I lucked out back in January and won the 50/50 at an NHL game and I decded that since we liked cruising so much last year, my boyfriend and I would try another one. Just to put things in perspective our first cruise (and only other cruise) was with Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas. So we went from the smallest ship on RCI's fleet, to the largest ship in Carnival's fleet.
Embarkation: This, as everyone else says, is very very easy. Carnival has this down to a science. Even though we got there at peek times and the line looked huge, it moved very quickly. Word of advice people: When sneaking on alcohol, don't try to put it in your carry-on in water bottles. They will find it and confiscate it.
First Day At Sea: This is the first time I've ever experienced a day at seas on a cruise and I have to admit it that I liked it. Since it was the first full we we could take our time waking up and we could explore the ship. I got a facial and the boyfriend got a massage. We hit the gym then sat in the sun. I must say that even though there are 4000 other people on board and during high noon it was a little difficult to find chairs on deck, we still found them and we never felt over-crowded by the mass amounts of people. We, unfortunately, had to make a pit stop in Key West due to a medical emergency on board. But luckily we were told he would be fine and within 5 minutes of dropping anchor we off again. I find that the Carnival crew does a VERY good job at trying to keep everyone entertained on the days at sea. Hairy Chest contest: too funny.
Cozumel: We booked an excursion through the ship: Everybody Loves Rays. We had a fantastic time on this excursion. It is relatively cheap for anyone on a budget. Once we were off the ship we saw our group with a big "Everybody Loves Rays" sign so they weren't difficult to find at all. A 5 minute cab ride took us to StingRay Beach where we were given instructions on how to use the snorkel gear (obviously for the beginners) and instructions on how to touch the sting rays and how NOT to touch the sting rays. These people at this company were extremely knowledgeable, very funny and friendly, and made the excursion fantastic.
Belize: We went Zip Lining and Cave Tubing. ALRIGHT, sooo with the ship it was going to cost us about $250 a person for this excrusion, we booked through Island Marketing and it was half the cost. I was a little sketchy about booking independently and not through the ship, however once we met up with our guide and several other fellow passengers I was put at ease right away. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and knew the area very well. It was about an hour bus ride to the zip lining and cave tubing place. Being up in the trees and looking arond at legit jungle that surrounds you was absolutely breath taking. This has t be said about one of the other people on the tour. She seemed so dense and couldn't do anything for herself. I'd say she was late 30's, early 40's and she was there with her husband and two sons. When you go zip lining the instructor hooks you in every time and in order for him to do that he needs yuo to jump up so he can snap you onto the line. Easy right? well I thought so too until this chick tried jumping with straight legs. Every stop I was saying "bend your knees, bend your knees" but she couldn't seem to grasp the concept. Thank God these guys are good at their job because they some how managed to snap her in after about the 7th "jump up" on her part. Other than that, Zip lining, soooo much fun. The cave tubing I found to be a little irritating. There was about a 30 minute trek, which was fine, however, the same lady from before couldn't carry her tube. Um excuse me? It says right in the overview of the excursion that you must be able to carry your inner tube for 30 minutes. Our guide carried her tube for her. How's that fair? I have a sprained wrist, yet I still managed to maneuver my tube with it. This was something that just really bothered me. Once we got to the cave it was beautiful. All the rock formations were fantastic. However once you're in the cave, to me, once you've seen one rock in there you've seen them all. The watefall at the end was really nice though. One thing about Belize was that it was very very poor. I liked that we went with Island Marketing rather than Carnival because I knew that the majority of the money was going to the local operators and tour guides, rather than the multi-billion dollar company.
Roatan Honduras: By far my most favourite stop. Although the weather sucked at this port (clouds, some sunny breaks, and then down pour, the country itself was beautiful and the locals were extremely friendly. We booked again with Island Marketing here. We decided to go scuba diving. In our confirmation that we received from the company it states the Belize is 2 hours behind ship time so they pre warn you and tell you to make sure you get off the boat as soon as its docked. We docked early and had no problem with this. It seemed a little sketchy because you had to go past a guarded check point, go arund a corner and down a HUGE hill, but once you get to the bottom ALL the independent tour operators were there. Very safe. So we checked in and waited, and waited, and waited. Our fellow ship makes I guess felt they didn't need to get off the ship on time and waste all of our time. So the Boss of island marketing of Roatan (Diane) was there and she took us to the dive shop, told us all about Roatan (she was born and raised there)and the area. 20 minutes later we wered at West Bay and at the dive shop. Well since everyone else took so long getting off the boat we got a private scuba tour. Just me, my boyfriend, and our master diver, who was fantastic. A lot of one on one time and I loved it. We got back to the dive shop and everyone else was arriving. We lucked out. It started raining when we got back so their visibility wasn't the greatest when they got down there. Well guys, this is what happens when you waste time and don't listen to instructions.
