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Everything posted by TiredTrucker

  1. We were on her the beginning of March and got lucky landing between two busy sailings. We were still full up but few kids and a very calm sailing.
  2. It's your money, do what you want with it.
  3. I'll throw in my two cents based on my many cruises 😁. Was told before hand the complimentary food was overall "meh, with a few great standouts" and found it to be exactly that. It wasn't bad by any means and some was quite good. I would certainly eat it again and be happy with it. But most of it wasn't great, even by my lower standards.
  4. Oh, and the McD's bathroom is supposed to be for customers but no attendant to deal with. That's another reason we stopped there. The public bathrooms on the Malecon are 10-20 pesos per person. If there are free ones we never saw them.
  5. The costs for us to Lyft from the airport hotel to the terminal was $47. Uber wanted almost $70. If we had selected the Queen Mary as the drop off I think it would have been cheaper and we would do that next time. This for an XL. The trip back to the airport from the Queen Mary was around $50. Lyft would have been only $37 but I didn't want to risk getting the same guy again. Just as an aside the Uber app worked perfectly in MX and cost us between $5-$6 US per Uber. Much cheaper than the taxis which wanted $20 US to take you anywhere. The McD's menu in MX is a little different. Same sandwiches but the toppings are different. I believe the one she had was like a quarter pounder in the states with a different bun and BBQ sauce and crispy onions. I had the original McChicken which hasn't been available in UT for 25 years or so. We have the hot and spicy abomination. 🤣
  6. Just did this a few days ago on the Panorama to check in for our flights. $25.
  7. Whoops, I meant to go over the debarkation and forgot. At ports, perfectly smooth. At Long Beach, not so much. Embarkation wasn't bad but debarkation needs some help. We had an early flight out of LGB so when we did our debarkation in the app we were given Priority Group C at 8:30 in the Vista dining room. Then it switched to another room. Then another. Eventually we told the Liquid Lounge deck 4 but were told to wait on deck 5 until 8:30. We did, until someone came to tell us that there was an entirely different line and it had been moving for quite a while now. We got into that line and there was an argument between a staff member and a woman who had Group 3 like us but he told her she couldn't be in the line because she didn't have any luggage and this was only for those debarking with luggage. When we made our way into the lounge they were calling for those without luggage to get into the line. I flagged down another staff member and told them what group we had and that we had luggage and she said fine, we were in the right place, and she added us into the line which was an equal mix of those with and those without luggage. I still have no clue just what the staff was doing, where we were supposed to have been, or really what was going on. But once in line we were good and moving from there, through the terminal, and out the front doors was smooth. Just as a humorous aside our Uber (didn't want to risk the dirty Lyft again) also got confused and instead of picking us up front in front of the Queen Mary where the rest of the Ubers were picking up he wound up somewhere else. Thankfully he called instead of rejecting the ride and we got him over to the Queen Mary for our ride to the airport. And his van was clean and smoke free, so yay!
  8. Thanks for reading my ramblings. 😁 Just a head cold and a little tummy bug, nothing worse.
  9. I don't have a lot to say about the Panorama because nothing about it made me say "oh wow!" but at the same time I loved it for what it was. With no basis for comparison I don't know what is considered a good thing or a bad thing except to give my general impressions. If all Carnival ships are like the Panorama then I can say I'm a fan. I have seen online where some of the Carnival boats (older ones maybe?) can be quite garish and this one was not. The rooms were very comfortable in toned down colors and were, in my opinion, spacious. The only place that felt tight was the bathroom but even that wasn't an issue and I'm not a small guy. The rooms also felt cleaner than most hotels I've stayed at. I do wish Carnival would install gas shocks on the bedroom doors to eliminate the slamming though. The bedding when newer is fair but I just lost the dice roll on that one. The kids' inside room bedding was great and my daughter especially loved the pillows Carnival used. I wished that there was a power outlet near the bed but that's a small quibble. Our AC was OK when kept on max cool and our kids right across the hall had an ice box. We didn't leave the balcony door open but the large windows may account for the extra heat in our room. Still, it was comfy. Rocking is almost non-existent deck 2 mid which I'm sure you all know better than I do. For deck layout the only problem I had was remembering that you can't go straight through deck 3 because of the galley and deck 4 has the casino in the middle of it. Due to damage to my sinuses I can't tolerate cigarette smoke. Other than when the boat was docked at port this is the only time I noticed cigarette smoke being an issue. There was smoking up on deck but when the boat is moving the smell is blown away. I've