Number of Cruises: 4
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Holiday
Sailing Date: June 10th, 2006
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
Carnival Cruise Lines
Holiday Cruise Review
I did not expect to be cruising again so soon after the cruise I went on April 1, but the opportunity to go again with family members presented itself and I knew I had to seize it. We were on NCL's Majesty in April and this time we drove over to Mobile to take the Carnival Holiday.
Just before leaving we were warned on television that a tropical storm was brewing in the Caribbean and that we might meet with some severe weather. We proceeded with our plans hopeful nothing would hinder the good times we were anticipating having.
There is no handicapped parking available at the Mobile cruise terminal. The cruise literature states that you may pay the required $60 fee in cash, check or credit card. The parking attendant refused to let me write a check, so I had to pay with cash. We let my 81 yr. old mother who has difficulty walking out near the terminal door to wait while we found a parking spot.
Embarkation would have been faster for us if we had not had a hold up at the counter due to the misspelling of my niece's name. I caught the mistake on her cruise ticket two nights before we left home and called my travel agent. Preferring to play it safe since the literature stated that any deviation in spelling should be reported, she in turn called Carnival. The mistake involved one letter in her first name. The Carnival terminal staff informed us that the name change required a $25 fee payable before boarding the ship. We strongly protested and a nice supervisor called Miami and got the fee waived. This could have soured us on Carnival before even boarding. We were relieved they did something as this would have truly been punishment for being alert and honest.
Once we boarded we easily found our cabins on the main deck. They were just down the hall from one another, very clean and comfortable. There was plenty of room to move around as well as lots of available storage space. The beds have very cozy duvets and were so comfortable I hated to get up each morning I was sleeping so soundly. My mother, sister and niece had an inside cabin beside a noisy smoking group. These people had the television on loud all night the first night preventing them from sleeping. My son and I had no smoke to contend with and no noise to amount to anything.
Our two rooms had different cabin stewards who were very nice
and made wonderful towel animals for us to enjoy each evening when we returned
from dinner. The two stewards competed to see which of their animals my 9 yr.
old niece would prefer. She most often confiscated the one in my room liking it
better. Her cabin steward, Arnold, was in the hall working every time I opened
the door. He was a perfectionist and a "workaholic". We gave both him and
Michael (ours) an extra tip for their efforts to please.
The ship activities were fairly standard , much like those on board my previous cruise. My mother and I enjoyed a tour of the galley the day before we arrived back in Mobile. The kitchen was the cleanest I have ever seen. Not a scrap of food, fly or item out of place. One could literally eat off the floors it was so clean. The tour was interesting and we got to see them preparing for an onboard wedding the following day.
There were plenty of deck chairs for everyone up on Deck 10. People lounged around the pool which had a slide for the kids. My niece loved it. The buffet was just down from the pool area inside. We only ate there once. I am a firm believer that you are paying for the exotic meals in the dining rooms and should definitely take advantage of the opportunity to try some new dishes. My son thought the food was hands down better than the NCL cruise. He especially enjoyed the duck. There was no shortage of food and our server, Ana Maria, would bring him as much as he wanted of anything on the menu.
As stated earlier, tropical storm Alberto was in our path, so the first day at sea the captain decided to change our course and take us to Progresso. This was a bonus, as we were near several ruins and the large city of Mirada. We decided to take the tour to Mirada. We had an air-conditioned bus and interesting guide and it was one of the least expensive of the tours offered. I loved Mirada, and got to experience the "real" Mexico there.
Our second port, Cozumel, is one large tourist trap. All the shops have the same souvenirs and junk we cared nothing about. The heat in both ports was unbearable and my mother had difficulty tolerating it. We found a good restaurant, Las Palmas, on the main road down from the forum and had lunch there. The taxi ride to and from the pier is $6 each way for 4 people. We were allowed to take my niece for an additional $2.
I really do not care for Cozumel. I do not know what the attraction is, unless people want to go snorkeling/diving or shop for inexpensive souvenirs.
The crowd on board was a friendly mix of people, many from the gulf areas. I found them less stuffy than the folks on my previous cruise out of Charleston, SC. We made many new friends. The dining room staff fill up the tables as people come in and you find yourself sitting with different people at breakfast and lunch. Several times we were able to get a table for just the 5 of us. Our tablemates at dinner were a lovely family from Metairie, LA. We became fast friends and had much in common. I would love to cruise with them again! Just a "heads up", but passengers are expected to tip the Maitre d' at the end of the cruise. We were told he organized the dining room entertainment (most every evening) provided by dining room staff. They sang, danced and livened up our mealtimes. I especially liked when they sang an old hit, "Hey Baby".
I have to admit I enjoyed this cruise more than my previous one. It should be noted that this ship is not as handicapped assessable as the Majesty. The elevators are very small. Be prepared to spend alot for pictures. They were priced at $20 for 8x10's and $8 for 4x6 sized. They had oodles of pictures not purchased when we perused the photo gallery while waiting to debark. What a waste of paper!
I enjoyed my first experience on Carnival and liked the ship, even though it is the smallest of the fleet. I would love to do another cruise, just not in such hot weather!