The first thing I checked out after boarding the ship was my room. Partly because I was curious, but also partly because I had to drop off my luggage. It was where I would start and end all of my days on the cruise, so naturally, taking a quick peak at the room was my first priority.
The room my sister and I stayed in was a Balcony Stateroom. The room itself was a little small, but it’s a cabin on a boat just shy of 3,000 passengers, so it’s not really surprising—and didn’t really bother me. My sister and I requested two twin beds, but when we walked in, there was only one queen-size looking bed. However, the bed was really just two twin beds pushed together. Since my sister and I don’t mind sleeping together, we just left the two beds pushed together to be one. If you do want the beds separated, just let a crew member know.
P.S. Our beds were really comfortable and the sheets were soft. This is a big thing to me on vacation—because I love to sleep—and I was very satisfied.
The closet space was actually really nice, especially for a cruise. There were two small closets with hanging space for clothes, both with upper and lower shelves for extra storage, and another closet with four or five shelves in it as well. We used this one for shoes and swimsuits. Also in the room are a few cabinets and drawers for extra storage, a mini fridge, and a safe.
There were two vanity areas; one inside the bathroom, and one near the mini fridge. The lighting of the vanity in the bathroom isn’t great, so we preferred the vanity near the mini fridge—which had beautiful lighting. The only real issue we ran into with the vanity areas was that there were only two outlets—neither of the outlets were in the bathroom, which I thought was a little strange. The two outlets in our room were located near the vanity not in the bathroom, and by the television (my dad found this one for us!).
The room overall is perfect for two or three people. Online, the room is said to sleep five, but personally, I feel as though it would be too crowded in the room. The room does have a small couch (with drawers that pull out underneath) that folds out into a bed, but when folded out, it leaves little space in the room to walk around in.
The balcony on the room was a perfect size. It was big enough for two chairs and a small table, which is nice for sitting and drinking coffee in the mornings. I think the balcony makes a big difference in the room. If you’re deciding between rooms, I would definitely recommend either the balcony stateroom or the suite. The extra money is worth having a little bit more space and a view.
You can find out what else is in the rooms by visiting their website (or clicking here).
AROUND THE SHIP & ENTERTAINMENT
Our cruise left from Galveston, TX and went to Cozumel, Mexico. With each cruise, there are different types of ships. Our ship in particular was the Carnival Valor. I’m not sure how old the boat actually is, but a few crew members told us that it’s around 20+ years old. Aside from the decor, you really wouldn’t be able to tell how old the boat is while you’re walking around. Everything seems to be very well kept and modernized.
On vacations to warm destinations, my priority is to have fun in the sun. My favorite thing to do on a vacation (besides paddle boarding) is to grab a book, and head to the pool/beach in my favorite bikini for the afternoon. I love reading, relaxing, having a frozen drink by the water, listening to pool DJ’s, and dancing.
We lucked out on our cruise and had gorgeous weather the whole time. It was sunny, warm, and really peaceful. The cruise had several pools and hot tubs. My sister and I stuck mostly at the main pool—where they had two bars, a DJ, and a big television (which they used to play the Eagles vs. Patriots game on Sunday). However, the adult only areas were incredible for finding peace and quiet.
I counted 7 hot tubs and 3 pools on the cruise (although I could have missed some), which was perfect for accommodating as many guests as there were. The only advice I have when going to the pool is to get there early. Chairs near the main pool areas fill up fast, so if you’re not there early in the day (like before 10am), you might not get the seat you want. It’s not the end of the world though; there’s usually plenty of sun wherever you are.
Also on the boat you’ll find plenty of entertainment and enjoyment options like bars, a comedy club, a piano bar, several dining options, shopping, a spa, theater, and a fitness center.
Special mention: the fitness center is actually really nice. It has a variety of weight machines, a smaller studio area for mat exercises or yoga-like activities, sauna, steam room, etc. It was so much better than I could have ever imagined—it even has a ton of natural light and windows.
My sister and I made a habit of going to at least one comedy show every night. It was one of our favorite night activities. The comedians were really funny and the lounge area was a great place to meet people. I recommend sitting up front—it’s always fun when the comedians pick on and interact with you during their performance.
