I don't know what horrible things you've heard. I've been on 4 Carnival cruises and have never experienced anything horrible. The ships have been clean, we've had good service, and the food has been good. Is there something specific that you're worried about?
We've cruised on Carnival 5 times, with another booked in September. We've been treated well and had a great time every time. The ships are well cared for, even the 30+ year old Holiday was clean and very comfortable. Our cabin staff have taken great care of us. The dining staff has been great each time, and the food has been very good (although not incredible).
The shows are good and quite enjoyable, although maybe not world class.
In my opinion, Carnival is cheaper because they cater to a party crowd and expect people to gamble, drink alcohol and otherwise spend a lot of money on the ship. I do not participate in those activities and let the drinkers and gamblers pay part of my freight. The activities of the party crowd has never interrupted by enjoyment of my cruise. I expect to cruise on Carnival at least a dozen more times.
When one of our cruises was cancelled by Hurricane Katrina, Carnival went out of their way to reschedule us to another excellent itinerary and we had a great time.
I know Carnival has had problems on some cruises. All of the lines have. I heard some terrible things just before our third cruise that were true about a ship that had just started sailing after 6 months service to FEMA after Katrina. The ship (Sensation) wasn't ready and Carnival didn't do enough to compensate the passengers. When we sailed (about four weeks later) the cruise was fantastic and we had a great anniversary celebration.
If you could be more specific on some of the complaints you have heard, I would be delighted to comment further.
Volume. They offer more ships than the other cruise lines and it's better to fill them than to sail at less than 100% capacity. They stay competitive. All cruise lines offer discounted fares on cruises that are not full. Carnival does not spend as much per person for food as some lines, but their food is good. If you compare Carnival to Costa, Princess, and Norweigan Caribbean, I don't think you'll find a whole lot of difference in price on popular routes. I honestly feel that Princess and Royal are better than Carnival, but that's my personal opinion only. I have enjoyed my cruises with Carnival and am booked next year for our cruise-chat cruise. I know I will have a great time, I know the ship will be clean, I know the service will be good, and the food will be as well. Best wishes!
We have had friends that wenton Carnival, they said that the food was like the food they cook at home (not restraut quality like RCCL) and they also said the ship was very dirty.
About the comment on price, Carnival obviously does not spend as much on their guest as RCCL and other cruise lines. The current Alaska cruises they have.... A balcony on CCL is the same as a ocean on other cruise lines.
So if I had a choice go with RCL or Princess?
Also, what about their Alaska cruises? They only have a few ship that go there so how can they be cheap there??? NO MATTER WHAT..... Alaska almost always never has a scarcity of passengers!
How does CCL compare to NCL?
So your friends have escargots, roasted duckling, lobster, souffles, etc., at home? And they make their own pizza fresh from the oven whenever you want it? I think Carnival has great food. Is it 5-star cuisine? Nope. But then neither is RCCL, Princess, NCL, or any other mainstream line. But it is good food. Frankly I feel Carnival food is better overall than RCCL - not by much, but it is more appealing to me. But that is my opinion.
Carnival is the big boy in the cruise market. That is why they can offer lower prices, and a balcony cabin for what the others are charging for a standard cabin. I've certainly never felt Carnival was not treating me as well as I've been treated on RCCL or the others. You say "Carnival obviously does not spend as much on their guests". Have you sailed with Carnival ever, or even in the past few years? And to the other person's comment about the party people - sorry but I just don't see that on Carnival these days. They changed their marketing years ago to appeal to families and not a bunch of drunks. For the record, let it be known that RCCL held onto allowing 18 year olds to drink until last year. Carnival went to 21 many years back.
You said you wanted the truth - so I am not sugar-coating my remarks. Carnival is a great cruise line and we've enjoyed every cruise we've done with them without exception.
I totally agree with Dave is always. When you're #1, people always find a reason not to like you.
Remember everyone's opinion is just that. THEIR opinion. Read some of the cruise reviews some time and see some of the ridiculous things people criticize the cruise lines for..
1) Boy the weather was awful!! (Yes, Carnival controls the skies!)
2) Those movies were terrible! (who goes on a cruise to watch movies??)
3) That food was different!! Nothing Like I've ever eaten before! (thats why you go on a cruise in the first place...if all you want is fried chicken and mashed taters and gravy...go to Myrtle Beach and eat at the Colonel!)
I could go on and on. Everyone's opinion is their opinion. My opinion...I think Carnival does it very well. It's not the Hilton and it's not gourmet Haute cuisine. It's nice decor and good food, and FUN!!!