll cruise with them again in future. If you have kids, I highly recommend choosing a Carnival cruise, because their kids program is well organized and they have a professional staff that does a great job at entertaining the little ones.