I chose this ship and itinerary mostly because Long Beach would be a convenient meeting place for our group, and the price was right! We were on the Feb 2 sailing which stopped at Cabo and spent an overnight in PV. I went in knowing we were sailing on the “Pink Ship” and that decor was not its strongest suit. I found that to be true, I did not care for the decor but in no way did that negatively impact my experience as I had realistic expectations.
Embarkation was very smooth. We arrived a few minutes before our assigned time and were on the boat in 15 minutes. We did not purchase FTTF and do not feel we would next time for this port/itinerary.
While the ship itself is not fancy with it being a little outdated, the staff made our trip wonderful! Our group of 14 people included 3 senior citizens, 2 grade schoolers, 2 high schoolers, 2 nineteen year olds and the parents... there were activities abound for all of the age groups, even though the kids chose not to attend the kids’ clubs. The cruise director Lee and his staff do a phenomenal job of hosting a wide variety of activities with much enthusiasm! The servers in the dining room worked very hard (loved Oscar and Mashudi) but did seem to be stretched thin. There were times we waited for wine and service was a bit uneven. However, I felt this was due to the heavy workload as opposed to the wait staff competence level. We all had ocean view cabins on deck 2. Our room steward Roland was very friendly, greeting us by name in the hallways. He kept our room immaculate and I’m fussy with cleaning. One thing I noticed was the easy availability of elevators. As we were on Deck 2, we took them quite often and never had to wait long for one to arrive which was nice as our seniors have knee issues.
The food in the main dining room was very good every night. I never had a bad meal. We only ate in the buffet for lunch and continental breakfast (great banana bread!) and found it was ok. The lines at the Mongolian Wok were always long, though my husband tried it once and thought it was very good. We also enjoyed the Tandoor and pizza place. Everything I ate from there was tasty. I went to the Deli once and ordered a wrap which was meh, but the grilled sandwiches looked great! We did not attend the steakhouse nor make it to the brunch. I had the Cheers package and never had trouble getting a drink. And though I’m not a heavy drinker, I didn’t feel it was too difficult to get my “money’s worth” considering I enjoy a couple of glasses of wine with my dinner, a few other drinks around the pool or at the shows, along with many a latte. My daughter had the Bubbles package and also never had to wait long to get a soda.
As I indicated above, the entertainment aboard was what made our cruise. We saw a movie, some of the musicals (Epic Rock, an 80’ show and Studio VIP) a few comedy shows, the Marriage Show and did a trivia event. The talent level of the performers was decent. It was always an enjoyable way to spend an hour. Shout out to the solo guitarist Paul from Canada!!!! He knew all of our favorite songs... The little kids did the Build a Bear and loved their new friends. My daughter bought some perfume and Pandora jewelry in the Fun Shops and chatted with a friendly associate from Argentina (can't remember her name!). I lost a few dollars in the casino :)
This cruise stopped at Cabo and Puerto Vallarta. In Cabo, we rented a yacht through Lands End Charters as Carnival didn’t have a similar excursion for 14. I was worried about getting off the boat in time as we didn’t get the earliest tender tickets but they were running ahead of schedule and we made it in plenty of time. Again, I dont feel we missed out not having FTTF. Our excursion turned out to be wonderful! Wonderful food, lots of drinks! For four hours, we watched whales, did a coastal tour and stopped to snorkel a bit. I would definitely recommend this company.
In PV, we just took a taxi to town and went to Mango’s Beach Club. We had planned on going to one of the “Monkeys” but gathering our group is like herding feral cats (also missed the cruise critic meet up due to this lol), so we didn’t venture away once we had all found each other. The second day, I had wanted to check out the grocery section of Walmart for vanilla and hot sauce, and my daughter picked up some souvenirs at the little shop just at the port as we were finding it too hot to walk far (we’re from Canada not used to heat).
This was our first Carnival cruise having sailed NCL and Royal, and I would definitely choose Carnival again! It was the most fun cruise we have been on. I feel they offer great value for our vacation dollar, which, being Canadian - trading under 75 cents most days :( - says a lot, lol!!!
Any questions, fire away!