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Taters

Bare Bones Cruising

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7 hours ago, Taters said:

Let me start by saying that I love Carnival.  Or at least I used to.  DH and I have been cruising with Carnival since 1996 and have enjoyed every minute of each cruise, even if we missed a port due to weather or things weren't optimal.  However - We were on the 14 day Southern Caribbean cruise on the Pride from Baltimore January 6th - 20th, 2019, and were really underwhelmed.  

 

Our preference is the Spirit and Fantasy classes of Carnival ships.  We've found that ships over 100,000 GT are simply too big for us.  Luckily, there are lots of choices for us and Carnival has fit the bill for us many times.  Most of our cruises have been over 10 days because we have to travel from Fairbanks, Alaska to embark.

 

Unfortunately, Carnival has taken so many of the little touches away, that there is really nothing special about cruising Carnival anymore.  We especially noticed the lack of service on this cruise.  In the main dining room, most nights our food was served almost cold, and our dirty plates were left on the table through most of the meal.  When dessert was coming around, the server would pick up the dirty plate or push it aside to put the dessert in front of us.  Please note that this was late seating, and the dining room was not full for this seating the entire cruise.  There were empty tables all around us every night.

 

One day we sat at a table near the Serenity bar to play a game of cards and there were dirty dishes on it that we pushed aside.  It was over an hour before they were removed.

 

We noticed the lack of drink servers around the pool, and in the afternoons our dinner waiter was the only person out by the mid ship pool wandering around to see if anyone needed anything.  So they've reduced staff and want to work the dining room staff to death?  Weird.  

 

Our cabin, including the bathroom, did not get a full cleaning the entire 2 weeks.  I cleaned the dust off of shelves myself.  Towels were always replaced, garbage was taken out and the beds were made, but I do not believe they vacuumed the entire 14 days.

 

Since this was a Journeys cruise, they advertised the "Gala Midnight Buffet", but it was held in the lido buffet and it was by no means the gala event of days gone by.  We've been on many Journeys cruises (and many cruises where the midnight and Gala midnight buffets were a regular thing), and this was simply a regular buffet with a few fancy cakes and ice sculptures.  In the past this was held in the main dining room, where all of the tables in the middle were moved to make room for a long table and very fancy appetizers, desserts and fabulous munchables.  

 

Another thing we noticed that on port days, we'd come back on board hungry around 3 PM and all that was available was a Guys burger, a sandwich from the deli, pizza or room service.  They used to keep the lido buffet open later on port days and were really disappointed that we didn't have more of a choice of what to eat in the afternoon.

 

And speaking of room service, just prior to this cruise it was announced that there would be a charge for room service beginning in mid January.  Then I'd read here on CC that Carnival started charging on January 1st.  THEN it was announced that they were going to rethink this, so on our sailing (January 6th), things were back to "normal", only charging for room service after 10 PM.  

 

Gratuities went up (again) to $13.99 per day and the service was not good.  There simply aren't enough staff to warrant this change.  The auto gratuities for cocktails, sodas, specialty coffees, etc. went up from 15% to 18%.  Why, when you have to go get it yourself?

 

There are other issues as well.  Don't get me wrong, we had a great cruise (we always do!), but I am not interested in bare bones cruising.  I want to be pampered just a little.  I like tablecloths.  I don't like dust.  I like it when a bar waiter comes around and asks me what I'd like when I'm in my pool chair.  I don't like sitting next to dirty dishes.

 

So at this point, I have to say that I won't be booking anymore Carnival cruises.  We used to love Royal Caribbean until they changed so many things about the way they did business.  We haven't sailed on them since 2007.  Carnival has now changed so many things.  It's too bad.  Like I mentioned before, there are plenty of choices for us as far as cruising goes, and we are booked on 2 sailings that will better suit our wants and needs.  

 

Carnival may be going in a direction that is better to new cruisers and their new ships.  For the loyal passengers who have been around a while, (at least for us), there is no reason to go back anytime soon.

 

Thanks for reading, and please don't flame me.  This is simply my own humble opinion.

 

 

 

After outgrowing Carnival due to a combination of service failures and cost cutting measures, we have found Princess to accommodate the cruise experience we are looking for. They have many options for 10+ days that you mentioned along with extended buffet hours while providing a very service-oriented culture with a great product.

 

Best of luck on your journey of finding a new cruise line that you will enjoy.

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6 hours ago, coevan said:

I don't ever remember the the lunch buffet open past 3. I also don't remember a midnight buffet in the MDR, always on the Lido deck.

 

the midnight buffets of yesteryear (in the 90's) were certainly held in the dining room. At least on cruises we were on.

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34 minutes ago, scpirate said:

If you had it 20 years ago why not now?.carnival isn't a bargain any more.f or my cruise next summer carnival was not a good deal.i booked elsewhere.its not a problem they all need to fill ships.

20 years ago they had better guests who didn't expect freebies and cruise rates were higher.  Any time you are cruising for $100 pp a night is a great deal.  Land travel would eat that up in a decent hotel but not including meals. gas, car, etc.

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Without sounding ageist, are this who are now dissatisfied in the 55+ age bracket?

 

We personally haven’t sailed Princess in some fear of being on the younger side of the demo. 

 

We we are experimenting with Celebrity as our non-Carnival brand. Carnival has always been good to us as a couple and family. Even when sailing with 3 generations on a cruise. 

 

As for midnight buffets, the only one I attended was on the Oceaninic back in the early 80’s sure the spread was incredible but we couldn’t fathom eating that much that late anymore. 

 

And weve tried to avoid the gluttony of modern cruising. After a while, all food is gross, even when staying at high end resorts. 

 

Thanks for sharing your experience. Perspective is always appreciated. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, xDisconnections said:

After outgrowing Carnival due to a combination of service failures and cost cutting measures, we have found Princess to accommodate the cruise experience we are looking for. They have many options for 10+ days that you mentioned along with extended buffet hours while providing a very service-oriented culture with a great product.

 

Best of luck on your journey of finding a new cruise line that you will enjoy.

We've never been loyal to one brand.  We've sailed on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Holland America and Norwegian. Our next two cruises are booked on HAL.  We've looked at many Princess itineraries, too, and may revisit them in the near future.

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I love when the loyal CCL members reply " They are doing it across all lines".... I guess that makes its OK then...lol

 

 

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I’m dissatisfied with Carnival and am in a younger age bracket with school-age kids.  I feel I have outgrown Carnival for all the reasons the OP has stated and more...

 

I’m willing to pay more money for a better cruise experience.  I want all the bells and whistles for my vacation dollars.  I don’t want to spend my vacation inhaling my neighbor’s pot and cigarette smoke, or watch people twerk drunkenly by the pool blasting their vulgar music on speakers, or have to usher my kids quickly out of the pizza line because a fist fight breaks out.  You get the point.  Our next two cruises are on Symphony of the Seas and Disney Fantasy.  There is much more out there besides Carnival. 

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8 hours ago, CA_Cruzing said:

Without sounding ageist, are this who are now dissatisfied in the 55+ age bracket?

 

We personally haven’t sailed Princess in some fear of being on the younger side of the demo. 

 

We we are experimenting with Celebrity as our non-Carnival brand. Carnival has always been good to us as a couple and family. Even when sailing with 3 generations on a cruise. 

 

As for midnight buffets, the only one I attended was on the Oceaninic back in the early 80’s sure the spread was incredible but we couldn’t fathom eating that much that late anymore. 

 

And weve tried to avoid the gluttony of modern cruising. After a while, all food is gross, even when staying at high end resorts. 

 

Thanks for sharing your experience. Perspective is always appreciated. 

 

 

 

I really think if you sail on anything besides Carnival/RCCL/NCL you're going to be on the younger side of the age bracket. There's a reason Holland America is referred to as the floating nursing home. I'm really looking forward to Virgin Cruises because they're aimed at a younger bracket while simultaneously being more upscale.

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10 hours ago, Elaine5715 said:

Cruise ships are just floating hotels

Oh, so so much more.  With that attitude you are missing the best part.

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I found it interesting to read your thoughts on Carnival.

We are seniors who have been sailing Carnival for a while , mostly because it conveniently leaves from southern California. We started out on Royal Caribbean but switched to Carnival when Royal left California. We think the service on Carnival has been great with smiling helpful staff on all the ships!

We started out in balconies and now book only suites so it is not because of price that we have stuck with Carnival up to now.

 

In December we took our first Princess cruise and the suite benefits just blew me away!! We will definitely book more Princess cruises but as I wrote on my Coral Princess review , there were are few things that Carnival did better!! We missed the comedy club as we prefer stand up to musical revues.

We also thought that Carnival did the Lido buffet better with more daily station choices like BBQ, deli, Indian food , Mongolian wok etc. Strangely enough the trivia on Carnival was also more fun !

 

Sadly we are not a fan of the new mega ships coming to California so not sure what we will book for the future.

We are trying Oceania in November for Cuba but the vibe I am getting from that line doesn't feel like it will be our new "home" .

Right now Princess seems our best fit going forward. We shall see!!!

 

 

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45 minutes ago, jimbo5544 said:

Oh, so so much more.  With that attitude you are missing the best part.

I am not missing a thing.  I am one of "those" guests who get exceptional service every cruise.  

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1 hour ago, riffatsea said:

Sadly we are not a fan of the new mega ships coming to California so not sure what we will book for the future.

 

 

We prefer the Spirit class but have taken the plunge and are booked next February on the Panorama. We're going in eyes wide open and hoping for the best.

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1 hour ago, Elaine5715 said:

I am not missing a thing.  I am one of "those" guests who get exceptional service every cruise.  

I was commenting on your comment comparing it to a hotel. 

 

18 minutes ago, sanmarcosman said:

We prefer the Spirit class but have taken the plunge and are booked next February on the Panorama. We're going in eyes wide open and hoping for the best.

Be interested to hear your comments after your cruise.   

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1 minute ago, jimbo5544 said:

I was commenting on your comment comparing it to a hotel. 

 

Be interested to hear your comments after your cruise.   

Absloutely. We're taking baby steps and going on our first Dream class in two weeks aboard the Dream. We're excited to be moving above our usual Carnival comfort zone. 

