Miami: Flew into Miami the day before on American Airlines. We always fly a day early because the airlines has lost a bag before one cruise. Took 24 hours to get it. Stayed at a friends condo and had dinner on South Beach.
Embarkation: got to the cruise terminal around 1:00p.m. (very late for us). The place was a complete zoo. We had priority check-in so we breezed right thru. Once on board we had a 30 minute wait to have a pic taken for the sign/sail card. We were able to get in our room immediately.
Stateroom: We had an Ocean Suite on the 7th floor, mid ship. Our steward was great!! 2 chairs on the balcony, although it was tiny. No electrical outlets in the bathroom. Only 1 by the dressing area and another by the lighted mirror. The smaller rooms only have 1 outlet. Bring a couple of scented trash bags for dirty clothes, maybe trial size lysol or febreeze. Make sure before you book a room to look what is directly above you (ie..pool, night club) or how close to the elevator for the noise factor. Smoking is allowed on balcony. I never smelled smoke or had it bother me. Laundry room is avail on every floor. $3.00 to wash/dry. Ironing board, as well.
Ship was cold in certain places so bring a jacket.
Dining/food: We chose "my time dining". Never had to wait longer than 5 min on a table. We ate at the Steak House 2 nights. Although, we waited until 5p.m. sail day to make reservations and got odd days and 9:00p.m. seating. They do not fill every table so this kind of baffles me as to why? Food was good! Do not know why people are complaining. We had terrible service on 1st formal night but, the entire ship went to the main dining room for Lobster. The buffet, burgers, hot dogs, sushi, coffee bar and room service were all great.
There is no longer a "tip" section on the sign/sail card when you sign for a drink. Again, strange. Drinks were good and strong. Coke pass, was about $69.00.
Casino: I want to clarify...the smoke "smell" was strong in the casino but it was never "smokey". My husband is a smoker, I am not. Not even half the bar was smoking in the casino. On the starboard side of the ship at the pool was smoking. Again, never smokey to bother me.
Pool: 2 things stood out to me at the pool that were different than all the other cruises. Music was so loud you couldn't here your ipod. Not complaining, just something I noticed. They also took away the sexy legs and belly flop contest. I was so disappointed. Loved those. They had a hairy chest and olympics. As usual, people started "reserving" chairs at 7:30a.m. on sea days.
St. Thomas: rented a jeep for about $70.00 and drove everywhere. Also, take the skyride to the top of the mountain. Great views and drinks. Had lunch at The Green House. Awesome Shrimp creole. This is the place to do all of your shopping. The other ports are not great. Friends we met did get pick-pocketed off the beach. Make sure you do not take all your credit cards. Take 1 with a low limit in case this happens. no jewelry.
Tortola: Went to the beach. No great shopping here. Missed taking a ferry to the Baths. You have to be on a very early ferry because of the short time you are on the island. Beautiful Island but not sure I would go back.
Antigua: Hired a taxi to take us on a tour of the island. Great pics and views.
Bahammas: Went to Atlantis. Biggest disappointment of the entire trip. Only were allowed free access to the casino. Had to pay over $40 pp to see the aquariam, which we did not do. Had to have a wrist band and be a guest of the hotel to see anything. Stayed 15 min and left. Rained all day. Shopping was high end or straight up junk.
Pictures: you have to buy an 8 x 10 for $20.00 and then buy re-prints. Most of the pictures were too "cruisey" of a background for my taste. We were able to get a plain white background a couple of nights so they looked great.
Disembarkation: We had luggage tag #1 and our steward told us to keep that and just get off the ship whenever. We left our room about 8:00a.m. ate breakfast and got off quickly.
Great cruise. I do see a big differance in the ships Carnival versus RCI. Younger crowd. Not as well laid out and rooms not as big. No differance in the food or staff. We will cruise Carnival again, maybe on a new ship.
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
I love to cruise. I will help anyway possible or answer any questions.