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  1. I have done Carnival as much or more than RCCL. I really liked the Magic, and I was so looking forward to the Mardi Gras. I was badly disappointed by the poor layout, the wasted space, the poor service, and the overcrowding of the Mardi Gras, but again as mentioned, it was almost as if the designers wanted passengers to forget they were on a ship. Double width 5ft high glass rails everywhere is just terrible. No connection to the Sea. I've been fortunate enough to travel a couple of hundred weeks in my 59 years. Very few times, maybe only this one time, did I feel cheated... did I wish I have done something else with my vacation time and dollars. Carnival was not interested in our experience. I tried to discuss it with their customer service people after the fact. I received boiler plate responses. I guess they know they can fill that ship every week with 6500 passengers looking to eat and drink until they are drunk and foundered... even if they run a few dozen sea loving traditional cruisers off per week. There is a never ending supply of partygoers to take our place. Thanks to those above who mentioned the smaller ships, and I do think that's the way to go. Royal's Voyager Class has been good to us. Additionally, we have most enjoyed renting condos at small complexes in Providenciales, St. Croix, Barbados, St. Thomas, and Grand Cayman. The small complexes allow you to unplug. St. Croix was on a small beach that was not crowded at all. Cayman and Provo were on World Famous Seven Mile Beach and Grace Bay Beach... but were not near a big resort. Very nice. Very quiet.
  2. I've been thinking about this for several months. I don't want to sound like a grumpy or winey old man. I think, in the end, my wife and I are done with the big ships. I know many here love them, and I've been trying to put my finger on why we didn't like our cruise last October on the Mardi Gras... yes, I know this is a Royal fan site, but Royal even more than Carnival is in the big ship game. If this post offends you, please back out of it while I try to make a short, but I think relevant point that I think some here will agree with. For my wife, it was simply the number of people jammed onto the ship, the poor service associated with managing 6500 people in such a small space, ect. She probably wouldn't go back for free if offered. For me, it was something different. I didn't like the crowds that were everywhere all the time. I didn't like having to use my phone on the ship to make reservations, but that really wasn't it. I think it was the loss of connection with the sea. It used to be when on a cruise, you were one with the sea. There were great vantage points everywhere, and people would stand at the rail staring at it, being part of it, looking a the horizon, perhaps daydreaming of what could be or what could have been. Now with all the activities and people, the ships are more like an amusement part, and the people are everywhere. On the Mardi Gras, in the public areas, the rails are higher and set back from the side by an extra foot... the panoramic view is substantially cut for people of average height. On these ships, the sea has become just another interstate. It's nothing more than a way for the cruise line to kill time while they fill you with food, drink, and activities that drive revenue. I haven't been to this site or posted as much in the last six months, and I think, sadly, it's because I've lost a lot of interest in cruising. Again, not wanting to be a winey child, I've really tried to figure out why I didn't enjoy that trip at all, and wondered if any of the long time posters here have any of the same thoughts.
  3. For anyone interested, about 2 beaches North of the cruise terminal, on Governor's Beach, there is a pretty good amount of sea glass. I picked up a nice handful when we were there, and I could have gotten a lot more had I wanted to work for it.
  4. FYI... off topic, but also relevant. The Carnival Mardi Gras (and its sisters too presumably) has no public spaces anywhere on the ship with less than 5 foot high glass and a double rail. It is another reason to never book that ship.
  5. We've gotten to the point of packing as light as possible for all trips. We can generally carry on, and do take advantage of the free gate check when possible.
  6. We met a woman who was staying in the upgraded area of the ship. They even have their own elevator and she didn't have most of the problems we had. She did say it seemed crowded in the common areas, but it didn't affect them much. She said they paid for the most expensive restaurant daily (I think she said $110 per day), and there were no issues there. They didn't attend any shows and had priority on and off the ship.
  7. I was not going to do anything negative toward the staff on board. They were working themselves to death. It's not their fault. This is a problem from above. Why design a ship to be that crowded to begin with?
  8. One more thing to add, we barely saw our room steward. When we did, I asked him how many cabins he had? 35. I don't know what that number should be, but there is no way to offer good service when you have 35 of them. If working a 10 hour day, that is less than 20 minutes per room per day. If working a 12 hour day, he would have had 20 minutes per room. I'll not even bother to write about the customer service response we received upon my follow-up, but it was BAD.
  9. Absolutely. 100% way too crowded. I'm surprised whoever from a government standpoint allows that many. It was like being in a packed high school gym 100% of the time.
