Disclaimer: I was invited as a paid guest onboard the Carnival Cruise Ship. All photos, reviews, recommendations and experiences are my own personal opinion.
Cruising during Covid for most folks is a complete no-no! However after being invited to take an all expenses paid cruise AND get paid for blogging about the experience, I couldn't turn it down. I did take the necessary precautions before boarding like making sure I was tested and Covid free. Once I received my negative test results, I was free to cruise!
It was my first time cruising onboard a cruise ship since 2019 and I was overly excited to see what changed. To my surprise things were pretty much the same with checking in at the cruise terminal, providing necessary documents and receiving state room keys.
Even with the extremely long check in lines at the terminal, I can honestly say that Carnival provides a speedy check in procedure. Once onboard the process to getting to my stateroom was easy and hassle free. 2 things I noticed right away were all the different safety notices around the ship. From the elevators and the pools to the restaurants and casinos, Carnival definitely made sure to maintain the social distancing rules and regulations.
I also noticed that certain items were no longer in the stateroom to allow minimal contact with the stateroom steward. Things like the signature Carnival bathrobe and complimentary bottled water had to be requested. Which didn't bother me since I don't mind roaming the ship and finding my way around.
One thing that did surprise me a bit was that they still offered their food buffet style. Since the start of the pandemic buffet style restaurants have lost their popularity due to the fear of multiple people hovering over open foods. However, Carnival kept that concept which made the experience feel a bit more normal.
Besides that everything else was the same onboard. The casino operated as normal, the decks were full of fun and different activities and the theaters still had their regular showcases of comedy and trivia. The fun shops were still there and guest services were available to address whatever questions you may have had. 1 gripe of mine was that it seemed like Carnival did away with their faster to the fun passes. I'm not sure if it's because of Covid or if it's a temporary change, but they didn't have it available during the 3 different times I cruised.
That was a bummer for me because I enjoy the privileges that having the pass comes with. It didn't kill my vibe though and I still enjoyed my cruises as usual.
All in all, the experience of cruising didn't change much and I got to enjoy a small sense of normalcy while on vacation. I definitely haven't written cruising off and will continue to travel by cruise ship. Carnival offers some of the best cruise packages on the waters. In addition to being affordable, they have something for the whole family to enjoy.
Special shout out to @chrisdonkeysalazar onboard the Carnival Horizon for taking the time to interview with me!