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  1. Anyhow there was Christmas magic in the air. Lots of families wore matching Christmas Pajamas, many people dressed up, and there was just so much nostalgia that just warmed every part of everyone's heart. The children from Camp Carnival were seated with the camp staff on the front two rows. First up were Carnival's singers and dancers. They played a lot of the classic Christmas songs. The story of the Grinch was read and the Children from Camp Carnival took to the stage to sing a few songs. They passed the mic around to several kids, my daughter who wants to be a youtube and superstar was given the mic. She sang gibberish into the mic since she could not remember the words. I'm talking, " Gabab Labbba Fallllaaa". Having the kids participate was a really nice touch. As the kids were singing the Grinch appeared on stage and his heart was filled with Christmas Cheer and he returned all the gifts he'd stolen. That's my daughter on the end with the jeans and braids The Grinch After the show, my son went to watch a movie under the stars on the lido deck and my daughter went to Camp Carnival. I finally had a free moment to myself, which I used to buy the kids a few small gifts from Cherry on Top. Even though they'd opened their gifts before leaving home I really wanted them to have something to open on Christmas Day. I was able to return it to the room and hide it before the kids returned. We put on our Christmas Pajamas and off to bed we went.
  2. Upon returning to the ship we showered and got ready for an early dinner so that we would not miss the Christmas show later that evening in the Ovation Theather. Let me back up just a bit. Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I am not a complainer. I roll with the punches. However, there were so many punches thus far. -The tub in our room was not clean upon arrival on the ship -The TV in our room was not working properly, we were only able to get reception on a few channels and even then it would automatically start to change channels after about 3 mins of having it on. -The curtains in our room were heavily soiled -Our formal photos were ruined by people in the background and worn furniture -Dinner service was slow and the food was cold -My daughter's lobster on elegant nite was mush, our bread was burned to a crisp, and the overall dinner service each nite was a little over 2 HOURS I voiced all of my complaints to customer service, they apologize and said they would send someone to fix the TV and someone to see about getting the curtains cleaned. They were even nice enough to call the waitstaff manager to the lobby in the middle of the day to speak with me, he assured me that my experience in the dining room would better. SO......... When we checked in for dinner on night 4, Christmas Eve the wait staff were expecting us and we were seated in a special section near a window. We were assigned not one waite but TWO. They hovered over us and really went above and beyond to ensure that we had a positive experience. Each time anyone took a sip of water they would be right there to refill the glass before you even had time to place it back on the table. Dinner this night was only 45 minutes to an hour. I forgot to take pictures of the main courses and by the time I remembered, we were already on to the desserts. I had the grilled pineapple and custard. It was really good and fresh My son had TWO chocolate melting cakeS EVERY SINGLE NITE My daughter opted for the Jello After dinner, we saw Carnival's Santa in the lobby posing for pictures. We stopped for a few pics before returning to our room to change clothes. My daughter was going to be apart of the Christmas show in the Ovation theatre and we were so excited.
  3. I ALWAYS book deluxe ocean views, since there are two restrooms it makes getting a family ready so much easier and getting off the ship at the ports much faster. Yes, I would indeed book another Deluxe Oceanview.
  4. We felt much more movement on the Breeze than on the Vista. I earnestly believe it was due to the weather.
  5. There was a huge pool with loungers, shaded trees, a Mojito Bar, and swim up bar in the port area. We were told the loungers and pool were free and all that was asked was that we spend at least $10.00 per person in food and drink. We were among the 1st people to get settled near the pool in the port area. Many people walked past, never asking the cost of the pool and loungers. This may have been due to the weather. It was overcast and drizzling on and off. Before we could even get our butts in the loungers a waiter insisted that we place an order. We'd just had breakfast onboard and I didn't want alcohol this early. We would be pressured over and over until I purchased 2 Virgin Daiquiri's for my son Langston and I so that the waiter would ease up a bit. The drinks were $7.00 each in a souvenir cup. My daughter, Ellington, played in the pool. There was also a DJ in a hut above the pool. The sun began to break through the clouds. DJ Booth Mojito Bar The owners of the pool held a water balloon fight in the pool later in the day. Here is the menu from the Mojito Bar The food consisted of wings, nachos, pasta, pizza. This is typical of the Mexican ports since the food choices must appeal to the American Palate. I find this disappointing because I expect real Mexican food. After some time one of the pool workers asked all the kids to line up, she then gave each one a T-SHIRT and marched them through the port area to the area where Santa and his Elves were. A short Christmas show took place and the kids all posed for pictures with Santa. After swimming a bit more we walked around the port area before heading back to the ship Dolphin Swim located in the port area Clean Restroom Area
