I was nervous about cruising due to my issue with motion sickness, but I worried for no reason at all. I did great the entire 6 days we were on our cruise.
We flew down from Miami the day before the cruise and stayed at a new hotel in the area. I was disappointed that the shuttle leaving the hotel was at 10:45, but we went ahead with it. Big mistake. By the time we got to the port the line was huge. It took us forever to get on the ship, next time we will arrive earlier.
We had a balcony cabin, now I know why some friends say its the only way to cruise. It allowed my husband a place to smoke cigars, and a place for me to just enjoy the view in peace. The room was quiet, clean and in a great location, 1 floor down from Lido and the buffet.
Items to consider bringing: Power Strip. My husband has a CPAP machine, and with only 1 plug in the room, we called guest services to deliver an extension cord that ran across the room. Then we plugged the power strip into the cord and then were able to plug in the CPAP machine along with a cell phone charger and the radio we brought to be our alarm clock when we needed it.
Also, there is a machine on deck 5 near the gift shop that will make change for you. Example, a $20 into $10's, and $10's into $5's. Good to know for when you get to port and don't want to take large bills.
We ate 3 dinners in the Lincoln Dining Room, anytime dining. I loved anytime, we had the flexibility of when we wanted to eat. Excellent service from Henry, Geza and Tomi...food was excellent, good portions, and always warm.
We had 1 meal in the Steakhouse for our anniversary. It was worth the extra price, it was fabulous! I highly recommend it for a special occasion or if you want to be pampered even more.
We ate 2 dinners on Lido, not bad, but you don't have the personalized service. It was good if you don't feel like getting dressed for the MDR.
Since this was my first cruise, I have nothing to compare the ship to. It was very clean, and I had fun exploring.
For our ports, we went to Key West, Grand Cayman, and Ocho Rios, Jamaica. We loved Key West and Grand Cayman. We did not book an excursion at Key West, I purchased tickets online for the trolley and the Hemingway House, so we took the trolley around for a while, then went to the Butterfly Conservatory, I highly recommend it. The Hemingway House was interesting, but I stayed outside most of the time looking at the cats.
Grand Cayman we booked the pirate excursion and loved it. There were not many people on the boat, and they provide sodas and rum punch, all you can drink. We swam in the Caribbean Sea, so much fun.
We did not like Jamaica at all. We could not find an excursion the both of us wanted to do, so we shopped. We were only off the ship about 2 hours then back on. We did not like how the men came up to you and begged you to get in their taxis. I will not go back to Jamaica on any future cruises.
On sea days the Serenity area fills up fast. I was disappointed that no one monitors how long towels are left. I saw some towels on saved chairs for over 2 hours, when the limit is suppose to be 30 minutes. My husband and I took turns so one of us was always there. It worked for us, and I didn't feel like a chair hog.
Debarkation was a breeze! I filled out our customs form completely and had it ready. We chose self assist and carried our own luggage off the ship. Once we were called from the theater to leave, it only took about 10 minutes to leave the ship.
I will definitely cruise Carnival again.