Number of Cruises: First Cruise
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Celebration
Sailing Date: February 16th, 2002
Our tickets said to board after 1:30 p.m. but we arrived at the ship at 12:15 p.m. and people had been boarding for quite some time. The porters took our bags and directed us to someone who gave us our final room assignment. We were happy to find we had been upgraded from the Riviera to the Upper deck. In checking the location of our room, it said our room contained "2 uppers". We were scared that that meant there were no lower beds in our room. It turned out that this meant there were 4 beds in the room (2 upper and 2 lower). There were long lines for the check-in but they moved very fast. Everyone in line was friendly and check- in was not bad at all.
We boarded the ship and were directed to our room. We were pleasantly surprised to see how large the room was. We were in an inside cabin with a fake window. There was plenty of room to store all of our items and luggage. The bathroom was adequate with a large enough shower to accommodate my husband who is a large man. The shower was good and powerful and did not run out of hot water. The toilet was the vacuum type that made a loud rushing noise when flushed. By the end of the trip, it did seem to smell a bit (I think an air freshener would have helped). There were plenty of clean towels. We asked that our beds be moved together to make one bed. This was done with no problem. The bed was fine for me but my husband didn't find the bed very comfortable (he's an insomniac anyway). There was a vibration in the rooms that could be loud at times. I would suggest you bring earplugs to cut down on the noise if you think this will bother you. The room steward was very nice and left us the towel animals and chocolates on our pillows and did a great job in keeping our room clean. We did hit some rough water on the way back and I ended up taking a Dramamine. Next time I will see if I can get one of those patches for behind the ear before I sail. The Dramamine makes you too sleepy. Yes, you do need to bring a hair dryer. There was a basket with various samples of liquid soap and shampoo in it but I got the impression that they expect you to supply your own shampoo, conditioner and soap (other than bar soap).
The first night we went to dinner in the formal dining room. It's a good idea to do this because it allows you to meet some people. They do request no shorts or tee shirts in the formal dining rooms for the evening meals. Personally, it was kind of fun to dress for dinner. I felt sorry for some woman who were elegantly dressed for the formal night and their husband came in jeans. It seemed that they did try to match dinner patrons around the same age (we were at a table for eight). There is a different elegant menu every evening. Our waiter had no problem giving us extra appetizers, deserts or even entrees' (even two lobsters or lobsters and the prime rib). The food was first class. We only made it to a formal lunch once and never got up in time for formal breakfast. The Wheelhouse Café offered a wide variety of breakfasts and lunch items including made to order hamburgers, fresh pastry for breakfast. Drinks available free of cost were iced tea (which was a mix and I personally didn't like), lemonade, punch, coffee and hot chocolate (which was great). There was a plethora of deserts available. We purchased the "Fountain Card" for $25 each that allows you to get all the soda (soft drinks) you want. The only catch to this is you have to get them yourself at the bars. You can't use this card for table service. We would stop and ask for a "large" Coke before going into the shows and take it in with us. They will not give you any canned or bottled soda either. I really don't think I got my $25 worth of soft drinks. Next time I will bring a 12 pack of Coke and some bottled water. In the shows, a bottle of Coke was $2.50 plus automatically added on tip (which applies to all drinks). They had a drink special of the day that was around $6.00 and you got to keep the plastic cup as a souvenir. You can add up quite a bill on your "Sail and Sign" card if you are not careful. This gets billed directly to a credit card or from a deposit you leave. Even the gift shop only accepts this card. They offer midnight buffets that are wonderful. The grand midnight buffet is an absolute work of art with gorgeous ice sculptures, and food sculptures beyond imagination.
The shows and entertainment were fun. We danced to the oldies' band. They have "tea time" with a jazz singer at the Piano Bar. There was another live jazz band in other sections of the ship. We took the galley tour. Bingo was kind of expensive at $10 a card for one game (except for special games - one game is for another cruise). The information seminars were quite informative regarding shore excursions. The gift shop was very reasonable. Cruising in February, there did not seem to be very many children on board. The few I did see were kept well occupied by the many activities for them. I understand spring break and summer tell a different story. Also I would have to say most of the clientele were 40+ couples. One other tip I might suggest is to bring those hand-held radios on the ship. They seemed to work quite well.