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Age: 37

Occupation:College Professor

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Ecstasy

Sailing Date: 2012-01-2

Itinerary: Bahamas

This was my first cruise. I'm sorry to say that I was quite disappointed. The food was bad. The purpose of the cruise was to get people to try to spend money to allieve their boredom. The free things, such as the pool, were too cramped to make anything enjoyable.

My biggest complaint is about the food. I have numerous friends and family members who have gone on cruises, and the first thing that they always mention is the quality and abundance of food. I read reviews of carnival cruises and understood that the food wouldn't exactly be five star-level, but cafeteria food was not what I anticipated.

- When I read the description of the boat and the restaurants, I envisioned something completely different than what was available on the ship. When I read about pizza and ice cream available 24/7, I imagined real pizza that one would get at a pizza parlor, not cafeteria pizza. I also envisioned an ice cream shop with a bunch of options rather than one soft-serve machine that served ice milk.

- Buffet food was one step above what you might find at a college cafeteria. Pancakes were hard around the edges, burgers were cold (if you wanted a hot one, they would take a cold cooked burger and put it back on the grill for you), chicken was dry, and the menu was repetitive. Carnival was responsible for providing lunch for five days, but the menu was identical for days 2 and five. Lines were also long at times, as the boat and the staff seemed ill equipped to feed so many people.

- For four of the five nights, the late night buffet consisted of the same food: hamburgers, hot dogs, dry chicken, and French fries. I am not a fried food person, but I ate more fries on that cruise than I have in the entire year because the fries were better than anything else there.

- The Mongolian Wok was good. The food is made to order. The drawback is that I could only get this food one day, because the lines were so long for this. This area tended to be understaffed.

- The deli, which is actually one window inside the buffet, has good sandwiches but has ONE employee working, even during peak hours.

- The main dining room tended to have marginally better food. Breakfast food, however, was identical to what was offered in the buffet. My friends and I started to play a little game called "guess the next day's menu". We would look at the dining room's dinner menu and predict what leftovers would be served the next day at the buffet. Prime rib for dinner? Pot roast the next day for lunch.

- The "sushi bar" is a little stand in a hallway outside the casino. The California roll had cream cheese in it for some reason. The ship did not have appropriate dishes for the soy sauce and wasabi. So, they used the little cups used for creamer whenever people ordered coffee in the dining room. The problem is that the sushi rolls were much wider than the creamer cups, leading passengers to have to pour the soy sauce on the sushi.

- If you want soda, they charge for it. It is completely understandable to charge for alcohol, since offering unlimited free alcohol will lead to all sorts of problems on a ship. But charging for soda is just cheap.

- There were other small quality issues. Room service delivered a broken carafe to the room, so we spilled hot water everywhere. I went to get a cup of water for lunch, and the cup leaked. A few other glasses that we were given during dinner were cracked. Some of the glasses were also dirty.

The room was clean, and the staff members responsible for caring for the room were great.

- The staff constantly wanted people to buy something. One game of bingo costs $10. Each drink costs at least $7.25 plus 15% gratuity. Want water? Prepare to pay unless you are drinking from the tap.

- The pool was tiny. Way too small for that size of a boat.

- The adults-only serenity section is extremely popular and too small given how many people were looking for someplace quiet. All of the other places to lay out are very loud.

I liked The Big 3 excusion in Key West. The boat crew was wonderful.

I will consider going on another cruise, but it definitely won't be Carnival. The staff was very friendly, but I actually celebrated with my firends when we got OFF the boat. I never had a vacation where I looked forward to it ending as much as I did with this one.

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