  6. 12/24 Finally our 1st Port of Call COSTA MAYA This was day 3 of 7 and it did not feel like the magical tropical cruise that I envisioned. To date, the customer service, food in the main dining room, and dinner service, and cleanliness of the ship was less than desirable. The weather was also cool and it rained off and on it was WINDY all week. The ship was rocking and rolling all week. no matter the deck you could feel the motion of the ocean. This was not a problem for me but if you are prone to sickness this may have been an issue. Each night we would watch the waves crash against our window. There were times throughout the night when we would hear a loud WOOOOOOOSHHHH which sounded like a very strong gushes (I think I just made up that word) of wind. By the morning of our 1st Port of Call, I was absolutely ready to get off the ship. Never in all my cruise experience have I felt this way. We woke up to more rain and wind. My plan for Costa Maya was to visit Jamies at the Blue Reef. I'd already paid a deposit via Pay Pal however since the weather was bad, I did not want to risk going too far from the port and not being able to get back in time due to the weather. The kids and I took our time getting ready and getting breakfast. I packed our beach bag which consisted of lightweight beach towels that I'd packed from home, water bottles, a few snacks, sunblock, swim coverups, and cheap floating pool rings. This was our first visit to Costa Maya and I figured we would find a beach close to the port. Check-in Area for Excursions Excursion Check-In Area The port area was very cool: Announcers informed the crowd that a Christmas Show would be held here:
  7. Dinner was once again in the Sapphire Dining room. We were seated once again in the same section as the evening prior. Dinner was SLLLLLLLLOOOOOWW. I asked the waiter to put EVERYTHING in at the same time to avoid a long dinner service. I ordered the lobster AND the flat iron skirt. My son and daughter had the lobster as well. Once again this was the EXACT same meal as on the VISTA. My daughters lobster was too mushy to eat as was the lobster of the couple sititng next to us. OUR BREAD WAS VISIBLY BURNT The waiter served me a prime rib instead of the flat iron steak that I asked for. When I declined the prime rib, the waiter insisted I have the prime rib instead. Again I declined. The waiter said she would get the flat iron steak. The flat iron steak did not arrive UNTIL THE DESERT ARRIVED. The steak was cold dry and too tough to eat. My daughter ended up eating at Pizza Pirate later that evening.
  8. 12/23 was also out 1st Elegant Nite!!!!! Now my family dresses up EVERY nite for dinner where cruising. We then take things a step forward for Elegant Nites. Tonight was no different. We were stepping up in our finest attire. Once dressed we head out for a few "Professional" photos prior to dinner. NOTICED THE WORN AND CHIPPED FURNITURE USED BY CARNIVAL (I did not notice until after the photos were taken) NOTICE THE PERSON IN THE BACKGROUND OF MY PHOTO ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL of our "professional" photos were ruined by people in the background and the worn furniture. Cruising is the only time that we take professional photos for the entire year. I was so disappointed to see the quality of the photos. We took lots of photos on the stairs yet this was the only photos where there were not 3 or 4 people standing in the background. In this photo, you can also see a ladder and backdrop in the background. I talked to the Photo manager and asked if they could photoshop the people out of the background. Honey, believe me when I say the photo manager was NASTY AND RUDE. He told me I could purchase the photos and then take them home and have them edited. I asked him why would they use WORN furniture. HIS COLD REPLY WAS, " WELL THAT'S ALL WE HAVE". I told him that answer was unacceptable. He then said I could purchase the photos or not. He walked away mid-conversation. I did not like his response so I took it up with customer service. Customer service said they had nothing to do with the photo department. This was something I could not and would not let go. More on this later....
  9. I hosted a slot pull for the FB group at 1 PM. 48 people attended. We played the Wheel of Fortune 3D slot machine, playing $15.00 cash each for a max bet of $5.00, which gave us 3 spins each. We all walked away with $8.50 each. As always the slot pull was filled with laughs and excitement. Following the slot pull I picked Ellington up from Camp Ocean and we had Guy's burger for lunch. By this time the rain was gone, so I promised her we would go swimming after lunch. Despite hearing from staff that there were 5,000 people onboard the ship NEVER felt crowded. We were able to grab some nice comfortable seats on Deck 11. As you can see from the picture there was trash EVERYWHERE. Seat after seat was littered with used plates cups and trash. We sat for a good 45 minutes staff had yet to clear off the seats and tables. Perhaps Carnival needs to have areas where guest can discard their trash and place their used plates. We swam and bit and walked around until it was time to get changed for dinner.
  10. Having dropped Ellington off at Camp Ocean. Langston and I headed back to the room. Not only were the curtains dirty, I notice the night before when getting ready to bath Ellington that the bathtub had a ring of dirt around it as well. I was so grossed out that I forced her to take a shower in the other bathroom. I called the housekeeping line yet no one answered so I snapped pictures of both and headed down to the customer service desk. Let me pause here and say I am NOT a complainer. I really try to make the best of things. At this point, this was my 2nd trip to customer service. The 1st was the day prior when I was looking for my luggage that had not been delivered even though I paid for FTTF. The $89.95 from FTTF was refunded to be the day prior. This was a very nice gesture that was offered to me, note I did not suggest nor expect a refund. I simply wanted to know where my luggage was so that we could get changed for dinner. I waited in the priority line at the customer service desk. There was only one woman in front of me. There were about 11 people in the regular line. The of the 3 agents that were working the desk not one called anyone the priority line. Instead, they continued to call guest from the regular line. I walked up to the counter and said, " excuse me but is the priority line closed? Should we line up in the regular line in order to receive the service that we've paid extra for? I was told someone would be right with us. Back to the priority line I went. We stood there for a good 10 minutes before the woman in front of me was called by one of the 3 customer service agents that were working at the desk. Finally, it was my turn. I showed the agent pictures of my curtains and the tub. The agent typed some notes and told me my room would be cleaned. My room was later cleaned but the tub was untouched, the ring was dirt was still there and the curtains were still stained.
