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Lee Yarbrough

Age: 42

Occupation:retired Air Force

Number of Cruises: 5

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Holiday

Sailing Date: April 10th, 2006

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Lines
Holiday Cruise Review
Western Caribbean

Lee Yarbrough

Let me preface this review by stating that my family and I lost ALL we owned in hurricane Katrina and that this was our first get-away post storm, so we were SOOO ready to relax.

Our last cruise was on the Valor, last summer for a 7 day Eastern Caribbean, so going from Carnival's newest ship to it's oldest ship was going to be interesting. Couple that with the fact that the Holiday was the FEMA ship, we REALLY did not know what to expect. I am going to break it down in the phases as we experienced them:

EMBARKATION: Excellent!!! Got to the port at 11:30am and were on the ship by noon. Simply awesome! The port authorities and the Carnival staff worked so well together and were extremely organized.

FIRST ON-BOARD IMPRESSION: Excellent! We were very concerned about this portion since we had read an earlier review where one of the Holiday's first cruises post FEMA duty did not go off so smoothly. The air condition was working as advertised and there were no odors other than the ones normally expected while in port. Maybe we are easy about smells, but EVERY Carnival cruise we have ever been on has the same gaseous smells, while in port. It is not throughout the entire but limited to certain areas with less ventilation, but as soon as we were underway the smells were gone.

STATEROOM: Excellent! We stayed on the upper deck, port side, in a room with 4 bunks. King bed, pullman, and a cot/roll away type bed for the 2 yr old. One good thing about the older ships is the cabins seem slightly larger than the new ships. We never had any problems other than the cable TV was not as receptive as on the newer ships (but if you are watching a lot of TV on a cruise...then maybe cruising is not for you). The room was clean, well appointed and we had a nice gift bag waiting for us in the bathroom. Bed as comfy with high thread count sheets and duvet cover. Sleeping was GOOD!

CASINO: Super Loose!!! Everybody won! we brought $1200 cash and put on our sail and sign card, and by the time the trip was over we had charged almost $2500 and still walked away with $2000 in our pockets. I played craps and Anita played black jack. Craps was only double odds and the table was not open as much as I would have liked. Black jack was very good. The slots were sooo loose. Seemed like everyone was hitting. I won $1000 on the "Wheel of Fortune" machine with only $6 dollars in. Staff was mainly Eastern European and overall knowledgeable, friendly, and desiring to serve. Not a lot of games, but plenty of slots. Overall, a great experience.

FOOD: Good. Did not have a "bad" meal per se, but some were better than others. For a ship this size, the menu selections were good. The service was excellent and the views were spectacular. We had the early seating (5:45) and that was perfect for us. The late seating seemed much more energetic and a much younger crowd.

SHOWS: One of the shows, SHOUT we had seen a year earlier on the VALOR and it was just as good this time. The other show was a patriotic, country and western bit that entertained all. There was one comedian we saw, at the PG show, who was average at best. I have friends a lot funnier than this guy.

CRUISE DIRECTOR: Good! One of the less obtrusive CD's I have encountered. Did a good job and stayed out of the way. He was a good representation of how the whole ship staff was...trying to do the little extra to compensate for their smaller, older cruise ship; and it worked!

PORTS OF CALL: This cruise went to calica (near Playa del Carmen) and to Cozumel. Calica was a joke. Similar to Costa Maya, but without ANYTHING there. we got a cab to Cancun ($50) then got the ferry to Isla Mujeres. Isla Mujeres is a hidden Gem. What Cozumel was 20 years ago. We then ported (using Tenders) at Cozumel. Is it me or has Cozumel become so crowded? Might have just caught it on a busy day. All-in-all, Cozumel was a blast, especially during spring break.

FINAL WORDS: Cruise was well worth the money and I would do it all over in a heartbeat! When you compare the ease to to board, quality of the service, cruise duration and amenities it was a great bargain, not to mention a great time.

PROS: good deal, good food, good service. Spa and gym good. Had 4 massages ( all good). Due to small amount of passengers, actually able to cultivate friendships because you see them more than once! Covered port parking for $70 for 5 days.

CONS: Small elevators (took the stairs a lot). No atrium or center of the ship.

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