Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Holiday
Sailing Date: November 12th, 2004
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
This was my first cruise so I cannot compare the Carnival Holiday to other ships, but my experience was a very pleasant one. We went into it with an open mind and knowing that we had to be somewhat flexible.
First, upon arrival at the port we were handed a paper that stated the ship would not be going to Playa del Carmen as planned but stopping instead at Progresso Mexico due to maintenance. Since I had no knowledge of either port, that was fine. Embarkation went smoothly although somewhat slowly, about two hours. Staff was abundant and courteous keeping everybody in the right line and right spot. We were set to leave Mobile AL at 5pm but noticed the fog rolling in. We actually left at 3am because the Port Authorities shut down travel in and out of the bay. The delay was due to the elements, not Carnival so we took that in stride. I must admit it was a little unsettling to be awakened by the sound of engines at 3am but we went out on the deck and watched. Once we hit open sea the captain tried to make up time which accounted for some rocking of the ship. We didnt get sick but some were very ill. I know of at least one passenger who received an injection at the infirmary for nausea. Many wore patches behind their ears for motion illness.
Although this was my first cruise, I've stayed in many hotels. The rooms on the Holiday were small but well laid out with ample amenities. We loved the soap and shampoo dispenser in the shower along with a full bar of soap. They provided samples of razors, toothpaste and dental floss also. The beds were heavenly. We had two twins pushed together and they were so comfortable!! My partner has back problems and he even enjoyed the beds. Our room was cleaned and tidied twice a day. We had one towel animal the whole cruise but some had many intricate towel animals and other special touches. I was impressed by the cleanliness of the ship and the rooms. For a ship of twenty years, it was very well maintained.
We docked late in Progresso, possibly due to the late start but our Mayan Tour was waiting on us and all worked out well. In Cozumel, we found out on the pier that our power snorkeling excursion had been cancelled. That was very disappointing but we decided to make the most of our day and took a taxi to a beach and rented snorkel equipment and took in the reef anyway for a very good price. Carnival refunded our excursion fee without hesitation Shopping was so fun in Cozumel! We had went to the shopping information talk before hand and felt very prepared. I only wish we had been in port longer, especially at night so we could have partied longer at Senior Frogs!
As for the food, it ranged from fantastic to mediocre. However, the selection was excellent. We ate in the dining room two nights and then ate in the dining room the other nights. We grew tired of the 'fancy' dishes and sometimes just ate pizza or hamburgers. Deserts were wonderful and a salad bar also provided more options. Room service was excellent! My lobster was a little dry on formal night but on another night I ate the best coconut fried shrimp I've ever had in the dining room. Ice cream and yogurt were available 24/7 yummy! Alcohol prices were about the same as bars in my home area. At different times they ran specials which helped alot.
Entertainment was fun and interesting. We had the best cruise director!! He was much funnier than the comedian. The band in the Doc Holiday lounge was very talented. We just wandered everywhere and took in everything. The piano bar, karaoke, disco, bingo, shows and art auctions. The last night we had 15-20 foot seas so obviously the dancers could not perform, so the professional singers entertained. I did not particularly like the Broadway show music but it was well sung. Photographers were everywhere and at first they frankly got on my nerves. As time went on I just said what the heck, and took many photos. On formal night we took many photos and ended up buying two 8 x 10 s which were beautifully done. Since I hate to have my picture taken, this ended up being a beautiful gift. I might even give some copies to my family for Christmas! I did feel that there was something lacking in the pool area. The main pool was very small. Also there should have been at least one hot tub up on top in the adult section. Kids kept getting in the hot tubs on the Lido deck against rules.
Staff overall was very friendly helpful. I was always amazed to read the name tags and see countries from all over the world. Between the Carnival Caper newsletters, announcements, informational talks, and staff help we quickly figured out what was going on and what to do etc. A note, Disembarkation was very lengthy (about 3 hours). Next time I will do 'self assist' and carry my own luggage off instead of sitting it outside the night before and letting them do it. That would have been much quicker! Well live and learn!
I would recommend this cruise to all my friends. I realize that if you are used to the very finest five star hotels and have exquisite taste in food this cruise might not be for you, but for most I believe this is very good entertainment and value for your money.