It had been awhile since we cruised under 7nts. We chose this cruise in order to spend time with oldest daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren. We took an outside cabin for myself, wife, and youngest daughter (13). Others took an inside cabin that accomodated the five of them...grandchildren are 7,8, and 3. Cabins were fine, pretty much what we expected maybe slightly smaller.
I do not care for the Port of Miami. I think the parking is the highest at $20 per day, and the people are not as friendly as my favorit Port, which is Port Canaveral. We arrived and parked without incident. Since this was our 13th Carnival Cruise we are what they consider VIP and have priority boarding. Within 30 minutes or our arrival we were all on board at around 11:00am. Nice.
Muster station drill was fine. They don't make you take life preservers with you anymore, which is nice. Our station was outside on the Lido deck by the stage.
What I noticed was how maintained the ship was. It did not show its age at all. They did a wonderful job transforming the pool area and adding the Waterworks to the top area of the ship. Kids had a blast at waterworks and in the pool. Lido buffet restaurants all seemed to move very efficiently, which surprised me. I think they need to move the icecream machines out from inside and put them in the outer area though. Lots of crowd around the icecream machines inside. Maybe add another machine outside. Dinner in the Spirit dining room was nice. We had a great table for the 8 of us. Our Head Waiter Ramon was wonderful (thank you for that 2nd lobster). Lucie the Bar Waitress was very accomodating. We enjoyed the Cruise Director Skip Lyons. If I had to find one area of opportunity it would be the main shows. They were definitely lacking in talent and quality.
Key West. Arrived on a beautiful sunny day. Went Parasailing with Fury, which we booked directly with Fury in advance and saved $50 per person. It was a great experience and highly recommend Fury in Key West for any watersport activity. Brad and Ryan were wonderful.
Cozumel (Puerta Maya). We have been to Cozumel many times and love it. We have done a lot of different excursions in the past but this time decided just to do some shopping and then take advantage of the empty ship and let the kids play in waterworks. I was very disappointed with the shops in Puerta Maya this time. Their prices on simply souvenirs seemed high. When we tried to bargain they told us no the price was the price. This was the same with each shop we went into. So...we walked out of the plaza crossed the street and purchased the exact same items for half the price. I like the bargaining back and forth. Overall good day in Cozumel except for the shops in Puerta Maya.
On this cruise we used Camp Carnival for the grandchildren and Circle C for our 13 year old daughter. They pick and choose the activities they are interested in. All had a great experience and my daughter has been texting all of her "cruise friends" she made ever since leaving the ship.
So, overall this was a great trip. The ship is in wonderful condition, the onboard staff was terrific, the food was good. Everyone had a great time. We are already looking at itineraries for next year for 7 nt Carnival Cruise...4nts is just not enough.