David and Alicia
Number of Cruises: First Cruise
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Celebration
Sailing Date: May 24th, 2003
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
Apparently the ship has recently been remodeled. There were no carpet stains that I noticed even though drunk people and children were spilling food and drinks constantly! We overheard that a new engine and propeller had been installed. It seemed like fine cruising to me, however it was our first time on such a large ship.
Our expectations were rather low as the cost for 2 adults to cruise across the gulf of mexico all inclusive was cheap! We were pleasantly surprised.
After boarding the ship, we were directed immediately to our rooms. It was not fancy - on the main deck, but bigger than we expected, very very clean, and comfortable. We did not even have a window, and it didn't bother us at all in fact it was nice to be able to have total darkness during the day for naps! Ricky kept are rooms as clean as possible throughout the stay even on the last morning he cleaned up after us while we were at breakfast.
What could have been better: The staff pushed alcoholic drinks quite frequently, which is to be expected on a fun ship I suppose. The drinks in our opinion were not as good as we expected especially for the price. I saved the majority of my drinking for Mexico! which turned out perfect. The weather was great throughout our trip, but be prepared it is hot and humid! Our sunscreen was suppose to be waterproof - I applied 3-4 times - did not keep me from getting 2nd degree burns on my back while snorkeling. Leave your shirt on if you are not used to being out in the sun!!! We did snorkel all day though!! It was beautiful!
My advice is to bring plenty of cash for taxis - they are not cheap! another point is that some do have air conditioners so it might be worth investigating before you get into one. We only did one excursion through Carnival and it was the sailing, snorkeling, and party beach all in one. We enjoyed it very much. We reserved the one departing at 430pm, which was not crowded at all! We got the added bonus of watching the sunset from the boat as well! Next time we talked about renting a car and exploring on our own. The roads do not seem that hard to navigate, and most of the people we approached spoke enough English to communicate if not fluently.
We also ate at table 149 in the Vista dinning room. Our table had a blast with Alejandro? and Gilbert. They were very professional even when dealing with rude and or drunk guests. If you needed anything including more food, he was eager to please. If you are in a hurry to eat this is not the place for you. Carnival seemed to be very lax with the dress code even though it is written out for everyone to understand. I beleive they honestly tried to please everyone there. The food was excellent overall, although there were a few surprises. If you are a picky eater you might need to ask questions before you order, they know exactly how each dish is prepared! The Wheelhouse was OK, and very convenient especially the ice cream and free drinks! 24 hours.
Try to get the earlier dinners if that fits your schedule. We did not eat until 830pm which prevented us from being involved in several activities. We were forced to chose between activities or eating at the Vista. We always chose the Vista. Other activities it is necessary to get there early in order to get good seating or any seating especially if you want to sit with your new found friends from the dining room.
The only other suggestion we can think of is read the daily newsletter! I did not realize the first couple of days - wife did, but the sunrise and sunset were printed on the top of the first page. I kept missing them by 10 or 15 minutes, while getting ready for diner or sleeping too long. Remember as you sail across the ocean these times keep changing!!
Oh as for rainy days - there is a library for those that read! You can check out books or games. We brought a few with us in the event something like that did happen. The room service is pretty darn good, and they even have a couple of TV channels. We highly recommend this cruise, and plan on doing it next year maybe on a different route. Save your money for excursions and shopping.