Costa Maya: Beautiful port. We did the Mayan Ruins and Beach break tour through Carnival. About a 45 minute bus ride to the ruins while our guide gave us all this information about the Mayan culture. One thing that bothered me a little was in the overview for the Chacchohben ruins (spelling?) it specifically says that you can climb the ruins. This is why we chose that one. We get on the bus and the tour guide tells us we can't. NOT IMPRESSED. That automatically put a damper on my mood and I was going to have a few words with guest services about getting a credit back or something. We get there and we're taking pictures and then we're told that we can climb these giants steps up to the other part of the ruins. Well well Carnival, aren't you smart. The steps, although not the pyramids, are still part of the ruins, so technically you're climbing the ruins. So that stopped me from going to guest services because I knew I would be turned away. We get back on the bus to go to the beach and it starts raining, again just puts me in a bad mood. Miraculously it stops when we get there, the skies are blue and the sun in shining and it's nice and hot out. Heck yes!!! All I wanted was to lay in the suna nd get my tan on, but no the boyfriend wanted to get open bar. $10 a person. So he handed the guy a $20 and the boyfriend kept feeding me drinks. Don't surcumb to peer pressure ladies and gentlemen, LOL. And "Mexican car drivers", althugh the drink is delicious (peach schnapps, tequila, orange juice, pineapple juice, and blue curacau) they were dangerous because you could't taste the alcohol. Yes I was that loud drunk person on the bus, but I had everyone laughing, especially after I realized how loud I was so I turned around and told the entire bus "I'm a drunk Canadian, I'm really sorry everyone" so I don't think anyone was too annoyed with me. LOL. Get back to the port and low and behold the alcohol took its toll. Garbage can!!! So if anyone that was there that saw that and is reading this review right now, I'm extra sorry you had to see that. HaHa. Thank God I have a wonderful boyfriend and he took care of me.
Last Day At Sea: Pretty much the same as the first day at sea. Went to the gym, did some yoga (not my cup of tea), and then went and found a spot in the sun.
Disembarkation: This was a breeze as well. It went very smoothly. Would have been even better if I hadn't had a blonde moment and read the bottom of my transfer voucher. We were in zone 28 and weren't going to be called until 9:20-9:40. We had to be out of our room by 8:30. This was great we'd wake up at 7:30 shower, get dressed, and then at 8:30 go get breakfast and then head to the Encore lounge to wait for our zone to be called. Well low and behold, we're eating breakfast and I decide to look over the voucher. Yeah we had to be off the ship at 7:30 to meet our transfer. It was 9:10 when I noticed that. Wow smooth move on my part eh? Haha. Oh Well. We shelled out $70 and hopped onto another transfer.
Food: Nothing wrong with the food. The buffet got a little boring, but oh well, the food was still good (except the scrambled eggs). Food in the dining room was 9 times out of 10 fantastic. Presentation obviously means a lot on board and the food always looked fantastic and tasted great. Warm chocolate melting cake... if you don't mind 5,000 grams of fat then by all means eat this. Delicious. My only glitch with dinner is that my boyfriend and I (I'm 25 and he's 27) were sat with 2 other couples but they were both in their 60's. Come on Carnival, how does that make sense. Well after the first day both other couples moved their dining time so we were sitting at a table for 8 for 2. If that makes sense at all? Oh well, romantic dinners for us.
Entertainment: Comedy club was great, Tommy Drake, you're my hero, absolutely hilarious. The Cruise Director Steve Knisely. was awesome. Fun guy Skylar, well let's just say you're a cutie and I have a crush on you now. LOL! As a dancer I had a hard time watching the shows and not critiquing the other dancers. They do put on a good show but I found the choreography to be bogus. The singers, Monquez Pippins and Adriane Hall. Both good singers but I found that Adriane butchered a lot of the songs. She has a great voice just not for the songs that she had to sing. Performer to performer: You have power sweetheart, just remember the difference between power and yelling.
Stateroom: We were on deck 9 in balcony stateroom 9279. We lucked out, right by the elevators. So didn't have far to walk. Our room was beautiful and was kept immaculate by our room steward Surphin (spelling?).
We met a group of people from Maine and ended up forming friendships with them and chilled with them for most of the cruise. On the last night we were all in our room having a few drinks when they told us that one of their cousins (who was also on the ship with his family) he's 12 years old and ended up getting beat up by a 14 and 17 year old who were drunk. The poor kid was hurt so badly his eye was swollen and he needed stitches. When they complained to the ship and had the kids (who were apparently there with their aunt and uncle) confronted the Aunt and uncle kept saying "They wouldn't do that." Really? Well hmmm, I wonder how they got the alcohol? Everyone's different when they've been drinking. Thank God the boy had a friend with him when it happened so at least he had a witness and someone to try to help him. But according to Carival because it happened in International waters they can't do much about it. So you're telling me that all 6 of us who are over 18 can go and beat up these 2 miners and no one can do anything about it because we're in International waters? I just don't think it was handled very well at all. I told the friends we were with to take pictures of the kids eye and publicly post it on the internet and make sure the story is known so maybe something can be done about it.
Overall: There was absolutely nothing wrong with this cruise (except the kid who got beat up). Every corner you took it was constantly being cleaned and someone was always there to help you or to offer a friendly hello. The ship itself is beautiful. I just think it was definetly a younger crowd and way too many children with parents that can't control them for my liking. We'll be sailing with Royal Caribbean next time.
Sorry guys I know this was long winded. And if you have any questions please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Whether you need more information or an opinion. If you're thinking about booking the ship or if you already have. I check my emails constantly so I will get back to you.