Getting to the Port of Miami was not a problem. My family drove down from NJ and I had to fly...Parking was directly across from the pier. Embarkation was ok. The kiosk was fast for us, however, for my in-laws who are elderly and did not know how this system worked, had a problem. I was able to get out of the line to assist them. Finding places to sit to await boarding was a little problem as people were all over the place. We finally found a place to sit and wait for our zone to be called. If you want your picture taken upon boarding, I would suggest that you comb your hair and fix your makeup before hand as you will not have a chance to even smile! We boarded and headed to the lunch buffet as you will not be able to get into your cabin until 1:30 or so.
We had a balcony this time around ..cabin 8381...and will never go back to an inside again!We hung a cardboard Easter Egg on the mailbox so that we could find our cabin (and the kids too) easily! We also decorated the balcony windows with Easter clings! Although, I would suggest getting a cabin that is not by the pantry as this is VERY noisy early in the morning. Also, there was some noise from the lido deck above us. The cabin had plenty of room for our family of 3. Our 16 y. o. had the bed (the couch converted into a bed) which was adequate. The balcony was very nice to have. However, we had a neighbor that smoked cigars and of course, the stench came over to us! Being asthmatic, this was very annoying. The bathroom was the same as the inside we had on the Glory. Adequate with some amenities. A few tips to bring for your trip: we did bring a power strip with us as we had cell phones, kindles and an electric razor to charge. I always bring Lysol and this time I did bring Clorox wipes as the norovirus (not on this cruise or the previous one) is something I don't wont to get on vacation! I make sure I wipe everything down! Bring extra hangers and or clothespins to hang up wet stuff on the pull out line in the shower. We also did bring our own beach towels for excursions. I brought cheap ones and laid them down on the bottom of the suitcase and then packed over them. Sunscreen and bug spray are a must! Sun visor or hat, too!
Dining: We had room service for breakfast almost every morning! Always had to have my coffee before going to the real breakfast! Just a note: when I wrote in the time for delivery for breakfast room service (placed on the doorknob the nite before), it always arrived much earlier! We had the buffet for breakfast everyday (although I slipped out early and had breakfast in the dining room one morning....much better than the buffet). Lunch was the buffet. Had Guy's Burger twice. It was good...I expected better. Don't forget the fish and chips upstairs and the sushi. Dinner was always in the main dining room..We had Silver Olympian Dining Room table 525 and it was perfect for us! We had the aft window table and it was very scenic! Our waiter, Wayan, was just perfect. He knew all our names and our preferences after one night! We had bought our own wine aboard and he uncorked it for us. (we were NOT charged a corkage fee!) We even tipped him extra! We were very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food. We were on the Glory the previous year and didn't think it was very good. For my husband to say it was good, IT WAS! Never a problem ordering more than one meal at a time! The lobster was good, but very small. Cruise elegant nights were nice. We did dress up. I had a gown and my husband a tux. Many people dressed up. Many gowns!
Ports: Cozumel...we didn't do any excursions...shopped around and ate at Fat Tuesdays! Had a pleasant day! Belize: Our daughter went with a group of our friends cave tubing (booked online beforehand for only $40. vs. over 100. thru Carnival) There were 13 friends that took this and they were picked up at the pier, took an a/c bus to the rain forest, walked thru there till they got to the caves. All equipment was provided...even lunch! We thought Belize was very "scary" and dirty! Armed guards were around the shops and people climbing over the fence to entice you to come with them!! ROATAN: Our favorite place! A very pleasant walk on the path to the beach (or take the chair lift -$12 all day) The beach had plenty of lounge chairs..even under the shade of the palm trees!! the water was beautiful! A boy even found a baby octopus in a cup on the bottom of the water!! Bathrooms very clean, plenty of places to eat right there on the beach! The shop areas were extremely clean and beautiful! By far our FAVORITE place! GRAND CAYMAN; Didn't care for this place either. A lot of security around...many check points (which is a good thing). We didn't stay here long, we went back to the ship to enjoy it while everyone else was off it. I did hear someone say that 7 mile beach was no bargain...locals selling drugs right there!
Entertainment : We sat in the Atrium Lounge the first night after dinner (6pm dinner) and listened to "New Dawn" Dawn the singer was good the first night...after that it was like listening to a broken record...same songs night after night. We went to the shows which we thought we much better than on the Glory. Nice, but not broadway! Casino: It was just too smoky for me, so for the first time ever on a cruise..I opted out! We attended a pool party one night where there was plenty of dancing and fun. As far as the pools are concerned, we spent most of the time at the aft pool...adults only. The Serenity adults only was just so crowded...couldn't find a decent place to lounge around. Most of the time we enjoyed playing cards on the aft pool lido area. The Cruise Shopping expert, Brooke Casey, was always helpful...very nice guy! Our daughter went to the Club O2 rarely...not enough in there to keep them busy. She found her friends and they either participated in the games in the Venetian Palace or did their own thing.. They were always back by 10:30!
DISEMBARKATION: A nightmare! We waited on the Lido deck for nearly 3 hours! Apparently Customs was the problem. Then the lines getting through customs were extremely long after they said everyone could get off the ship at the same time! I strongly suggest getting a porter as they get help you get through a lot quicker!
All in all we thought this cruise was very nice! We are looking to do another Carnival cruise next year! (I have a cruise on NCL in Nov. with my mom and siblings). We all had a great time!! It is what you make it! ENJOY IT!