  11. I planned several group events for the FB group, one of which was a Sea Day Brunch. There were over 45 people signed up for the Sea Day Brunch. I emailed Carnival and asked that our group be allowed to sit together in one section of the restaurant since there were so many of us. I received an email back saying my request could not be honored since reservations are not taken for the Sea Day Brunch and the seating is 1st come/1st served. I also email John Held, who also replied saying my request could not be granted. I was really up against the creek without a paddle since I'd already invited the group to the Sea Day brunch AND told them upon arrival to tell the waitstaff that they were apart of the FB Group. Anxiety began to set in the closer were to the actual sail date. I figured we'd all just have to roll with the punches on the morning of. Surprisingly, the very week of our sail date I received an email from Carnival, instructing us to meet at 8:30 AM in the Blush restaurant and space would be reserved for us. The cruise gods have smiled on me. Now, even though I woke up early I found myself true to form running late to the brunch. Just as the kids and I were ready to leave the room. I noticed that the curtains were soiled..every soiled. Like how in the world did the room steward not see this when he cleaned the room after the previous guest? I decided to wait until after brunch to speak with customer service. The brunch was well attended. The group was assigned 4 huge tables at the very front of the restaurant. The line to get into the Blush dining room was very long and seemed to be moving rather slow. I bypassed the line and told the person at the check-in desk that I was with the FB group. I was surprised to see that there were already 2 huge tables filled with group members and there were 2 huge empty tables reserved for the group as well. I felt like the mother of the bride, walking into the reception hall for and seeing the fruit of her wedding planning labor. Up to this point, I was really worried that people would not really show up. I walked back out to the long line and announced that anyone who was a part of the FB group could step out of line and come with me. 11 OR so people stepped out of line and headed to the front with me. My my my if looks could kill. Once there were had 3 waiters that were assigned to our group. The service was S.L.O.W. The menu was the EXACT same as the brunch on the Vista. My son and I had the steak and eggs, grits, and huevos rancheros. My daughter had eggs, bacon, and pancakes. The food was edible yet nothing really stood out. We wore our group shirts and had a great time. Following the brunch, I dropped Ellington off at Camp Ocean. The drop off process was Chaotic. Instead of having a staff member outside at the Camp Ocean Front Desk, they were inside the camp area, checking kids in and running the camp at the same time. This 1st drop off and all others took about 10 minutes.
  12. 12/23 was our 1st Sea Day. I woke up early and walked around a quiet ship snapping photos. It was pouring rain outside. Yet I wanted to get a few pics of the adult area Serenity and the spa while empty. Not only was it raining but it was WINDY. I'm talking hang on to your wig, windy. Serenity is located on Deck 11 behind the waterpark area. Cloud Nine Spa and the fitness center is also located on Deck 10/11 Spinning/YOGA/Pilates Studio Strange Stairwell up to the spa's thermal suite
  13. We headed to the Ovation Theater around 9:30 PM. Since this was the 1st night of the cruise and the Show was titled "Welcome Aboard Show", I figured the theater would be crowded. Boy, was I wrong. The place was practically a ghost town with an exception of a few people sprinkled here and there. We selected seats on the upper level. I appreciated the fact that the rows were wide enough for people get by without you having to get out of your seat. Cruise Director Donkey, hosted both the show and a 15-minute pre-show. Let me give it to ya straight up... no chaser. The Pre-Show was sexually suggestive and rated perhaps a STRONG PG 13. Donkey called two couples on stage and he instructed the males to performs dance moves in response to their female spouses. One guy, for example, was instructed to thrust his pelvis in and out as if he was humping the air, similar to a Michael Jackson dance move. Now had he done this once it would not have been a big deal. Yet Donkey kept making the guy start over and over. The women too humped the air in a similar manner. This went on for the duration of the Pre-Show. The Funtimes did not provide a rating for the Pre-Show nor Welcome Aboard Show, so I assumed it was a family friendly show. I am sure there are parents that may disagree with the show being sexually suggestive. However, I feel that Donkey could have come up with other material to suit all audiences; including children. More people arrived near the start of the actual Welcome Aboard Show yet it was not packed nor were all the seats filled. The show featured a preview of the types of performance that would take place later in the week. The show ran for about 30 mins which was just enough time. The show was lackluster, even as I type this I can't recall even one detail about the Welcome Abroad Show other than lots of singing and dancing. I would rate the performance of that of maybe a high school performing arts class production. It didn't excite me to the point of wanting to come back later in the week. We decided to turn in for the night. We found this little fellow waiting for us in our room.
  14. I am having a really hard time with uploading photos to cruise critic. Once I resolve the issue with the photos, I will be back to wrap up this review.
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