heard others complain about the smoke but for me it wasn't an issue outside the casino and heroes bar or the occasional times when docked and it would find it's way down to the lido area by the pool. The layout of the Liquid Lounge is bad with the pillars blocking the view. The gym is nice but the windows that give you that great view let in an insane amount of heat. I liked the elevators when people would use them correctly and as long as there wasn't a huge crowd. For moving luggage they are terrible. No way you are getting 12 souls into those things even without bags. The ship felt very clean during the day but in the evenings the elevators would have vomit and spilled alcohol in them. Not sure who cleans them or how often. This was only an issue in the late hours. As a night owl I wish there was more going on into the later hours, especially in regards to food. It is nice that there is still music in the piano lounge going at 11pm and you can still get drinks but the only food option is the midnight buffet or the pizza. I'll touch on the quality of the food next but the midnight buffet is fine for what it is, a snack or drunk food, but after being surrounded by food all day and not being hungry I noticed I was snacky at night with few options. I also did not like that most of the drink stations closed at night, as did the ice cream machines. I would have thought those would be 24 hours. The boat rarely felt crowded outside of the Limelight and the long lines at the food areas on the Lido. Of course the buffet was always a crowd but I expect that with buffets. It did mean that sometimes there was simply no where to sit in the buffet so people had to take their food elsewhere. There was ample seating in the Lido Marketplace but the way that people chose to use that seating left a lot to be desired. Not a Panorama problem though. The views from the Marketplace seats are amazing. The pools weren't as crowded as I expected but it didn't feel like we had many kids onboard. I heard they were on the last sailing. If you wanted to chill in the pool there was always room. No deck chairs nearby, but again, that's just people being people. Unless Carnival wants to police the deck chairs that problem isn't going away. Lido was the only time I can recall thinking they didn't have enough staffing or recall seeing the staff looking overwhelmed. Staff overall was fantastic. A few unhappy faces and short words here and there but far and away the staff was simply amazing. How these folks can endure us for months and months at a time is beyond me. I also appreciated that the staff would sometimes come and talk to you about whatever. I appreciate professionalism but I also like that they were real people and not automatons. There was a time or two where someone would ask for some assistance or answers that I thought were fairly simple and the staff struggled to provide useful information. This could simply be that much of the staff were all quite young compared to the people I'm usually around. No pictures this time to break up the wall of text. Sorry. Most of my photos have people in them and I don't like sharing those.
  10. The weather was wet and overcast leaving Long Beach and when the boat got moving it got cold. But by the next day it was already warm and the weather was clear and perfect all the way down to Puerta Vallarta. There was wind but we must have been moving with it as it was smooth sailing. Things didn't get really bumpy until the final sea day headed back to Long Beach. Going into the wind it was chilly and they closed some of the areas like the Serenity deck for the entire day. Puerta Vallarta This was the port that interested me the most as I wanted to experience what the climate and terrain was like this far to the south. Coming from dry winter storms to 80 degrees and high humidity was a shock. It didn't hit us all at once as I expected but really sapped our energy when we did finally get back to the boat. We didn't opt for any excursions or anything like that this trip so it was an Uber ride down to the Malecon and we simply explored it. I knew beforehand that the sellers were going to be pushy (we all got bills to pay, right?) but eventually it just got tiring and we had enough. We did stop and watch the acrobatics and check out all the statues. As for the shops, if you saw one you saw them all as they were more of less identical. My daughter wanted a particular sandwich they have at McD's in Mexico and there was one right at the beginning of the Malecon with a free bathroom. Yup, we are those Americans that go to Mexico and then eat a McD's sandwich. We got another Uber back to the port area, hit up Walmart for a couple items and then got back onboard. At this point I was really wishing I could take some of the BeLight drinks onboard but they don't come in cans. In the end it probably wouldn't have mattered as they seemed to be letting people bring back drinks and cases of water and never checked our drink bottles. At one point in Cabo I forgot I had a half full BeLight in a side pouch of my pack until it was too late to do anything with it. It fell out when the bag went through the xray and the guy picked the drink up from the floor and stuffed it back in my bag without a word. So maybe I just didn't understand the rules or they didn't care. And if you are wondering why this guy keeps mentioning BeLight drinks it is because they make tasty (in my opinion) zero calorie drinks and Carnival