A beautiful ship. You would not know you were on Carnival. All the "Spirit Class" ships are toned down and not as gaudy or kaleidoscope bright. The food was great and gets better each year. The small cafe/patisserie on Promenade deck has wonderful desserts and very inexpensive when it comes to cruise lines adding extra charges. A HUGE chocolate covered strawberry is $1.00 and a chocolate fruit-filled cup is $2.00 and a HUGE slice of cheesecake is $2.00 and better than the lunch buffet dessert. The shows were great and not too loud for a change. The comedians were funny and the adult shows were fantastic.
Our dining room staff was new, but they did a nice job and the food was great and hard to choose a selection. The ship has an easy flowing layout and is easy to learn. There is a lot of open deck space and enough bars to keep your thirst quenched. The walk around exterior promenade is nice for a lazy stroll and even if you have a balcony there are a lot of places that are More
relaxing to sit and and read a book.
The ports of call were great even though it was cloudy and windy most of our trip. Grand Cayman we went snorkeling. It wasn't the greatest, but we weren't home in the cold and at work either. The parents went to Stingray City and had a great time. We were there years ago and also had a great time. We bought 2 ammolite rings at Ammolite by the Bay. When we returned home we discovered the stone was not ammolite, but synthetic/manmade and worth half what we paid. We sent them back for a full refund. Since there is no way that I know to tell if the ammolite is a stone or fake, I would stay away from that store or just not buy ammolite period.
Costa Maya was nice. We went to the Mayan ruins of Chacchoben. They were nice, but there are a lot nicer ruins to see on the Yucatan. So go see Uxmal or Chichan Itza first. Cozumel we went to Playa Maya beach to relax and drink and eat. Very nice beach, but it became very crowded as the day wore on. If you want a nicer beach with fewer people, go to Passion Island. You have a longer bus ride and a short boat ride to get there, but it is worth it. Belize we went to Rendezvous Caye for snorkeling and it was great. We did not see a lot of fish, but we saw a LOT of coral and it was beautiful.
We went to Goffs Caye 2 yrs ago and there was less coral, but more fish. Both nice places to snorkel. Parents did the River Wallace Alta Hun trip and really enjoyed the trip. Last day was a relaxing sea day and we finally had blue sky. Tampa we wasted time before our flight at the Florida Aquarium and it was FANTASTIC. I would fly back there just to see that. Well worth the money. In Grand Cayman there were 7 ships in port. TOO Many. Carnival did a poor job of notifying and organizing once on shore. Our tour was canceled and once we found a rep he said he thought we were on the tender. (yeh, there was one tender for 2,000 people and we heard you). NCL had reps all over the place organizing the excursions . Cozumel had 8 ships in port and that was crazy, but not as bad. It is a good idea to get off the ship and be at your tour meeting place earlier than stated on the ticket.
If you are not a fan of Carnival and have never tried a "Spirit Class" ship, book one and you will change your mind. We like Carnival and these are totally different - better - still fun, but with out having to wear sunglasses indoors. I think their dining room food is much better then Royal Caribbean and definately better then Celebrity's. Our staterooms were roomy with bathrobes, refrig, amenities basket, beach towels, etc.
Our steward was like a ghost - never seen, but you knew he was there. An all around great cruise despite the weather, but it was snowing in the northeast so the weather was great. I will say that embarkation sucked as once you checked in they assigned you a group# and made you wait until that # was called which only CREATED lines. In the past you checked in and walked on board. So this new way just adds conjestion and makes lines which cruisers do not like. Also, I still like the luggage in the warehouse better then on a carousel as you just go get your bags instead of waiting for them to come around the belt. Debarkation was at your leisure which very relaxing and nice. Less