Age: NOT FOUND
Number of Cruises: NOT FOUND
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Celebration
Sailing Date: March 7th, 2002
Itinerary: NOT FOUND
My husband and I were celebrating our ten-year anniversary and I had surprised him with our first cruise. He found out about 6 weeks prior and we were both very excited. We live in Pearland, Texas, which is about 35 minutes north of Galveston. I had been planning this trip since June of 2001 and had done a lot of research and read reviews, so I felt prepared for all parts of the trip.
We arrived at the terminal at about 12:15pm. The ship was scheduled to leave Galveston at 4pm. We checked our luggage with the curbside porters and then were told to drive our car to long-term parking. You must pre-pay, cash-only. For our cruise (4 nights) it was $40.00. A shuttle took us back to the terminal were we followed the crowd into the long lines. This was probably not the best time to come, but even though the lines were long they did move fast. I think getting there at 10am or after 2pm would have been better. Within an hour, we had found our room on the Upper deck and began exploring.
I had read reviews that said the Wheelhouse Bar and Grill would be open for lunch so not to eat prior. We headed straight for the grill and found the selection of food to be great. For those of you that like salads and veggies like me, there are plenty. There were special salads through the lunch line and a salad bar at the other end of the grill for the salad lovers. For those of you that want to eat hamburgers, hot dogs or other main dishes my husband said they were very good. We chose to eat all of our lunches there and were very impressed.
We went back to our room, U93, and studied the newspaper for the day, which has a schedule in it as to the events of the whole day. The room in itself was fine. It was pretty much what we expected. We pushed the beds together and took a nap. I had read a review that said that this ship provided no samples of shampoo or soap etc. They had all of that and more. The flusher on the toilet was noisy and we did have a problem with noisy neighbors. The walls are very thin. Overall, I was satisfied with our cabin. My husband, less so, because of the noise.
We headed for the sushi bar that first night. It was located near the Karaoke bar. The sushi was very good; so much that we had it every night. We had been assigned late seating so it worked perfectly that we could eat sushi every night at 5:30 and not have any trouble eating at 8:00.
Dinner in the Horizon Room was fantastic. We sat at a table for 10 and enjoyed all of our table mates. There was always a selection for everyone: fish, steak, chicken, etc. You could order as much as you want. My husband ordered lobster and prime rib one night and ate them both. The service in general was good in this room. Two nights they forgot to offer us tea. One night we had to ask for the bread. They were always friendly and accommodating. The food was wonderful. It was always the right temperature and was always pretty. We ate all dinners in this room.
For lunch everyday we choose the Wheelhouse Bar and Grill because we had enjoyed it the first day. Everyday, it was great. There was always a different selection, though they did serve hamburgers everyday for the die-hard hamburger fan. The last day my husband tried the pizza and claimed it to be good. We are not much dessert or ice cream eaters so didn’t have any. The lines are long at lunch time. I would suggest before 11:30 or after 1:30. Also, it is hard to find a table at the busy times.
My husband and I chose to only drink in the evenings. We figured that would keep our Sail and Sign card down. The drinks were all good. We tried a sample of different ones. One complaint both my husband and I had is that the drinks would take about 10 minutes to get after you ordered them. Every time you order a drink, 15% gets tacked on. My feeling is that since they know they get 15% off each drink they feel that they don’t need to provide efficient service. They were slow and most were not friendly. I never got a drink quickly unless I went to the bar and ordered it myself. The bartenders were very friendly. By the last night of waiting 10 minutes for drinks, we just sat at the bar.
We spent both of our ship days lying on the deck. We didn’t have any trouble getting chairs but we would be lying out by 8:30 or so. Before 10:00, all chairs were taken. One woman actually asked me if I could save 10 seats while she went to the bathroom. I reminded her that you cannot save seats. There are signs up throughout the boat that say this. We enjoyed lying out and also got in the Jacuzzi once. We didn’t get in the pool. Didn’t really want to. It was mainly filled with kids.
For our excursion in Cozumel, we chose the Catamaran Sail and Snorkel for $31.00 a piece. This was my first time snorkeling and my husband’s second. We had a blast. After snorkeling, the catamaran took us to Playa Del Sol for an hour at the beach, with all of the amenities, floats, kayaks, hammocks, food etc. The whole time while on the catamaran you get drinks. On the way back to the boat we were dancing to the Macarena and YMCA and other songs. We had a blast! I would recommend this to anyone not wanting to spend a fortune on an excursion. We arrived back at the ship and still had three hours to go before we took off so we took a taxi to Carlo’s and Charleys, had lunch and then did some shopping. It was very hot! I did notice that the prices for souvenirs weren’t as good as the last time I was in Mexico (Cancun in 97). I spent a lot more money on souvenirs than I wanted to.
My husband and I did not see any shows. The person that I had read about in the reviews was not there during our trip. We have three small children and were in bed every night by 10:30. I would have liked to have seen at least one but all of them started late and we are not night owls. It would be nice if they offered some shows earlier. There has to be more people like us. I had also read previous reviews that said to take the stairs. We never took the elevators. I did notice that they were small. I am in fair shape and it was not hard to take the stairs from the Upper deck where our room was.
I have to say that previous reviews that I read complained about the décor on the ship. Personally, I don’t understand how anyone can have the décor make or break their trip. It’s not like you have to live with it forever. I found the décor to be fine. Again, this is my first cruise and I have nothing to compare it to. Also, a lot of people complained about the high cost of drinks and tipping. Again, if you have planned your trip and read reviews about it, you should be prepared to tip and be aware of the high cost of drinks and not complain about it. In all, my husband and I had a total bill of $200.00 on our sail and sign, plus $75.00 for tipping. That included all drinks, pictures, excursions, and souvenirs. Add that to the cost of our trip and we spent under $1500.00 and had a great time. That is a pretty affordable vacation if you ask me, especially being child-free for five days.
Getting off of the ship was a pain. We arrived in Galveston about 7am and when our color was called to disembark it was almost 10am. The terminal is a nightmare when you are trying to leave. You cannot bring luggage on the shuttle so someone has to stay with the luggage and someone else has to go get the car. Even though they dismiss you by color, there are still basically 1,500 people trying to get out of there at a time so it is madness. It didn’t take to long but there were people everywhere. We were home by noon.
To sum up our trip, we had a great time. I would definitely do it again. We were extra impressed with the food in both dining rooms mentioned and the sushi. What needs work? The length of time it takes to get a drink and they could smile a little bit. I never met my room steward. The room always looked nice but it would be nice if I knew who I was tipping. Also, two nights he took away our bedspreads and we were cold. Don’t know where they were. This was a great trip for us and we will be doing it again! Next time, we might even bring our kids.