doesn't provide Diet lemonade. So it was Crystal Lite packets all cruise. We were back onboard before many of the other passengers so we took advantage of the empty pool and just enjoyed the heat for a change. We are ready for winter to be over back home. Afterwards we debated what to do for dinner plans and checked the app for the night's menu. We didn't realize that something had glitched in the app and from this point onward when you opened the app it would select the following day. We read the menu (which was actually for the following day) and decided we weren't interested. We opted for Guy's Burgers and a card game. So my wife missed out on the Beef Wellington that she had been looking forward to that was actually being served that night. Bummer. Mazatlan I think this was our favorite port. You exit the ship in a working port but there is a short shuttle that takes you from the gangway to the port entrance. Outside of the port there are American volunteers that will point out the blue line you can follow to the cathedral and then down to the oceanfront. The walk is easy going and the cathedral is beautiful. The walk to the oceanfront takes you past some interesting architecture and the oceanfront is also beautiful. The area where they dive had few other tourists around so we were swarmed with vendors and demands to pay the divers. We passed on that and walked down to check out the Beatles monument instead. A little more walking along the coastline but eventually sore feet and a sick kiddo had us calling up an Uber for another Walmart run for meds and then back to the boat. Cabo We had a sneak peek at Cabo on the way down when we detoured slightly for a medical emergency. Our Utah friends told us it wasn't too serious and while the disembarking passengers had to miss out on the rest of the cruise they did have travel insurance to cover the loss so that's something at least. Because Cabo was a short port stop and we drug our feet and avoided the tender crowd our only plan was to head North from the dock to the public beach for a swim and to enjoy the last of the warm weather for a bit. The tender process was a peice of cake. Exit our rooms, down the stairs a couple decks, have our cards scanned and right out onto a waiting tender. Easy peasy. The short walk to the beach felt a little sketchy in parts but the beach itself is great. A lot of tourists as expected but a lot of local families as well. After the beaches at PV it was nice to relax and be left alone. The tender back to the ship was also a simple affair and we were back onboard with no fuss. Others had more trouble as we were still picking up stragglers after the Pilot had come onboard and we were turned and departing. The FB says we left a tardy passenger behind at Cabo but he didn't sound too upset about it. Overall I found the ports beautiful but I do regret not booking excursions that would have taken us out of the tourist areas and let us see more of the cultural side of Mexico. As this was my first cruise I didn't anticipate wanting to do more than wander a bit but I found the tourist stuff did not appeal to me. If the wife and I return we will do things a little differently. But I hear Alaska calling our names next...
  11. There isn't any point in trying to do a day-by-day rundown of the cruise as we are boring people who can't remember what we had for breakfast yesterday let alone what I was doing on this day a week ago. I do recall doing a lot of sitting, a lot of eating, and a lot of walking. And also having a lot of fun and making some great memories with the family. Additionally, as this is my first ever cruise I can't make comparisons but only give my impressions for what they are worth. My wife and son are like me and content to take it easy. The daughter not so much so we pawned her off on the teen club hoping they could keep her busy. She made a couple friends but was older than everyone else and it just wasn't for her. We expected more kids/teens on this sailing but there were not a lot. So most everything we did was as a family. Those of us who could partake enjoyed a drink and took part in the sailaway party. Honestly I'm a stick in the mud and thought I would not enjoy it but it was good fun. Everyone got into it and it sat the vibe for the rest of the cruise. We did the same for the 80's night but skipped the Silent Night party and only the daughter did the White Night party with some of her Teen Club friends. I could take or leave the cruise director (Deon) but people really seemed to like him and his "hey, ya'll" schtick. Overall the entertainment was...well, entertaining. We hit up one of the late night comics and thought he was OK but unfortunately we never caught the other one which I heard was good. The Limelight was always crowded and one of us always had something else we wanted to do instead of standing in line. For noobs like us there was almost always something we wanted to see. The only other time we visisted the Limelight was for Quest (without kiddos, of course). I think they also had both comedians together for a show in the theater but again we missed that. The two playlist "shows" we caught were Rock Revolution and Celestial Strings (skipped Soulbound as I don't like R&B). The former I enjoyed more with the drones and lasers but if you have the drones why only use them once? Not a big fan of the latter but it is hard for me to say if the shows were good or not as that type of entertainment just