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N. Ketz

Age: 41 to 50


Number of Cruises: 2nd Cruise

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Jubilee

Sailing Date: January 13th, 2001

Itinerary: Tampa, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Tampa

My husband and I took this cruise for our 19th anniversary and, surprisingly, we took our 2 daughters, ages 11 and 14, with us.  Mainly because we got such a great rate for all of us.  We paid $400 each for an outside, upper deck cabin and the kids were $200 each (actually $80 for the cruise & $120 for port charges).  I thought this was a pretty good rate for a holiday week in January.

It took a fairly long time to board the ship & only the person who actually checked us in was friendly.  We then waited to board & had to wait in a Long line for the buffet lunch in the Funnel Grill. 

There was always coffee in this area, but that was the only place you could get coffee 24 hours.  Fortunately we were right below & could take the elevator up, but for people on the other end of the ship, they had a long walk just to get a cup of coffee.

I do think a cruise is a great vacation for a family.  Our girls participated in a lot of the Camp Carnival activities giving mom & dad lots of alone time.  We also took walkie-talkies so we would always know where they were & when they were coming back.  We found these to be very handy & they worked great on the ship.

Our family has recently discovered snorkeling & both port of calls had excellent snorkeling.  We wished we could have stayed longer in Grand Caymen.  It took a long time just to get to the island, we had to wait 25 minutes for a launch, then another 20 minutes to load the launch before we could take the 15 minute trip.  We went snorkeling & then didn't have much time to look around the cute downtown.  We did, however, think it was very commercialized, with Wendys, Burger King & even an Outback Steakhouse -- not much different than our town here.

We loved Cozumel - it seemed like a walk into the past.  Our taxi driver recommended a great beach for snorkeling at no cost (other than $5.00 to keep a table with umbrella on the beach reserved for us).  We had great nachos, tacos & Coronas.  We also had plenty of time after snorkeling to shop around in town.  We went back to the boat to change & even ate dinner in the town, on a balcony overlooking the street.  It was really fun.

I think we felt so-so about the ship.  Service was very good, but not always totally friendly.  Our cabin steward did a great job (always keeping 2 ice buckets full in our room), but I'm not sure I ever saw him smile.  Our waiters were wonderful and the food overall very good.  We didn't like eating in the Funnel Grill - the food was okay, but it was almost always crowded with lines.  We did, however, like the 24-hour pizza bar & ice cream machine.  The midnight buffet one night was spectacular. 

They did have a sushi-bar each day at 5:00 which was fairly good.  We enjoyed having some sushi in the lounge overlooking the ocean - it felt just like the TV show The Love Boat!

We felt the Broadway-type shows were pretty good, but not really our thing.  The comedian was very good - we even went to his midnight show (I think he was tired by then, though!). 

We really enjoyed the outside room with big picture window.  There was a ledge big enough for 2 of us to sit in & we watched a couple of sunsets and sunrises from it.

The biggest complaint about the ship was a vibration we felt whenever the ship was moving.  It was especially annoying lying in bed at night.  There was never really any swaying motion on the ship, but this vibration was terrible (if you're old enough to remember the "fat-jiggling" machines at the gym, that's what it was like).  The other problem we had during the 2 days at sea, it was very difficult to find a lounge chair to lay out on deck.  The cruise was full (I'm guessing because of the holiday weekend), but it would have been nice to easily find a chair.

The public men's restrooms around the ship didn't seem to be well maintained (rusty pipes, tiles falling out, etc.)  The women's restrooms were fine. 

I was a little surprised that there was not much activity on deck by the pool at night.  At about 5-7 PM that deck pretty much shut down.  They did have activity elsewhere, but it would have been fun to have some line dances, etc. by the pool. 

Overall, we really had fun.  Our girls absolutely loved it & with e-mail can keep in touch with friends they made.  I wouldn't say it was the very best vacation we've ever had, but we would cruise again - probably on a much larger ship with longer stays in the port of calls. 

We had heard some bad things about Carnival, but I wouldn't hold anything against them as a whole (unless all their ships have that terrible vibration because of faulty maintenance), but the service was very good (if a tad unfriendly) & food was good.  Lots of activities for families & kids (even littler kids seemed to be having a great time with the Camp Carnival).


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