Welcome back to #TravelThursday. Last week I embarked on my multi-part series of my 7-day sailing of the brand-new Carnival Celebration from Sunday January 08TH 2023 to Sunday January 15TH 2023. This was its 9TH cruise (with passengers) ever. It was my 16TH on Carnival in a little over 23 years, and my 24TH overall (all cruise lines) in a little over 31 years.
Fun Fact: I shared a large (assigned) dinner table every night in the main dining room with other solo cruisers and a couple (husband and wife) who have all been on far more cruises than I can ever imagine. In their eyes – I was the cruise “newbie”. I was also the youngest at our table. We mostly talked about cruising each night at dinner. They were a fun group. Lots of laughs !
This week I’ll share more thoughts about the cruise.
FOOD (“B”) – Most people who choose Carnival do so for its affordability, its accessibility (at many ports), and its overall vibe (lots of fun activities for all ages from early in the morning to early the next morning). Those are my main reasons for my continued loyalty to Carnival since the late-1990s. The food is good. It’s not great. It’s better than anything I eat at home. It’s better than anything I eat out in my hometown. Could it be better ? Sure. Has it been better in the past ? Sure. But I don’t really choose Carnival for its food. It’s not what they specialize in as a cruise line. They specialize in fun. I like fun. Having said that there are so many different places to eat on the Carnival Celebration – more than any other Carnival cruise ship – aside from its nearly identical sister ship – Mardi Gras. Most of the food at the various venues is part of the overall cruise fare. Some of it costs extra. I enjoyed some really delicious beignets with strawberry sauce and chocolate sauce at Emeril’s Bistro on a couple of mornings. #BAM
SERVICE (“C”) – Customer service was generally lacking a little bit on this ship compared with many of my previous cruises. That includes the cabin areas, the main dining room, and the restaurants. There seemed to be a lack of enthusiasm (and speed) overall for such a brand-new cruise ship and the current flagship of Carnival Cruise Lines. It wasn’t necessarily bad service – just unimpressive (and slow) service compared with what I’m accustomed to at sea. I’ve felt that customer service on Carnival has been superior to the other 3 cruise lines that I’ve sailed on, but not really so much on this particular cruise.
ENTERTAINMENT (“A”) – This was definitely the best part of my cruise. Carnival has done a major upgrade in this area for their brand-new cruise ships – taking full advantage of modern 2020s electronic technology. They had nice Broadway-like shows, stand-up comedy shows in 3 different venues including matinees in the afternoons on sea days, and nice random “pop-up” video shows during the early-evening hours in-between the bigger shows. Even their game shows were modernized. I was mesmerized by these events. It’s the future of Carnival unlike anything I had ever seen before, and I liked it a lot !
CRUISE DIRECTOR (“A”) – Our Cruise Director – Mike from South Jersey – was actually substituting (last-minute) for the real Cruise Director of the ship – Lee – who was nursing laryngitis out-of-sight from the passengers. He eventually recovered, and he finally made a grand entrance (complete with standing ovation) early on the 5TH night of the cruise. Some passengers booked the cruise ship because of Lee, so they were finally glad to see him in action. From that point forth he and Mike shared Cruise Director duties and responsibilities. It was the first time that Mike had ever been a Cruise Director, and he did a great job. He’s a future Cruise Director for sure. Lee has been with Carnival as a Cruise Director for just over 6 years on 12 different ships. Here’s his story – as well as the story of the Carnival Celebration:
Next #TravelThursday I’ll tell you all about the first port-of-call – Amber Cove on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. I participated in perhaps one of my greatest shore excursions ever – from sea level to nearly 2,600 feet above. Let’s keep traveling together.
All rights reserved (c) 2023 Christopher M. Day, CountUp