isn't my thing. They were incredibly loud though which was a theme throughout the cruise. You'd think the staff would all be deaf by now. The layout of the Liquid Lounge also has 4 big pillars that block a lot of the views. While the wife and I were ambivalent about the shows the kids did enjoy them. They were theater kids in high school and this kind of stuff is right up their alley. Deal or No Deal was fun. The crowd gets into it and are as entertaining as the show itself. The wife bought a card for the fun of it and matched a bingo package. I don't recall anyone walking away from the game with anything substantial. One contestant had the .01 case so that was funny (for us, not them). Wife did the bingo thing and said there were some small winnings. We did the later showing of Love and Marriage and that was fun. They selected the newly weds and the older couple and when it came time to select the final couple you could tell immediately it was going to be the guy making a fool of himself. Obviously he knew what it took to be selected and played it up heavily for the crowd and got a lot of laughs. Deon was also a good host for his game, in my opinion. Then there was Family Feud which was fun. One of the families was also from Utah and we ran into them a few times throughout the cruise. We took advantage of the gym which was nice but very hot. Didn't do anything with the Spa despite getting a $50 off offer for the wife's bday. There just wasn't anything she wanted to spend that kind of money on. Kids did the water slides but we opted out. Sky bikes were a hard pass because of my aversion to heights and though wife and daughter talked about it they were never around when they were open. Wanted to do the rope course but even with the weight loss I think I was right over the weight cutoff. Probably a good thing. We really enjoyed the music options. The Atrium was a favorite and we spent a fair amount of time there enjoying the violins or Carlos and his guitar. The duo Brighthold (him on mandolin/vocals and her on guitar/vocals) was my favorite of the musical options. The atrium was a popular spot but only felt crowded and loud when folks were lining up for Early Dining. Or when Deon was hosting a party there. We caught a couple of those just by being there but we didn't seek them out. The karaoke was fun and I was surprised at how popular it was. Some nights every seat in the Ocean Plaza was full. Is karaoke usually that popular or was it just this group of passengers in particular? The piano bar was also full a few of the nights when Matt did his routine. This was a nice venue to gravitate towards later in the evenings with a fun and chill vibe. The only music I disliked was the Panorama Rockband. The band itself was good but the singers were not. I feel bad hating on anyone that is willing to get up and belt it out like that...and she certainly belted it out with gusto and confidence so I'll give her that. We were certainly never bored. In fact it felt like we didn't have enough time in the evenings to do everything we wanted. We didn't plan out our evenings in great detail and went where we went on a whim. We also opted for MDR every night but one and that takes 1-2 hours.
  12. Here is the poor mattress. You can see even freshly made up it wasn't great and if anyone so much as looked at it then it would collapse a little more. 🤣
  13. Hi folks, thought I'd ramble on a bit about our first cruise experience and also give a thank you to everyone on this site that helped us prepare for the adventure. We opted for the Panorama out of Long Beach because CA is nice and close to Utah, and Southwest flies into LGB which put us near the terminal for an easy flight home. Chose the March 2-9th sailing because it landed perfectly with my son's spring break so the kiddos could tag along and make it a whole family affair. And while it was a neck-and-neck between Carnival and NCL for a while the wife's family likes Carnival best of the lines they've tried and suggested we try it. Sorry in advance for a rambling style review but I'm very tired and with no notes or anything the events sort of run together in my memory. And pictures won't be great as I'm just not much of a picture taker by nature. We flew in and stayed in Long Beach near the airport the night before and caught a Lyft in a dirty van to the port (yuck). He dropped us at the Queen Mary because he couldn't figure out the roads into the terminal. Didn't really matter either way as it was an easy walk across the parking lot and straight into the terminal. That was nice because he was 15 late for the pickup in the first place and that let us make up some time and get inside the terminal and through all the security just as they called our boarding group. However we somehow missed the porters completely and so we had to drag our luggage with us. Not a real problem, it was only one bag each and a backpack. And we could use the exercise anyway. 