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2 hours ago, riffatsea said:

I found it interesting to read your thoughts on Carnival.

We are seniors who have been sailing Carnival for a while , mostly because it conveniently leaves from southern California. We started out on Royal Caribbean but switched to Carnival when Royal left California. We think the service on Carnival has been great with smiling helpful staff on all the ships!

We started out in balconies and now book only suites so it is not because of price that we have stuck with Carnival up to now.

 

In December we took our first Princess cruise and the suite benefits just blew me away!! We will definitely book more Princess cruises but as I wrote on my Coral Princess review , there were are few things that Carnival did better!! We missed the comedy club as we prefer stand up to musical revues.

We also thought that Carnival did the Lido buffet better with more daily station choices like BBQ, deli, Indian food , Mongolian wok etc. Strangely enough the trivia on Carnival was also more fun !

 

Sadly we are not a fan of the new mega ships coming to California so not sure what we will book for the future.

We are trying Oceania in November for Cuba but the vibe I am getting from that line doesn't feel like it will be our new "home" .

Right now Princess seems our best fit going forward. We shall see!!!

 

 

 

22 minutes ago, sanmarcosman said:

We prefer the Spirit class but have taken the plunge and are booked next February on the Panorama. We're going in eyes wide open and hoping for the best.

We sailed the Vista out of NYC and had a wonderful time.  I loved the decor as compared to the bright colors of the older ships. We'll also be on the Panorama next year and I'm hopeful we'll enjoy it every bit as much (though I'll miss the Imax theater).

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1 minute ago, sanmarcosman said:

Absloutely. We're taking baby steps and going on our first Dream class in two weeks aboard the Dream. We're excited to be moving above our usual Carnival comfort zone. 

Life is about taking steps outside the comfort zone.  Enjoy!

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5 hours ago, FSHLOT said:

I love when the loyal CCL members reply " They are doing it across all lines".... I guess that makes its OK then...lol

 

 

You speak of cruisers who enjoy the  Carnival product with such disdain.  Is it really hard to imagine someone with a different view?

Edited by jimbo5544

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I grew up in NYC. As I get older I prefer smaller cities to the larger ones.

This carries over to ships. Everyone travels differently but I'd prefer not to be on board with 4,000 people!!(or more!!) I don't really care about all the new bells and whistles or new decor.

To me smaller is better but I understand that others feel differently.

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1 minute ago, riffatsea said:

I grew up in NYC. As I get older I prefer smaller cities to the larger ones.

This carries over to ships. Everyone travels differently but I'd prefer not to be on board with 4,000 people!!(or more!!) I don't really care about all the new bells and whistles or new decor.

To me smaller is better but I understand that others feel differently.

You think San Diego is small, try North County 😉

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2 minutes ago, riffatsea said:

I grew up in NYC. As I get older I prefer smaller cities to the larger ones.

This carries over to ships. Everyone travels differently but I'd prefer not to be on board with 4,000 people!!(or more!!) I don't really care about all the new bells and whistles or new decor.

To me smaller is better but I understand that others feel differently.

There certainly is a lot of product out therefoe you to enjoy (ship wise).  Carnival is commited to the Spirit and Fantasy class for the foreseeable future.  

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37 minutes ago, jimbo5544 said:

I was commenting on your comment comparing it to a hotel. 

 

Be interested to hear your comments after your cruise.   

It is a hotel in a ship.  My comment was comparing the price and quality of amenities in a value hotel vs the price and amenities in a deluxe hotel.  Both have a cliente and you get what you pay for. 

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I appreciate reading your thoughts and opinions. While I have not been cruising even close to as long as you have, I definitely would agree with noticing the cutbacks. I also would agree with the part about Carnival more interested in the “first time cruiser” vs the loyalty of long time cruisers. 

 

For me, personally, Carnival will be my first choice only because it is the vacation I can afford and still enjoy. I don’t see any time in the near future where I would be able to cruise on the Mardi Gras (or even the Vista class) since my available times for a cruise mean an expensive vacation on those ships! Some day when the kids are gone and we can cruise during any time of the year, we will be able to branch out and try other ships or even other cruise lines. 

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59 minutes ago, jimbo5544 said:

You speak of cruisers who enjoy the  Carnival product with such disdain.  Is it really hard to imagine someone with a different view?

Don't you think you should ask yourself this question?  I see more posts from you defending CCL like no one I ever seen before. I'm very open minded and not dedicated to one Cruise line. I like variety, but CCL is getting worse and worse. Imo

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2 minutes ago, FSHLOT said:

Don't you think you should ask yourself this question?  I see more posts from you defending CCL like no one I ever seen before. I'm very open minded and not dedicated to one Cruise line. I like variety, but CCL is getting worse and worse. Imo

I sail Carnival because I enjoy the product. I have cruised other lines including 5 star cruise lines and frankly enjoy the Carnival product the most.  I would be happy to diacuss the merrits or your views of the Carnival product.  Start a thread, we can do that.  What I do not do is go on those

cruise line threads and show disdain for the product or posters.   I also do not laugh at them for liking the product or making it their exclusive choice.  

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