Hello anyone who will help with good advice. My family is taking our first ever cruise on August 10th on the Holiday from Mobile. I am a little concerned because I have now read that this is a very old ship. Should I be worried about that.
Also we are making stops in Calica and Cozumel and looking for good tips on shopping and good places to eat in both locations.
Welcome to Cruise Chat
Several of us on this site went on the Holiday together last July. (Also many other on the site have been on the Holiday). The Holiday is an older ship and will be leaving the fleet late this year and replaced by a larger newer ship the Fantasy. With that said; the Holiday is fine for a first time cruise to get a taste of cruising. Because it is smaller it doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, and not as many choices of lounges and dining that the huge mega ships offer today. But the Holiday offers good
dining and entertainment, and you do have different choices of entertainment. As long as you understand the differences there's no reason you shouldn't enjoy the Holiday and have a good cruise.
Won't lie to you.. the Holiday is the oldest ship in the Carnival fleet at the moment. She is being retired from the fleet serving the US in November (actually being refitted and moved to service in Asia?) Yes, she is showing her age BUT she is still kept clean and the crew is great. The food was as good as ever and the entertainment is great also. You will still get to enjoy a great cruise.
Being a smaller/older ship, the Holiday does not have all the amenities that the new ships have but they try to offer most of the services you find on the mega ships. In fact many experience cruisers prefer the smaller ships to the monsters they are building now days. The decor if very dated, but If you go with an open mind (meaning you are not looking to pick the cruise apart because of the ship) you will have a great time. Since its your first ever cruise, you wouldn't know that you are missing anything and it will give you a good taste of cruising. If you enjoy yourselves, then book the next cruise on a newer ship and you will be blown away. Go and have fun. I'll let someone else offer shopping tips.
Calica is just the name of the dock - it is an industrial pier with transportation to Playa del Carmen and other nearby attractions, such as Xcaret which is adjacent to the pier.
There are no insider secrets or tips for shopping at either port. They are tourist stops and so you have touristy shops, usually with the same things for sale. See a t-shirt design you like? Just look around and you might find a store selling it for a couple bucks less. Going to stores not along the main drag is a good idea. They have less overhead. Some places will dicker with the price. Given the recent panic of the flu - which closed down Mexican port visits for several weeks - you might find the stores are more open to haggling over the price.
As for eating, you can't go wrong with Pancho's Backyard in Cozumel. The original location is in the Los Cincos Soles store downtown. They also have a second location at one of the piers but you may not be mooring there. The downtown restaurant has more character anyway. Carlos n' Charlies/Senor Frogs are two popular places. Mostly to get huge margaritas and attempting to speak above the way-too-loud music. They serve food too but it isn't memorable.
I've been on the Holiday four times since 2003. It is a pleasant little ship. Quaint in many ways, but in a nice way. One shortcoming is the buffet restaurant. The food is okay but there is not enough room for all the people who seem to think the buffet is the only place to eat and they have to spend every moment there. On our forum cruise last summer there were tremendous lines almost non-stop. So, my advice is don't forget the dining room serves breakfast and lunch too, and it is nice and quiet. There are two main dining rooms on the Holiday. They usually use the aft dining room for the open seating breakfast and lunch.
The port of Mobile is a great operation. Very nice staff. Given it's location the traffic gets backed up, so if you arrive at noon or later plan on sitting in a line of cars for a bit. They won't let you in before 11am though, so plan accordingly.
She is old, but if this is your first cruise, you have nothing to compare her to. She's a fantastic ship, loads of fun, Mobile is a great port to embark from, the staff is great, the ship is clean. You'll have a great time! Best wishes!
You will have a great time.
We have sailed on the Holiday many times...the last time being a couple of years ago...and we had a good time.
There are folks who prefer the smaller ships.
There is no Atrium (like you see in most Cruise Pictures) and since there is some rust in the pipes...the water can run a "tanish" color for a couple of seconds...but again...nothing that bothered us at all.
Take in all the shows. Don't miss the Piano Bar (which is across from the Library (literally underneath the casino). In fact you can take a spiral staircase from the back part of the casino into the Piano Bar (earning it the nickname...the Cave).
Both of the ports that you are going to are tourist friendly. In Cozumel, all the major restaurants have safe food and water.
Have a great time!!
My wife and I are taking our first curise on Oct 11 on the Splendor the the Mex. Riv. (porto villarta, Mazatlan and Cabo)We have a room at tyhe aft corner of the ship with a large balcony. Probably wont get to use it much.
Were both a little nervous about going (excited) but we should have a good time.
Any advice or opinions would be appreciated
You picked a great ship for a first cruise! But you will probably want to start a "new" discussion instead of trying to talk about it buried in this topic.. you will get a better response.
If you have any specific concerns, ask a question and we can all comment.
Hi oka1dxk, Welcome to Cruise-Chat!
I'll just add that my first cruise was on Carnival's oldest and smallest ship at the time. I wouldn't trade that cruise memory for any other. Sure the Holiday is older and smaller than the other ships. She still delivers a great cruise experience and 46,000 tons of Fun.
We just did a B2B on the Splendor in November and she is a lovely ship.
If my friend Michael is still onboard (soloist - Promenade) you are in for a treat. He is a wicked guitar player. And he is from LAS VEGAS!!
The ship is large...but manageable. We have never had one of those AFT balconies (hubby AKA Mr. Tightwad won't spring for one) but they are all the talk of the boards.
We did this route several years ago on the Pride and had a great time.
IN PV, hubby and oldest son did the zip line.
IN Mazatlan, our family of four did Randi's Horses (horseback riding over on Stone Island.)
IN Cabo...we just grabbed a water taxi for $2 a person over to the beach to relax.
My first tip is RELAX!!!
You may use your balcony more than you think if you enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning when you first wake up. The cabins do not have coffee pots in them, but there is a door hanger that you place on your door the night before and they will deliver coffee and a continental breakfast at your appointed time. A $1 tip is customary.
If you like speciality coffees...they cost extra on the Promenade BUT you can get them for free in the Main Dining Room. I love the expressos!!
Every day you will get a CAPER that tells you what is going on along with the time and location. There will be one waiting for you when you arrive in your cabin.
When you check in, they will give you a Sail and Sign card that will handle any transactions on the ship. We usually secure ours with our credit card...but some people do it with cash.
At the end of the cruise they will stuff a complete listing of all your purchases in your mailbox...but you can also check the balance as you go on the TV.
The cabin will have a safe for your valuables.
As you walk on, they will ask you if you want a drink...these are not free...but usually pretty good. The soda and bottled water in your cabin is not free as well...BUT you are allowed to carry on an unspecified amount of soda and water ( and one bottle of wine per adult).
Lido has ice tea and coffee 24/7. There are juices in the morning and lemonade in the afternoon and night. This is included in your cruise.
Don't miss the roasted chicken one level ABOVE lido. (Lido is where all the buffet foods, pizza, Deli etc is). The roasted chicken is wonderful as is the Mac N Cheese and the softest baked potato I have ever eaten.
Also included is 24 hour pizza, soft serve ice cream along with free sushi (they do charge for the Saki) at the announced hours in the Caper.
Don't let the Spa throw you. There are some aspects of it that are included in your cruise...like the gym and a sauna (and a locker room with showers).
This ship's Spa has the Thalassotherapy pool on it..but there is a charge for it. When we were on the ship...it was $35.00 per person per day for the pool. Turkish sauna and relaxation rooms.
We always used the Promenade as our main thoroughfare for going from one end of the ship to the other.
I hope you both have a wonderful trip!!
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