😉 Overall Embarkation was smooth which I was thrilled with as I had heard the Panorama has a reputation for bad embarkation/debarkation. We drug our luggage up a flight of stairs, did the 5 minute muster, and were able to get into an empty elevator and hitch a non-stop to the Lido. Lucky us. Then we shoved our bags into an empty corner and mostly stood around looking like idiots for a while as we had no idea how to navigate the ship, no one was actually hungry, no one wanted a drink and we were somewhat overwhelmed still. We took turns babysitting the bags and exploring a bit of the ship waiting on our rooms to be ready so we could ditch the bags somewhere safe and fully relax. Due to worsening weather they finished the rooms in a rush and turned us loose. The elevator Gods were with us again and it was a quick ride down to deck 2 to find our rooms. We had a Cove Balcony and an Inside both near the middle and on the port side. We wanted to be near the water and have the added privacy of the Cove and we were happy with the rooms. The inside room was in fine shape but in the balcony room the bathroom was still a little dirty and had an unpleasant dirty drain/urine smell lingering. The balcony room mattresses were hammered. Mine had seen some things and really should have been replaced. I did mention it to guest services later and they offered a topper but that wasn't really going to fix the fact it just had no life left in it. You could tell just by looking at the poor thing it had lived it's best life and was ready to move on. As things progressed I didn't get much sleep anyway so a better mattress would not have made much difference. I have worked night shift for years and while I hoped to transition to something of a normal sleep schedule during vacation I didn't expect to be awake at 5am every day but all the slamming doors made it impossible to sleep any later. We were under the dining room but never heard any noises that competed with the constant slamming doors. Maybe it is worse on deck 2 as that is the family harbor deck so more kids banging doors? Or maybe we were just got unlucky with our neighbors. We bumped into the room steward almost immediately, a great guy by the name of Marsus who greeted all of us by name and asked when we'd like the room serviced. We let him pick a time that worked with his schedule and mentioned the bathroom smell. He said he would take care of it and when we returned next the bathroom was pristine. The steward was great. He greeted us whenever we passed by him in the halls by name and asked us how we were getting along and if we needed anything. We tried our best to keep the rooms clean and orderly to make life on him as easy as we could. Our family does a fair amount of camping in tents and RV's so we are used to living in tighter quarters than this. We passed by a few rooms that looked like bombs had gone off in them. To each their own but I don't know how the stewards are supposed to tidy up around that. People appear divided on the Cove's so were worried we might regret not taking advantage of the cheap upgrade to a higher balcony when it was offered but I'm glad we didn't. There is only wind and dirt where we live so it was fun to be down near some water for a change. It was private and blocked the wind and sun. And there was very little movement so potential seasickness wasn't an issue even during the return to Long Beach which did get rough enough that some of the staff commented on it with us during dinner. We had no experiences to compare it to so we didn't know if it was normal or not.
  14. Not Carnival but I asked the Rep at a different cruise line and was told that it essentially reduced the advertised cost of the room down a set number of room codes. In that instance the agent told me the room cost with the promo applied and removed. It wasn't a lot.
  15. We booked about 7 months before our March cruise. We had one early upsell from the cove balcony to a higher floor that we weren't interested in, and probably 4 or 5 offers to upgrade our inside cabin to either a higher floor or an oceanview but the costs were extremely high for most of these offers.
  16. Exactly what I've been wondering.
  17. OP's info was on the booking involved. Must have been enough to flag them onto the no sail list.
  18. You aren't totally wrong. Core inflation excludes energy and food and is the figure the news focuses on most. The true inflation numbers, food and energy included, aren't cited nearly as often, at least that I've noticed.
  19. Yes, if OP feels like no one is listening to them that is sadly one of the few ways to make them notice you these days. Some companies are more responsive to this tactic than others, Carnival I feel rather less so. Obviously if they have made it beyond the "call center" and have a knowledgeable point of contact this isn't necessary. Honestly, I found OP's experience as presented somewhat hard to follow.
  20. I guess you could blast them on social media until they finally listen to you. Sadly that seems to be the only way to get the attention of most large companies these days. I don't expect it will actually resolve things to your satisfaction but it isn't like you have anything to lose.
  21. Sorry about your back, I have a pinched nerve cluster that will act up out of nowhere and drop me, so I know what kind of pain you are in firsthand. Hopefully you are like me and after a few days the pain turns off like a light switch and if I'm careful it stays off. Fingers crossed for you.
  22. Thank you for your review. Folks get trounced if they share the negatives but the negatives do matter, so thank you for speaking up. My buddy was on the same cruise and mentioned disembarking was the worst they've experienced. Overall, they had a good time but are also done with Carnival for now.
  23. They served out a sandwich soggy with sprinkler water? Yuck. Otherwise most of the food looks pretty good.
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