The piano bar is a feature I’d really recommend at least stopping by. It has this huge piano that wraps around a bar in the middle of the room, and then several lounge chairs and tables surrounding it. It’s a fun environment because the piano player will play and sing songs, and everyone signs along too.
Throughout the cruise, they had plenty of activities going on. From line dancing to raffles, there was never not something to do. Since I’m a big fan of home decor and crafts, the activity that I actually enjoyed quite a lot of was learning how to fold towels into animals—like they did in our rooms every night. I learned how to make a towel elephant and a towel dog. It sounds silly, but I really liked it.
In addition to entertainment and activities around the ship, there are also many opportunities to have your photo taken by professional photographers in front of several backdrops. The photo stations were scattered throughout the ship and some even had props. The photos came out so adorable too. We even have a new family photo that we’re getting printed on a big canvas for the lake house! I’d highly recommend grabbing whoever you’re with, getting dolled up, throwing on some dressier clothes, and getting a few snapshots taken!
I can safely say that on the cruise, none of us were ever left hungry. There was always something and some place to eat. For most of the food items (I’d say like 90%), it’s all-inclusive. If an item is extra, it’ll have a price listed next to it.
One of the things I remembered from when I went on the cruise as a little girl was the 24/7 soft serve ice cream and frozen yogurt machines. They still have them. They’re placed all over the ship and you can get it whenever you want. You just walk up, grab a cup or cone, and dispense however much you want. They have the basic flavors—chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla—and is perfect for all ages.
I’m not much of a foodie, but I will say I was quite impressed with some of the dishes they had. Every night for dinner, we went to our assigned restaurant called the “Lincoln Dining Room” as a family. Basically, every person picks out their own appetizer, main dish, and dessert.
Each portion is a real portion—not the ridiculously huge servings we tend to have in America—which was perfect for getting to try a taste of different foods.
We bonded with a dining team on our very first night. They have “service teams” which include a headwaiter, team waiter, and assistant team waiter. Our head waiter was Arsenio, our team waiter was Yasa, and our assistant team waiter was Jimy (his real name is Putu). We were so impressed by their service and their friendliness that we requested them each night for dinner. They became part of our little cruise family for the few days we were there. If you end up taking the same cruise we did, I highly recommend asking for them if they’re there! And tell them we say hi!
My absolute favorite food item from dinner was the Chilled Lycée Soup. It tasted exactly like melted vanilla ice cream and was one of the most unique soups I’ve ever had. If it’s on the menu and you have a chance to order it, please do it.
Special mention: Arsenio recommended that we try having brunch in the Washington Dining Room. He mentioned a unique dish that my dad and I knew we had to try: cereal-crusted french toast.
With the cereal-crusted french toast, you were able to choose from Honeynut Cheerios, Fruit Loops, Raisin Bran, and Frosted Flakes. I ordered the Fruit Loops option and my dad ordered the Raisin Bran. Both were really good, but we decided as a group that the Fruit Loops one was better. However, we think the Honeynut Cheerios one might be really good too—especially with the syrup.
Aside from the sweet breakfast dishes, they also have a ton of healthier options too—like avocado toast and egg white substitutions.
I typically eat vegetarian and dairy-free—for this trip though, I ate dairy (it’s vacation!)—and I can safely say there are a bunch of really delicious vegetarian and vegan options throughout the ship. They didn’t have almond milk or any nut milks (to use in coffee), but I found that very understandable. It’s a cruise after all, they’re trying to accommodate everyone, but you need to draw a line somewhere. Regardless, you won’t be left starving; there’s plenty to choose from.
We usually ate lunch in the cafeteria-like area. There were huge buffet stations set up all throughout the room with options like sushi, wok, burgers, pizza, pasta, fruit, salad, meats, etc. I usually ate fruits and veggies (and some Jell-O) for lunch, because that’s just what I prefer to eat, but it all looked delicious. This area was also open for breakfast and dinner too!
