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Matt Pearce

Age: 36

Occupation:Remodeling Company owner

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Celebration

Sailing Date: February 25th, 2003

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

I recently took Carnival's ms Celebration Fun Ship out of Jacksonville on a 5 day cruise to Key West and Nassau. Based on some reviews I had read, I wasn't sure I was in for such a good time. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised.

My concern coming into this vacation was pertaining to a much written and talked about vibration in the ship. I was on the 7th deck, and aside from an occasional hum, I felt nothing.

Speaking of the room, I had an inside stateroom. It was spacious enough for me and my wife, except for the bathroom. It had a shower only (no tub) and the pressure from the shower head was poor. Otherwise, the room was fine.

We found the food on the ship to be consistent if not spectacular. The 24 hour Pizza Bar was a nice feature, and the buffet on the Lido Deck, while not offering abundant variety, was decent. Desserts were almost always more impressive than the rest of the food from both a variety and quality standpoint.

Our late dinner sitting in the Horizon Dining room was good--as much because of two outstanding Columbian gentlemen (named Elmer & Hernan) as the food. The service here was very personable and professional. Much of the staff was eastern European or Latin American, and everybody I talked to was quite impressed with the service in both dining halls (the Vista was the other).

The entertainment was very good. Compared to the more upscale Holland American cruise I had taken just months before, it was a tremendous improvement. Your regular mix of comedy and Las Vegas style shows were the norm, and the talent was good. Vocals were crisp and the dance choreography was equally as good.

For a small ship, there was plenty to do. The casino was always hopping, bingo seemed to be played twice a day somewhere, and there was your regular assortment of golf lessons, dance classes, Survivor contests, etc.

Nightlife was available for those concerned, from a trendy disco, to a karaoke bar, a predominantly country bar, as well as my favorite, the more tame Red Hot Piano Bar with pianist Mikael. The most talented man on the ship, hands down. I really enjoyed him.

Ports of call were Key West and Nassau. We just walked and shopped in Key West, and that was cool. We were only there until 3:00 PM, so while we may have experienced the quaintness and laid back coolness of Key West, not being there at night did not allow us to see what it was all about.

We arrived in Nassau later than planned due to another ship getting out of there late. Having just enough time to catch a 40 minute ferry ride to our Pearl Island snorkeling excursion (which was a lot of fun), we had no time at all to shop---all stores close at 5:30 in Nassau. That was a disappointment for a lot of us.

This cruise may not be for everybody. We found it to be good value for the price. If food is your reason to cruise, research another line. If your emphasis is value and a nice combo of entertainment, food and fun, you'll like this ship.

Matt Pearce

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