  10. We were on the 2nd week of October, and although it wasn't announced, the ship had to be at capacity (6500). Oasis Class full capacity is 6700, and it is 25% larger. There were people everywhere all the time. Elevators were a nightmare (my mother-in-law was with us so had to use them). The Carnival App is a joke. Even with it, there were lines down the hall for every restaurant at every meal. The service people were doing the best they could, but there was no way to manage that crowd. Three times during the week, our entrees arrived before our appetizers. Oftentimes the food was cold, and again we did not believe the problem was from poor service, it was from an overwhelming crowd. If you weren't waiting in line for a show or comedy show at least 30 minutes prior, you would not get a seat. There were people sitting on the floor for every comedy show we attended. To make the crowd matter worse, there is a big theater in the front of the ship that is hardly used, and there is an inadequate stage that carves a bunch of space mid-ship that takes 3 or 4 decks. The seating is poor, and the flow of the ship is badly interupted. And the main theater sits empty. The roller coaster can't be used for 4 hours after the slightest rain. Needless to say, in the Caribbean, there is not much use for it. It does however interfere with important deck space, namely the walking track with is totally inadequate to begin with. People didn't even bother to try on that track. When you get that many people, the worst comes out in some of them. My m-i-l was pushed by a guy who didn't want to wait his turn. When confronted, he claimed it was accidental. I saw it, it was purposeful. What Carnival is doing is cruise malpractice, and that was the first vacation I've been on, out of many, that was a waste of money, and I felt cheated. I sent a negative review and never heard back from them, so I followed-up. Got corporate run around. Carnival does not care. I say again, do not sail carnival.
  11. I believe there are many negative NCL reviews. Carnival too. I think in the post Covid world, the almighty dollar is more important than ever to those companies. I have not heard a lot of bad RCCL reviews, so maybe it is different. I personally carried Carnival's water up until our Mardi Gras experience in October. Unless you want to be packed in like sardines, do not, and I mean DO NOT book Carnival.
  12. I read of this horror story for a family on NCL a few months ago. Arrived late to Vancouver. NCL and Federal Law didn't allow them to board on their 1st Alaska port of call, because the requirement to have at least one out of the US port wasn't met. To make matters worse, the financial obligation to NCL was only $500 per person which did not pay their way back home. It was NCL's air to sea, and a family of roughly 14 lost $60,000. I never read if a better resolution was ever obtained. My advice, get earlier flights now.
  13. Congratulations. When I adopted my son, I did not know there would be a new birth certificate with me listed as the father. Being that I did not know the woman who would become my wife at the time he was born to her, I had no idea. He's a 16 year old junior in high school now. He's the equal of everyone in our family just the same as my other two children. He made me very proud earlier this month. For a Psychology class, he had to write an essay about "the greatest thing that has ever happened to you". His greatest thing was being adopted by me. He did not want me to see his paper, but my wife gave me a sneak peak. I think I barely beat out him getting his Xbox. I'll take it.
  14. We were on the Carnival Mardi Gras in Oct. They said we could not store luggage under our bed because another family was staying there. Well, I might have made some of the above up, but I will say, never, ever, ever go on that ship or any of their new ships. They are packed so tight, it is cruising malpractice. And I was Carnival's biggest supporter on this forum.
  15. My brothers and I did the Barenaked Ladies 1 & 3. Most of the ship's regular entertainment was given the week off. There was about 25 bands on board. They started as early as 10AM around the pool and went until about 3 AM. They played everywhere a stage could be set-up including the casino. These were not cover bands, but regional lesser known bands with BNL being the headliner. Upon embarkation, there was a long line... we did not know why. When we finally got to the end of it, a pair of double doors opened. We walked in. There, set in pose was BNL. A photo was taken, and every passenger received an 8x10 photo of their party with the band. It was a very nice touch. That was also the cruise where the now famous Barenaked at Sea photo took place. 700 people posed naked for a photo on the Lido Deck. You can look it up. At the sail away show by the pool, the band mentioned they were on board with their families. Their request was if we see them about the ship alone or with other band members to approach to say hello. When with their families, please give privacy. And that's exactly what happened. The bands we accessible, and would sign stuff if you wanted. That's where we met our now favorite band: Gaelic Storm. One afternoon at lunch by the pool, a member of GS asked if he could sit with us for lunch. He said, "I saw you at our show last night. Thanks for coming out." We had a nice 30 minutes with him. This was the best cruise experience I've had.
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