All aboard! Set sail with Carnival Cruises from Sydney to Melbourne…you’re in for an interesting ride.
Carnival Cruises invited me to experience their short trip cruise to Melbourne last week. A cruise virgin and self admitting skeptic I boarded on Wednesday night completely unaware of what to expect. I’d checked out the website and saw the ship had 40+ activities to do every day, several bars and restaurants and a giant water slide called Green Thunder. I was assured that despite intermittent phone coverage I’d have wifi access (how could I survive without my daily Facebook, Twitter and Instagram updates?) Hang on tight and come with me, we’re going on an interesting journey.
My preconception before boarding the cruise:
“Cruises are for old people and I’d rather sit in a dark room by myself for 3 days then be stuck on a giant moving RSL full of crappy food, sugary drinks and annoying kids”.
Why did I agreed to go in the first place? I’ll try anything once.
Here are the pros and cons of going on Carnival Cruises:
- The views when you depart Sydney are incredible, seriously beautiful and being so high up you get amazing pictures.
- The gym (although not many people use it) is awesome. Located at the front of the ship you feel as though you are running on water when you’re on the treadmill. They also have Bootcamp and Pilates classes daily.
- There is a restaurant on board called Nouvueau, which we dined at the first night and the food was really good. I had a great surf and turf with filet mignon and lobster. The wine was also nice and the service was fantastic.
- The staff come from all over the world and are super friendly. They will go out of their way to accommodate almost anything you need.
- Your phone reception drops in and out. I’ve made this a pro because it actually means you can relax and stop working for periods of time.
- There is a place called Fat Jimmy’s on board that does slow cooked meats and veggies- it would make for an awesome food truck in Sydney. We really liked this place.
- The buffet style dining during breakfast, lunch and dinner kind of reminds me of feeding time at the zoo. There is nothing unique or special about this experience. The food is ok considering it is mass produced and everything is very clean but it’s not for food lovers.
- The cocktails need some work, they are quite sugary and remind me of cocktails from the early 90s. That said they do have a good selection of premium spirits on board and good mini bottles in your room bar fridge so the potential is there for a good drink you just need to ask for a bespoke drink rather than order off the menu.
- I didn’t really feel as though I fit the demographic on board. If I was 10 years old and my parents took my brother and I on a cruise I’d be so excited. Pools, water-slides, 24hr ice cream and pizza bar, put put golf, basket ball, table tennis are just some of the reasons kids go nuts on cruises. It’s like a floating Disney Land! The mums and dads were pretty happy too because they could just chill back and relax knowing the kids had stuff to do. The other main crowd were over 60s fom what I could see, so I can imagine it would be good if you are older and seeking new ways to meet people.
Opinion after the cruise:
Carnival Cruises has all the attributes to be super cool. The idea of being on a massive boat with beautiful ocean views everywhere you look, late night bars, comedy clubs, pools, cabanas and sports facilities sounds fun. Add the following elements and you’d definitely get me on board (otherwise, I think my cruise days are done and dusted):
- Tighten the demographic and make the cruise for 25-45 years.
- Better cocktails.
- Better food, less mass produced.
- Rather than having 40 activities a day have 3 and make them amazing.
- Centre the cruise around music acts – invite local/international DJs and bands to perform in different sections of the boat.
- Reduce the amount of announcements made over the loud speaker! If people want to know what’s on they can check their itinerary, all 40 activities do not need to be read out over the loud speaker each morning while you’re trying to sleep.
Overall I’ll probably never take a cruise again. I’d rather spend three days in Melbourne eating and drinking at the latest bars and restaurants and discovering new hidden gems. That said, I did have fun and i’m glad I went. There were lots of truly memorable elements and for someone else i’m sure this would be the ideal three day break.
Some pics from my cruising experience:
You can play lots of sport including:
Some of the dishes from Nouvueau Restaurant: