Number of Cruises: 6
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Holiday
Sailing Date: December 11th, 2004
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
This was my 6th cruise, 4th on Carnival. We were booked to go to Alaska aboard the Carnival Spirit in May, 2004, but had to cancel due to my wife having major medical problems. The group this time was me and my wife, from Foley, AL, my sister from Hamilton, OH and her daughter (same age as my wife) from Louisville, KY. We had rooms M-92 and M-94.
We had sailed on the Carnival Celebration, the Destiny and the Golden Princess. After sailing on 2 of the larger ships, we thought we would try a smaller ship again. What a pleasure it was to "return home". We enjoyed the slower pace and less crowded atmosphere of the Holiday. I had read several reviews before going on this cruise. Some of them were critical of the Holiday for being an older ship, about the dated decor, etc. Yes, she is a 20 year old ship, but clean and in good shape, with the friendliest crew I have ever seen.
Paul, the Cruise Director was the best I have ever sailed with. The last dat at sea we were in 8-12 foot seas all day, so all outside activities were cancelled. Paul and his staff did a teriffic job of keeping things active inside. I would give him and his staff a rating of 98. When we sailed on the Destiny in 200, I rated that Cruise director as a ONE because no one is a zero. Captain Salvatore Messina was also outstanding, I saw him out around the ship more than I had ever seen a Captain.
After dinner one night, I was talking to Marino, our Matre'd. It turned out he was on the Destiny at the same time we cruised on it. He stated that he also preferred the smaller ships. As usual, the food was very good, well prepared and well presented. The desserts were even better than on my last cruise on Princess. I had read some reviews saying the portions were too small, all you have to do is order 2 entrees. I did this on formal night and had a very good lobster tail and prime rib that was as good as any in our area, and we have very good restaurants here.
We were booked to go to Costa Maya and Cozumel. However a few weeks before our cruise, while turning around at Mobile, one of the propellors was damaged. We had to go to Progreso/Merida instead of Costa Maya for propellor repairs. I wish Carnival had let us know ahead of time. In Progreso, our shore tour was cancelled. The tour company failed to notify the ship, so several of us were on the dock trying to find our tour. I walked back on the ship and found someone from the tour department. He had a long discussion with the tour company representative, then helped us find something to do for the day.
The Holiday has only been sailing from Mobile since October, from a brand new terminal. Embarkation went as smooth as anywhere I have ever sailed from and a lot better than San Juan, which was a nightmare. Debarkation is now a little slower than pre 9/11, due to homeland security. This is something we all will have to understand and live with. The process at Mobile went as smooth as possible. After leaving the ship, we found our bags, located a porter and got in line. There were 6 lanes of Customs agents processing everyone. From the time we walked off the ship until we got to our car was about 30 minutes. Carnival and Mobile have done a good job of putting all this together, plus everything is done inside out of the elements.
Would I recommend this cruise? Definitely, for price, itinerary and just plain fun.