We arrived 2 days prior to our cruise and our group(ages 19-54) stayed at the Hampton Inn Ft. Lauderdale Airport North hotel. The hotel is exceptionally clean and the staff is amazing! The hotel provides complimentary airport pick up,full breakfast and transportation to the pier. Dianne at the front desk handled all our transportation issues so we were able to shop and tour Fort Lauderdale at our leisure.
Embarkation was fast and efficient; within 10 minutes we were seated and ready to board.
The ship is standard Carnival. Lots of lights,glass and colors. Like Vegas but on water! The staff work very hard to keep the ship spotless and well maintained. We found the quality of food less than what we anticipated.On our 3 previous cruises with Carnival the food was outstanding but this time we found the choices limited and the quality compromised especially in the dining room. The Lido buffet was good but why have only 1 outdoor grill for hamburgers operating and have your guests waiting 30-40 minutes?
By day 3 one by one from our group fell sick! Apparently there was a gastrointestinal virus circulating on the ship and 7 of our group of 11 got seriously ill. Apparently multiple floors were affected. The room stewards were extremely busy but always managed a smile and greeted you by name!
Grand Turk: Did Gibbs Cay Beach & Stingray Encounter; well worth it ; the beach is beautiful and the stingrays are so gentle. Snorkeling was included and the water is clear and calm.
La Romana: Some of our group was sick so no excursion was planned. There is nothing around the pier so plan an excursion.
Aruba: Kukoo Kunuku Open Air Bus & Beach Break excursion was fun. We had a tour of the island and the a couple of hours on the beach. Very relaxing! When we returned to the pier (around 6:30p.m.) we discovered that the stores close around 6:00 p.m. so no shopping in Aruba!
Curacao: Beach Day Express excursion was also fun. We had a very informative tour of Curacao (what a beautiful island ) and then a visit to a beach. The beach was very rocky (you need water shoes) but otherwise very clean. Snorkeling was amazing; the fish were colorful.
The entertainment was good but the comedians later in the week were OK. The one comedian did the same routine that we saw him do on a previous Carnival ship.
Debarkation went very well and our transfer to the airport was easy; the buses are waiting for you as you exit the ship. I think our group enjoyed the cruise but we need to try something else. The ship, entertainment and food are predictable and nothing new.