Special mention: If you know me, you already know that I’m not much of a drinker. I’ll literally have maybe 2 drinks a month (if that). So on the cruise, I didn’t drink much either. However, I did have something called “A Kiss On the Lips” which was basically a frozen daiquiri-like drink. My inner bartender tells me that it’s a frozen mango daiquiri with grenadine, but I’m not exactly sure. The point is that it was delicious and I couldn’t taste the liquor at all, but I knew it was in there somewhere. It’s a dangerous, but amazing drink. If you’re a baby with liquor like I am, order that drink.
VISITING THE PORT
Our destination that the cruise went to was Cozumel, Mexico. On the ship, they had plenty of activities, tours, and excursions for guests to sign up for. We weren’t going to go on an excursion initially, but ended up deciding on one—and we have no regrets!
The port was beautiful. There were dozens of shopping and dining options around, so even if you choose not to go on an excursion or tour, you’ll still have plenty to see and do. Behind the main port area, you can cross the street and see more street-style shops. I recommend hopping over to those—it’s easier to barter and less crowded—but just be aware of your surroundings because it’s not the typical port area.
Since the excursion part of the trip was an adventure of it’s own, I’ll be posting a separate blog post about it next week. We had a whole mix of activities during it that fit everyone’s interests.
The only main issue we ran into on the ship was with the wi-fi. Either while booking your cruise, or during your cruise, you can purchase wi-fi on the ship. There are three internet plans you can choose from; social, value, or premium. We chose the middle plan: value.
The value plan is $10.25 a day (per person) and only one device at a time can be connected. The value plan was said to include access to social networks/apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc, as well as email, websites, banking, weather, sports, entertainment, etc.
Here’s what actually (sometimes) worked for us while on the ship: email, weather, iMessage, and the Carnival Cruise app.
Everything else—apps, social media sites, banking, etc.—didn’t work at all.
We tried connecting several times, ways, and places throughout the days on the trip. We even tried going to the people at the tables who sold the internet on the cruise. Nothing worked.
On the second day, we went down to guest services to explain the situation. We were “helped” by a gentleman that was less than welcoming to us. It was clear that he did not care at all. He offered to refund the plan right then and there, but that would turn off the three features that did work at moments. Long story short, he offered to refund our internet after the end of the cruise.
After talking with other guests and crew members on the boat, we found out that it wasn’t just us that were having issues with the internet—everyone we talked about it with was too.
I know it might be a silly Millennial-worry, but the wi-fi issue is a huge negative for me because as a blogger, I depend on the internet for part of my job. I also think that it’s a negative for the cruise because they’re missing out on real-time exposure for their own company from a little less than 3,000 people. From a business perspective, that’s really unfortunate for them.
Overall, I recommend saving your money (and frustration) and don’t even bother purchasing an internet plan on the cruise. Instead, if you have to communicate, either set it up with your phone company before you go, try to find an alternative, or just simply let yourself be disconnected.
If it is absolutely critical that you have to access the ship’s wi-fi while on the cruise (for work or emergencies), I would advise you to not go on the cruise. In my opinion, the wi-fi is not dependable enough for those of you who actually need to use the internet, and I wouldn’t want anyone getting in trouble at work for not being able to access emails, alerts, etc.
From this experience, I feel as though Carnival Cruise is perfect for families of all ages. There was something for everyone on the cruise for my family and we never felt bored or overwhelmed. Everything was pretty much on our own time and we made great memories on the ship.
Would I recommend the cruise for something like a Honeymoon? Probably not. It wasn’t a romantic or super private trip. I also wouldn’t recommend it for a college spring break because of all the children on the boat. But I would hands-down recommend it for a family vacation, quick getaway, or a really cool way to visit another destination. I had such a great time and I’m really sad that it’s over.
I sincerely hope this post helped you learn more about what to expect on a Carnival Cruise. I was really pleased with the experience and would definitely go on another one.
Like always, if you have any questions at all, feel free to reach out to me by email at email@example.com or on social media.
I love seeing the world and sharing my experiences with others! If you’re a brand/company reading this and would like to collaborate, partner, or sponsor, please send me an email and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible!
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