Sunday, March 20, 2011

Final Thoughts on the Cruise- December 2008

Despite the many problems, I detailed over the last week in my Intersting Times-a Vacation Curse posts.  We did have a good time.  People at work wanted to know about the food, shows, etc on board.  I thought I'd post my final thoughts.

Food

We ate in the Posh Dining Room for dinner every night.  The food was excellent.  It ranged from seafood to steaks to prime rib.  The menu changed every night and you could play it safe in a culinary sense or expand your horizons with escargot or other exotic fare.

The service was exceptional.  Our servers, Elena and Richard, were fantastic.  They shared their stories with us. Elena was from Hungary.  She left two small children at home to fulfill a 13 month contract onboard.  She missed them very much but her homeland offered very few jobs that would support her family.  Elena hadn't seen them in 9 months.

Richard was also from a Slavic state.  He was more reticient. He was also in his 9th month on his contract.

Breakfast in the Dining Room was equally good.  You could get everything from omelettes to pancakes to waffles.  Service and food were excellent.

The food elsewhere on the ship was lacking.  The buffets on the Lido deck were confusing and poorly organized.  The one thing that was exceptional there was the desserts. Otherwise the food was on par with most fast food places.  However, it was from the Lido deck that I got my suspected food poisoning on the last full day at sea so my viewpoint is jaded.

The Shows

We attend two shows while on board.  One was a musical revue that saluted the Big Easy...New Orleans.  The costumes, singers and dancers were excellent.  One dancer did seem like he was a half beat or step behind everyone else...according to my eagle eyed wife, Chris.

We also took in the midnight show that featured a comic.  His act was a long the lines of Eddie Murphy or Chris Rock.  He would have been equally funny without all the profanity.  He had a llot of fun with the flying monkey incident.  I thought he was very funny...but by midnight I could have been slap happy.

The Crew

I thought the crew did a superb job in a difficult situation.  They couldn't have expected the computer to break down on embarkation.  Who could have planned for the idiots who brought a long that infamous plastic monkey.  They made sure we reached our destination on time and safely.

The crew member we came into close contact with was our cabin steward.  Elsworth was professional, courteous and accomadating to any of our questions.  He made it his primary concern to make sure the guests on his floor were happy and content.

We looked forward to coming back to our cabin to see what "towel" animal had been left for us.  They put a lot of effort into their creations.

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Odds and Ends and Gripes

I guess the one gripe we had about the cruise was over the tipping.  Carnival offered us a way to prepay the tips which we took advantage of when we  made the last cruise payment.  It was a way to make sure the servers and stewards were taken care of for their hard work. 

However, at the debarkation meeting that we all attended the cruise director tried to guilt us into tipping more.  I thought it was a bit heavy handed and uncalled for...and it was irritating.  I tip well...I just don't like to feel coerced into doing anything.

My resentment faded a bit when I found out a nurse that worked on a ship  three years ago was only making $26000 a year.  Granted everything else with the exception of her cell phone bill was taken care of by the Cruise Line...it still broke down to about $12 an hour...for someone in the nursing field that's not very much.

I imagine the wages for the servers and stewards wouldn't be all that great either.  So the question remains, would I go on another cruise?  Probably...however, I think it would be a 3-5 day cruise in duration...and it would probably be a different cruise line...Carnival Fun Ships...were maybe not enough fun for me.



2 comments:

Whit's Whittlings2 said...

Cruises are fun. I take it that you gained a little weight on the cruise. :)

Bookworm said...

Whit,
Actually, the pics were before I got food poisoning the last full day of the cruise...I think I lost all the weight I gained...I was worshipping the porcelain throne from 10 pm to 6 am.

Our cruise was an interesting one to say the least.