Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Jubilee
Sailing Date: March 17th, 2003
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
We sailed from Galveston, TX on Carnival's M.S.
Jubilee. This was my second cruise, and my husband's first. Parking at the
designated parking lot went very smoothly, with the shuttle to the pier. When we
arrived at the pier, most people left their luggage for the porters, and left to
go inside for embarkation. We hesitated for just a bit, because we wanted to
make sure our luggage would get there. I'm glad we did. Some of the people's
luggage (nice luggage) was tossed around, dropped, thrown back onto the cart,
and then rearranged so they could fit more on to the cart, tossed, dropped and
thrown. Ours was handled just a bit better because we were standing there. But,
I didn't appreciate the way the luggage was handled. Even with this, my mother's
suitcase arrived to the room with a broken zipper. Please note, this is not
The embarkation lines were long, but seemed to go fairly quickly. Although we arrived early for embarkation, we waited for about an hour to sign in, and get our sign and sail cards. Then we waited in another line, about 25 min, to actually get onboard - picture included. Finally on the boat, the lunch on the Lido deck was good. Of course they were pushing the drinks, 6.50 for the special - but I could not resist trying one, and keeping the souvenier glass that it came in.
Our room was adequate, and very clean. The whole ship seemed very clean. Our steward wasn't the greatest, but we certainly appreciated him, and all that he did for us. He just wasn't the friendliest guy I've ever met, but he was certainly helpful. And he kept our room immaculate, and he did provide lots of information. We had towel animals in the room 3 nights of the 5 day cruise, and they were very cute. The beds were comfortable.
I've read other reviews where the boat vibrated intolerably, and smelled of sewage. I certainly did not experience this. The boat did vibrate, but, it's a boat! (ship yes, but same premise) We did not have any sewage smell, and we were right in the middle of it, with an oceanfront room. We were on the Empress deck, suite 110 & 112.
The Jubilee is the smallest of the Carnival fleet. There are not as many public areas as some of the other lines, but I found the crew to be predominantly friendly, and the atmosphere to be fun and casual. My 10 year old had lots to do, as the Camp Carnival was great. My 16 year old was bored the first day, but made friends and was bored no more. The Oz Disco provided lots of evening entertainment for her and her friends, they serve no alcohol to the underage crowd, but allows them to dance and have fun.
The food on the ship was good. It was not all as fantastic as I've read about, but it was good. On the first cruise that I took, which was a Premier cruise to the Bahamas, the food was excellent. But, they're out of business. I guess I was expecting the same from Carnival, but it just wasn't. Don't get me wrong, it was good, just not excellent. And don't let Carnival's web site fool you, there is no "Seafood Bistro" on this ship. They are referring to the many buffet services on the Lido Deck. It was good, but you will find no Prime Rib or Lobster here. The omelettes are fabulous though, and the pizza is good. If you can order whatever kind of pizza you want, I didn't figure out how to do it. But the always present pepperoni was great. The waiter that we had in the main dining room was way burnt out. He was nice, and the service was good, but it was the assistant waiter that did all of the work. Only until the last day, tip day, did our waiter do any of the real work. He served bread, poured tea, cleaned dishes, smiled and chatted, etc. He did not do this the first 4 days. While we opted to do the auto tip on our sign and sail, I gave a little extra to the assistant waiter because I really thought he deserved it. I wish now that I had adjusted the tip to the head waiter, but I didn't. I did observe many of the other head waiters doing a fantastic job though. And some friends that we met were thrilled with their waiter.
The first port that we went to was Calica. We opted for the XCaret tour. All I can say about this is that if you want to wander around alot, see "some" interesting stuff, then spend the rest of your time at a really small beach area, pay the money for it. About 51.00 per person. I was a little disappointed, and wished that we had just gone to a beach club, and hung out. Calica is nothing more than a quarry, and DON'T buy from the sellers in the tents there. They are way too expensive, and they will beg. XCaret is actually in Cancun, and any tour in Calica takes you to another city. Our second port was Cozumel. The water is SOOO BLUE!!!!!! We opted for the Playa de Sol beach break, and we had a great time. The taxi fom there back to the pier was the taxi ride from hell, the driver kept trying to pass everyone while there were cars coming at us!! It scared the hell out of me, but we made it back safely. Our day was wonderful though, with that exception.
In other reviews, I've read that smokers are everywhere, and it is unpleasant. While I do smoke, there were many areas that were non-smoking. Even the Lido deck (open air) was split for those who do not smoke, and there were several bars and areas where smoking is not permitted. When we were disembarking, they called on the speakers for smokers in the immigration line to not smoke in line, and go to the Lido deck to smoke when they had gone throught the line. I thought that this was a perfectly fair and reasonable request. There is no smoking in the cabins, but that is fine, because the Lido deck is not far from any of the cabins, and the dress is casual.
The last Fun Day at Sea was great. We spent our day soaking in everything! Debarkation was way slow. Carnival did the best they could, but lines take time. It all went as fast as it could, except don't expect to be on the Empress Deck and get off the boat first. We were the last to be called. Go to the Lido deck and have a good breakfast and enjoy sitting down. Wait to be called. I think that Carnival actually gave us a break, because there were VERY short lines in customs, and we walked right onto our shuttle and went to our car. No fuss.
All in all - our whole family had a great time on this cruise, and I would recommend it.